Another Example

As I’ve illustrated before, those interested in gun banning control have a very common tendency to lie twist the truth to suit their agenda, fully confident that the media will not only not fact-check their claims, but will very often further distort them and pass them on as fact.

Here’s another example:

Right Thing To Do, Or Just Good Politics?

By RAY GIOVANNELLI

Gun advocates were perplexed a few months ago when President Bush, a staunch long-time supporter of the National Rifle Association and its goals, decided to support an extension of the 1994 ban on semi-automatic assault weapons. The bill to extend the ban for another decade will be presented by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Charles Schumer (D-NY). The two crucial questions regarding this issue are: whether the ban that has been in place over the past nine years has made a difference, and if it is broad enough.

While gun-rights groups claim the assault-weapon ban has done nothing more than deprive hunters and sportsmen of high-powered rifles they use for recreational purposes, a study soon to be released by the Violence Policy Center – a Liberal Washington group that supports the ban’s extension – found that at least 41 of the 211 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty from 1998 to 2001 were shot with assault rifles. These were usually copy-cat weapons designed so that they do not fall under the law. Kristen Rand, the study’s author said “the gun industry’s open evasion of the assault weapon’s ban continues to place America’s law enforcement officers at the highest possible risk.”

President Bush’s position has caused anger and confusion among gun owners and lobbying groups on both side of this issue. So, in answer to the question posed in the title of today’s column: supporting this ban was indeed good politics and thus the right thing to do. A good politician realized that this is an extremely popular measure.

(Emphasis mine.) Not so fast, Mr. Giovanelli.

I studied the VPC’s report when the Atlanta Journal Constitution commented on it back in May, and here’s what I found (and I will quote myself shamelessly):

“Assault rifles were created solely to kill people; today, those people are often law enforcement officers. Forty-one of the 211 U.S. police officers killed in the line of duty between 1998 and 2001 were murdered with assault rifles, according to a new analysis by the Violence Policy Center.”

Well! The Violence Policy Center! That bastion of unimpeachable agendaless fairness! They would be referring to this table. Let me see….

Four (4) with M1 Carbines, eight (8) with SKS rifles, two (2) with Mini-14’s, three (3) M-11’s, and two (2) TEC-9’s. First, the M1, SKS, and Mini-14’s are not and have not been classified as “assault weapons” – no lethal pistol grip on those guns. They look like “nice” semi-automatic rifles because they have the pretty non-lethal wood stocks, rather than the ugly, lethal plastic and metal ones. The M-11 and the TEC-9 are not rifles, they’re handguns. That’s NINETEEN (19) of the 41. And, if these guns were created “solely to kill people,” what of the other 170 officer deaths? They were killed with weapons designed to tickle people?

Now, according to this site between the years of 1998 and 2001 (inclusive) there were 229 officer deaths by firearm, not 211. And according to this table the number of police deaths, at least for the last couple of decades (and excluding the 72 killed in the Twin Towers in 2001) has been apparently unaffected by the relative explosion in the mid 1980’s of “assault weapons” (as defined by the law) into the general populace. They’re trying to make it sound like the presence of “assault weapons” has somehow added 41 deaths that otherwise would not have occurred. The evidence does not support this. But that’s the conclusion you’re supposed to draw. “Ban ’em, and these cops would have lived!”

Now, it took me about an hour to collect that information and fact-check the VPC, yet here it is four months after the Atlanta Journal Constitution piece, and this guy is stating that “Forty-one of the 211 U.S. police officers killed in the line of duty between 1998 and 2001 were murdered with assault rifles,” which makes it obvious that he didn’t check anything, just took it as gospel. His only nod toward “fairness?” He noted that the VPC was “a Liberal Washington group that supports the ban’s extension.”

Accept their information at your own risk? I *cough* thought we were supposed to *cough* trust the media to check it for us. *cough*

Nope, the meme is now “Ban assault weapons and save 41 cops!” And nothing I say is going to change that.

But I don’t intend to shut up.

EDITED TO ADD:

Now that I’ve found two references to “41 law enforcement officers killed with ‘assault rifles'” during the period of 1998 to 2001, I predict that – before the assault weapons ban expires – that “fact” will morph without attribution into “41 officers a year” in the media.

Anyone want in on that action?

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