As we’ve chronicled on these pages, The New York Times has launched a full-on assault on Americans’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. It is nothing less than relentless. In this Sunday’s New York Review of Books – right? – the Editorial Board wants you to know that Despair Over Gun Deaths Is Not an Option. More specifically, they offer a recap of all the unconstitutional laws they’d like to see enacted. It’s a veritable hit parade of civilian disarmament, offered and corrected for you here . . .
After months of grief and depression, parents who lost children in the 2012 schoolhouse gun slaughter in Newtown, Conn., turned to the courts last year for a modicum of justice and only then discovered the full power of gun manufacturers: The industry marketing the weapons that killed 20 children and six adults at the school enjoys an extraordinary immunity from civil damage suits — a customized shield from Congress that the makers of autos, drugs and other American industries are not given.
The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act provides the exact same protection afforded the U.S. pharmaceutical industry. Neither the firearms industry nor the drug industry may be sued for the unlawful use of their products. As wikipedia.org informs us . . .
[Firearms] manufacturers and dealers can still be held liable for damages resulting from defective products, breach of contract, criminal misconduct, and other actions for which they are directly responsible in much the same manner that any U.S. based manufacturer of consumer products are held responsible. They may also be held liable for negligence when they have reason to know a gun is intended for use in a crime.
The Times wants to destroy the firearms industry by making them financially responsible for the illegal use of their legal, legally sold product.
The Brady Law Most needed is an expansion of this law so that dealers and others now buying firearms on the Internet and at gun shows are subjected to background checks. The law has barred 2.5 million risky applicants in the last 20 years from buying guns, but it does not apply to 40 percent of total gun sales.
Te 40 percent stat re: firearms sales through the Internet (which require a federal background check) and gun shows has been debunked again and again. Again, The Department of Justice performed the only comprehensive study of where criminals get their guns (updated in 2002). Here’s the chart:
Battlefield Guns and Ammunition A responsible Congress would restore the assault weapons ban and enact limits on gross ammunition clips that let shooters spray crowds of victims with up to 100-round bursts. High capacity magazines developed for warfare have been used in at least 45 mass shootings since 1984, killing 403 people and wounding 406, according to the Violence Policy Center, a public safety research group.
The Violence Policy Center is hardly a suitable source for objective information about firearms-related homicides. The VPC is a gun control organization run by Josh Sugarmann, the man who inspired the term “assault weapons” to describe the country’s most popular, modern rifles. The same man who was the communications director for the National Coalition to Ban Handguns.
Aside from that, The New York Times itself tallied-up mass shootings in an article entitled How Many Mass Shootings Are There, Really? ” Emphasis added.
At Mother Jones, where I work as an editor, we have compiled an in-depth, open-source database covering more than three decades of public mass shootings. By our measure, there have been four “mass shootings” this year, including the one in San Bernardino . . .
What explains the vastly different count? The answer is that there is no official definition for “mass shooting.” Almost all of the gun crimes behind the much larger statistic are less lethal and bear little relevance to the type of public mass murder we have just witnessed again. Including them in the same breath suggests that a 1 a.m. gang fight in a Sacramento restaurant, in which two were killed and two injured, is the same kind of event as a deranged man walking into a community college classroom and massacring nine and injuring nine others. Or that a late-night shooting on a street in Savannah, Ga., yesterday that injured three and killed one is in the same category as the madness that just played out in Southern California.
Kinda puts things in a different perspective, no? Not the one required, obviously.
The Times is demonizing standard capacity magazines (not “clips”) by conflating them with drum magazines, implying that spree killers routinely use “gross ammunition clips.” They don’t. As TTAG explained in 2012, 100-round magazines jam and reduce accuracy They’e also difficult to conceal. Aurora is the only example of a spree killer using a drum magazine. It jammed. Killers can change smaller magazines in a second. (Seung-Hui Cho used two “standard” pistols to kill 32 people at Virginia Tech.)
There are periodic proposals to control or tax ammunition. But the gun lobby showed its clout this year when federal officials backed down from a plan to block the sale of an armor-piercing handgun bullet rated a clear danger to the police. “You spoke, we listened,” officials tweeted after gun zealots complained that their rights were abridged.
As TTAG reported earlier this year, the “armor-piercing” ammunition facing a federal ban did not qualify under the ATF’s own definition of armor-piercing. The fact that federal officials Tweeted their responsiveness to law-abiding gun owners (not “zealots”) is a feature not a bug. In fact, the ATF later claimed the call for a ban was a “publishing error” – something that the Times knows about when it comes to guns, but repeatedly fails to acknowledge.
