Lies, Damned Lies, And Statistics

Jim Shepherd, publisher and editor of The Outdoor Wire, called out the Associated Press today for some of their reporting on gun sales. We all know that gun sales have been surging throughout the year. However, the AP would have you believe sales in Colorado and Connecticut, scenes of horrible tragedies, were off.

From the AP story “Fewer excited gun-buyers in Colorado and Connecticut”:

The government’s figures suggested far less interest in purchasing guns
late in the year in Connecticut and Colorado, where background checks
also increased but not nearly as much as most other states … Only New Jersey and Maryland showed smaller increases than
Colorado in December from one month earlier.

Sales must really be impacted there, right?

Not exactly as Jim notes:

Sounds reasonable, right? After all, these states are both reeling from the havoc caused there by crazies.

Not necessarily. While the story is accurate that the biggest surges in
background checks for gun purchases were in the South and West, the
numbers weren’t exactly insignificant in either Connecticut or Colorado.
The increases in NICS checks, and as may be implied, gun sales, in
those states were only sixty five and sixty-four percent,
respectively. Colorado’s checks frose from 35,009 in October to 53,453
in December. Connecticut went from 18,761 to 29,246 during the same

It might be more accurate to say that “despite horrific tragedies, the
demand for firearms in both Connecticut and Colorado grew, although not
as fast as the red-hot markets in the South and West.”

But that wouldn’t fit the narrative, although the observation that
“background checks also tend to increase after mass shootings, when gun
enthusiasts fear restrictive measures are imminent.”

 Wouldn’t fit the narrative should be the new motto for the mainstream press when it comes to gun sales and the use of guns for self-protection.

Is Nothing Sacred? (updated with letter)

The Public Access Counselor of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office says the Illinois State Police must release the names of all FOID card holders to the Associated Press.

According to a story in the Chicago Tribune, the Illinois State Police have always kept the names of the FOID card holders private. The State Police had argued that releasing this information would violate the privacy of the FOID card holders and should be exempted from the Illinois Freedom of Information Act. This argument was overruled by the Public Access Counselor.

The letter was released on Monday night but it is not yet up on the Attorney General’s website. I have requested a copy of the letter from the Office of the Public Access Counselor. If I can get it, I will post it here.

Given that to possess a firearm in the state of Illinois one must have a FOID card, this list gives the press the name and address of every registered gun owner in the state. If something like this were to be published, criminals would be given a shopping list of houses ripe for break-ins. A contrarian view might be that crooks would know which houses could be more dangerous to hit because the owner is armed. Frankly, I lean more towards the former than the latter.

UPDATE: As I noted above, I requested a copy of the letter from the Public Access Counselor. I just received it this morning. I have embedded the full 8-page letter below.

FOID Letter – 10313 Rfr f Pb Ex Improper Sa