We write of missing numbers: here is Eric Lichtblau of the NY Times on the topic of banning gun sales to people on one of the many (and very different - see BURIED TIDBITS below) terror watch lists:
After Orlando, Questions Over Effectiveness of Terrorism Watch Lists
From 2005 to 2015, nearly 2,500 people who appeared on the F.B.I.’s terrorism watch list attempted to buy a firearm, and 91 percent of the sales were approved, a study by the Government Accountability Office found.
That data comes from a GAO letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein and I know what you are not thinking, if you are busy promoting the progressive agenda. But I also know what I am thinking - what in the world was the follow-up to those 2,265 sales? Were there 2,265 incidents of mass shootings, bank robberies, and general terror? 200? 20? 2?
Surely the government sources that compiled this data have a clue - we are watching these people, yes? So why not present the follow-up data? Surely that would be helpful in informing our national debate.
Hmm, I am just guessing here, but... per the GAO letter, the first analysis was performed in 2010, with a follow-up in 2015. In other words, during the Obama Administration. So if more data was sought, it could have been. And I can't shake the feeling that if the actual result had been that 2,000 of these sales eventually led to arrests due to gun-related crimes, the GAO would have unearthed and publicized that factoid. Conversely, if these sales culminated in just 2 gun-related arrests, that factoid would have been have been buried by a Democratic Administration promoting its gun control safety agenda.
Of course, there is a third choice, which would amount to, well, it's complicated, what with all these data bases and all. It is a minor caveat, but the FBI data reflects applications to buy guns but the Feds do not record final sales, so some slippage is possible. Still, does the FBI really want to get on record as saying they don't even know when the people they are ostensibly watching get themselves arrested? Geez, I'll be able to drop my premium cable plan and get all the live comedy I want on C-Span.
Well. I am confident that our hard-charging reality-based data-driven press corps will push hard for an answer to this incredibly obvious question, as will progressive stalwarts such as Sen. Feinstein.
No I'm not.
That said, Republican Senators and Congressman are also free to ask questions of the GAO and the Congressional Research Service. The old attorney's rule about avoiding questions when you don't know the answer may be holding them back, but I would be delighted to see someone on either side of this terror watch list debate nut up or shut up.
According to FBI officials, several of the 272 background checks resulted in matches to watchlist records that—in addition to being in the FBI’s Known or Suspected Terrorist File—were on the Transportation Security Administration’s “No Fly” list.
"Several"?!? What is that, five or ten? There's no way someone said "several" but meant, for example, "fifty". So why are Obama and other Democrats walking around saying "no fly, no buy" and then citing statistics from the much larger watch lists? Could that be ignorance or willful deception? A real headscratcher.
And just to scale this, let's make some guesses. Suppose "several" means eleven. That is 4% of the 272 matches cited during that one year time period. Boldly Extrapolating that over the 2005-2015 time period suggests that roughly 11% 4% of about 2,500 watch list matches were also people on the No-Fly list [Brain-lock - I shoulda stuck with 4%]. So hypothetically, 100 people would have been blocked during the last decade if we had the No-Fly provision Democrats talk about, rather than the larger watch lists they actually employ in their proposed legislation.
As to whether any of those 100 or so people went on to commit gun-related crimes, well, We the People still don't know, although that data is well within the reach of Team Obama.