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Washington Post Says FBI Background Check Failure Provides Good Argument for Expanding Background Checks

Wed, 07/15/2015 - 09:17
The Washington Post web site carried this editorial last night around 6:00 stating that the FBI's admission it failed to stop the Charleston church shooter from getting a gun provides an argument for "tightened" background checks.
Mr. Comey’s admission should also drive home what should be an obvious point: A tightened, functional background-check system and other simple measures would erect real and practical barriers to people attempting to buy guns for nefarious purposes. If the system had worked correctly in this case, Mr. Roof would have been turned away at the gun store counter. If Congress had tightened up the system’s rules years ago, he would have had a harder time looking elsewhere, such as at gun shows. If federal and state lawmakers weren’t so in thrall to the pro-gun fringe, friends, family members and other potential sources would have faced clear and high penalties for giving Mr. Roof a weapon without taking him to a gun store to get checked out first.

It’s entirely appropriate to talk about imposing basic gun laws in the wake of any mass shooting. All of them underline the fact that guns are shockingly efficient killing machines that no responsible government would ignore. Even if better gun laws wouldn’t prevent every rampage or end street crime, they would certainly cut down on gun deaths from all sorts of causes by making it tougher to obtain and use firearms illegally. The National Shooting Sports Foundation has been urging congress to "Fix NICS" for years.
And the U.S. Department of Justice offered grants to states since 2013 so that they can get their records on prohibited persons more up-to-date.  And yet the FBI still can't get it right.  So, it is a little hard to follow the Post's logic on how this paperwork failure is proof that running more background checks through the system will stop incidents like the one in Charleston from occurring.

Dr. John Lott noted on the Daily Caller on Friday that even if the shooter had failed the background check, due to the fact that he had been planning the attack for six months, he would likely have done what most other criminals do, get a firearm through an illegal source.  Lott also noted that the larger problem is the fact that like any database involving names, there will always be incorrect information:
This is the same problem experienced with the “No Fly” list. Remember the five times that 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.If anything, the FBI's failure in this case is proof why so-called "universal background" checks won't do anything to deter crime.  The only thing it will do is make people who want to sell a firearm from their personal collection a criminal if they don't abide by this registration scheme.
Categories: News

Gunsite Coming to Colonial Shooting Academy

Tue, 07/14/2015 - 10:31
The Outdoor Wire carried the story this morning:
The collaboration between Colonial and Gunsite will bring Gunsite classes like the popular 250 Defensive Pistol course to Colonial Shooting Academy's indoor tactical range and indoor shoot house starting in September, 2015. The 250 Defensive Pistol Course was first presented in 1976 by Colonel Jeff Cooper and is one of the most sought after firearms classes in the country. Suitable for shooters of all experience levels, the 250 Defensive Pistol Course is designed to achieve gun handling confidence & competence, includes 5 days of range work, lectures & intensive live-fire simulators, including low-light scenarios.You can get more information about the classes here.
Categories: News

New Crime Prevention Research Study Finds 12.8 Million Concealed Carry Permit Holders

Mon, 07/13/2015 - 16:35

CPRC has the story here.  The study notes that the number of concealed handgun permits is increasing at an ever- increasing rate with a 15.4% increase in just one single year. Slightly over five percent of the total adult population has a permit, five states now have more than 10% of their adult population with concealed handgun permits and ten states no longer require a permit to carry in all or virtually all of the state. According to the study, this is a major reason why legal carrying handguns is growing faster than the number of permits.  Also of note, since 2007, permits for women have increased by 270% and for men by156%.  The study also found some evidence suggesting that permit holding by minorities is increasing more than twice as fast as for whites. Yet the gun ban lobby tells us that gun ownership continues to decline and that minorities don't support the right of self-defense.

Categories: News

Washington Post Blogger Encourages Hillary to Keep Talking About Gun Control

Sat, 07/11/2015 - 15:39
What a difference between 2008 and 2016..  During 2008, Hillary Clinton rarely talked about gun control during her campaign for the Democratic nomination.  Democrats did not want to talk about guns in congressional elections either in 2010 and 2012.  That all changed after the Sandy Hook school shooting.  The Charleston church shooting gave them even more resolve.  Hillary Clinton doesn't shy away from the subject.

