Universal Background Check

I am surprised that Greg Gutfeld has not created a special category for banned studies. The Washington Post Fact Checker looked at the background check issue and found that the numbers that the President and many others are using come from data collected in 1994 and published in a 1977 study. The problem is that the study had two estimates for the number of people who have purchased guns without a background check, a 40% number that includes gifts and family transfers and a 14 to 22% number which does not. Since the universal background legislation does not require background checks for gun transactions between family members, the Post argues that it is misleading to use the 40% number in the debate. Here are some of the quotes from President Obama that earned him three Pinocchios.

“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?”

–President Obama, remarks on gun safety, March 28, 2013

“FACT: Nearly 40% of all gun sales don’t require a background check under current law. #DemandAction”

–tweet from @BarackObama, March 28

So here is my problem with universal background checks. It is a pretty ineffective tool at controlling guns going criminals and the criminally insane. I assume we can all agree that we are not going to get background checks on gun sales to criminals. Criminals are dumb but most are not dumb enough to complete a background check that will fail. From our recent mass murders  we can see that criminally insane people are  functional enough to acquire weapons without raising alarms during background checks. Even if we happen to create the perfect gun control legislation for the criminally insane, the criminally insane people can easily choose  other weapons of terror such as fire, poisons, and bombs to express themselves. Unless we are willing to deal with the mental health issue, it is just a matter of time until we have our next mass murder. This time it is assault weapons. Next time it might be a bomb. Universal background checks are just another burden heaped upon honest, sane people. Once again we are reminded that no good deed goes unpunished!

My Version of Out of Ammo

With all of this discussion about gun laws my wife decided it was time to go to the gun range. Shooting is a skill you maintain by practice. The problem was that she was almost out of bullets and she was concerned that her favorite ammo stores, Walmart and Target, would be out. Our farrier said the only ammo available at Walmart was the 9mm. On Friday she went to Walmart and there were no bullets on the shelves. Hmm… I wonder if we can get Yahoo Finance to post the current prices and availability for common bullets like they do for pork bellies, CDs, and insurance.

(John Hinderaker)

I really, really wanted to shoot today, but wasn’t able to. Why, you might ask? Was I backed up with work? Nope. Did I have a long list of chores to do, to stay in my wife’s good graces? Nope. I was free as a bird. But I couldn’t shoot because, with the exception of 100 rounds of 22LR and the loaded 9 mm magazines that I keep at home for purposes of self-defense, I was out out of ammo.

22LR bullets

Nor was I alone. The shelves here in Minnesota are empty. You can still find a few rounds of .380, .40 and even .45 caliber bullets, along with more exotic varieties, but the most popular ammunition”“22LR and 9 mm”“is sold out everywhere. The shelves are literally bare. Every now and then someone gets in a small shipment; a friend told me that a local Dick’s Sporting Goods got some 9 mm bullets in yesterday. They were gone almost instantly.

9 mm bullets

I figured if anyplace wouldn’t run out of ammo, it is South Dakota, so I checked with my brother. Sure enough, ammunition is gone there, too. A local store that does a major firearms business ordered a semi truck load of ammo; what got delivered was three pallets. They were told they could expect another delivery in 2014.

So what is going on? In part, certainly, the perception of a potential shortage due to the policies of the Obama administration has led to the reality of a shortage, as everyone started to stock up. I can understand the mentality: if I wandered into a gun store and found that they had just put 1,000 9 mm rounds on the shelf, I would buy them all. But does that fully explain what is happening? How about the fact that government agencies are buying up billions of rounds? There have been lots of news reports and lots of rumors, but no clear explanation of why the federal government has invested so massively in ammunition”“including the most popular civilian calibers”“over the last year. One way or another, it seems that there is a story here. But for it to be pursued, we would need “reporters.” Remember them? Nah, that was a bygone era: you probably don’t.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

Out of Ammo
John Hinderaker
Sun, 03 Feb 2013 01:07:45 GMT

Lusting for an Assault Weapon

I don’t know what it is about hearing the President and Vice President talk about gun control that stirs my animal spirit and make me want to go out and buy a gun. I am far more interested in cooking and brewing beer but I find myself distracted by this passion of owning an assault weapon. Obviously I don’t need an assault weapon. My wife owns a pistol and she is a pretty good shot. She has a concealed carry permit and I don’t think she would flinch about shooting someone in self defense. The problem is that the President and Vice President are such good gun salesmen.

The political rhetoric has been pretty fierce over gun deaths. The piece below has links to both the FBI and CDC estimates. At least we have one person in the debate who does their research.

That 30,000 number stood out to me because it seemed very high. According to the FBI, in 2011, there was a total of 8,583 firearm homicides in the U.S. That may well be 8,583 gun murders too many, but it’s nowhere near 30,000 (the total number of murders by all methods came to 12,664). The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) uses a different method and found about 11,000 gun-related murders in 2011 and the total number of homicides to be around 16,000 (see table 2). So How did Stewart get to 30,000? By adding the number of gun-related suicides to the number of homicides. When you add those figures in, you get up toward the 30,000 figure.

Barack Obama, Jon Stewart, Sandy Hook, and "Common Sense" Gun Control – Reason.com

Could Concealed Carry In the Theater Saved People In Aurora?

It was just a few days before the shooting at the theater in Aurora that we were chuckling at the video at Ocala.com showing a 71 year old man shooting at and chasing some would-be robbers out of an internet cafe. That got me to thinking. What would have happened if the movie theater allowed patrons with concealed carry training to carry their weapon into the theater. My guess is that at least one person would have pulled out their gun and engaged in a gun fight with Mr. Holmes. Like the 71 year old man this act of defiance would probably be effective at diverting the attention of Mr. Holmes and saving the lives of many movie patrons. Mr. Holmes tactical position was very poor. He was in the middle of an open stage. The rules for engagement for concealed carry weapon holders are clear. If he is shooting at you, you can shoot back. Although Mr. Holmes was reported to be wearing a bullet proof vest, if one bullet hit him he would have likely been knocked off his feet. Even if they did not hit him it is very likely that Mr. Holmes would have tried to find cover before continuing the gun fight. This would have made it very difficult or nearly impossible for Mr. Holmes to shoot patrons as they tried to leave the theater. The key to success for this plan is that the concealed carry patrons would not need to kill or wound Mr. Holmes. They just needed to buy some time for the patrons to escape, Mr. Holmes to run out of bullets, and the police to arrive.