Judging from her bio at Black Heart Magazine, one would think that Katie Jeddeloh would make an excellent opinion columnist. An English/Poli Sci/Philosophy triple major at Saint Olaf College should be able to write clearly and eloquently, be familiar with how governments and their citizens interact and be able to pick the wheat from the chaff while examining different arguments. Sadly, those skills aren’t evident in her piece ‘Ban on bullets incites NRA anger‘ posted in the Manitou Messenger, St. Olaf’s student newspaper . . .
Beginning in February, the Obama administration once again began to traverse the seemingly endless Second Amendment debate with new regulations for a specific kind of bullet. Proponents of this bullet argue it will enhance public safety, but the discussion has sparked irate responses from members of the National Rifle Association (NRA).
As my high school English teacher used to say: “You should eschew obfuscation and rampant verbosity.” Translation: keep it short and sweet. Traversing the seemingly endless debate is the sort of purple phrasing that makes me think someone is trying too hard. And I am not sure I even understand the next sentence since proponents of the bullet really haven’t said anything about public safety; it’s the proponents of the bullet ban who argue that it will enhance police officer safety.
To her credit, however, Katie does distinguish between the NRA and its members. Many antis refer to the NRA as if it were a monolithic block of mindless drones who only live to carry out directions received from on high via daily broadcasts from Fairfax.
Recently, the [ATF] proposed new legislation to place a ban on the armor-piercing 5.56-millimeter “M855 green tip” rifle bullet, a bullet commonly used by hunters and target shooters.
Actually it wasn’t new legislation they proposed, it was a new “framework” for determining whether a particular round was used primarily for “sporting purposes”. Since the ATF determined a few years back that just because a weapon is used for sport shooting (IDPA, 3-gun, etc.) doesn’t necessarily mean it falls under the “sporting purpose” exemption, we can assume the same is true of ammunition.
This leads those of us paying attention familiar with this administration’s hatred of the Second Amendment and the lengths they are willing to go to suppress it (Operation Fast and Furious anyone?) to wonder if this was just a first step in banning any 5.56/.223 ammunition (since just about any .223 round fired from a rifle is going to pierce cops’ soft body armor), to be quickly followed by banning all rifle ammunition on the theory that A) it is armor piercing when fire from a rifle and 2) just about and rifle round has a pistol made to fire it.
But getting back to Katie’s screed, her next sentence displays distressing ignorance of the subject about which she is writing:
The ban was proposed in response to the proliferation of a new handgun that uses the bullets and would therefore pose a threat to the police, as it would be portable and easy to conceal.
Katie obviously has never actually seen an AR pistol, or even a picture of one. If she had, she would realize that with the required buffer tube, no matter how short your barrel is an AR pistol will never be “easy to conceal.”
Reactions from gun activists have been immense, including tens of thousands of letters being sent to Congress. Following the proposal, gun shops experienced a sharp increase in sales of the bullet, as gun rights organizations urgently warned their members of the possible ban.
Well, yes, this is what happens when the government attempts to further infringe that which shall not be infringed; people get upset and write their Congresscritters and stock up on whatever the whipping-boy de jour is. I have read in the past (but am now unable to find a link) that in the 6 months before the Clinton AWB passed more AK-style semi-autos were purchased than had been in the previous 20 years, so it’s not like this is without precedent.
Chris W. Cox, the executive director at the NRA, even stated that the proposal ‘is Obama’s latest action in a lifetime devoted to the dismantling of the Second Amendment.’
Regardless of the overt obtuseness of Cox’s statement, there is no question that gun rights and bans on certain guns or ammunition have been a persistently and hotly contested policy debate, pitting those on opposite ends of the political spectrum against each other for decades.
According to my interwebz dictionary, the primary definitions of obtuse are:
- Not quick or alert in perception, feeling, or intellect; not sensitive or observant; dull.
- Mentally slow or emotionally insensitive
- Lacking quickness of perception or intellect.
