Thursday, December 06, 2007

Shots in the City - Part 2

This is the broadcast that caught my attention. KRLD is #2 of my preset radio stations. With the exception of the early Saturday morning hunting and fishing show on KRLD, I usually listen to WBAP. On the way home from work the other day, I got tired of listening to Hannity's apologetics for GuliMittCainAbee and switched over to KRLD just in time to hear this report:

Gun violence is on the rise in Dallas in 2007. Where are the guns coming from and who's to blame?
The first three quarters or so of the broadcast covered the culture of violence and it's relationship with drugs and crime. All was well until the reporter stated:

"...ATF report on guns in Dallas points to a problem of illegal gun sales in flea markets and at gun shows."
Needless to say, that caught my attention. I emailed Ms. Austin as soon as I got home. I asked where I could find a copy of the ATF report, and what the definition of "illegal gun sale" was as personal firearm sales are legal in Texas.

Ms. Austin replied that "The report was cited in a Dallas Morning News report written by Todd Bensman several years ago. It's a 2000 ATF report on gun availability in Dallas...". No mention of the definition of "illegal gun sales".

So off I go to the ATF's web site to find this report and voilà, here it is:

The Youth Crime Gun Interdiction Initiative

That is an interesting report, 46 pages of charts, tables and gun trace data for firearms used during criminal acts in Dallas. Forty six pages and not one mention of gun shows or swap meets, not a single one.

A little more digging is in order, the Dallas Morning News archive is next on my list. It turns out that on December 8th of 2000, Todd Bensman wrote an article titled "Gun laws being foiled, ATF says Many Dallas criminals buying from traffickers". In this article Mr. Bensman referenced the ATF's Crime Gun Trace Reports (1999) Dallas TX. Again, a search of the reference document found no mention of gun shows or flea markets. Mr. Benson did however quote ATF Special Agent Joseph Patterson who stated:
Dallas-area traffickers with clean records are buying large numbers of new guns favored by a younger criminal class. They are selling them at flea markets and gun shows to those who know they can't pass the FBI background check - which is a crime...
This must be where Ms. Austin got her information. A 7 year old news article quoting an ATF agent, not an ATF report. In Mr. Bensman's article of 2000, he played pretty fast and loose with the statistics from the ATF study. A good fisking of his report would be in order, but that was 7 years ago.

1 comment:

Hyunchback said...

A "journalist" whose "research" wouldn't stand up to what a sixth grade teacher would expect for an essay.

Why is it that we have to put up with bridge sweepings instead of news?