Clip of ABC's 20/20 Myth of Guns are Bad

For those who missed John Stossel's program on "Myth No. 5: Guns are Bad" last night, this is a rerun of a program shown in early 2004. The only unfortunate change is that before (and in this clip) "Guns are Bad" was the number 3 myth, now it is number 5. In any case, you can see the clip here. This is a very well done piece. Among other things, Stossel's people called up law enforcement in every right-to-carry state to find out whether they thought that crime had gone up after the right-to-carry laws were passed. Interestingly, not one of the law enforcement agencies in these states that had been contacted believed that crime had significantly increased.

Mayor Martin O'Malley and Murder and Gangs in Baltimore

Statement on who is murdered in Baltimore (WJZ Dec 30, 2005 6:59 pm):

"Baltimore police point out that most murder victims had criminal records or were involved in the city's dangerous drug trade."

Minor point: The article also points out how Mayor Martin O'Malley promised to cut the number of murders in the city from 299 during 1999 to 175 by 2004, but instead there were 268 murders, a number 53% higher than he promised. The rate was declining prior to O'Malley taking office and continued down to 261 in 2000. Since then however, the number of murders has remained higher than when he first took office.

Great Ronald Reagan Quote about Economists


Clerk Fired From Previous Job After Pulling Gun On Thief will Continue Carrying Gun

I wonder which store the robbers will go to next time? Cumberland Farms or Exit 3 Travel Stop?

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. -- A store clerk fired for bringing a gun to work has a new job at another store.

Bruce Soiett said that he always brings his .45-caliber handgun to work. He used to work at a Cumberland Farms in Greenland, and on Dec. 7, the store was robbed at gunpoint. When the thief ran, Soiett followed him.

"I yelled at him to stop, and he turned with the gun," Soiett said. "I fired two quick shots because I thought he was going to shoot at me."

No one was hit, and the robber was never caught. Soiett lost his job because Cumberland Farms has a no-weapon policy. The owner of the Exit 3 Travel Stop in Portsmouth was happy to hire him.

"We feel more comfortable having people who can stand up for themselves," store owner Bharat Batel said. . . .


Teenager uses BB gun he received for Christmas to Save Grandfather's life

December 29, 2005 WICHITA, Kan 8:51 am EST
A woman who died after a car crash had been shot in the heart minutes earlier with a pellet gun that her 14-year-old son received as a Christmas gift, police said.

Police said the teen was protecting his grandfather from his mother, Elizabeth White. She was threatening the grandfather with a pair of scissors, according to authorities.

The death was ruled a justifiable homicide, said Capt. Randy Landen of the Wichita Police Department. White, 40, of Salina, had spent the weekend in Wichita after she was invited to spend Christmas at the house where her 73-year-old father and her 68-year-old mother were raising her children.

Police said the altercation happened after White returned to the home Tuesday. Armed with scissors, White threatened to kill her father, who had only a cane to defend himself, police said.

When the argument moved into the front yard, Landen said the teen's grandfather tripped over a planter.
As his mother moved toward her fallen dad with the scissors, police said, the teenager stepped onto the front porch and aimed, striking his mother in the heart.

After throwing the scissors at her son, White took off in a car, police said. Authorities think the wound caused her to lose control of her car. She died at a hospital after undergoing emergency surgery after the crash.

White, who has been in and out of prison during the past 16 years, has convictions for drug offenses, prostitution, writing bad checks and making threats, according to state records.

Recent Self-Defense Gun Cases

December 28, 2005 Lexington, KY
According to police, two citizens helped catch a bank robber Wednesday in Harlan. When police arrived at the Home Federal Bank, two citizens were holding the suspect at gunpoint.

December 28, 2005 Denver, CO.
. . . The homeowner -- whose name hasn't been released -- said a noise woke him up and when he went to check it out, he saw someone downstairs. He grabbed his rifle and ran after the man. "The suspect ran from the house. The homeowner pursued him outside the residence. The homeowner fired a shot into the ground in an attempt to keep the person here," said Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson. While trying to run away, the suspect fell twice. Gibson struck his head on the floor while running down the stairs in the house and fell again on an icy driveway outside the house. He left a bloody trail and was found lying down in a field a short distance away. Gibson was treated and released from the hospital and jailed for investigation of burglary and theft charges. . . .

December 27, 2005 Memphis, TN
Police in Collierville say a homeowner shot and killed one of several people who broke into his house over the weekend.
Police Lieutenant Greg Flint says homeowner Brian Harper was awakened by his burglar alarm early Saturday and fired at the intruders with a .45-caliber handgun, striking one of them. Flint says the others scattered and Harper doesn't know if the several other shots he fired hit anyone else. Police say none of the home invaders fired a weapon, but investigators don't know if any of them had one. Police identified the dead intruder from fingerprints and say he was 28-year-old Lakim Duffy. His police record shows arrests since 1998 for violations including criminal trespass, especially aggravated robbery and cocaine possession.

