ATF Training Manual – Threatens Firing Squads for Leakers

Editor’s Note – As if the tone of incivility were not bad enough in DC, and America endures the zero tolerance on kids with toy guns or a Pop-Tart gets chewed into the form of a gun, leave it to the Obama Administration to make threats to its agents if they leak information

Not just any threat – threats of facing firing squads are in their training manuals should an agent leak sensitive secrets.

Sacrebleu! ATF threatens French-style firing squad for agents who leak secrets

By Kellan Howell – The Washington Times

After months of anguished debate over mass shootings, gun control and Second Amendment rights, the Justice Department finds itself on the defensive after a training manual surfaced that suggests federal agents could face a firing squad for leaking government secrets.

A photo in the online manual for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — complete with a photo of a turn-of-the-century firing squad — was obtained by The Washington Times from a concerned federal law enforcement official, and it immediately drew protests from watchdogs who said it showed a lack of sensitivity to gun violence and the continuing hostile environment toward whistleblowers.

FiringSquads

Stephen Kohn, executive director of the National Whistleblower Center, said the DOJ has forgotten about the protections of the First Amendment, which covers leaks to the media, and that the photo could scare its employees into self-censorship.

The photo “would have a chilling affect on legitimate speech. And some of the rhetoric used against whistleblowers could be construed as inciting to violence because they’ve turned up the rhetoric,” Mr. Kohn said.

Justice Department officials said the photo was included as a joke and that they were unaware it was viewed as offensive by agents. They plan to remove the entry, but not until the government shutdown is ended and federal officials return to work, said Richard Marianos, the special agent in charge of the Washington division of ATF.

The photo was embedded in the annual Introduction to National Security Information online course for the ATF, the main federal law enforcement agency investigating gun violence and illegal gun trafficking.

Richard Roberts, a public information officer for the International Union of Police Associations, said his opinion is that the photo is nothing more than a humorous attempt to underscore a serious point.

“During many years of law enforcement experience, I can attest to the fact that law enforcement personnel often use gallows humor as a release from the grim realities of the profession,” he said.

But watchdogs raised immediate concerned that the image may have an unintended chilling effect on DOJ employees, as the agency has often been criticized for its handling of whistleblowers.

While the DOJ may be making light of a serious policy, Mr. Kohn said the photo was hypocritical, unconstitutional and unprofessional.

“The government leaks information all the time and they get away with it,” Mr. Kohn said. “They don’t go after leaks that they support. The government leaks, and when it is officially condoned they do not investigate or prosecute.”

A major incident that Mr. Kohn referenced was the case of former U.S. Attorney Richard Convertino, who was removed from his position in Michigan by the DOJ after the DOJ leaked negative information about him.

“It significantly harmed his reputation, turned out not to be true, and we filed a privacy act lawsuit in 2003 and we are still fighting with the Justice Department to try to find out who the source of that leak was,” Mr. Kohn said. “They have used well over $1 million of taxpayer resources to cover up a DOJ employee who violated the law when he leaked information to defame a whistleblower and that’s one of the biggest problems with this whole campaign against leaks.”

Mr. Kohn said the DOJ has forgotten about the protections of the First Amendment, which covers leaks to the media. There is also Supreme Court precedent in the case of Pickering v. Board of Education which established the constitutional right of public employees to provide information to the news media, he said.

“This is a campaign to silence and intimidate whistleblowers and what is the most troubling part of this aggressive campaign, is that the justice department has completely ignored the first amendment,” Mr. Kohn said.

A law enforcement official told The Washington Times that the training materials were assembled for ATF and that the photo appears on a slide deck that was put together by contractors in 2007. The photo has been included in the manual since March 2008.

ATF will be reviewing the materials in the training documents. It’s the latest controversy for the law enforcement agency, which has suffered significant repercussions from the ill-conceived Fast and Furious operation that knowingly allowed semiautomatic weapons to flow across the U.S. border and into Mexico’s violent drug wars.

Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

Knee-jerk Gun Laws – the impact on other shores

Editor’s Note – The gun control debate rolls on. Every time one throws a stone into a pond, one never knows completely what the waves will look like, how big they will roll and propagate, how long they will last, or what ancillary damage may occur on disparate shorelines. As liberals across the country act emotionally about gun laws, and their claim that more are needed impacts everyone somehow, we are starting to see the new shorelines being created and/or destroyed.

