Author Blames Media For Anti-Gun Bias

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

Washington (CNS) - A national gun control authority blamed inaccurate reporting by the establishment media for widely believed misconceptions regarding firearm ownership.

Dr. John Lott Jr., said the media''s drive to publish sensational stories has overexposed anti-gun reports, and ignored pro-gun segments.

"Bad things happen with guns, but guns can also prevent bad things from happening," Lott says.

According to Lott, the "media doesn''t report pro-gun stories, only sympathetic victims."

Lott says that this faulty reporting has caused a number of "myths arisen due to inaccuracy in media."

Citing his own research, Lott says that 950 children under the age of 15 drown in pools each year and 138 die in accidental gun deaths. Lott asks why isn''t there a media frenzy to ban swimming pools, or at least sell them with locks and covers.

Skewed studies are the backup for these "myths" said Lott. When the media takes a poll of people, it often turns into a "situation where I don''t think most people are familiar with, and the media doesn''t explain, how the study is put together."

One fallacy Lott attributes to misleading statistics is the idea then when faced with an attacker; passive behavior is the safest course of action. This claim is based on the average success rates of many different types of active resistance. Lott says "when you break these things down you find that some are much safer."

To be exact, he says, a woman without a gun is 2.5 times more likely to be injured than one with a weapon. A man brandishing a gun is 1.4 times less likely to get hurt than an unarmed man.

Lott dispels the theory that a gun in the home is more likely to kill a resident than defend against an attacker, blaming it again on misleading statistics. When a gun owner dies as the result of a gunshot would, media statisticians assume it was the owner''s gun that caused his demise.

In actuality, 4 percent of the time it is the owner''s gun, and 96 percent of the time an intruder''s gun causes the death.

Lott says that a gun in the home is excellent defense from intruders. Ninety-eight percent of potential robbers are scared away by the sight of a homeowner holding a gun. In over 2 percent of the cases a warning shot is enough to scare attackers away, and the remaining tenths of 1 percent constitute the times an inhabitant actually shoots an intruder. That percentage point, says Lott, translates into less than 1 in 1000.

Studies that show the U.S. as having an extraordinarily high gun control rate, and the claims that this results in a high murder rate are outrageous, says Lott.

"Usually you have the same countries used over and over, Japan, Canada, Britain, the U.S., and maybe Germany."

Looking elsewhere, Lott says there are many countries with similar or higher gun ownership rates, and lower murder rates than the usual five countries used. Switzerland has one of the lowest murder rates in Europe, with gun ownership 2.5 times higher than Germany, and 40 percent fewer murders.

New Zealand fits this same mold, having 1.5 times more guns than Australia, and one third fewer murders. Israel high gun ownership due to extremely lax concealed carry handgun laws, but its murder rate is 40 percent lower than Canada, a country almost six times its size.

Lott hopes the U.S. will follow in Israel''s footsteps and develop concealed carry laws, saying "if the states that didn''t have the right to carry laws adopted them you''d start seeing a noticeable impact in a few years."