I know I’m a little late on this and John Lott has thoroughly refuted the “facts” in this case, but I delayed my post to give Ms. Devolites Davis more time to respond. I think she’s had ample time now.
As most of you know, a Republican state representative from Northern Virginia introduced a bill in the VA State Legislature to close the imaginary “gun show loophole”. The VCDL fought against it and even had a delegation attend her press conference regarding the bill. She was a bit nonplussed when the press realized that the VCDL members there knew more about the bill and its ramifications than she did and got more press attention after the conference.
Anyway, the bill was shot down in committee (as well it should have been) which prompted the Washington Times to run a propaganda piece as “news” regurgitating Ms. Devolitas Davis’ bogus statistics in support of her bill.
I wrote to the editors of the paper as well as the author of the piece and posted it here. I also sent a letter to Ms. Devolites Davis requesting the source of her assertion that gun shows are the “second leading source of guns used in crimes”.
She verified that her statement came from a.
After reviewing the report, I replied to her with the following letter:
Ms. Devolites Davis,
Thank you for your reply.
Upon a cursory review of your source, four things stood out immediately:
First, this report only dealt with investigations into firearms trafficking, not in the procurement of firearms directly by criminals who subsequently used the guns in crime. It may seem to be a distinction without a difference but the two categories are completely different with vastly differing statistics.
Secondly, the ATF report to which you referred states: “Gun shows were a major trafficking channel, involving the second highest number of trafficked guns per investigation…” [emphasis added]
In other words, gun shows are not second highest overall source, only the second highest source per investigation.
Thirdly, according to the report, an investigation does not necessarily refer to a gun or guns that has or have been “used in crimes”. In fact, the report stipulates that half of the investigations did not involve guns recovered in crimes and that in half of the investigations that did involve recovered guns, the only associated crime was illegal possession. Therefore, three quarters of the investigations to which the report refers did not involve “guns used in crimes” as most people would interpret such a statement.
Finally, and probably the most telling, the very same paragraph that identifies Gun shows as the second highest number of trafficked guns per investigation also states clearly: “The investigations involved both licensed and unlicensed sellers at gun shows.” [emphasis added]
That means that the proposed law that you were attempting to justify with your statement would only involve unlicensed sellers which renders the data from the report you cited moot.
Thank you again for your response and the information. I personally believe that your position on this issue is misguided. I have never heard a convincing argument based upon compelling evidence to support the type of legislation that you proposed. Your statement piqued my interest because it was quite at odds with information I had seen in the past regarding criminals obtaining firearms at gun shows. Upon viewing the source data, my opinion has not changed. Your statement, in my opinion, was misleading and misrepresented the source data and is, therefore, not a compelling argument. I appreciate the opportunity to verify this for myself.
I didn’t post this right away to give her time to respond and defend her position. To date, she has declined to do so.
As a side note: many have expressed surprise that a Republican from a Red state like Virginia would support such a bill. It must be noted that Ms. Devolites Davis is a representative from Northern Virginia, which I like to refer to as the “Occupied Territories”. Northern Virginia right around DC has the same ailment as many Red state areas that border communist countries: Many escapees from the repressive regimes in DC and Maryland settle in Northern Virginia after escaping their opressors. But, after escaping, they immediately begin attempting to institute in their new home, the exact same repressive government that they just fled. Perhaps it is a version of Stockholm syndrome. Maybe it is nothing more than the leftist bent to refuse to see or acknowledge that their policies don’t work…even for them. But for whatever the reason, Northern Virginia is not exempt from the malady and suffers from it greatly. Pretty much any time you hear of socialistic, repressive bills being introduced in the Virginia Legislature, they come from either Northern Virginia or Richmond itself. If we could excise those two cankers from the Ass of the state, we would have a pretty good place to live and we freedom lovers could relax a little bit in stead of having to engage the battle year after year.