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Old May 5, 2009, 05:51 AM   #14
BillCA
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 28, 2004
Location: Silicon Valley, Ca
Posts: 7,087
This anti-gun brief reads like some of their P.R. crap.

In the opening, they try to portray the right of firearm ownership as subordinate to other absolute rights, such as life, liberty and owning property. The brief argues that their right to life/limb/health outweighs that of your subordinate right to protect yourself, even in self-defense. They torture Locke and Blackstone to indicate that "government" was implemented to restrain the violence of men and to produce order. But they fail to mention that when governments become destructive to the good of the people, they have a right to abolish it and start over.

In the brief they say the English subordinate rights (including the right to arms) were created as barriers to protect and maintain inviolate the[se] three great primary
rights
(Life, Liberty, property). They later claim that a state's police powers gives it authority to regulate the kinds of arms, how/when/where they may be used, restrict the carrying of arms, make limits on the type and amount of ammunition one can have, etc. ad nauseum. But if the right to arms is a "barrier" against violating the three main principles, they must think it a flimsy one if the state is free to regulate all manner of restrictions - such as those in D.C.

The brief says that a handgun is not the most prevelant choice for self-defense. This is despite the fact that in over 50% of the police cases where a person defends against an attack, in the home or not, a handgun is the firearm most often used.

They place great emphasis that the SCOTUS majority decision didn't cite any authorities on the "common usage" of handguns. Neither did the dissenting brief cite any supportive authorities claiming otherwise that I recall.

Their brief has a reliance on notoriously anti-gun flawed researchers Philip J. Cook & Jens Ludwig is one. Citing other anti-gun research hacks like Garen Wintemute, Franklin E. Zimring, et al, leaves them open to easy criticism.

Best of all, is that they shoot themselves in the foot several ways.

One claim is that only a "minority" of firearms owners exist (25%) and only 16% of the population owns (eeevil) handguns. They claim 35% of households own any guns at all. Given that in some populous states (MA, NJ, NY, CA, IL) handgun regulations are, at best, burdensome and confusing to the average citizen, these illegal laws reduce the numbers. Besides that, several times government agencies have indicated there is no precise way to measure gun ownership in the U.S.

Then they start discussing "Defensive Gun Use" (DGU) from the 1995 Kleck study. They call the study an infamous DGU survey and discredited yet the only researchers who discredit the study are those who support anti-gun regulations in the first place.[1]

They suggest that the number of DGUs far outweighs the acutal number of crimes committed every year. The claim is that the methodology is flawed and people "telescope" (remember rare incidents outside the time frame). This is a load of Bovine Scatology. I was interviewed by phone for the Kleck survey and they took great pains to pin down in what year an incident occurred or whether there was a real threat (as opposed to, say, a curtain knocking something over in a breeze).

And their argument fails the "sniff test" too. They claim firearms used in 847,000 crimes a year so that a 2.5M DGU number is absurd. But they don't go beyond the actual selected figures. They fail to note:
* 847,000 is only firearms-related crime stats.
* Millions of non-firearms crimes are committed annually.
* The majority of the DGU incidents go unreported.
* DGUs apply even if it was overly aggressive for the crime being committed.

They lament that the .500 S&W can penetrate police vests, but then so can most rifles and several smaller handgun cartridges. This has little bearing on ownership of firearms and handguns being a right under the constitution. Indeed, if police lethality was an issue, it was more so 40 years ago before kevlar vests were produced.


[1] Citing the usual suspects, Wintemute, Cook and Hemenway. It is interesting that the brief claims these authors have "discredited" the Kleck survey's methodology, especially in light of an impartial researcher who had this to say:

Marvin Wolfgang, Director of the Sellin Center for Studies in Criminology and Criminal Law at the University of Pennsylvania, considered by many to be the foremost criminologist in the country, wrote, "I am as strong a gun-control advocate as can be found among the criminologists in this country. If I were Mustapha Mond of Brave New World, I would eliminate all guns from the civilian population and maybe even from the police ... What troubles me is the article by Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz. The reason I am troubled is that they have provided an almost clear cut case of methodologically sound research in support of something I have theoretically opposed for years, namely, the use of a gun in defense against a criminal perpetrator. ...I have to admit my admiration for the care and caution expressed in this article and this research. Can it be true that about two million instances occur each year in which a gun was used as a defensive measure against crime? It is hard to believe. Yet, it is hard to challenge the data collected. We do not have contrary evidence. The National Crime Victim Survey does not directly contravene this latest survey, nor do the Mauser and Hart Studies. ... the methodological soundness of the current Kleck and Gertz study is clear. I cannot further debate it. ... The Kleck and Gertz study impresses me for the caution the authors exercise and the elaborate nuances they examine methodologically. I do not like their conclusions that having a gun can be useful, but I cannot fault their methodology. They have tried earnestly to meet all objections in advance and have done exceedingly well."
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