This means that America needs to educate themselves on all facets of the issue before knee-jerk laws are conjured up as they were in New York State. Governor Cuomo gave an impassioned speech supporting the new law, though its now known that he wanted more, including confiscations, and it was quickly enacted. Now come the waves; and in this case we see examples of the economic impact. We are also seeing a call to embargo other municipalities and states as is witnessed in the following two articles.

There is a growing backlash that the liberals could not foresee  nor were they ever worried about them it seems. Even New York forgot to allow law enforcement to have more than seven rounds, now they may pay in other ways. If enough manufacturers and suppliers embargo New York, they will see steeper prices and less availability for municipalities, and likely some further rise in the “exit” strategy – time to leave to friendlier climes.

York Arms Cancels All Its New York Police Orders

Buxton, ME –-(Ammoland.com)- Based on the recent legislation in New York, we are prohibited from selling rifles and receivers to residents of New York.

We have chosen to extend that prohibition to all governmental agencies associated with or located within New York.

As a result we have halted sales of rifles, short barreled rifles, short barreled shotguns, machine guns, and silencers to New York governmental agencies.

For “civilian” customers residing in New York: At your choice, we will:

  • Complete your order and ship to a dealer of your choice outside of NY.
  • Refund your payment in full.
  • Hold your items here for up to 6 months, at no charge – if you are in the process of leaving NY and taking residence in another state.

For LE/Govt customers in New York: Your orders have been cancelled.

AmmoLand supports and recommends York Arms please visit these patriots and support their brand. www.yorkarms.com  . If you think SIG, Smith & Wesson, and Glock should do the same you can email them at with the tool found here: http://tiny.cc/k9resw .

Colorado ammo magazine maker Magpul threatens to leave state over gun bill

By Kurtis Lee – The Denver Post

Colorado’s largest and most profitable manufacturer of high-capacity ammunition magazines has vowed to leave the state if lawmakers pass a measure banning the devices — a move officials with the company say could cost hundreds of jobs and upward of $85 million in potential spending this year.

Magpul’s threat has Democratic lawmakers scrambling to strike a balance that remains true to their goal of limiting the number of rounds a magazine can hold without frightening off businesses.

“If we’re able to stay in Colorado and manufacture a product, but law-abiding citizens of the state were unable to purchase the product, customers around the state and the nation would boycott us for remaining here,” said Doug Smith, Magpul’s chief operating officer. “Staying here would hurt our business.”

House Bill 1224 bans individuals from possessing high-capacity ammunition magazines of more than 15 rounds — an amendment earlier in the week raised this number from 10 rounds — but allows manufacturers to stay in Colorado and produce the devices.

Mandate “burdensome”

Under the legislation, manufacturers would be required to engrave each magazine with a serial number and date upon which it was produced — something Smith called “burdensome and unnecessary.”

“None of this helps protect people,” said Smith, who added that only if the Democrat-sponsored bill fails to pass the legislature would the company stay in Colorado.

State Rep. Daniel Kagan, D-Cherry Hills Village, said he plans to offer an amendment Friday that seeks to soften the bill’s impact on magazine makers in the state.

“It needs to be clear that manufacturers will be able to still sell and transfer these high-capacity magazines to individuals in other states, the U.S. military and law enforcement,” Kagan said. “We want them (Magpul) to stay here in Colorado. It would be sad to see them leave.”

State Rep. Joe Salazar, D-Thornton, agrees with Kagan and insists state lawmakers are still giving the Erie-based company an option to do business in Colorado.

“It’s imperative to keep jobs here,” Salazar said.

Still, neither Kagan or Salazar said they would be willing to vote against the bill banning high-capacity ammunition magazines in an effort to keep Magpul in Colorado.

“We will leave if it passes,” Smith said.

State Democrats hold a 37-28 majority in the House and a 20-15 majority in the Senate, but not all Democrats are on board with the bill — nor is the party unified on other gun-control proposals.

Meanwhile, Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, known to be pro-business, found himself meeting with Magpul officials to discuss the party’s bill Thursday.

The company this year enlisted RD Sewald, a former Hickenlooper top adviser, to lobby against bans on high-capacity magazines.

“They (lawmakers) might end up having to compromise” on the magazine bill, Hickenlooper said Thursday. He also expressed support for the effort to limit the magazines.

