Nothing Like A Little Blood Dancing On A Friday Afternoon

You have to hand it to the gun prohibitionists – they do love their blood dancing.

They are linking to a story about a negligent discharge by a woman in Colorado. It involved an intoxicated young woman who slipped and fell while returning to a party to show off her new AK. Unfortunately, the firearm was loaded, a round was chambered, and it seems obvious to me that she had her finger on the trigger. The end result was that she died.

While the Violence Policy Center is keying in on the “new assault rifle” (sic), the story in and of itself is a warning not to handle dangerous objects while intoxicated. It could have just as easily been a kitchen knife or an ice pick. We have all been warned to not run with scissors. This is just an extension of that old warning.

NRA Responds To VPC’s Misleading Research

While it may be giving the Violence Policy Center more attention than it deserves, I think the NRA-ILA had to respond to the misleading research regarding “gun deaths” versus deaths by motor vehicle. As Tom Gresham continually points out about his Truth Squad project, a lie left unchallenged becomes the truth for many people. The NRA-ILA’s post on the subject entitled “Dust Off the Old Stuff–VPC Tries to Revive ‘Guns and Cars’ and ‘Consumer Products’ Nonsense” was published on Friday.

In the 1990s, it was common for anti-gun activists to predict that firearm-related deaths–suicides, murders, self-defense shootings by private citizens, shootings by law enforcement officers, and accidents combined–would soon outnumber motor vehicle accident deaths.

It was also common for them to demand that the design and manufacture of firearms be subject to the Consumer Products Safety Commission or the Bureu (sic) of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Their goal was to get handguns banned by setting standards higher than any handgun manufacturer could achieve, at least at a price the market would bear. For example, in 2000, the Violence Policy Center said “Congress should vest the Department of the Treasury [to which BATF belonged at the time] with strong authority to regulate the design, manufacture, and distribution of firearms. Such authority should include the ability to remove from the market firearms that pose a serious threat to public health and safety. . . . Products such as three-wheel ATVs and lawn darts had related death rates microscopic in comparison to handguns, but were nevertheless banned.”

To anti-gun activists’ dismay, the closest that motor vehicle accidents came to accounting for fewer deaths than all five categories of firearm-related deaths combined was in 1993, when firearm-related deaths hit an all-time high, one year after motor vehicle accident deaths fell to their lowest point since 1962. But even then, motor vehicle accidents accounted for 2,298 more deaths than all categories of firearm-related deaths combined.

Fast forward to the present. This week, the VPC claimed that in 2009, firearm-related deaths outnumbered motor vehicle accident deaths in 10 states. It said, “Motor vehicle deaths are on the decline as the result of a successful decades-long public health-based injury prevention strategy that includes safety-related changes to vehicles and highway design informed by comprehensive data collection and analysis. Meanwhile, firearms are the only consumer product not regulated by the federal government for health and safety.”

That’s baloney, of course. The reason that anti-gun activists dropped their “cars and guns” propaganda more than a decade ago is that after 1993, motor vehicle accident deaths began increasing sharply, despite massive government regulation of vehicles, drivers and roads, while deaths involving firearms began decreasing. So great did the disparity between the two trends eventually become, that by 2004 there were 15,364 more motor vehicle accident deaths than all firearm-related deaths combined.

VPC knows that, but it brought up “cars and guns” this week anyway, for a couple of reasons.

First, cranking out “analyses” that insult the intelligence of a fence post is what the Joyce Foundation pays the VPC to do.

Second, with people driving less–due in large part to the lack of jobs and high gasoline prices–deaths from motor vehicle accidents dropped from 43,945 in 2007 (the year before the economic recession began) to 36,216 in 2009 (the last year for which national data have been reported). In the 10 states on VPC’s list, decreases ranged from 6.1 percent in Colorado to 37.6 percent in Nevada.