On Friday, the Washington Post Plum Line blog's Paul Waldman encouraged her to keep talking about it, even though she is unlikely to get anything passed if she is elected:
Let’s address the matter of the gun issue’s political potency first. As is the case on so many issues, the Republican position is more popular when the questions are vague, while the Democratic position is more popular when the questions are specific. If you look at polling on guns, what you see is that the country is split pretty evenly on the broad question of whether gun laws should be more strict or less strict. But particular measures to regulate guns get much more support, especially universal background checks, which as many as nine out of ten Americans endorse.

At some point in this discussion, someone will always say: “But what about the NRA? They’re so powerful!” The NRA’s power is real in some ways and illusory in others, and it’s important to understand which is which. When it comes to lobbying, the NRA is indeed hugely powerful. It has the ability to stop any legislation on guns, often before it even gets written. But elections are an entirely different story. Almost all the congressional candidates who win the NRA’s supposedly coveted endorsement are Republican incumbents from conservative districts who win their elections by huge margins. When Republicans have a good election, as they did in 2014 and 2010, the NRA rushes to reporters to claim credit, saying the election proves that voters will punish any candidate who isn’t pro-gun. But when Democrats have a good election, as they did in 2012 and 2008, the NRA is strangely silent.Waldman also trots out the gun ban lobby's talking point that gun ownership has steadily declined since the 1970's, inferring that sooner or later, there won't be enough gun owners to matter.  Waldman links to a New York Times article that sites the General Social Survey (GSS) for it's source to back up the claim of declining gun ownership.  But other surveys show very different data related to gun ownership. The Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) has pointed out:
...the GSS survey shows a large drop that you don’t see in many other surveys.  According to Gallup, in October 2011, they wrote: “At 47%, reported gun ownership is the highest it has been in nearly two decades — a finding that may be related to Americans’ dampened support for gun-control laws.”CRPC notes that a more accurate way is to look at the number of firearm permits year over year.  While few states require licensing of gun owners, Illinois requires a Firearms Owner ID or FOID card to own a firearm.  If the number of cards increase, it stands to follow that is because there are new gun owners who have applied for those cards.  You can also look at the number of concealed carry permits:
The number of concealed handgun permits also provide some information, with the number of permits increasing from about 4.6 million in 2007 to well over 9.3 million at the beginning of 2013.All you have to do is talk to firearm instructors to know that all those new firearm purchases were not made by current gun owners.  It simply does not make since that someone who has owned firearms for years would all of a sudden start signing up for firearms training classes.  Ask any firearms instructor and they will tell you they see a lot of first time gun owners in their classes.  Now if we could just get them all to vote to protect their freedom.

But to Waldman's larger point that Hillary should continue to talk about the issue, let's hope gun owners see the real threat of another four years of an anti-rights Democrat in the White House and will do what it takes to see it does not happen.
Categories: News

Bernie Sanders Defends Vote for Lawful Commerce in Arms Act

Sat, 07/11/2015 - 14:36
Bernie Sanders is not what I would consider pro-gun but he is the closest thing you can find among national Democrats.  Thursday, while appearing at a policy forum in Arlington, VA, he was challenged on his vote by a local member of Moms Demand.

Saunders is not the type of candidate I would want in the White House and there is a lot to dislike in that answer (like the need for different gun laws in urban America and rural America) but I do have to at least give him credit for not backing away from his vote in favor of the Lawful Commerce in Arms Act..

