Op-ed writer seems to misunderstand data on guns

(AP Photo/Philip Kamrass, File)

One reason I cannot be accused of living in a pro-gun echo chamber is that I have to ready a lot of anti-gun op-eds in the course of my work here. I know all the arguments they’re going to make and where they’re coming from because I read their words on a daily basis.


But when it comes to guns, many just don’t understand the topic as well as they’d like to think.

They regurgitate talking points and used biased data from gun control groups and pretend that they’re well-versed on the topic.

However, a writer with the Philadelphia Tribune took the discussion of gun control in a bizarre direction.

While new gun control laws such as strengthening background checks for gun buyers and raising the age to purchase a firearm to 21 are needed, it would be misleading to suggest new gun laws alone will reduce gun violence.

That’s because most gun crimes are committed by those who illegally possess guns, according to a study of inmates in federal and state prisons, conducted by Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research.

Since most violent crimes are not committed by legal gun owners and there is little chance of significant new gun laws passing anytime soon in the state Legislature or Congress, local officials must focus on cracking down on illegal gun possession.

More effective policing, vigorous prosecution and stricter sentencing of violent criminals using illegally obtained weapons will be needed to reduce crime.


The last three paragraphs look pretty sensible. The author is right, for example, that most criminals possess their firearms illegally. He’s right that there’s little chance new gun laws will pass anytime soon. While I’m not sure that increased enforcement of current gun laws will produce the results he desires, I can at least accept that’s a potentially viable path.

By his own words, though, lawful gun owners aren’t the problem, so why should we pass more gun control laws in the first place?

Even if we dismiss the fact that this is a constitutionally protected right we’re talking about here, just what reason would we have to restrict who can buy guns by age even further than we already do or increase background checks?

Perhaps the author is concerned about the 647 “mass shootings” reported by Gun Violence Archive. If so, he should be aware that most of those were criminals shooting people in the first place, not 19-year-olds buying AR-15s and shooting up schools. Gun Violence Archive doesn’t differentiate between gang warfare and active shooters killing everyone in a crowded movie theater, for example, so the vast majority of those shootings aren’t what people think of when they hear the term “mass shooting.”


Either way, the author is somehow failing to comprehend the information clearly in front of him.

Honestly, I’m amazed he finished the piece, what with the cognitive dissonance that had to be tearing at him. Or, maybe he just didn’t understand it enough to feel such a thing.

Either way, he discredits his own claim that more gun control laws should be passed and it sure looks like he knows it.

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