The left-leaning Center for American Progress is pushing a “fact” sheet on Protecting Women from Gun Violence and, unusually enough, they appear to have hardly fudged the data at all. On the other hand they really don’t provide any context to go with their raw numbers which can be misleading without any actual deceit. I recall from my high school history text that when doing some pre-war strategizing, Hitler assured Mussolini that Germany would be safe from an Allied blockade (a tactic used in The Great War) because they had more than 130 million tins of food stockpiled. Il Duce was reportedly quite impressed by that number, not realizing that since Germany had a population of over 65 million, that meant two tins of food per person. So we’ll provide the context ourselves . . .
The authors start out with such a statistic:
Five women are murdered with a gun in the United States every day, most often by an intimate partner.
This is absolutely truthful. According to the CDC, between 2002 and 2011 (the latest year the CDC’s WISQARS site has posted) 18,220 women were murdered with firearms, which works out to 1,822 annually or 4.99 per day. Applying some context to this number, however, gives us a much clearer picture of what that means:
Hmm. Maybe those murderous guns aren’t so murderous after all. And maybe in the absence of firearms, there are other (I would say far more horrific) options for domestic killers. Options like acid attacks and stoning come to mind.
The authors then clarify things a bit by pulling out the intimate partner numbers:
From 2001 to 2012, 6,410 women were murdered in this country by an intimate partner using a gun.
But wait, that turns out to be only 1.5 per day! I dunno what language CAP speaks, but in my language, the word most means:
- Almost all, the majority of
- Greatest in amount or degree
And in any language you wish to use, I don’t think 534.2 out of 1,822 (or 29.3%) qualifies as “most”. Hmm, maybe I was too quick to absolve CAP of prevarication. At any rate the authors continue:
A key factor in reducing murders of women is, therefore, preventing dangerous domestic abusers from having easy access to guns.
Well that would be a neat trick if you could actually accomplish it. Unfortunately H. Beam Piper’s veradicator has not yet been invented, nor has Lois Bujold’s Fast-Penta. That makes it a little harder to figure out who murderers are before they commit the crime. Department of Pre-Crime anyone?
On a more serious note, “preventing” objectionable individual of the day “from having easy access to guns” would most assuredly not be a neat trick since this is exactly the rationale used by victim disarmers from time immemorial to disarm Welsh bowmen, Native Americans, Blacks, Southern Europeans, Indians, Australians and Englishmen. As L. Neil Smith said, “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.”
Unlike other antis who just spout platitudes, however, CAP actually has some specific suggestions:
There are four policies that states and the federal government should enact to block domestic abusers from buying and possessing guns and prevent murders of women: [emphasis added]
Okay, before going into their proposals we need to look at that word prevent. One of the standard come-backs from the antis when we point out that gun control laws don’t work is to say something along the lines of “So just because laws against murder don’t work we should just repeal them?” This is the classic faulty comparison logical fallacy. You see the primary purpose of laws against murder is not to prevent murders, but rather to punish murderers. Yes they do have the effect of preventing some murders (some people are only alive because it is illegal to kill them) but most everyone acknowledges that taking the life of another human being is a terrible thing although sometimes it is necessary to do so in order to save your life or the life of another.
There are even fancy Latin legal terms for the differences between these sorts of laws: Mala prohibita literally means wrong (or evil) because proscribed (or prohibited) while mala in se means wrong or evil in and of itself. A good example of mala prohibita laws are those regarding so-called assault weapons; having a flash-hider, telescoping stock or bayonet lug isn’t something that’s wrong all by itself. In general laws which are designed to try and prevent bad things are mala prohibita while those which mean to punish malefactors are mala in se.
Anyway, on to the specific proposals:
- Bar all convicted abusers, stalkers, and people subject to domestic violence restraining orders from gun possession.
So would convicted abusers include the guy who got arrested after his girlfriend attacked him because the local cop shop had an “arrest the man” policy for domestic violence calls and he copped a plea because “it’s just like a parking ticket, it’ll never even show up on your record” and the alternative was staying in jail for a couple more weeks, waiting for an opening in the trial judge’s calendar? As for stalking, the definition I found at The Free Dictionary specifically states:
Stalking is a distinctive form of criminal activity composed of a series of actions that taken individually might constitute legal behavior. For example, sending flowers, writing love notes, and waiting for someone outside her place of work are actions that, on their own, are not criminal. When these actions are coupled with an intent to instill fear or injury, however, they may constitute a pattern of behavior that is illegal.
When you add that to the “ideal” anti-stalking law I found at VictimsOfCrimes.org which says:
In any prosecution under this law, it shall not be a defense that:
- the actor was not given actual notice that the course of conduct was unwanted; or
- the actor did not intend to cause the victim fear or other emotional distress.
We are once again entering a realm which would require either clairvoyance on the part of the “perp” or Fast-Penta on the part of the prosecution.
As for people who are “subject to a domestic violence restraining order” since they can’t approach their victim anyway, why do they need to turn in their guns?
CAP provides three more suggestions which amount to no more than “expand background checks” and “allow cops to ignore those pesky 4th and 5th Amendments by empowering them to steal peoples’ property” (hmm, where have we seen those sorts of excesses before)? None of their suggestions, however, will help a victim of domestic violence actually protect him or herself, completely ignoring the multiple studies which have shown that the safest and most effective self-defense tool in existence, bar none, is a firearm coupled with the will to use it.
It also strikes me as very odd that, although their title speaks of protecting women from gun violence, they focus exclusively on domestic violence, ignoring non-domestic criminal violence completely. As I mentioned in my previous piece Schooling an Annoyed Librarian:
If you want to talk about a “war on women” don’t forget to mention that when a woman is armed with a gun or knife only 3% of attempted rapes are completed, compared to a 32% completion rate against unarmed women. Furthermore, between 1995 and 2003 Australia and the UK tightened gun laws and the USA loosened them; in the same period Aussie rape rates rose 26.5%, UK rates rose 59.8% and US rates dropped 13.5%. Coincidence?
It seems CAP is unwilling to actually address real world issues of assault and self-defense, preferring instead to vilify firearms and believe that if we pass just one more law (or four, in this case) somehow, magically, bullying misogynists will stop beating and murdering women that CAP would rather see lying dead in a pool of their own blood instead of standing, smoking gun in hand, over their tormenter’s body lying in a pool of his own blood.
 A 100% accurate lie detector
 And yes I know that under the Lautenberg Amendment such people are already considered “prohibited persons” but I prefer not to give any ground to the antis, and arguing against such a law because it already exists is tantamount to agreeing that such a law is desirable. It isn’t. Anyone who can’t be trusted with a firearm can’t be trusted without a keeper.