A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Sorting Murky Issues on the POW Swap

A lot of gray area surrounds the political rhetoric about the White House’s decision to swap Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban figures detained at Guantanamo.

Sen. Feinstein’s Husband & the Postal Service

Q: Does Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s husband, Richard Blum, own a company that has an exclusive contract to sell United States Postal Service property?
A: Blum has an interest in the CBRE Group, which won a competitive contract to sell postal facilities. He is its board chairman and owns an investment firm that holds less than 5 percent of its stock.

Cherry-Picking Assault Weapons Ban Studies

On Connecticut Public Broadcasting, Managing Editor Lori Robertson talks about how both sides of the gun-control debate are selectively quoting from studies on the effectiveness of the 1994 assault weapons ban. The head of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, claimed the studies found the ban “had no impact on lowering crime,” while Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein said the ban did reduce crime. Both are wrong. The studies could not conclude that the ban was responsible for a national drop in gun violence,

Proposed Weapons Ban Exempts Government Officials?

TheTeaParty.net falsely claims in an email that Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s proposed assault weapons ban would exempt “all government officials” from the ban. While the bill would exempt military and law enforcement officials, it would not exempt legislators or administrative staff.
The email further misrepresents the proposed bill, claiming that “she [Feinstein] wants to take your handguns, rifles and other weapons away from you.” In fact, the proposal would grandfather in all of the existing weapons owned by Americans,

Did the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban Work?

Both sides in the gun debate are misusing academic reports on the impact of the 1994 assault weapons ban, cherry-picking portions out of context to suit their arguments.

Wayne LaPierre, chief executive officer of the National Rifle Association, told a Senate committee that the “ban had no impact on lowering crime.” But the studies cited by LaPierre concluded that effects of the ban were “still unfolding” when it expired in 2004 and that it was “premature to make definitive assessments of the ban’s impact on gun violence.”

Biden Wrong on Police Deaths

In an online interview promoted by the White House, Vice President Joe Biden made the false claim that “there were fewer police being murdered … when the assault weapons ban, in fact, was in existence.” But the FBI statistics on killings of law enforcement officers show no such trend.
In fact, the number of officers killed when the ban was still in effect in 2002 — 56 — is the same number as in 2010. The numbers have fluctuated,