Sometimes the police can not protect people

How can "Kelo" be fixed?

There is apparently an online petition to ask Congress to overturn the Kelo vs. New London case that was decided on June 23, 2005. It was the case that allowed governments to take people's property for the private use of others.
Here is my question. If they were to pass a constitutional amendment, what language could they use that was clearer than the language that was already in the constitution? If the court is going to determine that the word "use" in the term "public use" means any possible benefits include those from private parties using the lan, how can an amendment fix things? My guess that a new constitutional amendment will only "fix" things because it will show the court how upset people are.

Crime in Oklahoma rising before RTC and then falling consistently afterwards

Could "Kelo vs. City of New London" mean Justice Souter loses his house?

Could a hotel be built on the land owned by Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter? A new ruling by the Supreme Court which was supported by Justice Souter himself itself might allow it. A private developer is seeking to use this very law to build a hotel on Souter's land.

Justice Souter's vote in the "Kelo vs. City of New London" decision allows city governments to take land from one private owner and give it to another if the government will generate greater tax revenue or other economic benefits when the land is developed by the new owner.

On Monday June 27, Logan Darrow Clements, faxed a request to Chip Meany the code enforcement officer of the Towne of Weare, New Hampshire seeking to start the application process to build a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road. This is the present location of Mr. Souter's home.

Clements, CEO of Freestar Media, LLC, points out that the City of Weare will certainly gain greater tax revenue and economic benefits with a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road than allowing Mr. Souter to own the land. . . .

Possibly he will realize that laws are not always used for things that he thinks are good.

Sonya was nice enough to pass this on to me.


The National Association of Chiefs of Police just released its 17th Annual Survey

Bookie odds on who will leave the Supreme Court

Some of these numbers are pretty hard for me to believe and indicate a possible profit opportunity. For example, are the odds only 15 to 1 that Stevens will be the next Chief Justice? 17 to 1 for Breyer?

Retirement odds ($1 will get you at 4:30 on 6/29)
William Rehnquist 1.36
Sandra Day O Connor 3.20
John Paul Stevens 5.00
Field (Any Judge Not Listed) 7.00
Ruth Bader Ginsburg 11.00


Antonin Scalia 2.10
Clarence Thomas 2.62
Field (Anyone Else Not Listed) 3.50
David Hackett Souter 7.00
Anthony M. Kennedy 9.00
Sandra Day O Connor 11.00
John Paul Stevens 15.00
Stephen G. Breyer 17.00
Ruth Bader Ginsburg 19.00

Michael J Luttig 6.00
Samuel A Alito Jr 7.00
John Roberts 7.00
Emilio M Garza 7.00
Alberto Gonzalez 8.00
James Harvie Wilkinson III 8.50
Michael McConnell 9.00
Miguel Estrada 11.00
Theodore B Olsen 13.00
William Pryor 15.00
Edith Hollan Jones 17.00
Frank Hoover Easterbrook 21.00

What constitutes the media

The campaign finance laws are a mess, but if you do a search on this site, you will see that I have made that point in many different pieces.

Carol Darr of the Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet warned that the so-called media exception would be abused. If the FEC veered in that direction, Darr said, you'd see "the campaign finance laws that we've operated under for 50 years just crumble." Larry Noble of the Center for Responsive Politics added: "I don't think you can just make everybody the press." . . .

In a conversation with CNET News.com, Republican Commissioner Bradley Smith indicated that a hybrid approach might work. "I think the press exemption may be more helpful than people think," Smith said. "Republicans clearly believe in a broader press exemption than Democrats do."

Statistics Canada says that they can't find any impact of Canada's Gun Laws on Really Anything

This is a real surprise.

Mr. Garry Breitkreuz [Member of the Canadian Parliament]:

Since 1995, what have been the actual public safety improvements achieved as a direct result of the Canadian Firearms Program and Firearms Registry including: (a) the number of violent crimes solved; (b) the number and type of violent and non-violent charges laid; (c) the number and type of convictions obtained; (d) the number and type of firearms seized from criminals; (e) the reduction in the total number of homicides; (f) the reduction in the total number of domestic homicides; (g) the reduction in the total number of suicides; (h) the number of lives saved; (i) the respective reduction in violent crime; and (j) the number of firearms returned to their rightful owners?

BREITKREUZ NOTE: The following was only available in hard copy and had to be re-typed from the original.


Statistics Canada’s Uniform Crime Reporting Survey and Homicide Survey collect data from administrative records of police-reported criminal incidents. The Youth and Adult Court surveys collect data from administrative records of cases appearing before criminal courts. Trends in crime statistics can be influenced by many factors including socio-demographic and economic changes, legislative and program changes and changes in police practices. The specific impact of the firearms program or the firearms registry cannot be isolated from that of other factors. [Statistics Canada emphasis]

New Op-ed in the LA Times

I think that people will find this piece interesting:

This wasn't supposed to happen. When the federal assault weapons ban ended on Sept. 13, 2004, gun crimes and police killings were predicted to surge. Instead, they have declined.

For a decade, the ban was a cornerstone of the gun control movement. Sarah Brady, one of the nation's leading gun control advocates, warned that "our streets are going to be filled with AK-47s and Uzis." Life without the ban would mean rampant murder and bloodshed.

Well, more than nine months have passed and the first crime numbers are in. Last week, the FBI announced that the number of murders nationwide fell by 3.6% last year, the first drop since 1999. The trend was consistent; murders kept on declining after the assault weapons ban ended. . . .

Sorry, with the testimony yesterday, I didn't have time to put this up.

More on yesterday's testimony before U.S. House

Well, at least it was nice that the Washington Post mentioned my testimony yesterday:
Gun rights groups cited testimony of John R. Lott, a resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, who said the District's murder rate is 30 percent higher than before the ban.

The article gives a reasonable idea what yesterday was like.

Penn & Teller's show on guns available for download

Penn & Teller's show can be downloaded here.

I was somewhat disappointed with the show, though I am still glad that they did it. I thought that SUZANNA HUPP did a truly excellent job as usual.


Great T-shirt idea

The Institute for Justice is selling T-shirts with a sentence from Thomas' dissent in the Kelo property case:
"Something has gone seriously awry with this Court's interpretation of the Constitution."

Congressional Testimony Today

I testified this afternoon before the US House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform. The topic was the DC gun ban, and it was a fairly long winded affair. Robert Levy from Cato and I pretty much held down the fort, but much of the discussion concerned tragic examples of lost lives or almost lost lives from guns. The notion of costs versus benefits was not a central feature in much of the discussion, but given that I was the only one that really had any data, I think that it made some difference.


Appearance on Penn & Teller's show on Showtime TONIGHT


"22% of federal gun laws now authorize arming staff"

Alan Korwin has found something pretty surprising: "22% of federal gun laws now authorize arming staff"

"The laws themselves are silent on the issue, but the thinking is that this granted power overrides state laws and geographic boundaries," he said. People in law enforcement are inured to the fact that federal agents carry almost anything almost anywhere, and local laws don't apply. "There is usually no limitation on open or concealed carry either, and training is rarely specified in statute," Korwin notes. The total number of federal employees with these special powers is unknown.
. . .

