Dispelling the 90% Canard

Since when do 90% of Americans agree on anything?  Yet somehow, a push poll stat has wormed its way into the debate over firearms.

The problem with polls are that you can force a desired outcome from them. And both sides of any debate are capable doing such a thing.

However, this particular CBS News/New York Times Poll has garnered attention because it has been oft repeated by the President and many others trying limit our 2nd Amendment rights.

So, what did this poll consist of? The only question asked of 1110 adults nationwide was:

Do you favor or oppose a federal law requiring background checks on all potential gun buyers?

That’s it. No nuance; just an answer in search of a question.

So, for the record, we do have the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act. It was signed into law over 19 years ago. It “requires that background checks be conducted on individuals before a firearm may be purchased from a federally licensed dealer, manufacturer or importer…”  It also established the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (aka NICS).

The only exception to this federal rule is private sales of firearms. That is, if I wanted to sell my privately, legally owned firearm to anyone else legally elligible to own a firearm. If I suspect or know that someone cannot legally posess one (like my neighbor with multiple felonies), I am prohibited from selling it to them.  If unlawful activity were to occur as a result of that individual obtaining that firearm, it would inevitably point back to me, and I would face federal charges. Some states, themselves, prohibit private sales without background checks.

I think its safe to assume that the majority of Americans gun owners are responsible, and feel their government should trust their discression when it comes to private sales.  Or, perhaps they don’t desire to pay a premium for a brand-new firearm from a dealer. So, they seek out folks they know in their community, or someone they can establish trust with, to purchase the type/make/model of firearm the desire for less than they’d pay at a formal dealer.  And, again, the majority of Americans feel they should be treated as adults to make these decisions.

To that end, what the poll DIDN’T ask was…

 “Do you favor or oppose a federal law requiring background checks on all sales, including private sales of guns (aka private property) ?”

I think we would be seeing some different results with this improved wording. So, I think we can speculate that the pollsters in question knew that such a phrasing would not obtain them the results they wanted.  I mean, hell, I’d have a difficult time saying “no”… though in the back of my mind I would immediately question, “do they mean private sales, as well?”

Follow-up questions, encapsulating the consequences of such action, would have shaped a different outcome, as well. Questions about filling out a 4473 or other FFL-type paperwork and paying a small ransom just to file and verify said information through NICS. These are the kinds of things that most folks oppose.

If there was a way to check, leave zero paper-trail/footprints, and cap costs to what the transaction of information actually costs (few dollars at best), I think you might find more support.  However, you’d have to do something to overcome the current level of distrust you, the politicians, this tact has exacerbated.

Worse, though, was the language of the Machin-Toomey bill. I’ll let Professor Volokh explain.  For TL;DR types…

The result of the disparity is “pro-gun” provisions which are actually very strong anti-gun provisions: The supposed ban on federal firearms registration authorizes federal gun registration. The supposed strengthening of FOPA’s interstate transportation protection exempts two of the worst states (the reason why FOPA was needed in the first place), and provides any easy path for every other abusive state to make FOPA inapplicable.

Anyway, folks ought to stop throwing this figure around. It’s not remotely representative, the response was decidedly shaped by the question, and as a result, when many hear it mentioned, they tune out.  It’s a subtle way of saying, “I’m not prepared to work with you on our rights”.


Steyn on Fluke

Thank you, Mark, for putting things in perspective

“No, the most basic issue here is not religious morality, individual liberty, or fiscal responsibility. It’s that a society in which middle-aged children of privilege testify before the most powerful figures in the land to demand state-enforced funding for their sex lives at a time when their government owes more money than anyone has ever owed in the history of the planet is quite simply nuts.”

In fact, there’s nothing that screams, ‘setup’ like the faux-hearing that Pelosi created to hear this “testimony” of hers in the first place, followed by her her interview on The View, insisting that the likes of Media Matters for America is a spectacular, unbiased source.  That’s just insulting.

Further, that she crys that she is being shut out by Rush Limbaugh. Being on all the talk shows she’s been on, I guess that irony is lost on her. Even more suspect is the personal phone call she received from the President.

And the curiosity continues now that she is being represented by SKDKnickerbocker, who has among its Washington Managing Directors, former Obama White House Communications Director, Anita Dunn.  You remember her and the ‘flag@whitehouse.gov’ snitch line, Attackwatch, her regular meetings with former Media Matters president Eric Burns, etc.

But Media Matters insists that’s all hogwash, and it may well be… after all, embedded plays are perfectly ok for Democrats. They’re only cardinals sins for everyone else… it’s all about intentions, after all (and the great pavement that they make on the road to hell).

Mark’s close says it best.

Almost every matter of the moment boils down to the same story: The Left’s urge to narrow the bounds of public discourse and insist that “conventional wisdom” unknown to the world the day before yesterday is now as unquestionable as the laws of physics.

