graphics matter, demographics edition

By and large, I am generally disinclined to believe Pew’s / Gallup’s / [insert polling agency here]’s reporting of firearm ownership rates in America.  First and foremost, there are some pretty significant flaws in modern polling methods.  Second and perhaps more importantly, based on my entirely-anecdotal-but-decades-long experience with the firearm-owning public, the probability of an average firearm owner answering truthfully when a random stranger calls them on the phone or knocks on their door asking if they own firearm is… vanishingly small.

However, exclusively for the sake of discussion, I am willing to accept a small part of this 2017 Pew Research Center report on the demographics of firearm ownership.  If you read through it, you will see that people who live in rural areas are approximately 2.4x more likely to own a firearm than people who live in urban areas (46% of rural residents reported owning a firearm, versus 19% of urban residents).

Given that we are talking about rates, Pew has already normalized for the substantial population differences between the two areas, so if the “gun control” extremists’ hypothesis of “more guns = more ‘gun deaths'” were true (we already know it is not, but bear with me here), one would expect rural areas to have a strictly higher rate of firearm-related fatalities, and probably close to 2.4x higher, right?

Unsurprisingly, that hypothesis continues to fail:

 

UrbanRuralGunDeaths
Please note that that the firearm ownership rate is per 100 people, while the “gun death” rate is per 1,000,000 individuals.  This is necessary to have both numbers significantly visible on the chart.  

 

Naturally, the firearm-related fatality rates come from the CDC’s WISQARS system, by way of their new “Metro / Non-Metro Indicator”.

Naturally, there will be some differences as to how WISQARS counts “urban” incidents as compared to Pew’s methods, but even accounting for those slight variations… well, the chart speaks for itself, as I always endeavor to accomplish.

You know, if they were not so busy trying to paint hundreds of millions of peaceful Americans as children-hating mass-murderers who deserve to have their Constitutionally-protected rights unjustly stripped from them, I would almost feel bad for the “gun control” extremists.  They just cannot seem to catch a break when it comes to the facts of the debate.

 

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“gun control” extremists for the past month

26l7cy

I really do wonder if they comprehend the internal inconsistency of their position.  On the one hand, they desperately want to raise the age to purchase a firearm – any firearm – to 21 on account of people apparently not being trustworthy until then.  On the other hand, they appear to believe that children who skip classes in order to throw temper tantrums should be treated with respect and reverence.

But, then, logic has never been a high priority for the “gun control” useful idiots… or a priority at all.

“weapons of war”?

Now that “gun control” is back in the national attention, the usual suspects are demanding that we, once again, pass a federal “assault weapons ban”, with one of the reasons for doing so being, “‘military-style’ ‘weapons of war’ do not belong on our streets!”

Ignore, for a second, that law enforcement agencies – at all levels – already are using actual military hardware and actual weapons of war on our streets, up to and including armored fighting vehicles.

Ignore, for a second, that basically none of the firearms prohibited under the last, failed “Assault Weapons Ban” were used by regular militaries or in wars.

Instead, allow us to ask a relatively simple question: do “gun control” extremists even know what a “weapon of war” is?

We have touched on this concept briefly before, but I think it is time for a deeper dive.  Consider the following examples:

 

1891

This is a “weapon of war”, and one of the highest sniper kill counts recorded was achieved with a rifle like this one, but it was not covered by the previous federal AWB or any state’s ban.  (Incidentally, it is also not legally considered a firearm, given this specific example was manufactured before 1899.)


 

blackhawk-axiom-r-f-stock-ruger-10-22-57

This is not a “weapon of war”, but it would have been covered by the previous AWB.  (The stock did not exist at the time, and the fact that it is a .22LR rifle is immaterial to the federal ban; after all, “gun control” extremists hate rimfire rifles.)


webley02

This is a weapon of war – quite possibly both in the UK and Israel, based on its proof marks – but was not covered by the previous AWB.


keltec-cmr-30-rifle-angled-oleg-volk

This is not a weapon of war, and would have been covered by the federal AWB.  (Once again, this particular rifle did not exist at the time, but all of the recent calls for a new “assault weapon ban” take the old law and make it even more expansive, so I feel certain this particular firearm would be included.)


