Tennessee legislature makes major moves to get rid of gun-free zones at public universities and businesses


By overwhelming votes, the Tennessee legislature passed two bills that get rid of gun-free zones at public universities and provides immunity to businesses if they don't post ban.  CPRC's John Lott testified on both bills when they started in the state Senate Judiciary Committee.

The gun-free zones at public universities allows "full-time employees of state public colleges or universities to carry a handgun while on property owned, operated, or used by the employing college or university if the employee has a valid Tennessee handgun carry permit."  This bill passed by a 28 to 5 vote in the state Senate and 69 to 24 in the state House.  Republican Gov. Bill Haslam might veto the bill because it didn't give the institutions the power to opt out, but with a 85 to 15 percent vote in the Senate and a 74 to 26 percent in the House, there are more than enough votes to over ride a veto.  It was the Senate version of the bill that was passed.

The other bill "provides immunity to the business/entity if the business doesn't post" signs banning permitted concealed handguns.  This bill passed by a 26 to 4 vote in the state Senate and by 77 to 12 in the state House.  The governor hasn't spoken out on this bill, but even if he were to veto it, it looks as if it would be easy to override the veto.

Taken together these two bills will make a major difference in eliminating gun-free zones in the state.  Tennessee will be the 13th state that is ending gun-free zones on college campuses.  The immunity bill appears to be the first one in the country.



My newest piece at Investor's Business Daily: "Will President Obama Regulate Guns Out Of Existence?"

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My newest piece at Investor's Business Daily:
President Obama wants to put gun dealers out of business. 
When he was a state senator in Illinois, he supported a ban on the sale of handguns and all semi-automatic guns as well as a ban on selling guns within five miles of a school or a park.  While the president obviously can’t just ban them, he can use regulations to make their lives more difficult. 
For some dealers it may be a slow death of a thousand regulatory cuts. 
Obama never does any serious cost-benefit analysis – he just points to possible benefits while ignoring any costs.  We see this in his plans for expanded background checks on private transfers or his efforts to deny guns to the elderly who get help with their finances. 
Obama is also using executive actions to place even more reporting requirements on the backs of Federal Firearms License dealers.  His administration is finalizing a new rule.  Obama claims, “We’re going to require firearms dealers to report more lost or stolen guns on a timely basis.”  But this is false.  Dealers already have to report lost or stolen guns within 48 hours. 
Licensed dealers have previously satisfied the reporting requirements by typically submitting a letter to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATF), but the Obama administration wants the dealer to submit a form that will provide the government with more information, generally duplicating what the government already knows.  New reports are required when the gun is recovered.  Rules are also being changed for reporting guns lost in transit, though there is no evidence that this has been a problem. 
Obama doesn’t give licensed dealers credit for the remarkable job that they already do.  Nor does it explain why this additional information is helpful.
new report from the BATF points out that 6,163 firearms were stolen from Federally Licensed Gun Dealers in 2015.  With at least 16 million guns being sold in 2015, the rate of theft was only 0.039%. By comparison, the National Retail Federation found a 1.15% rate of theft from all retail stores in 2014 This includes shoplifting and theft or fraud by workers and vendors.  This is 29.5 times higher than the rate at gun stores. 
Another study, by Checkpoint Systems, used 2014-15 data to find a 1.97% theft rate at U.S. retail stores.  This is 51 times higher than the rate at gun stores. 
The Checkpoint Systems survey also provides data on other countries.  Norway had the lowest rate of theft — just 0.83%.  This is still 21 times higher than the rate of theft at U.S. gun stores.  Japan’s theft rate, the second lowest, is 1%, a 26 times higher rate. 
More than three-quarters of the guns stolen from dealers are taken in burglaries.  Dealers can always buy stronger safes, doors and windows, but it’s certainly difficult and expensive to make a shop burglary-proof. 
For some perspective, note that there were 466,100 gun crimes in 2014.  Even if all the stolen guns were used in a crime, guns stolen from federally licensed dealers would account for 1.3% of gun crimes. 
The BATF also reports 8,637 “lost” guns.  However, this number isn’t very useful.  In the vast majority of cases, gun serial numbers were simply incorrectly recorded.  Dividing that number by 16 million guns implies a theft rate of 0.054% — still much lower than the rate for retail stores. 
The National Retail Federation finds that the average retail store has a .228% rate of “administrative and paperwork errors” — 4.2 times the rate for gun stores.  Remember that since the estimated number of gun sales used in these calculations is a clear underestimate of total sales these numbers underestimate how much better gun stores perform relative to other operations. 
Reducing the rate of theft or administrative error to these relatively low levels must already come at significant cost.  Forms may have to be rechecked many times to eliminate paperwork errors much below a rate of hundredths of one percentage point. 
These regulatory costs add up.  For example, expanded background checks can add anywhere from $50 to $200 to the cost of privately transferring a gun  The higher costs may price poor minorities out of owning a gun.  They are the ones who are the most likely victims of violent crime and the ones who benefit the most from the ability to protect themselves.