Nationally, firearm-related deaths remained fairly steady, at 31,224 in 2007 and 31,347 in 2009, with decreases in homicides and accidents. But firearm and non-firearm suicides, each of which accounts for half of suicides, both increased from 2007 to 2009. Suicides account for nearly 60 percent of firearm-related deaths, and between 2007 and 2009 firearm suicides increased in nine of the 10 states on VPC’s list.

Of course, it’s pointless to compare vehicle accident statistics to those for the aggregate of five categories of firearm-related deaths. There’s little similarity between motor vehicle accidents and firearm accidents, and none whatsoever between vehicle accidents and firearm suicides and homicides. For example, more than 90 percent of people who commit suicide suffer from depression, other mental disorders, and/or a substance-abuse disorder. Other risk factors for suicide include a prior suicide attempt or a family history of mental disorder, substance abuse, suicide or family violence. There is also evidence suggesting that suicides can be instigated by news media coverage of suicides and by exposure to suicide themes in literature and entertainment. By contrast, risk factors for motor vehicle accidents include excessive speed, fatigue, poor eyesight and ambient conditions limiting visibility, travelling in darkness and bad weather, mechanically unsound vehicles, and defects in road design and maintenance.

Since we’re on the subject of motor vehicle accidents, let’s all remember to be especially safe on the roads over the Memorial Day Weekend. Next week, with the holiday behind us, there will be plenty of time to remember how full of beans anti-gun activists can be.

NRA-ILA’s John Frazier Fisks Car Deaths Vs. Gun Deaths Report

John Frazer, NRA-ILA Director of Research & Information, spoke with Cam Edwards yesterday about the report from the Violence Policy Center that purported that “gun deaths” outnumbered those from motor vehicle in some ten states. He notes that accidental deaths are at a low which was not reported.

As to the non-critical reports in many media outlets around the country, he suggests pointing out the fallacies in the report in letters to the editor or comments on the site.

Expect A Coordinated Campaign

The Violence Policy Center report that compared “gun deaths” with deaths by motor vehicle is, as I pointed out yesterday, misleading. However, that hasn’t stopped their friends in the media and the gun control community along with gullible local media from picking up the story.

A quick Google search shows a slew of stories on the report especially from the ten states where so-called gun deaths exceed deaths by motor vehicles. Most of the local media reporting about it do not have the time nor the smarts to question it. They just report it as the gospel truth because it is coming from an organization that is supposedly dedicated to studying violence.

Then you have stories like the one by Brian Dickerson of the Detroit Free Press. Mr. Dickerson is the Editorial Page Editor. While he should know better I don’t think he wants to delve into the numbers. He’d rather use it to push his agenda.

But don’t expect the from-my-cold-dead-hands crowd to embrace the center’s conclusion that the disparity has everything to do with federal regulation — extensive and wildly successful in the case of motor vehicles, and virtually non-existent in the case of firearms.

Like I said, expect a coordinated campaign of puffball stories along with tut-tutting editorials and earnest letters to the editors about how we have to do something.

There Is Research And Then There Is Junk Research

The Violence Policy Center released a report today that analyzed and compared firearm and motor vehicle related deaths for the year 2009 on a state-by-state basis. They found that in ten states firearm related deaths outnumbered  deaths caused by motor vehicles. These states are Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Virginia, and Washington

VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand states, “Americans are reaping the benefits of smart safety regulation of motor vehicles. The idea that gun deaths exceed motor vehicle deaths in 10 states is stunning when one considers that 90 percent of American households own a car while fewer than a third own firearms. It is also important to consider that motor vehicles–unlike guns–are essential to the functioning of the entire U.S. economy. It is time to end firearms’ status as the last unregulated consumer product.”

As a result of their study, the Violence Policy Center has proposed a number of regulations, bans, restrictions, and enforcement actions.

Comprehensive regulation of the firearms industry and its products could include: minimum safety standards (i.e., specific design standards and the requirement of safety devices); bans on certain types of firearms such as “junk guns” and military-style assault weapons; limits on firepower; restrictions on gun possession by those convicted of a violent misdemeanor; heightened restrictions on the carrying of loaded guns in public; improved enforcement of current laws restricting gun possession by persons with histories of domestic violence; more detailed and timely data collection on gun production, sales, use in crime, involvement in injury and death; and, public education about the extreme risks associated with exposure to firearms.

