Man with concealed handgun permit has three defensive gun uses this year

According to WISH TV channel 8, a man in Indianapolis has used a gun defensively three times in less than two months:

"Apparently he heard a noise outside, went outside to see what was going on, and related to the detectives that this individual came at him with a knife, and which time he fired a shot," IMPD Sgt. Paul Thompson said.

Burns told detectives the man he shot was coming out of his car, perhaps trying to steal it.

The victim was hit in the chest and taken to Wishard Hospital in serious condition. While doctors work to save the victim's life, detectives work to figure out a complex case.

Police will determine if this shooting was indeed self-defense. What they'll also look at is the fact that Mr. Burns has been involved in two other shootings, this year alone. . . .

Metro Police tell 24-Houre News 8 that Richard Burns does have a valid gun permit. . . .

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Famous Author John Steinbeck Asked for Concealed Handgun Permit

The story on Steinbeck is here:

Just in time for the commemoration of John Steinbeck's birthday, local historian and fine arts maven Steve Hauk has come up with an interesting new tidbit about Monterey County's beloved dead author.

Hauk managed to locate Steinbeck's 1942 application for a New York state license to carry a concealed weapon.

Hauk posits the theory that Steinbeck may have had grounds for arming himself.

"He had good reason to fear," Hauk said in a posting on his redroom.com blog. "Amazing how life is all just a coverup.". . . .

Character witnesses on the gun license application included artist Henry Varnum Poor and actor Burgess Meredith. The reason given for the permit request was "self protection." . . . .


Obama's Mystery Soldier?

During the debate on Thursday Obama made a startling claim about how American soldiers are supposedly being sent into battle without rifles or sufficient vehicles.

Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.), former chairman of the Armed Services Committee, sent a stern letter to colleague Barack Obama yesterday, challenging him to provide information about an Army officer he cited in Thursday night's Democratic presidential debate.

The senator from Illinois said he had heard complaints from an Army captain who led a rifle platoon in Afghanistan that had to scrounge for weapons because it was poorly equipped. Obama described how Iraq war deployments winnowed the platoon to 24 soldiers and argued that the conflict has so strained the Army that units are going to war without the necessary numbers of troops and weapons. . . . .

ABC News correspondent Jake Tapper reported yesterday that the Obama campaign put him in touch with the unidentified captain -- who was deployed to Afghanistan from late 2003 to early 2004 -- and that the West Point graduate verified Obama's statement. He said, according to Tapper, that soldiers sometimes used enemy AK-47s. The captain also said his platoon used Toyota pickup trucks and unarmored flatbeds to get to the fight because they didn't have enough armored Humvees . . .

This could become a huge issue if this person's name becomes public. The military and others have claimed that this is simply not true. Most embarrassing is that Obama makes several serious errors about military organization and the chain of command in just a few sentences.

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Moving to Montana?: Montana and the Second Amendment

I kinda of doubt that they are serious (see also here and here), but the notion that by claiming the Second Amendment was not an individual right the Supreme Court would be breaking the compact that Montana agreed to when they joined the US is an entertaining idea.

The story of the Supreme Court case, Heller v. D.C. and the Montana attorney general, Secretary of State and legislators warning the Supreme Court that if the Court finds that there is no individual right to bear arms in the Constitution, is going to get interesting, to say the least.

It appears that if the Supreme Court sides with the District of Columbia in disarming gun owners and invalidating the constitutional protections contained in the Second Amendment, they would be in direct opposition to what all 50 states have guaranteed their citizens in the 50 state consitutions: the right to bear arms and protect themselves.

This has sparked questions.

If the Supreme Court decides what is constitutional and it runs counter to what every single state has clearly worded as a guaranteed right in the state constitutions, written at the time those states freely joined the Union, what then?

At this point, we’re not going to speculate until we do more research.

BUT that hasn’t stopped others, particularly gun owners from weighing in on the consequences.

At the AR-15 Forums, a large forum for gun owners, the comments have been flying fast and furious since the news of the Montana legislators sending their warning to the Supreme Court that a finding of “collective right” would violate the compact the state signed with the US government when the state freely joined the Union.

If Montana really left the union, it might be fun to move back there (it is very beautiful).

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Oakland moves to search people's homes for guns

Unless they are going to take the guns from people's homes, I am not sure how searching people's homes will get guns off the streets.

OAKLAND — City Councilmembers Patricia Kernighan (Grand Lake-Chinatown) and Desley Brooks (Eastmont-Seminary) asked the Oakland Police Department this week to formulate a plan to get guns off the street by having officers request permission to search residents' homes for weapons.. . . .

