Saturday, May 24, 2008

Ow! Make The Stupidness Stop

It makes my brain hurt: a couple of Authorized Journalists out in the PRK have decided to write about brain surgery nuclear physics guns and managed to produce an article that mixes hysteria, pants-soiling and flat-out wrong information to a degree and extent rarely seen outside of efforts like "Reefer Madness" and Temperance meetings. Other, more clever bloggers have taken it on as well and you should read what they've written; I was struck by this pair of pithy paragraphs:

Dr. Garen Wintemute, director of the UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program, found in observing 28 gun shows in five states that one-third to one-half of the sales at gun shows were by unlicensed dealers who did not have to run criminal background checks on the buyers.

Estimates by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., Congress' main gun control advocate, confirm that about one-third of the dealers at gun shows are unlicensed sellers.
How's that again?

Dr. Wintemute's "methodology" -- walking through a gun show and making ill-informed guesses -- has been discredited already and in the next paragraph, we are treated to what must pass for "logic" in J-school: "Estimates...confirm...."

No, dears, you poor, sad creatures, "estimates" confirm nothing. Zilch. Nada-zero.

Measurements, actual hard data, can confirm things; guesses by hostile, ignorant parties cannot.

Also? There ain't no such thing as an "unlicensed dealer" other than the criminal sellin' guns on the sly, not out in the open at a gun show. At gun shows, you will find some individuals selling their own, personally-owned weapons; they are not "gun dealers" and face serious consequences if they try to be.

But, hey, if walkin' around lookin' counts, I'll give it a go. My own gun show cred is deep but not wide. I go to the Indy 1500 shows nearly every time they hit town (there's one coming up! Yayy!). They are, I'm told, among the larger gun shows this side of the Mississip'. Individuals sellin' guns at these shows comprise 10% or less of the total number of sellers and drop to about half that if we exclude the guys walking around with a sign on their back or a rifle on their shoulder, selling a single firearm. Humorless types from the bATFe* are all over the place and should Joe Citizen begin to comport himself as a dealer by their ill-defined standards, at the very best he gets a stern talking to and an unofficial Federal invitation to depart. In terms of number of guns sold at the shows, actual, real gun dealers who do actual, real NICS checks sell enormously more than do individuals. Next time I'm going to try taking notes but the disparity is huge.

The article is rife with fear-mongering, inaccurate bilge. It's stunning how far away from reality some (many?) Authorized Journalists exist.
* Wound my way from one end of a 1500 to the other and there was a fellow pretending to read the paper while peering over it at the attendees. I was putting my purchases in better order and he struck up a conversation, making a number of disparaging remarks about the crowd and how he disliked these events. "So," I ask, all wide blue eyes and innocence, "how long have you been with the Bureau?"
"Ten-- Hey!?"
Sheesh. Can't you guys hire people who watch spy movies even a little bit?


Anonymous said...

I haven't been to a gunshow in the past 6 months, but a guy I used to buy the occasional Mosin-Nagant rifle from ALWAYS ran background checks on me...even though he didn't bother to see if my check was good (via Tele-check or whatever service) Not to mention..gunshows are rarely wall to wall sellers of automatic GF doesn't give a hoot about guns, but likes to go with me to look at all the other stuff.

Sevesteen said...

My guess is that he's pretty accurate--At the shows I've been to, a third or so of the vendors aren't selling guns--I'm guessing that they are unlicensed, and don't run background checks on their holster, ammo or jerky customers.

Anonymous said...

Look, if the guy's been with the agency ten years and his job is still to stake out gun shows, he ain't gonna be their top material, ya know?

Anonymous said...

That was one of the most poorly edited articles I've ever read. If you can call it an article - more like pap designed to cause massive PSH amongst lefty bedwetters. Wifey and I will prolly be hitting the show first thing Saturday.