December 20, 2005 CARRBORO, NC
Two men were hospitalized -- one with critical injuries, the other with a serious wound -- after a home invasion led to a double shooting late Monday night. A woman, her two young children, her boyfriend and her boyfriend's brother were in the apartment when two men entered the residence, according to Carrboro Police Capt. Joel Booker. . . . He added that if self-defense was the motive, as it appears, then the man who shot the intruder would not face charges.

December 19, 2005 Far-Eastside, Indiana
An off-duty Indiana State Police trooper shot and killed a suspected burglar at his Far-Eastside home this morning. According to state police investigators, the suspect first knocked at the home's front door and then attempted to kick it in. Trooper Joel Wilson, a 6-year veteran, fired two shots through the door, striking the suspect, according to state police spokesman First Sgt. Dave Bursten. The shooting occurred at 11:40 a.m. and the suspect was taken to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead at 12:11 p.m. Bursten said Wilson's home near 21st Street and German Church Road had been burglarized about a month earlier. His service revolver was stolen then and Wilson used his replacement gun in today's shooting, Bursten said.

December 17, 2005 Conway, AR
A Conway man who shot two Faulkner County deputies was shot to death by a resident of the home he broke into early Friday morning.

December 5, 2005 Milwaukee, WI
Police treating shooting at club as self-defense . . . The bar owner was trying to clear the bar when Hester pulled out a gun, fired into the ceiling and pointed the gun at the bartender and other people in the bar, Schwartz said. The bartender, 36, who was not identified, drew a gun from his holster and shot Hester in the back of the head, she said.

I would like to thank Nicki for sending me these links.


Now it is illegal to burn wood in home fireplaces in some places

Foxnews has a story on how they are now banning the burning of wood in home fireplaces. Well, so much for the romantic roaring fires of the past. I guess another story for people to tell their children. The link is here.


Environmentalists want people to stop using Christmas Trees

Some environmentalists are expressing angst during the Christmas season instead of joy, worried about what they view as the negative environmental impact of both real and artificial Christmas trees.

The Sierra Club, in its publication Sierra Magazine, recommends that people look for "a storm-felled branch, or a piece of driftwood" to decorate in their homes, instead of the traditional Christmas tree.

Eric Antebi, the Sierra Club's national secretary, also suggested that people consider celebrating Hanukah instead of Christmas because Hanukah is a more earth-friendly celebration.

Environmental activists also appear to be struggling over which type of Christmas tree to condemn the most.. . . .

Here is a question: do you think that more or fewer trees will be planted if people stop buying Christmas trees? It seems pretty obvious that there will be fewer planted and less total trees in the ground. If you think that you can make a lot of money selling the trees, you will set aside more ground to grow them. Land that might have been used at the margin for a whole range of other activities. Also as I have tried to point out before, for those who believe that man-made global warming is important, young trees absorb much more CO2 than older ones. This is because younger trees tend to grow at a much faster rate. If the trees are buried in a land fill, the CO2 will be taken out of the atmosphere for some time.

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Canadian Supreme Court Rules that gun ownership is a "heavily regulated privilege"

Citation: R. v. Wiles, 2005 SCC 84
Date: 2005-12-22
Docket: 30199
Philip Neil Wiles v. Her Majesty The Queen

. . . . Possession and use of firearms is a heavily regulated privilege, and the loss of that privilege does not support a finding of gross disproportionality because it falls short of a punishment “so excessive as to outrage standards of decency”. . . .

I assume that the citizens of New Orleans after the Hurricane or in Los Angeles during the riots there or in cities such as Washington DC with its high murder rates have a different perspective on whether disarmament represents such a relatively minor penalty.


I wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Canadian Liberal Gun Ban Proposal Sends Gun Sales Soaring


Canadian Liberal's Handgun Ban Having No Effect on Election

Canadian Liberals haven't been able to demonize Conservatives. Let's hope that this continues.

. . . . Since neither Harper nor his candidates seem to be digging their own graves, the Liberals have repeatedly tried to hand them shovels. But whereas the Tories would have fallen right into Liberal traps in the past, they've stepped neatly around them.

The Liberals' proposed handgun ban was a prime example. Clearly, they were hoping that Harper would align himself with gun owners, ranting about property rights and alienating centrist voters. Instead, he took issue only with the meaninglessness of the Liberal pledge, not with the notion of restricting handguns -- depriving the Liberals of the wedge issue they were seeking. . . .

Their more subtle attempts at derailing Harper having gone nowhere, the Liberals have wasted little time getting more brazen. Last week, they started digging up Harper speeches from eight years ago, while John Duffy used his space on this page to revive the old claims about a secret agenda on everything from Iraq to abortion. Now, apparent drafts of Liberal attack ads leaked yesterday suggest they intend to further ramp up the rhetoric in the campaign's second half -- particularly by claiming Harper is in bed with separatists.

Barring the Conservative campaign getting a lot clumsier, it's hard to imagine the strategy paying off. With Harper much harder to paint as "scary" than he once was, the Liberals look like they're crying wolf one too many times. . . .

One unrelated aside should be made. I am not sure what meaning the national polls have this time since the Bloc is going to take Quebec. Who is the largest party depends solely on who gets the most votes in the rest of Canada.

