Brady Campaign admits that Assault weapons are rarely used in violent crime.

Alternate title: More Fun with Math.

What? You mean the Brady campaign DIDN’T admit that, even though that’s the only obvious conclusion that can be drawn from their own study?

The first thing I noticed when looking over the study is that they use only raw numbers and anecdotes, not overall statistics. It’s almost like they’re trying to overstate their case or something.

Also notable, they don’t mention any numbers from when the “ban” was in effect with which to draw comparisons. Hmmm. I wonder: did they not bother to gather those numbers, or did they just choose not to provide them? I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t provide them. I mean, it’s not possible that those numbers would have shot their whole premise down in flames now is it? Surely the Brady Campaign wouldn’t leave out pertinent facts in an effort to create a misleading impression…

[/sarcasm]

At any rate, I decided to take a deeper look at the numbers that they DID provide.

Assuming that their numbers are correct (hardly a given, they admittedly used press reports…which are notoriously unreliable in identifying firearms types…not to mention the fact that the anti-freedom forces have been known to conjure numbers out of thin air from time to time):

According to the CDC (via Wisqars) there were 35,481 homicides in 2004 and 2005 (the last year for which data is available. The Bradys counted incidents from September of 2004 through October of 2008. Versus getting too fancy with the math, we’ll just use that as an average and estimate the total number of homicides over that four year period to be 4 times the annual average of those listed by CDC for 2004 and 2005. That equals a total number of homicides over that four year period of 70,962.

The Brady’s number of deaths by “assault weapon” during that time is 163. That means that (again, assuming that the Brady’s numbers are correct), .23% of all homicides since the expiration of the misnamed “AWB” were committed by effected firearms.

How about cops? Well, according to the FBI uniform crime reports, there were 217 Police Officers “feloniously” killed from 2004 to 2007. Again, we’ll just use that four year total as an estimate covering the four years of the Brady report…and employing some basic math, inaptly named “assault weapons” have been used in .69% of Police Officer homicides.

Hey, we’d better ban them. Forget about the millions of law abiding citizens that use them for home protection, target shooting, hunting (yes, hunting) and competition: we MIGHT…assuming that the ban is 100% effective and that perpetrators don’t just choose another weapon…reduce the overall homicide rate by just over TWO TENTHS OF ONE PERCENT and the Police Officer homicide rate by less than SEVEN TENTHS OF ONE PERCENT.

Finally, you’ll notice that their injury numbers are only slightly higher than their death numbers. That’s strange. Again, according the the CDC Via Wisqars, non-fatal violent assaults are HUGELY more common than fatal violent assaults. During the same period that we estimated 70,962 homicides, there were some 6.6 MILLION non-fatal assaults. Even if you limit it to firearms related assaults (which I don’t believe is valid…violent crime is violent crime regardless of the tool used), there were over 195 thousand incidents during the period.

That means that the incidence of non-fatal firearms assaults involving what are considered “assault weapons” by the Brady Campaign amounts to no more than statistical noise, relatively speaking.

I’m sorry…explain to me again why these firearms are such an egregious threat?

[Update] Both Uncle and Caleb have commented on different aspects of this report. [/Update]

***NOTE: I left a comment similar to this post on a media article regarding the issue. I made a mistake on that comment in that I counted all homicides in 2004 rather than just the ones from September to December…the period covered by the Brady report. As a result, my numbers here are slightly different. The point is no less valid even with the corrected numbers.***

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You’ve gotta admit

They may be deceitful, they may be corrupt, they may be unethical, but they ain’t dumb.

As most of you are probably aware, the Brady Campaign came out with a PSH filled diatribe about how HR 6691 is going to result in adolescents carrying .50 BMGs in the streets of DC and terrorists will be able to establish sandbagged fighting positions on the corners of Pennsylvania Avenue under the new law and the authorities won’t be able to do a thing about it because it will be perfectly legal.

The NRA and others dutifully pointed out the obvious…that the provisions had nothing to do with the law concerning the carrying of firearms, only with keeping them in the home.

Yet, I’m sure there were still some concerned politicians (probably of the Donkey persuasion) who bought into the hyperbole and outright lies.

To assuage those fears and ensure the votes that they need to get the bill passed, some revisions were made that make it absolutely clear that the bill does not pertain to the carrying of arms in public.

Today the Brady Campaign (no link from me) is shrilly screaming “SEE, SEE, SEE….the NRA are LIARS…they had to change the bill because WE WERE RIGHT! and THEY LIED ABOUT IT!”.

