7/26/2018

At Fox News: Here's the real reason Democrats are so scared about Kavanaugh joining the Supreme Court

I have a new piece up at Fox News where about why Democrats are afraid of Judge Brett Kavanaugh being confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The piece starts this way:
In a desperate attempt to block Kavanaugh’s confirmation by the Senate, the Democrats are making wild claims that abortion would be banned, people would be dying in the streets, and the president would gain immunity from investigation and prosecution if Kavanaugh joins the nation’s highest court.  
Time for a reality check. Let’s all take a deep breath and look at the facts about the judge who President Trump has nominated to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. 
Kavanaugh currently serves on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. He’s not some right-wing extremist who would run wild – like the proverbial bull in the china shop – overturning legal precedents, despite what the Democrats claim.
Kavanaugh is dedicated to judging cases based on the evidence and dedicated to following the Constitution as it is written. He is a firm opponent of legislating from the bench to support his ideological views. 
When he accepted President Trump’s nomination to the Supreme Court in televised remarks, Kavanaugh made this crystal clear, saying: “A judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law. A judge must interpret statutes as written, and a judge must interpret the Constitution as written, informed by history and tradition and precedent.” 
Lower court judges are supposed to follow Supreme Court precedent, whether or not they personally agree with the decision. When judges ignore precedent, it is easy to infer that they are acting on their own political biases. 
However, Kavanaugh has been a consistent follower of precedent while he has been on the D.C. Circuit Court. The appellate court is widely acknowledged to be the nation’s second highest court, just below the Supreme Court. 
While the Supreme Court can overrule its own precedent, Kavanaugh has co-authored a hefty 942-page book on precedent, titled “Law of Judicial Precedent.” The book seeks to formerly describe rules when courts should follow precedent, and it makes clear that jettisoning precedent is not something that Kavanaugh takes lightly. 
For those on the left who insist that Kavanaugh is dangerous because he supposedly won’t follow precedent when it comes to Roe v Wade – the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide – it seems clear that his critics haven’t read the book he co-authored on precedent. . . .
The rest of the piece is available here.
 

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7/22/2018

CBS News: "Even in gun country, Democrats shift towards gun control"

Like abortion, the Democratic party is going to exclude anyone who disagrees with the party othodoxy on gun control.  From CBS News:
Just 18 months after declaring his opposition to banning assault weapons, Nebraska Democrat Brad Ashford has changed his mind. 
The former one-term congressman, now trying to win back an Omaha-area seat he lost in 2016, used to consider it futile to push for a ban while Republicans held power on Capitol Hill. But the student activism that has followed the rampage at a school in Parkland, Florida, has changed his thinking in a way that other high-profile shootings, including two in his hometown since 2007, had not. 
Ashford's conversion mirrors the one underway in his party. Not long ago, a moderate record on guns would have been considered a plus for a Democratic candidate in the GOP-leaning suburbs and conservative outskirts of Nebraska's largest city. Today, even with Ashford's reversal, it's a vulnerability that his opponent in the May 15 Democratic primary has been quick to exploit. 
That contest, along with races in Virginia, rural Pennsylvania and other places where gun control has been taboo, shows how far the Democratic Party has traveled on this issue. The November elections will test whether Democrats will make room for candidates who don't back all gun control measures. 
"He should have been stronger on this," said Kara Eastman, the 46-year-old political newcomer running against Ashford for the nomination in the 2nd Congressional District. "We need leaders who are going to stand up and fight for the kids." . . .

