The VPC–a history of being disingenuous

Yesterday, I mentioned that the VPC has–let’s call it a less than passionate commitment to telling the truth. In support of that assertion on my part, I pointed out some rather disingenuous statements they made about the .500 S&W Magnum. Today, I’m going back farther, to show that such tactics are nothing new for these folks.

Way back in 1988, they came out with this “study” about so-called “assault weapons.” Most of their alarmist claims are unworthy of debating here–they have, after all, been saying the same things for almost 20 years. What is worth a look comes in the conclusion, as it provides a useful insight into their strategy.

It will be a new topic in what has become to the press and public an “old” debate.
Although handguns claim more than 20,000 lives a year, the issue of handgun restriction consistently remains a non-issue with the vast majority of legislators, the press, and public. The reasons for this vary: the power of the gun lobby; the tendency of both sides of the issue to resort to sloganeering and pre-packaged arguments when discussing the issue; the fact that until an individual is affected by handgun violence he or she is unlikely to work for handgun restrictions; the view that handgun violence is an “unsolvable” problem; the inability of the handgun restriction movement to organize itself into an effective electoral threat; and the fact that until someone famous is shot, or something truly horrible happens, handgun restriction is simply not viewed as a priority. Assault weapons—just like armor-piercing bullets, machine guns, and plastic firearms—are a new topic. The weapons’ menacing looks, coupled with the public’s confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons. In addition, few people can envision a practical use for these weapons.

Here, we see that although their top prioity was (and seems to continue to be) an outright ban on private ownership of handguns, they realized that such a ban was not in the cards, so they chose to focus their efforts on the more vulnerable “assault weapons.”

To see their lack of interest in a truly informed public debate, look no further than this sentence:

The weapons’ menacing looks, coupled with the public’s confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons.

I’m not accusing them of an outright lie in this case, but to deliberately attempt to exploit the public’s ignorance of the difference between fully automatic firearms and so-called “assault weapons,” is hardly respectable behavior.

One could argue, of course, that a nearly 20 year old article does not necessarily have much to do with what the VPC is doing now, but if that’s the case, why keep this article on their website?

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