An associate editor of the Pioneer Press editorial page discusses gun free zones

The desire to get rid of gun free zones is getting more and more acceptance:

"We need to have a candid assessment about what more we can do to try to prevent these things from happening," Clinton said in the wake of the Columbine shootings. I agree, but more gun control legislation or more funding for early childhood education is not the answer. Volumes of legislation and far-reaching social programs have done nothing to stop the other deadly rampages, including the one in Red Lake. What makes us think one more law, one more program, or one more dollar will make any difference?

Indeed, it's an exercise in futility to try to make sense out of the senseless. Things happen and often times we don't know why. Instead of crafting a bevy of new legislation — on top of the laws that already exist — our time would be better spent preparing for the next time a school security guard or teacher is confronted by an insane student.

As distasteful as the idea may be to some, we need to be honest and admit that only one thing would have stopped Weise: a security guard, administrator or teacher, properly trained, and armed with a gun.


"Mum jailed for firing air gun in row of vandals"

Alphecca's Weekly Check on the Bias


"Steroids Prescribed To NFL Players"

So what about Philadelphia's Mayor Street blaming the Right-to-carry laws for Philadelphia's murder rate?

From my latest op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

No reporters seem to have asked Street or Rendell the obvious question: If permit-holders are the problem, how many of those 85 murders were caused by a person with a permitted concealed handgun? When I asked, the city police and mayor's office were unable or unwilling to answer that question, but my guess is zero.

In the extraordinarily rare cases when permit-holders get in trouble, there is news coverage. Yet there's not one single news story on such a case this year.

Indeed, with 28,000 concealed handgun permit-holders in Philadelphia and more than 600,000 statewide, there was no such murder last year, or the year before, or the year before in the entire state.

The other side of the debate is presented here.

The Philadelphia Daily News has its own call for more gun control.

My piece was also picked up in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

New Op-ed: Affirmative Action Has Mixed Results for Cops


Internet hunting in Texas may soon be banned

Don’t let anyone convince you that the Blue States have a monopoly on technologcal innovation. Case in point: a rancher in Texas says he’s going to start offering an Internet hunting service where visitors to his website can bag a deer, antelope, and wild pigs using a remote controlled .22 caliber rifle with a webcam mounted on it (the gun is already available for target practice right now, he’s just waiting for a faster Internet connection that’ll make the gun easier to aim). But don’t worry. Smokey, aka Texas Parks and Wildlife Department wildlife director Mike Berger, is already trying to figure out how to shut this down, and has proposed a new rule that’ll require anyone hunting animals to actually be physically present at the site where they’re shooting.

Thanks to Kevin Hassett to sending this link to me.

More on gun free zones

An op-ed on the Red Lake High School in Minnesota notes:

This is yet another shooting in another place ignorantly perceived as safe because of signs and policies that prohibit weapons. Yet these places take little, if any, affirmative action to ensure safety, let alone allowing for lawful self-defense. They pay lip service to security procedures and personnel and place "feel good" signs restricting weapons.
    These "victim disarmament zones" are actually worse than doing nothing as they take the attention off the real problems. They further a sense of complacency with respect to security. Ignorantly we assume a sign stating "No Guns Allowed" will protect us. . . .
    Utah, as one of few states that allow concealed carry in schools, is watched carefully as a "laboratory" of sorts for concealed carry in these environments. Concealed weapons have been allowed in schools since 1995 that has been recently re-enforced with legislation. We have also resisted efforts that would have mitigated lawful self-defense in schools and churches.

What has the Brady Campaign and the Violence Policy Center learned from the Minnesota Shooting?

Deterrence in the Movies


Happy Easter


Another take on the National Academy's panel on Firearms and Violence

NRA leader considers letting teachers carry guns

Apparently it is pretty easy to surprise some US Senators


New piece on CBS's program this past weekend on 50-caliber guns

Will St. Louis soon start issuing permits?


Scarborough Country Transcript: Arming teachers?

Here is the transcript of the SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY debate that I did the other night on whether permitted concealed handguns should be allowed on school property.

There is one additional piece of information that I recently discovered about the Red Lake High School attack. Apparently the guard who was killed saw the killer getting out of the car and immediately realized that there was a problem. Unfortunately, because of concerns over guns not even the guard was allowed to be armed. If even the guard had been armed in this case, the trajedy could have likely been avoided.

Alphecca has a more extensive roundup of different stories on the Red Lake High School attack.

May be there is some hope

An $80 million federal grant program to distribute gun locks free for the protection of children appears to have pivoted off course since they're being used by farmers to keep their gates locked.

"If you look from the road at farmers' gates, you can see them," Bedford County Sheriff's Detective Sgt. Chris Brown said today when asked about comments from Wartrace Town Hall Wednesday.

Wartrace Town Clerk Kim Curbow said Project ChildSafe's cable-style gun locks "look like a lock you would use on a bicycle." She and Wartrace Police Chief Ben Burris agreed the locks would also work as a farm gate lock.

"That's true," Brown said when asked about the observation in Wartrace. "They do use them for that."

Lawmen in Bedford County endorsed Project ChildSafe's goal -- protecting curious children from injury and/or death if they mishandle their parents' guns. However, two of the three law enforcement offices said they had locks left over from last year's distribution. Meanwhile, Wartrace has no trouble distributing the locks in its more rural area.