3664

This is a weapon of war, and, in fact, one so terrifyingly effective that the Germans protested its use during World War 1.  However, it was not covered by the AWB.


e906a068c66ea86debacb68edee85154

This is not a weapon of war, but it was included in the ’94 ban – in fact, it was one of the specifically-named firearms.


1807

This is a weapon of war, and was once referred to as “the greatest battle implement ever developed“.  It was not subject to the “assault weapon ban”.


escort_raider_ar

This is not a weapon of war, but would have been prohibited by the AWB.


serbian-yugo-sks-762x39-surplus-rifle55

This very much is a weapon of war, and might be one of the most pervasive examples of the concept.  However, it was not banned by the federal AWB.


download

This is not a weapon of war, but would still be banned under a repeat federal AWB.


Are you starting to see a pattern?

If “gun control” extremists actually want to ban “weapons of war”… why are they not calling for actual weapons of war to be banned with their zombie “assault weapon ban”?

And if all they want to do with this rotting, shambling piece of legislation is only ban “weapons of war” – as they’ve been trying to proclaim for nearly a month now – then why is all that other stuff included in the blast radius?

Perhaps they have no idea what they are talking about.

And perhaps they are being… less than honest.

In either case, why should we take them – or their desires – seriously?

(Note:  Mosin Nagant image copyright 7.62x54r.net.  10/22 image copyright LA Police Gear.  Kel-Tec CMR image copyright Cheaper Than Dirt / Oleg Volk.  Winchester 1897 image copyright Rock Island Auction.  Intratec TEC-9 image copyright EGunner.  M1 Garand image copyright Rock Island Auction.  Hatsan Escort Raider image copyright Hatsan.  SKS image copyright Classic Firearms.  Kel-Tec SU-16E image copyright Sportsman’s Guide.)

enforce the laws on the books

One would think, given their endless clamoring for more laws, regulations, and restrictions, “enforce the laws on the books” would be a notion that “gun control” extremists would agree with.

Sadly, one would be wrong.

Consider, for example, the peculiar case of Scott Pappalardo.

On 17FEB18, in response to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting three days prior, Scott filmed himself cutting up his 30-year-old AR-15 in an attempt to virtue-signal his support for “gun control”.

In the process, he also committed a federal felony.

Specifically, Scott Pappalardo illegally made a short-barreled rifle (SBR) without paying the appropriate tax stamp, and in so doing, he violated at least sections (c), (d), and (f) of the 26 United States Code § 5861.  Per the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives National Firearms Act Handbook, this offense can carry up to a 10 year prison sentence and up to a $250,000 fine.

Bear in mind this is a strict liability offense – neither mens rea nor intent factors into the specific law.  Intent only applies to the creation of the rifle itself; once the rifle already exists, taking a hacksaw to the barrel, regardless of whether you intend to make an SBR or knew that doing so would create an SBR, is a crime, all by itself.

It is worth noting that Scott did, eventually, also cut up the receiver; however, he only cut it once, and with the same saw.  There seems to be some disagreement over the legal requirements to destroy a firearm, but, regardless, he cut the barrel first, thereby making the SBR, before he arguably destroyed the evidence of the crime.

To my knowledge, as of this post’s date, Mr. Pappalardo has not been arrested or charged with the appropriate crime(s).  That is, unfortunately, to be expected; prosecutorial discretion – i.e. selective enforcement of the law – is a time-honored loophole for useful idiots that the government wants to protect, or at least does not want to pursue.  But what is really interesting is how the “gun control” community has reacted to this law-breaker.

MomsDemandScottPappalardoThey are holding him up as a hero.

