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San Francisco Sues Gun Makers for Failing to Do The Government’s Job

San Francisco City Attorney Louise Renne has sent out a press release ( that may be unintentionally the funniest press release ever issued. It contains a host of factual errors (and I’m being generous), too many to fully cover here.

"The suit charges the industry with designing ever more lethal weapons even when research showed these weapons were used principally in crime and not by law-abiding purchasers." She can’t be talking about Saturday Night Specials, because too many cities like Long Beach have reported the figures – and Saturday Night Specials are a small fraction of murder weapons. Perhaps she’s talking about assault weapons?

Nope, that can’t be. In March, the National Institute of Justice (the research arm of the U.S. Department of Justice, and not friendly to gun ownership) published a technical report titled: "Impacts of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban: 1994-96." (That’s NCJ 173405, if you want to look it up.) The authors, Jeffrey A. Roth and Christopher S. Koper, attempted to statistically measure the benefits of the 1994 federal ban on new manufacture and importation of the arbitrarily defined "assault weapons" and high capacity magazines. Throughout the report, the authors explain why it was so difficult to come up with any statistically significant conclusions: "including the fact that the banned weapons and magazines were rarely used to commit murders in this country…."

Indeed, the authors were able to identify only two clearly statistically significant measurements of violent crime related to the assault weapon ban -- "average number of victims per incident of gun murder" and "gun murder victims with multiple wounds" – and the 1994 ban did not produce declines in either figure. This is consistent with research on the subject by criminologists like Gary Kleck, the California Department of Justice’s own study (suppressed by Attorney General Van De Kamp until after the Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Control Act was passed), and the Florida Assault Weapons Commission study.

Louise Renne is being "economical with the truth" on this issue because assault weapons scare people. Frightened people pass laws whether they make sense or not, and judges, sad to say, are no more rational than most other people in California. Perhaps this is inevitable, and I should just accept that lies and deception are how California government operates. My only remaining question is this: Why should you believe anything the gun control advocates say when they have been caught, once again, lying?

Clayton E. Cramer’s fifth book, Concealed Weapon Laws of the Early Republic: Dueling, Southern Violence, and Moral Reform will be published by Praeger Press this year.