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At Fox News: Trump Administration agreement means "This Marks the End of Gun Control"

I have a major piece up at Fox News where he explains how a new Trump Administration agreement means "This Marks the End of Gun Control." The piece starts this way:
The federal government has finally recognized the obvious – that sharing instructions on how to make guns with 3D printers counts as constitutionally protected speech.Despite little fanfare, this is an important victory for First Amendment rights. It also represents a real blow to the increasingly futile cause of gun control.
The U.S. Justice Department announced a legal settlementand its surrender to the First Amendment arguments July 10 made in a case brought by Cody Wilson, founder of Defense Distributed. Wilson, 25, created a ruckus in May 2013 when he announced his successful design of a plastic gun. In just two days, 100,000 copies of the handgun blueprint were downloaded from Wilson’s website.
The most downloads came from Spain, followed by the U.S., Brazil and Germany. The heavy downloading in Spain, Brazil and Germany likely reflected attempts to evade extremely restrictive handgun regulations in those countries.
People are going to download these files whether they're legal or not. As we've seen with movies, file sharing is unstoppable. The most pirated TV program in 2017 was the seventh season of “Game of Thrones,” with well over 10 million illegal downloadsin most weeks.
Within days of the gun file being uploaded, the Obama State Department served Wilson with a letter threatening criminal prosecution for violating federal export controls. Wilson immediately complied with the order, but there was no way to stop further downloading.
Within a week of the initial uploading, the file could be downloaded on the Internet from over 4,000different computers around the world.
The Justice Department’s recent settlement with Wilson is very favorable to him, allowing Wilson to provide the printing instructions “for public release (meaning unlimited distribution) in any form.” The government also compensated $40,000of Wilson’s legal costs.
Someone has just as much right to release the instructions in a computer file as in a book or newspaper article. The groups that submitted argumentson Wilson's behalf were ideologically diverse, ranging from conservative self-defense advocacy groups to the Reporters’ Committee for Freedom of the Press and Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Anyone with access to a metal 3D printer can make guns functionally and aesthetically indistinguishable from any gun that can be bought in a store. Such metal printers are available for less than $2,000.
How the government will stop people from obtaining these printers isn’t exactly obvious. Proposals to require background checks, mandatory serial numbers and even a registration processfor printers are easily defeated. Even if printers are registered with the government, what is going to stop gangs from stealing them? And the designs for making your own printer have been available on the Internetfor years.
3D printers make the already extremely difficult job of controlling access to guns practically impossible. The government is not going to be able to ban guns, and limits on the size of bullet magazines will be even more laughable than before. Many parts of a gun can be made on very inexpensive, plastic 3D printers or even from simple machine tools. . . .
The rest of the piece is available here.

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7/21/2018

Interesting new Gallup Survey: No one views Global Warming as most important problem and only 2% view gun control that way

A copy of the Gallup survey is available here.

Also of interest is the percent of Americans who are satisfied with the direction of the country. The percent of Americans satisfied with how things are going in July of election years isn't a great predictor of how people will feel that November, but 35 percent who were satisfied this July was 7 percentage points higher than the previous high in July 2012.

July 2010: 21 percent satisfied
November 2010: 19 percent satisfied
July 2012: 28 percent satisfied
November 2012: 31 percent satisfied
July 2014: 24 percent satisfied
November 2014: 20 percent satisfied
July 2016: 17 percent satisfied
November 2016: 37 percent satisfied
July 2018: 35 percent satisfied

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7/16/2018

At Townhall.com: “How Entertainment Shows have become Vehicles for Gun Control Propaganda”

