New Public Database Reveals Bias of Gun-Control Researchers

Progress on Washington DC's Concealed Carry Rules Reset Back to Square One
New Public Database Reveals Bias of Gun-Control Researchers
Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership
Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership

USA –  -(Ammoland.com)- I read with fascination this article that appeared in the Macon, Georgia Telegraph today, which I’m pleased to see is getting a fair amount of press on my favorite pro-Second Amendment sites.

And by fascination, I really mean the sort of morbid, irresistible curiosity that compels one to stare at car accidents and other scenes of destruction, like The Kramer.

In it, breathless researchers from Boston University trumpet their newly launched State Firearm Law Database.  The article is sure to appeal to the logic challenged, especially those who already suffer from full-blown hoplophobia.   Michael Siegel and Molly Pahn propose to examine “gun violence”—a nonsensical term beloved by the civilian disarmament crowd, as I’ve previously explained—and how it may seem to be affected by different regulatory schemes in various states.

While I’m fairly sure I know what they hope to accomplish—career advancement and research funding from wealthy liberals like Michael Bloomberg—I’m not sure that they’re prepared for other experts to analyze their data and draw their own conclusions.

The data they supply thus far is simply a state-by-state catalog of gun control legislation.

They misleadingly describe these as “gun safety laws”, but they are actually all restrictions on Americans’ Constitutionally enshrined right to keep and bear arms.

For example, their database would characterize the passage of so-called Constitutional Carry laws as a reduction in “policies to reduce gun violence”, while I would describe such laws as enhancing personal and public safety.

While such a database, constructed impartially, could be very useful, the authors reveal their strong anti-Second Amendment bias.  They have salted the article with a few facts, but they have also included several misleading statements as well as blatant lies, presumably to broaden its appeal.

For example, while they are correct in pointing out that there has been a recent (though fortunately mild) uptick in violent crime in the US over past two years, they ignore the preceding decades-long decrease in homicide and other violent crime since their peaks in the 1990’s.  But this selective reporting implies a sudden crisis, and therefore the urgent need for government intervention.  While this intentional omission is unprofessional, there is much worse in the article.  Two blatant lies are used in a ham-fisted attempt to discredit pro-gun legislation.

The first is a gross mischaracterization of what are generally termed “Stand Your Ground” laws.  Vilifying these has become a cause célèbre with the anti-gun crowd.  Siegel claims these laws “allow people to shoot other people as a first resort in public.”  This is of course an outrageous statement, and a lie of the sort that should discredit any university professor.

In reality, these laws are narrowly crafted, and their effect is to protect law abiding citizens from overzealous prosecutors who could otherwise charge them for “failure to retreat” when they are forced to use their firearms in legitimate self defense.  In 2004 then-Illinois Senator Barack Obama voted in favor of legislation strengthening Illinois’ long-standing Stand Your Ground statute.

The second outright lie in the article regards the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act and the protection it affords firearms manufacturers when their legally manufactured products are used in the commission of crimes.  After initially admitting that the law simply does exactly that, they falsely claim “no other consumer product manufacturer enjoys such broad immunity.”  As if Lexus could be held liable if one of their cars was deliberately driven into a crowd of people, or Stanley could be successfully sued when one of their hammers is used to bludgeon someone to death.

In another lie of omission, the authors decry the so-called “Gun Show Loophole”—the fact that only licensed firearm dealers are required to subject gun buyers to federal background checks.  They fail to note that virtually every mass homicide committed with firearms in the past 10 years has been committed by someone who passed such a check when purchasing the firearm used in the crime—even the New YorkTimes has acknowledged that.  And several studies have demonstrated that common criminals obtain their guns almost exclusively through illegal means—sales between known criminals, theft, etc.  They will never subject themselves to background checks.

This article alerts us to the creation of a hopelessly biased database, clearly designed to advance restrictions on Americans’ Second Amendment protections.  The intended audience seems to be those easily swayed by innuendo and falsehoods.  The authors’ focus on the sheer number of state level anti-gun laws on the books is perhaps most telling.  While they never explicitly state that those numbers are of particular importance, they clearly intend for readers to infer that.  And as it turns out, that data is actually meaningful, but in a contrary way.

Their website provides a map of the United States with the total number of gun laws indicated for each state.  A cursory glance will confirm what most sentient beings might guess: their map bears a striking resemblance to the electoral map of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, and to maps of civilian gun ownership rates.  And, comparing their map of total state laws and to a map of state violent crime rates shows zero correlation.

So if you’re planning a move from California or Massachusetts in the not too distant future—perhaps because you’d like to live in a state where gun ownership is more common, and firearm laws more respectful of citizens’ natural right to self defense—this database may be useful.  Or if you’re curious as to what sort of academic standards apply at Boston University, this article may help you understand that as well.

Otherwise, no need to waste your time.  (You’re welcome.)

 

 

—Tom Vaughan, MD is a neuroradiologist in private practice in Louisville, KY.  He is a shooting enthusiast who believes in individual liberty and personal responsibility.

All DRGO articles by Tom Vaughan, MD.

Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership, a project of the Second Amendment Foundation. www.drgo.us

7 Comments
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JS
JS
4 years ago

Academia is as big a threat to America as the Muslimes Problem. An old Viet Nam vet used to joke with me about “VC in the wire” when things were about to get sticky on the job. I think things are about to get really sticky in the streets of the US soon. Gun control will lead to many political correct deaths at some point.

Wild Bill
Wild Bill
4 years ago
Reply to  JS

, You are correct, sir. And and the way to change that is to not send you kids to liberal schools, and press the federal government to stop sending grants to liberal schools.

John Dow
John Dow
4 years ago

In just a quick look at their database I found one glaring omission in my state’s laws, How many more errors are there in the collection?

Tionico
Tionico
4 years ago

In 2004 then-Illinois Senator Barack Obama voted in favor of legislation strengthening Illinois’ long-standing Stand Your Ground statute. Well well. My understanding has been for years that the Joonyer Senator fro Illinois did not vote when bills were brought to the floor. He seemed to think that his exaulted presence was sufficient to justify his exessive remuneration for his “service”. (My Dad told of his intrinsic understanding of the meaning of that word: when he was a young lad it often fell to him to put a halter on the old milk cow and walk her over to the neighbouring… Read more »

GomeznSA
GomeznSA
4 years ago

Thanks Doc, I thought perhaps they had finally answered the old ‘how many gun control laws are there nationwide’ question (often cited as up to 25 thousand) – maybe they did but I wasn’t going to waste my time adding up their totals. And there was no indication of local and national laws in the mix, at least I didn’t see any. Most of us understand that Stand Your Ground Laws afford legal protection for a person not having to retreat when faced with imminent threat. That is something they hoplophobes simply will NOT understand. It is still up to… Read more »

Jim S
Jim S
4 years ago

The gun control crowd has always just made up their facts, leaving us to constantly refute them and attempt to explain them away. But they keep making their points while we do not. We argue back to ourselves but we do not take the message to mainstream people.

BillyB
BillyB
4 years ago
Reply to  Jim S

Jim, your message is on “target” and I concur that the advocates of firearm freedoms habitually “preach to the choir”, which in itself is not a wasted endeavor as a railing cry and unifier, but ,as you eluded to, seldom sways the undecided and never the “anti-gun” crowd. I attribute this “cycling” of the talking points in part, a majority portion, to those honorable elected officials that we have selected, the pro-American, pro-Constitution, pro-individual rights, etc. whose salaries we insure, to quote Brother Tionico, with excessive “remuneration” for their service, to take the message to the people , and more… Read more »