“Democrats are caught on the horns of a tough dilemma with this one,” said Bob Loevy, a professor emeritus of political science at Colorado College. “Clearly there’s going to be unintended consequences that have Democrats taking the blame for putting a small dent in the state’s economy if the company does in fact leave.”

Established in Colorado in 1999, Magpul says it employs more than 200 people at its manufacturing and shipping headquarters, while there are another 400 employees of subcontractors that work with the company throughout the state.

$85 million at stake

In addition to a wide array of gun-magazine products, the privately-held Magpul makes many other products, including cases for mobile phones and tactical sights for firearms. This year, the company says it expects to spend upward of $85 million in Colorado alone on employee payroll, manufacturing subcontractors, suppliers and service providers.

Smith said much of Magpul’s business comes from out-of-state sales, contracts with the U.S. military, and with local and national law enforcement.

In committee testimony earlier in the week, several opponents to the measure said Democrats are being hypocritical.

“On one end they’re saying we want the jobs and revenue from producing these magazines, but on the other end, they’re saying, if you live in Colorado, then you can’t possess one,” said Lee Reedy a resident of Brighton.

Andy Molchan, director of the National Association of Federally Licensed Firearms Dealers, said Magpul is right to leave Colorado.

“It’s almost like a symbolic move,” Molchan said. “Why would they stay and do business in a state that doesn’t allow people to have their products?”

Gun debate – prevent tyranny in the USA? It already happened once.

MUST SEE VIDEO – The Battle of Athens

Editor’s Note – Athens, Tennessee, ever heard of the battle there? Most have not, or think it was a Civil War Battle – what it really was is a prime example of government tyranny and how the second amendment was intended to protect the citizen from that tyranny.

In the whole discourse about gun control, gun violence, and the second amendment, the public often is misled, or does not understand that the founders meant for the citizens to be armed to prevent government tyranny. The anti-second amendment apologists always ask if we really believe our government would ever become so tyrannical to be a danger to its citizens.

The answer is – YES – it has already happened, on a smaller, local scale, but now it appears we are heading down that path in a big way. Please read below and watch the video – you will be shocked! If you do not believe this could happen nationally – we suggest you look very closely at the last election and locales like Philadelphia and Cleveland, Ohio to name but just two of many examples.

When Politicians Demand Gun Control, Remember Our Founders

BY  – Western Center for Journalism

Many are asking the question “Why should we allow guns?” Those who want gun control at the levels that Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has put forth have the idea that citizens do not need certain types of weapons. However, those same people will be very quick to say that our government will never turn on the very people they intend on keeping from acquiring these arms. Just by placing the “assault weapons ban” bill on the record, Senator Feinstein has violated the Oath of her office (and as such has committed an act of treason.)

Now back in 1946, a local sheriff had developed a political machine that had taken over the area known as Athens, Tennessee. The political machine had forced people to leave the voting booth, and those who opposed them faced a beating for their opposition. Now had the gun control ideology of present day been in effect in 1946, the people of Athens would not have been able to take back the ballot boxes that were about to be filled with fraudulent ballots by those who had taken over the town of Athens.

There is a plaque showing that a number of World War 2 veterans stood up for their fundamental rights of a fair election; but this was done due to a very powerful part of the United States Constitution, the Second Amendment. An interesting video was made about this action taken by the Citizens of Athens, Tennessee, which displays that the government not only can, but did, go way out of control.

It should not only be watched but shown to all who have the false idea that the government would not go beyond the law.

It has become a very dark day within the United States today when the Senator from California presents a bill that really does nothing at all that would help ensure that another Sandy Hook massacre does not happen (but does infringe on the Second Amendment rights of law abiding citizens.) No one has addressed the root of the problem at all; instead, they go after the legal gun owners. Senator Feinstein has forgotten that Lanza had broken about 20+ laws before even going to the school. She also seems to forget that the man had a very serious mental problem and that if he had been under watch, he would have been stopped from stealing his mother’s guns (not to mention breaking nearly every gun control law on the books in Connecticut.)

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Many people will quickly and wrongly say that the Second Amendment was never meant to allow people to have weapons like those now attempting to be banned, but they are totally wrong. When we look back at many of the statements by the men who started the United States and signed the Constitution, we see the exact opposite of what is being put forth in the legislative process today.

