Media Matters Misrepresents Bearing Arms Story

I need to start with an admission. The only reason I click on Media Matters most of the time is to see if I’m getting mentioned.

It’s happened before, of course. I write about the Second Amendment and they like to try and tear down the Second Amendment, among other things. So, from time to time, they come here for stuff to try and tear it down.

Usually, they fail to do whatever it is they’re attempting to do. Kind of like they do in their latest mention of yours truly.

Pro-gun media in the U.S. shamelessly used a bow-and-arrow attack in Norway to discredit gun safety laws and push for increased gun ownership despite little evidence that either aids public safety.

In the immediate aftermath, pro-gun media used the massacre to discredit attempts to curb gun violence in the U.S. and trotted out the tired claim that an “armed citizenry” would have stopped the attack.

  • In an October 14 article for the pro-gun blog Bearing Arms, Tom Knighton used the massacre in Norway to imply guns aren’t part of the problem because Norway has “extensive gun laws. … Yet five people are dead in a mass murder that didn’t require a single firearm.” He went on to write that “anti-Second Amendment types” in the U.S. need to “recognize that maybe the issue is in stopping the people, not a tool being used.”

Hey, I know that guy! He’s kind of a schmuck, but still…

Seriously, those are, indeed, my words. Yet it’s interesting the framing here.

See, if you look at that particular story, you’ll notice something. For one thing, you’ll notice that I don’t actually say anything about how an armed citizenry could have stopped the attack.

Don’t get me wrong, I know good and well that they could have, but I just didn’t get into it in that piece. Instead, I addressed how gun control laws won’t stop someone determined to kill as many people as they can get away with.

Yet, Media Matters framed it as if I were making an argument I wasn’t, then they addressed the strawman with the rest of their piece, using debunked studies to argue that armed citizenry makes us less safe.

For example:

Not only is the presence of a gun unlikely to prevent violence, but also one study found that people in possession of a gun are four times more likely to be shot. In 2018, for example, “for every justifiable homicide with a gun, there were 34 gun homicides, 82 gun suicides, and two unintentional gun deaths.”

The first claim is from a study that failed to differentiate between lawful gun owners and criminals, lumping them all together, then claiming that simple gun ownership was the deciding factor in those fatalities.

As for the next study, it ignores the total number of defensive gun uses. Most law-abiding people would rather not kill an attacker if they don’t have to. They’re content to scare them off, even if shooting them would have been entirely justified. Defensive gun uses far outstrips the total number of “gun crimes.”

And none of that does anything to address what I wrote in the story they linked to, namely that gun control laws are ineffective at actually preventing mass murders.

Then again, what were they going to really say? “Yeah, this guy killed five with a bow and arrow, but that just means we don’t have enough gun control,” or something equally ridiculous? Of course not. They had to completely and totally mischaracterize what I wrote because they couldn’t address my real argument.

In their About Us section, Media Matters describes their mission as to “monitor a cross section of print, broadcast, cable, radio, and Internet media outlets for conservative misinformation – news or commentary that is not accurate, reliable, or credible and that forwards the conservative agenda – every day, in real time.”

Funny that they’re supposed to address misinformation while completely and blatantly mischaracterizing a Bearing Arms story as something it’s not. It kind of tells you just how dedicated they are to the truth versus just advancing the leftist, anti-Second Amendment narrative.