Friday, May 22, 2009

More on the Assault Weapons Ban and the Tiahrt Amendments

It has been pointed out by several commenters that the famous AWB (Assault Weapons Ban) is nothing more than a badly written and nonsensical piece of legislature.

I eventually agreed with the "badly written" part after reading about the endless discussions of what constitutes an "assault weapon" and what distinguishes one from other rifles. The list of superfucial and aesthetic features that were used to designate those weapons too dangerous to allow in the public hands, even to me seemed a cumbersome way to get to the point. Then I learned that some weapons that were named as being "assault weapons" were simply modified slightly and produced afterwards, being, essentially the same weapon. The whole business is poorly written.

I came to agree with the nonsensical part when it was pointed out to me that "assault weapons," or even rifles in general, were not the problem, pistols were. I was told that all the talk about "assault weapons" was silly because they made up less than 1% of the overall picture. I agreed, the whole business is poorly written and nonsensical.

Then while reading about the Tiarht Amendments, I came upon an interesting piece of information. From the Brady report Without a Trace.

The ATF report Assault Weapons Profile (1994) revealed the total number of traces for each assault weapon that would be banned by name in proposed legislation. ATF also determined that, while assault weapons make up only 1% of the guns in circulation in the United States at the time, they accounted for up to 8% of the guns traced to crime.

Now that's a little different, isn't it? I wonder if the numbers have risen in the intervening years. I wonder what the percentage is today. The problem is we'll never know the answers to those questions. The Tiarht Amendments prevent access to that type of information.

Don't you find it strange that the pro-gun folks who continually talk about freedom, have given us the Tiarht Amendments, which we talked about plenty recently. These provisions effectively ensure that the very information needed to make legislative decisions that make sense, is lacking. To me that's not freedom.

What's your opinion?


  1. Still don't know what the amendment does, do you Mike?

    Also good to see you're still copying Brady Camp press releases.

    That's s00per good integrity!

    What happened to your crime guns after you left the USA?

  2. MikeB,

    Ever read what is written BY THE ATF ABOUT THEIR TRACE DATA?Firearm traces are designed to assist law enforcement authorities in conducting investigations by tracking the sale and possession of specific firearms. Law enforcement agencies may request firearms traces for any reason, and those reasons are not necessarily reported to the federal government. Not all firearms used in crime are traced and not all firearms traced are used in crime. Firearms selected for tracing are not chosen for purposes of determining which types, makes or models of firearms are used for illicit purposes. The firearms selected do not constitute a random sample and should not be considered representative of the larger universe of all firearms used by criminals, or any subset of that universe. Firearms are normally traced to the first retail seller, and sources reported for firearms traced do not necessarily represent the sources or methods by which firearms in general are acquired for use in crime.Do you understand that MIKEB? Do you understand the limitations on the trace information?

  3. Do you think the Brady Campaign and similar private groups should be able to mine trace data and use that data to file junk lawsuits against legitimate dealers?

  4. So Mike, do you now NOT support banning Assault Weapons?

    After all, as I showed you they're only used in a fraction of 1% of all crime.

  5. I apologize; I don't have time to track down the Brady Campaign's report or address the numbers right now. I'd like to quickly address two points, though:

    The list of superfucial and aesthetic features that were used to designate those weapons too dangerous to allow in the public hands, even to me seemed a cumbersome way to get to the point.

    Note that there's a reason for this: "assault weapons" is a completely arbitrary category. Civilian AR15s, AK-47s, and other "assault weapons" are simply low-powered light semiautomatic carbines, no deadlier than any other low powered light semiautomatic carbines. The only differences are that they're a bit lighter, are sometimes more modular (it's easier to mount accessories, like flashlights, on an AR), and _look_ like military machine guns.

    This is a wedge issue; it was never anything more.

    These provisions effectively ensure that the very information needed to make legislative decisions that make sense, is lacking.

    Directly from the text of the amendment itself:

    ...this proviso shall not be construed to prevent...the publication of annual statistical reports on products regulated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, including total production, importation, and exportation by each licensed importer (as so defined) and licensed manufacturer (as so defined), or statistical aggregate data regarding firearms traffickers and trafficking channels, or firearms misuse, felons, and trafficking investigations...

    The amendment itself explicitly ensures that the kind of report evidently being relied on by Brady _can_ be compiled.

    Once again, the Tiahrt amendment only prevents private parties from obtaining sensitive personal information related to firearms sales, and sensitive law-enforcement information related to traces (which is of limited value anyway, as traces contain minimal information and don't indicate that a gun has been criminally misused).

  6. Due to the arbitrariness of our gun laws (the assault weapons ban is a good example)a gun that is traced to a crime isn't always one that was used to hurt someone or even in the hands of someone with the intent on doing harm.

    Here is a good example.

    Now there are 17 guns traced to a crime, where not a single person was harmed, nor the weapons in the hand of someone intent on harming someone.

    If we rolled back some of our useless, arbitrary legislation instead of creating new, useless arbitrary legislation (like an assault weapons ban) we could reduce the numbers of guns traced to a crime and get a clearer picture of guns that are used in real crimes such as murder, robbery, etc.

  7. Why do you oppose the authorities MikeB? The BATFE, FOP, and FBI all support Tiahrt. Are you with the police or the Brady Campaign?

