23 February 2008

Grading the Graders, Revisited

The Brady Grades are out! New! Improved! Instead of giving out letters, they're giving out numbers! Wow!

Actually, the grades have been out for a while. The new format is a little more detailed, and the results tell a little more about the unrealistic expectations of the Brady Bunch.

And, as I stated in my last post, the great state of Alaska scored 4 points out of a possible hundred, and ranked 44th out of 50. I guess we must be doing something right.

I was looking at the list of the places where the Last Frontier came up short. I'd have to say, yeah, it pretty much describes how liberal we are in Alaska when it comes to 2A.

But I also saw some things in their lists that I don't think were entirely truthful:

Is it illegal to sell handguns to anyone under 21 years of age? No

State law does not restrict selling handguns to juveniles under the age of 21 by unlicensed sellers. Under federal law, only federally licensed dealers are prohibited from selling or delivering handguns or ammunition for handguns to any person under the age of 21. A strong state law is needed to stop unlicensed persons from selling handguns to those under the age of 21.

If you just did a cursory check on the list, you'd think that Alaska takes pride in flouting the under-21 law. Nope. Firstly, this is a little sticky in that it deals with personal property between private individuals, and I don't need to go into the ramifications of that. Those who prefer living in an Orwellian society might not see it as a bad thing, but I personally would prefer erring on the side of civil liberties.

Another thing this bit of propaganda fails to mention are the criminal codes against selling guns to unqualified individuals (felons, mentally unstable, etc).

Is there a waiting period on gun sales? No

Alaska: No state requirement that there be a waiting period for gun sales beyond the "instant check" in federal law. Police are not given any additional time to run a criminal background check to make sure the gun buyer is not prohibited from acquiring firearms. There is no "cooling off" period to help prevent crimes of passion.

Not entirely true. Gun dealers are governed by Federal Law, and all first-time resident handgun buyers within the State of Alaska must undergo a 5-day waiting period. Subsequent purchases are not subject to the waiting period. Nor are people who have a CCW permit.

But again, the wording of the line-item suggests that, by golly, you come to Alaska, and you can get yourself a pimped-out Desert Eagle with a minimum of hassle.

Another thing that caught my attention were the rankings vs. scores. 50 states were featured. Not a one scored 100% (the best was California, at 79). The overwhelming majority (43) of states scored less than 50%. Of those 43, 41 scored less than 30%.

That alone should tell you that the Bradys' expectations are totally unrealistic.

Here's another telling statistic. The Bradys' top performers (California, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, Rhode Island, and Hawaii) are all blue states.

As a matter of fact, the top 12-ranked states in Brady's list are all blue. Once you get to North Carolina (#13), you start seeing some mixture of red and blue, but I find it rather interesting the correspondence between political affiliation and favor on the Brady scale. Further evidence suggesting the Bradys are not the "non-partisan" organization their website claims they are.

At any rate, it's time to see if the Bradys really have a good feel for what prevents gun violence. Referring to the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports they make available online, 2006 edition, I found that the Brady's consistent top performer in terms of gun ownership legislation, The People's Republik of Kalifornia, is also the biggest offender in gun-related crimes.

Combining reported instances of Murder, Robbery, and Aggravated Assault with a firearm, California's tight gun restrictions could not stop 49,700 people from being victims.

This, by the way, is close to twice of the combined firearm-related incidents reported by the bottom ten states--the poorest performers by the Brady grading system--whose total is 27,349 in all.

Some would come up with the argument, "Well, that's because California is so huge, and naturally, bigger populations will have bigger problems. What we really need to look at are per-capita totals for a more accurate picture of guns and crime."

Fine. The total population of the bottom ten states comes to around 21,505,087, about 59% of California's population of 36,332,437. Do the math, and you'll find that the combined per-capita firearm-related crime rate is still less than California's. Maybe not by the widest of margins (8% difference), but you would think that if the Brady grading system were an accurate picture of the measures needed to stop gun violence, the results would be much more in the favor of the Brady's highest performer.

Conclusion: The Brady measures don't really help prevent crime.


Tomare Utsu Zo said...

Shut-up you meanie!! Do you feel good about yourself now? Do you feel good about pointing out reality to the insane? Bully.

The Mad Hatter said...

Heh. Good one, Tomare.