GFSA "research"

Essays by GOSA members.

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GFSA "research"

Postby crimefree » Fri, 2008-08-22 14:14

A review of a paper found on the GFSA website

This paper makes the case for stricter firearms control legislation in South Africa by
• presenting international evidence which shows that stricter gun control legislation can dramatically reduce firearm-related deaths.
• arguing that some positive signs regarding homicides and gun-homicides in South Africa may be largely attributable to the implementation of the Firearms Control Act 2000.
• urging the South African government to continue to work to reduce public demand for guns, and gives relevant case studies.

Author: Professor Geoff Harris
University of KwaZulu-Natal

GFSA research

Gunfree South Africa is well known for paranoid advocacy, their hysterical animation of metal ascribing magical powers to firearms and commissioning fraudulent outcomes based research to provide illegitimate authoritive citations for its mangled misrepresentation of unrelated factoids used to promote its agenda and goals.

Dr. Paul Gallant and Dr. Joanne Eisen. in Dissenting Views stated their findings of such research. “Instead of finding unbiased scientists among the firearm-prohibitionists searching for truth, what we've found, instead, is intentional distortion, outright lying, and bait-and-switch tactics, the extent of which boggles the mind - a whole cadre of anti-gun "junk-scientists" resorting to lies and propaganda, because that's the only means of keeping their agenda alive.”

Proff. Geoff Harris of the University of KwaZulu Natal in an advocacy paper published by Gunfree South Africa on its website presents a classic example of what is wrong with gun control research

Proff. Harris does not disappoint the student of knowledge and enlightenment and employs almost every trick to persuade of the legitimacy of gun control as a crime fighting tool, suggesting that South Africa should follow the folly of other countries legislation. Citations are given as references to other equally unprincipled research as justification of an outcome that can only be obtained if all contrary evidence is eliminated or ignored.

Proff. Harris offers no verified proof of the validity of a causal relationship essential to his claims. Opinion of other outcomes based researchers is presented as fact and no attempt is made to verify the data upon which those more often incorrect opinions are made.

Quoting the work of other equally unprincipled researchers cannot add validity or integrity and automatic acceptance of provably false statements. Incestuous and selective literature citations may be acceptable for political tracts, but they introduce an artificial bias into scientific publications. Stating as fact associations which may be demonstrably false is not just unscientific, it is unprincipled.

The elusive causal factor.

There is no evidence anywhere to suggest that reducing the availability of firearms in general reduces their availability likewise to persons of criminal intent, or that persons of criminal intent would not be able to arm themselves under any set of general restrictions on firearms. [WRD p138]

The first law of economics must be pointed out. A law whose operation has been much in evidence in the case of alcohol, marijuana, other drugs, prostitution, pornography, and a host of banned activities and substances – namely that demand creates its own source of supply. [WRD p138]

During more than 150 years of intensive research and investigation to the n’th degree the ever-elusive causal link between levels of civilian firearm ownership and crime has never been established. It is therefore essential that any soundly researched paper that presents the view that ipso facto the control of firearms is the control of crime must at the very least include evidential proof of a causal link to qualify validity of the claim. It is surprising that any research paper that neglects this vital data is given any credence at all. It would seem that gun control organisations are not in the least concerned by such lack of validity and evidential proof.

The empirical evidence

Throughout the history of the world there must have been at least 100,000 restrictive gun laws passed, America alone has some 20,000, from minor checks to outright bans. Not one of which can be shown to have reduced crime. Even if one or a few could be found, the statistical significance of these claimed successes would be insignificant. In fact the overwhelming probability would be that the find was erroneously attributed to gun control legislation. Thus the unjustified opinion that any law limiting the legitimate ownership of firearms by law abiding citizens could possibly reduce or has reduced criminal violence or an ability to arm criminals is an unevidenced opinion that should be clearly indicated as such.

Research, opinion, advocacy or propaganda?

