Federal Judge Reverses BATFE decision on small gun shop


The dangers of compact fluorescent light bulbs

This is an amazing story. With politicians and environmentalists talking about forcing people to buy compact fluorescent light bulbs, I will sure stock up on the old kind if we are ever forced to switch. The one group that would really benefit from a requirement that people have to buy compact fluorescent light bulbs is environmental clean up crews.

How much money does it take to screw in a compact fluorescent lightbulb? About $4.28 for the bulb and labor -- unless you break the bulb. Then you -- like Brandy Bridges of Ellsworth, Maine -- could be looking at a cost of about $2,004.28, which doesn't include the costs of frayed nerves and risks to health.
Sound crazy? Perhaps no more than the stampede to ban the incandescent light bulb in favor of compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) -- a move already either adopted or being considered in California, Canada, European Union and Australia.
According to an April 12 article in the Ellsworth American, Mrs. Bridges had the misfortune of breaking a CFL during installation in her daughter's bedroom -- it dropped and shattered on the carpeted floor.
Aware that CFLs contain potentially hazardous substances, Mrs. Bridges called her local Home Depot for advice. The store told her the CFL contained mercury and she should call the Poison Control hotline, which in turn, directed her to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
The DEP sent a specialist to Mrs. Bridges' house to test for mercury contamination. The specialist found mercury levels in the bedroom in excess of 6 times the state's "safe" level for mercury contamination of 300 billionths of a gram per cubic meter.
The DEP specialist recommended Mrs. Bridges call an environmental clean-up firm which, reportedly, gave her a "low-ball" estimate of $2,000 to clean up the room. The room was then sealed-off with plastic and Mrs. Bridges began "gathering finances" to pay for the $2,000 cleaning. Reportedly, her insurance company wouldn't cover the clean-up costs because mercury is a pollutant. . . .

See also an updated report here and this also here.

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A history of the Parking Meter

Larry White as an interesting brief discussion of the history of the parking meter here .


Will Legislation to Stop Terrorists or Others From Getting Guns Be Abused?

My guess is that Sen. Frank Lautenberg is involved is enough to raise my concern. If this is such a good idea, possibly we should let the government arrest people simply based on someone being a suspect. (I am not serious here.)

Backed by the Justice Department, the measure would give the attorney general the discretion to block gun sales, licenses or permits to suspects on terror watch lists.

In a letter this week to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, NRA executive director Chris Cox said the bill, offered last week by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., "would allow arbitrary denial of Second Amendment rights based on mere 'suspicions' of a terrorist threat."

"As many of our friends in law enforcement have rightly pointed out, the word 'suspect' has no legal meaning, particularly when it comes to denying constitutional liberties," Cox wrote.

In a letter supporting the measure, Acting Assistant Attorney General Richard Hertling said the bill would not automatically prevent a gun sale to a suspected terrorist. In some cases, federal agents may want to let a sale go forward to avoid compromising an ongoing investigation. . . .



Jackie Mason on gun control

Wisconsin courts examine concealed handgun issue.

Lawrence Stich writes me that the courts are examining these self-defense cases on a case by case basis. This strikes me as similar to not posting a speed limit but making you have to go to court regarding each case to determine if someone were going too fast.

Pizza-delivery man Andres Vegas, who shot two people in seven months who were trying to rob him during deliveries, says the concealed-carry criminal charge against him ought to be tossed out for infringing on his constitutional rights.

In a motion filed in Milwaukee County Circuit Court this week, lawyers for Vegas - he is fighting a misdemeanor charge for carrying a concealed weapon - contended that the state's concealed-weapons statute can't fairly be used against him because his job with Mona Lisa Pizza takes him places where he needs the gun for security.

"This prosecution functionally disallows Mr. Vegas' exercise of his constitutional rights to keep and bear arms for defense and security," his attorneys, Craig Mastantuono and Rebecca M. Coffee, wrote in the motion.

Authorities found Vegas shot the suspected robbers - one on N. 22nd St. on Jan. 4 and a 14-year-old boy on N. 34th St. on July 14 - in self-defense during what he told police were attempted armed robberies.

