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
period.

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.

Quote Of The Day

Today is the day that the House of Representatives will probably vote to find Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. It is also the day in which the Supreme Court will issue its ruling on the validity of ObamaCare. Jim Shepherd of The Outdoor Wire is calling this Big Thursday. With regard to Holder and the mainstream media’s play on his role in Project Gunwalker, he had this to say:

The “spinning” on that is already underway. Mainstream media is characterizing the fight between the Justice Department and the House committee charged with oversight of that agency as a test of the lobbying prowess of the “gun lobby” (that’s the NRA, Gun Owners of America, Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and they myriad of other local and state organizations).

It decidedly is not. Sorry, it’s just not, and no amount of spinning will make that wish come true. It’s an investigation into possible criminal wrongdoing by officials who swore an oath to enforce our laws, not selectively ignore or violate them with impunity.

Mainstream media just refuses to accept that, and refuses to let their viewers, readers or listeners hear it reported as such. Instead, it’s been diminished and characterized as just another political cat fight.

It’s not about ideology. It’s not about guns. It is not a liberal/conservative, black/white or red/blue debate. It’s about justice – for all- including the people supposed to be equally enforcing the law.

Maybe that’s why some people are nervous at the thought of laws being equally enforced.

Quote Of The Day

The quote of the day comes from Jim Shepherd of The Outdoor Wire. As I noted a while back, Dan Richards, President of the California Fish and Game Commission, is the target of a jihad by Humane Society US for his successful mountain lion hunt in Idaho. Now they have gotten 40 Democrats in the State Assembly to join in their call for his resignation.

Forty legislators (all Democrats) have sent Walters a letter telling him he should resign. The letter says “Your actions raise serious questions about whether you respect the laws of the people of California, and whether you are fit to adequately enforce those laws.”

Seriously, guys, are you serious? This is the same gang of legislators that has effectively run California’s finances into the ground while passing enough dopey feel-good, eyewash legislation to keep succeeding legislators (and litigators) busy for the next millennium trying to restore some sort of fiscal sanity.

The photo that started a firestorm. Courtesy Western Outdoor News.
But Richards’ trip to another Idaho has, as they say, “offended the sensibilities” of these forty moral stackpoles of the people.

Remember, the hunt was completely legal.

I’m certain they’ve also called for the resignation of all the members of the State Assembly who have ever traveled to Las Vegas or Reno to go gambling (or gamboling with the occasional lady or gentleman of the evening). Not to mention the legislator who said she had a brain tumor that made her shoplift, or the Lieutenant Governor who had a little error in his personal moral compass.

If the same standard of scrutiny this gang of 40 moral compasses applied to Richards, a guy who went hunting-legally, were applied to the all government officials, the Assembly of California (and most others) would dismiss for the lack of a quorum (not to be confused with a Quram – we wouldn’t want to offend anyone).

What is that old saying about people in glass houses and rock…

Jim Shepherd Goes One-On-One With Herman Cain

Jim Shepherd, editor and publisher of the The Outdoor and Shooting Wires, just had a one-on-one interview with Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain. The full interview can be found here.

With regard to participating in outdoor sports, Cain said he fishes irregularly, has never hunted, and has camped maybe one time. However, he does shoot but not on a regular basis.

The part of the interview that is really relevant here is what he said about the Second Amendment. Shepherd does bring up Cain’s past statements on it that have seemed wishy-washy.

SHEPHERD: OK, let’s segue from that to the Second Amendment. You have said “the Second Amendment, I support it”. Yet at the same time you’ve said the states should have the right “absolutely” to regulate firearms. How do you reconcile what sounds like a double standard?

CAIN: That wasn’t what I said.

SHEPHERD: OK….

CAIN: …for example, if a state wants to require some sort of background ID check that should be the state’s determination. If the state wants a different requirement for carrying concealed…those are the kinds of things I’m talking about.

I did not say that I believed the states should regulate firearms, that was a misinterpretation. Somebody will go back and dig that up, but if it was said – and I don’t think that it was – I never intended that. I was talking about IDs, that’s what I was talking about.

SHEPHERD: Do you then believe that Chicago and Washington, D.C. have the right to have so restrictive a local regulation that it virtually assures that you can not own a handgun, even if you meet the federal requirements?

CAIN: I don’t agree with those decisions.

Herman Cain then goes on to make a more definitive statement on the Second Amendment and the right to self-protection and self-defense.

CAIN: Let me say one other thing about the Second Amendment.

SHEPHERD: Please do..

CAIN: And I have to say it this way: the founders said people are endowed with certain unalienable rights and that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I happen to believe there’s another certain unalienable right included in that, and that is the right to defend yourself, to defend your family and to protect your property which I call the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

So, it’s not only an Amendment..

I happen to believe that it’s an unalienable right, right there with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Jim Shepherd details how this interview came about at the bottom of today’s Outdoor Wire.

I am a little uneasy about Cain saying that states could have a more stringent background ID check as it seems that is a carte blance given to the gun prohibitionists in places like California, Illinois, and Massachusetts. I am glad that Cain recognized that we have a right to protect ourselves, our families, and our property. Read the whole interview and decide for yourself.

Thanks to Jim Shepherd for doing what it took to get this interview. Stuff like this doesn’t regularly appear in the mainstream media.

