Bruce Krafft (courtesy mrffriends.org)

I miss Bruce Krafft. TTAG’s once and future gun control argument destroyer (and former submariner) is slowly recovering from a car accident. Truth be told, we can’t handle the truth (alone). We want him on that wall. We need him on that wall. Especially when we come across stuff like this: The Ultimate Guide To The Gun Safety Debate. It’s thinkprogress.com’s compendium of arguments against the arguments against civilian disarmament. Like this: “The law’s ban on some so-called assault weapons is nonsensical. All such weaponry terminology means is that they are semi-automatic weapons (which most guns are) with some military-style external features.” To which they counter . . .

These aren’t merely cosmetic features: they’re the ones that mark guns optimized for effective performance in combat-style situations. They also mark guns easily convertible to full automatic fire, like the TEC-9 submachine guns once favored in gang killings. One such kit is fully legal, despite the 1934 National Firearms Act banning the possession of automatic weapons without a permit. The kit produced by the company Slide Fire product allows you to turn your AR or AK series assault rifle into a rapid-fire machine without technically running afoul of the federal definition of “machine gun.”

See what we’ve got here? The antis’ playbook! And if anyone, anyone, could deconstruct this anti-gun agitprop, it’s Mr. Krafft. Or Mr. Leghorn. Or our readers. Seriously, this is good stuff. Here’s their “pay no attention to the 1 million+ defensive gun uses per year behind that curtain” answer to the assertion that civilians need “high capacity” magazines.

Magazine size is more likely to matter for people defending against aggressors.”

Not only is this assertion dubious on its face, but it’s bad justification for making policy given how rare defensive gun use is. Presumably someone who’s attacking a school or a family would have more people to shoot, and hence require more bullets than the people trying to stop just him. But debating the nuances of this very specific hypothetical situation misses the point broader point that it doesn’t make sense to fixate on these extraordinarily uncommon cases.

It’s a fascinating glimpse into the mind of a gun grabber and excellent intelligence for those fighting for firearms freedom against high information antis. If only Bruce were well, he’d cut them off at the knees, rhetorically speaking. Get well soon.

63 Responses to The Ultimate Guide To The Gun Safety Debate. In a Way . . .

  1. “But debating the nuances of this very specific hypothetical situation misses the point broader point that it doesn’t make sense to fixate on these extraordinarily uncommon cases.”

    aren’t these uncommon cases the reason they want to ban “the scary black battle rifles, with extenda banana mag clips and foldy thingy”?

    • Right! If it doesn’t make sense to fixate on extraordinarily uncommon cases, why are they spending so much time doing exactly that?

      Short answer: because talking up these black-swan events keeps the fear boiling and makes them seem more threatening than they are. This is the curtain behind which they Wizard-of-Oz the low-information public and legislators who simply want the public to see them Do Something(tm).

      • Exactly. Military looking semiauto sporting guns account for a fraction of the illegal firearms uses in this country.

  2. On the one hand, I’m a libertarian and think the government should stay out of people’s lives. On the other hand, I’m a human being and as such think that morons who actually believe that crap should be forcibly sterilized.

  3. Reeks of smug self satisfaction. Every argument they come up with is a transparent attempt to re-write the constitution and hundreds of years of tradition through technicalities.

  4. Who the hell makes TEC-9s these days? I’ve never seen one or know someone that owns one. Even if they do still make them, they are probably radically different internally and functionally from their namesake.

    • I used to own one(semi-auto) til the tragic boating accident where ALL my guns fell in a lake somewhere.

      Oh, and look for them as an AB-10 basically the same thing only a later version.

  5. it doesn’t make sense to fixate on these extraordinarily uncommon cases.

    Which is why we’re still arguing about Sandy Hook, right?

    • Right! I added a comment above that would have been better placed here.

      If they were interested in any amount of truth, freedom, or logic, they’d follow their own advice and shut their damn pie holes. But they’re not really, so…

  6. “The kit produced by the company Slide Fire product allows you to turn your AR or AK series assault rifle into a rapid-fire machine without technically running afoul of the federal definition of “machine gun.”

