Saturday, September 13, 2014

Leading Liberal And Gun Control Groups Give Up On Assault Weapons Bans - Change Focus To "Dangerous People"

The iconic left wing group "Center For American Progress" has suggested that gun control advocates give up on "Assault Weapons" bans and magazine capacity limits.  In addition, according to Pro Publica, several gun control groups have also given up - largely because they have finally read a 2004 Justice Department study that found the 1994 assault weapons ban had ZERO POSITIVE EFFECT.  Both groups suggest that the focus should be on other measures more likely to save more lives - A CLEAR ADMISSION THAT THIS FIREARMS KILL VERY FEW PEOPLE.

The new priorities they suggest are:

1) Require background checks for all gun sales.  (Even some gun rights groups advocate this, making this the easiest thing on their list.)

2) Require dealers to report multiple sales of long guns (Why?  Even the Obama administration has asked for this only for specific semi-auto rifles.  Long guns are seldom used in crimes.)

3) Equalize interstate sales of long guns and handguns (Already the law, in that any firearm purchased out of state must be shipped to a local dealer who insures compliance with all federal, state and local laws.)

4) Require federal firearms licenses for individuals that manufacture guns using 3D printers (Already the law - unless the gun is a long gun made exclusively for personal use and never sold.)

5) Bar possession and use of machine guns by individuals under the age of 16  (Why?  One or two tragedies should not require a federal law.  Liability insurance companies will take care of that.  Machine guns are already very highly regulated.)

6) Require a permit for possession of assault weapons  (Given that the most popular long guns in the country fall into this category this amounts to defacto long gun registration.  If background checks are in place, such a law would be redundant.)

Although a shift from banning certain guns to preventing dangerous people from getting them is positive, developing Constitutional Law likely makes such gun bans unconstitutional - while the landmark SCOTUS Heller decision specifically allows for bans on felons and the mentally ill owning or possessing firearms.  These groups may finally be recognizing that the 2nd does limit what laws can be passed.  

Consider this quote from the Pro Publica article:  "Additionally, this report offers a new framework for regulating assault weapons and other special categories of guns that balances the desire of law-abiding gun owners to possess these guns with the need to protect public safety from their misuse in dangerous hands." (Emphasis mine.)

Clearly the writer simply could not bring him or herself to use the word "right" in reference to firearms - but since when have these group ever cared about the "desire" of gun owners?  If we substitute the word "right" for "desire", the meaning becomes clear: Any future restrictions are going to have to be balanced against the 2nd Amendment rights of law abiding Americans - and that is going to severely limit what gun control laws can be passed and enforced.

In every struggle there is a turning point when the outcome becomes clear.  This may be the turning point in the struggle between gun rights advocates and those in favor of gun control. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Why Is A Universal Background Check Advocate Leading The Opposition To WA Initiative 594?

This fall Washington voters will be asked to vote of two firearms issues.  Before you decide which - if either - of these measures to back PLEASE read this post.  When it comes to laws, the Devil is always in the details - and these proposals are no exception.  I will give you some facts that you are not likely to get on your local news or in the ads paid for by billionaires like Michael Bloomberg and Bill Gates.

First let's look at the lower numbered and most simple initiative I-591:

1) I-591 was written by a gun rights advocate Alan Gottlieb, WHO SUPPORTS UNIVERSAL, FEDERAL BACKGROUND CHECKS.  Don't believe me?  Here's a video of him taking this position at the NRA convention!   Furthermore, Alan Gottlieb was involved in writing the Senate background check bill that failed.  He supports expanding federal background checks to all sales in all 50 states - and, yes he has taken a huge amount of flak for it.

2) I-591 DOES NOT PREVENT UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECKS.   What it does do is require that Washington simply use the federal background check system, already in nationwide use at every licensed firearms dealer.  Washington could enact a universal background check system at any time.

3) I-591 prevents the illegal confiscation of firearms - while allowing confiscations done with due process of law.  This simply means that if the police seize someone's firearm, they get their day in court.

4) I-591 has massive support from law enforcement (over 7500 police and sheriffs!)

5) I-591 is straightforward and only two pages long.

Now let's look at the other initiative, I-594:

1) I-594 is supported by a group of rich elites - including Bill and Melinda Gates,  Nick and  Lenore Hanauer, and someone whom the press has carefully avoided mentioning (or doesn't know about): Multi-Billionaire Michael Bloomberg.  Why Bloomberg's involvement has been downplayed will become evident as we learn more about I-594.

2) I-594 was written by Michael Bloomberg's lawyers and is virtually identical (if not identical) to the law he forced through the Colorado legislature and that he paid to qualify in Nevada this year.  It is 18 pages long and filled with "flypaper provisions" designed to entrap law abiding gun owners.

