NRA Fact Checks New York Times Hit Piece

Editor’s note: The following article originally appeared on the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action homepage.  It’s being syndicated below because it does a great job of deconstructing many of the false claims and specious arguments propagated by mainstream media “journalists.”  

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At the same time establishment newspapers are openly abandoning their usual façade of impartiality in their news coverage, their editorial boards have been working overtime to elect Hillary Clinton. However, few have been doing Robby Mook and David Brock’s work for them quite like the New York Times, as evidenced by a ridiculous pro-Clinton/anti-NRA screed that appeared in the August 14 edition of the paper.

Titled, “Donald Trump Courts the Gun Zealots,” the editorial is laden with hyperbole, unsupported claims, and outright falsehoods. Moreover, the Times’ decision to label NRA as “zealots” should strike many as ironic coming from a “news” outlet that used its front page to advocate the undeniably extreme position of confiscating Americans’ lawfully owned firearms.

As there may still be some under the misimpression that the Old Gray Lady contains “all the news that’s fit to print,” a handful of the editorial’s more outlandish passages should be addressed.

A quick myth/fact comparison:

NYT MYTH:   [T]he epidemic of gun carnage that claims more than 30,000 lives in the United States each year…

FACT: This bit of sleight of hand comes directly out of the gun control lobby’s playbook and misleads the public into believing that gun homicides are far greater than they are.

Out of the 30,000 figure, two thirds of these deaths are attributable to suicide. While certainly unfortunate, the Times’ inclusion of these deaths in their purposefully incendiary term “gun carnage” gives the misleading impression to the unsuspecting reader that there are in excess of 30,000 homicides carried out with firearms each year. The Times is following the lead of gun control advocates that lump these self-inflicted injuries into the term “gun violence” in order to deceive the public as to the scale of homicides perpetrated with firearms.

Of course, in normal usage the terms “carnage” or “violence” give the impression of harm inflicted upon others. To illustrate the absurdity of how gun controllers and the Times use these terms, ask yourself if any reasonable individual would describe other leading methods of suicide as rope violence, blade violence, pill violence, water violence, car violence, or carbon monoxide violence. 

While quick to use the term “epidemic,” the Times failed to properly contextualize this passage for the reader by explaining that according to the most recent available date, violent crime is at a 44-year low and the murder rate is at an all-time low.

NYT MYTH:  [Clinton] offers a wide list of lifesaving proposals including restoration of the assault weapons ban…

FACT: The Times correctly pointed out Clinton’s support for the reinstatement of the 1994 ban on commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms, but fails to acknowledge that government-funded research found the ban to be ineffective rather than “lifesaving.”

In pointing out the difficulty of measuring any effect of the 1994 ban, a 1997 Department of Justice-funded study noted that prior to the ban, “the banned weapons and magazines were never used in more than a modest fraction of all gun murders.” A 2004 update to the study determined “we cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence,” and, “Should it be renewed, the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement. AWs were rarely used in gun crimes even before the ban.”

This point was reiterated in a 2013 Department of Justice National Institute of Justice memo, which noted, “Since assault weapons are not a major contributor to US gun homicide and the existing stock of guns is large, an assault weapon ban is unlikely to have an impact on gun violence.” The memo also made clear that even if the Times’ goal of confiscation was successfully carried out, “a complete elimination of assault weapons would not have a large impact on gun homicides.”

Further, aside from conjecture, there is little to support the notion that a ban on these types of firearms or certain types of magazines would have an effect on individual instances of violence. Following the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech, then-Governor of Virginia and current Clinton vice-presidential running mate Tim Kaine formed the Virginia Tech Review Panel to study the tragedy. Addressing the topic of so-called “high capacity” magazines, the panel’s report stated, “The panel also considered whether the previous federal Assault Weapons Act of 1994 … would have made a difference in the April 16 incidents. The law lapsed after 10 years, in October 2004, and had banned clips or magazines with over 10 rounds. The panel concluded that 10-round magazines that were legal would have not made much difference in the incident.”

