On April 4, The Economist mocked the NRA and Second Amendment supporters with a column that turned out to be an epic fail because it was built on numbers from a debunked Everytown for Gun Safety study, an erroneous claim that “armor piercing” M855 ammo endangers police, and a not-so-veiled attempt to undercut the push to arm women for self-defense on college campuses.
For example, The Economist quoted Everytown’s numbers to claim “there were at least 95 shootings at American schools and colleges” during “the first two years after Newtown.” Based on these numbers, they claimed the shootings resulted in “45 deaths.”
What The Economist failed to note is that some of the school shootings reported by Everytown never even happened. Others were accidental discharges of legally possessed guns in which no one was harmed and still others were accidental discharges of guns students possessed illegally, but which they did not use to commit a “school shooting.”
Breitbart News reported on the Everytown list in December 2014 and showed that one of the shootings actually happened at a “non-school related private function.” The Annapolis Dispatch provided detail on this shooting, explaining that it happened on a house boat and left one person grazed with non-life threatening injuries.
In addition to citing the exaggerated Everytown numbers, The Economist points to the ATF’s decision to drop the proposed AR-15 ammo ban as proof that “the gun lobby” successfully pressured the government into leaving police in a vulnerable situation. After all, the ban was focused on “a type of bullet that can pierce body armor.”
What The Economist didn’t report is that one of the leading groups against the proposed ban was the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). On March 5, Breitbart News reported that FOP president James Pasco described the ban as unnecessary and pointed out that the round in question—the M855—”has not historically posed a threat to law enforcement.”
After reporting Everytown’s misinformation as fact and suggesting the M855 round endangers police—although the FOP says it doesn’t—The Economist tried to undercut arguments for arming women on college campuses for self-defense.
They did this by presenting a cliff notes version of Republican arguments for campus carry, then explaining in greater detail University of Texas Chancellor William McRaven’s opposition to making it legal for women to carry guns on campus. They cite McRaven’s former military service as an attempt to show that if he is opposed to women being armed for self-defense, then that must mean that women being armed for self-defense is not a good idea.
In the end, The Economist comes back to the NRA, whom they claim is having a banner year but refuses to “declare victory” because they can’t risk losing the edge.
In reality, The Economist should note that the NRA refuses to “declare victory” because the fight isn’t over—and it won’t be over, until Democrats, news outlets, and economic publications quit looking for ways to revive America’s flailing gun control movement.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.