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By Larry Keane

The media got another lesson on the dangers of getting ahead of the facts when it comes to their reporting. This time, they blamed gun buyers for the spike in crime.

Turns out, law-abiding citizens who buy guns aren’t the ones committing crimes. They’re buying guns because of the rise in crime. Media are getting it wrong – again – and quietly backing off their anti-gun narrative…for the moment at least.

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes thought he had all the answers, or at least enough to mislead his shrinking audience of viewers. He predetermined that 21 million background checks last year – and over 8.4 million first-time gun buyers – are the problem in America. Those would be the guns that were bought, sold, and possessed by those individuals that followed the law, underwent a background check and obtained them legally from licensed firearm retailers.

“America is a violent place,” Hayes told his viewers. “America has a lot of guns. And last year, Americans got a lot more guns and got more violent. Is it crazy to see a relationship between these two simple stark facts?”

Facts Be Damned

Yes, Chris. It is crazy. Sometimes it’s a question of which came first, the chicken or the egg. Sometimes it’s just egg on the face.

To support his anti-gun narrative, Hayes took two completely different data points and suggested a causal relationship between them. He conflated correlation with causation. It’s more than just crazy, it is irresponsible and an abdication of actual journalistic principles.

Not to worry though. No one takes MSNBC seriously as a “journalistic” enterprise.

The Reload’s Stephen Gutowski took Hayes’ antigun pontifications to task. It wasn’t difficult, nor did it have high hurdles. Gutowski relied on a tried-and-true method. He examined the facts.

Gutowski pointed out that the data Hayes was attempting to use to boost his anti-gun screed actually discredited his arguments. The charts he used to show the spike in gun sales were actually tables of background checks.

Those would be the same FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) that verified the individual purchasing a firearm is a law-abiding citizen who hasn’t been prohibited from possessing a firearm.

“That should give you insight into the people buying all those guns: namely, that they can pass a background check,” Gutowski tweeted. “It’s rather unlikely that a significant number of people who can pass an FBI background check to buy a gun then immediately turned around and murder someone.”

Well, unlikely to everyone other than David Chipman who thinks gun owners are all future criminals in waiting.

Simple Research

Gutowski went on to explain it in further detail on his website. Fox News covered the blowback against Hayes from Gutowski. Bearing Arms’ Cam Edwards also took apart the blind accusations as “simplistic to the point of inanity.”

Giffords David Chipman ATF
Giffords Law Center Senior Policy Advisor David Chipman (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Edwards pointed to the fact that the gun sales spike started in March 2020 and in April, gun control darling Chipman, who is nominated to run the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), mocked gun owners as zombie apocalypse preppers. Edwards added that the Chicago Sun Times reported violent crime was spiraling out of control in May 2020, two months after Americans started buying guns in record numbers.

Even UC Davis Disagrees

Turns out, when the facts are objectively examined, the exact opposite of what Hayes alleges turns out to be true. Axios reported that a University of California-Davis Violence Prevention Research Program took a look at the facts. These university programs are normally incubators for antigun groupthink, so when they reach an opposing conclusion, it is worth noting.

Their study showed that there were 4.3 million firearm purchases above the norm from March through July 2020. There was also a 27 percent increase in firearm injuries at the same time.

“Researchers found no clear association between more gun purchases and increased gun violence… during the first two months of the pandemic when lockdowns were most severe,” Axios reported. The report stated that might be because those guns were sold to existing gun owners.

NSSF’s surveys demonstrate gun purchases as the causation of crime is not the case. Over 8.4 million times, that wasn’t the case. Those same surveys asked retailers not just who was buying guns, but why. Customers told firearm retailers it was because of concerns over personal safety.

That bore out in the types of firearms that were most popular. Typically, handguns comprise over half the guns sold in a typical year. That held true in 2020, but with 21 million background checks, that tells the industry that there were tens of millions of background checks for handgun sales. Those aren’t guns typically used for hunting. These would be a poor choice for ducks or deer, but an excellent choice for personal defense.

It’s not rocket science. It doesn’t take a university research center to mull over the data. It’s really simple. People are buying guns to protect themselves.

It’s the crime, stupid.


Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.


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  1. Well, Duh. Nobody but a moron honestly believes guns cause crime. People with an agenda push that crap and they know it’s not about crime.

    • Guns do not cause crime.
      Guns cause deaths.
      Chris is a native “Chicagoan”.
      He is well aware of crime.
      He is well aware of gun deaths.
      104 “Chicagoans” were shot ( including 13 “kids” )/19 killed during the 4th of July weekend.
      Absolutely no one could ever say that is good.
      It is likely those who shot the 104 do not possess their firearms legally.
      ( Doubtless even some of those firearms were obtained from their legal owners who did not store them under lock and key. )
      Many firearms may have been brought in from out of state.
      Not all states/cities have the same strict firearms laws.
      It is self evident the situation is deteoriating more and more.
      It is difficult to argue the facts.

