The Power of Lies and Why You Matter

When I created the Gun Talk Truth Squad almost two decades ago, it was to push back on the misinformation and outright lies about guns, gun owners, crime, and self-defense gun uses that permeates the general media. It’s the job of each of us to fight this, and we are doing that, but the lies are getting worse — a result of the death of journalism and the clear belief in the media that the facts don’t matter as long as they are pushing the narrative they think will make the world better.

It’s time to saddle up. Time to load up on more intellectual ammunition.

This Sunday we will air an interview I just did with Clayton Cramer about his new book, “Lock, Stock, and Barrel — The Origins Of American Gun Culture.” Cramer may be the best researcher in the gun world. His work has been cited in two U.S. Supreme Court cases (Heller and McDonald) and in dozens of lower court cases. This latest book should drive a stake into the heart of the ongoing myth that guns were rare and even disliked in early America. That meme was created as a way to mock and marginalize the legitimacy of the Second Amendment. Rewriting history can make ideas, people, and facts disappear.  (This is a good time to get a copy of Orwell’s 1984. It’s still relevant.) 

This is a bit geeky, but bear with me. In the year 2000, Emory University professor of history, Michael A. Bellesile, published a book titled “Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture.” Creamer explains: “Bellesile argued that guns were very scarce and tightly controlled in America before 1980, that there was essentially no civilian market for handguns before 1848, and that few Americans hunted.” The academic world and the media raved about this new “research” which “proved” that our gun culture was really myth. The author received the prestigious Bancroft Prize fromtruth Columbia University.

One problem.  Bellesile made up a lot of the “evidence” out of thin air. Because the very premise didn’t make sense, Cramer looked into it (he has incredible research ability) and blew the whistle on the book’s altered historical texts and the sourced materials which simple did not exist. In the end, Bellesile was discredited, lost his position at Emory, had his Bancroft Prize withdrawn (a first), and disappeared in the mist. 

Or so it seemed.

Fast forward 15 years, and in 2015 Pamela Haag’s study “The Gunning Of America” regurgitated much of the discredited nonsense Bellesile cobbled together, and added that only the clever and pernicious marketing of gun makers created a desire for guns in the mid-1800s. It appears that Haag actually believes the work which made Belleslie’s name synonymous with “fake research.”

Cramer knows his latest tome won’t be a best seller. Far from it. But, it will stand guard against the current and sure-to-come resurrection of the orchestrated lie that the Second Amendment has no basis in Americans owning and using guns. The goal is to make the Second Amendment “illegitimate.”

What does this have to do with you? Simply this: The gun-ban industry has upped its game significantly (with Bloomberg millions) and generates a daily feed of misinformation and lies to the media about guns, crime, self-defense, and you — Americas gun owners. From the patently false “epidemic of gun violence” to phony gun death numbers from the CDC (counting deaths in wars), to the slight-of-hand trick of saying we need background checks (their plan to kill all private gun sales and gifts) when we clearly have national background checks now, the lies are louder, more numerous, and many are widely believed.

This is where the Gun Talk Truth Squad comes in. We are several hundred thousand, and we can make a big difference. How? By never allowing the lies of the gun-ban lobby to go unchallenged. “A lie left unchallenged becomes the truth.” Whether it’s in person, making comments about an online article (more effective than you may realize), posting to your own Facebook page, speaking out at city council meetings, testifying at your state legislature, or just engaging people one-on-one, each time we push back, we win, just a little.

But you need intellectual ammunition for this fight. If you can, buy Cramer’s book (Amazon:, read it, and then donate your copy to the local library, where a researcher sometime in the future may find it and learn something. Make regular visits to for easy-to-share and fully-sourced info. Get on the email lists from the NRA and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (a less-known but tremendous source). 

I would ask that you recommit to the fight. Our commitment will beat back the Bloomberg dollars. That happens only when each of us takes action.

I’ll keep sharing information and sources. Feel free to let me know about any you find. Shoot me a note at [email protected].

I’m in the fight for life. Come stand beside me. ~ Tom

Tom Gresham
Author, outdoorsman, gun rights activist, and firearms enthusiast for more than five decades, Tom Gresham hosts Tom Gresham's Gun Talk, the first nationally-syndicated radio show about guns and the shooting sports, and is also the producer and co-host of the Guns & Gear, GunVenture and First Person Defender television series.