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Old 10-25-2009, 08:53 PM
370 posts, read 1,159,017 times
Reputation: 188


Originally Posted by mattpoulsen View Post
Ya, I'm not sure how something said by a Cabela's salesman has any relation to the sale of "illegal guns." From the OP's post, all that was said was that "gun sales" were up. So I really don't know why this thread is entitle "illegal" gun sales.

Further, to one of the above posters, why can't someone track illegal gun sales?? And why would someone mentioned that necessarily have low credibility? We track "illegal" things all the time. Drugs are a perfect example. No, we don't go out and ask every person. But they can track how many times illegal weapons show up in an given raid and then apply some relatively elementary statistical analysis.

According to the above poster, we would never be able to track any contraband as we don't know exactly how many people are purchasing said contraband. That's just a little silly.
Since I would be that "above poster," please tell me a statistically valid way to track "illegal gun sales." And then provide me some stats on it... Of course, we'd need to provide a definitition of an illegal gun sale. Would that be the sale of an illegal gun, or a gun sale conducted in an illegal manner?

This whole thread is getting just a little silly! Maybe the OP can clarify what he/she meant by it all.

Oh yes, and DTO is correct. I went out and bought a new AR-15 right after the election. Thankfully I got LEO pricing so I didn't have to pay through the nose.
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Old 10-25-2009, 10:10 PM
Location: West Omaha
1,181 posts, read 3,646,690 times
Reputation: 477
You can define it either way you would like. There is no problem in tracking either 1) guns sold illegally or 2) illegal guns sold.

Explain to me why it not possible to track these things?? Do you think its possible to track the amount of drugs in the US? How about the number of people who cheat on their taxes? How about the number of deer in Nebraska? How about the number of blades of grass in your yard or the number of grains of sand in a desert?

Its relatively simple to come up with an estimate for the number of "illegal guns." These stats are tracked quite regularly and the number of actual found illegal guns can then extrapolated to the rest of the relevant population in a statistically proper way.

This is how groups estimate the amount of drugs in the US and the number of drunk drivers on the road. I'm sorry...but it is pretty simple.

You simply tried to dismiss the notion. While I have no clue where the OP is coming from and the proposition seems silly to me, I also think you are deliberately just dismissing the idea of "illegal guns" out-of-hand. I just having a feeling you would be less apt to do that if the topic were drugs, drunk driving, and etc.

I'm not an anti-gun zealot. I own a few guns. I do, however, call it how I see it and your conclusion that anyone claiming that illegal guns can be tracked or estimated has no credibility is pretty silly.
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Old 10-26-2009, 08:13 AM
370 posts, read 1,159,017 times
Reputation: 188
Matt, allow me to back up and explain myself further...

First, I am probably making some assumptions about the OP's story. But, if I had a gun salesman tell me that "illegal gun sales" were up in order to sell me a gun, they would lack credibility with me. Why? Two reasons: 1, there is not a reliable way to track "illegal gun sales." 2, I've not seen any reports or data to back up a claim that "illegal gun sales" are up.

Let's address number one first:

Sure, law enforcement can estimate the number of illegal guns on the streets, the number of illegal gun tranactions, the number of gang members, the number of drunk drivers on the road, the number of unregistered sex offenders but none of those are nothing more than estimates. We release that kind of information all the time--but they are nothing more than estimates.

I stand by my assertion that there is not a database that tracks "illegal gun sales" as nothing more than an estimate. Again, how do you accurately track "illegal gun sales." Same with all the other examples given. There is data kept on the number of ARRESTS made relative to gun violations, but like with any of the examples above, the number of arrests is but a small representation of the number of violations occuring.

Now, if somebody told me that the number of arrests for illegal guns was going up, then I'd find it to be a little more valid. However, I would still question if that number was up due to an increase in illegal guns, or an increased effort by law enforcement. For example, Lincoln is experiencing an increase in the number of "illegal gun" arrests (cites, mostly) because LPD recently began aggressively enforcing a relatively-new city ordinance that bans the possession of firearms by people convicted of certain misdemeanor crimes which is more stringent than state law.

Maybe we're splitting hairs here on the ideas of "tracking" versus "estimating." I say that nobody tracks "illegal gun sales." You say they can be estimated, and I totally agree with that.

As for number 2:

I've not seen any reports, nor even any media reports about any upswings in "illegal gun sales" on a local or national level. Maybe I missed it, but in my line of work, I do like to keep track of those things. Now, it has been well documented that legal gun sales have been through the roof.

Since the OP made no mention of "illegal gun sales" in the post, but just in the title, we don't really even know what he was taking about.

I do know that if the guy at Cabelas (Sheels, BPS, Uncle Joe Bob's Gun Emporium, etc.) was telling me that "illegal gun sales" are up in order to try to sell me a gun, I'd doubt his credibility.

And yes, I do get fired up about the misuse of hyperbole on other topics too, such as drugs and drunk drivers. This topic happens to be about guns.

Finally, on a lighter note, remember the quote oft-attributed to Mark Twain: There are lies, damn lies, and statistics.
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Old 10-26-2009, 04:55 PM
Location: West Omaha
1,181 posts, read 3,646,690 times
Reputation: 477
Yes, I think we are splitting hairs. When I say we track the number of illegal gun sales, I mean we estimate that statistically. In reality, that is all we can do with nearly all things. Ironically, the things that we hand count are probably more apt to be incorrect than proper statistics as accuracy of reporting becomes a huge problem. This is why many want to change the census from a person-to-person count to statistical averaging, which according to nearly all experts would give a more accurate count.

As far as what the OP said, I'll be honest...I don't really know what he was getting at. He mentioned "illegal guns" in his title and then mentioned "gun sales" were up. I'm not sure if the Cabela's salesman told him whether gun sales were up (which he would apparentlyu have some first hand knowledge...even if anecdotal) or if "illegal" gun sales were up (which would force him to rely on some statistical resource).

I'm not at all defending what the OP said. And I have no idea whether "illegal" gun sales are up or down. I was just wanting to clarify that we can track the number of illegal gun sales. And I think we're splitting hairs on what "tracking" means. At any rate, I don't think we really disagree on anything here.
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