More on Abortion and Murder Debate

Mr. Lott has difficulties with both Mr. Levitt’s data and his conclusion.

If Mr. Levitt’s theory was correct, crime rates should have started falling among younger people who were first born after the legalization of abortion, he said. He says his data shows that the opposite is true: murder rates during the 1990s first started falling for the oldest criminals and last for the youngest.

Mr. Lott said some of Mr. Levitt’s data came from an organization affiliated with Planned Parenthood and assumes that states went from a complete ban on abortion to complete legalization. However, abortions had been permitted in some cases before complete legalization. Mr. Lott’s data, from the Centers for Disease Control, shows that before the Roe vs. Wade decision of 1973, many of the states that allowed abortions in limited circumstances actually had higher rates of abortion than states where abortion was legal.

The answer isn’t “anywhere near as cut and dry” as Mr. Levitt suggests, said Mr. Lott.

"Shooting at party ruled self-defense"

A Tennessee man who shot two men at a graduation party early Sunday morning was justified, prosecutors determined Thursday.

"It appears to be bona fide self-defense," Jackson County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Mark Blumer said.

Although John Bartel, 51, will not be charged in the shooting, he faces a charge of illegally carrying a concealed weapon.

"If he would have had a concealed weapons permit from Tennessee, we would have honored it," Blumer said. The .45-caliber handgun was not licensed, he said.

Leoni Township police said there was a fight at a graduation party for Michigan Center graduate Brandon Bartel at 440 S. Sutton Road.

A young man was asked to leave, and he returned with friends to start the fight that led to the shooting, officials said.

John Bartel suffered multiple fractures to his jaw, but it is unclear if he was struck with a fist or an object, Blumer said. Bartel fired his gun, striking two men, ages 22 and 24. . . .


Alan Korwin sent me the following description of the new edition of his book:

"Assault-Weapon" Expiration Killed 4,800 words

by Alan Korwin, Author
Gun Laws of America

The tenth anniversary edition of "Gun Laws of America," the unabridged guide to federal gun law, shows both increases and decreases depending on how you count the laws, says Alan Korwin, publisher of Bloomfield Press, which has produced the book since 1995. The completely revised edition is due out in July.

"Some gun laws have been repealed, the assault-weapon law expired, and many new gun laws have been enacted by Congress," Korwin notes. "All told, we have 40 more statutes, for a total of 271 federal gun laws, a 17% increase in the past decade." That is the true measure, Korwin says.

The word count however has dropped slightly, by 979 words or about 1%, to a total of 93,354 words of federal gun law. The assault-weapon law expiration removed 1,105 words, but it also eliminated the 3,710-word list of "good guns," those declared to not be assault weapons. That list was included at the insistence of the NRA, who had feared the law might expand to include regular guns widely owned in America.

Among the significant repeals, the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, formed during the Cold War, was abolished, with its primary functions rolled into the State Department. The Civilian Marksmanship Program, designed to teach the general public to shoot and handle firearms safely, was repealed from the Armed Services laws, and expanded and rewritten into the Patriotic Societies laws.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms was removed from the Treasury Dept., where it had been a tax bureau since its inception, and now operates under the Attorney General, with Explosives added to its name and an implicit Justice Dept. law-enforcement focus.

The most dramatic word losses occurred during "codification," a little-known process managed behind the scenes by federal workers. This takes bills passed by Congress and converts them into the numbered statutes of law called U.S. Code. For example, Congress enacted 39 words to extend the 1988 Undetectable Firearms Act, which was about to expire. After codification, the statute simply expires in "25 years," not "15 years," a significant change but with no difference in the word count. Earlier measurements of the size of federal law included the congressionally passed laws.

Surprisingly, some parts of congressional acts are never codified at all. This also lowers the final word counts. Those so-called "statutes-at-large," if related to arms, are included in Gun Laws of America as an appendix. They are not counted in the official statutory total, but do contain another 4,354 words of federal gun law.

The large repeal, expiration and codification losses were offset by scores of new gun laws. Many were enacted with no public attention and little noise from usually loud pro-gun-rights and anti-gun-rights lobbies. Some new gun laws, instead of affecting citizens, expanded federal powers.

For example, at least six new federal police forces were created, with broad powers to keep and bear arms in cases where the public is banned from keeping arms. This includes a new Federal Reserve Board police force, the Inspectors General police, plus more visible changes such as Homeland Security forces and armed Transportation Security agents. Two armed-pilot programs, for passenger and cargo pilots, allow pilots to be deputized as federal agents and then carry arms while deputized (pilots per se cannot be armed under the law).


A friend of freedom of speech resigns

John Fund, in his political journal diary, says it very well:

The first amendment took a big hit on Wednesday when Bradley Smith resigned as member of the Federal Election Commission. Mr. Smith was arguably the biggest hawk for protecting political speech in the history of the commission, which regulates political and campaign activities. He made all sorts of enemies, especially among liberal activists who believe that the right to free speech doesn't include the right to spend money promoting your views.

