Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

Limited Data, the NRA Annual Meeting, and Ignoring Intent: The Latest Study

Friday, March 2, 2018

Limited Data, the NRA Annual Meeting, and Ignoring Intent: The Latest Study

Have you heard the latest breaking news? 

“A study pokes holes in the idea that experienced firearm users are less likely to injure themselves.”

“To see gun injury drop, hold an NRA Meeting.”

“Gun injuries fall during NRA conventions.”

A Harvard doctor and a Columbia grad student published a letter in the New England Journal of Medicine this week that found gun injuries drop 20% during the NRA’s Annual Meeting. The researchers used more than 75 million patient observations over a nine-year span, using the three weeks before and after the Annual Meetings as a control.  The argument coming from this letter, as noted in Scientific American:

If guns were perfectly safe in the hands of trained NRA members, Jena and Olenski reasoned, they should have found no differences between gun injury rates on convention days versus other days. Yet injury rates were, on average, 20 percent lower on meeting days. “We believe this is due to brief reductions in gun use during the dates of these meetings,” Jena says.

In other words, the researchers are using NRA’s focus on safety and training as part of a natural experiment. They believe that Annual Meeting attendees – all of them NRA members committed to safety, training, and responsible firearms ownership – abstaining from using firearms reduces the number of firearms-related injuries. 

Usually, one would look at the data behind the analysis. This may be an unusual case, and not just because we don’t have access to the subscribers-only database the researchers used. Basic logic and math calls their findings into serious question. 

Start with their premise: that firearms injury would decline during a period of firearms abstinence – the Annual Meeting. The researchers obviously have not attended an Annual Meeting or read much about the event; if they had, they would know that there is no prohibition on carrying firearms at the Annual Meeting. NRA actively schedules the Annual Meeting in cities and venues that respect the right to keep and bear arms.

So, we’ve established that the people at Annual Meeting may be armed. What about the magnitude of the crowd size? About 80,000 people attend in a given year. There are about 100 million or so gun owners in the country, so the researchers are claiming that less than one-tenth of one percent of firearm owners are responsible for a 20% drop in the firearms-related injury rate nationwide. Whatever nonsense they conducted with the data and their methods, this finding flies in the face of common sense and logic.  It would be laughable if not so completely absurd. 

The authors suggest that there is a trickle-down effect of sorts. They believe that going to a shooting range, hunting, plinking, or carrying a firearm for self-defense doesn’t occur during the Annual Meeting.  Again, this is absurd.    

But even more extreme, these researchers actually hypothesized that the level of “non-engagement” with firearms and the shooting sports would be widespread enough to contribute to a measurable difference in the firearms-related injury rate nationwide

 even beyond common sense, the methodology used by these researchers is very unusual

This brings up an interesting point. While the researchers use some mysterious variable to account for state firearms ownership rates (a number that doesn’t actually exist), they don’t control for firearms usage at all. They see 80,000 Annual Meeting attendees and work from there, but not all of those attendees are firearms owners. Some attend with their family or significant other. And among the firearm owners attending, many are carrying concealed.  That is, they remain actively engaged in the use of firearms while they attend. There is no “stoppage” of folks exercising their Second Amendment rights.  Quite the contrary.

But even beyond common sense, the methodology used by these researchers is very unusual. Instead of publicly available injury data from reliable government sources, they use a proprietary database of emergency department visits and hospitalizations among private insured patients. Guess what?  This means not everyone in the country.  Not even close. 

They acknowledge that privately insured patients account for only about a third of all unintentional firearms-related injuries (though they use all injuries regardless of intent). Their population is skewed female and southern, and the western U.S. is underrepresented. Their study period also covers the Great Recession, in which a significant number of people lost their jobs and, presumably, their privately held insurance. 

