Back in the late 90’s when I worked at Microsoft an anti-gun bigot invited a “team of professionals” to put on a presentation for Microsoft people on “Children and gun safety” or some such thing. Microsoft doesn’t (or at least didn’t) allow their facilities to be used for political activities and this bigot had some weasel worded title that made it almost sound like it was an educational instead of political presentation. I arrived 15 minutes or so early to make sure I got a good seat from which to video tape the presentation. I actually arrived before anyone, including the presenters, arrived. When they arrived I helped them bring in their computer and some other materials and help them get connected to power, etc.
By the time the presentation was supposed to start just two other people had showed up. I knew both of them and both were firearms instructors for Insights Training Center who also worked for Microsoft. They were Kevin Kerkam and John Fogh (see the quotes I have from John here). The “team of professionals” decided that with such a small group, I think there were five of them and just the three of us in the audience, that we should have an interactive discussion. But first they demanded that I put away my video camera and refused to tell me why. I finally did and they proceeded to tell us about how lax gun laws were and about all the things that needed to be done to “save the children”. One of the things we discussed was a “waiting period” before one was allowed to purchase a gun. I asked why they thought that was a good idea. And the poor woman told us it was because people needed time to “cool off” before purchasing a weapon. This didn’t really make much sense to me so I asked, “So, if I go into a gun shop, show them my concealed carry permit and a pistol on my hip then they wouldn’t need to make me ‘cool off’ before purchasing another one, right?” She turned a pale shade of gray and looked around at the people beside her as John, Kevin, and I smiled expectantly at her. Her fellow bigots didn’t look any more comfortable than she did and after a five or ten seconds of a deafening silence the head of Washington Ceasefire (I forget his name, but he resigned and went to work someplace else in late 2001 or 2002) spoke up and said something like, “We’re not going to go there.” The presentation went on for a little longer until John and Kevin also asked questions and made comments that made it clear to the “team of professionals” they were talking to people they couldn’t convert and had them outclassed in both brains and preparedness. The head guy called it quits and I went up to talk to him for a while as they packed up. They had made a claim about guns and suicide and he claimed to be friends with a researcher on the topic and in response to one of my questions he was going to “do some more research” on the topic. I exchanged email addresses with him and we discussed how suicide data could be examined to find out if the presence of guns increased the suicide rate. He thought I had some good ideas on how to reduce the potential for errors and biases and agreed to let me know the results of his contact with his suicide researcher friend.
After a week or so I sent him an email and we exchanged several emails on the topic. At first he “hadn’t got around to” contacting his friend and finally he just didn’t answer my emails. What I never told him was that I knew the research had already been done, I knew the results, and I knew he wouldn’t like them. I just wanted to see what kind of response I could get from him when he found out he was wrong on that point too.
I’m reminded of all this because another anti-gun bigot just got nailed on the “cooling off period” ruse. This time in Australia:
A parliamentary inquiry into gun-purchasing regulations has angered Tasmania’s anti-gun lobby.
The changes proposed by the State Government include bringing Tasmania in line with national gun trafficking laws, limiting gun use in the security industry and strengthening licensing processes for firearm dealers.
It has also set up a parliamentary inquiry into whether it is still necessary to have a cooling-off period before a person can buy a second gun.
Gun Control Coalition spokesman Roland Browne is furious.
“The cooling-off period for the second and subsequent firearms protects the community, it’s designed to protect women especially from abuse by firearm owners in the home,” he said.
“That was why it was put into the national firearms agreement in the first place.”
State Police Minister David Llewellyn says the cooling-off period for the purchase of a second gun does not prevent impulsive crime.
“The reason for that cooling-off period was to prevent impulsive buying of firearms that could lead to a crime, someone shooting someone in impulse,” he said.
“They’ve already got a firearm, then obviously it doesn’t actually achieve the outcome if you’re talking about the second firearm.”
Browne is furious? I’ll bet he’s just putting on an act to cover for the embarrassment of being nailed on the snow job they have been pulling on everyone. I’ll bet he would be “furious” if you asked him Just One Question too.