It speaks volumes that arguably the happiest person in America to see him go is Senator John McCain. Mr. McCain is on a mission to regulate away virtually all private political spending. Ever since he was caught in an embarrassing financial relationship with a disgraced savings & loan owner, he's adopted the view that political giving is inherently corrupt and corrupting.

This is not a good time for Mr. Smith to be leaving. Several monumentally important First Amendment issues will be decided in the new few years, including regulation of Internet political activities. Mr. McCain also wants to ban the independent spending of "527" groups, which was a direct outgrowth of his previous effort to ban large contributions to the political parties. Mr. Smith told me recently: "The right to political free speech in America has pretty much reached the end of its tethers." Even the usual defenders of civil liberties, he added, had abandoned their principles because "their hostility to money overrides their concern about the First Amendment." . . .

Brad is a friend, and I just happened to bump into him on Wednesday evening at a get together for the Federalist Society. He is going back to Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio.

New Gallup Poll on Guns

In a new poll (6/14/05) entitled "Public Wary About Broad Concealed Firearm Privileges," Gallup asks "Who Should be Allowed to Carry Concealed handguns?" and finds that 26 percent support letting private citizens with a "clear need" carrying guns and 27 percent support "any private citizen." The wording of this question is crucial, and that neither of these options corresponds to actual rules under right-to-carry laws. My experience in reading these polls is that you get much higher numbers when you include information such as "those who have passed a criminal background check" and/or "passed training requirements." When many people hear the term "any private citizen" they become concerned that this would allow criminals to carry concealed handguns. My own belief is that Gallup survey is not worth very much other than for its propoganda value, though it is interesting to me that 53 percent (26 + 27 percent) believe that citizens should be able to carry a gun without any mention of criminal background checks or training. 43 percent of guns owners and 17 percent of nongun owners think that any private citizen should be able to carry a gun. (You need to subscribe to Gallup to download the information in this survey.)


Appearance on Penn & Teller's show on Showtime

Robbing a beauty parlor was a big mistake

hA stick-up man tried to rob a Louisiana beauty school — and ended up getting an extremely nasty makeover. . . .

The masked robber ordered the people in the room — 18 to 20 students and teachers — to lie on the floor, leading some to think they were going to be killed. "You'll be the first to go," he allegedly growled to one crying woman.

After collecting everyone's money, the gunman pushed the school's sole male employee, Abram Bishop, toward the back of the room — but then turned and began to run out the door.

That's when Mitchell stuck out her leg. The robber tripped over it, dropped the gun and slammed into a wall. Bishop immediately jumped on his back, forcing the stick-up man down to the floor. "Get that sucker!" yelled Mitchell, and the dozen and a half women present grabbed whatever they could get their hands on — curling irons, chairs, a table leg — and piled on. "They just whooped the hell out of him," said school owner Sharon Blalock.

Crying in pain, bleeding and having soiled his pants, the gunman tried to crawl away, but the angry women held on to his legs and kept hitting him until police arrived. Gipson was charged with armed robbery and taken to LSU Hospital (search) in a neck brace, having suffered multiple lacerations. No one else was seriously hurt. . . .

"He walked into the wrong place at the wrong time," one police officer told KTBS-TV of Shreveport. . . .

City may ban slingshots and "shooting instruments of any kind"

he City Council approves, paintball guns, plus slingshots and "shooting instruments of any kind," would be banned under the same law that forbids airguns and blowguns.

"It's just like a gun ban. It's only going to affect those who try to break the law," said Chad Carter, a paintball gun owner and Bossier City resident.

Carter and his teenage son work or play at the Paintball Warehouse & Field in Shreveport every weekend. His wife and daughter often play, too.

"We find safe areas to play in whether it be a private field or a public course," Carter said. "Neighborhoods are too tight to do anything."

People who don't obey the law could be fined up to $500, imprisoned up to 60 days or both.

Councilman Scott Irwin initiated the bill after he said he heard complaints that someone had used a paintball gun in the Shady Grove area of his south Bossier district. . . .

Of course, there is always the option of penalizing someone if they fire a paintball or slingshot at another person who is not willingly involved in some sort of game.

The future of gun control in the UK:: banning "toy" guns


Some states finally moving on letting retired police carry guns

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. yesterday initiated a state program to license retired police officers to carry concealed handguns, making Maryland one of the first states to implement new federal laws expanding gun rights for retired and off-duty officers.

"This is good public policy that will make a safer state, which is why I am very proud Maryland has led," said Mr. Ehrlich, a Republican.

Surrounded by officers from various local and state law-enforcement agencies, Mr. Ehrlich made the announcement at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 3 in Baltimore.

The setting underscored Baltimore's high murder rate despite crime-fighting pledges by Mayor Martin O'Malley, a likely Democratic rival to Mr. Ehrlich in next year's governor's race.

Last week, the FBI reported that violent crime in Baltimore increased 4.2 percent to 11,667 incidents in 2004, while the numbers declined in most other cities. . . .

