CNN’s “Plan B” Gun Control Piece: Lies, Misinformation and Newspeak

 

David Frum wrote an article published by CNN on how – gasp! – President Obama might not have the votes needed to pass the kind of gun control reforms that he wants. To hear Frum tell it, it sounds like the evil Congress is blocking the Chosen One’s policies that would otherwise bring peace and tranquility to the world. Anyway, Frum has been taken to task again and again by our own Bruce Krafft for publishing lies and misinformation as facts in support of his civilian disarmament beliefs, but I wanted to take a stab at this one myself . . .

David starts with a plaintive whine about Obama’s apparent inability to push gun control legislation over the goal line:

The president himself recognizes that the votes probably aren’t there to pass any significant gun legislation through Congress. In his State of the Union address, he was reduced to pleading with Congress to allow a vote at all, never mind actually enact anything.

That’s kinda the whole point of Congress. The President was never intended to enact laws all by his lonesome, and the founding fathers had the foresight to put a check in place that allows the people to elect representatives that will promote their beliefs. So if Obama can’t pass legislation, that simply means that the system is working as designed and we aren’t operating under a dictator.

So what does David propose to fix this “problem?” Apparently some propaganda is in order, funded by the U.S. government under the auspices of the Surgeon General. Specifically, he wants the SG to do a study on the “health risks” of firearms in the United States.

The basis of the whole gun debate in the United States is the belief by millions of Americans that they need a firearm in the home to protect themselves from criminals. Testifying to Congress last month, a gun advocate named Gayle Trotter presented a vivid image of how guns might be used.

“An assault weapon in the hands of a young woman defending her babies in her home becomes a defense weapon, and the peace of mind that a woman has as she’s facing three, four, five violent attackers, intruders in her home, with her children screaming in the background, the peace of mind that she has knowing that she has a scary-looking gun gives her more courage when she’s fighting hardened, violent criminals.”

Thrilling. Also wholly imaginary. Such Rambo-like defenses of home and hearth do not happen in real life, unless the home also happens to contain a meth lab. (The oft-cited statistic that gun owners draw in self-defense 2.5 million times a year is a classic of bad social science.)

Frum then links to an article that supports his opinion that no one uses guns to defend themselves, which Bruce Krafft has already thoroughly torn to shreds.

While Frum may live in a “safe” neighborhood where crime never happens, outside his little bubble, the reality is that this kind of thing happens every day. Armed robbers break into houses on a regular basis in the United States. And women really do need guns to defend their lives and defend against rapists.

There’s this example, for instance, of a mother shooting an armed intruder to save her child. Or, as for the idea that multiple intruders will never be an issue, here’s one where multiple armed robbers entered a house but were beaten back by a mother with a firearm. It happens every single day. And where a robbery could leave you bleeding to death only seconds after it starts, police will still take minutes – if you’re lucky – to show up.

Frum has therefore made it clear that he isn’t capable of distinguishing between “probable” and “possible.” It’s probable that you will never need a gun to defend your house or family from an intruder. It’s also probable that David will never crash his car into a cement wall. Nevertheless, I’m pretty sure he wears a seatbelt and has a car with an airbag. Because the possibility exists, and the consequences of such an event are so monumental (one’s untimely death), it makes sense to prepare for it. The same logic applies with firearms ownership for self defense.

The icing on the rhetorical cake is that, while a claim of 2.5 million DGUs per year might be over the top, even the most ardent anti-gunners put the number in the hundreds of thousands. That’s hundreds of thousands of times each year when a legal firearm saved at least one person’s life.

As a trained risk analyst, I can tell you that based on Bruce’s work (which I have double checked and agree with his methodology) there is actually a greater risk from civilian disarmament than there is from increased gun ownership (risk = threat x vulnerability x consequence, FYI).

The facts don’t support Frum’s proposition that more gun equals more crime. In fact, because the trend line is doing the exact opposite (crime and accidents decreasing as gun ownership increases) we can reject his hypothesis once and for all. But David isn’t letting a little thing like facts and logic get in his way.

He immediately pivots to an emotional argument, pulling out a 1994 article where a father shot his son by accident. Tragic, but reaching back to 1994 loses any credibility to my mind for applying it to the current environment. He goes further:

Hemenway again: “Between 1990 and 2000, an annual average of 320 children zero to fourteen either committed suicide with guns or were accidentally killed by guns.” American children are much more likely to suffer these tragedies than children in other countries. States with more guns suffer more than states in which guns are less common.

