Gun-ban advocates rant and rave about the need for more “research” on what they like to refer to as the “growing trend of gun violence”—publicly funded research, of course. Their calls to renew funding for the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct anti-gun research in the name of medical science, just like in the bad old days before Congress cut that funding, become shriller as time passes.
In fact, just last year Sen. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., and Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., introduced federal legislation that would have provided $10 million a year for six years, beginning in 2015, for the CDC to conduct such research.
Considering the fact that anti-gun groups like Everytown for Gun Safety have become experts at creating their own “research”—and we use the term lightly, since these “studies” always result in guns and gun owners being bad—it’s a wonder they even care about CDC funding. Why have the CDC go to years of trouble to come to a faulty conclusion, when Michael Bloomberg’s astroturf group can just make something up in a few hours, call it “research” or a “study,” and watch the media run wild with it?
Consider, for example, last summer’s Everytown report on school shootings. Titled, “School Shootings in America Since Sandy Hook,” Everytown reported that as of June 10, 2014, “at least 74” such incidents had occurred. And the media ran with it.
The list’s invocation of Sandy Hook and its accompanying photograph of a grief-stricken woman suggest that it documents only crimes similar to Sandy Hook, e.g., the murder of multiple students and/or teachers in their schools. That suggestion, however, was false.
Everytown’s list stretched the parameters of the term “school shooting” past any commonly understood notion of that term. The list included crimes—some involving gangs—that simply happened to take place on or even near school grounds; incidents where no one was injured; suicides where nobody else was threatened; accidental discharges; at least one victim who may have been shot off-site and stumbled onto school grounds; defensive force; and even an off-campus crime spree that ended with police shooting the perpetrator after he ran onto the grounds of a college.
In fact, based upon news reports concerning the episodes on Everytown’s list, 46 of the incidents (62 percent) involved perpetrators who were not associated with the schools, 25 (34 percent) had no victims who were associated with the schools, seven incidents involved gunshots but no injuries, seven others were suicides with no other victims, five involved accidental non-fatal shootings and two were apparent acts of self-defense.
Of course, any “shooting” is a serious matter, and we do not mean to minimize the gravity of these incidents, whatever their details. Nevertheless, Everytown used emotionally manipulative tactics to portray these incidents as something they were not.
And don’t think that’s the only such example. Just last month, Everytown released results of another “study”—this one purportedly on children who have caused injuries or deaths with “unsecured” guns. The idea here was apparently to make an impression with staggering numbers and by putting a human story behind each incident. But the group’s report, again, was bogus.
A Breitbart article by AWR Hawkins broke down some of the bizarre inclusions on the list, many of which simply depicted hunting or target-shooting accidents that did not produce life-threatening injuries. The guns in this category could in no way be said to have been “unsecured.” It was the infamous school shooting list all over again: When Everytown “researchers” don’t like the real numbers, they have no qualms about inventing their own.
And we’ve not yet mentioned another popular ploy by anti-gunners—including those at Everytown—to cook up statistics to make firearms seem less acceptable by comparing gun-related deaths to those from motor vehicle accidents.
The faults in the comparison, and conclusions drawn, are far too many to address here. But suffice it to say that comparing accidental vehicular deaths to the grand total of suicides, murders, defensive homicides by private citizens, legal intervention homicides by law enforcement officers, and the relatively smaller number of firearm accident deaths is truly apples to oranges.
In truth, from 1981 through 2013 (the first and last year of data reported by the federal government), deaths due to accidents involving firearms decreased a whopping 73 percent, while those due to accidents involving motor vehicles decreased 31 percent. You can read NRA-ILA’s detailed examination of the guns versus cars propaganda here.
Additionally, the Bloomberg-funded group’s recently released report from an “investigation” in Oregon was also nothing more than conjecture and half-truths. Results from that “study” allegedly proved that 1,300 Oregon criminals illegally “obtained” guns through online sources.
Yet no matter how you reviewed the data, one fact stood out—the statistics were completely made up. No guns were bought in the investigation. No guns were sold in the investigation. No criminals “obtained” guns in the investigation.
The bogus study provided additional proof that gun-banners simply can’t make an honest argument to justify more restrictive gun-control legislation.
Interestingly enough, Everytown doesn’t have enough faith in its own statistics to defend them publicly. Last month C-SPAN planned to host a debate on America’s shifting gun views featuring John Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center and Everytown’s Ted Alcorn. Alcorn backed out, claiming: “We welcome debate. … When there is a credible scientist, someone who wants to have a real, constructive conversation, we will be there.”
Ironically, Lott is about as credible as they come. A Ph.D., Lott formerly served as chief economist at the United States Sentencing Commission, has held position at several prestigious academic institutions, and is a respected author and columnist.
In truth, Everytown has to cook up its own statistics because real studies prove just the opposite of the so-called “facts” the group likes to publicize. A recent survey of economists found that a majority believes guns are more likely to be used for self-defense than for crime.
The survey was conducted by Lott and Gary Mauser, professor emeritus at Simon Fraser University. Mauser and Lott suspected previous surveys on the attitudes of academics toward armed self-defense might be biased, due to both the pool of respondents (in that case, sociologists and public health researchers) and the way certain questions were phrased.
This poll targeted economists who had published gun research in peer-reviewed journals, ensuring that respondents had enough background knowledge to possess an informed opinion. Mauser also took care to word questions as neutrally as possible. His results—that about 83 percent believe there is a net benefit to gun ownership—are in line with the results of recent Gallup polls, which found that roughly two-thirds of Americans believe guns make homes safer.
Even Everytown’s favorite talking point—that more guns equals more crime—has also been repeatedly disproven, including by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s very own statistics. Since 1982, the number of guns in American hands has increased by over 80 million. During that same period, according to the FBI, the U.S. homicide rate has fallen by over half.
We can only hope that someday the so-called “mainstream” media will actually pay enough attention to realize that Everytown’s statistics aren’t worth the newsprint they waste on them. Should that ever happen, though, Bloomberg has hatched a new plan.
Everytown recently announced that it is launching a “news” service devoted entirely to gun-grabber propaganda. We wish we could say we’re looking forward to the ridiculous misinformation that is sure to ensue, but the reality is that the content will mostly be hideous crimes—all spun to convince us that the firearms involved are somehow more responsible than the humans pulling the trigger.
Rest assured that we at A1F Daily will continue to be here—day in, and day out—countering Everytown’s bogus studies as the group continues to push them on the public.