2/04/2013

Critical discussion of Fox News Sunday and their interviews about gun control



When issues like the attacks in other places such as movie theaters are raised, why not talk about all the attacks in gun-free zones?  For movie theaters, LaPierre could point to this discussion about the Aurora attack.  A more detailed discussion is available here.

I also don't understand why LaPierre can't correct the record on some of the claims being made.  The claim that "1.7 million prohibited people have been prevented from buying a gun" what they really mean is that "1.7 million people have been initially denied buying a gun."  Remember the five times that the late Sen. Ted Kennedy missed flights because his name was on the "no fly" list? This method of counting would be the equivalent of saying that the "no fly" list stopped five flights by terrorists. Sen. Kennedy may have been kept off those flights, but he still flew on later planes.

The problem is that at least 95% of these initial denials are false positives and that is just the tip of the iceberg.  After these initial denials are made, there is an initial review process in which 94% of the cases are dropped.  No discretion is allowed in this review stage.  If the person purchasing a gun was a prohibited individual who attempted to buy a gun, that is a crime and the investigation should be moved on to the next stage.  There was a 2004 survey of the cases that were then referred to local BATF field offices and that found that over 22 percent of those cases were still false positives.  There could be other cases, but at that point the annual reports become extremely murky.  We know for example in 2010 that there were 76,000 initial denials, 62 of those were eventually referred to prosecutors, prosecutors went ahead with 44 cases, and there were 13 convictions.  Yet, these numbers are an obvious overestimate as they say they might drop cases where the prohibited offense is "old," but strangely some of the cases that they go forward with have involved cases with prohibitions that are over 4 decades old.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Blaine Holzer said...

Dr. Lott, Could you and (say) Dave Kopel (or someone of your choice, or alone) get on the phone to President Keene and suggest some of these "lost opportunities"? I'm just a civilian (and NRA member) and very supportive of Wayne LaPierre but I often wish he didn't miss so many opportunities to be a more effective spokesman for our rights as Americans. BTW, Obama is using OUR money to travel around the country and talk us OUT of OUR 2ND Amendment RIGHTS? It's like a "lost" chapter from the novel "1984". I wish I WERE reading it from a novel and NOT from the Media in REAL time.

2/04/2013 11:42 AM  
Blogger GEM said...

I think that by allowing the huge number to go unchallenged, it makes the number of prosecutions for "criminals attempting to buy guns" seem even more ridiculously small. It may be a calculation that is turnng the exaggeration back on the anti-gunners in a way that they can only refute by admitting that the number is bogus.

2/04/2013 8:34 PM  
Blogger GEM said...

By allowing the number to go unchallenged, it makes the number of prosecutions for " illegally attempting to buy a gun" look even more ridiculously small. It may be a calculated way of using the falsely large number against the anti-gunners. In order to refute the low prosecution rate, the anti's would have to admit that the "nearly 2 million" number was bogus.

2/04/2013 8:39 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Thank you for pointing out the issue of overwhelming false positive on the denied background checks. I believe this is of huge importance. Unfortunately, it would appear that LaPierre and the NRA have decided that the public are too clueless to comprehend such subtleties; surely they are smart enough to understand your arguments... I believe this is a bad calculation on their part - if the truth helps their argument, then they should make it known, even if understanding it requires basic ability to reason or, at worse, the smallest amount of knowledge of statistics.

2/04/2013 10:34 PM  

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