Lies and distortions

Paul Helmke of the Brady Campaign is at it again.

I have no problem with Helmke being upset about Jim Brady and other people who are killed or injured. But it doesn’t help his case any that he lies and distorts the situation. Here are some examples:

Almost two million dangerous people have been stopped from buying a gun since 1993.

Wrong. The correct statement is, “Almost two million people have been stopped from buying a gun via a licensed gun dealer since 1993.”

The first point to make is that we don’t know how many of those that were stopped were not actually dangerous. Is someone who failed to pay their taxes 30 years ago and has committed no crime since that felony convictions a dangerous person today? Or what of the black guy who committed the felony, 40 years ago, of being in possession of a deck of cards which had pictures of naked white women on them? Are they dangerous? In both cases they would have been stopped from buying a gun and Helmke includes them in his numbers.

The second point to make about this claim is that just because a truly “dangerous person” was stopped from purchasing a gun at a licensed dealer doesn’t mean he or she didn’t get a gun via the black market a few minutes or hours later.

The third point to make about this claim is there is no evidence this law has made the general population safer. Helmke measures success in terms of people blocked from purchases not in terms of making society safer. Answer Just One Question Paul.

They can buy guns without a background check from “law-abiding citizens” like Timothy McVeigh, who used his gun show sale profits to blow up the Alfred Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City and kill 168 innocent people. The killers at Columbine were outfitted at a gun show.

McVeigh could have used profits from a dry cleaning business or maintaining the web site of the Brady Campaign to blow up buildings. That he legally made money at gun shows is irrelevant to his criminal activities. Helmke attempts to make a subtle guilt by association claim here. But the guns shows McVeigh attended do not share responsibility for the bombing anymore than Al Gore does for Ted Kaczynski’s bombings.

The Columbine killers didn’t need gun shows to obtain their long guns. The elder of the two psychopaths was old enough to purchase long guns on their own at any firearms dealer. Again, Helmke is attempting to make the innocent appear guilty by association.

Now radicals proudly carry assault rifles to visits by President Obama, and the current holder of Jim’s old job says it’s just fine, and they’re not at all worried.

Wrong. It was an ordinary semi-automatic sporting rifle. It was not an assault rifle.

He leaves out the fact that the people with the firearms were not even within eyesight of President Obama, did not engage in any threatening behavior and broke no laws.

And I find it very telling that he uses the term “radical” to describe someone exercising both specific enumerated rights to free speech and keep and bear arms.

He concludes with:

… we’re far from being as safe as we could be.

True. But Helmke and the Brady Campaign have a proven track record of advocating laws that accomplish nothing but creating an impediment to people exercising their rights with no increase in public safety. And I guess the trauma of this headline from msnbc was just too much for Helmke to remember to include in his post, Record numbers now licensed to pack heat–Firearms deaths fall as millions obtain permits to carry concealed guns.

Helmke can’t be trusted to tell the truth or the whole story. That would endanger his job at the Brady Campaign where the truth doesn’t fit their agenda.

21 thoughts on “Lies and distortions

  1. Part of “the truth” is that a gun show loophole exists, and that is something that pro-gunners refuse to acknowledge. Allowing private gun sales to take place, even within 1000 feet of a gun show, is a huge “gun show loophole.” It provides safety for the person selling who doesn’t care who is buying, and it provides anonymity to the person buying who isn’t legally allowed to buy.

    If a private seller doesn’t mind selling to the felon market, then they should be doing it in the felon marketplace: the street. They shouldn’t get the cover or the security of a legal gun show.

  2. How is it going to stop someone from saying “meet me at the corner/my house and I’ll sell it to you here?”

  3. to take a page from sebastian…

    So what of our concerns are anti-gun folks willing to address about the current system? Here’s what I would demand, at a minimum, before I’ll even have a discussion about expansion:

