Illinois House Panel Passes Two New Gun Control Laws in Wake of Northern Illinois University killing

It is not clear how either of these pieces of legislation would have had anything to do with stopping the attack at Northern Illinois University. But I suppose that is not unusual.

SPRINGFIELD - Proposals that would ban semi-automatic assault weapons and outlaw the purchase of more than one handgun a month cleared an Illinois House committee on Wednesday.

But both measures have won committee approval in the past, only to stall later in the legislative process. It isn’t clear how the bills will fare in the current session of the General Assembly.

House Bill 4393, sponsored by Chicago Democratic Rep. Luis Arroyo, would limit handgun purchases to one every 30 days.

Rep. Edward Acevedo, a Chicago Democrat, sponsored House Bill 4357, which would would ban the sale or purchase of semi-automatic assault weapons, assault weapon attachments, .50-caliber rifles or .50-caliber cartridges. . . .

Who knows what they are defining "assault weapons" as here. There were just standard pistols. Given that the attack didn't use these very heavy, large, and expensive .50-caliber guns, it seems obvious to include them here.

Thanks to Tony Troglio for sending me this link.


Turnpike Toll Takers in Massachusetts Have Been Carrying Guns For Decades with No Training and No Problems

Even though there appears to have been no problems over decades, you can't risk a "wild west" shootout:

Gun-toting toll collectors have been stripped of their sidearms by Mass Pike brass after secretly carrying them for decades without formal training, the Herald has learned.

“I didn’t want to have a wild west show out there,” said Massachusetts Turnpike Authority Executive Director Alan LeBovidge, who ordered the practice stopped. “I could find nothing to show that the employees had state police training that would make them qualified to carry guns.”

But union officials said they are going to fight to allow the toll collectors to keep their weapons, even though a Pike review found the guns were not being properly maintained, with firing pins misaligned and other problems. . . .

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John Stossel on Gun Control

You can read all of Stossel's piece here:

It's all too predictable. A day after a gunman killed six people and wounded 18 others at Northern Illinois University, The New York Times criticized the U.S. Interior Department for preparing to rethink its ban on guns in national parks.

The editorial board wants "the 51 senators who like the thought of guns in the parks -- and everywhere else, it seems -- to realize that the innocence of Americans is better protected by carefully controlling guns than it is by arming everyone to the teeth."

As usual, the Times editors seem unaware of how silly their argument is. To them, the choice is between "carefully controlling guns" and "arming everyone to the teeth." But no one favors "arming everyone to the teeth" (whatever that means). Instead, gun advocates favor freedom, choice and self-responsibility. If someone wishes to be prepared to defend himself, he should be free to do so. No one has the right to deprive others of the means of effective self-defense, like a handgun. . . .


Kirkwood City Council Murder Used a Gun Stolen in the mid1990s

I am not sure what gun law would have prevented this:

was stolen in the mid-1990s from Franklin County, police said Wednesday. St. Louis County police spokeswoman Tracy Panus said the investigation into the gun's history since 1994 or 1995 is ongoing, and she could not provide any further details. . . .

Thanks to Anthony Troglio for sending me this link.


Ammunition Coding Campaign Picks Up in States

Alan Gottlieb with the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms has discovered something interesting about this campaign:

"Sponsors of bills that would require coding of cartridge casings and bullets in their respective states have neglected to mention that there is only one company in the country with the technology, and that company has been working with a 'hired-gun' consulting firm that offers its help to lawmakers drafting the legislation," Gottlieb said. "Essentially, you have state legislators working as promoters for a company called Ammunition Coding System, pushing measures in at least ten states that would mandate the use of this proprietary technology at the expense of gun owners.

"Even if the technology were licensed to various ammunition manufacturers," he continued, "it still puts one company in a monopoly position. On its own website, the company even acknowledges that legislation would be required to implement what many gun owners believe is a back-door gun registry, by forcing dealers to keep records on who purchases ammunition.

"Creating a technology, and applying for a patent while hiring a consulting firm to push legislation that requires this technology is horribly self-serving," Gottlieb added. "The fact that in every state these measures are being pushed, the sponsors are anti-gun lawmakers, simply adds to the suspicion.

"Giving one company a legislated monopoly in any other area would bring down a media firestorm," Gottlieb stated. "The government would never allow it. State senators, representatives or assemblymen who get involved with this effort should ask themselves just what it's worth to essentially be lobbyists for a monopoly."



Alex Tabarrok on Gun Buybacks

Alex's piece was published in the Oakland Tribune:

On Feb. 9, Oakland police, led by state Sen. Don Perata, D-Oakland, offered to buy handguns and assault weapons for $250 each, “no questions asked, no ID required.” The “One Less Gun” buy-back program attracted so many eager sellers that the money quickly ran out. But instead of closing up shop, the police handed out IOUs good for a future buy back. The Oakland police are now stuck with a bill for $170,000.

The buy back has been criticized as a poorly organized fiasco, but even the critics say it was “the right idea” and “a step in the right direction.”

On the contrary, the buy back was a bad idea from the beginning. Gun buy backs have been tried before, in cities from Seattle to Washington, D.C., and they simply don’t work. . . .



Moving to Montana?: Montana and the Second Amendment

I kinda of doubt that they are serious (see also here and here), but the notion that by claiming the Second Amendment was not an individual right the Supreme Court would be breaking the compact that Montana agreed to when they joined the US is an entertaining idea.

The story of the Supreme Court case, Heller v. D.C. and the Montana attorney general, Secretary of State and legislators warning the Supreme Court that if the Court finds that there is no individual right to bear arms in the Constitution, is going to get interesting, to say the least.

It appears that if the Supreme Court sides with the District of Columbia in disarming gun owners and invalidating the constitutional protections contained in the Second Amendment, they would be in direct opposition to what all 50 states have guaranteed their citizens in the 50 state consitutions: the right to bear arms and protect themselves.

This has sparked questions.

If the Supreme Court decides what is constitutional and it runs counter to what every single state has clearly worded as a guaranteed right in the state constitutions, written at the time those states freely joined the Union, what then?

At this point, we’re not going to speculate until we do more research.

BUT that hasn’t stopped others, particularly gun owners from weighing in on the consequences.

At the AR-15 Forums, a large forum for gun owners, the comments have been flying fast and furious since the news of the Montana legislators sending their warning to the Supreme Court that a finding of “collective right” would violate the compact the state signed with the US government when the state freely joined the Union.

If Montana really left the union, it might be fun to move back there (it is very beautiful).

Thanks very much to Sonya for mentioning this to me.

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Oakland moves to search people's homes for guns

Unless they are going to take the guns from people's homes, I am not sure how searching people's homes will get guns off the streets.

OAKLAND — City Councilmembers Patricia Kernighan (Grand Lake-Chinatown) and Desley Brooks (Eastmont-Seminary) asked the Oakland Police Department this week to formulate a plan to get guns off the street by having officers request permission to search residents' homes for weapons.. . . .

Thanks to Ben Zycher for this link.



Chicago Public Radio Panel Discussion on Northern Illinois University Attack

Chicago Public Radio's 848 had "a panel of experts for a roundtable discussion on guns and violence in Illinois and beyond." I was one of the members of the panel. You can listen to the discussion here.

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Gary Becker weighs in on the gun control debate

Nobel Prize winning economist Gary Becker has a posting on the gun control debate here. Posner also weighs in here. While I have immense respect for both of them, I don't really agree with them too much here and I have posted my comments in the comment section at the bottom of each page. Becker's discussion focuses on a purely economics based analysis of the issue.



Over 90 percent of Republicans in Congress Support an Individual's Right to Own Guns

Support for gun rights is an overwhelmingly Republican issue. 9 of the 55 Senators who signed the Supreme Court brief saying that gun ownership is an individual were Democrats (9 out of 51 Democrats is an 18 percent rate). 46 were Republicans (thus 46 of the 49 Republicans signed it, a 94 percent rate). 67 of the 250 Congressmen who signed the brief were Democrats (with 233 Democrats in congress that is a 29 percent rate). Again that means 183 out of 201 Republicans signed it (a 91 percent rate).

