Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

TIME Misrepresents BATF Firearm Transaction Tracing Data

Thursday, August 1, 2002

7/23/02

TIME magazine long ago admitted that its position on "gun control" is that of an advocate. In 1982, it declared, "The point has now been reached where, in our judgment, the solution is not tighter controls but an outright ban. . . . A nationwide ban on private possession of handguns . . . would be a start--a movement in the direction of common sense and responsible social policy." In 1989, it said, "The time for opinions on the dangers of gun availability is long since gone, replaced by overwhelming evidence that it represents a growing threat to public safety." And over the years, TIME has periodically published articles intended to generate public support for restrictions on guns.

On July 12, 2002, TIME.com, the magazine`s website, ran "America`s Most Wanted Guns: A new ATF study reveals the country`s Top 10 crime guns," an article by Elaine Shannon of the magazine`s Washington Bureau. Shannon`s central claim: that BATF`s firearm transaction traces had identified "The top 10 guns used in crimes in the U.S. in 2000."

The claim was incorrect in two respects. First, the "10 guns" are not the types of guns that were most often used to commit crimes, they were the types of guns that for various reasons were most often traced. The distinction is important, because most guns that are traced have not been used to commit violent crimes, many have not been used to commit any crimes, and most guns that are used to commit crimes are never traced. Second, traces are not representative of anything nationally, let alone criminal gun use. BATF acknowledges that its tracing system is "not designed to provide a representative sample of the United States, or even of large urban jurisdictions." Similarly, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) says, "Firearms selected for tracing do not constitute a random sample and cannot be considered representative of the larger universe of all firearms used by criminals, or of any subset of that universe."

A trace is not a scientific process by which a gun is linked to a crime scene. A "trace" is a procedure in which BATF, in an effort to identify persons involved in repetitive illegal sales of guns, contacts a particular gun`s manufacturer or importer, asks to whom the gun was sold, and repeats the inquiry through the chain of commerce as far as it can. Tracing statistics should not be confused with those that state and local law enforcement agencies compile on the kinds of weapons that have been used to commit crimes.

According to the CRS, "data from the tracing system may not be appropriate for drawing inferences such as which makes or models of firearms are used for illicit purposes." This is because of the reasons noted above and because traces are often disproportionately conducted on guns in which there is a particular political interest. For example, police reports have always shown very little use of "assault weapons" in crime, but those guns were frequently traced during the late 1980s and early 1990s, when they were a hot "gun control" issue. For additional information on how BATF traces have been misrepresented to promote restrictions on guns, visit www.nraila.org/search.asp and type the word "traces."

IN THIS ARTICLE
Handguns
TRENDING NOW
Virginia Police Chief Advocates Ban on All Guns at U.S. House “Assault Weapons” Hearing

News  

Friday, September 27, 2019

Virginia Police Chief Advocates Ban on All Guns at U.S. House “Assault Weapons” Hearing

On Sept. 25, the Democrat-led U.S. House Judiciary Committee held a 3 ½ hour “hearing” entitled “Protecting America From Assault Weapons.” That framing of the issue underscored the erroneous notion that Americans need protection from ...

Kentucky: Committee to Consider Firearm Seizures Without Due Process

Friday, November 15, 2019

Kentucky: Committee to Consider Firearm Seizures Without Due Process

On Friday, November 22nd, the Kentucky state Interim Joint Committee on Judiciary will consider so called “red-flag laws.” Though no legislation has been introduced, such laws usually allow for Second Amendment rights to be suspended ...

Bloomberg Bought Virginia Legislators Introduce Confiscatory Gun Ban

News  

Monday, November 25, 2019

Bloomberg Bought Virginia Legislators Introduce Confiscatory Gun Ban

Michael Bloomberg’s bought and paid for Virginia legislators have wasted no time introducing legislation that would make the Old Dominion’s gun laws worse than those of the billionaire’s home state of New York.

NRA-Supported Case Heard by Supreme Court

News  

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

NRA-Supported Case Heard by Supreme Court

The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) says this week’s Supreme Court hearing on a New York City gun control law could ultimately strengthen the ability of law-abiding citizens to exercise their Second ...

NRA's Statement on Second Amendment Sanctuaries

News  

Friday, December 6, 2019

NRA's Statement on Second Amendment Sanctuaries

Read the NRA's statement on Second Amendment sanctuaries. “It is the tyrannical nature of politicians that triggers sanctuary, not the other way around...”

Joe Biden Wants to Ban 9mm Pistols

News  

Monday, November 25, 2019

Joe Biden Wants to Ban 9mm Pistols

A week after he told voters that the Second Amendment doesn’t protect “a magazine with a hundred clips in it,” 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden offered supporters more of his singular brand of anti-gun ...

Background Checks for Family Members?! Bloomberg-Bought Virginia Legislature Seeks to Ban Private Firearms Transfers

Friday, December 6, 2019

Background Checks for Family Members?! Bloomberg-Bought Virginia Legislature Seeks to Ban Private Firearms Transfers

Michael Bloomberg’s bought-and-paid-for new Virginia majorities have wasted no time introducing an extremist bill that would make the Commonwealth one of the most hostile states for law-abiding gun owners.

It’s Never Enough: Gun Control Advocates Won’t Ever Be Satisfied With Marginal Changes to Our Gun Laws

News  

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

It’s Never Enough: Gun Control Advocates Won’t Ever Be Satisfied With Marginal Changes to Our Gun Laws

When seeking to pass whatever the anti-gun flavor of the month is when it comes to gun legislation, anti-gun advocates often claim to be seeking only “reasonable” solutions. They often claim that if just one ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

NRA Files Joint Legal Challenge Against Firearm Storage Initiative Petition

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

NRA Files Joint Legal Challenge Against Firearm Storage Initiative Petition

On Friday, the National Rifle Association announced the filing of a joint legal challenge with the Oregon Hunters Association to contest Oregon Initiative Petition 40, which seeks to impose sweeping restrictions on the storage of ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.