All Postings from August 2004

Michael Barone on the Culture Wars

Barone, the principal coauthor of The Almanac of American Politics and a man who is a walking encyclopedia on politics, writes that despite the big issues of war and terrorism "few voters on either side of the culture war seem to have changed sides". May be his piece explains why the Democrats have tried so hard to fuzz up the differences on culture issues such as guns.

More Democratic Vote Rigging in Florida?

We know that thousands of convicted felons voted illegally in Florida during the 2000 election, but there appears to have been another significant problem reported in the Washington Times.

According to an investigation by the New York Daily News, approximately 46,000 New Yorkers are registered to vote in both New York and in Florida, and of those voters, 68 percent are Democrats, 12 percent are Republicans and 16 percent are independent. Almost 1,700 voters that registered in both states requested that absentee ballots be sent to their homes in the other state, where they are also registered. Those numbers suggest that up to 1,000 illegal votes were cast for Al Gore in Florida.

Lorne Gunter: "The [Canadian] registry has saved no lives, prevented no crimes."

Lorne Gunter has an extensive discussion on the costly failure of Canada's gun registry program here. Some quotes:

Yet as Saskatchewan Conservative MP Garry Breitkreuz discovered this week, the government's own internal numbers indicate that at least one-quarter of owners remain unlicensed (the true figure is probably closer to half) and upwards of 1.5 million guns (including 300,000 handguns) cannot be accounted for. . . .

Winnipeg Police Constable Shelly Glover conceded: "We're certainly seeing more and more firearms in the street."

Interesting Talk about Liberalism at Universities

Mike Adams, University of North Carolina- Wilmington, gave an interesting talk on liberalism at universities. A video of the talk can be seen here. The talk focuses on Adam's new book, Welcome to the Ivory Tower of Babel.

Democratic Platform on Guns

I apparently missed what the Democratic platform had to say on guns. Fortunately, though geekwitha45 was looking through the document. (Thanks also to Joe Olson for the note.)

C-SPAN2's Book TV to Re-air the presentation of my book yet again on Saturday

C-SPAN2's Book TV will present the debate on my book, The Bias Against Guns, from 10:30 AM to about 12:20 PM EDT tomorrow. Follow the link to their website and you can see their synopsis of the event. The debate was lively and I have gotten a lot of good positive feedback from it.

Let Markets Work Even During Disasters

My latest oped is in Investors' Business Daily today. It makes the point that Floridians will generally be better off without anti-price gouging rules after a hurricane.

Serial Hammer Killer in London

London Police are investigating whether a serial hammer killer is targeting women in London.

Why so much negative campaigning? Blame campaign finance

John Fund has a discusses some of the many problems with campaign finance regulations:

It's fair to say that the so-called campaign finance reform that Mr. Bush signed into law in 2002 will result in more money being plowed into negative advertising during this campaign than ever before. The McCain-Feingold law was supposed to curb the influence of big money in politics. Instead, it has led to an avalanche of money landing in the coffers of so-called 527 groups.

Some real problems with Voting

John Fund also has a discussion today of the many problems with voter registration regulations:

An investigative report by the New York Daily News that found at least 46,000 registered New York City voters were also on voter rolls in Florida should serve as a wake-up call for states to clean up their Model-T voting systems and start exchanging information.

Florida is, of course, one of the most hotly contested states in this election after having been won by George W. Bush by only 537 votes in 2000. But its registration rolls are still clogged with people who don't belong on them. The Daily News found that 1,700 of the voters who had registered in both states had asked for absentee ballots to be mailed to their homes in the other state. But the paper found that even such blatant requests elicit shrugs from election officials: "Efforts to prevent people from registering and voting in one state rely mostly on the honor system."

That honor system has broken down in many states. CBS' "60 Minutes" has reported that the 1993 Motor Voter law, which allows people to register to vote when applying for a driver's license or welfare, also forbids election officials from asking people to produce information showing that they are eligible to vote. The result has been that many non-citizens are now registered to vote along with numerous people such as the Daily News sample who have registered more than once. "60 Minutes" even described cases of people who registered cats, a donkey and an elephant and then obtained absentee ballots in their names.

Paul Harvey's Thoughts on Cuba

“They have gun control in Cuba. They have universal health care in Cuba. So why do they want to come here?” — Paul Harvey

Good interview with Thomas Sowell in The American Enterprise

See Alphecca's take on the Presidential campaign here.

Fraud in the Venezuelan elections

The Wall Street Journal discusses the likely fraud in the Venezuelan elections. There is significant evidence that the voting machines were tampered with:

An exit poll done by the prominent U.S. polling firm of Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates showed 59% of voters opposed to Chávez and only 41% in favor. (Messrs. Penn and Schoen both worked for Bill Clinton in his 1996 re-election bid.) Raj Kumar, a principal at the polling firm, told me yesterday that the firm has gone back to try to explain the 34-point spread between the PSB poll and the results announced by the government. "While there are certainly biases that can impact any exit poll, we do not see any factor that could account for such a significant difference," he said. . . .

