Yesterday an article appeared in The News & Observer and it presented statistics on firearms in custody at local police agencies. The inference made was if these were in police hands they were used in a crime. Now what I find interesting is the caption of the front page article said:
Handguns such as this pistol account for the majority of recovered firearms stored in the Raleigh Police Department’s evidence room. Assault rifles account for only 4.3 percent. Other Triangle police departments report similar trends.
Online the caption is different, it says:
A pistol is among the recovered firearms stored in the Raleigh Police Department’s evidence room.
To be honest, the article isn’t blatantly anti-gun and the author did a good job of contacting the various police agencies to gain insight. Of course Greensboro isn’t really part of the Triangle (where’s the eye roll emoticon when you need one). What I take issue with is the way the information is presented. I immediately read it as a statistic about semi-automatic rifles with cosmetic similarities to military firearms were used in 4.3% of the crimes and that is what they wanted me to infer. What it actually says is of the firearms in the Raleigh PD evidence room, 4.3% are cosmetically similar to military firearms. The two are much different things. Suppose a gun safe was burglarized and all the firearms were stolen, once recovered they would go into evidence for a period of time. So if someone had a couple of calibers of AR, an AK and perhaps something else, there could be 5 or more firearms belonging to a single person who is waiting for them to be returned after they had been recovered. The article stated RPD has 35 of these rifles in their evidence room. If you take a look at the photo from the evidence room they have random long guns stored in a couple of boxes, but then beside that to the right you see boxed and cased firearms. I can guarantee you a boxed and/or cased firearm was not recovered from being used at a crime scene.
I hate it when information is presented in a misleading way. The article states more people are killed by handguns than rifles in NC and that is universally true across the nation. Why then did they have to take it too far? Why does the media find the need to sensationalize the news? If it is newsworthy it will stand on its own merit and doesn’t need to be slanted to try to promote an agenda.