Don Kennedy’s guest commentary in the May 15 AFN (“Why the resistance to background checks and why the need for semi-automatics?”) attempts to perpetuate various false assertions of the gun lobby. Let’s call him on a few:

1. There are already enough background checks on gun purchasers.

Unlikely. The last comprehensive study, while dated, estimated around 30 to 40 percent of gun sales avoid background checks through private sale loopholes. The ATF has investigated and proven the ease in which guns can be purchased at gun shows without background checks.

2. Your semi-automatic gun will protect you in the event of a home invasion, mugging or car-jacking.

Unlikely. In rare cases it may, but in most it won’t. For example, guns in the home are much more likely to be used for suicide, in an accident, or for domestic abuse than in a case of successful self-defense.

3. The worst mass murder shootings always occur in gun free zones.

Wrong. Out of 56 mass shootings identified in the last 4 years, only 13 were in “gun free zones.”

4. People are safest in conceal carry states.

Wrong. Hawaii has the lowest level of gun violence and Louisiana has the highest level of gun violence (unfortunately, Arizona has the fourth highest). There is a positive correlation between high levels of gun violence and gun-friendly regulation at the state level.

5. Our government is our own worst enemy.

Absolutely wrong. Freely and democratically elected representatives accountable each election cycle lead our government. Voting is how we change the course of our government, not by armed insurrection. Kennedy rather vaguely references George Washington’s farewell address to support his fear of our government. Be clear on two counts: President Washington wrote in that address: “The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government.” President Washington used military force to put down the armed “Whiskey Rebellion” anti-tax insurrection.

(Sources: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/the-stale-claim-that-40-percent-of-gun-sales-lack-background-checks/2013/01/20/e42ec050-629a-11e2-b05a-605528f6b712_blog.html; http://www.mayorsagainstillegalguns.org/html/federal/gun_show.shtml; http://ajl.sagepub.com/content/5/6/502; http://libcloud.s3.amazonaws.com/9/56/4/1242/analysis-of-recent-mass-shootings.pdf; http://www.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/AmericaUnderTheGun-4.pdf)

Bryan Brinkley

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