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The Trace Blames The Victims (When They’re Gun Owners)

The Trace Blames The Victims (When They’re Gun Owners)

In a lengthy “investigative report” posted on Tuesday, Brian Freskos, senior investigations fellow at Bloomberg-funded thetrace.org, spent an entire lengthy column blaming violent crime on law-biding gun owners who have had their firearms stolen—by criminals.

With a subhead stating, “New research indicates that people who routinely carry guns outside the home are at least three times as likely to have one stolen,” you can easily guess where the story will go next. And if you were looking for yet another reason The Trace believes that fewer people need to own—and carry—fewer guns, you wouldn’t be disappointed.

Freskos wraps his entire premise around a new “study” published recently in the journal Injury Epidemiology. And if you had already guessed that one of the authors is David Hemenway, the infamous anti-gun “researcher” whose studies we have repeatedly debunked, again, you wouldn’t be disappointed.

Here are some nuggets penned by Freskos, with my commentary added:

“Gun owners who carry guns outside their homes and stash them in their cars—or simply own lots of them—are more likely to have their guns stolen.” Car owners who take their cars out of the garage—or simply own lots of them—are more likely to have their cars stolen, too.

“Despite the public safety risks, most states have failed to impose storage requirements that would make it harder for a thief to take a gun.” That’s because most gun owners don’t want the government telling them they cannot have access to their firearm if they need it for self-defense purposes. Still, the latest figures show that firearm accidents are at an all-time low.

“People who owned guns for protection or had carried a gun in the previous month were more than three times as likely to have experienced a theft in the last five years, the report concludes.” The study doesn’t even attempt to prove that the two things—carrying firearms and gun theft—have anything to do with one another; it simply seeks to learn how many guns have been stolen. Yet Freskos seems happy to infer that cause-and-effect relationship.

“The study does not evaluate the connection between theft and state gun carrying laws, but routinely taking a firearm outside the home seems to increase the odds that a weapon will be left in an unsecure place, like a vehicle, and stolen.” In this case, the study didn’t even address this aspect of gun thefts. But since it seemed to him like it might be a valid point, Freskos felt compelled to put it in the story anyway.

“The findings validate the warnings of law enforcement officials in several major cities where reports of gun thefts are increasing.” And to Freskos and other gun control advocates, that’s apparently all the fault of the original gun owners—not the criminals out committing felonies by stealing property legally owned by others.

In truth, Freskos does dissect the “study” fairly well, although he never questions its validity or mentions Hemenway’s involvement. But the policy conclusions he draws are mostly his own opinion, since the “study” wasn’t intended to draw such conclusions.

In the end, it’s the same old B.S. from The Trace. To them, if there were fewer gun owners owning fewer guns—and if those who owned them would just keep them in a dang safe 24/7 (where they’re inaccessible for emergencies, by the way)—then the world would be a better place. And if their guns get stolen, it’s all the gun owners’ fault.

There was no mention of the criminals who steal the guns from those who legally own them. There was no mention of the illegality of the violent criminals who might have later used the stolen guns to commit whatever violence The Trace is trying to highlight here.

If subliminally promoting so-called “safe storage” laws is Freskos’ ulterior motive here—and it seems to be—he has some questions he needs to answer. One is, “Exactly how ‘safely’ do you think Americans should be forced by government to store their firearms?”

Given recent incidents in which brazen criminals have crashed vehicles through the walls of gun stores and quickly escaped with dozens of firearms, it seems that having guns completely “secured” isn’t that simple a proposition.

Should all gun owners be required to put up vertical concrete barriers in front of our homes? Must we all install surveillance cameras just in case? How about bars on every window? And should concealed-carry permit holders be forced to carry a small gun safe on their persons, and hope they have time to punch in the combination if they are assaulted on the street?

Or should we—because of Freskos’ story—feel guilty, choose to quit carrying our guns and lock them up as tight as Fort Knox so we can help make the world a safer place? That seems to be where this story tries to point us.

With such shoddy reporting as this from a “senior investigations fellow,” we can all be glad the editors at The Trace didn’t trust such an important assignment to a junior staffer.

Mark Chesnut has been the editor of America’s 1st Freedom magazine for nearly 17 years and is an avid hunter, shooter and political observer.

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