Around the country, “gun control” extremists are referring to Scott as “level-headed, conscientious”, “a man with a conscience and a soul”, a “good man”, and so forth.  Others hoped other firearm owners would replicate his “powerful statement”.  Even the local chapter of a “gun control” astroturf farm stuck their hand in the blender, describing Scott’s actions as “commendable”.  They later deleted that tweet – I wonder why?

And much like school shooters themselves, the popularity and media attention showered on Scott Pappalardo has prompted copycats, notably Karen Mallard, who happens to be running for Congress out of district VA-02.  She, at least, had the presence of mind to delete her video from Facebook and YouTube after scores of people pointed out that she was violating federal laws, but, as they say, the internet is forever [Update: it appears I spoke too soon about Karen’s wisdom – she reposted the video on her Facebook page]:

Once again, she cut the barrel first.  In Karen’s case, I have no idea if she ever got around to cutting up the receiver – the part of the firearm that is legally considered The Firearm – so she may still have an illegal, and illegally-made SBR on her hands.  So far as I know, there is no clause in the Constitution preventing felons from serving in Congress, but I imagine the 10-year sentence might get in the way of her aspirations.  Assuming she is prosecuted, of course… which she will not be, of course.

In both cases, if Scott or Karen had simply adequately destroyed the receiver first, we would all be shaking our heads at the senseless destruction of perfectly functional firearms, but no crime would have been committed.  Hell, if they had simply removed the uppers from the lowers first, they still would not have committed a crime (though we are entering into an uncomfortable grey area there).  However, cutting the barrel of a rifle to less than 16 inches, while it is still attached to the rifle, is very much a crime, with some very stiff penalties.

Lest anyone think I am joking about the severity of this felony, allow me to remind you that a man’s dog, son, and wife were all murdered by government agents – the last while unarmed and literally holding their 10-month-old child in her arms – all because he cut the barrel of a few firearms about 3/8″ too short.  Karen Mallard and Scott Pappalardo cut their barrels about a foot too short, and thanks to them “trying to do the right thing”, they will escape prosecution.

And, you know what?  I am sanguine with that.  You see, this situation is a win-win for the pro-rights community.

One of two things will happen:

  1. The Federal Government will prosecute these numerous “unconvicted felons”.  In that case, yes, the laws on the books will be enforced, which will be a perfect opportunity to demonstrate just how ridiculous malum prohibitum laws are, and, let us be honest – 99% of firearm laws are malum prohibitum.  Histrionics and hysterics aside, SBRs are no more dangerous than any other rifle or handgun, and the additional tax stamp and background check to make or purchase them is patently ridiculous.
  2. The Federal Government will decline to prosecute these virtue-signallers who helpfully recorded their felonies on tape.  In that case, I guess we are not enforcing the laws on the books, which calls into question why we have the laws to begin with, if we are not going to bother prosecuting people who violate them.

And all the while, the “gun control” extremists and organizations are trapped in an absolutely delicious Morton’s Fork.  Either they mount their white knight atop his valiant steed and come to the defense of these ignoramuses who committed rather serious federal felonies, or they throw these useful idiots under the bus and ignore the Holy and Glorious Deed they were attempting to accomplish.  Because a felony committed for The Right Reason is acceptable, right?

Like I said, it is a win-win… for the folks on the right side of history.

So what is it going to be, “gun control” extremists?  Shall we enforce the laws on the books, and throw these would-be do-gooders – in your universe, at least – in a federal penitentiary, as they deserve?

Or shall we ignore their offenses, because reasons?

And if we do ignore people breaking the law when it is convenient, remind me again why we should take your mewling for more laws seriously?

enforce-all-the-laws

(NOTE:  I am not a lawyer, I am not your lawyer, and I did not stay at a Holiday Inn last night.  Nothing I say here should be construed as legal advice or guidance.)

they hate them because they are black

Ask the average “gun control” extremist what their desires are, and they will assure you – ad nauseam – that your “hunting” rifles are safe, and all they want to get rid of are those dangerous “weapons of mass destruction” known as “assault weapons”.