Thanks to Ben Zycher for this link.


Interior Department may adopt new rules that let concealed carry permit holders carry guns

The Secretary of the Interior would like the new rules drafted by April. It is believed that the rules would those eligible to carry a permit in a state to carry a concealed handgun in the national parks in that state. This would take the pressure off the Democrats in the Senate who have been trying to avoid a vote because they knew that it would pass and possibly produce a difficult vote for Obama and Hillary.

Thanks to Fred Miller.


Defend yourself at your own risk in the UK

From the Daily Mail in the UK:

A shopkeeper could face a murder charge following a fatal struggle with a knife-wielding raider.

Tony Singh fought back when Liam Kilroe, a career criminal, ambushed him in his car after closing time.
Kilroe, who was trying to steal Mr Singh's takings, staggered away with a stab wound from his own knife and died in a pool of blood.

The 25-year-old was on the run after being charged with two robberies.

Police called to the scene found Mr Singh in a state of shock, still sitting in his car and nursing serious knife wounds to his back, face and neck.

However, the officers arrested the 34-year-old and are preparing to send a file to the Crown Prosecution Service.

A murder charge would carry a life sentence on conviction.

The case resembles that of Tony Martin who was charged with murder after shooting Fred Barras, 16, during a raid on his Norfolk farm in 1999.

He was convicted of manslaughter and served three years in prison. . . .

Thanks to Richard Miller for sending me this link.

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Talks tomorrow at Lafayette College

On Friday I will be speaking on my book Freedomnomics to the economics student at noons and on media bias to the faculty at 3 PM


"States consider gun-access laws"

Move to let people keep guns in their cars when they are at work:

•Arizona. State Rep. Jonathan Paton, a Republican, says he sponsored his bill last month after a constituent told him he drives isolated roads to work but is not allowed to keep a handgun in his car. "It just comes down to the right of self-defense," Paton says.

•Tennessee. The proposed legislation, introduced in January, excludes correctional facilities and properties owned by the federal government. An amendment may be added to allow businesses that have secure parking areas that are less prone to crime to ban guns there.

"I respect property and business rights," says state Sen. Paul Stanley, a Republican sponsoring the bill. "But I also think that some issues need to overshadow this. … We have a right to keep and bear arms."

•Georgia. The legislature is considering a bill to allow licensed gun owners to leave their gun in a locked vehicle on their company's parking lot if the employer permits it. . . .


Permit holder protects himself from an on road attack in Arlington, Texas

Note that it is the Escalade driver, the permit holder, who sought out the police for help:

Police said a man driving a Cadillac Escalade was driving on Texas 360 near Interstate 30 when five people drove up next to him in a Chevrolet Suburban and began staring at him.
The man told police that the people in the Suburban followed him onto westbound I-30 when they rolled down their windows and pointed guns at him. The Escalade driver -- who has a conceal and carry gun permit -- pointed his gun back at them.
Police said people from both vehicles began shooting at each other as they exited Cooper Street. Investigators are trying to determine who fired first.
The Escalade driver drove through residential streets trying to evade the Suburban when he saw an officer on Northwood Court and approached him. Three of the people in the Suburban told the officer the man was harassing them and then fled on foot, leaving two of their friends -- one who was shot in the leg. . . .

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"Utah students hide guns, head to class"

CNN has this story:

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (CNN) -- The senior at the University of Utah gets dressed and then decides which gun is easiest to conceal under his clothes.

If he's wearing a T-shirt, he'll take a smaller, low-profile gun to class. If he's wearing a coat, he may carry a different weapon, he said.

He started carrying a gun to class after the massacre at Virginia Tech, but the student says he's not part of the problem of campus shootings and could instead be part of a solution. . . .

CNN also has an interactive chart that shows to some extent what is happening in different states. The problem with the chart is that it doesn't show which states leave the decision up to individual campuses. Right now it emphasizes Utah and Colorado which let students carry guns on all campuses (in Colorado the one exception in the University of Colorado, as they note).


The New York Times goes after legislation that would let permit holders have guns with them in the national parks.

February 20, 2008
New York Times

Packing Heat in the Parks

A sound and bipartisan public lands bill is being held up in the Senate in behalf of the gun lobby’s attempt to overturn decades-old safety regulations barring people from carrying loaded guns in national parks.

Well, despite the impression created here, it is a bipartisan group of senators who have tried to change the ban in the national parks. At least eight Democratic Senators have asked that the ban be lifted. The restriction has been in place since the early 1980s, and there is no evidence that I know of that permit holders were creating any problems prior to the implementation of the ban.

