I would like to point out an article entitled “Misrepresented gun statistics fire off unwarranted judgment,” by Alexander Seymour. This article was published in The Orion, a student newspaper for California State University. In his article, Mr. Seymour draws attention to the Brady Campaign’s deceptive misuse of gun statistics, as well as the flawed reasoning behind the Brady Campaign’s gun control goals. While I don’t agree with everything in that article, this article is a breath of fresh air – especially given that it originates in California, which has some of the worst gun control laws in the country. A few notable excerpts from the article can be seen below:
As the saying goes, “The devil is in the details,” and while I wouldn’t go as far as saying the Brady Campaign is the devil, I would call its use of statistics misleading. One must look no further than the Brady Campaign website’s section on gun deaths caused by people with concealed-carry permits. A significant portion of the campaign’s concealed-weapon death statistics are based on people who have been proven in court to have legitimately acted in self defense, or whose cases are still pending. When law enforcement encounters an instance of defensive gun use, police usually arrest the shooter and leave verification of legitimate gun use to the courts or a later investigation. To the Brady Campaign, this detail is unimportant. Forget innocent until proven guilty, and also forget innocent if proven not guilty. . .
More than 30,896 people died in gun violence in 2006, according to a new Brady Campaign claim. Let’s pause a moment and interpret “deaths from gun violence.” After subtracting the 16,883 people who committed suicide, 642 killed accidentally and 360 killed by police intervention that are included in the original 30,896, does “deaths from gun violence” lose some of its meaning? Including a police-intervention statistic is absurd. The number of people killed by police in the line of duty does not measure criminal gun violence, unless the assertion is that police shouldn’t have guns. Even more perplexing is that the statistic includes some court-ordered executions, per the fine print of the campaign’s cited research. . .
The suicide stat is flawed as well, as at least some of those would have still killed themselves without gun access. In an attempt to preempt this criticism, the Brady Campaign asserts that gun owners are also more likely to commit suicide by citing a study from “Annals of Emergency Medicine.” “People who keep a gun in the home are almost 17 times more likely to take their own lives using a firearm,” according to the study. This is a cheap parlor trick. The study’s conclusion is saying nothing about the general likelihood of a person committing suicide. It’s merely commenting on their chosen method. . .
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