Fisking a Gun Control Editorial

This editorial was sent to me by a fan. It is an opinion piece from CNN. As can be expected in the aftermath of any shooting that grabs headlines, two things are going to happen. 1. Liberals will knee jerk try to pin it on the right. 2. They’ll start bleating for more gun control. We got #1 when ABC news was trying to blame this on the Tea Party before the blood had even dried, and of course when that came back as untrue, just like it did with the Giffords shooting, they went right into #2.

Come on. Seriously news media? And there are still a handful of people out there who think that you guys are unbiased? They must sleep in helmets.

So as expected, the news is ignoring reality in favor of their typical happy bubble world. The media is busy butchering facts to fit their narrative. Anybody who is really knowledgeable about any particular topic has seen this before. Whenever I see a report about a topic I’m an expert on, it is usually crap. Or as Michael Crichton said:

“Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them. In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.”

And now we’ve got an opinion piece from CNN, where if you know anything about the topic, it is obvious the author is huffing paint, but if you’re not up on the subject, it may sound convincing.

I’d like to explain how it is not. Original article is here. http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/23/opinion/webster-aurora-shooter/index.html?iref=obnetwork

The article was written by Daniel Webster, who is a college professor who runs an anti-gun “policy and research” center, my responses are in bold. And for the record, I am a former concealed weapons instructor, former gun store owner, have written for gun magazines, have participated in a whole lot of classes on this subject both as a student and as an instructor, and have testified before state legislatures on the issue of mass shootings. Basically for a period of about five years I professionally soaked up every single piece of information I possibly could on this subject, taught people how to deal with it, went through a bunch of training and have even played the bad guy in scenario training. (I make a great villain) To say that I’ve thought about this topic quite a bit would be an understatement.

 (CNN) — Scenes from the mass shooting in an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater are horrific, but are all too familiar in the United States.

Some have argued that gun control is irrelevant to mass shootings because the perpetrators are typically so determined that they will overcome any legal hurdle to acquiring firearms. However, mass murderers often use assault weapons or guns with large ammunition capacity.

Let’s think about this, because this is going to come up a lot in the anti-gun thought process. Webster points out my side’s argument and then quickly dismisses it, like “oh, you silly gun nuts, crazy murderers will totally be thwarted by the same laws as law abiding citizens”.

Just last year, Anders Breivik shot 69 people in Norway, a country with gun control far stricter than America. (he also blew 8 people up with bombs, but I’ll come back to that later). In 2008, a group of terrorists completely shut down the city of Mumbai by going on an epic shooting spree. More than 300 casualties. India has some of the strictest gun control laws in the world (and in fact, has no “gun culture” to speak of, which led directly to their disastrous police response, but I’ll come back to that too).

The thing about all gun laws, and you really need to get this through you head, is that criminals don’t give a shit.

One of the guns James Eagan Holmes allegedly used to shoot 70 people within minutes was an assault rifle with a 100-round drum magazine. This extraordinary firepower enables gunmen to kill and wound more victims than they otherwise could if they used weapons that held fewer bullets.

There are a few problems here, and I’ll try to take them in order.

First off, the term “assault rifle” in this context means whatever the media needs it to mean. In actual gun nut parlance, an assault rifle is an intermediate power small arm capable of full auto fire. Which this was not, but to the media, any gun that is vaguely scary looking is an assault weapon. So if you’ve got a Honda Civic it is a car, but if you put a spoiler on a Honda Civic it is now a race car. No. It is still a Honda Civic. Words mean things.

Second off, as we saw during the Clinton years, what they really want to ban is what is actually known as a detachable magazine fed semi-automatic. Semi-automatic means that for each pull of the trigger, the action cycles itself because of recoil or gas pressure, and feeds a new round into the firing position. A magazine is the thing that holds the ammunition.

Here is the thing. We banned high capacity magazines once before. It did nothing. Absolutely nothing. For ten years. The only difference it made was that the law abiding now had defensive guns that held fewer shots than was intended, and once again, criminals simply did not give a shit.

So he had a hundred round mag… (which malfunctioned, because they don’t work that well). Normally a rifle like that would have a 30 round mag. However, somebody who is completely fumble fingered and totally inept can change a magazine in a few seconds. Somebody who has practiced can do it in two. Somebody like me who was paid in OPA* to shoot competitively can do it in one.  (* Other People’s Ammo). 