Heads Need to Roll for Gunwalking

This is a little old (Nov 7th) in the context of our 24hr news cycle, but is well said and bears repeating.  From HotAir

The idea that we need to regulate the wider population more tightly in order to prevent catastrophically moronic operations by the feds gives me a warm glow deep in my libertarian heart. And I do mean catastrophic: Watch this new clip from ace CBS reporter Sharyl Atkisson updating the death toll from gunwalking. It’s not just Brian Terry.

[Original CBS Video]
CBS Video on their YouTube channel:

Then, Mr. Holder tried to manipulate increasingly negative press coverage by deploying a calculated document drop (Oct 31st), on the eve of Lanny Breuer’s testimony, of information investigators asked for in September.  “Bush did it first,” was the headline the select outlets ran with.  That’s what Holder’s dept. wanted, but it’s not accurate.

Let’s be clear, Operation Wide Receiver was not like Operation Fast & Furious (emphasis mine)…

In a controlled delivery firearms case, guns are traced in the sense that agents closely and physically follow them — they don’t just note the serial numbers or other identifying markers. The agents are thus able to trace the precise path of the guns from, say, American dealers to straw purchasers to Mexican buyers.

To the contrary, Fast & Furious involved uncontrolled deliveries — of thousands of weapons. It was an utterly heedless program in which the feds allowed these guns to be sold to straw purchasers — often leaning on reluctant gun dealers to make the sales. The straw purchasers were not followed by close physical surveillance; they were freely permitted to bulk transfer the guns to, among others, Mexican drug gangs and other violent criminals — with no agents on hand to swoop in, make arrests, and grab the firearms. The inevitable result of this was that the guns have been used (and will continue to be used) in many crimes, including the murder of Brian Terry, a U.S. border patrol agent.

In sum, the Fast & Furious idea of “trace” is that, after violent crimes occur in Mexico, we can trace any guns the Mexican police are lucky enough to seize back to the sales to U.S. straw purchasers … who should never have been allowed to transfer them (or even buy them) in the first place…

Ace sums it up well

Holder’s attempt is to claim that “Bush did it,” so the fact that the GOP is only asking about Holder proves this is all a partisan smear. Well, Bush didn’t do it, actually, and further, the GOP was asking about the Bush era programs too.

So: Holder implicitly claims he can’t release documents because they’re too confidential, but then decides on his own to give them to the press when he thinks it might help them?

Or: Holder ignores a constitutional, lawful demand for information, but then releases information on his own initiative to bail his corrupt, Marc Rich pardon-purchasing ass out?

Either way. It’s hard to say why Holder refused to comply, because he doesn’t offer reasons — he just ignores the requests entirely.

There was no government-to-government coordination like in Operation Wide Receiver, and there may have been something far more sinister at play here than just a botched Federal operation… the resuscitation of nationwide gun control.

Recall, in 2009, the administration’s, and especially Hilary’s, preoccupation with false figures in regards to US firearms in Mexico?  Funny sense of timing wasn’t it?  Read it all:

…from the beginning the scheme was to pad statistics on U.S. guns in Mexico in order to be in a strengthened position to call for gun bans and strict gun control at a time when it was politically unpopular. Further, the scheme would involve a made-up statistic, out of thin air–90%–which then had to be proved by using civilian gun retailers along the southern border as unsuspecting pawns to walk U.S. guns into Mexico by ATF agents, straw purchasers, and others with connections to Mexican drug cartels.

And the evidence points to the fact that Hillary Clinton was one of the original Administration officials who was ‘in the loop’ on the scheme from the very beginning.

It’s a pity that investigators are limiting their scope (for now) to the DOJ.  This may never get back up the chain to President Obama; seldom does.  However, we know this administration’s attitude toward the 2nd Amendment, owners of firearms, and the nation’s (legal, responsible) gun culture.  The President, frankly, doesn’t need to say anything… his people know his goals and shared them from the beginning.

As for Sec Clinton, we know how Clintons feel about so-called, erroneously named  “assault weapons” and the lengths they’ve gone to ban them in the past.  We just didn’t expect them to start arming criminal organizations with them on purpose as means to that end.

God willing, more heads at all levels will roll on this… it’s the least we can do for the victims of this government-created chaos.

Happy American Censorship Day (aka Fight the SOPA and Protect-IP)

This is some pretty poorly designed legislation that would put all US users at risk.  Please head over to AmericanCensorship.org for more details.


Please also read this piece at TechLiberationFront

The question here isn’t whether the law is well intentioned, or even whether piracy is a huge problem (I’d agree it is). The question is whether this particular approach to combating piracy is worth its costs.

Put more simply: good intentions don’t matter. You should know this better than anyone from having watched the FCC become a rogue agency because of the vague and broadly worded language of the Communications Act.  Sorting out this mess can’t be left up to the courts: betting the Internet’s future on the unpredictable whims of federal judges is a recipe for disaster and an affront to the rule of law.

