Doctoral student opines lying gun owners aren’t being reached with ‘responsible’ messaging

Doctoral student opines lying gun owners aren’t being reached with ‘responsible’ messaging
AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

There’s no lack of progressive think tanks out there that claim they’re not coming for our guns, they just want to promote “safety.” The New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center is one of those groups that claims to be all about safety, however they never put out any studies, materials, or articles, on the responsible and law-abiding gun owner, nor any material about the corporeal topics of gun use or ownership. A recent study done by a doctoral student at the GVRC has her claiming foul over potential untruthful survey results.


In a study published in Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, researchers found that based on their answers to a variety of other questions, a group of individuals appeared as though they might be falsely denying firearm ownership when directly asked by researchers.

While some of these individuals resemble what previous research indicated to be a typical American firearm owner (e.g., white, male), others looked quite different (racial or ethnic minority, female, living in urban environments), highlighting that the landscape of firearm ownership in the United States may be shifting.

“Some individuals are falsely denying firearm ownership, resulting in research not accurately capturing the experiences of all firearm owners in the U.S.,” said Allison Bond, lead author of the study and a doctoral student with the New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center. “More concerningly, these individuals are not being reached with secure firearm storage messaging and firearm safety resources, which may result in them storing their firearms in an unsecure manner, which in turn increases the risk for firearm injury and death.”

This hiccup that Bond has highlighted is a valuable feature in our evolution in my opinion. Unequivocally, I will personally stand by these statements – until the medical field shows they’re unbiased – I don’t suggest exposing whether or not you’re a gun owner to anyone associated with it, without relevant cause. I salute the people that elected to “falsely deny” their firearm ownership – even though a false denial would be a double negative, but I’m not the PHD student here.


What’s really hubris, troubling, and disgustingly elitist is that Bond has this concern that because “these individuals,” which I’m going to read as meaning “those/these people” – the ones that are “racial or ethnic minority, female, living in urban environments” – who smartly elected to lie to the center, they’re too obtuse to get proper “messaging.” Whatever Bond considers safety resources, it’s rather opinionated to assume those people won’t get them because they don’t trust those conducting the study. Bond is beyond out of touch here.

The Rutgers GVRC has done nothing but put forward an abstinence-only approach to firearms ownership. There’s never any research done on, or paper they put out, that highlights the positive elements of owning guns. Every rabbit hole they go down has a result that has to do with more regulations. Fortunately many of the regulations they’d want to see implemented would be considered unconstitutional if looked at properly with an unbiased approach. 

After following the GVRC acutely since anti-gun Governor Phil Murphy instituted them, pumping taxpayer’s dollars into this gibberish, their main objective seems to have an ends in requiring firearms to be stored in a 100% unusable state. That condition goes directly against the Heller decision I might add. This has been my suspicion for a while and this study/reporting on it helps fortify that hunch.

Bond leaves out that every single brand new firearm sold in the United States includes a user manual. Nearly all handguns come with a lock and hard lockable case. In those manuals, there’s general instructions on so-called proper storage. Anyone walking into a gun store to purchase a firearm is approached with plenty of resources in the form of capitalism and altruism. At a shop, there’s generally someone wanting to help new gun owners to be safe, in addition to the fact businesses can only profit by selling more firearm safety devices.


The problem with Bond’s assertion that those people don’t get appropriately schooled on what she considers proper storage and safety rules is that Bond – and her ilk – try to squeeze everything into a one-size-fits-all solution. If we asked Bond or anyone else over at the GVRC about proper storage, they’re going to tell you firearms need to be stored unloaded, in a locked container, and ammunition stored in a separate locked container. I suspect Bond is not going to say that it makes sense to have a loaded firearm in the home for self-defense. The thought of storing a firearm in a night stand loaded, if appropriate for the given household, would be looked at with horror.

To people like Bond and groups like the GVRC, self-defense via firearm use is abhorrent. So keeping a firearm stored in any condition for ease of use would go against their biases. It’s unfortunate these alleged people of science don’t come standard where bias is completely removed. Follow the science – pish posh to that for these purposes.

The rest of the “safety resources” includes what? I’ve never heard the GVRC advocate that gun owners should take an NRA or USCCA training course to learn how to use a firearm. No, safety resources are going to come in the form of their own abstinence-only branded “education.” If groups like the GVRC advocated for people to take such branded training – by name – they’d have some credibility.

There’s an undertone that Bond was making about those people not being exposed to resources because of these “false denials.” Beyond their silly survey, what’s Bond and the GVRC doing to “educate” respondents? Do they offer self-described gun owners these important resources when respondents say they own guns? And in what form are these resources?


The study indicates a percentage of firearm owners may not feel comfortable disclosing their ownership status. Among those identified as potentially falsely denying firearm ownership, many were women living alone in urban environments.

The study indicates a good portion of people that have the right idea. While I’m all in favor of accurate data collection, I cannot support supplying any information about whether or not one is a gun owner to the GVRC or groups like it. Physicians and doctors out there may take exception to my advice here, but too bad. When the authors and groups behind these so-called studies make a good faith effort to not inject their anti-gun conclusion before the study has even concluded, then we can have a chat about being honest. They all claim they’re not about “making policy,” but that’s total and complete malarkey. I’ve chatted with the “I just want to save lives, I’m not about policy making” doctors, and I conclude they’re lying after reading their rhetoric and papers.

One of the other things that’s hinted at when talking about messaging is not said in the piece covering the study. Read into comments made by the GVRC executive director:

“There are several reasons some firearm owners might feel uncomfortable disclosing that they own firearms,” said Michael Anestis, executive director of the New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center and senior author of the study. “These results serve as an important reminder that we should not assume we know everything about who owns firearms and that we should ensure that our efforts to reach firearm owners can resonate with broad audiences we might not realize would benefit from the message.”


Anestis left out one of the newer en vogue buzzwords that all readers need to be aware of. With the narrow exception of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, and a few other very limited number of groups, if the phrase “credible messenger” is in the literature, run. While I have read some reporting in NSSF – who makes a good faith effort to protect firearm owners and the industry – literature where credible messenger was used, generally speaking, only grossly anti-gun think tanks use it. 

The mechanism for these groups is for them to find the right person, to talk to the right people, using them as a puppet to get their own message out. That’s it. It’s agenda driven and has everything to do with policy and culturally appropriating as many people as possible – to their way of thinking.

To all “those people” out there…the “racial or ethnic minority, female, living in urban environments,” welcome to the fray. There are resources out there, which I”m sure you’re well aware of, should you need any. With Second Amendment supporters, there’s an entire community of people that are more than willing and happy to help each other, including you. 

Continue to go with your gut and learn there are trustworthy organizations out there.  Let’s call the other groups those who utilize their alleged academic “achievements” to bend pseudoscience into a conclusion that results in our disarmament. Judging by Bond’s complaints, many of you have already figured this out. Kudos for that.

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