Owners are now required to keep their guns unloaded, disassembled and stored when in national parks and wildlife refuges. Senator Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma, is threatening to block the public lands bill unless it includes his amendment to allow the packing of live firearms in the parks.

There is no justification for such a change. Senator Coburn’s office is reduced to offering a scenario out of a “Death Wish” movie: “Guns locked in your trunk are of no use when a rapist is attacking your family.” A coalition of retired park rangers has warned that wielding live firearms would increase the risk to public safety and more easily empower game poachers than family vigilantes

Unloaded, disassembled and stored guns are useless for people being able to defend themselves. Those in the parks face risks not only from wild animals but also human criminals, and there is no reason to expect a fast response time from a 911 call, even if such a call were possible.

The Coburn amendment is another attempt by the gun lobby to extend laissez-faire gun rights to college campuses, churches and workplaces even as the nation suffers firearm fatalities and rampages that take 30,000 lives a year. The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, is right to oppose it as a poison-pill intrusion into the lands bill, which — among a multitude of useful and largely noncontroversial provisions — would authorize new wilderness areas and safeguard historic and cultural sites from coast to coast.

Guns do cause harm, but they also protect people from harm. The question is what the net effect is, and guns protect people far more frequently than they cause harm. Can the New York Times provide any evidence that permit holders pose any risk to the safety or health of others? No. Why is this provision a "poison pill"? All this provision would do is allow the permitting rules in a particular state to apply to those permit holders who enter a park in that state.

The temptation for lawmakers to pander to the gun lobby is never-ending, and 47 senators are on record in favor of tolerating loaded weapons in the parks. But at least their position was expressed in a plea to the Interior Department, where a hearing process would presumably encourage open public debate. The Coburn amendment is the gun culture’s dangerous end run around the public interest.

The discussion here with terms like "pander" is unfortunate. Would the Times want people to refer to its arguments as hysterical and emotional? Proponents of this change care about people's safety, and the Times references no evidence that permit holders pose a real risk to others.

Thanks to Ben Zycher for sending this link to me.

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Robert J. Samuelson nails the Obama Campaign

Samuelson's piece in Newsweek can be seen here. Read the piece for the substance of his argument.

It's hard not to be dazzled by Barack Obama. At the 2004 Democratic convention, he visited with Newsweek reporters and editors, including me. I came away deeply impressed by his intelligence, his forceful language and his apparent willingness to take positions that seemed to rise above narrow partisanship. Obama has become the Democratic presidential front-runner precisely because countless millions have formed a similar opinion. It is, I now think, mistaken. . . . The trouble, at least for me, is the huge and deceptive gap between his captivating oratory and his actual views. . . . . He has run on the vague promise of "change," but on issue after issue—immigration, the economy, global warming—he has offered boilerplate policies that evade the underlying causes of the stalemates. . . .

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A nice discussion of the arguments surrounding multiple victim public shootings

The Daily Telegram in Adrian, Michigan has a very useful discussion of the various issues raised after the couple of recent multiple victim public shootings. There are a lot of useful details in this long piece, and I am only quoting from the beginning of the article:

Gun bans only assist ‘gun-free zone’ killers

At issue: More calls for gun bans after another college shooting.

Our view: The rise in school shootings has followed the creation of “gun free zones,” not the presence of guns in American society.

The pattern is numbingly familiar. A gunman attacks defenseless people in a supposedly “gun-free” area. Gun control activists respond by demanding and receiving tougher restrictions. Yet shootings in “gun-free” zones only escalate, and the disconnect continues.

After last Thursday’s campus massacre in which five students were murdered and 16 wounded at Northern Illinois University, the anti-gun Brady Campaign responded by stating, “Our weak gun laws make weapons too readily available to dangerous people,” and urged further crackdowns on gun shows.

But NIU shooter Steven Kazmierczak did not buy the shotgun or any of the three handguns he used at a gun show. Each was purchased over time from a licensed gun store in accordance with restrictive laws in Illinois, which already had some of the nation’s tightest state gun regulations.



Handgun permit holder stops rape

Here is a story from the Associated Press via Knoxnews.com:

BRIGHTON, Tenn. - Police say a man attempting to rape a girl and a woman was shot and killed after one escaped and alerted her nearby cousin.

Investigators say 44-year-old David Fleming forcibly entered the home of two sisters, ages 22 and 12, in an apparent rape attempt in Tipton County.

After being tied up, one of the girls escaped and ran to the home of her next-door neighbor and cousin, Keith Ingram.

Police say Ingram shot and killed Fleming after he attempted to attack him.