The introduction of this paper by Professor Harris sets the tone and bias of the research. A jumble of unrelated figures on firearm ownership rounded off with a sentence designed to shock the reader. Anyone reading deeper will not find a dispassionate balanced and objective revue of the pertinent facts. It's a pure advocacy, unconstrained by the polite conventions of scientific discourse.

In an effort to add legitimacy and persuade the reader of a reasoned outcome and validity of material seeking to determine the effectiveness of gun control legislation and after specifically warning of accepting untested research totally ignores all the most respected, accepted, extensive and contrary research papers on the material he carefully chose. Many would call that dishonest cherry picking.

Examples of the material that has not been considered specifically related to the effectiveness of legislation.

The massive 238 page report from the Clinton administration appointed Academy of Sciences survey of 99 books, 43 government publications, 253 journal articles, a survey of 80 different gun-control laws and some of its own independent study with a known bias in the favour of Gun Control panel. Found in short, no link between restrictions on gun ownership and lower rates of crime, firearms violence or even accidents with guns. ~ Firearms and Violence: A Critical Review

The Center for Disease Control in an effort to regain lost funding and remove a Congressional ban on advocating for stronger gun laws conducted an independent survey of its own publications and identified sources of research on gun laws. The Task Force on Community Preventive Services in summary found insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of any of the firearms laws reviewed for preventing violence. The following laws were evaluated and found ineffective:
· Bans on specified firearms or ammunition.
· Restrictions on firearm acquisition
· Waiting periods for firearm acquisition
· Firearm registration and licensing of owners
· "Shall issue" concealed weapon carry laws
· Child access prevention laws
· Zero tolerance laws for firearms in schools
· Combinations of firearms laws

The Carter administration appointed ground breaking work of Wright, James D., Peter H. Rossi, and Kathleen Daly, Under the Gun: Weapons, Crime, and Violence in America (New York: Adline de Gruyter) 1983.

"Wright, Rossi, and Daly were asked to survey the state of research regarding the efficacy of gun control, presumably to show that gun control worked, and America needed more of it. But when Wright, Rossi, and Daly produced their report for the National Institute of Justice, they delivered a document quite different from the one they had expected to write. Carefully reviewing all existing research to date, the three scholars found no persuasive scholarly evidence that America's 20,000 gun control laws had reduced criminal violence."
~~ Review by David Kopel

The Australian experience with gun control

“Australia was entirely without means of regulating firearm ownership until fear of communism resulted in the current system of handgun registration and licensing, introduced at a state level between 1920 and 1932. Firearm ownership was widespread. Self-loading rifles and handguns were available on mail order in Australia from 1905 and handguns similar to the current police revolver have been available since the 1890’s. Licensing for rifle and shotgun users was introduced as recently as 1975.
~~ L. Christie Australian gun controls: Should more be done?

The lowest Australian gun homicide rate was in 1950,[8] when there were virtually no long gun controls at all.

Harris quotes extensively from the Chapman/Alpers paper. The best that could be said of the Chapman/Alpers paper is, this isn't science, it's speculation.

Chapman is well known for his enthusiastic use of media advocacy to bring about changes in the law and teaches tertiary courses on this subject ~~ ... hapman.htm

Over several years before the Port Arthur killings, Chapman himself co-ordinated
“the planned ,strategic use of media”, and “a sustained period of public advocacy for gun law reform” [22]. He describes “preceding years of advocacy”[23] and recommends that “violent gun incidents should be anticipated and planned for so “advocates exploit to advantage the huge public and political interest these disasters generate when they occur” [24].
The distinction between media advocacy and propaganda is never explained.

Since the harsh gun laws of 1996/97, contrary to Chapman's claims, there have been several mass murders; the Childers (QLD) Fire Massacre, in which 15 young backpackers were murdered, and the Snow Town (S.A.) "bodies in the barrels" case, in which 12 people were murdered (by piano wire!) as well as several cases where parents murdered their children (and sometimes themselves) by knife, bathwater, pillows and car exhaust. (ref. A.I.C. Research Report no 46).

