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I just got off the blower with Ron Pinciaro, the head of Connecticut Against Gun Violence (CAGV). In fact, Mr. Pinciaro hung up on me. He pulled the proverbial plug when I questioned his assertion that the National Rifle Association (NRA) is a trade association that wants to protect gun dealers who knowingly sell 30 percent of their products to prohibited customers. Originally, I’d called Pinciaro to find out more about his group’s two-year-old “Red Flag” campaign. Pinciaro told me his supporters use the banners to agitate for more gun trafficking prosecutions. “The flags are carried during marches and demonstrations and placed on memorials,” he said. The conversation went downhill from there . . .

On the face of it, Pinciaro’s PR campaign—“Where did they get the gun?”—presents no problem for either side of the gun control debate. Tracing the source of a weapon used in a gun crime is sound policing, no matter where you stand on firearms regulations. As I probed for this common ground, asking Pinciaro if CAGV was pushing the Powers That Be to pick up the pace of their gun trafficking investigations and prosecutions, I hit an NRA-shaped wall.

“The political will to go after rogue dealers doesn’t exist,” Pinciaro insisted. “Criminal investigations are blocked by the NRA. Whenever the ATF gets too aggressive, the NRA goes into their office and threatens to defund them.” Literally? “Yes. I heard this from retired agents.”

Pinciaro identified this NRA-thwarted effort to close “rogue dealers” (i.e. guns dealers who knowingly sell firearms to people legally prohibited from ownership) as the key roadblock in the effort to combat gun crime in Connecticut. Be that as it may, Pinciaro believes that gun dealers are not a good thing in general. In other words, less legal guns means less gun crime. “Connecticut has the fourth lowest gun ownership rate: 16.2 percent,” he said. “We also have the fourth lowest gun death rate.”

When I suggested that correlation might not equal causation, Pinciaro bristled. When I asked if he’d read John Lott’s book More Guns, Less Crime, which provides copious scientific data establishing the exact opposite statistical relationship, he said “No, why would I do that?” From there, Pinciaro wanted to know “Why does the NRA oppose closing the gun show loophole?”

I pointed out that I’m not authorized to speak for the NRA. I also highlighted the fact that the NRA is not a trade group; it’s comprised of millions of private members. And I asked him if the gun show loophole was a moot point anyway—given that gun show guns account for just over two percent of firearms used for criminal purposes. Pinciaro had had his fill.

“I don’t want to argue with a close-minded person,” Pinciaro said. Nor did he want me to email him a link to this post so he could check if I’d represented his organization’s positions fairly. “I don’t care what you think of my views,” he said. “And I don’t care what your readers think of them either.” I apologized to Mr. Pinciaro for angering him and . . . dialtone.

Shame. Legal gun owners share Mr. Pinciaro’s desire to see gun crime reduced. Someday, perhaps, a bridge will be built between the two sides of the gun control debate, so that firearms-related tragedy can be curtailed by more effective law enforcement. Alas, today was not that day.

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  1. As if we needed more proof that we cannot dialog with the devil. There is no point in trying to have civil conversations with people who would rather see you dead than see you armed.

  2. “I don’t want to argue with a close-minded person,”

    followed by:

    “I don’t care what you think of my views,”
    “And I don’t care what your readers think of them either.”

    Who's the close-minded one again Ron?

  3. There is a very robust correlation between crime and ice cream sales.

    National Ice Cream Association? Connecticut Against Frozen Dairy Desserts? I guess so.

    “4th lowest x and 4th lowest y is proof of causation”? Absurd.

  4. But according to Joan Peterson, Board member for the Brady Campaign, all statements made by firearm owners are representative of the NRA's official policy.

  5. This argument is ours (the 2A side's) to lose. If pro gun people can stop being a bunch of a-holes, there's hope. I think you're pretty reasonable, R.F. You don't bash gays or rail about Mexicans, that I've noticed. You're upfront about your right wing views. I think gun rights people tend to be their own worst enemy, actively excluding those who are not right-wing zealots. If an obviously gay guy with pink hair walks into a gun shop, he's going to get the serious cold shoulder, and possibly never buy that pistol that he should, more than you or I, carry. That's the problem. Separate gun politics from conservative politics and you (we) can't lose.

    • I live in Texas, and have seen young men and women dressed quite flamboyantly get rapid, personal, helpful attention at several gun shops. Perhaps you are projecting your progressive intolerance on others who do not deserve to be so maligned?

      Folks working in gun shops deal frequently with people who come in after being victimized, people who want to learn about self defense with a gun or other means. The gun dealers call these people “customers,” not gay or “punked out” or “little woman.”

      Well, here in Texas they may call a female “little woman” but usually only when speaking to the boyfriend or husband standing next to her. Sort of like how in Baltimore I used to get called “Hon” all the time.

      Pink hair? I think the shop owner would likely ask something like, “Would you like to see a pistol with grips that matches your hair color?” Because pink guns are a growing fad, these days.

  6. “Tracing the source of a weapon used in a gun crime is sound policing, no matter where you stand on firearms regulations.

    Sorry, but you can’t speak for everyone that way. I don’t happen to agree.

    The “source” of a weapon is pretty much immaterial. I have been studying this sort of thing for many long years, and I’ve never seen any real proof that knowing the source of a gun has anything to do with solving REAL crimes against people, much less preventing them.

    Tracking a gun might locate and help prosecute someone who didn’t dot their T or cross their i according to the byzantine “gun laws,” but it has nothing at all to do with stopping violent crime.

    The “weapon” didn’t commit the crime, and neither did the person who sold it. Crimes are committed by people who harm others, period. It is they we must defend ourselves against, not inanimate objects.

  7. Spoons cause obesity.
    Cars cause traffic accidents.
    Alcohol causes alcoholism.
    The border causes illegal immigration.

    When volition is removed from the equation, the object can be blamed. It is dogmatic liberalism that people cannot be held responsible for their actions, therefore we must punish the object and not the person. Recidivism is non-existent in their mind, too, therefore it is safe to allow convicted violent criminals back among civil society. Ralph is correct when he says that they would rather see us dead than armed. The sooner we call out this warped bigotry for what it is, the sooner we can restore our civil rights.

  8. Pinciaro just proved that he’s the one with a closed mind, that the Lefties are intolerant, and that he’s a three-year-old brat.

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