    This statement is entirely accurate and correct. All the Slide Fire stock does is help you pull the trigger faster — about 8 times per second as it turns out. And yet not a single criminal has used an AR or AK semi-automatic rifle with a Slide Fire stock in a violent crime. Another example of a “solution” looking for a problem. Note: without a Slide Fire stock, an average person can pull the trigger about 3 times per second.

  7. Sounds like they have it all figured out. And yet…they are often reluctant to get into head-to-head debates.

    • That is because these points were developed in writing by some analyst working for some (probably Tides) foundation somewhere with billionaires’ money paying for it.

      They aren’t talking points, they are points to be bandied back and forth by elites in closed rooms where real world self defense issues never enter, because THOSE folks have bodyguards.

      They are an ur-text, religious in fervor, to be inflicted by the orthodox on the heretics who still believe in the Bill of Rights. They are intended to be translated into talking points by anyone of similar religio-political belief structures, pointing back to this document as the authoritative source.

      All of these points come down to two:

      1) Regular citizens cannot be trusted with tools for life and death matters, only the state can.

      2) Regular citizens must be told what to do by those who know what’s best for them, i.e., the state.

      It is totalitarian paternalism pure and simple, and it’s effective because it’s coming from people who genuinely believe themselves not to be totalitarian (they’re not! they for the 99%!) nor paternalist (they’re not! they think everyone should bow to the Sacred Quim and eternal child).

  8. a fascinating glimpse into the mind of a gun grabber

    I rather have a glimpse into my cats’ litter box. There’s less sh1t.

    • They have no mind. If they did, it would imply that they’re capable of rational thought. The last time that happened was during the debate concerning the wording for the soon-to-be-written Second Amendment. Instead, they have “feelings” and “EMOTIONS.” If they’re pressed for facts, they use others’ playbooks and “studies” rather than thinking things through themselves. This is the effect of a steady dumbing down of education (including teachers, who are typically incapable of teaching). These people are completely unable to form a correctly spelled complete sentence, much less a rational discourse, about anything.

  9. My all time favorite trump card is to quote the hatchet job on the kleck study.The author dismissed the 2.5MM DGU/yr and claimed that it couldn’t possibly be more than 72k or so. Which incidentally is about 4-5 times the number of homicides, heh it’s still 2x more than all firearms related fatalities.

    • And their critique of that number shows they don’t know anything about the Kleck study. He stated that at least 84.4% of DGUs involved no shots fired and 91.7% involved no wounds. So there’s no contradiction between the 2.5 million DGUs and the fact that there aren’t 2.5 million people shot every year.

  10. Wow, they try and say Lott’s “more guns, less crime” is wrong because of a SALON article???

    Are these people high or just really stupid?

  11. “that it doesn’t make sense to fixate on these extraordinarily uncommon cases.”

    Even if only 1% of 1% of DGU’s benefited from greater capacity, that would be 100 a year

    Using mother Jone’s stats (hardly favorable) there were 62 “mass shootings” between 1982 and 2012, or roughly 2 a year.

    Further, out of 143 weapons they claimed used, only 48 had “hi-cap magazines” and only 20 were “assault weapons” (defined as would have been banned by the 2013 AWB) 71 were handguns, 23 revolvers, etc.

    So, essentially, since such weapons are used in the minority of a rare type of killing, “it doesn’t make sense to fixate on these extraordinarily uncommon cases.”

  12. My argument would include future technologies, such as 3-d printers, which would circumvent laws and regulations. It is better to have the kind of society which can adapt and function with widespread possession of firearms, instead of requiring an overbearing authority to monitor and constantly harrass the population- since that would eventually lead to the country’s downfall.

  13. Gun control philosophy relies on an extremely skewed vision of reality. Much of the anti-gun lobbies research to prove that defensive uses are rare seems to hinge on the idea that defensive uses are rare, and therefore any of the over 13 other national surveys showing they are not rare MUST be flawed.

  14. Do you want to know the one, simple principle that you can use to crush every argument that civilian disarmament proponents have ever made? Everything they argue is a contradiction.

    Example gun grabber argument:
    We cannot trust armed citizens to follow assault and murder laws in “sensitive places” … but we can trust armed citizens to follow “gun-free zone” laws. Which is it? Do the gun grabbers trust armed citizens to follow laws or not?

