In my previous column, I exposed the sleazy, lying language, and warped mindset behind the effort to try and convince us that there is a so-called gun show "loophole" when there is no such thing. It is a hoax.
Now, let's take a close look at some of the motley crew, some the Chicken Littles who are screaming the loudest about this mythical gun show "loophole" problem: U.S. Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.); U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.); Arnie Grossman, co-president of SAFE, a Colorado-based group whose full name is "Sane Alternatives To The Firearms Epidemic;" the Brady Bunch (of course) and last, and certainly least, the misleadingly-named Americans For Gun Safety.
McCain has said the gun show "loophole" is "dangerous" because "right now the law doesn't cover most of America's gun shows." He says gun shows "are the second leading source of illegal guns recovered in gun trafficking investigations." And he's said: "It just makes no sense to allow criminals and terrorists to evade background checks at a time when we are tightening homeland security."
Lieberman has said the non-existent gun show "loophole" means "criminals are getting around the law and buying guns with no questions asked." Rep. DeGette has been paraphrased by the Rocky Mountain News (6/16/98) as saying, preposterously and falsely, that the U.S. Justice Department "estimates that 70 percent of the weapons used in crimes are purchased at the 2,000 to 5,000 gun shows held nationally every year."
SAFE's Grossman says "most guns used for criminal purposes are purchased at gun shows." Sarah Brady warns, frantically, that: "incredibly, our soldiers could be gunned down by foreign terrorists armed with firearms purchased at American gun shows." And, Americans For Gun Safety ads assert that the gun show "loophole" allows convicted criminals, suspected terrorists, and prohibited aliens "to have all too easy access to guns."
OK. So, it's put up or shut up time.
What evidence do any of these folks have to support what they say? What data do they have showing how many guns are used in crimes that were bought from unlicensed sellers at gun shows? Remember, please, the "loophole" problem, supposedly, is the fact that unlicensed sellers at gun shows do not now have to conduct background checks.
Well, after waiting several days for a reply, McCain's press aide, Rebecca Hanks, says she's been looking for this requested data but is "unable to find it. I just haven't seen any data. That's my problem." She refers us to Americans For Gun Safety. So, the Senator is using their data? Says Hanks: "We have no reason to believe their data is wrong." But, there is every reason to question AFGS' data as we will see in a future column.
Lieberman's press aide, Casey Aden-Wansbury, refers us to Leslie Phillips of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee for the relevant requested data. Phillips refers us to Americans For Gun Safety. So, whatever they say is your data, too? Says Phillips: "I think so. We have relied on them very heavily."
Nobody from Rep. DeGette's office gets back to us to give us a source for her wildly inaccurate "70 percent" figure. But, then how could they? There is no such data. What she alleges is not even remotely related to anything we know about gun show "loophole" sales of guns used in crime -- which is virtually nothing.
Arnie Grossman of SAFE says, at first, that he does not remember saying "most guns used for criminal purposes are purchased at gun shows." Then, almost in the same breath, he does remember saying it though he admits what he said was "a little misleading." So, he wants to "clarify" what he said. He says his point was that when criminals want to buy guns from a legal source, the "vast majority" go to gun shows as opposed to dealers.
Q: What is your source for this assertion?
A: FBI figures of national crime statistics about three years ago. God, this is all so old now. I'm just trying to remember.
Well, try harder, Arnie. Paul Bresson, a press specialist for the FBI, says, concerning what Grossman says: "We have no stats for that or any data regarding gun shows."
So, there you have it. An anti-gun group justifies its push for gun control by appealing to FBI statistics which don't exist. And two prominent U.S. Senators who have led the fight to close the gun show "loophole" support their statements by mindlessly regurgitating what they are fed by Americans For Gun Safety. This, of course, raises obvious questions: What, exactly, are the folks at AFGS feeding McCain, Lieberman and the public through their ads? And how reliable is the AFGS information? I'll take a detailed look at AFGS answers to these and other questions in my next column.
Oh, and the Brady Bunch has no data re: guns used in crime that were sold through the so-called gun show "loophole." And poor Arnie Grossman, who led the fight in Colorado to close this "loophole," clearly has no idea what he's talking about. But, because he is so uniformed, and what he says is so revealing re: the mindset of the gun-grabber, I will, in my final column on the "loophole" fraud, write at some length concerning an interview with him.