Free Markets, Free People

Guns and Gun Rights

Worst. Pro-Assault. Weapon. Ban. Argument. Ever.

Interested in seeing one of the dumbest attempts to counter an argument against reinstituting the “assault gun” ban?

It’s, well, pretty pathetic, and, coming out of Media Matters, shouldn’t really surprise you.

First the graphic that started it all:

Okay, you’re in the ballpark now.

The Media Matters person (Timothy Johnson) says:

The image was created by a blogger who used it to argue in favor of the ban, writing that “If you can buy the gun on the top, but can’t buy the bottom gun, who cares? You still have a gun.” McArdle responded that “if it makes no difference, than why have the law?” and argued that “‘assault weapon’ is a largely cosmetic rather than functional description.”

But Johnson says there are vast differences which mean that, hey, they’re just not the same.  The bottom one, per Johnson, is much more lethal.  And he’s got the reasons why:

In fact, the lower pictured weapon, a Mossberg 500 Tactical Persuader, has a number of features that increase its lethality compared to the top pictured shotgun. Contrary to what the graphic suggests, the only difference between the two weapons is not just the pistol grip featured on the Tactical Persuader. The Tactical Persuader also has an adjustable stock that can be removed from the firearm completely, which allows the gun length to be shortened for increased concealability. Furthermore, when combined with a pistol grip, the firearm can be more easily maneuvered, allowing the shooter to fire from the hip and more easily use the weapon from vehicles and in other close quarters situations.

An almost identical configuration was sought out by Suleman Talovic, a teenager who used a Mossberg-derivative pistol grip shotgun during a rampage that killed five and wounded four at the Trolley Square Mall in Salt Lake City, Utah on February 12, 2007. A recent report issued by the John Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research found that firearms with assault weapon features are disproportionally used in mass shootings and that when used result in higher numbers of casualties.

OK?  You get my point about silly?

A “pistol grip” doesn’t “increase lethality” unless you beat someone over the head with it (by the way, I can make a pistol grip on the other using a saw in about 5 minutes, or, just buy one aftermarket and install it on the top gun).  Pistol grips are non-lethal “features”, not lethal weapons.

Secondly, being able to conceal something doesn’t make it more lethal either.  It simply means you can hide it better.  How hiding something better becomes “lethal” will have to be answered by Mr. Johnson who seems not to know what “lethal” actually means.

In fact the blogger is correct – they are exactly the same gun where it counts.  And to be lethal, you must still load them, point each of them at someone and pull the trigger.   One doesn’t shoot more rounds than the other, one doesn’t use a “bigger” round than the other, one won’t shoot faster than the other.   They are each 12ga 6 round pump shotguns.  Period.

Finally, correlation is not causation (i.e. the gun made him do it where he might not have had he had the top shotgun available instead) and the fact that someone on a rampage chose a shotgun with a pistol grip over a rifle stock doesn’t make the one with the pistol grip more lethal (I do wish this guy would look up “lethal”).

Additionally the fact that one might be able to be used in “close quarters” better than the other again doesn’t make it more lethal.  It simply provides a perceived advantage over the other that may or may not, in fact, play out.  If, however, it is something anyone would want, it is easily done to the top gun with a minimum of effort or cost.

Then, I assume, thinking he has just nailed it by pointing out the “lethality” of the pistol grip, he throws this up from some activist group that is just about as silly as the rest of his stuff:

All assault weapons–military and civilian alike–incorporate specific features that were designed for laying down a high volume of fire over a wide killing zone. This is sometimes known as “hosing down” an area. Civilian assault weapons feature the specific military design features that make spray-firing easy and distinguish assault weapons from traditional sporting firearms.

Civilian “assault weapons” or those which look like them are “semi-automatic” by law.  Military assault weapons usually have the option of automatic fire.  It is on the automatic selection that a large volume of fire is going to be projected (and, unless you know what you’re doing, very ineffectively).  Civilian guns don’t have that option.  They’re not the same freakin’ thing regardless of how they look!

Consequently they’re not going to be doing any “spray firing” or “hosing down” of an area in semi-auto mode.  Can a semi-auto put out a decent amount of fire?  Yes, especially if it has a large capacity magazine.  But those two shotguns in question are pump action and only hold 6 rounds each.