Vegas, 46, of Cudahy, was previously the victim of an armed robbery attempt in 2005, which was cited when prosecutors elected not to charge him in the July shooting. According to court records, he was also robbed, pepper-sprayed and beaten during a September pizza delivery, when he says he was unarmed. . . .

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More on Chicago misreporting murder rates

Fox News Poll On Gun Ownership and Gun Control


SUV runs off road and into a group of middle school children

Critical Reaction to Texas Governor's Proposal to Eliminate Gun Free Zones in State

For some critical comments on Gov. Perry's proposal see here, here, here, and here.


Copies of new book hot off the presses

My new book Freedomnomics is hot off the presses and is now starting to find its ways to book stores. It will still be a month before it goes on sale, but I have high hopes for this book. It is quite a relief to see it coming out after all the work that went into it.


"Why Economists Tend to Oppose Gun Control Laws"

Useful article:

After the shooting rampage at Virginia Tech, many well-intentioned people all over the country have been calling for increased gun control laws. However, economists tend to oppose gun control laws, since such laws generally pay no attention to basic economic issues.

Let's start with the relationship between means and ends. The shooter had his ends: he wanted to kill many people, and he wanted it to be visible and spectacular. He also had his means: guns and bullets. He engaged in forward-looking behavior: he purchased the guns, bullets, chains, locks, and video equipment well in advance. He taped himself in advance explaining what he was going to do and why he was going to do it.

Now let's consider gun control. Many people argue that if the shooter did not have guns and bullets, he would not have been able to shoot all of those people. This is surely correct. However, from that, they infer that if he did not have guns and bullets, he would not have been able to kill all of those people. This is a whole different question.

As Mises.org readers know, in economics, we discuss the idea of substitutes. These are goods that can be used to replace each other such as Coke vs. Pepsi, contact lenses vs. eyeglasses, Macs vs. PCs. When a person has ends, a person can select among different means to achieve those ends. These different means are substitutes.

Cho wanted to kill many people, and he wanted it to be visible and spectacular. To that end, he purchases guns, bullets, chains, and locks (to prevent survivors from escaping). Would gun control have prevented this? Or would Cho ÷ who apparently planned this attack for weeks, based on the fact that he acquired guns, bullets, chains, and locks for weeks - have used substitute goods?

What would Cho's substitutes have been? What others means are there by which he could engage in mass murder? Well, he could have purchased a knife, although that is probably a weak substitute for guns and bullets in achieving his ends. He has to be right next to his victim, and he might be defeated in personal combat by another person. Likewise, he could not kill a lot of people in the same time frame, and it would not be as spectacular. . . .

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Texas Governor Rick Perry: : allow Texans to take their concealed handguns anywhere"

This couldn't be any clearer.

AUSTIN — Gov. Rick Perry, mulling ways to stop the kind of murderous rampages that recently left 33 dead on a college campus in Virginia, said Monday there’s one sure-fire solution he likes: allow Texans to take their concealed handguns anywhere.


Perry said he opposes any concealed gun-toting restrictions at all — whether it’s in a hospital, a public school, a beer joint or even the local courthouse.

“The last time I checked, putting a sign up that says 'Don’t bring your weapons in here,' someone who has ill intent on their mind — they could care less," Perry told reporters. “I think it makes sense for Texans to be able to protect themselves from deranged individuals, whether they're in church or whether on a college campus or wherever."

As reporters began clicking off a list of places where concealed permit holders face restrictions, Perry cut off the questioning and made it clear that he meant anywhere at all. . . .

Thanks very much to adopted Texan Nick Trout.


Some Changes in National Presidential Primary Polls


Supreme Court on liability in police high speed chases

The Supreme Court today ruled that police officers are free from liability in speedy car chases. As David Hardy points out, what is even more interesting than the conclusion in this case is Scalia's opinion:

"Indeed, reading the lower court’s opinion, one gets the impression that respondent, rather than fleeing from police, was attempting to pass his driving test..."

