OOPS: Brady Campaign president admits people are the problem, not guns

By Chad D. Baus

The Akron Beacon-Journal recently reported that Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence president Paul Helmke addressed the Akron Roundtable on May 21.

The story notes that Helmke delivered his usual misleading statistics and hyperbole to the not-for-profit speakers' forum...along with a couple of accidental admissions that point to the fact that his organization's gun control strategy can never succeed.

From the story:

"Those with guns in their homes are 21 times more likely to use a gun against themselves or a family member than to use for protection from the bad guys," Helmke said.

Helmke doesn't source his "21 times" figure, but apparently pro-gun advocates have succeeded in debunking their "43 times more likely" myth to the point they can't use it any more. Now apparently they're just creating a new myths.

"A lot of people seem to think there are a lot of laws that deal with guns," Helmke said. "But the only real law on the books is from 1934 that restricts access to machine guns, fully automatic weapons, which came out of the prohibition era with Al Capone and Elliott Ness."

"The only real law on the books?" At one point it was estimated that there were as many as 20,000 gun control laws on the books in the United States, though efforts to pass state laws that preempt local gun control ordinances have likely brought that number down, despite the opposition of Brady Campaign, who fought it every step of the way.

Trumpeting "legislation is pending in Washington that closes a loophole that allows dealers at gun shows to sell guns without background checks," Helmke failed to disclose that the law would actually prevent private citizens from selling to one another at these shows. Helmke knows full well that all federally-licensed dealers are required to perform a NICS check - an instant background check his organization once opposed.

Researcher Howard Nemerov cites crime statistics from Fort Wayne Indiana, where Helmke served as mayor, as a means of instructing the public on just how little credibility he deserves to be given on the issue of crime reduction.

During [Helmke's] last five years as mayor, the national violent crime rate fell 7.0 percentage points faster, murder fell 12.5 more, and rape fell 12.1 faster, while the aggravated assault rate in Fort Wayne actually rose 15.9%, trailing the national index by 38.4 points. In the first five years post-Helmke, Fort Wayne beat the national violent crime index by 11.1 percentage points leading in rape, robbery. and aggravated assault. Nor can Helmke blame his failure to rein in crime on Indiana's criminal justice environment. During his last five years as mayor, Indiana experienced a 33.5% drop in the violent crime rate, beating the national index by 7.5 points and leaving Fort Wayne 14.5 points behind the state index, beating Helmke's city in murder, rape, and aggravated assault. In the first five years post-Helmke, Fort Wayne's violent crime trend was 11.2% better than the state's, again showing that state dynamics and policies didn't affect the city's ability to fight crime. Given that Helmke had about 8 years to put policies and personnel in place prior to this time period, his crime reduction skills as mayor were at odds with both national and state violent crime trends, calling into question his ability to determine what is the best crime-fighting policy direction for our country.

Despite his obvious inability to create public policy that leads to crime reduction, the Helmke still tries to sound like he has the answers:

Helmke, who is the former mayor of Fort Wayne, Ind., said there are states, like California, that have strong gun laws. The problem is residents just go to a neighboring state to purchase their guns.

He favors strong enforcement of the illegal trafficking of guns.

"Felons get guns by stealing them, without background checks, or from gun dealers who don't follow the rules," Helmke said. "It's a problem we can solve; it's not like a hurricane or tornado."

If even Helmke admits felons avoid the gun control laws his organization advocates, one wonders why they continue to press for more laws, which will only effect law-abiding citizens.

The newspaper published another slip at the conclusion of the article, quoting him as saying "Guns don't kill people. People kill people. Guns don't fire by themselves."

There you have it - Paul Helmke admits what pro-gun advocates - who have worked long and hard to fight the Brady Campaign on their "handgun control" mission - have been saying for years! So will Helmke decide to restructure his organization from its current focus on blaming guns and law-abiding citizens to one focused on keeping criminals behind bars?

I won't hold my breath.

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman, and an NRA-Certified Firearms Instructor.

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