Gun Control Agenda Triggers More Gun Sales
After each mass shooting, media coverage of the shooting and of the reaction of gun control activists spike. Researchers at NYU have found a causal link between increases in the activity of gun control advocates and increased sales of firearms.
Many have suspected that the activity of anti-second amendment activists inside and outside Washington, DC encourages Americans to buy more guns. Many gun owners openly admit that when gun control advocates become more vocal, it makes them want to buy more guns. But this is the first time that the suspected causal link between gun control advocacy and gun sales has been established through statistical research.
Of course, in logic we know that correlation is not causation. So the results of this study are based on data that shows causal relationships rather than just correlation. Spikes in firearms sales during gun-control dominated news cycles have been a well-known phenomenon for a long time.
Maurizio Porfiri, NYU Tandon professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and lead author of the study, has said his study is the first to confirm through empirical examination the connection between increased news coverage of gun control activity and firearm sales.
But perhaps the most interesting finding made by Porfiri’s team was the fact that no link between mass shootings and gun sales was found. That is to say, gun owners and would-be gun owners are not motivated to buy guns by mass shootings. They are motivated to buy guns by the idea that their right to own guns may no longer be protected by law.
If the Left would admit it, this is a clear indication that gun owners and advocates are not interested in committing mass violence. The gun purchases that are registered in the study are legal gun purchases- since illegal gun purchases are pretty hard to track. This means that legal gun owners are not motivated by the same dark hatreds that the Left would like to attribute to them.
The NYU study measured three key variables, mass shootings, media coverage of gun control advocates and changes in gun policy, and firearm sales. The researchers looked at 69 mass shootings in the US between 1999 and 2017.
The team examined data on the number of firearms purchase background checks each month, and all print and electronic media coverage of gun policies appearing in the Washington Post and the New York Times during the same period to include more than 9,700 separate documents.
The research team used a mathematical construct called “entropy transfer.” It is able to establish causal links between numerous variables by examining the degree to which one variable influences other variables. This makes researchers better able to make accurate predictions about future activity within a given variable.
Porfiri commented saying, “This study provides the critical insight that media coverage appears to mediate the increase in firearm acquisition following mass shootings.”
Co-author and professor of health policy James Mscinko said, “Our study suggests the need for dialogue around how mass shooting events are discussed by the press, in order to find ways to mitigate unintended consequences.”
The researchers admit that their study was limited in a number of ways. These weaknesses include the small number of media reports referenced. Another is the fact that background checks do not measure gun sales directly. The study also did not account for the number of victims in a given mass shooting or the circumstances of the shooting.
Interestingly, the coauthor, James Mscinko, when commenting on the study said that “firearms related injuries were on the rise in recent years and were now a leading cause of injury in the US.” A cursory search shows that to be a lie.
According to Statista, the number of unintentional firearms deaths in 2016 was 495 and that number dropped to 486 in 2017. That’s a very low number in a country of approximately 3 million people, and the fact that it actually went down slightly is surprising.
Academics and journalists are quick to report claims that gun injuries and violence are on the rise, and the researchers in the NYU study are no exception. Last year The Trace reported that the CDC claimed gun injuries are rising, but the data they used does not support that claim.
They write, “the gun injury estimate is one of several categories of CDC data flagged with an asterisk indicating that, according to the agency’s own standards, it should be treated as “unstable and potentially unreliable.”