Friday, December 26, 2008

The Loony-Tunes on Guns

Every once in a while, it's good to read the 'original spin,' so that you know what to expect from the Interwebospherethingy echo chambers.

Here's an item from the Shepherd Express' online site which is, ah, .......interesting.

The gun industry and the National Rifle Association (NRA) don't want you to know that gun sales have stagnated for years, and their campaigns to legalize concealed carry and fight restrictions on the sales of highly lethal weapons are part of their strategy to boost stagnant gun sales.

Umnnnh, yah. That 'stagnation' is why barrels for AR-15's are backordered by 6+ weeks, and why the FBI reports that NICS checks remained approximately constant at 8+ million/year from 1999 through 2007. One can accurately use the term "stagnant" to describe flat sales, which the NICS stats would seem to support. But the article itself also tells us that guns are 'durable goods' (true); thus, we are seeing additions to personally-owned gun inventories at some percentage of gun sales/year.

And we haven't seen the numbers for 2008, which by all reports is going to be a banner year for gun sales.

The SE interviewed a fellow named Tom Diaz.

Tom Diaz, senior policy analyst at the Violence Policy Center, argues that this business strategy does a disservice to the sport shooters and hunters who make up the bulk of the NRA's membership, and has resulted in turning the United States into the "last great market" for cheap and highly lethal weapons

"Highly lethal?" Is that worse than "Middling Lethal?" or "Lightly Lethal"? Ask any victim, (if they were only 'lightly lethally" assaulted, I guess...)

[Diaz:] I realized was that the gun industry and manufacturers had changed the profile of who their target market was. It was not about self-defense or the right to bear arms. They were hyper-marketing very lethal guns and they flooded the U.S. with them. The NRA doesn't represent sport shooters and hunters. They were selling these killing machines

Diaz is a rhetorician, using the elision of actual facts from his propaganda statements to stoke up the uninformed. NRA, of course, does not "sell" weapons, and its principal magazine's (American Rifleman) content usually runs about 50% hunting-related articles. Self-defense articles are another 30% of content; accessories (scopes, binox, etc.) and 'historical gun' items are the rest of the content, (excepting editorials.)

And just like with newspapers, who reads the editorials?

[Diaz, again]: how do I, as a gun manufacturer, get you to buy more guns? They recognize this problem. They discuss it. This is their innovation: In the past 25-30 years they have come up with new designs that are more lethal. They push them through magazine articles and gun shows.

A comparative of "lethal" again. I'm waiting for the superlative of "lethal".....

Then there is the NRA campaign to allow concealed weapons to be carried everywhere. So the manufacturers started marketing small handguns, so you could walk around with a gun in your pocket. And they are marketing to women and children to broaden their market.

Manufacturers "started" marketing small handguns in the 1800's. They were called Derringers, after the inventor of the product. Concealable handguns were also sold to tens of thousands of police officers and civilians. They are not "new" in any sense of the term.

[More Diaz, yet again]: they get hunters and recreational shooters all worked up about people trying to take their guns away. But I don't know any rational person in the gun-control movement who wants to take away someone's hunting rifle.

Half-true, at best. The gun-control weenies have tried, very hard, to make semi-auto rifles illegal, including semi-auto hunting rifles down to .22LR Rugers used for controlling coyotes, squirrels, skunks, and chipmunks. They haven't gotten around to "siezure"--only because they never managed to get the ban they so desperately want.

Actually, Diaz' real problem is finding 'rational people' in the gun-control movement in the first place. Diaz does a good job of personally demonstrating irrationality as the article goes on.

[Diaz, ad nauseam]: adopting a public health perspective would allow us to know more about firearms and death caused by them. The industry has been instrumental in suppressing data on gun violence

Suppressing data on gun violence? Really!! You mean that Marty Kaiser at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has been getting threats from NRA and the NSSF about running those news stories every day? Or that the JS' crime reporters are spiking stories before they even get to Marty's desk? Or that the FBI no longer publishes Uniform Crime Reports?

[Diaz]: So if gun violence was addressed from a public health perspective, guns would not be eliminated. But we could control the types of firearms that are most lethal, like the military-style automatic weapons

Finally!! The superlative of "lethal!!"

ALL "automatic weapons" are already 'controlled' by BATFE. Anyone who owns a full-auto weapon (legally) must have a specific permit to buy and keep one. The statement is a deception-in-phrasing, of course. He says "military-style automatic weapons" to create the mental picture of war zones, which is not even accurate in the worst sections of US urban areas. Ask any actual cop.

[Diaz, the Conspiracy Theorist/Paranoid Ranter]: The Bush administration has been prime co-conspirators with the gun industry. Secretly, the administration has opened the valve for the import of assault riles into the country suspects he refers to CONGRESS' refusal to renew the Assault Weapons Ban. The President does not serve as a Member of Congress, Mr. Diaz. And it's no "secret" that semi-auto rifles are imported. Hasn't ever BEEN a "secret." We import arms from Israel, Europe, and South America (not to mention AK's from China) every day, all day long.

A lot of people will read the SE article and assume that the contents are the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Too bad.

The article actually provides little that is true, and none which is whole-truth.


Amy said...

The Shepherd is looney toons on pretty much everything, except their arts reviews.

Beer, Bicycles and the VRWC said...

I see the obligatory, "I blame Bush". That sould be enough for any sane, rational individual to disregard everything in the article.