Senate passes bill to rein in suits against gun makers

"Resident With Concealed Gun Scares Away Robber"

Latest on bill to rein in lawsuits against gun makers

While the bill to rein in the suits against the gun makers is going forward, an amendment mandating gun locks was passed (Senate OKs safety locks with gun purchases). The vote on the overall bill should be held tomorrow.

The rush is on to sue gun makers


Jack Hirshleifer dies

Jack Hirshleifer was one of my professors in graduate school at UCLA and he had a big impact on my formation as an economist. Jack was also a great person. Always generous and kind, always available to talk to people. His work gave me the ideas for several papers and a good part of one of my books. The UCLA economics department notes his passing. Jack died on Tuesday morning from cancer and his funeral was today in Los Angeles. It is a real loss.

How much will gun companies benefit from the legislation to rein in suits against gun makers


Things look good on bill to limit suits against gun makers


More Knife control needed in the UK!

Knife law farce as boy buys weapons
Marc Horne

A SUNDAY TIMES investigation has revealed the lack of regulation that allows knife crime to flourish in the west of Scotland.

A 15-year-old boy was illegally sold more than 20 dangerous weapons in shops — including several high street chains — with no attempt made to check his identity.

Calum Duke, a schoolboy from Glasgow working undercover, was able to buy a potentially lethal haul of blades including kitchen knives, daggers, dirks, hunting knives, craft knives and even an axe.

In some cases, shopkeepers offered to wrap the weapons, warning that he could find himself in trouble with the police if he was found with them in his possession.

The findings follow a warning by police this week that the west of Scotland is in the grip of a “knife pandemic”. The number of murders involving a blade in the Strathclyde area is three times higher than anywhere else in Britain.

Every week for the past six months, there have been 25 serious assaults with a knife and 13 of the 30 murders in the west of Scotland this year were committed with a blade.

The level of knife crime in Glasgow is similar to that in the most violent eastern European cities. The worst offenders are male and between 15 and 25. . . .

Thanks very much to Dan Gifford for sending this to me.

Mark Steyn on the Dems Opposition Research


Revisiting John Donohue's cancelling of our gun debate last fall

1) It was very disappointing that John Donohue backed out of our debate on guns last December with just two days to go. I had looked forward to the debate, and obviously had my plane tickets well in advance. It was a date that Donohue had picked (I had said that I could do all but one day over the end of November through December and I would have gone beyond December if necessary), and the first email that I had confirming the event was received in September. I ended up speaking at Chicago on another topic so that a later debate could be attempted to be set up again with Donohue.

2) Unfortunately, the second planned debate was also cancelled. The debate was rescheduled for April 13th this year, and I made sure to reconfirm it because of the previous cancelation. The student at Chicago who set up the debate said that even though he had confirmed the debate with me multiple times and even though we had taken a date that I was told that Donohue wanted, the claim is that the debate somehow hadn't been completely confirmed with Donohue. (You would think that if the previous cancelation was an accident, Donohue would have been careful to double check this time just in case there had been any possible misunderstandings, but no one is claiming that he checked anything.) Attempts were made to get Donohue's coauthor Steve Levitt to substitute for Donohue and debate either guns or abortion claims were unsuccessful. From an email that the organizer sent me after the second debate was cancelled: "You have been the most patient and flexible speaker I could imagine . . . ."

3) In conversations with Joe Cascio (the speaker coordinator for the UC Fed Soc Chapter), I had said several times if we were going to schedule a third try at a debate, we should do it on the abortion and crime claims, especially given the amount of attention that this poorly done empirical claim had gotten. Despite Donohue claiming that the debate would actually take place this time, he was unwilling to debate this hot topic. Steve Levitt was unable to debate (he was debating the topic but only with people who didn't seem to know much about the issue) and Dubner, Levitt's coauthor, was unwilling to debate the abortion claims. The University of Chicago Federalist Society was again willing to have me give another talk that wasn't in a debate format, but they insisted that I remove the statements regarding the canceled debates from my website. (They simply viewed my posts about the April 13th event being critical of the Federalist Society (I disagree), and the earlier post that they wanted removed because they didn't want to be involved in a debate about a debate.) I told them that I would correct anything that they told me was wrong, but I wasn't going to remove the postings. If people set up debates and back out at the last moment, they should be held accountable.

On the substance of Donohue's work on guns, I would direct people to this paper by Plassmann and Whitley. There are two straightforward points that they make. 1) That the graphs at the beginning of the Ayres and Donohue work are very misleading because they don't make it clear that the sample of states is changing. The crime rates clear fall for a decade and a half and the sudden increase isn't real for the remaining states. It just looks like an increase because the couple of rural states that remain did not experience the decline in murder rates that more urban states experienced after right-to-carry laws were passed. 2) The second claim has to do with them fitting an intercept and line to the data and then limiting their reported impact on crime to only five years. Often there is no problem with this, but as Plassmann and Whitley clearly show it doesn't fit in this case. The Ayres and Donohue approach implies that crime initially increase (despite the fact that the year by year data discussed in point (1) doesn't, and it is just an artifact of their estimates over predicting in the early years because they are fitting this straight line with an intercept shift to crime that is falling at an increasing rate. But to compound the problem, they only discuss what the estimates mean for the first five years. Even with this approach if they had picked the sixth year it would have reversed their claims.

