The great conservative pundit Iowahawk is has a great quote about the state of modern media.
Journalism is about covering important stories. With a pillow, until they stop moving.
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) May 9, 2013
This is one of those. It is a study on guns that the Washington Post covered and I’ve seen nowhere else.
Yes, that is the actual title. I’m surprised nobody’s been fired for it and the article memory holed.
Lawful gun owners commit less than a fifth of all gun crimes, according to a novel analysis released this weekby the University of Pittsburgh.
In the study, led by epidemiologist Anthony Fabio of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health, researchers partnered with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police to trace the origins of all 893 firearms that police recovered from crime scenes in the year 2008.
I like how they put that: Perpetrator was carrying a firearm owned by someone else.
That shows you just how pervasive media spin is. That category is stolen or straw purchased guns.
They found that in approximately 8 out of 10 cases, the perpetrator was not a lawful gun owner but rather in illegal possession of a weapon that belonged to someone else. The researchers were primarily interested in how these guns made their way from a legal purchase — at a firearm dealer or via a private sale — to the scene of the crime.
“All guns start out as legal guns,” Fabio said in an interview. But a “huge number of them” move into illegal hands. “As a public-health person, I’d like to be able to figure out that path,” he added.
That’s good news for us. The take away is proof that all the gun control ideas that the Left can come up with that restrict the rights of law abiding citizens will barely make a dent in the homicide rate. Of course we all knew that but it’s nice to finally have evidence in an academic study.
Still, anything positive for us has to be minimized.
More than 30 percent of the guns that ended up at crime scenes had been stolen, according to Fabio’s research. But more than 40 percent of those stolen guns weren’t reported by the owners as stolen until after police contacted them when the gun was used in a crime.
I suspect that these are a lot of “I bought one gun for personal protection and hid it in my closet and forgot about it for years” gun owners. Don’t be one of those people.
One of the more concerning findings in the study was that for the majority of guns recovered (62 percent), “the place where the owner lost possession of the firearm was unknown.”
That seems oddly suspicious. I’m thinking the percentage of straw purchasers is higher than anybody suspects.
“We have a lot of people with a lot of guns,” Fabio said, referencing statistics on the large number of guns in circulation. “And some of them aren’t keeping track of them for different reasons — maybe because they have a lot of them and they don’t use them that often.”
Lock your guns up when you are not using them. A cheap safe isn’t a safe. Write down your serial numbers and store that information somewhere else.
A number of factors could lead to legal firearms entering the black market. Owners could misplace them, or they could be stolen — either through carelessness on the owner’s part (leaving a gun in an unlocked car, for instance) or determination on the part of thieves.
It’s also likely that many guns on the black market got there via straw purchases — where a person purchases a gun from a dealer without disclosing that they’re buying it for someone else. This is illegal under federal law. One potential sign that straw purchasing is a factor in the Pittsburgh data: Forty-four percent of the gun owners who were identified in 2008 did not respond to police attempts to contact them.
I’m thinking a lot of those “I lost my gun and I don’t know where I lost it” people might be straw purchasers.
The top-line finding of the study — that the overwhelming majority of gun crimes aren’t committed by lawful gun owners — reinforces a common refrain among gun rights advocacy groups. They argue that since criminals don’t follow laws, new regulations on gun ownership would only serve to burden lawful owners while doing little to combat crime.
There is always a “but” to counter the positive.
But Fabio’s research suggests that this strict dichotomy between “good guys” and “bad guys” isn’t necessarily helpful for figuring out how to keep “good” guns — those purchased legally — from getting into “bad” hands. And there may be modest, non-burdensome ways to help keep guns in the hands of the good guys.
“The good guys don’t commit the murders but we don’t know who the good guys are so we’re going to assume everyone is a bad guy so we still need more gun control.”
For instance, 10 states plus the District of Columbia have laws in place requiring gun owners to report the theft or loss of firearms to law enforcement, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a group that advocates for stronger firearm regulations. But in the majority of states, no such law is in place.
If my guns were stolen, I’d report it right away. The problem is that these laws in a place like DC usually get turned into a way for the city to prosecute the gun owner rather than catch the criminal.
DC resident: “I’d like to report my guns got stolen”
DC Cop: “Guns, but your permit is for one gun.”
DC resident: “I meant gun.”
DC Cop: “You have the right to remain silent…”
Additionally, past research has demonstrated that a small fraction of gun dealers are responsible for the majority of guns used in crimes in the United States. A 2000 report from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms found that in 1998, more than 85 percent of gun dealers had no guns used in crimes trace back to them. By contrast, 1 percent of dealers accounted for nearly 6 in 10 crime gun traces that year.
Sounds like the ATF isn’t doing their job well. This is my shocked face.
The firearms bureau knows exactly who these gun dealers are — but they’re not allowed to share that information with policymakers or researchers due to a law passed by Congress in 2003. As a result, solutions for stanching the flow of guns from these dealers to crime scenes remain frustratingly out of reach for public-health researchers.
“There’s not much federal funding out there to do research on firearm and firearm safety,” Fabio said. As a result, “there’s not a lot of good research out there. The process of getting it done has been hindered by a lot of limits on academics and how they can do firearms research.”
You mean the goverment won’t let “public heath advocated” do a run-around of the Second Amendment, imposing gun control as bureaucrat fiats the way they do in health care.
In the meantime, researchers have to be creative — like partnering with local law enforcement agencies to find answers to their questions.
We’re so sorry that you have to work to get results.
You can tell that the people who did this study and the WaPo writer who reported on it didn’t like the outcome.
It proves what the NRA has been saying all along is right. The vast majority of gun owners are responsible law abiding people who are no harm to anyone. The majority of murderers are already criminals, and there is a small percentage of people – straw purchasers or bad dealers – that enable them.
Go after the bad dealers and straw purchasers. That would go a long way in reducing gun crime. That isn’t a justification for blanket gun bans or gun control.
No wonder this study got no coverage.