“(The Constitution preserves) the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation… (Where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.” –James Madison

“The right of the people to keep and bear…arms shall not be infringed. A well-regulated militia, composed of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country…” 
–James Madison, I Annals of Congress 434 (June 8, 1789)

“A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite; and their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories as tend to render them independent of others for essential, particularly military, supplies.” – George Washington

“What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms.” – Thomas Jefferson

“Those who beat their swords into plowshares usually end up plowing for those who didn’t.
” – Ben Franklin

“When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” – Thomas Jefferson

“The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed.” 
– Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers

These great men either wrote, signed, or fought for the Constitution of the United States; and their words show clearly what they had in mind with the Second Amendment. It was with such forethought that they knew that if the people were properly armed, they would “preserve” liberty and freedom. This cannot be denied, and any individual who acts against the Second Amendment acts in a way that should be declared as treason against the very Constitution they took an oath to “support and defend”!

It has come down to “We the People” to preserve the founders’ ideology and not be drawn into the extreme Socialistic views of the far left “progressive” party.

It also must be stated that it is very bad to kill children; but our nation allows the murder of 4,000 children every day through abortion, and very little is done about that. They have heartbeats at 4 days, but our government has legalized their premeditated murder. With this in mind, why is it that our nation seems to take such strong action for 26 people being killed by guns when the very people crying about the innocent children being killed will turn a blind eye to 4,000 being killed each day?

While the issue in Athens, Tennessee was about a ballot box and fraudulent voting, the issue in America today is about much more; and there is far more at stake. However, in the end, the same problem exists; there are lawless men and women who wish to force their ideology on the people by undermining and even directly attacking the United States Constitution.

Hypocrite Feinstein Introduces Misguided Gun Legislation

Editor’s Note – Senator Diane Feinstein has introduced her bill on gun control and it goes well beyond the original Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, better known as The Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB), or Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act. She held an elaborate and highly attended press conference:

On one side were pegboard panels mounted with various assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons — including a Bushmaster similar to the one used in last month’s Newtown school massacre.

Behind the stage stood police officers supporting a renewed ban on such firepower. One by one, victims of gun violence told their brief stories and expressed support for a new federal ban being proposed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein on some assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons.

‘These massacres don’t seem to stop, they continue on,’ Feinstein said Thursday. | M.Scott Mahaskey/POLITICO

The actual text of the new bill can be read in its entirety here. The bill is set to have exemptions of course but goes far beyond previous measures:

Not everyone will have to abide by Senator Dianne Feinstein’s gun control bill. If the proposed legislation becomes law, government officials and others will be exempt.

“Mrs. Feinstein’s measure would exempt more than 2,200 types of hunting and sporting rifles; guns manually operated by bolt, pump, lever or slide action; and weapons used by government officials, law enforcement and retired law enforcement personnel,” the Washington Times reports.

The Huffington Post confirms these exemptions, and adds that guns owned prior to the legislation becoming law will be permissible, too. “[T]he bill includes a number of exemptions: It exempts more than 2,200 hunting and sporting weapons; any gun manually operated by a bolt, pump, lever or slide action; any weapons used by government officials and law enforcement; and any weapons legally owned as of the date of the bill’s enactment.” (Read more at the Weekly Standard.)

Its clear to see that this bill is the just the beginning of her and the left’s real motives to totally disarm citizens over time. Her words were:

“The purpose is to dry up the supply of these weapons over time,” Feinstein said. “Therefore, there is no sunset on this bill.” (More here.)

In response of course, the NRA released their response:

In a statement on Thursday, the NRA said that Feinstein “has been trying to ban guns from law-abiding citizens for decades.”

“The American people know gun bans do not work and we are confident Congress will reject Senator Feinstein’s wrong-headed approach,” the organization added. (Read more here at CNN.)

There is one major problem for her though, besides the fact that the gun grab bill is unconstitutional and the fact that States’ crime rates show scant linkage to gun laws; there aren’t enough votes in the Senate to support it, including many Democrats. From Bloomberg:

A proposed ban on sales of assault weapons would be defeated in the U.S. Senate today unless some members changed their current views, based on a Bloomberg review of recent lawmaker statements and interviews.

At least six of the 55 senators who caucus with Democrats have recently expressed skepticism or outright opposition to a ban, the review found. That means Democrats wouldn’t have a simple 51-vote majority to pass the measure, let alone the 60 votes needed to break a Republican filibuster to bring it to a floor vote.

