NY Times Creates Tool to Decide If You Need Self-Defense Gun

A a map of murders in D.C.
(Photo: NY Times)

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

By Mark Oliva

Leave it to those reporters at The New York Times to be ever-thinking about ways to keep their readers informed and involved. The Old Gray Lady published an online, interactive tool to demonstrate to readers how important self-defense is, especially in the home.

The New York Times published an article headlined, “This Is How Close We Live to Gun Violence.” The article showed the in-depth work by the Times’ researchers to map every homicide committed by a murderer criminally misusing a firearm in the United States since 2020. The Times drew a quarter-mile circle around each crime scene to then estimate how many people lived near those horrendous crimes.

The New York Times calculated that 47 million Americans – 8.7 million more than pre-pandemic – live within a quarter mile of these crime scenes. The report didn’t account for the spike in criminal activity during and post-pandemic and it didn’t overlay the “Defund the Police” policies by progressive politicians and prosecutors to go soft-on-crime. It did, however, provide a convenient list of the cities with the staggering percentages of those who live close to a murder scene.

Narrative Before Facts

An accompanying article clutched the collective pearls in the Times’ newsroom, interviewing emergency room doctors who are left to treat those victims of crime and attempt to save lives because of criminals running amok. It portends that the growing number of law-abiding gun owners is somehow responsible for the criminal misuse of firearms, the unlawful killing of others and overall lack of humanity displayed by criminals.

The Times’ even wrote, “A rise in gun ownership made it more likely for violent disputes to become deadly.” However, they failed to demonstrate how lawful gun ownership drives criminal activities – much less murder. The Times attempted to tie the murder rates, which are slowly falling, to the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA), giving the gun control group Giffords Law Center ink to credit gun control laws for reducing murders. The Times glancingly wrote about policing, but mostly in a way that was a burden on communities. The authors didn’t seriously address the detrimental effects of yanking thousands of police off the beat, reducing patrols, releasing criminals without bail or failing to prosecute criminals to only have them repeat or commit more serious crimes. For the authors, law-abiding gun owners were the problem. The readers just needed to trust their narrative.

But the authors never proved their premise. They couldn’t show a definitive link between law-abiding gun owners and criminal activity – much less murders because there isn’t one. There is no causation, or even correlation, between law-abiding gun owners and shocking crime rates in communities across America.

In fact, Shooting News Weekly highlighted that while the data isn’t perfect, there’s evidence of “a slight negative correlation between murder rates and gun ownership.”

“Say what you will — and the gun banners certainly will — but the data doesn’t show a correlation of gun ownership and murder rates,” wrote Rob Morse, the blog’s author. “We also see a number of countries in the data with very low rates of gun ownership and frighteningly high murder rates. We also see countries with high rates of gun ownership and low murder rates.”

He added that confusion of lawful gun ownership and murder isn’t accidental.

“I’m a retired engineer, not a criminologist or a sociologist. I spent an hour putting this data together,” Morse explained. “If I can figure out that civilian gun ownership has an insignificant effect on the murder rates in various countries, then so did the researchers who are paid by anti-gun billionaires. This data is out there for anyone to see. They’ve seen it and it means they lied to please the people who are paying them.”

That study wasn’t the only one to arrive at the conclusion that the availability of firearms to law-abiding owners isn’t the driver of crime and murder. Gun Facts found similar results when they examined their own data.

There is, though, a causation and correlation that goes in the opposite direction. As crime runs unabated, more Americans choose to exercise their Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms. They refuse to be a willing victim, even when progressive policies force police departments to issue warnings to the public to just be nice to the criminal threatening your life.

Background checks for firearm sales at retail skyrocketed in 2020 to over 21.5 million. That was up from 13.2 million in 2019, and the kick-off to the buying frenzy started in April 2020, the same month that pandemic lockdowns were ordered and police were pulling back community contact for concerns for contagion. It was also during that time that jails were emptied. That summer, violent protests erupted across America. Those weren’t confined to one city, one state or one region. It was a nationwide phenomenon. Despite media pitching it as “mostly peaceful,” it was destructive. Politicians blamed police and slashed budgets. It was all made worse by rogue prosecutors who refused to hold criminals to account.

The result was crime skyrocketed. The second-order effect was law-abiding gun owners bought more guns to protect themselves, many were first-time gun buyers from all backgrounds. That wasn’t limited to the 21.5 million background checks for gun sales in 2020. There were another 18.5 million in 2021, 16.4 million in 2022 and 15.8 million in 2024.

Helping to Decide Gun Ownership

The good news is The New York Times provided a helpful interactive tool for law-abiding citizens to decide if now’s the time to invest in personal defense. Plugging in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., shows that there were at least 794 fatal shootings from 2020-2023. It’s a good thing President Joe Biden has Secret Service protection. For those who don’t have 24-hour top-notch trained security at their disposal, this could be a practical tool to decide if it’s time to invest in a self-defense firearm for themselves. After all, in Washington, D.C., the District Attorney General Brian Schwalb said, “We as a city and a community need to be much more focused on prevention…if we want to be safer in the long run. We cannot prosecute and arrest our way out of it.”

For those who might live in locations that see far less violent crime and murders, like Bangs, Texas, where there were no fatal shootings between 2020-2023, it could still be helpful. Chances are, though, most residents in Bangs likely live in the home of a law-abiding gun owner.

Becoming a law-abiding gun owner might let the community – and The New York Times – know that those who obey the law and own guns aren’t the problem. It’s the criminals.

About the Author

Mark Oliva is Managing Director of Public Affairs for NSSF, The Firearm Industry Trade Association. He is a retired Marine Master Gunnery Sergeant with 25 years of service, including tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Albania, and Zaire.

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  • Gutsy63 June 7, 2024, 9:56 am

    Very simple tool to determine if you need a self defense firearm.
    1) are there bad people with weapons?
    2) are there groups of bad people who will use force against you?
    If you answered yes to either of the above questions, you need a self defense firearm.

    • paul I'll call you what I want/1st Amendment June 7, 2024, 1:01 pm

      3) are there any biden voters still living near you?

  • Mike June 7, 2024, 9:51 am

    I’ve got pictures of a grizzly, a wolf and a cougar in the yard at various times. There are lots of dangerous animals in this world, even in NYC and I’m sure as hell not counting on the NYT to be involved in protecting me or my family.

  • Glenn Stanton June 7, 2024, 9:19 am

    awwwwww….. wah wah wah…. poor soro’s prosecutors. they keep letting the violent criminals out on the street and so they cannot possibly arrest and prosecute them all. so we’ll just make up rules that say you’re only allowed to kill a certain color of people, rob only just so much, and shoot each other in gang fights of drug dealer areas and criminal activities.

    “We cannot prosecute and arrest our way out of it” of course an intelligent person might have said “we cannot arrest and prosecute” in proper order, but perhaps that statement is telling (to wit all the fake Trump trials).

  • Tip Tover June 7, 2024, 7:56 am

    Once you see NYTimes you could write the article yourself. I usually ignore all their claptrap.

  • paul I'll call you what I want/1st Amendment June 5, 2024, 7:30 am

    wow a tool to tell me what’s going on around here! lord knows i’m too stupid to see and hear whats going on for myself wtf?????

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