Most people don’t really know how to read a study. It’s not something we’re taught in school, after all. So, when a study that blasts gun rights comes out, most people take it as a matter of faith that it’s accurate. After all, these are the experts, right?
As a 2015 hoax showed, most reporters don’t actually dig any deeper when a press release drops into their email. They just accept it at face value.
So I ask you to keep that in mind as we look at a different study, this one reported on by CNN:
A new study published Thursday by a leading non-profit organization that focuses on gun violence prevention found that there is a direct correlation in states with weaker gun laws and higher rates of gun deaths, including homicides, suicides and accidental killings.
The study by Everytown for Gun Safety determined that California had the strongest gun laws in the country. Hawaii topped the list with the lowest rate of gun deaths in the country while Mississippi led the country with both the weakest gun laws and highest rate of gun deaths.
“What this project does, is show what we’ve been saying for years: Gun laws save lives,” said Nick Suplina, senior vice president of law and policy at Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund. “We think this is going to be a really important tool for lawmakers, reporters and advocates that have been looking for the kind of visual tool that can make that case clearly.”
Except, it doesn’t do any of that.
First, let’s consider the source. Everytown for Gun Safety isn’t about “gun violence prevention.” That’s a straight-out lie. They’re a gun control group who tries to soften the language about them so as to not elicit a knee-jerk reaction, but they almost never discuss actual gun safety, firearms education, weapons training, de-escalation training, or any of a thousand other things that might reduce violence without gun control.
Yet CNN tries to frame them that way.
Regardless, they’re a heavily biased source for any study. Now, it’s one thing if they simply funded the study. There can still be reason to be concerned, of course, but good science can still come out of biased funding, so long as the study is performed in a rigorous way.
This one wasn’t.
See, all they actually did was rate gun control in the 50 states, then look at crime statistics and they found a correlation. Then they stopped. Why? Probably because it already told them what they wanted to hear. They found the link.
Once you look at the methodology, you see they didn’t try to adjust for any other factors. They didn’t account for economics, population density, or much of anything else. They found the link they wanted and they ran with it.
Meanwhile, CNN just takes it and runs with it completely uncritically. They talk to folks on the gun control side but didn’t bother to talk to anyone with a pro-gun outlook so far as I could find. I mean, someone else might have pointed out that the study has significant issues from a scientific standpoint and thus shouldn’t be treated as anything but anti-Second Amendment propaganda.
But that wouldn’t advance the narrative, now would it?
Instead, CNN and Everytown couch their propaganda as if it were science in hopes that it will sway people, particularly those in the middle of the issue. This is why it’s important to poke holes in such “studies.”
What we have here isn’t science, it’s confirmation bias dressed up as serious research and sold to the general public as such.