UPDATE Chinese knife attack leaves 33 dead, 130 wounded at train station

Five of the ten attackers were shot dead by police.  From the New York Daily News:
. . . The attackers, most of them dressed in black, stormed the Kunming train station in Yunnan province and started attacking people in the late evening, witness Yang Haifei told the official Xinhua News Agency from a hospital where he was being treated for chest and back wounds. 
“I saw a person come straight at me with a long knife and I ran away with everyone,” he told Xinhua, adding that people who were slower ended up severely injured. “They just fell on the ground,” Yang said. 
One suspect was arrested, Xinhua said. Evidence found at the scene of the attack showed that it was “a terrorist attack carried out by Xinjiang separatist forces,” the agency quoted the municipal government as saying. Authorities considered it to be “an organized, premeditated violent terrorist attack.” 
The far western region of Xinjiang is home to a simmering rebellion against Chinese rule by separatists among parts of the Muslim Uighur population. . . .


The Brady Law turned 20 years old on February 28th, a note on the news coverage

Unfortunately, The Hill newspaper has this all too typical take on the Brady Act.
The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, which took effect 20 years ago Friday, has blocked more than 2 million firearm sales, preventing “countless” killings and other crimes, gun control advocates said at an event to mark the anniversary. . . . 
The Christian Science Monitor wrote something similar:
Assessing 20 years of the "Brady law," which requires licensed gun dealers to run background checks on all potential buyers, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence reported that at least 2 million purchases have been blocked – more than 1 million of them involving felons. Others thwarted were domestic abusers and fugitives, Brady officials say. . . .
Here is something that I had at Fox News on this very claim about 2 million prohibited people from buying guns.  What really should have been stated is that there were 2 million initial denials.
. . . The truth is, the databases the government uses to determine eligibility for gun purchases are rife with errors. 
This is the same problem experienced with the “No Fly” list. Remember the five timesthat the late Sen. Ted Kennedy was “initially denied” flights because his name was on the anti-terror “no fly” list? His name was just too similar to someone that we really did want to keep from flying. By Obama’s method of counting, that means the “no fly” list stopped five flights by terrorists. 
For gun purchases, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives dropped over 94 percent of “initial denials” after just the first preliminary review. The annual National Instant Criminal Background Check System report explains that these cases were dropped either because the additional information showed that the wrong people had been stopped or because the covered offenses were so many decades old that the government decided not to prosecute. At least a fifth of the remaining 6 percent were still false positives. 
All these denials mean delays for many law-abiding gun buyers. Although this is merely an inconvenience for most, initial denials cause dangerous delays for people who suddenly, legitimately need a gun for self-defense, such as a woman being stalked by an ex-boyfriend or spouse.Beyond the crashes in the computers doing the checks and the initial denials, another 6 percent of checks fail to be completed within two hours, with most delays winding up taking three days. . . .
Indeed, my own research suggests these delays from the background check system likely increase violent crime, even if ever so slightly. Perhaps not too surprisingly, rape appears to be the crime most sensitive to these delays. 
Furthermore, there is no real scientific evidence among criminologists and economists that background checks actually reduce crime. In fact, a 2004 National Academy of Sciences panel concluded that the Brady background checks didn't reduce any type of violent crime. Nor have other later studies found a beneficial effect. . . . 
The Washington Post has this blog post on how gun politics have changed since the Brady Act was adopted.  None of these changes are going to be a surprise to those who have followed the blog, though they will also notice that some of the polls picked here are somewhat selective.  For example, the Post picks the PEW poll on support for gun control whereas the Gallup and CNN polls show slightly more opposition.


Knife-wielding men attack train station in southwest China; at least 27 dead, 162 injured

The UK Daily Mail:
At least 27 people have been killed and 162 injured after a group of knife-wielding men attacked people at one of China's busiest railway stations. 
Distressing photos circulating online showed bodies, pools of blood and abandoned luggage scattered across the terminal floor at Kunming Railway Station in Yunnan province. 
Authorities described the incident at about 9pm local time (1pm GMT) as an 'organised, premeditated, violent terrorist attack.' . . .

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Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says Americans who are complaining about Obamacare are lying

Here is an ad from the NRSC


Idaho is one step closer to have concealed carry on college campuses, things look good for the state to become the seventh that mandates public universities allow concealed carry

Well, it doesn't appear as if a fairly hysterical op-ed in the New York Times on Friday stopped a bill from progressing in the Idaho state House.  The bill has already passed the state Senate.  Here is part of the NY Times piece from Greg Hampikian, a biology professor.
. . . I have had encounters with disgruntled students over the years, some of whom seemed quite upset, but I always assumed that when they reached into their backpacks they were going for a pencil. Since I carry a pen to lecture, I did not feel outgunned; and because there are no working sharpeners in the lecture hall, the most they could get off is a single point. But now that we’ll all be packing heat, I would like legal instruction in the rules of classroom engagement.

