Microstamping – Myth Vs. Reality

The gun control industry would have you believe that a code “microstamped” on the head of a firing pin will be at the forefront of crime solving. It is their panacea to “gun violence”.

The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence (sic) put together a whole page on microstamping arguing that it ” is a powerful crime-solving tool that can help law enforcement quickly solve gun crimes”. They also assert that it will build trust and prevent gun violence (sic) “within communities most impacted by unsolved shootings and daily gun violence.”

Their page featured this infographic.

You may remember that the state of Maryland thought having a fired piece of brass from every new pistol sold would lead to solved crimes. It was supposed to be the “magic fingerprint”. After spending millions of taxpayers’ dollars over a period of 15 years, Maryland ditched the program without solving one crime. In other words, they bowed to reality and cut their losses.

While the gun control industry and some politicians still hold on to microstamping, the reality is stronger than the myth.

I found this infographic this morning on Reddit and it illustrates the reality of microstamping.

Infographics are powerful tools for conveying ideas and thoughts. To be effective, the information presented does have to be valid. While microstamping sounds good in theory to the uneducated, the reality is that it is a myth being used to promote more gun control.

CSGV Winding Down Operations

The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (sic) has announced it is winding down operations. It will be merging its sister organization Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence (sic) with Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Prevention. The new organization will be called the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions.

According to CBS Baltimore, the new center will be co-led by Daniel Webster who led the Bloomberg School center and Joshua Horwitz who was executive director of CSGV.

The release from JHU’s Bloomberg School of Public Health said the new center would “bring a public health lens to reduce gun violence in the U.S., focusing on research while expanding evidence-based advocacy for effective and equitable policies. They also say the new center will be financed by foundations, private donors, and other sources. I read this to mean that they will be getting significant monies from Michael Bloomberg, his own foundations, and the Joyce Foundation.

The press release goes on to say:

The Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions will focus on prevention strategies that, if implemented broadly, would significantly reduce gun-related death and injury. It will:

  • Conduct research to evaluate and strengthen public health approaches to gun violence such as community violence intervention programs and handgun purchaser licensing. 
  • Advance the use of racial equity impact analysis when considering policies to address gun violence.
  • Advance evidence-based policies such as handgun purchaser licensing and laws to remove firearms from those at risk of harm to self or others.
  • Develop new approaches to curb political violence and address the misuse of personally manufactured firearms, commonly referred to as ghost guns. 
  • Track public opinion on policy and violence-reduction programs through surveys.

“Our Center will continue to apply strong research methods to assess the effectiveness of strategies intended to prevent gun violence,” says Webster. “With our new colleagues, we will now have even more capacity to bring meaningful policy change through evidence-based advocacy.”

“Our biggest successes have come when the evidence meets the moment,” says Horwitz. “Right now is one such moment. This new Center will put the evidence-based solutions identified and developed by our new colleagues directly into the hands of the policymakers ready to make change.”

There are two major implications from this merger. First, the growth of Everytown and Giffords relegated CSGV to being a gun control bit-player with not even marginal influence. The most they could do is stomp their feet, post angry tweets, accuse gun rights activists of being “insurrectionists”, and try to get a dozen people to attend a demonstration.

They just had no future within the gun control industry. According to their Form 990, they were barely covering expenses. They had a little more than a half million dollars in revenue and about the same in expenses of which Joshua Horwitz’s salary consumed about a third. By contrast, Everytown had revenues of approximately $85 million.

The second major implication is that Michael Bloomberg is going to push the supposed public health implications of the criminal misuse of firearms in his attempt to get legislation passed. I don’t think this merger would have happened without the consent, implied or expressed, of Bloomberg. This was not a merger of equals. If anything, it was a takeover that consolidated more of the 501(c)(3) gun control world under his influence while getting rid of a bit-player that could have muddied the message.

In one sense I am sad to see CSGV go away. They provided material for many blog posts with their craziness. You could always depend upon Horwitz to be foaming at the mouth about “insurrectionism” while their former communications director Ladd Everitt could be depended upon for invective about gun rights. I was a “gun extremist” while my friend Kurt Hofmann was branded a “traitor“.

CSGV may be leaving but I still have my commemorative patch!

If Only The Colonel Were Still Alive

The Educational Fund To Stop Gun Violence, the 503(c)3 arm of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, has a website called MeetTheNRA.org. Their goal is to publish (out of context) quotes in an effort to discredit current and former members of the NRA Board as being conservative radicals, racists, and insurrectionists.

The screen cap below is from today in their effort to smear the late Col. Jeff Cooper.

What Col. Cooper actually wrote in his Commentaries, Vol. 4, was this:

Clearly propaganda is more potent than truth. Take this matter of Guernica, for example. Pablo Picasso, one of the more significant propagandists of the left, made a very successful point in claiming that the town of Guernica had been flattened from the air by the German Condor Legion in the Spanish Civil War − this being an atrocity since the town had no strategic value. This point was accepted by the world press, and is now considered a fact, even for inclusion in encyclopedias.

