In the wake of the tragic mass murder in Las Vegas, the media have been in overdrive pushing a pro-gun control narrative. That is why it was startling to see a long-form takedown of gun control myths in the ESPN-owned FiveThirtyEight publication. The piece relied on statistical analysis of the data behind gun crimes, both in the United States and around the world. The conclusion: “Mass shootings are a bad way to understand gun violence.”
More remarkable than the piece at FiveThirtyEight, which was heavily data-based, is the admission by former FiveThirtyEight newswriter Leah Libresco in a Washington Post op-ed Tuesday that her research shattered her notion that “gun control was the answer.”
Before I started researching gun deaths, gun-control policy used to frustrate me. I wished the National Rifle Association would stop blocking common-sense gun-control reforms such as banning assault weapons, restricting silencers, shrinking magazine sizes and all the other measures that could make guns less deadly.
Then, my colleagues and I at FiveThirtyEight spent three months analyzing all 33,000 lives ended by guns each year in the United States, and I wound up frustrated in a whole new way. We looked at what interventions might have saved those people, and the case for the policies I’d lobbied for crumbled when I examined the evidence. The best ideas left standing were narrowly tailored interventions to protect subtypes of potential victims, not broad attempts to limit the lethality of guns.
Libresco went on to explain how she arrived at the conclusions many on the Right arrived at long ago. Both of these pieces, based on Libresco and her colleagues’ work, are worth the read. They are also worth sharing with your friends on the Left.
When presented with the facts, from someone who once believed as they do, perhaps the liberals you know will change their minds as well.
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Robert Eno is the director of research for Conservative Review. He is a conservative from deep blue Massachusetts but now lives in Greenville, SC.