New gun show "study" from UC Davis


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Galloglas
June 12, 2007, 08:58 PM
Garen Wintemute has published another study. (http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/newsroom/protected/index.html)

What I found most disturbing about it was the section where he presents what he claims is clearly a straw purchase: (http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/newsroom/protected/Releases/wintemute_straw_photos.html)

I can think of alternative captions for those photos that turn what he claims is a straw purchase into something not only legal, but wholesome and uplifting.

My alternative and equally valid quotes for his photos follow:

"Hey Bob, I've got a surprise for you. You know how you always say that you like using my rifle when we go target shooting... Well I'm going to buy this one for you."

"Here is the money."

"This one looks like it is in good condition"

"Yeah, you have to fill this out"

"Don't forget to answer this question too"

The legal dealer performs the proper background checks instantly unlike in California.

Bob buys his first rifle.

"Don't worry Bob, I'll carry that for you. I know you are tired. I'll show you how to safely use it after the show."

Share your polite comments or alternative captions at (http://eggheadblog.ucdavis.edu (http://eggheadblog.ucdavis.edu/?p=530))

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Phaetos
June 12, 2007, 09:12 PM
Uhhh .. I wonder if these people gave legal permission for their pictures to be used in this study. Not only that, but were they actually aware of how they would be represented? These people need to be found and a legal case be made against the author and photographer.

savetheclaypigeons
June 12, 2007, 09:20 PM
Let me provide the appropriate quotes... the ones that have come out of our mouths plenty of times before

"Hey bud, remember that $10 you owe me?"
"Would you spot me $15?"
"Would you break this $100 for me? The dealer doesn't have enough."
"But mom said to split it EVENLY!"
and...

"Woah! I'm going home with 2 guns tonight! Hold on to this for a second!"
" I gotta take a leak...I'll be back in a sec.."

migoi
June 12, 2007, 09:28 PM
the Department of Irreproducible Results.

Smaller gun shows equal more customers per vendor...no kidding.

As to the number of straw sales at gun shows in free states versus gun shows in his predetermined gun control uptopia -ish California... me thinks the authors bias played a huge role in the results.

No mention of how he chose which people to follow/record long enough to decide if a straw purchase was being made. No recording of the number of folks he observed that didn't make straw purchases. No recording of the number of straw purchases he alledgedly observed presented as a percentage of the total number of purchases made that day (The real measure of if there is a 'problem' or not. One straw purchase out of a total of 5 purchases for the day is a totally different creature than 1 straw purchase out of 5000 purchases made during the day.)

A 'study' not worthy of being used to comply with dog walking ordinances concerning waste recovery.

migoi

rickomatic
June 12, 2007, 09:33 PM
I sent this email to the UC Davis press contact, and CC'd it to the ATF....LOL.


Carol,
I read with great interest the article on the UC Davis website concerning gun shows.
http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/newsroom/protected/Releases/wintemute_straw_photos.html
Were those people in the photograph part of the study, or did your representatives just watch and photograph.
Either way, that was indeed a felony being committed, and I hope your reported it to the proper authorities.
I am forwarding this email to the BATFE for them to follow up on.

Don Gwinn
June 12, 2007, 10:04 PM
http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/newsroom/protected/Releases/wintemute_cellphone_photos.html

The "Cell Phone Photos" page breathlessly reports that they caught people taking cell phone photos of guns and discussing them on the phone. The clear implication is that these people MUST have been talking to their criminal friends and having them select which guns were to be straw purchased.

Check out the picture they chose to represent that argument:
http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/newsroom/protected/Releases/Photos/Photo%20cell%20phone/ip%20cellphone.JPG

. . . . because a straw purchase is a lot more likely than one of the following scenarios:

1. "Dude! It's a gold-plated d34gle! I told you Counterstrike was totally real!"

2. "Good God, it's a gold-plated Desert Eagle. . . . and the sick part is, somebody out there will pay extra for this . . . ."

Kim
June 12, 2007, 11:32 PM
The whole "straw puchace: crap makes me ill. It is nothing more than a way to try to make an innocent seller a criminal. Of coarse we all knew and know that. Let me give an analogy. I as a physician have a patient come in with what they say is chronic back pain. Now there is NO test I can do to say whether or not the patient really has back pain. Believe me the trial lawyers know this very well. This patient (and there are many, many like them) get lets say 60 Vicoden ( a small amount for a month of pain pills for most chronic back pain patients). Now this person goes out and sells this stuff on the street for 10 bucks a pill, or gives them to their druggy grandson or even to a minor friend. How am I to know this before I prescribe the medicine? I can not. Should I be prosecuted for straw purchase of drugs? If I knowingly prescribed them to someone who was going to do the above I could be prosecuted. But how am I to know otherwise? I can NOT and neither can a gun dealer. I or the gun dealer are innocent victims not the criminal at all. I hate straw purchase laws the way they are used to oppress and persecute legal gun dealers and deals. :cuss:

nemoaz
June 13, 2007, 03:14 AM
Uhhh .. I wonder if these people gave legal permission for their pictures to be used in this study.