Shotgun A will fire no faster or slower than shotgun B in the picture above.  If A can do it, so can B and the reverse is also true.  And whatever they do will involve shoot, pump, shoot, pump, shoot, pump etc.  The bottom shotgun doesn’t go “boom, boom, boom, boom, boom”.  It does exactly what the top one does – “boom, pump, boom …” (I wanted it to make it easy for Johnson to understand).

So, in sum, the blogger is correct, but even more correct is Megan McArdle.   What’s the point?  They’re pump action shotguns that are, except cosmetically, exactly the same (and each can be modified in any number of ways from their stock appearance).  What again is the point of the law?

Uh, control, that’s what.

~McQ


Perspective: Are firearm murders a significant statistic?

We’ve been told for some time that violent crime in America is actually at its lowest point since the 1970s.

But we’re also being told by a certain element that gun deaths are out of hand and we need to reconsider tightening our gun laws.

So lets take one of those “perspective” looks shall we? 

First a chart that takes us through 2004 showing murders by firearms:

 

500px-Ushomicidesbyweapon.svg

 

As an aside, the Assault Weapons ban was in effect from 1994 to 2004.  Assault weapons would be found under “other guns”.   You’ll note that “other methods” and knives, for the most part, were involved in more murders than “assault weapons” (further note that not all “other guns” were “Assault Weapons”, but may have been hunting rifles or shotguns).  Rifles of any sort just aren’t the usual weapon of choice for murders.

Also note that murders of all types have been trending down over the  years.  If you hit the link in the first sentence, it will show you that in 2004 the number of violent crimes per 100,000 was 463.2 and in 2010 it had fallen to 403.6.

If you add handguns and “other guns” from the chart in 2004, you see approximately 10,500 to 11,000 murders by firearms.

The latest stat available?

The most recent FBI figures show just 358 of the 8,775 murders by firearm in 2010 involved rifles of any type.

By the way, the article that was pulled from noted that in 2010, more people were beaten to death by fists (758) than were killed by “other guns”, aka rifles of any sort.

Michael Wade does the math:

So, based on these two sites (http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_households_are_in_the_US)(http://www.gallup.com/poll/150353/self-reported-gun-ownership-highest-1993.aspx) there were approximately 115 million households in 2010, and between 41% and 49% (depending on how you do the numbers) had firearms in them.

That’s a minimum of 57.5 million arms (if we assume one firearm per household, which we know isn’t even close to the right number).

If we then assume that each of the 8,775 murders was committed by a separate firearm from a different household each time (again, an assumption we know is wrong but increases the number of households involved), then approximately 0.015% of American households who owned guns were involved with murder by firearm in 2010.

Again, these assumptions make that percentage much higher than it actually is since (a) undoubtedly more households have firearms but don’t report them, (b) households with firearms will typically have more than just one, and may have several, (c) one firearm likely accounted for more than one of the 8,775 murders, and (d) the vast majority of the murders were likely committed with firearms that were illegally possessed!

Even so, slightly more than one one-thousandth of one percent of gun owners is the highest amount you are going to be able to implicate in murder by firearm, despite all the generous assumptions made in favor of the gun control side.

That does not speak to a winning argument IMHO.

No it sure doesn’t, not that they won’t try anyway.  Additionally, when you do the math about chances of being a victim of firearm murder, the figure 312.8 million is what you need to divide into the 8,775 yielding a terrifying 0.000028% chance of being a victim of a firearm murder in 2010 (if you’re a gambler, though, move to Chicago and you can quickly reduce the odds). 

In fact, you’re much more likely to die from one of these causes than a gunshot murder:

Chance of dying from any kind of injury during the next year: 1 in 1,820
Chance of dying from intentional self-harm: 1 in 9,380
Chance of dying from an assault: 1 in 16,421
Chance of dying from a car accident: 1 in 18,585
Chance of dying from any kind of fall: 1 in 20,666
Chance of dying from accidental drowning: 1 in 79,065
Chance of dying from exposure to smoke, fire, and flames: 1 in 81,524
Chance of dying in an explosion: 1 in 107,787

Life is perilous, but for the most part, not because of guns.

As someone recently said, we don’t need gun control, we need idiot control.  Not sure how we control the idiots, but I’m sympathetic to the idea.  Statistically though, the number of firearm murders per year simply doesn’t justify any renewed call for banning or restricting the sale or possession of firearms.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

The end of gun control?