So let’s theoretically ban higher capacity magazines like we did once before. That will assuage this academic’s tender sensibilities. Let’s go clear back to 10 rounds like we had before… So the main difference will be that every law abiding citizen in the country now has fewer shots available for legitimate self defense (oh, and don’t worry, I’ll talk about why you need more shots here too), except that since there are literally millions of higher capacity magazines in circulation, the criminal will still have them, because remember, he don’t give a shit.

Wait? What? Yeah… Last time they banned high cap mags, we went a whole decade using old ones AND DIDN’T RUN OUT. So you’d have to ban new ones, confiscate old ones, and remember… Criminals don’t give a shit. (sensing a trend yet?)

There is obviously no need for any civilian to have such powerful weapons.

Au contraire. The founding fathers were far smarter than you, Dr. Webster. The 2nd Amendment exists as a final life insurance policy for the Constitution… Sure, I’ve seen lots of Facebook posts over the last few days talking about how absurd that is, which simply tells me that the author doesn’t know history, current events, or is simply willfully naïve as to how the world works. 

Anyone who says that sort of thing can’t ever happen here is a fool. In 1900, Germany was the most socially, technologically, and culturally advanced country in the world. Thirty some odd years later they were a totalitarian murder machine.

But let’s forget about the real reason for the 2nd Amendment for a moment and look at Webster’s point. No civilian needs to have such powerful weapons…

Okay… He’s only mentioned capacity, not actual power (sort of like mixing up torque and horsepower, but whatever), because relatively speaking all of the weapons used in this particular shooting were relatively low power, i.e. he was shooting a glorified varmint cartridge rather than an elk rifle. So let’s concentrate on capacity. Why do civilians need guns that can hold that many rounds?

Effectiveness.

Rational gun policy, one that puts public safety ahead of the interests of the gun industry and gun enthusiasts, would ban firearms and ammunition clips that hold more than 10 rounds. Such a policy might not prevent many of our mass shootings, but it should reduce the number of victims from these incidents.

Why do I want a weapon that holds more than 10 rounds? Well, first and foremost, why do I have a self defense gun? It is a tool in my tool box used to solve a certain specific sort of problem. In this case, it is to defend myself from serious bodily harm from assailants. Notice the s on the end of assailant. As in plural.

10 shots isn’t many if you have more than one attacker, or you miss, or most importantly, contrary to the movies, when a good guy shoots a bad guy, the bad guy doesn’t fly backwards through the wall, do a flip, and catch on fire. Most defensive weapons simply poke a hole in the bad guy, which then bleeds, which causes a drop in blood pressure, which makes him stop trying to hurt you. Here in the real world, sometimes you have to shoot somebody multiple times in order to make them stop trying to murder you.

You’ve all heard the stories about the dude that gets shot 14 times by the cops and then walks under his own power to the ambulance. Nobody has ever gotten into a gun battle and said afterwards, “damn, I wish I hadn’t brought all that extra ammo!” Many times it takes multiple shots to stop a determined attacker.

//                        

Skeptics might point to the federal assault weapons ban (a section of the 1994 Violent Crime Control Act) that Congress let expire in 2004 as a failure that did not affect overall homicide rates.

Duh.

However, the law’s impact was limited by its narrowness that made it easy for gun manufacturers to evade.

Remember when I said assault weapons ban was a made up word? Well, that’s the problem when you try to legislate something that doesn’t actually exist.

The problem was that since assault weapon to the media is defined as anything scary, the basically banded Civics with spoilers, but couldn’t ban regular Civics.

And when a liberal says manufacturers “evade” he means obeyed the law. If the law said no folding stocks, we said okay, and put on regular stocks (one of the many items that were banned, yet which made zero functional difference).

A broad ban on the sale and possession of high capacity (more than 10 rounds) ammunition magazines with stiff penalties would translate into saved lives.

He asserts with no evidence.

Between 9,000 and 10,000 people are murdered each year with guns in the U.S., most garnering little attention.

Most garner little attention because the media doesn’t want to draw attention to the fact that most murders happen in cities run by liberals that already have harsh gun control laws in place. Like Chicago for example.