Three federal agencies have unrestricted "may carry" language in statute: the Secret Service, the FBI, and the U.S. Marshals. Some of the more unusual federal "police" forces are the egg inspector police, the print shop police, the EPA police, and one of the newest, the Federal Reserve Board police. The latter is supposed to protect the Board, and is granted power to carry guns wherever the Reserve does business. "That would be anywhere there's money, which struck me as a rather ingenious way to grant power broadly," said Alan Korwin, author of Gun Laws of America. He can be reached at gunlaws.com. . . .

Chart of Government Exemptions from the Gun Laws

(Note: Tab delimited, statute number precedes exempt group or exempt condition)

5-App. Inspectors General and specified staff
7-2270 Dept. of Agriculture Office of Inspector General
7-2274 Certain workers at the Dept. of Agriculture
10-1585 Dept. of Defense civilians
12-248 Federal Reserve Board law enforcement agents
14-95 Coast Guard agents
16-1a-6 National Parks employees; any federal employee selected by the Secretary of the Interior, with that employee's agency approval
16-559c Forest Service law enforcement officers and agents
16-670j Dept. of Interior, Dept. of Agriculture, and state employees by agreement
16-3375 Anyone in federal or state government, or an Indian tribe, to enforce hunting and fishing laws
18-922 Federally licensed manufacturers, importers, dealers, museums, researchers and others are exempt for firearms testing and evaluation, per subsection (b); all government authorities are exempt from the assault-weapons descriptions in subsections (v) and (w).
18-925 Federal and state governments are exempt from Title 18 Chapter 44 (the main gun laws)
18-930 Restrictions at federal facilities and federal courts do not apply to proper authorities
18-1715 Authorities exempt from mailing restrictions
18-2277 Possession of firearms on a vessel are at the control of the ship's master or owner; proper authorities are exempt
18-3050 Bureau of Prisons officers and employees
18-3051 Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
18-3052 Federal Bureau of Investigation
18-3053 U.S. marshals and their deputies
18-3056 Secret Service
18-3061 United States Postal Service
18-3063 Environmental Protection Agency
19-2072 Customs officials
20-60 Smithsonian Institution curators (for display)
21-372 Health and Human Services Dept.
21-878 Drug Enforcement Administration; local law enforcement officer authorized by Atty. General
22-277d-3 International Boundary and Water Commission
22-2709 Dept. of State and the Foreign Service
22-2778 Government people who are not restricted by the U.S. Munitions List
25-2803 Bureau of Indian Affairs
26-4182 Armed forces are exempt from firearms taxes
26-5844 NFA weapons can only be imported for proper authorities or research and testing
26-5851 People working with proper authorities may be exempt from certain taxes and requirements
26-5852 Certain taxes are waived for proper authorities and the military
26-5853 Certain taxes are waived for proper authorities and the military
26-5872 Proper authorities can get confiscated firearms
26-7608 Internal Revenue Service agents
28-566 U.S. Marshals, deputies and officials of the Marshal's Svc.
31-321 Treasury Dept.
38-902 Dept. of Veterans Affairs
39-3001 Proper authorities are exempt from nonmailable firearms provisions
40-13n Supreme Court Marshal and Police
40-193t Smithsonian Institution police
40-210 Capitol Police
40-318d General Services Admin. officers and employees
40-490 GSA protection force
40-1315 Dept. of Homeland Security; Federal Protective Service
42-2201 Atomic Energy Commission and contractors
42-2456 National Aeronautics and Space Administration and contractors
42-7270a Dept. of Energy
43-1733 Dept. of the Interior
44-317 Government Printing Office employees
49-114 Transportation Security Administration
49-44903 Air transportation security personnel
49-44921 Federal Flight Deck Officers (deputized pilots)
49-46303 Proper authorities may have firearms on aircraft
49-46505 Proper authorities may have firearms on aircraft
49 App 2404 Dept. of Transportation employees at Washington National Airport
49 App 2428 Dept. of Transportation employees at Dulles International Airport
50-403f Central Intelligence Agency
50 App 2411 Dept. of Commerce Office of Export Enforcement

Minnesotan making up for lost time on getting concealed handgun permits

Belgiums ban Police from taking guns home

The battered reputation of Belgium's security forces suffered a fresh blow yesterday when it emerged that police officers have been banned from taking guns home after a spate of suicides involving service pistols.

The ban is part of a pattern. Belgium's internal security service, the "Sûreté de l'État", disarmed almost all its field agents in April after one drunkenly tried to shoot a colleague in the head.

This time, uniformed police officers have been told to leave their guns in police stations at the end of their shifts, a spokesman for the interior minister confirmed.

The minister, Patrick Dewael, acted after learning that the suicide rate among policemen was twice the national average. So far this year 11 local policemen and two federal officers have killed themselves.

In a parliamentary reply, Mr Dewael said a temporary order had been issued on June 21, banning federal police from taking guns home. He said a similar order would follow for local police. Police forces in Belgium lost the confidence of the public after their bungling and rivalry allowed Marc Dutroux, a murderer and paedophile, to imprison young girls. He killed four before being caught in 1996. . . .

It is interesting how gun laws get enacted because of one bad act. Belgium has a relatively high murder rate despite these various bans. I doubt that this ban will have any effect on suicides by police.


"Teachers to get guns for self-defense" (Thailand)


Firearms Training in NZ apparently starts in school at age eight

police had eight and nine-year-olds shoot a human-shaped target with a BB gun in their Nelson Park School classroom last week.

Children donned police protective gear and aimed a spring-operated BB gun - which fires plastic pellets but looks like a police handgun - at a cardboard target 3m away. . . .

Eastern Police district policing development manager Inspector Dean Clifford said shooting the BB gun was part of a session teaching students about firearm safety.

The pistol was a low powered and spring-operated BB type pistol, essentially a toy, he said.

Police were concerned about children using BB guns - which can be mistaken for real weapons, he said.

The exercise was done with the full consultation of the teacher and students and there had been no danger.

The exercise had been used before with no problems, but police would review parts of the programme, such as whether shooting at a human-shaped target was appropriate.

While the point of this story in the newspaper was largely the complaints of a parent who was freaked out that police would demonstrate anything to do with guns to their children and that the police were trying to show that guns are dangerous, the more novel part of the story was that children were being taught about guns at all and that they were firing anything, even if a spring-operated BB pistol.

Will Liberals Now Want to Get Rid of NPR?

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, already embroiled in controversy because of allegations of a liberal-leaning bias in its programming, chose a former Republican Party co-chairman Thursday as its president and chief executive. . . .