America is reaping the benefits of decades of successful injury prevention strategies on its highways, but continues to pay an unacceptable, yet equally preventable, price in lives lost every year to gun violence.

There is only one little problem with their study and recommendations. They have aggregated all deaths from the use of a firearm – homicides, legal interventions (police shootings), suicides, and accidents – into what they call gun violence. In each of the ten states listed, suicides comprise the vast majority of firearm-related deaths. Homicides and legal interventions comprise only a fraction of the firearms-related deaths. This ranges from a low of 14% in Utah to a high of 46% in Michigan.

If you look at their recommendations, they do nothing to reduce suicide. Does it really matter to a person who is intent on committing suicide that they can’t use “junk” guns (sic) or a “assault  weapon” (sic) or that there are restrictions on concealed carry? We all know the answer is an unequivocal no.

Suicide is a sad thing. It is painful for those left behind who are left wondering why. It is hard on the law enforcement, EMT, and medical personnel who have to deal with the aftermath. And it is extremely sad that someone has given up all hope of living and decided to take their own life.

If the Violence Policy Center really wanted to propose something useful, they would push for more suicide hotlines. They would advocate for putting mental health treatment on par with other healthcare and not have it treated as a second class illness. They would conduct research into the root causes of suicide.

If VPC really wanted to look at the numbers, it would find that there were more suicides – 36,909 – than deaths from motor vehicles and only about half of those were committed with a firearm. Moreover, deaths from suffocation (hanging) and poisoning outnumbered homicides by almost 4,000 deaths.

VPC doesn’t really want to propose useful solutions nor do they really want to look at the numbers. They do junk research to promote their gun prohibitionist agenda and to continue getting money from the deep pockets of organizations like the Joyce Foundation. It is actually rather pathetic.

UPDATE: Sebastian has more on just how dependent VPC has become on that grant money. Support from donations now comprise less than 20% of their total revenues and you can guess where they get the rest of the money. Moreover, 55% of their budget goes to support the salaries of just Josh Sugarmann and Kristen Rand.

Eat Your Heart Out, Violence Policy Center!

The Violence Policy Center loves to moan and groan about how the NRA gets so much money from the firearms industry. Sturm, Ruger and Company, in a drive to break the one million firearm sales mark for one year, pledged to donate $1 for each firearm sold over a one year period. Through three quarters, Ruger has sold 871,200 firearms and donated an equal amount to the NRA. They have just decided to raise their pledge to $1.2 million.

Eat your hearts out Josh Sugarmann and Kristen Rand because the Joyce Foundation is never going to match this!

Gun Control Activists Fire Squib Loads

I’m sure Joan Peterson will accuse the NRA-ILA of being big meanies for their take-down of the gun prohibitionists Josh Horwitz and Josh Sugarmann. And I’m equally sure that whomever wrote this for the ILA had a damn good time doing it!

The NRA-ILA took issue with CSGV’s Josh Horwitz and his contention that gun sales are not booming. They point out that reporters could do just exactly what the NRA and NSSF do: go to the ATF’s website for their reports.

They then look at  Josh Sugarmann of the Violence Policy Center and his work. Given his “scholarship”, they suggest he might be able to con the Joyce Foundation out of another $100 grand “for his tiny operation.”

Friday, January 13, 2012

On Monday, Josh Horwitz of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence—previously known as the National Coalition to Ban Handguns— penned an item for the very left-leaning Huffington Post website, deriding media reporters for writing articles that say gun sales are booming.

According to Horwitz, the reporters are wrong because their claims are based upon the FBI’s monthly counts of National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) checks. As Horwitz points out, not all firearm-related NICS checks are for firearm acquisitions, and the number of checks does not reflect the number of firearms acquired in conjunction with the checks. Among other things, he also points out that some NICS checks are for acquisitions of second-hand firearms.

