“Half of all mass killings in the United States have occurred since the assault weapons ban expired in 2005, half of all of them in the history of the country.”

— Former president Bill Clinton, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Jan. 9, 2013 …

Duwe says that 2012 was certainly a horrific year, but it is too early to tell if it signals an ominous trend. The worst year for public shootings was in 1991, when eight incidents took place, he said. With seven incidents, 2012 ranks second, along with 1999 — when the assault ban was in effect. (Duwe says his research shows that assault weapons are used in a relatively small number of cases, but they do result in far more wounded victims) …

In the highly charged debate over guns, it is important for politicians on both sides to get their facts straight. In this case, the available data show that Clinton was way off base in his assertion, making an exaggerated claim — which his office would not even defend.