15 August 2010
10 August 2010
By John R. Lott Jr. as posted on Big Government.com
People walking the streets armed with guns must be dangerous, right? The Brady Campaign and the Violence Policy Center keep claiming that even those individuals who have legally obtained permits to carry concealed handguns are extremely dangerous. With millions of Americans already having been issued such permits from the various states, this is an important issue.
The gun control organizations have frequently made these claims in the press. The Associated Press articles by Erik Schelzig and by Jim Abrams have given extensive, uncritical coverage. Members of the gun control organizations have made these claims unchallenged on such places as Fox News and on the Huffington Post. But the gun control advocates inaccurately describe many shooting cases, choosing to ignore that the majority of incidents involve people properly defending themselves.
Over the past three years, the number of active permit holders in the United States has gone from about 5 million to more than 6.2 million today. The numbers issued by the state regulatory agencies show time after time that these permit holders abide by the law.
Take Florida, which currently has the most concealed handgun permit holders in the country and is one of the two most populous states with right-to-carry laws. Between Oct. 1, 1987, and May 31 this year, permits had been issued to 1.8 million people. On average, the permits had been held for quite a long time, well over 10 years. For all those individuals across the more than 22 years of legal carry, there were only 167 cases where the permit was revoked for a firearms related violation, or about 0.01 percent of permit holders. While the state doesn’t provide a precise breakdown of the reason for those revocations, the vast majority were apparently for people who accidentally carried their concealed handgun into a gun-free zone, such as an airport or school.
Throughout the past 30 months, beginning January 2008, only three additional permit holders have had their permit revoked for a firearms-related violation. With more than 739,000 active permit holders, that is an annual revocation rate of 0.00017 percent.
In sharp contrast, the Brady Campaign and the Violence Policy Center portray Florida as Ground Zero for problems with concealed handgun permit holders. They boldly assert that 17 Florida permit holders have “killed” people with their guns over the past three years and that this one state by itself accounts for 17 of the 96 “killer” permit holders nationwide. The other 79 cases are scattered across 26 other states, with no other state accounting for more than 10 cases. Florida is also said to account for 2 of the 7 cases where permit holders are said to have killed law enforcement officers.
So what is the evidence? The gun control groups don’t actually point to actual court cases. They look at news stories and selectively report what is reported in those stories. For Florida, there are eleven “pending cases.” The gun control groups assume that anyone involved in a shooting will be convicted. Indeed, in 7 of the 11 cases no one was even charged with a crime. Three cases involved suicides, and three had convictions for some type of offense. (See this link for a detailed presentation of sources.)
But there is something that the gun control advocates conveniently omit: When a permit holder uses a gun defensively and kills an attacker in a public place, the police often arrest them. Typically, he will later be released, but the police must first investigate what happened. The police can’t just take the shooter’s word for it that they used the gun defensively.
Take the four pending cases where charges were filed, two of which involved the “killing” of law enforcement.
– Humberto Delgado, Jr. was charged with the death of a police officer. Delgado obviously engaged in a horrible crime, but there is one major problem with the stories as presented by the gun control groups. He also was charged with carrying a concealed firearm. If he had a concealed handgun permit, he obviously couldn’t have been charged with this crime. Delgado was just your typical criminal, who didn’t have a permit, who killed a police officer.
– James Wonder was charged with the death of an off-duty Customs and Border Protection Agent Donald Pettit. Pettit is said to have engaged in road rage against Wonder and then followed Wonder’s car into a Post Office parking lot solely to continue harassing Wonder. Pettit had over shot the parking lot and had to circle back to go into it. He had no intention to do business with either the Post Office or any other nearby business. Pettit was clearly the aggressor in the situation. The Sun-Sentinel newspaper wrote on August 29, 2008: “local lawyers said [Wonder] may be able to make a strong claim under Florida law that he was within his rights to shoot Pettit.” One measure of the severity of the case is that Wonder was released on a very minimal bond of $10,000. Neither the Brady Campaign nor the Violence Policy Center noted these points in their discussion of the case.
– Gabriel Mobley shot two people outside a bar, and the gun control groups’ discussions fail to mention the defensive nature of Mobley’s actions. A friend of Mobley’s had an argument with two other men in a bar. Mr. Mobley separated the men, but the two waited outside and Mobley’s lawyer, Richard Della Ferra, told me that they pounced on Mobley and his friend as soon as they left the bar. Witnesses saw one of the two attackers throw a punch that shattered the friend’s eye socket. Mobley says that he shot when he thought one of the two men was reaching for a weapon, and police found the DNA of one of the men on a steak knife at the scene.
