Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

Weird Science

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Weird Science

As gun owners see all too often, a favored tactic of the gun control crowd is to provide “scientific evidence” that supports their political agenda to continually undermine the Second Amendment. Of course, such “evidence” is anything but scientific, amounting to nothing more than a clever manipulation of data to advance their cause.

This tactic is nothing new in the battle over our Second Amendment-protected rights. In fact, the NRA has been fighting against the use of junk science to promote gun control since the 1970s and 1980s, when this approach emerged on the national political scene to support various firearm restrictions, including many of the early proposed bans on handguns.  

Then in the 1990s, the NRA led the effort to stop the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from funneling millions of tax dollars to fund junk science that was designed from the get-go to promote the anti-gun political agenda. However, this limitation didn’t shut off the spigot through which millions of dollars flow to the same anti-gun researchers from left-wing philanthropic organizations like The Joyce Foundation and billionaires like Michael Bloomberg.Even a seasoned propagandist would blush at the level of coordination now employed by those arrayed against us…

In fact, Bloomberg’s largesse is now being used to support a changing paradigm that all gun owners need to be aware of. In late June, Bloomberg’s new anti-gun media arm—The Trace—was unveiled to much fanfare among various left-wing media outlets. Although cloaked as a “news outlet devoted to the prevention of violence,” the venture is more accurately described as the final piece of Bloomberg’s scheme to build an anti-gun propaganda juggernaut.

We’re already seeing evidence of the new apparatus at work. In fact, even a seasoned propagandist would blush at the level of coordination now employed by those arrayed against us, especially considering that at its core, the “science” they continue to promote is devoid of any basis in reality. As Vladimir Lenin is purported to have said, “A lie told often enough becomes the truth.”

Where once the mainstream media at least claimed to offer unbiased reporting for their readers, all pretense of an independent press has been discarded in favor of the broader coordination with anti-gun researchers to promote their agenda.

Their model is a simple one.  

Step one, build the “evidence” that gun control is necessary through clever manipulation of data. Step two, relentlessly expose the American people to such “evidence” through the media. The facts don’t matter. Just keep pushing the lies until they become the new reality. Bloomberg’s The Trace will be the point of the spear in this effort. This is the very definition of a propaganda campaign at its insidious worst.  

Elsewhere in this issue, I describe the June 12 introduction of the Handgun Purchaser Licensing Act (HPLA) in Congress. Just the day before, a “study” out of the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins was published in an online journal purporting to show “evidence” that handgun licensing leads to lower crime rates. Obviously, the timing is no accident, and the “evidence” was anything but. However, the coordination this event illustrates is something of which we should be extremely wary.… Especially considering that at its core, the “science” they continue to promote is devoid of any basis in reality.

If the convenient timing weren’t enough to force the press to ask a few questions about coordination between supposedly objective researchers and members of Congress, one would think that the “science” of the study itself would have provoked a little investigation. But we’d be wrong to assume the mainstream media is actually interested in reporting reality.

A complicit media is the most important piece of a successful propaganda campaign. The media didn’t seek corroboration of the Bloomberg School “study” because the “evidence” it provided fit with the agenda. In the larger propaganda apparatus, the media’s role is “spreading the word,” not questioning or investigating the facts.

And this is exactly where the NRA and gun owners throughout the country come in. All of us must remain extra vigilant for instances in which we see the apparatus at work. On Facebook, Twitter, and all other social media sites, we must constantly challenge and question the “research” that allegedly supports gun control efforts or causes at any level of government. When you’re reading a blog, or even a local newspaper, be on the lookout for the anti-gun apparatus at work and be ready to fire off a letter to the editor, or provide a comment, when you know readers are being led astray.  

It’s not always easy. Anti-gun researchers have vast resources at their disposal and can hide reality in mountains of complex data. But here are two of their favored devices for bending the truth to create the “evidence” to promote their agenda. Be on the lookout for these tactics.

Cherry-Picking the Data

When “cherry picking,” a researcher will limit the data of his or her investigation in support of a given conclusion. Any time you read about research that has a limited time frame or only analyzes data from a single state (instead of all 50) to provide conclusions, your “propaganda detector” should go on alert.  Even the anti-gun CDC admitted in 2013 that Defensive gun uses number from 500,000 to 3 million in the United States annually.  Instead of these long-recognized numbers, however, the VPC uses  258 “justifiable homicides” from 2012 for the bulk of its analysis.

As detailed by John Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center, Daniel Webster of Bloomberg’s School of Public Health has “cherry picked” data in two of his most recent and well-publicized “studies” on state handgun licensing laws, one of which provided the centerpiece “evidence” for the HPLA discussed above. In fact, Lott’s analysis shows that if Webster’s research had been expanded to include more states and more years, his conclusions would have been much different. To wit, Lott shows that handgun licensing laws have had a negative impact on crime rates, instead of supporting Webster’s claims that such laws are positive. Again, when you hear about a researcher limiting their data when they don’t have a valid reason for doing so, “cherry picking” to drive a conclusion may be the reason.