Yet NICS checks, over 99 percent of which are related to firearm acquisitions or carry permits, have risen from 11 million in 2007, to nearly 13 million in 2008, to over 14 million in 2009 and 2010, and to 16.4 million in 2011, almost guaranteeing that sales of new firearms have been increasing during that time frame.

However, Horwitz is wrong to conclude that new gun sales have not been rising, merely because NICS check tallies do not specifically address the question of whether new gun sales are increasing and, if so, by how much.

There’s a much better indicator of new gun sales that Horwitz ignored: U.S. firearm manufacturers’ production data and firearm importation statistics, both reported by the BATFE. Horwitz accuses NRA and the National Shooting Sports Foundation of not providing reporters hard data, but reporters can get the BATFE’s data the same way the NRA and the NSSF do—by visiting the BATFE’s website.

The BATFE’s data show that the number of firearms made in the U.S.A. and not exported, plus the number of firearms imported, increased from 5.1 million in 2005, to 5.7 million in 2006, 6.5 million in 2007, 6.9 million in 2008, and almost 9 million in 2009. Figures for 2010 and 2011 have not been released, but based on the trend in NICS checks, it’s likely that they will follow a similar pattern.

Also this week, the Violence Policy Center’s Josh Sugarmann—a former employee of the NCBH himself—had an item on the Huffington Post website, claiming to have conducted a “study” of homicides in California. To be precise, the “study” consisted of cutting and pasting data available from the California Department of Justice. If that’s a “study,” then anyone with a computer and 15 or 20 minutes to spare can be a “scholar!”

In Sugarmann’s case, however, it may have been 15 or 20 minutes well spent. His “study” concludes that the California data surely warrant further study of “the identification of the make, model, and caliber of weapons most preferred by this age group as well as analyses identifying the sources of the weapons” and an “expansion of comprehensive violence intervention and prevention strategies that include a focus on the psychological well-being of witnesses and survivors of gun violence.” Those are just the sort of things Sugarmann might convince the Joyce Foundation to donate another $100,000 or so for his tiny operation to whip together, since the Congress recently banned the National Institutes of Health from using taxpayer dollars for such a frivolous and politically motivated end.

Meanwhile, Fox News ran an article concerning data that undercut the concerns of both anti-gun activists. Bearing in mind that the number of privately owned firearms in America is at an all-time high and apparently, increasing at a record pace, the article says that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported that “For the first time in 45 years, homicide has fallen off the list of the nation’s top 15 causes of death,” down to 16th place on the list. So much for their assumption that more guns bring more crime.

Gun Industry Bankrolling The Marines

The Violence Policy Center has this meme that gun rights movement only exists to build sales for the firearms industry. In return, the firearms industry fully funds it. This is, of course, nonsense and they know it.

In their fevered imaginations, any donation made by any firearms company is for the sole purpose of co-opting the recipient and building firearm sales. To think that they would make the contribution out of a sense of patriotism, altruism, or a belief in constitutional rights is unfathomable to their little minds.

Thus, I imagine the headline above is how VPC would respond to this donation made by Glock, Inc.

Smyrna, GA – GLOCK, Inc. will donate a total of $75,000 to two separate organizations during the 2011 Modern Day Marine held in MCB, Quantico, VA, Sep. 27 – 29. GLOCK, Inc., Vice President, Josh Dorsey will present $50,000 to the Young Marines and $25,000 to the Marine Corps League during a presentation held at the Iwo Jima Memorial, Quantico on Wednesday, Sept. 28th, at 2:00PM.

“GLOCK is proud to contribute to organizations such as the Young Marines and the Marine Corps League, which play such a vital role in providing aid to the families of America’s fallen heroes as well as develop the characteristics of our nation’s future leaders,” said GLOCK Vice President, and former Marine, Josh Dorsey. “GLOCK has a long-standing tradition of supporting those that put themselves in harm’s way to protect the freedoms we currently enjoy.”

