Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Data vs opinion (updated)

We have some articles regarding the recent release of an FBI report of an increase in gun sales in 2008 corresponding with a downturn in the number of murders.
The FBI released data Monday that shows murders dropped by 10 percent from the same period in 2008. Meanwhile, according to data released by the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) shows that during the first six months of this year, gun sales were up. January 2009 background checks rose 28.8 percent over the same month in 2008, February's NICS checks were up 23.3 percent and in March they were up 29.9 percent over March 2008. The trend continued in April, with NICS checks up 30.3 percent, while May showed a slowdown, up only 15.5 percent, and in June they were up 18.1 percent.

"What this shows," said SAF Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb, "is that gun prohibitionists are all wrong when they argue that more guns result in more crime. Firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens are no threat to anyone. Perhaps violent criminals were actually discouraged by all of those gun sales earlier this year, because the media made a point of reporting the booming gun market.

"Hard facts trump hot air," Gottlieb concluded. "These people are consistently wrong about our rights. Millions of people bought guns, especially semiautomatic sport-utility rifles that gun grabbers want to ban because they say people aren't safe with all of those guns in private hands. Well, the people disagree, and so does the data." Murder Down, Gun Sales Up; Proof That Guns Don't Cause Crime: SAF
For more, go to these Examiner columns Murder rate declined while gun sales boomed: An ‘inconvenient truth’

And FBI report points to inconvenient truth about guns and crime

With timing being everything, someone failed. Sherri Masson of Milford, Michigan the day after the release of the FBI data. Aim for safety with gun taxes
At first I was stunned by the distorted logic on why the bump in sales of guns in Michigan has been a good thing for the state ("In record numbers, guns and ammo fly off shelves," Dec. 14). How can increased revenue be worth risking lives by putting more guns into a stressed-out population?
Would that be "distorted logic" supported by the FBI report, perhaps?
What if we raised the tax on guns and ammo even more? The money could be used to cover the medical bills of hundreds of victims of gun violence, many in wheelchairs because someone in their lives or in their neighborhoods owned a gun. These taxes could be used to defray the huge cost of electronic screening devices in schools and businesses around the state.
Thus taxing the poor who have to protect themselves while the rich can pay for their own security team.
...let's treat guns and ammo like cigarettes, making the taxes so high people might stop buying them. Now that would be a positive effect of higher taxes.
They already are taxed with excise and sales taxes, just like tobacco products. In Sherri's world, poor people don't deserve an effective method of protection.

Thank you, Sherri, for your insightful opinion.

Update: David Codrea has more information on Sherri,
Still, everyone is entitled to their opinion. It's just important that we understand who is offering one in this case. Because either Masson or Freep.com neglected to give us a significant piece of information:

Sherri Masson [is] the...Vice President of Million Mom March of Michigan
Anti-gun letter to editor reveals more than writer intended

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