The Violence Policy Center (VPC) likes to bill itself as a educational organization, and pretends that the “studies” that it publishes that mimic the look of peer-reviewed academic are scientifically valid. Unfortunately the facade is very thin one. VPC isn’t an educational organization, but is instead a gun control group that likes to publish articles that are neither peer reviewed, nor in some instances even fact-checked at the most basic level.
Such was the case with 2009’s “Private Citizens Killed by Concealed Handgun Permit Holders: May 2007 to the Present” which had just a few minor issues:
In its reporting, the VPC doesn’t restrict itself to reporting homicides committed by a permit holder drawing and firing his or her concealed weapon. Of the 85-person body count they claim (we’ll get back to that in a moment), concealed handguns only accounted for 30 of the fatalities.
Twenty-seven of the deaths were caused by rifles. One was a brutal beating. Another was a vicious strangling. Read again closely, dear reader. The Violence Policy Center isn’t trying to demonize the actual practice of carrying concealed handguns in its reporting; it is trying to demonize concealed carry permit holders.
And they’re willing to misrepresent, lie, cheat, and (presumably) steal to accomplish that goal. But don’t take my word for it. Open up a copy of the VPC’s “Private Citizens Killed by Concealed Handgun Permit Holders: May 2007 to the Present” and learn from the tragic story of Christine and Arthur Burroughs:
On March 8, 2008, Christine Burroughs, naked and covered with blood, ran to neighbor Alice and Lance Lather’s house seeking refuge from her enraged husband, Arthur Burroughs. Burroughs followed his wife to the home, fatally shooting Lance Lather. Burroughs then barricaded himself in the neighbors’ bathroom with his wife. A SWAT team and hostage negotiator were called to the house, but Burroughs shot and killed his wife and then himself. Christine Burroughs had previously told Alice Lather that her husband wanted to kill her because she wanted a divorce. Burroughs had been previously employed in loss prevention and security for T.J. Maxx and had possessed a concealed handgun permit since at least 1999.
The crime was a brutal case of domestic violence that expanded beyond one family’s tragedy when Christine Burroughs fled from her husband and sought sanctuary at the home of their neighbors — unwittingly drawing them into the violence. Lance Lather paid with his life for Arthur Burroughs’ inability to cope with the thought of his wife divorcing him. In the end, Arthur Burroughs killed himself as well. The tragedy of the situation was not lost on Christine Burroughs, who considers Lance Lather her hero, and credits him with saving her life.
No, Christine Burroughs wasn’t killed by her husband in their neighbor’s bathroom.
The “dead” woman didn’t die? Oy.
This same approach to academic rigor appears to be similarly contained in the VPCs newest “study,” When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2011 Homicide Data.
The document was apparently created to stop what VPC and other gun control organizations consider alarming trends revealed in a National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) report issued earlier this month, which shows young adult males, women, and urban shooters are among the fastest-growing segments of a fast-growing gun culture within the United States.
When Men Murder Women is a mish-mash of cherry-picked data points thrown together in hopes of confusing a simple-minded reader into thinking that correlation equals causation, a common kind logical fallacy. Their assertion that if women bring a gun into the home that it will be used against them simply isn’t supported by any empirical data.
We can only wonder what “study” the Violence Policy Center will publish next. Perhaps they’ll attempt to counter the recent BJS/CDC study that shows gun ownership has gone up while violent crime has gone down, which runs precisely counter to their comedic 2012 assertion More Guns, More Shootings.