  8. Sooo... wait a second... I thought MikeB "honestly didn't have time" to write posts like these?

    Of course, "posts like these" basically amount to "copy-paste from the VPC/BC webpages", so I guess they do not take any time at all...

  9. Linoge asked, "I thought MikeB "honestly didn't have time" to write posts like these?"Sorry if I wasn't clear. I said I didn't have time to engage in a formal debate with Kevin IN ADDITION to writing posts like this. I like to post on my own blog every day plus read and comment on a number of others.

    In addition, I have a life outside the internet: three young kids, wife, mother-in-law, fairly demanding job, a few other activities. I'm strapped, really.

    Linoge, in spite of what you may have read from some of my detractors, I maintain the policy of telling the truth and letting the chips fall where they may. I do that the best I can, really.

  10. MikeB,

    This debate challenge doesn't have to happen tomorrow. We can discuss it back and forth to establish a "reasonable restriction" on the timeline. You like Reasonable Restrictions, don't you?
    (that was a joke).

    Seriously, it can be several days or weeks. That should give you plenty of time to enjoy your life and still prepare. It isn't like you are the only one that has a life outside of blogging either.

    Kevin has been doing this a lot longer then I have. I'll assist you in what ever way you need. I WANT THIS TO BE A FAIR DEBATE. I want this to be your best evidence. I think you know me well enough by now to know that I am being honest. To know that I will honestly assist you.

    What do you say?

  11. MikeB, the debate does not have to happen tomorrow, or even next week - if you talk to Kevin, I am quite certain he will allow you whatever time you so desire in order to assemble, write, proof, edit, and finalize whatever arguments you want to field in the debate.

    That you are unwilling to engage in the debate, but more than willing to repost and copy-paste VPC and BC news releases indicates marked degrees of cowardice on your parts, and even more significant amounts of intellectual dishonesty.

    And, simply put, from what I have read of your weblog, you and "the truth" do not even have a working relationship... You are nothing more than a mouthpiece for hoplophobic organizations, and a poor one at that.

  12. Linoge, All your silly taunts and insults were worth it to learn that wonderful word.



  13. Why do you oppose the authorities MikeB? The BATFE, FOP, and FBI all support Tiahrt. Are you with the police or the Brady Campaign?

    Do you feel the Brady Campaign is more authoritative in the use of date produced by these agencies than the agencies themselves?

  14. Bob, I have read about that disclaimer but I also read that the gun lobby forced them to write it. Of course that could be lies from the anti-gun side.

    Third, I read those links Weer'd provided a week or two ago about that but I didn't find them very convincing.

    One idea comes to mind. You guys have discounted the Police Chiefs' opinion when it's anti-gun but now you're all excited that the "police" are in favor of the Tiarht Amendments. It seems a bit confused.

  15. How would the gun lobby force the ATF to change a report? If the gun lobby had that kind of power, wouldn't we be more likely to use it for something more important, like to stop them from shutting down dealers for typos?

    Chiefs aren't the same as street cops--they are subordinate to politicians, and can't get too far from their Mayor's political platform. The International Association of Chiefs of Police isn't the "main" chief's group--it is supported by the Joyce Foundation, just like the Brady Campaign, and unlike real police groups.

  16. And yet you still dodge the offer of a head-to-head debate, and still continue to copy-paste all of the anti-gun screeds you can find. I guess, subconciously, you are acknowledging how indefensible your positions are, but your intellectual dishonestly surely does run deep.

  17. So MikeB doesn't find the fact that the BATFE, FBI, and FOP all support Tiahrt, this from PRIMARY sources, to be 'convincing'.

    But a Brady Campaign cutnpaste is the epitome of research.

    "I also read that the gun lobby forced them to write it."

    OMFG, are you serious? Prove it. If you have any integrity whatsoever, prove that statement.

  18. I read it somewhere, probably the Brady Campaign site, so you guys will simply dismiss it as lies anyway, but what it said was that the NRA pressured the ATF into writing that disclaimer. Is that so far fetched? I don't think so. The problem is you guys immediately go into "deny everything" mode. Then with feigned indignation you say things like "OMFG" for emphasis.

  19. MikeB,

    If the gun lobby "forced" the Congress to write it in, then where is the evidence?

    More importantly, why did they force Congress?

    When the average time to trace for a firearm is around 10 years...doesn't that mean something?

  20. So basically you have no evidence of your claim but you WANT to believe it so it's true.

    What you're claiming then is that the NRA has control over not only Congress but the BATFE, FBI, FOP, and CRS.

    You claim we have a 'problem' in that we actually want you to provide evidence to support your assertions. You want us to take you at your word. Why do you think the VPC and BC are effectively ignored on the hill? Because they, like you, cannot back up their constant claims and hope that people just keep believing them.

    Seems we're not the ones w/ the 'problem'.

  21. MikeB, to put it simply, it does not matter what you think. It does not matter what you consider to be 'far fetched' or not.

    Evidence is the only thing that matters.

    If you have substantial proof, provided by a third party or an objective source (which neither the Brady Campaign nor the VPC count as, given their considerable agendas and biases when it comes to firearms and the NRA), then please provide that evidence. Otherwise, you are simply blowing smoke up everyone's arses, as usual.

  22. OK - OK, you guys are right about me. I am hopelessly hoplophobic.

  23. MikeB,

    We agree about 1 thing at least.