On The Steve Gruber Show: Discussion on Army Chief of Staff objecting to soldiers being armed while on base. Also a discussion on the taxing of a fundamental right
On the Larry Elder Show to discuss Australia's Gun Buyback and the comparison with the Cash for Clunker's Program
On The Brett Winterble Show: Harriet Tubman (black, gun-toting, evangelical Christian, Republican Woman) to be new face of $20 bill
At Fox News on new California Initiative to require background checks on ammunition purchases
. . . Dr. John R. Lott, Jr., an economist and world recognized expert on guns and crime who founded and heads the Crime Prevention Research Center, a research and education organization dedicated to conducting academic quality research on the relationship between laws regulating the ownership or use of guns, crime, and public safety, called the initiative “racist.”
“The question is who are you stopping from owning a firearm or getting hold of ammunition – in this case it is law-abiding, poor blacks and Hispanics who won’t be able to afford the cost of ammunition, which will rise with the cost associated with required background checks for ammunition purchases.” . . .
Lott said many of the claims by Newsom and the Safety for All ballot initiative website are inaccurate, something that also drew the attention of Politifact, the independent fact-checking organization that won a Pulitzer Prize for calling out politicians' false claims.
“Politifact called Newsom's rhetoric "mostly false” and said he used “pseudo data” that is “out of context and is done in a way which is calculated to cause confusion,” Hanisee said. . . .
Labels: background checks
On National Public Radio: Trying to discuss the problems with the Gun Violence Archive
1) Media reports rarely cover cases where people use guns defensively. If someone uses a gun defensively and the criminal runs away (as occurs in virtually all defensive gun uses), that is simply not going to be considered newsworthy even if it is reported to the newspaper. If you believe media accounts actually get virtually all the defensive gun uses, you would have to believe that about 85% of the defensive gun uses end in the criminal being killed. No one believes that. It is just that those cases are more newsworthy than cases where the criminal is wounded. Only a few percent of the cases seem to involve cases where no one is harmed.
2) There is no standard reporting for police even when they are told about DGUs. There are no reporting forms for police. Police do not report these cases to the FBI. Justifiable homicides are in theory reported by the police to the FBI, but that data for civilians is even worse than it is for the police, and I suspect you have heard how horribly bad the police data is.
Why Virginia Gov Terry McAuliffe can't give felons right to vote without restoring their right to own guns
Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed an executive order Friday restoring the voting rights of 206,000 ex-felons, a sweeping action the governor said was aimed largely at rectifying Virginia’s “long and sad history” of suppressing African-American voting power. . . .
The action . . .has the potential to expand the state’s voter rolls, currently estimated at about 5.4 million, by as much as 3.8 percent. . . .
In his speech, McAuliffe anticipated a strong response from Republicans, who said the order’s lack of distinction between violent crimes and less serious offenses will give murderers and rapists the right to vote, serve on juries, hold public office and notarize documents. . . .
McAuliffe’s order does not restore firearm rights. The ability to purchase and own a gun still would require court action. . . .
Newest National Review piece: "On Guns, Clinton Runs Both Left and Right, Depending on Her Audience"
What does Hillary Clinton really believe on guns? This year, she is running to the left of Bernie Sanders. In 2008, she ran well to the right of Obama, arguing against any kind of federal “blanket rules.”
On Wednesday, Hillary Clinton gave an address at Philadelphia’s St. Paul’s Baptist Church. With a nod to Pennsylvania’s high rate of gun ownership, she declared: “There is a Second Amendment, there are constitutional rights. We aren’t interested in taking away guns of lawful, responsible gun owners.”
But in New York City in the fall, she told donors: “The Supreme Court is wrong on the Second Amendment, and I am going to make that case every chance that I get.” In Maryland last Thursday, Chelsea Clinton reiterated that point, promising that her mom would appoint to the Supreme Court justices who would overturn past decisions that struck down local and state gun-control measures. Given that the only laws that the Supreme Court has objected to are complete gun bans or laws that made it a crime to chamber a bullet, one wonders what “constitutional rights” Clinton was talking about preserving in Philadelphia.
