Newest piece at Fox News: "'Covering Guns': Columbia University's 'workshop' for journalists far from objective"

Michael Bloomberg at Columbia University
My piece at Fox News starts this way:
Columbia University would never sponsor an event funded by the National Rifle Association. What’s more, the idea would seem especially outlandish if most of the speakers at the event were NRA supporters. 
Yet, gun control advocate and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his gun control group Everytown are now funding a two-day workshop in Phoenix on Friday and Saturday sponsored by Columbia University’s Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. The event will bring together journalists from around the country to learn about “covering guns and gun violence.”
Bruce Shapiro, executive director of the Dart Center, claims that there is “no party line” and calls the workshop “very balanced.” 
But gun control advocates make up 15 of the panel’s 17 experts.  Aren’t journalism schools supposed to teach journalists to present both sides of a story? Why doesn't Columbia feature other speakers who argue that people should be able to defend themselves with guns? 
Only two law enforcement officers will be making presentations: Sheriff Clarence W. Dupnik of Pima County, Arizona, and Tucson police chief Roberto A. Villaseñor.  Both are proponents of stricter gun control.  Dupnik, a liberal Democrat, has long attacked Arizona’s concealed handgun laws for being too lax and let people carry in too many places. Villaseñor has been a strong outspoken supporter of President Obama’s gun control proposals. 
These law enforcement officers represent a minority view. . . .
The rest of the piece is available here.



Text of main amendment adopted by the Texas House to the Campus Carry Bill

The entire text of the main amendment to the Texas Campus Carry bill is available here.  This provision allows for the establishment of gun-free zones on campus as long as two-thirds of the university's Board of Regents agree (click on text to enlarge).

Since the governors appoint the Regents with the approval of the state Senate, I suspect that all or virtually all the Regents are Republicans, and thus it seems likely that it would be very difficult to get 2/3rds of the Regents to agree to sweeping gun-free zones.  There is language in the amendment that talks about the university not being able to "generally prohibit" carrying, but that term doesn't seem to be well defined.

Overall, I suspect that the amendment won't greatly weaken the bill.


Campus Carry in Texas stays alive with dramatic vote in the Texas House

From the Houston Chronicle:
The state House gave preliminary approval to drastically watered down campus carry legislation late Tuesday, just minutes before opponents of the controversial bill would have been able to kill it by running out the clock. 
"Passing legislation on the House floor is a high stakes game," said Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, who tried to kill Senate Bill 11 through a series of legislative maneauvers. "This is a super-priority of the leadership. You never know when the stakes are this high whether you can kill a bill." 
The bill would allow concealed carry licensees to tote their handguns in most college buildings and dorms. Currently, they are only allowed in public spaces, like quads.
With a midnight deadline to pass Senate bill looming, the House approved the legislation by a vote of 101-47. House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, triggered the vote after it became clear passage would not otherwise be possible due to time constraints. 
But the legislation the House approved late Tuesday was a far cry from the original sponsored by Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury. . . .  
Two amendments adopted by the House are signficant: one would require private universities in Texas to also implement the legislation - the Senate version required only public institutions to do so - and the second would allow each campus to decide where concealed handguns would be allowed. . . . 



Prior to last Monday's decision striking down DC May Issue concealed handgun law, there were only 26 permit holders

U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr. decision on Monday to strike down DC's concealed handgun law contained some interesting information.  Over six months virtually no permits have been given out.  Part of that may be because very few people have been allowed to get permits to own a handgun (a separate process) and those that do might not believe that they will get approval.  From the Washington Times:
Since October, when regulations for the issuance of concealed carry permits took effect, through May 9, the Metropolitan Police Department received 107 applications and denied 42. It has granted 26 concealed carry permits. . . .


Letter by Maine State Police supporting "Constitutional Carry" bill

This letter provides an understanding of how well the current concealed handgun laws have worked.  I haven't seen many state police departments speak out on Constitutional Carry bills, though this might largely just reflect the governor's views on this issue.  A copy of the letter is available here:

Senator Rosen, Representative Fowle, and members of the Joint Standing Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety, my name is Major Chris Grotton, and I am here to represent the Maine State Police and the Department of Public Safety to testify in Support of LD 652. . . .  
The current permit process regulates people who are generally ‘doing it right’ . In the past four years, less than one tenth of a percent of the 36,000 applicants (to State Police) are denied. Over the past 30 years, fewer than 20 people per year have been charged with carrying a concealed Weapon of any type. Even when we deny their application most of the time they are not otherwise prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm and could still lawfully carry openly in all other places except where canying a firearm is prohibited by law. 
It is our opinion that law enforcement resources could be utilized in a more efficient mamier, such as identifying those persons who are —' and would continue to be - prohibited from owning or possession a firearm, and effectively communicating that information among law enforcement agencies instead of regulating those that are complying with the law. . . .


Newest piece at Fox News: "Where's the coverage of heroes who stop mass killings?"

My newest piece at Fox News starts this way:
Heroic citizens stopping someone from killing a large number of people don’t seem to be considered news worthy.  Don’t people want to read about a brave soul risking his life by running towards the sound of gunfire while others run away?  Yet, such stories never get national news coverage by the national mainstream media.
While accidental gunshots get national coverage, few people have any idea how often concealed handgun permit holders stopping mass killings.
The lack of news coverage allows left wing media outlets, such as Mother Joneswhich should know better, to falsely claim: "In not a single case was [a mass public shooting] stopped by a civilian using a gun."
The truth is that the more successful these heroes are in preventing people from getting killed, the less media coverage they receive, but the lack of fatalities doesn’t explain the lack of news coverage.  And if the heroes hadn’t been there, the attacks would have been successful and the national mainstream media would have been talking about the attack for days.
Let’s look at some of the recent cases that should have gotten some national attention. . . .
The rest of the piece is available here.

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