NYT MYTH:  Research shows the folly of [NRA’s] “concealed carry” campaign to arm millions of ordinary citizens… Far from stopping mass shooters in their tracks, these gun owners have been shooting themselves, family members and others.

FACT: Here, the Times flippantly disparages the more than 13 million law-abiding Americans who choose to exercise their Right-to-Carry, based on a handful of accounts of permit holder misconduct.

In reality, permit holders, as a group, are extraordinarily law-abiding. We know this because certain jurisdictions make available a variety of statistics concerning Right-to-Carry permit holders, including the numbers of permits that have been revoked. Analysis of this data has repeatedly shown that that permit holders, on the whole, are more law-abiding than the general public. In fact, analysis of permit revocations from Florida and Texas conducted by economist John Lott found that Right-to-Carry permit holders are more law-abiding than law enforcement.

In making its derogatory claim, the Times cites Violence Policy Center and their flawed collection of instances where individuals who happen to have a Right-to-Carry permit have engaged in criminal behavior, or committed suicide. In VPC’s bizarre compilation of anecdotes, the wrongdoer’s criminal conduct often bears no relation whatsoever to their status as a permit holder.

Obviously, a Right-to-Carry permit would not be a factor in any instance where a person took their own life. VPC also lists incidents that took place in private residences, where a permit to carry a firearm would not be required. Other cases involve the use of long-guns unsuitable to be carried concealed, thus making the permit irrelevant. VPC even lists two incidents where an individual strangled their victim to death. Predictably, the Times chose to completely ignore the numerous documented instances where permit holders have defended themselves and other from criminal violence.

In a further bit of deception, the Times inaccurately described VPC as a “gun safety group,” in order to hide the organization’s fringe nature. While defining VPC simply as a gun control group would have sufficed, an even more accurate way to describe the organization would be to refer to them as handgun prohibitionists. Contrary to the moderation implied by “gun safety,” in a document titled “Cease Fire: a Comprehensive Strategy to Reduce Firearms Violence,” the group contended that “Handguns should be banned from future sale.”

NYT MYTH:  Why can gun-show customers evade the federal background checks that other gun buyers must undergo?

FACT:  Such evasion doesn’t take place. Contrary to the gun control lobby’s efforts to demonize gun shows, federal law pertaining to background checks is the same at gun shows as it is anywhere else.

Under federal law, gun show patrons are subject to the same background check requirements as any other gun buyer. However, a better way to understand this issue is that gun sellers are subject to the same federal requirements to conduct background checks regardless of location.

Federal law requires those who are “engaged in the business” of dealing firearms to acquire a Federal Firearms License and conduct background checks on those they sell to, whether the sale takes place at the dealer’s place of business or a gun show. A private individual who sometimes transfers firearms from his personal collection is not required to conduct background checks. This is true whether she is trading firearms with a friend or relative at private residence, transferring a firearm pursuant to a notice on her church bulletin board, or if she chooses to rent a table at a local gun show.

Whether or not a customer is required to undergo a background check is dependent upon who the customer is transacting with, not where a firearm transfer takes place.

Further, the Times’ emphasis on gun shows is misplaced, as gun shows are not a significant source of firearms for criminals. In 1997 and 2004 the Bureau of Justice Statistics surveyed state prison inmates about the source of the firearms they possessed at the time of their offense. In both surveys, less than 1 percent of inmates cited “gun show” as the source of their firearms.

NYT MYTH:  Mr. Trump surely has views on whether firearm makers truly deserve blanket protection from damage lawsuits, an extraordinary shield enjoyed by no other industry.

FACT:  The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) does not provide firearms manufacturers with blanket protection from liability suits. Further, the firearms industry is not the only industry to enjoy the type of protection the PLCAA affords.

The Times should know better than to traffic in this falsehood, considering this issue received significant attention during the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. In an October 2015 statement, which the Times appears to have dutifully parroted, Clinton incorrectly claimed that the gun industry is the “only business in America that is wholly protected from any kind of liability.” Clinton repeatedly used this issue to attack opponent Sen. Bernie Sanders, who espoused the reasonable position that firearms manufacturers should not be held responsible for the criminal acts of third parties.

