This is a letter I just sent to the Times-Ledger:
It got me thinking - maybe a large part of the anti-gun sentiment being pumped out by the Mayor's office and this DA arises from nothing more that basic ignorance.Greetings.
Recently, your paper ran an article by Stephen Stirling concerning the seizure of an FN 5.7mm pistol from some criminals in New York.
This is the article in question:
This article is laden with a myriad of factual errors, any of which could have been detected with few moment's basic fact checking.Police in Far Rockaway arrested and charged three youths with criminal possession of a weapon Wednesday after a search of their home yielded a powerful type of handgun that has been responsible for more than two-thirds of police officer deaths since 1994, according to the Queens district attorney.
Police executed a court-authorized raid of the home of William Davis, 21, brother Clarence Davis, 18, and friend Gquan Lloyd, 18, Wednesday morning and found a notoriously powerful Fabrique Nationale 5.7 handgun along with another less-powerful handgun and a bag of cocaine, according to DA Richard Brown. The gun, called a "cop killer" by many for its ability to pierce 48 layers of bullet-proof Kevlar, is the first of its type to be recovered by authorities in New York City.
"The FN 5.7 is a lethal handgun imported from Belgium and capable of easily penetrating most police vets and plates," Brown said. "While this is the first time that such a deadly weapon has been recovered in New York City, its presence is troubling and makes the job of street cops that much more dangerous."
Since 1994, 425 of the 616 police officers killed in the line of duty have been killed with a FN 5.7, the DA said.
The three Far Rockaway residents, all of the Hammel Houses on 81-10 Rockaway Beach Blvd., were arraigned Thursday on charges of criminal possession of a weapon and a controlled substance at Queens Criminal Court in Kew Gardens. If convicted, each could spend up to 15 years in prison.
The FN 5.7mm handgun was introduced to the market in 2004. The claim that 425 police officers have been killed with the 5.7mm should have been an immediate red flag - that would translate to around 2000 officers a year since 2004. A little tiny bit of fact checking - like reading the Brady Campaign piece on the 5.7 (http://www.bradycampaign.org/ler/fnh/faq.php) - would have immediately revealed the problem with the claim.
Had anyone's interest been piqued by that thunderous error, they might have checked into the armor piercing claims and discovered that the ammunition that is capable of defeating level IIIA body armor is not available to anyone outside of government and law enforcement agency purchases. (http://www.fnhusa.com/contents/tw_57x28mm.htm)
So this seems to indicate two things:
1. A little basic fact checking is in order. A grade school child could have come up with the information provided above after a few short minutes on the internet. Perhaps you should hire one to check Stephen's work before publication fro the sake of your own reputation.
2. Taking a quote from a DA (who apparently knows nothing about this topic) and running it as gospel is a recipe for looking like fools. Something to consider for later.
It worked for the Assault Weapons Ban - even today, there are people who think these firearms are "machine guns".
Certainly proves that this particular media outlet is completely ignorant about firearms - but that won't stop them from running a very negative article about them.