NBC News Parrots Anti-Gun Spin About 'Misinformation' on Chinese Language Social Media

AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu, File

I'd never heard of the outfit Chinese for Affirmative Action until I ran across an NBC News report on the organization's claims that "disinformation about gun violence" is spreading "unchecked" across Chinese language social media. The group, founded in San Francisco in 1969, says its mission is to defend and promote the civil and political rights of Chinese and Asian Americans, but it takes an awfully dim view of the right to keep and bear arms. 


Instead of fact-checking CAA's claims, or even reaching out to someone on the pro-2A side of the ledger for a comment or rebuttal, NBC News reporter Kimmy Yam simply parroted the CAA talking points, allowing even the most absurd claims to be treated as fact:

The report, released Tuesday by the civil rights nonprofit group Chinese for Affirmative Action, pointed to five dominant narratives emerging — largely on WeChat — including the idea that banning guns is a step toward authoritarianism, while gun ownership represents “democracy.” 

Another popular belief the report surfaced is that U.S. law enforcement isn’t obligated to protect people, so gun ownership is a necessary element of self-defense, particularly in an era of anti-Asian hate.

Neither of those ideas are misinformation. Now, you could argue that it is a matter of opinion about whether banning guns is a step toward authoritarianism or that gun ownership represents democratic (or republican) government, but it's hardly disinformation. In fact, the CAA report itself never explains why it considers that statement to be false. 

From the report:

Asian Americans are a majority immigrant population in the U.S., and high support for gun measures is attributed to strict gun laws all across Asia. For the Chinese-speaking population, approaches to gun ownership stem from historical and cultural attitudes towards guns in China. In China, private gun ownership is generally prohibited for civilians with an exception carved out for law enforcement and military personnel. Under Chinese law, the government enforces tight control over firearms in order to maintain public safety and social stability. In the United States, guns are symbolic of American culture, deeply rooted in the nation’s history, values, and constitutional rights. . 

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution states that “a well regulated Militia” is “necessary to the security of a free State” and has been used to advance the right to keep and bear arms. This constitutional provision has played a significant part in shaping the American perspective on gun ownership and has contributed to the cultural significance of firearms. Whereas in China, and specifically for the Communist Party, guns are a means for fueling a revolution, with Mao Zedong famously stating, “Political power grows out of a barrel of a gun.” 

These divergent attitudes provide an opportunity for disinformation spreaders to exploit the Chinese immigrant mindset as a way ofadvancing a pro-gun agenda. In step with American attitudes towards guns, Chinese pro-gun advocates assert that banning guns infringe upon people’s rights and is a step towards government restriction. This argument resonates particularly within the Chinese community due to the experiences of many Chinese immigrants who left China where political dissent is prohibited under the Chinese authorities and censorship is part of social control. They have transitioned from political environments characterized by complete disempowerment to a democratic society where gun ownership is not only permitted but permeates American culture. This stark contrast fuels apprehension and skepticism towards any gun control efforts to revoke individuals’ rights that the government may attempt. Pro-gun narratives in English media emphasize the infringement to the constitutional rights to bear arms and the potential dangers of a government with excessive control. This resonates with Chinese immigrants who have witnessed the consequences of a Chinese government that restricts freedom of speech andengages in censorship.


It seems like the CAA's real issue is that this messaging is effective, not that it's false. It acknowledges that the Communist Chinese government has denied gun ownership to those under its control, that we have the right to keep and bear arms in the United States, and that the argument "resonates" with Chinese Americans because of their own personal experiences living under the authoritarian rule of the CCP. 

It's also not misinformation to state that police in the United States are under no obligation to protect you as an individual citizen. In cases like Warren v. D.C. (decided by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals) and Castle Rock v. Gonzales (decided by the Supreme Court), the judiciary has repeatedly informed us that police do not owe a specific duty to provide police services to specific citizens. 

The CAA report doesn't mention either of those cases. Instead, it claims that "[t]his false narrative suggests that law enforcement is unreliable or ineffective in ensuring public safety and pushes the idea that individuals should take personal responsibility for their safety by arming themselves":

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, during which there was an increase in reported hate acts against the Asian American community, this narrative became even more entrenched. In some cases, social media posters mix factual information about the increase in anti-Asian hate with disinformation about guns. Pro-gun posters exploit people’s fears about personal safety to promote the dangerous narrative that simply owning guns can deter racist acts. As a result, researchers have found that Asian Americans who experienced more racial discrimination were more likely to purchase a gun during the pandemic. The firearm industry has used this fear of rising anti-Asian hate to market specifically to Asian Americans.


Again, where's the evidence that this is "misinformation"? 

Look, special interest groups put out slanted reports all the time. CAA is no different, but the organization clearly has an axe to grind, and it's not because Chinese Americans are being fed a steady diet of lies about the Second Amendment. As CAA concludes its report:

In order to counter the harmful effects of pro-gun disinformation, it is crucial for Asian Americans to come together and raise public awareness about the dangers of firearms. This can be achieved through advocating for stronger gun safety laws, engaging in community outreach, and promoting education initiatives that emphasize accurate information. By actively participating in these efforts, Asian American can contribute to more informed and responsible conversations surrounding guns.

CAA doesn't want Asian Americans to own guns, and it wants more gun control. That's its opinion, and it’s entitled to it, but that doesn't excuse NBC News from failing to provide a factual counter to the group's claims. Yam never brings up Castle Rock v. Gonzales or Warren v. D.C., nor does she explain (how could she) how it's "misinformation" to point out that authoritarian regimes aren't generally known for their respect for civilian gun ownership. I don't know if she reached out to any Asian American gun owners for comment, but there are plenty of folks out there who are able to offer a reasoned rebuttal who don't appear anywhere in the NBC News story. 


The result is a piece that resembles a press release more than actual journalism. This is what we're dealing with as gun owners and Second Amendment advocates, and it's absolutely crucial that we push back on the (dare I say it?) misinformation that's being spread by pro-gun control outfits. By becoming a VIP or VIP Gold member of Bearing Arms/Townhall Media, you'll not only get exclusive reporting, an ad-free experience, and other perks. You'll be playing an active role in getting the truth to our fellow Americans about our Second Amendment rights, violent crime, legal doctrines, and more. Use the promo code SAVEAMERICA and you can get 50% off your VIP or VIP Gold membership. 

Join the conversation as a VIP Member