Will Liberals gradually want their tax dollars going to NPR? Will Conservatives support the NPR? I doubt that the liberal bias on NPR will change much or quickly, but one can hope that Liberals will understand the dangers of having the government provide the news.


O'Connor, not Rehnquist to retire, Alberto Gonzales to replace O'Connor (Rumor)

Supreme Court eliminating the "Public Use" Clause from the fifth amendment

Over two centuries ago, just after the Bill of Rights was ratified, Justice Chase wrote:

“An act of the Legislature (for I cannot call it a law) contrary to the great first principles of the social compact, cannot be considered a rightful exercise of legislative authority … . A few instances will suffice to explain what I mean… . [A] law that takes property from A. and gives it to B: It is against all reason and justice, for a people to entrust a Legislature with such powers; and, therefore, it cannot be presumed that they have done it.” Calder v. Bull, 3 Dall. 386, 388 (1798) (emphasis deleted).

Today the Court abandons this long-held, basic limitation on government power. Under the banner of economic development, all private property is now vulnerable to being taken and transferred to another private owner, so long as it might be upgraded–i.e., given to an owner who will use it in a way that the legislature deems more beneficial to the public–in the process. To reason, as the Court does, that the incidental public benefits resulting from the subsequent ordinary use of private property render economic development takings “for public use” is to wash out any distinction between private and public use of property–and thereby effectively to delete the words “for public use” from the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Accordingly I respectfully dissent. . . .

Long ago, William Blackstone wrote that “the law of the land … postpone[s] even public necessity to the sacred and inviolable rights of private property.” 1 Commentaries on the Laws of England 134—135 (1765) (hereinafter Blackstone). The Framers embodied that principle in the Constitution, allowing the government to take property not for “public necessity,” but instead for “public use.” Amdt. 5. Defying this understanding, the Court replaces the Public Use Clause with a “ ‘[P]ublic [P]urpose’ ” Clause, ante, at 9—10 (or perhaps the “Diverse and Always Evolving Needs of Society” Clause, ante, at 8 (capitalization added)), a restriction that is satisfied, the Court instructs, so long as the purpose is “legitimate” and the means “not irrational,” ante, at 17 (internal quotation marks omitted). This deferential shift in phraseology enables the Court to hold, against all common sense, that a costly urban-renewal project whose stated purpose is a vague promise of new jobs and increased tax revenue, but which is also suspiciously agreeable to the Pfizer Corporation, is for a “public use.”

I cannot agree. If such “economic development” takings are for a “public use,” any taking is, and the Court has erased the Public Use Clause from our Constitution, as Justice O’Connor powerfully argues in dissent. Ante, at 1—2, 8—13. I do not believe that this Court can eliminate liberties expressly enumerated in the Constitution and therefore join her dissenting opinion. Regrettably, however, the Court’s error runs deeper than this. Today’s decision is simply the latest in a string of our cases construing the Public Use Clause to be a virtual nullity, without the slightest nod to its original meaning. In my view, the Public Use Clause, originally understood, is a meaningful limit on the government’s eminent domain power. Our cases have strayed from the Clause’s original meaning, and I would reconsider them. . . .

Push for Assault Weapons Ban in Columbus Ohio

South Arican Gun Registration Not Working Well

PETA Breaks Promises and Kills Animals needlessly

Three stories
---"In 2003, PETA euthanized over 85 percent of the animals it took in," said a press release from the lobby, "finding adoptive homes for just 14 percent. By comparison, the Norfolk (Va.) SPCA found adoptive homes for 73 percent of its animals and Virginia Beach SPCA adopted out 66 percent." . . .

---"Animal rights activists cross over to dark side"

---Officials of two North Carolina counties have stopped releasing strays to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, saying they were surprised the group euthanized the animals instead of finding them homes.

Two PETA employees are charged with dumping dead animals they collected in Eastern North Carolina in a shopping center's trash bins. Adria Joy Hinkle, 27, of Norfolk, Va., and Andrew Benjamin Cook, 24, of Virginia Beach, Va., have a hearing July 19 on charges of animal cruelty, disposal of dead animals and trespassing.

Northampton County officials decided last week to stop working with PETA until the case is resolved. The Bertie County Board of Commissioners voted Monday to cut all ties to the Norfolk, Va.-based group, despite an apology from its president.

Bertie County Manager Zee Lamb said Tuesday he thought the animals were being taken for examination and "the ones that were adoptable would be adopted," and euthanasia would be a last resort. Sue Gay, health director for Northampton County, said she assumed the same. . . .

Progress on Bill to block reckless suits against gun makers


The Dalai Lama Owns an Air Gun

More felons given the right to vote

Well that "panic button" approach worked really well


Boy stops father during murdering rampage


"Home invasion triggers shoot-out"

Lumberton, N.C.
Raymond Rogers says he is lucky to be alive after a man broke into his home and shot at him repeatedly early Wednesday morning.

Tyrell Taylor, one of two men accused in the break-in, also survived, although he was struck twice when Rogers returned fire. Taylor, 21, was wanted by police for his alleged role in an unrelated murder. He is in fair condition at Southeastern Regional Medical Center, suffering with a collapsed lung.

Rogers said he was roused from his sleep about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday by the sound of someone trying to kick in the front door of his Greenville Road home. Rogers, 24, grabbed his .20-gauge shotgun and hid in a back bedroom with his girlfriend.

When two men entered the home and found Rogers with a shotgun, one began shooting. Rogers said he shot back, striking one of the men, but the man continued shooting as he lay wounded on the floor. Rogers fired a second time, striking the man in the chest.

"He shot at me about three or four times and he never hit me," Rogers said. "I reckon' I'm lucky to be alive. I had my gun to protect myself." Rogers' girlfriend also escaped injury. . . .

Thanks to Ivan Shapiro for this article.


Did the Assault Weapons Ban Make a Difference?

"Since the assault weapons ban was allowed to expire, it has been open season for criminals who want the most dangerous types of military-style assault weapons," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who in March introduced legislation to revive the old ban.
Feinstein said that the expiration of the ban she fought hard to get in 1994 "will have deadly consequences on the streets of America."

But has it really made much of a difference? Are the streets less safe?

There is no hard evidence one way or another.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has no statistics that would show whether there's been an uptick in sales of assault-style weapons, and the Department of Justice has no statistics that would show whether there's been an increase in their use in crimes.

Gun manufacturers say their shops are busy, but only because the 10-year ban created pent-up demand for weapons with features that weren't available.

"It's changed our market a bit," said Mark Westrom, president of Armalite, an Illinois company that produces the military-style weapons.

OK, here is a hint: why not look at the crime rate? Why can't anyone just mention that the murder rate FELL last year?
The FBI data for last year can be seen here.

Thanks as always to Jason Morin.


More on Abortion and Murder Debate

Mr. Lott has difficulties with both Mr. Levitt’s data and his conclusion.

