Montpelier, Ohio to let janitors carry concealed handguns in schools

This program actually makes a lot more sense than armed uniformed guards.  The janitors will obviously be in school anyway.  The problem that I have with the proposal is that they shouldn't announce publicly who is going to be armed.
As the mother of three children in Montpelier Exempted Village Schools, Teresa Hickman calls the district’s plan to arm the custodial staff with guns an effective way to prevent incidents like the shootings in Newtown, Conn. 
“I don't have a problem with it. With all the shootings going on in these little schools this will make me feel more at peace,” said Mrs. Hickman as she waited Friday in her minivan for her two sons and daughter to be dismissed. 
Montpelier schools may be the first in Ohio to ramp up security by authorizing employees to carry weapons. 
The district has about 1,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade and 75 teachers in one building in this Williams County village of 4,000. . . .

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Gun owners who were outed by Journal News speak out

If the videos are not visible, you can watch them here and here.



1968 Misdemeanor Conviction prevents U.S. Navy veteran from getting gun for self protection

So does this law pass the reasonable basis test?  The Supreme Court has struck down many laws based on the claim that there is no rational basis for the law.  So does a 45 year ban on gun ownership for someone who probably would never have pleaded to the misdemeanor if he had known what the law was going to be changed to decades later pass the rational basis test?
A three-judge panel in Washington upheld a lower-court ruling “which found ‘no constitutional impediment’ to including common-law misdemeanants” within the federal firearms ban. The lower court observed that “the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited,” U.S. Circuit Judge David Tatel wrote in today’s opinion.
The federal ban applies to several categories of people including those who are mentally ill or who have been convicted of felonies or certain kinds of misdemeanors. . . .
Jefferson Wayne Schrader, of Cleveland, Georgia, sued to challenge the ban in 2010 after a companion tried to buy him a shotgun and Schrader tried to purchase a handgun in two separate transactions.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation blocked the shotgun purchase when the National Instant Criminal Background Check computer system flagged Schrader’s July 1968 conviction for misdemeanor assault. When informed of the rejection, Schrader canceled his handgun order.
The assault occurred while Schrader, then 20, was serving in the Navy and encountered a member of a street gang who had previously assaulted him, according to his complaint.
Schrader punched his assailant and was convicted of common- law assault and battery and fined $100. The court imposed no jail time. Schrader went on to serve a tour of duty in Vietnam and had no other brushes with the law, except for one traffic violation, he said in his complaint.
. . .
Here is the cost of background checks.  Of course, false positives also stop people from getting quickly that they need for self protection.


Dianne Feinstein claiming that she would never want to take people's guns away, but video from 1995 shows otherwise

Accused Aurora Shooter James Holmes Cased Movie Theater 12 Days Before Shooting

Unions disinvesting from companies that make guns

It isn't a lot of money ("$11.7 million out of the $155 billion fund"), but it is symbolic and is part of the demonization of people being able to defend themselves.
The nation's largest teacher pension fund took the first step Wednesday toward divesting from companies that make guns and high-capacity ammunition magazines that are illegal in California.
State Treasurer Bill Lockyer made a motion to begin the divestment process after pension fund officials determined that the fund invests in the owner of a company that manufactured one of the weapons used in the Connecticut school shooting. The California State Teachers' Retirement System's investment committee unanimously approved the motion.
"CalSTRS' action targets ammunition clips that turn ordinary guns into killing machines, assault weapons and other firearms that pose extreme dangers to public health and safety," Lockyer said. . . .


Ben Swann on Piers Morgan’s homicide statistics

This is a well done take and it uses similar information to what I have used previously (see for example here).
Two notes:
1) The Small Arms Survey data that he refers to that purportedly measures gun ownership rates is highly dubious.  The organization that put them together is a gun control organization and they want to make it look like there is more murder in high gun ownership countries.
2) I need to point out that my work has tried to argue that cross-sectional analysis is rarely very useful (MGLC, chp. 2 and The Bias Against Guns, chp. 5).  Still that is something that most people do.