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Laws on Gun Carry Laws from Gunmap.org

This map is from GunMap.org. They should be coming out with a new map this next week.


Move to ease Federal restrictions on guns in National Parks bogs down in Politics

Fox News has a piece on the election year squabbles here:

WASHINGTON — An election-year dispute over whether to allow loaded guns in national parks is holding up a vote on a massive bill affecting public lands from coast to coast.

Democrats accuse Republicans of trying to score political points by injecting a "wedge" issue like gun rights into a noncontroversial bill.

Republicans counter that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is trying to protect the two leading Democratic candidates for president by shielding them from a politically difficult vote on an issue that many rural voters consider crucial.

Arizona Sen. John McCain, the leading Republican contender for president, is a co-sponsor of the amendment, which would allow gun owners to carry loaded, accessible firearms into national parks and wildlife refuges. Current regulations ban gun owners from carrying easy-to-reach firearms onto lands managed by the National Park Service and Fish and Wildlife Service.

Spokesmen for the two leading Democratic presidential contenders, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, declined repeated requests to comment.

The gun amendment is sponsored by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., a longtime gun-rights advocate who has endorsed McCain. A spokesman for Coburn accused Reid, D-Nev., of bad faith in refusing to allow a vote on the issue, despite an earlier agreement between the two senators. . . .

A majority of Senators have signed legislation asking that people with concealed handgun permits be able to carry their handguns with them in parks within states that recognize those permits so this bill would easily pass if a vote were allowed. I can't imagine that this type of game playing makes Senator Harry Reid a popular guy in Nevada.


Obama claims to support individual's right to own guns, but simultaneously supports DC's ban on handguns

Both Clinton and Obama claim to support an individual's right to own guns, though it is useful to note that neither signed the brief supporting this that was just submitted to the Supreme Court. This is one part of the article that caught my attention:

At his news conference, he voiced support for the District of Columbia's ban on handguns, which is scheduled to be heard by the Supreme Court next month.

I have blogged on this issue before, but I would like to see someone ask Clinton and Obama in their debates about how they can reconcile their position on the gun ban with their claimed position of gun ownership as an individual right.

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Restoring gun rights to felons in Washington State

Washington State Senate unanimously passes bill to restore the right to own a gun to felons:

"A petition shall be granted if the person meets all requirements of this section for restoration of the right to possess a firearm and the petition."

Information provided to me by a mole in the Washington Senate.



Encoded ammunition

Here is some discussion on encoded ammunition. I am called on the carpet for not dealing with this issue, though I have written on this type of question in the past and I had thought that I had put up one post on this. The problem is that in California they already have so many gun laws this law will not actually have any effect. There will be no newly designed guns because of other gun laws even if this new rule hadn't been passed.



An amusing interview with a Chicago Politician about gun control

This is an interview that I find interesting because a Chicago politician is asked about my research on gun control. You can watch the interview here.


306 to 18: Congressional Support for an Individual's Right to Own a Gun is Overwhelming

You can read the brief that Cheney and 305 members of Congress signed here. To say that this is an "unusual step" for Cheney is a bit of an understatement because the brief that he signed put him at odds with the DOJ brief submitted a few weeks ago. The DOJ brief stated that the right to own guns is an individual right, but that the level of burden necessary for the government to restrict that right was relatively low, much lower than for the rest of the Bill of Rights. But the brief signed by Cheney argued for a much higher burden on the government (see the "strict judicial scrutiny" discussion on p. 36). For a news article see this:

WASHINGTON — Vice President Cheney took the unusual step Friday of joining with lawmakers in signing a Supreme Court brief that goes further in support of gun rights than the one submitted by the Bush administration. . . .

Cheney joined more than 300 senators and representatives, led by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, who want the court to rule that Washington's ban is unconstitutional.

"The vice president believes strongly in Second Amendment rights," Cheney spokeswoman Megan Mitchell said.

Seventeen Democratic lawmakers and District of Columbia Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton urged the court to uphold the ban. . . .

The brief for the 17 members of Congress and the Delegate from DC can be seen here.

One other point should be made here. McCain signed the same brief that Cheney did. Not surprisingly, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama did not.

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Majority of Congress On Record that the Right to Own Guns is an Individual Right

The Heritage Foundation hosted an event about the 2nd Amendment yesterday and below are some video and audio links to the event, and the text of Sen. Hutchison’s remarks.

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Briefs available on DC Gun Ban case

Many Amici briefs for the respondent (those challenging the DC ban) are available here.

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Typical email that I am getting on the Republican Presidential Candidates and Gun Control

First of all thank your hard work defending the 2nd Amendment. I have to vote today and am quite torn as usual. I am not a one issue voter. I have always admired John McCain's sacrifice for our country, but seeing him chumming up with Arnold really bothers me. I have a lot of friends in CA that are furious about The Governor signing yet more anti gun legislation, as as they say so goes CA, so goes the Nation. So I may end up voting for a man I don't respect as much...

Any thoughts?

My response:

Well, with Romney you will likely get an new assault weapons ban. With McCain, you will get a gun show regulation bill that will regulate all private transfers of guns. I would also guess that you could get a bill requiring that people use gun locks. I am not sure what Romney really believes because he has changed his positions on too many issues. Of these different laws, I think that the gun locks rule is the worst because if prevents people from using guns defensively.

Personally, I worry that both Romney and McCain will be weak general election candidates though for different reasons. Romney because he has changed his position on too many issues. McCain will be attacked as too old and will have a tough time getting the conservative base to turn out.

My bottom line is the courts. I think that Romney is probably more likely to appoint conservatives to the courts than McCain. I think that McCain will have a very hard time appointing conservatives to the court if he really wants his campaign finance regulations put in place. I believe that there is a strong correlation between their views on protecting the First Amendment on political speech and the Second Amendment.

I hope that this helps.

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Brief to over turn DC gun ban filed today

The brief for the attorneys challenging the DC gun ban was filed today. You can read it here.

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Democrats in Washington Proposing More Gun Control: Gun Show Regulations

The Virginia Tech Shooting is being used to push for a gun control law that no one is arguing would have had to do anything with the shooting. I guess this passes for rigorous reasoning:

This week, two Senate Democrats introduced legislation to close that loophole in federal law, despite a recent failure in Virginia -- where a gunman killed 32 students and teachers at Virginia Tech in April -- to change a similar state law.

Accompanied by family members of some of the Virginia Tech victims, along with gun-control advocate Paul Helmke of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Democratic Sens. Frank R. Lautenberg of New Jersey and Jack Reed of Rhode Island unveiled their proposal at a news conference Wednesday. . . .

This time Lautenberg and Reed are using the Virginia Tech shootings to build their case, though gunman Seung-hui Cho bought his guns from a licensed dealer and underwent a background check.

My book, The Bias Against Guns, spends a lot of time in chapter 8. The one impact that I found from these laws is that they reduce gun shows by about 25 percent.



Should students be able to have a BB gun club?

A school in State College, Pennsylvania has denied students the right to set up a club for BB guns.

The idea alone has already divided the school board, with some members saying they are worried about sending mixed messages to kids about bringing BB guns to school.

You can vote on what you think about that at this link.

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Ben Wittes on the DOJ Brief on the DC Gun Ban Case

Ben Wittes at the New Republic quickly and accurately dissects the Bush Administration's DOJ brief on the DC gun ban case:

It's easy to see why conservatives are in a tizzy. While the brief endorses the D.C. Circuit's view that "the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess firearms unrelated to militia operations," it also emphasizes that adopting this view "does not render all laws limiting gun ownership automatically invalid" and insists that the lower court "did not apply the correct standard for evaluating [a] Second Amendment claim." What is the correct standard? Laws limiting gun ownership, the government argues, should be subject to "heightened scrutiny" under which "the practical impact of the challenged restriction" gets balanced against "the strength of the government's interest in enforcement of the relevant restriction." According to the Bush administration, "important regulatory interests are typically sufficient to justify reasonable restrictions." Because the lower court did not consider the D.C. law using this standard, the solicitor general argues, the case should be sent back for further consideration.