If Mr. Levitt’s theory was correct, crime rates should have started falling among younger people who were first born after the legalization of abortion, he said. He says his data shows that the opposite is true: murder rates during the 1990s first started falling for the oldest criminals and last for the youngest.

Mr. Lott said some of Mr. Levitt’s data came from an organization affiliated with Planned Parenthood and assumes that states went from a complete ban on abortion to complete legalization. However, abortions had been permitted in some cases before complete legalization. Mr. Lott’s data, from the Centers for Disease Control, shows that before the Roe vs. Wade decision of 1973, many of the states that allowed abortions in limited circumstances actually had higher rates of abortion than states where abortion was legal.

The answer isn’t “anywhere near as cut and dry” as Mr. Levitt suggests, said Mr. Lott.

"Shooting at party ruled self-defense"

A Tennessee man who shot two men at a graduation party early Sunday morning was justified, prosecutors determined Thursday.

"It appears to be bona fide self-defense," Jackson County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Mark Blumer said.

Although John Bartel, 51, will not be charged in the shooting, he faces a charge of illegally carrying a concealed weapon.

"If he would have had a concealed weapons permit from Tennessee, we would have honored it," Blumer said. The .45-caliber handgun was not licensed, he said.

Leoni Township police said there was a fight at a graduation party for Michigan Center graduate Brandon Bartel at 440 S. Sutton Road.

A young man was asked to leave, and he returned with friends to start the fight that led to the shooting, officials said.

John Bartel suffered multiple fractures to his jaw, but it is unclear if he was struck with a fist or an object, Blumer said. Bartel fired his gun, striking two men, ages 22 and 24. . . .


Alan Korwin sent me the following description of the new edition of his book:

"Assault-Weapon" Expiration Killed 4,800 words

by Alan Korwin, Author
Gun Laws of America

The tenth anniversary edition of "Gun Laws of America," the unabridged guide to federal gun law, shows both increases and decreases depending on how you count the laws, says Alan Korwin, publisher of Bloomfield Press, which has produced the book since 1995. The completely revised edition is due out in July.

"Some gun laws have been repealed, the assault-weapon law expired, and many new gun laws have been enacted by Congress," Korwin notes. "All told, we have 40 more statutes, for a total of 271 federal gun laws, a 17% increase in the past decade." That is the true measure, Korwin says.

The word count however has dropped slightly, by 979 words or about 1%, to a total of 93,354 words of federal gun law. The assault-weapon law expiration removed 1,105 words, but it also eliminated the 3,710-word list of "good guns," those declared to not be assault weapons. That list was included at the insistence of the NRA, who had feared the law might expand to include regular guns widely owned in America.

Among the significant repeals, the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, formed during the Cold War, was abolished, with its primary functions rolled into the State Department. The Civilian Marksmanship Program, designed to teach the general public to shoot and handle firearms safely, was repealed from the Armed Services laws, and expanded and rewritten into the Patriotic Societies laws.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms was removed from the Treasury Dept., where it had been a tax bureau since its inception, and now operates under the Attorney General, with Explosives added to its name and an implicit Justice Dept. law-enforcement focus.

The most dramatic word losses occurred during "codification," a little-known process managed behind the scenes by federal workers. This takes bills passed by Congress and converts them into the numbered statutes of law called U.S. Code. For example, Congress enacted 39 words to extend the 1988 Undetectable Firearms Act, which was about to expire. After codification, the statute simply expires in "25 years," not "15 years," a significant change but with no difference in the word count. Earlier measurements of the size of federal law included the congressionally passed laws.

Surprisingly, some parts of congressional acts are never codified at all. This also lowers the final word counts. Those so-called "statutes-at-large," if related to arms, are included in Gun Laws of America as an appendix. They are not counted in the official statutory total, but do contain another 4,354 words of federal gun law.

The large repeal, expiration and codification losses were offset by scores of new gun laws. Many were enacted with no public attention and little noise from usually loud pro-gun-rights and anti-gun-rights lobbies. Some new gun laws, instead of affecting citizens, expanded federal powers.

For example, at least six new federal police forces were created, with broad powers to keep and bear arms in cases where the public is banned from keeping arms. This includes a new Federal Reserve Board police force, the Inspectors General police, plus more visible changes such as Homeland Security forces and armed Transportation Security agents. Two armed-pilot programs, for passenger and cargo pilots, allow pilots to be deputized as federal agents and then carry arms while deputized (pilots per se cannot be armed under the law).


A friend of freedom of speech resigns

John Fund, in his political journal diary, says it very well:

The first amendment took a big hit on Wednesday when Bradley Smith resigned as member of the Federal Election Commission. Mr. Smith was arguably the biggest hawk for protecting political speech in the history of the commission, which regulates political and campaign activities. He made all sorts of enemies, especially among liberal activists who believe that the right to free speech doesn't include the right to spend money promoting your views.

It speaks volumes that arguably the happiest person in America to see him go is Senator John McCain. Mr. McCain is on a mission to regulate away virtually all private political spending. Ever since he was caught in an embarrassing financial relationship with a disgraced savings & loan owner, he's adopted the view that political giving is inherently corrupt and corrupting.

This is not a good time for Mr. Smith to be leaving. Several monumentally important First Amendment issues will be decided in the new few years, including regulation of Internet political activities. Mr. McCain also wants to ban the independent spending of "527" groups, which was a direct outgrowth of his previous effort to ban large contributions to the political parties. Mr. Smith told me recently: "The right to political free speech in America has pretty much reached the end of its tethers." Even the usual defenders of civil liberties, he added, had abandoned their principles because "their hostility to money overrides their concern about the First Amendment." . . .

Brad is a friend, and I just happened to bump into him on Wednesday evening at a get together for the Federalist Society. He is going back to Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio.

New Gallup Poll on Guns

In a new poll (6/14/05) entitled "Public Wary About Broad Concealed Firearm Privileges," Gallup asks "Who Should be Allowed to Carry Concealed handguns?" and finds that 26 percent support letting private citizens with a "clear need" carrying guns and 27 percent support "any private citizen." The wording of this question is crucial, and that neither of these options corresponds to actual rules under right-to-carry laws. My experience in reading these polls is that you get much higher numbers when you include information such as "those who have passed a criminal background check" and/or "passed training requirements." When many people hear the term "any private citizen" they become concerned that this would allow criminals to carry concealed handguns. My own belief is that Gallup survey is not worth very much other than for its propoganda value, though it is interesting to me that 53 percent (26 + 27 percent) believe that citizens should be able to carry a gun without any mention of criminal background checks or training. 43 percent of guns owners and 17 percent of nongun owners think that any private citizen should be able to carry a gun. (You need to subscribe to Gallup to download the information in this survey.)


Appearance on Penn & Teller's show on Showtime

Robbing a beauty parlor was a big mistake

hA stick-up man tried to rob a Louisiana beauty school — and ended up getting an extremely nasty makeover. . . .