At present, the harshest penalty available here at Boise State is expulsion, used only for the most heinous crimes, like cheating on Scantron exams. But now that lethal force is an option, I need to know which infractions may be treated as de facto capital crimes.

I assume that if a student shoots first, I am allowed to empty my clip; but given the velocity of firearms, and my aging reflexes, I’d like to be proactive. For example, if I am working out a long equation on the board and several students try to correct me using their laser sights, am I allowed to fire a warning shot? . . .
Obviously, the question Mr. Hampikian is whether his fears have occurred in any of the places that now or in the past allowed concealed carry on college campuses, and the answer is "no."  From KBOI, Channel 2, in Boise, Idaho:
A bill to allow students, staff and visitors to carry guns on Idaho's college campuses passed out of a legislative committee Friday afternoon, despite objections from students, multiple police chiefs and leaders of all eight of the state's public colleges. 
The measure would allow retired law enforcement officers and those with Idaho's new enhanced concealed carry permit to bring their firearms onto campus. Concealed weapons would still be barred from dormitories, stadiums and concert halls. 
The 11-3 party-line vote sends the issue forward to debate on the House floor. The bill passed the Senate earlier this month. 
Bryan Lovell, president of the Fraternal Order of Police and a Bonneville Sherriff's deputy, said people should have the right to defend themselves, even on a college campus. 
"There are a lot of concealed weapons permit holders out there, and the reason they get that is because they want to protect themselves," Lovell said. "They don't want to be caught in a fishbowl if there's an active shooter." 
If the measure becomes law, Idaho would join six other states with provisions - either from lawmakers or dictated by court decisions - that allow concealed carry on campus: Colorado, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah, and Wisconsin, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Utah is the only state with a specific law that forbids universities from banning concealed carry at any of its 10 public institutions. . . .
The ban on guns in dormitories, stadiums and concert halls is much too restrictive, but at least the bill is better than the current ban. 



Dickinson High School near Wilmington, DE student had loaded gun

Given that Bloomberg is collecting also sorts of data on guns at school, I have collected some cases.  Is it likely that this 17-year-old has had gang connected activity?  From the Delaware News Journal:

But following the boy's arrest, Shavack said, the investigation revealed that he already had a past felony conviction and was prohibited from possessing a firearm. Details of his past offense were not disclosed.
The gun seized from his backpack was "a fully loaded Kel-Tec 9mm Luger semiautomatic handgun with the serial number obliterated," Shavack said. . . .



My newest piece at Fox News: "Don't believe mainstream media mistruths about firearms research"

My newest piece at Fox News starts this way:
If we are to believe the mainstream media, the powerful NRA has used its political muscle to keep people ignorant of how guns impact our safety. They are supposedly to blame for the elimination of firearms research. This is all a result of a 1996 amendment to the federal budget stating “None of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.”
Thus last month, ABC News reported: “In 1996 the NRA successfully lobbied Congress to pull millions of dollars out of government-funded firearms research. This has resulted in essentially a 17 year moratorium on major studies about gun injuries.” 

The Washington Post worried: “[Academics] were forced to stop their work at the point of a gun — or at least at the insistence of National Rifle Association.” Thousands of news reports have made the same assertions over the last 13 months. 
Nice story line, but a new report from the Crime Prevention Research Center shows none of this is true. The amendment didn’t ban federal research. Indeed, to the contrary, federal funded research, which was never an important part of the total, actually increased since then. . . . 
 The rest of the piece is available here.

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The CPRC is proud to release a new study available here.

Here is part of a news story on the report from Fox News:
A forthcoming study is challenging claims, repeated over and over in the media, that federal restrictions effectively froze gun research over the last two decades.

The Crime Prevention Research Center study examined how a 1996 decision by Congress to strip funding for firearms research actually impacted the world of academia. To hear national media outlets tell it, the decision led to a drought in research from 1996 to 2013 -- when such funding was once again allowed. Stories from The Washington Post, NBC News, Reuters and other outlets all have claimed that Washington, with the backing of the National Rifle Association, basically banned gun studies during that period.

Far from it, the study claims. “Federal funding declined, but research either remained constant or even increased,” the authors wrote.

The study shows the number of firearms-related journal articles published every year, after hitting 69 in 1996, rarely dipped below 60 and even spiked to 121 last year.