This is a pretty weak conception of a constitutional right. You can't imagine subjecting, say, the First Amendment to such a test. It would be laughable for the court to permit--or the executive branch to advocate--the abridgment of press or religious freedoms whenever the government's interest in restricting them served an "important regulatory interest" and therefore constituted a "reasonable restriction." . . .

Ben supports this increased flexibility with the Second Amendment because as he puts it: "Whatever conception the founders may have had of the amendment, they didn't have to think about situations like Virginia Tech, and they did not have inner-city gun crime." I suppose that my research has convinced me that no matter how well meaning gun free zones such as Virginia Tech might be, they have had unintended consequences -- that they encourage attacks and make them more successful. That said, and I appreciate his well meaning concerns, it is hard for me to see how the trade-offs that government faces with the Second Amendment could be different from say the First or the Fourth that also refers to "the right of the people." I thought that Ben had it right last year when he wrote that rather than eviscerating the constitution by selectively picking the parts that we agree or disagree with he wrote that it should simply be repealed or rewritten if we disagreed with it. See also this by Ben from last year. I particularly respect this position and admire people who take it because it must be very difficult for someone who supports gun control to take. The reason is simple: given how hard it is to alter the Constitution, accepting this argument means accepting strict limits on gun control.

Here is one question: if the costs of guns are so large, why do you have to have a lower level of scrutiny? If the costs are so high, won't you be able to meet the higher level of scrutiny?

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Excellent WSJ Editorial on the DOJ brief in the DC Gun Ban Case

The WSJ weighs in on the DOJ gun ban brief and tries to explain what happened:

So why would his own Solicitor General do this? The speculation in legal circles is that Mr. Clement is trying to offer an argument that might attract the support of Anthony Kennedy, the protean Justice who is often the Court's swing vote. But this is what we mean by "too clever by half." Justice Kennedy would be hard-pressed to deny that the Second Amendment is an individual right, given his support in so many other cases for the right to privacy and other rights that aren't even expressly mentioned in the Constitution. No less a left-wing scholar than Laurence Tribe has come around to the view that the Second Amendment protects an individual right for this very reason. Mr. Clement is offering a needless fudge.

The D.C. Circuit's opinion in Heller is forceful, clearly reasoned and Constitutionally sound. By supporting that decision and urging the Supreme Court to validate it, the Bush Administration had the opportunity to help the Court see its way to a historic judgment. Instead, it has pulled a legal Katrina, ineptly declining even to take a clear view of whether Mr. Heller's rights had been violated. It dodges that call by recommending that the case be remanded back to the lower courts for reconsideration.

The SG's blundering brief only increases the odds of another inscrutable High Court split decision, with Justice Kennedy standing alone in the middle with his balancing scales, and the lower courts left free to disregard or reinterpret what could have been a landmark case. Is anybody still awake at the White House?

Thanks to Gus Cotey for sending me this link.

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Debate over Handguns in Canada

Canadian newspapers come out against the big pushing going on up there to ban handguns:

1) The Ottawa Citizen - 1/22/2008 - PAGE: A10
Gunning for easy answers
"There's no doubting the sincerity of his grief and anger. Indeed, outrage is an appropriate response when people kill, especially when they kill people they've never met out of indifference to human life. But outrage isn't a solution. It's an emotion that leads people to assign blame, as quickly and loudly as possible. Outraged people need rallying cries, and rallying cries must be short and simple.

But the social factors that create crime are not simple. A ban on all handguns would certainly not end gun crime. It wouldn't root out violence, or alter gang behaviour, or topple the markets in illegal drugs and weapons. . . . ."

2) National Post - 1/22/2008 PAGE: A14
Handgun bans don't work
"If restricting ownership of handguns among ordinary law-abiding citizens had a positive impact on crime, our existing laws would already have produced the benefits. Since 1934, anyone wanting to own a pistol in Canada has had to be registered with the RCMP or the federal gun registry. The application process is long and arduous. The fact that almost no registered handgun owner ever commits murder or other forms of violent crime in Canada (one of the recent Toronto shootings being a noteworthy exception) is a testament to the thoroughness of the background checks.

On top of that, since the early 1990s, Canada's 500,000 or so handgun owners have had to have police approval to move their guns from their homes, and even then may only move them under the strictest of conditions. Typically, owners must lock their guns in a tamper-resistant case, which must further be locked in the trunks of their cars. Then they must drive directly from their homes to an approved shooting range and back, making no stops along the way -- even for gas or a restroom break."

3) The Toronto Sun - 1/22/2008 - PAGE: 6 - By MARK BONOKOSKI
Despite what Mayor Miller says, a ban on handguns would do little to quell gun violence in this city -- just look to the U.K. for proof
. . .
The following year -- in 1997 -- the British Parliament passed a law banning the outright ownership of handguns.

Two years after those weapons were banned, a report by the Centre for Defence Studies at London's prestigious King College indicated the use of handguns in crime rose 40% in Great Britain -- from 2,648 incidents in 1997-98 to 3,685 incidents in 1999-2000 -- and concluded that the ban served to only target legitimate gun owners, and did absolutely nothing to target criminals.

And the problem, according to the latest figures, is worsening.

In what was cited as the "stark truth about the battle against gun crime" in Britain's major cities, gunshot murders in 2006 rose 6%, and gunshot injuries rose 10%, totalling out at 958 victims -- all of which represented a 20% overall increase in handgun shootings since the statistics were first compiled two years into the handgun ban. . . .

At least this is progress when even the Toronto newspapers are opposing the ban. On the other hand, the NDP came out for the ban.

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DC lawsuit against gun companies is dismissed

The Second Amendment Foundation released this press release:

The Second Amendment Foundation today applauded the unanimous ruling by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals that dismissed a lawsuit against 25 gun manufacturers filed by the district and families of nine gun crime victims in the city.

The lawsuit was filed in January 2000, but according to the opinion written by Associate Judge Michael William Farrell, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2005 required the court to dismiss the case.

SAF founder Alan Gottlieb said the ruling was proper, and recalled that it was municipal lawsuits like this which led to passage of the federal legislation in the first place. At one time, several cities filed a string of junk lawsuits against gun makers, and SAF actually filed counter suits against big city mayors who launched the legal attack. SAF was not a participant in this litigation. . . .

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Even more gun control laws being pushed in Virginia after Virginia Tech Attack

Another law may be passed after VT that would not have stopped the attack if had been in effect prior to the attack:

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Survivors and families of the victims of the Virginia Tech shootings faced off Monday against gun-rights advocates over a bill that would prevent criminals and the mentally ill from buying firearms at gun shows.

About 100 supporters of the measure lay on the Capitol lawn to honor the victims of gun violence, as about 200 opponents stood nearby, holding signs that read, "Here Lie Disarmed Victims." . . .

Why don't they push to end the gun free zones that made the attack possible? A typical example of how one regulation leads to yet more regulations.

Thanks again to Rich for sending this link to me.



The backlash to DOJ DC gun ban brief

The Washington Post discusses the reaction to the Bush Administration's brief here:

The Bush administration's position in the case before the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the District of Columbia's ban on handguns has created an unexpected and serious backlash in conservative circles, disappointing gun enthusiasts and creating implications for the presidential campaign.

The government's brief, filed by U.S. Solicitor General Paul D. Clement just hours before the court's deadline Jan. 11, endorses the view that the Second Amendment conveys an individual right to gun ownership, a finding long sought by gun rights activists.

But it also said an appeals court used the wrong standard when it struck down the District's ban on private handgun ownership, and it urged the Supreme Court to return the case to the lower court for review.

If the justices accept that advice when they hear the case in the spring, it could mean additional years of litigation over the controversial Second Amendment and could undo a ruling that was a seminal victory for gun rights enthusiasts. . . .

The piece notes that Senator Fred Thompson spoke out against the brief, though it doesn't make clear that he was the only one to do so.

In a debate last week in Nevada, all three major Democratic candidates pledged their fealty to the Second Amendment -- "People have a right to bear arms," Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) said -- although none mentioned the District's handgun ban.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, it would seem that it was the moderator's job to put the question squarely to them.

Here was my earlier take on all this.

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Podcast Interview With Michael Bane

Michael Bane's interview with me can be heard here.

