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Empire State Building shooting (courtesy

Gun control activists love pseudo-scientific “studies.” They know that most journalists can’t balance a checkbook – never mind crunch numbers or examine scientific methodology. The anti’s count on the mainstream media to pass on the studies’ faulty data and skewed conclusions, knowing that the average Americans’ limited attention span and lack of analytical skills ensures uncritical acceptance of what is, essentially, a lie. provides another shining example of the deception: NY SAFE Act gun control law encouraging mentally ill to seek help, study shows. Just read the first two paragraphs . . .

Syracuse, N.Y. – Instead of discouraging people from seeking treatment for psychiatric problems, New York’s efforts to keep tabs on people considered too mentally unstable to own guns may be encouraging the mentally ill to seek help, a study suggests.

Upstate Medical University researchers surveyed 49 mental health patients at an Upstate clinic to find out if they would be scared off from seeking help by a provision in New York’s SAFE Act gun control law requiring mental health professionals to report patients who are potentially dangerous. People with gun permits who are reported to the state can have their guns confiscated and permits suspended.

Allow me to document the three main problems with this “study.”

1. It uses all of 49 people as their sample. Over 1 million people in the state of New York own guns. A valid, representative survey of gun owners would require a sample size of over 300 at a bare minimum. Forty-nine respondents is laughably insufficient.

2. The 49 people tall came from the same clinic in upstate New York. A valid, representative sample would need to include gun owners from across the state.

3. Those 49 people were mental health patients who were already undergoing care. Therefore, they had already made the choice to seek mental health assistance after the passage of the SAFE Act. The study’s authors asked people who had already performed an action if they would consider performing that same action again.

The SAFE Act inflicts severe penalties for gun owners who seek mental heath assistance, including the confiscation of their firearms and a potentially permanent firearms ban. For mentally ill New Yorkers who value their Second Amendment rights, the SAFE Act’s draconian mental health provisions are a reason not to seek treatment. (To say nothing of the low threshold for inclusion on the prohibited persons database and the scandalous lack of controls within the Act’s mental health reporting process.)

By dis-incentivizing mental health treatment for gun owners, the SAFE Act increases the risk to society. Which is why this study was undertaken; to disprove the truth. Even a cursory glance at the methodology reveals that the study is nothing more than anti-gun agitprop:

The survey showed 78 percent of patients said the law would have no effect on their decision to seek care in a crisis, 16 percent said the law would make them more likely to seek help, while 6 percent said it would make them less likely to seek help. Most said the law would make them more likely to discuss risk factors of suicide and violence with a provider.

Even gun owners, who accounted for 26 percent of those surveyed, said they would not be less likely to discuss their risk of suicide and violence as a result of the law.

Note: only 26 percent of the people surveyed owned guns. So this was a survey of 13 gun owners, all of whom had already chosen to seek mental help. The study was designed to find out whether these [former] gun owners would seek mental help despite the SAFE Act’s confiscatory regime. That’s like walking into a local Starbucks and asking for a show of hands of who likes coffee, then applying that percentage to the entire population.

This is literally the dumbest thing I have seen in months. Even Robert (who is no bueno with understanding big science-y words) figured out what was going on and debunked it on his own. Of course, gun control activists will take the results at face value. They’ll claim that gun rights advocates are paranoid scare mongers (intimating that they should lose their gun rights).

The antis don’t care about facts. They don’t care about the truth. They only care about furthering their agenda, no matter what the cost. The ends justify the means. If and when a psychotic spree killer wreaks havoc – someone who might have sought treatment if he could have done so without permanently losing his gun rights – the antis will simply say the law needs to be tightened. Or a new law enacted. It’s not bad logic. As this study shows, it’s no logic at all.

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  1. When the pro firearms rights groups discuss the de-funding of “firearms safety” research, this is the sort of junk “science” to which they are referring. This wouldn’t pass muster in a high school statistics class. Trivial sample size and pure auto-correlation.

    But those are big words and probably lost on the “journalists”.

  2. Ironically the journalism school in Syracuse mandates a course on analyzing statistics to avoid this very situation

    • And any student who actually passes this statistics class at Syracuse is immediately labeled as a “smarty pants”, and ejected from the journalism school, according to a highly scientific survey of 2 students.

  3. I don’t think the term “selection bias” sounds anywhere near strong enough to make it clear that this is LITERALLY fixing the sample to eliminate any possibility of valid response.

  4. They should have stopped after they asked the first person who answered affirmatively, then 100% of everyone supports the SAFE act.

  5. Anti gun voters and politicians do not care about facts. They are of the “deny, deny, deny” school of thought.

    If they admit they were wrong, they would also have to admit to murdering, raping, and assaulting, by proxy (the criminals), by law, by their opinion, the victims of this country. They have too much to lose.

    Just look at what they are doing with immigration and global warming to get a bit of insight.

  6. So they explained, to mental patients in a mental health care setting, that there’s this new law that gives mental health providers broad powers to strip them of their rights. Then they proceeded to ask, in effect: “if you were feeling suicidal or violent, you’d tell me, right?

    I’m sure that for an encore, they’ll show that most people would be totally willing to let friends know if their baby is ugly.

  7. My grandson polled his class of 33 students. They voted unanimously that they liked ice cream cones, 26 said they liked puppy dogs, and all wanted more recess.