    Example gun grabber argument:
    Statistically infrequent events are irrelevant reasons for citizens to be armed … but statistically infrequent events are wholly sufficient reasons to disarm citizens. Which is it? Are statistically infrequent events irrelevant for shaping public policy or not?

    Example gun grabber argument:
    A gun is useless in the hands of a citizen because a criminal will take it away and use it against them … but a gun is a killing instrument in the hands of a criminal because the victim has no chance. Which is it? Is a gun useless or not? Does the person on the receiving end of a gun have a chance or not?

    I kid you not. Every single argument they make isn’t just wrong or inaccurate — it is actually the exact opposite of the truth and contradicts their own argument. So next time a gun grabber lays one on you, just stop for a moment and look for the hidden contradiction in their argument. It’s there. Just figure whatever they say is the exact opposite of the truth and you will find it. Make sure you point it out to them.

  15. At the end of the day, the argument boils down to freedom versus safety. The catch-22 is that if you give your freedom to the govrnment in exchange for “safety,” the government becomes a much bigger potential threat than any private individual with a scary black rifle (remember that mass shootings are very very rare in the big picture.) Just ask the ten’s of millions of Chinese that were murdered by Mao.

    • That’s a great way to boil down the government tyranny concept. Most people scoff about government tyranny thinking it is highly improbable. And while evaluating the probability of an event (even subjectively) is an important aspect of evaluating risk in life, it is only half of the analysis. The other half of the analysis is looking at how terrible the result is should it actually happen.

      For example let’s say you are considering the risk of stealing $2 million dollars from the local drug cartel. And let’s say that the odds of them ever learning that you did it are almost nil. Does that mean it is a good idea to steal the money? If the drug cartel figures out that you stole the money and all they will do is literally slap you on the wrist, I would say it is a good idea. On the other hand, if the penalty is the drug cartel raping and torturing and slowly killing everyone in your entire extended family if they learn it was you, I would say it is not a good idea.

      The same analysis should apply to liberty versus safety.

      • The reality is closer to the “slap your wrist if you return the money”.

        There was a case in Arizona where a person was murdered/executed by drug cartel hitmen.

        He had stolen a load of marijuana and claimed that it had been confiscated by government agents.

        The drug cartel caught up with him, and he promised that he would sell his house and pay them the money that he had stolen.

        They left him to do what he promised. The problem was, he did not own the house, skipped town, and never paid a dime.

        The next time they caught up with him, they merely killed him

        One reason that their is so much violence in the drug business is that they have no other way to enforce contracts.

  16. Or not. I just discovered that an aunt is rabidly anti-gun. She was appalled that my wife and I were armed at a cousin’s wedding. The fact that it was legal, we did not consume any alcohol, and we are quite literally the most stable, best behaved people in the entire family — and have never been drunk at a family event — is irrelevant. And now it appears that she is demanding that everyone leave their guns at home at her daughter’s upcoming wedding.

    If she asks me personally, I will not debate her. Instead, I will tell her that my personal business is none of her business. I will tell her that I don’t make any demands regarding what feminine products she uses, what clothes she wears, or anything else in her life … and I expect the same respect from her. After I state that, I am going to hand her the news article about the man who recently died from a fight at the location where her daughter is having her wedding and reception.

  17. Not only is this assertion dubious on its face,

    Then you should have no trouble citing some contradictory evidence, right? Please do.

    but it’s bad justification for making policy given how rare defensive gun use is.

    If the supposed rarity of defensive gun use is an argument against making policy on that basis, then we can logically conclude that making policy on the basis of something much rarer — the use of semiautomatic rifles to commit crimes, let’s say — is still more poorly justified.

    Presumably someone who’s attacking a school or a family would have more people to shoot, and hence require more bullets than the people trying to stop just him.

    Presumably, someone being attacked in her home by a group of thugs would have more people to shoot, and hence require more bullets than the people trying to break in and rob, assault, maim, or kill her.

    But debating the nuances of this very specific hypothetical situation misses the point broader point that it doesn’t make sense to fixate on these extraordinarily uncommon cases.