Fleming had a prior conviction for attempted rape and was a registered sex offender. Ingram had no criminal record and a valid handgun permit. . . .

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"they've never paid more for college, never paid more for gas at the pump"

From Obama's speech last night:

You see it in your own lives and in your own neighborhoods. The stories I told you are not unique. Everywhere I go, I hear the same stories. People are working harder for less; they've never paid more for college, never paid more for gas at the pump. (APPLAUSE)

Well, doesn't the overall price level matter? If the inflation rate is 2 percent and college and gas are going up, that means something else is falling. A 2 percent or even a 3 percent increase in the price level seems awfully small.

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University Police Chiefs in Arizona oppose letting concealed carry permits on campus

This story can be found here:

Police chiefs from Arizona State University, the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University testified that allowing gun-permit holders to bring firearms onto school grounds would create confusion when officers respond to a shooting incident. It could lead to the loss of additional innocent lives, they said.

"Our job is difficult enough. I don't think there is a solution to the violence and the shootings we are experiencing on campuses," said ASU Police Chief John Pickens, who previously served as director of public safety at Northern Illinois University, where a gunman last week killed five people and wounded more than a dozen others before taking his own life.

Can they point to any examples where these concerns have actually occurred? No. Just hypothetical worst case examples. But it would be helpful if they could point to even a few examples to justify their fears. Then at least the discussion could be one of benefits versus costs.

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Do Democrats really believe that 18 to 22 year olds should be allowed to vote?

News note from Washington State. Here is an amusing note from yesterday:

Sen. Ed Murray, D - Seattle, the main proponent for SB 6841 [an act that would restrict possession of firearms at institutions of higher education - tf], argued that studies showing incomplete brain development until late teens or early 20s mean “many students do not have the ability to make judgements about guns.” Schoesler [our Republican senator - tf] disagreed, describing university students as having “the best and brightest minds,” and being capable of making good judgments. . . .

Thanks to Sonya Jones for sending me this link.


Kansas CIty murder rate down in first year of right-to-carry law

I am not going to argue that by itself this is evidence that right-to-carry laws are good (many other things can happen in a year), but at least the fears put forward predicting problems were proven false.

Crime down in KCK last year
The Kansas City Star
After two years of seeing reported violent crimes increase, Kansas City, Kan., saw the number of such crimes drop 5.5 percent last year.

More notably is that homicides fell 45.7 percent, from 46 homicides in 2006 to 25 last year. The last time the number of homicides was this low was in 1986, Brown said.

“We are very happy with (2007) stats,” said Capt. James Brown, a Kansas City, Kan., Police Department spokesman. “However, for those of us who have been in the business long enough, we know that there are curves that occur.” . . .

What is disappointing is that the article completely left out the fact that last year was the first year of the right to carry law in the state.

Thanks very much to David Cooper for sending me this link.

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Appearance on Roger Hedgecock's Show on Tuesday

It was fun to be on Roger's show again. We talked about the problems with gun free zones. You can listen to an MP3 of the show here. While all of Roger's show is interesting, the interview with me only starts about half way through the file.

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Clinton has election eve conversion on hunting

WIth elections near so many politicians start to come out in favor of hunting, even in Democratic primaries. Now it is Hillary Clinton's turn:

WAUSAU, WIS. -- At a campaign stop this afternoon, Hillary Clinton’s focus was on the economy and health care but some in the crowd had other things on their minds. Clinton was asked to discuss gun control which prompted Clinton to talk about her days holding a rifle in the cold, shallow waters in backwoods Arkansas.

“I’ve hunted. My father taught me how to hunt. I went duck hunting in Arkansas. I remember standing in that cold water, so cold, at first light. I was with a bunch of my friends, all men. The sun’s up, the ducks are flying and they are playing a trick on me. They said, ‘we’re not going to shoot, you shoot.’ They wanted to embarrass me. The pressure was on. So I shot, and I shot a banded duck and they were surprised as I was,” Clinton said drawing laughter from the crowd. . . .

Emphasis added by me to the word "rifle" in the text. Does Hillary know the difference between a shotgun and a rifle? Does she realize how hard it is to shot a duck with a rifle and to even do it on one's first shot? I doubt it.

Thanks to Ben Zycker for the link.

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Al Franken slightly leads Senator Norm Coleman in Minnesota

I recently got to meet Senator Coleman and I was quite impressed. He struck me as a very bright guy. This poll was disappointing news, but the election is still a long ways away:

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey found Al Franken slightly ahead of incumbent Senator Norm Coleman in what is likely to be a closely contested campaign. Franken, a former comedian and political commentator, leads Coleman 49% to 46%. If the Democrats nominate trial attorney Mike Ciresi, the poll shows Coleman attracting 47% of the vote while Ciresi earns 45%. . . .


