Patterico's Pontifications

1/5/2013

L.A. Times Cites Claim by Pro-Gun Control Group As If It Came From Some Neutral “Policy Center” on Guns

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 11:53 am

The L.A. Times has a piece titled Tough gun control laws linked to lower death rates. The piece touts the findings from a “San Francisco-based policy center on gun control laws”:

A San Francisco-based policy center on gun control laws has produced a report that says states with strict gun laws have the lowest gun-related death rates. In contrast, it reports, states with the highest per capita gun death rates have “weak” gun laws.

The study by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence is touted by Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) as support for his own legislation tightening California’s current assault weapon ban. The bill, SB47, would prohibit semiautomatic weapons from having devices that allow them to carry high-capacity magazines or easily be reloaded with multiple rounds of ammunition. A similar version of the bill failed to pass in 2012.

I found this a rather eye-opening claim, since it’s pretty well accepted that gun control laws are not proven to work, and that gun violence tends to be higher in places with stricter gun control laws. As this piece at the Daily Caller explains:

The main problem with gun-control laws is that they don’t work. Florida State University criminology professor Gary Kleck, a political liberal and one-time supporter of gun-control laws, has been studying guns and their effect on violence and crime since 1976. What he’s found is that gun-control laws have no net effect on violence or crime rates, because the benefits of widespread gun ownership cancel out the costs.

Indeed.

Which made me curious about this “San Francisco-based policy center on gun control laws.” Just who are these people, and why do we care about their claims as to the efficacy of gun control laws? The L.A. Times piece repeatedly refers to the the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence as “the law center”:

“It is a fact that strong gun laws work and weak laws result in the loss of innocent lives,” Yee said.

Yee notes that the law center cited low per-capita gun death rates in Hawaii, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut — states that the law center identified as having some of the toughest gun laws in the country.

He failed to mention the law center also included California on its list of states with the strongest gun control laws and lowest gun-releated deaths. The center declares California has the toughest gun control laws in the nation and gives the state an “A minus” on its report card, a designation shared only with New Jersey and Massachussetts.

The highest per-capita gun death rates were in Alaska, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Wyoming, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi — states that the law center said have weak gun control laws.

The center was formed by Bay area lawyers in 1993 following an assault weapon rampage at a San Francisco law office that ended with 10 people dead and six wounded.

One thing that is not mentioned: whether this “law center” or “San Francisco-based policy center on gun control laws” has a point of view. Is it fair to assume that an organization whose title is about preventing gun violence is necessarily pro gun control? I don’t think it is. I am all in favor or preventing gun violence, but I am not a fan of gun control for law-abiding citizens.

Without a clear statement that this is a pro gun control group, the reader is left with the notion that, perhaps, this “law center” is simply devoted to doing research, and following the facts wherever they lead.

Yeah, not quite.

I’ll do the work the L.A. Times refuses to do.

The web site for the “law center” is at http://smartgunlaws.org/. Here is their logo:

Here is their about page.

Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence (formerly Legal Community Against Violence) is the only national law center focused on providing comprehensive legal expertise in support of gun violence prevention and the promotion of smart gun laws that save lives.

Under the heading “What We Do” there is this passage:

Accessible, accurate, online information – We provide extensive, in-depth summaries of federal, state, and local firearm laws and policies. The most comprehensive resource for information on U.S. firearms regulation, we supply the foremost information and analysis on the Second Amendment, as well as detailed statistics, study findings, and polling in support of strong gun regulation.

They also boast about influencing the media:

Media – Journalists trust us to supply them the legal background on gun policy issues and the legal aspects of the gun policy debate. In turn, we inject legal expertise into the media’s coverage of public policy debates concerning gun violence. Using interviews, op-eds and press releases, we contribute the legal perspective, emphasizing that effective gun laws enhance public safety.

If you’re starting to get the idea that they’re in favor of gun laws, you have demonstrated a keen ability to pick up on subtle clues.

This is certainly the organization to which we should all turn for unbiased information about whether gun control laws work. And hey, let’s not call them a “gun control advocacy group.” Let’s just call them a “policy center” or a “law center,” to make them sound neutral. After all, just because they say they’re for gun control doesn’t necessarily mean they have a point of view that makes them biased, right?

