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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Chairman of Virginia Tech Panel Endorses Closing "Gun Show Loophole"

The chairman of the panel appointed by Governor Tim Kaine to investigate the Virginia Tech shootings said Monday the nation must stop the spread of guns.

Former Superintendent Gerald Massengill spoke at a meeting of the Virginia Center for Public Safety, a gun control group affiliated with the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. Massengill gave an overview of the panel's report on the April 16 shootings at Virginia Tech.

According to press reports in the Richmond Times Dispatch and the Newport News Daily Press, He focused his remarks on gun control laws, including requirements for purchasing firearms, and campus policy recommendations in the panel's final report.

Massengill has never been a proponent of gun control and he is quoted in the article as saying he has always been a strong supporter of the Second Amendment but he is now spitting our Brady Campaign talking points like he has been in the room when they are written.

For instance: "we cannot allow the proliferation of guns to continue like they're continuing" or "more-thorough background checks on gun-show purchases are needed in Virginia, if only to reduce the availability of guns for illicit purposes."

As former superintendent of the State Police, Massengill should be familiar with the fact that multiple federal government studies prove gun shows are not a source of "proliferation" for "crime guns." For instance :
  • The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) 2001 report "Firearms Use by Offenders," the largest such study ever conducted by the government, found that less than 1% of U.S. "crime guns" come from gun shows.
  • A 2000 BJS study, "Federal Firearms Offenders, 1992-98," found only 1.7% of federal prison inmates obtained their gun from a gun show.
  • A National Institute of Justice (NIJ) 1997 study, "Homicide in Eight U.S. Cities," reported less than 2% of criminal guns come from gun shows.

Further, Second Amendment scholar David Kopel has written that all three of these studies are consistent with a mid-1980s study for the NIJ, which investigated the gun purchase and use habits of convicted felons in 12 state prisons. The study (later published as the book Armed and Considered Dangerous) found that gun shows were such a minor source of criminal gun acquisition that they were not even worth reporting as a separate figure.

As to the claim in the RTD article that "35% of dealers at gun shows do not possess a federal firearms license" - you can only get to that number if you include all of the vendors who are not selling guns (e.g., vendors who are selling books, clothing, or accessories) as "dealers."

VSSA will continue to vigorously fight any attempt to regulate private sales at gun shows or anywhere else for that matter.

1 comment:

Yuri Orlov said...

"Massengill" ... sometimes the jokes just write themselves!

;-)