Candidates Claim Has Some Major Holes

Jerry Patterson, a candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Texas claims that homicides are down 40% since the passage of a bill he championed. The claims appeared in a recent campaign video; his assertions have been put to the test by a popular internet news source and found to be mostly factual, although the information is not complete.

Currently, Patterson holds the position of Land Commissioner. In 1995, when Patterson was in the state senate, he authored a concealed weapons bill that was subsequently approved by a near landslide vote. Critics of the bill warned of unprecedented gun violence and a "wild wild West" atmosphere. The potential second in command reminds voters that these predictions never came to fruition. In fact, certain statistics do show murders down over 40%.

The source and time frame of the statistics leaves some information to be desired from Patterson's claim. State statistics were not available so he used national statistics of homicide rates per 100,000. He argues the significance of these figures because many states have adopted similar laws since Texas (what?). The facts are both independently true, but there is no evidence that the concealed weapons laws caused firearm homicides to decrease.

Another problem with the statistic the former congressman is using, is the time frame. A campaign spokesman cited a report that shows a nationwide decrease in gun-related homicide since 1993. Patterson's bill passed three years later; 1993 was the peak year for homicides in the United States. Using that year as a starting point will maximize statistics. Also, since gun murders had already begun to decline, how significant was Jerry Patterson's initiative in slowing down homicides?