Misleading information about gun owners and gun ownership seems to be a standard operating procedure for some on the Left. Mother Jones is just the latest to hop aboard the irresponsible reporting train.
The left-wing outlet ran a truly over-sensational story about firearms training in the United States. In their story, the headline reads, “Only 3 In 5 Gun Owners Have Received Firearms Training.” However, as Jenn Jacques of Bearing Arms points out, the first sentences in the story actually manages to ironically disprove the point:
Forty percent of America’s gun owners have not received any formal firearms training.
There’s one word in that sentence that completely changes the meaning of the claim. Can you guess what it is?
It’s the operative word formal. While it may be true that some American gun owners have not received extensive formal training on their guns, like in a classroom setting with highly certified instructors, that does not mean that they are completely untrained and illiterate in firearms safety and operations.
Many people do informal kinds of training, like parents with their children or one family member with another family member. A parent in a given household may have had many hours of formal training in a classroom and live-fire environment, and then passed that information on to others in their family.
If that man or woman continuously works with their family on understanding firearm safety and operation, would it be accurate to say that those who took part in such are not trained? Of course not!
A child can have nearly 2 decades of informal training if his parents are gun owners and they teach him throughout his youth. When he reaches 18 years old and buys an AR-15 of his own, would it be accurate to say that he has had no training? The answer is, clearly, no.
Mother Jones continued by saying that the study was not nuanced enough to look at the effectiveness of training itself.
The survey was not designed to evaluate how effective current firearms training is. “That is the next step—to compare those who have received training to those who haven’t and see whether it actually translates to saving lives,” says Rowhani-Rahbar.
Again, consider formal training vs informal training. One can take a basic handgun safety and operation class, and then say that he/she has had formal training. But does that automatically mean that this person is more knowledgeable than a person who has had years of informal training? Again, the answer is no.
The ideas that many leftists have include the notions that gun owners are irresponsible idiots who just want to shoot someone, and that they are very often dumb enough to accidentally shoot themselves or another person. Except that’s not true at all. In fact, gun owners have only become more safety conscious in recent years (yes, and that’s with more than a few gun owners not having “formal” firearms training).
The National Shooting Sports Foundation conducted a study of accidental firearm deaths, and made a fantastic discovery:
Good news on the topic of fatal firearms accidents. The National Safety Council’s “Injury Facts—2017 Edition” shows that the number of fatal firearms accidents dropped 17 percent from 2014 to 2015 to 489, the lowest total since record-keeping began in 1903. That’s about three-tenths of 1 percent of the 146,571 total accidental deaths from all other listed causes, which are up 8 percent from 2014 to 2015. It should be noted that the decrease, which was the largest percentage decline of any category, came in a year that saw record firearms sales to many millions of Americans.
The idea that millions of gun owners are totally untrained and are a menace to society is simply untrue. Mother Jones was asking the wrong question here. What they really should be looking for is practicable experience with firearms.