I ran across an article in Forbes by Mark Gibbs, a proponent of stricter gun control, in which he thinks, given a certain technology, that gun control in reality may be dead.

That technology?  3D printers.  They’ve come a long way and, some of them are able to work in metals.  That, apparently led to an experiment:

So, can you print a gun? Yep, you can and that’s exactly what somebody with the alias “HaveBlue” did.

To be accurate, HaveBlue didn’t print an entire gun, he printed a “receiver” for an AR-15 (better known as the military’s M16) at a cost of about $30 worth of materials.

The receiver is, in effect, the framework of a gun and holds the barrel and all of the other parts in place. It’s also the part of the gun that is technically, according to US law, the actual gun and carries the serial number.

When the weapon was assembled with the printed receiver HaveBlue reported he fired 200 rounds and it operated perfectly.

Whether or not this actually happened really isn’t the point.  At some point there is no doubt it will.  There are all sorts of other things to consider when building a gun receiver (none of which Gibbs goes into), etc., but on a meta level what Gibbs is describing is much like what happened to the news industry when self-publishing (i.e. the birth of the new media) along with the internet became a realities.   The monopoly control of the flow of news enjoyed by the traditional media exploded into nothingness.  It has never been able to regain that control, and, in fact, has seen it slip even more.

Do 3D printers present the same sort of evolution as well as a threat to government control?  Given the obvious possibility, can government exert the same sort of control among the population that it can on gun manufacturers?  And these 3D printers work in ceramic too.  Certainly ceramic pistols aren’t unheard of.    Obviously these printers are going to continue to get better, bigger and work with more materials. 

That brings us to Gibb’s inevitable conclusion:

What’s particularly worrisome is that the capability to print metal and ceramic parts will appear in low end printers in the next few years making it feasible to print an entire gun and that will be when gun control becomes a totally different problem.

So what are government’s choices, given its desire to control the manufacture and possession of certain weapons?

Well, given the way it has been going for years, I’d say it isn’t about to give up control.  So?

Will there be legislation designed to limit freedom of printing? The old NRA bumper sticker “If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns” will have to be changed to “If guns are outlawed, outlaws will have 3D printers.”

Something to think about.  I think we know the answer, but certainly an intriguing thought piece.  Registered printers?   Black market printers?  “Illegal printers” smuggled in to make cheap guns?

The possibilities boggle the mind.  But I pretty much agree with Gibbs – given the evolution of this technology, gun control, for all practical purposes, would appear to be dying and on the way to dying.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

The usual unfounded calls for reinstating the assault weapon ban

They are as predictable as sunrise after something like Aurora.  But, the gun banners have less of a leg to stand on now than they did way back then, although some, like Ezra Klein, try to make the case with selective statistics and the usual arguments.  Howard Nemerov takes the time to demolish both.

The fact is there has been less violent gun  crime since the lifting of the ban than when it was in place.  In fact, we haven’t seen this low a level of violence since 1972, even while the number of guns in the country increased.

So attempting to find some correlation between the number of guns and amount of violence seems not to be there.

That doesn’t stop those who would ban your access to guns from trying.  And one of their favorite means is by trying to ban scary guns … er,  I mean assault weapons.

Much like politicians who rely on the public’s economic ignorance to sell economic policy that is, frankly horrible, they do the same with gun bans.

Assault weapons.  Scary.  Used in war.  Kill bunches of people.  As opposed to “regular” weapons which I guess aren’t as scary, aren’t used in war and, presumably as such logic must go, don’t or won’t kill bunches of people.

Perhaps a graphic is the best way to refute that “logic”:

 

gun leg

 

It isn’t the way the weapon looks that makes it dangerous, it’s the nut wielding it.  Banning so-called assault weapons is about as effective as banning cars that look like the one in the top left.  If the idiot behind the wheel of the one on the right decides to drive it into a crowded sidewalk, are the people he kills any less dead because it didn’t look like the car on the left?

Of course not.  The common denominator?  The nut using the tool.

Not the tool.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

A couple of polls

With the shooting in Aurora (lived there as a kid), CO, the usual suspects are calling for the usual remedy – stricter gun control.