At three o'clock on Monday morning two members of the National Electoral Council (CNE) who are politically opposed to Chávez announced that they had been shut out of the audit process and warned the public that the established protocol had been violated. Some 50 minutes later pro-Chávez CNE member Francisco Carrasquero emerged alone to proclaim Chávez the winner. . . .The CNE is now engaged in a minimal audit with Mr. Carter and the OAS. But the opposition has wisely refused to participate on the grounds that the ballot boxes and the machines have been in Chávez control since Sunday and based on what is already known, further tampering can't be ruled out. As of yet there has not been an agreement on how to conduct a fair audit.

UPDATE: More on the Venezuelan elections:
The Wall Street Journal reports that “one Carter official acknowledged that their initial monitoring of Sunday's vote left some questions unanswered. Venezuelan election officials had agreed with the opposition to audit 1% of the 19,200 voting machines -- or 192 machines. The Carter Center was supposed to audit five machines, and the OAS another eight, of that number, according to officials from the Carter Center. On the night of the vote, however, the Carter Center and OAS audited only one machine each.” In addition, “wider audit also had problems. Just 84 of a planned 192 audits were carried out, according to the National Electoral Council. The government says opposition members were present at 64 of those, but opposition officials say they witnessed just 27 audits. Furthermore, some of the government's audits weren't carried out properly, officials from the Carter Center say. For instance, officials counted the total number of ballots, but not how many were "yes" votes and how many were "no" votes.”

I was recently asked by a columnist whether former President Jimmy Carter was evil or just stupid. I said that if I had to choose, I thought "just stupid" (I couldn't remotely believe that he was "evil"), but with this type of information coming out you really have to wonder what he was thinking. Why approve the election when they and the opposition weren't allowed to audit even a trivial number of the machines? The big problem to me, is that based upon everything that I read even the basic safe guards built into our electronic machines were not used down there.

For former President Carter's response see this.

Update: The Wall Street Journal weighs in again with an editorial. I think that this gets to the crux of the issue. The problem isn't with electronic machines per se, the problem is with how the auditing was done and all the normal safe guards were ignored.

On referendum day, there was no open audit at the polling stations to reconcile the paper ballots to the electronic voting machines, as the opposition requested, because Mr. Chávez would not allow it. There was also no closed-door audit with all of the National Electoral Council members present because the Chávez-controlled Council did not allow it. There was no inspection of the electronic voting machines immediately after the vote because Mr. Chávez would not allow it. And there was no impartial impounding of the election data--paper or digital--because . . . you get the idea.

"Make the invisible athletes visible"

James Swan discusses the media coverage of shooting sports at the Olympics:

"Shooting sports do better in the mainstream press abroad. In Switzerland, target shooting is the national pastime and a true passion. The winter biathlon is extremely popular in Europe. There were more people watching the biathlon in Lillehammer than any other event. The flag bearers of many European nations are shooting sports competitors. In the United States, however, shooting sports seldom get more than a footnote in coverage. The lack of American reporting on Olympic shooting events makes these competitors "invisible athletes" and another sad example of negative mainstream media bias against shooting sports. If you aren't that familiar with the shooting events, let me give you a brief overview."

Does Release Of Terror Info Do More Harm Than Good?

My latest piece in Investor's Business Daily asks what sense it makes to tell the terrorists the targets that we have learned that they want to hit?

While those five targets are undoubtedly safer, we have likely lost an important informational advantage and left new targets more vulnerable than the original ones. Can you imagine past wars if we had let the enemy know we had broken its codes before a major battle? How would World War II have turned out if we had let the Japanese know we knew of their carrier movements before Midway?

Mike Adam's tries to discuss self defense before women's studies departments

Mike Adams, a criminology professor, recently tried to give talks on self defense to women's studies departments at different universities. He has a new op-ed discussing the reaction (or lack of reaction) that he received. The only comment that I would make on the piece is that it might be a little stronger if he had gotten people on the telephone and made them all explicitly state why they did not think such a program would be useful, though obviously this would have taken more time.

Kerry and animal "rights" notes that not only does Kerry have a perfect voting score on gun control legislation, but he also has a perfect score on animal rights bills. It is interesting that he is selling himself as a hunter and yet feels so strongly about animal rights.

NIJ -- "Ban on Assault Weapons did not Reduce Violence"

The Washington Times reports on a yet to be released NIJ study regarding assault weapons. Chris Koper, one of the authors of the original NIJ study done under the Clinton administration, finds:

"The federal assault-weapons ban, scheduled to expire in September, is not responsible for the nation's steady decline in gun-related violence and its renewal likely will achieve little . . . 'We cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation's recent drop in gun violence.'"