Hat tip to The Blaze.
Categories: News

Blacks and Guns

Thu, 07/09/2015 - 15:44
Gun control has a racist past.  Some of the laws that still exist, like the one in North Carolina requiring a potential handgun purchaser to get the chief law enforcement officer in their locality to sign off on a permit to purchase a handgun were originally passed to make it harder for Blacks to purchase firearms.  More recently, Mike Bloomberg made comments in February regarding getting guns out of the hands of young blacks that had it been made by a conservative Republican would have been all but crucified. But because it was Bloomberg, it barely made news.
“It’s controversial but, first thing is all of your, 95 percent, 95 percent of your murders and murderers and murder victims fit one M.O. You can just take the description and Xerox it and pass it out to all the cops. They are male minorities 15 to 25. That’s true in New York, it’s true in virtually every city in America. And that’s where the real crime is. You’ve got to get the guns out of the hands of the people that are getting killed.”NRA Commentator Colion Noir addresses such thinking in a new video titled Black People Can Think Too.  In the video, Noir states:
This race-baiting rhetoric is a disgusting attempt to take advantage of certain sensitivities. Yes, the inner cities’ young black men kill each other at an embarrassingly high rate, but instead of addressing the real issue, anti-gun politicians and the mainstream media would rather exploit the symptoms because there’s no money in the cure.Take a look at the full video.

Update: Ater this was posted on Wednesday, Noir appeared on NRANews to talk more in depth about the video.

Categories: News

Shooting Sports is Hot New Sport for High Schools

Thu, 07/09/2015 - 11:35
Bloomberg Business has the story here.  I bet you did not know that the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League championship is the world's largest shooting sports event.
In 2009, the contest’s first year, it drew 30 shooters. In June there were 5,134, more than 20,000 spectators and sponsors including Benelli Armi SpA and SKB Shotguns. Trap shooting is the fastest-growing sport in Minnesota high schools, and was recently introduced in neighboring Wisconsin and North Dakota. While it may make anti-gun activists uneasy, it’s a boon for manufacturers and retailers that have stoked its growth.According to the article, Trap Shooting is the fastest growing sport in Minnesota high schools.  One proud grandfather told the reporter after watching his grandson shoot:
“This is the best thing to happen to the shooting sports in 50 years,” said Dennis Knudson, a 74-year-old lifelong trap shooter, after watching his grandson compete. “It’s so fun to see the youngsters stepping up. It will preserve the sport, and they’ll do it for the rest of their lives.”The article noted that in 2015, 9,245 students in Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota participated in the sport.  In fact, trap is so popular in Minnesota that the legislature appropriated $2 million for the expansion of shooting ranges where the teams compete. Next year, schools in Arizona, South Dakota, Illinois and Kansas will have teams. Additionally, middle school students can also join high-school squads.

It's a very positive article and worth the read.

Hat tip to VSSA Executive Director Lu Charette for passing it along.
Categories: News

Another Anti-Gun "More Guns Equal More Crime" Study

Wed, 07/08/2015 - 10:20
Tuesday, Live Science touted a new study by Harvard Injury Control Research Center Director David Hemenway and fellow researchers Michael Monuteaux, Lois K. Lee, Rebekah Mannix, and Eric W. Fleegler that makes the claim that guns don't deter crime:
"We found no support for the hypothesis that owning more guns leads to a drop or a reduction in violent crime," said study researcher Michael Monuteaux, an epidemiologist and professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. "Instead, we found the opposite."The Crime Prevention Research Center got a copy and found that the study did not test the theory that it claims to have studied.  CPRC notes that the study doesn't test whether increased gun ownership causes crime rates to increase, and is "far too simplistic and doesn’t include even the basic control variables that are typically included in other crime studies."
Here is a simple example.  Many people point to the fact that the UK has both a lower homicide and gun ownership rate than the United States.  The claim is often made then that the reason that they have a lower homicide rate is because they have fewer guns.  However, this ignores the fact that the UK homicide rate actually went up after their 1997 handgun ban or after their other very strict earlier gun control regulations.  The UK homicide rate still remained low relative to the US, but it was higher than it otherwise would have been.

