Gunleaders Blog

The not so hidden agenda of the Washington Post

by on Nov.21, 2010, under Uncategorized

Today’s WaPo has a very cleverly done article on the “hidden life of guns” or how guns land in the hands of those who kill police officers.   Police are used as the victim in this article to gain empathy from the viewer/reader because the press knows that the perception is that police “protect society & people”.  If the victims were ‘street thugs’ instead of police officers, would any of us have the same level of concern?  Would we read the article if it dealt with the number of prisoners stabbed with sharpened toothbrushes?  The Tiahart amendment is also clearly a target of the Post.  They’ve really done an admirable job of putting a likable face on the victims and asking the right questions to get their agenda across to the readers while intelligently avoiding obvious prevention measures like keeping criminals locked up.  Look for an editorial from WaPo in the near future advocating for an end to the Tiahart amendment, end to gun shows, more gun restrictions in general and at least one MAIG quote.

The article is a bit dry, and heavy on numbers but contains some data that won’t necessarily help the  advance their gun confiscation aims.   The numbers do show some effects for which there are very obvious “fixes”.  WaPo was able to track 341 weapons down.   Of those 107 were legally obtained (original purchase), 77 were stolen, 51 were police issue guns, 46 were ‘taken from friends who had legally purchased them’, 41 were trades that were allegedly illegal, 16 were straw purchases, and 3 were bought at a gun show, allegedly illegally.

Legally obtained & police issue guns are off the table obviously.   77 stolen guns – anyone can be the victim of the crime, speculating without specific details about the theft would be pointless but clearly WaPo is drawing the readers attention to the ‘traded’ guns, straw purchases, gun shows and possibly trying to influence readers to support some form of mandatory ‘report stolen guns’ law & restricting private firearms sales.

They identify the 2 most dangerous situations for police as traffic stops and domestic disputes.   One easy way to cut down on police deaths would seem to be to stop abusing motorists and fishing for violations when it isn’t appropriate.   These encounters are initiated by law enforcement and often for nothing more than ego-stroking.   Who hasn’t been lectured by a police officer on the side of the road explaining the dangers of going 70 mph on a road that 70mph actually used to be legal on or many of the other traffic violations that force confrontational encounters with law enforcement for petty reasons?   There are plenty of legitimate reasons to detain a motorist but largely this authority is overused.  Domestic disputes are incredibly dynamic, unpredictable & some departments have policy of “someone is leaving in cuffs”.  As a society, we have been conditioned to seek government permission and dial 911 from birth through death.  This puts police officers in the position of referee more often than not and in a lot of these discretion is the better part of valor.  Many times once cuffs come out the ‘referee’ becomes the enemy in the eyes of both sides, not just the one getting cuffed.  Many of these situations could be avoided by adult behavior by all involved.

51 police guns were used to kill police officers in this report.   It would be impossible to train for every scenario but a well known trainer we know says ‘Once the encounter goes hands on for someone carrying a gun, it’s a lethal force encounter because if the assailant gets the gun, they’re not going to use it for good’.  That said, a lot of police officers we know do not get enough training in weapons retention and they should.  It’s the least a department can do to see the officers trained sufficiently.  The Post ignores this.

Straw purchases (16) + 3 illegally obtained (allegedly) at a gun show, + 41 obtained on the street, + 46 obtained from friends are indicative of a societal problem far deeper than guns.   Many of these are the product of a government created black market; the “prohibited person”.  If they’re such a danger they can’t be trusted with a gun, they should be in prison, not free, not on parole, not on probation.  In a post McDonald/Heller world, eventually the courts are going to require society to revisit this government created black market because eventually the ‘prohibited person’ doctrine is going to be whittled down.  Certainly those convicted of misdemeanors will eventually be vindicated.  As vile as domestic abuse is, misdemeanors cannot deprive you of the rights guaranteed to you by the document which defines the very existence of this country.  Beyond this, eventually the courts are going to overturn the ban on possession by felons.

This whole problem is caused by the government.  Prohibition in all of its forms is an absolute guarantee that a black market will spring up to supply the demanded product.  Whether it is alcohol, drugs, firearms, crops or anything else government simply cannot change the law of supply and demand.

Dangerous criminals should be kept in prison, period.  Like it or not, the societal trend has been to “forgive” felons, moving for voting rights, and a more inclusive role for felons in society as having been “rehabilitated”.  The logical conclusion of this is the full restoration to citizenship once the debt to society is paid.  This is borne out by the Post’s own numbers.  More than 200 assailants in the report were felons prohibited by law from possessing firearms, 45 of which were on probation or parole.  If these miscreants had been kept in prison where they belonged then more than 200 police officers would still be with us and states could relax the “prohibited person” restrictions with some measure of control, before the courts do it for them.

Laws which relax the “prohibited person” restrictions to, say violent offenders rather than across the spectrum felon bans stand the best chance of surviving the eventual court challenge.  You can get a felony conviction for leaving the scene of a collision involving more than $1000 damage in some places, and a host of other traffic offenses, operating a still, tax offenses, and drug possession – a whole topic unto itself.

The article quotes from MAIG, who advocate to end gun shows among other things and in the caption laments the Tiahart amendment preventing BATFE from supplying data to anti-gun forces.  It’s tragic that the Post chooses to ignore that if the violent offenders from this report were still in prison over 200 of these police officers would likely still be with us.

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