My newest piece is up at Townhall.com on the continuing bias in entertainment television. The piece starts this way:
Not liking guns has been portrayed as cool for a long time. It is an old theme that dates back to the original 1980s MacGyver series, in which the titular character avoids using guns and expresses his aversion to them. This theme has continued with the current remake.
But the push to sway public opinion really seems to have picked up. This spring on ABC’s “The Crossing,” the sheriff’s young son says, “I don’t like guns” when a deputy suggests he may someday replace his father. The deputy appears discomforted by the exchange.
In NBC’s “Reverie,” main character Mara Kint(Sarah Shahi) is traumatized by the shooting deaths of her sister and niece. The deaths are played repeatedly throughout the show. In the second episode, which aired last month, Kint throws a gun into the ocean and explains that she has had training with guns. When asked why she threw the gun away she says that she “hates guns.” This scene touches on multiple gun control points in just 15 seconds.
It’s a tight race, but NBC might just be the worst network.  It seems to have given out orders for its TV shows to include some anti-gun or pro-gun control mentions.
This April, an episode of “Taken” (Season 2, Episode 11) tried to convey to viewers that gun-free zones work because the criminals obey the bans.
Santana(Jessica Camacho) asks Agent Bryan Mills (Clive Standen), if he is “OK with this whole no-guns thing” as they enter a hospital  Mills replies that it is OK because the gun-free zone means that “bad guys won’t have them either.”
Do viewers really believe that a group of professional killers couldn’t find some way to get guns into a hospital?  Mass public shootings actually almost always occur in gun-free zones. Since 1950, that’s been true of 98 percent of incidents.  This happens precisely because criminals prefer unarmed victims.
In March, the NBC show “Chicago Fire” (Season 6, episode 15) contains ascenewhere stored ammunition catches fire. Bullets fly everywhere, causing firemen to think that a sniper is targeting them. One of them is seriously wounded.
It is hard to believe that anyone would want to have a gun in their home after watching this scene.  But it is complete fiction.  gun barrel is needed to propel a bullet forward.  Outside of a gun, the gunpowder in a bullet would simply explode in all directions, which wouldn’t generate much speed in any particular direction.
A February episode of NBC’s “The Black List” (Season 5, episode 13) begins with a group of people accusing a gun maker of providing inexpensive guns that “have no value to anyone but criminals.” The gun maker is accused of making sales that “drive up homicide rates,” further increase the demand for his product, and bring in “blood money.”  There is even a dig about how the law protects the gun maker from being sued, to which his only response is that everything he’s doing is perfectly legal. No one mentions that poor people — particularly poor minorities — are the most likely victims of violent crime and rely on inexpensive gunsfor self-defense. . . .
The rest of the piece is available here.

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At The Hill: Gun control advocates are hyperventilating over Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination

My latest piece at The Hill is available here:
Gun control advocates are hyperventilating over President Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun rights group, Everytown for Gun Safety, warned: “Judge Kavanaugh has applied an extreme and dangerous interpretation of the Second Amendment when determining whether a law is constitutional, one that does not take into account a law’s impact on public safety.”
Since the Supreme Court’s last gun control case in 2010, the court has turned away at least 15 gun-rights cases, including several challenges to prohibitions on semi-automatic assault rifles and on public carry of firearms. Gun control advocates hoped that the Supreme Court would overturn unfavorable lower court decisions. Some believe that Justice Anthony Kennedy stopped the court from taking these cases, but it could just as easily have been Chief Justice John Roberts, who places considerable weight on building consensus and is willing to put off dealing with contentious issues. Rarely is any information released on who voted to hear these appeals.
Gun control advocates are most upset by a 2011 dissent in which Kavanaugh voted to strike down Washington, D.C.’s ban on most semi-automatic rifles. Two other judges voted to uphold the ban, so Kavanaugh lost the vote.
But it’s easy to read too much into any one case, especially when a judge is simply following precedent set by the Supreme Court — in this case, precedent from the 2008 Heller decision that struck down D.C.’s handgun ban. “As a lower court, however, it is not our role to re-litigate Heller or to bend it in any particular direction,” Kavanaugh wrote. “Our sole job is to faithfully apply Heller and the approach it set forth for analyzing gun bans and regulations.”
Lower court judges are supposed to follow Supreme Court precedent, whether or not they personally agree with the decision. When a judge ignores precedent, it is easy to infer that he is acting on his own political biases. But Kavanaugh has been a consistent follower of precedent while he has been on the D.C. Circuit Court, widely acknowledged to be the nation’s second highest court, just below the Supreme Court.
While the Supreme Court can overrule its own precedent, Kavanaugh has co-authored a hefty 942 page book on the topic titled “Law of Judicial Precedent.” The book seeks to describe rules governing when courts should follow precedent, and it makes clear that jettisoning precedent is not something that he takes lightly.
It’s not as though Kavanaugh took a particularly strong self-defense rights view of Supreme Court precedent: “Heller largely preserved the status quo of gun regulation in the United States. Heller established that traditional and common gun laws in the United States remain constitutionally permissible.”
Kavanaugh showed consistent respect for precedent, but the left insists that he is dangerous because he supposedly won’t follow precedent when it comes to Roe v. Wade. But during his confirmation hearing to the D.C. Circuit Court in 2006, Kavanaugh promised, “I would follow Roe v Wade faithfully and fully.” In language very similar to what he said to justify his decision on D.C.’s rifle ban, Kavanaugh explained that Roe v Wade would be, “Binding precedent of the court. It’s been decided by the Supreme Court.”
Bloomberg’s Everytown is also simply wrong when it says that Kavanaugh “does not take into account a law’s impact on public safety.” For example, on page 33 of his dissent, Kavanaugh compares the safety issues for semi-automatic handguns and semi-automatic rifles. On pages 42 and 43 he compares the relatively safety aspects of licensing versus registration laws. . . .
The rest of the piece is available here.

