DoJ Survey Update Blows Holes In Gun Control Arguments


A recently released report from the Department of Justice that updated information from a survey of state and federal prison inmates about the use of firearms in their crimes was roundly ignored by much of the dominant media, and here’s why.

It’s because the “Source and Use of Firearms Involved in Crimes: Survey of Prison Inmates, 2016” contains so many bombshell facts that refute popular contentions of the gun prohibition lobby it is tantamount to blasphemy.

For example:
• Only about 1.3 percent of prisoners “obtained a gun from a retail source and used it during their offense.”

• Among prisoners who possessed a firearm during their offense,” the survey said, “0.8 percent obtained it at a gun show.” So much for the mythical “gun show loophole” and the demand for so-called “universal background check” laws that criminalize private sales.

• Handguns are the most common type of firearm possessed by prisoners while committing the crime that landed them behind bars.

• Two percent or fewer possessed a rifle or a shotgun. This raises a significant question about the usefulness of laws that ban or tightly regulate the possession of semiautomatic rifles.

• A whopping 43 percent who were carrying a firearm when they committed the crime that put them in prison got their guns “off the street or (from) the underground market,” the report revealed. Translation: There was no background check.

• Seven percent of state and five percent of federal prisoners actually stole the firearm.

This is the sort of information that makes anti-gunners grind their teeth, because it flies in the face of their typically emotion-driven and often factually challenged arguments. It opens the door to questions that anti-gunners simply do not want to answer, so they dodge, weave and dance around in an effort to redirect the conversation.

DOJ Chart

Source: Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics.

The report was prepared by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, and authored by statisticians Mariel Alper, Ph.D., and Lauren Glaze. It spans 20 pages and should be required reading for anyone on Capitol Hill or in state legislatures that considers introducing new gun control measures.

At the time of the survey, there were an estimated 1,211,200 state prisoners and 170,400 federal prisoners. At the state level, 191,400 had committed a homicide while 3,800 of the federal prisoners had murdered someone.

Keep in perspective that this report is not related to the annual FBI Uniform Crime Report, which offers data on criminal activity in the United States during the previous year. That report is traditionally released in September each year, for the prior calendar year.

There was an interesting passage in The Blaze when it discussed this report that seems worth sharing.

“The fact that about 90 percent of firearms possessed by prisoners during the commission of crimes were not purchased or traded at legal retail sources,” The Blaze observed, “could be used to inform the debate over gun control efforts, which often target legal gun owners and purchasers by restricting the availability of guns from legal sources or by attempting to outlaw possession of certain types of guns.”

S.D. governor signs ‘Constitutional Carry’ bill

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has signed legislation that allows concealed carry without a permit, what proponents call “Constitutional carry.”

The recently sworn in Republican governor said during the campaign that she supported permitless carry, and despite some opposition from the state Sheriff’s Association and State’s Attorneys Association, she inked SB 47 on the last day of January. The law takes effect July 1.

A dozen states now have “constitutional carry” provisions on the books, and so far, there does not appear to be a problem.

Oregon Bill Would Hammer Handgunners

Beaver State Democrat Sen. Rob Wagner submitted legislation in early January that suggests he might be more at home living in New York than in Lake Oswego, Ore.

Wagner’s SB 501 would require Oregon residents to get a permit before they can buy a firearm, and it would limit magazine capacity to five rounds. This effectively disqualifies every semi-auto sidearm on the landscape, and may create problems for revolver owners,

But wait, there’s more. Wagner’s bill would also limit gun owners to purchasing no more than 20 rounds of ammunition during any 30-day period. It mandates a 14-day waiting period.
Wagner grew up in the legislative district he represents. According to an online biography, he is a former director of political and legislative affairs for the American Federation of Teachers.

More importantly, he’s one of eight Oregon politicians endorsed last year by anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety.

Meanwhile, Virginia Guv Wants Ban

When it comes to being anti-gun, Virginia Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam wasn’t holding back when he announced a “comprehensive package of legislation that will prevent gun violence and improve the safety of Virginia’s citizens and communities,” according to a news release from his office.


Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam started the year pushing a package of gun control measures. (Screen snip, YouTube)

He wants to ban “assault firearms,” which are defined as “any firearm that is equipped with a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds of ammunition.” That could ensnare a long list of handguns and rifles already owned by law-abiding residents of the Old Dominion.

Northam’s “comprehensive package” goes quite a bit farther. He wants to restore Virginia’s failed one handgun per month law, require “universal background checks,” mandate so-called “safe storage,” and require people whose guns are lost or stolen to promptly report them to police.

Northam’s news release insisted that his package “appropriately balances Second Amendment Rights with public safety.”

Republican lawmakers, who hold majorities in both houses of the Virginia legislature, have vowed to fight the proposals.

Wyoming’s Different Perspective

While January seems to bring anti-gunners out of the woodwork, in Wyoming they have a far different perspective.

According to the Casper Star-Tribune, lawmakers were considering legislation that would override local gun control regulations and essentially do away with many so-called “gun-free zones.” The newspaper said Senate File 75 is supported by “nearly half the Senate” and “23 members of the 60-person House.”

The bill would not preempt private property rights, but it would nullify gun bans on campuses of public colleges and universities, athletic events, government meetings and all public schools.

The bill’s primary sponsor is Republican Sen. Anthony Bouchard of Cheyenne.

It is stirring up predictable opposition from some municipal leaders who want to set their own gun control laws.

And Then Comes Wash. Sen. Fortunato

Washington State Sen. Phil Fortunato, a Republican with a gift for needling the gun control crowd, decided to have a little fun with his colleagues by introducing legislation that puts anti-gun lawmakers in something of a quandary.


Washington State Sen. Phil Fortunato.

Where his colleagues on the Democrat side of the aisle want to push bills that mandate background checks and training requirements, his proposal is diabolical. Which means it is probably DOA.

Fortunato wants to require any lawmaker who proposes gun legislation to first undergo firearms training and pass a test. You know, just like they demand of gun owners whose rights they want to regulate.

“We have legislators drafting bills who have no idea how firearms work or any sense of firearm nomenclature,” he told a reporter. “When decision makers want to restrict someone’s constitutional rights, they shouldn’t go off half-cocked.”

He said that with a straight face, incidentally.

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