– On January 7, 2008, Adam Hill was accused of accidentally firing his gun, the bullet fatally striking a friend while the friend had visited Hill to use his washing machine. Since the case has yet to go to trial, the law office that is representing Hill was unwilling to discuss the case, but they did say that the news articles did not accurately represent what had happened in the case. The law office representing Hill in his legal case emphasized to me in a telephone discussion that news articles on these cases can be quite misleading because defense lawyers warn their clients not to talk to others about their case, including the press.
Two of the three convictions in Florida are quite different than what gun control groups represent. One involved a boyfriend who accidentally shot his girlfriend when he was showing her how to use a gun in her home. There was no evidence of arguing or any disagreement. In another case, the issue was whether the permit holder had done enough to avoid the confrontation. A convicted felon confronted the permit holder. According to newspaper accounts, even the prosecutor acknowledged: “Kallenbach was in some way defending himself during an escalating altercation between the men caught on the security video” and that “People can look at that tape and interpret it two or three different ways.”
While this discussion focuses on Florida, the just released third edition of More Guns, Less Crime provides a detailed analysis for all states from 1990 to July 1, 2008. In state after state, permit holders are extremely law-abiding. In Arizona, there were 99,370 active permits as of December 1, 2007. During 2007, 33 permits were revoked for any reason — a 0.03 percent rate. In Texas, there were 288,909 active permit holders. Of these, 160 were convicted of either a misdemeanor or a felony, a rate of 0.05 percent. That is about one-seventh the conviction rate in the general adult population, and the convictions among permit holders are for much less serious offenses.
I went to some other cases from the gun control groups after July 1, 2008. In two of the other five killings involving law-enforcement, it also appears as if the person who fired a gun didn’t have a concealed handgun permit. In one case, in Pennsylvania, Christina Korbe fired a shot killing a police officer when police raided her home. The police were serving an arrest warrant on her husband, and she didn’t know it was the police who were breaking into her home, and she was concerned about the safety of her two children, ages 4 and 10.
The Brady Campaign and the Violence Policy Center evaluate the benefits of concealed handgun laws based solely on the claimed costs — they don’t compare the cases where defensive uses occurred to the bad things that happen, but only count what they claim are the bad cases. They ignore lots of amazing defensive gun use cases. But even more bizarrely, they count legitimate self-defense cases as bad events even when no charges are filed or the permit holder is later exonerated.
08 August 2010
06 August 2010
NOTE: This article was written before our historic victory in the McDonald V. Chicago case.
By Vin Suprynowicz
Mayor defends gun law with bayonet? As an 80-year-old Korean War veteran, his wife and great-grandson slept in their home in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago just before dawn on May 26, a would-be burglar broke in a basement window, crawled over some discarded paint buckets, and made his way up winding stairs to an enclosed porch.
The intruder tried the knob of the locked door that led to the first-floor apartment. He then turned to the oversized glass window of the 80-year-old's bedroom, pulled out his gun and fired, police and family say.
But just as the man got off a second round, the homeowner, who had a handgun of his own, fired a single shot, killing the intruder.
"He missed, (but) my daddy didn't," said the 80-year-old's son, Butch Gant, who lives upstairs.
"My father had no choice. It was him or the other guy."
The shooting came as the U.S. Supreme Court was expected to rule by the end of June on Chicago's decades-old ban on possessing handguns. During oral arguments in March, the court's majority appeared to lean toward striking down the city ordinance. That means they're expected to rule—again—that residents have a constitutional right to keep a handgun at home.
(How many times do they have to issue the same ruling before it's assumed to apply in every American city? Don't ask me.)
Chicago police have long aggressively tried to disarm the law-abiding public, saying firearms are the principal weapons used in murders and gang violence.
But the Chicago Tribune reported many in that city echoed the feelings of the victim's family that if he hadn't been armed, the encounter could have ended in their deaths.
"He saved our lives," the man's wife, 83, who had been asleep with her husband when the window shattered, told the Tribune.
Police let the Korean War veteran, who walks with the aid of a cane, go without filing immediate charges because it appeared he acted in self-defense, according to police sources.
But they took away his handgun, which he had bought after being robbed just six months earlier, vowing not to be a victim again, his family said.
The dead intruder was later identified by his family as Anthony "Big Ant" Nelson, 29, on parole since December following a three-year prison sentence for a drug conviction. Nelson had a 13-page rap sheet that includes a number of drug and weapons convictions dating to 1998, according to police and court records. He lived less than a mile from where he died.