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Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

From the NRAILA legislative alert:

"Incredibly, the Commission even refused to add language that would exempt the discharge of a firearm for self-defense in campgrounds."

Well, at least bears might not be as attracted to gun free zones as killers are. Though come to think about it, they may begin to learn over time that they have less to worry about so it might have the same impact.

Thanks to Sonya Jones for sending this to me.

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Glenn Harlan Reynolds & Brannon P. Denning Give their take on Heller

To see their take in the Online Companion to the Texas Law Review click here.

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Amicus briefs were filed in support of the District of Columbia government

For those interested, the Amicus briefs in support of DC's position can be found here.

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New Op-ed: Bad Brief: The Bush DOJ shoots at the Second Amedment

Here is the new op-ed that I have this morning at National Review Online:

A lot of Americans who believe in the right to own guns were very disappointed this weekend. On Friday, the Bush administration’s Justice Department entered into the fray over the District of Columbia’s 1976 handgun ban by filing a brief to the Supreme Court that effectively supports the ban. The administration pays lip service to the notion that the Second Amendment protects gun ownership as an “individual right,” but their brief leaves the term essentially meaningless. . . .

UPDATE: For different perspectives see here and here.

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Yes, you read this headline correctly. An email from Joe Olson at Hamline University School of Law alerted me to this problem. David Hardy briefly discusses the Bush Administration's brief on the Parker/Heller case. Here is my question: if it is merely a question of reasonable regulations, why put the second amendment in the bill of rights? Why use the term "shall not be infringed"? The DOJ brief mentions the phrase "shall not be infringed" once when it quotes the amendment. Here is my question: what would the writers of the Second Amendment have had to write if they were serious that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed"? A copy of DOJ's brief can be seen here.

There are numerous factual mistakes in the brief. For example, on page 21 they refer to the "current federal machine gun ban." There is no such ban. Some 250,000 machine guns are legally owned in the US. The discussion of what is meant by the term "well regulated" on page 22 is not what I know the term to mean. As I understood the term at the amendment was written meant "well disciplined," but the DOJ brief wants to use the current usage of the term.

What is particularly disappointing is the excellent research that the DOJ had done on the Second Amendment just a few years earlier. Thanks to John McGregor for reminding me to post a link to this.

The Washington Post's take on the DOJ brief can be read here.

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When to joke and when to give serious answers?

I guess that I frequently take things too seriously, but while Huckabee is strong on protecting people's right to own guns, he rarely seems to explain the reasons well. I am not sure what to make of the answer below. Is it funny? Yes, I guess so. But in the discussion below will listeners come away thinking that there is a real problem by not having a one-gun-a-month rule? I fear that is the case. Can't there be some kernel of education in the discussion? This is from Huckabee's appearance on the Colbert Report:

COLBERT: South Carolina gun laws are so loose that you can go into any gun shop and buy as many handguns as you want. I mean 200 of them and then just ship them up here to New York and sell them illegally on the street and raise some serious scratch.

HUCKABEE: How do you think I've financed my campaign for the past 11 months?

COLBERT: Smart man!

COLBERT: Pick me up a couple?

HUCKABEE: On their way. What kind would you like?

COLBERT: Something with the serial numbers scratched off.

HUCKABEE: Consider it done.

COLBERT: I know you're a man of your word. You would never rescind your offer of making me vice president no matter how well you do in the campaign. But I'm going to give you one more chance to get out of it. Just ask me, I'll say no ...

HUCKABEE: Steven, be my running mate?

COLBERT: Yes!!!!!!!!!

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SF Gun Ban Thrown Out by California Appeals Court

Virginia Governor Tim Kaine pushes for more gun control

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Gov. Timothy M. Kaine on Tuesday proposed requiring background checks for everyone who tries to purchase firearms at gun shows - legislation he called critical to helping prevent tragedies like the shootings at Virginia Tech.

Critical? Did the killer at Virginia Tech get his gun from a gun show? No. Of course, the new NICS law was prompted by the VT attack, but even if it had been in effect at the time, it wouldn't have stopped the attack. In addition, the November 2001 report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics indicates that fewer than 1 percent of prison inmates who possessed a gun when they were caught obtained their gun from a gun show. To make it clear, 30 percent of state prison inmates possessed a gun when they were caught and of these only .7% got their gun from a gun show. Only about 10 percent of violent crimes are committed with a gun. Many of these 30 percent did not use a gun in their crime.



For those interested in limiting gun magazine sizes

With the assault weapons ban again being discussed in the presidential campaign (e.g., Mitt Romney), there are two facts to consider.

1) Here is a youtube presentation about how quickly guns can be reloaded.

2) As an empirical fact the reloading rate for guns is largely irrelevant because the number of murders each year involving more than a few bullets fired is extremely rare.



Re-opening the debate to arm pilots?

Some are apparently questioning whether pilots should be armed. My friend Tracy Price looks at the arguments in a new argument.

In a recent interview, Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida stated: "The need for guns in the cockpit is just nearly not [sic] as acute as it once was. There are all kind [sic] of screening systems, there is now the reinforced cockpit door, there are air marshals, we now have a lots of checks and balances." Hearing this, some might ask, "Do airline pilots still need to be armed?" The answer is, "Absolutely — now more than ever."

Consider this: Arming pilots is not a new idea. In fact, airline pilots flew armed in large numbers from the dawn of commercial aviation to 1987 with no record of incident. When the federal government disarmed pilots in 1987, many pilots predicted cockpit takeover attempts — including the late Captain Victor Saracini, who, in horrible irony, was the captain of United flight 175 on September 11, 2001 when his Boeing 767 was hijacked and crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center. It was the disarming of pilots in 1987 that inevitably led to the September 11 cockpit takeovers. . . .

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DC Fires its Lead Attorney in the DC Gun Ban Case

I caution people against reading too much into this, but it is generally positive.

David Vladeck, a professor at Georgetown Law School, said Morrison's departure would be a major blow to the D.C. team that has been preparing the case.

"This is a case that requires an unusual amount of preparation because one of the issues comes back to, 'What did those folks who wrote the Bill of Rights really mean when they wrote the Second Amendment,' " said Vladeck, who is friends with Morrison and had been consulting on the case. "In addition to needing a good lawyer and appellate advocate, you need someone who has immersed himself in very complex historical sources. Alan has been doing that for two or three months by now. Whoever takes over this case will start many, many, many laps behind where we ought to be."

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Giuliani On Gun Control

Obviously this old youtube clip is relevant given the current primaries and Giuliani arguing that he supports gun ownership, but the reason for linking to this is that Giuliani is making the old argument about treating gun ownership like we treat cars. In fact, if we had the same rules for guns that we have for cars, we would be deregulating gun ownership. The reason is simple. You don't need a license to own a car on your own property. The various regulations on cars only apply once you take the car off of your property, but once you meet those regulations you can take your car anyplace in the United States. If guns were treated similarly, there would be no regulations, no licensing, no safety requirements as long as you kept the gun on your property. (By the way, you can transport a car off of your property, but you just can't drive it without the license.) The driver's license would be like a right-to-carry permit, but if the permit was like the driver's license, once you got it you would be able to take your gun with you any place in the US.

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News Items from the UK

Having guns makes a teacher unfit to teach in England:

A TEACHER police feared could become "the next Thomas Hamilton" has been banned from the profession. Firearms enthusiast Stewart Nicoll, 56, is to be struck off by the General Teaching Council for Scotland after being found guilty of professional misconduct at Grantown Grammar in the Highlands.

He had previously been suspended by the local authority on full pay after his civil case against the police to win back his guns hit the headlines. . . . .

It appears that someone as young as eight years of age has been allowed to fire a shotgun in England:

Children as young as eight are being issued gun licences by the police, figures showed yesterday. # Have your say: Is eight too young for a gun?

Forces granted 1,291 shotgun certificates to those aged 16 and under in England and Wales during the 12 months to October.

Police said that there was no minimum age requirement for a holding licence and that a certificate would be issued to anyone who was not banned under the Firearms Act or did not pose a risk to public safety.