The Alpers/Chapman report also ignores all other variables which have occurred in Australia during the past ten years which may have reduced the likelihood of another firearm mass murder; CCTVs now monitor most areas where people gather; an estimated 200,000 Private Security Guards (most armed with handguns!) now patrol our shopping centres, clubs and railway stations.

In an earlier work, Chapman points out that the Port Arthur murderer was receiving a pension for intellectual handicap and sociopathic personality disorder, and had a mental age of 11[20]. The murderer had never had a gun licence and also drove a car without a licence [21]. If we wish to prevent further mass gun murders in public places, it seems a good idea to find out how such a person managed to obtain a military assault rifle illegally. This was never even investigated. It did not emerge at the trial as the accused pleaded guilty.

When compared with observed values, firearm suicide was the only parameter the NFA may have influenced, although societal factors could also have influenced observed changes. The findings have profound implications for future firearm legislation policy direction. ~~ Gun Laws and Sudden Death Did the Australian Firearms Legislation of 1996 Make a Difference? Jeanine Baker and Samara McPhedran

8. ibid. p126 Reuter P, Mouzos J. "Australia: a Massive Buyback of Low-Risk Guns". Chapter 4. In: "Evaluating Gun Policy- Effects on crime and violence". Eds. Ludwig J, Cook P J. Brookings Institute Press, 2003.
20. Chapman S. Over Our dead Bodies. Port Arthur and the Fight for Gun control. Pluto Press 1997. pp136-7.
21. ibid p73.
22. ibid. preface, 1st page
23. ibid p5.
24. ibid pp6-7.

The UK experience with gun control

“Half a century of strict controls on pistols has ended, perversely, with a far greater use of this class of weapon in crime than ever before... one is forced to the rather startling conclusion that the use of firearms in crime was very much less when there were no controls of any sort and when anyone, convicted criminal or lunatic, could buy any type of firearm without restriction.”
(Colin Greenwood, Firearms Control: A study of armed crime and firearms control in England and Wales)

It is perverse indeed to say the least to attribute Lambs conjecture that gun control legislation in South Africa has “caused” a decrease in some crimes while asserting that the British ban had no influence on dramatically rising violent crime.

To further claim that no academic study has taken place in England is patently ridiculous. The home office has instituted a number of studies in an attempt to justify the handgun ban as damage control.

One can only wonder what Kings College would say to Prof Harris’ comment on the lack of academic research, likewise Proffessor J.L. Malcolm and a number of others far to many to mention.

At the turn of the centaury anyone be they criminal, lunatic or underage could buy a firearm. This was the case until 1920 when government paranoia of a Bolshevik style revolution resulted in new restrictive legislation under the guise of crime control. As recent as 1968 anyone in England could buy a shotgun or indeed 1000 shotguns.

An incomplete list of gun control research in UK of which Proffessor Harris is unaware.

Povey D. Ed. Crime in England and Wales 2002/2003: Homicide and Gun Crime. January 2004. Home Office –United Kingdom.

Gun crime: the market in and use of illegal fire arms Gavin Hales, Chris Lewis and Daniel Silverstone

Home Office Research Study 298 of 2006. Gun Crime The market in and use of illegal firearms Gavin Hales Chris Lewis and Daniel Silverstone
A Critique by Colin Greenwood ... 202007.pdf

CROSS SECTIONAL STUDY OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LEVELS OF GUN OWNERSHIP AND VIOLENT DEATHS Colin Greenwood Firearms Research & Advisory Service, West Yorkshire, England, UK ... _Study.PDF

Select Committee on Northern Ireland Affairs Minutes of Evidence EFFECTIVENESSS OF LICENSING SYSTEMS
Memorandum submitted by Mr Colin Greenwood
http://www.parliament.the-stationery-of ... 071702.htm
'Illegal Firearms in the United Kingdom' Report. King's College London Centre for Defence Studies 2004

