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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Obama's Gun Control Misfire

That's the title of an Op/Ed by Jason L. Riley of the Manhattan Institute that appeared yesterday in the Wall Street Journal:
Last September the Obama administration produced an FBI report that said mass shooting attacks and deaths were up sharply—by an average annual rate of about 16% between 2000 and 2013. Moreover, the problem was worsening. “The findings establish an increasing frequency of incidents,” said the authors. “During the first 7 years included in the study, an average of 6.4 incidents occurred annually. In the last 7 years of the study, that average increased to 16.4 incidents annually.”

The White House could not possibly have been more pleased with the media reaction to these findings, which were prominently featured by the New York Times, USA Today, CNN, the Washington Post and other major outlets. The FBI report landed six weeks before the midterm elections, and the administration was hoping that the gun-control issue would help drive Democratic turnout.
Now comes word from the two academics at Texas State University who co-authored the FBI report, J. Pete Blair and M. Hunter Martaindale, that “our data is imperfect.”   But don't look for this news in the same outlets that carried the original report with such glee last year.  The authors made the admission in ACJS Today, an academic journal published by the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.  Not really something that the average American picks up and reads on a daily basis.  The authors basically admit that because some of the data they needed did not exist, they basically made it up:
“Because official data did not contain the information we needed, we had to develop our own,” (emphasis added) wrote Messrs. Blair and Martaindale. “This required choices between various options with various strengths and weaknesses.”
Dr. John Lott told Riley that the 2014 FBI report is best viewed as a "political document" rather than a serious work of social science because the data used appears to have been "selectively chosen" to achieve certain results. 

Remember, this is the FBI, the same agency some want to take on the work of a shut down ATF.  No thanks.

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