How Liberals Feel About Guns
Lawmakers, pundits, and policy wonks are weighing in on gun control and what we should do as a nation to prevent acts of violence while maintaining the utmost respect for our Second Amendment rights. It is and will continue to be a rueful error to base arguments and policy proposals on emotion rather than rational thought. It is also hugely unhelpful to cite outdated statistics and to then distort those statistics to favor your viewpoint, as the President, Vice President, and other lawmakers have done with regard to gun control.
CQ reports (sub. req’d) that earlier this week, “[Vice President Joe] Biden delivered an emotional push for gun control measures that the administration is proposing… saying recent tragedies leave lawmakers no choice but to act to mitigate the damage of future incidents.” The Vice President said “Enough is enough. Don’t tell me because we can’t solve it all we can’t act at all.”
Emotional appeals don’t usually result in good policy. And thus far, what the Democrats have proposed – a stricter version of the assault weapons ban that passed in 1994 – will not necessarily result in fewer gun related deaths. Their proposal would restrict the number of bullets that magazines can hold, enact requirements for “universal” background checks for gun purchases and increase the availability of mental-health services.
It would be one thing if those in favor of universal background checks would use reason and reliable statistics to make their case. However, as the Heritage Foundation’s John C. Malcolm points out, “there is a lot of misinformation circulating about background checks for gun ownership.”
If we’re serious about finding the most rational solutions that will actually reduce violence while also respecting the Second Amendment rights of American citizens, then the misinformation needs to stop.
One such untruth being propagated by the left is that 40 percent of all gun purchases are conducted through private sales at gun shows and are not subject to criminal background check. Malcolm states, “What gun control proponents never say, though, is that this oft-repeated statistic is based on stale data that was grossly exaggerated even when it was fresh.”
Malcolm also provides a thorough explanation of how the left has distorted this statistic to push their views on others.
The 40 percent figure is based on a 1997 report, which was based on a survey of 251 people taken in 1993 and 1994. The real figure representing the number of people who said they didn’t or “probably” didn’t get their gun from a licensed firearms dealer was 35.7 percent. Though the margin of error was +/- 6 percentage points, the proponents of universal background checks always round up, though they could just as easily and legitimately round down to below 30 percent.
On top of that, based on data from the same survey, only 3.9 percent of firearms purchases were made at gun shows.
Instead of getting emotional, the Vice President should get real about facts. Until then, his recommendations and those of his fellow proponents of stricter gun control laws cannot be taken seriously. Using seeping emotional appeals and faulty data is not how we’re going to protect potential future victims of violence.