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When trying to sell gun control, get basic facts right

When trying to sell gun control, get basic facts right
AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File

When you’re someone trying to push gun control, facts matter. A lot of gun control advocates understand this and stick to things they can back up to some degree. While these things–usually stuff like polls and the like–may be wrong, the advocate maintains their credibility to some degree because they were simply quoting someone else.

Many people suffer from Gell-Mann Amnesia, where they note mistakes in reports and commentary in fields they understand, but forget about it elsewhere. I do my best to counter that.

Take this op-ed that shatters its own credibility in just two paragraphs.

In addition to the recent carnage in Nashville, last spring 18-year-old shooters in separate incidents killed 10 adults in Buffalo, New York, and 19 children and two adults in Uvalde, Texas, 10 days apart. Both shooters were using semiautomatic guns.

Nationwide, there are over 415 million guns circulating in our cities and towns, 25 million of which are semiautomatic military-style rifles, the Colt AR-15 being the most popular. As dangerous as they are alone, these semiautomatic rifles can now be easily converted through a “Glock switch,” or a machine gun conversion device (MCD), to a large-capacity, fully automatic assault weapon.

Yes, there is much to be concerned about here.

For one thing, this gun control advocate doesn’t seem to get that they’re called “Glock switches” because they work on Glock handguns, not rifles.

This is an important point in this piece, too. They’re advocating for certain gun control bills under consideration in the state legislature and they’re using this alarmist framing to try and push people to fear that any and all semi-automatic firearms could be turned into a machine gun with a simple addition of one of these full-auto switches.

Now, I’m being generous and assuming the author is simply ignorant, though I might be giving her too much benefit of the doubt.

What I do know is that literally nothing she says from here on out should be taken at face value. Why? She couldn’t do a two-second Google search and find out that these devices aren’t nearly as universally-applicable as she’s trying to claim.

We’ve long known that gun control advocates don’t really know guns. We’ve seen simple errors or mistakes all the time, but they’re usually overstatements of the power of a given round or something like that.

This, though? This is…this is special.

Yes, I mean that in the short school bus sort of way.

Now, understand that these switches are already illegal as hell. Federal law prohibits them, yet it’s powerless to stop them from either being imported from China or being produced illegally here in the United States. State laws aren’t likely to accomplish all that much more, though most states do prohibit illegal machine guns already.

So there wasn’t any reason to overstate just what we’re looking at here. It’s just about creating a climate of fear. Now, they’re telling people, it’s not just the evil AR-15 to fear but someone putting a “Glock switch” on it and making it into a machine gun they have to worry about too, so please support this new gun control law that will do nothing.

That’s what we’re seeing. That’s what’s on tap and what’s being pushed.

Gun control activists don’t know guns, but they sure as hell know how to scare people. Usually, they can do it with simple narratives that aren’t factually incorrect, but overblown to some degree or another.

If they’re resorting to outright lies, then they know good and well that they don’t have the edge they like to pretend they do.

And if this isn’t a lie, then anti-gunners know even less about what they’re talking about than I previously believed.