While I think I have done an adequate job demonstrating how the very notion of an “assault weapon ban” is, itself, a meaningless, futile falsehood designed exclusively to attack any firearm the “gun control” organizations happen to not like that day, I have not yet addressed the above “argument”.

Not terribly shocking, they are lying – your hunting rifles are emphatically not safe from “gun control” extremists.

Consider the following tweet from Shannon Watts – if you do not know the name, I do not blame you, but suffice to say that she is the figurehead of an ineffective, astroturf, rabidly-anti-rights “gun control” organization:

screencapture-twitter-shannonrwatts-status-969572513154936833-1520297681222.png

Take a good look at that rifle.

It is undoubtedly scary to people who do not know better – it has an adjustable stock, a pistol grip, an extended magazine, a barrel shroud, a threaded barrel, and – perhaps worst of all – it is painted black.

Now consider this rifle:

8359

It has none of the objectionable ergonomic features, and, best of all, it is attired in a perfectly acceptable, fuddish color scheme.

Alright, have you reflected on the differences between those two rifles sufficiently? Allow me to let you in on a little secret:

They are the same rifle.

The Ruger Precision Rimfire rifle and the Ruger American Rimfire rifle are both bolt-action, removable-magazine-fed rifles chambered in .22 Long Rifle. In fact, both use the same magazines; you could literally drop the magazine out of the Evil Black Rifle, insert it into the traditional wooden rifle, and keep on shooting with the latter. Likewise, they use the same bolts, and the stainless steel action and barrel will drop in that black stock with just the turn of a few screws.

Oh, and the real kicker? The wood-stocked rifle has four more inches of barrel, yielding up to 60 additional feet per second of velocity for the bullet, meaning the “classic-looking” firearm is strictly more powerful.

So, allow us to recap: the head of a national “gun control” organization wants to obstruct legal adults from buying firearms that employ 194-year-old technology, which, in turn, has been at the heart of most hunting rifles since the turn of the last century. Even worse, these rifles are chambered in one of the most – if not the most – common hunting caliber for about as long.

Tell me again how our “hunting rifles” are safe.

2729805

“just another law”?

Now that school shootings are back in the news again, “gun control” extremists are predictably clamoring for additional laws to be put into place to “prevent” things like this.  Frequently, they have no idea what laws are presently on the books – or even how many present laws we have – but are absolutely convinced that one more will do the trick.

Here is the thing, though.

In 1933, in this very country, a teenager with enough money could literally mail-order a fully-automatic Thompson submachine gun to their very door.  This is the very firearm that was used by United States troops during World War II, gangsters and police during the Prohibition, and, yes, average American citizens who wanted them.

Again, delivered to his door.

No paperwork.

No records (aside from whatever logs the retailer kept).

No background check.

No FFL.

No 4473.

Nothing more than two peaceful Americans engaging in mutually-beneficial commerce, and thereby exercising at least three basic rights – the right to self defense, the right to own property, and the right to enter into contractual agreements with others.

Thompson-submachine-gun-advertisements.jpg

Why did I choose 1933 as a seemingly arbitrary date?

Well, in 1934, everything started to change.

First came the National Firearms Act.  Then came the Federal Firearms Act, the Gun Control Act of 1968, the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, the Hughes Amendment to the Firearm Owners Protection Act, the Undetectable Firearms Act, the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990, the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994, various executive orders penned by President Clinton, the activation of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, the agreement between Smith & Wesson and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Child Safety Lock Act, and the NICS Improvement Amendments Act.

That is quite the list, is it not?

Since 1934 with the NFA, those are all the major federal firearm regulations that were enacted (with the exclusion of the Assault Weapon Ban, which was not renewed and thus omitted), and specifically those intended to keep firearms out of schools.

Before we even talk about additional laws to prevent school shootings, we should at least examine how the previous ones are doing.

