Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

Flag on the Play: Media Promotes Gun Confiscation Laws by Exaggerating “Study” Results

Monday, August 26, 2019

Flag on the Play: Media Promotes Gun Confiscation Laws by Exaggerating “Study” Results

“Researchers from the University of California, Davis, have found that, in the three years since California implemented the nation’s first law allowing guns to be taken from individuals who pose an extreme risk, the so-called red flag orders have prevented at least 21 mass shootings. 

That’s how the Sacramento Bee summarized a research paper published in the Annals of Internal Medicine earlier this week. The paper, titled “Extreme Risk Protection Orders Intended to Prevent Mass Shootings: A Case Series,” was produced by a team of researchers at the UC Davis School of Medicine in Sacramento led by Dr. Garen Wintemute.

Wintemute is one of the most well-known anti-gun researchers in the country. As a man with a professional reputation to protect, his own explanation of the study’s findings is significantly less dramatic than the Bee’s summary.

“It is impossible to know whether violence would have occurred had ERPOs not been issued, and the authors make no claim of a causal relationship,” Wintemute admitted.

In conducting the study, Wintemute’s team requested court records for all 414 ERPO cases in California from 2016 through 2018. Yet the published paper included a case study analysis only of the 21 incidents in which the subject of the order had threatened to commit a mass shooting and had or would soon have access to firearms.

These incidents are nothing to make light of, and that is not the intention of this critique.

The point is instead to draw attention to the fact that emotional arguments are being advanced as “scientific” evidence of public policy.

The 21 incidents included two suspected terrorist plots, and nearly all of the cases involved specific threats, which are already crimes in California and can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. A felony conviction or even indictment would itself result in a federal prohibition on the acquisition or possession of firearms.

Some of the case subjects included in the study claimed they were “just joking” or were clearly in mental duress (examples include subjects having previously attempted suicide or making a threat against those perceived to be responsible for the death of the subject’s child).

The bottom line, though, is most, if not all, of these cases – based on the brief information provided in the Annals paper – concerned behavior that seemingly could have led to serious criminal charges in California, even absent the state’s “red flag” law.

In 11 cases, the subject was in fact arrested. In another five cases, arrest data is missing from the court records.

That, of course, raises questions about the other five study subjects issued an ERPO. Did they receive help, treatment, or punishment after the order was issued?

It’s also worth noting that the methodology used to determine that none of the subjects had gone on to commit post-ERPO violence was a Google search for the subjects’ names, locations, and date of order issuance. 

While it’s likely that any act of mass violence would have generated some media coverage, a Google search is not the same thing as an actual arrest or criminal records inquiry.

Perhaps Wintemute and his team are working on further analysis of all 414 cases. If so, we hope that their work will include a more detailed examination of what happens to the subjects of these orders. Are the appropriate subjects charged with crimes? Do those who need help receive it? Or does the intervention end with the seizure of firearms?

Wintemute told the Sacramento Bee that his team had submitted the paper for publication last spring and that the timing of its public release was not related to the criminal mass attacks in Gilroy, El Paso, or Dayton. Still, it’s hard to ignore the coincidental timing and easy to wonder why Wintemute and his team did not wait until they had analyzed all 414 cases before publishing.

In the meantime, this paper represents a notable trend in emerging “gun violence” research. There is no real scientific analysis nor an estimate of the law’s impact. There is merely a list of cases presented as anecdotal evidence that “this urgent, individualized intervention can play a role in efforts to prevent mass shootings.”

In other words, it bears more of the hallmarks of political advocacy than actual science, especially in the way it is presented by a mass media eager to promote any anti-gun narrative.

We know that there are monsters out there that wish to do harm and who would emulate the deranged individuals that have attacked innocent people. No one doubts that.

We just hope that efforts to prevent tragedies protect the rights of all involved, deliver the help people clearly need, and do not come to rely on scare tactics or mere anecdotes that may not actually represent broader trends.

IN THIS ARTICLE
California Gun Confiscation
TRENDING NOW
Florida Alert! Gun Bills Filed in Florida - SO FAR

Friday, January 15, 2021

Florida Alert! Gun Bills Filed in Florida - SO FAR

As Legislators begin to file bills for the 2021 Florida Legislative Session, we are getting questions about various bills due to media reports on gun bills.  Below is a partial list of bills we will ...

“Unity” President Vows to “Defeat” America’s Oldest and Largest Civil Rights Group

News  

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

“Unity” President Vows to “Defeat” America’s Oldest and Largest Civil Rights Group

Biden issued this “pledge” in a January 8 tweet that falsely tried to suggest the men and women of the NRA were somehow implicated in an infamous crime that was committed a decade ago by ...

NRA Dumps New York to Reincorporate in Texas, Announces New Strategic Plan

News  

Friday, January 15, 2021

NRA Dumps New York to Reincorporate in Texas, Announces New Strategic Plan

Today, the NRA announced a restructuring plan that positions us for the long-term and ensures our continued success as the nation’s leading advocate for constitutional freedom – free from the toxic political environment of New ...

ATF Withdraws Pistol Brace “Guidance”

News  

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

ATF Withdraws Pistol Brace “Guidance”

On December 23rd, ATF posted a document to its website indicating that its recently published Objective Factors for Classifying Weapons with “Stabilizing Braces” is withdrawn.

Biden to Nominate Anti-Second Amendment Judge Merrick Garland for Attorney General

News  

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Biden to Nominate Anti-Second Amendment Judge Merrick Garland for Attorney General

President-elect Joe Biden announced he will nominate U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Judge Merrick Garland for Attorney General. Biden’s choice of a noted Second Amendment opponent to lead the Department ...

Record Amount of Gun Control Legislation Introduced on First Day of Bill Pre-Filing for 2021 Texas Legislative Session

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Record Amount of Gun Control Legislation Introduced on First Day of Bill Pre-Filing for 2021 Texas Legislative Session

Although the 2021 session of the Texas Legislature convenes on January 12, gun control advocates financed by New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg and Beto "Hell Yeah, I'll Take Your Guns" O'Rourke wasted no time in announcing their ...

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.

Double-Standard: Virginia Eliminates Online Carry Courses While Promoting Distancing for Everything Else

News  

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Double-Standard: Virginia Eliminates Online Carry Courses While Promoting Distancing for Everything Else

As part of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and the General Assembly’s sweeping attack on gun rights in 2020, anti-gun lawmakers enacted legislation that made it more difficult for gun owners to obtain the required training ...

Montana: House Passes Permitless Carry Legislation

Friday, January 15, 2021

Montana: House Passes Permitless Carry Legislation

Yesterday, the Montana House passed self-defense legislation, House Bill 102, by a 66 to 31 vote. 

OCC Finalizes Non-Discrimination Rule

News  

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

OCC Finalizes Non-Discrimination Rule

On January 14, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) finalized an NRA-supported rule to end politically-motivated discrimination in the provision of financial services. The new regulation is now set to take effect on April ...

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.