The point here is simple: there are lots of reasons why the UK homicide rate was lower than that in the US before they even had gun control.  The question that needs to be asked is how the UK homicide rate changed relative to that in the US after its gun control regulations went into effect.  To do this, you have to control for the fact that the UK had a much lower homicide rate to begin with.  Statistically you do that by having what are called geographic “fixed effects” (dummy variables that pick up the average difference in each jurisdiction that you are examining).  Any test would also do the same thing by year so as to account for any national trends in crime rates.  So, for example, crime might have been falling nationally, but was it falling relatively more in those states that were getting more gun ownership.And that's not all.  Anti-rights researchers tend to cherry pick the data they use to prove their hypothesis and this study is no different:
The controls that are being used in this paper can’t begin to account for the differences in crime rates.  The regression estimates reported in Table 2 don’t tell what percent of the variation in crime rates are being explained by the variables used in these regressions, but I am willing to bet that it is less than 10 percent.

Yet, this paper in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine doesn’t account for either of these factors.  It is essentially making a purely cross-sectional comparison across states.  On account of that, if they had included Washington, DC in their estimates (with its high crime rates and low gun ownership), it would have dramatically altered their results.This is another study that appears to be swimming up stream as public opinion is firmly on the side of gun ownership.  Even cherry picking data probably won't change that fact.
Categories: News

Gun Watch Blog on the NCPC "Lock it Up" Billboard

Mon, 07/06/2015 - 08:25
Last year, this blog reported on the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC)/ Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA)/AdCouncil public service announcements that are suppose to encourage gun owners to properly store their firearms when not in use.  BJA is one of the grant making bureaus at the U.S. Department of Justice and the Obama administration found $1 million laying around in 2013 and directed BJA to give the funds to NCPC to produce these ads.  Setting aside the obviously anti-gun bias of the ads in question, the fact that public service announcements for the most part run on TV and radio when no one is likely to hear them, they are probably the best way to waste taxpayer money.

Probably for that reason, the radio and TV ads have not garnered much attention from either side of the issue.  But over the weekend, Gun Watch blogger Dean Weingarten noticed one of the billboard ads in Yuma, Arizona and wrote about it.

What is wrong with the above picture?  Everything.  First, it gives the impression that small children gaining access to firearms is a big problem in this country.  It isn't.  The number of children under five that die in firearm accidents each year is in the single digits.  Most of those are shot by an adult.  In a country of 313 million people and 347 million firearms, that is a remarkable safety record.

So why the picture of a 4 year old with a revolver?  Simple.  Shock propaganda value aimed at the non-gun owner, and an attempt to demonize guns more than they already are.  If you dig into the campaign further, the attempt is to push gun owners to lock up their guns when "not in use".   The ad is couched in terms of in terms of "gun safety", pushing the idea that guns should be "locked up".

This happens to echo the latest push for gun control by the left, the San Francisco ordinance that any handgun in the home, that is not being carried on the person of an adult, "must" be locked up, which is now being echoed in a proposed Los Angeles ordinance.   Weingarten's comments echo those posted on this blog last June when the campaign was originally launched - that far from simply being a campaign asking people to voluntarily secure their guns, the very images created for the campaign were developed to demonize firearms and promote the idea that guns are bad and should be locked up.  A far more effective campaign is NSSF's Project ChildSafe.
Categories: News

Schumer Promises New Push For Gun Control

Tue, 06/30/2015 - 13:14
New York U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer has joined the chorus started by Senators Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey pushing to revive the 2013 efforts on gun control.  The New York Daily News and AM New York reported over the weekend that Schumer wants to try and "strengthen" background checks to keep those with mental illness from getting firearms and requiring background checks at gun shows.
Schumer, author of the Brady Law requiring background checks for gun buyers, said he wants to expand the "weak" laws on federal background checks, saying they let people who shouldn't have a gun get them anyway.

Though he acknowledged it was unclear if stricter laws would have prevented 21-year-old Dylann Roof from allegedly shooting up Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston on June 17, he said, "If we toughened up the law on guns, there would be many fewer of these massacres," also pointing to the recent mass shootings in Aurora, Colorado, Newtown, Connecticut, and Virginia Tech.

"I do hope and think that the horror in South Carolina will serve as a wake-up call," Schumer said.

The senator committed to closing a loophole that allows buyers to avoid background checks by purchasing guns online or at gun shows, placing blame on the National Rifle Association for making it harder to track gun sales.

