Remember when Democrat California Senator Dianne Feinstein made a fool of herself five years ago in D.C. trying to pontificate about firearms, even as she appeared to break multiple firearms laws in the process?
Remember when she pushed a bill in 2014 that would have allowed the government to put innocent people on what she called the “Gun Violence Prevention Order” list, simply by someone making the request -- something that was not only patently unconstitutional, it opened the door to people vindictively approaching police to get such orders placed on others, and would have led to arbitrary and indiscriminate gun confiscation?
Well, Ms. Feinstein is at it again when it comes to guns, and it seems her track record is as flawless as ever.
A few days ago, “DiFi" thought she was making a point about the effectiveness of a 10-year so-called “ban” on AR-15 style rifles as she pushed for the reestablishment of the federal “ban.”
The only problem – well, foremost among the multitudinous problems – with her grand pronouncement was that she as utterly incorrect.
See, Ms. Feinstein claimed that the 1994 to 2004 “ban” -- I use quotations because, as most folks know, prohibition by statute doesn’t stop demand or the black market; just ask people who overdose on “prohibited” drugs, should they be lucky enough to survive – on AR-15 style rifles saw a 37 percent decrease in mass shooting deaths. But, as with virtually all of her positions on economics, privacy rights, the Bill of Rights and, specifically, the Second Amendment, she was gob-smackingly wrong.
But gun violence experts say the exact opposite. ‘There is no compelling evidence that it saved lives,’ Duke University public policy experts Philip Cook and Kristin Goss wrote in their book ‘The Gun Debate: What Everyone Needs to Know.’
Can it be? Feinstein misled people? Perhaps she just made a one-time error…
In fact, it’s impossible to attribute any decline in mass-shooting deaths to the so-called “ban” in any causative manner because, simply put, there’s no way to know how many, if any, AR-15s were “eliminated,” or how many were used or not used in mass-shootings during that period of general decline in gun violence anyway.
And, heck, many people don’t even bother to define the term “mass shooting.” The writer on whom Feinstein relied for her erroneous claim is a University of Massachusetts, professor named Louis Klarevas. And as Jon Stokes observes in an Op-Ed piece published by the LA Times, Klarevas’ absolutely riveting book on guns called “Rampage Nation” uses the number of six fatalities to claim that the deaths dropped by 37 percent. Trouble is, as Stokes sagely informs, if one defines the term “mass shooting fatality” as four or five deaths, the so-called “effectiveness” of the “ban” vaporizes like Feinstein’s principles at a meeting with Planned Parenthood:
(A)s Klarevas admits in a footnote, if you use the most widely accepted threshold for categorizing a shooting as a "mass shooting" — four fatalities, as opposed to Klarevas' higher threshold of six — the 1994 to 2004 drop in fatalities disappears entirely. Had Klarevas chosen a "mass shooting" threshold of five fatalities instead of six, then the dramatic pause he notes in mass shootings between 1994 to 1999 would disappear too.
And, by the way, the number of mass shootings is not increasing, either.
And, as Brian Doherty notes for Reason:
(T)he available data about gun laws often involve whole numbers too small for social science to bring to bear anything like accurate or reproducible knowledge. This is especially true when it involves the sort of rifles that can be used for mass shootings but in reality hardly ever are. (They are certainly not necessary for high-casualty shooting events. In the highest-fatality campus shooting, at Virginia Tech in 2007, the killer used pistols.)
And, as the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report indicates, as the per-capita ownership of firearms increased over the past twenty years, violent crime, including gun violence, decreased.
All of which is stunning, because Dianne Feinstein is usually so trustworthy, especially when she is intent on one of her many forays into the field of breaching the so-called protections the Constitution has to stop people like her from infringing on our rights.
She’d never do anything to deceive us…