Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Criminals Have More Assault Weapons

ABC News: Officer Down: Criminals Have More Assault Weapons, Police Departments Say

H/T: The War On Guns

ABC News is beginning a new 'series' they call "Officer Down".

The supposed theme of this initial article is that the 'bad guys' have "Assault Weapons", and are essentially out-gunning the police.

According to one of the (embedded in the story) videos, one LEO says: "All I know is that we should have the same firepower as the bad guys".

I have no problem with that. I think they should.

I think that you and I, honest citizens, should also have the same guns as the bad guys, and for the same reasons that the Police want these guns: firearms parity is A Good Thing.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Department is building up an arsenal of bigger weapons. Handguns and shotguns are no longer enough, and officers are being equipped with semiautomatic assault rifles instead.
You and I know that there is no such thing as a "semiautomatic assault rifle". By definition, a "semiautomatic assault rifle" is a selective-fire, non-pistol-caliber rifle. A "semiautomatic rifle" is not selective-fire (able to engage targets in both semiautomatic and full-automatic modes.) What we're talking about is a rifle which fires one round every time you pull the trigger ... which is entirely legal to own by most adult, non-felon, sane Americans.

But let's not quibble.

The article states:
Police departments from Danbury, Conn., to Dallas to Portland report that they are encountering more assault weapons and are arming their officers accordingly.
Fair enough, although the purposely shallow TV news article fails to quote an authoritative source for this statement.

But the next statement is a distortion of fact:
This surge of deaths stemming from semiautomatic assault weapons seems unnecessary. In 1994, President Clinton signed a law banning the sale of these weapons. But in 2004, President Bush and Congress allowed that ban to expire. Since then, Congress has made it illegal to keep nationwide statistics data on crimes committed with assault weapons.
Sunset Clause:
The fact is, the Clinton Congress pushed for a gun-control law based on Junk Science. No justification for the ban (eg: crime statistics showing that this type of firearm is a primary, or common, or even occasional firearm-of-choice in crime) had been established. The republican members held out for a time limit on the bill, which would expire and require a new vote in ten years. This is referred to as a "Sunset Clause".

(PBS had a typically Liberal, typically extremist discussion the day before the ban was due to expire. Diane Feinstein famously asserted that "gun owners" supported the ban.)

President Bush and Congress allowed that bill to expire!
The fact is that Bush promised to sign the bill making the Assault Weapon Ban (AWB) a permanent law if Congress sent such a bill to him. Congress defeated such a bill, (which was misrepresented by ("gun control advocates") because it had been shown not to make a difference in crime statistics. NPR tried a "Hail Mary" play to reacquire the Moral High Ground, but it didn't work.

This was perhaps due, in part, because a 2003 study by CDC (which, for years previous, actively opposed private possession of firearms) failed to prove the effectiveness of such gun-control laws.

"Congress has made it illegal to keep nationwide statistics data on crimes committed with assault weapons."
Actually, this is among the more egregiously misleading statements in this report.

The "Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act" is a complex law, and includes provisions which were specifically designed to prevent the certification process from become a 'registration' process.

Chief among these provisions is Section 102 (s) (6):
(6)(A) Any transferor who sells, delivers, or otherwise transfers a handgun to a transferee shall retain the copy of the statement of the transferee with respect to the handgun transaction, and shall retain evidence that the transferor has complied with subclauses (III) and (IV) of paragraph (1)(A)(i) with respect to the statement.

"(B) Unless the chief law enforcement officer to whom a statement is transmitted under paragraph (1)(A)(i)(IV) determines that a transaction would violate Federal, State, or local law--
"(i) the officer shall, within 20 business days after the date the transferee made the statement on the basis of which the notice was provided, destroy the statement, any record containing information derived from the statement, and any record created as a result of the notice required by paragraph (1)(A)(i)(III);
"(ii) the information contained in the statement shall not be conveyed to any person except a person who has a need to know in order to carry out this subsection; and
"(iii) the information contained in the statement shall not be used for any purpose other than to carry out this subsection.

(ED: Emphasis Added)

In later years, there was increasing pressure on the system to maintain these records for more than 20 days. At first it was evidenced as a need to 'back up system records' ... a data-processing archiving need.

Later, Law Enforcement Agencies (which shall not be named here) requested that these records be made available for "tracking" purposes. That is, serial numbers of "Crime Scene" firearms were to be compared to these records to determine the original purchaser.

These requests were initially met, and a large number of firearms purchase records were made available to some agencies.

Eventually, this became a 'registrations system' in fact, and Congress was requested and required to address the issue. In an evaluation of law, it became apparent that the unofficial accommodation of these requests was in fact not permissible under the law (the "Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act"), and consequently the administrators of the system enacted to enforce this law were directed to discontinue this 'courtesy'.

The implication of the ABC article is that Congress somehow acted to deliberately subvert the original intention of The Brady Bill.

The truth is that Congress required the administrative agency to conform to the law, as it was written and as it was enacted.

In the plainest language possible, The Brady Bill specifically stated that it was illegal to keep nationwide statistics on firearms ownership. This has nothing to do with keeping "nationwide statistics data on crimes committed with assault weapons" ... as long as these statistics do not include responses to Brady Bill record-keeping requirements.

The ABC statement is not only disingenuous, not only misleading; it is a blatant lie.

Here's an example of the 'true' information presented in the ABC article:

But the city of Miami has its own data, which shows that last year, the police department seized 10 assault rifles. So far this year, it has seized 50.

No problems with collecting this kind of information ... which ABC suggests that congress has suppressed. Except, of course, with the definition of the term "assault rifles".

And finally:

Miami police Chief John Timoney said, "There's a need for Congress to step in here and pass some reasonable legislation that reduces the availability of these weapons in the hands of people who shouldn't have them."

Until that happens, the arms race between the criminals and the police will continue.

Such laws are already on the books. And such an 'arms race' will always be a factor in Law Enforcement.

The difference is that LEO's are legally authorized to possess semi-automatic rifles.

In most jurisdictions, 'honest citizens' are already legally authorized to possess semi-automatic rifles.

And in most jurisdictions, criminals (ie: convicted felons) are already legally forbidden to possess semi-automatic rifles.

ABC, predictably, declines to address the issue of 'legal possession'.

It doesn't sell newspapers, or air time.

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