Joyce Malcolm, Guns and Violence:The English Experience Harvard University Press (5 Jun 2002)

Crime in England and Wales 2006/2007 Home Affairs Committee Report: Controls Over Firearms: ... 5/9502.htm

Fundamentally Flawed (Part One,Two) – The Real-World Test of Gun Ban Ideologyby: Kim Weissman September 2, 2001 [To read Part 1 first, click here]

The Failure of British Gun Control Clayton E. Cramer

South Africa

A criminals greatest fear and thus the primary deterrent to crime is the swift sure punishment of crime [CB]. Yet the SAPS spend an inordinate amount of time, money and manpower on a government mandated strategy of recording and chasing guns instead of investigating crime. It is claimed that the unconstitutional warrantless raids where doors are bashed down and citizens rights are thrown out the window [SS] yielding arrests for petty crime and administrative breaches of law are a great success. That the relatively few illegal arms recovered and even less that are destroyed as a significant percentage re-enter crime, is a success.

.. He said the only "successes" attributable to the Act was the bankruptcy of about 500 firearm dealers, an increase in unemployment, damage to the hunting industry and "the legalised theft of public property".
[CvW]Gun control is a 'total failure' August 14 2006 at 12:22PM ... 661557S166

The conviction rate for all crime is of the order of 6% clearly showing a dismal record of incompetence, corruption, misdirection and inattention to solving crime.

[CB] Ceasre Baccaria “On crimes and punishments” 1764.
[SS] Undated report on warrantless searchers and abuses, Ministry of Safety and Security

To claim that there has been no upsurge of violent crime in the UK since the passing of restrictive gun control laws is a complete misrepresentation of the facts. Violent crime has increased at near epidemic proportions and there are now more illegal firearms in the UK than ever before.

Since licensed handguns were confiscated and removed this clearly shows the fallacy of trying to reduce the criminal arms pool by reducing civilian ownership. Nor were any firearms removed from criminal hands, in fact a higher criminal demand and ownership rate was created. In a less striking example violent crime has also increased in Australia after restrictions and a buyback.

It is can be safely assumed that the use of “gun crime” and restriction to only these crimes is an attempt at damage control and is deliberate to reverse or obscure the facts. There is no debate on the deterrent effect of firearms ownership on other crimes.

There are in South Africa about 2.5 million licensed firearm owners or 5.5% of the population who own about 3.7 million firearms. This can hardly have any major effect on any crime. Never the less those few in possession do present a risk factor to criminals and the potential deterrent effect is noted in every major USA self-defence with a gun survey as well as the US government research conducted by Wright, Rossi and Daley.

To suggest that the overall consideration of “gun” ownership is only related to crime is ridiculous neglecting historical, sporting, investment, pleasure as well as self-defence and deterrent effects and uses. While criminals see the use of firearms equally as a tool to induce fear and compliance in victims and as defence of turf, goods and ranking. As noted by Wright, Rossi and Daley any object that has demand will create its own supply be that from theft, illegal import, manufacture or any other channel that criminals can use. It is pointless and without substance to suggest that if theft from owners is reduced criminal possession of firearms or crime will be reduced.

The overall effect of gun control legislation can best be evaluated by the simple examination of any causative effect on crime by gun ownership. Since no causative relationship is known to exist it is patently clear that no amount of gun control legislation can have the slightest effect of reducing crime.

It is well known in criminology that spontaneous crimes, crimes of passion are carried out with the nearest available weapon. The presence or absence of any weapon in no way influences the rate of such crimes or the outcome.

The murder rate has been falling by 21% since 1994 to 1999 this in the face of increased firearm sales and an increase of ownership of 64% between 1994 and 1999 [Wesson] A more then doubling of firearm ownership has not produced an increase of murder. If the ‘experts’ hypothesis were true, the actual number and rate of handgun murders would be expected to rise.

