Everytown for Gun Safety, a former New York City mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg sponsored gun control group, issued a 'study' trying to smear Nevada’s online gun sale advertisements as a funnel for arms to criminals. Since they are heavily invested in the universal background check initiative to ban private gun sales, this kind of hyperbolic, weasel-worded, and tortured statistics ‘study’ is what we can expect of them. In fact, a similar study in Vermont, aimed at the same ends as in Nevada, was also discredited.
Nevada’s report is riddled with problems that would give a statistics professor’s red pen a field day.
Starting with dealer sales, over two years (2012-2014), there were 5,000 blocked gun sales, out of 400,000 background checks run by dealers. First, that means that 395,000 gun sales were approved. That’s a denial rate of 1.3%. Second, they used three years’ data to conflate the problem, meaning that, on average, 1,666 gun sales were denied per year out of 133,333 total sales per year. Did you also know that the largest category of denial reasons, fugitive from justice, can include those with simple traffic or bench warrants they may be unaware of?
The report then jumped into the false premise that “you can buy a gun online.” Incorrect. One can only advertise a gun for sale and arrange a face-to-face meeting or have the gun shipped to a dealer. There is no Amazon.com for guns. Everytown even admits that most sellers are ones
“who only offer guns occasionally or from their personal collections.” Sorta like people selling cars online, which also get sold to people who shouldn’t be driving and have or will kill people with cars.
They conveniently left out the fact that most guns tied to a prohibited person or a crime come from corrupt dealers or through straw purchases, not online advertisements.
Now here’s where we get into the really bad exaggerations. Of course, this doesn’t matter to Everytown. They are aiming at the low-information voters who won’t think about what they’ve read and their avid statist Kool-Aid drinking crowd.
Everytown found 1 in 11, 8.7% shopping—not buying— were prohibited persons. Again, shoppers, not actual buyers. 8.7% of the people Everytown investigated did not actually buy firearms. Everytown supposes a rate of guns being supplied to prohibited persons—not guns that actually do wind up in the wrong hands, but supposedly could. So there goes that statistic out the window on to the pile of BS.
Look at how they then get confused about what they just said:
“The share of prohibited online gun buyers [Didn’t they just say shoppers?] is almost seven times higher than the share of Nevadans who try to buy guns at licensed dealers and fail background checks…”
Criminals will get guns regardless of universal background checks or not. Everytown even admitted as much. “people who shot and killed law enforcement officers in Nevada between January 1980 and October 2015 showed that more than half were likely [emphasis added] prohibited from possessing guns. ” They couldn’t even get that right bit right. Notice how they qualify that the cop killers were only likely, no actually, prohibited persons?
Next, their sample size is laughably small.
“Of the identified individuals seeking guns in unlicensed online sales in Nevada, 8.7 percent (20 of 229) [emphasis added] had been convicted of crimes that prohibited them from possessing firearms.”
How can you gather any meaningful data from 229 people? That’s .00078% of Nevada’s population. And they admit these were only the people they could get (we're assuming) complete Facebook profiles on. On a side note, Facebook's new policy would have made this study impossible for Everytown.
The ‘report’ goes on to list the most sensational stories about the prohibited persons they found, which serious statistical research does not do. This is agit-prop for the ill-informed and the choir members who want preached to. Did Everytown’s investigators report their findings about these criminals and what they were doing to law enforcement? Probably not.
Next, they bring up Colorado, which banned private gun sales just like the initiative in Nevada is proposing to do. In 30 months, 700 out of 40,000 private sales were denied in Colorado, giving a percentage of 1.75%, which is slightly more than Nevada’s dealer sale background check denials. So tell me again, how would this law deter criminals from trying to buy guns if they’re dumb enough to go in for a background check anyhow?
Facebook may have caved in to pressure from the Bloomberg groups and the White House, but private gun sale advertisements will flourish elsewhere, where they are welcome. In fact, Facebook probably made it a lot more difficult for average citizens to do their homework on to whom they might be selling a gun too. But it’s not about safety or rights, it’s entirely about gun control.