Everytown for Gun Safety, while a relatively new organization, has already gained quite a reputation for playing fast and loose with the facts—and we use the word “facts” very loosely when referring to the organization. Now the group, funded by billionaire Michael Bloomberg, is back up to its same old tricks of performing an “investigation,” then publishing a “conclusion” with no basis in fact.
The new alleged study is titled “No Questions Asked: How Oregon’s Meth Users and Domestic Abusers Shop Online for Guns.” To call the conclusion “faulty” would be a gross understatement.
To come up with their bogus statistics, during November and December 2014, Everytown posted 17 ads offering nonexistent firearms for sale on Armslist.com. Using contact information from those expressing an interest in the guns, the group “identified” 203 Oregon residents who were interested in the nonexistent guns.
Everytown’s so-called “investigators” then searched court records of those 203 individuals, who, you recall, never purchased guns, but simply expressed an interest. When they determined—correctly or not—that 11 of those who had expressed an interest in the nonexistent guns were somehow prohibited from possessing firearms (5.4 percent of the total), they drew their “conclusions.”
“This investigation offers a first glimpse at the vast online market where Oregonians exchange guns in unlicensed sales and provides conclusive evidence that criminals are taking advantage of these transfers to evade background checks and obtain firearms.”
They further extrapolated the “data” to conclude that Oregon gun sales websites “put an estimated 1,360 firearms in the hands of felons and domestic abusers each year.”
Of course, those are pretty dramatic conclusions. And when you look a little deeper into the “investigation,” you see where those conclusions fall apart.
First, the assumption that everyone who inquires about an advertisement actually buys whatever was for sale is completely asinine. When you shop Craigslist for a used washer/dryer, you contact many sellers, but only buy one if you buy at all. The related assumption that a person trying to sell a gun would just sell it to anyone who inquired, without at least vetting that person to some extent, is also erroneous.
Plus, no matter how you review the data, one fact stands out—the statistics are completely made up. No guns were bought in the investigation. No guns were sold in the investigation. No criminals “obtained” guns in the investigation. No law-abiding citizens “obtained” guns in the investigation. In fact, there were never even any guns for sale!
If Bloomberg and his Everytown underlings really want to know where criminals get their guns in Oregon, why don’t they just check with police agencies around the state and ask where the recovered crime guns were purchased. The answer, of course, is because studies of convicted criminals have shown that they get their guns from family members, illegal street sales and by stealing them.
Real data doesn’t support Bloomberg’s agenda, so why not make up his own? After all, he’s good with numbers.