NRA: Flawed Study Takes Aim at “Stand Your Ground”

Mike Seekander teaches a student the right way to improve shooting skills.

Donald Trump won the election, which has allowed many to conclude that the Second Amendment dodged an anti-gun bullet. You may agree or disagree, but one thing is for sure, the anti gunners have not given up their agenda—in the United States and across the pond. In a recent article published by the NRA, the Journal of the American Medical Association’s (JAMA) takes aim at Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. Here is the full article from the NRA:

NRA-ILA logo

This week, the Journal of the American Medical Association’s (JAMA) online Internal Medicine Network published a “study” by a team of academics in England that purports to analyze “the Impact of Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ Self-defense Law on Homicide and Suicide by Firearm,” with the authors concluding, “implementation of Florida’s Stand Your Ground self-defense law was associated with a significant increase in homicides and homicides by firearm but no change in rates of suicide or suicide by firearm.”

You’d think with a conclusion like that, the study found that the Florida law actually had a negative impact on public safety. But you’d be wrong. Rather, this article stands as but another example how anti-gun scholars continue to perpetuate bad science in order to push their agenda with improper methodology, misleading claims, and a purposeful failure to follow base statistical protocols in conducting an analysis.

An incisive rebuttal to the study published in National Review points out that even taken at face value, the findings have virtually no significance for public policy. Indeed, the JAMA authors admit near the end of their paper that “[o]ur study examined the effect of the Florida law on homicide and homicide by firearm, not on crime and public safety.”

Mike Seekander teaches a student the right way to improve shooting skills.
Mike Seeklander is owner of Shooting-Performance LLC, a full-service training company, and the co-host of “The Best Defense,” the Outdoor Channel’s leading self-defense and firearms instruction show.

This caveat is necessary because “the study” completely ignores the essential question of whether the firearm-related deaths it focuses on arose from unlawful aggression or lawful self-defense.

The whole point of a Stand-your-ground law, of course, is to give innocent people who are threatened by unlawful violence another possible option in determining how to safely respond. It negates the mandatory duty to retreat before resorting to lethal defensive force, allowing the individual who is actually subject to the threat to determine whether retreat or countermeasures are the safer option.

While the authors of the JAMA study likely disagree, if fault and justice have anything to do with the law—and they should—self-defense is not an outcome to be deplored. Putting the law on the side of innocent victims is not a flaw of Stand-your-ground laws. It’s the point of them.

In short, because the authors don’t account for the differences between those homicides which are justifiable self-defense and those which are not, their “study” fails to provide any real insight on the effects of the law. This, of course, is by design. Pushing the biased narrative that Stand-your-ground is problematic is their point, not whether the law had a positive or negative impact on public safety.

As the National Review article further explains, the authors of the JAMA study also erred in failing to understand that some jurisdictions impose Stand-your-ground by statute, while in other states the doctrine has arisen through court decisions. Thus, the authors mislabel one of the four states they use as a “comparison” group as lacking Stand-your-ground, when in fact that state incorporates the principle in its common law.
NRA Stand and Fight

In other words, the authors couldn’t be bothered with researching even the most basic question of which states have Stand-your-ground and which do not.  This is often the case where public health researchers move beyond their normal field of expertise. The fact that the authors also fail to control for a host of other social and economic variables that likely impact the number of homicides in any given year is further proof of their general incompetence to answer a complex research question related to Stand-your-ground in Florida or anywhere else.

Which brings us to a broader point. A popular myth pushed by the media is that the NRA somehow exercises a “stranglehold” on scientific inquiry into the causes and cures for violence committed with firearms.

That’s not true, and it couldn’t be true. Academic researchers are free to study whatever they want. And private entities can fund whatever research they want.

Even governmental entities can fund or conduct research related to violence committed with firearms. And they do.

There is, however, a federal appropriations restriction that applies to the Centers for Disease Control and to the National Institute of Health that prohibits the use of taxpayer money “to advocate or promote gun control.”

And therein lies the difference.

The funding restriction arose from the fact that it was the stated intention of certain CDC officials during the 1990s “to systematically build the case that owning firearms causes deaths” and “to convince Americans that guns are, first and foremost, a public health menace.”

In other words, the officials did not approach the subject in the spirit of open-minded scientific inquiry. Rather, they hoped to use the veneer of science and government to “discover” answers through “research” that were preordained by their politics.

That bias applies to such research efforts is not NRA’s fault. It’s the fault of an academic community whose research output has repeatedly been exposed as shoddy and haphazard at best and transparently agenda-driven at worst.

Like the media itself, public health researchers have sullied their own reputations and earned the skepticism of the gun-owning community and the larger community of critical thinkers.

Public funding of these sorts of efforts will hopefully remain curtailed under the Trump administration. But the studies will persist, because the anti-gun agenda that underlies them persists. And the private billionaires funding that agenda—including George Soros and Michael Bloomberg—will continue to need outlets for their prohibitionist expenditures.

We know the mainstream media will not approach this sham science skeptically. But gun owners and policymakers should.

What do you think of JAMA’s analysis or the NRA’s report? Share your answers in the comment section.