Oh, and one last point.  Which “injuries” counted for these researchers?  You’d think that true firearm-related accidents, but you’d be wrong on this. In addition to accidents, they included legal intervention and terrorism.  If legal intervention sounds like self-defense to you, it does to us too, as that phrase is commonly used in this way.  It is hard to tell because the authors are not forthcoming about why they included these injury codes in the analysis, so we can only guess. And why injuries from terrorism were included, again, is anyone’s guess.

Oh, and by the way, the Annual Meeting has actually been found to reduce crime in the host city. Louisville serves as a great example.

TRENDING NOW
Out of Style: Levi’s Fawns Over Shannon Watts in Pantmaker’s Latest Gun Control Effort

News  

Friday, May 17, 2019

Out of Style: Levi’s Fawns Over Shannon Watts in Pantmaker’s Latest Gun Control Effort

At the National Retail Federation’s 2018 convention in New York City, Levi Strauss & Co. Brand President James Curleigh told those assembled that the multinational pants manufacturer intends to be the “most relevant lifestyle brand.” Evidently, part ...

Trump Administration, Other Pro-Gun Heavyweights Lend Support on Pending Supreme Court Case

News  

Friday, May 17, 2019

Trump Administration, Other Pro-Gun Heavyweights Lend Support on Pending Supreme Court Case

As NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox reported in March, the U.S. Supreme Court has taken up a challenge by an NRA state affiliate to a New York City gun control scheme that effectively prohibits lawfully ...

Retired Justice Stevens Continues Crusade Against Guns

News  

Friday, May 17, 2019

Retired Justice Stevens Continues Crusade Against Guns

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens does not believe a law-abiding citizen has a right to possess firearms under the Second Amendment, and he wants to make sure everyone knows it. He made his ...

Gov. Abbott Signs NRA-Backed Tenants' Rights Bill

News  

Friday, May 17, 2019

Gov. Abbott Signs NRA-Backed Tenants' Rights Bill

The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) applauded Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday for signing NRA-backed legislation that protects tenants’ rights by prohibiting “no firearms” clauses in residential leases.   

Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Only What We Want Ye to Hear

News  

Friday, May 17, 2019

Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Only What We Want Ye to Hear

Can we finally put the claim that “gun violence” research is underfunded to rest? The Bloomberg Professor of American Health at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, Daniel Webster, and his colleagues at the Hopkins ...

NRA Supports Guns Save Life's Challenge to Illinois’s FOID Act

News  

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

NRA Supports Guns Save Life's Challenge to Illinois’s FOID Act

NRA is supporting a legal challenge to Illinois's FOID Act brought by Guns Save Life, an organization dedicated to defending the Second Amendment rights of Illinois residents. 

Governor Abbott Signs NRA-Backed Tenants' Rights Bill

Friday, May 17, 2019

Governor Abbott Signs NRA-Backed Tenants' Rights Bill

On Thursday, Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 302 by Representative Dennis Paul (R-Houston) & Senator Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola), NRA-supported legislation that prohibits “no firearms” clauses in residential leases.

Illinois: Committee To Receive FOID Cost Increase Legislation

Friday, May 17, 2019

Illinois: Committee To Receive FOID Cost Increase Legislation

On May 21st, the Illinois state House of Representatives Rules Committee will hear House Amendment 1 to Senate Bill 1966 and send it to the Judiciary Committee for further consideration.  HA 1 to SB 1966 would ...

NRA Applauds Attorneys General and Governors Amicus Brief in Supreme Court Challenge

News  

Thursday, May 16, 2019

NRA Applauds Attorneys General and Governors Amicus Brief in Supreme Court Challenge

NRA Applauds Attorney General and Governors Amicus Brief in Supreme Court Challenge.

Nevada: Omnibus Anti-Gun Bill Granted Waiver From Deadlines

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Nevada: Omnibus Anti-Gun Bill Granted Waiver From Deadlines

As previously alerted, yesterday was the deadline for legislation to pass out of the policy committee in the second chamber.  A waiver was granted for Assembly Bill 291, exempting the bill from the deadlines.  This waiver ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

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.