I’ve already talked about the issue with determining what counts as a “child” when the New York Times fudged the numbers to make it seem like more children were dying from guns. But in reality, that number is VASTLY less than the number of children killed by other means every year. Non-firearm related accidents alone account for tens of thousands of deaths for children every year, but I don’t see David focusing on those deaths. No, he makes the same tired “if we can only save one life it will be worth it” emotional argument, ignoring the hundreds of thousands of lives saved over the same time period by the legal use of firearms.

David’s plan is to flood the American public with studies that “prove” a political point, with no research done on the benefits of firearms in American citizen’s hands.

In addition to the government-funded propaganda  David suggests that gun makers are specifically designing their firearms so that they are more appealing to criminals, and Congress should shame them into changing their ways. How, exactly, are gun makers doing this? I’m glad you asked, because he has a list . . .

Gun makers often design their weapons in ways that present no benefit for lawful users but that greatly assist criminals. They don’t coordinate the issuance of serial numbers so that each gun can be identified with certainty. They stamp serial numbers in places where they can be effaced.

How would you “coordinate the issuance of serial numbers so that each gun can be identified with certainty?” The only way to do that is with a national gun registry, which (A) is illegal and (B) was the law in Canada until they realized that it wasn’t effective and was actually a gigantic waste of money. So already, David is proposing ideas that have been tried and proven ineffective for stopping crime, but waste millions of taxpayer dollars and trample on the civil rights of millions of Americans.

As for stamping serial numbers “in places where they can be effaced,” there’s nowhere on a gun that you can put a serial number where someone can’t get to it and scratch it off. Nowhere. It’s impossible. And the fact that he doesn’t realize this means that he has no idea what he’s talking about, and only wants to make gun manufacturers seem “evil.” A backdoor emotional argument.

They reject police requests to groove barrels to uniquely mark each bullet fired by a particular gun.

First off, how exactly would you accomplish this? The very nature of rifling means that there are only so many ways you can alter the grooves before they lose their effectiveness, and making a unique and individual groove pattern for every single firearm is impossible. Not only is it massively expensive to implement, but by my count you’ll get 20 different variations tops. So now, after wasting millions of dollars, you’re no closer to identifying “beyond a reasonable doubt” which of the hundreds of millions of firearms produced every year was used in a crime.

Not only that, barrels wear down. A mark that was evident on a bullet fired from a gun could be gone 20 rounds down the road. Depending on how clean a gun is and how many rounds have been fired since the evidence bullet was fired, barrels could have completely changed. I took college forensics. I remember this very clearly from the ballistics section.

Seriously, if you have a plan on how to do that I’d love to hear it. because from where I’m sitting it’s impossible and a waste of time.

They sell bullets that can pierce police armor.

Legally speaking, “armor piercing bullets” have been illegal for some time now and no reputable ammunition manufacturer produces them. However, I get the feeling that you’re talking about rifle ammunition.

Let me put it this way: my Grandfather’s .30-06 hunting rifle, using standard hunting ammunition, can pierce standard police issue body armor. Police typically use level III body armor, which is intended to stop most handgun rounds. It was never intended to stop rifle rounds. Unless you plan on making rifles illegal, there’s no way NOT to sell a rifle cartridge that will pierce police body armor.

As a quick aside, I ran into  a problem as I was debating my mother this past weekend. We were talking about ammunition restrictions, and she asked “well, what about cop killer bullets? Surely you don’t support those?” And then I had the pleasure to explain that hollow point ammunition (which was what she was referring to and is portrayed as such in the media) is actually less likely to go through police body armor than standard ammunition. It’s really incredible the level of misinformation people are reading out there.

They will not include trigger locks and other child-proofing devices as standard equipment.

Actually, I haven’t had a single gun come through my hands in the last few years that DIDN’T come with a trigger lock or other locking mechanism. So that, my friend, is a blatant lie.

They ignore new technology that would render guns inoperable by anyone except their approved purchaser.

Probably because those sensitive electronics are (A) massively expensive and (B) aren’t reliable enough to stand up to a lifetime of use. Somehow, I get the feeling that people would be mighty displeased if their gun suddenly stopped working one day after years of use and was not able to be fixed. Imagine that happening when an armed robber is trying to kill you.

