On the eve of another Thanksgiving, a couple of opinion pieces that have appeared in the past 24 hours might make Second Amendment activists thankful there are such people around to expose the myths and downright disingenuousness at a time, with today’s piece by Fox News’ John Stossel perhaps deserving a prize.
Stossel, writing at Townhall, related his fruitless attempt to obtain a gun permit in New York City. It’s a process heaped with red tape, time consumption and expense that Stossel nailed by quoting a firearms instructor who observed that New York politicians instituted “to deter people from following through the process, which can take a year.”
For Stossel, the process took eight and a half months, and at the end, he was denied. Contrast that with the process in Washington State, where this column recently renewed a concealed pistol license at the King County Courthouse in Seattle. Elapsed time: 22 minutes, and that included checking a .45-caliber pistol with a courthouse deputy.
Stossel’s misadventure is hardly unusual, and it is shared by far too many people in New York, Washington D.C. and elsewhere that laws have been passed granting authority to bureaucrats and demagogues to decide, essentially on a whim, who gets to exercise their constitutionally-guaranteed Second Amendment rights. That’s why District of Columbia Police Chief Cathy Lanier has gotten so many sneers, jeers and belly laughs in response to her advice on Sunday evening’s “60 Minutes” that private citizens could “take down” an active shooter or terrorist. With what, a group hug or cup of latte?
While Stossel’s tale of woe and rejection underscores the gross inequity of discretionary “may issue” gun permit laws, the other piece in yesterday’s Washington Times, by Gun Talk radio host Tom Gresham, discusses a story that Maryland anti-gunners wish would simply fade into oblivion. Gresham told about how that state “quietly killed off its 15-year, $5 million social experiment in gun control — so-called ‘ballistic fingerprinting’ — it served up the latest example of people who know nothing about firearms making technical laws about guns.”
In that single sentence, Gresham – a longtime friend of this column – laid bare one of the primary problems of gun control laws. They’re typically written by idiots; people who have no working knowledge of firearms, but act primarily out of fear of guns (called “hoplophobia”) and the people who own them.
Not that it matters, but in all the years ballistic fingerprinting was the law, it never solved a crime, according to Gresham. It was “feel good” trophy legislation, pushed through by gun haters trying to convince equally-airheaded voters that they had actually accomplished something.
It is, perhaps, the ignorance factor that leads to another issue that needs some discussion. In this morning’s Seattle Times, columnist Danny Westneat shares his observations about the mountains of fibs being told by presidential candidates. Using information from Politifact.com, he’s put together a chart that shows candidates – both Republican and Democrat – appear to have been spreading the bushwa rather generously in some cases.
The chart shows “the percentage of factual statements made by some of the presidential candidates that have been judged to be mostly or entirely false.” How could they be “factual statements” if they’ve been revealed to be “mostly or entirely false?”
The chart seems to favor Democrats over Republicans, which – if one pays a bit of attention to how remarks by Democrat front runner Hillary Rodham Clinton regarding guns and crime were judged – might appear to be something of a stretch of credulity. Stacked against Clinton’s numbers on Westneat’s chart, Dr. Ben Carson and businessman Donald Trump appear to be pathological liars, while Clinton might be spreading a fib here and there.
Politifact seems to soft-glove Clinton for having claimed that “nearly 3,000 people” had been “killed by guns” between the October and November debates, calling it “mostly true.” That assessment appears to have been overly generous, as the media tends to be toward gun prohibitionists, by not calling such statements disingenuous if not downright deceitful.
Gun control advocates routinely lump suicides – which account for the majority of firearms-related deaths – with homicides, allegedly to bump up the numbers, by making it sound to the uninformed as though all of these people are violent crime victims. Using phrases such as “victims of gun violence” should be considered patently dishonest. Call them homicide victims, accident victims or suicides.
Politifact also gave Clinton kind of a break when she said last month that “we lose an average of 90 Americans a day because of guns.” Again, that includes suicides, but she gets away with saying she wants to “protect our families and communities from the plague of gun violence.” At least Politifact did note that the body count includes suicides and that they make up the majority of annual gun-related deaths.
Here’s how Politifact came down on Clinton’s claim: “Clinton said: ‘We lose an average of 90 Americans every day because of guns.’ That’s about right. But it leaves unsaid that the bulk of those deaths are suicides, not homicides. Also, in 2013, the latest year of available data, the rate of homicides by firearm was lower than the rate for 1999 through 2013. We rate this statement Mostly True.” Gun owners, however, might rate the statement mostly horse puckey.
Perhaps a better perspective might be approached by noting that in a nation of some 320 million people, who own by some estimates somewhere north of 300 million guns, that in an average year fewer than 9,000 people are murdered with firearms (in 2014, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, the number was 8,124) That makes for such a tiny fraction of gun misuse it might not even register on a graph.
But saying so is not dramatic enough, and it doesn’t help push the gun control agenda, nor does it help justify the anti-gun demagoguery faced by Stossel, or the hideous waste of public funds discussed by Gresham. And it most likely will not become part of the current debate about guns.
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