They don't need to give legal permission unless they are copyrighted photographs to which they own the copyrights.

You have no right to keep someone from photographing you or publishing photographs of you.

John Rogers
June 13, 2007, 04:08 AM
I just read the article, which is available at http://press.psprings.co.uk/ip/june/150_ip16212.pdf. One thing I like about it as a researcher is that the author actually went out and did his own observations. You don't see that very often any more.

Unfortunately, there are also a number of things not to like. Most importantly, one of the main variables, observations of "straw purchases", is not clearly defined. The only information presented is that "A gun sale was classed as a straw purchase only if the purchase was made from a licensed dealer, the required forms were completed, and there was clear evidence that the person purchasing the firearm was not the intended possessor." But there is not information about what constituted "clear evidence" in the author's eyes. If I were reviewing this article I'd regard this omission as unacceptable regardless of the results.

Presumably licensed dealers are required to display their licenses, if not the author's classification would be meaningless.

Not much to say about the statistics except that the numbers in the categories where he found differences (i.e. "armed attendees") are very small and so it is difficult to see how they have any practical significance.

There are some odd statements in the discussion. For example, "One important difference [between California gun shows and those in AZ, FL, NV, and TX], was in the frequency of undocumented private party gun sales. Prohibiting such sales appears to greatly diminish their frequency." Duh.. Then there's "Gang members, for example, may be unable to travel to a gun show." I guess drug dealing isn't as profitable as we've been led to believe. Here's a good one.. "Of particular concern were pistols based on AR15 and AK47 rifles. Less than 24 inches long, they use the same ammunition and high-capacity magazines that the rifles do. With the magazine detached they are easily concealed, and in airport security screening the AR15-type pistol resembles a curling iron." [a newspaper article from the New Jersey Star-Ledger is cited here]. A curling iron. Anyone want to try testing that one out next time you go to the airport?

In the "limitations" paragraph the author puts a positive spin on the problems of sampling, limited statistical power, observer bias, and measurement by noting "We may have grossly underestimated the incidence of straw purchases, as only 1 observer was present and such transactions may be more common on Sundays [a newspaper article from the Arizona Republic is cited here]; rate ratios should be less affected. Our results will need validation by teams of observers at shows nationwide." Of course gross overestimation is at least as likely as gross underestimation.

Teams of observers at shows nationwide, coming to a gun show near you! You can tell because they will be mumbling into their cell phones.

Not surprisingly, the authors conclude that more regulation of gun shows are in order.

Even though there's also nothing there to inspire confidence that the observations have any reliability or generalizability, there is also nothing in this article to suggest that the allegations of straw purchasing at gun shows are incorrect. Sometimes claims based on poor methods and poor inferences turn out to be true. If there really is a problem here, it needs to be addressed if residents of states with less restrictive laws would prefer not to have California-style regulation.

I was wondering about Injury Prevention's review process, but the editorial comments that accompany the article make it clear that the piece was included as a matter of editorial perogative, illustrated by a quote from a New York Times editorial:

"'The horror of tens of thousands of annual gun deaths will be compounded if the new crop of presidential candidates manages to duck an issue that more than 200 mayors, led by Mr. Bloomberg, are fighting from the trenches.'

Make that 200 mayors, too few researchers, and at least one editor."

Think about that one next time you ask someone to back up scientific claims with citations from peer reviewed journals...

illspirit
June 13, 2007, 07:14 AM
The craziest part of the whole thing is that he claims 70% of gun dealers are unlicensed outside of Cali. To arrive at this conclusion, he uses this table:

http://www.illspirit.com/randompics/fuzzy_math.png

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't that say only 3.8% of "vendors" were unlicensed? And don't Cali and other states both have roughly the same percentage of licensed dealers?

Now, umm, if 30.2% are licensed, and 3.8% aren't, what happened to the other 66%?! Are they somehow both licensed and unlicensed simultaneously? Are we to conclude that Schrödinger's Cat (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schr%C3%B6dinger's_cat) is an arms dealer now or something? :scrutiny:

Henry Bowman
June 13, 2007, 09:19 AM
They don't need to give legal permission unless they are copyrighted photographs to which they own the copyrights. It's not a copyright issue; it's a right of publicity/privacy issue.

You have no right to keep someone from photographing you or publishing photographs of you.Yes you do, at least in many states, including California. There are several exceptions, and one may apply here.

ilbob
June 13, 2007, 09:47 AM
many gunshows prohibit photography. i am not sure how you can effectively prevent it though.

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