The masked robber ordered the people in the room — 18 to 20 students and teachers — to lie on the floor, leading some to think they were going to be killed. "You'll be the first to go," he allegedly growled to one crying woman.

After collecting everyone's money, the gunman pushed the school's sole male employee, Abram Bishop, toward the back of the room — but then turned and began to run out the door.

That's when Mitchell stuck out her leg. The robber tripped over it, dropped the gun and slammed into a wall. Bishop immediately jumped on his back, forcing the stick-up man down to the floor. "Get that sucker!" yelled Mitchell, and the dozen and a half women present grabbed whatever they could get their hands on — curling irons, chairs, a table leg — and piled on. "They just whooped the hell out of him," said school owner Sharon Blalock.

Crying in pain, bleeding and having soiled his pants, the gunman tried to crawl away, but the angry women held on to his legs and kept hitting him until police arrived. Gipson was charged with armed robbery and taken to LSU Hospital (search) in a neck brace, having suffered multiple lacerations. No one else was seriously hurt. . . .

"He walked into the wrong place at the wrong time," one police officer told KTBS-TV of Shreveport. . . .

City may ban slingshots and "shooting instruments of any kind"

he City Council approves, paintball guns, plus slingshots and "shooting instruments of any kind," would be banned under the same law that forbids airguns and blowguns.

"It's just like a gun ban. It's only going to affect those who try to break the law," said Chad Carter, a paintball gun owner and Bossier City resident.

Carter and his teenage son work or play at the Paintball Warehouse & Field in Shreveport every weekend. His wife and daughter often play, too.

"We find safe areas to play in whether it be a private field or a public course," Carter said. "Neighborhoods are too tight to do anything."

People who don't obey the law could be fined up to $500, imprisoned up to 60 days or both.

Councilman Scott Irwin initiated the bill after he said he heard complaints that someone had used a paintball gun in the Shady Grove area of his south Bossier district. . . .

Of course, there is always the option of penalizing someone if they fire a paintball or slingshot at another person who is not willingly involved in some sort of game.

The future of gun control in the UK:: banning "toy" guns


Some states finally moving on letting retired police carry guns

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. yesterday initiated a state program to license retired police officers to carry concealed handguns, making Maryland one of the first states to implement new federal laws expanding gun rights for retired and off-duty officers.

"This is good public policy that will make a safer state, which is why I am very proud Maryland has led," said Mr. Ehrlich, a Republican.

Surrounded by officers from various local and state law-enforcement agencies, Mr. Ehrlich made the announcement at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 3 in Baltimore.

The setting underscored Baltimore's high murder rate despite crime-fighting pledges by Mayor Martin O'Malley, a likely Democratic rival to Mr. Ehrlich in next year's governor's race.

Last week, the FBI reported that violent crime in Baltimore increased 4.2 percent to 11,667 incidents in 2004, while the numbers declined in most other cities. . . .

I confess that I have never understood the opposition to letting retired police carrying guns. Many Democrats find this troubling, and I don't understand why they view this as so dangerous. Right-to-carry laws generally reduce crime, and whatever unfounded fears they have about that seem even more difficult to justify with these people. The only explanation that I have heard is the type of reason given by Democrats in Illinois and that is a "slippery slope" argument. If you let retired police carry guns today, tomorrow it will be everyone. I view it in reverse. If there are no problems with citizens carrying guns, how can there be with retired or off-duty police.


More reasons why the reckless suits against gun makers should be reigned in

This is a useful article from the Buffalo news, and the whole piece is worth a read.

Wal-Mart last year settled a California lawsuit alleging widespread violations of gun laws for $14.5 million.
The California suit said Wal-Mart stores sold guns to convicted felons and ammunition to minors, and allowed buyers to pick up guns before criminal background checks were complete.

Gun control advocates called the settlement an important victory over one of the nation's major firearms retailers.

But in the ongoing legal war over gun violence and gun control, the Wal-Mart case was one small skirmish.

Large-scale attempts to blame firearms makers for gun violence in American cities have failed. Class-action lawsuits seeking billions of dollars from manufacturers get shot down in courts all over the nation.

Since 1998, at least 33 communities - including New Orleans, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Boston, Philadelphia and Cincinnati - filed suits against gun makers, accusing them of marketing a product that endangers the public.

Most of the suits were dismissed. A handful are pending, including one New York City filed five years ago. . . .

The National Rifle Association agrees, calling the lawsuits a reckless attempt by "anti-gun zealots" to put law-abiding companies out of business.

"The lawsuits failed because you can't blame a company for somebody who misuses a product that functions properly," said Joyce L. Malcolm, a history professor and gun rights supporter from Bentley College near Boston. "Blaming the gun industry for the actions of criminals is like blaming a company that makes sleeping pills for someone who commits suicide. It isn't right."

Even New York Attorney General Eliot L. Spitzer got beat five years ago, when he accused gun makers and distributors of doing nothing to prevent unlawful handgun trafficking.

"(Gun makers) know that a significant portion of their guns become crime guns, but turn a blind eye so as to increase their profits, at a cost of many human lives," Spitzer argued. "New York is flooded with a huge volume of illegal guns that are used in violent crime." . . .

"Assistant Principal Shot, Returns Fire During Alleged Car Jacking Attempt"

The assistant principal of Youree Drive Middle School in Shreveport is hospitalized with a gunshot wound, after an overnight shootout with a man who allegedly tried to car jack him. Shreveport Police say Charles Washington arrived at police headquarters Sunday night, with a gunshot wound to the shoulder, saying he had just been shot by a man and returned fire. Washington reportedly told police a man approached him near Milam and Sycamore, demanding his car keys and his wallet. Washington says the man shot him and he shot back, wounding the alleged robber, Gabriel Robinson. The 20-year-old Robinson has been booked into the city jail on a charge of attempted second degree murder. Mr. Washington remains hospitalized in fair condition. . . .

{The Assistant principal] was "Not too worried - just ready to be back to work."

Police say Washington, in shooting his alleged assailant, was apparently acting in self defense. While its unclear if Washington has a license for a firearm, police say he did not need one since he had the gun in his car, which is considered an extension of the home.

I thank Jason Morin for letting me know about this. Jason also correctly points out that with all the debate in Florida about their new castle doctrine law, Louisiana has had for some years this similar law for dealing with carjackings.

Canada's "Gun registry: Still wasting tax dollars"

PUBLICATION: The Windsor Star
DATE: 2005.06.14
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
SOURCE: Windsor Star


Gun registry: Still wasting tax dollars


If Canada's criminals registered their firearms, and deadly weapons smuggled from the United States were similarly registered, the billion dollars spent on Canada's firearms registry might seem like a wise investment.

But criminals don't register their firearms and the registry, despite what its proponents claim, has not made for safer communities. The program, which was only supposed to cost taxpayers $2 million when it was introduced in 1995, hasn't taken guns away from criminals or removed them from city streets.