Debate in Ohio over punch cards

The Columbus Dispatch carries a debate today between myself and Daniel Tokaji over whether punch card machines are unconstitutional. Tokaji claims that:

The problem with this [Lott's] analysis is that voters in different parts of the state have different candidates on the ballot. Some of these races are competitive, while others are not. In some but not others, candidates are running unopposed. Some races involve popular candidates, while others do not.

In fact, an older copy of my research is available here, and it clearly accounts for whether there is only one candidate in the race as well as the margin of victory.

Krugman continues to go over the top on electronic voting machines

The Krugman continues to spread fears about fraud with electronic voting machines. Here is what I wrote into the Times:

Paul Krugman is again spreading unjustified fear about electronic voting machines (August 17 and July 27). He incorrectly claims that with "no paper trail" for electronic voting machines there will be no "ballots to recount." Paper is only one way of keeping a record. Electronic voting machines have at least three simultaneous "write once, read only" memories, such as CDs. They allow for just as much of a recount as paper receipts. Krugman's claims risk poisoning political debates for years to come.

Air marshals cover only a few flights

The Washington Times breaks news on how poorly the air marshals program is working.

Olympics and Shooting Sports

Jeff Soyer has his weekly media coverage analysis up and it deals with the coverage given to guns during the Olympics. The various gun events seem to be getting more coverage this week than in the past.

Some information on revocation of concealed weapon permits in different states for 2002

Paulie World has a useful write up on concealed handguns. There are a few issues that could be clearer. For example, it should be noted that the 146 permits revoked in Florida should be made clear that they are for gun crimes (mainly taking guns into a restricted area).

Website detailing Kerry's views on guns

Sportsmen for Kerry/Edwards has a very useful collection of writings on Kerry's and Edwards' views on guns. One piece not included in this large list is by CNSNews. The piece notes that: "The tactic [of having his picture going shooting] is working, according to the Washington Post, which reported Monday that 42 percent of gun owners in the so-called red states believe Kerry would be a less aggressive advocate for gun control."

Washington Post has a favorable article on a group of women shooting shotguns

"Although they still represent less than 10 percent of hunters, women are the fastest-growing demographic, and the hunting industry is taking note."

A rather onesided debate on the expiring assault weapons ban

Yesterday night I participated in a discussion on the expiring assault weapons ban on "On the Point" carried on about 50 public radio stations. Gary Kleck also briefly appeared on the show. Audio links are available here.

When Hollywood changes the story line

James Swan discusses Hollywood's penchant to buying the rights to a story line and changing it in a more liberal direction:

"When Hollywood buys rights to a novel, the screen adaptation can have significant changes. In Robin Cook's novel "Outbreak," for example, the bad guys try to put HMOs out of business by releasing flesh-eating bacteria. When "Outbreak" was adapted for the big screen, the military became the bad guy, breeding a killer bug for a weapon that got out of control and nearly devastated the nation. When "Runaway Jury" was adapted into a feature film starring John Cusack, Dustin Hoffman, Gene Hackman, and Rachel Weisz, the "bad guys" on trial were changed to a firearms manufacturer and a gun store that sold assault weapons. Could such a scenario happen? Yes, but why change the story to make the gun industry the target? It would be nice to know.".

Senator Kerry on Hunting Deer

"I'd have to say deer," said the senator. "I go out with my trusty 12-gauge double-barrel, crawl around on my stomach... That's hunting."
For a good discussion on this hunting techique see Mark Steyn's op-ed.

Opinion's Political Diary Notes that being Anti-Gun May have Sunk Governor Bob Holden's Re-election

Mr. Holden's collapse in rural support was caused in part by discontent over poor roads and his needlessly confrontational stance towards the GOP legislature. But a large part of the anger stemmed from his veto of a bill that would have allowed law-abiding citizens to carry concealed weapons. While the legislature eventually overrode his veto, gun owners didn't forget his politically correct stance. "Show Me State gun owners showed Bob Holden the door," says Alan Gottlieb of the Citizen's Committee to Keep and Bear Arms. "Although they tried to downplay it, both the St. Louis Post Dispatch and Kansas City Star acknowledged that Holden's veto of concealed carry legislation cost him critical votes, especially in rural Missouri."

A couple of pieces on gun control

Mark Steyrn on the difference between Americans and French on Guns
Thomas Sowell on gun control and crime in Britain
Geoff Metcalf on gun ownership generally

Unbelievable self defense story from Australia

The Herald Sun reports on the case of a guard who shot a robber only to have the guard charged with murder:

Shaking and crying, a traumatised Karen Brown, 42, said yesterday she had feared for her life as she was punched in the head several times by William Aquilina, who was armed with a knuckle duster. "I was so scared," she said of the ambush and shooting outside a hotel in Sydney's southwest last Monday morning.