My research on how gun locks increase the total number of deaths is available here. My book, The Bias Against Guns, has a greatly expanded and updated discussion.

Another student killer on Prozac

Woman defends herself against violent husband

SILVER SPRINGS SHORES, Florida Mar. 20, 2005
A 38-year-old man was shot and killed late
Friday after his wife reportedly shot him to protect herself.

Timothy Shane Roberts, 38, was shot once in the chest by his wife Paula Kathryn Roberts, 35, during a physical altercation, said Marion County Sheriff's Office officials. Paramedics were dispatched to the home, 22 Hemlock Terrace Drive, at 10:09 p.m.

When deputies arrived, they found the man's wife kneeling next to him.

"The argument pretty much started with the daughter," said Sue Livoti, sheriff's office public information officer. When the man's wife got involved, the physical fight turned deadly.

The physical altercation began early Friday, according to Paula Roberts' account to police.

The couple spent Friday evening with their three children at the Ocala Shrine Club Carnival just a couple of miles away from their home. After they left, Timothy Roberts began to argue with his 16-year-old daughter, Kathryn.

Once at the home, he is said to have begun hitting his daughter. After his wife got involved, he began to attack her.

"The mother went into the bedroom and told him if he hit her again she would shoot him," Livoti said. "And he supposedly told her, 'You don't have the nerve.'

"He moved as if to strike her again and she fired one time, hitting him in the chest. The children ran to a neighbor's house and called 911," Livoti said in an earlier written press release.

Thanks to Robert Waters for sending this to me.


New piece on shootings in gun free zones

My newest op-ed on the recent multiple victim shootings is up on National Review Online. From the piece:

These restrictions on guns in schools weren't always in place. Prior to the end of 1995 when the Safe School Zone Act was enacted, virtually all the states that allowed citizens, whether they be teacher or principles or parents, to carry concealed handguns let them carry them on school grounds. Even Minnesota used to allow this.

Some have expressed fears over letting concealed permit holders carry guns on school campuses, but over all the years that permitted guns were allowed on school property there is no evidence that these guns were used improperly or caused any accidents.

UPDATE: A Canadian reader writes: "I think the most effective sign to put on your yard to prevent problems is 'A Proud and Active Member of The National Rifle Association', that is for you folks down there. If I put it on my yard I'd get arrested for inciting hatred or threatening or something."

UPDATE: Another reader puts it very straightforwardly: "Since two of the three shootings were done with a police officer's weapon, I don't see how that makes a case for more gun control."

Iraqi citizens use their guns to attack terrorists

Private Iraqis citizens risk their lives to stop terrorists:

Ordinary Iraqis rarely strike back at the insurgents who terrorize their country. But just before noon on Tuesday, a carpenter named Dhia saw a troop of masked gunmen with grenades coming toward his shop here and decided he had had enough.

As the gunmen emerged from their cars, Dhia and his young relatives shouldered their Kalashnikov rifles and opened fire, the police and witnesses said. In the fierce gun battle that followed, three of the insurgents were killed, and the rest fled just after the police arrived. Two of Dhia's nephews and a bystander were wounded, the police said.

"We attacked them before they attacked us," said Dhia, 35, his face still contorted with rage and excitement, as he stood barefoot outside his home a few hours after the battle, a 9-millimeter pistol in his hand. He would not give his last name.

"We killed three of those who call themselves the mujahedeen," he said. "I am waiting for the rest of them to come, and we will show them."


Should teachers be able to carry guns at school?

Joe Scarborough's show on MSNBC will discuss the issue of whether teachers should be able to carry guns at school tonight at 10PM ET. I will be discussing the issue with a criminal psychologist and an official of one of the teachers' unions for about 8 minutes.

Detailed information available here, here, here, here, and here.

UPDATE: Ted Nugent (yes, that Ted Nugent) writes: "GO JOHNNY GO JOHNNY GO JOHNNY GO! swing that crowbar of truth wontchya! remind em only a souless coward would admit to the facts yet still decide on helplessness & cowardice. God help us all."

Floridians could soon have more leeway to shoot those who break into their homes

Floridians could shoot anyone who invades their homes or cars with the intention of harming them, under a bill that got preliminary approval today in the Senate.

The bill by Sen. Durrell Peaden, R-Crestview, basically says that you don't have to back away from a confrontation. Under existing law, people can be prosecuted if they don't first try to find a way to escape from a confrontation.

Sen. Steve Geller, D-Hallendale, unsuccessfully tried to amend the bill so that it would only apply to homes, cars and other private locations - not confrontations on the street. Geller said he supported the old concept that "a man's home is his castle," and thought people should be able to defend themselves against carjackers, but he didn't want shootouts on the street if they could be avoided.

The Senate shouted down his amendment in a voice vote, and scheduled Peaden's bill for final action on Wednesday.

Another debate today

I will be on NPR's "To the Point" from 2:10 to 2:30 EDT today discussing the recent shootings and what should be done in response. "To the Point" is a nationally syndicated show on NPR and is carried on over 40 stations.

UPDATE: The show is available here.

Terrorists and Guns

My lastest article today with Sonya Jones in Investors' Business Daily, "If Gun Background Checks Don't Work, Will 'Watch Lists' Be Any More Effective?" can be found here.

I will also be appearing on MSNBC today from noon to at least 12:20 to debate Michael Barnes from the Brady Campaign on the recent multiple victim public shootings.