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7/14/2018

Gallup on the most conservative and liberal states, Gallup indicates we live in a conservative country

   

Gallup's write up on all this is available here.

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Why does anyone give much credibility to Mueller's latest indictments for Twelve Russian military intelligence officers in Hacking probe?

Politico's headline questions the timing of Mueller's indictment of Russian military intelligence officers just one business day before Trump is to meet with Putin (‘It's a big FU from Mueller’). But put aside the timing of the recent indictments, does anyone remember the Mueller probe's previous indictments of Russians regarding their interference in our election? How they had indicted Russians in the belief that they wouldn't contest the charges and when the Russians fought back, Mueller suddenly had to ask for delays in the proceedings? From the WSJ in May:
In February, in its first indictment based on alleged conduct directly related to Russian involvement in the 2016 campaign, Mr. Mueller’s office charged three Russian companies and 13 Russian citizens with engaging in a widespread effort to interfere in the presidential election. . . . 
Mr. Mueller’s prosecutors accused them of funding efforts at another organization, the Internet Research Agency LLC, to create fictitious online personas and set up hundreds of social-media accounts—on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram—that pushed divisive messages and helped organize rallies in advance of the November 2016 election. . . . 
Mr. Mueller’s office asked the court to delay Concord Management’s arraignment, in which the company would enter a plea, saying it had tried unsuccessfully to serve the indictment on the defendants. 
Mr. Mueller’s attorneys said they wanted to ensure the proper process was followed. Mr. Dubelier said in a filing it was the special counsel’s “own fault” that the summons hadn’t been served and described the special counsel’s motion as “pettifoggery.” 
Earlier this month, the judge overseeing the case, Dabney Friedrich, denied the special counsel’s request to delay the arraignment, and the company pleaded not guilty at a hearing on May 9. . . .
It isn't even obvious to me that there is credible evidence of hacking the DNC and others as the DNC wouldn't even let the FBI look at the supposedly hacked servers.

From CNN: "FBI repeatedly stressed to DNC officials the necessity of obtaining direct access to servers and data, only to be rebuffed until well after the initial compromise had been mitigated.... [had] rely upon a third party for information."

The DNC claims: "the FBI never requested access to the DNC's computer servers." The FBI says that they have had to rely on third-party sources to determine if the DNC servers have been hacked, presumably that is a significantly less reliable method. Does anyone believe the DNC claim the FBI never asked to look at the servers is credible?

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7/05/2018

Elon Musk emailed Obama EPA director on her pseudonym account, begging director for special help

From John Fund at Fox News:
. . . But on December 13, 2012 the EPA’s assistant inspector general announced he would conduct an audit into Jackson’s use of private email accounts under the alias “Richard Windsor” to conduct official government business. 
Chris Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute had brought a lawsuit to make 12,000 of Jackson’s “alias” emails public. Before that could happen, Jackson announced she would be leaving office on December 27, 2012 – apparently with the strong private encouragement of the White House. 
It took three more years of litigation to get all of Jackson’s private emails released. We now know that her alias email accounts were her prime method of doing business. 
One of the more infamous emails involved the billionaire inventor and businessman Elon Musk begging Jackson on her false-identity account for an emergency assist for his already heavily subsidized Tesla Motors. Musk wanted Jackson’s EPA to give Tesla a “certificate of conformity” that other companies had to formally apply for. 
Jackson quickly brought in top EPA aides, asking “what can be done?” Within hours, the certificate was approved and Jackson wrote to her senior aides: “Done. Elon replied to say thank you.” . . .