You may not admire them for their integrity, but you’ve gotta admit that this was a pretty slick move. If nothing else, you can admire them for the chutzpa.

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Breaking News!

Criminals willing to commit multiple state and federal felonies can still get guns if they want them…even in New Jersey.

Authorities say the guns were purchased in North and South Carolina where Wise simply altered his name and social security number to buy high powered assault weapons and ten thousand rounds of ammunition.

Investigators believe if the guns had gotten into the hands of criminals, the carnage would have been incredible because they are weapons for war.

Excuse me? I hate to tell you this, but those guns were ALREADY in the hands of a criminal.

The PSH in this piece is almost breathtaking. Virtually every sentence was dripping with breathless fear and innuendo.

Equating “survivalist” (aka preparedness) with criminal activity.
Implying that only “assault weapons” can pierce bullet resistant vests.
Semi-automatic “weapons of war”.
Loaded guns are “ready for battle”.
“Thousands of rounds of ammunition”…is that a lot?

Etc.

The sensationalism of the media is shameful.

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PSH, Oakland Style

I actually found this “article” through Google News Alerts this morning, but a couple of other bloggers have hit on it as well so I do need to give credit where due.

I found an area for comments that didn’t require me to register for an account.

Here’s what I left:

This opinion piece masquerading as news is so full of factual inaccuracies and flat out falsehoods that I can’t begin to cover them all. There was very little that was actually true in the piece.

The most glaring blatant falsehood was this statement:

It used to be illegal for civilians to purchase or own assault weapons. That was before the nation’s main assault gun control legislation lapsed in 2004 — and was not renewed.

The Federal Assault Weapons Ban outlawed the sale or possession of 19 types of assault weapons — defined as semiautomatic firearms with specific characteristics allowing rapid-fire shooting, which includes most handguns.

1) The ban on scary looking, low to medium powered guns never banned possession or sales, only new manufacture. Affected firearms that were manufactured before enactment of the “ban” could still be owned, sold and purchased throughout the duration of the “ban”.

2) The 19 firearms “banned” were banned by name. Exact copies of those firearms were still available under different names throughout the ban as long as they didn’t have too many of the purely cosmetic features mentioned in the legislation.

3) None of the cosmetic features that supposedly constituted an “assault weapon” were features which “allowed rapid fire shooting”. Exactly how does a bayonet lug, folding or collapsible stock, pistol grip etc “allow rapid fire shooting”? The only thing that affects rate of fire is the design of the action itself. Semi-automatic arms that were never included in the ban were capable of exactly the same rate of fire (one shot with each pull of the trigger) as banned weapons. The law had absolutely nothing to do with rate of fire.

4) The ban absolutely, positively, did NOT “include most handguns”. The federal law specifically named a few handguns that were included, but had no effect on the availability, manufacture, sale or possession of the VAST majority of handguns.

Besides the factual inaccuracy of the piece, there were also an abundance of logical fallacies as well. The author was obviously implying a link between the expiration of the ban on scary looking low to medium powered weapons and the number of illegal guns in Oakland. To do so, the author stated two unconnected facts and then simply asserted that they are connected.

Has the number of firearms available in Oakland increased since the expiration of the federal law in 2004? If so, was there already a trend occurring, or did the increase directly correlate with the law’s expiration?

If the proliferation of firearms in Oakland is increasing, what types of firearms? Is the number of firearms that were not affected by the federal law increasing at the same rate as those that were? Or is the increase only attributable to the affected firearms?

There are many more questions that should be asked before jumping to the conclusion that the author did, but those few illustrate exactly how tenuous the case made by the author is.

This was not a news story as it was not an exercise in reporting the facts for the purpose of informing the public. This was a propaganda piece with the sole intention of misrepresenting the facts to forward a political agenda.

I also took the liberty of e-mailing my response (including a link to this post) to one of the authors. I’ll let you know if I get a reply.

I also found it interesting that all three of the bloggers who chose to comment on this piece picked out different things to key on. Yes, that piece was a veritable cornucopia of inaccuracies upon which to impale it. There’s plenty more if anyone else wants to pile on.

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More PSH in the news

From the Salt Lake Tribune.

Nothing really out of the ordinary: “Assault weapon” traces are up blah blah blah…cops are out gunned blah blah blah…machine gun battles in the streets are imminent blah blah blah…our cities are turning into Baghdad blah blah blah…these high velocity, super sniper, ultra accurate, armor piercing, teflon coated, explosive tipped, heat seeking, anti-aircraft, preferred weapons of gang members and pre-pubescent children must be banned! (Ok, maybe I exaggerated a little with that last one).

