Legal ownership of firearms clearly is a contentious issue heading into the 2020 general election. Like many other contentious issues, the partisan liberal run media are doing their best to portray firearms as something only delusional domestic terrorist own.
Emotional appeals and falsely applied terms, like “assault rifle,” influence civil discussion and potential state and federal policy, and not always for the better.
Among the most recent examples is an article published in The Missourian. “Gun Violence in Missouri becoming a disease of youth” was published by Missouri University and edited by journalism school professors.
The article suggests unregulated, legal private sales greatly increased gun violence among Missouri youth. The “disease of youth” to which the article refers, it would appear, is lawful gun ownership.
The article cites ATF reports showing a 40 percent rise in firearms traced to teens under 18 years of age. The number rose from 155 in 2012 to 217 last year.
The article blames access to handguns and suggests private gun sales are responsible. The article suggests the handguns are obtained via transactions arranged online, but cites no sources.
In other words, the writers and editors injected a blatant assumption that falls apart under even light scrutiny. The aim, clearly, is to appeal on an emotional level since they don’t have facts to support their theory.
There are some big problems with that notion. The first is that people under age 17 simply cannot purchase a firearm from anyone. It is against federal law. At best, they could accept a gift, such as a hunting rifle. Clearly, youth under age 18 are not buying firearms legally in Missouri or any other state.
Even younger adults from ages 18 to 30 mostly do not obtain firearms from legal sources. And none buy them via legal private transactions. The only private transaction in which they partake to buy firearms are black market transactions, which are illegal. And youth in Missouri mostly are getting firearms through theft or the black market.
Federal studies affirm as much. Virtually no state or federal inmates who used firearms while committing the crimes for which they were imprisoned got their guns via private sales. A 2016 survey of state and federal prison inmates shows very few obtained their firearms from an FFL dealer.
The U.S. Dept. of Justice reports shows their preferred source is the black market, or from someone they know. Others stole the firearm, or found it at the scene of the crime.
The breakdown is as follows:
- 43 percent from the black market.
- 25 percent from friends or family.
- 7 percent found at scene of crime.
- 7 percent from an FFL dealer.
- 6 percent from theft.
The report shows most prisoners – 79 percent – did not use firearms during the crimes for which they were convicted. Of those who carried guns during crimes, only 13 percent used the firearms by showing, pointing or firing them.
With criminals mostly not using firearms, and none obtaining them via private sales, The Missourian clearly is pushing a false narrative with the aim of eroding gun owner rights.
What would help, though, is education. Letting organizations like the NRA, USCCA, and other gun safety advocates into public schools to teach gun safety and proper handling will go a long way towards combating gun violence.