Both sides of the gun debate try to find data to support their positions on guns. We all do it, after all. While gun rights activists show statistics on how guns make us safer, anti-gunners try to show data proving the opposite. Saying, “The Constitution says…” just doesn’t cut it these days.
The studies cited tend to be looked at closely by the other side. Any flaw in methodology or data will be pointed out. Loudly.
But what happens when people often cite a study, but no one can get a look at the data?
One of the most cited sources for information on mass shootings is Dr. Adam Lankford. Dr. Lankford is a criminology professor at the University of Alabama. Former President Obama and other left-leaning politicians have cited his research into gun violence to further their anti-gun agenda.
Being a published criminology professor Dr. Lankford sources on mass shootings must be impeccable, so AmmoLand decided to look into his claims made throughout his mass shooting study. It is customary for researches to list their sources, but it seems like Lankford has omitted any references for his data set in his published study.
AmmoLand reached out to Lankford through multiple mediums to see if he would provide us with a list of resources that he used in his research, but so far Lankford has refused to respond to our request. In fact, in the three years since his widely cited study became a Democratic talking point, he has declined all request for copies of his data set.
Real Clear Politics tried unsuccessfully to get the raw data that Lankford used in his study. Not only did Lankford refuse to give the political neutral website the data, but he also declined to describe the methods he used to gather the information. He also refused to give a reason for not divulging the data. It is customary for all academic studies to release their data so the results can be confirmed by third parties.
Earlier this month the left-leaning Washington Post also reached out to Lankford to discuss his findings. Lankford once again refused to discuss his results with the Post. The Washington Post was able to determine that Lankford discounted events like the terrorist attack in Mumbai as a mass shooting. Since Lankford has kept his method secret, we cannot learn what he considers a mass shooting. Lankford omitting of the Mumbai attacks in his study does not seem to be an oversight as reported by the Post.
Other News agency has reached out to Lankford for clarification on his research. The Washington Times and Fox News both had their request for the data shot down by Lankford. By not releasing the dataset or even what he considers a mass shooting Lankford makes the task of verifying his claims by using his methods impossible.
Other attempts to replicate his study get very different numbers, which is why Lankford sharing his data is so important. Why did some incidents qualify and others not? Were all terrorist attacks removed from the discussion? If so, why?
These are important questions that need to be answered for the study to be taken seriously. We need to be able to examine everything to get an idea of just how well-constructed the study is.
Lankford’s consistent refusal to do that is telling. It tells me that there’s absolutely no reason to take any of the claims of that study seriously.
If Lankford and his supporters want to change that, they know what to do.