A Slam Dunk

Unca Monkey is probably right that this one is too stupid to fisk, but I am going to anyway.

No one needs an assault weapon to defend himself or herself.

Got that?

Assault weapons are, on the other hand, a handy way for criminals to kill cops.

Now, don’t try to hold both those thoughts in your head too long, because I don’t want you to hurt yourself.

Apparently, there is no way for you to use an assault weapon to defend yourself from the criminals that already have assault weapons, but somehow taking your assault weapons away will keep the criminals from using them on the police.

I think.

Get this shit:

Before the ban went into effect, assault weapons were used to commit crimes at levels that far outstripped their availability. Although assault weapons accounted for 0.5 percent of all guns in the country, they were used in 10 percent of all gun-traced crimes, according to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Oh, how I love to vet a quote. Where did this come from, you suppose? How about the Brady Bunch? And of course, they got that by looking at the BATF records, right? Wrong. They cite in the footnote “Firepower: Assault Weapons in America” Cox Newspapers, 1989. What can we find about this? Well, this study has indeed been vetted in court:

9. Contrary to the assertions in the affidavit of Commissioner Brown, the Cox news organization’s analysis of data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms is not recent, does not show that assault weapons “comprised approximately 0.5 percent of the guns in circulation,” does not show that these guns represented “10 percent of all guns used in connection with the commission of a crime,” does not show that the guns comprised “12 percent of all guns used in narcotics-related crimes,” and does not show that “Assault weapons were thus 20 times more likely to be used for criminal activity than conventional weapons.” [Affidavit of Lee P. Brown, Police Commissioner of the City of New York, paragraph 4.]

* * *

10. Contrary to Commissioner Brown and Cox newspaper reports, “assault weapons” did not, and do not, comprise only 0.5 percent of the guns in circulation. While the Cox newspapers certainly made that assertion, claiming there were only about one million “assault weapons” in America [Cox Newspapers, Firepower: Assault Weapons in America, 1989, p. 1], in calling the Army “a Major Supplier of Assault Guns,” Cox noted there were an “estimated 1.5 million M-1 ‘Garand’ semiautomatic rifles in private hands.” [Ibid., p. 10.] Cox was thus asserting there were one million “assault weapons” of which 1.5 million were one particular model, an obvious impossibility. In fact, Smithsonian Institution firearms expert Edward Ezell estimated that there were 3.5 – 4 million firearms which could be designated “assault weapons” privately owned as of early 1989. [Testimony of Edward C. Ezell, to the Constitution Subcommittee. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. Senate, May 10, 1989.] Thus, even if all of the other assertions by Commissioner Brown were correct, the “20 times” figure would have to be divided by 3.5 – 4. But the other assertions by Commissioner Brown are not accurate.

* * *

11. Undermining Commissioner Brown’s reliance on the Cox newspaper
review of BATF data are BATF responses to the Cox material. BATF’s initial “position on Cox Newspapers study of assault type guns” noted: “We do not necessarily agree with the conclusions of Cox Newspapers and need to express that all firearms trace requests submitted by law enforcement agencies are not
crime guns and that the 42,000 traces examined are but a small percentage of all firearms recovered by law enforcement during the period.”

(Full Disclosure: This affidavit appears to be a draft, so I am not certain that it was filed. I am sure that it is factually correct.)

This is simple math. If the number used in crimes is smaller, and the number actually owned is larger, that “used to commit crimes at levels that far outstripped their availability” is bullshit and, while not conclusively falsified, is shown to be a non sequitur in light of the data it is based on.

To quote Vincent Gambini, “I’m done with this guy.”


  1. The Sicilian says:

    Is there anywhere to send a pic of me flicking this guy the bird? Where he’ll see it?

  2. Phelps says:

    Since it was an unsigned editorial, I doubt it. Put it on your blog, link it, and hope Technorati will lead him to it.

  3. jed says:

    For those who would like to read the facts, ave Kopel has the straight dope.

  4. FreedomSight says:

    Brady Bunch, Media, Still Ignore Facts About Guns

    Yeah, no surprise there. The Brady Anti-Gun Bigot Bunch have been claiming for a long time that somehow, magically, the so-called “Assault Weapons” ban would, and does, have an effect on crime. Never mind that there’s no data to support such a conclusi…