    Like people being murdered with rifles at all. Wait, no, that extraordinarily uncommon case is justification for intrusive regulation touching every aspect of firearms ownership. This rationale would have us believe that poll taxes are a justified response to occasional incidents of voter fraud.

  18. Reading this crap makes two things obvious.
    1. Antis have never fired or touched a gun.

    2. They have never been in a fire fight or had any military, police, or self defense shooting experience. I know I know some of em were Navy or Air Farse but those count for shooting experience about like air soft counts as Tier 1 spec ops training. They shoot but not often and they aren’t really trained for combat and the Navy and Air Force seems to attract elitists for somr odd reason.

    • I think you should tell that to the former Air Farce Forward Air Controllers and other actual combat specialties. Then you can apologize about being mistaken after they mop the floor with you.

      • Nah I was a scout half the time we couldn’t get an air force controller to go out with us. Now the Tac-p’s I get along with and I do apologize for the over generalization of the Air Farce but it is made with luv. They’d do the same for the Army. The fact is though most politicians from the Air Force and Navy nowadays are from support units or from Air Guard and never deployed cause Daddy was rich ( Bush) as for the Navy guys the comment stands.

        • When I was in the Air Farce, one of the standard stories was about the airman and the Marine in the airport biffy, peeing. When they were done, the Marine headed for the sink and the airman headed for the door. “Hey, Flyboy!” barked the Marine. “Don’t they teach you zoomies to wash your hands after you pee?” The airman replies, “Nah, in the Air Farce they teach us to not piss on our hands.”
          </joke>

  19. If armed self-defense is as rare as they claim, then what does that make a mass shooting? An astronomical event on par with the return of the Comet Hale-Bopp?

  20. The hypocrisy in that last paragraph is staggering. You could plug that whole thing into an argument against all the assault weapons bans almost verbatim.

  21. Not enough time on my hands for a full take down, but here are some quick observations, and a more general problem with these so-called research studies::

    2. “If gun control works, Chicago ought to be safe.”

    The first paper they cite to prove that gun ownership increases homicide rates uses Guns and Ammo purchase rates as a proxy for gun ownership, and contains this little gem:

    “Taken together, the results in this section strongly suggest that this
    panel data set of Guns & Ammo sales rates provides a much richer set
    of information about gun ownership than any that has previously been
    assembled. One potential concern, however, is that very few readers of
    this magazine may be criminals. ” (Duggan 1094)

    Of the second paper,
    One ironic quote: “Gun ownership is concentrated in rural areas and small towns, and among middle-aged and middle income households … these attributes are associated with relatively low involvement in criminal violence” (Cook 6)

    But, from this promising start, the paper actually uses the “fraction of suicides committed with firearms” as a marker for the level of gun ownership.

    The first paper falls into the classic trap of trying to use county-level data, failing to take into account a myriad of confounding factors that are literally impossible to control. For example, suppose there is rising prosperity in a South Caroline county because a company decided that S. Carolina’s right-to-work laws were better than Illinois’ death by regulation policies. This might lead to a purchase of a subscription to Guns and Ammo by newly employed South Carolina citizens. But, the increase in prosperity leads to criminal elements deciding to try and rob more citizens in the area- on the assumption that they’ll have more cash. Thus, the increase in prosperity drives an increase in violence, crime, and subscriptions to Guns and Ammo. I’m not saying this is what happened- I’m saying this is what could have happened- and they can’t prove otherwise.

    With the second paper, once again a massive confounding variable: African-American poor inner-city youth do not commit suicide. African-Americans die faster from everything: HIV, Heart Disease, Diabetes, take your pick- but they are the race least likely to commit suicide. Thus, the paper is going to significantly underestimate criminal possession of firearms (which shouldn’t factor into discussions about gun control laws, since it’s not like those guns will be affected by gun control laws), and any discovery of a “link” between homicides and ownership of guns is thrown into doubt.

    More generally, all these papers try this little formula: compare state A against state B, and see which states have looser gun control laws and which states have more homicides. The problem with this approach is that there are way too many confounding factors for this to actually be a valid scientific approach. For example: southern states like Texas and Arizona have high homicide rates and more gun ownership: but they’re also warzone central in the drug war. What’s more, poverty levels in many southern states are higher than in the North, and that also affects liklihood of violence. They try to adjust for this by doing regressions, but when Southern States are ENTIRELY more gun-friendly AND more Impoverished AND Closer to the drug war, statistical regressions go out the window.