Clinton has shown this split personality on guns at other points in the campaign. In the month leading up to the New Hampshire primary, gun control was the focus of a quarter of her campaign ads there. By contrast, she ran not a single gun-control ad in rural areas of Iowa. In Iowa as a whole, only 6 percent of her ads discussed guns in any way.
When asked last October about gun laws in the U.K. and Australia, Clinton responded by extolling their virtues. She spoke highly of the U.K.’s handgun ban and of Australia’s confiscation of a third of legally owned guns. She failed to note that the U.K.’s homicide rate soared by 50 percent in the eight years after the handgun ban took full effect in 1997. The rate later fell, but only after an 18 percent increase in the number of police. . . .
Tennessee legislature makes major moves to get rid of gun-free zones at public universities and businesses
My newest piece at Investor's Business Daily: "Will President Obama Regulate Guns Out Of Existence?"
When he was a state senator in Illinois, he supported a ban on the sale of handguns and all semi-automatic guns as well as a ban on selling guns within five miles of a school or a park. While the president obviously can’t just ban them, he can use regulations to make their lives more difficult.
For some dealers it may be a slow death of a thousand regulatory cuts.
Obama never does any serious cost-benefit analysis – he just points to possible benefits while ignoring any costs. We see this in his plans for expanded background checks on private transfers or his efforts to deny guns to the elderly who get help with their finances.
Obama is also using executive actions to place even more reporting requirements on the backs of Federal Firearms License dealers. His administration is finalizing a new rule. Obama claims, “We’re going to require firearms dealers to report more lost or stolen guns on a timely basis.” But this is false. Dealers already have to report lost or stolen guns within 48 hours.
Licensed dealers have previously satisfied the reporting requirements by typically submitting a letter to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATF), but the Obama administration wants the dealer to submit a form that will provide the government with more information, generally duplicating what the government already knows. New reports are required when the gun is recovered. Rules are also being changed for reporting guns lost in transit, though there is no evidence that this has been a problem.
Obama doesn’t give licensed dealers credit for the remarkable job that they already do. Nor does it explain why this additional information is helpful.
A new report from the BATF points out that 6,163 firearms were stolen from Federally Licensed Gun Dealers in 2015. With at least 16 million guns being sold in 2015, the rate of theft was only 0.039%. By comparison, the National Retail Federation found a 1.15% rate of theft from all retail stores in 2014 This includes shoplifting and theft or fraud by workers and vendors. This is 29.5 times higher than the rate at gun stores.
Another study, by Checkpoint Systems, used 2014-15 data to find a 1.97% theft rate at U.S. retail stores. This is 51 times higher than the rate at gun stores.
The Checkpoint Systems survey also provides data on other countries. Norway had the lowest rate of theft — just 0.83%. This is still 21 times higher than the rate of theft at U.S. gun stores. Japan’s theft rate, the second lowest, is 1%, a 26 times higher rate.
More than three-quarters of the guns stolen from dealers are taken in burglaries. Dealers can always buy stronger safes, doors and windows, but it’s certainly difficult and expensive to make a shop burglary-proof.
For some perspective, note that there were 466,100 gun crimes in 2014. Even if all the stolen guns were used in a crime, guns stolen from federally licensed dealers would account for 1.3% of gun crimes.
The BATF also reports 8,637 “lost” guns. However, this number isn’t very useful. In the vast majority of cases, gun serial numbers were simply incorrectly recorded. Dividing that number by 16 million guns implies a theft rate of 0.054% — still much lower than the rate for retail stores.
The National Retail Federation finds that the average retail store has a .228% rate of “administrative and paperwork errors” — 4.2 times the rate for gun stores. Remember that since the estimated number of gun sales used in these calculations is a clear underestimate of total sales these numbers underestimate how much better gun stores perform relative to other operations.
Reducing the rate of theft or administrative error to these relatively low levels must already come at significant cost. Forms may have to be rechecked many times to eliminate paperwork errors much below a rate of hundredths of one percentage point.
These regulatory costs add up. For example, expanded background checks can add anywhere from $50 to $200 to the cost of privately transferring a gun The higher costs may price poor minorities out of owning a gun. They are the ones who are the most likely victims of violent crime and the ones who benefit the most from the ability to protect themselves.