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California poised to enact lots of new gun control laws

Even in a big state such as California, does anyone really believe that drug gangs and other groups are going to be prevented from getting access to the weapons that they want?
California already has the most restrictive gun laws in the nation. Buying a handgun requires registration, a safety certificate, a 10-day waiting period and a rigorous background check. All direct person-to-person sales are banned and concealed-carry permits are rare.
But now, in the wake of the Newtown tragedy, lawmakers in the Golden State have launched into a new legislative frenzy to restrict firearms further. And they're confident the measures will pass, given Democrats have a two-thirds "super majority" in both chambers -- which means they have the power to pass legislation and get constitutional amendments on the ballot without a single Republican vote. . . .
"Almost any idea that anybody in this country has, as to further regulate and limit access to weapons or ammunition, is probably going to get passed in California," said Democratic strategist and USC law professor Susan Estrich.
Some politicians want to regulate all ammunition sales, requiring background checks and annual permits.
One Republican lawmaker wants a lifetime ban on gun ownership for anyone who's ever been ruled a danger to others because of mental health issues -- even if they've been successfully treated. . . . .
Question: If someone is so dangerous that they should have a lifetime ban on gun ownership, why should we even let them out of the mental facility?  Criminals and others who shouldn't have guns get them all the time.  If they are really that dangerous, why take the risk?

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Polling on armed guns in School

Public Policy Polling is a Democratic polling firm.  Given the political importance of this debate, it would be interesting to see if some other national polls have been done.
A Quinnipiac University poll found that Old Dominion voters favor putting an armed police officer at every school, 66 percent to 29 percent.That figure is at odds with national sentiment: Most Americans oppose that idea, which was put forth by the National Rifle Association in the wake of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last month. According to a Public Policy Polling survey released Wednesday, 50 percent of American voters don’t want armed guards in schools, while 41 percent do. . . .

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More evidence that taxes matter: Obamacare forcing a lot of workers to work part time

Just remember that this is occurring around the country and it is lower wage people who are being hit the hardest.
Hundreds of Wendy’s workers are seeing their hours cut back because of President Barack Obama’s health care law. 
WOWT-TV reports that nearly 300 employees at 11 Wendy’s locations in the Omaha area will have their hours reduced to 28 hours a week because the franchise owner says he can’t afford to pay his employees health care. 
“It has a huge effect on me and pretty much everybody that I work with,” employee T.J. Growbeck told the station. “I’m hoping that I can get some sort of promotion because then I would get my hours, but everybody is shooting for that because of the hours being cut.” . . . .

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Something for those who think that tax rates don't alter behavior

From CNN:
. . . The Tax Foundation said that 60.9% of cigarettes sold in New York State are smuggled in from other states.This makes New York the biggest importer of black market cigarettes, along with the state's highest tax rate of $4.35 per pack. That's compared to Missouri, the state with the lowest rate, of 17 cents per pack.
In New York City the tax rate is even higher, adding another $1.50 per pack to the state rate. It's not uncommon for smokers to pay $12 for a pack.
The report said that tobacco smuggling and the tax rate have risen practically in tandem since 2006. The New York State tax on cigarettes has risen 190% since that time, as the rate of smuggling increased 170%.
This bears out a report issued last month by the New York Association of Convenience Stores, estimating that "chronic cigarette-tax evasion" deprives the state of at least $1.7 billion in tax revenue and 6,700 jobs.
. . . the smuggling takes place in various forms. In many cases, the smugglers physically transport the cigarettes into New York from nearby states with much lower tax rates, such as Virginia, a longtime tobacco producer with a rate of 30 cents per pack. The smugglers will often use counterfeit tax stamps to conceal the illegal nature of their wares. . . .


More on gun law debate: Audio from appearance today on Mike Huckabee's radio show

Here is the audio of my appearance on Mike Huckabee's radio show (link here).