  8. I don’t answer survey questions. Period. If more took this position we wouldn’t have to read about the bizarre ways surveyors twist the results to suit their agenda.

  9. “A survey of TTAG readers reveals 100% disapproval for the NY SAFE Act, with 97% labeling it ‘dumber than a pile of rocks in a stupid kettle.'”

  10. I hear quite a bit that mental illness needs to be de-stigmatized, and I agree. Yet, states like NY and CA seem to be working incredibly hard to place a lifetime stigma on even mild and treatable forms of mental illness. This study is simply garbage. If people know they’ll be permanently stripped of their property that they have acquired for their own reasons that can run the gamut from trap shooting to self-defense, it would at the very least give them pause, and in many cases make them abandon the idea of getting treatment altogether.

    • Returning vets could simply plan on losing all their personally owned firearms, and any possibility of ever buying another. One direction is working on getting every vet considered “guilty” of PTSD (although not worthy of treatment), while this BS is saying they must be disarmed if they have PTSD. In a widespread and real rebellion, recently discharged or AWOL vets would be the backbone of resistance forces. The brilliant move would be to marginalize those men beforehand, so as to belittle their efforts when the emperor makes his move.

  11. If the “researchers” really wanted to know how the mentally ill feel about guns and health care, all they had to do was review the legislative roll call on the SAFE Act.

  12. 4. How many of the 49 own or have ever owned guns?

    It seems to me that somebody that doesn’t care to own a firearm, wouldn’t give a crap about that provision in the law.

    A pro-gun journalist (I know, haha) who went to a gunstore and asked 49 sane gun owners if they would be discouraged from seeking mental health treatment if they new there RKBA would be eliminated if they did, and then presented his results as anything but passing anecdote, would be laughed out of his profession.

    • Well, THAT is certainly a rational evaluation! Why wasn’t the poll taken in a gun store? I can’t figure it out!


  13. This is typical politicized twaddle pretending to be science. That “medical researchers” lent their name and reputation to this smoking turd they’re trying to pass off as science is a good indication of how low even professional medical researchers are willing to stoop in order to support gun-control ideology. Now that it’s published, Shannon and the Moms, along with the slime-ball NY politicians who supported it, will begin spouting these bogus “facts” as proof that the SAFE Act is a good law.

  14. Totally, completely invalid results.

    A far better approach would have been the exact opposite: Survey people who aren’t in the mental health system. Guarantee anonymity somehow. Use a valid sample size and geographic inclusion method.

  15. So we’re all in agreement. This is another bogus ‘study’ in a growing list of irrelevant false studies meant to mislead the public.
    Does that mean we get to clarify this hogwash on the evening news for all to see?

    Yeah, that’s what I thought, and therein lies the problem with this sort of thing and how it poisons the public well.

    Until POTG receive even handed treatment by the big liberal media, the unfounded anti-gun conditioning and propaganda will continue unabated.

  16. I hate to say it but I would self medicate rather than lose my rights. NY really sucks.

  17. Dr Kaufman, thank you for your work treating the mentally ill. Its definitely needed.
    But, c’mon, you went to MIT for chrissakes- every student in Stats 101 learns “correlation is not causation”…yet, you allow yourself to be quoted as saying:
    “We are hopeful the SAFE Act may actually reduce the number of firearm suicides in New York state,” Kaufman said.

    Physician, Heal Thyself, First.

    Here is the esteemed Bruce Kraft deconstructing similar agitprop from then Mayor Bloomberg:

    And, sorry, – here is a clue for journolistas – citing CDC as an authority is …well,
    somewhat less lustrous than pre-Ebola, hmmm?

    And don’t you think it might be balanced reporting to cite, the “un-expected” findings of the first CDC Study on guns?

    Let me help, h/t Guns and Ammo.

    Perhaps thats why this study is not published, as it would not stand the briefest peer review.
    (at least it doesnt show up on PubMed, or under his bio,)

    All thats missing is the hockey stick…

  18. Nice Fisk’ing, Nick.

    C’mon, Dr Kaufman – you went to MIT for chrissakes – Whats next, a hockey stick?
    Stats101 students know that “correlation is not causation”:

    BTW, here is another article by, same author- scroll to the verrrryyyy bottom for the money shot, that calls into question the central theme:

    “Some research suggests otherwise. A 2006 study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry estimated people with severe mental illness commit about 5 percent of violent crimes. A National Institute of Mental Health study found drug and alcohol abuse is far more likely to lead to violent behavior than mental illness”.

    Careful what you wish for- half the cops and 95% of politicians would be out of work if you dug into their background, and applied the same background checks for CCW that politicians impose on the little people…

    “There’s three kinds of lies; Lies, Damn Lies, and statistics!’ ~

  19. Hmm. I think putting too many links in a comment puts me into the spam filter-

    so all I will say is there is an excellent article from 2013 comparing the numbers from different studies, and the difficulty in applying them, especially in politicized subject like OMG, GUNS.

    I applaud Dr Kaufman for his work with the mentally ill. I’d only caution him by noting the complete loss of trust in SCIENCE, thats underway, thanks to the manipulation of data by grant seeking colleges- can you say “hockey stick”.

    And while he’s certainly entitled to his opinion, it doesn’t enhance his professional reputation, or SUNYs, when he’s quoted so carelessly – and the bias for a state funded school, in NY, of all places, is obviously open to question, given the politics, when even the average news reader knows that “correlation is not causation”.

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