UPDATE: Something very unusual happened after the show on MSNBC, I got calls from two reporters saying what a good job that they thought that I had done. One from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said that while he agreed with Barnes on the issues, "if the only thing that I had to go on was today's program, I would have to agree with you." Both reporters said that they were disappointed by Barnes obnoxious and aggressive behavior. These calls could have been from friends of mine in terms of content, but they were from two reporters I didn't know and who were not naturally inclined to agree with me. They were simply upset enough by the personal attacks that they wanted to call me up.

UPDATE: The op-ed with Sonya has generated an unusual number of positive emails. Thanks.

Multiple Victim Public Shootings

It is just worth pointing out that each of the three recent major shootings in the Atlanta courtroom, in the Wisconsin church, and in the Minnesota school took place in civilian gun free zones.

Canada's Pierre Trudeau considered carrying a gun for protection

Pierre Trudeau was the head of the Liberal Party for many years and set Canada on the left wing course it continues on today. It is interesting though that the gun control regulations that he believed should be applied to everyone else he thought possibly shouldn't apply to him. From the newspaper "The Daily News" (Halifax, Canada)

The Daily News (Halifax)
DATE: 2005.03.20
SECTION: Your Books
PAGE: 13


Trudeau considered carrying a gun: book

Pierre Trudeau was so worried about his safety following his retirement from politics that he contemplated carrying a pistol. This anecdote from Robert Simmonds, who was head of the RCMP from 1977-1987, is one of scores found in Pierre. In a first-person account, Simmonds said he met Trudeau on a Montreal street sometime after the flamboyant former Liberal leader left the political scene in 1984.

"At the time, he had some concerns regarding his personal security and the security of his Montreal home and we talked about that," Simmonds writes. "He thought that, perhaps, it would be wise for him to carry a pistol.

"I (naturally) advised against such an approach and suggested that he leave all that to the (RCMP) force, which retains responsibility for the security of a retired prime minister as long as there is an actual or perceived threat."

"I believe that he accepted my assessment of the situation ... However, his suggested approach served as one more example of his long streak of independence and desire to take care of himself, no matter the circumstances."


Campaign Finance Scam?

The New York Post has an amazing story on a recent speech by one of the leading lights of the campaign finance movement. Here is the beginning of the article:

CAMPAIGN-FINANCE reform has been an immense scam perpetrated on the American people by a cadre of left-wing foundations and disguised as a "mass movement."

But don't take my word for it. One of the chief scammers, Sean Treglia, a former program officer of the Pew Charitable Trusts, confesses it all in an astonishing videotape I obtained earlier this week.

The tape — of a conference held at USC's Annenberg School for Communication in March of 2004 — shows Treglia expounding to a gathering of academics, experts and journalists (none of whom, apparently, ever wrote about Treglia's remarks) on just how Pew and other left-wing foundations plotted to create a fake grassroots movement to hoodwink Congress.

"I'm going to tell you a story that I've never told any reporter," Treglia says on the tape. "Now that I'm several months away from Pew and we have campaign-finance reform, I can tell this story."

John Fund has his take today on this story.


Please tell me that I am not misreading this

The New York Times seems to be endorsing hunting. OK, it is at least a little unclear, first stating that all sorts of tactics have been used to limit the number of deer and failed and then going on and claiming that the herds are being maximized for hunters. In any case, they still want someone (though as expected it is experts (not the common folks)) to kill deer.

Now, even bird lovers want the deer subdued. The New Jersey Audubon Society, in a report last week, urged the consideration of lethal means to solve the problem, arguing that fencing, contraception and other gentle tactics have proved largely ineffective. The group wants the government to rethink conservation policies it says are intended to maximize herds for hunters, and to consider - especially in the suburbs, where hunting is too dangerous - bringing in sharpshooters.

It may sound harsh, even strange coming from an organization whose mission is to foster "environmental awareness and a conservation ethic." But the group - which does not speak for the National Audubon Society - has it exactly right.


Some self defense stories from March 18th

A Citicab driver was dropping off two passengers Thursday night at the Lighthouse Bay Apartments when he was approached by an armed robber. 43-year-old George Robert Ramm has a license to carry a concealed weapon in his taxi.

WILMINGTON, Del. (3/18)
A Wilmington woman got the scare of her life when a nearly naked intruder broke into her home, but she turned the tables on the man, who quickly turned tail and ran.

According to police, Keith Simpson, 32, was wearing nothing more than a red T-shirt when he tried to break into her house Friday morning. "Somebody was ringing my doorbell and so I yelled, 'Who is it? Who is it?' They wouldn't answer," said Cheryl Pettaway. Pettaway grabbed her son and her gun and started to call 911.

That was when the half-naked Simpson broke through Pettaway's back door.

"The next thing you know, I just heard somebody in my house and I ran midpoint down the steps and I fired shots randomly," Pettaway said.

She fired her gun at least eight times, but missed the intruder. He tried to flee through the garage, but that is where he was caught by police.

FAIRFIELD, Tx. (3/18)
The resident told investigators that he armed himself with a handgun andwent to investigate. Shipp said that when the resident saw Richardson, clad only in a pair of underwear and still attempting to enter the house, he fired his weapon. He then went outside, fired additional shots and held the suspect at gunpoint until police arrived.

