Making Stuff Up and the Plural of Anecdote is not Data.

First the Anecdotal Part:

There’s a lot of misinformation, lies and stuff that’s just plain made up floating around out there and filling up the intertubes with useless junk.
Now we all do know that the plural of anecdote is not data, right?
You cannot take one person’s statement of their opinion and assume that everyone shares that same opinion. For example the Minneapolis Chief of police commented “If law-enforcement professionals believed that guns were the answer to reducing crime, your nation’s police chiefs would be leading the charge for more guns.”

However, he is voicing his own opinion, that’s how he feels. This opinion however, is not in line with the annual survey of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. In their most recent annual survey (2010) they asked the question “Should any law-abiding citizen be able to purchase a firearm for sport or self defense?” A full 95% of them said yes.

I can name several Police Chiefs, right off the top of my head, who are pro private citizen gun ownership for sport or self defense but guess what, it doesn’t matter. That’s their individual opinions. You cannot extrapolate one or two or ten person’s opinions into facts.
The numbers speak for themselves, and 95 % of your nation’s Chiefs of Police Support civilian gun ownership.
More examples of sweeping generalizations I have run across lately:
“The “gun guys” do not like law enforcement.”

“So at the the (sic) gun range in my area one must be an NRA memberr (sic) to belong I assume that is not unusual.”

Remember what they say about assuming?

Now for the making stuff up part…

Our friend Tom Gresham is fond of saying “A lie left unchallenged becomes the truth.”

So, I am going to challenge some of the lies, silliness and just made up stuff I have come across on a blog recently.

”The truth is, we haven’t really tried gun control.”

Really? Never tried it? Have you heard of Chicago? Washington DC? Two places with the most stringent gun control in the country and very high rates of all types violent crime. Things are so bad in those cities that private citizens petitioned the Supreme Court of the USA to regain some of their 2nds amendment rights and guess what, they won. See the Heller and McDonald Decisions.

For lighter reading:

“With a few exceptions, we have very few federal gun laws.”

It’s hard to determine exactly how many federal gun laws that are on the books because how do you count laws? Is the Obama Health Care plan one law or a compilation of many laws under one heading? This book, by Alan Korwin, claims to explain 271 Federal Gun Laws:
Now I can list, off the top of my head, at least 10 examples of Federal Gun Laws right here:

• National Firearms Act
• Gun Control Act of 1968
• Civil Rights Act of 1968
• Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986
• Postal Regulations on the Mailing of Firearms
• Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act
• Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990
• Laws concerning Firearms Aboard Aircraft
• Laws delineating the Exportation of Firearms
• Laws outlining the Use and Possession of Firearms in National Parks and Forests

While 10 might not seem like a lot to some people, most of these laws are large and sweeping and do things like: regulate machine guns, list “prohibited persons”, establish the ATF, establish waiting periods and the NICS system and include many laws.

“If you buy a partially assembled gun, open the box in which your gun comes and you will find right on the top of the box is a message from the NRA. You had better join them because, if not, your guns will be confiscated.”

I don’t even know that this means “a partially assembled gun” I know that Taurus offered a free NRA membership last year  but I believe that their guns were fully assembled. Nowhere on this flyer does it say or even imply that “You had better join them (the NRA) because, if not, your guns will be confiscated.” It a rather attractive flyer, not menacing in any way at all.

“Most law enforcement offices (sic) carry 10 round magazines.”

“… 10 rounds. Those are the standard magazines and have been for many years.”

I did a little research and came up with the following information about which duty weapons State police carry. It seems that the only ones that are limited to 10 rounds or less are the pistols that were designed that way. (Glock 37 and S&W 4500 series, all limited in their capacity because they carry larger caliber cartridges that take up more space inside the magazine and the gun.)

Glock 17  – 17 rnds of 9mm

Indiana State Police

SIG P228 – 15 rnds of 9mm

New Jersey State Police

Glock 21 – 13 rnds of .45

Arkansas, Idaho, and Kansas

Glock 31 – 15 rnds of .357 SIG

Tennessee Highway Patrol

Smith & Wesson M&P – 15 rnds of .357 SIG

New Mexico and North Carolina

SIG-Sauers P226 or P229– 12 rnds of .357 SIG

Delaware, Montana, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, South Dakota, and Virginia

S&W 4006 – 11 rnds of .40

California Highway Patrol

Smith & Wesson M&P – 15 rnds of .40

Colorado, Iowa, and Washington

Beretta (Px4), 14 rnds of .40

SIG .40s, either P226 or P229 – 12 rnds of .40
Arizona, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Nevada, Ohio, and Vermont

Idaho troopers have the choice of a Glock 22 15 rnds of .40 , or a Glock 21, 13 rnds of .45 ACP.

Louisiana State Troopers carry the  Glock 17 RTF – 17 rnds of 9mm or Glock 22 – 15 rnds of .40

Minneapolis Police are authorized a broad variety of pistols that hold more than 10 rounds.

The Glock .40, America’s single most popularly chosen standard issue police handgun, including St.Paul MN. (15 round magazines)

Oh, and let’s not forget the “Patrol Rifles” that many police depts. use with 20 – 30 round magazines.
(Isn’t it odd that cops use “Patrol Rifles” but civilians use “Assault Rifles”?)
The Minneapolis Police Dept equips theirs with 20 Round magazines.

As for 10 rounds being the standard magazine for many years. Maybe that was true during the “Assault Weapons” ban, that expired in 2004,  but that is certainly not how the guns were designed.

So be careful out there on the Intertubes and don’t take anything that anybody says as “fact” without checking it out for yourself. They might just be pulling their “facts” out of their behind.

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81 Responses to Making Stuff Up and the Plural of Anecdote is not Data.

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