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Gov Andrew Cuomo's definition of an assault weapon

Cuomo wants to go after "high powered" rifles such as the Bushmaster.  If a .223 caliber gun is considered "high powered," one has to wonder what type of rifles will be allowed.
“I say to you forget the extremists. It’s simple — no one hunts with an assault rifle. No one needs 10 bullets to kill a deer and too many people have died already,” Cuomo said. 
 No, but you can need that many bullets for self-defense.  The problem is that once a gun can take a magazine, it can take a magazine of any size.  Magazines are simple metal boxes with a spring in them and they are very easy to make and they soon may become even easier.  Might as well ban all semi-automatic guns that accept magazines.  Problem is that would limit people's ability to defend themselves.

Jacob Sullum has a nice discussion here.
It is not clear what the Times means by "high-powered rifles." The definition of "assault weapon" has nothing to do with caliber, muzzle velocity, firing rate, or the number of rounds that can be fired before reloading (although a separate provision of New York's law bans magazines holding more than 10 rounds if they were made after September 13, 1994, as did the federal law). The reference to "high-powered rifles" suggests that "assault weapons" are distinguished by their killing capacity, which is not true, since their defining characteristics are essentially aesthetic. To muddy matters further, the Times says manufacturers who obey legislators' dictates concerning the appearance of their guns "have altered their products to circumvent the law," which makes no sense at all when you think about it. The law says you can't sell a rifle that accepts a detachable magazine and has two or more of those five suspect features, so manufacturers stopped selling such rifles in New York. That is complying with the law, not circumventing it. . . .
Further note.
New York's effort was hastened further by the Christmas Eve killings of two firefighters in western New York by a man who set his neighborhood on fire, lay in wait with a high-powered rifle for responders, shot them and killed himself. Webster residents related to the firefighters were honored guests at the State of State address. . . .
Notice that as a convicted felon it was illegal for the shooter in Webster to have any guns.

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Female clerk uses gun to stop robbery

The news story is available here and here.


The Foundations that brought you Obamacare are banding together to bring you Gun Control

The resources for these organizations will swamp those of the NRA.  The studies that they fund and the ads that they finance will also be much more openly received by the media.  Bringing these foundations together may be the biggest advance towards gun control in my lifetime.  Imagine the resourcees of 50 Joyce Foundations.
The White House on Tuesday afternoon reached out to major philanthropic foundations not typically associated with gun control to gauge how much they are willing to get involved in President Obama’s future gun violence prevention efforts, according to a person on the call.
The call, which featured Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Jonathan Greenblatt, the director of the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, and members of Vice President Biden’s staff, was largely a “listening session,” according to the person on the call, who represents a foundation invited to participate.
The person said the call included the Open Society Institute, the McCormick Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the California Endowment. Those groups, which traditionally work in public health fields, have not previously been identified with major gun control efforts. . . .
“There’s only one reason why you get a bunch of deep-pocketed funders on the phone,” the participant said. “It’s not because they’re great dancers. It’s because at the end of the day you need to tap into them for something.” . . .
There is also the claim that the Obama administration is working with WalMart and other businesses to push for government monitoring on the private transfer of guns.

If true, these moves point to a really serious battle coming up.

UPDATE: Michael Bloomberg is giving another $350 million to Johns Hopkins.  The money will go to financial aid to students and public health issues, including gun violence research.
Hopkins, in return, has become something of a brain trust for Mr. Bloomberg, shaping his approach to issues like cigarette smoking, gun violence and obesity. . . .

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Fox has defensive gun use story

In the above video Lars Larson does a good job explaining why people benefit from having semi-automatic guns.

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Cuomo announces massive new gun control measures


Did Bank of America freeze company's account because it sells guns?

