Skip to comments.Justice Department Report Contradicts Anti-Gun Claims (2001)
Posted on 01/22/2013 8:39:45 AM PST by Brad from Tennessee
A new Justice Department report on criminal gun use contradicts several anti-gun claims by groups opposing the Second Amendment right of individuals to keep and bear arms.
One of those groups, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence (BCPGV), has long argued against firearms ownership by private citizens except for "legitimate purposes," which the organization does not believe, based on its writings, include self-defense. The group promoted President Clinton's ban on so-called "assault weapons," legislation that prevents law-abiding citizens from possessing many semiautomatic firearms.
"Until 1994, when the federal assault weapons ban passed Congress as part of President Clinton's crime bill, semiautomatic versions of "Streetsweepers," UZIs, AK-47's, and other war weapons were manufactured, imported and sold freely in this country," according to the Brady Campaign's website.
"The upsurge in gun violence relating to gang and drug activity that began in the late '80s created an enormous demand for these weapons," the website said. But the report, "Firearms Use by Offenders," by the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) casts serious doubt on that, and other claims.
"About 8 percent of the state and federal prisoners carried a military-style, semiautomatic weapon. These weapons included the UZI, Tec-9, and MAC-10 handguns, the AR-15 and AK-47 rifles and the "Street Sweeper" shotguns," according to the report.
The information in the BJS report was obtained from interviews conducted in 1997 with more than 18,000 inmates in state and federal prisons. Similar interviews were conducted in 1991, with comparisons provided in the current version.
"This study is just further evidence that supports our position against gun control. The criminals are always going to get guns," said John Velleco, spokesman for Gun Owners of America (GOA). "In spite of the fact that we've had more gun control passed in the last ten years in this country, the overall criminal use of firearms has risen."
The BJS report indicates that more than 18 percent of state prisoners and nearly 15 percent of federal prisoners reported in 1997 that they were armed when they committed the offense for which they were imprisoned. The numbers show a 2 to 3 percent increase in the number of state and federal inmates who reported they carried a firearm in 1991.
In addition to contradicting the claim of an "enormous demand" for so-called "assault weapons" among criminals, the Brady Campaign claims the weapons are so attractive to criminals because "...assault weapons are designed to be spray-fired from the hip and are designed to maximize death and injury from a very rapid rate of fire."
But the BJS report indicates that not only were criminals slightly more likely to be armed with single-shot firearms, but also that those armed with such weapons were more likely to have killed or injured their victims. The Brady Campaign has also long opposed gun shows, where federally licensed firearms dealers and private individuals gather to sell and trade guns.
Because of the sheer number of weapons present, security is usually provided by local law enforcement officers, whose job is not only to protect the people and property at the show, but also to serve as a deterrent to criminals who might seek to purchase a gun, the anti-gun group says.
Despite this, the Brady Campaign claims criminals use a so-called "gun show loophole" to purchase firearms they could not obtain elsewhere. "In most states, (Federal Firearms License holders) at these events must comply with federal regulations regarding background checks and sales. The private sellers are under no such restrictions," the group's website claims. "Thus, the gun show becomes a place where those planning to use guns in crime are able to meet unlicensed sellers and avoid the very laws meant to cut down on gun violence," it adds.
The Justice Department report refutes that claim, indicating that only 0.7 percent of inmates who used or possessed a weapon during the commission of a crime obtained their weapons from gun shows. That number actually increased from 0.6 percent in 1991.
Inmates serving time in state prisons during 1997 told researchers that they obtained their guns from the following sources in percentages:
- Purchased from a retail store - 8.3 percent
- Purchased at a pawn shop - 3.8 percent
- Purchased at a flea market - 1.0 percent
- Purchased in a gun show - 0.7 percent
- Obtained from friends or family - 39.6 percent
- Got on the street/illegal source - 39.2 percent
Velleco says the increase in criminal gun use, at a time when Congress was passing more and more restrictions on law-abiding citizens' Second Amendment rights is telling. "To say, 'We'll pass the Brady law, or the so-called 'assault-weapons' ban and we're going to keep guns out of the hands of criminals,' is just ludicrous," he said. "You're not going to stop a person who's intent on committing a crime from committing that crime just by passing a law."
Brady Campaign spokesman Brendan Daly does not dispute Velleco's assertion. "We're not denying that someone can get a gun illegally," Daly said. "This points out the need for registration. If you knew who the guns were registered to it would be easier to trace them when they were used in crimes."
GOA points out that tracing a stolen gun to an owner who no longer possesses it does nothing to prevent crimes committed with illegally obtained firearms. More importantly, if history is any guide, gun registration inevitably leads to attempts at gun confiscation, according to GOA's website.
"In the mid-1960s, officials in New York City began registering long guns. They promised they would never use such lists to take away firearms from honest citizens. But in 1991, the city banned (and soon began confiscating) many of those very guns," said GOA.
A Sept. 5, 1992 story by John Marzulli in the New York Daily News verifies that account. "Police raided the home of a Staten Island man who refused to comply with the city's tough ban on assault weapons, and seized an arsenal of firearms ... Spot checks are planned [for other homes]," Marzulli reported.
Similarly, California passed a ban on a number of semi-automatic firearms in 1989. Banned guns could be legally possessed if they were registered prior to the effective date of the legislation.
Ten years later, the California Department of Justice claimed that more than 1,500 such "pre-registered" guns were illegally owned, and were subject to confiscation.
"Plans to confiscate firearms in California were leaked to the public in 1999, sending shockwaves through the gun rights community," according to GOA's website. "The document entitled 'Relinquishment of Assault Weapons' stated, 'Once the 90-day window of opportunity for turning in such assault weapons concludes, we will send each sheriff and police chief a listing of the affected individuals [who own banned firearms]."
Despite the findings of the report, Daly says the Brady Campaign will not change their strategy calling for background checks or gun registration. GOA's Velleco is not surprised.
"They're going to call for more gun control because they always do," Velleco said. "But people are going to start asking, 'Where have gun control laws gotten us?' We're less safe now, there are more crimes using guns, there are more multiple victim shootings.
"What we need is the ability to defend ourselves," he added, "not more laws that render us defenseless, and do nothing to stop criminals."
The original CNS story is no longer archieved by Google has numerous other references to this study which is at:
Link to study:
IMO, it is the goal of the nanny-stater gun-grabbers to envelope the Second Amendment in so many regulations, procedures and paperwork as to make exercising one’s rights to own firearms a complete exercise in futility.
If they simply try to overturn the Second Amendment, they know they will be inciting violence. But, if they envelope it to the extent that it is virtually impossible to obtain a gun for ANY reason, that type of legislation will, likely, fly under the radar.