Firearms Experts Debunk Conservative Media's Favorite Gun Talking Points
New Harvard Research Shows Clear Expert Consensus Against Gun Lobby And Conservative Media Talking Points. New research from the Harvard Injury Control Research Center shows that firearms experts are in consensus against many of the most prolific talking points from conservative media and the gun lobby. According to an April 2 analysis of the research by Mother Jones, the study revealed that the arguments pushed by the gun lobby "don't stand up to scrutiny." Quoting David Hemenway, the center's director, the article noted that some in the media have continued to promote myths about guns, treating them as "legitimate points of debate" and inserting doubt where there is in fact a consensus among experts in the field (emphasis added):
Anyone familiar with the gun debate has heard the talking points of the National Rifle Association and other gun rights advocates: "Carrying a gun for self-defense makes you safer." Or: "If only more ordinary citizens were armed, they could stop mass shootings." As we've shown in our reporting, these arguments don't stand up to scrutiny. After the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, David Hemenway, director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, commented on another long-running assertion from the gun lobby: "There is no evidence that having more guns reduces crime," he told the New York Times.Yet, Hemenway says that some in the media have continued to treat such assertions as legitimate points of debate. That leaves the public thinking, "Okay, so there's disagreement on this," he says. [Mother Jones, 4/2/15]
4. Are Guns Used More Often To Commit Crimes Or In Self-Defense?
Conservative Media: Guns Are Mostly Used As Tool For Self-Defense. Right-wing media frequently promote the myth that guns are primarily used for self-defense, despite guns rarely being used for that purpose. Fox News has claimed that guns could "deter more crimes than they cause" while NRA News has daily features on The Sportsman Channel and their SiriusXM radio program promoting the myth. [Media Matters, 1/3/14, 1/9/13]
Experts: Guns Are Not Used In Self-Defense More Often Than They Are Used In Crimes. Seventy-three percent of experts disagreed with the claim that guns are used "in self-defense far more often than they are used in crime":