Low Birth Rate shows impact: Japan's Population Begins to Decline

What is on Dick Cheney's Ipod

I have always thought that Dick Cheney was the one politician with whom I have agreed politically probably with more than any one else, but now it seems that our musical tastes partly coincide: he "apparently is fond of Johnny Cash."

Sonya Jones has two interesting posts up

For those few soles who have time to check the internet over this Christmas weekend, Sonya Jones has two interesting posts on guns. The first is a personal post.

A friend of mine in Dallas, about 7 years ago, was confronted with a carjacker. He was sitting at a red light in Oak Cliff (not the best neighborhood) when was accosted by a unwelcomed passenger in his truck. As the unwelcomed passenger entered his truck from the passenger side bearing a gun, my friend had a handgun stashed barrell-down, between the seats (pre-concealed carry laws), and pulled it up and shot the would-be perpetrator/murderer. My friend went immediately to the police station to turn himself in and waited for a few hours until the police recovered a dead body from a front yard in the vicinity. The Dallas County grand jury no-billed my friend, saving tax payers at least $100K in trial fees. . . .

The second is a link that she has to a story about "Everyone’s favorite (and only) congressional rock band, the Second Amendments, is packing up its amps and hitting the road." The group is going to play for the troops. Pretty neat stuff. Rep. Jon Porter (R-Nev.) plays the keyboards, Reps. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) on lead vocals, Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) on lead guitar, Dave Weldon (R-Fla.) on bass, and Kenny Hulshof (R-Mo.) on drums.

Thanks for the link Sonya.



Zero Tolerance:: penalties for toy guns the same as for real guns, misstatements about what toy guns look like

According to Suffolk police, the seven year old was riding bus 194 down Shoulders Hill Road, on his way to Florence Bowser Elementary, when the other students noticed he had a gun.

The bus driver pulled the bus over and took the first graders backpack which had the gun inside. Police identified it as a toy gun, but the penalties for having a toy weapon, can be as severe as having the real thing.

Like most schools, Suffolk has a zero tolerance policy. Kristine Stewart's daughter attends Florence Bowser and she agrees with the policy."I don't think they should tolerate that. It's well put out that the kids shouldn't bring guns to school any kind of gun. Last year a note did come home saying that they're not going to tolerate not toy guns not water guns, nothing, cause there are too many toy guns that look real." she added. . . .

Well, it is very difficult to find a toy gun that looks real. For example, they have orange caps on the end of the barrel.


New op-ed in today's NY Post

Environmentalists get it backwards

In today's Opinion Journal Political Diary, Brendan Miniter writes:

Exhibit A is Boulder, where officials voted recently to make their county "climate neutral" by 2025. The idea is for the county -- a hot bed of environmental activism -- to produce no net waste by becoming more energy efficient and by offsetting any greenhouse gases it creates by planting trees and funding other "green" programs. How to do this? One idea already on the table is to require contractors to use both sides of the paper they use to submit bids. "We've got a long way to go," Commissioner Ben Pearlman said in late November after voting to move the county toward climate neutrality, "but it is very exciting." . . .

Of course, decreasing the demand for paper causes a drop in the price of paper and a drop in the number of trees planted. Younger trees grow faster and absorb more CO2 than older trees.


Follow up on last week's article in SF Chronicle

Last week I pointed to this article in the SF Chronicle about a woman's fear of having to defend herself after the passage of the SF gun ban. Below is a very interesting follow up article on the reaction that the reporter received. I really recommend reading the entire piece:

"Shame on the Chronicle." -- Jack Rivers

"I found this article refreshing and helpful." -- Mark Wilson

"The effect of a gun on human behavior is a (brain) drug induced power trip." --David R.

"It was great!" -- Debra Blatnik

"Thank you for a well written inspirational article. Wonderfully done. I shared it with my friends and co-workers. Thank you." -- Doug Fennema

In a two-hour span, I received 70 e-mails like this. Then in the next few days, another big round came through from across the country. It was difficult to believe people were writing about the same story.

But they were: "Home On the Range -- She's got guns, she's got game" (archived at sfgate.com) -- and the sidebar, "Do not come in! I have a gun! Leave!" These stories appeared last Monday, the story of Il Ling New -- Bay Area resident, Yale grad with an MBA, former international business executive and now expert instructor in self-defense, gun handling and hunting -- and the people she teaches.

Here is a sample of some of the more provocative letters, and a few responses:

-- "I am not a gun freak but like New, I feel that I am responsible for my own safety and try to follow her rules." -- Tito Stevens

A key sentence: "After the recent vote to ban handguns in San Francisco, New said she believes it's a mistake to think that anybody but you is responsible for your safety." . . .


Canadian Liberal's Handgun Ban Opposd by Most Voters

Interestingly even 44 percent of Liberals oppose the handgun ban proposal from their own party.

A majority of Canadian voters think Prime Minister Paul Martin is shooting blanks with his plan to fight violent crime with a handgun ban, a Leger Marketing/Sun Media poll found.

Almost 60% of 2,013 Canadians surveyed don't buy the PM's vow that an outright ban will have the desired effect.