I confess that I have never understood the opposition to letting retired police carrying guns. Many Democrats find this troubling, and I don't understand why they view this as so dangerous. Right-to-carry laws generally reduce crime, and whatever unfounded fears they have about that seem even more difficult to justify with these people. The only explanation that I have heard is the type of reason given by Democrats in Illinois and that is a "slippery slope" argument. If you let retired police carry guns today, tomorrow it will be everyone. I view it in reverse. If there are no problems with citizens carrying guns, how can there be with retired or off-duty police.


More reasons why the reckless suits against gun makers should be reigned in

This is a useful article from the Buffalo news, and the whole piece is worth a read.

Wal-Mart last year settled a California lawsuit alleging widespread violations of gun laws for $14.5 million.
The California suit said Wal-Mart stores sold guns to convicted felons and ammunition to minors, and allowed buyers to pick up guns before criminal background checks were complete.

Gun control advocates called the settlement an important victory over one of the nation's major firearms retailers.

But in the ongoing legal war over gun violence and gun control, the Wal-Mart case was one small skirmish.

Large-scale attempts to blame firearms makers for gun violence in American cities have failed. Class-action lawsuits seeking billions of dollars from manufacturers get shot down in courts all over the nation.

Since 1998, at least 33 communities - including New Orleans, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Boston, Philadelphia and Cincinnati - filed suits against gun makers, accusing them of marketing a product that endangers the public.

Most of the suits were dismissed. A handful are pending, including one New York City filed five years ago. . . .

The National Rifle Association agrees, calling the lawsuits a reckless attempt by "anti-gun zealots" to put law-abiding companies out of business.

"The lawsuits failed because you can't blame a company for somebody who misuses a product that functions properly," said Joyce L. Malcolm, a history professor and gun rights supporter from Bentley College near Boston. "Blaming the gun industry for the actions of criminals is like blaming a company that makes sleeping pills for someone who commits suicide. It isn't right."

Even New York Attorney General Eliot L. Spitzer got beat five years ago, when he accused gun makers and distributors of doing nothing to prevent unlawful handgun trafficking.

"(Gun makers) know that a significant portion of their guns become crime guns, but turn a blind eye so as to increase their profits, at a cost of many human lives," Spitzer argued. "New York is flooded with a huge volume of illegal guns that are used in violent crime." . . .

"Assistant Principal Shot, Returns Fire During Alleged Car Jacking Attempt"

The assistant principal of Youree Drive Middle School in Shreveport is hospitalized with a gunshot wound, after an overnight shootout with a man who allegedly tried to car jack him. Shreveport Police say Charles Washington arrived at police headquarters Sunday night, with a gunshot wound to the shoulder, saying he had just been shot by a man and returned fire. Washington reportedly told police a man approached him near Milam and Sycamore, demanding his car keys and his wallet. Washington says the man shot him and he shot back, wounding the alleged robber, Gabriel Robinson. The 20-year-old Robinson has been booked into the city jail on a charge of attempted second degree murder. Mr. Washington remains hospitalized in fair condition. . . .

{The Assistant principal] was "Not too worried - just ready to be back to work."

Police say Washington, in shooting his alleged assailant, was apparently acting in self defense. While its unclear if Washington has a license for a firearm, police say he did not need one since he had the gun in his car, which is considered an extension of the home.

I thank Jason Morin for letting me know about this. Jason also correctly points out that with all the debate in Florida about their new castle doctrine law, Louisiana has had for some years this similar law for dealing with carjackings.

Canada's "Gun registry: Still wasting tax dollars"

PUBLICATION: The Windsor Star
DATE: 2005.06.14
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
SOURCE: Windsor Star


Gun registry: Still wasting tax dollars


If Canada's criminals registered their firearms, and deadly weapons smuggled from the United States were similarly registered, the billion dollars spent on Canada's firearms registry might seem like a wise investment.

But criminals don't register their firearms and the registry, despite what its proponents claim, has not made for safer communities. The program, which was only supposed to cost taxpayers $2 million when it was introduced in 1995, hasn't taken guns away from criminals or removed them from city streets.

Last week, Windsor police seized a .357 handgun during a drug raid on a home in the 500 block of Janette Avenue. That weapon had been reported stolen from the United States and wasn't registered in Canada. Nor were the 10 semi-automatic weapons police took off the streets in late April. Those non-registered firearms included one with a laser-sight and a Tec-9 machine pistol with a 30-round clip. Good police work, not the useless registry, netted those guns.

The .22 calibre Beretta that Jack Pharr used to gun down 22-year-old Brian Bolyantu in downtown Windsor wasn't to be found in Canada's gun registry and neither was the .357 Magnum that Kenyatta Watts used to kill Mohammed Charafeddine. People like Pharr and Watts don't register their weapons.

The only people who register their firearms are law-abiding citizens who are being unfairly targeted by an ill-conceived program designed to score votes in urban Canada at the expense of rural residents.

How does forcing an Essex County hunter to register his rifle make downtown Windsor safe from gunplay? It doesn't and it never will no matter how much money the government pours down the black hole of the gun registry. . . .

Sorry, I don't have the link to this.


"Since 9/11, there's been a rush to arms in Iowa"