Operation Wide Receiver

In Wednesday’s Outdoor Wire, Jim Shepherd reports on another botched ATF operation in southern Arizona. Called Operation Wide Receiver, it involved straw purchases, RFID chips and antennae, and aerial tracking. The operation was run out of the ATF field offices in Tucson approximately five years ago and like, Operation Fast and Furious, guns made it across the border into Mexico.

In Operation Wide Receiver, Tucson agents allowed the sales of more than 500 firearms to known straw purchasers. Like Gunrunner/Fast and Furious, the operation apparently backfired.

Some firearms in Wide Receive were equipped with RFID tracking devices. In Wide Receiver, it seems the illegal purchasers seemed more than slightly knowledgeable of the way the ATF and how to take their aerial and electronic tracking procedures down.

Knowing the time aloft numbers for virtually all planes used in government surveillance, the buyers had a simple method of getting their purchases across the border undetected. They simply drove four-hour loops around the area.

As surveillance planes were forced to return to base for re-fueling, the smugglers simply turned and sprinted their cargo across the border.

The RFID tags also turned out to be problematic.

Rather than making large enough holes for the tags to be laid out inside weapons, agents force-fit them into the rifles.

That cramming caused the antennae to be folded, reducing the effective range of the tags. And an already short battery life (36-48 hours maximum) meant that should purchasers allow the firearms to sit, the tracking devices eliminated themselves.

This sounds like something out of “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight” but it’s not.

To date, Wide Receiver hasn’t really amounted to much in the way of interdiction, enforcement or prosecution, despite the huge amounts of surveillance video and audio evidence collected and the millions of dollars expended.

To date, sources tell us the only charges filed in the ongoing investigation are for falsifying Form 4473s. Not much of a return on an investigation that consumed millions of dollars in man-hours and money and placed the lives of law-abiding firearms dealers and their families in jeopardy.

From what Jim writes, this failed operation provided the operating blueprint for Operation Fast and Furious. Given how well Operation Wide Receiver turned out, you would have thought ATF would learned their lesson. I hope Jim will have more on this botched operation over the coming days and weeks.

UPDATE:  Jim Shepherd has more on Operation Wide Receiver in The Outdoor Wire for June 16th.

Meanwhile, information collection regarding Operation Wide Receiver, the apparent predecessor of Fast and Furious continues. Since we first reported on the operation run out of the Tucson office, we have seen more information that confirms the fact that both ATF and Justice Department officials were not only aware of the operation five years ago, they have continued efforts to bring the investigation to some sort of closure.

This tickled something in the back of my head about Bill Newell, former SAC of the Phoenix Field Division, and Tucson. Mike Vanderboegh of Sipsey Street Irregulars had something from CleanUpATF on some such operation that was posted back in February. On February 22-23, there were two postings by a couple of CUATF regulars named Jumper and 1desertrat discussing George Gillett who was being accused at the time of retaliation towards a protected whistle-blower and was Acting SAC of the Phoenix Field Division.

1desertrat said:

This really sickens me to see Gillett getting rewarded for a history of misconduct and incompetence. It also appears he has not taken any heat on approving the Tucson version of phoenix’s “Gun Walker” in Tucson called linebacker or wide receiver (something like that)where he and Newell approved “walking” several hundred assault rifles to Mexico. Also, get this ……he approved the signing (and paying) of the FFL dealer as a CI, paid him as a CI and allowed him to profit from the illegal straw purchases ATF directed him to do…..what a deal! What do you think would be happening right now if one of those guns were linked to the Tucson shooting of Rep Gifford? How about it Senator Grassley…..are these ATF supervisors really the “untouchables”? Retaliation by ATF management is a way of life in ATF. Why……because all know management is corrupt and will pull out all stops to protect one another and NOTHING ever happens!

Jumper responded:

The best part of this post (if you enjoy hypocracy) is that The Retaliator (Gillett) actually tried to terminate two of the smartest and most productive agents in Phoenix for what he personally deemed to be mismanagement of government funds in the payment of an informant. The Retaliators ruling was overturned by higher ups based on their conclusions that Gillett didn’t know what he was talking about but its still pretty funny. Wait till the press gets ahold of Gunrunner II, the Tucson Experiment. Can you imagine the pucker factor Newell and Gillett experience every time a shooting takes place involving a 7.62 round? Give them some coal and turn both of them into a diamond factory.

 Very interesting. I get the feeling that if Operation Wide Receiver is added to Operation Fast and Furious it will make those wildfires sweeping Arizona currently look small by comparison.

Jim Shepherd On Cam And Company

Cam Edwards interviewed Jim Shepherd at the SHOT Show on a number of topics. Jim is the publisher of the Outdoor Wire, the Shooting Wire, and the Tactical Wire among other things. He also was involved in the founding of CNN with Ted Turner. He is a very astute observer of the gun industry and of politics.

The entire interview is worth listening to. At the 3:45 mark he describes an encounter he had with an anti-gunner who was at SHOT incognito and what he said to him after the anti said no one needs an assault rifle.

You are all emotion and no fact. You don’t understand history. You don’t have perspective on what you’re doing. It is all about what I feel and not what I know. You don’t know enough to have the discussion.

What a wonderful thumbnail description of the problem we face when we try to discuss, debate, or argue guns and gun rights with the gun banners and their fellow travelers. We have fact and they have emotion.