Wall Street Journal editorial cites me on "Harriet Tubman is an inspired choice to replace Andrew Jackson"
John Lott makes a pithy case for the contrary. An expert on the Second Amendment and sometime contributor to these pages, Mr. Lott notes that Tubman’s life is a rebuke to PC assumptions. As Mr. Lott tweeted after Mr. Lew made the announcement, “On $20 bill, Ds replace Andrew Jackson, a founding father of D Party, w Harriet Tubman, a black, gun-toting, evangelical Christian, R woman.”
Democrat Legislators in Pennsylvania are abandoning Democrat Gov Tom Wolf
It's true Republicans were as much to blame as Wolf for the impasse, but there were several opportunities for Wolf to grasp a compromise and settle for a piece — but far from all — of his complex budget proposal. But he kept insisting on a tax increase.
It's equally true that the generally accepted strategy is for a first-year governor to propose four years' worth of programs in hopes of getting a chunk at a time when he has the most political capital.
But Wolf wanted it all. And his all-or-nothing strategy backfired.
The budget went through belatedly without a tax increase. The budget he was forced to sign was a Republican plan without the jacked-up revenue Wolf wanted.
Republicans through the fall believed they might have had a shot at overriding Wolf vetoes. Who knows? But the bitter taste of the budget debacle has worn away at rank-and-file Democrats, who held the line for Wolf day in and day out through the impasse.
If Wolf remains intransigent, he might claim a place in history with a record number of overrides on his vetoes.
House Minority Leader Frank Dermody, D-Oakmont, has to free up his members or they'll break anyway. He should let the governor know no more blood will needlessly be spilled.
Wolf's recent stunt of attempting to punish Democrats who voted for the Republican budget was amateurish. Eleven lawmakers signed a letter saying they were told they must go through the governor's office rather than directly to state agencies — in other words, delaying information to thousands of constituents and spinning that information where possible to improve the administration's image.
Wolf's office implied it wasn't true by saying “nothing has changed.”
What, they made it up? Lawmakers said last week the order was rescinded.From the Observer-Reporter near Pittsburgh:
It's the kind of action — on top of the budget disaster — that could make Wolf a lame duck for the final 2½ years of his term.
Some Democratic state representatives are accusing the governor’s administration of making them go over a new hurdle to help constituents after they sided with Republicans to help bring a nine-month state budget impasse to a close.
All but two of the 13 House Democrats who voted for the GOP plan sent a letter to fellow Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf on Tuesday, saying state agencies have treated some of their staffs in a “dramatically different” way since they voted last month to approve a Republican-crafted supplemental budget, which Wolf opposed.
The lawmakers said in the letter that when their aides contacted state agencies about constituent services, they’re now redirected to the Office of Legislative Affairs, a separate office in the Wolf administration. The lawmakers say the change makes it harder for them to help constituents.
“I’ve experienced Democratic governors and Republican governors, and I’ve never seen a governor or his staff punish anyone in this way,” said Rep. Pete Daley, D-California, one of those who signed the letter. . . .
"Kill Climate Deniers" — Australia government-funded fantasy play where “guns” solve climate issues by killing off deniers
‘We got really interested in talking about the climate debate, and we were wondering why it was that in Australia the debate had stalled so badly; what is it about this country? And then we moved on to asking what would it take to shift the debate forward again – what would it actually take to generate real political change?’ said Finnigan.
The answer they came up with (‘though not one that I feel comfortable or very positive about,’ he stressed) was guns.
Subsequently, Finnigan wrote an action movie-style drama in which Parliament House is invaded by gun-toting eco-terrorists. With the Government held hostage, and facing the threat of imminent execution unless she ends global warming immediately, the embattled Environment Minister has no choice but to defend her ideals – one bullet at a time.
‘It’s a really fun, really action-packed, really over the top hostage drama, and action film genre piece; and hanging from that are some really important questions about the climate debate,’ Finnigan said.
‘Essentially, at the bottom line, what happens when our elected government is unable to deal with the problems that we’re facing? We have a huge, world-threatening problem that is taking place over the span of decades on the one hand, and we have a two party system where it’s mostly a media-cycle driven combat between two parties who are focused on the next election. So the tools to not seem to fit to deal with the problem.’