3) I-594's description, which is identical to that in the Nevada initiative, was ruled INTENTIONALLY DECEPTIVE by a Nevada court - which has required the backers to write an accurate description.

4) The opposition to I-594 is coordinated by the same people backing I-591 - and it is lead by background check advocate Alan Gottlieb.  Why would someone who favors expansion of the federal background check system to all private sales oppose this initiative?  Simple: IT'S MUCH MORE THAN A BACKGROUND CHECK INITIATIVE.

The opposition to is not limited to gun rights groups the largest law enforcement association in the state, the Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs, has voted to oppose I-594 and has endorsed I-591.    The Washington State Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors Assocaition has also come out in opposition.  

Law enforcement endorsements are limited to a few individuals - NOT ONE LAW ENFORCEMENT ORGANIZATION IS SUPPORTING I-594!!!  However, the backers of I-594 want you to think that there is much more law enforcement support than their really is.  On their own law enforcement page they have included two sections on background check expansion in general - not I-594: "In-State Law Enforcement Support For Strengthening Our Background Check System"  and "Regional And National Support For Background Checks On All Gun Sales".  As we have seen, it is very possible to favor background checks on private sales and still oppose I-594 - and since I-594 imposes background checks in many situations not involving sales, it is likely that some of the people listed in these sections might oppose the initiative.  MORE DECEPTION - BLOOMBERG'S STOCK IN TRADE.

One reason why this measure is opposed by law enforcement is that instead of simply using the federal system, I-594 requires the local police to conduct a background check.  When this was done under the old system in California, departments were overwhelmed.  San Francisco PD and who knows how many other departments simply did not do checks - effectively approving everyone.

5) I-594 is massive, draconian, likely unconstitutional, gun control bill masquerading as a background check bill.

When most people think of background checks they think of the federal system - which in most cases is completed in a few minutes.  Or the California system that I am familiar with - buyer and seller meet at a gun dealer, pay him the state controlled $35.00 fee and the buyer comes back in two weeks and picks up the gun (assuming they pass).  No system other than the one Bloomberg pushed through in Colorado, requires a background check on anything other than a transfer of ownership.

Here are some examples of how I-594 would impact much more than private gun sales - AND NONE OF THIS IS DISCLOSED ON THE BALLOT:

a) I take you to the forest to go shooting.  I hand you one of my guns so you can shoot it under my direct supervision.  You hand it back to me so I can show you how to shoot it more accurately.  I demonstrate a better shooting position and hand it back to you so you can try shooting it again.  Under I-594, both of us have committed a felony.

b) A volunteer is conducting a Hunter Safety course - which is governed by international standards.  As required by these standards, he passes several safety checked firearms around the classroom so that the student can become familiar with the different types of firearms used in hunting.  Under I-594, the instructor and every student has committed multiple felonies. 

c) I take my 18 year old son hunting with me.  Because he doesn't yet own a firearm, I let him use one of mine.  I decide to stay put, hoping the game will come to me - my son keeps looking.  We meet up later and he gives me my gun back.  Under I-594, both of us have committed a crime.

d) My son has small children.  He asks me if it is OK to keep his guns at my house - something recommended by my home state of California as a safety measure (and something I have done for my son).  He drops them off and later picks them up on the way to the range.  Under I-594, we have both committed felonies.

e) Years ago, I taught my daughter how to shoot and safely handle firearms.  One night a stalker tries to break into her apartment.  She asks to borrow one of my firearms.  I honor her request.  After buying her own gun (and passing a background check and waiting 30 days), she returns my firearm.   If I-594 passes, we have both committed felonies.  This would be legal even under my native California's restrictive gun laws, as long as the loan did not exceed 30 days. This would be ample time for her to obtain her own firearm.

f) You ask to see one of my guns because you are thinking of buying one and you want to see if it is a good "fit".  I open my gun safe and hand you the gun.  After you check it out you had it back to me.  You guessed it - under I-594, we both committed a felony.

g) My friend - whom I know to be safe and competent with firearms - offers to take our  teenage sons shooting.  I give permission.  We have both committed crimes.

h) Unbelievably, it would be illegal for one police officer to lend another police officer a firearm for off duty use, without a background check (and waiting period).  So, if a cop's only concealable handgun is in for servicing, he or she has to risk not carrying.  I sure hope they don't run into anyone they have arrested!

Don't believe me?  No problem - here is what the independent site BallotPedia says I-594 will do:  "The measure will also criminalize, with few exceptions, all temporary transfers of possession of firearms that do not involve purchases, such as for safekeeping, hunting, loan, recreational sharing, safety training, coaching, transport, etc."

