Jon Hotchkiss Does Actual Research On Guns

On a topic dominated by myths, one journalist set out in search of definite facts.

I love it when journalists do journalism, don’t you?

Last month, I wrote a piece titled “Let’s Talk Seriously About Gun Control“, in which I tried to dispel a few of the pervasive myths and deeply confused ideas that dominate public discourse about guns in this country. I talked about what words like “semiautomatic” and “assault weapon” actually mean, and the relationship of these concepts to legislation.

Now, Jon Hotchkiss over at Huffington Post has taken this idea substantially further, with a video in which he goes to a gun range and learns about the functional distinctions between different types of firearms, including the fact that the phrase “assault weapon” is essentially meaningless. He also fires an AR-15 and a 9mm Glock, and does some serious number-crunching on the actual percentages involved in gun deaths and “assault weapons”.

I don’t agree with everything in the video; a couple of his stats are questionable, and there’s a lot of the kind of scary-music stings that tabloid TV teaches us to associate with bad journalism, but overall it’s a more serious, fact-based look at the gun control issue than literally anything else I’ve seen lately. If you want to actually know what you’re talking about when discussing gun control, Hotchkiss’s video is a good place to start. If you want to spout opinions without knowing what you’re talking about… well, you’ll have plenty of company.

About Noah Brand

Noah Brand is a writer and editor, and quite possibly also a cartoon character from the 1930s. His life, when it is written, will read better than it lived. He is usually found in Portland, Oregon, directly underneath a very nice hat.

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