Word. Fight the power.

Mourning in America

The “jobless recovery” has been a pervasive meme in the news the last couple years.  Yeah, not so much

According to the Commerce Department, the economy expanded 1.3 percent in the second quarter of this year. We also learned that the economy came close to contracting in the first quarter. The government revised the first quarter growth figures downward to just 0.4 percent, a huge downward revision from what we were orginally told (an increase of 1.9 percent).

From the first quarter of 2010 through the first quarter of 2011, we experienced five consecutive quarters of slowing growth (3.9 percent, 3.8 percent, 2.5 percent, 2.3 percent, and 0.4 percent).

What does this mean for you and me? Well, it means businesses are still feeling very insecure about our current future. Especially with the way our government continues to react to it.  The tone coming out of Washington D.C. is one of uncertainty. That is to say, business owners — people — are not convinced that the government is not going to try to extract every penny it can from their dwindling net profits.

True, the government has actually done that as of yet, but they talk like they are, and words mean things.  And these things are what lead businesses to cut back on employees and freeze wages.

To see the results of heavy handed government, at least at the local level, one need only look the Detroit that was

DETROIT – Detroit neighborhoods with more people and a better chance of survival will receive different levels of city services than more blighted areas under a plan unveiled Wednesday that some residents fear may pit them against each other for scarce resources.
Detroit’s population of about 713,000 is down about 200,000 from 10 years ago, according to U.S. Census figures, and has fallen more than 1 million since 1950. Some areas have fewer occupied homes than vacant ones.

Detroit is a miserable case study of big government run amok.  Predictable when vote-hungry politicians adopt policies that reward people for riding in the wagon and punish the folks who are pulling the wagon.

Atlas Shrugged was viewed as a dystopian fantasy 50 years ago. Today, Greece, Illinois, and Detroit are making Ayn Rand seem like a prophet.

Given our current rate of decline and flatline, hard times may continue to get harder

Four years since the economic crisis first reared its frightening head, with the failure of two Bear Stearns hedge funds in late July 2007, the nation’s output is clocking in at just $13.27 trillion — belowwhere it was when the house of cards first began to tumble.Now, after $4.7 trillion dollars in federal spending and $1.8 trillion in money-printing from the Federal Reserve, we’re in worse shape than we were before the bubble burst. And the economy is staring at the prospect of a fresh recession.

And the latest debt deal that’s not supposed to raise taxes?  Yeah, they still could. And that’s good or bad depending on your perspective.

All I can suggest is that you practice your own austerity, folks.  Live within your means. Rediscover your faith. I am deeply appreciative of Dave Ramsey’s call to start the recovery with ourselves.

In the meantime, buy some guns & ammunition and be prepared to re-weather 1932.

Lies, damned lies, and statistics

As popularized here by Mark Twain, the saying goes, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

And the Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) are a prime example in this latest report

WASHINGTON — Nearly half of the guns that crossed state lines and were used in crimes in 2009 were sold in just 10 states, according to a report being released Monday by a mayors’ group.

Forty-nine percent of those guns were sold in Georgia, Florida, Virginia, Texas, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, California or Arizona.

Wait a minute, let’s look at that list of states again:

Georgia, Florida, Virginia, Texas, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, California and Arizona…

California – #1 state by population – Leans BLUE
Texas – #2 state by population – Leans RED
Florida – #4 state by population – PURPLE
Pennsylvania – #6 state by population – Leans BLUE
Ohio – #7 state by population – PURPLE
Georgia – #9 state by population – Leans RED
North Carolina – #10 state by population – Leans RED

  • These seven states alone have a population of approximately 124 million people.
  • The entire list has a population of 145 million people.
  • With a population of 307 million (US estimate 2009)…

…that means these 10 states on the list has 47% of the population.

This is a great example of torturing numbers long and hard enough to force the confession you want to hear.  Forty-seven percent (47%) of the population in the United States lives in 10 states, and 49% of the illegal guns purchased come from that 47% of the population.

There is no real story here.

This isn’t a Republican vs. Democrat issue in this case either as there are blue, red, and states that straddle political lines.

No kidding, MAIG?  Ten (10) states in the Union are responsible for 49% of the guns, and 47% of the population happens to live in those 10 states?


No controlling authority

Who says THIS just 8 days after 9/11/2001?

We must also engage, however, in the more difficult task of understanding the sources of such madness. The essence of this tragedy, it seems to me, derives from a fundamental absence of empathy on the part of the attackers: an inability to imagine, or connect with, the humanity and suffering of others. Such a failure of empathy, such numbness to the pain of a child or the desperation of a parent, is not innate; nor, history tells us, is it unique to a particular culture, religion, or ethnicity.

Full text is here.  I’ll give you three guesses, and the first two don’t count…