Defensive use of guns underreported

New book explores media's failure to cover positive firearm stories

Posted: July 5, 2003 - 1:00 ET

By Jon Dougherty

© 2003 WorldNetDaily.com

A noted defender of the Second Amendment has authored a new book contending that much of the news coverage of the mainstream media is slanted in favor of gun control.

John Lott Jr., resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, has authored the book "The Bias Against Guns Why Almost Everything You've Heard About Gun Control is Wrong."

"When I had done my previous work on guns ("More Guns, Less Crime"; 1998), it struck me when I was talking to people how frequently they said they had never heard of a defensive gun use," he told WorldNetDaily.

He also believes much of the debate over guns is based too much on emotion, "that facts don't matter," he said. "I think that's wrong. Facts matter a lot, but you have to think about them much more broadly than simply looking at numbers."

The media conditions many to oppose guns because reporting of incidents when firearms are used negatively is so much more prevalent than coverage of when guns protect lives and property, which is estimated by researchers to be more than 2 million times a year most never involving the firing of shots.

"Part of what I try to do in the book is to see how balanced [media] coverage has been," Lott said. "I was shocked at how imbalanced it was."

Many of the national morning and evening network news shows in 2001 had "about 190,000 words of reporting on gun-crimes stories," he said, "but during that entire year, there was no mention of using guns [for protection] or self-defense."

Lott also discusses in his book government funding of gun-control "propaganda."

"I read all of these [government] reports when they come out," he said. "I can't find one single government report that tries to measure the benefit of guns."

"Every year the government publishes a report listing the top ten guns used in crime. Why not have a report listing the top ten guns used in self-defense?" Lott says. "What about a report on the benefits of injuries that were prevented by people who used a gun?"

The former Yale professor, in his new book, also discussed the elevation of crime in England and Australia from gun bans.

"If my research convinces me of anything," he says, "when you ban guns it's going to be the most law-abiding people who obey these rules and not the criminals. The problem you face is that if you disarm law-abiding citizens relative to criminals, you're going to see increases in violent crime rather than drops."

Jon E. Dougherty is a staff reporter and columnist for WorldNetDaily.

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