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Americans Can Shoot Straighter Than The Washington Post
by Mark Chesnut, Editor - Tuesday, August 4, 2015

At A1F Daily, we've focused a lot recently on bogus "studies" dealing with guns and gun ownership, and how the national media is quick to publish, without question, the alleged "results."

Well, here we go again.

A new "study," completed by the anti-gun National Gun Victims Action Council and quickly championed by the Washington Post, appears to set out to prove that it's a good thing for Americans with concealed-carry permits to utilize training to increase their skills. If that were where the study and the Post landed, we'd applaud their efforts. We whole-heartedly agree that more voluntary training is always better than less.

Rather than suggesting that training is good, both seem more intent on "proving" that armed citizens are not qualified to stop violent criminals, so the whole concept of concealed carry should be tossed out the window.

But after reading the NGVA "study" and the Post story, it's evident they had something else in mind. Rather than suggesting that training is good, both seem more intent on "proving" that armed citizens are not qualified to stop violent criminals, so the whole concept of concealed carry should be tossed out the window. Gun-banners want to have it both ways: They want to ban handguns because they are too easy and efficient for thugs to use, but claim they are too difficult for law-abiding citizens to effectively manage.

In fact, the Post went off the track nearly immediately, showing its strong anti-gun bias in just the second paragraph.

"The notion that more guns are always the solution to gun crime is taken seriously in this country," the Post story said. "But the research shows that more guns lead to more gun homicides-not less. And that guns are rarely used in self-defense."

We can say without reservation that both of those statements are flat-out lies, and it's likely the author knows that. If the author does believe those statements, that might help explain why he was hooked in by such a ridiculous piece of non-science.

The NGVA's "study" is actually several thousand words worth of bovine feces wrapped in a fancy title-"Firearms Training & Self-Defense: Does the Quality and Frequency of Training Determine the Realistic Use of Firearms by Citizens for Self-Defense?" Participants, including some law enforcement officers, were run through three different video scenarios-a carjacking, a convenience store robbery and a theft from a storage building. Afterward, videos were released of armed citizens performing badly and police officers handling the situations well. Not a single video was released showing an armed citizen with the correct response. The gist of the video choice is obvious-there's just no way an armed citizen can do anything right.

(It's worth watching the videos here, just to see their "nonbiased" selection-and get a laugh.)

But that's far from the only thing wrong with this report. Interestingly, the "researchers"-and we use the word lightly-apparently didn't ask participants whether they were licensed to carry a concealed firearm. Yet every scenario used put participants in a public location with a firearm-a situation where a permit is required in most states.

Also, many of participants had never handled a gun or had any type of training at all. Is it reasonable to think that a person who has never touched or fired a gun will somehow find him or herself in an armed self-defense situation? And exactly what would one expect from such a person in such a dilemma? In truth, it's a deceitful, but obvious, way for the "researchers" to get exactly what they want-poor performance. If America's 13 million concealed carry permit holders were really so inept, wouldn't the news be happily airing reports of horrible tragedies caused by permit holders every night?

The actual report on the "study" is fraught with a number of bogus statements, many of them laughable. Here are two of my favorites.

"Legislators and public policy makers must stop denying the reality that carrying and possibly using a firearm is the same as riding a bike and that once you learn you are ready for the Tour de France or the Olympics."

I have no idea exactly where this came from, but the comparison is ridiculous at best. Armed citizens don't need Navy SEAL skills to save their lives or the lives of their family when facing an armed attacker. There are many levels of bicycle riding, just like there are many levels of firearm and self-defense training. This is a blatant example of an apples-to-oranges comparison, and a bad one, at that.

"Though statistical significance was not reached (due to small sample size), it was apparent that those in the advanced skills group were better and more accurate shooters compared to the other participants."

In truth, use of firearms in self-defense is very common. NRA has been republishing those reports in some form since 1954, because they rarely receive much attention in the so-called "mainstream" media.

The obvious reaction to this statement is, "Well, duh." Of course shooters with more skill have more skill. People with more hair have more hair, too. Call Ripley's Believe It or Not!

Putting aside these asinine proclamations, the report's conclusions and recommendations go even further off track. Again, some favorites:

"Thwarting criminals, terrorists, and others who pose a danger to citizens and the country from acquiring firearms should be a paramount objective for government and law-abiding citizens shouldn't object."

Well, duh, again. Of course we don't object to keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, terrorists and others who pose a danger. But what the heck does this have to do with training and armed citizens-what the "study" is purportedly focusing on?

"There's no justification to allow individuals who routinely are involved in bar fights, road rage incidents, or public arguments that require law enforcement intervention to carry a firearm in public."

While this also has nothing to do with armed citizens and training, it's easy to see that it is yet another example of gun-banners trying to put more people on a prohibited list, limiting their ability to practice their Second Amendment rights.

"The study debunked the popular myth that firearm by citizens (stet) for protection was a common occurrence. In fact, few criminals were shot by homeowners. They found that guns in homes were commonly used to intimidate the occupants, including spouses and other family members."

This statement is referring to the recent Harvard Hemenway "study" that has already been countered here. In a nutshell, Hemenway's "research" actually asked "experts" what they thought about defensive gun usage, and 73 percent of these alleged "experts" rejected the assertion that guns are used more often for self-defense than to commit crime. In truth, what these "experts" think has nothing to do with reality. Consequently, the research didn't debunk any "myth" that firearm use for self-defense is rare.

In truth, use of firearms in self-defense is very common. NRA has been republishing those reports in some form since 1954, because they rarely receive much attention in the so-called "mainstream" media. At A1F Daily, we run an Armed Citizen story each day, frequently having to choose from 10 to a dozen for each day's offering. These are fairly high-profile cases where shots were fired and media reported the news.

However, in most cases of armed self-defense, shots are never even fired, and such episodes seldom are reported in the media. In many other episodes, nobody is hit, or the attacker is wounded. Yet anti-gunners like to talk about the number of attackers killed by armed citizens, not the actual number of self-defense episodes.

Each month America's 1st Freedom publishes six to eight "Armed Citizen" stories (we could publish dozens each month more if space allowed). From our March 2012 issue through our March 2013 issue, we published 85 such stories-all involved defensive gun use.

What we don't agree with is the study's apparent conclusion that armed citizens are incapable of stopping crime and that armed self-defense seldom happens.

Of our 85 published events, 23 resulted in the death of the attacker/criminal. The highest number, 30, resulted in the attacker/criminal being injured but not killed. Another 27 involved events in which no shots were ever fired by the citizen, while five others involved shots being fired and nobody being hit. So out of the 85 incidents, 62 didn't involve anyone being killed.

Do our anecdotal "results" prove conclusively that guns are frequently used for self-defense? We don't need to: University of Florida professor Gary Kleck showed back in 1993 that there were as many as 2.5 million defensive gun uses each year in the United States. A year later, the U.S. Department of Justice sponsored a study-"Guns in America: National Survey on Private Ownership and Use of Firearms"-that estimated 1.5 million defensive gun uses annually.

As noted earlier, if the purpose of the study was to convince us that training is a good thing for those choosing to carry a defensive firearm, we agree. Training is never a bad thing. What we don't agree with is the study's apparent conclusion that armed citizens are incapable of stopping crime and that armed self-defense seldom happens.

As for the Post, it went one step further from the topic of armed citizens and training, drawing the conclusion that gun owners should be licensed. That's a big jump-but it's not a big surprise from a newspaper that regularly falls on the extreme anti-gun side of the spectrum.