Confermation Bias Within The Gun Control Debate

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The physiological definition of confirmation bias by the American Psychological Association (APA) is the ability or act of ignoring, finding, manipulating, or modifying evidence and data to support your beliefs, ideas, or ideology. Dr. Raymond Richardson, a professor at Tufts University located in Medford Massachusetts, summarized in 1998 confirmation bias [as] the seeking or interpreting of evidence in ways that are partial to existing beliefs, expectations, or a hypothesis in hand (175). Confirmation bias due to the fact that is can be for good or for evil is dangerous. The impact can be minor or of extreme proportions.

With confirmation bias the entire idea is a person could be doing so, with or without intent to do so. The only way to not have confirmation bias is to take the data, facts and sources. Then try to break them down to the weakest points or if the data is against the interest of the source dispersing it.

Confirmation bias is ever present in the conversations and laws involving the debate of Gun Control on all sides of the debate. The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence (EFSGV) and its sister organization the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV), a left-wing anti-gun tax exempt lobbyist group founded in 1974 and headquarter in Washington, DC only seeks and interprets evidence that support the ideology guns themselves are the cause of gun violence. On the other side, the National Rifle Association (NRA) – a pro-gun lobbyist group founded on November 16, 1871 in New York, NY and relocated to Fairfax, VA in 1993 – refuse to blame anything other than culture and education for the overall violence problem. Both sides of the argument on guns are flawed and show confirmation bias in the evidence they present to support their argument.


In February 2018 EFSGV published a report using the Center of Disease Control (CDC) statistic on factors of deaths in the United States (US) to support their opinion that gun control laws like in the Common Wealth of Massachusetts actually works. However, the EFSGV had filtered the information provided by the CDC not separate homicide and murders, from suicides. Plus, even on the site the CDC states that the numbers provided are suppressed values (2018). This means that the data is already not an accurate representation of what is truly happening.

After contacting the CDC Public Affairs Officer (PAO) and asking what suppressed values on their website means. They provided a clarification statement of the values being suppressed or labeled as suppressed due to states, towns, or cities not being required to add the question of have you or a member of the household to the yearly census. Plus, as the CDC also stated in the response the data is hard for them to determine who in the family is reporting the death or injury. This is caused by the fact a person who is dead cannot fill out the US census questionnaire.

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