12-year-olds learn how to fire guns in Alaska Public Schools

State Constitutions and the right to own guns

While there have been other attempts to put these laws together, this is more comprehensive:

Eugene Volokh has a new paper on state constitutions on the right to self defense.

Thanks very much to Ben Zycher for sending this link to me.

Gun buy back just yields non-criminal guns

Some votes are pretty cheap

Buying votes with pork rinds?


Democrats break one of their few promises


Will Semi-automatic guns be banned in Canada?

I don't know if these resolutions will be adopted by the Canadian Liberal Party, but the fact that they want to ban semi-automatic guns is very disappointing. (Of course, the fact that they were already banned for hunting is disappointing.) It would be nice if there were some evidence that could be provided that the registry system has been used successfully to solve crime.

Resolution #42: Automatic and Semi-automatic Weapons

WHEREAS automatic and semi-automatic weapons are illegal for hunting purposes; and

WHEREAS automatic and semi-automatic weapons do not support the hunting culture found in all parts of Canada;

BE IT RESOLVED that the Liberal Party of Canada urge the Government of Canada to support legislation to eliminate the personal use of automatic and semi-automatic weapons. . . .

Resolution #47: Gun Control
WHEREAS the cancellation of the gun registry is part of the Conservative Party's program; and

WHEREAS the Conservative government has started to slash into the registry by ending requirements to register long guns; and

WHEREAS police forces have continually supported the gun registry and spoken out against efforts by the Conservative government to weaken or end it; and

WHEREAS the continued support of police forces for a total gun registry is a strong indication of the capacity of the current system to reduce the harm caused by guns; and

WHEREAS certain dangerous weapons are not found on the current list of illegal weapons; and

WHEREAS it is necessary to continue to effectively control the possession and use of guns;

BE IT RESOLVED that the Liberal Party of Canada take the necessary steps:

1. to counter the efforts by the Conservative government to end or reduce the scope of the current gun registry that was enacted by parliament several years ago;

2. to review the classification of guns so that semi-automatic weapons be classified as an illegal weapons; and

3. to enact more severe laws to better control the possession and use of guns. . . . .

Bizarre Behavior of Imams on US Airways Flight

This Washington TImes article included a couple of facts that I hadn't seen in earlier discussions:

The passengers and flight crew said the imams prayed loudly before boarding; switched seating assignments to a configuration used by terrorists in previous incidents; asked for seat-belt extensions, which could be used as weapons; and shouted hostile slogans about al Qaeda and the war in Iraq.

Flight attendants said three of the six men, who did not appear to be overweight, asked for the seat-belt extensions, which include heavy metal buckles, and then threw them to the floor under their seats.

Robert MacLean, a former federal air marshal, expressed the fear yesterday that the situation "will make crews and passengers in the future second-guess reporting these events, thus compromising the aircraft's security out of fear of being labeled a dogmatist or a bigot, or being sued." . . . .

Also note this:

The imams left their assigned seats shortly before takeoff in violation of the rules . . . .

This is supposedly an overreaction by the passengers and the airplane crew? If so, I don't know what would be. I suppose that there is a small chance that this wasn't a deliberate provocative act, but it surely is reasonable to ask these gentlemen to leave the plane until everything can be checked.


Polls in a totalitarian society

Reminds me of the polls that I had seen from the former Soviet Union. Unfortunately, I think that election outcome in Venezuela will end up the same way as Soviet Union's election. The margins won't be as big, after all you can't completely ignore the size of the crowds, but the result will be the same.

But Venezuela's opposition calls those polls skewed, not just by the small samples, and their Chavez sponsorship, but the failure of U.S.-based pollsters to control for Venezuela's "fear factor," which keeps Venezuelans from revealing their true opinions out of fear of reprisals.

After all, oil workers have been directly threatened with firing by Venezuela's energy minister and Chavez has warned them to go into exile if they fail to vote for him. Other officials have suggested balloting won't be secret. . . . .

"National gun-buying background check system crashes"

This is a real and important cost of the system. Could you imagine running any business where you would randomly have to shut it down at different times? The frequent random crashes during the Clinton administration stopped after Clinton left office, but they still occur from time to time.

The FBI says its computer system that quickly screens gun buyers' backgrounds for criminal activity has crashed several times over the past two days.

An FBI spokesman says a technical glitch had the system on the blink for up to a half-hour yesterday and today, potentially allowing buyers to purchase firearms without being screened. He says the problem is being worked on and called it "a performance issue that we've never encountered before."

The FBI says it gets between 30 and 50,000 requests for background checks on a daily basis and usually can process them within 30 minutes.


"Concealed weapons in the wilderness"

"Army Lawyer on use of shotguns in combat"

Rich Griffiths sent me the following note:

The October 1997 issue of the Army Lawyer has an interesting legal review of the use of shotguns by the US military. Especially germane to civilian firearm laws is the discussion of the effectiveness of shotguns versus assault firearms and submachine guns at close quarters.


Page 20:

"...British examination of its malaya experience determined that, to a range of thirty yards (27.4 meters), the probability of hitting a man-sized target with a shotgun was superior to that of all other weapons. The probability of hitting the intended target with an assault rifle was one in eleven. It was one in eight with a submachine gun firing a five-round burst. Shotguns had a hit probability ratio twice as good as rifles..."

It seems to me that many assault weapon and handgun bans, and other firearm laws are based on implicit theories of lethality derived from the media rather than actual empirical evidence of lethality and effectiviness of firearms in combat.


Congratulations to Javier Abedini

"Lieutenant 1º Javier Abedini, superior technician in forense ballistics" is the new chief of Scientific Police of Carmen of Patagones. Javier is a very interesting guy and someone who I have corresponded with over the last couple of years. As best as I can make out, this is Argentina's version of CSI in the United States, containing agents with a variety of skills including two doctors. For those interested, more information can be found here

Kansas "Gun permit requests fall below forecast"

It is only below "forecast" for those who look at what happens in other states and don't take into account differences in training requirements, fees, and where you can use the guns. Kansas with an 8 hour training requirement is longer than most states and the $150 fee for a four year permit is well above what the fee is on average in other states. Indeed the fee is one of the highest in the country. I also agree that things will pick up some once the law goes into effect.

1) So far, the attorney general’s office has received nearly 3,600 applicants for gun permits under the law enacted this year at the rate of about 40 a day, said Chuck Sexson, director of the Concealed Carry Handgun Licensing Unit in the attorney general’s office.

He said about 2,600 permits have been approved and the rest are going through the approval process, adding that none have been rejected.

“I think at the beginning we were projecting 20,000 to 25,000 in the first couple of years based on other states. I don’t know what might hold folks off from applying,” Sexson said. “It’s probably less than we had anticipated when we started. Maybe it’ll increase as we get closer to January.” . . .

It would be nice if there were some learning curve on these predictions.