Of course this press conference brought back many memories of her previous news conferences about gun control where she displayed her amazing lack of understanding gun safety when handling weapons. A quick Google image search produced many instances where she mishandled weapons, all from a woman who has a concealed carry permit, and carries a fire arm.

The response to the introduction of the bill was quick and came from all over the map but here is good summary of that reaction to Feinstein’s ‘overreaction’:

Senator Dianne Feinstein’s Gun Bill: Disingenuous Overreaction

Written by Bob Adelmann – The New American

The reaction to California Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein’s introduction of her bill “The Assault Weapons Ban of 2013” on Thursday was almost immediate. The director of public relations for the National Rifle Association (NRA), Andrew Arulanandam, stated:

Senator Feinstein has been trying to ban guns from law-abiding citizens for decades. It’s disappointing but not surprising that she is once again focused on curtailing the Constitution instead of prosecuting criminals….

The American people know gun bans do not work and we are confident Congress will reject Senator Feinstein’s wrong-headed approach.

In her introduction of the bill on Thursday, Feinstein noted that she and her staff had been working on it for more than a year, waiting for the best time to offer it. The Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, gave her that opportunity:

The bill introduced today is the product of more than a year of work, with input from across the country. Getting this bill signed into law will be an uphill battle, and I recognize that — but it’s a battle worth waging.

We must balance the desire of a few to own military-style assaults weapons with the growing threat to lives across America. If 20 dead children in Newtown wasn’t a wake-up call that these weapons of war don’t belong on our streets, I don’t know what is.

She outlined the principal goals for her bill: It would prohibit “the sale, manufacture, transfer and importation of 157 of the most commonly-owned military-style assault weapons.” In addition, her bill would ban “large-capacity magazines … that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.”

In addition, any transfer such assault weapons would require a background check first, even for private face-to-face sales, and such weapons would be required to be “stored safely using a secure gun storage or safety device in order to keep them away from ‘prohibited’ persons.”

Finally, anyone owning a now-banned high capacity magazine would be prohibited, under federal law, from selling it or giving it away to anyone else.

She said that her bill would reduce greatly the mass shootings that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut, Aurora, Colorado and elsewhere:

I believe this bill is a big step toward ending the mass shootings that have devastated families across the country — from Newtown to Aurora, from Tucson to Virginia Tech, from Columbine to Oak Creek.

And then she took a swing at the makers of such weapons:

It’s time for Americans to stand up and tell the gun manufacturers that the lives of our children are more important than their profits and get these dangerous weapons out of our schools, our workplaces, our malls and our theaters. It’s time to take action, and we’ll get it done, no matter how long it takes.

Cosponsors of her bill predictably included anti-gunners such as Senators Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), John Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), and Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.).

Once enacted, her bill would be just a first step toward total confiscation of guns from the American people. She admitted: “The purpose [of my bill] is to dry up the supply of these weapons over time … [and would be] a significant first step as part of a comprehensive program [of gun confiscation].”

A close look at her bill shows that Feinstein means exactly what she says. Banned would be:

  • All semiautomatic rifles that can accept a detachable magazine and have at least one military feature: pistol grip; forward grip; folding, telescoping, or detachable stock; grenade launcher or rocket launcher; barrel shroud; or threaded barrel.
  • All semiautomatic pistols that can accept a detachable magazine and have at least one military feature: threaded barrel; second pistol grip; barrel shroud; capacity to accept a detachable magazine at some location outside of the pistol grip; or semiautomatic version of an automatic firearm.
  • All semiautomatic rifles and handguns that have a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds.
  • All semiautomatic shotguns that have a folding, telescoping, or detachable stock; pistol grip; fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 5 rounds; ability to accept a detachable magazine; forward grip; grenade launcher or rocket launcher; or shotgun with a revolving cylinder.
  • All ammunition feeding devices (magazines, strips, and drums) capable of accepting more than 10 rounds.

Her bill would also require:

  • a background check on all sales or transfers of a grandfathered assault weapon.

This background check can be run through the FBI or, if a state chooses, initiated with a state agency, as with the existing background check system.

It would prohibit:

  • the sale or transfer of large-capacity ammunition feeding devices lawfully possessed on the date of enactment of the bill.

It would impose:

  • a safe storage requirement for grandfathered firearms, to keep them away from prohibited persons.