"Justice Stevens hypothesizes that these cars “had already pulled to the side of the road or were driving along the shoulder because they heard the police sirens or saw the flashing lights,” so that “[a] jury could certainly conclude that those motorists were exposed to no greater risk than persons who take the same action in response to a speeding ambulance.” Post, at 3. It is not our experience that ambulances and fire engines careen down two-lane roads at 85-plus miles per hour, with an unmarked scout car out in front of them." . . .

David Hardy also points to what is a first, the Supreme Court providing a video tape link to the chase scene tape.

""Justice Stevens suggests that our reaction to the videotape is somehow idiosyncratic, and seems to believe we are misrepresenting its contents. See post, at 4 (dissenting opinion) (“In sum, the factual statements by the Court of Appeals quoted by the Court … were entirely accurate”). We are happy to allow the videotape to speak for itself. See Record 36, Exh. A, available at http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/video/scott_v_harris.rmvb and in Clerk of Court’s case file."


Brreaking News: Kansas City, Missouri Mall Shooting in Gun Free Zone

I have had it confirmed for me that the Kansas City Mall Shooting at the Ward Parkway Center that occurred yesterday was in Gun Free Zone. Security at the mall confirms that guns are banned there.

Information on the previous mall shooting in Utah, which was also a gun free zone, can be found here. At some point, the rate of these shootings in gun free zones is going to become to overwhelming for anyone to ignore.

UPDATE: Kevin Jamison writes me that he was at the mall in the last day or so and that there were no signs that he could see at the time. Possibly the security office at the mall was mistaken. I will look into this more.

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An amusing dissent by Chief Justice Roberts

Two powerful op-eds on gun free zones

The problem with gun free zones is getting more and more attention. The first is by the very famous Michael Barone in today's National Review Online:

When Florida passed its concealed-weapons law, I thought it was a terrible idea. People would start shooting each other over traffic altercations; parking lots would turn into shooting galleries. Not so, it turned out. Only a very, very few concealed-weapons permits have been revoked. There are only rare incidents in which people with concealed-weapons permits have used them unlawfully. Ordinary law-abiding people, it turns out, are pretty trustworthy.

I’m not the only one to draw such a conclusion. When she was Michigan’s attorney general, Democrat Jennifer Granholm opposed the state’s concealed-weapons law, which took effect in 2001. But now, as governor, she’s not seeking its repeal. She says that her fears — like those I had about Florida’s law 20 years ago — proved to be unfounded.

So far as I know, there are no politically serious moves to repeal any state’s concealed-weapons laws. In most of the United States, as you go to work, shop at the mall, go to restaurants, and walk around your neighborhood, you do so knowing that some of the people you pass by may be carrying a gun. You may not even think about it. But that’s all right. Experience has shown that these people aren’t threats.

Virginia has a concealed-weapons law. But Virginia Tech was, by the decree of its administrators, a “gun-free zone.” Those with concealed-weapons permits were not allowed to take their guns on campus and were disciplined when they did. A bill was introduced in the state House of Delegates to allow permit-holders to carry guns on campus. When it was sidetracked, a Virginia Tech administrator hailed the action and said that students, professors and visitors would now “feel safe” on campus.

Tragically, they weren’t safe. Virginia Tech’s “gun-free zone” was not gun-free. In contrast, killers on other campuses were stopped by faculty or bystanders who had concealed-weapons permits and brandished their guns to stop the killing. . . .

The second is by a good friend of mine, Tracy Price, in today's Washington Times:

The above list is a tiny sampling of the growing number of multiple-victim shootings, including at least 39 school shootings in the United States. What do all of the above have in common? Each occurred in a "gun-free zone." The recent killing of 32 innocent students and teachers at Virginia Tech adds another tragic chapter to this horrible book of violence and death. I, like many fathers, consider this reality when I send my sons off to school each morning. . . .

Thanks to Jon Shell for sending me the first article.

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Endorsements adding up for Senator Fred Thompson


An unbelievably bad father

Is this man a candidate for the worst father?

I agree with one of the commentators that if I promise someone my kidney and don't deliver, I should be held liable.

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Man sues dry cleaner for $65 million for losing pants

An amazing story here.