Last week, Windsor police seized a .357 handgun during a drug raid on a home in the 500 block of Janette Avenue. That weapon had been reported stolen from the United States and wasn't registered in Canada. Nor were the 10 semi-automatic weapons police took off the streets in late April. Those non-registered firearms included one with a laser-sight and a Tec-9 machine pistol with a 30-round clip. Good police work, not the useless registry, netted those guns.

The .22 calibre Beretta that Jack Pharr used to gun down 22-year-old Brian Bolyantu in downtown Windsor wasn't to be found in Canada's gun registry and neither was the .357 Magnum that Kenyatta Watts used to kill Mohammed Charafeddine. People like Pharr and Watts don't register their weapons.

The only people who register their firearms are law-abiding citizens who are being unfairly targeted by an ill-conceived program designed to score votes in urban Canada at the expense of rural residents.

How does forcing an Essex County hunter to register his rifle make downtown Windsor safe from gunplay? It doesn't and it never will no matter how much money the government pours down the black hole of the gun registry. . . .

Sorry, I don't have the link to this.


"Since 9/11, there's been a rush to arms in Iowa"


Best Buy Stores Remove Signs Prohibiting Guns on Store Premises


New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and "Prosecution by press release" and leaks

From the WSJ:
Mr. Sihpol is the exception to the usual Spitzer rule of using strong-arm tactics to coerce settlements out of business. The Attorney General has become famous for assailing a business practice that is either controversial or legally ambiguous, and then using leaks via the media and the threat of indictment or the destruction of an entire company to force his targets to surrender. . . .

Corporations are all too willing to settle with prosecutors, because their reputational risk from going to trial is greater than paying a fine and giving Mr. Spitzer his "victory." We've seen this with the big Wall Street investment banks and more recently Marsh & McLennan. In this case, Edward Stern, the former head of Canary Capital and a member of one of America's wealthiest families, paid a $40 million settlement to make Mr. Spitzer go away. . . .

However, Mr. Sihpol had his freedom to lose. In addition to fighting Mr. Spitzer, he had to sue his former employer, Bank of America, to pay his legal fees. (According to his lawsuit, the bank sought to check with Mr. Spitzer before it originally decided not to pay.) One lesson here is that juries, forced to make a decision about a defendant's fate, want to make sure that the alleged behavior is in fact criminal. Prosecution by press release won't do in court.

The WSJ gets this exactly right. Eliot Spitzer is one of the most abusive prosecutors around. Prosecutors have absolutely enormous power and Spitzer has a dangerous combination of seemingly willing to do anything to accomplish his goal as well as having almost no limit on the goals that he feels are desirable.


Does Howard Dean Hate White Christians?

The press chorus then devolved into a cacophony of competing screams. . . . After several seconds, a booming voice cut through the noise. It belonged to Brian Wilson, a Fox News correspondent who was standing in the middle of the crowd. He asked Dean "if people are focused on the other things that you've said about hating Republicans, about Republicans being dishonest and then this latest comment about the Republican Party is full of white Christians. You say you hate Republicans -- does that mean you also'' hate white Christians?

Dean didn't respond and Reid talked about having a "positive agenda." Wilson was so insistent that at one point, Durbin asked, "Does he run the press conference?" After Reid took the one question of the morning that was not about Dean (it was about Iraq) there were a host of disjointed and semi-decipherable follow-ups (none of which was about Iraq).

Someone asked whether Dean would "change his ways," or if he planned to be "less confrontational in the future" or whether he "regrets" anything he has said. An aide to Reid announced that the photo op was over.

"We'll decide when we're ready," Wilson said. Later, Durbin would recount the scene with some exasperation. He chided the media for avoiding important issues in favor of trivial matters. "Please, for a minute, get to the substance," he said to a group of reporters. "You guys should be ashamed of yourselves."

I suppose that Wilson could have also asked Dean if he thought that white Christians were evil.


"Crushing Defeat" for New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer

Homicides and other violent crimes fall in 2004 despite elimination of so-called Assault Weapon Ban

Business owner stops robber

Newspapers no longer taking classified gun ads

Three Iowa newspapers recently restricted classified ads for guns: The Hawkeye in Burlington, the Daily Iowegian in Centerville and the Daily Sentinel in Le Mars, bringing the number of Iowa papers that have adopted the policy to eight, according to U.S. Newswire.

The Nebraska City News Press has now closed the "newspaper loophole,” along with four Ohio papers: The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Cincinnati Post, The Delphos Herald and The Ironton Tribune.

Since the campaign was launched in November 2001, at least 26 papers across the country, with a combined circulation of nearly 6 million, have changed their firearms advertising policies.

"We are pleased that the publishers of these newspapers recognize that the classifieds provide opportunities for prohibited purchasers to buy guns without a background check,” said John Johnson, coordinator of the National Campaign to Close the Newspaper Loophole.


Age limit to buying knives will be raised to 18 in Britain

More Defensive Gun Uses

Spokane County, Washington
She toldl deputies the man exhibited a violent temper, and she decided two or three days ago to end the relationship. She told the man they were breaking up and that he had to move out of her home. Afterward, the man made several trips to the home to collect his property and items he had given the woman as gifts. He arrived at the house on Saturday afternoon, but she told him she didn't want him in the house that day. Despite her protests, she said, the man entered the nome. She retrieved the pistol for protection and the shooting occurred in the home's kitchen. Only one shot was fired, she said.

Wichita, Kansas
The Rev. Steven Moler helps capture an intruder who had made himself quite at home. . . . But Sunday he came home to find his wife hysterical, someone shouting, "He's got a gun!" and a burglar wearing Moler's own sweatpants, moving in and out of the house stealing rifles. Moler kicked into protection mode: He grabbed a pistol from his safe and confronted the wild-eyed 26-year-old in the front yard. "He was jumping around, acting like he was kickboxing," Moler said. "I walked out and went straight to him. I said: 'Get on the ground. Now. Get on your face. Now.' "


The end of States?

Jonathan Adler on yesterday's Supreme Court decision in Raich:

Under Raich, it is easier for Congress completely to displace state power with a comprehensive and intrusive regulatory regime than with narrow legislation focused on a discrete and limited issue of particular federal concern. As Justice O’Connor noted in her dissent, the Court “suggests that the federal regulation of local activity is immune to commerce clause challenge because Congress chose to act with an ambitious, all-encompassing statute, rather than piecemeal.” So long as Congress could rationally conclude that the control of a noncommercial, intrastate activity is “essential” to a broader regulatory scheme, a majority of the Court appears ready to go along. This not only gives Congress the incentive to adopt more ambitious legislation, it also severely constrains any meaningful judicial check on federal power under the commerce clause.

As Sonya pointed out to me, it is troubling that people keep on referring to this case as the medical marijuana case when the central issue is really the limits of federal regulation. People seem to care more about the result than how it was obtained.

Major new gun control bills look likely to pass in California

Those two bills include SB 357, which would require that all handgun ammunition bought and sold in California have serial numbers engraved on it.