Gun manufacturers are more concerned with making a firearm that is reliable than making one that has tons of bells and whistles. I’m sure if the technology ever becomes cheap and rugged enough they’ll start making such guns, but right now it’s not possible.

David wraps up with this little ditty:

There’s a gun agenda that need not depend on politics and that will not snatch a single weapon from any owner, whether law-abiding or not. If Congress stalls on the president’s ambitious legislative schemes, the president should fall back on this Plan B to publicize what guns really do to those who carry them — and what gunmakers do to their customers.

This is the refrain that I keep hearing again and again from Democrats: no one is trying to take your guns. And yet, they consistently introduce legislation that would do exactly that, whether in the form of “assault weapons” bans or magazine capacity limits.

David has tipped his hand already. He’d love nothing more than to strip away one of our fundamental civil rights and leave us at the mercy of criminals and tyrants. He doesn’t believe that citizens should have the ability to defend themselves, because in his closed-minded world no one is ever attacked. He lives in a fantasy utopian world, and because his prized civilian disarment plans have fallen on deaf ears in Congress he wants the President to push a propaganda campaign and force people to believe his twisted reality. But the reality is that the right to self defense is indeed fundamental, and one that is the birthright of every human in the world.

And the reason the President “needs a ‘Plan B’ on guns” is that Congress, as well as the Supreme Court, agree that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Is public opinion on his side? Maybe. But at one point in time, 50%+ of the American population thought black people were furniture. And just because an opinion is the “latest” one doesn’t necessarily make it the right one.

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About Nick Leghorn

Nick Leghorn is a gun nerd living and working in San Antonio, Texas. In his free time, he's a competition shooter (USPSA, 3-gun and NRA High Power), aspiring pilot, and enjoys mixing statistics and science with firearms. Now on sale: Getting Started with Firearms by yours truly!

36 Responses to CNN’s “Plan B” Gun Control Piece: Lies, Misinformation and Newspeak

  1. avatarJim D says:

    Looks to me like you handled that just fine, Nick

  2. avatarWilliam says:

    Feh. That guy isn’t merely misguided. He’s wagging his gun-control tail his masters and higher-ups. Perhaps he’ll get a pat on the head. Or a biscuit.

  3. avatarDaveL says:

    They reject police requests to groove barrels to uniquely mark each bullet fired by a particular gun.

    Err, shotshells, anyone? What idiot police official actually requested this?

    • avatarTotenglocke says:

      The the police chief from Chicago probably. The same guy who said that the Second Amendment is a public safety issue and needs to be banned, that people only have the right to muskets, and that Chicago doesn’t have strict gun laws.

      • avatarDavid W. says:

        Police Chiefs are parasites. Basically they are appointed by a mayor, and they have to follow the mayor on whatever the mayor wants or get fired and have to actually work again. Therefore if the Mayor is a massive idiot (aka Chicago), then the Police Chief will be a even more massive idiot to cover for said massive idiot mayor.

        • avatarDDay says:

          Police chiefs and the brass in general are nothing but politicians. They are not elected like Sheriffs, they are appointed to their post by city councils, mayors, etc. They dance like a puppet when their political boss move the strings.

          They are so far removed from actual police work that they don’t have a clue about what is going on in the communities.

        • avatarChris Mallory says:

          DDay,
          Sheriffs are politicians too. Being elected means they are even more of politicians than police chiefs. Police chiefs are appointed bureaucrats.

  4. avatarLance says:

    As Cam Edwards said on NRA new this man is a useful Idiot shows hoe dumb gun grabbers are. We can agree Obama’s AWB isn’t going to make it though.

  5. avatarMike Lindsey says:

    Great article, I just hope the president doesn’t go around the channels with an executive order.

  6. avatarNazgul says:

    CNN distorting the facts is nothing new. What I fail to understand is how beneficial it is for the Surgeon General to tell the public that getting shot is a health hazard. This neocon elitist is typical of those who know nothing about firearms, yet thinks he’s an expert.

    • avatarThomasR says:

      Liberal/progressives belief system is as fanatical as any muslim human bomber; for them, the ends justify the means, they are willing to murder millions of people to enforce thier belief system on us all; lying on purpose to move thier agenda forward is the least they are willing to do.

