Gun control: When propaganda is accepted as fact


Anti-gun propaganda is turning fiction into fact and ensuring the firearm-owning community will lose the debate about gun control.

Philip Alpers’ outrageous claims should be a black mark against the gun control lobby, but instead his prominence is ensuring anti-gun advocates have already won the public debate.

While the Australian media keeps the issue alive thanks to the US debate over gun control, opportunistic Australian gun-control advocates are calling for tougher gun laws, a new gun buyback and other measures, clouding the argument with flawed data.

The almost complete absence of the Australian firearm community in the current debate has helped the claims of Alpers, Roland Browne and other gun-control lobbyists go unquestioned.

Even the most objective efforts by journalists covering the debate have repeated Alpers’ claims that Australia’s 1996 gun laws halved the rate of gun death, a fallacy based on highly questionable interpretation of the statistics.

Alpers was exposed long ago for selective use of information and coming up with results that defy even his own data, but this has appeared only in a handful of pro-gun publications and websites.

As long ago as 2005 the SSAA of New Zealand published a detailed document debunking Alpers, who now operates out of Sydney University but has no academic qualifications; indeed, the closest he came to studying at uni in his youth was going there but not enrolling, and doing drugs. This story also provides a damning assessment of Alpers, who refuses to discuss his own record.

The SSAANZ found Alpers had misidentified firearms as being of ‘military style’, ignored documented histories of mental health problems and violence in his research on mass shootings, and even failed to add single-digit numbers correctly.

“It would be a mammoth task to catalog all of Mr Alpers’ errors,” the author concluded. “Never assume any summary of information by Mr Alpers is what it at first appears.”

Alpers established a gun-control website, partly funded by the Australian government out of Sydney Uni, that he claims is an unbiased source of gun facts, but a cursory glance reveals it is heavily biased against the ownership of firearms.

The Australian government is implicit in the success of the website, which was launched in the US in 2010 by Australia’s ambassador to the United Nations.

The implied credibility of Alpers’ website is thus underlined internationally, and the skewed ‘facts’ it espouses are now effectively truths that are not being put under the microscope.

Examiner.com quickly jumped on the problem when the site was launched, accusing Gunpolicy.org of being nothing more than a propaganda site, but the broader media has not investigated it.

Meanwhile, Briton Piers Morgan, a resident of the US, has made himself very unpopular because of his ongoing opposition to guns there, and he has also been caught out quoting false ‘facts’, as the following news clip demonstrates:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8D8b51EwrI

The website Gunfacts.info is a pro-firearm site worth spending some time on. Unlike Alpers’ anti-gun site, Gunfacts does not hide its intentions. However, it is still a good source of reliable information to counter the anti-gunners’ propaganda.


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Mick Matheson

Mick grew up with guns and journalism, and has included both in his career. A life-long hunter, he has long-distant military experience and holds licence categories A, B and H. In the glory days of print media, he edited six national magazines in total, and has written about, photographed and filmed firearms and hunting for more than 15 years.

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