Mental Illness Services undoubtedly need to be improved for Americans with mental illnesses as a public health issue, but recalcitrant Republicans are invoking this to duck gun safety measures. They should be the first to embrace a practical law pioneered last year in California that allows concerned family members to alert a judge to issue a gun restraining order on a potentially violent individual.
Where’s the proof that Republicans use mental health to “duck” gun control laws? In any case, they should be the last to embrace California’s Gun Violence Restraining Order, which mandates the confiscation of gun owners’ firearms – and “writings, documents, blueprints, drawings, photographs, computer printouts, microfilms, X-rays, files, diagrams, ledgers, books, tapes, audio and video recordings, films, and papers of any type or description”- without due process.
Insurance and Smart Guns Anyone who opposes limits on gun ownership is obliged to come up with practical steps to keep the public safe. Why not require a gun owner to have liability insurance, as is required for owning a car? Where is the industry, so clever in marketing war weapons, when it comes to advancing safer “smart gun” technology?
I didn’t know that gun owners were obliged to appease the Times’ editorial board’s desire to disarm the public by offering alternatives to gun control. If so, how about locking-up anyone who commits a firearms-related crime, rather than releasing them as part of “revolving door” justice? A strategy that Republicans – and the NRA – have been promoting for decades.
As for firearms misuse insurance, Americans have a right to keep and bear arms. Should we force Americans to carry insurance on their computers, proactively protecting society against the possibility that the New York Times (for example) will abuse their First Amendment right to government protected speech? Re: “smart gun” technology: the not-for-profit boffins in California are working on it. Re: “war weapons”: oy.
Home Safety The home is an even riskier place than the venues attacked by mass shooters. Gun safety studies have found that a gun in the home is 22 times more likely to be used in a family homicide, suicide or accident than to be used in self-defense. More than 1.5 million children under the age of 18 live in homes with loaded, unsecured guns, leaving them 16 times more likely to be killed than in safer homes, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a research group. It is hard to imagine how any politician who kisses babies on the campaign trail can fail to demand mandates and penalties to keep guns unloaded and locked up at home.
Another awesome citation, in the sense that the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence is also deeply committed to promoting gun control legislation. As for the stats themselves, they reflect the Law Center’s usual concoction of contextless, cherry-picked data. Besides, the Times‘ argument is irrelevant. If Americans want to live in a home with an unsecured gun – or chainsaw, household chemical or sharp knife – that is their right. And it’s [not] hard to imagine a [New York] political kissing babies who passes laws disarming their parents against criminals, terrorist and crazies. Just sayin’ . . .
State Laws Gun safety laws work in states where they are applied, even if other states are lax. Those with weak gun laws and high rates of gun ownership suffer the highest gun death rates, according to research. Alaska, where 60 percent of households have guns, had 19.5 gun deaths per 100,000 in 2013. The rate was 2.7 in Hawaii where 9.7 percent of households have arms.
The lethal “iron pipeline” of traffic in guns from states with weak laws to those with stronger laws should be stopped by federal law. Researchers found that 90 percent of guns used in crimes were supplied by just 5 percent of gun shops specializing in such underworld traffic — a lethal flaw crying out for not just government but industry controls.
And those states with the most automobiles suffer the most automobile accidents. As for the “iron pipeline” (a riff on the “iron river” of guns applied to firearms flowing from the U.S. to Mexico, a term abandoned after ATF Operation Fast and Furious channeled some 2000 guns to Mexican drug thugs), it’s already a federal crime for a prohibited person to own a gun illegally, or for anyone to sell a gun to a prohibited person, regardless of where they bought it or where they sell it.
No federally licensed firearm dealer “specializes in underworld traffic.” Any gun dealer who knowingly sells guns to a member of the “underworld” is committing a federal crime. The fact that a large number of guns used in crimes can be traced to a small percentage of gun stores simply means that the gun stores operate in an area where guns are used in crimes. As the chart above indicates, 80 percent of guns used in crimes come from illegal “straw” purchases or were stolen from lawful owners.
There’s another bit about the feds funding
anti-gun agitprop “gun death research” but my work here is done. Suffice it to say, the Times has nothing new to say about their support for any and all gun control, regardless of its effectiveness or complete lack thereof. I have a feeling that this particular polemic is simply the Review of Books’ editors’ mandatory sop to Times‘ publisher A.M. Rosenthal’s desire to disarm Americans. Except, of course, himself.