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Old March 7, 2013, 06:25 AM   #1
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CNN - more mis-information: "Study links gun laws and lower gun mortality"

New article on CNN:

I don't know why I even check their "news" feed anymore. Here's a quote from the linked article:

"[Dr.] Fleegler, the lead author in the study published online in JAMA Internal Medicine, reached that conclusion by analyzing data reported to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2007 through 2010 and then correlating those figures with state-level firearm legislation aggregated by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence."

I'm glad to see he correlated his data with an "unbiased" organization such as the Brady Center. Outrageous!
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Old March 7, 2013, 07:26 AM   #2
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For those who might wish to read the original paper, it's available online here:

I read through it (quickly) and although it's in a different field, I have enough scientific and statistical background to follow most of what was done. I don't think the authors started with the conclusions they wished to reach and then massaged the data until they could show those conclusions statistically. I have no doubt that they're quite pleased with the results, but to reject the study because of that is an ad hominem argument that we shouldn't adopt.

To their credit, the authors do a reasonably good job of pointing out the issues with their own findings, notably that it's very difficult to quantify the degree of "gun legislation" in a state; it's important, and also very difficult, to control for cofactors in this type of study; and, ultimately, correlation does not imply causation. Unfortunately, when a study such as this one gets reported in the biased mainstream media these very important considerations are often lost. The CNN article doesn't emphasize these questions on the part of the authors of the paper, but does at least refer to an accompanying piece in the same issue of the journal that discusses them at some length.

Edited to add: With regard to the use of the Brady ratings to reflect the amount of gun legislation for each state, there is certainly room for some criticism but I don't see that as a fatal flaw. All, or at least most, of us here share the same feelings about gun legislation in general and the Brady bunch in particular, but I don't think their state ratings should be rejected out of hand. I've looked through their "scores" for each of the states and, although I haven't gone much further than that, they compare reasonably well with my own sense of where the individual states are with respect to gun legislation. Of course, unlike Brady, we interpret high scores (Massachusetts came in "first") to be bad and low scores to be good, but that's not the issue.
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Last edited by FlyFish; March 7, 2013 at 07:42 AM.
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Old March 7, 2013, 08:08 AM   #3
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