Mayors Against Illegal Guns did not make an innocent mistake when they released their recent report. They deliberated misused the data to arrive at a conclusion they wanted. It’s been explained to them many times before but the truth doesn’t matter to them. NRA-ILA explains once again:
MAIG’s conclusions, like Brady’s, are based entirely upon BATFE firearm tracing statistics, which BATFE and the Congressional Research Service have repeatedly said should not be used to reach broad conclusions about criminal activity with guns.
BATFE says, for example, “Not all firearms used in crimes are traced and not all firearms traced are used in crime. Firearms selected for tracing aren’t chosen for purposes of determining which types, makes or models of firearms are used for illicit purposes. The firearms selected don’t constitute a random sample and should not be considered representative of the larger universe of all firearms used by criminals, or any subset of that universe. . . .[S]ources reported for firearms traced do not necessarily represent the sources or methods by which firearms in general are acquired for use in crime.”
Of course, for many years on many issues — “assault weapons,” “Saturday Night Specials,” lawsuits against gun manufacturers and dealers, and the list goes on — anti-gun groups have resorted to tracing data because crime and other reliable data have not supported their arguments. In this instance, for example, MAIG contends that illegal acquisition of firearms is associated with 10 specific state-level gun laws. But, the 10 laws — some of which are already in effect at the federal level — don’t correlate to state total violent crime rates. And, the 10 states with the highest violent crime rates, and the 10 states with the lowest rates, both have an average of two of the 10 gun laws.
Update: James has more very interesting stuff to share on the topic.