The report challenges not only the media narrative but also the notion that researchers need a constant flow of federal money in order to thrive. . . .


Florida woman loses her job because she brought her permitted concealed handgun into the workplace

I can definitely understand Ivette Ros wanting to keep her gun with her at all times for safety reasons.  That said, I don't know the case law here and I haven't read the statute.  There is a view poll at the website.  From Channel 9 TV in Tampa, Florida:
Single mother Ivette Ros doesn’t go anywhere without her gun.But the 37-year-old lost her job as a bank manager for bringing her gun to work at a Wells Fargo branch in Oldsmar.
“When we take our course for concealed weapons licenses, they do state the bank is a place we can take your weapon to, so I never thought otherwise until I was being questioned,” she said.
Ros doesn’t know who found out she was packing or how they found out, but she says bank security questioned her about the gun she was carrying. She says she was fired three days later.
Now she and her lawyer have filed a lawsuit seeking damages.
"What she did was within her constitutional rights," Second Amendment attorney Noel Flasterstein said. "What they did was a violation of Florida statute. Hence we have the suit, hence we’ll move forward."
While Wells Fargo wouldn’t comment specifically on Ros' case, spokeswoman Kathy Harrison released a written statement:
"We have a policy regarding firearms which is that employees are strictly prohibited from possessing firearms and weapons on company premises. However, Wells Fargo recognizes applicable state laws regarding guns in employer parking lots.” . . . 
From reading the story, I wonder how clear the policy was to Ms. Ros and other workers.  Still, even if one disagrees with the company's decision, there is still a benefit from letting private property owners determine what they want to do on their own property.  If enough workers feel the way Ms. Ros does, it would force the company to change its policy. 

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Orange County, California: More than 500 people have applied for a concealed carry permit, it is still tiny

From the LA Times:
More than 500 people have applied for concealed weapons permits in Orange County in the last 10 days, nearly as many as applied all of last year. . . .  
If all or most of the 500 are approved, it would mark more than a 50% increase in the number of people licensed to carry concealed weapons in Orange County. As of last week, Hallock said, there were 906 active permits in the county. . . .
There were about 2.355 million adults in Orange County in 2012.  Increasing the number of active permit holders from 906 to 1,400 would increase the percent of the population with permits  from 0.038 to 0.059 percent.  The fees run between $170 and $225 dollars.  The training is the most in the US at 16 hours.


"Greenpeace co-founder: No scientific proof humans are dominant cause of warming climate"

I met Patrick Moore this past summer, and I found him quite impressive.  From Fox News:
A co-founder of Greenpeace told lawmakers there is no evidence man is contributing to climate change, and said he left the group when it became more interested in politics than the environment. 
Patrick Moore, a Canadian ecologist and business consultant who was a member of Greenpeace from 1971-86, told members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee environmental groups like the one he helped establish use faulty computer models and scare tactics in promoting claims man-made gases are heating up the planet.
“There is no scientific proof that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are the dominant cause of the minor warming of the Earth’s atmosphere over the past 100 years,” he said. 
Even if the planet is warming up, Moore claimed it would not be calamitous for men, which he described as a “subtropical species.” 
Skeptics of manmade climate change say there is no evidence the Earth is warming. A UN report on the scientific data behind global warming released in September indicated that global surface temperatures have not increased for the past 15 years, but scientists who believe climate change due to man is occurring say it has merely paused because of several factors and will soon resume. . . .



Remember Hillary Clinton's promise "everything’s going to be available" from the Clinton Presidential Library?

Larry King: Well, make a call as I said. Do you think the impeachment thing was handled tastefully and well?
Hillary Clinton: I do. I do. I’ve told everyone that the history was going to be full and accurate. Nothing’s left out. Obviously, not everything can be shown. But there’s going to be access to all of the documents. In fact, Bill is going to be making his documents accessible even earlier than legally required.
Larry King: He is?
Hillary Clinton: He is. Because he really thinks it’s important. That’s one of the things the library really stands for. It physically stands for openness with all the glass and the light. But he wants it to be a place where people come and really study. And everything’s going to be available.
Here is another promise from her in 2008 "as rapidly as its circumstances and processes allow."  What was clear was that all the documents would be released at least by the legally required date at the end of 2012.