    * Creation of a national system that preempts the state systems currently in place. It’s easier to have one entity to watch than dozens.
    * All source code for the system is to be made public, down through the user interface, up through its interface with NCIC, and the various state and mental health systems.
    * All transactions are to be immediately anonymized. The system may keep anonymized transaction tokens so that dealer and personal records can be validated, but those records make it impossible to identify the parties in the transaction without running through the standard trace process. In short, the token uses a hash to store information about the check. Given a gun’s serial number, authorities can determine whether and when a background check happened for a given gun, and what the result was, but nothing else.
    * There will be independent auditors to ensure that the system is running on the software the government is publishing source code for. They will be required to publish a full report, along with methodology used in the audit. There has to be penalties for agencies for not complying with the requirements.
    * Everyone has access to the background check system, not just dealers. ATF is required to create a user friendly kiosk which can be placed at any gun show, police station or gun store, paid for fully by the federal government, and with no fee to use, which will allow a seller to run a check on a buyer, the system would pass or fail the transaction, and print out a receipt to be kept (but not required to be kept) by the seller and retained in his records.
    * Agency must account for any system downtime, and meet uptime requirements or face penalty. Prolonged outages, or ones due to downstream problems with NCIC, etc, just allow transactions to go through.
    * Civil penalty for failing to run the check at most. Law abiding people aren’t going to risk even minor lawbreaking, and the criminals aren’t going to be deterred by the law anyway.

    http://www.snowflakesinhell.com/2009/09/29/so-you-want-to-talk-background-checks-eh/#comments

  4. Random trivia that’s slightly relavent: The guns McVeigh sold at gun shows were stolen from a collector (or accumulator as Tamara would probably term them) that McVeigh had met before. There was nothing legal at all about those sales.

  5. Drat, looks like my comment got eaten. Reload!

    One nit: You wrote: “Almost two million people have been stopped from buying a gun via a licensed gun dealer since 1993.” I would have written “Almost two million people have been delayed stopped from buying a gun via a licensed gun dealer since 1993.” Since I suspect Paul is using the raw NICS denial numbers, but I know lots of people who have contested a NICS test and were only delayed a few hours and still left the shop with their desired gun. Many people get denied for having a similar name of somebody else. Doesn’t mean they don’t get the gun, and get it lawfully.

    For Ubu, I have to point out the foolishness of your statement. Here in Massachusetts we have no “Gunshow Loophole” all private seller transactions must be recorded by the state, and the forms must include both of our gun permits. Given that a gun permit is confiscated as soon as somebody does something to flunk a NICS check, my card IS my Background check. Now what’s stopping me from just skipping all the paperwork and selling guns the same way I’d sell a pair of shoes?

    If its fear of the law, well I think you only have issues with private sales that are already illegal, so that’s a non-issue. If its to help police apprehend and prosecute criminals, if somebody can’t BUY a gun, they also can’t OWN a gun, and selling to somebody who’s a known crook is already a crime as well. So that’s a non-issue.

    We have loads of laws already on the books. Many are under-enforced, and many others are totally redundant (like the above “Loophole” law) claiming that somehow a criminal problem can be solved by passage of a dubious law is an exercise in stupidity.

  6. UBU – How does requiring ALL transfers to go through an FFL stop your neighborhood drug dealer from selling and/or purchasing firearms on the black market?

    It doesn’t.

  7. mike w.,

    I know it doesn’t stop illegal transactions, but you are missing my point. Most people with private guns to sell aren’t going to venture into MS-13 or Crips territory to meet their local gangbanger to sell them a gun. And they don’t want these people coming to their house either. Would you invite your neighborhood drug dealer to come to your house to buy a gun? Would you want to meet him at night after work in a public parking lot to do the sale? And if you do this deal one on one, what guarantee do you have that you won’t get robbed (he’ll get the gun and the money) in the process?

    Gun shows are daytime events with plenty of security.

    If all gun sales at gun shows are put through an FFL, it eliminates a “safe” venue for illegal sales.

  8. ubu why don’t you just read the suggestions I posted above before you think you can make ANY progress.

    In either case, it’s “progressives” like you who should be footing the bill for the ATF and NCIS with your taxes.

  9. Utter nonsense, ubu, states that actually do prohibit sales at gunshows w/o a Brady check or even prohibit all private sales w/o an FFL have not seen any measurable reduction in illegal gun sales. Like all gun control advocates arguments, this is pure fantasy.