How does the American public feel about such measures?  Rasmussen says that in the wake of the mass shooting in CO, the percentages for and against stricter gun control remain pretty much the same, with an overwhelming majority saying stricter control isn’t a solution.

So, to the politics of the incident – how does one make that message, “we need stricter gun control”, a positive in this campaign (or any campaign?)?  They don’t try if they’re smart.

Then there’s another indicator poll.  What this one points out, in my opinion, is the fact that if Romney can keep the debate focused on the economy and off the extraneous nonsense the Obama campaign will try to distract the voting public with, he stands a good chance of winning.

Despite concerted Democratic attacks on his business record, Republican challenger Mitt Romney scores a significant advantage over President Obama when it comes to managing the economy, reducing the federal budget deficit and creating jobs, a national USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds.

By more than 2-1, 63%-29%, those surveyed say Romney’s background in business, including his tenure at the private equity firm Bain Capital, would cause him to make good decisions, not bad ones, in dealing with the nation’s economic problems over the next four years.

The findings raise questions about Obama’s strategy of targeting Bain’s record in outsourcing jobs and hammering Romney for refusing to commit to releasing more than two years of his tax returns. Instead, Americans seem focused on the economy, where disappointment with the fragile recovery and the 8.2% unemployment rate are costing the president.

So, with questions raised about the Obama strategy, what is a incumbent with a bad economic record he doesn’t at all want to visit if he can help it do if his current attacks aren’t having an effect?  Throw something else extraneous to the real problem he doesn’t want to talk about out there and see if it sticks to the wall.  And count on the media to pitch in and try to help it stick.

That’s how it has worked so far.

I see no reason he’ll alter his tactics.

That said, clearly if Romney can continue to stay on message and get that message out there he has a majority constituency who are with him. 

The poll goes on to say that Obama holds a “likeability” advantage over Romney.  Yeah, well, unsaid is what 4 years of a high “likeability” index have gotten us.  And, as should be clear, most voters don’t like it.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

With the options available, why did Obama choose to invoke executive privilege?

That, at least to me, is the pregnant question.  He had a number of other options but  4 months from a critical election, chose the most controversial and potentially damaging one.

Why?

Let’s begin with a quote from  a former White House counsel from a Powerline post:

Even with his fawning press, [President Obama] will pay a price for this one. He knows this, meaning that the documents now to be withheld must be dynamite. They have to show either that Holder knew what was going on with Fast and Furious and approved it, or that he directly committed perjury in his Congressional testimony, or both. I just can’t see any other explanation for such a risky move.

Wasn’t the Washington Post just covering big time the 40th anniversary of Watergate? I wonder how much coverage this one will get.

That’s the result of the move – speculation that the documents being withheld point to perjury by Holder or the President, or both.

So let’s break this down a bit.  If it was all about Holder, why would the president risk this sort of a controversial move this close to an election.  It’s not like he’s never thrown anyone under the bus.  In fact James Carville is on record advising Obama to dump Holder.

Obama had the option, then, of letting Holder face contempt charges (not much happens as we’ve seen in the past, to those who are served with contempt of Congress charges) and drag out the document release until after the election.

With the election season gearing up, it is likely that while the controversy would have been an issue, it wouldn’t have been a major issue.   Now it certainly is.

He could have asked Holder to resign.  He could have then used the opportunity to appear as a statesman, a leader and bi-partisan all in one fell swoop.  Depending on how he handled that it could actually have been a positive for him heading into an election.  In the meantime, an acting AG could continue to delay on providing documents.

But he did neither of those things.  For some unknown reason (at least to this point) he chose to do the least likely and most politically damaging thing – invoke executive privilege.  As the lawyer quoted has said, those documents must be “dynamite” to have the president make this move.

And, unsaid by the lawyer is the speculation that the documents show the involvement of the White House to a degree that is damaging – apparently more damaging than the speculation and attention this move by the President has brought.

David Kopel at Volokh Conspiracy gives you a great history of the controversy.  As for the documents Kopel notes:

According to Attorney General Holder, the DOJ has 140,000 documents related to Fast & Furious. Fewer than 8,000 have been provided to Congress pursuant to subpoenas. The contempt vote has been narrowed to 1,300 documents. In refusing to comply with the House subpoenas, the DOJ has refused to create a privilege log–which would identify withheld documents, and the legal reason for their being withheld.