According to the California Million Mom March, "When someone buys a box of bullets, the bar code and the buyers' identification will be entered into a state Justice Department database. Serialized bullets recovered at crime scenes will help police track the ammunition."

SB 357, sponsored by Attorney General Bill Lockyer, passed the California Senate last week on a 21-14 vote and now moves to the Assembly.

A second bill, AB 352, would require all new semiautomatic handguns sold in California after 2007 to be equipped with a "micro-stamping" system.

When the gun is fired, the bullet casing would be automatically inscribed with the firearm's serial number. The data on the gun also would be stored in an existing state Justice Department database

AB 352 passed the Assembly on a 41-38 vote and now goes to the Senate.


Florida's no obligation to retreat law generating hysterical fears

"We created a monster," said Mark Lipinski. "It's a horrible law. It's simply going to embolden people to carry guns. You are giving people license to use their guns in situations that are going to get them in trouble."

My prediction is just as the fears over right-to-carry laws generally have never been born out, these fears will also prove to be unfounded. This type of law is already in effect in other places and has not caused any problems there. I noted this to the reporter who did this story. He did not discuss that point, but it seems the fastest way to shut down these hypothetical fears.

Concealed-carry license statistics

• Number of Florida permits in issuance as of April 30: 342,743. . . .

• Since Oct.1, 1987, 1,028,541 licenses have been issued.

• Since Oct. 1, 1987, 2,782 licenses have been revoked from holders who committed a crime. The licensed firearm was used in 155 of those cases.

• Roughly one-third of permit holders are males between the ages of 36 and 50.

• 86 percent of all permit holders are males.

My only note is that it would be nice to mention that the 155 firearms violation cases do not mean that the gun was "used." For example, most of those apparently involved accidentally carry a gun into a restricted area.


Some defensive gun uses from last week

CONNEAUT, Ohio Two teens, captured by a gun-toting Broad Street resident early Saturday morning, probably played a role in the rash of burglaries plaguing the city during recent weeks, said Police Chief Jon Arcaro. “No doubt, they were behind some of the thefts, but there are others involved, too,” he said. “There’s another group (of thieves) out there, working independently (of the arrested teens).”

A 69-year-old man, alerted by a barking dog and a neighbor’s frantic telephone call, got the drop on the young thieves around 5:22 a.m., police said. Armed with a pistol, the resident caught the suspects — ages 16 and 17 — in his garage, officers said. The youths immediately surrendered, and police found them sprawled on the garage floor, guarded by the homeowner, officers said. The teens were taken to the youth detention center in Ashtabula Township, police said.

Cincinnati, Ohio When Ohio's law allowing residents to carry a concealed weapon went into effect last year, a number of people rushed to get permits so they could legally carry a firearm. The right to do that may have saved a man in Westwood early Wednesday morning. Cincinnati Police say he opened fire on three men who shot him after trying to rob him outside his girlfriend's home. Local 12 Reporter Larry Davis explains what went down.

Ola Burton, Aided Gunshot Victim: "He said they tried to rob me, they tried to rob me, but I shot one of them, too."

Beaumont, Texas A 63-year-old Beaumont man fired 2 gunshots through his bedroom window early Thursday morning to fend off a burglar. James Hodges says he pulled the .25 caliber pistol from his bedside table when he heard someone break his window then put their arm through it, holding a flashlight.

Dayton, Ohio A Dayton man fought back against two suspects who police said were trying to rob him early Friday morning. The incident happened around 1 a.m. at the intersection of Catalpa and Riverview. Police said the victim opened fire, hitting one of the suspects multiple times. Investigators said the victim was walking down the street when, he said, someone came up behind him and pushed him. He said when he turned around, there were two men standing there who demanded his money with a gun. The victim told police that he pulled out his .40-caliber handgun and fired off close to 10 rounds, striking one of the men. Officers said the men ran off, but were later found at Good Samaritan Hospital.

Durham, NC A grand jury ruled that the owner of a body shop acted in self-defense when he shot and killed another man in the Main Street business in March.

Belleville, MO. According to the account given to investigators, a woman went into the home after Endsley started shooting, got a handgun and shot him.

Savannah, SC Gunfire filled a westside Savannah clothing store Tuesday afternoon as the cashier fired back during what appeared to be an attempted armed robbery, police said. Just before 1 p.m., three black males walked into Top of the Line Fashions and Accessories at 2903 W. Bay St., Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police spokesman Bucky Burnsed said. The men ordered the cashier to the ground and stole his wallet, according to Joseph W. Woods, who owns Lil Chick at 2901 W. Bay St. The suspects then started filling bags with clothing and other items, Woods said. The cashier got up and one of the robbers started shooting, Woods said. Then the cashier fired back. "The attendant shot back in self defense," Woods said.

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico Police have released the identity of a man who officers say was killed during a dispute with his wife at their home on Albuquerque's west side. Albuquerque police officer Trish Hoffman says Frank Cervantes, 37, fired gunshots at the back door of the family home as he tried to enter it Wednesday night. Hoffman also said Cervantes fired shots at his wife, who called police. He said when officers arrived at the home, they found Cervantes dead and his wife and their three children inside. The woman and children were not injured.
Hoffman says no charges have been filed against Cervantes' wife; police called her actions "justifiable."

Cape Coral, Florida "He said the magic words, words to the effect the guy was coming around again, trying to run somebody over," said felony Supervisor Scott Cupp with the state attorney's office, which will be reviewing the case.

"Then, arguably, he could be justified. Obviously we don't want people whipping out guns in public ... but in isolated situations where somebody is having their life threatened — an immediate threat — the law recognizes the ability to then defend yourself or others. It will be looked into."

I want to thank Nicki for providing me with all these cases.


Self Defense in Ohio, another permitted concealed handgun prevents an attack

Dayton, Ohio (June 3, 2005): Two men carrying guns approached a 40-year-old man at Riverview Avenue and Catalpa Drive early Friday. Their victim bent over with outstretched hands.

Then things changed swiftly.

The targeted man pulled out a Glock 23 handgun — he has a concealed-carry permit — and fired several shots, hitting one of the gunmen, police said.

Police were dispatched to the 2000 block of West Riverview at about 12:45 a.m. on numerous calls about a shooting.

Police found the 40-year-old male victim at his Dayton residence. He told them that he was walking west on Riverview when he was approached by two males in dark clothing coming from Catalpa. One shoved the victim, the victim turned around and both men in dark clothes flashed handguns, police said.

The victim then "began to back away in a bent-over position with his hands outstretched," according to a police report. Then he pulled out a Glock 23, a .40-caliber handgun, striking one gunman several times, police said.

The two ran off, but police said they caught up with possible suspects at Good Samaritan Hospital.

The victim has both a Dayton Firearms Owner's Identification Card and Montgomery County Concealed Carry Card, police said.

Thanks very much to Jason Morin for alerting me to this.