Martin made the election promise last week in Toronto in response to a spike in shooting deaths and injuries, pledging that a new Liberal government would get tough on crime. But since then questions have been raised about whether provinces will opt out of the Liberal election promise and instead of a country-wide ban it will be applied piecemeal.

Tory MP Jason Kenney called the Liberal handgun ban a "phony" election promise meant to score points with voters living in high-crime neighborhoods.

"We're in favour of tough gun control, but we recognize that this is a phony election promise," Kenney said yesterday, pointing out that a majority of Canadians back his party's position.

Kenney also accused the PM of trying to divert attention away from the fact that he's not offering anything to stop the thousands of illegal guns crossing the border into Canada or to reduce the level of gun violence.


Kenney said a Tory government would get tough on criminals by imposing minimum mandatory sentences on gun-related crimes.

Respondents in Alberta and the Prairies were most critical of Martin's plan, where as many as 77% dismissed it outright as ineffective.

Though 50% of Liberals polled are favourable, 44% are not.

The survey is accurate plus or minus 2.2% 19 times out of 20.

Doug Bandow & Peter Ferrara

I am sorry to see that Doug Bandow had to resign from the Cato Institute. Apparently on about 2 dozen occasions, Doug received payments of $2,000 each to write favorable pieces on a topic that a lobbyiest wanted him to write on. My own guess is that Doug didn't write anything that he didn't already believe, though he may have written on topics that he wouldn't have. Someone else who I know, Peter Ferrara also seems to have gotten into similar trouble. Ferrara claims that he does this "all the time." Ferrara's boss says that "I have a sense that there are a lot of people at think tanks who have similar arrangements." Possibly I am sheltered, but, while I am not surprised, I have never heard of this type of payoff happening. Over the years I have even turned down consulting opportunities so as to not allow others to attack me for getting money from groups involved in gun issues. In Doug's case, $48,000 or so dollars must seem a small gain to what it is costing him.

Two U.S. newspapers said on Monday that they would no longer publish opinion pieces by a conservative commentator who has admitted taking payments from lobbyist Jack Abramoff to write op-ed pieces favorable to Abramoff's clients.

The Manchester Union Leader and the Washington Times, which run influential conservative opinion sections, said they did not know that Peter Ferrara took undisclosed payments for his op-ed pieces and did not think the activity was appropriate.

"Anybody who misrepresents or doesn't voluntarily reveal that they are being paid to write the article by an interest obviously has fallen below the standard that we would hold any published author to," said Washington Times editorial page editor Tony Blankley. . . .

UPDATE II: Media misquoted Peter Ferrara

I follow an unqualified policy of not taking money from lobbyists for op-eds, which I established on my own years ago. I rely solely on financing from my foundation employers for financial support.

I am glad to ask people to contribute to my work if they agree with what I have been writing for years now and want to support it. That is what I was referring to in the quote in this regard in the BusinessWeek Online article.

If I were paid by a newspaper or a syndicator to write a regular column, I could not possibly take money from any outside party for that work, as that would betray the newspaper or syndicator employing me. As a free lance writer who submits individual articles to publications, I must honestly follow the disclosure policies of those publications. These are the rules I follow. . . .

Thanks to Tom Giovanetti for pointing this last link out to me.


False comparison circulating on internet between Iraq and DC

Several people have sent me the following:

Interesting thought for the day:

If you consider that there have been an average of 160,000 troops in the Iraq theater of operations during the last 22 months, and a total of 2112 deaths, that gives a firearm death rate of 60 per 100,000.

The rate in Washington D.C. (among others) is 80.6 per 100,000.

That means that you are about 25% more likely to be shot and killed in our nation's capitol, which has some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation, than you are in Iraq.

Conclusion: We should immediately pull out of Washington, D.C.

Just so everyone knows, this discussion has both a major math error and another incorrect fact. If you were to use the numbers presented above, the annual death rate for soldiers would be 720 per 100,000, a rate 12 times higher than the 60 listed. I think that they may have accidentally figured out the monthly rate. In addition, the murder rate in DC is high, but it is 40 per 100,000, not 80. In any case, their conclusion is only made possible by making both errors.

Of course, none of my comments on this take away from what we are doing to help out the Iraqis.

Thanks to Chris DeMuth, Bob Lott and others who have emailed this claim to me.


New Orleans Update

I have learned two interesting things today about New Orleans.

1) A friend who has relatives in New Orleans claims that there is still no mail delivery, phone service is either sparce or nonexistent, and that there is only one public school open in the city.

Statistics released by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals suggest that fewer than half of the victims of Hurricane Katrina were black, and that whites died at the highest rate of all races in New Orleans. . . .

African-Americans make up 67.25 percent of the population and 59.1 percent of the deceased. Other minorities constitute approximately 5 percent of the population and represented 4.3 percent of the storm's fatalities.

Overall for the state, 658 bodies have been identified. Forty-seven percent were African-American and 42 percent were Caucasian. The remaining bodies were either non-black minorities or undetermined.

An additional 247 victims have not been identified, so their demographic information has not been released. . . .


Chicago Doesn't Trust Retired Police Carrying Guns

The claims about liability just isn't a serious concern by the city. These officers are not working for the city. The government does face liability any more than a state does from licensing private citizens to carry concealed handguns. I just don't understand this opposition by gun control advocates to police carrying guns.

