Saturday, August 8, 2009

Oh, Paul Helmke, You Rascally Scamp, you


Sigh. So, this will not shock anyone who reads this blog, but Paul Helmke told another lie about buying guns in America yesterday. The usual. From the written article:

But the Brady Campaign Against Gun Violence says it's not enough.

"Doing this on the internet allows someone who is anti-social to get those sort of arms, no questions asked, no suspicions raised... Allowing online sellers to never take responsibility for their actions, something is wrong with that system," says the president of the group, Paul Helmke.

I'll give Paul the benefit of the doubt and assume he must not have known that the reporter was going to put that quote right after the one where the owner of the gun shop tells the truth about interstate gun sales:

Thompson says all three sales were legal and says buying online doesn't mean it's any easier to get a gun. He says you still have to physically go to a registered gun store to pick it up.

"There's no skipping any steps... there's no mail order guns."

What really irritates me is not the fact that Helmke lied--that's what he does for a living. What's he going to do? Say that the guy only bought a magazine from The Gun Source, and that if he'd wanted to buy a gun he'd have had to have it shipped to a local FFL, who would have then followed all local, state and federal laws the same as any other sale? What's the percentage in that for anybody Helmke cares about? No, what irks me is hearing the reporter, Julie Huck of NBC26, observe in a clear abuse of the present progressive tense, " . . .that argument not flying with those campaigning against gun violence" and then playing Helmke's quote as if it were equally true. Helmke's arguing that there's "something wrong with our system of gun distribution" because "the same shop was involved in all three of these shootings." What he's not mentioning is what "involved" means. From the report, it's clear that Sodini bought one Glock magazine from The Gun Source, and something the TV report calls a "loader on his Glock." Maybe one of those execrable Glock thumb-savers? No guns, in any case, which means that The Gun Source has as much to do with any argument over "gun distribution" as they would if Helmke were arguing against lobsters or microprocessors--two other things TGS did not sell to Sodini.

One more time, TGS, just to be clear: if Sodini had purchased a firearm from TGS, then TGS would have taken his payment and waited for his local federally-licensed firearm dealer to send a copy of his FFL (Federal Firearms License) to TGS. Then TGS would have shipped the firearm, not to Sodini, but to the FFL. From that time on, the gun would be in the local FFL's inventory the same as any other. Then, for a fee, the local FFL would sell the gun Sodini--IF he filled out the federal Form 4473 correctly and passed the NICS background check.

And since you mentioned the Northern Illinois University shooting, I'll just go ahead and mention that all state and local laws are also in effect. If the buyer lived in Illinois, then his local FFL would follow all Illinois laws as well, which include recording the buyer's Firearm Owner Identification information and making the buyer wait three days before he takes possession of handgun (one day for long guns.) I'm sure the fact that Illinois has much more restrictive gun laws than Wisconsin while at the same time having much higher levels of violent crime involving firearms has not escaped your notice, since you're a professional Authorized Journalist and all, but if you'd spent a minute or two on Google you wouldn't have to air a report containing two mutually exclusive claims about how the system works.

2 comments:

Vanilla Chunk said...

Well-noted. It's a busy store and they do a lot of business. Are they to be criticized for being successful?
Biggest gun-selling chain in L.A. is probably Turner's. When someone gets killed with a gun from there, nobody goes and interviews the sales manager at Turner's. They know the laws were followed.

Vanilla Chunk said...

Well-noted. It's a busy store and they do a lot of business. Are they to be criticized for being successful?
Biggest gun-selling chain in L.A. is probably Turner's. When someone gets killed with a gun from there, nobody goes and interviews the sales manager at Turner's. They know the laws were followed.