Unfortunately, thanks to “gun control” organizations repeatedly lying about school shootings, it is rather difficult to build a full picture.  No US law enforcement agency has a universal definition of what constitutes a “school shooting” or even a “mass shooting”, unlike “mass murder” which is defined by the FBI as “a number of murders (four or more) occurring during the same incident, with no distinctive time period between the murders”.

So, while I hate to do this, I am going to use Wikipedia as a primary source for the number of school shootings over history.  I have not yet dug through all of their references to cross-check every single shooting they note, but given that they are presently at 569 references and climbing, I may never.  As such, I make no claims as to the veracity or accuracy of the data, and I exclusively accept it for the purposes of debate.

Ok, so with all these laws in place – and with unlicensed individuals bringing loaded firearms to schools being doubly illegal by way of the GFSZA and GFSA – surely these laws have been decreasing the number of shootings, yes?

SchoolShootingsFederalLaws

… Huh.

It almost seems like the number of laws and the school shootings directly correlate.  (Note, I am not claiming causality, in either direction – as always, correlation is not causation.)

In fact, it almost looks like those laws have accomplished… a lot of nothing.

Now, yes, there is absolutely the argument that “school shootings could be worse if we didn’t have those laws”, and it is a valid argument.  The trick is this: the only way to control for whatever impact those laws may be having is to repeal them and see what happens.  School shootings go up?  The argument could be made that the laws were doing something.  School shootings stay the same or drop?  Well… the laws were not helping, so why do we have them?

And that is part of the problem – “gun control” extremists never talk about repealing anything.  In fact, the current debate about affording teachers the choice to concealed-carry firearms – should they so desire – is immediately turned around by them and reframed as, “No one should be forced to carry a firearm!”  No pro-rights advocate is talking about forcing anyone to do anything; we are just asking that we stop forcing them to not carry.

The unfortunate reality is that when school boards are intentionally sweeping violent and dangerous students under the rug so as to improve the public perception of their district, “more laws” is a wholly inadequate response.  When the FBI was tipped off twice with regards to a school shooter and sat on the information, “more laws” will not matter.  When school shooters have documented histories of holding firearms to other people’s heads and no one does anything, “more laws” are strictly a “feel good” measure.

Absolutely no one wants to see children murdered.  We already have so many laws that do not appear to be accomplishing much of anything aside from unjustly limiting peaceful Americans’ rights; passing more knee-jerk laws born out of an emotional response is not the way to prevent those murders.

the 2015 brady campaign state scorecard – how does it score?

Many years ago, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence Ownership would release a yearly “Scorecard” to judge, based on their subjective and ever-changing standards, how well the fifty states were doing at implementing their desired “gun control” regulations.  Of course, we pro-rights activists would routinely dismantle, discredit, disprove, and generally destroy this “Scorecard” as being in any way useful, and they fell out of the habit of making such a fanfare of it.

In fact, the last one I can find published anywhere on the internet was from 2015, and was buried – almost like they were ashamed of it – in this rather paltry attempt at a knockoff of a TripAdvisor report of some sort.

From this 2015 “Scorecard”, we can determine a few things.

  1. No state, not even California, gets a perfect score.  Even with all of the draconian laws that California has in place regarding firearms, the Brady Campaign does not think it is enough yet.  This is, unfortunately, a typical mindset for the “gun control” extremists – they get a piece of the cake, and keep wanting more and more and more.
  2. The Brady Campaign has no idea what they are talking about.  For example, they penalize states 12 points for allowing non-residents to apply for carry permits by mail.  For some reason, though, they neglected to deducted 12 points from Connecticut’s, Idaho’s, and New Hampshire’s tallies for doing exactly that.  If we cannot trust them to get the basic facts right, how can we trust them on anything else?
  3. Speaking of “basics”, the “Scorecard” informs us, in big, bold font at the very top that “States can receive a maximum of 100 points”.  From checking the various positive point tallies, this is true.  However, it also leads the reader to believe that the states are judged on a 100-point scale.  This is false.  It appears possible for states to achieve scores of -47, and, in fact, Arizona has the distinction of the lowest score at -39.  How does a 147-point scale make any sense?
  4. Finally, the Brady Campaign had to blatantly massage their numbers to come out as “good” as they did, and they still are not that good.  But we will get to that.

