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Journalist Jill Filipovic Wants to Talk Honestly About Guns… Okay, Here’s the Truth

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Jill Filipovic is a New York-based journalist who appears to be pro-gun control.

In a recent op-ed published by CNN Filipovic argues that those of us who defend the 2A are being intellectually dishonest about our position.

She contends we don’t fully recognize the downsides of a Constitutionally-protected right to keep and bear arms and that by resisting efforts to restrict the 2A we are complicit in the death of America’s children. 

Filipovic writes: 

Gun proponents need to be honest: If they believe that the costs of lax gun laws – endemic gun violence, mass death, guns as the leading killer of American children – are a worthwhile tradeoff for the vast right for just about anyone in America to own as many deadly weapons as they like with little regulation, that is their prerogative. This is America, after all, and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But they should stand behind their principles, accept the facts and argue on the merits. And they may have to accept that their principles are not held by most Americans that most of us will choose life and safety over nearly unlimited rights to weaponry and the mass violence and death that come as a result.

There are so many half-truths, lies, and omissions within her piece it’s hard to know where to start.  But, I’ll pick out just five.  And if she’s really interested in productive dialogue between the two camps, she’d address these points one by one.

Claim: “Guns Are the Leading Killer of American Children

I recently wrote an article responding to this claim.  It’s misleading, to say the least.  Guns aren’t the leading killer of American “children.” 

Well, unless you believe 18 and 19-year-old adults are “children” and that children under 1 don’t count as “children.” 

That’s correct.  Gun-control advocates have manipulated the data to reach this tendentious conclusion.  Ms. Filipovic can read my article on the subject or she can check out what Snopes.com had to say on the subject. 

But either way, one can’t make that claim without “some clarifications,” as Snopes puts it.

Claim: “The Research on this Question is Thorough and It Couldn’t Be Clearer: American Gun Violence is a Result of Loose American Gun Laws.

What research?

It turns out that many of the research that gun-control advocates cite is deeply flawed. 

I’d invite Ms. Filipovic to watch this video:

Here’s the main takeaway from Reason.com (emphasis added): 

There has been a massive research effort going back decades to determine whether gun control measures work. A 2020 analysis by the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit research organization, parsed the results of 27,900 research publications on the effectiveness of gun control laws. From this vast body of work, the RAND authors found only 123 studies, or 0.4 percent, that tested the effects rigorously. Some of the other 27,777 studies may have been useful for non-empirical discussions, but many others were deeply flawed. We took a look at the significance of the 123 rigorous empirical studies and what they actually say about the efficacy of gun control laws. The answer: nothing. The 123 studies that met RAND’s criteria may have been the best of the 27,900 that were analyzed, but they still had serious statistical defects, such as a lack of controls, too many parameters or hypotheses for the data, undisclosed data, erroneous data, misspecified models, and other problems. 

Claim: “In fact, States with Lax Gun Laws Have Higher Rates of Mass Shootings than Those with Stricter Laws.

Attorney Konstadinos Moro covered the “red state murder problem” recently for GunsAmerica and explained why it’s not a convincing argument for more gun control.  

For starters, it’s an overly simplistic and arbitrary way to view a complex problem.  And, once again, gun control advocates manipulate the data to push their agenda.  

In Missouri, the “red state murder problem” is primarily driven by homicides in just three counties: Jackson County, St. Louis County, and St. Louis City, as Moro explains. 

These areas, containing Kansas City and St. Louis, account for only 32.5% of Missouri’s population but are responsible for approximately 73% of the state’s homicides. Excluding these counties, the homicide rate for the rest of Missouri falls to around 4.6 per 100,000, significantly below the US national average of 7.8 per 100,000 in 2021.

Moro goes on to point out that Kansas City and St. Louis have had predominantly Democratic leadership. Kansas City’s last Republican mayor left office in 1991, while St. Louis’s last Republican mayor left office in 1949. 

The rest of the state, which leans more conservative, does not contribute as significantly to the overall homicide rates.

Claim: “One Reason the Gun Debate in the US Feels So Stuck is That It’s Not Happening On Shared Terms.

The debate doesn’t happen on “shared terms” because gun control advocates consistently ignore the main driver of gun crime: repeat offenders in Democrat-controlled cities. 

A 2021 study from the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform found that a small, identifiable group of lawbreakers, rather than law-abiding gun owners, is responsible for the majority of criminal firearm misuse in Washington, D.C. 

Despite strict Second Amendment restrictions in Democrat-run cities, gun crimes remain concentrated among these individuals, proving gun control doesn’t work on these hardened criminals, as the NSSF has pointed out.

In 2020, homicide rates in D.C. rose significantly, reaching the highest levels in nearly 20 years in 2021. 

The study analyzed all 341 homicides from 2019-2020 and found that 86% of victims and suspects had prior involvement with the D.C. criminal justice system. 

“Overall, most victims and suspects with prior criminal offenses had been arrested about 11 times for about 13 different offenses by the time of the homicide,” the study said.

Additionally, approximately 86% of the examined murders involved a firearm, excluding cases of justified self-defense. 

The study concluded that around 500 identifiable individuals drive 60-70% of the city’s shootings annually, with no more than 200 individuals responsible at any given moment.

If we’re talking honestly about stopping gun violence, as Ms. Filipovic wishes, the elephant in the room is what we’re doing — or not doing —  to put these violent individuals behind bars.  After all, we know who they are. We know they don’t give a rip about gun control laws. We know that they’re a threat to public safety. Yet it appears we’re allowing them to re-offend with impunity.

Claim: “Taking a Principled Moral Stance Requires Honesty, Including About Costs and Downsides.

Ms. Filipovic never considers the downside of disarming the population in her piece, nor does she acknowledge the number of times responsible armed citizens defend themselves and their families with guns each year.

Guns do, indeed, save lives. How often it happens is a matter of debate.  

At the high end, researchers like Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz claim there are roughly 2.5 million defensive gun uses (DGUs) each year in the U.S.

The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), suggests a lower number of around 100,000 DGUs per year. 

Even taking the low number from the NCVS, there’s no disputing that good guys use guns in this country in self-defense each year. 

Moreover, they also use firearms to stop mass killers.  

Dr. John Lott Jr., president of the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC), found that 14.6% of active shooter incidents between 2014-2021 were stopped by armed citizen responders.  

Dr. Lott also discovered that armed citizens stopped 40% of active shooters in gun-friendly zones during that period. This significant figure underscores the potential effectiveness of armed citizen responders in preventing mass killings.


Jill Filipovic’s op-ed arguing for gun control overlooks key factors and manipulates data to push her agenda. She fails to consider the role of repeat offenders in gun crimes, the potential of armed citizens in stopping active shooters, and the downside of disarming law-abiding citizens.

A genuine, honest debate on gun control should take into account the complex nature of the problem, addressing the underlying causes of gun violence and acknowledging the real-world impact of responsible gun ownership in the United States.

Hopefully, she responds. We’ll see.

is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

Read the full article here

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