The organizations who will be receiving the donations include:

Young Marines: This will be the sixth consecutive year that GLOCK, Inc. has made this contribution to the Young Marines totaling $300,000. The Young Marines is a nonprofit youth organization whose mission is to positively impact America’s future by providing programs for youth that promote their mental, moral and physical health through teamwork, self-discipline and a drug-free lifestyle. The program strives to instill core values of “Honor, Courage and Commitment” adopted by each member of the Marine Corps. Scheduled to accept the donation on behalf of the Young Marines will be Lt. Col. Mike Kessler USMC (Ret), National Executive Director of the Young Marines of the Marine Corps League.

Marine Corps League: This is the second year that GLOCK, Inc. has made a contribution to this organization. The Marine Corps League is comprised of retired Marines dedicated to promoting the ideals of American freedom and democracy, voluntarily aiding and rendering assistance to all Marines and former Marines and to the families of fallen Marines as well as perpetuating the history of the United States Marine Corps. The group is active in supporting injured Marines, youth programs, Veterans benefits issues and the National Marine Corps Museum. Scheduled to accept the donation on behalf of the Marine Corps League will be the National Commandant and former Major League Umpire Vic Voltaggio, Executive Director Michael A. Blum, and Past Junior Commandant James A. Laskey.

Good for Glock that they will make this large donation to both of these worthy organizations.

H/T The Outdoor Wire

VPC Claims Mini-14 Is “Poor Man’s Assault Rifle”

In the wake of revelations that the deranged killer in Norway used a Ruger Mini-14, the Violence Policy Center has released a “report” calling the Mini-14 the “poor man’s assault rifle.” This term came from “Assault Pistols, Rifles and Submachine Guns” – an old, out-of-date book (published in 1986) – by Duncan Long

The MRSP for the base model of the Ruger Mini-14 is $881. The price for the model they feature in the “report” is $921. Street prices for these rifles are still in the upper $600 range. Those are U.S. prices. I imagine it is much higher priced in Europe.
The Violence Policy Center then goes into exhaustive detail from the deranged killer’s 1500 page manifesto about why he went with the Ruger Mini-14. They, of course, call it a “militarized weapon” which can defeat body armor and are easily available in the United States. Mind you, the deranged killer was Norwegian and bought his rifle under the extremely strict Norwegian gun control laws.

Again, it is the implement that the gun prohibitionists blame and not the killer. Nowhere on their site do I see anything about the killer’s access to fertilizer with which he constructed a car bomb that killed 7 people.

This “research” is typical of VPC. They use obscure books and articles to condemn the firearm, quote extensively from a deranged man’s “manifesto”, and, by doing so, give him the publicity he so desparately was seeking.

But What Will The Violence Policy Center Say?

Ruger is attempting to become the first firearms manufacturer to sell one million guns in one year. They issued the following release saying what happens if they meet their sales goal.

Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. (NYSE: RGR) is proud to announce the “Million Gun Challenge” to benefit the NRA. Ruger pledges to donate $1,000,000 to the NRA if one million new Ruger firearms are sold between the 2011 and 2012 NRA Shows.

“Our goal is to present the NRA with a check for one million dollars during the 141st NRA Annual Meeting in St. Louis next April,” said Ruger CEO Mike Fifer. “This substantial donation would reflect a record-breaking feat in the firearms industry, as we believe no company has every sold one million firearms in a 12-month period. With the help of our loyal customers, we hope to make history and to share that accomplishment with the NRA.”

I’m sure that Josh Sugarman and Kristen Rand at the Violence Policy Center are jumping up and down for joy thinking that they have just been vindicated. They have been saying that the NRA is just a tool for firearms manufacturers and that is why the MidwayUSA’s, the Rugers, the Glocks, etc. “subsidize” (i.e., donate money) to the NRA. I wonder what they will do once they realize that this means another million firearms in the hands of freedom-loving, Second Amendment backing Americans?