From CNSNews.com:
. . . “My name is Joe Sirochman owner of American Spirit Arms...our Web site orders have jumped 500 percent causing our Web site e-commerce processing larger deposits to Bank of America. So they decided to hold the deposits for further review. 
“After countless hours on the phone with Bank of America, I finally got a manager in the right department that told me the reason that the deposits were on hold for further review -- her exact words were -- ‘We believe you should not be selling guns and parts on the Internet.’”(emphasis added) 
Sirochman also wrote that he told the bank manager that “they have no right to make up their own new rules and regs” and that “[American Spirit is a] firearms manufacturer with all the proper licensing.” 
He also noted that he has been doing business with Bank of America for over 10 years, but will now be looking for a new bank. 
According to Unlawful News, this isn't the first time Bank of America has targeted a customer involved in the firearms industry. . . . .


Responding to Piers Morgan's interview with Alex Jones

After Piers Morgan contacted Dylan Byers over at Politico today about his interview with Alex Jones, I just could not resist also emailing Byers.  Here is what Byers reported on my exchange with him.  For Piers discussion with Byers see:
CNN host Piers Morgan just called to discuss his interview last night with Alex Jones, the conservative radio host and gun advocate who went on a tirade against Morgan, gun control legislation, and a litany of government conspiracies.
"He was the best advertisement for gun control you could wish for," Morgan told POLITICO.
"That kind of vitriol, hatred, and zealotry is really quite scary. I didn't feel threatened by him, but I'm concerned that someone like him has that level of influence," Morgan said. "There's got to be a level of discourse that can rise above what happened last night. It was undignified, unedifying." . . .
Is Piers Morgan really serious about saying that someone else's behavior is "undignified, unedifying"? I tweeted the same point last night, but Piers has been guilty of the exact same behavior

Meanwhile, CNN is considering moving Piers out of the coveted 9 PM time slot.

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3D printing of ammunition magazines threatens U.S. gun regulation plans

Unlike printing guns, which doesn't work, printing ammunition magazines doesn't face any practical problems.  Of course, people could always make the magazines using simple tools in any machine shop (after all they are just metal boxes with a spring), but my guess is that these 3D printers will capture attention in a way that the old machine shops didn't.  This article is from Metro News:
After the tragedies of Sandy Hook and Aurora, the U.S. government is preparing to introduce stricter guidelines on gun ownership. But supporters of the second amendment could get around them by printing their own firearms at home.
The technology is still developing but 2012 saw the first shots fired from guns with printed parts. ‘Gun hacking’ is a growth community in online forums and has become serious business.
“I have five people now making AK-47 magazines – they’re incredibly easy to reproduce”, Cody Wilson, CEO of the Defense Distributed company in Texas, told Metro. A firm believer in the right to bear arms, Wilson is deliberately producing parts for assault weapons likely to be banned by new controls.
“(U.S. Vice-President) Joe Biden’s group are using the assumption that if you control the channel you control the product – but that is not the case any more”, says Wilson. His company have made open-source code for over 30 gun parts available online, and claims they have been receiving thousands of downloads a day. . . .
As Peter K, the person who sent me the link to this information, noted these printing machines are everywhere: "my brother in law owns a couple of these type of machines for his jewelry business. you can make just about anything with them."

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So what can the US learn from other developed countries regarding guns and crime

Charles Blow recently claimed in the New York Times: “America has the highest gun homicide rate, the highest number of guns per capita . . . .”  On Sunday, the New York Times quotes researcher David Hemenway as claiming: “Generally, if you live in a civilized society, more guns mean more death.”  CNN’s Piers Morgan believes: “America has the worst incidents of gun murders of any of what they call the civilized world.”

If you look at just the countries used in the Small Arms Survey, you get this.

Note that it is somewhat misleading to speak of a US homicide rate as 3 percent of the counties in the US account for over 70 percent of the murders (they have about 23 percent of the population).

