NRA: “How Your Tax Dollars Demonize Your Guns”

Posted: 4th January 2010 by Scott @ The Right of a Nation in 2nd Amendment
NRA image - taxpayer money is used to demonize guns and the Second Amendment

In the January 2010 issue of the NRA’s magazine “America’s 1st Freedom,” the cover story article (written by Dave Kopel) is titled “How Your Tax Dollars Demonize Your Guns.”  You can read the entire article at the America’s First Freedom website.  The entire magazine is always great and always contains informative articles on various Second Amendment issues.

The article basically discusses how various organizations such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) use tax money to perform “studies” that show the dangers of gun ownership.  It’s a great article, and here is a brief summary of some of the basic points:

  • people who wish to decrease and eventually end gun ownership understand that that will be hard to do as long as large numbers of Americans continue to own guns, so they must try to scare people away from owning guns – this won’t work on educated gun owners, so they must work on people who may buy a gun in the future
  • In the 80′s the CDC performed a study on gun ownership, and the people involved in the study did not attempt to hide their anti-gun opinions
  • Dr. Mark Rosenburg (National Center for Injury Prevention and Control director at the CDC at the time of the study) – said he intended to make the public see firearms as “dirty, deadly—and banned.” (Quoted in William Raspberry, “Sick People With Guns,” The Washington Post, Oct. 19, 1994.)
  • Dr. Katherine Christoffel and Dr. Robert Tanz of the Children’s Hospital in Chicago – “plan to do to handguns what their profession has done to cigarettes … turn gun ownership from a personal-choice issue to a repulsive, anti-social health hazard.” (Harold Henderson, “Policy: Guns ‘n Poses,” Chicago Reader, Dec. 16, 1994.)

In 1996 Congress ended the practice of funding anti-gun studies by the CDC, but now the NIH is doing the same thing with our tax money.  The NIH has funded a study for the University of Pennsylvania, costing $639,586 of our tax dollars, that resulted in the “conclusion” that people who own guns are 4.5 times more likely to be shot.

Some of the flaws in the study include

  • people were deemed to be in possession of a gun even if the gun was “in a nearby vehicle or in another place.”
  • the study made no attempts to see how this affect the law-abiding population – did the gun shot victims own their guns legally?  Were they drug dealers who owned guns because of the fact that they were likely to be involved in a violent situation, as opposed to the guns somehow causing the violent situation to occur?
  • Florida State University criminology professor Gary Kleck makes a good point – “It is precisely as if medical researchers found that insulin use is more common among persons who suffer from diabetes than among those who are not diabetic (something that is most assuredly true), and concluded that insulin use raises one’s risk of diabetes.”

There are many more flaws in the study which are mentioned in the article.  Flaws are to be expected in a study when a specific conclusion is desired, and all that matters in the end is getting a single “headline” that will be published on a wide scale.

All in all, the point is, these studies were funded by our tax dollars with a conclusion already in mind.  The “findings” are then handed out to the media who happily laps it up and makes a quick headline on the nightly news, of course never mentioning any of the details or problems in the study.

I guess my question is, what has changed since 1996 when Congress ended the funding of stuff like this for the CDC?  What needs to be done to prevent junk studies like these from being performed with our money?

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