All that said, the Brady Campaign incessantly claims that all of the various “gun control” laws they desire will somehow make people safer.  As such, it seems logical to conclude that – if they are correct – violent crime rates will be lower in states that have higher Brady Scores.

But are they?

Thankfully the Federal Bureau of Investigations makes finding state violent crime rates easy by way of their Uniform Crime Reports, and since this Brady Scorecard was published in March of 2015, we will compare it against the crime rates for 2014:

BradyScorevsViolentCrimeRate1

It does look like, impressively enough, that the Brady Scores and the violent crime rates of the various states correlate with a coefficient of -0.129, indicating a very weak – but negative – correlation.  This means that as the “Score” increases, the violent crime rate tends to decrease slightly.

HOWEVER, there is a catch.

There is a section of the Brady Scorecard entitled, “CATEGORY 3: MAKING OUR NATIONAL GUN VIOLENCE PROBLEM WORSE”.

In this category, states are rewarded, or penalized, for their “gun death rate”.  Notably, this number is cited as coming from “A Violence Policy Center analysis of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data” from 2013; why did they not just use they CDC data directly, and why not the data from 2014 at that?  Regardless, I am attempting to correlate a state’s violent crime rate with a “Score” that already includes an aspect of violent crime – naturally, this will strengthen the correlation.  As such, I went through and removed those points – positive or negative – from all states’ “Scores”.

Additionally, states are rewarded or penalized in this category for the number of “crime guns” per 100,000 residents exported from their borders – that is to say, firearms that were used in crimes in other states, but were originally bought in the state they are being scored against.  Notably, not even Hawaii – an island with significantly restrictive “gun control” laws – received a perfect score for this section.  Also, it is intriguing that the Brady Campaign is willing to give any “crime guns exported per 100,000 residents” a positive score – apparently they are willing to tolerate up to 13.2 per 100,000.  But, regardless, if firearms are exported out of a state and used in a crime in another state, they have no bearing on the safety of the people in the state that they are being scored for or against.  As such, I went through and removed those points from all states’ “Scores”.

Now that the “Scores” have been corrected from the Brady Campaign’s blatant attempt at massaging the data, what is the outcome?

BradyCorrectedScorevsViolentCrimeRate1

In other words, the corrected 2015 Brady Campaign “Score” for a given state correlates with that state’s violent crime rate with a coefficient of -0.0539.

Which is to say, it doesn’t correlate at all.  

Put simply, a correlation of -0.0539, given a sample size of 50 entities, is not statistically significant.

Or, to spell it out explicitly, there is no correlation between the Brady Campaign “Scorecard” and the safety of those states’ residents.

There is no evidence, whatsoever, that the laws supported by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence Ownership are making anyone any safer.  Granted, those laws do not appear to be hurting – that is to say, crime rates have not gone up due to the implementation of those laws – but they still amount to unjust limitations on an individual’s Constitutionally-protected right to keep and bear arms.  For that reason alone, they should be struck from the books; the fact that they are not helping reduce crime is merely icing on the cake.

(Now, the real question is how many anti-rights blogs and sites and whatnot will copy-paste the original graphic and its conclusion without copying the part after “HOWEVER”.  I would appreciate if my readers could keep me appraised of such attempts at cherry-picking, such that I can call them out as the liars they are.)

(As always, I make a point of providing my source data, especially since I had to correct the Brady Campaign’s blatant manipulations.  Speaking of, should they attempt to Memory Hole their 2015 scorecard, I have duplicated it, unedited, here.)