Monday, April 06, 2009


Repeating the Libels

Harold Evans, who wrote for the Times and is now an Editor at The Week, who also seems to be an expert in travel and perhaps American history, writes a semi-coherent blame-athon at the Beast blog regarding the string of mass shootings this past 30 days. Here are some of the factually troubling parts.

The ten-year ban on assault weapons was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994 but was allowed to lapse in the Bush presidency, despite a 2004 U.S. Department of Justice study finding that the share of gun crimes involving automatic weapons dropped by 17%, to 72%. (Emphasis added).

The "assault weapon" ban (and manufacture of greater than 10 shot magazines ban), '94 to '04, was a semi-coherent, semi-ban based solely on the looks of a weapon and not at all on the weapon's actual lethality. A real assault weapon, like the STG 44, the M-16 or AK 47, is a rifle sized weapon capable of fully automatic fire (full auto--one trigger pull and it keeps firing until empty), designed for military use, with large magazine capacity, shooting an intermediate cartridge about midway between pistol ammunition and rifle cartridges capable of killing a deer, for instance. These were not affected by the ban we're discussing.

They are covered by the National Firearms Act of 1934, which only allows ownership of such weapons by qualified citizens who pay a special tax for the stamp which allows the privilege of exercising our 2nd Amendment rights. Other laws in 1968 and 1986 prohibited the import of foreign full auto weapons and sale to civilians of American full auto weapons. So there are now about 70,000 grandfathered full auto weapons owned lawfully; and in the 70 plus years of the program, only one such weapon was used here in a crime (by a policeman about 30 years ago--schmuck!). There is almost no crime being committed here with full auto weapons and none (with one exception) with the regulated and taxed weapons we can own legally. I have no idea what he's talking about in his quotation of meaningless statistics. The use of automatic weapons in crime was less than 1% and has been that way for a long time.

The ban he's so fond of affected only semi-automatic weapons which looked too military and deadly for someone's taste. They are rarely used in crimes, perhaps about 2% of crimes. If we substitute semi-automatic for automatic, the statistic Mr. Evans quotes makes more sense as almost all pistols not revolvers are semi-automatic (If you recall John Woo's Hard Target, one murderer played by Lance Henriksen, used a single shot pistol, a Winchester Contender, but trust me he would represent a tiny portion of the real criminal element out there). The reduction from 89% to 72% for semi-automatic pistols mainly, if it's a real statistic, would probably represent a greater use of revolvers rather than a decline in the already nearly non existent use of semi-auto rifles in real crime. I love it when gun haters reveal the true depths of their historical and gun ignorance in their writings. But there's more.

To his credit, Mr. Evans does not repeat the popular lefty lie that 90% of Mexican gangs' guns trace back to the United States, but he nearly does.

The Mexican drug cartels get their guns through us: After a shootout among factions of the Tijuana cartel, 60 seized guns were traced to purchases in Los Angeles, Houston, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle, Philadelphia and Denver.

That last example may be true, but 87% of the 29,000 guns recently seized from Mexico's organized drug criminals do not come from the United States. They don't, in fact, get their guns through us, although the well armed criminals in Mexico, which bans private ownership of such weapons, makes the point, for the thousandth time, that gun laws don't actually disarm criminals, because criminals don't follow the gun laws either.

Here's a gratuitous libel on the NRA:

...the NRA demands completely unregulated gun sales, always ignoring that the Founding Fathers prefaced that right by referring to a “well-regulated” militia.

The NRA has for nearly a century supported gun laws which would make illegal the ownership of a gun by the criminally violent or insane. They still do, just as they generally quote the whole 2nd Amendment.

Here is the required lefty lie that gun availability makes more crimes happen.

But it is easy access to guns that, shockingly, gives America far and away the highest murder rate among civilized nations.

We don't have the highest murder rate among civilized nations, unless you consider Russia, Barbados, Belarus, Columbia, Costa Rica, Guatamala, Paraguay, South Africa, Thailand, Brazil and Mexico uncivilized, which I don't. I have recently been to Switzerland, where nearly every able bodied young male has a full auto weapon in his closet. The weapons are readily available to nearly every young Swiss male and yet somehow they are able to resist the gun's subtle siren song to murder and Switzerland has a lower murder rate per capita than England and Germany, for example, where nearly all gun ownership is totally banned. Likewise, Israel--guns everywhere and very little gun violence. Hamas rockets don't count.

Here's the final ignorance:

The guilty
are the congressmen who even now are planning to stop a renewal of the federal ban on assault weapons and ammunition magazines capable of semi automatic fire (one trigger pull per shot but with magazines enabling the user to fire hundreds of rounds in a minute).

If you had a magazine that held 200 rounds (I don't recall ever seeing one of those) you would be hard pressed to fire all the rounds in the mythical magazine in a minute. It might be possible, but you would certainly be concentrating on just pulling the trigger rapidly and not on aiming each shot, and the gun would be very heavy and difficult to handle. If you had the average size magazine for a semi-auto AK or AR 15, say, 30 rounds, you would lose half the minute dropping out the empty magazines and inserting new ones to reach the 200 rounds per minute Mr. Evans claims is possible. So, I'll say not even possible. Perhaps a gun nut can correct my timing assumptions.

So, in closing, Evans doesn't know what he's talking about when he blithely blames the blameless here, which utter ignorance allows him to maintain an absolute and unbreakable faith that banning a weapon will somehow cause a first time criminal bent on murder to reconsider things and not break the lesser law against his ownership of some kinds of gun. It is a pernicious fantasy. All gun control laws do is make ignorant liberals feel better and disarm the law abiding. That's not a sufficient trade off.


Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?