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Comments (27)

  1. “Guns and Violence: The English Experience” by Joyce Malcolm lays it all out from the middle ages to the present. The government in Merry Olde does not believe that self-defense is a fundamental right nor a valid reason to own firearms.

  2. Frankly, this study is largely irrelevant only because the distinctions between US gun laws on a state by state basis vs. the UK’s gun laws on a nationwide basis are not even remotely comparable. You can own an AR-Type weapon in the UK, but under some very strict controls. I know a couple of people who do and their levels of compliance is fairly high. Also, notwithstanding, the UK has no equivalent to the 2A we have in the states and seeing as how each state gets to overlay their own laws to either enhance or curtail respective state citizens 2A rights, there is almost no way to determine the extent to which anti or pro gun legislation will affect something like ‘stand your ground’ because it is dependent on several factors if it eve came into play.

    First of all, not all states have a ‘stand your ground’ statute. Secondly, the states that do have a fairly limited window in which it can be used. Thirdly, it is up to each municipalities PD’s/Sheriffs depts. to determine if Stand Your Ground was viable in that case. If it isn’t then it’s up to prosecutors to make that further determination or if it is actionable. There is just way to many variable to try and attack something like stand your ground and I’m not surprised the attempt was made and fell flat on it’s face.

  3. Based on various misconceptions in a few comments, I wanted to remind some folks that “Stand Your Ground” laws don’t give you new permission to a defense over retreat. You’ve always had that God-given Right regardless of what the government thinks. What the law really does is tell idiot liberal anti-gun district attorneys that they can no longer try to prosecute you for exercising such God-given Rights.

    1. @G-Man

      Thanks for telling it like it is and staying focused on reality. Sometimes people need a gentle reminder from a clear thinker…myself included..

  4. Apparently JAMA is in cahoots with the study’s authors in the anti-gun agenda, as they keep publishing these anti-gun schlock studies. Yet, for most scientific publication they supposedly check into things like the methodologies used in the studies they publish. If they demand rigid standards on a disease study, or a drug trial, why are they so lax about standards on ‘gun related’ studies? Because the magazine’s editors have an axe to grind is why.

  5. That figures they would data from the gun haters in England. I couldn’t get beyond that part of the article. Anything that involves the UK and guns is a lie. Those people are so afraid of guns they are even outlawing airsoft guns.

  6. I’m a scientist and a gun owner with a concealed carry permit. Though I am never surprised to see poor peer-reviewed articles in medical journals. Just considering how long it takes for police to respond, if they can be called, and comparing that time to how long a violent encounter takes, you will not be unscathed unless you can successfully run, hide or fight. A weapon like a gun significantly increases your chances of survival, if you are prepared to use it. Social and mental health doctors would better serve the public by preventing people from becoming violent criminals than by making the rest of the public better victims.

  7. And look how this has worked out for them. I have a few friends there and everyone of them called me before this election and said do not let them take your guns or we would be like them. From my cold dead hand as the saying goes.

  8. Why would one contract a British group to do a study on shooting stats in Florida except to push a flawed agenda? The anti-gunners are really getting desperate!

  9. Typical of the Left which cannot win in the arena of ideas. They will cheat, lie, steal, or anything else to advance their agenda. They must use “junk science” because true science does not support their contentions in this issue or climate change. They must be challenged at every point so that we can also remove their corruption from science.

  10. screw the brits, they are covering up their problems of gun control by trying to influence our laws. in the UK, only criminals, the rea and a few lawmen have weapons. the rest have to run like the french.

  11. While I am encouraged by the reduction in the Gun-Control Movement’s likelihood of success – in the near future, at least – I remain adamantly intent on basing my self defense (concealed carry, etc) on the 2nd Amendment… and anyone who doesn’t like my stance is cheerfully invited to engage in an act of autoeroticism.

  12. I live in Florida and have carried a pistol for decades. I’m a disabled senior citizen now and can’t retreat so I really appreciate the law as it is. If I need to defend myself or family and friends I can, LEGALLY. All states should have it. Crimes go down with it because the crooks don’t know if they may receive a very rapid Death Sentence.

  13. In light of very important organizations actively opposing individual gun ownership, none of us can sit on our laurels and ignore the constant barrage of false information being fed to our younger generation. Brainwash the kids and you own the future.

    A major problem is that our kids spend a third of their lives in an “educational” environment being pounded by political correct, anti-gun, brainwashed teachers. With billionaires like Soros backing them the Liberal, Progressive, Marxist, Fascist and Communist connive daily how they can screw America. We know these folks have their heads up their assets, but this doesn’t relieve us of maintaining constant alert for their next attack.

    Alerts of this type are absolutely necessary to keep us all informed. It is our job to keep our legislators informed, although it is difficult to find a legislator that thinks they still work for us it is our job to assure them that they do. So staying connected to them alerts them that we are watching.

  14. Years ago I moved to PA. At that time the law on self defense was you must retreat, even from your own bedroom. A couple of years later they embraced the “castle doctrine.” That created such a turn around in thought that a law was passed that an intruder did not have to display a weapon to be considered a threat in your home. The fact that he was inside your home uninvited was reason enough to “fear for your life,” so defense with a firearm was justifiable. The CCW became a “shall issue” policy.

