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ANALYSIS: Gun Control Push Unleashes Fresh Wave Of Disinformation

(Photo by JASON CONNOLLY/AFP via Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Healthcare Reporter
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Following a recent string of mass shootings, liberal activists are once again pushing a false narrative to advocate for new gun control measures.

President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress have called for new restrictions on gun ownership following mass shootings in Georgia, Colorado and California. Their allies are spreading disinformation about America’s current gun laws online, but Big Tech platforms like Facebook and Twitter are doing nothing to stop them.

Biden has come out in favor of a ban on “assault weapons” and “high capacity” magazines. The plea was a response to shootings that killed eight people in Atlanta and 10 in Boulder. Since those shootings, more have died in highly-publicized tragedies in California and Washington, D.C. (RELATED: Psaki: ‘No One Is Talking About Overturning Or Changing The Second Amendment’)

Democrats in Congress passed two bills to expand background checks, which are already required for the overwhelming majority of gun purchases that happen in America. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden is exploring potential executive orders he can take to combat gun violence, but the specific content of those orders and when they may be issued has yet to be revealed or reported.

The Atlanta shooting, which was targeted towards massage parlors and killed six victims of Asian descent out of eight total, sparked conversations about an increase in anti-Asian hate crimes. It also raised the issue of sex addiction and gender-based violence, which was offered as a possible motive for the shooter. (RELATED: Sellers Report An Uptick In Self-Defense Firearm Purchases In Asian Communities)

In Boulder, some progressives initially pounced on reports that the shooter was a white man to reframe the event with a racial lens. When it was revealed the shooter was a Syrian immigrant named Ahmad Al Aliwi Al-Issa, some on the right speculated about possible ties to radical Islamic terror. Authorities are still working to identify the exact motive of the shooter.

In both instances, though, gun control became the prevailing topic of debate within a few days of the killings. It was then that a common, false trope about gun rights was redeployed by some on the left: that it’s easier in America to buy guns than it is to do a number of other basic and simple tasks.

Former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan tweeted that he dreamed of an America in which it is harder to buy a gun than it is to vote. Gun control activist Fred Guttenberg tweeted a similar message. He was one of many who highlighted conservative resistance to new gun control measures in comparison to new election laws being passed by Republicans in places like Georgia.

It is simply not the case that it is harder to vote than it is to buy a gun anywhere in America. Less than half of the states in America require a photo ID to vote. A majority of states allow convicted felons to vote. In many places, Americans can vote by mail, engage in same-day voter registration or vote absentee with simply a witness signature.

Every gun purchase in the United States requires the purchaser to pass a background check with the exception of sales between two private individuals, in-person, who live in the same state. These instances make up a minority of gun sales. There is no gun store in America in which a person can walk in and legally leave with a firearm without having an ID and passing a background check.

Voting isn’t the only activity being disingenuously compared to purchasing a gun by some activists. Another Twitter user claimed it was harder to adopt a dog than to buy a gun. A viral tweet with more than 16,000 likes said it was easier to buy a gun than a box of Sudafed.

Sudafed and some other allergy medications require an ID to purchase. A person can only buy a certain amount within a given time period.

In many states, there are waiting periods needed to buy certain types of firearms. Handguns often require a license to own, which can take months to get. When, where, and how someone can carry and store their gun is highly regulated in many parts of the country. The same cannot be said of Zyrtec decongestant. (RELATED: Former Obama Official Says Biden Will ‘Use Every Single Piece’ Of Executive Action On Gun Control)

Despite these largely false and misleading claims spreading like wildfire every time the topic of gun control is in the news, they are not marked for censorship in the ways that other pieces of disinformation are. As National Review’s David Harsanyi pointed out, they are often repeated in the news “without a hint of journalistic skepticism.”

Following the 2016 election, Facebook and Twitter were lambasted by the media for allowing alleged misinformation campaigns to spread and help elect former President Donald Trump. After the 2020 election, they repeatedly flagged tweets with false claims about election fraud before ultimately banning Trump entirely. Some have called for the de-platforming of cable news networks like Fox News for allegedly spreading “disinformation”.

However, when it comes to gun control, none of the false and misleading claims outlined above were tagged as dubious by Big Tech. The claims are repeated and spread every time a tragic mass shooting occurs, and everyone from progressive activists to Democratic politicians can make them.

The oft-stated concern about false narratives spreading online is notably absent when the discussion is about the Second Amendment.