None of the shots hit Richardson, but he was later treated for cuts to his head. Investigators did not know how Richardson suffered the cuts.


Ann Coulter on Affirmative Action in Hiring Police

Ann's piece is very entertaining (the title is great "FREEZE! I JUST HAD MY NAILS DONE!"), and it was extremely nice of her to cite my research.
John Lott has looked at the actual data. (And I'll give you the citation! John R. Lott Jr., "Does a Helping Hand Put Others at Risk? Affirmative Action, Police Departments and Crime," Economic Inquiry, April 1, 2000.)

It turns out that, far from "de-escalating force" through their superior listening skills, female law enforcement officers vastly are more likely to shoot civilians than their male counterparts. (Especially when perps won't reveal where they bought a particularly darling pair of shoes.)

Unable to use intermediate force, like a bop on the nose, female officers quickly go to fatal force. According to Lott's analysis, each 1 percent increase in the number of white female officers in a police force increases the number of shootings of civilians by 2.7 percent.

Adding males to a police force decreases the number of civilians accidentally shot by police. Adding black males decreases civilian shootings by police even more. By contrast, adding white female officers increases accidental shootings. (And for my Handgun Control Inc. readers: Private citizens are much less likely to accidentally shoot someone than are the police, presumably because they do not have to approach the suspect and make an arrest.)

In addition to accidentally shooting people, female law enforcement officers are also more likely to be assaulted than male officers -- as the whole country saw in Atlanta last week. Lott says: "Increasing the number of female officers by 1 percentage point appears to increase the number of assaults on police by 15 percent to 19 percent."

My paper is available here.

New piece up on the congressional hearings on steroids

Sonya Jones and I have our new piece up on the congressional hearings. Among other points, the piece on National Review Online notes:
The committee’s chairman, Rep. Tom Davis (R., Va.) dismisses baseball's new rules, justifying the tough threats because steroid use by juveniles “is a public health crisis. [W]e have the parents of kids who have used steroids and committed suicide.”

The New York Times this month ran a long story this month on the late high-school-student Efrain Marrero, whose family claims that his stopping using steroids provides a “plausible explanation” for his suicide. While there is no scientific evidence linking steroids and suicide, the Times points to “persuasive anecdotal evidence.”

Yet, some perspective is needed here. While Davis claims that currently “over a half a million youth are using steroids,” the Times notes that, in addition to Marrero, only “two previous suicides had been attributed by parents to steroid use by young athletes.” With steroid use in high schools dating back to the 1950s, the suicide rate — even if Marrero's death were actually linked to steroids and not other factors — seems negligible compared to a male suicide rate for 15-to-24-year — olds averaging more than 20 per 100,000 over the last 30 years.

Even more startling is how the young male suicide rate has fallen over the last decade while steroid use has grown. On Meet the Press, Rep. Henry Waxman (D., Calif.) claimed that, over the last decade, steroid use had risen from one out of every 45 kids to one out of 16, while the young male suicide rate has gone down from 26 to 20 per 100,000.


Debate tonight on Social Security

I will be participating in a debate tonight at Swarthmore College on Social Security reform. The debate will basically be 4 against 1, with me being the one to defend the Social Security reform.


After Right-to-carry laws have been in effect for a year Ohio has the same news stories everyone else has had

"Gun certification moving slowly"


President of Harvard Gets No Confidence Vote

One perspective on the legal attempt to over turn the DC gun ban


"Study Shows U.S. Election Coverage Harder on Bush"

Congressional Investigators of Steroid Use in Baseball said to have the wrong motivations

George Will gives Congressmen Tom Davis and Henry Waxman a trashing.

The committee has discovered that its duties include informing all Americans, and especially children, that dangerous and illegal behavior is dangerous and illegal. So the committee has subpoenaed some baseball and players association officials and some current and retired players, including Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. Committee staffers say it has not subpoenaed Barry Bonds because his presence might make the hearing a media circus. Heaven forfend.

Canseco also gets a just discussion:

The one witness eager to testify is Canseco, who is flogging a book in which he accuses many players of using steroids. Jeff Merron of ESPN.com read the book — has Canseco done that? — and found:

Canseco says that during spring training 2001, when playing for the Angels against the Mariners and their second baseman Bret Boone, "I hit a double, and when I got out there to second base I got a good look at Boone. I couldn't believe my eyes. He was enormous. 'Oh my God,' I said to him. 'What have you been doing?' 'Shhh,' he said. 'Don't tell anybody.' " But in five Angels-Mariners games that spring, Canseco never reached second base.

He recounts game six of the 2000 World Series — which ended with game five. He recalls baseball in 1982 being "closed" to Latinos — although there were 62 major leaguers from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic and more from other Latin countries.



Off to give talks over the next couple of days

I will be in New Orleans to give talks to the annual Public Choice meetings as well as the Federalist Society. Talks will be on my recent work with Kevin Hassett on media bias and the judicial confirmation process.


A real circus: Congress subpoenas current, ex-baseball stars

Jose Canseco, Jason Giambi, Mark McGwire and four other baseball players were subpoenaed Wednesday to testify before a congressional committee investigating the sport’s steroids policy.

Curt Schilling, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro and Frank Thomas also were subpoenaed to appear at the March 17 hearing of the House Government Reform Committee along with players’ association head Donald Fehr, baseball executive vice presidents Rob Manfred and Sandy Alderson and San Diego general manager Kevin Towers.