Arizona debating letting concealed handgun permit holders in schools

The debate on letting concealed handgun permit holders in schools picks up steam in Arizona:

Supporters say the permit-holders should be allowed to carry guns at schools so they can defend themselves and others if a gunman starts shooting people and police haven't yet arrived at the scene.

Opponents say police officers urgently responding to a school shooting might have difficulty distinguishing innocent permit-holders from the gun. . . .

Could someone please give me an example of when this concern has actually come true during one of these events?

Thanks to Scott Davis for the link.


Appearing on G. Gordon Liddy Show

I will be on the G. Gordon Liddy Show later today from noon to 1 PM. We are going to be talking primarily about the Northern Illinois University attack.


Do food safety standards pass a cost/benefit test?

From Fox News:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Sunday ordered the recall of 143 million pounds of beef . . . .

The recall will affect beef products dating to Feb. 1, 2006, that came from Chino-based Westland/Hallmark Meat Co., the federal agency said. The company provided meat to various federal programs.

Officials estimate that about 37 million pounds of the recalled beef went to school programs, but they believe most of the meat probably has already been eaten.

"We don't know how much product is out there right now. We don't think there is a health hazard, but we do have to take this action," said Dr. Dick Raymond, USDA Undersecretary for Food Safety. . . .

No illnesses have been linked to the newly recalled meat, and officials said the health threat was likely small. . . .

Two facts: Most of the beef in the largest ever recall of beef has probably already been eaten. It doesn't seem as if anyone has gotten sick from eating it. I wonder how much of the cost of our food is due to this obviously very costly regulatory process. Huge amounts of food are thrown out. How much do you think that adds to the cost of food? "Health threat was likely small."



Chicago Public Radio Panel Discussion on Northern Illinois University Attack

Chicago Public Radio's 848 had "a panel of experts for a roundtable discussion on guns and violence in Illinois and beyond." I was one of the members of the panel. You can listen to the discussion here.

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More on concealed handguns

Utah is considering more legislation that will make carrying concealed handguns easier.

A student at the University of Arizona chimes in here.

Boston radio talk show host Michael Graham has a discussion here and here.


Gary Becker weighs in on the gun control debate

Nobel Prize winning economist Gary Becker has a posting on the gun control debate here. Posner also weighs in here. While I have immense respect for both of them, I don't really agree with them too much here and I have posted my comments in the comment section at the bottom of each page. Becker's discussion focuses on a purely economics based analysis of the issue.



More on eliminating gun free zones on campuses

Neil Cavuto has a segment on it here.

ABC News GMA has a discussion here.

I guess that I don't know why the proponents of letting concealed handguns on campus (particularly in the Cavuto interview) don't address the objections more directly. In particular, the concern about the risks of something bad happening. Why not simply point out that we have a lot of experience where permitted concealed handguns are allowed and yet no one can point to bad things happening. Point out that when these attacks have been stopped it usually is stopped without shots even being fired.

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Bouncers with concealed handgun permits stop attack at nightclub

Another example from Michigan where a permit holder has stopped an attack:

Man killed in shootout with bouncers at Detroit club
Santiago Esparza / The Detroit News
DETROIT -- Police are investigating a fatal shooting that occurred this morning after a group of men were thrown out of Plan B nightclub at 205 W. Congress in downtown.
The men were causing a disturbance and were escorted out the rear of the club by three bouncers, said Detroit Police Sgt. Eren Stephens-Bell.
One of the men in the group shot a bouncer in the back, Stephens-Bell said. Two other bouncers then pulled their guns and shot the man dead who had shot their co-worker, Stephens-Bell said.
The wounded bouncer was taken to an area hospital were he is listed in temporary serious condition.
Police did not release the identities of those involved in the incident.
The bouncers had permits to carry a concealed weapon.

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Obama leftwing contradictions: One example, campaign finance regulations

Rightwing Nuthouse has an interesting discussion here. Last year Obama promised take public financing during the general election if his Republican opponent did so also. McCain also made the pledge. Now Obama calls his pledge an "option" since he is finding it so easy to raise money. McCain made his pledge when he was the lead Republican candidate last year and Obama did the same when it looked like he had little chance of winning the nomination. I have no desire to maintain public financing of presidential campaigns, but I have to believe that these attacks will hurt Obama to at least some extent with this Democratic base. Possibly McCain is helping out Clinton right now more than Clinton is.

As an aside, this basically shows what I wrote in 2004: that presidential campaign finance regulations are dead.

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