Retired Chicago Police officers will be getting letters in the mail soon saying the city won't certify them to carry guns -- a move that angers the head of the local Fraternal Order of Police.

Congress passed the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act of 2004 to allow retired and off-duty officers across the country to carry concealed weapons.

But the city is worried about the liability of allowing retired cops to carry guns when they haven't gone through refresher training or undergone mental and physical fitness evaluations. The city also is concerned about the lack of a national database of retired officers authorized to carry guns. . . .

Mecklenburg said she did not know how many of the city's 9,000 retired cops have asked to be certified to carry a gun. . . .

Wisconsin Assembly Passes Concealed Handgun Bill with 2/3rds Vote

The Assembly just barely got the 2/3rd required to override a veto by Democrat Gov. Jim Doyle. If supporters can keep these votes, they will be able to pass right-to-carry this year.

The Wisconsin Assembly passed 64-32 a bill that would let Wisconsin residents carry hidden guns and knives.

WHAT'S NEXT?: The bill returns to the state Senate. That body approved a version of it last week. But Assembly Republicans scaled the plan back in an effort to ensure enough support from Democrats to override Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle's anticipated veto. Both houses must approve an identical version before it goes to the governor.

WHAT'S DIFFERENT?: The Assembly attached an amendment that sets up more training for gun owners, tightens restrictions on carrying concealed weapons while drinking and sets up new school zones where concealed weapons would be illegal.

More detail here:

. . . The amendment to the concealed weapons bill wasn’t introduced until late Tuesday and included provisions that would:

Lower the allowable blood-alcohol concentration for those carrying a concealed weapon to 0.02, from 0.08.
Create a 100-foot safety zone around school property into which guns couldn’t be carried.
Require a refresher training course for permit holders every five years.
Make the filing of a false application a felony, not a misdemeanor as it was written.
Rep. Scott Gunderson (R-Waterford) said he thought the amendment, which passed 71 to 25, was enough to sway some Democrats into sticking with the majority in a veto override.

Gunderson and other supporters say the bill will reduce crime and make Wisconsin safer.

"It’s important for people to be able to protect themselves," Gunderson said.

Supporters could have the two-thirds majority necessary to uphold the veto. Add to the 64 votes those expected from Rep. Mary Williams (R-Medford), who wasn’t present for the vote, and from the person filling the now-vacant 33rd Assembly District seat, and the number would be at the required 66. A replacement for former Republican Rep. Dan Vrakas, now Waukesha County Executive, will be elected Jan. 10. . . .

Off the top of my head I don't know of any states that have this restrictive of a rule regarding alcohol consumption. The hundred foot rule could create some real problems if it covers the roads next to schools.

At least this felon had no problem getting guns


Concealed handgun vote in Wisconsin today

The headline on this piece implies that there will not be enough votes in today's vote in Wisconsin on concealed handguns to overcome the governor's veto. My own reading is more optimistic. I wouldn't be surprised if there were a few more Democrats who voted to sustain a veto just to keep the issue from becoming an election issue next year. If the bill doesn't pass now, my guess is that the NRA will make Wisconsin a major focus of its election efforts next fall and since most Democrats oppose the bill (including the governor), they have the most to lose.

. . . The bill permits a person to carry a concealed weapon, except where prohibited, if the person holds a license to carry a concealed weapon. The state Department of Justice would design application and renewal forms and decide whether an applicant is qualified to receive a permit or whether a permit should be suspended. An applicant must display a valid driver's license or state ID card to a notary before submitting the application, must take a firearm training class and must not have been convicted of a felony or certain misdemeanors within the preceding three years. A person may not carry a concealed weapon if his or her alcohol concentration exceeds 0.08.

The bill was amended to allow police and troopers making traffic stops to have access to the names of those who have gun carry permits before they approach the vehicle, so they would know if someone might have a weapon.

Changes also were made to add to the list of places where concealed weapons could not be taken. The bill originally listed police stations, jails and courthouses. A substitute amendment added licensed child care centers, a building used for religious worship, a health-related facility, a building located on a college campus, a nonprofit organization that serves children or families, and a domestic violence victim services program.

Rep. Scott Gunderson, R-Waterford, the author of the bill in the Assembly, is optimistic.

"The Senate certainly did what we expected, voting 23 to 10 for the bill. We expect it to be the same for the override," Gunderson said. Twenty-two votes would be the required two-thirds for a veto override.

He added that he hopes Sen. Luther Olson, R-Ripon, will also support the override, though he voted against the bill last week. Last year Olsen was one of two Republican Assembly members, along with John Townsend, R-Fond du Lac, who switched votes to support the override after opposing the bill.

"In the Assembly we are working very hard and hoping for 66 votes, the magic number for an override. We came a long way with some of the changes we made. We are very close to having it become law in Wisconsin," Gunderson predicted. . . .


No longer safe for Unarmed Police in Britain?

Should "British police should carry guns in an era of terrorism and increasing violent crime"? This is a very interesting article in today's Washington Post.

