Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Lies, Damned Lies, And Statistics

Jim Shepherd, publisher and editor of The Outdoor Wire, called out the Associated Press today for some of their reporting on gun sales. We all know that gun sales have been surging throughout the year. However, the AP would have you believe sales in Colorado and Connecticut, scenes of horrible tragedies, were off.

From the AP story "Fewer excited gun-buyers in Colorado and Connecticut":
The government's figures suggested far less interest in purchasing guns late in the year in Connecticut and Colorado, where background checks also increased but not nearly as much as most other states ... Only New Jersey and Maryland showed smaller increases than Colorado in December from one month earlier.
Sales must really be impacted there, right?

Not exactly as Jim notes:
Sounds reasonable, right? After all, these states are both reeling from the havoc caused there by crazies.

Not necessarily. While the story is accurate that the biggest surges in background checks for gun purchases were in the South and West, the numbers weren't exactly insignificant in either Connecticut or Colorado. The increases in NICS checks, and as may be implied, gun sales, in those states were only sixty five and sixty-four percent, respectively. Colorado's checks frose from 35,009 in October to 53,453 in December. Connecticut went from 18,761 to 29,246 during the same period.

It might be more accurate to say that "despite horrific tragedies, the demand for firearms in both Connecticut and Colorado grew, although not as fast as the red-hot markets in the South and West."

But that wouldn't fit the narrative, although the observation that "background checks also tend to increase after mass shootings, when gun enthusiasts fear restrictive measures are imminent."
 Wouldn't fit the narrative should be the new motto for the mainstream press when it comes to gun sales and the use of guns for self-protection.

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