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Laying the Anti-Gun Groundwork for 2021

Monday, July 20, 2020

Laying the Anti-Gun Groundwork for 2021

Anti-gun activists are laying the groundwork now to blame gun owners for any increase in violent crime this year. First came desperate attempts to tie “gun violence” to COVID-19 when the pandemic dominated the news cycle. Now, anti-gun academics are rushing to produce research that can be used to blame gun owners for any increases in crime in this unprecedented year.

The Washington Post covers the latest research and claims that a “gun-buying binge is associated with a significant increase in gun violence across the United States.” The UC Davis study – which we covered last week – is based on the idea that Americans bought an “excess” of firearms this spring. The Brookings Institution analysis also focuses on the spike in firearm sales but tries to assign despicable motivation to the millions of Americans who purchased a firearm in this time period. Each set of authors made questionable decisions on data selection, seemingly to prioritize obtaining rapid results over using appropriate measures.  

The UC Davis study uses data from a web scraper with a history of coding problems to tie law-abiding gun buyers to the actions of gang members, drug dealers, known criminals, and even police officers using rubber bullets. The underlying claim in the UC Davis paper is that an “excess” number of firearms were sold from March through May, and that Americans exercising their right to keep and bear arms are somehow associated with an increase in fatal and nonfatal injuries.

The Brookings Institution article used the wrong numbers. The authors used the total NICS numbers that include permit checks and re-checks instead of limiting the numbers to only checks related to the sale of a firearm. If anything, the numbers the economics professors used included some of the most law-abiding Americans possible, and likely double-counted any of these permit holders who acquired a permit and then a firearm within the study period. 

The authors wanted to tie the increase in gun sales to perceptions of civil unrest and used spurious reasoning to paint law-abiding gun owners with as narrow and negative a brush as possible, despite admitting that “it is unclear who was buying these firearms.”

If they took an open-minded look at the gun-owning community or first-hand data sources, they would know that our community is diverse and vibrant, with more first-time gun owners joining every day. If they looked at prior research, they’d know that criminals don’t legally acquire the guns they use in crime.

That reality does not fit with the anti-gun agenda. In their final paragraphs, the Brookings Institution authors say that “The presence of so many guns complicates discussions of public policy.” 

How does more Americans lawfully exercising their Constitutional right complicate any public policy discussion? 

You already know the answer to that question.

We’ve seen radical lawmakers try to use the pandemic to push their anti-gun agenda. High ranking elected officials blame firearms instead of addressing underlying problems driving crime in their cities. Activists deliberately ignore data that contradicts their time-sensitive anti-gun talking points. We also know from the real-world that focusing on criminals reduces crime.

But here we are. A pair of new studies attempting to frame law-abiding gun owners as the antagonists in the story of 2020. These studies will be used as evidence to push gun control.

The Washington Post article concludes with this statement: “And while many new gun buyers are motivated by wanting to secure their safety, the research also suggests that every gun purchased is a step toward a more violent society.”

These researchers and those funding them want the narrative to be that every woman and man who follows the law and acquires a firearm is somehow inching us toward a more violent society.

Remember that when anti-gun politicians and activists tell you they don’t want to take your guns, or they “only” want a “reasonable” gun control policy.

All law-abiding gun owners are complicating their plans.

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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.

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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.