"It's almost impossible to find them because the NRA has put laws on the books that make it hard to trace where guns come from," he said.Last week this blog shared a report from the Washington Post that Pennyslvania U.S. Senator Pat Toomey said he would like to try and move his proposal that would have criminalized private sales of firearms that died in the Senate in 2013.

Categories: News

E.J. Dionne Dreams of the Right Not to Bear Arms

Tue, 06/30/2015 - 08:51
Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne believes that gun ban advocates need to change their tactics.  Writing in a recent Op/Ed:
What's needed is a long-term national effort to change popular attitudes toward handgun ownership. And we need to insist on protecting the rights of Americans who do not want to be anywhere near guns. Dionne goes on to share the thoughts of a friend who is a "progressive pollster" that people don't spend enough time talking about "accidental deaths" when children get their hands on guns.  Never mind that unintentional firearm deaths are at all time lows.

And crimes committed with firearms have plummeted while sales have increased exponentially.
Dionne uses what he says is the recent change in public attitude on the confederate flag as proof that this can work:
But as long as gun control is a cause linked to ideology and party -- and as long as the National Rifle Association and its allies claim a monopoly on individual-rights arguments -- reasonable steps of this sort will be ground to death by the Washington Obstruction Machine.

That's why the nation needs a public-service offensive on behalf of the health and safety of us all. If you doubt it could succeed, consider how quickly opinion changed on the Confederate flag.Dionne may have a hard time getting his dream of a public turning against guns based on the results of a Rasmussen Poll released earlier this month found that sixty-eight percent (68%) of Americans would feel safer in a neighborhood where guns are allowed.

Hat tip to Bob Owens at Bearing Arms.
Categories: News

Washington Post Gives Senator Murphy, Everytown Claim on School Shootings Four Pinocchios

Mon, 06/29/2015 - 09:23
The Washington Post Fact Checker has weighed in on that Everytown for Gun Safety claim that there has been a school shooting every week since Sandy Hook and it isn't good news for Bloomberg and his minions.  The Post decided to weigh in after Conn. U.S. Senator Chris Murphy repeated the claim on the floor of the U.S. Senate on June 24th, sparked by the church shooting in Charleston, S.C.
A version of this claim circulated after the June 2014 incident in Oregon in which a high school freshman armed with an assault rifle shot and killed a student and injured a teacher. President Obama and other gun-control advocates had said then that there had been at least 74 school shootings between Sandy Hook and the Oregon shooting.

The source for the claim then, and for Murphy’s recent statement, is a report by Everytown for Gun Safety, which describes itself as “a movement of Americans working together to end gun violence and build safer communities.”That list included things like a police chase that ended on school property after hours as a "school shooting." The Post is not the first to rule that Everytown was playing fast and loose with the numbers but having one more source not known to be friendly to the right to keep and bear arms point this out doesn't hurt:
There are many ways to define school shooting. But applying the “reasonable person” standard, as is the standard at The Fact Checker, it is difficult to see how many of the incidents included in Everytown’s list — such as suicide in a car parked on a campus or a student accidentally shooting himself when emptying his gun and putting it away in his car before school — would be considered a “school shooting” in the context of Sandy Hook.

Lawmakers have a responsibility to check out the facts in the reports they use, especially ones that come from advocacy groups. If they are aware there are definitions that are disputed, or that are defined in other ways depending on who uses them, it is incumbent on lawmakers to clarify exactly what they are talking about and not mislead the public. In particular, lawmakers should rely more on official government statistics, such as from the FBI, rather than misleading metrics cobbled together by interest groups.

