Category Archives: BradyWatch

BradyWatch: on the rocks

Looks like the Brady Campaign is really in a tailspin. A financial one, I mean; we already knew they had no public support and their arguments made no sense. Looks like they’re $250k in the hole:

Dear (friendly_iconoclast),

I am writing to you today as one of the Brady Campaign’s most loyal friends because we really need your help…

…But the truth is, because we’ve been fighting so hard on so many fronts, we’re facing a serious financial shortfall.

I need to make up a $250,000 budget shortfall before the end of the year….

Titter titter.

BradyWatch: Low IQ patrol

Joan Peterson is at it again. This lady is amazing. There’s been some discussion as to just what her problem is. Is she a zealot? Does she have cognitive dissonance? Does she lack a process for determining truth from falsity? Is she a bigot?

Definitely she’s got a bunch of these, but I think she’s just plain not too bright. First, she doesn’t seem to get the internet. She deletes all the dumbest comments and then complains how intolerant and stupid we are, unaware that all she’s done is keep the cream of the crop, which compares quite unfavorably to her incoherence. Then there are whoppers like these:

As to your question, I don’t remember who, now, asked if I could show that legal assault weapons had been used in a gun crime. My question, as you very well know, is to find out what difference it makes whether or not someone is killed with a legal or illegally obtained assault rifle. One obtained illegally would be a stolen weapon, as in one of the stories to which I linked, or a street purchase by an prohibited purchaser. We all know it’s legal for felons and mentally ill people to purchase guns without background checks but they are prohibited from purchasing so it’s not right and should be illegal.

In addition to confusing similar terms and displaying a lot of general incoherence, I love how she claims in a single sentence that the purchase of firearms at gun shows by felons and crazies is both legal and prohibited. You can’t make this stuff up!

BradyWatch: et tu, Jon Stewart?

Paul Helmke sounds so personally wounded by Jon Stewart’s surprising refutation of the notion that guns cause school shootings. Here, see for yourself (it’s at about 8:45):

Poor Paul; even those he considers to be his ideological allies are turning against him. I just have to say:

Ha ha 2.jpeg

BradyWatch: moar graphs!

There is a long and fascinating debate taking place on the blog of a Brady Campaign board member who has actually decided to engage us in a debate. I love graphs, so I decided to make one, complete with trendlines for the crime stats:

Brady score vs crime by state, 2007.png

What we see is quite interesting. First of all, it is indeed true that states with lower Brady scores have more “gun deaths”. And that’s where the Brady board member wants to stop.

However, the truth is a bit more complicated than this. “Gun deaths” actually includes both murder committed with a firearm and also justifiable shootings by police and private citizens—something very bad and something very good, respectively. Many “gun deaths” could be telling us that these states have more gun murders, or more justifiable killings by police officers—they’re all included in such a vague and nebulous figure as “gun deaths.”

Therefore, it makes more sense to look instead at homicide specifically, which is the killing that’s criminal in nature. I have included both homicide committed with a firearm and also homicide in general. What we see is that both types of homicide have no correlation whatsoever with a state’s Brady score. The trendline is essentially flat; you are no more likely to be murdered—with or without a firearm—in states with high Brady scores as you are in states with low Brady scores.

But the Brady Campaign doesn’t always talk about its rating, it likes to say things like “more guns equals more death!” So instead of comparing states by their Brady scores, let’s compare them on their rates of gun ownership:

Gun ownership vs crime by state, 2007.png

Again, you see the same trend: states with more gun ownership have higher rates of gun deaths, but nearly identical rates of firearm homicide and homicide in general. So again, you are no more likely to be murdered—with or without a firearm—in states with high gun ownership as you are in states with low gun ownership.

Conclusions:

Greater firearms ownership and lower Brady scores ARE correlated with more gun deaths.

Greater firearms ownership and lower Brady scores ARE NOT correlated more higher gun homicides.

Greater firearms ownership and lower Brady scores ARE NOT correlated with more homicides in general.

In other words, the amount of gun control and gun ownership doesn’t tell you anything about your likelihood of being a victim of homicide, with or without a gun involved.

BradyWatch: you can almost see his head exploding

Paul Helmke sez: “Even though crime is going down and more guns are being sold since we have the most guns ever of anyone that means we should be the safest people in the world and the fact that we’re not means that the NRA is wrong and wait a minute listen here besides crime is complicated and affected by more things than guns but seriously this totally doesn’t refute everything we’ve ever said because keep in mind that guns are still really dangerous and bad and that more of them isn’t the solution and also fewer people have more guns and these armed whackos are really scary and dangerous even though crime is going down. Also if you disagree you hate America. Really.”

BradyWatch: we failed to lose ground in these specific circumstances, so it was a great year!

Or something.

BradyWatch: Ban it all I say!

Ever since I’ve gotten involved in the movement, I’ve believed that gun rights is an excellent Libertarian litmus test. Not a Democratic or Republican one, mind you, because you can find plenty of folks from both political parties who like guns. No, I’m talking about statism vs liberty. Because the only real way to restrict guns is to embark down a dark path that treads dangerously close to permitting government restriction of anything at all.

The Brady Campaign’s Dennis Henigan illustrates this perfectly. He’s calm and measured, but under that mask lurks a dangerous seed of reverence for absolute government power. Don’t believe me? Read it straight from the horse’s mouth.

Defending our Constitution means defending its specific grant of power to Congress to “regulate Commerce . . . among the several states” and to “make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper” for executing that power. It also means defending the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, by which federal law “shall be the supreme Law of the Land . . . .” Can there be any more direct expression of contempt for the Supremacy Clause than the premise of the “Firearms Freedom” statutes that individual states have the authority to determine for themselves the extent of federal power?

[…]

There is little doubt that the federal courts will make mincemeat of these “Firearms Freedom” laws. The first ruling came down last week, as a federal magistrate judge in Montana struck down that state’s law. Agreeing with the Brady Center’s brief, the judge found the law flatly unconstitutional under decades-old Supreme Court precedent recognizing federal authority to regulate entirely intrastate activity if exempting that activity would undercut federal regulation of interstate activity. As recently as 2005, a conservative majority of the Supreme Court reaffirmed this precedent by recognizing federal power to prohibit the purely local production and medical use of marijuana authorized by state law.

Observe the approval with which he notes that the federal government has used its power to render unlawful the growing and medical consumption of marijuana — acts that are neither interstate nor commercial.

Dennis Henigan is the type of man who, should he succeed in eliminating guns, will go after knives. And toy guns. And bludgeons. And who knows, maybe violent movies next. Perhaps alcohol after that. We already know he’s okay with the federal government having the power to ban anything it wishes, so who knows what’s next?

What a scary man.