Armed citizens, mass shootings, and "science"

Armed citizens, mass shootings, and "science"

Science has done so much for our world. From helping us understand why things fall down to looking at how the cosmos was formed, the more we understand, the better use we can make of the world around us.


Yet science can be perverted, just like anything else. That seems to be the case especially when you look at “studies” about mass shootings, homicides, and armed citizens.

I use the quotes because, well, it doesn’t look like much of a study and more like a piece of propaganda.

From Ammoland:

A recent dust-up between two researchers in Justice Quarterly is illustrative. For the sake of simplicity, we shall only cite 2 of those feisty articles. First, Emma Fridel, a Florida criminologist, wrote Comparing theImpact of Household Gun Ownership and Concealed Carry Legislation on the Frequency of Mass Shootings and Firearm Homicide. Attempting to clear up her errors, Professor Gary Kleck soon after published a stinging critique, The Continuing Vitality of Flawed Research on Guns and Violence: A Comment on Fridel.

The point to take away from this ‘battle of the boffins’ is that without any math at all, you will be able to understand Fridel’s flaws. It’s that obvious that Fridel fiddled with the books to find the answer she sought, not reality. That’s not science.

Fridel’s complex title question suggests she intended to mislead from the beginning. If you ask the wrong question, you get the wrong answer. And that’s what Fridel did.

Fridel asked about firearm homicide, not total homicide. She didn’t even aim at the right target.

Kleck pointed out her error in his article, “The most important goal of gun control is to save lives.” It’s not about the firearm homicide rates, as Fridel claims. It’s all about total homicide, and Fridel does not even try to answer that question. If gun control laws aren’t intended to save lives, what good are they? It is no stretch to believe that gun laws are about control, not safety. They are a political ploy to disarm American civilians.


Seriously, go and read the whole thing. It’s a stinging rebuke of Fridel’s work, which sounds like it’s completely justified.

However, Fridel isn’t really doing anything we haven’t seen before. We’ve seen numerous studies with a flawed framework, all designed to make it appear as if armed citizens are some horrendous problem; that we’re all just damaged people waiting for the right provocation to kill everyone.

In fact, it wasn’t all that long ago when Cam wrote about just how flawed many of these anti-gun studies are.

The truth of the matter is that people like Fridel apparently start the study knowing what they want their endpoint to be, then work from there.

And Kleck is absolutely right that just looking at “gun homicides” is stupid when looking at the impact of gun control. After all, armed citizens are impacted by these laws, too. Removing their ability to defend themselves, even if it disarms the bad guys, can still have disastrous consequences.

These “studies” are nothing more than propaganda masquerading as actual science, even if a social science. As a result, they discredit the entire field, especially since so few in the field seem inclined to call out this nonsense.


Science should be, at least at times, inconvenient. Research should shatter one’s preconceived ideas, forcing the researchers to reevaluate what they thought they knew, even on something fundamental like the Big Bang.

But the bias against armed citizens and the Second Amendment doesn’t seem to be something these researchers can look past, and that’s a damn shame.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member