Arizona Gun Expert to Media: You are failing basic tests of ethics and competence

| February 12 2013

To the mainstream press:

Dear Editor,

I’ve noticed you’ve run entire features about guns without including one redeeming word about gun ownership — it’s 100% guns are bad, what can we do about it. When you run stories about people harmed by guns, you should balance that with stories about people saved by guns, but you consistently fail to do so.

This is not journalism or ethical. The various journalism codes require balance, let alone inclusion of principles 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 you work under. This harms journalists everywhere. I’m a journalist and 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 uses (DGUs) annually, depending on study size, time frames and sets of respondents. The largest was conducted under the Clinton Justice Dept. The studies are summarized in the book “Armed,” by Gary Kleck and Don Kates, available at GunLaws.com.

Guns save lives, stop crime and protect you. This is why we arm police, why people arm themselves and why the Founders put the Second Amendment in the Constitution. Broadcasters need to hear this, because they constantly ask why anyone would even want a gun — your “news” coverage leaves them wondering! That’s a deplorable state of affairs — wouldn’t you say?

At the most basic level this is about balance of power, which is why our government has never turned on its people, as governments the world over throughout history have done. It’s why free people need equivalence in what they keep and bear. Your writers don’t seem to understand this, or care. You think this nation’s liberty comes from good luck or an act of God? You would cede the very power that has kept America free all this time.

Police want AR-15s and all the powerful ammo they can carry because it’s the best there is, it works and it’s reliable — all the reasons people want the same. Since people typically face criminals first and police are second responders we need it more than they do.

Virtually none of the guns held by the public or police have ever killed anyone — despite vitriolic verbiage about “killing machines” — these arms simply stand ready to protect, their core and legal function. Your coverage should have plenty of this normal sort of discussion instead of none. Shame on you. Fix it.

Your failure to fix this, or even recognize it after repeatedly being told, is why your credibility is so low and you are suffering financially. More than half the nation sees this with crystal clarity. C’mon guys, re-read the SPJ or AP Code of Ethics, and get on the case. You are harming the nation.

If you needed a license, as many of you are demanding of gun owners, you would fail the test and lose your ability to wield a pen, for lack of competence.

Alan Korwin