Lies and Damn Lies

It’s true, some people don’t like guns and can’t understand any legitimate reason for the law abiding to want them.  There is no point in debating or  arguing with these people, Their fears and opinions are a result of emotion and feelings, and logic and reasoning have no place in this opinion making process.  The problem with these people is that when they attempt to use logic and reasoning to make a point they tend use lousy data, and semi-facts. President Obama isn’t above using crappy data and quasi-facts.

Obama said in one of his speeches, ““Why wouldn’t we want to close the loophole that allows as many as 40 percent of all gun purchases to take place without a background check?”  If on e digs around to find where he gets his figures from.:

There are two key problems with the president’s use of this statistic: The numbers are about two decades old, yet he acts as if they are fresh, and he refers to “purchases” or “sales” when in fact the original report concerned “gun acquisitions” and “transactions.”  Those are much broader categories of data.

As we noted before, the White House said the figure comes from a 1997 Institute of Justice report, written by Philip Cook of Duke University and Jens Ludwig of the University of Chicago.

This study was based on data collected from a survey in 1994, the same year that the Brady Act requirements for background checks came into effect. In fact, the questions concerned purchases in 1993 and 1994, and the Brady Act went into effect in early 1994 — meaning that some, if not many, of the guns were bought in a pre-Brady environment.

Digging deeper, we found that the survey sample was just 251 people. (The survey was done by telephone, using a random-digit-dial method, with a response rate of 50 percent.) With this sample size, the 95 percent confidence interval will be plus or minus six percentage points.

Moreover, when asked whether the respondent bought from a licensed firearms dealer, the possible answers included “probably was/think so” and “probably not,” leaving open the possibility the purchaser was mistaken. (The “probably not” answers were counted as “no.”)

When all of the “yes” and “probably was” answers were added together, that left 35.7 percent of respondents indicating they did not receive the gun from a licensed firearms dealer. Rounding up gets you to 40 percent, although as we noted before, the survey sample is so small it could also be rounded down to 30 percent.

While it is unlikely that that the real figure is anywhere near 40%, what isn’t addressed is; Who is acquiring these guns without a background check and what are the conditions?

There are lots of legitimate reasons people buy handguns without getting a background check each time.   Guns are a popular gift, A family member may buy a gun for a child or spouse, while they might have undergo the NICS background check it is in essence avoided by the the ultimate receiver.   Friends often trade, swap or loan guns with each other.   . We typically know our friends and are a better judge of charactor than the government will ever be..   Another method that guns may change hands without an invasive background check is through a bequeath.  Our guns will typically out last us.   If I drop dead my beloved Equality will dispose or keep any guns that I might have as she sees fit.  This is certainly more civilized than letting the probate courts and government NICS checks get involved.

The anti-gun zealots cry out. “Think of the lives it will save.” The thing is that no one has been able to prove that the NICS system as instituted has saved lives or reduced crime, but when it was instituted it made people feel good. It was then and is today an emotional reaction and not a reaction based on facts or real logic. Criminals will find a way to possess guns no matter how hard we make it for the legitimate gun owner.

In the recent well publicised masacres tightened background checks would have made no difference.

  • Adam Lanza wouldn’t bother with a background check to steal the guns, from his mother. He probably would have passed any background checks anyway, because apparently he had never been committed. and had a clean record.
  • James Holmes of the Aurora shooting went through the NICS background check. He had no criminal record and was never commited at any mental institution.
  • Seung-Hui Cho did purchase his guns and used the NICS system. He probably lied on the application though. It shouldn’t be a shock that a criminally insane man might lie on an appliction to buy a gun that he likely intended to murder a bunch of people with.

It may be worth noting that none of these guys bought their weapons at a gun show.

These guys typically have a clean criminal record but are known to have mental stability issues. While one could make an argument that  nuts and cooks should be always reported to the Feds, who makes the decisions on who is dangerous and who is not.

 

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