My dear Watson, the game’s afoot! because there’s more.

How does this “law center” feel about the Second Amendment and the Heller decision? Why, they believe that Heller was a “radical shift” in interpreting the Second Amendment:

Second Amendment litigation has become a critical battleground since the U.S. Supreme Court held, in District of Columbia v. Heller, that the Amendment guarantees an individual right to possess a firearm in the home for self-defense. This decision created a radical shift in the meaning of the Second Amendment, but it doesn’t prevent smart gun regulations. In fact, since Heller, courts nationwide have found a wide variety of firearms laws constitutional because they can help prevent gun deaths, injuries, and crimes in communities across the country.

A related page re-emphasizes the organization’s view that Heller was “unquestionably a radical decision.” Another related page describes Heller as a “radical departure from longstanding Second Amendment case law,” and tells the reader about the organization’s view of its role vis-a-vis the Second Amendment:

As the nation’s only organization devoted exclusively to providing legal assistance in support of gun violence prevention, LCAV is actively involved in supporting state and local governments’ defense of Second Amendment litigation, educating courts, governments, and the public about the meaning of the Second Amendment, and developing common sense gun violence prevention legislation that complies with the Heller decision.

And then there’s the page on studies, which is what initially brought me to the web site. Here is the page. And here is the smoking gun (thank you for noticing!) that shows that this organization’s view of control laws is not news:

Do gun laws work?

Many types of gun laws are effective at reducing gun deaths and injuries, keeping guns away from criminals and other prohibited people, and fighting illegal gun trafficking. The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence tracks important studies proving that smart laws can and do work to prevent gun violence. Our publications offer in-depth analysis of significant trends in firearms laws and policies nationwide.

So, you track studies showing that gun control laws work.

What about the studies that show they don’t?

See, even a pro gun control group could, in theory, decide to cover all studies regardless of which way they come out. But they just told you that they don’t do that. They cover studies that go their way. Period.

So basically, the L.A. Times is reporting that a pro gun control group believes gun control works. Whoop de do. But they make it sound like news — because they don’t tell you that the group is a pro gun control group.

This is dishonest. It’s why conservatives increasingly see news media outlets like this as propaganda organs.

As I said in my piece on New Year’s Resolutions, if you subscribe to the Los Angeles Times, you are subsidizing this kind of disinformation. If you subscribe to Patterico, or buy from the Amazon widget in the sidebar, you are participating in the correction of disinformation. Which do you want to support? Information or disinformation? The choice is yours. It’s also pretty obvious.

Stop giving these people money. Cancel your subscription to the L.A. Times today. It’s never too late.

34 Responses to “L.A. Times Cites Claim by Pro-Gun Control Group As If It Came From Some Neutral “Policy Center” on Guns”

  1. Ding.

    Patterico (038ee9)

  2. …developing common sense gun violence prevention legislation

    Tranlation from leftese: “we’re a collection of gun-grabbing fanatics who want to disarm you and take away your basic right of self defense”

    TANSTAAFL (298998)

  3. Complete lies of course, there is no correlation between more gun control laws and lower homicide rates, more of the converse.

    But there are few liars so bold as the gun control groups. They are legendary for telling lies.

    SPQR (768505)

  4. I noticed Illinois isn’t in that list, coincidence?

    narciso (3fec35)

  5. “All the lies fit to spread”

    Icy (f1nk31m@n) (4feb96)

  6. 43 years ago I took an oath, an oath I have upheld and will uphold til I die….” I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”
    Note the order of loyalty and sections of the oath; I maintain my affirmation to the Constitution.

    Angelo (244215)

  7. Our esteemed host wrote:

    Stop giving these people money. Cancel your subscription to the L.A. Times today. It’s never too late.

    Can’t do it; I have no subscription to cancel! :)

    The Dana in Pennsylvania (f68855)

  8. Angelo, that’s a whole lot better than Ich schwöre bei Gott diesen heiligen Eid, daß ich dem Führer des Amerikanischen Reiches und Volkes Barack Obama, dem Oberbefehlshaber der Wehrmacht, unbedingten Gehorsam leisten und als tapferer Soldat bereit sein will, jederzeit für diesen Eid mein Leben einzusetzen.