  10. “…that is something that pro-gunners refuse to acknowledge.”

    ubu52; I acknowledge that a gun show is a convenient meeting place. I also acknowledge that a Wal Mart store is a convenient place for criminals to get hold of printing equipment for use in committing fraud and counterfeiting, or for violent criminals to buy deadly knives, rope, etc. I also acknowledge that the laws at gun shows, and at Wal Mart, are the same laws at other times and places. I acknowledge that all criminal getaway cars, drunk drivers’ cars, and vehicular homicide cars started out as legal cars. Arson matches all start out as legal matches. How convenient for arsonists! They can buy matches and gasoline AT THE SAME STORE!

    What’s your damned point? Hamper everyone’s ability to live a life in freedom, just because it might inconvenience a potential criminal once in a while? Prior restraint as national policy? That may be a world in which you want to live, but I won’t have it. Keep your repressive nanny state off my freedom!

    Are you refusing to acknowledge that criminals will be able to get guns, even if all law-abiding citizens are banned from doing so, just as easily as they can get illegal drugs from anywhere in the world right now and make lots of money doing it?

    Sooner or later, you’ll have to get your mind right and quit being fooled by what you hear on state TV. The more restrictions on something, the more attractive (and profitable) it is to criminal gangs. Just who’s side are you on?

    Where did you get that computer, by the way? And that internet connection? If you’re going to come on here and advocate for strengthening and enriching criminal gangs and corrupt government officials (gun control and other restrictions on ‘things’) maybe we need to look into where you’re getting the tools to pull it off. Just why do you NEED a computer, anyway? Is it some kind of sick fetish? Or maybe you’re a neo-Nazi, and you need your computer to stay in touch with your fellow neo-Nazis, to plan lynchings and the like. Do we really KNOW you’re not? Can we afford not to have the FBI, Secret Service, and FCC look into this?

  11. If all gun sales at gun shows are put through an FFL, it eliminates a “safe” venue for illegal sales.

    I see people like ubu52 harping on background checks and such…but if certain people are so dangerous they allegedly can’t be trusted with guns, then why are they not still in jail? I have yet to get a satisfactory answer to that question, which leads me to believe they have no problems with truly dangerous people walking the streets….

  12. Joe writing of Helmke;

    “He concludes with:

    … we’re far from being as safe as we could be.”

    Yeah and we’re far safer than any free people have a right to be! What does that say about the state of our liberty?

  13. Anyone who thinks gun control has anything to do with crime or safety is a fool. They’re accepting the assertions, or the rationalizations, without looking at past actions, the narrative, the results, or the motives.

    To paraphrase Barak Obama, who understands the war we’re in, and is one of the few willing to state it openly; “It’s about putting together the institutions of power necessary to bring about redistributive change.” That’s the whole ball of wax, right there, ladies, and I’m sure I don’t have to explain it to anyone. If you dig deep enough, you’ll find that the Left has been saying this shit, and putting together those institutions of power, for generations. Welcome to the final chapter.

    And while we’re busy sitting on our flabby asses arguing over minutiae, voting for Republicans, and worrying about what unkind things people might say about us, there’s a whole administration, its power structure well established, with its nightriders already running rough-shod over America. I hope you’ve decided which side you’re on, ’cause getting caught in the middle with no clue can be a bitch.

  14. Lyle,

    You’re for capitalism, right? Well here’s another reason why private gun sales shouldn’t be allowed at gun shows…

    I run a gun show (hypothetically). I charge my vendors for space. Private gun sales at my venue siphon money away from legit dealers who have paid for space to be part of my gun show. Not only that, but private sellers can sell for less because they don’t have the overhead legitimate dealers have. It’s unfair to my dealers so I don’t want anymore private gun sales at the venue I’m promoting.

    Are you okay with that?

    I don’t sell at gun shows (and I don’t run one) but it would surely “chap my hide” if some freakin’ seller who didn’t pay for a space was allowed to sell in the aisles.

  15. You are absolutely right, UBU52… but it should be up to the gun show organizers as to whether or not they will allow private parties to perform transactions in their aisles, not the federal government.

    After all, if it is the gun show runners who are hypothetically suffering in your hypothetical situation, then it is they who should be permitted to correct/remove the source of that suffering. It would not be that hard to put up a sign at the entrance to the show saying that private sales are not permitted, and then gun show organizers who do not care either way can refrain from putting up the sign.

    Of course, the funny thing is that organizers can do that kind of thing right now, and I challenge you to find me a single show that has done such a thing. So much for “chapping their hide”.

