Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

Anti-Gun Research Methods: Whatever It Takes

Friday, March 30, 2018

Anti-Gun Research Methods: Whatever It Takes

Background checks are one of the most common proposals to address firearm-involved homicides. Universal and/or expanded background checks are always high on the list of anti-gun groups’ proposals. But what does the research say?

The Rand Corporation’s review of firearms-related research found that dealer background checks may decrease firearms homicides but ruled the effect of private-seller background checks uncertain (based on inconclusive evidence). We discussed the Rand review earlier this month, but wanted to highlight again these findings and revisit an example of the steps anti-gun researchers will take to produce their desired findings.  

Rand determined that waiting periods have an uncertain effect on violent crime and intimate partner homicide. Last October, we reviewed a study conducted by a team from Harvard Business School that claimed handgun waiting periods reduce gun deaths. We noted several crucial concerns with their variable selections (or rather, exclusions). 

What we did not include in our initial article was a finding the researchers left out of their discussion. According to their models, background checks are associated with an increase in homicides. These coefficients were not statistically significant but do suggest their model is misspecified. The model produced the desired finding – that waiting periods reduce gun deaths – but did so at the cost of background checks, which they indicate increase all homicides and all suicides, as well as both firearms-related and non-firearms related homicides and suicides.

That doesn’t seem right. It also doesn’t mesh with the conclusions of the Rand review. Of course, the researchers don’t discuss their strange coefficient on background checks and media coverage of their paper focused almost exclusively on the headline. This was not the first-time anti-gun researchers have hand-selected findings to present and discuss, and we doubt it will be the last.

Remember the Kellerman study we often mention? It was funded by the CDC, was rife with methodological flaws, reached questionable conclusions, and yet is still regularly cited and referenced by pundits, politicians, and anti-gun organizations. Take a look at the table showing the final model output from the Kellerman study:

No one (except us and like-minded allies) ever mentions that the real “findings” of the Kellerman study are that renting a home or living alone are both higher risk factors than keeping a firearm in the home. Doctors want to opine about gun ownership, use, and storage but we’ve never heard of one referring anyone to a roommate finder or first-time homebuyer programs. Keeping a firearm in the home was actually the 2nd lowest risk factor in the model, but Kellerman and others only want to talk about firearms. 

Anti-gun researchers, their benefactors, and adoring media never let questionable model specification or odd findings undermine their predetermined outcome. There is an old saying in statistics: “all models are wrong, but some are useful.” Anti-gun researchers seem to take this as a green light to do whatever it takes to produce a “useful” model. 

TRENDING NOW
Biden Goes All in On Calls for Extreme Gun Control

News  

Monday, May 3, 2021

Biden Goes All in On Calls for Extreme Gun Control

President Biden dropped any pretense at “moderation” in his first address to a joint session of Congress since assuming the presidency.

Leaked ATF Rule Would Upend Firearm Industry

News  

Monday, April 26, 2021

Leaked ATF Rule Would Upend Firearm Industry

On April 20th, The Reload, published what appears to be a leaked draft of an ATF proposed rule.

Assault on Firearms Industry Continues

News  

Monday, May 3, 2021

Assault on Firearms Industry Continues

Joe Biden mentioned a number of the anti-gun goals...

Louisiana: Constitutional Carry Bills Have Now Passed Both Legislative Chambers

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Louisiana: Constitutional Carry Bills Have Now Passed Both Legislative Chambers

Recently, the Louisiana House passed Constitutional Carry legislation, House Bill 596. 

Texas: Senate Passes HB 1927

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Texas: Senate Passes HB 1927

Early this evening, after more than 6 hours of debate and discussion on more than two dozen amendments, the Texas Senate passed House Bill 1927, constitutional carry legislation, on an 18-13 vote.

Kansas Legislature Overrides Gov.'s Veto of NRA-Backed Bill

News  

Monday, May 3, 2021

Kansas Legislature Overrides Gov.'s Veto of NRA-Backed Bill

The Kansas Legislature voted to override Gov. Kelly's veto of House Bill 2058, an NRA-backed bill that improves the ability of law-abiding gun owners to protect themselves and their families.

A Civilized Society

News  

Monday, May 3, 2021

A Civilized Society

Bloomberg columnist Sir Max Hastings shares his thoughts on guns, crime, and the differences between his native Britain and the United States in “I Grew Up on Guns. Now I’ve Learned to Love Firearm Control.”

South Carolina AG Wilson Wins Against Columbia Gun Control

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

South Carolina AG Wilson Wins Against Columbia Gun Control

On May 4th, the South Carolina Court of Common Pleas ruled in favor of Attorney General Alan Wilson, agreeing that the City of Columbia’s anti-gun ordinances violate the state’s preemption law.

The Games Gun Controllers Play

News  

Monday, May 3, 2021

The Games Gun Controllers Play

An ABC News/ Washington Post survey released on April 28th has several interesting findings, but the takeaways aren’t limited to specific datapoints. The survey, the results, and the media coverage demonstrate that so-called “gun violence” prevention ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

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.