Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

Web Scraping: A Means to Push the Anti-Gun Agenda

Friday, January 20, 2017

Web Scraping: A Means to Push the Anti-Gun Agenda

You may have read recently about a “breaking analysis” that includes numbers derived from a “mass shooting tracker,” which purports to present to the world, real world cases in which mass shootings have occurred.  One problem, this is not actual data nor does it rely upon trusted sources like the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR) to report incidents.

Web scraping is a relatively easy way to automatically collect data from the internet for use in any number of applications. Price comparison, travel accommodation research, real estate listings, news and sports feeds, job listings…the list of useful applications of web scraping is bounded only by a user’s creativity. 

These uses are harmless; the biggest risks are missing out on a sale on airline tickets or a house you didn’t know was for sale. The political use of these tools is a threat because it can drive the narrative surrounding an issue. Automated web scraping allows political activists to easily collect data that supports their predetermined conclusion. 

Web scraping tools are ripe for misuse – whether intentional or incidental – when used for political purposes. The results should always be closely examined because these tools are subject to limitations including:

  • User input and biases: activists can easily and even subconsciously taint their findings by using only the common terminology that fits their ideology.
  • Overlooked context: when a web scraper returns a large number of results; the volume of the database is frequently more important than the details.
  • First-report errors: early reports on major issues often include errors and unsubstantiated claims. Breaking news reports on crime are the shining example of this limitation. A lack of follow-up queries also limits the credibility of such automated lists.

Those who want to strictly limit our Second Amendment rights rely on web scrapers to compile material they believe supports their agenda. Gun controllers want to present the biggest number possible. Their bots copy any website that mentions their keywords which are, of course, written in their own preferred language. Program the tool to find any mention of “gun violence” or “victim shot” and you won’t see much on defensive uses of guns or the shooting sports. 

The results should be placed into context, but rarely would an organization compromise its own mission so readily. Instead of talking about gang violence, gun controllers recast the same events as “mass shootings.” Instead of talking about the role of drugs or criminal conflicts, they spin the event into a case of gun violence that needs heightened regulation.

Take a quick spin through shootingtracker.com and you’ll see how most of the events described are not what are traditionally considered public mass shootings, at all.  This is agenda-pushing propaganda at its worst.  

Moreover, automated web queries and bots pull reports based on keywords, with no ability to discern fact from fiction. Late-night crime and breaking news reports are well-known to be riddled with errors, but a bot doesn’t distinguish between initial reports and completed investigations. When the web scraper returns an article or posting that says someone was shot, gun controllers chalk that up in their tally. When later investigations find that there is no evidence of shots fired, the perpetrator was a known violent felon, or the victim is a willing participant in the crime itself (as in a gang conflict), the tally may not be adjusted.

When the goal is to get a big number, web scraping gives gun controllers the ability to find the keywords they want and ignore the incidents and context that conflict with their position.  This is precisely what anti-gun advocates are looking for in pushing their narrative.

TRENDING NOW

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Florida Alert: YETI Drops NRA Foundation

For years YETI Coolers have been a hot item for sportsmen at the Friends of NRA Foundation Banquet and Auction events around the country.  Suddenly, without prior notice, YETI has declined to do business with The ...

Dick’s Sporting Goods/Field & Stream to Destroy Firearms Inventory

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, April 20, 2018

Dick’s Sporting Goods/Field & Stream to Destroy Firearms Inventory

Dick’s Sporting Goods took their campaign to alienate law-abiding gun owners to an extraordinary new level last week. The beleaguered retailer announced that in addition to removing certain types of semi-automatic rifles from their stores, the company ...

Another Group of Anti-Gun Celebrities Forms!  In Other News, The Sun Rose Today.

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, April 20, 2018

Another Group of Anti-Gun Celebrities Forms! In Other News, The Sun Rose Today.

In case you were worried there were not enough anti-gun organizations working to eradicate the rights of law-abiding gun owners, a new one has formed, and it’s called NoRA.  Get it?  The name implies that the ...

NRA Statement on Passage of the National Defense Authorization Act

News  

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

NRA Statement on Passage of the National Defense Authorization Act

National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action executive director, Chris W. Cox, released the following statement on Tuesday regarding President Donald Trump's signature on the National Defense Authorization Act

NRA Salutes “the Gunny” and Mourns the Passing of an American Patriot

News  

Friday, April 20, 2018

NRA Salutes “the Gunny” and Mourns the Passing of an American Patriot

America, and the NRA, lost a true friend and a staunch defender of freedom with the passing of R. Lee Ermey on April 15 from complications of pneumonia. He was 74 years old. 

Keep Calm and Carry On: Pro-Gun Sentiment Reasserts Itself in Wake of Antigun Blitz

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, April 20, 2018

Keep Calm and Carry On: Pro-Gun Sentiment Reasserts Itself in Wake of Antigun Blitz

Like the long-delayed coming of spring to the Mid-Atlantic, evidence is appearing that Americans are regaining their senses and reverting to an instinctual embrace of freedom after a withering barrage of some the nastiest and most ugly ...

Illinois: Committee Passes Bill to Allow Local Infringement of Second Amendment

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Illinois: Committee Passes Bill to Allow Local Infringement of Second Amendment

The Illinois state Senate could vote on legislation to allow localities to infringe upon Second Amendment rights as early as today.  Senate Bill 2314 was moved to third reading after it had passed the Senate ...

California: Legislation Requiring Background Checks on Barrels and Other Parts Up For Hearing!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

California: Legislation Requiring Background Checks on Barrels and Other Parts Up For Hearing!

Several pro- and anti-gun bills are scheduled to be heard in their respective committees on Monday, April 23 and Tuesday, April 24.  Please contact the members of the respective committee and urge them to SUPPORT ...

Unfriendly Skies: Delta CEO Claims Bashing NRA Members is Good Business

News  

Friday, April 13, 2018

Unfriendly Skies: Delta CEO Claims Bashing NRA Members is Good Business

In the wake of the Parkland, Florida, murders, there has been an unusual amount of anti-gun and anti-NRA commentary by private corporations with plenty of problems of their own.   In February, Delta announced it was ending a ...

Rhode Island: 19 Gun Bills to be Heard in House Judiciary Committee Tuesday

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Rhode Island: 19 Gun Bills to be Heard in House Judiciary Committee Tuesday

A marathon gun bill hearing is on tap for next Tuesday night in Providence, and NRA and local pro-Second Amendment groups are calling for all-hands-on-deck.

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.