    Many places in the US, cases of self defense, where the victim used a gun to successfully defend themselves, becomes a gun incident rated exactly in the records as the same as a murder. Changes in the laws that reduce the right of self-defense impact ONLY the law abiding citizen. Law makers seem to embrace the family of the criminal who say such nonsense as,”you didn’t have a right to shoot him. He was a good boy. Iffen you’d just given him the money no one would have gotten hurt. ” Of course there is no acknowledgement that “good boy” had a cocked gun which he brandished yelling “hurry up or I’ll kill you!”

    The threat to take your life for the content of your pocket or purse negates any possible claim of “unnecessary use” of deadly force. The only benefit of nullifying “stand your ground” laws is the criminal has better safety in the workplace (in pursuit of his criminal choice of vocation).

  15. The use of lethal force for self defense tends to lead to the death of the bad guys. That firearm death rates are up with the stand your ground law in place leads me to believe that it’s working quite well for the law abiding public.
    I think many of the anti-gun crowd would paint Mother Therese as a satanic bitch if they thought it would further their agenda…facts and reality are not in their MO..

  16. As a medical student I was impressed that the academics frequently fail to look at all of the appropriate data points. I lost interest in JAMA as a valid publication years ago. Unfortunately they have survived and continue to publish inadequately researched articles. Whether this was a purposely false document or just academic inadequacies is your decision. Proper evaluation of state and national data clearly supports self defense.

  17. All you need to do is look at a list showing murder rates of all country’s the U.S. is at 107th only the Swiss being lower than the U.S. every Swiss citizen is issued guns because everyone serves in the Swiss army then is active reserve

  18. This entire article was a sham to further the validity of the Stand your Ground Law. Don’t get me wrong, I endorse such laws as well as The Castle Doctrine, but why anyone with an ounce of brains would even bother to read such an article produced by people in a country that has confiscated all personal handguns and rifles and is rife with robberies, murders, rapes and suchlike as a direct result is beyond me.

  19. Only those that have relatives or friends that are the potential statistic of a ‘Stand Your Ground Law, are opposed to them. Before such laws, people in their own homes were required to retreat before home invaders. Now, in most states that have these laws, anywhere you have a legal right to be; your home, your car, walking down a sidewalk, eating in a restaurant, shopping, etc;, you have a right to defend yourself. And the Liberals, muggers, thieves, car jackers, et al absolutely hate that.

    1. Dark Angel, Actually that is not true, there are many many (depressingly too many) people who oppose it that are just good-intentioned people who are also very naive and privileged in life, and have not experienced the world in a way that would make supporting it necessary in their opinion. They see their side as supporting a stance of non-violence and assume anyone supporting stand your ground as wanna-be predators. All I can think of to do to change that perspective is to respectfully show I understand their perspective and show them I am different from their assumptions, and yet I support stand your ground.

    2. g, thanks for your comments, but I stand by my original assertion. Lived in Oklahoma when It passed it ‘Stand Your Ground Law,’ one commentator had the nerve to suggest that now anyone could shoot someone who had ‘by mistake’ entered that person’s home. Another predicted ‘blood in the streets’ (as they did when Oklahoma passed It’s concealed carry law.) “Now, they commented, you can take the law into your own hands, whenever, or where ever you feel threatened, and not have to wait on a police officer.” They said this as if it was a bad thing, defending yourself, that is. Perhaps, it is only incidental that these commenters both had family in prison for 1, armed robbery, that went bad with one of the robbers was killed by a legally armed citizen, the relative being charged with the murder, under Okla. laws as a complicit in the death of his co-armed robber. And 2, A home invasion that resulted in the rape and murder of a young mother at the hands of the home invader. But you be the judge.

  20. Personally I am not concerned with the anti gun movement. We have a President, Congress and soon to be Supreme Court that will have a better perspective and the chances of anti gunners making any significant impact in the next two to four years are slim to none.

    1. We should never be concerned with any anti-gun movement. It is a substantial waste of time for most of us to fuss with it. If we get to where we’re seriously concerned about confiscation, then it really is too late.

    2. I have to respectfully disagree with you. I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s. When I was in public grade school, we could bring guns to school, and were taught hunter’s safety there. Amazingly, in the many years I lived in that town in Oregon, I never heard of anyone getting shot, accidentally or otherwise. Now you can be arrested for accidentally driving through a school zone with your legally owned and carried gun. In addition, when I drive from Idaho to visit my family in Western Washington, I can not have my concealed weapon on me or even loaded while traveling through Oregon to get to Washington. In fact it has to be in the trunk or out of reach and can’t be stored with the ammo near it. If I want to drive to California or New Jersey, or New York, or a lot of other states, I can’t even bring my CCW. This is a clear violation of our 2nd Amendment, which is part of the “Supreme Law of the Land”, yet individual states, counties, and cities are allowed to violate our rights. It has gotten worse over the years, and will continue to get worse if we don’t constantly fight the anti-gun, anti-constitutional, anti- American gun grabbers.

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