The National Rifle Association (NRA) fired back at Yale School of Public Health Dean Megan Ranney’s claims during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week that Republican-controlled areas are most plagued by shootings compared to blue cities like Chicago.
NRA spokesman Billy McLaughlin told Fox News Digital “the labeling of firearm ownership as a ‘public health crisis’ by gun control extremists is an old and tired concept.”
“It aims to dismantle Second Amendment rights through coordinated action between government and gun control lobbying groups,” McLaughlin said. “This tactic was on full display by Dr. Megan Ranney’s testimony before Congress.”
Ranney, who McLaughlin called “a known gun control extremist” has been associated with Moms Demand Action, a progressive grassroots group advocating for stricter gun control and the federal assault weapons ban.
“She has supported bans on commonly owned semi-automatic rifles since 2013 and has consistently attacked NRA,” McLaughlin said. “This pattern of behavior among activists shows a concerted effort to reframe the gun ownership debate in terms of public health to effectively shred our Second Amendment.”
GOP Sen. John Kennedy and Ranney sparred last week during the committee’s hearing that examined gun violence as a “public health crisis.”
When questioned by Kennedy about why Chicago’s shooting rates are so high, Ranney claimed Mississippi, Louisiana and Missouri “actually have higher firearm death rates.”
The exchange generated backlash on social media from conservatives who pointed out that the “gun homicide” rate in Chicago is much higher than those states per 100,000 people. Additionally, some took issue with Ranney’s seemingly random selection of three red states while pointing out crime statistics are most useful at the local level, where crime is handled.
In response to Kennedy asking about Chicago’s gun violence rate, Ranney responded that “there’s easy access to firearms combined with environmental conditions, lack of great education.”
“There have actually been studies that when you green vacant lots and repair abandoned buildings in urban neighborhoods you see decreases in gunshots and violence as well as in stress and depression in the neighborhoods around them,” she said.
But McLaughlin said her claim is “misleading” because “it relies on conflating data from different age groups to create an alarmist narrative.”
“This statistical manipulation is a key part of their tired strategy to strengthen the case for restrictive gun control measures,” he said.
Data reviewed by Fox News Digital shows Chicago’s gun homicide rate has ranged from 25-29 murders per 100,000 people since 2019. In 2019, Louisiana, Missouri and Mississippi saw 12.5, 9.3 and 13 gun homicides per 100,000 people, respectively.
A recent report from the Heritage Foundation shows that homicide rates have been higher in Democrat-run “blue counties” than they have been in “red counties” since 2002, contradicting a popular talking point recited by prominent liberals like California Gov. Gavin Newsom and billionaire George Soros.
Fox News’ Andrew Mark Miller contributed to this report.