Canseco, Fehr and Manfred had agreed to testify. Manfred will speak on behalf of baseball commissioner Bud Selig.

“The remaining witnesses, however, made it clear — either by flatly rejecting the invitation to testify or by ignoring our repeated attempts to contact them — they had no intention of appearing before the committee,” committee chairman Rep. Tom Davis and Rep. Henry Waxman, the ranking Democrat, said in a statement.

For my view on all this see this.


Illinois House Panel Approves Concealed Handgun Bill

Illinois is one of only 4 states that ban people from carrying concealed handgun. This week a state House panel overwhelmingly passed two concealed handgun bills, but don't hold your breath.


Piece on why New York City's Gun Industry Responsibility Act doesn't have any teeth

Professors ANTHONY J. SEBOK AND TIMOTHY LYTTON have a very interesting op-ed on New York City's Gun Industry Responsibility Act. People should read the piece, but it makes several interesting points:

1) New York State does not accept the rule that breach of a local ordinance can be the basis for per se negligence.

2) If instead the new law is classified as a "Police Power," they argue that it is almost certainly unconstitutional.

3) This may be one case that actually runs afowl of the Dormant Commerce Clause.

Democrats to disrupt signature gatherers for Schwarzenegger's ballot initiative drive

A liberal grassroots network that helped fuel Howard Dean's maverick run for president is crackling back to life to fight Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's ballot initiative drive, another sign that the governor's plans for a special election this year could produce a costly and fiercely partisan battle. . . . But volunteers from California for Democracy hope to frustrate those efforts. They plan to use the Web and mobile technology to keep roughly 9,000 supporters abreast of the whereabouts of signature-gatherers for Schwarzenegger ballot initiatives. . . . The strategy took shape last week in a conference call involving 1,000 of the group's members and Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, D-Los Angeles, a day after Schwarzenegger launched a signature-gathering drive for three initiatives that mirror proposals he laid out in January.

This is a rather thuggish tactic for the Democratic party to openly track signature gatherers and physically disrupt their ability to gather signatures. It doesn't signal a lot of confidence among Democrats.

Scalia v. Breyer on Using International Law for Precedent

John Fund describes a recent debate between Justices Scalia and Breyer:

Justice Antonin Scalia, who wrote the minority dissent in the juvenile death penalty case, opened his argument by lamenting the "arrogance" of judges who cite international law rather than the U.S. Constitution they are sworn to uphold. "Doesn't it seem arrogant to think I can decide moral views for penology, death penalty and abortion?" he asked, in arguing that legislatures or voters should make those decisions.

Justice Stephen Breyer replied that the court had to look more widely at how to define fundamental rights in an increasingly global society. "U.S. law is not handed down from on high even at the U.S. Supreme Court," he said. "The law emerges from a conversation with judges, lawyers, professors and law students.... It's what I call opening your eyes as to what's going on elsewhere."

"What you're looking for are the standards of decency of American society," Mr. Scalia shot back. "What does an opinion of a wise Zimbabwe judge have to do with what Americans believe?" That stung Mr. Breyer, who had cited a court case from Zimbabwe in a decision a few years back. Acknowledging that the country's rule of law has been destroyed under the despotic rule of Robert Mugabe, Mr. Breyer agreed that his citation of a Zimbabwean judge was "unfortunate."

But that's the trouble. When citing international law, judges are likely to be selective in their use of foreign opinions, cherry-picking those that fit the outcome they want. A foreign court may oppose the death penalty, for example, but since the U.S. is one of the few countries in the world to have legalized third-trimester abortions, the same foreign court would likely have a more conservative slant on abortion.


Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell gets an "F" for his fiscal policy

Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell gets the lowest grade for fiscal policies of any serving governor. California governor Schwarzenegger gets the highest grade.

"So why did Ed Rendell finish 41 out of 42 governors? (Eight governors were excluded from the study because they just began office). The only governor ranked behind Rendell was McGreevey, who resigned last year. It appears that Rendell’s plan of siphoning $1 billion a year from working Pennsylvanians to support his massive government spending plan had something to do with his low marks. There’s also those hidden taxes, including higher fees for state inspections and emissions testing. And let’s not forget the $50 tax on workers Rendell pushed through last year, allowing communities to raise their occupational privilege tax from $10 to $52 a year."

Still More on Felons Voting

John Fund has a new piece on felons voting. Among John's other points:

Liberals normally avoid partisan arguments in expressing their support for voting by felons. Instead, they point to the disproportionate racial impact. Sometimes they overstate that impact, as Mara Liasson of National Public Radio did last week when she said that "I would expect if you did a study, you would find that probably the vast majority of [felons] are African-American." In truth, a little more than a third of disfranchised felons are black. . . .

The allegation that laws restricting felon voting are racially motivated is flawed. Harvard historian Alexander Keyssar, author of the classic book "The Right to Vote," points out that many states passed such laws before the Civil War. Later, the laws were passed in many Southern states by Reconstruction government run by Republicans who supported black voting rights. Mr. Keyssar says that "most laws that disenfranchised felons had complex and murky origins," often centering on the notion that "a voter ought to be a moral person." As one judge noted: "Felons are not disenfranchised based on any immutable characteristic, such as race, but on their conscious decision to commit an act for which they assume the risks of detection and punishment."

