I've noticed that politicians have a tendency to conflate several issues or at least imply things without technically claiming them.

My question for meta is, are these claims strong enought to be debunked by Skeptics?

For example, I the wake of the Newtown massacre, on BBC Newsnight, 17th Dec 12 (I think), there was a gun lobbyist claiming the having a gun in your house makes you safer. I am very sceptical of this. The lobbyist citied aggravated burglary statistics. Apparently, the lower rate in the US means they are safer.

Or at least that is what it sounded like to me. However, IIRC (I couldn't find a recording), the language he used was more about "feeling" safer. In the end he was cut off shouting at Paxman, "Would you not feel safer with a gun to protect your family?" In this case, the claim is a presupposition of that question.

Should these claims be ignored because of the use of these weasel words?

  • Found someone else referring to this interview: mumsinmedia.co.uk/calling-all-americans-give-up-your-guns Commented Dec 29, 2012 at 23:17
  • +1, yes; there is no formal hypothesis under those claims, and perhaps the purpose of this site is to explore the facts. Neverthless some specific claims that can be tested in on-line research are welcome here, but you have to be careful, though. Commented Dec 30, 2012 at 12:13
  • I'd say it should be a good source of skeptical questions. But the questions need to be posed carefully to disentangle the rhetorical obfuscation of the claims. For example, guns probably do make people feel safer but whether they actually are safer depends on the probability of several things: gun accidents, friendly fire (ie family use during arguments), and any possible deterrent effect (could go either way: burglars might be more likely to shoot first).
    – matt_black
    Commented Jan 1, 2013 at 13:04

1 Answer 1


I would opine: yes, it’s a strong enough claim; it was voiced (at least implied) in a public broadcasting media. And even if it turned out that it wasn’t implied (ha ha) the original wording may have been confusing enough to veer many people off course, and thus a particular claim was still publicised, even if it was disclaimed later.

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