    Want an anecdote to break this down? Israel and Switzerland both used to send assault rifles home with every male (Israel not so much these days). They had a far lower crime rate than the US. Granted, the UK also has a lower gun homicide rate (yes, I’ve seen the articles about the UK police screwing with the stats, but let’s just let that one lie)- but that just illustrates the absurdity of trying to compare two different types of states with entirely different cultures, population make-up, social phenomena, and the like. Want a better example? New York City and Chicago had the same (or very similar) gun control laws for many years. Why did Chicago have 3 times the homicide rate with a third of the population? No one knows! And that includes the “scientists” who do this kind of B$ research. (Although, if you really want to have fun, claim in a debate that it was due to NYC’s stop and frisk policies- that’ll put your foolish opponent in the position of either defending systematic discrimination against African-Americans and Hispanics or trying to invent some other reason why two major cities have very different murder rates with the very similar laws)

    Here’s the fundamental point: science is about hypothesis, controlled and experimental variables, and REPEATABILITY. If I do an experiment to see if gravity exists, I pick an object (only one, exact object), and drop it a bunch of times. If it drops, EVERY SINGLE TIME, then I say a force exists that pulls that one object to the ground. Then, someone else has to do the exact same experiment, and confirm my results.

    These guys who do this research aren’t doing that. (To be fair, doing that is impossible with laws- it would be like banning all guns one year and legalizing them the next). Still, they’re claiming scientific validity where none exists- their findings aren’t repeatable- it’s just statistics and guesswork.

    I’ll see if I can’t go through each point step by step when I have time-

  22. My response to the mag cap limits is that the BG knows when and where he needs his 100rds of ammo. He can pack it in a nice mole vest or duffle; 4 mags or 20 doesn’t make much difference. I have to shlep my ammo everywhere/everyday. the difference between 30 rds in two mags or 20 in four is significant.

  23. Many thanks to all the contributors, still I don’t think we have it.

    The rarity of law abiding people ‘needing’ magazines with extended capacities is in magnitudal correlation with their use by the criminal element who do not recognize any law. That is to say that while criminals rarely use 30 round magazines, since they some times do every citizen needs them to maintain at least parity with the bad guys. Thus there is a virtually universal need for standard capacity magazines for all weapons used by civilians.

    Beyond that initial logical argument one delves into the real intent of the 2A, which is that citizens need such arms as are suitable for military service. Since that includes so called ‘high capacity’ magazines these are obviously within the scope of the 2A and thus possession of which shall not be infringed.

    Going along this line of thinking, since every citizen should be able to possess such arms as are appropriate for militia duty, all man portable small arms and light weapons ought to be available to the citizenry at their own discretion and according to their means.

    The anti rights folks cannot have it both ways: either the arms held are intended for militia use and thus must be military grade , meaning that the people ought to have access to rocket launchers, machine guns, assault rifles and the like while being excluded from sporting purpose weapons such as single shot shotguns, or else the second amendment means what the Supreme Court ruled, which is that any weapon in ‘common use’ is included under the second amendment.

    It’s their option, I’ll give up my ‘sporting purpose’ guns for the ‘right’ to own crew served weapons, rocket lauchers, lmgs, assault rifles and the like. . . but somehow don’t think this is the outcome they want.

  24. ” Given that states with tighter gun laws also have less guns (and less gun deaths)”

    Yet California leads in annual guns deaths with 1220 as of 2011.

  25. “One gun expert who was “skeptical” that the federal ban worked said the Post’s evidence changed his mind; its data was “about as clear an example as we could ask for of evidence that the ban was working.”

    What GUN expert said this?

    Garen Wintemute, head of the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California at Davis School of Medicine.

  26. Last one. Someone correct me if I’m off, but that study by the Post of the Virginia police data base containing information of High Cap Mag confiscation, didn’t a local journalist find it in the garbage with half the data was missing/corrupted?

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