Letters in NY Post Responding to my piece on Felons Voting

March 7, 2005 -- The fact that most people with felony convictions are poor, working-class citizens who might vote Democratic is not the issue, as John R. Lott Jr. and James K. Glassman seem to think ("The Felon Vote," Opinion, March 1).

How a citizen votes is not a prerequisite to having the right to vote.

The fact is, five Republican governors, including President Bush when he was governor of Texas, have realized that this is about fairness and basic rights.

They were some of the first state executives to urge reform of voting eligibility laws to allow more ex-prisoners to vote.

Their actions clearly signaled that this is a bipartisan issue about fairness and democracy — and not partisan politics as Lott and others proclaim.

The Count Every Vote Act offers solutions to voting inequities that have plagued our system for centuries. I say, let Congress finally have this debate.

Joseph Hayden

Hillary and Bill Clinton have made a mockery of public office.

Now Hillary wants to give felons the right to vote. She will apparently go to any length to get elected.

I would love to see the duo run — back to Arkansas.

Howard Taylor


The first letter misses the central point. With all the penalties that felons still face after they are released from prison, why is it that this is the one single penalty that Democrats are trying to remove. Why not restore their right to professional or business licenses? Why not their ability to work for the government or unions? Why not their ability to own a gun? it is hard to deny that this is being pushed by Democrats (and this change only for felons) because they believe that it helps them politically.


Cab driver charged after killing in self defense

More on Felons Voting

Hannity & Colmes discuss the new Hillary Clinton and John Kerry legislation that would guarantee that felons are allowed to vote.

HANNITY: Congressman Fattah, as John Lott pointed out in his recent article that there is some academic work that has studied this. Jeff Mansa and Marcus Britain of Northwestern University. And Christopher Reagan of the University of Minnesota have studied the issue.

And what they found is that Bill Clinton pulled 86 percent of the felon vote in 1992 and a whopping 93 percent in 1996. So clearly the evidence shows it does favor the Democrats. So this is a political move to help in close races, isn't it, sir?

FATTAH: Well, Sean, really, it's just a distraction from the real problems of the country. The reality is Republicans control the Senate and the Congress. If they don't want this bill to pass, it won't pass.

Not exactly a strong denial from Fattah.

In the UK you must "scare off their prey before opening fire"

COUNTRY sportsmen keen on pigeon pie will need to put the cat among them first. Farmers and landowners will also need to hone their windmill gyrations and scarecrow impersonations if they are planning a potshot at crop-eating birds. The Government has ruled that it is now illegal to shoot a crow,  rook or pigeon for the pot without scaring it first. The legislation says shooters must attempt to frighten off the birds before pulling the trigger. Only when the birds fail to respond can he or she shoot it for dinner. The same rule applies to farmers who have shooting days blasting woodpigeons and rooks to protect their crops or gamebirds. At this time of the year thousands of people pull on their camouflages for a day's rough shooting. They are now acting unlawfully. They too must first engage in frightening techniques to disperse the birds. Only if their antics are ignored can they shoot legally. Failure to comply can result in a fine of up to £5,000 or a maximum six months in prison.

93 year old man uses gun defensively

He might not have been a cop since 1966, but this 93 year old still new what to do to defend himself.

"I was sitting here in the front room around quarter after three, and I saw this van pull up," Thomas said Friday, recalling how his police instincts kicked in. "Something told this old retired policeman to go out and get the license number.And then I sat down again and started reading the sports page." While he was reading, the doorbell began to ring repeatedly. Said Thomas, a widower who lives alone: "The next thing I know, these two guys are going into my back yard." Thomas saw them go behind his house and then heard a sound at his window just five feet away. "I heard it first and then saw them fooling around with the window," he said. "I knocked once, and they ran." Despite the pair's quick retreat, Thomas' day was far from over. Both men eventually returned and began prying off the screen. He got his service pistol from his bedroom, "the one that was issued in 1943," Thomas said. "I got me a gun out of retirement — like me." Thomas left his house through the back and began to walk toward the men, gun in hand. "Somehow or other they smelled me," he said.

Thanks to Goodwillhntg@aol.com for providing this.


More Defensive Gun Uses in Stores

Charlotte, NC, 3/3/05
This is the second time in less than a week police are investigating a robbery that ended with a suspect shot and killed. Three masked men armed with guns stormed a shoe store on East Sugar Creek Road and took cash from the register and started to rob customers. The manager pulled out his own gun and shot two of the robbers. One of the suspects was killed and the other was seriously hurt. Police are still looking for the third robber and the manager is moving out of the state because he is worried about retaliation.

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas, 3/3/05
TA North Texas store manager refused to become a victim when a robber jumped over the counter at his convenience store and attempted to rob him. . . . "He said, 'Do you want to die?' I said, 'No, I don't want to die,'" Qasem said. With the crook's arm tight around his throat, Qasem then reached for his gun that was kept under the counter. He aimed at the robber and fired, but nothing happened. Qasem then used the gun to repeatedly hit the robber in the head. "I felt that was my opportunity to just keep hitting him, take him all the way down," Qasem said.

Video on Tyler, Texas Shooting

This video on the Tyler, Texas shooting does not include anything on the defensive gun use by either Mark Wilson or the security guard. The tape ends just before they enter the scene. The text that comes with the video also ommits Wilson and the security guard.

