U.C. Berkeley Gun Show Study Makes Bogus Claims; Gets Shot Down Immediately

When a researcher has a conclusion reached before the research has begun, one should not be surprised when the results confirm the hypothesis (which was really just a conclusion to begin with). Especially when the topic is firearms ownership, bias is a major factor, and academia is a leading opponent of the right to bear arms; researchers at the University of California Berkeley just proved that for us.

A government-funded study (there’s your first hint right there) at U.C. Berkeley reports to have found a spike in firearms-related injuries and deaths in recent years, but almost immediately critics of the study pointed out major holes with the work.

The study claims that there is a large spike deaths and injuries in California in the areas that are within one to two hour driving distances from Nevada gun shows. It allegedly found a 70% increase in deaths and injuries from firearms in those regions in California following Nevada gun shows. The study compared incidents from two weeks before, and two weeks after those gun shows in Nevada.

“Our study suggests that California’s strict regulations—on firearms, generally, and on gun shows, specifically—may be effective in preventing short-term increases in firearm deaths and injuries following gun shows,” the study’s lead author, Ellicott Matthay, a Ph.D. student at the U.C. Berkeley’s School of Public Health, stated.

Researchers concluded that California’s more restrictive gun laws prevented accidental gun deaths and injuries, but according to the Washington Free Beacon, the inherent problem with this study is its methodology; important facts were left out of the equation.

The study did not, however, note the legal hurdles involved with a California resident purchasing a firearm in Nevada or any other state. Federal law only allows Americans to buy guns outside their home state if they are purchasing a rifle or shotgun from a federally licensed firearms dealer.

Those dealers must conduct a background check on the purchaser and are limited to sales allowed by the purchaser’s home state.

Sales of handguns by licensed dealers and sales of any firearms by private sellers can only be done legally if the firearm is transferred through a licensed dealer in the purchaser’s home state where the sale would be subject to the laws of that state. Because of federal rules, all legal firearm purchases a California resident makes at a Nevada gun show would still be subject in some form to California’s gun laws.

In essence, there is not a causal link here because whether or not a person purchases a firearm in California or Nevada, that person is still subject to their home state’s laws for purchasing. A California resident cannot buy a handgun in Nevada and then just go home with it, though the authors of the study appear to claim as much.

John Lott of the Crime Prevention Research stated that the methodology’s flaws invalidate the findings.

“It’s poorly done research,” he told the Washington Free Beacon. “It’s one thing to spend money on research, it’s another to spend it on this type of thing with so many parts of it that just don’t make sense.”

One of the issues with the study is that in some of Nevada’s biggest cities, Reno and Las Vegas, there are gun shows there nearly every weekend. How can researchers possibly establish a time frame of two weeks before and after the events if such events are continuously taking place?

“Firearm death data is readily available every place,” Lott said. “I assume that injury data is also available there, but they have no explanation for why they only look at Nevada’s effect on California and not on Nevada.”

Normally, the subject of study is when a state changes its gun laws; then researchers will look at before and after results. However, that’s not the case for this study.

“Different time periods for the after effects in California from California and Nevada gun shows might be because of what the authors say, but when you are only dealing with two states and neither is changing any of its relevant laws during the period studied, you can’t know whether it is the different periods of time studied or something else that is driving the result.”

Lott’s own extensive research has found increases in crime after measures like “universal background checks” are implemented.

U.C. Berkeley did not requests for a response to the study’s critics.

With this in mind, we have a clear example of taxpayers being billed for poor research that only ends up “concluding” that the solution to a problem is to take away personal liberty. That’s why there is a federal prohibition on the CDC from using taxpayer funds to research gun violence, because we know that their conclusions will ultimately be ones favoring more restrictions on our rights.

The Left will say that this is just a way for the Right to continue protecting murderers and terrorists, but such is nonsense and anyone with a shred of intellectual honesty knows it.