The thing I really wanted to point out is the article rating and the comments.

The article had, at the time of this writing, 57 votes with a rating of -33

Now the comments: of the 47 comments at the time of this writing, 33 of them were pro-gun, 11 were anti-gun and 3 were neutral.

We’re winning.

And here’s why:

In the first two pages of comments until the contributions of “samwise001”, the anti gun arguments were composed completely of what we have come to expect: hyperbole, straw men and ad hominems:

To the three posters above, where do we draw the line? Grenade launchers, flame throwers, machine guns, attack helicopters, enriched uranium? Is there any limit to the right to bear arms? Or is anything you can buy legal? All of the aforementioned products are available if you have enough money. I do not consider myself in the gun control camp, but certainly there are reasonable limits to arms possesion, just as there are reasonable limits to the free speech rights guaranteed by the constitution. –rolandkayser

“god given right” to self defense by military weaponry?
using one fantasy to support another doesn’t fly too well (usually, but this is about some guys needs for bigger, well, guns)

keep your fear, your god, and your guns to yourself please

anyone who claims to “need” an assault rifle is paranoid, delusional, or otherwise dangerous (I can’t even imagine a reasonable scenario, besides an attack by someone else with one of these…and “god” knows how you’d precipitate such a thing)….what kind of world have you placed yourself in that you think such a weapon is justified–or needed–for civilians anyway?….these tools are an affront to civilized society and should be kept (if at all) exclusively in the hands of trained, DISCIPLINED, military service-members.

you want to defend yourself? get rid of the fear mongering, partisan, radical rightwingers, and get rid of crime by sharing the riches of our world with everyone.

–moab mike

Etc.

However, along comes samwise001. Someone who was arguing for an “assault weapons” ban, but was able to discuss it rationally and without the histrionics. He made calm, rational statements and conducted himself well. The TRUE definition of “reasoned discourse.”

And how did the pro-gunners react?

Why, with civility, rational arguments, facts and logic, of course. No name-calling, no penis references, no irrational rants. Just refuted his assertions with facts and dissected his conclusions with logic.

This statement by Samwise struck me immediately:

So, in the end, I agree that we could do more to address the root causes of crime and violence – poverty, education, and economic opportunity chief among them. (And as a proud, bleeding-heart liberal – I’ll call myself the names so others don’t have to – [emphasis added]

But…No one did. Not one time did anyone level an ad hominem attack against him or his positions.

And that, my friends, is WHY we’re winning.

Keep it up, fellow travelers.

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Good lies are based on a kernel of truth

And the anti-gunners are old pros at the science and art of telling good lies.

This article was brought to my attention by both Caleb and an e-mail from a reader (thanks Keith) who pointed out David’s blog post on it (who kindly notes that the author of the article…who, incidentally, was not present at the demonstration about which he opines…happens to be a board member of the anti-gun “Virginians against handgun violence”).

Although the points made by the author in the piece are based on some facts (as all good lies tend to be), the picture that they are used to paint is a blatant falsehood.

There WAS some laughter, there were, I believe, two or three times where someone shouted “Second Amendment” or “Protect our rights” or something along those lines, but they didn’t happen while speakers were talking; they happened during lulls in the “presentation.” There were no coordinated chants, cat-calls, jeering, boos or any other incidents that could have been construed as disrupting their program. During the “lie-in” someone did shout “all in support of gun rights stand up” followed by laughter.

There WAS some laughter when a few of the anti-rights people broke out in a very poorly presented rendition of “we shall overcome”; the laughter was in response, however, not so much to their lack of musical prowess, but toward the irony of a group dedicated to ERASING a basic civil right hijacking the theme song of a movement that fought to ACHIEVE civil rights. There was some background talking, and some loud comments, but not to the level that could possibly be construed as “disrupting” their demonstration.

I would also point out that they misrepresent the spirit and intent of their demonstration. This was not a vigil “in memory” of the victims of Virginia Tech, this was a political rally for the purpose of supporting and advancing a political agenda…the banners they proudly held high didn’t say “remember the victims”, they said “close the gunshow loophole”. The fact that they brazenly used victims of a tragedy to endorse their cause (something that some would classify as practicing Saltatus Cruoris), does not make their event anything other than what it was: a public, political rally.

If they didn’t want the public to show up, they could have done it on private land, the very fact that they have the audacity to hold a public rally on public land and then cry about it when the public that shows up doesn’t support their cause is very telling. Additionally telling about their intentions and inability to tolerate dissenting views is the fact that they tried to have the part of the public that didn’t agree with them removed before the event even started.