How can a background check bill create so many crimes?  Simple: It's not about background checks at all - IT IS ABOUT MAKING OWNING A GUN SO LEGALLY DANGEROUS THAT FEW WILL EXERCISE THEIR RIGHT TO DO SO.  As such it is as unconstitutional as a law discouraging people from voting, practicing their religion or speaking out on issues of concern to them.

Surely this must be a matter simply a poorly written proposal, the authors didn't intentionally do this, right?  Well, a lot of bad gun bills are written out of ignorance - but this is not one of them.  Remember, this laws is almost exactly like the Colorado law passed in 2013.  The same lawyer wrote it.  All of these effects were pointed out before and immediately after its passage.  Now you can see why so many Colorado lawmakers were recalled - and why 54 of Colorado's 61 sheriffs have announced that they will not enforce it.

The people behind this initiative know very well what the effects will be - they just do not want you to know what they will be, not before you vote on it anyway.

How do they do this?  Simple: They redefine the term "transfer".  In all other firearms laws (and most other laws as well) the word "transfer" means a change of ownership.  This is true of federal law and state laws here in California (where we indeed have universal background checks).  Instead, I-594 defines a "transfer" so broadly that it includes virtually every time a gun is passed from one person to another - even for a moment.  Even if the owner is supervising the person he or she hands it to.  

While it is true that some exceptions are provided, they are intentionally written very narrowly.  Sadly, we have a lot of experience with "exception based" state gun laws in states like New Jersey.  The problem with exception based systems is that you are effectively guilty until you prove yourself to be innocent because the "transfer" fits into one of the exceptions.   For instance, there is an exemption for shooting ranges.  Sounds simple - until you are arrested and the DA says that the facility you were shooting at is not a range.  You then have to prove that it indeed is a range under I-594 - and if you fail, you go to jail.  New Jersey has a law exempting moving between residences from it's total gun possession ban - yet a man doing just that was convicted and sent to prison when the judge ruled that the exemption did not apply.  He is only out because Gov. Christie commuted his sentence in the interest of justice.

Now you understand why the opposition to this bill is lead by someone who supports universal background checks.  But wait there's more.......

I-594's required record keeping will create a de facto gun registration system.  Maybe you favor that.  Fine, we have that in California - but it was passed openly and honestly - not misrepresented as a "background check" bill.  More deception.

6) The measure has the potential to cost Washington state hundreds of millions to a billion dollars or more in legal fees and damages.

I follow gun laws - and normal background check bills are certainly constitutional.  This bill - with it's deceptive provisions and "flypaper provisions" likely is not.  Additionally, the DC Court of Appeals - a liberal leaning court - has ruled that registration of long guns is unconstitutional.  What will the courts think of a registration law sold as merely "background checks"?

There are several aspects of the bill that are simply designed to discourage people from exercising their 2nd Amendment rights.  This likely will result in much more than simply attorneys fees - but punitive damages as well.  When cities like Chicago are being forced to write checks into the tens of millions, just for attorneys fees - imagine what the damages will be if a state the size of Washington loses a civil rights lawsuit - and make no mistake, it may take going all the way up to SCOTUS - but if this passes Washington state will lose.  Like it or not, owning a firearm is, to quote the McDonald decision from SCOTUS, a right "fundamental to our system of ordered liberty".

The increased waiting period for purchasing a firearm is also likely unconstitutional, since they prevent people from acquiring a firearm for up to 30 days - even if they are purchasing one due to a need to defend themselves - a constitutional right under the 2nd Amendment as affirmed in the Heller and McDonald decisions by the Supreme Court.  In fact, in the digital age where a background check can be done in minutes, all waiting periods are likely unconstitutional infringements upon the public's 2nd Amendment rights. 

Finally, writing a good background check bill is easy - require all private SALES to be conducted through a federally licensed dealer in the same way dealer sales are conducted.  Control the fees to prevent gouging and you are done.  Two pages tops.  Remember, I-591 does not prevent this - and I-594 pretends to do this but actually does much, much more.  I urge my friends in Washington state not to be fooled.  Don't vote for I-594 - even if you cannot vote for I-591.  I-594 is not what the backers want you to think it is.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Critical "Evidence" In Favor Of Gun Control Exposed As A Lie By Associated Press

Could This Oft Repeated Lie Cost Democrats The Senate?

