ATF trace data proves gun control does not affect crime

By Gerard Valentino

One of the crown jewels of the gun control movement was the passage of the Brady Bill during the first term of Bill Clinton's administration. The bill created the five day waiting period for handgun purchases, and was hailed as the first step in halting handgun violence in America.

Of course, prior to the Brady Bill the anti-gun groups had claimed several other key gun control laws would end gun violence as we knew. Those failures did little to dim their unprecedented optimism over what the Brady Bill would mean to America.

As it turns out, all the Brady Bill did was over regulate the handgun buying process and create hurdles for honest people, since criminals rarely go into gun shops to buy a handgun. Don't be fooled by the anti-gun rhetoric about keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, they want to keep honest people from owning guns as well.

Recent ATF gun trace data shows that the Brady Bill had little effect on gun crime, and that the holy grails of the anti-gun movement are meaningless when it comes to crime fighting.

According to the ATF, the average time a gun is in circulation before being used in a crime is ten years.

Regardless of whether a state had a "one-gun-per-month" law, and despite any other active gun control laws, the 10 year period remained pretty consistent from state to state. Guns bought in-state were also most likely to be traced in that state.

So, when New York City Mayor Micheal Bloomberg carries on about how New York's so-called gun problem is caused by out of state purchases he is blowing smoke.

Such a statistical breakdown, from a credible source, does damage to the anti-gun movement's claims that straw purchases are putting guns in the hands of criminals in large numbers. It also destroys their claim that guns are bought in the heat of the movement and then immediately used in crimes.

The argument that the mere possession of a gun turns honest people from law-abiding citizens to someone that is heartbeat away from being a criminal is shredded as well. If the possession of a gun was enough to overcome people's law-abiding nature, guns would be used in crimes much faster than the national average of 10 years.

Arguing that waiting periods and background checks have deterred criminals was always laughable, since criminals will always find a gun when they need it. This ATF gun trace data is further proof that Brady waiting periods, and one-gun-a-month limits, are feel-good laws that do more to discourage honest people from buying a gun than deterring criminals.

According to the ATF, in Ohio it takes an average of 10.16 years before a gun is used in a crime, and the national average is 10.33 years. That stands in direct contrast to the anti-gunner's claims that people walk into gun shops to buy guns with the express purpose of using them in a crime. It also disproves their argument that guns are bought in bulk in one state and shipped to another specifically for nefarious purposes. If that was the case, guns used in crimes on average would pop up much sooner.

For the record, it has to be noted that other studies have shown that less than 1% of firearms ever produced are ultimately used in a crime.

We, once again, have statistics from an impartial source that disprove a key component of the anti-gun platform. Therefore, the big question isn't that the anti-gun leadership continues to exist in America today. They will continue chasing windmills despite the failure of gun control - but why anyone pays attention to them.

They have cried wolf for nearly 50 years. Yet, people keep running each time they shriek about the evils of gun ownership.

Over the years they claimed concealed carry laws would lead to blood running in the streets and were proven wrong. They claimed so-called "assault weapons" were to blame for criminal activity and that was also shown to be incorrect. Now, we have further proof that the Brady Bill is largely useless.

As it stands, every argument made by the anti-gun community in America has proved to be seriously flawed. Only when they create their own statistics using misleading guidelines and falsified results can their side stay in the debate.

It's clear, as time goes on, that the American people see through the anti-gun arguments since they have lost every meaningful political challenge over the last twenty-five years.

At the national level, even what they claim as a victory is based on a staggering loss. The recent vote in the United States Senate over National Reciprocity was hailed by the anti-gun movement as a victory. But, they still were outvoted on the issue 58-39. That is an overwhelming level of support in favor of national concealed carry reciprocity, and only a filibuster by the Democrats keep it from becoming the law of the land.

When a self-proclaimed great victory is achieved through administrative trickery, it ceases to be a great victory. Still, that won't stop the anti-gun movement from claiming the tide is turning on the gun debate.

Basking in what we've gained over the years, however, is still a luxury pro-gun advocates can't afford. Now that we have yet another case that disproves the false hope of gun-control, it is vital that the message is trumpeted far and wide.

Otherwise, the spin and deception used by the anti-gun leadership to ply their message can regain a foothold for their side.

It's our job to see that it doesn't.

Gerard Valentino is the Buckeye Firearms Foundation Treasurer and writes for the

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