On the tape, police officers can be seen running out of the courthouse with their guns drawn and ducking for cover from flying bullets. As the glass in the front of the courthouse is shot out, people scramble to take cover. The gunman, David Hernandez Arroyo, shot and killed his estranged wife and a bystander outside the courthouse. Arroyo was shot and killed by police officers. Authorities said Arroyo and his wife were involved in a child support dispute. Arroyo's son and three lawmen also were wounded in the shooting

I have additional posts on this case at Tyler, Texas here, here, here, and here.

Thanks very much to Gary Marbut for supplying me with this link.


Did a Security Guard In Tyler, Texas Also use His Gun to Distract Killer?

There is more news on the Tyler, Texas attack that was stopped by Mark Wilson. THe title of the article in the Tyler Morning Telegraph ("SECURITY GUARD ALSO DISTRACTED KILLER ARROYO") is pretty unambiguous that Michael Mosley, a security guard, also helped stopped the attack.

The Tyler Morning Telegraph has learned the identity of a second armed civilian who was in the line of fire of a heavily armed man clad in body armor who fired on the Smith County Courthouse with a semi-automatic assault rifle last week. Witnesses reported to the newspaper last Thursday that an un-identified man pulled up behind the courthouse in a silver colored 1990s Chevrolet Caprice Classic and exited into a defensive position with his wea-pon drawn and pointed in the direction of David Hernandez Arroyo. . . . Mosley refused to talk to the newspaper in detail, but did make a brief statement on Wednesday. "I am no hero. God watched over me and protected me that day. I am praying for all the families involved and that is all I have to say," he said. After repeated phone calls to a Southwestern Securities office in Houston, Joseph Morales, a supervisor for the company, told the Morning Telegraph his officer did not fire his gun last week. "According to him, he did not fire his weapon on that day," Morales said. However, at least one eyewitness believes Mosley was another deterrent during the tragedy.

This is the only news mention that I have seen of Michael Mosley. Given all the media coverage of the attack, it is a little surprising that the local Tyler, Texas newspaper is the only paper that has mentioned this.

Thanks to Goodwillhntg@aol.com for telling me about this article.

I have additional posts on this case at Tyler, Texas here, here, and here.

Democrat's proposal to "Ban" so-called 'Cop-Killer' Gun

CNSNews.com provides a valuable discussion of legislation introduced by Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Jon Corzine (D-N.J.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Congressman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.). The legislation would ban the Five-seveN gun. The bottom line:
"It is a semi-automatic pistol, just like millions of other semi-automatic pistols. BATFE has determined that it is 'particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes,' and has approved its importation. "There is also nothing special about the 5.7mm ammunition being sold to the public," the NRA said, since under federal law, only non-armor-penetrating types of 5.7mm ammunition may be sold.

There are plenty of useful points in the piece, but it shows how much of the gun control debate relies on misinformation.

Gun tax in Maine?

"A gun and ammunition tax that would create a fund to increase security at the state's courthouses has been proposed by several members of the Legislature's Judiciary Committee. The 7 percent tax would be in addition to the 5 percent state sales tax that consumers already pay when they buy guns and ammunition from licensed dealers in the state. . . . Entry screening is conducted an average of 10 days each year for each of the state's 41 courthouses, she said. The chief justice also told the Legislature that during that limited time screeners had confiscated more than 1,400 knives or related weapons and five firearms."

Possibly a knife tax would make more sense? In any case, while I am open to argument, it is not clear to me how a gun and bullet tax can be any more constitutional than a newspaper tax.


New op-ed up on news coverage of Texas Defensive Gun Use Case

Foxnews.com has my latest op-ed up on guns. It discusses the news coverage of last weeks' mulitple victim public shooting in Tyler, Texas that left two people dead.

But what makes this case different is that 21 percent of the news stories actually mentioned that a citizen licensed to carry a concealed weapon used his gun to try and help stop the attack.

This is a pretty long piece and I think that it has a lot of interesting information.

UPDATE: I have been getting a lot of feedback about this op-ed. Thanks. One thing that has upset a few people is the comparison of the civilian version of the AK-47 to a deer rifle.

Only two stories mentioned that the AK-47 was a semi-automatic, not a machine gun, and, while it is understandable, none of the articles provided context by explaining that Arroyo’s weapon functioned the same as deer hunting rifles, firing the same caliber bullets, at the same rapidity, and doing the same damage.

People seem to realize that the caliber of the bullets are the same, but they focus on the fact that the clip is so much larger on the AK-47. For example, "Only a fool or a liar, Mr. Lott, would believe that deer hunting rifles have magazines capable of firing off more than 50 rounds of ammunition." My response: "Thanks for your note, but once a gun can accept a clip there is really no limit on the size of the clip. The AK-47 used here and owned by Americans is a civilian version of the military weapon. They are semi-automatic guns and do indeed have the same firing mechanism as your regular 30 caliber deer rifle. By the way, any handgun that can take a clip can have a clip that extends down below the grip."

Further Update: Comments on my piece can be found here and here. I have additional posts on this case at Tyler, Texas here, here, and here.