For those who have access to the official records it is clear that the Condor Legion had been grounded for two weeks prior to the occupation of the city by the Nationalist forces. Moreover, the German light bombers did not have the technical capacity for “carpet bombing,” as later practiced by the Allies in Europe. Most conclusive, however, was the fact that there were no bomb craters in the streets. The buildings were pretty well demolished, but this was done from inside them. It is obviously impossible to flatten a town from the air without hitting any of the streets, but now, to the amazement of the well−informed, the German government is proposing to pay an indemnity to Spain for an atrocity never committed. Such goings on!

Now Col. Cooper served as an officer in the US Marine Corps during both WWII and the Korean Conflict. Moreover, he had a graduate degree in history to complement his undergraduate degree from Stanford in political science. I happen to think that a military officer, especially one trained as a historian, is somewhat more likely to have seen the official reports and to have made sense of them than a hoplophobe like Ladd Everitt who wasn’t even born when Kennedy was killed.

Now I will acknowledge that there is a significant difference of opinion about what really happened at Guernica especially among historians so the Colonel could be wrong in his assessment. Jeff Cooper was reputed to be a man of strong opinions, somewhat cranky and irascible, but brilliant nonetheless. If he were alive today, the intellectual flaying he would have given the small-minded gun prohibitionist hoplophobes at the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence and CSGV would have been a thing of beauty. It is a pity he didn’t live long enough to apply it.

Buyer Power Revisted

The National Shooting Sports Foundation responded on this past Friday to a report put out by CSGV’s sister organization The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence. The report urged municipalities to use their “buyer power” to force firearms manufacturers to adopt a set of rules that the gun control industry wants.

As I noted when it was released, gun controllers grossly overestimate the economic influence of municipalities when it comes to firearms purchases. Larry Keane of NSSF also points out below that the gun controllers forgot about the legality of their little scheme. In other words, it is illegal. Moreover, NSSF will sue if they try to go ahead and implement their little gun control scheme.

For Anti-Gun Groups It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again

April 29, 2011 By Larry Keane

The “Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence” (Ed Fund) released a “report” entitled “Buying Power” that claims to detail “an exciting new strategy to reform the gun industry.” Unfortunately for members of the gun-ban lobby, this strategy is neither new nor legal.

Here’s what the Ed Fund says:

“A city purchasing firearms for its law enforcement department can use its buyer power to create incentives for gun manufacturers to employ “countermarketing” strategies to ensure that their retailers are using all available procedures to prevent illegal firearms trafficking. Such strategies might include videotaping firearms sales, preventing the use of cell phones inside gun stores, and requiring criminal background checks for all employees who handle firearms. Gun manufacturers would be obliged to listen and change their policies to compete for cities’ business.”

Here’s what the Ed Fund should know:

In March of 2000, then-Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Andrew Cuomo and then-New York Attorney General Spitzer conspired with various mayors and local government officials to use their market purchasing power to boycott firearms manufacturers unless the manufacturers first agreed to sign an arbitrary and politically motivated list of firearms regulations entitled the “Code of Conduct.” Spitzer said, “We want every appropriate government entity to agree to purchase firearms only from companies that have signed a comprehensive code of conduct.” Spitzer said the objective of the coalition was to “…boycott gun manufacturers who fail to adhere to a new safety code.” Although Spitzer’s recruitment efforts weren’t always successful, officials of numerous cities and local governments agreed to join the boycott.

In response to this blatantly illegal restraint of trade, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), along with several members of the firearms industry sued Andrew Cuomo, Eliot Spitzer and the local government officials who agreed to the boycott. The filing of the lawsuit stopped this illegal boycott dead in its tracks, as all defendants – Cuomo, Spitzer, and the mayors – quickly disavowed the boycott (NSSF, et al v. Cuomo, et al). And much like 11 years ago, NSSF stands ready to once again take legal action against any attempt to implement an illegal boycott. No doubt such an attempt to manipulate the free market will be frowned upon by law enforcement when they learn that gun control groups now want to dictate which firearms they carry to protect themselves and our communities and base those selections on political considerations, as opposed to which firearms are most reliable and have the features desired by law enforcement.