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6/29/2018

Democrats by 28% to 16% think Social Media Platforms Censor Conservatives more than Liberals


From the new PEW Research Center:
The view that major technology companies are more supportive of certain political views is particularly widespread among Republicans. Some 64% of Republicans (including Republican-leaning independents) say major technology companies support the views of liberals over conservatives, and just 28% say these companies support the views of liberals and conservatives equally. By contrast, 28% of Democrats and Democratic leaners say these companies support liberal views over conservative ones, and 53% say both groups’ views are supported equally. Just 16% of Democrats say the companies support the views of conservatives over liberals. . . .

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6/20/2018

Just how strong is the economy?

-- The economy is so strong that the number of people on Social Security disability is "plunging, a startling reversal of a decades-old trend that threatened the program’s solvency." 2yrs ago system was going to be insolvent by 2023. Now 2032.

-- Food stamp use that had been steadily increasing under the Obama administration has fallen to an eight-year low.

-- Over 95% of manufacturers bullish on future, ‘record optimism’

-- Millenials are finally leaving their parents' home

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6/12/2018

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein obstructing Congress' role of oversight

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein keeps on obstructing Congress' role of oversight.  Rosenstein is preventing Congress from interviewing the FBI agents who interviewed General Michael Flynn and said that he didn't lie to them.  Special Counsel Robert Mueller ignored the evaluation of these agents, the ones who were actually present when Flynn was interviewed, and charged Flynn with making false statements.  It is understandable that Congress would want to talk to these agents, though it is understandable that Mueller might object to this oversight.
But Republicans on Capitol Hill are seeking more information about that interview as recent revelations have raised questions about the guilty plea itself. They say former FBI Director James Comey in fact indicated to lawmakers that FBI agents did not believe Flynn intentionally lied about the talks with Russia’s ambassador. 
“Contrary to his public statements during his current book tour denying any memory of those comments, then-Director Comey led us to believe during that briefing that the agents who interviewed Flynn did not believe he intentionally lied about his conversation with the Ambassador and that the Justice Department was unlikely to prosecute him for false statements made in that interview,” Grassley wrote in May to Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray. . . .
Now in an escalation of the tensions between Congress and Rosenstein, we find that Rosenstein threatened to subpoena Congress' emails, phone records and other documents from lawmakers.  Does Rosenstein realize that oversight is Congress' job?  Rosenstein has been upset that Congress is keeping a record of their interactions with his office, but why is that wrong? 
“The DAG [Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein] criticized the Committee for sending our requests in writing and was further critical of the Committee’s request to have DOJ/FBI do the same when responding,” the committee's then-senior counsel for counterterrorism Kash Patel wrote to the House Office of General Counsel. “Going so far as to say that if the Committee likes being litigators, then ‘we [DOJ] too [are] litigators, and we will subpoena your records and your emails,’ referring to HPSCI [House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence] and Congress overall.”   
A second House committee staffer at the meeting backed up Patel’s account, writing: “Let me just add that watching the Deputy Attorney General launch a sustained personal attack against a congressional staffer in retaliation for vigorous oversight was astonishing and disheartening. ... Also, having the nation’s #1 (for these matters) law enforcement officer threaten to 'subpoena your calls and emails' was downright chilling.” 
The committee staffer noted that Rosenstein’s comment could be interpreted as meaning the department would “vigorously defend a contempt action" -- which might be expected. But the staffer continued, "I also read it as a not-so-veiled threat to unleash the full prosecutorial power of the state against us.” . . .
Is this proper behavior for a member of DOJ to treat Congressional staff who are overseeing his activities as criminals? I suspect that this type of threat is incredibly rare.





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6/08/2018

At the Daily Caller: What Is The Religion Of Mass Public Shooters?