Of course, that was then, this is now.  Politico reports that 33,000 pages of documents from the Clinton White House at the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Ark., are still being kept hidden from the public despite their processed status and the expiration more than a year ago of the legal reasoning for withholding the documents. 
Under the Presidential Records Act, such records can be withheld for up to 12 years after a president leaves office. However, at the 12-year mark, those broad restrictions fall away and the once-secret presidential papers are generally subject to disclosure. For the Clinton files, that milestone came and went in January 2013.  
The long-sealed records pose a delicate series of choices for the Clintons, and even President Barack Obama. They could allow disclosure of the papers, fueling new stories about old controversies like Whitewater and pardons granted as the 42nd president left office in 2001. Or they could fight to keep some or all of the files secret, likely triggering a court battle and stoking concerns that the former president and his wife are unduly secretive. . . .
Will Hillary be claiming that a Hillary Clinton administration will be the most open and transparent ever?  Something to remember when the next presidential race gets started.


The economic consequences of China's military threats

On the one hand, China is comparing the Shinzo Abe, Japan's Prime Minister, to Kim Jong Un, North Korea's nutty leader.  On the other, China is playing chicken with military jets in the South China Sea.   China's military threats against Japan are discouraging Japan's investment there.  The probability of something happening may still not be high, but the risk to those investments if war started would be huge.  The Bangkok Post has this:
On top of this, the sheer size and integration of the economies — China and Japan are the world’s second- and third-largest economies, respectively — makes the relationship hard to ignore.  
Japan has 23,000 companies operating in China, with 10 million Chinese workers on their payrolls. But Japanese companies are actively diversifying away from China now, with foreign direct investment waning and Japan shifting to Southeast Asia in particular.  
China-South Korea trade is fast approaching the levels of China-Japan trade as a result of fallout from tensions between Tokyo and Beijing. If the Chinese and Japanese start thinking their economic relationship is deteriorating, the potential for confrontation grows. . . .


ABC's "The Bachelor" goes to a date at a shooting range

This was apparently the woman's idea.  Sounds like a keeper to me.

From USA Today's discussion of the segment:
Andi's family in Atlanta was the next stop. Andi took him to a shooting range to calm their nerves before he met her family. They weren't overly impressed with him. Andi's dad basically said that he wouldn't give him his blessing until JP settled on dating just his daugther, as opposed to juggling four different relationships. . . .
H/T Emily Miller. 


How gun control help killed her husband: Nikki Goeser on Investigation Discovery (link to TV video and news story)

People can watch Nikki's story here:

Fox TV Nashville ("Gun Rights Activist Nikki Goeser Shares her Story on Investigation Discovery") has a story on Nikki Goeser's personal story and the Discovery Channel's Investigation Discovery show on her story is available here.
NASHVILLE, TN - Almost five years after her husband was murdered at a South Nashville sports bar, Nikki Goeser goes into detail about the tragedy on national TV. 
She's become known as a gun right's advocate here in the midstate but tonight, there's more to her story. 
We all know Nikki Goeser for strongly supporting gun rights here in Tennessee.     
But you'll soon see details leading up to that fateful night in 2009 that claimed her husband's life and what she wants you to know about it. 
Nikki Goeser and her late husband Ben had only been married a year before a man stalking her opened fire in a bar they were working in. 
Security video appears to show the murderer pulling a handgun and then shooting Ben Goeser multiple times. 
Nikki Goeser, a gun carry permit holder, was not allowed by state law to carry her firearm into Johnny's sports bar. 
She's since been the face of gun rights here in Tennessee and credited with the passing of two bills, one allowing guns in establishments that serve alcohol.     
Another bill allows guns locked in your personal vehicle while you're at work. Goeser is also grateful to share her story to a broader audience with the release of a new book. . . .
Note: My son Maxim helped edit her book. 

People can also read her piece on Fox News from yesterday available here.


In memory of comedy actor and filmmaker Harold Ramis

By the way, "Groundhog Day" is also a great day.  Ramis was a unique talent.  



What possible reason could there be to ban off-duty police from carrying guns at NFL games?

AWR Hawkins notes that there are at least two stadiums where off-duty police will be able to carry guns (both in Texas), but why the NFL would want to ban off-duty police from carrying is beyond me.  Would the NFL ban on-duty police from carrying?  No.  So why don't they trust off-duty officers?  From Breitbart.com:
On October 7th, Breitbart News reported the NFL's ban on off-duty officers carrying their sidearms into NFL stadiums. On February 18th, Breitbart News reported the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association was suing the NFL, claiming the ban on off-duty officers carrying guns "violates state law." . . .

