Taking Advantage of Fear and Ignorance

First up we have this piece from KPIX TV, Channel 5 from the People’s Republic of San Francisco:

Top SF Officials Speak Against Assault Weapons (Why am I unsurprised?)

Catherine Tyson has good reason to fear and hate an AK-47.

“I never saw a gun before in my life,” she said. “But when I saw the size of those guns, it was overwhelming to me that someone would actually use a weapon like that.”

She’s intimidated by the SIZE?

Someone used an AK-47 to kill Tyson’s son Brian on New Year’s Eve four years ago.
“Today it’s my child. Tomorrow it could be your child, day after that it could be their child,” said Tyson. “As long as those weapons are around, it’s going to keep happening. As long as those weapons are on the street, there are going to continue to be murders.”

Right. AK-47’s are responsible for San Francisco’s homicide problem, which in 2002 numbered some 68 victims. According to this table from 1993 through 2002 rifles were used in an average of about 3.6% of all California homicides, while the total number of homicides in California committed with rifles has been on the decline from a high of 154 in 1993 to a minimum of 62 in 1996. In 2002 there were 80.

It would seem that, regardless of whether AK-47’s are around, homicide is going to keep happening. But then, my child isn’t dead, and I’m still capable of reason.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and the city’s top law enforcement officers want Congress to continue the current ban on AK’s and other assault weapons. The ban is set to run out in September.

Said “ban” having not prevented this particular murder. Perfectly logical.

Note the really interesting fact that this story makes absolutely no mention that California’s Roberti-Roos Assault Weapon ban, which is both more strict than the Federal ban and older, having gone into effect in 1986, didn’t prevent this crime either.

Why not?

“These are weapons of war, plain and simple,” Newsom said. “They have no place on the street. It’s about as clear cut as that, from my perspective.”

Wait for it…

And the police are on the front line. San Francisco Police Officer Issac Espinosa was killed by an assault weapon two weeks ago. But Chief Heather Fong would not commit to giving more officers assault weapons of their own.

What? You mean some officers already have these “weapons of war” that have “no place on the street”?!?!?! What about the BAN?

“We’re addressing the problem by looking at what options there are to the department,” she said.

When Brian Tyson was gunned down with an AK at the corner of 3rd and Kirkwood, it was apparently a case of mistaken identity.

“One of the bullets ruptured a main artery,” Catherine Tyson said. “He bled to death. They said if it wasn’t for the type of gun — if it wasn’t an AK-47 — he would have lived.”

Ms. Tyson, you were lied to. If the bullet hit a major artery, it doesn’t matter if it had been an AK-47 or a 9mm handgun. He’d have bled to death. My condolences, but your son wasn’t killed by an AK-47, your son was killed by a goblin wielding an AK-47. Put the blame where it’s deserved.

On the other hand, there’s this bit of sanity – also from San Francisco – in a letter to the editor of the San Francisco Examiner (third letter down the page):

Gun ban

The federal “assault weapon” ban, which applies to all states, has been in effect almost 10 years. California’s own brand has been on the books even longer. Yet neither law, nor the thousands of other guns laws kept one of the banned weapons off the streets or out of the hands of Officer Isaac Espinosa’s killer. How could anyone be so dogmatic as to cite a decade of demonstrable ineffectiveness as an argument in favor of renewing these laws?

Eric Williams
Richmond

I’m surprised they printed it.

And finally, there’s this piece – also from the Examiner, which probably inspired Mr. Williams’ letter:

Gunning for assault ban

Police Officer Isaac Espinoza joined the tragic and swelling ranks of cops killed with assault weapons when he was fatally shot with an AK-47 April 10. Activists say his death is yet another compelling reason to push for the renewal of a ban on the deadly guns.

When U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein stood up at Espinoza’s funeral and called for support to renew her legislation banning assault weapons nationwide, she was met with a standing ovation from mourning cops. If Espinoza’s death galvanizes anti-gun activists locally, it will not be the first time San Francisco is at the forefront of the campaign to ban assault weapons.

It will hardly be the first time San Francisco has been at the forefront of any number of harebrained campaigns destined to fail at their stated goals. That’s never stopped them in the past.

Feinstein’s legislation, the Federal Violent Crime Control Act of 1994, banned the manufacture and import of assault weapons and was spurred by a brutal massacre at 101 California St. In July 1993, a disgruntled client stormed a downtown law firm, killing eight people and wounding six. The shooter, Gian Luigi Ferri, was armed with two TEC-9 assault weapons. The legislation inspired by the tragic killings is due to expire Sept. 13, unless Congress passes it again.

