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Dr. Wintermute Takes on Gun Shows
The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence just sent me a summary of a study done by Dr. Garen J. Wintermute, who is Director of the University of California (Davis campus) Violence Prevention Research Program. Dr. Wintermute has visited 28 gun shows in California, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, and Florida.
The report is lengthy, highly detailed, and written in the brain-coagulating academic prose that nearly got me flunked out of college. I don’t have the space to discuss it in detail, so I’ll have to limit myself to comments on just a few of his points.
“The study,” according to the Coalition summary, “demonstrates that American gun shows continue to be a venue for illegal activity, including straw purchases and unlicensed sales to prohibited individuals.”
My question is, how did the Doctor come by this information? Did he hear people announce that they were prohibited from buying a gun? Or that they were buying a gun for someone else?
“Hey, good buddy, I’m a fugitive felon, and I’d like to know how much you want for that Smith over there.” Or: “My 13-year-old has bullying issues at school. What’s the price on the Mac-10?”
“There is little police presence at gun shows.”
Probably true. There is a shortage of uniform officers on duty on the floor, but they are almost always present at the door. And there are loads of cops in civilian clothes inside, buying throwaway guns.
“The BATFE estimates that there are 5,000 gun shows annually in the United States.”
Yes, and if Doctor Wintemute had visited a few more than he did, he would have seen that they ranged from roadside gatherings of a couple dozen people selling gun-related junk to affairs hosting thousands of people at which the cheapest gun would require a second mortgage to buy.
The actual report shows photos of SKS rifles, and notes that they are equipped with bayonets. But when was the last time a civilian was bayoneted to death? Probably more people are killed by step-on dogs falling from windows than are stabbed by SKS bayonets.
The study is largely naïve, silly, and academic. But I repeat myself.