New public database reveals bias of gun-control researchers by Tom Vaughan, MD

Journal/Website: 
Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership (DRGO.us)
Article Type: 
Commentary
Published Date: 
Saturday, May 27, 2017

I read with fascination this article that appeared in the Macon, Georgia Telegraph today, which I’m pleased to see is getting a fair amount of press on my favorite pro-Second Amendment sites. And by fascination, I really mean the sort of morbid, irresistible curiosity that compels one to stare at car accidents and other scenes of destruction, like The Kramer. 

Target no gunsIn it, breathless researchers from Boston University trumpet their newly launched State Firearm Law Database. The article is sure to appeal to the logic challenged, especially those who already suffer from full-blown hoplophobia. Michael Siegel and Molly Pahn propose to examine “gun violence”—a nonsensical term beloved by the civilian disarmament crowd, as I’ve previously explained—and how it may seem to be affected by different regulatory schemes in various states.

While I’m fairly sure I know what they hope to accomplish—career advancement and research funding from wealthy liberals like Michael Bloomberg—I’m not sure that they’re prepared for other experts to analyze their data and draw their own conclusions.

The data they supply thus far is simply a state-by-state catalog of gun control legislation. They misleadingly describe these as “gun safety laws”, but they are actually all restrictions on Americans’ constitutionally-enshrined right to keep and bear arms. For example, their database would characterize the passage of so-called constitutional carry laws as a reduction in “policies to reduce gun violence”, while I would describe such laws as enhancing personal and public safety.

While such a database, constructed impartially, could be very useful, the authors reveal their strong anti-Second Amendment bias. They have salted the article with a few facts, but they have also included several misleading statements as well as blatant lies, presumably to broaden its appeal.

For example, while they are correct in pointing out that there has been a recent (though fortunately mild) uptick in violent crime in the US over the past two years, they ignore the preceding decades-long decrease in homicide and other violent crime since their peaks in the 1990s. But this selective reporting implies a sudden crisis, and therefore the urgent need for government intervention. While this intentional omission is unprofessional, there is much worse in the article. Two blatant lies are used in a ham-fisted attempt to discredit pro-gun legislation.

The first is a gross mischaracterization of what are generally termed “Stand Your Ground” laws.  Vilifying these has become a cause célèbre with the anti-gun crowd. Siegel claims these laws “allow people to shoot other people as a first resort in public.” This is of course an outrageous statement, and a lie of the sort that should discredit any university professor.

In reality, these laws are narrowly crafted, and their effect is to protect law abiding citizens from overzealous prosecutors who could otherwise charge them for “failure to retreat” when they are forced to use their firearms in legitimate self defense. In 2004 then-Illinois Senator Barack Obama voted in favor of legislation strengthening Illinois’ long-standing Stand Your Ground statute.

The second outright lie in the article regards the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act and the protection it affords firearms manufacturers when their legally manufactured products are used in the commission of crimes. After initially admitting that the law simply does exactly that, they falsely claim “no other consumer product manufacturer enjoys such broad immunity.” As if Lexus could be held liable if one of their cars was deliberately driven into a crowd of people, or Stanley could be successfully sued when one of their hammers is used to bludgeon someone to death.

In another lie of omission, the authors decry the so-called “Gun Show Loophole”—the fact that only licensed firearm dealers are required to subject gun buyers to federal background checks. They fail to note that virtually every mass homicide committed with firearms in the past 10 years has been committed by someone who passed such a check when purchasing the firearm used in the crime—even The New York Times has acknowledged that. And several studies have demonstrated that common criminals obtain their guns almost exclusively through illegal means—sales between known criminals, theft, etc. They will never subject themselves to background checks.

This article alerts us to the creation of a hopelessly biased database, clearly designed to advance restrictions on Americans’ Second Amendment protections. The intended audience seems to be those easily swayed by innuendo and falsehoods. The authors’ focus on the sheer number of state level anti-gun laws on the books is perhaps most telling. While they never explicitly state that those numbers are of particular importance, they clearly intend for readers to infer that. And as it turns out, that data is actually meaningful, but in a contrary way.

Their website provides a map of the United States with the total number of gun laws indicated for each state. A cursory glance will confirm what most sentient beings might guess: Their map bears a striking resemblance to the electoral map of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, and to maps of civilian gun ownership rates. And, comparing their map of total state laws to a map of state violent crime rates shows zero correlation.

So if you’re planning a move from California or Massachusetts in the not too distant future—perhaps because you’d like to live in a state where gun ownership is more common, and firearm laws more respectful of citizens’ natural right to self defense—this database may be useful. Or if you’re curious as to what sort of academic standards apply at Boston University, this article may help you understand that as well.

Otherwise, no need to waste your time. (You’re welcome.)