READING, England -- During his training to become a British police officer, Ben Johnson recalled, an instructor told him and other recruits, "If you ever see somebody carrying a gun, turn and run away as quickly as possible."

"It was a bizarre situation," said Johnson, 34, a former police officer in Garland, Tex., and U.S. Army soldier who moved here with his British wife three years ago and became this country's first non-British police officer. He said running from trouble was exactly the opposite of what he learned as an American cop.

Now Johnson is publicly challenging one of the great traditions of law enforcement in Britain, what he calls the "old-fashioned idea of the unarmed bobby on the beat." He has written to his chief asking for permission to carry a gun, arguing that Britain is no longer safe for unarmed and under-trained police officers. He says he will resign if the chief refuses.

Johnson's case has caused a media furor here, partly because an American -- a Texan no less -- is claiming he feels less safe as a police officer in Britain than he did on the beat in the United States, which is routinely portrayed here as a gun-drunk Wild West.

But Johnson has also reignited a debate about whether more British police should carry guns in an era of terrorism and increasing violent crime. . . .

I really want to thank John Zumrick for sending me this link.


Risk of gun crime increasing in Britain

Well, banning handguns in 1997 doesn't seem to have made the job of being a police officer safer. If anything, the reverse is true. The last part of the article confirms what I have frequently argued about how gun ownership in the US deters criminals.

READING, England – Former Garland police Officer Ben Johnson, celebrated three years ago as the first foreigner to become a British police constable, provoked a national uproar this week after saying he would resign to protest a ban on officers carrying guns.

Mr. Johnson, 34, said the increasing risk of encountering a gunman who could render his 18-month-old daughter fatherless has caused the former Texas officer to reconsider his work. He is now the focus of a British media frenzy, having the unique perspective of having fought crimes on both sides of the Atlantic.

"I have to think of more than just myself now," he said in an interview. "Now that I'm a father, and I have a young daughter, it's even more important that I receive the proper training and equipment. I'm not afraid to be a police officer. I'm just more acutely aware of the fact" that training and arms should be integral to that job. . . .

British criminals seem far more bold and less fearful of confrontation, injury or punishment, Mr. Johnson said. He attributed it to the fact that Americans are permitted to guard their homes with guns – and would-be burglars know it.
"Here, it's quite common that burglars will break in while people are asleep in bed in the middle of the night," he said. "It is a common thing, which I think does reflect on the legal right to protect your home."
Without the deterrent effect of a homeowner's gun, he added, "there's not that threat to burglars, so we have a much higher rate of home break-ins [with the occupants present]."


Stuart Taylor on Alito nomination

This is definitely a must read. I don't have a link to the piece and I didn't think that it was proper for me to reprint the entire piece, but here is less than 20 percent of the article.

National Journal Group

Opening Argument --
Alito: A Sampling of Misleading Media Coverage
By Stuart Taylor Jr

A sometimes subtle but unmistakable pattern has emerged in major news organizations' coverage of Judge Samuel Alito's Supreme Court nomination.

Through various mixes of factual distortions, tendentious wording, and uncritical parroting of misleading attacks by liberal critics, some (but not all) reporters insinuate that Alito is a slippery character who will say whatever senators want to hear, especially by "distancing himself" from past statements that (these reporters imply) show him to be a conservative ideologue.

I focus here not on the consistently mindless liberal hysteria of the New York Times' editorial page. Nor on such egregious factual errors as the assertion on C-SPAN, by Stephen Henderson of Knight Ridder Newspapers, that in a study of Alito's more than 300 judicial opinions, "we didn't find a single case in which Judge Alito sided with African-Americans ... [who were] alleging racial bias." This, Henderson added, is "rather remarkable."

What is remarkable is that any reporter could have overlooked the at least seven cases in which Alito has sided with African-Americans alleging racial bias. Also remarkable is the illiterate statistical analysis and loaded language used by Henderson and Howard Mintz in a 2,652-word article published (in whole or in part) by some 18 newspapers. It makes the highly misleading claim that in 15 years as a judge, Alito has sought "to weave a conservative legal agenda into the fabric of the nation's laws," including "a standard higher than the Supreme Court requires" for proving job discrimination.

The systematic slanting -- conscious or unconscious -- of this and many other news reports has helped fuel a disingenuous campaign by liberal groups and senators to caricature Alito as a conservative ideologue. In fact, this is a judge who -- while surely too conservative for the taste of liberal ideologues -- is widely admired by liberals, moderates, and conservatives who know him well as fair-minded, committed to apolitical judging, and wedded to no ideological agenda other than restraint in the exercise of judicial power.

Here are some other examples of slanted reports about Alito, not including those noted in my November 5 and 19 columns:

* A December 3 Washington Post front-pager by Charles Babington stressed Alito's supposed effort to "distance himself" from two 1985 documents in which he had asserted that (among other things) "I am and always have been a conservative" and "the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion." Babington added that this distancing "may expose him to accusations of insincerity or irresolution, advocates said."

Indeed. Articles such as Babington's have fueled a clamor about Alito's supposed "credibility gap" by liberal groups and attack-dog senators like Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts. Liberal editorialists and columnists have joined in.