The 40% - 2 Million Gun Sale Figure Was
Known To Be False When Graphics
Like This Were Produced
40% of gun sales are done without a background check.  During 2012 and 2013, it was repeated over and over and over.  President Obama said it.  Michael Bloomberg said it.  The news media repeated it over and over again.  Almost nobody outside the gun rights community questioned it's truthfulness.  In fact, it was the touchstone of the call for "universal background checks".  It was used to push through very unpopular gun laws in Colorado.   IT IS STILL BEING REPEATED OVER AND OVER EVEN TODAY.

The only problem is, it isn't true.  It hasn't been true for well over 20 years - and those using the figure have known it wasn't true for years.  Yet, when this was questioned by gun rights groups, virtually every gun control advocate from bloggers to Bloomberg to Pres. Obama all insisted it was an accurate figure.

How did such an inaccurate figure get out there in the first place?  Well, it comes from a study done over 20 years ago that included sales both before and after background checks were required by dealers.  As a result the vast majority of sales done without background checks were sales at dealers done before they were required.  Now all dealers are required to do background checks through the federal National Instant Check System or NICS - effectively making the 40% figure meaningless - unless, of course, you are shopping around for a figure to support your argument for expanding background checks to private sales. 

It has never been difficult to prove that the study was inaccurate due to when it was done.  Anyone who checked the dates over which the data was collected against the date when background checks began being required could have confirmed that this study was fatally flawed.  In fact, the Washington Post - certainly not a pro-gun rights publication - did just that in March of 2013.

However, this did not stop the gun control movement from continuing to use the 40% figure over and over again.  It was extensively used by agents of the billionaire Michael Bloomberg as they shoved a new gun law - which they themselves wrote - down the throats of the good people of Colorado.

When this law was being considered, advocates confidently stated that 420,000 additional background checks would be done each year - in spite of the fact that background checks were already required for all transactions at gun shows.  Based on this figure, Colorado set up a system, hired 12 full time employees and authorized 14 more.  Now we have the figures for the first year. Instead of 420,000 private sales, there were only 13,600 or 7% of the predicted figure.  Instead of 40% of sales, private sales only composed 4% of sales.  Even worse, these figures include checks done at gun shows - which were already being done prior to the new law.  Where do all this figures come from?  The Associated Press.  Of course, local media has been all over this.  Even the liberal Denver Post covered the story.

The reason this is so significant is two fold.  First, Colorado is a hugely pro-gun state.  Democrats were elected to many statewide and federal offices after most of them - including now Governor Hickenlooper - promised "no new gun laws".  Not one Republican voted for these laws - they are 100% the responsibility of Democrats.  Second, in addition to most of the state legislature both the governorship and one Senate seat are up for election this year.

These lies have national implications.  Gun owners are highly motivated to slam the door shut on more federal gun control by handing the Senate to Republicans.  Many of the Senate seats up for grabs this year are in pro-gun states.  This is doubly true of Colorado - where Democrats have become irrevocably associated with this very unpopular law and Republicans have made its' repeal the centerpiece of their campaigns.  This is very likely to result in many Colorado voters voting for every Republican they can - and that could cost Democrats the Senate.

These lies by gun control advocates - and the president - many very well come back to haunt them this Fall.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

How The Violence Policy Center Deceives The Public With "Gun Deaths" Figures

The Violence Policy Center or VPC  "cooks the books" to make it appear that gun crime is actually higher in states with "more permissive" gun laws.  How do they do this?  Usually by using the term "gun deaths", rather than showing the actual crime rate.  When the average person hears the tern "gun death" they think "homicide" and that is exactly what the VPC wants you to think.

First, understand that no reputable research organization uses this term.  Instead, they will talk about gun related homicides (including justifiable homicides), accidents and suicides.  They do so because the causes of these deaths are very different as is the effect of firearms law.

The VPCs "gun death" figures include people shot by police, people shot in self defense, the rare accidental death and firearms suicides.  These are all lumped together with one purpose: To inflate the figures and deceive the public.  Just "get rid of guns" and all these deaths will magically go away - but would they really go away?

First, Let's Look At Suicides

Most of these "gun deaths" are mostly suicides (61%), not homicides.  They are tragedies, but not crimes.  Lumping them together with deaths that result from the criminal misuse of firearms is just not honest.  But it does allow the VPC to give the impression that there are more than twice as many firearms homicides as there actually are.

That said, it is true that in areas with high gun ownership rates, more people use them to commit suicide.  They do so for the same reason that San Francisco residents are more likely to jump from the Golden Gate Bridge than residents of L.A. - it's available.  But does firearms availability have much of an impact on suicide rates?

Unbelievably, some anti-gun rights activists actually argue that owning a firearm somehow makes you suicidal.  So, let's consider how some other nations where firearms are virtually banned, or highly restricted, compare to the United States (highest rate of gun ownership in the world) and Switzerland (third highest rate of gun ownership in the world).

