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The New York Times Doesn’t Know the Difference Between a Scientific Study and Propaganda


The New York Times, which would never cite a study from the National Rifle Association, much less any of the nation’s much-more-radical gun-rights organizations, recently based an entire editorial (titled “The Concealed-Carry Fantasy”) on a deeply flawed and completely unscientific study from the Violence Policy Center, arguably the most radical gun-control organization in America. The Times’ October 26 editorial “The Concealed-Carry Fantasy” refers to the Violence Policy Center as a “gun safety group” (emphasis added) and treats the VPC’s farcical “Concealed Carry Killers” study as a purely scientific endeavor.

If you don’t want to read through the analysis (linked above) of the study’s many shortcomings, here is a quick hypothetical scenario to illustrate just one of the ways in which the Violence Policy Center’s numbers are flawed:

A concealed pistol license (CPL) holder in Michigan decides he’s going to murder his wife. He waits until she goes to sleep, carefully removes a wire from their grand piano, and uses it to strangle her in their bed.

 The next day, the man’s father-in-law, who is also a Michigan CPL holder, is so distraught over his daughter’s death that he goes out to his garage, ties an extension cord to the garage door opener, and hangs himself with it.

On the VPC’s list of “Concealed Carry Killers,” this would be counted as two deaths caused by concealed handgun license holders, despite the fact that neither man’s CPL was a factor in either death.

A concealed handgun license does not impact a person’s legal right to possess a weapon other than a handgun; does not impact a person’s legal right to possess a weapon of any kind (including a handgun) in the home; does not offer any strategic, tactical, or legal advantage to someone seeking to carry out a premeditated crime (the person isn’t going to encounter a checkpoint where authorities search him for weapons and then verify that he has permits for those weapons before letting him proceed); and does not impact a person’s ability to commit suicide at home, where 90% of suicides occur. However, to the ideologues conducting the Violence Policy Center’s “study,” the scenario above would comprise two more examples of why the licensed concealed carry of handguns presents a clear and present danger to public safety.

The reality is that the vast majority of scientific, peer-reviewed studies on licensed concealed carry have concluded that it cannot be shown to lead to an increase in homicides or suicides. According to Texas Department of Public Safety statistics, Texas concealed handgun license holders commit violent crimes at approximately 1/5 the rate of the general population. According to the Michigan State Police, Michigan concealed pistol license holders commit suicide at approximately 38% the rate of the general adult population. More than 150 U.S. college campuses have, for an average of more than five years (a combined total of more than 1,500 semesters), allowed licensed concealed carry in campus buildings, without a single report of a resulting assault, suicide attempt, or accidental death. The New York Times and the gun-control organizations they parrot may not want to admit it, but the unvarnished numbers show time and time again that licensed concealed carry is not a problem in the places where it’s allowed.


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