Editorial blasts anti-gun lawmakers faulty statistics

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I’m usually one of those who are quick to blast the media. Many of us tend to lump them all together, but when it comes to finding common sense on guns – real common sense, not the anti-gun activism in common-sense drag we tend to see – it can still be found among the mainstream media.

You just tend to have to look at local media to find it.

Take this editorial from Williamsport, Pennsylvania, for example:

We are skeptical that this proposal complies with the Supreme Court’s decisions — including one decided just this summer about New York state’s onorous and frequently arbitrary permit requirements — that protect the right of Americans to keep and to bear arms.

We are even more skeptical it complies with the state’s Constitution, which leaves even less ambiguity about the right of Pennsylvanians to arm themselves.

And in voicing our skepticism we must also note that [State Rep. Emily] Kinkead is advocating for the law using specious data.

Kinkead also echoed an argument by [state Sen. Art] Haywood that Missouri saw its gun-related killings increase after a similar law was repealed in 2007. But what neither Kinkead or Haywood acknowledged and what Vasoli and Second Amendment rights advocate John R. Lott noted in examining this claim is that while gun-related killings increased 17 percent in a five-year stretch after the repeal, they were already increasing before the repeal. In fact, before the repeal they had increased by nearly 30 percent.

In other words, the repeal appears to coincide with a decrease in the percentage.

Let’s understand that the data presented isn’t shocking. An anti-gunner making a claim and ignoring information that’s inconvenient to their cause? Hardly the first time we’ve seen that.

The same thing happens when anti-Second Amendment types try to claim that the 1994 Assault Weapon Ban worked. They cite a decrease in violent crime during the lifespan of the law but then routinely ignore that violent crime was decreasing before the law ever took effect, which makes the law appear far less impactful.

Further, those rates continued to drop after the law sunset, which tells you plenty about how much of a difference the ban made.

Yet, just as proponents of an assault weapon ban continue to use that misleading data, these lawmakers will do the same thing. They want a permit-to-purchase requirement.

However, as we’ve seen, the evidence supporting such measures tends to fall flat. Research illustrating a positive impact of Connecticut’s law had to be outright manufactured, for example.

I’m glad to see any media outlet calling out the misleading comments of anti-gun lawmakers. My only lament is that this is a relatively small city’s paper and few people in Pennsylvania will see it. This blatantly dishonest abuse of statistics cannot be allowed to stand, but it likely will as the major papers in the state – those in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia – will probably ignore this because both lawmakers are pushing a position the leadership of those publications approves of.

This, however, is why trust in the media is at an all-time low.

This is also why trust in local reporting remains much higher than in national reporting. At least some at the local level are still willing to blast BS when they see it.