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12/31/2004

So... where did all those votes found in King County for the Governor's race come from?

The "Quiet Gun" that might help keep urban gun ranges open

An inventor in Minnesota might have the answer. "The gun is much quieter than traditional shotguns because the long barrel uses a series of holes, or ports, to bleed away the blast-producing gases that come from discharging the shot shell."

New Zealand says no to gun registration

The New Zealand government decides not to go forward with reintroducing gun registration. As Don Kates writes me, "in 1995 Canada undertook a $2 million effort to register all guns by 2004. As of last month the deadline for the registration had  to be extended once again w/ millions og guns unregistered -- and the total cost so far at more than a BILLION dollars. It is now estimated that roughly 40-50% of guns remain unregistered and the cost of registering them will be at least another billion dollars."

12/29/2004

Op-ed on new National Academy of Sciences Report

The New York Post has my op-ed on the recent NAS report. The key point of the report, something that the media hasn't been covered at all by the media, is that: "The big news is that the academy’s panel couldn’t identify any benefits of the decades-long effort to reduce crime and injury by restricting gun ownership."

Update: World Net Daily has a news article on the NAS report. See also the discussion on keepandbeararms.com.

12/27/2004

British Tories introduce self defense bill

While some have argued that there is no problem using self defense in Britain, apparently many British MPs see the problem differently. The proposed legislation apparently has support from members representing all the political parties and the backing of the Conservative Party, though it is not clear what Labor will do on the bill. The article claims that if a free vote was allowed the legislation would pass. The proposed text is very straightforward:

"Where a person uses force in the prevention of crime or in the defence of persons or property on another who is in any building or part of a building having entered as a trespasser or is attempting so to enter, that person shall not be guilty of any offence in respect of the use of that force unless - a) the degree of force used was grossly disproportionate,  and b) this was or ought to have been apparent to the person using such force." Crucially, the Bill then states that: "No prosecution shall be brought against a person. . . without the leave of the Attorney General".

12/21/2004

So what has happened with the Armed Pilot Program?

12/20/2004

Deterrence works

A lesson in deterrence with a sense of humor. You won't get the point until the end of the clip.

Also, Boston Legal (a TV show on ABC) had a gun attack at a law firm that was stopped by a senior partner (William Shatner) who had kept a gun in his office.

12/19/2004

Teenager kills violent home intruder

A Pennsylvania teenager fatally shoots a man who had broken into the house for a second time and was brutally beating another person in the house.

12/18/2004

A reminder of what I wrote three years ago on the National Academy of Sciences Panel

My piece in the LA Times is still accurate today. It is interesting that the panel claims that for "80 gun prevention programs" they can't find any evidence that gun control reduced violent crime, suicides, or accidental deaths. While I will write up a more substantive discussion, James Q. Wilson's very unusual dissent in the first appendix says a lot. Wilson concluded that the research provides "confirmation of the findings that shall-issue laws drive down the murder rate . . . ," though he is less convinced of the change in other crimes. The NAS won't tell me how many panels have had dissents previously, though they admit that they are very rare. It is disappointing that the panel refused to let me ask questions during their presentation.

12/16/2004

Britain to ban knife sales to those under 18

Pro-Gun Professor Claims University Denied Him Free Speech

12/15/2004

"Judge ruled punch-card voting does not deny right to vote"

12/14/2004

Democrats say they don't trust the voters

From Opinionjournal.com's Daily Political Diary:
"Zack Exley, the guru who ran John Kerry's web efforts, has just given a sharp assessment of why his man's online campaign fell short this election year. Speaking last week at a Harvard symposium on politics and the Internet, Mr. Exley said that Democratic ranks were flush with goatee-chinned web designers who didn't actually deliver votes. "The difference between our approach and the Republicans is that we were more interested in just putting cool software up. Republicans are beating us at what used to be our game: the grassroots approach. That's real politics," he said. "Basically [the Democrats] don't trust the people."

Big Win on Punch Card Voting Machines in Ohio

Not only did the court reject the claim that punch card voting machines are unconstitutional, but the judge accepted my arguments on comparing punch cards to other voting machines. The ACLU described the case as: "ACLU’s Historic Challenge to Ohio’s “Hanging Chad” Punch Cards." Among the quotes from his decision:
The study of Dr. Lott, defendants’ expert, makes a strong case for the proposition that punch card voting technology fares quite well in comparison to other technologies when considering drop-off or residual vote in elections beyond that of the presidency for the years 1992, 1996, and 2000.


(The link to the decision will be working later today.)

12/13/2004

12/12/2004

A nice posting on Hanukkah
A very interesting piece arguing that President Bush is much more popular in Arab countries than one would think

USA Today: "Companies that ban guns put on defensive"

The piece is obviously tilted against gun owners, but it is still interesting:
"Employers have long banned guns from the workplace as part of a violence-prevention strategy, but those policies are being tested as states pass laws making it easier for residents to carry concealed guns -- in some cases, crafting legislation that strikes down employers' attempts to keep guns off company property.

That means employers, who have traditionally shied away from such politically charged issues as gun control, are filing lawsuits to preserve their no-guns-allowed rules. "Are we promoting open firefights in the parking lot?" says Paul Viollis, president of Risk Control Strategies in New York. "For legislation to permit employees and contractors to bring loaded firearms to work in vehicles is blatantly irresponsible."

Gun owners are also fighting back, boycotting companies that ban guns or fire workers for having them."

