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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

News21's"Investigative" Series on Gun Rights vs. Gun Control

An outfit called News21 has an "investigative" news series called Gun Wars: The Struggle Over Rights and Regulation in America.  The pieces were posted on the organization's web site over the weekend and are running on news web sites like NBCNews, Philly.com, and USA Today among other partners.  The project bills itself as "an investigative-reporting project involving top college students across the country" funded by Carnegie-Knight and is based at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

The articles explore a number of topics like what they call "a resurgence of the gun control movement," as well as articles on background checks and the mentally ill, "Stand Your Ground" laws, the increase in female gun owners, and others. 

I've found some things that don't appear to be completely accurate.  For instance, in the article on the pro-rights and anti-rights organizations, they seem to confuse total NRA income (membership dues which cover the operation of the organization including programs) with the political income for purposes of the chart on the web page.  The reason that the NRA has a budget of $256 million (their number) is because the NRA has 5 million members.  That money goes to running the various programs and the overhead of the organization.  That's not the political side of the house.  So, to compare the $16 million they say is raised by the gun ban lobby with the NRA member dues is comparing apples to oranges.

Another thing I don't think is completely accurate is in the article on armed teachers.  In that article the author states:
In 28 states, adults who legally own guns will be allowed to carry them in public schools this fall, from kindergarten classrooms to high school hallways. Seven of those states specifically cite teachers and other school staff as being allowed to carry guns in their schools.

A News21 examination of open-records laws in those states found that teachers or staff who choose to carry a firearm into their classrooms are not required to tell principals, other teachers or parents. Only five of those states have completely open access to concealed-carry permit information through public records requests. Some state's laws seal off those records, and others are silent on the issue.

In states where it is legal, parents may have no idea their child's teacher carries a gun into the classroom every day.
I could be wrong but I believe they are confusing the statutes that don't allow public access to a state's list of concealed carry permit holders with requirements related to schools allowing teachers to carry on school property.

Look for a whole list of articles by the group to continue appearing on news web sites.

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