Campiagners expressed shock last night that those so young were being given licences. However, police said that children were not allowed to own a gun unless they were over 16 and licences were not issued until they were satisfied that security measures were in place and that adults were supervising correctly. . . . .

Thanks to Bruce Mills for these links.

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"Nebraska may consider assault weapons ban"

Well, here is one fall out of the recent mall attack in Nebraska: "Nebraska may consider assault weapons ban"

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Using a tragedy to pass unrelated gun regulations


Will Ferrell and Gun Control

I confess that I have always liked Will Ferrell's movies and have not only seen them in theaters, but I have also given DVDs to people. Well, not only has Ferrell been "deemed the worst celebrity signer" for autographs and apparently just not very friendly to his fans when they meet him, but he is also a big donor to gun control efforts. Apparently, other big contributors include actors Peter Weller and Amy Brenneman.

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A first hand account of how the Colorado Church attack was stopped


Open Carry at the University of Utah?

The U and gun rights activists appear to be headed for another legal clash.

The debate: whether or not concealed weapons permit holders can openly display their firearms on campus.

Students and staff with permits have been allowed to carry guns on campus since last fall when the Utah State Supreme Court struck down the U's gun ban. After battling the state for nearly five years, administrators said they were happy to put the issue behind them when they dropped a federal lawsuit against the state last spring. . . .

While I understand the push for this from a desire to get people to accept gun ownership, the benefits regarding stopping multiple victim public shootings are much bigger for concealed carry because the criminals won't know until they attack which potential victims will be able to fight back.

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Very lively debate on Supreme Court Gun Ban Case

Last week I had a debate with Richard French on the Regional News Network, which is in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey. I believe that you can watch the debate here, though I can't seem to get it to work because it apparently doesn't work with Macs. If that doesn't wok, you could try this and search under "John Lott."

P.S. I have both Windows Media 7 for the Mac and I have tried with both Firefox and Safari, but failed to get this work. If any readers could help me out with the exact link (assuming that I got it wrong), please let me know.

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Michelle Obama (Barack's wife) sees need for guns in rural America

“My wife, she was traveling up, I think, in eastern Iowa, she was driving through this nice, beautiful area, going through all this farmland and hills and rivers and she said ‘Boy, it’s really pretty up here,’ but she said, ‘But you know, I can see why if I was living out here, I’d want a gun. Because, you know, 911 is going to take some time before somebody responds. You know what I mean? You know, it’s like five miles between every house.”

Well, I know Barack from when we were both at the University of Chicago Law School, and I have the strong belief that he does not people that any private citizens should be able to own guns and that he never came across a gun control law that he didn't like. This appears to be a bit of election time conversion or that his wife has different views than he does.

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CBS Correspondent Predicts Close Decision Over DC Gun Ban Case with

Even more importantly he predicts that with Kennedy as the swing vote, most gun control will still be allowed. I assume that this isn't the same standard that Kennedy thinks applies to the first and fourth amendments.

One of Justice Anthony Kennedy's law clerks, Orrin Kerr, recently predicted this precise scenario. After declaring that there is an individual right under the Second Amendment, "Kennedy will endorse a relatively deferential standard of review that will end up allowing a great deal of gun regulation," wrote Kerr.

It matters what Kerr thinks about Kennedy because it matters what Kennedy thinks about the court. Almost certainly he will be the "5" if the gun case is decided, as most think it will be, through a 5-4 ruling. The litigants surely know this and so will cater their briefs to push the Swing Justice in one direction or the other. But will Kennedy, in the end, be willing to forge the compromise that ends that individual/collective "dichotomy" that Professor Cornell complains about? . . . . .

Thanks to John Lazar for sending me this link.

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Letter From Canadian Police Officer to Member of Parliament

I received this from Garry Breitkreuz's office:

I am a peace officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and am currently posted to the xxxxxxxxxx Detachment.

One of my current responsibilities is to train new cadets that have recently graduated from Depot Division by furthering their "hands on" training in the field. I am very concerned about this new Bill regarding firearms registration. I am concerned that if it is not passed in the House that more Mounties may face the same fate as the two young men did within this last month.

This firearms registration must be abolished once and for all! I find that I have to deprogram every cadet that I train when it comes to CFRO checks and their reliability in regards to officer safety. One dark evening, myself and a newly graduated cadet had to visit a residence of someone suspected of a violent crime. The cadet told me, rather proudly, that they had conducted a CFRO check on the house and that it showed that there were no firearms present, so we would not have to worry.

I scolded his ignorance and naivety. I told him to stop and think about that for a moment. I said, "Do you honestly think that someone who is already living a criminal lifestyle and is in possession of firearms has any intention of registering them?" I told him to never place any faith in the registry and most of all, never trust that notion that just because nothing is registered to an individual then an officer's safety is insured. Conversely also, do not ever believe that just because someone has a firearm registered that they will never use it in the commission of an offence! It does not matter if a gun is registered, if someone is bent on crime they will use a registered or non-registered gun. If no gun is available, they will use something else.

In my evaluation, the registry only causes more criminal code infractions (before the amnesty) as police query law abiding citizens' guns to see if they are registered only to find out that they may not be - in spite of the claims that the owner did in fact attempt to register them; or the information on the registration certificate is incorrect, etc. making the gun owner appear negligent.

The gun registry places police officers' lives at risk. The gun registry offers a false sense of security. The gun registry is making criminals out of otherwise law-abiding citizens. The gun registry is eating up resources that the RCMP and every other municipal or first nation force desperately need. The gun registry consumes valuable time for the average police officer on the street who has real crime to fight. Saying that the guns are the problem in this society is like saying pens are the cause of spelling errors, or that cars are the cause of drunk driving, or like saying fast food restaurants are the cause of obesity.

When will common sense prevail? People need to be held accountable for their actions - whether with firearms, alcohol, vehicles, etc. That is what the Conservatives did with the Liberals when in opposition and then on a larger scale once elected.

The gun registry brings justice into disrepute. It is an absolute waste of taxpayers money. The registry does nothing to fight the crime issues in this country. Please do everything possible to make sure that this Bill passes.

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Finally, University of Iowa Police will begin carrying guns

Glenn Reynolds on the Second Amendment and the options the Supreme Court Faces

It can find that the Second Amendment doesn't grant individual rights, but only protects the right of states to arm their militias (or "state armies," as some gun-control advocates put it). This would make the DC case go away, but at some cost: If states have a constitutional right, as against the federal government, to arm their militias as they see fit, then states that don't like federal gun-control laws could just enroll every law-abiding citizen in the state militia and authorize those citizens to possess machine guns, tanks and other military gear.

This is the first time that I have seen this point. Putting the merits of this approach aside (even DC doesn't appear to really have its heart in this approach), I really wonder if gun control advocates know what they might be getting into if they get their wish regarding the DC gun ban.

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Supreme Court Grants Cert for DC Gun Ban Case

Whatever one thinks is the obvious meaning of "shall not infringe," this case is a big risk. I would have thought that the first amendment was clear with "shall pass no law," but the court interpreted this as "Congress shall pass no law unless it has a good reason." The case is likely to be closely decided.

Probably one reason why the court took an extra week to announce that they were taking the case was because they were rewriting the question before the court:

Here is the way the Court phrased the granted issue:

“Whether the following provisions — D.C. Code secs. 7-2502.02(a)(4), 22-4504(a), and 7-2507.02 — violate the Second Amendment rights of individuals who are not affiliated with any state-regulated militia, but who wish to keep handguns and other firearms for private use in their homes?”

The Scotusblog has a useful discussion of the case.

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Boston Police to Search People's Homes for Guns

Boston police are launching a program that will call upon parents in high-crime neighborhoods to allow detectives into their homes, without a warrant, to search for guns in their children's bedrooms.

The program, which is already raising questions about civil liberties, is based on the premise that parents are so fearful of gun violence and the possibility that their own teenagers will be caught up in it that they will turn to police for help, even in their own households.

In the next two weeks, Boston police officers who are assigned to schools will begin going to homes where they believe teenagers might have guns. The officers will travel in groups of three, dress in plainclothes to avoid attracting negative attention, and ask the teenager's parent or legal guardian for permission to search. If the parents say no, police said, the officers will leave. . . . .