Notice that all but one of these nations with much more restrictive gun laws have higher suicide rates than the United States and Switzerland.  This proves that fact that firearms are not available only changes the method people use to kill themselves, highly restrictive gun laws do not prevent people from doing so. 

Note the three countries on the right.  The UK has very restrictive gun laws and only 4% of homes contain a firearm.  In contrast, in the US 47% of homes contain a firearm.  Both countries are quite similar in other respects - and their suicide rates are virtually identical.   If gun availability is a major factor in suicide, the US rate should be much higher - but it isn't.  Also note that Switzerland, with approximately 29% of households having a firearm in the home, has essentially the same rate of suicide as the UK and US.  Clearly firearms availability plays no role in the number of suicides - it only affects the method used. Things such as alcoholism and drug abuse are huge factors in suicide, as are cultural attitudes towards it.  If we want to reduce suicides, this is where we should focus.

Clearly, those who wish to end their own lives will find a way.  Many countries in which there are no private firearms have very high rates of suicide - while the UK, US and Switzerland, which have very different rates of gun ownership, have nearly the same rate of suicide.  Only one conclusion is possible: While firearms are used to commit suicide, their absence does not in any way prevent them.

Conclusion: Using suicides to boost "gun death" figures is highly deceptive, not only because suicides are not crimes, but because they are but one method of suicide and there is zero evidence that the presence or absence of firearms affects the rate of suicide in any way. 

What About Homicides?

Once we subtract suicides, we can examine the relationship between homicides and the rate of firearms ownership.  The homicide rate by state is easy to obtain, but there are no official figures for firearms ownership.  Telephone surveys are likely inaccurate due to under reporting by people who are simply not willing to tell a stranger on the other end of the phone that they own firearms.  There is, however, a better indicator: The number of background checks run though the National Instant Check System or NICS.  The vast majority of NICS checks are run for new firearms purchases at dealers, although some states require them on private sales and most states run a NICS check before issuing a CCW permit. (I omitted Kentucky because it runs a monthly NICS check on every CCW permit - massively distorting the numbers.)  Never the less, the number of NICS checks is the most valid indicator of how many firearms are in use within a particular state.

The following chart compares the number of NICS checks per state each year (in thousands per 100 thousand population) to the homicide rate (in homicides per 100 thousand population).  The data is sorted from the highest to the lowest number of NICS checks per state per year.  If homicide really is related to the rate of firearms ownership, the second line, representing the homicide rate should track with the NICS check line.  Let's see if that happens.......

At a glance, we can see that that there is absolutely no relationship between the number of NICS checks and the homicide rate.  In fact the on the far left of the graph have average or lower than average homicide rates.  At the other end of the scale, California, Maryland, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey all have very low rates of gun ownership - and yet their homicide rates are very close to the average.  The two states with the lowest homicide rates The state with the highest homicide rate (LA) is almost exactly in the middle of the pack when it comes to the number of NICS checks.  

What about states with very low homicide rates?  Only 8 of the 50 states have rates below 2 homicides per 100,000 population.  In comparison, the average rate in Europe is 3 per 100k.   The average NICS per 100k of the 49 states used above is 6.2.  Five of the eight lowest homicide states are well above that average, two are slightly below it, only one is well below average.

If firearms availability is the critical factor in homicide, why do so many states with lowest murder rates have so many firearms?  Why does the state with the lowest homicide rate have a NICS rate nearly 50% above average?

This is not to say that there are not states with both high homicide rates and high rates of legal gun ownership - a look at the 49 state chart shows this to be true in some cases.  What this comparison does prove is that high rates of legal gun ownership do not cause high homicide rates.  Additionally, low gun ownership rates do not result in low homicide rates.  If this were the case, New Jersey - with the nation's lowest rate of firearms ownership (.9k per 100k NICS checks) - would not have a homicide rate FOUR TIMES that of New Hampshire which has TEN TIMES the NICS checks!

Like most issues, homicides and other violent crimes are much more complex than the VPC would have you believe.  Merely banning guns is not going to stop or reduce homicides - and in fact, may even be counter productive - but that's another subject.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

How Gun Control Propaganda Works

Gun control advocates are masters of propaganda.  They love to construct "statistical proof" that gun control works.  Let's take a look at one of these efforts, this one by one of Mayor Bloomberg's front organizations.

Well, that seems pretty conclusive, doesn't it?  What is left to talk about?  Answer: Quite a bit.