Such suggestions of insincerity are not based on anything that Alito has said. They are based on misleading characterizations by reporters of what senators say Alito has said in private meetings with them. Needless to say, some of these senators are spinning their own agendas. . . . .

The Canadian National Post on the new Liberal Party Handgun Ban

First the Canadian Prime Minister simply made up numbers regarding where Canadian crime guns were coming from in a bold lie directly to Secretary of State Rice. Now that an election is at hand, he wants to ban handguns.

Something must be done about the gun violence that plagues this country's cities. But the something offered by Paul Martin and the Liberals yesterday represents, effectively, nothing.
The proposed handgun ban is a symbolic, politically motivated act -- and would be as ineffective here as similarly motivated bans have proven to be in other countries. As the Liberals surely understand, the vast majority of gun crimes are committed with illegal weapons. According to one Statistics Canada study of gun murders, 84% of the firearms used were not registered. Criminals are surely no more likely to submit to a legislated gun ban than they were to register the guns in the first place.
Mr. Martin has made much of the fact that the Liberals' new plan would borrow heavily from the Australian model. But that nation's gun control experiment has been a failure. As John R. Lott pointed out in these pages in October, Australia saw its crime rates rise 32% and its armed robbery rates rise 74% in the six years following the nation's adoption of tougher gun controls in 1996. The U.K. fared little better after it banned handguns in 1997, as gun crimes almost doubled in England and Wales from 1998-99 to 2002-03.
It is hard to accept that Mr. Martin seriously believes that violent criminals, the same goons who do not think twice about committing a murder, will submit to the prohibition, or indeed that it will have any impact on the problem whatsoever. The idea, then, that he would campaign on it with his tongue in his cheek makes it all the worse.
Not only would such a prohibition be ineffectual, it would also unfairly target all the law-abiding handgun owners -- the target shooters and collectors -- who have dutifully (and, as it turns out, naively) registered their guns for decades, believing the government's assurances that, no, registration was not to be the first step toward confiscation. We now see that it was. . . .


Canadian Liberal Party Proposes to Ban Handguns

First the Canadian Prime Minister simply made up numbers regarding where Canadian crime guns were coming from in a bold lie directly to Secretary of State Rice. Now that an election is at hand, he wants to ban handguns.

Prime Minister Paul Martin will venture into a violence-plagued area of Toronto on Thursday to announce a sweeping ban on handguns, The Canadian Press has learned.

Martin was scheduled to visit Toronto’s troubled Jane-Finch area to make a “safer communities announcement.” Liberal sources have confirmed the announcement includes a ban on handguns. . . .

Thanks to Bruce Korol for sending this article to me.


Wisconsin State Senate Passes Right to Carry by 70 to 30%

"Men Warm Globe, Women Feel the Heat, Group Claims": This is just too funny

Here is where feminism and environmentalism meet:

The debate over climate change evolved into a battle of the sexes Monday at the 11th annual United Nations Climate Change Conference in Montreal. The spokesman for a feminist-based environmental group accused men of being the biggest contributors to human-caused "global warming" and lamented that women are bearing the brunt of the negative climate consequences created by men.

"Women and men are differently affected by climate change and they contribute differently to climate change," said Ulrike Rohr, director of the German-based group called "Genanet-Focal point gender, Environment, Sustainability."

Rohr, who is demanding "climate gender justice," left no doubt as to which gender she believes was the chief culprit in emitting greenhouse gasses. . . .


San Francisco Chronicle article lamenting what people will do for protection without their guns

I wish that newspapers, such as the San Francisco Chronicle, had a few more of these articles before the vote.

For a long time, Margaret Hurst lived in fear.

Gangs control turf just a few blocks from her Mission District apartment in San Francisco, and she's sure a neighbor across the street deals drugs. Her building was broken into four times in one year. She saw teenagers on her street display a gun. And while she was stopped at a red light one day, a man tried to punch in her car window in a case of road rage.

So she bought a handgun. Now Hurst is no longer scared.

"I'll tell you one thing. If I'm going down, I'm taking them with me," said 49-year-old Hurst, who is about as un-Charlton Heston as any woman with a British accent, braided bun and long flowing skirt could be.

After a heated campaign brought the national debate over gun control to San Francisco, the city's famously liberal voters passed a law last month banning the sale, manufacture and distribution of firearms and ammunition within city limits. The measure, which takes effect Jan. 1, also makes it illegal for residents to possess handguns.

And as that date approaches, handgun owners like Hurst are becoming increasingly fearful of the consequences. . . .

Thanks to Ben Zycher for sending this article to me.

Trade-offs everywhere: civil liberties involve them also

This Assistant District Attorney for Kings County should be made an honorary economist. There are trade-offs everywhere and he provides some nice examples here.

. . . All of our rights can have dreadful consequences. Including those mandating jury trials, search warrants, probable cause for arrests, and face-to-face testimony —all sometimes allow dirtbags who belong in jail to walk the streets. Not to mention the rights of a significant number of "hip hop" artists — whose freedom of expression, attitudes and lifestyles do a lot more to create a cynical culture of violence among young people than the NRA or any gun company.