    The Dana in Pennsylvania (f68855)

  9. The Dana…. Indeed

    Angelo (244215)

  10. I live in Louisiana and can assure you that gun related deaths are isolated to a particular segment of our population. So instead of outlawing guns for everyone, lets consider outlawing gun possession by those who have a greater tendency to violence. But then, this would likely be racist and be similar to the laws we had in the late 1800′s, when there was less violence. I has been estimated that guns prevented 2.5 million crimes last year alone. So much of the claims being made about the safe states is speculative. We do have parts of our society that are mentally ill and much more violent, lets do something about them, not those of us that follow the law. Oh, and cops will not go into the areas where the gun violence is so bad, so how will you control them?

    david7134 (0cb844)

  11. King Barack-I will not be happy with your insolence.

    askeptic (2bb434)

  12. But then, this would likely be racist and be similar to the laws we had in the late 1800′s, when there was less violence

    Why would it be racist?

    Michael Ejercito (2e0217)

  13. Yee notes that the law center cited low per-capita gun death rates in Hawaii, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut

    So then the whole Sandy Hook thing was a hoax?

    Michael Ejercito (2e0217)

  14. James Madison would have called these people traitors. Wait. He did.

    That the people and the States should, for a sufficient period of time, elect an uninterupted succession of men ready to betray both; that the traitors should, throughout this period, uniformly and systematically pursue some fixed plan for the extension of the military establishment; that the governments and the people of the States should silently and patiently behold the gathering storm, and continue to supply the materials, until it should be prepared to burst on their own heads, must appear to every one more like the incoherent dreams of a delirious jealousy, or the misjudged exaggerations of a counterfeit zeal, than like the sober apprehensions of genuine patriotism.

    Extravagant as the supposition is, let it however be made. Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal government; still it would not be going too far to say, that the State governments, with the people on their side, would be able to repel the danger.

    The highest number to which, according to the best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one hundredth part of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms. This proportion would not yield, in the United States, an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops.

    He was probably wrong (see North v. South) (1865) but Federalist 46 is pretty ironic at this point in the discussion.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  15. Comment by Michael Ejercito (2e0217) — 1/6/2013 @ 11:23 am

    So then the whole Sandy Hook thing was a hoax?

    Statistically insignificant, and outside of the study’s time frame.

    Sammy Finkelman (60fff5)

  16. Comment by david7134 (0cb844) — 1/6/2013 @ 10:03 am

    and cops will not go into the areas where the gun violence is so bad, so how will you control them?

    Maybe New Orleans cops, I don’t know.

    But New York City cops…

    http://www.ojjdp.gov/pubs/gun_violence/profile19.html

    Sammy Finkelman (60fff5)

  17. No that’s not exactly right, the community often forces proactive units out of the neighborhood on one pretext or another,

    http://hotair.com/headlines/archives/2012/12/28/incoming-gop-congressman-im-open-to-limited-gun-control/

    narciso (3fec35)

  18. Maybe they sometimes create incidents, like what happened on the N train the other day: (this wasn’t a high crime area, but this was somebody doing something a career criminal is more likely to do)

    http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/local/new_york&id=8941340

    The man faced imprisonment, whose immediate cause was walking between subway cars. He was wanted in California.

    But they found something else in his background to blame.

    http://gothamist.com/2013/01/05/cops_shot_on_n_train_released_from.php

    He was going to be locked up! And he hadn’t anticipated the risk.

    Sammy Finkelman (60fff5)

  19. Of course this reduction in guns and crime becomes a topic of complaint for “civil rights leaders” and civil libertarian types:

    http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/s/stop_and_frisk/index.html

    Sammy Finkelman (60fff5)

  20. The reason that the gun control organizations cite DEATHS vs SHOOTINGS is because it deceptive. Is any surprise that the more rural, less populated areas have a higher death rate? No. It is entirely expected. Rural areas have far fewer Level I and Level II trauma centers. The ones they do have may be hours away, instead of mere minutes like in heavily populated urban areas. Those Level I/II trauma centers in the urban areas get daily practice dealing with gun shot injuries and have become, due to this hands on experience, very adept in saving the lives of shooting victims.