We wavered between Three and Four Pinocchios. But this is a definition of “school shooting” that was widely disputed a year ago, and lawmakers need to present information — especially for such a controversial topic as gun control — in a clear, responsible and accurate way. Murphy’s failure to do so tipped the rating to Four.The Post would do well to take their own advice regarding checking the facts.  In 2014, they ran their story (which has been updated since it was originally posted) on the Everytown report without doing any fact checking.  I guess a year of hearing the numbers and seeing folks like CNN question the numbers made the Post decide to check the facts.  Any bets on whether anti-rights politicians will stop using this bogus statistic after this latest discrediting of Everytown's numbers?
Categories: News

Deer Scent Maker Responds to VDGIF Ban on Deer Urine Products

Fri, 06/26/2015 - 09:40
Earlier this month, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries banned the use of products made from bodily fluids of deer for hunting.  This includes estrus scent lures like Code Blue and even a product made here in Virginia by Reaper Scents.  DGIF claims these products increase the likelihood of the spread of Chronic wasting disease (CWD) .  But as Steve Lovern of Reaper Scents told the Roanoke Times, as quoted by Grand View Outdoors, there have only been a relative handful of CWD cases in Virginia and the disease is not spread by the use of these scents:
... the ban is unenforceable and based on bad science. Deer pick up CWD from supplemental feeding, not licking each other’s urine, he told the paper.

“As they eat, saliva drips from their mouth and another deer eats that saliva. This is how CWD is transmitted,” Lovern said.There are over 250,000 hunters in Virginia, many of which hunt on private property.  Most would agree that DGIF has more important things to spend scarce fiscal resources on than enforcing a ban of this type that has little scientific evidence to back it up.
Categories: News

Vote for VSSA in the Lucky Gunner Poll

Thu, 06/25/2015 - 13:27
In September of last year, the Brady Campaign sued Lucky Gunner on behalf of the parents of a child killed in the Aurora CO shooting.  After several months, the case was dismissed and the judge awarded Lucky Gunner $111,971.10 as a partial reimbursement for their legal fees.  As Lucky Gunner noted on their web site, the judge stated in his ruling:
"It is apparent that this case was filed to pursue the political purposes of the Brady Center and, given the failure to present any cognizable legal claim, bringing these defendants [Lucky Gunner] into the Colorado court... appears to be more of an opportunity to propagandize the public and stigmatize the defendants than to obtain a court order."As expected, Brady has appealed the ruling but Lucky Gunner expects to win and when they finally receive the reimbursement, will donate 100% of what is recovered to groups that support and defend the 2nd Amendment:
Please tell us where you want the recovered fees to go by voting in the form below. A number of organizations were added per shooter requests on June 23. We will end the voting on August 1, 2015. Once we have recovered the fees, we'll cut checks to each organization receiving votes on a percentage basis. In other words, if "Organization A" gets 5% of the vote, it will receive 5% of whatever is recovered.VSSA is one of the organizations on that list.  The more votes VSSA receives, the higher percentage of the reimbursement VSSA will receive to continue protecting your rights against Governor Terry McAuliffe and his gun ban friends.  Please click here and cast your vote for VSSA.  As always, thanks for your support of VSSA.
Categories: News

Dave Kopel on Doctors and Your Gun Rights

Thu, 06/25/2015 - 13:16
In the new America's First Freedom, Independence Institute research director Dave Kopel writes about the growing practice of physicians asking their patients about gun ownership and gun storage practices. In the article, Kopel shares the stories of patients who have answered these questions and then been subjected to visits from Child Protective Services.
In San Francisco, a man honestly answered his doctor’s questions about whether there were guns in the home. A short time later, Child Protective Services arrived at the residence, and demanded to be let inside so that they could inspect whether the guns were locked up.There are also instances when patients refused to answer, and had their doctors end their doctor-patient relationship.
In Ocala, Fla., Amber Ullman took her 4-month-old baby to a pediatrician for shots and a checkup. When she refused to answer the gun question, the doctor terminated the relationship and the mother was given 30 days to find a new pediatrician.Earlier this week, Kopel appeared on Sportsman Channel's NRANews Cam and Company to discuss the article.