      Communism, socialism = liberal/progressive; this belief system has caused the mass murder of hundred of millions people in the last hundred years, history will back on this time and see the “intellectual elite” as facilitators of mass murder and tyranny unmatched in all of recorded time, the “intellectual elite” will be looked at with the same level of contempt and outright hatred as church leaders of the Inquisition during the dark ages do today.

  7. avatarDaveL says:

    Other tidbits from the article:

    They don’t coordinate the issuance of serial numbers so that each gun can be identified with certainty.

    Does anyone know what this actually means? Is he suggesting manufacturers re-use serial numbers within the same model series?

    They stamp serial numbers in places where they can be effaced.

    Pray tell, where exactly can we stamp the serial number such that it can’t be effaced?

    • avatarNS says:

      Mr. Frum wants the serial number to be diamond encrusted so only a harder diamond could possibly scratch it off.

      If gun companies are unwilling to pay for this, well, we know where they REALLY stand…

    • avatarDirk Diggler says:

      actually, he is thinking along the lines in the auto industry where VIN or serial #’s are etched in “hidden” places on a car that cannot be obliterated easily, like inside the oil pan or behind a transaxle, without knowing where to look. Great in concept . . . . until you learn that a gun is designed to be taken apart to be cleaned . . . . . Frum needs to stop being a little B!tch and go to a gun range for 3 hrs of education . . .

  8. avatarDave S says:

    The bottom line here is that life is dangerous, with or without firearms. I think the more options (freedoms) the People have, the better equipped they are to chose the options which will make them more secure. Without options we are all placed at risk.

  9. avatarBeninMA says:

    “Between 1990 and 2000, an annual average of 320 children zero to fourteen either committed suicide with guns or were accidentally killed by guns.”

    By the year 2000, that number was down to 97 children.

    Almost ten times more (943) died by accidental drowning.

    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr50/nvsr50_15.pdf

    • avatarDaveL says:

      Did anyone else notice that just before he quotes the 320/yr figure, he runs off at the mouth about how “It’s just one of thousands of similar incidents in the United States every year.”

      Thousands? Well no, more like 320. By which I mean 97.

  10. avatarBiofire says:

    Do I have to defend Kleck again? Bad social science? Yeah, that’s why he’s won awards for his work and has an endowed chair at Florida State, Tallahassee, and teaches graduate level experimental design and statistics. In fact, most survey studies tend to underestimate effects when they are extrapolated to the population from a sample. Kleck has responded to every one of his critics, repeatedly, over the years since he conducted the National Self Defense Survey, and he has been vindicated by actual scientists, as opposed to talking heads who haven’t a clue about scientific methodology.

    David Frum couldn’t estimate the number of fingers on his left hand if he counted the ones on his right hand.

  11. avatarEd Rogers says:

    Frum: Once again, is flapping his gums, without regard to facts or feasibility. Either ignorant, elitist or both…

  12. avatarLeo338 says:

    Great article Nick!

  13. avatarSmaj says:

    See, little Davey is an elitist. As such, he can’t abide the Great Unwashed having access to (egads!) those scary guns. For our own good, of course. Naturally little Davey lives in a nice, secure place with plenty of armed security to protect his effete a**. His opinion means bupkis.

  14. avatarSilver says:

    Sub-humans like this are what has enabled tyranny to flourish in the world for thousands of years. Pathetic, lowly scum that yearn to be controlled by tyrants because they’re too weak to be anything more than animals.

    Sub-humans like this are an embarrassment not only to Americans, but the human race itself.

  15. avatarjoe says:

    I love how he says gun owners accidentally shoot family members all the time and brings an example from 1994… no more recent ones?

  16. avatarniceguns says:

    Lies and misinformation, I’m not surprised his last name is From
    Can anybody guess where he’s From… most likely somewhere between Lebanon and Egypt…

  17. avatarspeedracer5050 says:

    Well personally I feel like Mr. Frum is a Freaking Idiot!!! Just my opinion of course. Having survived two home invasions I would like to point out that both times it was illegal in those states to carry an open or concealed handgun. Had I not been in my home I probably wouldn’t be here today. And that Mr. Frum is why we have the God given and Constitutionally Protected right to keep and bear arms!!!