    Therefore it is reasonably expected that strict gun control cities such as Chicago, with its plethora of highly skilled Level I/II trauma centers and reduced response time, would have less deaths per shooting that the more rural areas. Just on 1/05/13 Chicago had at least 10 people shot but just 2 fatalities. For a city with 500 plus people killed each year, what does that tell you about the number of people actually shot while living under strict gun control?

    So any reduction in deaths in the higher gun control urban areas, rest almost entirely on the efficiency of its trauma medical programs, not with gun control. This point needs to be publicized to counter the gun control mantra that the average person is fed on a daily basis.

    The vast majority of shootings occur in urban areas with concentrated populations over 200k. Many of these same areas have very strict gun control. Roughly speaking, 50% of the murders in this country are committed by black men (mostly against other black men) who account for just 6% of the population relatively speaking. Of that 6%, only an even smaller subset are responsible for half the murders in this country. Something is out of whack here and it has nothing to do with guns.

    It is not racist to point out the facts. Rather it should empower use to begin focusing our attention on the root causes, allowing us to seek rational, fair, and constitutional solutions to the ails of our society. If the goal is in fact to save lives, surely there are better places to start than targeting the millions of innocent people of all races, and their lawful gun ownership, for the actions of the guilty few.

    Axemodeux (858d94)

  21. Two solutions that do not infringe upon the 2nd-Amendment:
    Intern those who are, due to mental instability, a danger to themselves or others;
    Incarcerate violent criminals until they’re too infirm to endanger anyone, and execute those that cause death.

    askeptic (2bb434)

  22. One idea:

    Disruption: Smart Guns Don’t Kill the Wrong People

    Biometrics and grip pattern detection can sense the registered owner of a gun and allow only that person to fire it. For example, the iGun, made by Mossberg Group, cannot be fired unless its owner is wearing a ring with a chip that activates the gun…..But gun advocates are staunchly against these technologies, partly because so many guns are bought not in gun shops, but in private sales….

    ….I called several major gun makers and the National Rifle Association. No one thinks a smart-gun will stop a determined killer. But I thought Smith & Wesson and Remington, for instance, would want to discuss how technology might help reduce accidental shootings, which killed 600 people and injured more than 14,000 in the United States in 2010. The gunmakers did not respond, and neither did the N.R.A…

    ….TriggerSmart, an Irish company, has patented a childproof smart-gun. One feature is a “safe zone” that can be installed in schools and acts as a force field, disabling any TriggerSmart gun that enters a designated area.

    Robert McNamara, the company’s founder, has been trying to persuade gun makers to adopt the technology. He isn’t having much luck. “One gun manufacturer told us if we put this technology in one particular gun and some kid gets shot with another gun, then they will have to put them in all guns,” he said.

    “We believe we could have helped prevent the Newtown massacre.”

    The gun manufacturers are afraid of lawsuits.

    Sammy Finkelman (60fff5)

  23. Nina Easton, a panelist on FoxNewsSunday, cited Australia as dealing effectively with “assault weapons” – blithely overlooking the fact that they do not have any constitutional protection to arms.
    Also, she flat out lied that an “assault weapon” caused all the deaths at Sandy Hook – unless, of course, she has already bought into the meme that all semi-automatic firearms (including pistols) are “assault weapons”, since all of the deaths at Sandy Hook were the result of Lanza shooting them with either the Sig, or Glock, pistol he carried.
    #NinaFail

    askeptic (2bb434)

  24. Comment by askeptic (2bb434) — 1/6/2013 @ 12:00 pm

    Two solutions that do not infringe upon the 2nd-Amendment:

    Who cares about the 5th and the 6th amendments?

    Intern those who are, due to mental instability, a danger to themselves or others;

    And just who is that?

    Now if you want people who present a danger to themselves or others, you have known gang members, or career criminals, or – people who other people hae asked for an order of protection to be taken against, especially domestic abusers..