Much is made of comparing some rather arbitrarily defined "civilized" nations, but what can Americans learn from these nations?   If the non-US developed nations show anything, even with the extremely questionable data that Charles Blow at the New York Times apparently trusts regarding gun ownership rates, it shows that higher gun ownership means lower homicide or no change in gun homicide rates.  He just hadn’t even bothered to graph out the numbers.

There is a real problem in using cross-sectional data.  Below is part of a long discussion in The Bias Against Guns, Chp. 5 (More Guns, Less Crime also has a long discussion in Chp. 2).  Take a simple example.  Suppose for the sake of argument that high-crime countries are the ones that most frequently adopt the most stringent gun control laws. What if gun control actually lowered crime, but not by enough to reduce rates to the same low levels prevailing in the majority of countries that did not adopt the laws. Looking across countries, it would then falsely appear that stricter gun control resulted in higher crime. Economists refer to this as an “endogeniety” problem. The adoption of the policy is a reaction to other events (that is, “endogenous”), in this case crime. To resolve this, one must examine how the high-crime areas that chose to adopt the controls changed over time —not only relative to their own past levels but also relative to areas that did not institute such controls. 
Unfortunately, many contemporary discussions rely on misinterpretations of cross-sectional data. The New York Times recently conducted a cross-sectional study of murder rates in states with and without the death penalty, and found that “Indeed, 10 of the 12 states without capital punishment have homicide rates below the national average, Federal Bureau of Investigation data shows, while half the states with the death penalty have homicide rates above the national average” (Raymond Bonner and Ford Fessenden, “States With No Death Penalty Share Lower Homicide Rates,” New York Times, September 22, 2000, p. A1.).  However, they erroneously concluded that the death penalty did not deter murder. The problem is that the states without the death penalty (Alaska, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Vermont) have long enjoyed relatively low murder rates, something that might well have more to do with other factors than the death penalty. Instead one must compare, over time, how murder rates change in the two groups – those adopting the death penalty and those that did not.
Of course, I have other problems with the New York Times discussion.  For example, the rates of gun ownership for Switzerland and Israel are ridiculously low.  This survey excludes all the military weapons kept in Swiss homes in 2007 because they were technically owned by the government.  Israeli guns are also excluded for the same reason.  But if people have possession of guns in their homes for decades, the issue should be that public possession, not who technically owned the guns.  My point above was that even if those numbers are taken as given, you still find the opposite relationship from what the New York Times was claiming.  Of course, if you fix them, you will get a negative relationship across all developed countries even with the US observation included.  The reason that the Small Arms Survey messes up those two entries is that Israel and Switzerland are very low murder rate countries and giving them their true values would pull down the regression line a lot.  Putting the US all by itself out there at 88 firearms per 100 people drives the supposed positive relationship claimed for developed countries (see below).

The graph showing all non-US countries is shown here.

So what if we asked a different question?  Including the US in the data shows the absurdity of the Small Arms Survey measure of gun ownership in 2007.  They define it in such a way to exclude the military weapons in Swiss homes and to exclude most Israeli guns because the government technically owns them.  The Small Arms Survey claims that there are only 7 guns per 100 people in Israel, when up to 15 percent of the adult Jewish Israeli population has been able to openly carry handguns.  Virtually all guns in Israel are technically owned by the government, but Israelis may have possession of a gun for decades.  It seems that possession of the gun and not technical ownership is what is the real question here.  Switching either or both of these countries so that they had a higher gun ownership rate than the US would offset their bias for the US rate. In any case, despite my objections to both cross-sectional data and the obviously bogus Small Arms Survey measure of gun ownership, here are the results with the US included.  Doing this leaves the result for the world essentially unchanged and makes the relationship for OECD countries equal zero.