Flight Marshall's Are Apparently Covering Many Fewer Flights than Government Claims

Flight reports by the Federal Air Marshal Service show that federal agents were on less than 10 percent of the nation's flights in December, a number several air marshals say was inflated to make it appear to Congress that commercial air travel is better protected than it is. . . . Based on the number of guns issued, there are about 2,200 marshals stationed nationwide to fly seven days a week. . . . Marshals always travel in teams -- a minimum of two agents and sometimes as many as four per plane. This means a minimum of 1,100 teams protect domestic and international flights. With sick days, regular days off, vacation and medical leave, it is statistically impossible to cover even the minimum number of flights listed by the report on any given day, the marshals say. "The numbers don't add up; it's way too much," a marshal said. "Several field offices have complained about it and were told to shut up. This is a scam." More than 2,600 flights were listed as covered on Christmas Eve, 2,039 on Christmas Day and 2,893 on New Year's Eve. "The numbers are impossible," said another air marshal.

Calvin and Hobbes

The complete Calvin and Hobbes is now online.


Justice Scalia’s Dissent on Juvenile Killers case

From the beginning of Justice Scalia dissent:

In urging approval of a constitution that gave life-tenured judges the power to nullify laws enacted by the people's representatives, Alexander Hamilton assured the citizens of New York that there was little risk in this, since "[t]he judiciary ... ha[s] neither FORCE nor WILL but merely judgment." The Federalist No. 78, p. 465 (C. Rossiter ed. 1961). But Hamilton had in mind a traditional judiciary, "bound down by strict rules and precedents which serve to define and point out their duty in every particular case that comes before them." Id., at 471. Bound down, indeed. What a mockery today's opinion makes of Hamilton's expectation, announcing the Court's conclusion that the meaning of our Constitution has changed over the past 15 years--not, mind you, that this Court's decision 15 years ago was wrong, but that the Constitution has changed. The Court reaches this implausible result by purporting to advert, not to the original meaning of the Eighth Amendment, but to "the evolving standards of decency," ante, at 6 (internal quotation marks omitted), of our national society. It then finds, on the flimsiest of grounds, that a national consensus which could not be perceived in our people's laws barely 15 years ago now solidly exists. Worse still, the Court says in so many words that what our people's laws say about the issue does not, in the last analysis, matter: "[I]n the end our own judgment will be brought to bear on the question of the acceptability of the death penalty under the Eighth Amendment." Ante, at 9 (internal quotation marks omitted). The Court thus proclaims itself sole arbiter of our Nation's moral standards--and in the course of discharging that awesome responsibility purports to take guidance from the views of foreign courts and legislatures. Because I do not believe that the meaning of our Eighth Amendment, any more than the meaning of other provisions of our Constitution, should be determined by the subjective views of five Members of this Court and like-minded foreigners, I dissent.

Justice Kennedy's majority decision points out: "Respondent and his amici have submitted, and petitioner does not contest, that only seven countries other than the United States have executed juvenile offenders since 1990: Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and China. Since then each of these countries has either abolished capital punishment for juveniles or made public disavowal of the practice. Brief for Respondent 49-50. In sum, it is fair to say that the United States now stands alone in a world that has turned its face against the juvenile death penalty." By this reasoning one day I suppose that whatever makes American's unique could be found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

Kennedy's other claim that "Juveniles' susceptibility to immature and irresponsible behavior means 'their irresponsible conduct is not as morally reprehensible as that of an adult' " is bizarre. In this case the murder committed the crime with a great deal of premeditation and calculation. But what does this imply about all the other Supreme Court decisions on issues such as abortion?

NRA's Armed Citizen Column for February 2005

NRA's Armed Citizen column for February 2005 has seven defensive gun use cases from the end of last year that are worth a quick look.


New Op-ed on Hillary Clinton and John Kerry Introducing Legislation to Let Felons Vote

"Anti-gun activist arrested after firearm found at home"

"A Springfield woman who began lobbying against gun violence after her son was shot to death in 2002 was arrested last week when police allegedly found an illegal gun and drugs in her home. Annette 'Flirty' Stevens, however, said Monday she's innocent, and the arrest is an attempt by police to get her to give up information about unsolved crime in the city. . . . She helped establish and is president of a Springfield chapter of the Million Mom March, an organization that aims to prevent gun violence. Last fall, she appeared with other anti-gun advocates at a Statehouse news conference to urge federal officials to renew a ban against semiautomatic assault weapons. Jonathan Lackland, Midwest regional director of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the march's partner organization, said he was shocked to hear about Stevens' arrest. He wished to withhold comment on the case until he learned more about it . . . ."

Note: The Brady Campaign and the Million Mom March are now part of the same organization.

Coming to the wrong lesson on Right to carry laws

Just a couple of days ago I pointed to a case in Tyler, Texas where a concealed handgun permit holder used his gun to save at least one life, though the good semaritan was himself killed in the attack. Now there is a discussion in Texas on what are the right lessons to draw from the experience:

But gun control groups say his death is further proof that carrying a gun increases a person's chances of getting killed.

Tyler police spokesman Don Martin warned gun owners to carefully weigh the risks before intervening.

State Representative Suzanna Hupp is a supporter of the state's concealed carry law.

Hupp says Wilson's actions and his access to a gun improved the odds that Arroyo would be taken down before more people were killed.

The murderer in this case was wearing body armor that protected him from Wilson's shots. But more important, the one thing that struck me in my research with Bill Landes on Multiple Victim Public Shootings was how the number of people harmed in these types of attacks was related to how quickly a gun got to the scene to stop the attack. Mark Wilson was obviously able to get there well before the police.