New Gun Ban Legislation in New York

My new op-ed in the NY Post is out and it is entitled: "GUN BANNERS WHO CAN'T SHOOT STRAIGHT."

A view on the Judicial confirmation process

I forgot to post this op-ed that I had a couple of weeks ago. It was in Investors' Business Daily and entitled: "A bias against the best and brightest."

Why suits against gun companies should be reined in

Why should this suit have even been brought or allowed in the first place? Just to get rid of a particular type of gun? No notion on the part of plaintiffs that inexpensive guns allow poor people who are potential victims of crime to protect themselves.

An appeals court Wednesday dashed a widow's hope of punishing the gun industry for a so-called Saturday night special handgun used to kill a popular Lake Worth Middle School teacher.

Florida's civil negligence laws do not support a 2003 jury verdict that found the distributor of the cheap.25-caliber gun partially liable for the death of teacher Barry Grunow, the 4th District Court of Appeal said Wednesday. . . .

"It's just a damn shame," said Grunow's attorney, Bob Montgomery. "We went into this with the idea of taking on the Saturday night specials. We were trying to right wrongs."

Montgomery said he won't ask the appeals court for a rehearing but that he may appeal to the Florida Supreme Court.

Attorneys for the gun distributor, the Valor Corp. of Sunrise, said Wednesday's ruling makes it clear that manufacturers or distributors of non-defective products cannot be held liable for their misuse.

"We still feel very badly for Mrs. Grunow," said West Palm Beach attorney Tom Warner, who argued the appeal for Valor, "but the point is that if the product is not defective or unreasonably dangerous, then manufacturers and distributors should not be liable for someone criminally misusing a product some 12 years after it was sold, as it was in this case."

Concealed gun case goes to Wisconsin Supreme Court

The (WI) state Supreme Court today was asked whether the right to have a concealed weapon should be interpreted liberally or narrowly.

In referring a gun case to the high court for clarification, the 4th District Court of Appeals cited two decisions in 2003 on concealed weapons. In those decisions, the state Supreme Court ruled against a motorist with a concealed weapon in his car but cleared a grocer who had a gun under his store counter. It cited the grocer's security interest.

In the grocer's case the high court said requiring the shop keeper to openly display the weapon "fails the litmus test of common sense."

"We believe clarification is needed as it relates to the availability of 'security interest' justification when a person is away from that person's home or business," the appeals court said in sending the latest matter to the state Supreme Court.

The case at issue involves a tavern owner who kept a loaded revolver in the car in which he took thousands of dollars home after closing and the next day took the money to the bank.

One night the tavern owner's car was stolen, and he warned police there was a loaded gun in the car. They issued him a citation for the loaded gun. State law requires that firearms being transported in vehicles be unloaded.

During a pretrial hearing the tavern owner cited robberies near his tavern. Keeping the gun out of sight made sense, he testified, because if it were openly displayed someone would break in and take it.


John Fund on Knife control in the UK

From John Fund's Political Diary at OpinionJournal:

Opponents of gun control have long argued that once guns are banned or severely restricted, governments will next move to control other weapons. That seems to be the case in Britain, where Tony Blair has used the issue to placate leftists. Last year, the national government pushed through a law banning the sale of so-called "assault knives" and machetes -- despite persuasive evidence that the vast majority of stabbings are done with kitchen knives. Sure enough, a group of prominent doctors writing in the British Medical Journal soon demanded that long-bladed kitchen knives also be added to the list of banned weapons. In their article, the good doctors assured readers they had consulted with ten noted chefs, most of whom agreed that shorter knives could be just as effective in preparing food. . . .

Even most physicians were appalled [by the proposal], with one joking about the inevitable black market that would develop for kitchen cutlery: "Psst... I have a fine carving knife here under the store counter and it's only 50 pounds. Just don't tell anyone where you found it."

No one expects further moves in the direction of knife control in Britain in the immediate future, but the direction is clear. Soon there will undoubtedly be a call to register and strictly control cricket bats too.

More on the Failure of Canada's Gun Registry

Lorne Gunter goes through the numbers that show that using the government's own numbers, Canada's gun registry could not possibly have registered most guns in the country. The numbers indicate that even assuming that all guns in Canada had been imported, the government couldn't even have all the guns that were imported into Canada registered. It is an interesting article. On top of all that the list doesn't even work properly for the guns that were registered and these numbers don't count and smuggled guns.

A thought on Mark Felt and Watergate

While leaks can be well intentioned, it concerns me that Mark Felt committed what I regard as a serious crime -- the leaking of information from a criminal investigation. It is pretty scary to think that criminal investigators are willing to do this, even if some of the people that they do this to are really bad guys. I don't think that I want some law enforcement person making decisions like this which can destroy a person's life. The fact that Felt wanted to do it because he disliked Nixon and that he wanted to protect his agency doesn't make me feel any better. The right way to deal with these concerns is to go to Congress, not the media, and presumably he would have gotten a sympathetic ear in Congress with the Democrats in control.

Mr. Woodward writes that Mr. Felt, who "had nothing but contempt for the Nixon White House" and its efforts to manipulate the F.B.I. for political purposes, believed he was protecting his agency "by finding a way, clandestine as it was, to push some of the information from the F.B.I. interviews and files out to the public."


"There is little doubt that Felt thought of the Nixon team as Nazis," Woodward wrote. "He had nothing but contempt for the Nixon White House and their efforts to manipulate the bureau for political reasons."

Of course, with Lydon Johnson doing name checks on Barry Goldwater's senate staff, one doesn't have to go back very far to find the FBI being used for political reasons. Both Nixon and the others were wrong, but allowing a lone FBI agent to selectively make these political decisions is dangerous. An FBI agent going public about being ordered to commit a crime (Johnson's case) is actually quite justifiable, as opposed to an FBI agent going public in a criminal investigation (Nixon's case).

UPDATE: Rush Limbaugh pointed out today that Lyndon Johnson ordered the bugging of Barry Goldwater's presidential campaign plane in 1964.


One of the bigger changes in Right-to-carry laws over the last couple of years has been the drop in number of hours required for training

Arizona. which had the longest training requirement for permit holders, has cut its training requirement in half to eight hours. Texas has now also exempted certain people from even having to get training. On top of this, Alaska, which had also had one of the three longest training requirements, just recently entirely eliminated the training necessary to get a permit.

The research in More Guns, Less Crime indicates that the main effect of longer training periods has been to reduce the number of people with permits. States with longer training periods have had smaller drops in violent crime rates as a result of fewer people being able to defend themselves and deter attackers. I know of no evidence that increased training is associated with reductions in accidental gun deaths. The only benefit is that increased training is associated with a somewhat larger reduction in multiple victim public shootings. However, since this is such a small share of total murders and since the effect of more training is associated fewer permits and more murders, the net effect of longer training requirements is increased crime even in this case.

Chandler, Arizona now allows toy guns to be carried in public