Semi-Auto Rifle Headlines Grossly Misleading
A number of news outlets used the findings of a very narrow study on firearm deaths to create some outlandish headlines.
Above is an excellent video talking about the study that yielded some alarming headlines about semiautomatic rifles that you may have seen last week.
The study cited by a number of news outlets looked at a very small number of shootings with specific criteria, but media outlets latched onto a thesis to push some anti-gun propaganda.
“The much bigger problem is media coverage that has jumbled this study to say things that it doesn’t,” says Matt Christiansen in the video.
First the headline and coverage make it seem like the data set being talked about is much larger than it is.
The study is actually only talking about 241 murders in 17 years. That’s 0.2 % of cases.
Second, the research notes that assault weapons were banned from 1994 to 2004, but then goes on to equate semi-automatic firearms with “assault weapons,” yielding some flimsy results.
Third, researchers have no way to equate for “intentionality of the shooter,” meaning they have no idea what the perpetrator would have done had they not had access to the rifle they used.
This information yielded headlines such as, “Semi-Automatic Rifles Kill Twice as Many as Other Guns, Study Finds,” from NBC; “Semiautomatic Rifles May Make Mass Shootings Deadlier, Study Says,” from Forbes; and “AMA Study: Shooters Armed With Semiautomatic Rifles Kill Twice as Many,” from Boing Boing, to name a few.