In any case, the bottom line is that there was no “intimidation” or “bullying” coming from the pro-gun side. If anything, we were in very good spirits and were decidedly non-threatening (except, of course, to people who “feel threatened” by the very visage of an armed citizen). The only people expressing anger or outrage were the anti-gunners. As I mentioned in my original post, the only people doing any pushing and shoving were the anti-gunners. I have to wonder if they were trying to provoke a response intentionally to try to foment an altercation that they could point to as evidence of our “bullying”. Unfortunately for them, gun owners tend to be more emotionally stable than they so their efforts to start trouble went unrewarded.

If we had made a concerted effort to disrupt their program, had heckled their speakers, chanted slogans or shouted them down (as I have seen done time and time again when the roles are reversed), I would have been the first to criticize the conduct of the attendees…but that didn’t happen. We showed up, there were a few isolated incidents of shouts (when no speakers were talking), some laughter, some commenting amongst ourselves, but absolutely nothing that could be considered “bullying” or “intimidation”. Those charges are outright lies.

The fact is that the anti-gunner’s entire case rests on an emotional reaction rather than facts or reason. This is nothing more than an attempt to engender further emotional response by smearing the supporters of liberty…unfortunately, as usual, they will have the full collusion of the MSM in spreading their distortions and lies and many will never hear the truth. This is the battle that we wage daily and that’s why we can never rest.

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Govornor Kain vows to trample Second Amendment

And simultaneously guarantee that he’ll never be elected to another political position in Virginia.

And if the facts of the story weren’t bad enough, the Pilot reporters felt it necessary to engage in a bit of PSH in reporting it:

The state’s rules do not require the checks on people who buy guns privately through unlicensed dealers at the shows. [emphasis added]

I’ve heard this canard so many times it is taking on a life of its own. Time to put this one to rest:

Title 18, US Code, Chapter 44, §921(a)(11): The term “dealer” means (A) any person engaged in the business of selling firearms at wholesale or retail…

Title 18, US Code, Chapter 44, §921(a)(21): The term “engaged in the business” means – …a person who devotes time, attention and labor to dealing in firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the repetitive purchase and resale of firearms, but such term shall not include a person who makes occasional sales, exchanges, or purchases of firearms for the enhancement of a personal collection or for a hobby, or who sells all or port of his personal collection of firearms [emphasis added].

Title 18, US Code, Chapter 44, §922: (a) It shall be unlawful- (1) for any person- (A) except a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer, to engage in the business of importing, manufacturing, or dealing in firearms…

Title 18, US Code, Chapter 44, §923: (a) No person shall engage in the business of importing, manufacturing, or dealing in firearms…until he has filed an application with and received a license to do so from the Attorney General.

(Virginia’s “state rules”, as the reporters put it, mirror US Code in this respect)

In other words: an “unlicensed dealer” in firearms is, by definition, ALREADY BREAKING THE LAW.

Oh…What? You mean they aren’t talking about people “engaged in the business” of selling firearms? They’re only talking about private individuals who are selling or trading their own personal firearms as a hobby or to enhance their collection?

A private individual selling personal firearms from his own collection is, by definition, NOT a “dealer”. I guess that’s just too complicated a concept for journalists or politicians to grasp.

Do journalists regularly refer to private citizens selling their personally owned vehicles as “unlicensed dealers” in automobiles? No, because the term in inaccurate and misleading.

I repeat: by definition, private citizens are NOT dealers. Using that term is nothing more than propaganda and those who insist upon doing so are nothing more than liars.

The loophole gives felons and mentally ill people access to weapons they should not be allowed to buy, said Kaine, speaking at the annual AP Day at the Capital, a legislative forum sponsored by The Associated Press and the Society for Professional Journalists.

loop·hole (lōōp’hōl’)n.

1. A way of escaping a difficulty, especially an omission or ambiguity in the wording of a contract or law that provides a means of evading compliance.
“loophole.” The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 05 Dec. 2007.

The provision in the law that exempts private individuals from the requirements under which dealers operate is not an “omission” or “ambiguity”. This provision is very specifically and clearly spelled out; in that light, in no way can private citizens selling personal firearms be said to be “evading compliance” with the law in any way.

As a side-note: isn’t it interesting that Governor Kaine chose a conference of Journalists as his venue to make his big announcement? Don’t politicians generally address controversial topics in front of friendly audiences? Nope…no bias to see here, move along folks.

The reporters then happily embrace the time honored rite of Saltatus Cruoris as they callously invoke the victims of Virginia Tech as an emotional bludgeon to further their obvious agenda.

In as predictable a fashion as night following day, any horrific event involving guns is immediately followed by the anti-gunners proposing or endorsing laws that have no bearing on what happened and would not and could not have prevented the event. I must admit they are learning: this time they’re TRYING to rationalize their crass and utterly dishonorable attempt to politically profit from the misfortune of others. They do acknowledge that the perpetrator didn’t get his weapons this way, but they desperately and ineffectually attempt to make a tenuous connection by claiming “if he hadn’t been able to get his guns the way he got them, he MIGHT have gotten them from a private individual at a gun show”. Of course, he MIGHT have just used gasoline and matches to do the deed but you don’t see them trying to prevent private citizens from selling gas cans now do you?

And here is the most telling quote in the whole article:

“Cho could not buy that weapon today,” from a licensed dealer, Massengill indicated. “So the question we have to ask is, where would he get it? Because he would still get it. And likely get it at a gun show.”

The anti-gun chairman of the anti-gun panel that “reviewed” the Virginia Tech incident ADMITS that “he would still get [a gun].”

The fact is, no matter how many laws are passed, no matter how many restrictions are put in place, they will never be enough. Because the bad guys will “still get [guns]” and the anti-gunners will just move on to the next “loophole” that they want to close until the Second Amendment is nothing more than a historical footnote and we are all nothing more than defenseless wards of the state.

That is the agenda. And THAT is why we must fight them tooth and nail. We cannot let the camel get his nose any further into the tent than it already is because gun control is one camel that I do not want to sleep with.

With regard to the Pilot and its reporters: I could give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that they are either too incompetent or lack the intelligence to even realize that they are just fomenting propaganda…but I don’t believe that. They don’t practice journalism; they practice evangelism. Their goal is not to inform, it is to convert; and they have demonstrated repeatedly that they will resort to any tactics…even to the level of blatant lies…to ply their trade.

I’m going to e-mail the authors of this gun-control support solicitation masquerading as news (Matthew Bowers and Richard Quinn)and give them a link to this post. If anything I’ve said is inaccurate or any conclusion I’ve drawn flawed, I’d be happy to hear their comments.

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The Assault on faux "assault weapons"

Ahab and Dustin have covered the details of this story pretty thoroughly already so I won’t redundantly fisk the CNN tripe.

What I want to do is just express my utter disgust.

If the reporters on this piece were unaware that the 1994 ban on scary looking cosmetic features had nothing to do with automatic weapons, then they are incompetent. If they knew and were being intentionally misleading, they are liars.

Either way, what does that say bout the quality of journalism that can be expected on ANY story that CNN presents?

If I KNOW that they got the basics wrong on a story that I have some knowledge about, how can I trust them to properly inform me on an issue about which I have no previous knowledge? If they get this wrong on such a basic level, what would possibly make be believe that they would get ANYTHING right on ANY issue?

Obviously the answer is “nothing.”

And then they sit around in their offices and echo chambers wondering why their industry is dying. It would be funny if it weren’t so frustrating.

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Anti-gunners and violence

It seems more and more anti-gunners these days are displaying violent tendencies. Just last week, uber-anti-freedom advocate Peter (Petey) Hamm jokingly threatened to shoot Uncle. This incident was even picked up on by the NRA.

First thing this morning, I see several references to this editorial by Stanley Crouch of the New York Daily News, followed shortly by the revelation that Mr. Crouch has a sordid history of wanton violence himself.

It has been proposed that proponents of gun control suffer from irrational fears that result in the application of psychological defense mechanisms such as “projection”, “denial” and “reaction formation”.

What if it’s even more sinister than that?

Based upon Mr. Crouch’s penchant for physically attacking those with whom he has disagreements, might his opposition to gun ownership be rooted in something much more selfish and overt, like…say…self-preservation?

Isn’t it possible that Mr. Crouch fears that, at some point, he is going to violently attack someone who has the means and will to defend themselves from his unprovoked violence? Isn’t it possible that Mr. Couch is so determined to force his opinions on others…even by using violent force if necessary…that, as any good tyrant would, he simply wants to disarm those inferior beings who may not be capable of readily grasping his obvious superiority; those who may have the sheer audacity to refuse to embrace his rightness and insist upon the ridiculous premise that they have some sort of justification for resisting the imposition of his will upon them?

Could it be that he simply fears that someday, he’s going to attack the “wrong” person and get shot for his trouble?

Far be it from me to profess the ability to see into someone’s heart, but the possibility of his motivation being somewhat less than honorable cannot simply be dismissed out of hand.

“The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it.”
— H.L. Mencken

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