Written by Tom Vaughan, MD

DRGOTom Vaughan, MD is a neuroradiologist in private practice in Louisville, KY. He is a shooting enthusiast who believes in individual liberty and personal responsibility.

This article was originally published on DRGO.us on May 25, 2017.

This article may be cited as: Vaughan T. New public database reveals bias of gun-control researchers. HaciendaPublishing.com, May 27, 2017. Available from:  http://www.haciendapublishing.com/articles/new-public-database-reveals-bias-gun-control-researchers-tom-vaughan-md

Copyright ©2017 Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership

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More databases, bias & distortions for gun control!

The article, “New public database reveals striking differences in how guns are regulated from state to state—The Conversation by Michael Siegel and Molly Pahn, discussed above by Dr. Tom Vaughan, is not a give and take “conversation,” but a long elitist, biased distorted monologue by gun prohibitionists attempting to pass as objective researchers.

I agree with Dr. Vaughan’s succinct and perspicacious analysis. We can either call this database announcement, a pack of negligent errors based on distortions in data selection, or another compilation of data to be used to accommodate preconceived gun control notions — in other words, to serve academic dishonesty. Given the biased statements expressed by the authors, can we trust this new database as an objective source for objective analysis? I’m skeptical, given the tone of the article and what we have witnessed in the last several decades by public health researchers; the data most likely will be used to promulgate biased preconceived gun control propaganda.

The authors write disingenuously:“From 2014 to 2015, the United States experienced its largest annual increase in firearm deaths over the past 35 years, a 7.8 percent upturn in a single year.” To begin with, as Dr. Vaughan has noted, although there was a small spike in the firearms death in the 2014-2015 period, the authors conveniently failed to describe the trend of the previous 35 years, which saw a decrease in firearms deaths despite a tremendous increase in gun purchases. So except for this spike in the last two years, an astronomical increase in gun ownership during those 35 years has resulted in less crime! This is typical mendacity by omission!

As for this short period, “What did Congress do to confront this problem?” Siegle and Pahn, prejudicially ask. In fact, it is a problem for the states, not the federal government. Common crime, even those routinely perpetrated with firearms, is in the purview of the state governments. Federal policing have resulted in the militarization of police, which in turn has been responsible for several high profile police shootings that have then been used conveniently by the sensationalist and liberal media to denigrate our local police and for the race baiting incitement to further violence and street crime. Some irresponsible politicians have even sided with the street thugs and blamed the police for the riots and violence. The effect of this denigration and attack on the local police has resulted in a cycle of violence, police shootings, and generally to yield the streets to the thugs who have been turned lose in the communities, resulting predictably in more urban crime.

Moreover, I should stress that centralization of the police force, as the authors subtly but distinctly propose under their innocent sounding new database announcement, is an authoritarian concept, foreign to our Constitution. Our founders decried “standing armies” as a feature of tyrannical government. Indeed the exercise of police powers is a prerogative of the states, as is a decentralized federalist system as envisioned by the founders. More recently, the states have been called the laboratories of democracy” in the federalist system. To make sure James Madison inserted the Tenth Amendment in the Bill of Rights, which reads: “The powers [such as the police force in crime control] not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, belong to the states respectively, or to the people.”

Law-abiding citizens are not the problem. When it comes to crime, the criminals who do not obey the laws are. As the FBI statistics show, 6% of serious crimes are committed by repeat criminals and felons. But it is the lawful citizens who lose more of their freedom bit by bit and suffer from more gun control laws. Very few crimes are committed by gun carry license holders (less than 1 or 2%), and yet this mendacity is used to demonize gun-owning law abiding citizens and concealed carry license holders. While they were at it, the authors also misconstrue “Stand Your Ground” legislation.” With caustic and inflammatory rhetoric, the authors write: “States are increasingly enacting laws that allow people to shoot other people as a first resort in public, instead of retreating when threatened. If a person perceives a threat of serious bodily harm, so-called ‘stand your ground’ laws allow them to fire their gun with immunity from prosecution, as long as they are in a place they have a legal right to be. Between 2004 and 2017, 24 states enacted a 'stand your ground' law.” As to the last sentence, it should be added, and rightly so! Dr. Vaughan has succinctly and with reference links has thoroughly debunked the above distortions. Ditto, for the dishonest omissions unexpressed by the authors in the so called “gun show loophole.”

In short, how can we trust databases promulgated by these biased researchers, as expressed in several irrepressible slips of the tongue written in unguarded moments in this article — yet supposedly written by objective researchers!--- MAF



Diary of Dreams performs at the 2016 M’era Luna festival in Hildesheim, Germany. M’era Luna, “one of the biggest dark music events in Germany,” is held each year on the second weekend in August. Close to 25,000 people attend the festival annually to hear gothic, metal and industrial music performed on two large festival-style stages.