It is of importance to note that the percentage of firearm murders using handguns has dropped over the period 1994-1999 from 81.75% to 59.80%, a drop of 22%. The NIMSS notes that homicides with guns has decreased by 4.1% between 2000 and 2004. While firearm ownership continued to increase substantially at a rate of some 150,000 licences per year.

Guy Lamb head of ISS Arms Management Program is a well-known mercenary activist, collaborator and supporter of gun control. Any research findings would have to be treated with the greatest of suspicion

"This Unisa study which was presented by Mr Guy Lamb is an abuse by means of misrepresentation of statistics and denial of historically proven facts to blame the legal firearm owner for the government's inability to eradicate crime, and to simultaneously justify the disarmament of the public…
[CvW]Gun control is a 'total failure' August 14 2006 at 12:22PM ... 661557S166

The Firearms Control Act 60 of 2000 was finally implemented on July 31 of 2004. There is no possible reason any reputable research could claim a decrease due to this Act prior to its implementation. Lamb is most certainly aware that this legislation only came into effect in July of 2004.
~~[BBC News - S Africans 'armed to the hilt' Thursday, 28 October, 2004, “According to the legislation, which came into effect in July…”]

An evaluation of the success of this Act was given by GOSA.
“… the only "successes" attributable to the Act was the bankruptcy of about 500 firearm dealers, an increase in unemployment, damage to the hunting industry and "the legalised theft of public property".
[CvW] Gun control is a 'total failure' August 14 2006 at 12:22PM ... 661557S166

It is no error that Lamb failed to reveal the fact that the murder rate per 100,000 already showed a massive and constant decline since 1994 from 69.5 in that year to 47.8 in 2002 according to figures released by the Institute of Security Studies

An increasing rate of firearm ownership while the murder rate is falling with no major crime prevention operations by the SAPS is a more correct summary of the situation. Lamb and Harris however choose to conveniently ignore the increase of ownership rate and volume of sales of guns during this period mainly to blacks and that legislation claimed as responsible was not implemented.

The South African government knowingly and without justification wants to remove or infringe the rights of citizens to protect themselves, own firearms or indulge in sports using firearms. While at the same time government refuses to accept legal responsibility for protecting those lives or the financial responsibility of lives lost, trauma and theft of property of people subjected to crime that government has shown little ability to control.

As an aid to deflecting public interest from this failing government in collaboration with gun control organisations have mounted a propaganda program to instil a fear of guns and seeks to unjustifiably blame licensed firearm owners for crime government has failed to control. Falsely giving hope to ignorant people of relief from crime by promising that gun control will reduce crime and the supply of gun to criminals.

Whatever imagined gun ownership motivating fear is being referred by Harris is uncertain and does not compel firearm owners who choose to accept the responsibility to defend themselves, loved ones or property to lobby government, warn the public of dire consequences, protest in the streets or proclaim that society is about to collapse into lawlessness at every crime committed using a firearm. Nor do they quake in their boots at the sight or mention of a gun or fear that their mind will be overcome by the touch of inanimate objects.

Of the "good Samaritans" who came to the aid of victims of violent crime, 81 percent are gun owners because they are "familiar with violence, feel competent to handle it, and don’t believe they will get hurt if they get involved."
Ted L. Huston, Gilbert Geis and Richard Wright, "The Angry Samaritans," Psychology Today, June 1976, p. 64.

What can be done

There is a quick fix to crime and that is for gun controllers to admit that there is absolutely no known success of any gun control law reducing crime or the supply of guns to criminals. Thus removing from the crime control equation the futile waste of manpower, resources and massive expenditure, thereby putting this total waste to far better use in solving and punishing crime.
"Two memorials remain today at Thermoplylae. Upon the modern one is engraved his response to Xerxes' demand that the Spartans lay down their arms. Leonidas' reply was two words, Molon Labe. 'Come and get them'."
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