First, notice that they do not say that an American is 20 times more likely to be murdered, only that Americans are 20 times more likely to be murdered with a firearm.  You are not supposed to notice that.  You are supposed to hear that guns are used to murder and other developed nations have 20 times fewer murders.   The reality is that this simply isn't the case.  By using the terms "gun homicides" or "murdered with a gun" they hope to get you to subconsciously think that "gun homicides" equal "homicides by all methods".  Shouldn't we be concerned about all homicides?  Why do they not use this figure?  Answer: Because the actual figures would not support their case.

Second, by using the term "developed nations" they accomplish two things.  First, by introducing a subjective term like "developed" they are able to cherry pick their data to get the result the want to get.  Second, they introduce an element of shame.  The US is the only developed nation with this problem - there is therefore something wrong with us.

So let's look at some actual data.  Gun control advocates like to talk about how firearms increase your chances of being murdered.  If this is true, then the top 15 gun owning countries must have a very high rate of murder, right.  Wrong!

Yemen (3rd) and Iraq (8th) are war zones and were omitted for that reason.

Notice this: The top 15 gun owning nations do not have high murder rates.  There are only two exceptions: The US and Uruguay.  What do these two nations have in common?  Answer: Drugs and drug trafficking.  It is this illegal activity that is the cause of the higher homicide rates - not the rate of firearms ownership - in fact, there are many other nations with much lower gun ownership rates and much higher murder rates:

Here I have included the US for reference purposes.  All other nations are either developed or developing nations with significant economies.  All have very low rates of gun ownership.  First, notice that India, with a very low rate of legal gun ownership (100th compared with the US at 1st), has nearly the same murder rate as the US.  Russia, in spite of having an extremely low rate of gun ownership (it was banned under Communist rule), and certainly being an industrialized nation, has a homicide rate nearly twice that of the US.  Argentina also has an industrialized economy and strict gun laws - and yet the murder rate is higher than the US.  Then there is South Africa - definitely industrialized and definitely having strict gun laws.  However, neither of these facts has limited their murder rate - which is nearly 6.5 times that of the US.

It would be wrong to conclude from these figures that more guns always equals a lower murder rate, but we can conclude that legally owned firearms are definitely not required in order to have very high murder rate.

Let's take another look at the first chart:

Notice that many of the nations on this chart are the very nations likely used to construct the "20 Times" argument - industrialized and European.  Yet, they are in the top 15 firearms owning nations.  Including Canada, what is the average homicide rate in these seven countries? 1.1 per 100k.  How does the US compare?  The US rate is a bit over 4 times higher.  Clearly this is not a good thing, but it's a far cry from 20 times!

Of course it goes without saying that they won't mention the fact that gun crime is way down.  Consider this data from Pew Research:

Notice that firearms murders are way down - by 50%.  Non-fatal gun crimes are down even more - by 75%.  (See this post for even more info).   Does Bloomberg's graphic reflect these realities?  Of course not!

In the debate over gun rights and gun control, it's the gun control groups that have to resort to lies, distortion and outright propaganda, not gin rights activists.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Why the Obama Administration is Thrilled Over the Hobby Lobby Decision

To answer that question, we have to ask a wider question: Was Obamacare ever intended to actually work?

I submit to you that Obamacare was intended to fail from the very beginning.  We all know about the many lies, failures and complications we have experienced so far - and the law is only about 10% implemented.  In the next year, as we move towards full implementation, this law will continue to be plagued with problems until it eventually falls apart due to premiums being so high that most Americans cannot afford insurance.

How does this relate to the Hobby Lobby case?  Simple: If the government, not employers, is providing the coverage, than the conflict with the free exercise of religion does not exist.  That's why they are even now LYING about the effect of the decision.

What they want to do is sell the lie that this decision prevents women from using contraception.  It doesn't.  At most, it means that your employer doesn't have to pay for it - and as the court pointed out, there are many other ways for government to provide contraception to people other than requiring people to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs.  By lying about the true effect of the case, they create another crisis surrounding Obamacare - and MAKE NO MISTAKE - THEY WANT TO CREATE A CRISIS.

When the Obamacare crisis reaches critical mass, what will the administration propose?  I don't think there is any question: The administration will propose a single payer, national healthcare system supported by massive increases in taxes.  They will tell the American people that, "We tried to make a private system work, and it failed - therefore we need a public solution."  This would eliminate the religious conflict as well as being more workable.  It is not what I want, but it would actually be better than Obamacare.  A mixed system often times does not work as well as either of the systems it is made up of.  IMHO, such is the case with healthcare.  A private system works best, a public system is far inferior (witness the VA!) and a mix of the two (Obamacare) does not work at all.