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Obama tired of hearing about cutting spending

Remember the numbers about how health insurance premiums for many individuals are soaring under Obamacare?  Or Obama's promises to cut "net government spending"?  Well, how is that working out for you Mr. President?  From the WSJ:
The president's insistence that Washington doesn't have a spending problem, Mr. Boehner says, is predicated on the belief that massive federal deficits stem from what Mr. Obama called "a health-care problem." Mr. Boehner says that after he recovered from his astonishment—"They blame all of the fiscal woes on our health-care system"—he replied: "Clearly we have a health-care problem, which is about to get worse with ObamaCare. But, Mr. President, we have a very serious spending problem." He repeated this message so often, he says, that toward the end of the negotiations, the president became irritated and said: "I'm getting tired of hearing you say that." . . .

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Sun News in Canada: "The Fight Against Firearms Falsehoods"

My appearance on Ezra's show to discuss how the media has handled my appearances.

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Sun News appearance where I am discussing media hysteria on guns

The appearance with Brian Lilley on Sun News.

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Senator Ted Cruz on gun control and other issues


Another broken Obama promise: Health Insurers Raise Some Rates by Double Digits

Remember Obama's promise to make health insurance more affordable?  Addressing Congress on September 9, 2009, President Obama said, “The plan I’m announcing tonight would meet three basic goals. It will provide more security and stability to those who have health insurance. It will provide insurance to those who don’t. And it will slow the growth of health care costs for our families, our businesses, and our government.

Now this in the New York Times:
Health insurance companies across the country are seeking and winning double-digit increases in premiums for some customers, even though one of the biggest objectives of the Obama administration’s health care law was to stem the rapid rise in insurance costs for consumers. 
Particularly vulnerable to the high rates are small businesses and people who do not have employer-provided insurance and must buy it on their own. 
In California, Aetna is proposing rate increases of as much as 22 percent, Anthem Blue Cross 26 percent and Blue Shield of California 20 percent for some of those policy holders, according to the insurers’ filings with the state for 2013. These rate requests are all the more striking after a 39 percent rise sought by Anthem Blue Cross in 2010 helped give impetus to the law, known as the Affordable Care Act, which was passed the same year and will not be fully in effect until 2014. 
 In other states, like Florida and Ohio, insurers have been able to raise rates by at least 20 percent for some policy holders. The rate increases can amount to several hundred dollars a month. . . .

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A promise that will be impossible to fulfill: Gun control bill passed this month

Despite the promise to pass gun regulations this month, that would be difficult anyway, but with immigration and the debt ceiling, it seems impossible.  So why does the Obama administration keep making these promises?  Add to this Obama's promise that the gun control bill will be comprehensive.  Still, Obama has said that he is willing to spend all his capital on this and it is possible that bad gun control legislation could get through.  Republicans have just a narrow majority in the House and Democrats have control of the Senate.  It might not go as quickly as Biden promises, but there is still a risk it could get passed.
Boston’s mayor says that Vice President Biden “guaranteed” him that President Obama will pass new gun control laws by the end of January. 
In an interview with the Boston Herald, Mayor Thomas Menino said that the Obama administration is going to “get it done.” 
“(Biden) said, ‘Tommy, I guarantee you, we’ll get it done by the end of January,’” Menino told the Herald. “They’re going to get it done.” 
Menino, who co-chairs Mayors Against Illegal guns with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, fiercely criticized National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre’s comments following the Dec. 14 Newtown school shooting that left 26 dead, including 20 children. . . .
Of course, Obama is also planning on moving forward with illegal immigration reforms this month.
An Obama administration official said the president plans to push for immigration reform this January. The official, who spoke about legislative plans only on condition of anonymity, said that coming standoffs over deficit reduction are unlikely to drain momentum from other priorities. The White House plans to push forward quickly, not just on immigration reform but gun control laws as well. 
The timeframe is likely to be cheered by Democrats and immigration reform advocates alike, who have privately expressed fears that Obama's second term will be drowned out in seemingly unending showdowns between parties. The just-completed fiscal cliff deal is giving way to a two-month deadline to resolve delayed sequestration cuts, an expiring continuing resolution to fund the government and a debt ceiling that will soon be hit. . . . 