The entire Educational Fund “report” is nothing but a rehash of the decade old factually baseless allegations made by the Brady Center and greedy trial lawyers in their failed attempts to destroy and bankrupt the firearms industry through junk lawsuits which began in the mid to late 1990s. Fortunately, these junk lawsuits failed, but not before members of the industry were forced to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to successfully defend the cases. In fact, the Educational Fund’s “report” is based largely on an article published by Professor Gregory T. Gundlach (ironically pronounced “gunlock”), who was a paid expert witness for the NAACP in its failed lawsuit against the firearms industry that went to trial before Brooklyn, NY federal court judge Jack B. Weinstein in 2003. The “advisory jury” judge Weinstein empanelled to hear the case rejected Professor Gunlach’s “expert” opinions and rendered a verdict in favor of the industry members. The “report” also relies upon an article by law school Professor David Kairys, the father of the roundly discredited “public nuisance” theory of liability underlying the failed municipal lawsuits. All that is old is new again it seems.

H/T Thirdpower 

“Buyer Power” As A Means Of Gun Control?

The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence released a study proposal today entitled “Utilizing the “Buyer Power” Strategy to Reform the Gun Industry.” The gist of this proposal is that state and local governments can force gun manufacturers to adopt the regulations suggested by Mayors Against Illegal Guns by refusing to buy law enforcement firearms from those that don’t conform to this “code”.

In theory it sounds good. In reality it ignores two salient facts. First, while large purchases are made by law enforcement agencies, these sales are dwarfed by sales to individuals at retail. Second, any manufacturer that decides to play along – or even engages in such talks – would be hit with a boycott so quick that heads would spin. The authors of this proposal obviously have forgotten what happened to the old Smith and Wesson when they signed an agreement with the Clinton Administration. The remnants of the old Smith and Wesson were sold by their British corporate owners to Smith and Wesson Holding Corporation which quickly repudiated that agreement.

The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence maintains that criminals and “mentally unbalanced individuals” have easy access to firearms with which to perpetrate their crimes. They blame this on two factors.

1) The lack of a comprehensive regulatory scheme to prevent prohibited persons from acquiring firearms, and;
2) The refusal of the gun industry to engage in any type of self-policing to prevent illicit sales.

If the National Instant Criminal Background Check System which is run by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and mandated under the Brady Law isn’t a comprehensive regulatory scheme, then what is it? Every sale made by a licensed dealer goes through this system unless the purchaser holds a CCW permit which is accepted in lieu of the NICS check. Even then, that state’s CCW permit had to be expressly approved by the Federal government as an acceptable alternative.

The second “factor” ignores the efforts made by the National Shooting Sports Foundation to educate dealers about straw purchasers. The Don’t Lie for the Other Guy program is aimed at preventing straw purchases by prohibited persons.

Understanding the importance of cooperating with law enforcement, the firearms industry through the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) — the industry’s trade association — has for nearly a decade partnered with the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) to assist law enforcement in educating firearms retailers to be better able to identify and deter illegal straw purchases and to raise public awareness that straw purchasing is a serious crime.

The report also accuses “unscrupulous FFLs” of selling firearms “off the books”.  Undoubtedly this has happened but it is so rare as to become a headline event when a dealer is arrested for doing this.

The following are the procedures that the Educational Fund wants implemented.

• All firearms sales are videotaped and these videos are maintained for an extended period of time.
• A computerized log of crime gun traces relating to the retailer is maintained in-house. When a customer who has a prior trace at that retailer attempts to purchase a firearm, the sale is electronically flagged. The dealer has the discretion to stop the sale.
• The dealer posts clearly visible signage to alert customers of their legal responsibilities at the point of sale.
• Customers are prohibited from making in-store calls on their cell phones.
• The dealer requires criminal background checks for all employees that sell or handle firearms in the store.
• The dealer conducts daily and quarterly audits to make sure no firearms are missing.
• The dealer prohibits all sales based on “default proceeds,” which are permitted by law when a background check has not returned an approve/deny result within three days.
• The dealer keeps all firearms in customer-accessible areas in locked cases or secured to gun racks.

Every gun shop that I’ve been in over the last 5-10 years or more has kept the handguns in a locked case. This is nothing new. Dealers also do and would do regular inventories and audits regardless of any regulation. It is simply good business practice.

I do have big problems with the “crime gun traces” requirement and the cell phone requirement. Why should an individual who has been the victim of a theft be made even more of a victim just to appease these gun prohibitionists? With regard to the banning of cell phone usage within a store, that is really a “WTF?” measure.

The proponents of the “buyer power” scheme think that a “grassroots” effort will convince municipal officials to try and force the “gun industry” to go along with them. Using the term grassroots along with gun control is an oxymoron. These groups have no grassroots. Most don’t even have members and those that do lie about how many members are on their rolls.

The Educational Fund’s sister organization, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, has set up a web page with “resources” to be used in this grassroots (sic) effort. It is filled with “reports” from the Clinton era as well as from the Brady Campaign and other well-known “violence” researchers. They also have templates for your letters to the editor and “dear elected official” letter.

I say let them waste the Joyce Foundation’s money on this as I don’t think it is going anywhere. If it does crop up in a locality other than Chicago or New York, I’ll report on it.