That is what they have always wanted, but they rightly judged that the American people were not ready.  Obamacare really has but one purpose: To get us ready for socialized medicine.

What If We Could Test The Effect Of More Guns And More Carry Permits?

Few things in American life are more controversial than guns.  The debate is polarized between two groups: Gun rights advocates, who say that more guns and more concealed carry of firearms by law abiding citizens will reduce violent crime and gun control advocates who say that more guns and more concealed carry will result in more crime, more deaths and an increased rate of violent crime.  These two positions are light years apart - how are we to know which one is correct?

What if we could do an experiment in which we greatly increased the number of guns sold and the number of concealed carry permits.  What if we conducted this experiment over a period of nearly 30 years.  Wouldn't that go a long way toward settling the argument between these two opinions? 
Of course it would!

Well, guess what?  This experiment has already been completed.  In the last 25 years exactly what is described in the paragraph above has been done.  First, let's look at the details of the "experiment", and then we will look at the results.

Gun Sales and Ownership

How many gun sales have their been in the last 30 years?  How can we determine this?

The most accurate gauge we have is the number of background checks run through the National Instant Check System or NICS for short.  NICS began doing checks in November of 1998 and we have date through November of 2013.  The total number of checks run during that time were 191,032,240.  We know that some of these checks would be for thinks like CCW permits and others would be for used firearms being resold, which if previously sold in the US would not result in an increase in the civilian gun supply.  So, let's be conservative and use 80% of that figure as the increase in the gun supply.  This means that in this 15 year period, 153 million new firearms entered the US civilian supply.  That's a bit less than one new firearm of every two Americans.  Of course, if we had figures back another 15 years, at least another 75-100 million new guns were added.

Although the US inventory of firearms is hard to put into numbers, it is likely that there are at least 300 million private firearms in the country - which means that in the past 30 years the number of firearms has at least doubled.

Gun control advocates like to argue that the percentage of households owning firearms is dropping.  These figures come from telephone surveys.  The conclusion they draw from these surveys is that the number of gun owners in the country is dropping.  However, in drawing this conclusion, they ignore three very important facts:

First, they fail to take into account the fact that, largely due to divorce, the average household size is dropping.  (According to this article, single person households have almost quintupled in number from 1960, and now account for 27% of all households.) 
Therefore, if the percentage of Americans owning firearms remained the same, the percentage of households owning firearms would drop.  In fact, just for that figure to remain constant the percentage of American individuals owning firearms would have to increase significantly.  Since, at most, the percentage of firearms owning households is down only a few percent, the number of individuals owning guns is likely up, not down.

Second, they fail to take into account the fact that more and more gun owners are simply inclined to lie when a stranger asks them if they have a gun in their home.  They may be afraid of theft or just don't figure a stranger on the other end of the phone - who could be anyone - has any right to have that information.  The more the drums beat for gun control, the more people will lie when asked that question by a survey taker.

Finally, we must remember that guns last a very long time.  When properly cared for, as much as three generations or more.  People can only use so many firearms, and frequently sell or give away to relatives what they no long want or need.  It simply is not believable that the number of guns increase by 150 million in the last 15 years without an increase in the number of gun owners.

Expansion of Concealed Carry

Progression of Concealed Carry
In the past 30 years, the number of people in the US holding concealed carry permits has quite simply exploded.  In the mid-1980s few states issued concealed carry permits, and most of those that did so on a "may issue" basis - meaning that a person could meet all the requirements for training and background checks and still be denied a permit for any or no reason.  In the last 30 years, 42 states have adopted a "shall issue" system - meaning that if a person meets all the background check and training requirements they must be issued a permit.

How many permits have been issued?  There are no national figures, but according to this article, 1.4 million permits are currently outstanding in Florida alone.  Estimates for the entire country range from 6 million to 10 million.  

So, there is no question that in the last 30 years, the number of firearms and carry permits have skyrocketed.

The Results

If gun control advocates are correct about more guns meaning more murders and more gun crime (Assaults, etc.), than we should have seen a massive increase in those crimes.  If they are right about concealed carry resulting in more shootings and more murders, than the massive increase in people carrying firearms should have caused even greater increases in murders and shootings.  If gun rights activists are correct, we should have seen a decrease in crime and shootings.

So, what happened?

Let's look at data from the Pew Research Center:
First of all, firearms homicides have been cut in half.  That's right, more guns and more concealed carry resulted in a nearly 50% reduction in murders with guns.  This is exactly what gun rights activists predicted would happen.

Non-fatal gun crimes have decreased even more - they are down by 75%.  This a huge reduction, and is totally inconsistent with the gun control lobby's arguments.  It is, however 100% consistent with the gun rights position.

