In his May 31 AFN letter “Kennedy, please stop spreading gun lobby myths,” Brian Brinkley once again demonstrates his knowledge of the gun control issue.
He cites as his sources: articles from Mayors Against Illegal Guns and the Center for American Progress, both of which are widely recognized as fact-based, unbiased sources of news. Well, widely recognized in certain political circles.
One article references a study conducted in 1994 by Cook and Ludwig. I’ve read both the short and the long version reports. Here are a few nuggets of interest from the short version that Brinkley seems to have overlooked in his first two points:
Point 1 – we need to close the gun show loophole because 30-40 percent of gun sales avoid a background check. Exhibit 5 in the study reports that for all guns acquired by the respondents:
• 63 percent were obtained from a dealer
• 17 percent were received from a family member (do we need background checks on family members?)
• 12 percent were received from a friend or acquaintance (do we need background checks on friends?)
• 4 percent were other
• 4 percent were from gun shows
The report fails to specify whether the 4 percent of guns acquired at a gun show were obtained from a dealer or a private party, so we’re to assume they’re all private party? In my experience there are far more gun dealer transactions than there are private party transactions at gun shows.
The study also references a 1986 survey of incarcerated felons. It reports that 32 percent of that group obtained their guns by stealing them. Where’s the data on the other 68 percent of the felons? How did they obtain their weapons? Ah, they must be in that 4 percent of gun show purchasers. Of course!
Please make the case for universal background checks: How many guns used in a crime were obtained in a private party transfer? And how many of those criminals are likely to participate in a background check for their future firearm purchases?
Point 2 – having a gun won’t protect you. In fact, you’re more likely to shoot yourself. The study reports that:
• Defensive gun use (the ability to prevent a crime) is somewhere between 108,000 cases per year and up to 2.5 million. The study’s own sampling methodology derived 1.5 million cases, which the report then tries to refute as being too high.
• One-third of gun owners, over 14 million people, carried a gun for protection at least once in the 12 months covered by the study.
The 2011 National Vital Statistics Report shows there were 851 deaths due to accidental discharge from a firearm that year, and 20,000 gun suicides. Let’s see… 300 million firearms in the U.S., 14 million people carrying for protection, maybe 108,000 defensive use cases, and yet we’re more likely to shoot ourselves?
I’m not sure whose arguments are more mythical: Kennedy’s or Brinkley’s?
• CPA Bill Richardson and his wife, Annelle, have lived in Ahwatukee for more than 17 years. They have four children and one grand-child.