      • Hard to argue with facts? Every one of these high crime cities are run by democrats. Maybe the facts are showing its time to do something about the democratic party.

        The states and cities with less gun laws. Do they have this level of crime and violence?

      • “Absolutely no one could ever say that is good”

        in theory, sure. but in practice, how much does it actually matter?

      • Interesting.
        Guns do not cause crime. OK, that makes sense. Glad we agree.
        Guns cause deaths. No, they don’t. People shooting living things with guns cause death.
        Chris is a native “Chicagoan”. From what part of the city? Upper-class suburban neighborhood? Works in a guarded building? Does it matter?
        He is well aware of crime. Is he, really? Has he ever been a victim of same? Is his ‘awareness’ limited to what he reads or sees on the MSM?
        He is well aware of gun deaths. Is he, really? Does he know anyone personally who has been shot to death? Are the ‘numbers’ merely an abstract concept, completely unrelated to his safe life? Being ‘aware’ and ‘willing to act’ are two completely different things.
        104 “Chicagoans” were shot ( including 13 “kids” )/19 killed during the 4th of July weekend. And? It was a long weekend. Fireworks are illegal. What’s a gangbanger supposed to DO?!
        Absolutely no one could ever say that is good. That depends. If any of the victims were innocent bystanders, that’s ‘bad.’ If they were members of the 117,000 gangbangers, not so much.
        It is likely those who shot the 104 do not possess their firearms legally. And? A large number of people possess ‘illegal’ firearms, and don’t kill other people with them.
        (Doubtless even some of those firearms were obtained from their legal owners who did not store them under lock and key.) Oh, doubtless. It’s just one way of obtaining a firearm, isn’t it? Are there no others? If all stolen firearms were removed from the equation, would murder simply disappear? Is one more, or less, dead if killed with a stolen firearm? Is a firearm stolen from interstate commerce, hijacked from a railcar, the same as one stolen from someone’s home? Aren’t there LAWS against stealing firearms?
        Many firearms may have been brought in from out of state. Virtually ALL of them have been brought in from out of state; Illinois has no native gun-manufacturing industry except Springfield, which imports almost everything anyway. On the other hand, Massachusetts has both strict gun laws AND native firearm manufacturing, yet isn’t known as the throbbing heart of gangbanging murders, is it? Maybe it’s the water.
        Not all states/cities have the same strict firearms laws. And? Normal states and cities that lack strict firearms laws are also not known for being Murder Centrals. Why is that? What magical change occurs at the Illinois border, that thing that turns a common firearm into a murder weapon? Is it the water, again? And why is it not ALL of Illinois, but just one city, and just one portion of that city? Different water?
        It is self evident the situation is deteoriating more and more. “Deteriorating.” And it will continue to do so, so long as criminality is basically rewarded.
        It is difficult to argue the facts. Yes, isn’t it?

        • I submit, albeit without evidence, that most of those deaths in Chicago are related to the illegal drug business. If that could be proven, shouldn’t we look into outlawing illegal drugs, and the illegal criminals who distribute them illegally to people not legally allowed to possess them? I’m pretty sure that there is no “right to keep and bear illegal drugs” in the Bill of Rights, although there is no authorization for the Federal government to pass any manner of law on the subject, either. Folks, laws are written on paper, crime occurs on the street, in the real world. The one will never have any effect on the other. To decrease crime you need to get outside and capture or kill the criminals. Nothing else will work. Ever.

        • deteoriating.
          a popular meme regarding reduced chai consumption.

          i’ll put the kettle on.

        • John in AK: You took the words right off my keyboard. One thing to add. Guns are inanimate objects they will do absolutely nothing (but rust) until a bad guy picks one up to do something bad or a good guy picks one up to stop a bad guy.

      • All States have the same laws governing the purchase of firearms — Federal Law. The States that allow private sales only allow them between State residents You can only buy long guns out of State and take them with you but even so the retailer must follow the laws of the buyer’s State, including all waiting periods. Handguns purchased out of State are transfered through an FFL in the buyer’s State. The “they bought in a State with weak guns laws” narrative is a red herring. There is really no incentive to buy a firearm across States for nefarious purchases.

      • Hey Whitney, you are a good example of a liberal that doesn’t know enough about the gun controversy to comment and spread misinformation. Take for example your statement that many guns are bought outside of Illinois because not all state gun laws are the same. Well, here is why that statement is so stupid. Background checks to purchase a firearm is a Federal law that is the same in all fifty states. The problem isn’t the guns, it’s the fact that there are people out there who don’t follow the law. So how are more gun laws going to change that you mentally ill Liberal?