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Quotes on Concealed Carry

Here are a couple interesting quotes that I have seen recently on the topic.
"A Chicagoan is a good deal more likely to be attacked on a sidewalk in a rough neighborhood than in his apartment on the 35th floor of Park Tower. To confine the right to be armed to the home is to divorce the Second Amendment from the right of self-defense..." -- Judge Richard Posner 
"David Hemenway & Deborah Azrael, “The Relative Frequency of Offensive and Defensive Gun Uses: Results from a National Survey,” 15 Violence & Victims 257, 271 (2000), finds that a person carrying a gun is more likely to use it to commit a crime than to defend himself from criminals. But that is like saying that soldiers are more likely to be armed than civilians. And because fewer than 3 percent of gun-related deaths are from accidents, Hahn et al., supra, at 40, and because Illinois allows the use of guns in hunting and target shooting, the law cannot plausibly be defended on the ground that it reduces the accidental death rate, . . . .-- Judge Richard Posner 
"The Supreme Court has decided that the amendment confersa right to bear arms for self-defense, which is asimportant outside the home as inside. The theoretical and empirical evidence (which overall is inconclusive) is consistent with concluding that a right tocarry firearms in public may promote self-defense. Illinois had to provide us with more than merely a rational basisfor believing that its uniquely sweeping ban is justifiedby an increase in public safety. It has failed to meetthis burden. . . ."  -- Judge Richard Posner, arguing that the range of estimates show either a benefit or no change (for my recent survey that supports his claim here see this paper). 
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office pronounced itself "disappointed." Democratic State Rep. Eddie Acevedo said parts of the city may resemble "the wild, wild West" -- as though they were islands of tranquility right now." -- Steve Chapman

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For five years Wikipedia had posting about nonexistent war

An article that is among the "top 10" Wikipedia hoaxes.
An article about an obscure 17th Century war in India has been deleted from Wikipedia — after an enterprising editor discovered that despite being on the site for 5 years, it had never actually occurred. Started in 2007, the Bicholim Conflict article described a "period of armed conflict between the Portuguese rulers of Goa and the Maratha Empire" that ended in a peace treaty, as well as its effect on later regional politics and popular culture. When Wikipedia user ShelfSkewed looked for the sources cited, however, he found that they either didn't exist or made no mention of the conflict. "An online search for 'Bicholim conflict' or for many of the article's purported sources," likewise, produced "only results that can be traced back to the article itself."

The Bicholim Conflict isn't the longest-running Wikipedia hoax, as The Daily Dot notes, but it still makes the top ten list. . . .


Obama plans to push "broad gun-control agenda"

Obama plans very broad push for more gun control and he is planning on moving very quickly.
The White House is weighing a far broader and more comprehensive approach to curbing the nation’s gun violence than simply reinstating an expired ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition, according to multiple people involved in the administration’s discussions. 
A working group led by Vice President Biden is seriously considering measures backed by key law enforcement leaders that would require universal background checks for firearm buyers, track the movement and sale of weapons through a national database, strengthen mental health checks, and stiffen penalties for carrying guns near schools or giving them to minors, the sources said. 
To sell such changes, the White House is developing strategies to work around the National Rifle Association that one source said could include rallying support from Wal-Mart and other gun retailers for measures that would benefit their businesses. White House aides have also been in regular contact with advisers to New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I), an outspoken gun-control advocate who could emerge as a powerful surrogate for the Obama administration’s agenda. 
The Biden group, formed last month after the massacre at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school that killed 20 children and six adults, plans to submit a package of recommendations to President Obama this month. Once Obama’s proposals are set, he plans to lead a public-relations offensive to generate popular support. . . . . 
Obama’s advisers have calculated that the longer they wait, the more distance there is from the Newtown massacre and the greater the risk that the bipartisan political will to tackle gun violence will dissipate. 
“This is not something that I will be putting off,” Obama said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” in an interview broadcast last Sunday. . . .