Letters in Baltimore Sun Responding to my Op-ed piece on Letting Felons Voting

An op-ed that I had in the Baltimore Sun has produced several letters criticizing it (see here).

Here are a couple of the arguments and responses:

First, Mr. Lott argues that those in favor of extending the vote to ex-offenders want to "make it easier for convicted murderers, rapists, armed robbers and other violent criminals to vote."

In fact, most people who are in prison and then leave are not violent felony offenders; rather, their crimes usually involve drugs or property offenses.

Fine, then restore voting rights for the crimes that supporters think are reasonable. Don't make it apply to murders and child molesters.

Mr. Lott doesn't want ex-offenders in Maryland to vote because it would enable them to influence state and local budgets, and violent ex-offenders would presumably try to cut funding for police protection and social programs, such as those that assist rape victims.

But is there any evidence that this happens in the overwhelming majority of states that treat ex-offenders less harshly than Maryland?

Moreover, where does this leave most ex-offenders, who were not convicted of a violent crime?

Finally, Mr. Lott says most ex-offenders care more about getting good jobs than being allowed to vote.

So do most people, I suspect, but why does that matter? Why should doing one preclude doing the other?

1) We know that felons behave much differently than other citizens (they committed violent felonies against their fellow citizens) and we know that they vote much differently than other citizens. What evidence does this author have that they do not behave differently?

2) Democrats may claim that they are pushing these legal changes because of their concern for felons, but the reference to good jobs was made because those pushing for felon voting rights seem much more concerned with voting rights to get more Democratic votes than they do with doing those things that the felons view as most important to them. While there are supposedly no difference between felons and non-felons after felons have been released from prison, there are many jobs that it is reasonable to exclude felons from voting because they have indicated that they are not very trustworthy. They have shown that they do not value the same things as non-felons. Possibly you want to treat first time felons differently than second time felons (and some states do that), but the laws being pushed by the Democrats make no such distinctions. At least with second time felons there is even more certainty that these felons are different than other Americans.

The vast majority of felons are not violent, and the last thing we should worry about is which way they might vote.

Rather, the No. 1 priority should be public safety and getting former offenders into the mainstream and abiding by the laws and paying taxes.

All these writers seem to believe that after felons are released from prison they should not be punished in additional way. OK, do any of them support letting ex-felons get their rights to own guns back? Why not? Not one of the letters mention this point, though I raised it in my piece.

It is surprising to me that Democrats do not seem to be facing more of a political cost for pushing these changes in laws.


Double Standards on Profiling

"If a citizen of the UAE walked into an airport in full burnoose and flowing robes, speaking only Arabic, Democrats would be deeply offended, and might even sue, if the security people were to give him any more scrutiny than they would to my sweet 84-year-old mother. Democrats loudly denounce any thought of racial profiling. But when that same Arab, attired in business suit and MBA, and with a good record running ports in 15 countries, buys P&O, Democrats howl at the very idea of allowing Arabs to run our ports. (Republicans are howling too, but they don't grandstand on the issue of racial profiling)" -- Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer.

For a discussion on the UAE purchase, see the link here.

Leaving New Zealand today

New Zealand is an amazingly beautiful country, and I have really enjoyed all the couple talks that I gave for the New Zealand police, the talk for the econ dept at the University of Canterbury, and the couple of discussions at the Department of Justice. It was also really interesting to have dinner with the members of parliament on Thursday. Anyway, thanks to Joe Green, Elizabeth Davie, Norman LaRocque, Phil Meguire, and all the others I am forgetting to name for setting all this up. I will be leaving tonight after a half day stay in Auckland.

Elderly woman protects herself with a gun

Alphecca has a nice story on an 87-year-old woman who protected herself with a gun.

Defensive Gun Use

I sometimes put up news stories on defensive gun use, but here is an email that I just received:

I helped someone save their own life. I was one of the instructors with Kevin Starrett of the Oregon Firearms Federation. We gave a handgun class that this young gentleman took to acquire his CPL. He's a very nice guy, currently attending seminary with his sights on becoming a pastor.

Here's the email I received:


 Last night in Eugene three mexicans tried to Rob me... THANKS TO YOU AND ED helping me gety my CHL, I am unharmed, unrobbed and when I drew that sucker they dissapeared so fast! I was pretty shookin up for a while afterward obviously, but I hardly got it out of the holster when they fled.. so I didn't have to harm anyone and I didn't recieve any trouble! THANK YOU SO MUCH!! It happened in the parking lot of Jack in the Box by Target on west 11th ave here in Eugene. A few of my friends even saw the truck that pulled up behind me as they passed by (2 people from Eugene Bible College) as I found out later that night. Anyway, just wanted to say thanks.. nothing bad happened thanks to you guys..."

