No newspaper editorial about gun control, particularly from the Dog Trainer, is complete if it does not misstate at least one key fact. This one contains all the usual nonsense about public safety, which are essentially lies. Nevertheless, no amount of data to the contrary can conclusively establish those statements as “lies,” as one can always weasel out of that charge by claiming they were just stating an “opinion,” albeit a horribly uninformed, and in all likelihood intentionally uniformed one. However, there’s no way to weasel out of a factual assertion like this whopper, which appears near the end:
If the federal law does expire, California’s assault gun ban would stay in effect. But there would be no bar against Californians buying these weapons of mass destruction in Nevada or elsewhere.
No attempt is made to reconcile this novel use of the phrase “weapons of mass destruction” with today’s other editorial, which alleges Saddam Hussein’s regime had none. He certainly had more than his share of “assault” weapons, presumably of the real kind rather than the cosmetic wannabes that are the subject of the 1994 ban. But I digress.
Silly WMD hyperbole aside, the Times’s claim that there would be “no bar” against Californians obtaining “assault” weapons in other states is, quite simply, a lie. For decades, federal law (18 U.S.C. 922(b)(3)) has generally prohibited gun dealers from selling firearms to residents of other states, except in the case of long guns whose sale, delivery and receipt ” fully comply with the legal conditions of sale in both such States.” Technically, that prohibition applies only to the dealer, not the purchaser. Once the sale is complete, however, subsection (a)(3) of the same statute prohibits the individual purchaser from bringing that weapon back into his state. Both offenses are punishable by five years’ imprisonment (18 U.S.C. 924(a)(1)). Nope, no “bar” there whatsoever. Who could turn down an offer for an all-expenses paid, five year vacation at Club Fed?
Of course, some will still argue that this misstatement of the law was not a “lie,” just an honest mistake. Don’t believe that for a minute. This specific law has been raised time and time again, so nothing short of willful ignorance can explain the Times’s error which, once again, just “happens” to support the gun control position. They were called on it when they raised the same issue on the Brady Act in 1993 (interstate retail handgun sales are prohibited entirely, even if the gun is legal in both states), and again when they argued for the 1994 ban in, well, 1994. Plus, both the sections I raised and the federal ban they’re touting are codified in the same part of the U.S. Code, so it’s difficult if not impossible to find the AW ban without stumbling across the provisions I cited. The only rational conclusion I can draw is that the Times staff knows full well that their claim of “no bar” is not true; they simply assumed, correctly, that most of their readers won’t know any better.
Aside from further poisoning the already rancorous gun debate, this particular lie has the potential to encourage Times readers to engage in criminal behavior. If the federal ban expires, as it probably will, watch for scores of Times readers to attempt illegal purchases of “assault” weapons in neighboring states. This risk will only be diminished, not eliminated, even if the ban ends up being renewed. Even then, the likelihood is high that at least some Californians will attempt to purchase weapons in neighboring states that are considered “assault” weapons under California law but which are not considered “assault” weapons under federal law. They do so at their peril.
Cross-posted to Oh, That Liberal Media.