      • If you remove 5 gang infested neighborhoods from the Chicago equation, they end up one of the safest cities on the planet. (About 200th down the list of total shootings if I remember correctly.) Don’t want to get shot in Chirac, stay out of those neighborhoods and chances are pretty good you leave without any extra ventilation

  2. If they actually believed the s**t they’re spouting, they WOULD be stupid. They don’t believe it any more than we do, that just makes em evil!!

  3. I appreciate this type of article. I do wish, however, that links to member-only sites (the “to task” link) were avoided.

  4. “David Chipman who thinks gun owners are all future criminals in waiting”

    to him, they are. by definition. because the left thinks anyone not under the direct and personal and total control of the left is a criminal by definition.

  5. The article presented is interesting and proves beyond a doubt that the MSM is only presenting a narrative, especially MSMBC and CNN.
    The problem is that this is preaching to the choir.
    The sad truth is the the low information voter looks at the bilge spewed by these “journalists” and are taken as God’s truth. They won’t look any further nor question what they are being spoon fed.
    How do we make the MSM actually show both sides of the coin? How do we get the other side of the story out to the masses?
    I unfortunately am not smart enough to know the answer. Maybe some of you do.

  6. “How do we make the MSM actually show both sides of the coin?”

    by replacing every single person in their entire organizational structure from top to bottom.

  7. That picture of chipman is the position he’ll have to assume to get the job. I have to laugh everytime I see it!

  8. “April, gun control darling Chipman, who is nominated to run the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), mocked gun owners as zombie apocalypse preppers.”

    Twit was just pissed that he was to stupid to keep buttwipe on hand.

  9. When the law abiding have guns, criminals actually think twice!

    • No, he SQUATS out of the shower to p***. Chris Hayes may, along with Jim “Dear Diary” Acosta, “Tater” Stelter, Queef Olberdouche, the most useless, “soibois”, estrogen-laden “men” in the country – with the possible excepton of Rachel Madcow.

  10. Chris Hayes is very similar to the bully in the school yard who knows it all even though everyone knows he is full of dipper do do. He is only a mouthpiece for MSNBC whose purpose is to make waves by creating fiction and pushing it as fact to those who would believe him, which is very few.

  11. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. This is exactly what Liberals do. So it is very clear that we are dealing with mentally ill people when we try to make sense of Liberal policy about almost everything. It’s about time we stop electing these mentally ill people into positions of power over us or else. What does this also say about the typical Democratic voter, when these voters keep voting for Democrats expecting different results?

  12. Waco Child-Killing Chipman looks like one of those boardwalk clowns that you shoot water into the mouth to burst the balloon atop it’s head.

  13. Whoever wrote the title-line, try again. Chris Hayes has learned NOTHING. Hard way or easy way, doesn’t matter. He MAY learn something if his enablers crash and burn completely. They’re obviously not deterred by lower ratings. Ratings wax and wane. MSNBC/CNN/CBS, et al, will, unfortunately, be with us as they are into the foreseeable future as long as they continue to receive revenue from the woke corporate world. It will continue to be a struggle to overcome their nonsense.

  14. Chrissy “Crying In His Sweater” Hayes wouldn’t see the truth even if he became a “violent-crime statistic”, his or is it zis/zer/zems chance of becoming a victim increases exponentially each day in Hauptman Warren Wilhelm’s NYC which is a “good” thing as that MSDNC-er deserves to experience maximum pain.

  15. Hayes and like minded others aren’t worth the energy consumed by changing stations or turning the thing off. Matter of fact, such people are a disgrace to what at one time was an honest occupation.

  16. Murder is already illegal. No matter what weapon or method is used. Assault with bodily harm or armed/strong arm robbery is illegal. So, how will disarming the majority of the population change this? Other than making it easier for the criminals.
    The complaint of how guns are being purchased in other states and being brought into various cities is nothing but passing the blame for the city government and police forces not being able to handle the task.
    Can’t speak for other areas, but, the Mobile County Sherriff’s dept. has tracked the guns they recovered when people are arrested within the county. 72% of the guns were stolen. Including a shotgun stolen from a local police officers house. The rest were purchased by friends or family members of the criminals. Straw purchases. Which are also illegal.
    Could it be that those who would use firearms in the commission of a crime just don’t care about the law? Could it be that criminals will find the weapons and tools they need no matter what laws are passed?
    Sorry folks, but gun control has little to do with crime, or even guns. But everything to do with control over the general population.

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