Read your own references

Eric Boehlert goes on a rampage about gun control and cites some references to support his position:

After a mentally ill student, Seung-Hui Cho, had made a mockery of Virginia’s gun laws by falsifying his gun-store background check and killing 32 people with the guns he purchased illegally, CNN presented a debate in which an activist arguing that the United States needed to relax its gun-control laws was given equal time to an activist who urged that the country tighten its gun laws. The pro-gun advocate, who represented a radical minority in America, was put on the same footing as the gun-control advocate, whose views reflected the clear plurality of Americans, who have consistently called for stricter gun laws. That’s how CNN chose to frame the debate in the immediate wake of the Virginia Tech massacre.

Left unreported in that kind of gun coverage is the fact that relaxing gun laws in the United States represents a radical, out-there idea that’s supported by just a tiny fraction of Americans. Not even gun owners in America want to make the laws less restrictive. (Just 15 percent back the idea.)

What I find interesting is the first reference he cites says this:

  • Just about 4 in 10 Americans are dissatisfied with gun laws in the country, while half are satisfied.

  • The pressure to make gun laws stricter appears to be mitigated. Just slightly more than half of Americans support making laws covering firearms sales more strict, at its lowest point since 2002.

  • More than two in three Americans oppose the government completely outlawing the right to possess a handgun.

  • Nearly 6 in 10 of Americans now say the government should enforce current gun laws more strictly rather than passing new laws. This percentage is up this year, similar to levels previously measured in 2002.

  • The public has grown slightly more likely to say that having a gun in the home makes it a safer, rather than a less safe, place to be. The opposite was true previously from 2000 to 2004.

  • This has a completely different tone than Boehlert’s rant. Boehlert had to really stretch to use it has justification for his conclusions.

    In the use of his second reference he overlooks the fact that just 51% of the public thinks the laws should be made more strict versus 47% (2% have no opinion). And that 4 point difference is down from 14 points in the previous year and down from 60 points a few years before that! The trend is definitely in our favor.

    And what does this guy think the “other side” of those in favor of more restrictive gun laws would be? Apparently he is of the opinion the two sides are “more gun control” and “no more gun control for a while”. This is like trying to work out a compromise with your would-be rapist by asking him to wear a condom.

    I’m of the opinion even the “pro-gun” position mentioned is not really “the other side”. A public opinion poll, which didn’t even ask the right question to find out how many people are on “the other side”, can’t possibly define it. I’ve explained the middle ground before and so won’t do so again here. But suffice it to say Boehlert should be thrilled “the other side” chosen was as close to his viewpoint as it was. Had it really been “the other side” he would have had an aneurysm.


    One thought on “Read your own references

    1. Cho Seung-Hui falsified documents? He was adjudicated mentally ill? News to me.

      Disarmers can’t afford to admit anything. Either their facts are just plain wrong, or they confuse “admitted for testing” and “adjudicated” (or “institutionalized”) to cover the truth that cockamamie schemes such as weapon classification, waiting periods and background checks have no effect on the wide spectrum of human behavior.

      Heaven forbid we discuss it that deeply–we might discover that infringements are illegal, immoral and completely unnecessary.

    Comments are closed.