Ms Brown suffered a fractured skull, a fractured eye socket, a fractured nose, a fractured left hand and possible brain damage when the 25-year-old grabbed her hair, king-hit her and then battered her to the ground.

The convicted criminal then dragged her across the bitumen towards a stolen getaway car before she could release a bag containing between $30,000 and $50,000 in hotel takings. Moments later, a bleeding Ms Brown, who was dressed in casual clothes and whose gun had been concealed, shot Aquilina as he sat in the car. . . . "I looked up through a bloody haze," Ms Brown said. "I did not know where I was or exactly what had happened to me. All I knew was that blood was pouring into my eyes and my head was throbbing." . . .

Ms Brown had been collecting and banking the pub's takings for the past five months. "Nothing like this has ever happened before and nothing prepares you for this," she said. Ms Brown's sister, Katrina, said the incident had been devastating. . . . Mr Muratore's father, Vic, 73, said he believed Ms Brown should not be punished.

"She should not be charged -- I would have done the same thing," he said. "If you pay me to protect, I have to protect. Everybody reckons she's a champion. . . .

But Aquilina's grandfather, retired policeman Frank Rasmussen, has said Ms Brown should be charged. "He was murdered," Mr Rasmussen said. "That woman should have torn into that hotel as soon as she alleges she was hit and she should have asked for help. Instead, she advanced on my grandson and shot him in cold blood. "She's just a bitch. Sorry." . . .

Be careful what you eat

Mark Steyn has an interesting discussion of the Kerry and Edwards families' eating habits:

So the campaign team dropped in at the burger joint. Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of Kerry's running mate, had told a heartwarming personal anecdote at the Democratic convention about how every anniversary she and her husband celebrate at Wendy's, because on their wedding night it was the only restaurant they could afford to eat at.. . . Friday was the Edwardses' 27th anniversary, so, in keeping with tradition, they hit the Newburgh Wendy's, along with the Kerrys, campaign mascot Ben Affleck and accompanying press crew.

The photo-op didn't go smoothly. Kerry went over to say hi to some marines, who turned out to be Bush supporters and resented the interruption to their lunch. More telling was Teresa Heinz Kerry. She pointed to the picture of the bowl of chilli above the clerk's head: "What's that?" she asked. He explained that it was something called "chilli" and she said she'd like to try a bowl. The Senator also ordered a Frosty, a chocolate dessert. They toyed with them after a fashion, and then got back on the bus.

It then emerged that Wendy's had just been an appetiser. The campaign advance team had ordered 19 five-star lunches from the Newburgh Yacht Club for Kerry, Edwards, Affleck and co to be served back on the bus: shrimp vindaloo, grilled diver sea scallops, prosciutto, wrapped stuffed chicken, etc.

Kerry campaign split on how to handle gun issue

The Hill reports on the conflict within the Kerry campaign on how to handle the gun issue.

Kerry’s reluctance to mention the controversial issue on the campaign trail has agitated proponents of the ban, which is scheduled to expire Sept. 13. Kerry supports the ban, and, earlier this year, he changed his campaign schedule to vote for it to be extended. But some gun-control advocates say he has not done enough.

Home (description of book, downloadable data sets, and discussions of previous controversies)

Academic papers:

Social Science Research Network

Book Reviews:

For a list of book reviews on The Bias Against Guns, click here.

List of my Op-eds

Posts by topic

Appalachian law school attack

Baghdad murder rate

Arming Pilots

Fraudulent website pretending to be run by me

The Merced Pitchfork Killings and Vin Suprynowicz's quote

Ayres and Donohue

Stanford Law Review

Mother Jones article


Craig Newmark

Eric Rasmusen

William Sjostrom

Dr. T's

Interview with National Review Online

Lyonette Louis-Jacques's page on Firearms Regulation Worldwide

The End of Myth: An Interview with Dr. John Lott

Cold Comfort, Economist John Lott discusses the benefits of guns--and the hazards of pointing them out.

An interview with John R. Lott, Jr. author of More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws

Some data not found at

Updated Media Analysis of Appalachian Law School Attack

Since the first news search was done additional news stories have been added to Nexis:

There are thus now 218 unique stories, and a total of 294 stories counting duplicates (the stories in yellow were duplicates): Excel file for general overview and specific stories. Explicit mentions of defensive gun use increase from 2 to 3 now.

Journal of Legal Studies paper on spoiled ballots during the 2000 Presidential Election

Data set from USA Today, STATA 7.0 data set

"Do" File for some of the basic regressions from the paper