The Associated Press’ story Why couples, women and the elderly are purchasing guns is a perfect example of the news org’s anti-gun bias. While the majority of the article is perfectly serviceable — offering vignettes of “unexpected” Americans exercising their Second Amendment-protected right to keep and bear arms — the AP just had to inject anti-gun quotes from some of the usual suspects. Like this . . .
Margot Bennett, executive director of Women Against Gun Violence, said claims that more people are becoming first-time firearm owners should be treated with caution due to the lack of available data.
“Although gun purchases are on the rise, they are being purchased by fewer households and by people who already own a gun(s),” Bennett said in an e-mail.
However, several people involved in Lebanon County’s gun industry said there is steady demand for new gun owner training classes, and that middle-aged and retired women are one of the most interested demographics.
Does owning a firearm keep you safer?
Andrew Patrick, spokesman for the Coalition to End Gun Violence, also said it is difficult to tell whether first-time gun purchases are really rising – and if they aren’t, he thinks that’s a good thing.
“The studies we’ve seen over and over against indicate that buying a gun is more likely to be harmful to members of the family and the person than to harm an intruder,” Patrick said.
People living in homes with guns are 90 percent more likely to die of homicides than people in other homes, according to a 2004 story in the American Journal of Epidemiology, and they are also more likely to die of suicide.
Gun ownership may also not make people safer. A comparison study of 27 developed countries published in the October 2013 edition of the American Journal of Medicine found that countries with more guns per capita had more firearm-related deaths, but did not have reduced overall crime rates.
But wait! There’s more!
Gun supporters often refer to carrying firearms as a way to empower women. However, Margot Bennett, executive director of Women Against Gun Violence, believes it isn’t a factually wise choice. When women “know the facts” about the risk of guns being involved in accidents involving children or violence toward women, they will choose not to carry a firearm or keep one in their home, she wrote in an e-mail.
“There is compelling evidence that a gun in the home is a risk factor for intimidation and for killing women in their homes,” concluded a 2011 summary of studies on harms and benefits of firearm ownership published by the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. “The benefit-cost ratio is especially adverse for women and children in the household.”
Ellen Kramer, legal director of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, agreed that guns are more likely to be used against women in domestic violence incidents than in self-defense. In a large majority of cases, women who do use their weapon and kill during a domestic violence incident are charged and plea bargain their cases, often facing jail time, she said.
Beyond the cost-benefits analysis, Kramer said messaging that encourages battered women to buy guns distracts from more important discussions about preventing domestic violence.
“I think it’s a pretty powerful message out there that you have a gun and you’re good to go. What we don’t want people to have is a false sense of security,” she said.
That’s a whole lot of anti-gun agitprop in the middle of an article that requires precisely none. Equally, when the AP writes a story about gun control advocacy, how often do they include quotes from firearms freedom folks? Approximately never.
I’ve said it before: until and unless gun companies can break the blacklist preventing them from advertising their products in the mainstream media, a large part of the culture will be against gun rights. We cannot depend on so-called journalism to spread the pro-gun message, nor can we hope that the alternative media will provide a suitably powerful alternative.
On a side note, if the people in the picture above the article are “elderly,” well, that’s really depressing.