If gun laws could do any good at all, surely they'd block ex-cons with 13-page rap sheets from going armed.
"They did the right thing," said neighbor Audrey Williams, 75, of the shooting. "If anyone tried to come in on me, I'd do the same thing." Ms. Williams described the assaulted family—whose names were withheld by police as crime victims—as "sweet people who don't bother anyone."
"How are we going to protect our homes without guns?" asked Gant, the son. "That gun law should be abolished."
Fortunately, thanks to the Illinois legislature's override of indicted Gov. Rod Blagojevich's veto of state Senate Bill 2165 in November, 2004, the Army veteran should not face prosecution, report Alan Gottlieb and Dave Workman of the Bellevue, Wash.-based Second Amendment Foundation.
That was the "Hale DeMar" act, which protects homeowners who shoot in self-defense even if there's a local ordinance against handgun possession.
DeMar shot a burglar in his Wilmette home and was initially charged for violating that community's handgun ban, but public outrage forced the Cook County prosecutor to drop the charge.
"The question remains in this case whether the old gentleman will get his gun back from the police when the investigation is completed," Gottlieb and Workman note.
Shortly before this latest incident of righteous self-defense, at a May press conference, Mick Dumke, a reporter from the alternative weekly Chicago Reader, asked Chicago Mayor Richard Daley what should have been an obvious question, reports our friend John Lott at the National Review Online.
"Since guns are readily available in Chicago even with a ban in place, do you really think it's been effective?" the reporter asked.
Daley's response "wasn't very helpful," Lott, an economist, reports. "Picking up a very old rifle with a bayonet that had been turned in during one of Chicago's numerous gun buybacks, Daley blustered: 'Oh, it's been very effective. If I put this up your butt, you'll find out how effective it is. ... This gun saved many lives—it could save your life.'"
Reporters greeted Daley's outburst with a moment of stunned silence. But it wasn't Daley's answer that was important, Lott points out. "The novelty is that a reporter actually questioned Daley on whether the gun ban had failed."
Even mainstream television news is questioning the gun ban. A broadcast on Chicago's CBS-TV in May noted:
"They are law-abiding citizens in Chicago, but they are so worried about their own safety, they say they might have to break the law. The last straw was the death of Chicago Police officer Thomas Wortham IV last week. That has some African-American families in Chicago considering doing something they never would have done before: carry a pistol. CBS 2's Jim Williams reports he grew up among those families and he's never (seen) anything like it. Many Chicagoans have been upset for some time about violence here, but Wortham's murder has touched a raw nerve in the black community. Now some want to do more than simply call 911 or march for peace in the streets. They want their own gun...."
Gun ban supporters often argue their city-by-city efforts have failed to reduce crime because of the ease of getting guns in nearby jurisdictions,. Lott pointed out in a separate piece for FoxNews.com on May 25.
"Yet, even in island nations such as Ireland, the U.K., and Jamaica-all of which have imposed bans-their easily defendable borders and lack of obvious neighbors haven't stopped drug gangs from getting either drugs or the guns that they use to protect their valuable product.
"Do gun bans really stop criminals from getting guns? Americans need not look no further than the massive gun battle with armed gangs fighting police and soldiers that took place in Kingston, Jamaica today,î Lott noted. "At least 30 people were killed in the fighting. It is a huge number for a small island nation of fewer than 3 million people, but unfortunately murder is so common in Jamaica that these murders won't even be noticed in the annual crime numbers."
Jamaica wasn't always such an extremely violent country. Jamaica experienced large increases in murder rates after enacting a handgun ban in 1974. In fact, Jamaica's murder rate hasn't sunk below 10 murders per 100,000 people since the gun ban went into effect.
Taxi driver Derrick Bird drove his vehicle on a shooting spree across a tranquil stretch of northwest England on June 2, methodically killing 12 people and wounding 25 others by shooting each of them in the face with a shotgun, before turning the gun on himself, officials said.
The rampage in the county of Cumbria was Britain's deadliest mass shooting since 1996.
None of the victims had any chance to defend themselves, because England has banned the possession of handguns for self-defense. (Even rural farmers need to state a "reason" to be allowed to keep a shotgun.)
Maybe the cantankerous cabbie's victims were supposed to dash home to grab a bow and arrow (or have those been banned, too?)
The body of the suspected gunman, 52-year-old Derrick "Birdie" Bird, was found in a wooded area near Boot, in England's scenic Lake District. Police said two weapons were recovered.