I have a new op-ed at The Daily Caller on the religious views of those who commit mass public shootings.  The piece starts this way:
After the attack at the Santa Fe High School, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick denounced a loss of faith and religion in society. While the news media puts the lives of these mass public killers under a microscope, collecting any information that can be gleaned about their childhoods from their family and friends and social media history, researchers have ignored the religious views of these killers.
What is most shocking is how few of these killers appear to be religious, let alone Christian. Just 16 percent have any type of religious affiliation at the time of their attacks, with a slight majority of those being Muslims.
Over just over 20 years from the beginning of January 1998 through today, there have been 69 killers committing 66 mass public shootings in the United States where at least four people have been killed. Of those attacks, just four have been identified as Christians, with just three clearly regular churchgoers. With 70 percent of Americans identifying themselves as Christians and over 33 percent going to church at least once a week, those numbers are a long way away from the 48 or 23 we would respectively expect.
These Christians included:
Mitchell Johnson, who was one of two boys who attacked their middle school in Jonesboro, Arkansas in 1998. Johnson reportedly dreamed as a child of becoming a minister.
Terry Ratzmann, a regular church attendee who shot up his church in Wisconsin in 2005. Ratzmann was a member of a “most extreme of the many offshoots of the Worldwide Church of God,” which is itself well outside of Christian mainstream. Among their beliefs is that “man’s destiny is to become God as God is God.”
Dylann Roof attacked the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015. As a kid, Roof went to his Lutheran church’s camp and had participated in many church activities. But besides acknowledging that Roof was still a member of the church, the minister and Roof’s family members refused to answer questions on how often Roof had attended the church or if had been there recently.
Dimitrios Pagourtziskilled 10 people at the Santa Fe High School in Texas this past Friday. Pagourtzis has been a member of the Greek Orthodox Church.
Five other killers were raised as Christians, but they moved away from the faith as they got older. It gives one an idea of the extreme detail that the media goes into on people’s religious views. For example, Micah Xavier Johnson, who shot the five police officers in Dallas in 2016, according to his parents, lost his faith after serving in Afghanistan. Seung-Hui Cho, the Virginia Tech killer, was raised as a Christian, but he resented his parents “strong Christian faith.” Any religious involvement during their lives has been of interest in all the news stories on these attacks.
Muslims make up a slightly disproportionately large share of these attacks. Even though they make up less than one percent of the US population, they account for 8.7 percent of these killers (six in total) and more than the number of Christians. This rate is a much lower than what we observe in the world as a whole where Muslims have committed 23 of the 25 worst mass public shootings since 1970 and 42 of the 50 worst attacks. . . . .
The rest of the piece is available here.