Matthew Boyle at the DC caller points out that Holder has retracted two previous statements he made to Congress where he gave them inaccurate information in an attempt to blame previous AGs or administrations.  It seems that’s a standard operating procedure with all parts of this administration.  So Holder is left holding the bag all by himself on this one, or so it seemed, at least, to the point that executive privilege was invoked.

That brings us to these 4 point by Todd Gaziano at the Heritage Foundation about the use of executive privilege:

First, the Supreme Court in United States v. Nixon (1974) held that executive privilege cannot be invoked at all if the purpose is to shield wrongdoing. The courts held that Nixon’s purported invocation of executive privilege was illegitimate, in part, for that reason. There is reason to suspect that this might be the case in the Fast and Furious cover-up and stonewalling effort. Congress needs to get to the bottom of that question to prevent an illegal invocation of executive privilege and further abuses of power. That will require an index of the withheld documents and an explanation of why each of them is covered by executive privilege—and more.

Second, even the “deliberative process” species of executive privilege, which is reasonably broad, does not shield the ultimate decisions from congressional inquiry. Congress is entitled to at least some documents and other information that indicate who the ultimate decision maker was for this disastrous program and why these decisions were made. That information is among the most important documents that are being withheld.

Third, the Supreme Court in the Nixon case also held that even a proper invocation must yield to other branches’ need for information in some cases. So even a proper invocation of executive privilege regarding particular documents is not final.

And lastly, the President is required when invoking executive privilege to try to accommodate the other branches’ legitimate information needs in some other way. For example, it does not harm executive power for the President to selectively waive executive privilege in most instances, even if it hurts him politically by exposing a terrible policy failure or wrongdoing among his staff. The history of executive–congressional relations is filled with accommodations and waivers of privilege. In contrast to voluntary waivers of privilege, Watergate demonstrates that wrongful invocations of privilege can seriously damage the office of the presidency when Congress and the courts impose new constraints on the President’s discretion or power (some rightful and some not).

The key point, of course, is executive privilege cannot be used to “shield wrongdoing”.  While it is speculative, it appears highly likely – given the other options available – that executive privilege is being used for precisely that reason in this case.

Additionally, given the choices available to the President, it is not at all out of bounds to speculate that the most transparent administration in history is trying desperately to hide something even more terrible than the political fallout from this choice.

The White House cites internal discussions and ongoing investigations are the reason for its denial and claims the investigations would be jeopardized with the release of the documents.  But, as Gaziano points out, accommodations can be made in that regard.  The total number of documents requested is 1,300.  The White House is simply refusing to cooperate or accommodate.

Why?

We’re still left with that question.  

And the answer, given the  actions to date, lead to some logical speculation – what is contained in those documents is much more damaging politically than the damage done by the decision.  Additionally, Obama can’t afford to let Holder go because if he does there’s the potential that Holder will then spill the beans.

Oh, and finally, this move has suddenly brought Fast and Furious to page one and the top of the newscast like nothing else could.  The majority of the country, which was mostly ignorant of this scandal are now in the loop.

As the cited former White House counsel said, “the documents now to be withheld must be dynamite.”  In fact, they must be so explosive that the White House is desperate enough to try to weather this self-inflicted political storm in lieu of exposing them.

That says a lot.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Eric Holder suddenly concerned about “illegal firearms”

Mr. Fast and Furious –, whose idiotic operation supposedly (and officially) designed to trace firearm flow in Mexico (there is a very strong case for a political gun control agenda actually driving the operation) has led to one and possibly two deaths of Border Patrolmen — is suddenly concerned about criminals and their access to “illegal firearms”:

The number of officers killed in the line of duty jumped 13 percent in 2011 compared with the year before — and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder condemned the increase as “a devastating and unacceptable trend” that he blamed on illegal firearms.

The number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty rose to 173 this year, from 153 in 2010, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund announced Wednesday. This year’s figure is 23 percent higher than 122 killed in the line of duty in 2009.

Yes, law enforcement is dangerous work.  Yes, I feel for the families of those officers slain.  This, however is not some sort of record year (see 2001) and in fact, in most years more officers are lost to traffic accidents than to “illegal firearms”. 