All civil liberties involve social cost. But the cost is lower than that of their absence, which would expose us all to organized oppression, both criminal and official, much worse than random street crime. And the costs of such liberties diminish appreciably in societies that demand personal responsibility and conformity to the rules of civilized behavior.

In recent years, 38 states have adopted "right to carry" laws, requiring police to issue full-carry pistol permits to all who meet simple criteria such as lack of a felony record. Despite the dire predictions of prominent Chicken Littles, most of these states actually saw drops in crime.

A society that wishes to remain democratic can never allow the behavior of the antisocial to determine the boundaries of its rights. Doing so can undermine the free society that Officer Stewart and others like him gave their lives to defend.

Police Chiefs oppose off-duty police using guns

I wonder whether this change in policy has anything to do with letting off duty police carry guns when they travel. Last year congress finally passed a law letting off police carry guns when they travel and police chiefs were opposed to it. They didn't mind their own police carrying guns, but it seemed to be a problem when others did so.

So now, the 20,000-member International Association of Chiefs of Police has called for off-duty officers who witness a crime to call for assistance rather than pulling a weapon.


Yet another person pretending to be me

A link to the posting can be found here.

I appreciate being emailed about this.

Latest Gallup Poll shows that 42 percent of Americans Households Own Guns

Judge Jack Weinstein lets New York City's suit against the gun industry go forward

Brooklyn Federal Judge Jack Weinstein lets New York City's suit against the gun industry go forward. That Weinstein found this is hardly surprising. There is an exception for these suits if the gun companies have violated state or federal law in selling the guns, but I can't seem to find exactly what law they are said to have violated. As far as I can tell, simply claiming that gun makers have "dumped" guns on the market so that criminals will eventually get them doesn't qualify.


What is going on this week at the NY Post?

The NY Post is still one of my favortite newspapers, but I am not sure what is going on this week at the NY Post regarding guns (see here and here). The NY Post has always been the one New York City newspaper that was willing to provide a different perspective on the gun issue.

Incorrect claims about the data in More Guns, Less Crime

I have received an email comparing my work to that of Steve Levitt's regarding claimed coding errors in More Guns, Less Crime. Of course, this discussion is not very accurate.

1) There are no coding errors in the data used in “More Guns, Less Crime.” The book used crime data from 1977 to 1996, and as far as I know, no academics have claimed that there were any coding errors in that data. An interesting and useful Stanford Law Review article by Plassmann and Whitley added an additional four years to the data and the problem arose in this additional data. Overall, less than 200 cells out of 7.5 million cells were accidentally left blank. More important, the results that Plassmann and Whitley noted were the results which they thought were the correct ones were not affected at all by this minor change in the data.

2) I had put the data set on my website as a favor to Plassmann because it was very large and he did not have the ability to put it up for people to download. The data was corrected as soon as the missing cells were discovered and it was available for people to download. A note was added to the site to alert people to the correction. While I had helped them out on their paper, I let Plassmann and Whitley make their own statements about their results. My website reported the regressions in the same way that I had done them in all my previous estimates.

3) In statements here and here, I have discussed what was involved in Levitt's errors. The regressions where they left out the fixed effects were essentially the only ones that were at all useful in testing their hypothesis because they were the only ones that didn't require large degrees of aggregation to get to their "effective abortion rate" that were related to total murder rates in a state. The work that I did with Whitley directly related the age of the murder to the number of abortions when that murderer was born.

Thanks to Bob Thomas for his email.

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9-year-old child uses toy gun to scare off criminals in South Africa

The bravery of a nine-year-old boy who rescued his grandmother from armed robbers and scared them off using his toy gun has been recognised by the police, who on Tuesday gave him a “hero” award.

Michael-Lee Ellington, a pupil at Arcadia Primary School, was honoured in front of his schoolmates when Inspector Owen Musiker of Sunnyside police station handed him an award in the school hall.

Looking on proudly – and gratefully – was his grandmother Marjorie, with whom he lives in a flat in Pretorius Street, Arcadia. . . .

Shortly after she was tied up for a second time, Michael-Lee knocked on the door. To his surprise two armed men opened the door and dragged him in, with one of the men placing his hand over the boy's mouth to prevent him from screaming.

Michael-Lee said: “I knew I had to do something, so I bit his hand hard and he let go of me. I quickly grabbed my toy gun and started shouting at them. They ran out of the flat, taking off with my granny's belongings, including her camera.”

Marjorie said she was surprised and relieved at her grandson's bravery. After the men fled, she removed the tape from her mouth. . . .

There are a few points to make. I am not sure that such a story could occur in the US because of all the regulations on how toy guns look here. In addition, I am not sure how much longer this could go on at in South Africa because legitimate gun ownership continues to be forced down dramatically by the government, it will be harder to convince criminals that the toy gun is real. Finally, I wonder whether a child like this would ever receive such a reward. In my book, The Bias Against Guns, I discuss multiple cases where young children used real guns to save lives and those cases got little publicity and no rewards were given out as far as I can tell.

Thanks to Walter E. Williams for sending this to me.

More on Levitt from Clayton Cramer