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6/07/2018

At The Hill Newspaper: Locking guns won't do anything to save lives

Note: At the end of this piece, we have included responses to an attack on Dr. Lott's article.
I have a new piece at The Hill newspaper on the current debate over whether people should lock up the guns in their homes.  The op-ed starts this way:
After Friday'sattack at Santa Fe High School, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick forcefully told people of their “responsibility” to lock up their guns.We all want to do something, but everyone locking up their guns will cost more lives than it saves.
Santa Fe High School had received an award for school safety but it was helpless to stop this latest nightmare. We need to rethink school safety.  Despite this year’s attacks, deaths from school shootings have actually declined over the last few decades. Still, that doesn't take away at all from the seriousness of the problem we face.
Lt. Gov. Patrick was just giving people advice. By contrast, gun control advocates always want to use laws to force their solutions on others. Since the Santa Fe killer apparently took his father’s guns, a number of gun control advocates have proposed to hold parents like him criminally liable; any gun owner would face criminal charges for leaving his gun unlocked or failing to keep it under his immediate possession.
Other shootings have involved guns stolen from parents. In 2012, 20-year-old Adam Lanza stole his mother’s gun and subsequently killed her.She kept the gun in a safe, so a new law wouldn’t have mattered there. Since 2000, there have been two additional mass public shootings in the U.S. where a juvenile killed at least four people.
Gun control advocates claim that gunlocks will also reduce children’s accidental gun deaths. Unfortunately, the problem is more complicated. Mandating that people lock up their guns can have unintended consequences.
According to my research, published in the Journal of Law and Economics and elsewhere, requiring individuals to lock up their guns in certain states made it more difficult for those people to successfully defend their families. Such laws emboldened criminals to attack more people in their homes; there were 300 more total murders and 4,000 more rapes occurring each year in the states with these laws. Burglaries also rose dramatically.
That is not particularly surprising given that crime rises when we impede people from protecting themselves. Indeed, every place in the world that has banned guns has seen an increasein murder.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, accidental gunshots nationwide claimed the lives of an average of 59 children annually over the ten years from 2006 to 2015. This is a tragic number, but so too is the much larger number of cases where people aren’t able to protect themselves and their families from criminals.
Even if locking up guns could have prevented all three of the mass shootings since 2000 that were committed by juveniles, that these killers couldn’t have obtained weapons in other ways, there would have been 24 fewer deaths and 16 fewer people who were wounded. One could even add in all of the accidental gun deaths and assume that those would have been prevented, too. But, even then, we are talking about just a fraction of those who die in one yearfrom the mandated safe storage of guns. . . .
The rest of the piece is available here.
The Hill newspaper ran an op-ed criticizing my piece. Here is a point-by-point response to some of the errors in the Devin Hughes, Beth Roth, and Jen Pauliukonis’ piece in The Hill. The responses are in bold italics.
Lott’s article is riddled with fabrications and falsehoods. For example, he opines that “every place in the world that has banned guns has seen an increase in murder.” Yet Japan is the developed nation that has come closest to completely banning firearms, and it has seen its homicide rate fallmore than 75 percent since it adopted its ban in 1958. While correlation is not causation, Lott’s correlative claim is unmistakably false. Further, a 2013 studyfound that among developed nations, more guns per capita was associated with significantly higher rates of firearm deaths.
Japanese gun control regulations had seen virtually no change for several hundred years.  It is wrong to think that the 1958 law changed anything relevant to this discussion.  For example, the Library of Congress has this summary.
The 1950 Order was replaced by the Law Controlling the Possession of Firearms and Swords in 1958.[18]  There were some changes made to the regulations in the 1950 Order, but the general prohibition of possession of guns by civilians was not changed. . . .
As to the claim that developed countries with more guns have higher rates of firearm deaths, this claim depends on biases in how gun ownership is measured or what countries that you define as developed.  The evidence shows that higher gun ownership is associated with fewer homicides or firearm homicides.   Also, purely cross-country comparisons are quite misleading. And contrary to the reference to Japan, every single time that all guns or all handguns have been banned, homicide rates have gone up.
Lott opines that “relatively few accidental gunshots take place in law-abiding, normal homes; most accidental gunshots resulting in the deaths of minors are fired by adult males in their mid-to-late 20s who have criminal histories.” This is an outright fabrication.
“Of the fifty-six accidental gun deaths involving children under ten in 1998 and the thirty-one in 1999, only eight and six respectively were shot by another child or themselves. The same statistic for 1997 was only five.” -- “The Bias Against Guns."
More detailed evidence on these points is also available there.
Lott’s outdated, solitary study claiming that CAP laws increase crime relies extensively on dubious econometric practices. More reliable research reveals that not only does firearm prevalence endanger children, but that strong CAP lawsalso help mitigate this risk and save lives. These laws help reduce both unintentional shootingsand youth firearm suicides.
Despite the criticism that Lott's research on whether gunlock laws increase crime, noneof these studies linked to here look at that relationship.   In addition, the papers that are cited are purely cross-sectional data (the Slate article cites this, and the "strong CAP Laws" study is here).
Other studies not referenced here either don't control for changes in other types of accidental deaths or factors such as pre-existing average differences across jurisdictions.
Finally, Dr. Lott's piece didn't just reference one "outdated solitary study."  He cited two and here is another later refereed publication here (pp. 198-201).
Although Lott correctly notes that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data show an average of 59 children are unintentionally shot and killed each year, he fails to disclose that researchers have conclusively revealed that this number is a significant underestimate. The CDC readily admitsthat its estimate is low, so using this number can only be a tactic to minimize these deaths. A 2013 New York Times investigationfound that fewer than half of unintentional shootings of children were recorded as such (often being mislabeled as homicides).
Relying on initial news reports to identify cases is a very poor approach. Often the initial news reports are the only news articles made in these cases.  As Dr. Lott wrote to Michael Luo, the author of the 2013 New York Times report cited here, made many questionable judgment calls. For example, including cases such as a four-year-old supposedly loading a magazine and pulling back the slide before firing it, just shows that the journalists don't know very much about guns. Few children under ten or even twelve have the strength to pull back the slide on a semi-automatic handgun. Coroners also have access to information not publicly available.
the best available empirical data compiled by the Gun Violence Archive reveal there are fewer than 2,100 verified DGUs annually.
For problems with the Gun Violence Archive and their reliance on news coverage and other errors see hereand here.
The piece by Devin Hughes, Beth Roth, and Jen Pauliukonis is available here.

