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Politics / Issues

PolitiFact Fl. On Americans Killed By Guns; Patrick Murphy's Wall Street Connections

Already leading the nation with the highest number of concealed weapon permits, Florida is nearing a new threshold: granting authority to 2 million civilians who can lawfully carry guns tucked in waistbands, under jackets or inside purses into restaurants

Do two out of five Americans really know someone who has been killed by a gun? And is the leading Democratic contender for Florida's U.S. Senate seat really beholden to Wall Street financiers? WUSF's Steve Newborn takes aim at these claims with Katie Sanders of PolitiFact Florida.

The shootings of the police officers in Dallas are just the latest in a long roll call of slayings that has shaken the psyche of most Americans about how safe our country really is. It got so bad that a group of Democrats staged a sit-in in Congress to protest the lack of action taken to regulate assault weapons in the aftermath of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando.

Among them, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz of South Florida. About the same time, Wasserman Schultz posted a claim on her Medium web site: "40% of Americans know someone who has been killed by a gun."

Is that true? Here's what PolitiFact Florida found out about that:


We reached out to one of Wasserman Schultz’s campaign representatives, and they told us that the 40 percent figure came from an October 2015 Huffington Post article that cited a YouGov poll from the same month. YouGov is an online market research organization that utilizes a network of over 4 million users who offer their personal views and experiences by participating in surveys. The poll that Wasserman Schultz refers to surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults selected by a random sample stratified by age, gender, race, education and region. One of the questions asked in the survey was, "Do you personally know anyone who has been killed by another person with a gun?" The poll found that 22 percent said yes, with 6 percent saying the person was in their family and the other 16 percent saying it was someone else they knew. Another question asked, "Do you personally know anyone who has committed suicide using a gun?" On that question, 28 percent of participants answered yes, with 7 percent knowing a family member who used a gun to commit suicide and 21 percent saying they knew someone else who committed suicide with a gun.

On to our upcoming race for Senate, where the two main candidates for the Democratic nomination are sniping at each other.

Credit AP Photo
U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, in an Oct. 14, 2015, file photo from a speech in Tallahassee

Candidate Alan Grayson of Orlando is taking aim at his rival, Congressman Patrick Murphy. He leveled this charge at Murphy: "He's taken more money from Wall Street than any other member of Congress other than the speaker and the majority leader."

Here's PolitiFact Florida's ruling:

Grayson made the comment during an interview with the Tampa Bay Times editorial board June 30 when probed about why he doesn’t see eye-to-eye with Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. Grayson cited Schumer’s long history of Wall Street support to explain why their ideologies don’t connect. Then he hypothesized why Schumer backed Murphy over him. "Guess who has taken more money than any Democrat from Wall Street?" Grayson said, adding that the person was a "certain second-term congressman from Florida who serves in the financial services committee and has no standing in the committee other than the simple right to vote." He continued: "His name is Patrick Murphy, and he's taken more money from Wall Street than any other member of Congress other than the speaker and the majority leader." 00000174-124f-d47e-a1f7-526f9b850000Grayson was referencing a study by the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research group that analyzes campaign donations, that showed Murphy received $1.41 million from the "finance, insurance and real estate" sector in the 2016 election cycle. That amount placed Murphy third among all members of the House, with Speaker Paul Ryan at No. 1 with nearly $2 million, and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., at No. 2 with $1.58 million. So why does Wall Street support Murphy so much? A couple of reasons. As Grayson said, Murphy is a member of the House Committee on Financial Services. Even though he is not a ranking member, he is on two subcommittees that deal with laws related to capital markets and another on monetary policy and trade. Also keep in mind that Grayson’s talking point only works for the 2015-16 election cycle. He didn’t specify a point in time for the donations. In his first bid for office in 2012, Murphy received $100,600 from the securities and investment sector. In his 2014 race, Murphy received $255,880 from the securities and investment sector, making him No. 22 among all House members. For the curious, the majority of Grayson’s $2.5 million in contributions comes from retirees, law firms and lawyers, miscellaneous issues, which includes a variety of groups that focus on a single-issue, non-profit institutions and real estate.


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