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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Spinning Canadian Immigration Data Into Gun Control

A confusing Monday article at thestar.com, reporting on a “groundbreaking study” by two Toronto pediatricians, finds multiple ways to twist immigration data into an argument for gun control. 

The article at The Toronto Star’s website, alarmingly titled “A young person is shot every day in Ontario, Sick Kids study finds,” provides no link to the actual study. We finally found “Risk of firearm injuries among children and youth of immigrant families” at CMAJ.com, where we also found, “researchers examined data representing all children and youth up to 24 years of age”—a tactic that greatly inflates totals by including gang members. The study even admits, “Predictors of firearm injuries included older age (15–24 yr).”

Most misleading is the website’s reporting on the risk of intentional shootings among refugees, for whom “the risk of being a victim of intentional firearm assault is 43 percent higher,” especially in urban areas. Although the “data did not allow the researchers to dig deeper into why some subgroups face a higher risk of firearm assault,” the article muses that poverty, lack of resources, bullying and peer aggression—and perhaps higher participation in Canadian gangs—might be factors. 

The failure to even use the word “crime” and blurring the definition of “youth” amount to shoddy journalism. But, then again, turning a crime problem into a public health problem requires that.