Thanks to Rich for sending me this link.



An argument for the Supreme Court to Review the DC gun ban

Robert Levy in today's LA Times:

Later this month, the Supreme Court will decide whether to review the circuit court's blockbuster opinion in Parker vs. District of Columbia, the first federal appellate opinion to overturn a gun control law on the ground that the 2nd Amendment protects the rights of individuals. If the high court takes the case, oral arguments likely will be held this spring, with a decision expected before June 30. . . . .

The stakes are immense. Very few legal questions stir the passions like gun control. And this round of the courtroom battle will be fought during the heat of the 2008 election. Further, Washington is home to the federal government, making it an appropriate venue to challenge all federal gun laws, no matter where an alleged 2nd Amendment violation might have occurred. Thus, Parker could have an immediate effect not only on D.C. gun regulations but on federal regulations. . . . .

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New Rules for Learning Names of Concealed Handgun Permit Holders In Ohio

Around "50,000 Swedes own handguns"

Ted Nugent on why people should be able to own guns

My friend Ted Nugent discusses the need for the Second Amendment here.

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No announcement on whether the Supreme Court will Hear the DC gun ban case


We could know by Tuesday Whether the Supreme Court will take up the DC Gun Ban Case

The court apparently made their decision on November 9th regarding granting cert and could announce the decision this coming Tuesday.

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International Pressure on Finland to Change Gun Control Laws

It was an easy prediction. The horrible tragedy just a couple of days earlier has already lead to calls for sweeping gun control laws in Finland. The government has already caved into some demands and will raise the age of purchasing a gun to 18 from 15, even though the killer was 18. I guess that the point is that some change needed to be made even if it would have had nothing to do with the tradegy. As far as I can tell, there was no discussion of any costs from raising the age.

The government said Friday it would raise the minimum age for buying guns from 15 to 18, but insisted there was no need for sweeping changes to gun laws shaped by deep-rooted traditions of hunting in the sub-Arctic wilderness.

"If you look at the rate of homicides with firearms (in Finland), the figure is very low," Interior Ministry spokesman Ilkka Salmi said. "People using guns are hunters. They live in rural areas. It's part of the life over there."

According to a government study in 2002, 14 percent of homicides in Finland are gun-related.

International gun control activists have urged the Finns to rethink their laws in the wake of Wednesday's tragedy. . . . . .

The article contains the absurd claim that Finland with 1.6 million guns and 5.2 million people ranks 3rd in civilian gun ownership worldwide. Finland does have a high gun ownership rate, but it isn't third. In any case, possibly it will cause people to realize that other countries own a lot of guns besides the US.



Carolyn McCarthy doesn't know what is in her gun ban legislation

This YouTube video shows Democratic Representative Carolyn McCarthy evading a question on her gun ban legislation until she is finally pinned down and forced to admit that she doesn't know what is in the legislation that she is pushing. This segment from MSNBC is a little old, but it is still amusing.

Thanks to Gus Cotey.



Finland: "Gun ownership high, violence low"


Fred Thompson Answers Questions on Guns for Field and Stream

Thompson has a long list of answers. Here is one on the BATFE:

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives should have as its priority its efforts to combat violent crime, violent criminal gangs, and to interdict and disrupt the gun traffickers who supply violent gang members with firearms. While one way to curb illicit gun trafficking is to ensure that legitimate dealers maintain their paperwork in good order, these paperwork violations should in no way be BATFE’s focus. I would also consider giving BATFE a wider range of sanctions so that dealers’ simple paperwork violations do not result in license revocations. Finally, having a politically accountable BATFE Director, who is now subject to Senate confirmation, instead of a career bureaucrat should also help change BATFE’s priorities and make the agency more responsive. . . .

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Another Multiple Victim Public Shooting in Another Country


Finally, Iowa Campus Police Allowed to be Armed

Some New York City Council Members Who Own Guns

Well, at least a few people, even if they are politicians, are getting permits.

A City Council member who represents parts of Staten Island, Vincent Ignizio, says he is hoping to obtain a gun permit from the city — a process that can take up to six months.

Mr. Ignizio, a Republican, said he wants to buy a rifle or a handgun for protection in his home. When he was growing up on Staten Island his father owned a gun for protection and he said he always knew he would do the same when he had a family. His first child, a girl, was born earlier this month.

If approved Mr. Ignizio would join a small group of elected officials known to own guns. A council member who is a Democrat and represents parts of Queens, Peter Vallone Jr., owns a rifle and said he is not aware of any other council members who own firearms. Mr. Ignizio's plan to arm himself was reported by the Staten Island Advance and picked up on the politics Web log of the New York Observer. . . .



Federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act Does Not Stop Gary, Indiana Lawsuit Against Gun Makers

The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday that a lawsuit by the city of Gary against several gun makers can go to trial.

The court ruled 3-0 that a provision in the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2005 does not bar the case from going forward in state court. The federal law grants the industry broad protections from municipalities and victims seeking damages for gun-related violence.

Gary's lawsuit, filed in 1999, alleged that 16 gun makers and six Northern Indiana gun dealers sold guns they knew would end up in criminals' hands.

The Court of Appeals cited a prior ruling by the Indiana Supreme Court that said Indiana's public nuisance laws could apply to the city of Gary's claims and found that the federal law did not bar the city from taking legal action.

The federal law seeks to prevent lawsuits that try to use the judicial system to circumvent the legislative branch. But Gary's claim rests on state law passed by the Indiana legislature, the court noted.

It also cited an exception to the immunity provisions of the federal law that allows certain cases to go forward if plaintiffs can show that the manufacturers knowingly violated a statute applicable to the sale and marketing of firearms.

A Lake County judge dismissed the Gary case in 2001, saying the city cannot fault businesses beyond its jurisdiction for others' crimes. . . .



Giuliani Tries Reassuring Voters on Gun Control

LEBANON, N.H. — Republican presidential front-runner Rudy Giuliani is leaving the door open to allowing the blind and physically disabled to carry guns.

During a town hall meeting in northwestern New Hampshire Tuesday night, Giuliani told a former police officer blinded in the line of duty and concerned about the former New York City mayor's stance on guns, "You don't have to worry."

"You have a constitutional right, that is protected, to bear and carry arms. It is the Second Amendment," Giuliani told about 200 attendees in a high school gymnasium in Lebanon. "If someone disagrees with that, you have to get the Constitution changed."

He added that he believes in only three restrictions for those wishing to exercise their Second Amendment right — a previous criminal record, a history of mental instability and an age requirement. . . . .

Giuliani's answers are all over the map on guns as I discussed here. I have a hard time believing almost anything he wants to say on guns. One time he gives big qualifications, the next time he seems to believe that there are only three reasons for someone not being able to own a gun. If true, that would rule out most gun control.

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Second Grade Student Suspended for Drawing Stick Figure With Gun


New Op-ed: Teachers Packing Heat?


People's experiences with intrusive physicians

An unnamed friend of mine sent me this after reading my recent op-ed on physicians asking people about guns in their home:

The pediatrician asked what I'm sure was her standard list of questions for new parents. In my sleep deprived state I was not paying very close attention until guns were mentioned.

Pediatrician: "So, are there any smokers in the house?"
My wife: "No, neither of us smoke and none of the grandparents smoke."

Pediatrician: "Any pets in the house?"
My wife: "Yes, we have cat."
Pediatrician: "Okay" (presumably worried about Pit Bulls?)

Pediatrician: "Are there any guns in the house?"
My wife: (before I can say anything...) "Yes."
Pediatrician: "Do you have gun locks on them?"
Me: (jumping in and annoyed) "The question is irrelevent, don't you think? The kid is all of 5 days old."

The pediatrician was definitely caught off guard and quickly changed the subject while muttering something about it being a question to ask down the road.

Having had a law school seminar "taught" by someone from Handgun Control, Inc. who attempted to convince us guns were a public health issue, I was familiar with this battle.

I'm amazed (or maybe not) the pediatrican did not ask questions that would seem to me to be more relevant (and pressing) for new parents who have an infant in the house. Such as....

