Our good friend Tim Johnson, from Media Matters, has just released a story about the latest NRA advertising blitz which is a what-else-is-new argument about how HRC is going to take away all the guns. In this case the ad is specifically directed at women and starts off with a little spiel from a woman in Indianapolis who shot some guy after he attacked her with a knife. Now she’s a poster-person for Gun-nut Nation because, as she says, women have the ‘right’ to defend themselves with a gun.
That’s right Kristi (she’s the lady in the ad) you certainly do have the ‘right’ to defend yourself with a gun. You also have the right to defend yourself by calling 911, running away from the scene, using your fists or just using your mouth. And while Gun-nut Nation wants you to believe that guns are a much more effective, in fact the only effective way to protect yourself from crime, the truth is that guns don’t, in fact, provide an extra measure of safety against crime.
Now of course Gun-nut Nation members who are reading this column will immediately jump up and say that any such study was no doubt put together by some gun-grabbing group, so it shouldn’t be taken as meaning anything at all. But in fact, the study which shows that guns don’t provide an extra measure of protection is doesn’t come from the gun-grabbing cabal, it was conducted and published, in fact, by none other than Gary Kleck, whose 1995 study which estimated that gun-carrying civilians prevented 2 ½ million crimes from being committed every year. And this estimate, which has been debunked by just about every serious scholar who has ever bothered to review Kleck’s work, remains the non plus ultra argument within Gun-nut Nation for concealed-carry up to the present day.
Kleck’s study on how victims resist crime compared various self-protection (SP) strategies, including using guns or other weapons, running away, yelling or calling attention to the problem, calling the police or hiding away. And with many caveats about the difficulty of analyzing this kind of data, Kleck’s conclusion is this: Using a gun to defend against a violent crime appears to be somewhat more useful in preventing injury, but the difference wasn’t “statistically significant.” And complicating the analysis even further was the fact, according to Kleck, that the very limited number of defensive gun uses made it difficult to determine the value of using a gun as a protective strategy at all.
Hey – wait a minute. I thought that Kleck said there were millions of defensive gun uses every year. And didn’t Mr. Trump say that if someone had brought a gun into the Pulse that the horrible shooting in Orlando wouldn’t have taken place? Now you would think that when the Grand Master of all defensive gun uses says that he really can’t prove that guns make any real difference in providing protection from crime that maybe, just maybe, Gun-nut Nation would pull back a bit, reconsider one of its most cherished ideas and perhaps, God forbid, admit that their attempt to get everyone to go out and buy a gun is based on nothing other than what they want rather than what really is.
But let’s go back to the issue that provoked this column, namely, Tim Johnson’s report on the new HRC attack ad being mounted by the NRA. Their main man, Donald Shlump-o, is beginning to fall behind in PA. All of sudden the great surge in Ohio appears to have come to an end. The Florida polls don’t look all that great. These are three big gun states and these are states which if they don’t go red, the main actor in the Fox News reality show known as the Republican Presidential campaign is toast. So why not push an argument about defensive gun use that has no basis in truth? Hasn’t this been the Trump-o strategy from Day One?