What about all violent crime?  If gun rights activists are correct, then we should have seen a massive decrease in violent crime - and that is exactly what we see.

OK what about firearms accidents?  With more guns and more people carrying guns have we seen an increase in firearms accidents?

According to statistics from the National Safety Council:

Unintentional fatality rates involving firearms remain at their lowest levels in history — 0.2 per 100,000 population. Over the past 10 years, the unintentional firearm fatality rate per 100,000 population has declined by 33 percent; since the beginning of record-keeping in 1903, this rate has declined by 94 percent!

The CDC Agrees With The National Safety Council
Firearms Accidents Are Decreasing

What about accidents involving children?  They have to be up with all those guns and so many people carrying them, right?  Wrong!

That's right, as the supply of handguns has increased, the number of fatal firearms accidents has dropped - by 600%!

How Law Abiding Are CCW Permit Holders?

The Violence Policy Center issues reports in which they claim that CCW permit holders frequently commit murder.  The only problem is they include people who were only charged and later found to be not guilty and count the same incidents as many as three times.  The problems with their so called "research" can be found here.  Sadly, many media sources simply repeat these figures without doing even a basic fact check.

Instead of looking at only homicides, the best gauge of how law abiding permit holders are is the rate at which permits are revoked.  After all, when someone commits a felony, or even a lessor crime like drunk driving, their permit will be revoked.  Check out this data table:

So, the highest rate of revocation was 1.2 percent, all other states have revocation rates less than 1% - and all but one of the other states have revocation rates below .3%.  Minnesota's rate of revocation was only .03%.  Remember, these revocations do not equal the number of CCW holders convicted of crimes, they represent those that did something or had something happen that made them no longer eligible for a permit.  An example could be someone who developed mental illness and self reported.  The state would list that has a revocation.

OK, but was was the effect on crime?  Well, four out of six states had reductions in violent crimes of between 20% and 31%.  Minnesota's 8.0% increase was the big exception, caused mostly by an increase in assaults which has since declined.  Michigan had a 1.4% increase, but also issued very few permits in relation to their population, lessening the impact upon crime.

Next, how do crime rates in "shall issue" states compare to those in "may issue' states?  Well, that's been looked at too:

So, in most states where CCW permits are available to the average person, crime drops.  Additionally, in states with highly restrictive gun laws crime is not lower, it is significantly higher.

Again, the anti-gun rights crowd "cooks the books" to make it appear that gun crime is actually higher in states with "more permissive" gun laws.  How do they do this?  Usually by using the term "gun deaths", rather than showing the actual crime rate.  Most of these "gun deaths" are mostly suicides, not homicides.  They are tragedies, but not crimes.  Lumping them together with deaths that result from the criminal misuse of firearms is just not honest.

That said, it is true that in areas with high gun ownership rates, more people use them to commit suicide.  They do so for the same reason that San Francisco residents are more likely to jump from the Golden Gate Bridge than residents of L.A. - it's available.  But does firearms availability have much of an impact on suicide rates?

Unbelievably, some anti-gun rights activists actually argue that owning a firearm somehow makes you suicidal.  So, let's consider how some other nations where firearms are virtually banned, or highly restricted, compare to the United States (highest rate of gun ownership in the world) and Switzerland (third highest rate of gun ownership in the world).

Notice that all but one of these nations with much more restrictive gun laws have higher suicide rates than the United States and Switzerland.  The fact that firearms are not available only changes the method people use to kill themselves, it does not prevent people from doing so. 

The one exception is the United Kingdom - in which only 4% of households own firearms - which has a suicide rate nearly identical to the US even though the US has over ten times as many gun owning households.  Switzerland, with approximately 29% of households having a firearm in the home, has essentially the same rate of suicide as the UK and US.  Clearly firearms availability plays no role in the number of suicides.  Culture is likely the biggest factor.

Clearly, those who wish to end their own lives will find a way.  Many countries in which there are no private firearms have very high rates of suicide - while the UK, US and Switzerland, which have very different rates of gun ownership, have nearly the same rate of suicide.  Only one conclusion is possible: While firearms are used to commit suicide, their absence does not in any way prevent them.

Conclusion: Using suicides to boost "gun death" figures is highly deceptive, not only because suicides are not crimes, but because they are but one method of suicide and there is zero evidence that the presence or absence of firearms affects the rate of suicide in any way. 

So, the result of our "experiment" are very clear:

More guns equal less crime, not more.

More concealed carry permits are associated with lower crime rates.

Firearms are used in many suicides, but they do not cause suicides.  Using them to pad a statistic used only by the gun control movement is highly deceptive.