Hmmm. Anyone see a link between Mississippi, West Virginia and Kentucky? I’m thinking rural. The Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) are thinking “lax gun laws” leading to gun crime. Never one to miss an opportunity to distort factual information to support their cause, the Mayors are at it again, distorting factual information to support their cause. We get the heads-up from MAIG founder Michael Bloomberg’s friendly neighborhood newspaper, The New York Times . . .
A study due to be released this week by a coalition called Mayors Against Illegal Guns uses previously unavailable federal gun data to identify what it says are the states that most often export guns used in crimes across state lines. It concludes that the 10 worst offenders per capita, led by Mississippi, West Virginia and Kentucky, supplied nearly half the 43,000 guns traced to crime scenes in other states last year.
Click here to download the study. Now, shall we dance? Here’s an excerpt from the Executive Finding:
In 2009, just ten states supplied nearly half – 49% – of the guns that crossed state lines before being recovered in crimes. Together, these states accounted for nearly 21,000 interstate crime guns recovered in 2009.
So the study focuses on a sample of guns that’s a subset of a subset of a subset. It covers just those guns that crossed states lines (sneaky guns), found their way into a criminal’s hands, who used it in a gun crime, where the gun was recovered and traced. What about all those guns related to gun crimes that didn’t cross state lines? Or the ones that did, but were never recovered. Or were recovered but not traced.
According to the study on recovered border-hopping firearms, this gat category accounts for 30 percent of all the guns used in crimes traced by the ATF in 2009 (43,254 out of 145,321). So why are we even talking about them? Shouldn’t we focus our attention on the crime guns that don’t cross state lines?
When controlling for population, Mississippi, West Virginia, Kentucky, Alaska, Alabama, South Carolina, Virginia, Indiana, Nevada, and Georgia export crime guns at the highest rates. These states export crime guns at more than seven times the rate of the ten states with the lowest crime gun export rates.
Hold on there sport. These states don’t intentionally “export” crime guns. Hey Clem, you got those nine mils ready to send to the Lost Boys in New York City? Thanks. That’s a blatant mischaracterization if I’ve ever heard one.
As far as “controlling for population,” shouldn’t we be concerned with absolute numbers rather than the number of crime guns per head of population? MAIGs report offers a chart of “guns exported” that isn’t adjusted per head of population, on page eight.
Three of the states “named and shamed”—Mississippi, West Virginia and Kentucky—don’t make the top ten. And once you do the population adjusting thing, some of the states in the top ten of unadjusted “export” totals fall off the chart. Number two on the absolute list (Florida) doesn’t crack the adjusted top 20. Number four absolute (Texas) also drops off the adjusted’s top 20.
What does that mean? I’m not quite sure. The MAIG report doesn’t explain why we should care about the number of “exported” crime guns per head of population.
There is a strong association between a state’s gun laws and that state’s propensity to export crime guns . . . Ten gun laws are examined in this analysis. In each case, states that have enacted these gun laws are associated with lower crime gun export rates and a smaller proportion of crime guns . . . The ten states that supply guns at the highest rates have, on average, only 1.6 of these regulations in place, whereas in the ten states that supply interstate crime guns at the lowest rates, the average is 8.4.
Correlation is not causation. In other words, this could be false synchronicity. In other words, although there seems to be a link between the MAIG’s already biased chart of “exporting” states and their gun laws, is there? Is there really? I suppose it would help to know those ten cherry-picked state gun laws.
A. Straw Purchasing, Falsifying Purchaser Information, and Failing to Conduct Dealer Background Checks;
B. Background Checks for All Handgun Sales at Gun Shows;
C. Purchase Permits for All Handgun Sales;
D. Local Law Enforcement Discretion to Approve or Deny Concealed Carry Permits;
E. Gun Possession By Violent Misdemeanants;
F. Reporting Lost or Stolen Guns to Law Enforcement;
G. Local Control of Firearms Regulations; and
H. State Inspection of Gun Dealers.
Strange; I thought they said ten laws. I make that eight. Never mind. So why these ten? I mean eight.
“These laws were selected based on discussions with mayors, other policy-makers, and current and former law enforcement officials [who shall remain nameless].” The footnote notes “While enacting each of these laws has a strong association with both lower crime gun export rates . . . this association may also reflect the collective efforts of a state’s gun laws.”
How scientific is that? If it’s junk science you want, look no further than the report’s summation: “This report concludes that certain gun laws are an important component in reducing criminal access to firearms.” Not “proves.” “Concludes.” Not “vital” or “critical”. “An important component.” Awesome. The propagandists wimped out.