Wall Street Journal editorial cites me on "Harriet Tubman is an inspired choice to replace Andrew Jackson"

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In an editorial in the Wall Street Journal, they mention a tweet that I had on Harriet Tubman and concerns that her choice may be a politically correct move.
John Lott makes a pithy case for the contrary. An expert on the Second Amendment and sometime contributor to these pages, Mr. Lott notes that Tubman’s life is a rebuke to PC assumptions. As Mr. Lott tweeted after Mr. Lew made the announcement, “On $20 bill, Ds replace Andrew Jackson, a founding father of D Party, w Harriet Tubman, a black, gun-toting, evangelical Christian, R woman.”



Democrat Legislators in Pennsylvania are abandoning Democrat Gov Tom Wolf

From the Pittsburg Tribune Review
It's true Republicans were as much to blame as Wolf for the impasse, but there were several opportunities for Wolf to grasp a compromise and settle for a piece — but far from all — of his complex budget proposal. But he kept insisting on a tax increase.  
It's equally true that the generally accepted strategy is for a first-year governor to propose four years' worth of programs in hopes of getting a chunk at a time when he has the most political capital.  
But Wolf wanted it all. And his all-or-nothing strategy backfired.  
The budget went through belatedly without a tax increase. The budget he was forced to sign was a Republican plan without the jacked-up revenue Wolf wanted.  
Republicans through the fall believed they might have had a shot at overriding Wolf vetoes. Who knows? But the bitter taste of the budget debacle has worn away at rank-and-file Democrats, who held the line for Wolf day in and day out through the impasse.
If Wolf remains intransigent, he might claim a place in history with a record number of overrides on his vetoes.  
House Minority Leader Frank Dermody, D-Oakmont, has to free up his members or they'll break anyway. He should let the governor know no more blood will needlessly be spilled.  
Wolf's recent stunt of attempting to punish Democrats who voted for the Republican budget was amateurish. Eleven lawmakers signed a letter saying they were told they must go through the governor's office rather than directly to state agencies — in other words, delaying information to thousands of constituents and spinning that information where possible to improve the administration's image.  
Wolf's office implied it wasn't true by saying “nothing has changed.”  
What, they made it up? Lawmakers said last week the order was rescinded.
It's the kind of action — on top of the budget disaster — that could make Wolf a lame duck for the final 2½ years of his term.
From the Observer-Reporter near Pittsburgh:
Some Democratic state representatives are accusing the governor’s administration of making them go over a new hurdle to help constituents after they sided with Republicans to help bring a nine-month state budget impasse to a close. 
All but two of the 13 House Democrats who voted for the GOP plan sent a letter to fellow Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf on Tuesday, saying state agencies have treated some of their staffs in a “dramatically different” way since they voted last month to approve a Republican-crafted supplemental budget, which Wolf opposed. 
The lawmakers said in the letter that when their aides contacted state agencies about constituent services, they’re now redirected to the Office of Legislative Affairs, a separate office in the Wolf administration. The lawmakers say the change makes it harder for them to help constituents. 
“I’ve experienced Democratic governors and Republican governors, and I’ve never seen a governor or his staff punish anyone in this way,” said Rep. Pete Daley, D-California, one of those who signed the letter.  . . .

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