Maybe I’m the one who is obtuse, because I can’t find any lack of mental quickness in Mr. Cox’s statement, overt or otherwise. My guess is that Ms. Jeddeloh doesn’t believe President Obama is opposed to guns and gun ownership; if that is the case then I suggest she read my TTAG piece, ‘Just Because You’re Paranoid About Gun Control Doesn’t Mean They Aren’t Really Out to Grab ‘Em‘ in which I list 25 separate statements and actions of Candidate, then Senator, then President Obama which show his hatred of all things 2A. I think one example from that list will prove my point:
Although he claimed to respect the second amendment, he also said that the D.C. gun ban (banning all handguns and operable long guns) was constitutional. When pressed for his rationale, he said there was nothing wrong with a community establishing their own “reasonable, thoughtful gun control measure[s]” while still respecting the second amendment. Did you catch that? A complete ban is his idea of a reasonable gun control measure.
As for gun control arguments “pitting those on opposite ends of the political spectrum against each other” I guess by political spectrum she must mean pro- and anti-freedom, because I know any number of leftie liberal loons (and yes, they know I call them that and revel in the title) who are pro-firearm-freedom and a certain number of right-wingers who make Reagan look like a pinko who support every restrictive gun law that comes down the pike.
Gun activists fight a losing battle in a world where gun control and harsher restrictions on the sale and purchase of firearms and bullets are becoming more regulated, and the regulation in question is certainly out of necessity.
Okay, first of all we are gun rights activists. Second of all whatinthehell does “gun control and harsher restrictions … are becoming more regulated” even mean?
Wouldn’t it have been easier just to say “controls on the sale of guns and ammo are getting stricter”? It still wouldn’t have been true (at least in this country) but at least it would have been comprehensible. And speaking of comprehensibility, “and the regulation in question is certainly out of necessity” isn’t.
I think what Katie was trying to say is that gun control is getting stricter and that is a good thing. Maybe. Anyway she clears things up a bit in the next paragraph:
The results of stricter gun laws in other countries such as Australia, the United Kingdom and Japan serve as evidence for the overwhelmingly positive impact of more prominent regulation such as the new proposal suggested by the Obama administration.
Okay, maybe I was too quick with the whole comprehensibility thing, but setting aside Japan (which has a very different culture, so crime statistics are really not comparable to the US, UK and Australia) I wouldn’t be so quick to jump on the “Yay, gun control is great!” bandwagon since excepting only murder, both the UK and Australia have significantly higher violent crime rates than the US. Like 3 to 4 times higher. Unless you are talking about sexual assault and there parts of the UK where that’s 10 to 12 times higher. I really don’t think you want to go there Katie, because, as you say in the very next paragraph, such statistics cannot be refuted.
Then it’s time for the classic ‘the Founders were idiots’ canard with just a soupçon of ‘the Bill of Rights is outdated.’
Why should we continue the attempt to make relevant legislation written over two centuries ago? The gun technology of today such as the M855 green tip rifle bullet could not possibly have been foreseen by the writers of the outdated Constitution – can the intentionally unclear wording of the Second Amendment defend such a device?
No, Katie, the Founders did not deliberately obfuscate the meaning of the Second Amendment, they wrote it with the expectation that intelligent and well-read people would interpret it; not that it needs interpreting since it most assuredly is not unclear. Heck, it is clear enough that nine Supreme Court Justices agreed that it protects an individual right.
As for how can the Second Amendment defends an AR-15 and its ammo? It doesn’t have to, because the Second Amendment doesn’t apply to weapons, it applies to government. And it specifically says that the government has to keep their acquisitive paws off our arms. That is what “shall not be infringed” means.
Finally, Katie finishes up with a plea for … human rights:
In favor of human rights over gun rights, the proposal made by the ATF could be the beginning of a gateway to a safer United States in which gun violence is merely history.
If it is human rights you are interested in Katie, how about this one: the freedom to own and carry the weapon of your choice is a natural, fundamental, and inalienable human, individual, civil and Constitutional right — subject neither to the democratic process nor to arguments grounded in social utility. How about the human right of self-defense? How about the irrefutable statistic that twice as many lives are saved in DGUs as are lost in CGUs?
