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Does Anti-Gun Researcher David Hemenway Have Something To Hide?

Friday, March 24, 2006

It is common practice among legitimate researchers to give their peers access to data used in their studies, so that other researchers can review both the data and the methodology used in their analysis. Without such "peer review," a study`s findings typically are not assumed to be valid. Many scholarly journals will not even publish an article summarizing the results of a study until the data and methodology have been peer reviewed.

Regrettably, however, medical and public health journals, such as the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association, routinely publish articles on studies by anti-gun researchers held to a lower degree of scrutiny and academic standards. As civil rights lawyer and firearm issue scholar, Don B. Kates, has explained, since 1979 elements of the American public health community have promoted "gun control" by funding, producing and publishing studies that "prostitute scholarship, systematically inventing, misinterpreting, selecting, or otherwise manipulating data to validate preordained political conclusions."1

Recently, prolific anti-gun researcher David Hemenway, of Harvard University`s Injury Control Research Center, released an article on a survey he and colleagues conducted, hoping to undermine laws respecting the right of people to carry firearms for protection. Their theory was that there would be a correlation between "road rage" incidents (including situations in which a rude hand gesture was made) and the presence of a gun in an automobile.2

Among the survey`s obvious flaws, it did not ask people whether they had ever used or observed a gun (as perpetrator, witness or victim) in any such incident. Instead, it asked people whether they had ever been involved in such an incident and, separately, whether they had at any time ridden in a vehicle in which a gun was present. Thus, it did not determine whether there were guns in any vehicles involved at the time of such incidents, let alone whether guns were brandished or used.

John Lott, Research Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and Michael Brown, of Doctors for Sensible Gun Laws, took a quick look at Hemenway`s article and humorously observed that it showed that "liberals are much more likely to engage in road rage (both making obscene gestures and driving aggressively) than conservatives." To thoroughly evaluate the survey, Lott has since asked Hemenway to share his data, but, he says, "Hemenway is not responding." See http://johnrlott.tripod.com/2006/03/hemenway-and-co-authors-refuse-to.html for more information about Lott`s attempt to evaluate Hemenway`s silly anti-gun "study."


1. Gary Kleck & Don B. Kates, Armed: New Perspectives on Gun Control, Prometheus Books, 2001, pp. 32-34.

2. Hemenway et al., "Is an armed society a polite society?: Guns and road rage." Currently, see www.elsevier.com, click "journals," "Accident Analysis and Prevention," "access full text articles," and "articles in press."

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.