Additionally, I’m sure the Mexican law enforcement officers killed by the guns Holder’s department allowed to flow into their country find this concern of his particularly hollow.  Why it could even be considered … wait for it … racist.  I just throw that out there as an example of what some GOP AG would have been hit with by the left had he or she been so stupid as to run an operation like Fast and Furious.  Anyway:

Holder said “too many guns have fallen into the hands of those who are not legally permitted to possess them,” in explaining the increase.

Yes, Mr. Holder, that’s why they are called “criminals”.  In case you haven’t figured it out criminals are scofflaws. Like the criminals you supplied with guns and ammo in Mexico.

Criminals break the law.  So obviously passing laws making it a criminal offense for criminals to possess firearms doesn’t work, huh?  It also is a problem when you just hand them firearms as well.

But, as we’ve surmised,  Fast and Furious was supposed to set up a “better case” for more gun control, right?  And one can assume the stealth premise, soon to be obvious, is the way to keep criminals from getting illegal firearms is to more tightly control them.  That, of course, means more “gun control”, doesn’t it?

“This is a devastating and unacceptable trend. Each of these deaths is a tragic reminder of the threats that law enforcement officers face each day,” Holder in a statement. “I want to assure the family members and loved ones who have mourned the loss of these heroes that we are responding to this year’s increased violence with renewed vigilance and will do everything within our power — and use every tool at our disposal — to keep our police officers safe.”

You mean just like you did for Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, Mr. Holder?

Incompetent political hack.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

“Fast and Furious”: the other shoe drops (update)

Remember early on when the controversial and failed ATF/DoJ operation “Fast and Furious” came to light where the ATF bought guns and allowed them to be smuggled into Mexico, there was conjecture this was to be used as a means to demand more gun control?

Bingo.

CBS has uncovered some emails where it become pretty clear what the ATF’s intent was during the operation:

On July 14, 2010 after ATF headquarters in Washington D.C. received an update on Fast and Furious, ATF Field Ops Assistant Director Mark Chait emailed Bill Newell, ATF’s Phoenix Special Agent in Charge of Fast and Furious:

"Bill – can you see if these guns were all purchased from the same (licensed gun dealer) and at one time. We are looking at anecdotal cases to support a demand letter on long gun multiple sales. Thanks."

Followed by:

On Jan. 4, 2011, as ATF prepared a press conference to announce arrests in Fast and Furious, Newell saw it as "(A)nother time to address Multiple Sale on Long Guns issue." And a day after the press conference, Chait emailed Newell: "Bill–well done yesterday… (I)n light of our request for Demand letter 3, this case could be a strong supporting factor if we can determine how many multiple sales of long guns occurred during the course of this case."

But here’s the problem for the ATF – those multiple purchases demonstrated nothing but cooperation with them as requested by them.  The gun dealers involved only did what they did at the request of the ATF and even then they were (as it turns out, properly) even  concerned about that:

In April, 2010 a licensed gun dealer cooperating with ATF was increasingly concerned about selling so many guns. "We just want to make sure we are cooperating with ATF and that we are not viewed as selling to the bad guys," writes the gun dealer to ATF Phoenix officials, "(W)e were hoping to put together something like a letter of understanding to alleviate concerns of some type of recourse against us down the road for selling these items."

ATF’s group supervisor on Fast and Furious David Voth assures the gun dealer there’s nothing to worry about. "We (ATF) are continually monitoring these suspects using a variety of investigative techniques which I cannot go into detail."

Two months later, the same gun dealer grew more agitated.

"I wanted to make sure that none of the firearms that were sold per our conversation with you and various ATF agents could or would ever end up south of the border or in the hands of the bad guys. I guess I am looking for a bit of reassurance that the guns are not getting south or in the wrong hands…I want to help ATF with its investigation but not at the risk of agents (sic) safety because I have some very close friends that are US Border Patrol agents in southern AZ as well as my concern for all the agents (sic) safety that protect our country."

Obviously the gun dealer had more concern for the life of the agents than did the ATF.  But this was all an apparent ploy to advance more sweeping gun control in the area:

Two earlier Demand Letters were initiated in 2000 and affected a relatively small number of gun shops. Demand Letter 3 was to be much more sweeping, affecting 8,500 firearms dealers in four southwest border states: Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas. ATF chose those states because they "have a significant number of crime guns traced back to them from Mexico." The reporting requirements were to apply if a gun dealer sells two or more long guns to a single person within five business days, and only if the guns are semi-automatic, greater than .22 caliber and can be fitted with a detachable magazine.