Don’t believe me? Let’s go to the research. According to the Kleck-Gertz study from the early 1990s there are between 2.1 and 2.5 million DGUs annually. Now there are a lot of people out there who deride this number as ludicrous, unable or (more likely) unwilling to accept that Dr. Kleck is not some sort of shill for the Eee-vil Gun Lobby™. This, despite the good doctor disclosing in his 1997 book Targeting Guns (quote from GunCite.com):
The author is a member of the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International USA, Independent Action, Democrats 2000, and Common Cause, among other politically liberal organizations He is a lifelong registered Democrat, as well as a contributor to liberal Democratic candidates. He is not now, nor has he ever been, a member of, or contributor to, the National Rifle Association, Handgun Control, Inc. nor any other advocacy organization, nor has he received funding for research from any such organization.
But skeptics will always be skeptical and antis will always prefer their own “reality” so (without questioning its validity) let’s go ahead and throw the K-G number out in favor of a more conservative one. Let’s use the numbers from the study which was commissioned by the Clinton DoJ shortly after the K-G study came out (to refute the K-G numbers maybe? If so: Oops!). That study, conducted by Dr.s Philip Cook and Jens Ludwig (very strong proponents of very strict gun control) concluded that there were 1.46 million DGUs per year.
Now, I imagine that some may find even this lower number dubious, probably preferring to rely on the numbers from the National Crime Victimization Surveys which show between 50,000 and 100,000 DGUs per year. Unfortunately for those hopeful doubters, the way the NCVS is structured means that it seriously undercounts the number of DGUs. I’ll let Tom Smith explain:
First, it appears that the estimates of the NCVSs are too low. There are two chief reasons for this. First, only DGUs that are reported as part of a victim’s response to a specified crime are potentially covered. While most major felonies are covered by the NCVSs, a number of crimes such as trespassing, vandalism, and malicious mischief are not. DGUs in response to these and other events beyond the scope of the NCVSs are missed.
Second, the NCVSs do not directly inquire about DGUs. After a covered crime has been reported, the victim is asked if he or she “did or tried to do [anything] about the incident while it was going on.” Indirect questions that rely on a respondent volunteering a specific element as part of a broad and unfocused inquiry uniformly lead to undercounts of the particular of interest.
There is another problem with the failure to directly inquire about DGUs; to wit, the DGU question is only triggered by someone saying they were the victim of a crime. Now if someone came towards me with a knife saying “Gimme your wallet” and I put my hand on my weapon and replied “I don’t think so, Skippy” causing the assailant to retreat, was I actually the victim of a crime?
Before I started researching these issues I would have told the NCVS interviewer that no, I hadn’t been the victim of a crime so they never would have learned of my DGU.
So to try and figure out how many lives were saved I turn once again to Kleck and Gertz’s article Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense with a Gun. They found that 15.7% of people involved in a DGU believed that they “almost certainly” saved their life of someone else’s.
Now that might strike some people as being an awfully large percentage, but if you take into account the fact that most states regard pulling a gun as using deadly force and combine it with the fact that most states also require someone to be in “reasonable fear of imminent death or great bodily harm” before you can lawfully use deadly force, the number seems more feasible. In addition to the “almost certainly” pool, The K-G study also found that 14.6% of respondents believed that someone “probably would have” been killed if not for their DGU.
Because I want my numbers to be distinctly conservative let’s say that 9 out of 10 of the “almost certainly” folks were wrong, and let’s say that 99 out of 100 of the “probably” people were also incorrect. That means we can state with a fair degree of certainty that at least 1.716% of the 1.46 million DGUs saved a life. Doing the math that translates to over 25,000 lives that are saved annually by guns.
So we’ve determined that at least 25,000 lives per year are saved by DGUs, and according to the CDC, between 2004 and 2013 there were an average of 11,805 gun-related homicides annually, which means that for every criminal homicide with a firearm there were more than two lives saved by DGUs. How’s them apples, Katie?
 Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 20 Mar. 2015.
 Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. HarperCollins Publishers. 20 Mar. 2015.
 The American Heritage® Stedman’s Medical Dictionary. Houghton Mifflin Company. 20 Mar. 2015.
 Defensive Gun Uses
 Criminal Gun Uses
 Northwestern University School of Law, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, vol. 86, issue 1, 1995