Local news coverage of such events typically provides scant information or context to enable citizens to understand the role of guns in these incidents.

BWA HA HA HAW Ha snort! Did you just try to blame the main stream media for failing to put the role of guns into context? The same media that never reports any positive stories about defensive gun use? Sorry, I have to pause to wipe away my tears.

Invariably, the only time that gun violence and gun policy are discussed in the national media is after a horrific shooting rampage.

Yep. You guys are perched like vultures, just waiting to see if you can capitalize on fear or tragedy.

We should not brush aside discussions of gun policy as too politically difficult to expect meaningful change, or “the price for our freedoms.”

Of course, when a liberal talks about freedom, he has to put the word into quote marks.

The reason nobody wants to talk about your gun policy is because your gun policy is stupid. This is one of those debates where most of the country has looked at your stupid way of doing things and said that it doesn’t work and we don’t want to do it anymore.

Your inner-cities are hell holes, and you blame us for the crime. Crazy people shoot innocents and you blame people who had nothing to do with it. You declare places like schools and movie theaters to be gun free zones, and they you blame us when nobody is there to defend them.

In fact, your single most reliable defense against this sort of attack is an immediate violent response, and since the police need time to get there, that means the immediate response has to come from the victim pool or not at all. Yet your policy is to kick us and our guns out of those places, that way the bad guys can work unmolested until the cops arrive.

Instead, we should reflect on why the U.S. has a murder rate that is nearly seven times higher than the average murder rate in other high-income countries

Oh really? And this is all about guns, and not about our failed Great Society, liberal inner city hell holes, gang warfare, our massive illicit drug trade, and all while comparing us to ethnically, racially, and socially homogenous countries far smaller than we are?

and a nearly 20 times higher murder rate with guns.

Because getting killed in England with a claw hammer is so much more awesome.

As Mark Twain said, lies, damned lies, and statistics. And statistics go right out the window the first time you need to defend yourself from somebody who wants to cut your face off and wear it as a hat and you really wish you had a gun to do it with.  

Remember the thing with bombs earlier? Yeah… You make it harder to get guns, that’s the next option. The only reason they don’t get used more is that bombs are scarier to make, and take up to half an hour on the internet and trip to Home Depot to make, but once you get over that hurdle, then you can really cause some destruction. See for example, the rest of the entire world.

And what was the biggest mass murder at a school in US history? Michigan, 1927. And the crazy guy used a bomb.

And we should consider how flaws in current gun policies contribute to this disparity.

But wait… are these statistics even true? How about how the United Kingdom, a tiny island, with some of the strictest gun and even knife control, has some of the worst crime in Europe? An island, with the most police surveillance in the world, can’t stop violent crime, and can’t stop weapons from coming in. You might be a lot less likely to get into a mass shooting there, but you are a whole lot more likely to get your skull smashed in with a bat. And since mass shootings are extremely rare, but assholes who want to rape you and take your stuff are common, that’s supposed to be a net positive trade?

And yet we, who have individual states with borders bigger than the entire UK, with a hundred million guns already in circulation, are going to ban everything and crime is going to magically stop? I don’t think so.

Because let’s say it again, criminals don’t give a shit.

Standards for legal ownership and permits to carry a concealed gun are relatively lax in the U.S.

As they should be.

In most states, a person with a long history of arrests and convictions for misdemeanors (often pleaded down from felony charges), prior restraining orders for domestic violence and history of drug and alcohol abuse can own as many military-style weapons as he can afford to purchase,

Actually, that’s not even close to true. And since Doc here is a professional academic elite anti-gun think tanker, so he’s either deliberately lying or he’s just stupid.

When you purchase a firearm from a dealer anywhere in America you have to fill out Form 4473 for the BATF. On that form are a series of questions, including some of the ones above, and when we call this information in to the ATF or whatever your state criminal investigatory agency is, they run a background check. If you come up as ineligible, the dealer can’t complete the transaction.

So let’s really think about what he’s saying there… He wants people who were acquitted of crimes to be denied guns. He wants somebody who abused drugs twenty years ago to be denied the right to own a gun. (sorry Barack Obama, you’d be shit outta luck).

But really, let’s be honest, he wants nobody to have a gun, but he can’t come out and say that.  

and can legally carry concealed guns almost anywhere.

Almost anywhere? Like the theater in Aurora? Oh, wait… Nope. Gun Free Zone. Virginia Tech? No… Also a Gun Free Zone… Hmmm… Columbine or any of the other schools that had shootings? Wait a second. Also Gun Free Zones. What about the Post Office? Well, huh… Gun Free Zone. What about some of these big workplace shootings… Why those are Gun Free Zones too? You don’t say…

Wow. I’m seeing two trends here. Gun Free Zones only keep out the good guys with guns and the bad guys know it, and second, criminals don’t give a shit.

Under federal law, anyone wanting to purchase a firearm from a licensed gun dealer must pass a background check.

Yes.

But in most states, the gun dealer who stands to profit from a gun sale, rather than a law enforcement agency, determines the authenticity of purchasers’ identification cards.

False. In fact, that’s not true at all. You have to call the information in to a state audit agency that then checks their records to see if that person has anything on file which would bar purchase. This would include criminal charges, court orders, and convictions. I’m assuming the doctor knows this and is just pulling facts out of his ass.

Gun dealers face little consequence if they fail to account for dozens of guns upon inspection.

HA! That’s a good one… Little consequence is hilarious. Oh wait, you’re serious? Dude… The BATF will burn your house down. The BATF will destroy your business at the slightest hint that you’ve done something wrong. The BATF has no mercy, no kindness, and well and truly enjoy ruining gun dealer’s days.

FFLs keep a bound book, all guns in, all guns out. If your bound book doesn’t match your physical inventory, then you get shut down and everything gets confiscated while the BATF conducts an investigation.

So unless you consider going to prison a little consequence, then chalk up another lie.

Data indicating which gun dealers sell the most guns linked to crimes are kept from public view and cannot be used in decisions about the dealer’s license.

Nope. BATF can revoke your license if they’ve got any reason. They even tried to throw the dealers involved in Fast & Furious to the wolves, except those guys were smart enough to document that the BATF had ordered them to go against the law and good sense.

Illogically, federal law and most state gun laws allow firearm purchases from private sellers with no background check or questions asked.

That is because we live in America and we still have private property. You are allowed to leave your guns to your kids. You are allowed to sell your firearms without the state’s permission.

And here’s the kicker, it is already illegal to knowingly sell a firearm to somebody who is prohibited by law from having a firearm. It is illegal to give a firearm to somebody who you think is going to commit a crime. Should you purchase a firearm from a dealer on behalf of somebody else who couldn’t pass a background check, you are committing a felony. That is called a Straw Man Purchase, and those are only okay when it is Eric Holder shipping thousands of guns to Mexican drug cartels.  

As a result of these policies, it is far too easy for dangerous people to own, carry and ultimately use guns.

And the easy availability of the internet and computers makes it too easy for dangerous people to spread dangerous ideas… See what I did there?

There are hundreds of millions of guns in the
US right now that aren’t being used to murder anybody. Go figure. It looks like the doctor is trying to convict people of pre-crime. You have a gun, ergo, you are dangerous and should be banned. Not really, doc. I’ve got a gun exactly because it is dangerous. The danger is what makes it a useful tool.

Following mass shootings, gun control opponents have not been bashful about pushing for laws to remove restrictions on carrying guns in schools, bars and churches.

You mean all the places where mass shootings happen, but the single best deterrent against mass shootings aren’t allowed? Friggin’ dur, moron.

Indeed, calls for removing restrictions on carrying concealed firearms will not stop mass shootings.

Lie. Which is why we’ve all heard about Columbine, but not Paducah. That’s why we’ve all heard about Virginia Tech, but not Virginia Law School… Similar circumstances, yet one side of those coins had body counts that got the headlines and the other didn’t because there was somebody there with a gun to interfere with the bad guy’s plans.

In just my local area since I’ve been a professional gun guy, a crazy lady started shooting people at the KSL building in Salt Lake, stopped by a permit holder with a .45. Trolley Square, bad guy on a rampage was stopped by an off duty in normal clothing cop with just a pistol until the SLCPD got there and shot the dude to death. Couple of weeks ago, dude bought a butcher knife at a grocery store and started slashing the hell out of a bunch of people, until he got proned out by a permit holder coming in from the parking lot.

