The Brady Campaign has severed up yet another plate of egregious propaganda, the latest being "report cards" for every state. That 31 states received a "D" or an "F" means we can all be sure that Brady won't be going away for a long time. Conveniently, Brady Campaign did not release a "report card" for Washington D.C., which would have received the highest grade for having the strictest gun control laws. But that wouldn't have looked good because Washington D.C. is the murder capital of the United States.
As a Florida resident, I decided to look specifically at my state, one that got a "D+" from Brady Campaign. Looks like there's no sunshine here after all. But while reading the "report card" I noticed several problems that should be brought to the public's attention.
The lies and distortions begin in the first paragraph of the press release, which begins:
Gun violence in Florida could increase in 2005 because Congress failed to renew the federal assault weapon ban, which expired last fall, and Florida has no state law restricting assault weapons or rapid-fire ammunition magazines. Florida also
does not require background checks at gun shows, does not require child-safety locks to be sold with guns, does not have any handgun safety standards to limit Saturday night specials and even forces police to let people carry hidden handguns in
Any statement that begins with "could," as in "Gun violence could increase in 2005 because" is already suspect. That the sentence ends with a statement providing no evidence that "rapid-fire ammunition magazines" increase crime rates equates to the statement, "Car accidents in Florida can increase in 2005 because there's no law against SUVs."
But Brady Campaign relies on its rhetoric, and expects that you haven't read the latest government research which explains how "assault weapons" are not weapons of choice and don't contribute to crime rates. According to the Justice Department's most recent figures, only 8% of inmates surveyed at the federal level used one of the 19 defined "assault weapons" covered in the now-expired Clinton assault weapons ban in the commission of a crime. Included in that 8% figure are cases where people merely possessed the weapons without ever having criminal intentions. But don't expect Brady Campaign to report on the recently released findings of The National Academy of Sciences, whose members, ironically, are mostly pro-control.
The line: "Florida also does not require background checks at gun shows" couldn't be any more false or misleading. Florida does require background checks at gun shows. I should know. I frequent them. All gun dealers are required to run federal background checks, whether they're selling guns from their store or a gun show booth. Private citizens, however, do not have to run background checks to sell at gun shows, but that's because private citizens never have to run background checks. As a private citizen I could legally sell one of my firearms to a friend without government intervention.
As for criminals who do go to gun shows and buy from private citizens -- well, they're virtually nonexistent. From the same recent report of pro-control researchers, only seven-tenths of 1 percent of all criminals got their guns from gun shows. But don't expect to hear that from Brady Campaign who focuses all their energy on getting laws passed requiring background checks for that seven-tenths of 1 percent, not understanding that criminals faced with such an obstacle would go to their #1 source of weapons acquirement; friends and other illegal means not phased by Brady's gun laws.
The line: "(Florida) does not require child-safety locks to be sold with guns" is also misleading, because almost every major handgun manufacturer provides free safety locks with the purchase of their handguns. But because Florida hasn't made it mandatory (because not all homes have children), Florida isn't safe. Brady Campaign could care less about responsible adults who want to keep handguns nearby in case of an attempted robbery on their home or life. That's what 9-1-1 is for.
The line: "(Florida) does not have any handgun safety standards to limit Saturday night specials" is a defining characteristic of Brady Campaign, which puts resources into limiting guns that are cheap, poorly made and often ineffective. As a result, Saturday night specials are the least dangerous weapons. Getting these off the street would encourage criminals to find better weapons, or even modify shotguns (the most dangerous of guns) that can be concealed and used to commit crime. At least that is what the criminals who've been interviewed by researchers Wright and Rossi say. But who cares about credited research? Certainly not Brady Campaign.
The line: "(Florida) forces police to let people carry hidden handguns in public" is -- surprise, surprise -- misleading. It is against the law to conceal handguns in Florida. Only those who are 21+, have no criminal background, submit fingerprints to be filed, undergo firearms training, and show mental competence can get a license to conceal a handgun for $117. You know, the type of person cops don't arrest. The type of person you want around when there isn't a police officer present. The type of person who doesn't commit crime.
Continuing it's goal of scaring uninformed citizens, the "report card" notes: "In 2002, the most recent year for which data is available, 121 children and teenagers in Florida died from gunfire."
What Brady Campaign doesn't say is that more children die every year in Florida from drowning, overdosing and car accidents than fatal gun shots. Moreover, they must lump the "children" demographic with "teenagers" because most of the victims are teenagers, teenagers who are criminals and die in gang and drug related activity. But they want you to believe that your middle-class "B" student is at risk for being shot.
While we must consider the safety of all children in all classes, it is important, and most of all practical, to note that the restrictions and recommendations made by Brady Campaign will have no effect on that number of teens killed as such laws are about general gun restriction and methods to make it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to acquire guns.
How does stripping law-abiding citizens the ability to conceal reduce teen fatalities?
How does requiring child locks reduce teen fatalities?
How does banning expensive weapons teenage criminals can't afford reduce teen fatalities?
How does requiring private background checks at places where teens don't frequent reduce teen fatalities?
The answer is and has always been clear: Brady Campaign is simply concerned about preventing people from owning guns, even if it means as a result that the law-abiding citizen must suffer and forfeit the advantage to the criminal who doesn't exactly obey gun laws.
So until Florida requires child safety locks for gun owners who don't own children (F), private background checks at gun shows even though less than 1 percent of criminals frequent (D), and prevents law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves and others (F), the war on guns (but not criminals for some reason) will continue.