Gun Violence Misinformation Panel Speaks to Creating Informed Policy Debate

April 26, 2022 | Anna Zarra Aldrich '20 (CLAS), Office of the Vice President for Research

The goal of the public panel was to draw attention to how common misinformation is in the national discourse on gun laws and to start a conversation about how misinformation affects the decisions made about policies. Participant Raissian stressed the negative effects of false information on well-informed decision-making and said that combating false information is essential to the creation of effective policies.

The panel's interdisciplinary format demonstrated the complexity of gun violence and the range of effects it has on different communities. In talks on gun control, misinformation can take many forms, from presenting false statistics to downplaying the frequency of horrific shootings. Raissian emphasized that statements such as "people kill people, not guns" might be misleading because there is a direct correlation between higher rates of gun violence and more accessible firearms.

The panel dispelled myths regarding victims of gun violence, highlighting the fact that it impacts a variety of communities outside of metropolitan areas, including examples of how misinformation exacerbates trauma for survivors and hinders effective policy solutions.