Biased “Researchers” Playing Games with Numbers



Biased "Researchers" Playing Games with Numbers
Biased “Researchers” Playing Games with Numbers

Fairfax, VA – -( Stanford Law Professor John Donohue and Theodora Boulouta, a Stanford undergrad, wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times that claims their new analysis shows the 1994 “assault weapons” ban definitely did function.

Their obtaining is that, “Compared with the decade ahead of its adoption, the federal assault weapon ban in impact from September 1994 via 2004 was linked with a 25 % drop in gun massacres (from eight to six) and a 40 % drop in fatalities (from 81 to 49).”

For some explanation, Donohue and Boulouta chose to use six fatalities as the minimum, as an alternative of the frequent definition of 4 or even the Obama-era try to lessen the threshold to 3. Jacob Sullum at Explanation has a fairly fantastic guess as to why Donohue and Boulouta chose six: “Yet they chose to concentrate on situations with six or additional fatalities, for no clear explanation except that it exaggerates the adjustments they attribute to the “assault weapon” ban that expired in 2004.” Sullum’s post is titled, “A Suspiciously Selective, Logically Shaky Evaluation of Mass Shooting Information Claims the Federal ‘Assault Weapon’ Ban ‘Really Did Work’.”

Sullum utilizes the full Mother Jones dataset, like incidents in which 3 folks had been murdered (as an alternative of the lengthy-accepted threshold of 4 fatalities) and incidents that Mother Jones categorizes as a spree killing. So, although Sullum’s point about Donohue and Boulouta’s something-but-arbitrary choice method is valid, his totals could be additional refined to greater meet the typically accepted definition of a public mass shooting.

So that is what we did. We restricted the dataset to these identified by Mother Jonesas mass shootings and these with 4 or additional fatalities. There had been 15% fewer mass shootings in the course of the so-named “assault weapons” ban than in the prior decade…but we’re speaking about uncommon events so the 15% lower is a shift from 13 to 11. There was a 32% lower in fatalities. The prior decade incorporated the Luby’s Cafeteria attack in Killeen, Texas. Excluding that case alters the decreases to eight% in incidents and 12% in fatalities.

See how a single incident amongst uncommon events can alter the calculated statistics?

Donohue and Boulouta seem to have applied some more case choice method in their evaluation. Working with the very same database and searching only at mass shootings with six or additional fatalities, we have seven incidents in the decade ahead of the ban and six in the course of the ban. Excluding weapons not legally acquired shifts the totals for each and every period down by one particular occasion (to six and 5, respectively). There had been nevertheless 48% additional fatalities ahead of the ban than in the course of. Let’s appear at the six situations from the decade ahead of the shooting. Two involved semi-automatic variants of AK-style rifles and a further involved a pair of Intratec DC-9 pistols. Right here are what the other incidents involved:

  •      Three semi-automatic handguns – a .22 and two Colt 1911s
  •      Two semi-automatic handguns, a bolt-action rifle, two revolvers, and two shotguns
  •      An M1 carbine and a revolver
  •      Two semi-automatic handguns

Which of these firearms would have been prohibited beneath the so-named “assault weapons” ban?

Donohue and Boulouta deliberately chose a definition that permitted them to provide the most dramatic modify probable. They present this rudimentary evaluation as proof that the “assault weapons” ban is accountable for any modify at all. They assert that the modify should be since the law and the subsequent sunsetting permitted “the gun sector to flood the market place with increasingly effective weapons that permit for quicker killing.”

Except none of that is accurate. Semi-automatic rifles in the years ahead of the ban, these that had been explicitly banned, these that had been readily available in the course of the ban, and these now readily available are functionally the very same. Prices of fire and muzzle velocity have not changed. Donohue argues that, “assault weapons are semiautomatic firearms made for speedy fire and combat use, and substantial capacity magazines boost the quantity of rounds that can be fired without having reloading.” Semi-automatic firearms, as any one familiar with guns or any one not searching to manipulate an argument knows, fire a single round per trigger pull. They’re also not made for combat use. Military forces typically use pick-fire weapons that are capable of firing additional than one particular round per trigger pull.

What is noticeably absent from this evaluation is any consideration for the identified contagion impact of mass shooters. Mass shooters seek fame, and media reports assistance provide this to their twisted minds. 1 of the important variations in between now and the 1980s, 1990s, and even the early 2000s is the proliferation of world wide web access and content material readily available digitally. Data on mass shooters is readily readily available, permitting disturbed and deranged monsters the capability to obsess more than mass shooters and assisting their personal twisted fantasies fester. The contagion impact is actual, and really should be viewed as in any sort of evaluation – as nicely as a warning sign for prospective mass shooters.

As talked about above, Donohue is a Stanford Law professor. This does not cease him from repeating the absurd anti-gun speaking points about the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. He claims that, “no other sector is permitted to act so recklessly without having facing legal challenge. But a 2005 law immunized gun makers for harm triggered by the criminal use of firearms.” What sector is held accountable for the criminal use of its legally sold solutions, Professor?

Warning indicators are normally strung collectively just after the reality – or ignored in actual-time by authorities additional interested in funding than security, as in Parkland. No method – not even an “assault weapons” ban – will function if efforts are not produced to use it.

Frankly, we anticipated additional from Donohue and his newest co-author. Donohue has, in the previous, attempted to position himself as a researcher. He seems prepared now to out himself as an activist.  While we’re not positive if this opinion post is a precursor to an actual study, the alternatives produced all through the post recommend that – however once more – gun controllers let their preferred outcome dictate the analysis design and style.

National Rifle Association Institute For Legislative Action (NRA-ILA)


Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the “lobbying” arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is accountable for preserving the ideal of all law-abiding men and women in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to acquire, possess and use firearms for reputable purposes as assured by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Take a look at:


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