"Do you have a child seat for your car?"

"Do you place your baby on his back to sleep?"

"Do you have stairs in your house? And a child gate to keep them from falling down them?"

"Do you have a small plastic bath tub designed to bathe your an infant (rather than dropping the child in a regular bath tub full of water)?"

"Do you have covers on your electrical outlets?"

"Do you store household chemicals within reach of the child?"

"Do you leave small items around your house that your child could pick up and put in his mouth?"



Students for Concealed Carry on Campus push for Nationwide Protest

Nelson Lund deals with what he thinks is the strongest argument that can be made in favor of DC's gun ban

This is worth reading:


The District of Columbia forbids almost all civilians to possess handguns in their own homes. Rifles and shotguns are permitted, but they must be kept unloaded and either disassembled or secured with a trigger lock, making them useless for self defense. The D.C. Circuit recently held that this statute violates the Second Amendment.

One way to attack the D.C. Circuit decision is to argue that the Second Amendment protects the private possession of weapons only to the extent necessary to preserve in civilian hands a stock of weapons suitable for use while serving in the militia. Rifles and shotguns would be the most obviously useful weapons for militiamen to bring with them from home, and the D.C. statute permits civilians to possess rifles and shotguns, along with the ammunition these weapons require. Why does this not satisfy the Second Amendment?

This superficially plausible defense of the District’s statute was not adequately refuted in Judge Silberman’s opinion for the D.C. Circuit. This article demonstrates, largely but not exclusively on the basis of a careful linguistic analysis of the Second Amendment, that such a defense of the District’s statute is untenable.

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Poll results regarding support for gun control are changing

I wonder how much of this change is do to the change in the questions used in these polls. I believe that the older polls didn't include an option for making gun laws less strict.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 11 (UPI) -- A new Gallup poll says the gap is closing between people in the United States who support stricter gun laws and those opposed to new laws.

A survey last week found that 51 percent support stricter laws governing the sale of firearms. Those who said the laws should either be kept as they are or made less strict was 47 percent. Between 1990 and 2000, 60 percent of Americans favored stricter laws, Gallup said Thursday in a release.

The poll found that a majority of residents in the East and West favor stricter laws, while about half of those in the Midwest and South are opposed. Two-thirds of Democrats favor stricter gun laws, while a majority of Republicans and independents would rather laws remain as they are or become less strict.

The survey result, based on telephone interviews with 1,010 adults, has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percent. . . . .

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News coverage of Shirley Katz's attempt to carry a concealed handgun on school property

South Medford High School English teacher Shirley Katz won the first round of her legal bout for the right to carry a pistol onto school grounds today.

Jackson County Circuit Judge G. Philip Arnold dismissed a motion by the Medford School District to dismiss the case because she has not actually broken the school policy prohibiting teachers from bringing guns to school.

The judge told Katz he will issue a written opinion on her claim that the policy violates state law that gives concealed weapons permit holders the right to take guns into schools and other public buildings.

Outside the courtroom, Katz said it would be "naive" to think no one is carrying guns to school, she is just the first person with a concealed weapons permit to assert her rights in public.

The school district is arguing that while the state law does not let the school ban concealed handguns on school property, the school district is doing an end run by banning it in employee's employment contracts:

The judge did not rule today. Since there is no ruling Katz can decide to carry a weapon to school.

Her attorney advised her not to comment on whether she plans to do so.

“The whole point of carrying it concealed is that no one should know, whether you are carrying it concealed or not. And that no matter what happens my students will not know whether I am carrying concealed or not or if another teacher is carrying concealed or not,” said Katz.

The school district has previously indicated that they do not argue that carrying a concealed weapon is legal.

However, in a letter to Katz they indicated that they would punish her if she decides to do so, because she is an employee of the school district and under their policy she cannot carry a concealed firearm. . . . .

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Children, Doctors, and Guns

I got this email this afternoon:

I agree with the premise of your Op-Ed piece, with one caveat. My children's Pediatrician asked a similar question once when my son in to see her, but it was phrased a different (and I felt appropriate) way. She asked "If you were over at a friend or relative's house and was playing hide and seek and found a gun, what would you do?" I took that to be as innocent as asking if they knew what to do in the event of a fire. My son, who was 9 at the time, answered perfectly by telling her that he wouldn't touch it, he believes it's real, and goes and gets an adult. I didn't have a problem with the question posed in that manner. We have worked with both of our children with gun safety. Ours are locked away (quick handgun access for protection if needed; long guns and other firearms in gun safe). I am not a Texas CHL holder, but will be soon. My children are familiar with firearms and have been shown their destructive power, been to the range, etc., but I can't speak for other kids that may be in my house if I’m not immediately available. My kids need to have a good understanding because I can't control other's access in their homes. It's my responsibility to them.

Here is my response:

My only concern is that even by asking the question there is the implication that these deaths are at all common. In 2004 for children under 10, the age that would encompass your son, there were 28 accidental gun deaths (something that would have been the outcome of the hypothetical example that the doctor gave). If the doctor had gone through similar hypothetical questions for everything else that had 28 or fewer accidental deaths associated it, the doctor would have spent hours on the topic. Why just guns?

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New Op-ed: "Guns Don't Kill Kids, Irresponsible Adults With Guns Do"


Appearing on Glenn Beck Show on CNN Tonight

I will be on the Glenn Beck Show on CNN tonight to discuss the Oregon teacher case. The program airs at 7 and 9 PM EDT.

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Off-Duty Cop Stops knife wielding madman

Medford Oregon teacher wants to carry

A video of her interview can be seen here. I didn't think that she did a very good job. The point isn't the Second Amendment. The point is one of safety. The host starts off by talking about the conflict between freedom and safety and I would argue that this is one place that freedom and safety go together.

Bob Aldridge also sent me a link to this post.

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A thought on the DC Gun Ban Case

The ban comes "nowhere close to disarmament of residents. The District's overwhelming interest in reducing death and injury caused by handguns outweighs respondent's asserted need . . . ." The obvious key here is that DC says people can use rifles and shotguns for self-defense. DC also adds that they don't believe that the regulations that lock up and require the disassembling of guns does not "prevent the use of a lawful firearm in self-defense."

Here is the problem that DC faces. 1) The law is very clear. If you assemble and load a rifle or shotgun, that long gun becomes an illegal weapon. 2) On top of this, DC has won a previously legal victory before the Supreme Court that says that the DC police are not responsible for harm that comes to people. 3) The bottom line is that the DC police are not obligated to protect citizens AND DC will not allow people to defend themselves. I don't know how DC gets out of this. Either people are at least given the option to defend themselves or the city has to bear responsibllity.

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In Britain Air Guns are classified as firearms

TOUGH new laws about the sale and possession of air weapons and crossbows come into force today.

The crackdown, which will force all retailers to be registered as firearms dealers and restrict the sale of airguns and crossbows to the over-18s, represents a combination of UK and Scottish initiatives.

The UK government introduced the new laws on airguns, requiring dealers to conduct face-to-face sales and to record the name and address of the buyer and details of the weapon sold. The UK government was also responsible for raising the purchase age limit to 18. . . . .

Ministers moved to tighten the law following a rise in airgun crime in Scotland - offences have hit a seven-year high.

There have been three fatalities across Britain in the last two years, including the high-profile death of two-year-old Andrew Morton, the Glasgow boy who was shot in the head by Mark Bonini.

These three deaths over two years are tragic, but just out of curiosity how many other ways in the UK and Scotland have averaged at least 1.5 deaths per year?

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Big UN push for more gun control

If the Bush administration wasn't there, the UN would represent a real threat to gun ownership. You can only imagine what would happen with Hillary Clinton in office.

Britain, Japan, Australia and others are pushing for an unprecedented treaty regulating the arms trade worldwide, in a campaign sure to last years and to pit them against a determined American foe, the National Rifle Association.

In what U.N. officials say is an "overwhelming" response, almost 100 governments have submitted ideas for such a treaty, to be reviewed over the next year. There's an "extremely urgent" need for controls on the international gun trade, says Kenya, echoing the sentiment in much of guns-besieged Africa.