In May, constitutional scholar and law professor David Kopel addressed Clinton’s inaccurate PLCAA statements with a comprehensive explanation of exact contours of the PLCAA. Further, Politifact managed to conduct a reasoned analysis of Clinton’s October 2015 claim and rated it false.

As Kopel made clear, the PLCAA merely prohibits lawsuits against gun makers for damages resulting from the third-party criminal misuse of their firearms. The PLCAA does not protect members of the gun industry from products liability suits for manufacturing or design defects, or certain types of negligent conduct. Moreover, this type of protection is not unique to the gun industry. Citing several legal scholars, the Politifact piece pointed out that federal law bars torts against vaccine manufacturers, and similarly limits suits against other industries.

NYT MYTH:  Rejection of Mr. Trump at the ballot box would also mean a decisive vote against N.R.A. and the human destruction its agenda continues to inflict upon the nation.

FACT: Here the Times’ hyperbole hit a crescendo, and revealed just how out of touch these Manhattanites are from the average American. Despite the paper’s decades-long efforts, the public at large doesn’t agree with the Times’ deranged assessment of NRA and our mission.

An October 2015 Gallup poll asked respondents, “Is your opinion of the National Rifle Association very favorable, mostly favorable, mostly unfavorable or very unfavorable?” 58-percent of those polled answered either “very favorable” or “mostly favorable.” A June 2016 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll sure to bristle the Times’ editorial staff found that NRA’s favorability well outpaced that of their beloved Clinton. NRA’s favorability was found to be 9 percentage points higher than the widely-untrusted candidate, while Clinton’s unfavorable numbers dwarfed NRA’s by 19 points.

As evidenced by the latest edition of a long-running Gallup poll, the American public’s trust in the media has been trending downwards, and currently rests at a “historical low.” Given the establishment press’ flagrant unwillingness to accurately report or comment on the 2016 presidential race, epitomized by the Times’ editorial and other similar poppycock, we have no doubt that this trend will continue apace.

{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Steve Warren November 18, 2016, 9:40 am

    I think we might be taking the wrong track on this. Today Millenials, the “Snowflakes” are not interested in facts and logic.
    They have had all logic and common sense sucked out during the brainwashing they went through in college. These are the most easily deceived, easily led generation ever. They are saturated in left wing, blame-America-first propaganda from Kindergarten.
    Trying to use facts and logic will be fruitless on most of this generation.

  • Randy September 24, 2016, 1:27 pm

    Someone needs to publish a comprehensive list of all of those who would have anything at all to do with taking our gun privileges away, even those who only talk about it and then make it public to everyone if they are not afraid of hiding behind their false gun doctrines.

  • Jim Macklin August 30, 2016, 10:50 am

    Private sellers are required to NOT deliver, loan, sell provide any firearm to a person that is a prohibited person or intends to use a weapon illegally.

    They may not be required to do a NICS check, but the law requires a level of care.

    To whom may an unlicensed person transfer firearms under the GCA?

    A person may transfer a firearm to an unlicensed resident of his or her State, provided the transferor does not know or have reasonable cause to believe the transferee is prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms under Federal law. There may be State laws that regulate intrastate firearm transactions. A person considering transferring a firearm should contact his or her State Attorney General’s Office to inquire about the laws and possible State or local restrictions.

    Generally, for a person to lawfully transfer a firearm to an unlicensed person who resides out of State, the firearm must be shipped to a Federal firearms licensee (FFL) within the transferee’s State of residence. The transferee may then receive the firearm from the FFL upon completion of an ATF Form 4473 and a NICS background check.

    A person may loan or rent a firearm to a resident of any State for temporary use for lawful sporting purposes, if he or she or she does not know or have reasonable cause to believe the person is prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms under Federal law. Another exception is provided for transfers of firearms to nonresidents to carry out a lawful bequest or acquisition by intestate succession. This exception would authorize the transfer of a firearm to a nonresident who inherits a firearm under the will of a decedent.

    A person may transfer a firearm to a licensee in any State. However, a firearm other than a curio or relic may not be transferred interstate to a licensed collector.