I also think that it is pretty clear why they find it difficult to debate either guns or abortion. Steve Landsburg was very nice to suggest in April that Levitt and I have a discussion at Rochester this fall, but I haven't heard anything back. I immediately wrote back saying that I was interested. Landsburg wrote in April that:
"Our department would like to arrange, sometime in the fall, to have you and Levitt visit simultaneously and give back-to-back workshops on guns, abortion or both. We want to hear your criticisms of each others' work and your responses to those criticisms. We *don't* want this to turn into a debate; we want it to be an academic seminar with all the usual rules of logic and evidence. The presenter is presumed to have the floor; there is an expectation of periodic interruptions from the audience; but there's also someone in charge to cut off questioning if it starts to take over the seminar. We would most assuredly *not* advertise this event to the general public, because we don't want an audience of advocates for any point of view. Ideally, we'd have you both here for two days, with you presenting on one day and Levitt presenting on the other. We are open to alternative suggestions. We'd pay you both an honorarium of some size to be determined, though surely far less than you deserve. We'll do what we can to make it attractive, though."

I am posting this because of an email that I received asking questions about Donohue's cancelation last fall.

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Audio of John G. Roberts, Jr.'s arguments before Supreme Court

Audio recordings of John G. Roberts, Jr.'s arguments before Supreme Court
Case Participation:
First Options v. Kaplan (March 22, 1995) argued the cause for the respondents (audio not included here)
Adams v. Robertson (January 14, 1997) argued the cause for the respondents
Alaska v. Native Village of Venetie Tribal Government (December 10, 1997) argued the cause for the petitioner
Feltner v. Columbia Pictures Television, Inc. (January 21, 1998) argued the cause for the petitioner
NCAA v. Smith (January 20, 1999) argued the cause for the petitioner
Rice v. Cayetano (October 6, 1999) argued the cause for the respondent
Eastern Associated Coal Corp. v. Mine Workers (October 2, 2000) argued the cause for petitioner
TrafFix Devices Inc. v. Marketing Displays Inc. (November 29, 2000) argued the cause for the petitioner
Toyota Motor Mfg v. Williams (November 7, 2001) argued the cause for the petitioner
Tahoe-Sierra Preservation Council v. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (January 7, 2002) argued the cause for the respondents

Thanks to Stuart Miller for sending me these links.

Defensive Gun Use Stories from the last week

1) Saginaw Township, Michigan: "Homeowner: Illegal entry was more than that"

A Saginaw Township man says police let him down when they refused to arrest an 18-year-old man who broke into his house by smashing a sun room window after midnight Thursday.

Jerry Persons, 65, who had open heart surgery in May, said a state police detective told him the intruder wasn't arrested because he needed 60 stitches and officers couldn't wait at the hospital.

"I indicated I didn't think that was fair," said Persons, 4785 Clunie. "(The detective) called it an illegal entry --that's what he'll be charged with -- not a breaking and entering. I said, 'Well, he broke and he entered.' " . . .

2) GRETNA, La.: "Jewler gets best of robbers in gun fight"

. . . The shootout occurred at Breaux's Jewelers in Jefferson Parish Tuesday after one of the suspects, dressed as an old woman with a walker and straw purse, was buzzed into the store.

Store owner Mike Breaux quickly saw through the disguise and had pulled his own handgun by the time the suspect — identified as Kevin Knight — had pulled a .40 caliber handgun from the purse and started to leap over the counter.

3) White River Township, Indiana: "Prowler prompts man to fire gun"

A White River Township man shot at a prowler who attacked him at his home early Wednesday, according to police reports.

4) JACKSONVILLE, Fla.: "Fatal double shooting in Jacksonville ruled justifiable homicide"

The fatal shooting of two Jacksonville cousins by a tenant they were trying to evict was ruled self-defense because one of them was brandishing a gun and a chain, State Attorney Harry Shorstein said Wednesday. . . .

5) Wacco, Texas: "Gun shop owner apprehends suspect during armed robbery"

A juvenile is in jail charged with holding up a local gun store. Three other suspects remain on the run.

6) Anchorage, Alaska: "SHOT TWICE: Neighbor saw burglar break, enter window"

An intruder was shot twice after he climbed through a window in a mobile home and was met by an angry resident early Wednesday morning, Anchorage police said.

Shane Crousser, 20, whom police have charged with first-degree burglary and third-degree assault, was recovering from his bullet wounds at the Anchorage jail on Wednesday evening.

Shortly after 1 a.m. Wednesday, police said, an intruder entered a window of a trailer home at the Manoog's Isle Mobile Home Park on Lake Otis Parkway north of East Dowling Road. A neighbor heard glass shattering and saw the break-in occurring, police spokesman Ron McGee said. The neighbor called 911.

While on the phone with the police, the neighbor saw the resident get into a fight with the burglar. Then he heard shots, McGee said.

The burglar got into a dark-colored Ford Explorer and drove away.

A short time later, police say, Crousser showed up at an emergency room with gunshot wounds to his upper left thigh and lower right calf. They said they don't know what was behind the break-in and fight. . . .

7) Santa Monica, Ca.: "Drive-Through Shooting Leaves Suspect Dead"

A gunman who allegedly tried to rob two men in the drive-thru area of a fast-food restaurant in Santa Monica Thursday was shot and killed during a confrontation with his intended victims, police said.

The violence occurred about 4:45 a.m. outside a 24-hour Jack in the Box at Lincoln Boulevard and Grant Street, said Santa Monica police Lt. Frank Fabrega.

The man, who was about 25, died at the scene. Authorities withheld his name pending notification of relatives.

"The victims ... said they were in the drive-thru area when a masked suspect approached their vehicle and displayed a knife and a handgun," Fabrega said.
. . .

These are just some of the stories that Nicki was nice enough to send me.

First Registration, then a ban