I tell you, this email made my day.

Ed Dunnigan

Customer Service Rep.
Bushnell Outdoor Products


Right, there is no vote fraud ever alledged in Philadelphia

A danger with Tasers

Dennis Crouch had already slashed himself. And when he refused to drop his knife, Daytona Beach police Officer Betsy Cassidy decided she had no choice.

"Taser! Taser!" Cassidy shouted as she sent a two-pronged wire, packing 50,000 volts, at Crouch's chest. What happened next stunned everyone.

A Taser probe pierced the pocket of his khaki shirt -- and ignited the butane lighter inside. Cassidy's pocket exploded in flames.

"The subject," recounted Sgt. Al Tolley in a subsequent report, "immediately dropped the knife."

Officers grabbed Crouch, threw him to the ground and rolled him around till the flames went out, Tolley said. The Daytona Beach man, 53, was taken to Halifax Medical Center with minor burns and two self-inflicted stab wounds in his stomach and chest. . . .

Credit to the Drudge Report for noticing this story.

Lack of support for SF gun ban


What passes for parlimentary debate in New Zealand

"Firearms Safety Seminar—Police Contribution"

Keith Locke: Does it not undermine and run counter to the main purpose of the seminar as the Minister has just outlined it—that is, firearm safety—to fund keynote speakers such as John Lott, who is the author of a book called More Guns, Less Crime, American National Rifle Association lobbyist Mark Barnes, and Colin Greenwood, who describes the British handgun ban as “a pathetic irrelevance”; and what does the Minister think it achieves when five of the 11 keynote speakers at the conference are extreme pro-gun lobbyists?

Hon PHIL GOFF: The member is compounding the error that I just drew to his attention. He is selectively taking some—five out of 22—presenters and facilitators and saying that he does not agree with their views. I do not happen to agree with their views either, but a range of people are invited to the seminar to debate and, as the programme says—if the member had bothered reading it—to “exchange ideas, concepts, strategies and procedures for firearm safety”. One does not get a debate if one only chooses like-minded people who all say the same thing.

The talks that I gave today for the New Zealand police and the New Zealand Department of Justice went well.

Several more presentations today

I confess that I was exhausted yesterday after talks for the New Zealand Police and the University of Canterbury, but both groups were fun. The Canterbury people were really a lot of fun, and many good questions. I want to particularly thank John Gibson. Today I again talk to the New Zealand police and then give two talks in Wellington.

Headline in the Australian: Clinton man forced from Harvard helm

A growing rebellion by Harvard dons has toppled Lawrence Summers as president of the oldest and most prestigious university in the US.

Facing a no-confidence vote by the faculty next week, the former Treasury secretary to Bill Clinton announced on Tuesday he would step down at the end of the academic year after five turbulent years at the helm.

The revolt was triggered by his suggestion at an economics seminar that women's "intrinsic aptitude" might explain why so few women became professors of mathematics and science. He later apologised for the remarks.

Mr Summers's resignation ends the briefest tenure of any Harvard president since 1862, when Cornelius Felton died after two years in office.

1) It tells you something when a mainstream liberal Democrat is too conservative for the Harvard faculty.
2) Summers' remarks may have been used as a pretext, but the disagreements were much. much deeper.


"Why are Police hosting international pro-gun lobbyists?"

Of course, the police went to great lengths to make sure that there were an equal number of speakers on both sides of the issue. Three others were mentioned, but I got a nice notice in the Green Party press release.

The New Zealand Police need to explain why they are hosting this country’s largest ever gathering of international pro-gun lobbyists, according to Green Party Police Spokesperson Keith Locke. . . .

· John R. Lott, the world’s most controversial pro-gun researcher, who writes that the solution to school shootings is to arm the teachers, and whose recent book is titled More Guns, Less Crime.

I suppose that I must be doing something right to be "the world’s most controversial" researcher on one of the most controversial topics.

Radio New Zealand's Morning Report is going to have me on at 8:15 their time to discuss this. Their very rough summary can be found here.

For those in New Zealand

Tomorrow afternoon (New Zealand time) (February 22nd) I am giving a talk on media bias to the economics department at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, NZ.

Tourist plug: New Zealand is one heck of a beautiful country. The people are also extremely friendly.


Texas Redistricting before US Supreme Court

This link provides some interesting resources for those interested in the Texas redistricting case that the US Supreme Court will hear next week. This is a very important case and may very well determine whether the Republicans keep control of the House of Representatives next year.


Louisiana Gun Sales Soar After Katrina

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives out of control?

Gov Ed Rendell (Pennsylvania) and corruption issues