    [18 U.S.C 922(a)(5) and 922(d); 27 CFR 478.30, 478.32]

  • loupgarous August 29, 2016, 5:08 pm

    The New York Times used to be “the Old Gray Lady,” but she lost her amateur status back when she started turning tricks for the Democrats. Now she’s just old and gray, and raddled.

    Why even fact-check the “newspaper of record”? They’re in the weird position of (for too many of their readers) defining reality, not actually reporting real things. Otherwise, they’d be embarrassed by the bigotry of their rhetoric toward gun rights advocates. This is a publication which is actually kinder to convicted criminals and those who advocate acts of violence against innocent people (they’ve yet to condemn #blacklivesmatters’ “Pigs in blankets” chant that I know of) than against people who want to preserve a civil right enshrined in the Constitution. That makes THEM zealots.

  • Larry August 26, 2016, 2:25 pm

    As usual, the NRA sets things straight. We currently have a little north of 5 million NRA members out of the nearly 100 million gun owners. Just think, if every one of you gun owners were to join the ranks of the NRA, we would really have some tremendous voting power & could probably stop dead in their tracks all the leftist anti gun BS. What are you waiting for? Join today.

    • Tom Horn August 26, 2016, 10:12 pm

      Right on target!

  • Tom Horn August 26, 2016, 12:32 pm

    “…the public at large doesn’t agree with the Times’ deranged assessment of NRA and our mission.” “…Gallup poll… “Is your opinion of the National Rifle Association very favorable, mostly favorable, mostly unfavorable or very unfavorable?” 58-percent of those polled answered either “very favorable” or “mostly favorable.”

    In lieu of the decades long smear campaign against the NRA, the NRA needs to start a, “We Are the NRA,” campaign, showing it’s members, a cross section of the American population (Factory workers, doctors, nurses, construction workers, office workers, farmers, ranch hands, etc…), and then inform the public of the NRA’s purpose and mission. Many have been brain-washed by Obama’s smear campaign, and believe the NRA is only a gun manufacturer’s lobby.

    In most of the 20th century everyone was on board with 2A Rights. I will sight, the Battle of Matewan, WV., 1920. Even the left knew the value of their 2A Rights. I believe somewhere around the attempted assassination on President Reagan, there began a brainwashing campaign to strip the American people of their Right to Bear Arms.

  • FlyR August 26, 2016, 11:41 am

    Liability protection
    An aircraft manufacturer is not responsible for a terrorist or incompetent pilot crashing an airplane
    The maker of a prescription drug is not responsible for the death of a drug abusing addict

    The list of “protected ” industries is endless
    To put it into perspective
    47,000 annual deaths from drug overdoses

    If all assault rifle murders were eliminated (killer did not use alternate weapon) annual murders might decrease 2%
    However, if blacks could be convinced to murder at the same rate as do whites murders would decrease by about 40%
    The problem is culture not guns.

    The major killings of persons by assault rifles San Bernardino and Orlando were by radical Muslim terrorists. It’s ironic that AFTER the killings Hillary had the father of the shooter in Orlando on the platform when she made a speach

    • loupgarous August 29, 2016, 5:11 pm

      Hillary Clinton’s increasingly tone-deaf to how her actions look. If the press clucked over each and every one of her mistakes and outright betrayals of her self-image as entitled to the Presidency, her campaign would be toast.

  • Tom Stelene August 22, 2016, 3:39 pm

    Has anyone ever known the gun-ban nuts to NOT lie?

    • s herst August 26, 2016, 7:24 am

      Mr. Stelene, I have personally witnessed two occasions when the anti-self-defense fanatics have told the truth….both times by accident and without their awareness of the truths being told.

      Boy, were they pissed when they found out!

    • s herst August 26, 2016, 7:24 am

      Mr. Stelene, I have personally witnessed two occasions when the anti-self-defense fanatics have told the truth….both times by accident and without their awareness of the truths being told.

      Boy, were they pissed when they found out!

    • David Caruso August 26, 2016, 7:35 am

      They did an article on that. It’s at the very end of this one. =”No related posts found”.

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