Categories: News

Brian Doherty on Connecticut's Background Check Law and Murder Rate

Thu, 06/25/2015 - 13:02
Last week this blog shared Dr. John Lott's thoughts on that new study in the American Journal of Public Health, that purports to show a 1995 tightening in Connecticut's gun permit laws led to a 40% reduction in gun homicides over the next decade.  Now Reason.com is out with a new article investigating that same study. Many gun ban advocates immediately touted the study's finding to bolster their cause, but Reason.com's  Brian Doherty discovers that the study may not actually deliver what is advertised.
Given the amazingly complicated set of causes and incentives feeding into any human decision—and every gun homicide is the result of a human decision—establishing that the change in background check laws that "led to" a reduction in gun homicides "caused" them (even in that one Connecticut case, much less concluding that such laws can be relied on to have that effect in other places and times) is likely beyond any final authoritative conclusion via the usual methods of the social sciences.Doherty details five specific problems with the study:
  1. How do we know that synthetic-Connecticut really is a good marker for real Connecticut? The weight of that point seems to be almost entirely a pure case of believing that "past performance guarantees future results." Without saying anything about why it was so or should be presumed to always be so, the authors note that in the past Rhode Island's gun homicide levels matched Connecticut's very closely.
  2. To return to the "appear" mentioned above in "Permit-to-purchase laws...appear to reduce the availability of handguns to criminals," given that we are assuming that the law is having all sorts of powerful effects on behavior and outcomes, don't we need to know something about how extensively or effectively the laws are being enforced, and have some decent data or reasonable guesses to be sure that the law's existence almost certainly is preventing many, many gun purchases by murderers that would have occurred without the law?
  3. The authors are sure their gun-related cause leads to a gun-related effect by noting that the effects on homicide rates they allege to have found are almost all in gun homicides, not in other homicides. Curiously to me, the synthetic-Connecticut used to compare the non-gun homicides is very different than the mostly-Rhode Island one used for gun homicides; it is mostly New Hampshire. That comparison seems to be apples-oranges, and one wonders what the results would have been if they'd used the same synthetic Connecticut for both comparisons.
  4. The study traces changes from 1995 to 2005; when I asked the CDC to send me the raw data numbers that the study relied on, the CDC warned me that "the coding of mortality data changed significantly in 1999, so you may not be able to compare number of deaths and death rates from 1998 and before with data from 1999 and after." [UPDATE: In an email sent after this post went up, the CDC says that "the change in...coding has almost no effect on homicide or suicide unlike other causes of death." So this point seems to be of little relevance.]
  5. The study stops looking for effects 10 years after the law went into effect. Why might that be? Six of the eight years since 2005 for which CDC had data show Connecticut with a higher real gun homicide rate than 2005, the year that the authors chose to stop. If they had gone out to 2006, the reduction in rates in real Connecticut from 1995 to 2006 is cut to 12 percent.
Doherty discusses each of the problems in more detail and does a great job of picking the study apart.  It's a good read.

Categories: News

Roanoke Rifle and Revolver Club Hosting 2015 Commonwealth Games Shooting Events

Wed, 06/24/2015 - 10:22
The 2015 Subway Commonwealth Games of Virginia will kick off Friday, July 17th at the Salem Red Sox Stadium with the annual Opening Ceremonies! Going into its 26th year, the Subway Commonwealth Games of Virginia, is known throughout Virginia as Virginia's Olympics. This annual event is held the third week of July (for most sports) and open to all ages and skill levels. From archery to wrestling, this event offers sports competition venues for 55+ different Olympic and Pan American sports.

This year's games will feature High Power RifleRifle Silhouette - Black Powder (200M, 300M, 385M and 500 Yards), Black Powder Muzzleloading Rifle Silhouette Shoot, Black Powder Muzzle Loading Rifle Target Match, and Black Powder Muzzle Loading Pistol Target Match, and Sporting Clays. The Sporting Clays event will be held at Shenandale Gun Club on July 19.  All of the remaining shooting events will be held at the Roanoke Rifle and Revolver Club (RRRC) July 18-19.  You can find more information about registration deadlines by clicking the above links.
Categories: News