And it would require that:

  • assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition feeding devices manufactured after the date of the bill’s enactment be engraved with the serial number and date of manufacture of the weapon.

The list of the more than 150 firearms prohibited in her bill includes well-known names such as Rock River Arms, Norinco, Armalite, Beretta, Bushmaster, Remington, Sig-Sauer, Smith & Wesson, and Thompson.

In reviewing this list with Bob Joly, a certified NRA instructor in Peyton, Colorado, Joly said, “She’s banning everything. These are just military ‘lookalikes’ but she doesn’t like the way they look and so she wants to get rid of them. We’ll all be automatic lawbreakers if this thing passes.”

The chances of Feinstein’s bill becoming law are between slim and none. House leaders won’t even consider the bill until it, or something like it, passes the Senate. And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has acknowledged that Feinstein’s bill “could not pass the Senate,” although he has agreed to bring some milder legislation to the floor.

A graduate of Cornell University and a former investment advisor, Bob is a regular contributor to The New American and blogs frequently at www.LightFromTheRight.com, primarily on economics and politics. He can be reached at badelmann@thenewamerican.com.

The 40% Lie – Obama Knows the Gun Check Stat is Bogus

Editor’s Note – Like a lot of information coming from this White House, little can be believed, yet they spout these lies with verve and elan. They know they are lying but that’s okay if your a liberal as long as your aim is “honorable”. When it comes to statistics, this group has ceaselessly overwhelmed the nation with false numbers and we have reported on it so often its amazing we have to point it out at all.

Now its ‘gun time’ again and lies and ancient statistics are all they need to mislead America into giving up their unalienable rights. This lie however is so over the top, yet no one in the main stream media will touch it.

Lies, damned lies, and statistics – U.S. President Barack Obama unveils a series of proposals to counter gun violence as Vice President Joe Biden looks on. REUTERS/Jason Reed

The 40% unchecked gun lie!

By: John Hayward – Human Events, original story posted here.

John Fund at National Review absolutely dismantles President Obama’s phony “40 percent of all gun purchases are conducted without a background check” factoid today.  It’s astonishing just how absolutely and completely false this figure is.  It’s not a little clever wordplay or a bit of disingenuous number-twisting from the President; it’s a flat-out lie, and he knows it.

To summarize Fund’s case: the study that purportedly produced the 40 percent figure (which was actually 36 percent, but Obama rounded it up, presumably because he thinks his target audience can’t handle two-digit numbers) comes from a tiny survey of only 251 people, conducted twenty years ago, which means “most of the survey covered sales before the Brady Act instituted mandatory federal background checks in early 1994.”

And those who responded to this survey only thought they might have been buying guns from unlicensed dealers, based on their perception of the seller’s operation.  No effort was made to verify if these impressions were accurate.  Furthermore, the total included guns transferred as gifts or inheritances – transactions not even President Obama’s new proposals really crack down on.

Fund talked with economist John Lott, the author of More Guns, Less Crime for the true percentage of guns sold without background checks.  ”We don’t know the precise number today,” said Lott, “but it is hard to believe that it is above single digits.”

Barack Obama is the President of the United States, not some casual Net surfer who stumbled across a juicy statistic and breathlessly related it in a Facebook post.  He has a gigantic staff.  He and his people know perfectly well his statistic is false.  They even “sexed up” the number to a nice even 40 percent… a volume of fudge that might equal half of the real percentage.

This illustrates the danger of allowing our perceptions to be manipulated with dubious appeals to authority.  Not all “studies” are equally valid; even the earnest ones can have failures of methodology.  And the people who want to panic us with scary numbers rarely bother to explain all of the variables in the equation behind those numbers.  How foolish would Obama have looked during his big gun control Romper Room press conference if he had said, “A twenty-year old study of 251 people revealed that some of them thought they were buying guns from unlicensed dealers who didn’t perform background checks, and if you throw in all the guns handed down from father to son, you might be up to 36 percent?”

An Obama defender might respond, “Well, the exact numbers don’t matter.  There are still too many unchecked gun sales.  And if we can take an action that saves just one life…” But the numbers do matter, or Obama wouldn’t have cited one.  He made a false effort to turn an emotional argument, or at best a discussion of general principles, into a scientific debate.  If reasonably accurate figures are not important to a discussion, then no figures have any place within it.

If Obama’s gun control case is so strong, why can’t he make it without using cooked numbers, or surrounding himself with children?