12/11/2004

Insanity of Zero Tolerance Rules:10-Year-Old Girl Arrested, Handcuffed for Taking Scissors to School

12/10/2004

More Letters in NY Post Respond to Op-ed on Steroids and Baseball.

The New York Post has several more letters responding to the op-ed that Sonya Jones and I had earlier in the week.

Well, people feel pretty strongly about this issue. Again one of the letters brings up in a very general way the point that I have heard over the week: if some players use steroids, everyone else will also be forced to use them and that you may only have a few who are really willing to use them. It doesn't really seem to me that there is a free-riding problem here because the league and the union internalize the costs and benefits. If the net benefits to the fan from this higher quality play exceeds the costs imposed on the players, the league has an incentive to let players use the drugs. If not, they won't. The responses to the other letters seem straightforward. I am not sure why we don't recognize that people make informed decisions about risk every day or that in all sorts of ways people take risks to improve performance in life. Football injuries are just one example. Do we really need to have the government regulate everything?

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One take on Mary Francis Berry's term ending on the US Commission on Civil Rights

Saddam Hussein's trial in limbo

"the UN ordered serving staff- including experienced lawyers from the Yugoslavia war crimes tribunal - not to take part because of concerns about . . . the tribunal's willingness to impose the death penalty"

Because of this "Iraqi judges and prosecutors chosen to try Saddam Hussein are 'nowhere near ready', according to western officials who saw them at a secret training session in London."

12/09/2004

Letters in NY Post Respond to Op-ed on Steroids and Baseball

The New York Post has several letters responding to the op-ed that Sonya Jones and I had earlier in the week. One of the letters brings up in a very general way the point that I have heard over the week: if some players use steroids, everyone else will also be forced to use them and that you may only have a few who are really willing to use them. It doesn't really seem to me that there is a free-riding problem here because the league and the union internalize the costs and benefits. If the net benefits to the fan from this higher quality play exceeds the costs imposed on the players, the league has an incentive to let players use the drugs. If not, they won't.

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Four victims shot dead in ''No-guns'' Ohio nightclub

Report at Foxnews.com

Ohioans For Concealed Carry Statement:
This incident reinforces the fact that disarmament zones only disarm honest, law-abiding citizens; not the criminals who prey upon them.

This mass killer broke scores of firearms, liquor and criminal laws in committing this rampage. These same laws did nothing to protect the law-abiding citizens at this event.

Under current Ohio law, bearing handguns for self-defense in establishments which serve drinks under a Class D liquor license is illegal, even for employees. In fact, Ohio's law would prevent SECURITY at this nightclub from carrying a handgun, even if the club owner had wanted them to do so.

When the Ohio House or Representatives passed Sub. House Bill 12 in 2003, specific exemptions were contained to allow bar owners to protect themselves and their patrons. This provision was stripped from the final bill by the state Senate.

Many other states allow concealed handgun license-holders to enter into liquor establishments, and even to consume alcohol, so long as they do not drink to the point of impairment.

Ohio's complete ban on self-defense in liquor establishments has proven time and again to be a complete failure. It is time for Ohio to join the other state's who have recognized there is nothing to fear from law-abiding citizens who choose to defend themselves.

12/08/2004

Academics making inaccurate claims about confirmation rates of judges

Michael Gerhardt at William & Mary Law School and Erwin Chemerinsky at Duke Law School had an amazine piece in the Los Angeles Times where they claim among other things that President George W. Bush has "the highest success rate ever for a president's judicial nominations." An e-mail that I received from Gerhardt noted that despite the claims made in the op-ed they calculated the confirmation rate "by looking at the number confirmed of those reaching the Senate floor." Thus by dropping out the nominees who had problems (from filibusters to nominations that never made it through committee when the Democrats controlled the Senate), there are apparently few problems. Even with this carefully selected data, they ignore recent administrations such as for Carter or Reagan's first term.

12/07/2004

So What's Wrong with Players on Steroids?

Sonya Jones and I have an op-ed at the New York Post today. It starts out:

SO athletes use steroids to perform better. Wall Street traders take Ritalin and everyone uses caffeinated drinks during work to stay alert. News anchors get face lifts and actors take Botox so more people watch them. What's different about athletes?


UPDATE: Rush Limbaugh discussed our op-ed during the first and second hours of his radio show today. FreeRepublic.com also has a long thread discussing the op-ed. It also was reprinted on Foxnews.com and the Philadelphia Inquirer.

12/06/2004

An interesting op-ed on Bernard Kerik, the new head of Homeland Security

12/05/2004

More on bias in academia

An interesting perspective on the UN

David Kopel has an interesting take on why the UN scandal deserves more newscoverage:

Suppose that a big corporation headquartered in New York City were the center of the largest embezzlement scheme in world history ($21 billion), which enriched big oil companies, foreign dictators, terrorists, and its own employees. Further, suppose that the corporation's own union had declared its lack of confidence in the corporation's management, because of endemic corruption, and because of senior management's lax attitude towards sexual abuse, including coercive sex with underage girls.


Also suppose that the son of the company president was getting paid by another business that profited from the embezzlement scheme, and the company president had claimed that his son's affiliation ended in 1999, but actually the son continued with the business until 2004. And suppose that the company president and his staff were obstructing government investigations into their own corruption. Oh, and let's also suppose that the corporate president and his underlings had attempted to influence the recent U.S. presidential election.