Garbage In, Garbage Out

The Violence Policy Center (VPC), led by gun prohibitionist Josh Sugarmann, is notorious for “cooking” data to promote anti-gun measures. It seems that every few weeks, the VPC updates its “study” of the comparison between defensive gun uses (DGUs) and criminal gun homicides and reaches the conclusion that because DGUs are a “rare” occurrence, politicians should regulate private firearm ownership into oblivion. Unfortunately, like all VPC “studies” that defy even a basic understanding of firearm ownership and use in the United States, the “rare” occurrence of DGU claims was reported by the media without question, further investigation or corroboration.

Of course, VPC claims not only fly in the face of common sense, but fail to recognize several credible measures of DGUs that have been repeatedly documented in previous work. Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz established the benchmark study of DGUs in 1995, when they estimated that firearms are used approximately 2.5 million times a year for self-defense. Even the anti-gun CDC admitted in 2013 that DGUs number from 500,000 to 3 million in the United States annually. Instead of these long-recognized numbers, however, the VPC uses 258 “justifiable homicides” from 2012 for the bulk of its analysis. Forget having a statistics degree, common sense is all one needs to know that VPC’s misuse of data is part and parcel of their ongoing attempt to continually undermine the Second Amendment in any way they possibly can.  

These are just two of the ways researchers will bend the truth in order to create “evidence” to promote their anti-gun agenda at all levels of government. In future columns and articles, I will discuss other methods of data manipulation so that gun owners can become knowledgeable about the full arsenal of tactics the other side will deploy in our broader fight to protect the Second Amendment. In the meantime, the NRA will continue to challenge the anti-gun propagandists at every turn.

Chris W. Cox

BY Chris W. Cox

NRA-ILA Executive Director

Follow This Contributor

Chris W. Cox has served as the executive director of the Institute for Legislative Action, the political and lobbying arm of NRA, since 2002. As NRA’s principal political strategist, Cox oversees eight NRA-ILA divisions: Federal Affairs; State & Local Affairs; Public Affairs; Grassroots; Finance; Research & Information; Conservation, Wildlife & Natural Resources; and Office of Legislative Counsel. Cox also serves as chairman of NRA’s Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF), the Association’s political action committee; president of the NRA Freedom Action Foundation (NRA-FAF), which focuses on non-partisan voter registration and citizen education; and chairman of NRA Country, an effort to bring country music artists together with NRA members in support of our Second Amendment freedoms and hunting heritage.

TRENDING NOW

Monday, June 23, 2014

ALERT: Governor Rick Scott Makes History Signing 5 Pro-gun Bills

On, Friday, June 20, 2014, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed 5 pro-gun bills into law.  A strong supporter of the Second Amendment, Governor Rick Scott has now signed more pro-gun bills into law -- in ...

Outback Steakhouse: No Rights, Just Rules

News  

Friday, February 9, 2018

Outback Steakhouse: No Rights, Just Rules

The word “Outback” used to conjure images of Australia’s tenacious frontier spirit; of hunters, ranchers, and other adventurers who carved out a harsh existence from an unforgiving land.

Oregon: Anti-Gun Bills Scheduled For Vote

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Oregon: Anti-Gun Bills Scheduled For Vote

On February 15th, the Oregon state House of Representatives will hold a vote on House Bill 4145, which would significantly expand the class of persons who could be stripped of their Second Amendment rights. In ...

A Promise Kept: Trump Signs Repeal of Obama-Era Social Security Gun Prohibition Rule

News  

Friday, March 3, 2017

A Promise Kept: Trump Signs Repeal of Obama-Era Social Security Gun Prohibition Rule

On Tuesday, President Donald J. Trump signed the repeal of an Obama-era Social Security Administration (SSA) rule that would have resulted in some 75,000 law-abiding beneficiaries losing their Second Amendment rights each year. 

What the Media Doesn’t Want You to Know: Enactment of National Reciprocity is Closer than Ever!

News  

Friday, February 2, 2018

What the Media Doesn’t Want You to Know: Enactment of National Reciprocity is Closer than Ever!

Anybody who is exposed to the so-called news media these days faces a barrage of bewildering and often outlandish claims. “Breaking news” cycles through the public eye with such frequency and speed that knowing what’s ...

NRA Endorses Screnock for State Supreme Court

Second Amendment  

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

NRA Endorses Screnock for State Supreme Court

The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) is proud to endorse Judge Michael Screnock for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. 

Gun Laws  

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Citizen's Guide To Federal Firearms Laws - Summary

A Citizen`s Guide to Federal Firearms Laws A summary of federal restrictions on the purchase, sale, possession, and transportation of firearms and ammunition. Caution: Firearm laws are subject to frequent change and court interpretation.

News  

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Mental Health and Firearms

Since 1966, the National Rifle Association has urged the federal government to address the problem of mental illness and violence. As we noted then, “the time is at hand to seek means by which society ...

NRA Endorses Marco Rubio for U.S. Senate

News  

Thursday, July 7, 2016

NRA Endorses Marco Rubio for U.S. Senate

Fairfax, Va.— On behalf of our five million members across the country, the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) today endorsed Marco Rubio for the office of U.S. Senate in the Florida Republican primary.

Media Smears the Disabled, Misinforms on Social Security Gun Ban

News  

Friday, February 17, 2017

Media Smears the Disabled, Misinforms on Social Security Gun Ban

Last week, the Richmond Times-Dispatch issued an editorial titled, “Time to license guns - for journalists,” which cited an embarrassing string of journalistic blunders to illustrate the media’s dearth of firearms knowledge. The piece concluded, ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

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.