A note on "Bomb-free zones" and why they aren't quite the same as gun-free zones
On the Mandy Connell Show to discuss how careful gun dealers are in preventing gun theft
New piece in Investor's Business Daily: In Wake Of The Shooting, Should The Capitol Remain Gun-Free?
Like so many mass public shootings, the gunman who attacked the U.S. Capitol on Monday first tried shooting a uniformed officer. Fortunately, the lone gunman was quickly subdued and no one other than the attacker was seriously injured. But it raises questions of what would have happened with a more coordinated terrorist attack.
With terror attacks occurring regularly around the world, we can’t ignore the fact that the Capitol would provide a primary target for terrorists. Indeed, an FBI informant foiled such an attack in January.
Police are crucial – probably the single most important factor in reducing crime. But uniformed police have a tough job stopping terrorists since they are often the first targets in any attack.
In late 2013, Ron Noble, who at the time was secretary-general of Interpol, Europe’s version of the FBI, noted two means of protecting people from mass shootings:
“One is to say we want an armed citizenry; you can see the reason for that. Another is to say the enclaves (should be) so secure that in order to get into the soft target, you’re going to have to pass through extraordinary security.”
But with terrorists planning these attacks many months or even years in advance, Noble warned that his experience taught him it was virtually impossible to stop killers from getting weapons.
The federal government might learn something by looking at the states that allow some form of permitted handgun carry within their legislative public areas. At least 16 allow permitted carry in their capitols: Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Even more allow guns to be carried in legislative areas.
The problem with gun-free zones that ban law-abiding civilians from carrying is that they don’t exactly scare off criminals. In fact, they have just the opposite effect. Disarming everyone, including legislators or staffers on their way to and from the buildings, leaves them easy targets for criminals and terrorists.
Even some Republicans, such as Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., support keeping the Capitol gun-free, “given the risks that are associated with (guns) and that we already have security with the Capitol Police.”
The U.S. has more than 13 million handgun permit holders — 5.6% of the 21-and-over population. In the vast majority of states, people are likely to be carrying a gun right next to you in a mall, a restaurant or a movie theater.
With many state legislators working to eliminate gun-free zones throughout their states, allowing guns in legislative buildings lets legislators show they really believe in the benefits of concealed carry.
Kentucky allows permitted concealed carry in legislative areas, including the capitol. If you attend a legislative meeting, you must carry your gun openly, though no permit is required.
In Texas, permit holders are allowed to get through capitol security much faster. They can skip the metal detector, since they’ve already passed a criminal background check. After a while, lobbyists and journalists figured this out and got their own handgun carry permits.
The same concerns about concealed carry in state capitols were raised when states adopted right-to-carry laws. But permit holders have been extremely law-abiding. Nationwide, permits are revoked for firearms-related violations at thousandths or tens of thousandths of 1%.
Indeed, it’s hard to think of any other group in the country that’s anywhere near as law-abiding. Police are very rarely convicted of firearm violations, but they’re convicted six times more often than permit holders.
Those who want to keep bans on civilians carrying guns in legislative areas worry that they’ll accidentally fire their guns. Yet despite all the experience in other states with carrying guns at legislative public areas and capitols, we know of just one accidental discharge — in Kentucky in January 2014 and in which no one was harmed.
In addition, since at least 1950, all but three American public mass shootings have taken place where civilians are banned from carrying guns. In Europe, every mass shooting has occurred in a gun-free zone.
Those advocating gun-free zones claim permit holders will accidentally shoot bystanders or that arriving police will shoot the permit holders. Concealed carry holders have stopped shootings in malls, churches, schools, universities and busy downtowns many times, and not once have the permit holders been shot a bystander. Nor have the police ever accidentally shot a permit holder.
Gun-free zones are magnets for murderers. Even the most ardent gun-control advocate would never put “Gun-Free Zone” signs on his home. Let’s stop putting them elsewhere, including the U.S. Capitol.
* Goeser and Lott are with the Crime Prevention Research Center. Lott is also the author of “More Guns, Less Crime.”