    But, as usual, this was never about the guns, was it?

  16. ubu52, it is clear you are not really familiar with gun shows. Have you even been to one?

    Many of the private sellers do have tables they have paid for. Yes, if they only have one gun they are selling it probably will be done in the aisle. But if they have more than that they are probably going to rent a table.

    Please don’t claim to know something when you have minimal or zero information on the topic. You will embarrass yourself. And it might “flip my bit” for you and I’ll put you on my list of people to make fun of rather than politely point out your errors.

  17. Joe – If I remember correctly UBU has routinely displayed the same level of ignorance over at Robb Allen’s blog.

    I’m still stumped about her “safe venue” comment. Closing the “gun show loophole.” (I.E. banning all private sales) does nothing to keep criminals from illegally selling firearms.

    Criminals can and do engage in illegal black market sales in all sorts of places. Gun shows don’t magically create a place where criminals can be protected while they break the law.

  18. ubu; One of the reasons people go to guns shows in the first place (and pay the entrance fee at the door, by the way, but you probably didn’t know about that either) is to look for deals. Some of those deals will be with private sellers. It’s a flee market for guns. Take that benefit away and attendance goes down, which also means fewer people looking at the FFL tables. Lower attendance means it’s less attractive for the dealers to pay the fee for a table, which means fewer exhibits, which means yet fewer attendees…

    You don’t have much business experience, do you? Or maybe you do understand, and consider that to be the whole point– killing gun shows.

    I’ve been contacted, for example, by people selling business directories. One angle proposed to me was that if I was the first to sign up in my category, my business would be the only one in my category listed. Oh Boy– an exclusive! No competition! Neeto! Trouble is; who’s going to be dumb enough to ever USE a directory that only lists one business of each type in the region? No one, that’s who. Similar situation if a gun show only allows the commercial dealers. I won’t go to it. That’s not a flee market. I can look at the commercial dealers’ wares any day or every day, at the stores, and I don’t have to pay to get in. Get it?

    You’re grasping at straws, and missing, and it’s not pretty.

  19. As for the “loophole” itself, per the NIJ and multiple other studies covering over thirty years, the number of guns eventually used in crime that were purchased privately and/or at gun shows is 1.7% (though some go as high as 3% but those aren’t the most recent data).

    However, even that miniscule percentage actually overstates reality. Many of the guns purchased through private parties without a check used in crime were bought by straw purchasers (persons otherwise legal to purchase but who are illegally purchasing for prohibited persons). Given that the straw purchaser will pass a NICS check, they could just as easily have committed the federal felony of straw purchasing from a licensed dealer or after a mandatory NICS check was done privately.

    So, what “problem” would your ban or restriction on private party sales really accomplish? The less than 1.7% guns purchased directly by prohibited persons themselves illegally will simply be purchased by those PP’s from a fellow PP not at a gunshow. Which happens, again according to the NIJ, to be how most guns actually used in crime are purchased, by PP’s from PP’s (which, like straw purchasing or selling to a PP) is already illegal.

    So you will have introduced a restriction on the fundamental rights (gun, property, contract) of millions of law-abiding people that will have NO documentable effect on crime or public safety. Strangely enough, we again have multiple studies over decades by government agencies that suggest that happens to be the case for all gun control laws, “reasonable” or not. They just don’t work.

  20. “You’re for capitalism, right? “

    ubu; Just what do you think is capitalism? Greedily grubbing money, no matter how pathological? I know that’s the statists’ view. IN fact, capitalism can best be defined in the simplest terms; it’s a system in which property rights are recognized, respected and protected. Anything else is NOT capitalism. It may be related to what some business owners do, or it may be related to big money deals, but it’s no more properly described as capitalism than what communist governments or violent gangs do with large sums of money. Lets keep our terminology straight– we don’t advocate for special restrictions, special taxes, subsidies, et al, in the name of capitalism. That’s a bit like randomly beating people up in the name of peace and social harmony.

    Nice try, Kid, but we’re way ahead of you there.

  21. What I really dislike is when the anti-freedom types like Ubu run when the questions threaten to expose their bigotry.

    It would be all well and good if they left and didn’t come back, but Ubu will be back, either at this blog or another, and she’ll be still preaching laws and regulations that I can only believe she KNOWS are wrong.

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