On April 25, 2011, ATF announced plans to implement Demand Letter 3. The National Shooting Sports Foundation is suing the ATF to stop the new rules. It calls the regulation an illegal attempt to enforce a law Congress never passed. ATF counters that it has reasonably targeted guns used most often to "commit violent crimes in Mexico, especially by drug gangs."

It’s one thing to want to “reasonably target guns” used to commit crimes in Mexico legitimately, and another to use the results of cooperation with an ATF operation, not matter how ill begotten, as a basis for targeting gun sales:

Larry Keane, a spokesman for National Shooting Sports Foundation, a gun industry trade group, calls the discussion of Fast and Furious to argue for Demand Letter 3 "disappointing and ironic." Keane says it’s "deeply troubling" if sales made by gun dealers "voluntarily cooperating with ATF’s flawed ‘Operation Fast & Furious’ were going to be used by some individuals within ATF to justify imposing a multiple sales reporting requirement for rifles."

Just another version of government creating a problem and then rushing in to fix it with more government control.  A sort of “create a crisis and then don’t let it go to waste” if you will.  The dishonesty and cynicism is appalling.    Rep. Darrell Issa, whose Congressional committed has been investigating this operation said very pointedly about this evidence:

"In light of the evidence, the Justice Department’s refusal to answer questions about the role Operation Fast and Furious was supposed to play in advancing new firearms regulations is simply unacceptable," Rep. Issa told CBS News.

This sort of behavior is, as noted, unacceptable, but, unfortunately, more and more frequent.  Government becomes less and less of a servant of the people and more and more their master.   Operations like this remind one of the legal veneer authoritarian governments use to gradually oppress their people.

Eric Holder and all those who planned and executed this travesty should be given their walking papers.  It would be a welcome change to see them actually held accountable for their unacceptable behavior.

Yeah, that’s going to happen.  We’re talking government here.

UPDATE: The Committee on Oversight and Reform has launched a website to cover the Fast and Furious investigation.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Wheels come off the campaign to ban handguns

For years there’s been a concerted effort to get handguns banned in the US (not to mention the best efforts of the DoJ with “Fast and Furious” to aid that effort).  And war of words has been fierce, the propaganda unrelenting and the hope eternal that the effort would succeed.

Well, it looks like the American people have looked at both sides of the argument and decided, at least for now, that those wishing to ban handguns have no case:

A record-low 26% of Americans favor a legal ban on the possession of handguns in the United States other than by police and other authorized people. When Gallup first asked Americans this question in 1959, 60% favored banning handguns. But since 1975, the majority of Americans have opposed such a measure, with opposition around 70% in recent years.

And there’s more:

For the first time, Gallup finds greater opposition to than support for a ban on semiautomatic guns or assault rifles, 53% to 43%. In the initial asking of this question in 1996, the numbers were nearly reversed, with 57% for and 42% against an assault rifle ban. Congress passed such a ban in 1994, but the law expired when Congress did not act to renew it in 2004. Around the time the law expired, Americans were about evenly divided in their views.

Why? Because, I think, concealed carry laws haven’t brought the mayhem that the advocates claimed they would.  In fact, quite the opposite.  And its always nice for the bad guys who may be thinking about taking you on for whatever evil reason to have to guess.  Deterrence is the best form of self-defense.

Secondly, it may sound trite, but people have accepted the cliché “guns don’t kill people, people do” as a truth.  It isn’t the tool that’s the problem, it’s the person using the tool.

Finally, I also believe most Americans have finally realized that self-protection and self-defense are inherent responsibilities they must discharge and can’t outsource to government.  The best tool for that, ye olde equalizer, is a hand gun responsibly used.

And then, of course there’s that pesky Constitutional amendment and all.

My guess is that the dream of gun confiscation is pretty much a dead issue for right now.  Obviously that doesn’t mean it won’t again arise or, like health care, a certain party won’t simply ram something through Congress if they ever get the chance again.  But according to this poll, American’s don’t support it now and most likely wouldn’t support it if that was tried.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO