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Myth of gun-show loophole insults honest gun owners

Josey1Josey1 Member Posts: 15,758
edited January 2002 in General Discussion
Myth of gun-show loophole insults honest gun owners By Dave WorkmanSpecial to The Times In its continuing zeal to erase the civil rights of firearms owners, The Seattle Times published an editorial Jan. 17 ("High time to close gun-show loophole") that showed not only poor research, but again demonstrated a penchant for taking a cheap swipe at the character of many gun buyers. In the process, The Times has failed to address the serious concerns of gun-rights activists and honest gun owners, instead offering what it would have readers believe is a panacea to crime. The Times began its attack by stating: that "Law-abiding citizens buy from licensed dealers who conduct background checks." True, but hardly the whole truth. At gun shows held here in Washington state, many firearms are legally sold, or even traded, between honest gun owners. The blanket assertion that "criminals, wife beaters and the mentally unstable might be drawn to tables at the same gun shows marked 'private sale' " amounts to an insulting attempt by The Times to imply that those who prefer to do business with a private seller have some sinister motive. Of course, the description matches the slanderous stereotype of gun owners as imagined by far too many columnists and cartoonists over the years. Moving beyond the issue of social bigotry, we must address the true problem with The Times' editorial position. It is not supported by factual research. Indeed, the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) last year released data that clearly refutes the argument that gun shows are arms bazaars for criminals. Data compiled by the BJS - based on interviews with 18,000 federal and state prisoners in 1997 - showed that less than 1 percent (0.7 percent) of those criminals purchased a gun at a gun show. Likewise, only 1 percent of the respondents bought guns at flea markets. Retail purchases accounted for 8.3 percent of guns the inmates used in crimes, and only 3.8 percent obtained their guns from pawn shops. The overwhelming majority of criminals' guns came from friends or family (39.6 percent) or from illegal sources on the street (39.2 percent). Based on that data from the Justice Department, one might reasonably and responsibly conclude that the so-called "gun-show loophole" is a myth, an invention by gun-control zealots and their media soul mates to bamboozle a public that is sadly gullible to such hype. This is not to say background checks are a bad idea. No rational person, and particularly no law-abiding gun owner, wants a criminal or maniac to have a firearm. But why should we all be treated like criminals for simply exercising a constitutional right? It is not the background checks that alarm gun owners, but what becomes of the information that is really at issue, and The Times obviously understands that. Ironically, in an editorial appearing on the same page, on the same day as The Times' endorsement of a gun-show law, The Times took a rather dim view of creating a database that would give us a national ID system. As The Times wisely noted in that editorial: "Any sense of official snooping or limitation on travel is deeply and bitterly resented." Perhaps The Times editorial staff should translate that concern to how gun owners feel toward retention of background-check records. Accurately noting that gun owners believe "there is more to this debate than meets the eye," The Times still pooh-poohs the "slippery-slope" argument as nonsense. Yet, amazingly, The Times recognized in its other editorial how government might find ways to misuse personal information for other purposes. Firearms owners in this country do not live in a vacuum. We have witnessed the results of gun registration in other Western nations, specifically Great Britain and Australia, where government in the hands of extremists has led to bans and confiscations, with resulting sharp increases in criminal use of firearms. Retention of background-check records, regardless of whether The Times wants to admit it, could easily be turned into a gun-owner registry, with the information being misused by government or anyone who can access those records through illegal means. Preventing criminals and nuts from getting firearms is of greater concern to law-abiding gun owners than anyone else, because every misdeed with a gun reflects poorly on the millions of people who own guns and never commit a criminal act. Doing a background check is one way to prevent that, but keeping information about approved gun purchases sets off alarms in the firearms community because, as The Times correctly argued in its other editorial, "The fear is the government will manufacture more reasons to see it." http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/editorialsopinion/134396742_workmanop29.html

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  • Josey1Josey1 Member Posts: 15,758
    edited November -1
    Myth of gun-show loophole insults honest gun owners By Dave WorkmanSpecial to The Times E-mail this article Print this article Search web archive In its continuing zeal to erase the civil rights of firearms owners, The Seattle Times published an editorial Jan. 17 ("High time to close gun-show loophole") that showed not only poor research, but again demonstrated a penchant for taking a cheap swipe at the character of many gun buyers. In the process, The Times has failed to address the serious concerns of gun-rights activists and honest gun owners, instead offering what it would have readers believe is a panacea to crime. The Times began its attack by stating: that "Law-abiding citizens buy from licensed dealers who conduct background checks." True, but hardly the whole truth. At gun shows held here in Washington state, many firearms are legally sold, or even traded, between honest gun owners. The blanket assertion that "criminals, wife beaters and the mentally unstable might be drawn to tables at the same gun shows marked 'private sale' " amounts to an insulting attempt by The Times to imply that those who prefer to do business with a private seller have some sinister motive. Of course, the description matches the slanderous stereotype of gun owners as imagined by far too many columnists and cartoonists over the years. Moving beyond the issue of social bigotry, we must address the true problem with The Times' editorial position. It is not supported by factual research. Indeed, the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) last year released data that clearly refutes the argument that gun shows are arms bazaars for criminals. Data compiled by the BJS - based on interviews with 18,000 federal and state prisoners in 1997 - showed that less than 1 percent (0.7 percent) of those criminals purchased a gun at a gun show. Likewise, only 1 percent of the respondents bought guns at flea markets. Retail purchases accounted for 8.3 percent of guns the inmates used in crimes, and only 3.8 percent obtained their guns from pawn shops. The overwhelming majority of criminals' guns came from friends or family (39.6 percent) or from illegal sources on the street (39.2 percent). Based on that data from the Justice Department, one might reasonably and responsibly conclude that the so-called "gun-show loophole" is a myth, an invention by gun-control zealots and their media soul mates to bamboozle a public that is sadly gullible to such hype. This is not to say background checks are a bad idea. No rational person, and particularly no law-abiding gun owner, wants a criminal or maniac to have a firearm. But why should we all be treated like criminals for simply exercising a constitutional right? It is not the background checks that alarm gun owners, but what becomes of the information that is really at issue, and The Times obviously understands that. Ironically, in an editorial appearing on the same page, on the same day as The Times' endorsement of a gun-show law, The Times took a rather dim view of creating a database that would give us a national ID system. As The Times wisely noted in that editorial: "Any sense of official snooping or limitation on travel is deeply and bitterly resented." Perhaps The Times editorial staff should translate that concern to how gun owners feel toward retention of background-check records. Accurately noting that gun owners believe "there is more to this debate than meets the eye," The Times still pooh-poohs the "slippery-slope" argument as nonsense. Yet, amazingly, The Times recognized in its other editorial how government might find ways to misuse personal information for other purposes. Firearms owners in this country do not live in a vacuum. We have witnessed the results of gun registration in other Western nations, specifically Great Britain and Australia, where government in the hands of extremists has led to bans and confiscations, with resulting sharp increases in criminal use of firearms. Retention of background-check records, regardless of whether The Times wants to admit it, could easily be turned into a gun-owner registry, with the information being misused by government or anyone who can access those records through illegal means. Preventing criminals and nuts from getting firearms is of greater concern to law-abiding gun owners than anyone else, because every misdeed with a gun reflects poorly on the millions of people who own guns and never commit a criminal act. Doing a background check is one way to prevent that, but keeping information about approved gun purchases sets off alarms in the firearms community because, as The Times correctly argued in its other editorial, "The fear is the government will manufacture more reasons to see it." Dave Workman is the senior editor of Gun Week, author of "Washington State Gun Rights and Responsibilities," and a member of the National Rifle Association's Board of Directors. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/editorialsopinion/134396742_workmanop29.html Copyright c 2002 The Seattle Times Company
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