OP-ED – President Obama confirmed yesterday that he is considering issuing executive orders based on proposals put forward by the study group headed by Vice President Joe Biden.
“My understanding is the vice president is going to provide a range of steps that we can do to prevent gun violence. Some of them will require legislation,” Obama said. “Some of them I can accomplish through executive action. And so I’ll be reviewing those today, and as I said, I’ll speak in more detail to what we’re going to go ahead and propose later in the week.”
“I am confident that there are some steps that we can take that don’t require legislation and that are within my authority as president and where you get a step that has the possibility to reduce the possibility of gun violence, then I want to go ahead and take it,” said Obama.
When asked by reporters what some of those steps might be the President responded, “How we are gathering data, for example on guns that fall into the hands of criminals and how we track that more effectively,” the president responded. “There may be some steps that we can take administratively as opposed through legislation.”
The mainstream media has been quick to jump on board by producing multiple studies that seem to answer the President’s question as to how guns end up in the wrong hands. But many of these studies use faulty or misapplied data to steer the discussion to a predetermined destination – “more gun laws equals less gun violence.”
That reasoning is flawed on a fundamental level. Brazil for example, instituted much tighter gun law over the last ten years. During that time gun ownership has indeed fallen significantly in the general population. Suicide and domestic violence from handguns is down. But gun violence carried out by gangs and organized drug cartels is up significantly. The kinds of guns being targeted for legislation in the U.S. are now solely in the hands of criminals in Brazil.
In 12 Facts About Guns and Mass Shootings in the United States, the Washington Post’s Ezra Kline wrote:
If roads were collapsing all across the United States, killing dozens of drivers, we would surely see that as a moment to talk about what we could do to keep roads from collapsing. If terrorists were detonating bombs in port after port, you can be sure Congress would be working to upgrade the nation’s security measures. If a plague was ripping through communities, public-health officials would be working feverishly to contain it.
Only with gun violence do we respond to repeated tragedies by saying that mourning is acceptable but discussing how to prevent more tragedies is not. “Too soon,” howl supporters of loose gun laws. But as others have observed, talking about how to stop mass shootings in the aftermath of a string of mass shootings isn’t “too soon.” It’s much too late.
Kline then goes on to claim what he is presenting is not a policy statement but rather facts that should make the discussion clearer. But facts are only reliable as the person presenting those facts. It is very easy to frame facts in such a way that the conclusion one draws from them becomes a fallacy.
For example, two of the 12 facts presented are that gun violence is higher in the south and lower in states with tighter gun control laws. Those facts are indeed true. But Kline doesn’t tell the whole story.
Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas are in the top five states for vehicular deaths. All three have mandatory seat belt and insurance laws. Might it be there are other factors at work? What these states hold in common is a high percentage of rural roads where the majority of fatalities in automobiles occur. If Washington logic was applied to these states, cars would be strictly regulated except for in urban areas.
Gun violence is higher in the South for two main reasons. More people live on the land in this region and hunting accidents are counted in the numbers for gun violence by the Washington Post. To equate gun deaths in Mississippi to gun deaths in Chicago is ludicrous. Chicago has some of the tightest gun control laws in the nation and is the murder capital of the country.
Another factor that makes so called gun violence higher in the South is legal fire arms used to protect property and person. Statistics show that home owners are more likely to defend their own property and person against robbery and assault because they have the means to do so.
The same Washington Post article shows that of the 62 mass shootings in the U.S. between 1982 and 2012, 49 of the guns were obtained legally. In those shootings 107 were committed with handguns, revolvers, and shotguns while 35 were committed with assault weapons.
Which leads one to know that the logic sooner or later will be to move beyond assault weapons and remove the kind of guns law abiding citizens typically own for protection. And in spite of being considered a fanatic for saying so, that is the logical conclusion of where this is all headed.