But in the U.S., the NRA says it sees a creeping attempt to limit civilian gun ownership within nations - even though the focus now is on setting standards for arms exports and imports.. . . .

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"Jodie's got a gun: Foster finds social meaning in 'Brave One' "

Jonathan Turley: "A liberal's lament: The NRA might be right after all"


Has Giuliani really changed on gun control?

Giuliani provides more details than he did before the NRA on one key point. I wish that he had provided more details earlier, but I still have to think about this reason.

In the interview, Giuliani said, "The case took a lot of twists and turns in the direction of trying to get a lot of information about the tracing of guns that would be used for private lawsuits" instead of solely for law enforcement purposes.

"I didn't anticipate that when I brought the case," he said.. . . . .

As I will explain in a piece that will come out soon, I am dubious that this is a serious change.

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Utah slightly tightens permitting rules

Surge in Florida Concealed Carry Permits


Wisconsin Judge Lets Delivery Man Carry Concealed Handgun for Job

A permit process would obviously be a lot less costly way of letting those who are able to carry a concealed handgun be able to do so.

A Milwaukee County judge found the concealed-weapon prosecution of a pizza driver who shot two would-be robbers in seven months unconstitutional Monday.

The ruling by Circuit Judge Daniel A. Noonan means Andres Vegas won't face criminal charges in the non-fatal shootings. Prosecutors had filed a misdemeanor count of carrying a concealed weapon after the second shooting, in January, and said Vegas had been warned after a July 2006 shooting not to carry a concealed gun while driving for his job.

However, Noonan agreed with defense attorneys' contention that Vegas needed the gun to protect himself in his chosen work, citing state Supreme Court decisions that found justified exceptions to the state's concealed-carry ban.

"Given Vegas's experience, he has a need for a gun at a moment's notice," Noonan writes in his decision. "Enclosing and unloading the weapon is not a reasonable alternative to secure and protect his safety. Plus, Vegas while delivering pizzas enters and exits his car constantly; it would be unreasonable for him every time that he enters his car to require him to unload it and place it in a case and then reverse the process every time he exits. This defeats the purpose of having the gun for security and protection. . . . .

Thanks to L A Stich for sending me this link.

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Did Giuliani Convince the NRA Last Week?

"Overzealous in Knoxville"

There is a bigger advantage to society from people carrying concealed handguns, but this citizen was still in the right:

Trevor Putnam knew the gun laws. The officer who stopped him didn’t.

“When I told him that I hadn’t done anything, he said he’d find a reason to put me in jail,” said Putnam, 24, who works with guns every day as vice president of Coal Creek Armory in West Knoxville.

“It’s not that I have a problem with police officers. I deal with police officers nationwide from Arizona to Maine every day. But I lost my confidence in a legal right that I knew I had.”

Knoxville police officers will get a refresher course on the state’s gun permit laws after an officer who didn’t know the law stopped, frisked and threatened to arrest Putnam for legally carrying a gun inside a Wal-Mart this summer.

Officer Glenn Todd Greene’s actions June 21 at the store on Walbrook Drive in West Knoxville earned him a written reprimand and remedial training for rudeness and not knowing the law, Internal Affairs records show. He’s worked for the Knoxville Police Department for about seven years.

Putnam got a written apology from Police Chief Sterling P. Owen IV.

“The officer was wrong I want to personally apologize to you for any embarrassment or inconvenience you may have suffered as a result of this incident,” the chief wrote.. . .

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More On Iowa Campus Police Not Yet Being Allowed to Carry Guns.

David Yepsen usually strikes me as a fairly mild mannered guy, but he just can't seem to restrain himself in discussing the opposition and delays in letting campus police carrying guns at Iowa's public universities. Yepsen surely understands the issues of deterrence and incapacitation:

Just when I was worried about finding new entertainment once the caucuses clear out of here in January, along comes the Board of Regents and the Des Moines School Board.

The regents act like the guys in charge of traffic control at a Tom Harkin steak fry.

They're a joke. This time, it's over the important security issue of whether to arm campus cops. The officers have asked for years to carry firearms. Most other college security officers do. The security chiefs at the universities want their officers to carry firearms, too.

But not in Iowa. We don't have mass shootings like they did at Virginia Tech. (Well, not very often anyway.)

It took that tragedy in Virginia to wake up everyone else. Now, the three state university presidents in Iowa are recommending campus peace officers at their schools be armed. That ought to be the end of it. The CEOs of the institutions have spoken. . . .

Another viewpoint is seen here:

Steinke said the regents feel they need more information before such a plan could be approved. According to Steinke, regents feel they need additional information on the type of ammunition the officers would use, the certification that they would be required to complete prior to carrying weapons and whether there would be background checks and psychological profiles of the officers carrying weapons. . . . .

Clearly, those are legitimate concerns. Equally clearly, they are concerns that can be addressed in a matter of days - certainly not weeks or months - by reviewing the existing policies of Iowa's existing law enforcement agencies and the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy.

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More on Teacher Trying to Take a Gun on School Property for Protection

Ashland, Ore. - In court documents, she's known as "Jane Doe." Innocuous enough, but the woman behind that pseudonym pushes one of the nation's hottest political buttons: guns and school safety.

What Ms. Doe wants to do is take her Glock 9-mm pistol to the high school in Medford, Ore., where she teaches.

She's licensed to carry a concealed weapon and she has what many supporters say is a legitimate reason for being armed: a restraining order against her ex-husband based on threats he's allegedly made against her and her children.

But district policy prohibits anyone except a law-enforcement officer from bringing a weapon onto campus. When word got out that she had a concealed-carry permit, administrators reminded her of that policy. There's the political rub: According to state law, "any element relating to firearms and components thereof, including ammunition, is vested solely in the Legislative Assembly."

Backed by gun-rights groups, Doe intends to challenge the school district in state court this week. Meanwhile throughout the country, lawmakers are filing bills that would make it legal for adult school employees to carry firearms, in some cases providing special weapons safety training for those who want to be part of their school's security force in addition to their classroom teaching duties. . . . .

Thanks for Will Brink and Scott A. Davis for sending me similar links on this story

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NRA might endorse Giuliani?


New Op-ed on DC Handgun Ban

D.C.’s brief makes a number of other claims:

The ban comes "nowhere close to disarmament of residents. The District's overwhelming interest in reducing death and injury caused by handguns outweighs respondent's asserted need . . . ." The obvious key here is that DC says people can use rifles and shotguns for self-defense. D.C. also adds that they don't believe that the regulations that lock up and require the disassembling of guns does not "prevent the use of a lawful firearm in self-defense."

But locked guns are simply not as readily accessible for defensive gun uses. In the U.S., states that require guns be locked up and unloaded face a 5 percent increase in murder and a 12 percent increase in rapes. Criminals are more likely to attack people in their homes and those attacks are more likely to be successful.

Since potentially armed victims deter criminals, storing a gun locked and unloaded actually encourages increased crime.

— "All too often, handguns in the heat of anger turn domestic violence into murder."

To put it bluntly, criminals are not your typical citizens.

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Debate continues at Iowa Public Universities over Arming Police

At the Iowa State forum, Stewart said that having campus police trained and certified to carry guns would help officers protect students. He said ISU police deserve the same level of protection as officers in other communities.

Warren Madden, ISU vice president of business and finance, said an armed police force could react more quickly to serious threats than other law enforcement agencies.

"Sometimes time is a critical element in responding to events," Madden said.

Herman Quirmbach, ISU associate professor of economics and a Democratic state senator from Ames, said arming campus police is not the answer to violence on campus. Rather, Quirmbach said, the university should identify students who may have violent tendencies and get them help.

Faculty at University of Northern Iowa and Iowa State University opposed letting police carry guns. The faculty at the University of Iowa voted "12-3 to support arming police." Well, the debate is heating up and the University Presidents have made their decisions even if they haven't been made public yet. One would hope that an economist such as Quirmbach would understand the notion of deterrence. In any case, why does he think that they will be successful in identifying those who will commit the attack (assuming that it is only students who will do it)? What do you do if you fail to identify those who want to do the attack?

Thanks to Richard Featherstone for sending this to me.

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