Oh, there’s more. Many, many, many more. And those are the rampages, which are statistical anomalies. You are way more likely to need your gun against a regular scumbag.

Research indicates that so-called right-to-carry laws don’t reduce violence, and may increase aggravated assaults.

No. And in fact there is a lot of research that goes directly against that. See Mark Twain. We’ve been over this a million times already. If you torture statistics enough you can make them say whatever you want. John Lott wrote More Guns, Less Crime, showing a decrease in crime when the potential victims are armed, and all of the anti-gun think tankers have been playing catch up ever since.

But studies I have conducted indicate that stricter regulations of gun sales, whether by retail dealers or by private sellers, are associated with fewer guns diverted to criminals.

Yes. I should totally accept your non-biased study at face value. It isn’t like you are a biased, political hack shill with an agenda.

Moreover, national national surveys show that a large majority of citizens favor these reforms to our gun laws, including most gun owners.

And it is common in your world to give up your rights based upon surveys? I do not think I would wish to live in this place.

In addition, there is substantial research showing that law enforcement strategies that focus on deterring illegal gun possession reduce violent crime.

You know what else deters violent crime? Shooting criminals in the face.

Public health initiatives in Chicago and Baltimore, which use reformed ex-gang-members to reach out to youth, mediate disputes and promote alternatives to violence, have also been shown to significantly reduce homicides and shootings.

I live in Yard Moose Mountain, Utah. I should give up my firearms because midnight basketball in inner city Baltimore will curb gang crime. Gotcha.

More than 30,000 people die every year from guns in the U.S., and more than 400,000 are victims of nonfatal crime committed with guns. The economic costs are staggering — an estimated $100 billion annually.

But he doesn’t address the flip side, that depending on where you get your statistics from guns are used to PREVENT crime 2.5 MILLION times per year. Now that stat is from the NRA, so some of you will automatically throw it out. Okay, cool. Having done this before, I’ve also seen from other sources (remember statistics are all crap) 1 million, 800 thousand, or 600 thousand… And even if we went with the likely biased stats of the people who hate hate hate absolutely hatey-hate guns, the Brady Center puts the number of defensive gun uses at around 80,000, which means the Brady Center is totally cool with the population of your home town being murder-raped every year.

In most defensive gun uses, no shots are fired. Merely producing the gun ends the problem, because now you’ve gone from victim to work, and if the criminal wanted to work, he’d get a job. You’ll notice that in two of the three local rampages I posted, no shots were fired by the good guys. Just having effective resistance was enough to shut them down.

Only a small fraction of these deaths are connected to mass shootings.

Yup.

But the mounting deaths and associated trauma from mass shootings should motivate us to take action to make needed reforms to our gun laws, focus law enforcement resources on combating illegal gun possession and invest in prevention initiatives proven to reduce gun violence.

Midnight basketball, wishful thinking, and disarming the law abiding aren’t going to do anything to prevent these sorts of things from happening, The best thing to stop them is a bullet to the head. Fast.

America’s high rate of gun violence is shameful. When will we change?

Never.

Your side has already lost this debate. We tried your way and it was ineffectual. All you can do is punish the innocent while criminals well and truly do not give a shit. So now we are going to do it my way… Oh, and look at that, nationwide violent crime is down while concealed carry is up, except for in places where you don’t allow the good guys to have guns.

Besides, Ice-T is on my side.

 

Checkmate, motherfucker.

Picture from the anti-gun magazine Rolling Stone, because that made me laugh. 

And since I’ve had to talk about this damned topic so many times, here are some other fisking posts about gun control going clear back to 2007:

http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2008/12/12/fisking-the-university-of-utah-editorial-page-about-guns-again/

http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2008/04/11/on-college-students-with-guns-a-blog-response/

http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2008/12/12/fisking-the-university-of-utah-editorial-page-about-guns-again/

http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2007/10/04/anti-gun-letter-to-the-editor-at-brandeis-u/

And for those not familiar, here is an explanation of Fast & Furious:

http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2012/06/21/why-eric-holder-should-being-jail-and-the-wapo-sucks-balls/

 

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