Eight of the wounded were in hospitals, three in critical condition, as of the next day. Home Secretary Theresa May told the House of Commons on June 3 the British government would wait until police had finished investigating the deadly attacks before debating whether UK gun laws needed to be..."
Wait for it...
"needed to be tightened," the Home Secretary said.
What are they going to take away from law-abiding prospective English murder victims next ... scissors?
Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the daily Las Vegas Review-Journal, and author of Send in the Waco Killers and the novel The Black Arrow. See www.vinsuprynowicz.com/.
04 August 2010
THE WINNER: Attorney General Eric Holder
REASON: Failure to protect voters rights in this country. Voting is the only non-violent recourse citizens have to control this Republic. Mr. Holder is doing everything in his power to control this. Two actions in particular include his decision to ignore the Black Panther Voter Intimidation Case, and the choice to ignore the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act. Anything for his boy Obama to win a second term.
02 August 2010
With the mid-terms looming large in a year where incumbents are expected to take a beating at the polls many Democratic candidates are favoring gun rights, aiming to win endorsements or positive ratings from pro-2nd amendment groups.
University of New Hampshire Professor of Politics, Andrew Smith, says Democrats started moving away from a strong anti-gun stance in the 90's when many in the party blamed the issue on massive political losses in Congress.
"I think it started with the 1994 elections where a lot of Democrats believe it was the NRA involvement in that election which caused the Democrats to lose the House and the Senate. So they backed off that issue," said Smith.
The National Rifle Association, by far the most powerful pro-gun lobby in the country, spends massive amounts of money to protect the right to bear arms, donating cash to candidates and political action committees. While Republicans receive the majority of the organizations endorsements and money, over the last 10 years, the NRA has dramatically increased funding for Democratic candidates.
"I think finally the message hit home that it's bad politics to be on the wrong side of the 2nd amendment at election time and I think you see that reflective in what's been happening on this issue amongst Democrats in Washington, DC and state legislatures around the country." said Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the National Rifle Association.
"Gun ownership in the country amid labor unions folks runs from a low of 48% in California to a high of 60, 70, 80% in states like Missouri, Tennessee, West Virginia. In the 2000 election, half of those union members had a firearm in their home voted for George Bush over Al Gore based on the gun issue and that cost Al Gore the presidency."
According to the center for responsive politics, a non-partisan group that tracks political spending, during the 2002 election cycle the NRA put 8% of their federal campaign contributions toward Democrats. This election cycle, they've received 26% percent.
Though the NRA has yet to release many key endorsements heading into the fall elections some major races could be affected when the word comes down. In the midst of a tough re-election campaign, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid could get a boost as the NRA considers endorsing him.
In Indiana, Democratic Senate candidate Brad Ellsworth, a former sheriff, may win the organization's endorsement over Republican Dan Coats.
The slow political shift has frustrated some Democrats that have long fought for tougher gun laws, like New York Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy, who's husband was killed in 1993 when a gunman randomly fired into a commuter train. She wishes fellow Democrats would fight the pressure exerted by the pro-gun lobby.
"They've been very open about saying... 'Carolyn, if the NRA comes against a bill, I gotta vote with the NRA.' They're not going to take that chance. I understand that," said McCarthy of her Democratic colleagues. "Does it bother me? Of course, it bothers me because I'm not trying to take away anyone's right to own a gun."
Depending on where a given candidate hails from, gun rights can be a major issue.
Take the "Live Free or Die" state of New Hampshire where hunting is popular and the 2nd amendment has long been prioritized as a critical personal liberty.
"It's a freedom issue and that's what this is about," said Mitch Kopacz, president of Gun Owners of New Hampshire. "It's the canary in the cage if you will, the firearms... for free speech and other issues. If we have firearms we still have the rest of our rights."
While a contingent of voters will cast ballots strictly adhering to which candidate supports firearm freedoms, many others will prioritize other matters.
"Because the economy is bad and when the economy is bad all other issues get pushed to the side, including the issues about guns," explains Smith. "So I think what you're seeing with Democratic candidates is that the party has moved away from that more doctrinaire position against 2nd amendment rights."
I remember s few Supreme Court nominies who where "pro-gun". I also saw how they voted in both the Keller and McDonald cases. I advise caution when a Dem with an anti-gun record becomes concerned for our gun rights all of a sudden. Yes, there are a few genuine pro-gun Dems out there. Just do your homework before you vote. If they have a pro-gun past, then they may be pro-gun. If they were pitching support for another "assault weapons" ban, then preach the virtues of the Second Amendment today, be skeptical. Remember the tale of the scorpion and the turtle.