    The only difference with the so-called mental instability is that the motive may be different than others or rare. But actually it is not so different. It is seeing their life as they know it come to an end (without getting the slightest bit of commiseration from anybody too!)

    That provokes it 90% of the time.

    Incarcerate violent criminals until they’re too infirm to endanger anyone, and execute those that cause death.

    Could be

    Sammy Finkelman (60fff5)

  25. Sammy, please try to be less obtuse.
    If they have been convicted of a crime, particularly one of violence, they should be incarcerated.
    If their actions have resulted in the death of another, they should be executed.
    If they are mentally unstable, causing them to be a threat to themselves or others, they should be locked up.
    It is not a matter of not knowing who to lock up, it is only a matter of a lack of will on the part of those in charge.
    When you have demonstrated an inability to “play well with others” you forfeit an entire list of your rights. Just as, under current law, felons (whether violent or not) and misdemeanants (usually violent, but also includes those subject to restrainging orders – See: Lautenburg) lose their 2nd-A rights, and those who have been convicted of serious financial crimes lose some degree of their freedom of association, we can restrict other areas of the Bill of Rights when cause is present.
    Remember, we had very little of these problems back before the ACLU became overly concerned about the rights of mental patients, and the comfort of death-penalty recipients.

    askeptic (2bb434)

  26. Stop giving these people money. Cancel your subscription to the L.A. Times today. It’s never too late.

    Decidedly NOT true. When they elect Obama for a fourth term, it will be too late.

    Smock Puppet, 10th Dan Snark Master and Accidental Death And Dismemberment Promoter (98ae1f)

  27. Finkelman, you still believe the most silly nonsense. The TriggerSmart crap is not opposed by the NRA nor anyone else. No one is buying that technology because no firearm user community trusts it. We’ve had technology to supposedly render a firearm usable by only its owner for many years, but its not reliable and it has fault scenarios that make its potential user community not trust it.

    Obviously you are filled with this BS about the NRA from reading all the VPC/Brady Campaign propaganda.

    SPQR (768505)

  28. since all of the deaths at Sandy Hook were the result of Lanza shooting them with either the Sig, or Glock, pistol he carried.

    No, the officials are on record as stating that all the children’s deaths, and I believe all the adult deaths, at SH occurred as a result of the Bushmaster.

    Where this Bushmaster came from since, for the first 6-12 hours, the only three weapons on the scene were the two pistols and a presumed shotgun found in the car’s trunk, is not really quite clear.

    Be interesting to be a fly on the wall when on-scene witness people are interviewed regarding what they saw. I’d also like to know if any security camera footage was taken.

    I’m not a fan of conspiracy, but the discrepancies do seem potentially significant in the face of Fast And Furious.

    The reporters damned sure aren’t asking any questions.

    Smock Puppet, 10th Dan Snark Master and Accidental Death And Dismemberment Promoter (98ae1f)

  29. I wish I still had a subscription to the LAT so I could cancel it again. The first time was soooo much fun.

    PC14 (7cfd34)

  30. We’ve had technology to supposedly render a firearm usable by only its owner for many years, but its not reliable and it has fault scenarios that make its potential user community not trust it.

    Beat me to it. Laptop readers (not cheap either) often take several attempts to work.

    When the technology is 99.9999% reliable, 10 or 20 years from now, and fingerprint readers are on every credit card, lock and automobile, then, yeah, we can talk about putting it on Criticality One items like guns. But not just yet.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  31. Here’s a fascinating little bit of info, a member of Joe Biden’s masturbatory “commission” on gun violence had a son convicted of plotting a school massacre which may have involved his service sidearm.

    Yeah, that’s who we need “advising” us…

    SPQR (768505)

  32. SPQR, that is just so flabbergasting. Of all the people in the USA, did he have to pick this guy? Is it possible that Biden didn’t know about this? I can’t decide which is worse: that he knew or that he didn’t.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  33. “In fact, since Heller, courts nationwide have found a wide variety of firearms laws constitutional because they can help prevent gun deaths, injuries, and crimes in communities across the country.”

    The insanity of these people never fails to amuse me.

    Dave Surls (46b08c)


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