You may have heard about the “report” released by Harvard University’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy titled Reimagining Rights and Responsibilities in the United States: Toward a More Equal Liberty. I thought I should take a look at it.
This supposed scholarly work is “dedicated to the legacy of John Lewis and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.” In general, my impression of this tract is that it should have been titled Reimagining America as Cuba or Venezuela. If you are on blood pressure control medication, you’ll probably want to avoid it. If you aren’t, you may need meds after you’ve read it.
My interest being firearms policy, I skipped ahead to that section and began a quick skim before going back and reading it in-depth. Sadly, when I spotted the authors’ explanations of the Firearm Owners Protection Act and Dickey Amendment, I had to stop.
As a firearms policy and law analyst, I fast forwarded to your section on firearms-related issues, with an eye to writing a column about your report.
I’m going to pick out just two items that make it clear you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.
1. “Other federal laws have loosened gun restrictions, including the 1986 Firearm Owners Protection Act, which prohibited a national database of firearms dealers. That law, in turn, laid the groundwork for the “gun show loophole” which allows offsite sales by licensed gun dealers without a background check.”
No; FOPA forbade building a database of firearm OWNERS. By definition Federal Firearm Licensees are databased; I access that database routinely in my own research. And FFLs are required to perform NICS checks anywhere they do business, including gun shows, their back door, or a street corner out of their car trunk.
The “gun show loophole” you describe does not exist.
2. “Federal laws passed in 1996 and 2003 limited government research on gun safety and information the government can collect on gun sales and trafficking.”
You are referring to the Dickey amendment, I believe; but you have grossly mischaracterized it. It actually mandated that “none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.”
Research was always allowed at the CDC, and continued. They were only forbidden to — as they had been doing — divert funds FROM research to conduct gun control activism.
With such blatant errors so easily found, I suspect your entire report is riddled with falsehoods, mistakes, or misunderstandings. Perhaps you should withdraw the report for revision and correction. I would be happy to assist you with the firearms section since you apparently do not currently have a knowledgeable source for the topic.
Carl “Bear” Bussjaeger
The Dickey Amendment mischaracterization is so common I would almost understand that error coming from a run-of-the-mill journalist, but not from allegedly professional academics studying the topic. The blatant lie about FOPA, on the other hand, is far worse than anything even the Moms who Demand Action or the Brady Bunch have come up with in their continued attacks on the right to keep and bear arms.
Errors in basic information such as these discredit the entire report and expose the authors’ clear biases and the narrative they’re trying to push. Neither Risse nor Raman have responded to my offer. I don’t expect them to, any more than I expect the report to be withdrawn.
The agenda is everything. Damn the reality.