Washington Post: Manchin, Toomey Interested in Reviving Gun Control Push

Wed, 06/24/2015 - 07:15
The Washington Post reports that West Virginia U.S. Senator Joe Manchin and Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Pat Toomey in separate interviews during a reception before a ceremony hosted by Sandy Hook families where Toomey was honored, expressed interest in reviving their effort to criminalize private firearm sales.
“We want to make sure we have the votes. Pat’s going to have to, and I’ll work with him, to get some of our colleagues on the Republican side,” Manchin said, adding that he hasn’t talked directly to Toomey about a revival.Until last night, Toomey has been quiet on the subject since the bill went down in flames in April of 2013 but he offered no apologies for turning his back on law abiding gun owners when he accepted his award:
Accepting his award on Tuesday night, a visibly emotional Toomey said that despite some of the political fallout from his conservative base, he’d “do it again in a heartbeat.” He said he does have two regrets, however. One, that the 2013 bill didn’t pass. And, “that it took me so long before I raised my voice on this very important issue,” he said.Talk of reviving the so-called "universal background check" bill began after last week's church shooting in Charleston.  President Obama during a much talked about podcast with Marc Maron however seemed to hold out little hope that will occur, and even suggested it is the one area he will not be able to address with his so-called "executive actions" and rule making.  From the Business Insider coverage of the podcast interview:
"Unfortunately, the grip of the NRA on Congress is extremely strong,” he said. “I don’t foresee any legislative action being taken in this Congress, and I don’t foresee any real action being taken until the American public feels a sufficient sense of urgency and they say to themselves, ‘This is not normal. This is something that we can change and we’re going to change it.’”

Obama showed his frustration with Congress, but said that in many policy areas, he has been able to effect change through rulemakings and other executive actions -- even when Republicans in Congress have refused to work with him. Gun control, he said, has been the exception.Obama even suggested in that podcast interview that mass shootings have been a financial boom for firearm manufactures:
While the president did not attack gun manufacturers directly, he did point out the irony that they tend to do very well financially in the wake of mass shootings.

“Right after Newtown, gun sales shot up, ammunition shot up, and each time these events occur; ironically, gun manufacturers make out like bandits, partly because of this fear that’s churned up that the federal government and the black helicopters are coming to get your guns.”Maybe the President should point the finger at himself when he talks about churning up fear since he was the one who proposed banning the one of nation's best selling firearm.

Categories: News

Obama Calls for "National Reckoning" After Church Shooting

Thu, 06/18/2015 - 14:29
Not surprisingly, President Obama used his remarks on the Charleston, S.C. church shooting to once again lament the easy access to firearms in this country.  Saying that no other advanced country experiences the incidence of mass shootings and that "it is within our power to do something about it."

What Obama did not say is that all but two of the mass shootings that have taken place in the United States since 1950 have been in places guns are banned.  And as for those other "advanced countries?" They have not been as immune to mass shootings as the President would like us to think. This from a 2010 Op/Ed by Dr. John Lott:
Multiple victim public shootings were assumed to be an American thing for it is here the guns are, right? No, not at all. Contrary to public perception, Western Europe, where most countries have much tougher gun laws, has experienced many of the worst multiple victim public shootings. Particularly telling, all the multiple victim public shootings in Europe occurred where guns are banned. So it is in the United States, too -- all the multiple victim public shootings (where more than three people have been killed) have taken place where civilians are not allowed to have a gun.Lott also noted in that article at the time of its writing, multiple victim public shootings appeared to be at least as common in Europe as they are here.
Categories: News

Debunking the Violence Policy Center's Not So New Claims on Armed Self Defense

Thu, 06/18/2015 - 09:23
On Wednesday, the anti-rights Violence Policy Center trotted out what they call a "new" report that makes the claim gun owners rarely use firearms for self defense.  VPC based the report on FBI data on "justifiable homicides."  As the NRA and Dr. John Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center pointed out however, this is just a recycled claim the anti-rights lobby has used for years.  Using justifiable homicides data is problematic for a number of reasons, not the least of which is it totally discounts the fact that a number of people defend themselves with a firearm without ever firing a shot.  Lott also points out that only about 1 percent of police departments report justifiable homicides by police and it is even worse for civilian justifiable homicide.  To take it a step further, Dr. Lott noted that even for those states that do report such data, very few localities within those states actually compiled the numbers.

Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz have conducted a more reliable survey on the topic that can be found here.

Categories: News