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Letter: Note to reporters: Guns save people
Re: “Who needs an AR rifle? That’s not for me to say,” Feb. 6
Too often I’ve read features in the news media about guns without there being one redeeming word about gun ownership. It’s usually 100 percent “guns are bad, so what can we do about it.”
It’s refreshing to see a balanced report.
Too many in media today run stories about people harmed by guns. They should balance these with stories about people who have been saved by guns.
Journalism requires balance and should include principles that this nation champions, like equality and fairness. One-sided coverage misleads the public and dangerously campaigns for political goals that assault the very Bill of Rights we, and they, work under.
This harms journalists everywhere. I’m a journalist and a gun-law expert. Let me help set the record at least partially straight.
Thirteen scholarly studies show between 700,000 and 2.5 million defensive gun incidents annually. The largest study was conducted under the Clinton Justice Deptartment. These studies are summarized in the book, Armed, by Gary Kleck and Don Kates, available on my website.
Used properly, guns save lives, stop crime, and protect people. This is why we arm police, why people need to arm themselves, and why the Founders put the Second Amendment in the Constitution. Broadcasters, especially, need to hear this because they constantly ask why anyone would want a gun. Most “news” coverage only reinforces their belief.
At the most basic level this is about balance of power. Because we own guns, it would be difficult for our government to ever turn on its people, as governments historically have done. It’s why free people need equivalence in what they keep and “bear.”
Too few writers and reporters understand this, or care. You think this nation’s liberty comes from good luck -- or an act of God? Shoddy journalism would cede the very power that has kept America free since its inception.
Police want AR-15s and all the powerful ammo they can carry because they are best suited for the job; they work, and are reliable -- all the reasons people want the same. Since people typically face criminals first -- police are second responders -- we need gun protection at least as much as they do.
Legally owned guns are seldom used in killing -- despite vitriolic verbiage about “killing machines.” These arms simply stand ready to protect, which is their core and legal function. Media coverage should be more balanced with pros and cons. This is one reason why the credibility of the media is so low.
While more than half the nation sees this with crystal clarity, reporters should read the Associated Press Code of Ethics, and get with it. If journalists needed a license, as many of them are demanding of gun owners, they would fail the test for lack of competence, and lose their ability to legally wield a pen.
Kudos to writers such as Robert McDonald in the Wilson County News.
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February 26, 2013 1:26pm
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