  18. avatarDavis Thompson says:

    Guns that only their owners can operate? What good is that? I think we all go to the range or the backyard with friends, trade firearms, try new stuff out, let our wives and children practice with our weapons. Such technology is not only overly expensive and pretty much impossible to implement, but it would, frankly, stink.

  19. avatarDean Weingarten says:

    As far as the statists are concerned, the purpose of serial numbers is a registration system to be used for confiscation. Otherwise, what is the purpose of serial numbers, other than to possibly return stolen guns? I assure you that is not what the Frums of the world want serial numbers for.

    As far as I am concerned, there should not be any legal requirement for serial numbers.

  20. avatarJay W. says:

    Very good job!

  21. avatarHighvoltage says:

    I commented on the CNN page several times, mostly refuting his claims, countering the claim about “meth labs” with the Home invasion/torture/killing of the family of the Connecticut Doctor.

    The last comment I made alluded to the fact that if anyone needed “Plan B”, it was Frum’s mother, and a strong dose at that.

  22. avatarDirk Diggler says:

    Gotta agree – the number of people behind an opinion does not make it right. Jesus had 12 followers and Hitler had millions. just saying . . . .

  23. avatarniceguns says:

    Should we stay politically correct, or should see say the truth
    I choose the truth. His last name is From, that should say plenty.
    For those of you who don’t understand, where
    Is he From, somewhere between Lebanon and Egypt…

  24. avatareugene says:

    i use that probable vs possible analogy all the time.

    i don’t buy an earthquake kit hoping the big one hits.
    i don’t stock up a rainy day fund hoping i’d lose my job or a bigger recession comes
    i don’t get a gun hoping some jackass is going to invade my house.

  25. avatarFred LeBitz says:

    The gun control argument is now toast, done, end of story, thanks to 3D printers. Go on youtube and type in the following in the search key (Make a Working GUN using a 3D Printer). This guy already came up with a working prototype, using mostly 3D printed parts. Also google (Weapons made with 3-D printers could test gun-control efforts) and (The world’s first 3D-printed gun). One of these is from an article seen on the washington post website. The scary thing is that 3D printing is only in its infancy. On the tech websites I’ve read, they compare the current state of 3D printing to where dot matrix printers were 20 years ago. Over the next 10 years, use of these printers is going to become more and more commonplace, the quality of the printers will only increase, and the price will continue to fall, just like when plasma TV’s and DVD players came out. Also, the cost for a good home 3D printer isn’t too prohibitive, even at this point. The printer used to make the AR15 parts in that weblink cost less than 5 grand. Also, when 3D metal home printing becomes available, which I’m sure it will eventually as the technology evolves, then you can print an entire AR-15 in your own home. Not only that, but you will also to be able to print out your own bullet casings, so even regulating ammunition will be hard. The fact that people are already using workable high capacity magazines and gun parts made from 3D printers shows what’s coming on the horizon. 20 years from now, if I want to buy a gun, I won’t be surprised if the entire purchase involves only paying a license fee to download the CAD program for the weapon design to my computer off the internet, then printing the weapon from home. Then you run into piracy problems with the designs being circulated on the internet, etc, too. You will be able to make untraceable guns with no serial number and no background check, as well as your own high capacity magazines and bullets from the privacy of your own home. This has implications for countries with gun bans already in place, too. All you need is the printer, the cost for materials, and a computer with an internet connection. You can imagine what the Chinese would think of having thousands of printers in private hands throughout the country, along with internet access. Gun control pundits can huff and puff about regulation of firearms, but this completely throws it out the window, because people will be able to do it all from home. 3d printing wont just revolutionize firearms, but global manufacturing as a whole. The implications are staggering. Diane Feinstein is 79 years old, so she probably will have passed away by the time all of this comes to fruition, but if she was alive 20 years from now, I’m sure she would blow an aneurysm. And its not just guns. You can extrapolate this to missile parts, etc. All you need is the CAD program blueprints. Crazy.
    Right now, I’m doing the Happy Happy Joy Joy Dance, because the gun control movement is now absolutely destroyed. It’s finished, and this proves it, beyond a shadow of a doubt. I have the biggest grin on my face right now. The genie is out of the bottle :)

  26. avatarhomobangbangamus says:

    What do you do with people who lie to achieve their desires and KNOW, that they are lying? And then do it over and over again?

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