John Lott’s newest piece at Investor’s Business Daily starts this way:
No doubt, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg passionately believes in gun control. To his credit, he puts his own money — tens of millions of dollars, and possibly much more — into pushing the issue politically.
But Bloomberg’s push hasn’t been just political advertising, lobbying and media appearances. He also funds studies that have gone overboard in backing up his anti-gun beliefs.
To put it plainly, they have not only exaggerated their conclusions but have fabricated numbers. And these incorrect numbers have then been used to push for more regulations.
The connections to Bloomberg are not always obvious, as he has funded several organizations, making it look like there is more widespread support. There are Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health and two organizations of which he is the primary financial supporter though they are not directly connected to his name: Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action.
Over the last couple of years, studies from these organizations have received massive, uncritical news coverage, without even the slightest questioning of the numbers presented.
Take the recent report from Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action on school shootings, which was covered in more than 2,000 news stories.
In February, they claimed that what they called “mini-Newtowns” had become so common that the media no longer paid attention to them. After all, they claimed, 44 shootings had occurred in schools and colleges since the Newtown, Conn., massacre on Dec. 14, 2012. Out of the 44 shootings, a total of 28 people died.
“Mini-Newtowns”? Hardly. To inflate their numbers they included cases of legitimate self-defense as well as lone suicides late at night when no one else was around the school.
Also included are late-night shootings taking place even off school property or at the periphery of the grounds, often involving gangs. As “shootings,” they include any incident where shots were fired, even when nobody was injured.
About 40% of the deaths (11 out of 28) were suicides. Probably a third of the cases, with most of the remaining deaths, involved gang fights. Others involved robberies or other crimes.
Or take the oft-repeated claim that the powerful National Rifle Association has used its political muscle to keep people in the dark about the dangers of guns. Supposedly, a 1996 amendment to the federal budget preventing the Centers for Disease Control from advocating gun control dramatically cut public health research on firearms. The NRA supported the amendment.
The supposed evidence? A study from Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns claimed: “As a result, peer-reviewed research on gun violence has sharply declined. A review conducted by Mayors Against Illegal Guns showed that academic publishing on firearm violence fell by 60% between 1996 and 2010. … Academics working in the field describe how constricted federal funding for firearm research has discouraged research in the area.” . . .
The piece is continued here.