Which, by all appearances, isn’t going to happen because the nation’s newspaper editors don’t have the influence they used to.

Supporters of the renewal of the assault weapon ban cite the Espinoza killing as a prime example for the need for such a law.

See letter to the editor immediately above.

“This police officer could have been killed on any day doing his job, with any number of powerful weapons but you always have to wonder, had that shooter not had access to that kind of fire power, would he be dead?” said Coalition to Stop Gun Violence member Eric Gorovitz.

Assault weapons are used in a small number of crimes but they killed at least 41 of the 211 law enforcement officers slain between January 1998 and December 2001, according to a Violence Policy Center report.

An assertion I dissected back in May. According to the available evidence, the answer to Mr. Gorovitz’s question is: “Yes, he probably would have died anyway.”

“They give criminals comfort. You often find them among drug dealers who know they might need them in a shoot-out against competitors,” Gorovitz said. “They are an emboldening tool. I don’t know that [Espinoza’s killer] would have behaved in that way had he not known he had the firepower behind him,” Gorovitz said.

And we all know that drug dealers are so law-abiding when it comes to firearms laws, right?

Indeed, it is an issue that troubles cops in the line of fire.

“We have vests that are bullet-resistant, but not bullet-proof,” said one cop from the Bayview who asked not to be named. “But those things go through a wall of concrete. What do you think they are going to do to a piece of Kevlar?”

Glad you asked. We all remember the wonderful CNN report that showed that post-ban “assault weapons” couldn’t penetrate a concrete block, while pre-ban “assault weapons” were fully-automatic and could destroy a cinderblock wall, right? And what of the awesome .30-30 “assault weapon” that fires ammunition “capable of puncturing light-armored vehicles, ballistic or armored glass, armored limousines, even a 600-pound safe with 600 pounds of safe armor plating” according to Senator Edward Kennedy? The “Assault Weapon Ban” doesn’t even address this ‘weapon of mass destruction.’

And now for the final fear-inducing lies:

Although California has an assault weapons ban, it is imperative that the national ban on the weapons does not lapse to at least slow the guns trade into the state, said Andrew Spafford, senior staff attorney at grassroots advocacy group, Legal Community Against Violence in San Francisco, which was founded after the 101 California St. massacre.

But Spafford said that the recent fifth anniversary of the Columbine massacre did not seem to inspire President George W. Bush to push for a renewal of the assault weapons ban, and House Republican leaders are opposed to it, bad signs for the legislation’s future.

Once again, why should it? Harris and Kliebold used a Tec-9, but they also used TWO SAWED-OFF SHOTGUNS – weapons illegal to possess without a LOT of NFA paperwork, and undoubtedly more lethal than the Tec-9. The law against short-barreled shotguns didn’t dissuade them, why would an “assault weapon ban”?

And aren’t the gun-grabbers up in arms about the fact that the Federal AWB didn’t stop manufacturers from making perfectly legal “post-ban” guns that are functionally identical?

&ltsarcasm&gtOh, wait, I forgot. CNN showed that post-ban guns weren’t as powerful. My mistake.&lt/sarcasm&gt

Despite the federal ban and California ban on the high-powered guns, assault weapons continue to arrive in The City and across the state in a “vast and robust underground distribution system,” advocates said. The most common way criminals obtain guns is from shows in nearby states with less stringent laws, such as Nevada.

“So a felon can go to a gun show in Nevada … buy a trunk-load of assault weapons and drive them in to the Bayview and sell them on the street,” Gorovitz said.

Absolute, blatant, unrepentant, naked LIE. Note, it’s the last line in the editorial, and there is absolutely no corroborating evidence for this statement of “fact.”

Is there a “vast and robust underground distribution system” in California supplying guns to the criminal element?

I don’t see why California would be exempt from the economic law of Supply and Demand. After all, England certainly isn’t, even with bans that included confiscation.

Banning guns is, at best, useless. Worse, it can be counterproductive. But the gun-grabbers refuse to recognize the flaw in their philosophy. That cognitive dissonance requires them to “turn up the power.” Or, as I put it: Do it again, only harder!

And don’t worry about lying – it’s for a good cause, and the ends justify the means!

UPDATE: SayUncle has an associated piece.

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