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6/06/2018

At National Review: Look at the Parkland Killer. We know one cause of mass public shootings, they want to get publicity

I have a new piece at National Review on why mass public shooters commit these horrible crimes.  The piece starts this way:
Ever wonder why mass public shooters commit their horrible crimes? Prosecutors in Broward County, Fla., released on Wednesday the Parkland high-school shooter’s cell-phone videos, in which he bragged, “It will be a big event, and when you see me on the news, you will all know who I am.”
What makes these mass public shooters different from most criminals is that they want glory and fame, and we need to stop giving it to them. The media coverage of these videos also fails to draw any lessons about how we can stop these attacks in the future.
If anyone missed the Parkland killer’s motivation, he repeated it three more times in his video rants, which totaled two minutes and 26 seconds. He tells viewers: “From the wrath of my power they will know who I am,” “with the power of my AR you will all know who I am,” and “you will all know what my name is.” To get this attention, the killer understood that he had to kill a lot of people: “My goal is [to kill] at least 20 people.”
The Parkland killer feels that he benefits from coverage of the attack even if it doesn’t mention his name. The more well-known the attack, the more people will ultimately learn who he is.
Sadly, the Parkland killer is all too typical. Killers like him want to commit suicide and want to do it in a way that will bring them notoriety. This isn’t a motivation just for lone-wolf shootings; we also see it in coordinated terrorist attacks.
The Sandy Hook killer spent two and a half years putting together a report on mass public shootings. Law enforcement described“a sickeningly thorough 7-foot-long, 4-foot-wide spreadsheet with names, body counts, and weapons from previous mass murders and even attempted killings.” One anonymous law-enforcement veteran remarked, “It sounded like a doctoral thesis, that was the quality of the research.” The killer also collected information on media coverage for each killing. He observed that attacks with more deaths received greater media coverage.
The Sandy Hook killer may have been mentally ill, but he clearly knew what he wanted to accomplish and how he was going to do it. CBS Evening News reported that he wanted to killmore people than did Anders Breivik, a Norwegian man who killed 77 people in July 2011. The Connecticut shooter targeted the “nearby Sandy Hook Elementary School because it was the ‘easiest target’ with the ‘largest cluster of people.’”
The Batman movie-theater shooter in Aurora, Colo., was also mentally ill. But William Reid, a state-appointed psychiatrist who performed Holmes’s sanity evaluation, testified that the subject carefully planned every detail to maximize the number of possible victims and get more attention.
Over and over again, these killers are highly driven to realize their goal of more publicity. They invest a lot of time and energy into planning their attacks, often starting a year or two in advance. Mass public shootings have rarely involved less than six months of planning.
It is clear: If you want to stop these attacks, stop giving news coverage to the killers and their crimes.
Unfortunately, you can’t stop this coverage without trampling on First Amendment rights. From time to time, various media outlets will briefly refrain from mentioning a killer’s name. But this is never done on a consistent, systematic basis. The killers know that their names will be in the history books, giving them a sort of immortality that they couldn’t achieve in any other way. . . .
The rest of the piece is available here.

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