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Important: "Facebook And Instagram In Talks With Gun Control Advocates Seeking To Ban Gun Sales On Social Sites"

Bloomberg's two gun control groups (the Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action) are trying to convince Facebook and Instagram to stop allowing guns to be sold using their sites.
Two of the country’s most influential gun control groups are in talks with Facebook’s legal team in an effort to see gun sales banned on the world’s largest social network and its sister site Instagram.
Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense In America has partnered with Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns to put pressure on Facebook to prohibit the private selling or trading of guns on its platforms — a practice that’s as widespread as it is unregulated.
“Facebook and Instagram are enabling people to sell weapons, often with no questions asked and no background checks required,” said Mayors Against Illegal Guns’ spokesperson Erika Soto Lamb. . . . .
Their attempt is to show some anecdotal examples instead of dealing with the issue of systematic effects.  Could the criminals have gotten weapons from other sources?  Does the ban raise the cost of law-abiding citizens getting guns?  Virtually all the people stopped by background checks are law-abiding citizens.  These are questions that aren't ever raised by gun control proponents.  Hopefully enough people will let Facebook and Instagram know their opposition to this change before it happens.

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Jim Steyer: Another billionaire joins Michael Bloomberg and George Soros in pushing for gun control

From Politico:
. . . The biggest potential asset Jim Steyer brings to partnership is his link to the grassroots. Nearly a million parents and 145,000 teachers subscribe to ratings services he runs to assess the quality of children’s TV programs, video games and educational apps. 
Jim Steyer sees them as an untapped political force. And he intends to mobilize them. “Kids deserve a voice as powerful as the NRA is for gun owners, as powerful as the AARP is for seniors,” he said, “and we are going to deliver that.” . . . 
 Despite his loyalty to the Clintons, Steyer has tried to remain nonpartisan in recent decades to protect the integrity of his nonprofits. A registered independent, he says with pride that he does not donate to political candidates. Ever. 
Told that campaign finance records show he made a $2,300 donation to Hillary Clinton in 2007, he falls uncharacteristically silent for a moment. Must be from his wife, he says.
But it’s in his name.
“Hillary?” he asks. Another pause. “OK,” he says finally, sounding sheepish. “One time. By mistake.” (The records also show a contribution to John Kerry in 2002, but no other state or federal donations.) . . . .

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My take on Piers Morgan's show being cancelled: Piers Morgan’s Revealing Rancor

My new piece at National Review Online starts this way:
Sunday’s announcement that Piers Morgan had lost his show at CNN was hardly unexpected. 
The ratings for the coveted 9 p.m. time slot were abysmal, dropping last week to just 270,000 viewers — about one-eighth of what Fox News’s Megyn Kelly got in the same time slot. 
 Some, such as Variety magazine, have speculated that the low ratings are due to Morgan’s single-minded push for gun control. That might have something to do with it, but much more is going on. 
In all the thousands of television and radio interviews that I have done over the years, my appearances on Morgan’s show have generated more immediate e-mails than any other show that I have ever been on. 
The response made one thing immediately obvious: Only the most diehard gun-control advocates watched his show. But even some of them were unwilling to listen to his abuse. . . .

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Piers Morgan's CNN show cancelled -- some thoughts

The Daily Mail in the UK is reporting that Piers' show has been cancelled and will only run for "a matter or weeks."
. . . Three years after taking over for Larry King, ratings for Piers Morgan Live are a fraction of rivals such as Fox News and MSNBC causing network president Jeffrey Zucker to decide to pull the plug on the British journalist. . . .
Plans for a replacement are underway, but Morgan and the network are in talks about him remaining on the air in a different role.
‘That’s run its course and Jeff and I have been talking for some time about different ways of using me,’ said Morgan, whose contract with the network ends in September.Morgan gained a reputation for taking a polarizing stance on issues such as gun control which didn’t chime with an American audience and lead to an online petition last year to deport him over his views. . . .
In another debate on gun controls, Morgan shouted down economist John Lott, author of More Guns, Less Crime and branded him a liar for claiming gun crime trends in countries such as Britain supported his thesis. . . .
On Piers' claim that I was a liar, please see my response available here.

For other past posts I had on Piers see these.

--Piers Morgan goes on rants against those who appeared on his show, making fun of my scars from surgery

--Erik Wemple: "CNN’s Piers Morgan, talking himself into trouble"


Idaho looks to be moving towards concealed carry on campuses

While people aren't going to be able to carry permitted concealed handguns in living areas or at sporting events, this will still get rid of a number of gun-free zones on campuses.
On Tuesday, February 18, the Idaho Senate voted to reform current law to allow those with concealed carry permits to carry their defensive firearms on public campuses.   The bill is SB 1254, and has some interesting exceptions: 
"the exception of carrying within student dormitories and residence halls, and within public entertainment facilities, as defined."
I suppose that this is the sort of compromise that was required to obtain the strong legislative majorities that the bill has attracted.  It passed the Senate by a 25-10 majority, and is expected to pass the house, where a similar reform measure was passed in 2011. . . .