Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Does a ban on “assault weapons” reduce gun violence?

From the freaking New York Times, of all places.

Excerpt:

Over the past two decades, the majority of Americans in a country deeply divided over gun control have coalesced behind a single proposition: The sale of assault weapons should be banned.

[...]But in the 10 years since the previous ban lapsed, even gun control advocates acknowledge a larger truth: The law that barred the sale of assault weapons from 1994 to 2004 made little difference.

It turns out that big, scary military rifles don’t kill the vast majority of the 11,000 Americans murdered with guns each year. Little handguns do.

In 2012, only 322 people were murdered with any kind of rifle, F.B.I. data shows.

[...]This politically defined category of guns — a selection of rifles, shotguns and handguns with “military-style” features — only figured in about 2 percent of gun crimes nationwide before the ban.

Handguns were used in more than 80 percent of murders each year, but gun control advocates had failed to interest enough of the public in a handgun ban. Handguns were the weapons most likely to kill you, but they were associated by the public with self-defense. (In 2008, the Supreme Court said there was a constitutional right to keep a loaded handgun at home for self-defense.)

Banning sales of military-style weapons resonated with both legislators and the public: Civilians did not need to own guns designed for use in war zones.

On Sept. 13, 1994, President Bill Clinton signed an assault weapons ban into law. It barred the manufacture and sale of new guns with military features and magazines holding more than 10 rounds. But the law allowed those who already owned these guns — an estimated 1.5 million of them — to keep their weapons.

The policy proved costly. Mr. Clinton blamed the ban for Democratic losses in 1994. Crime fell, but when the ban expired, a detailed study found no proof that it had contributed to the decline.

The ban did reduce the number of assault weapons recovered by local police, to 1 percent from roughly 2 percent.

“Should it be renewed, the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement,” a Department of Justice-funded evaluation concluded.

So what does work?

“We spent a whole bunch of time and a whole bunch of political capital yelling and screaming about assault weapons,” Mayor Mitchell J. Landrieu of New Orleans said. He called it a “zero sum political fight about a symbolic weapon.”

Mr. Landrieu and Mayor Michael A. Nutter of Philadelphia are founders of Cities United, a network of mayors trying to prevent the deaths of young black men. “This is not just a gun issue, this is an unemployment issue, it’s a poverty issue, it’s a family issue, it’s a culture of violence issue,” Mr. Landrieu said.

More than 20 years of research funded by the Justice Department has found that programs to target high-risk people or places, rather than targeting certain kinds of guns, can reduce gun violence.

So if banning guns doesn’t stop the crime, then what is causing all the crime?

Dr. Michael Tanner of the libertarian Cato Institute explains in his testimony to Congress:

Welfare contributes to crime in several ways. First, children from single-parent families are more likely to become involved in criminal activity. According to one study, children raised in single-parent families are one-third more likely to exhibit anti-social behavior.(3) Moreover, O’Neill found that, holding other variables constant, black children from single- parent households are twice as likely to commit crimes as black children from a family where the father is present. Nearly 70 percent of juveniles in state reform institutions come from fatherless homes, as do 43 percent of prison inmates.(4) Research indicates a direct correlation between crime rates and the number of single-parent families in a neighborhood.(5)

As Barbara Dafoe Whitehead noted in her seminal article for The Atlantic Monthly:

The relationship [between single-parent families and crime] is so strong that controlling for family configuration erases the relationship between race and crime and between low income and crime. This conclusion shows up time and again in the literature. The nation’s mayors, as well as police officers, social workers, probation officers, and court officials, consistently point to family break up as the most important source of rising rates of crime.(6)

Don’t ban guns, ban welfare.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , ,

Dartmouth College won’t allow female student who is being stalked to arm herself

Fox News reports on a story that shows you where the real war on women is. (H/T Lindsay)

Excerpt:

A 20-year-old Dartmouth student says she may have to give up her Ivy League dream and drop out of school because the prestigious college won’t allow her to carry a gun — to protect herself against a predator.

Taylor Woolrich, a junior, says Dartmouth administrators told her they won’t let her carry a gun on campus, even though she lives in fear of a man who has been stalking her since she was a high school student in San Diego.

“It’s absolutely unfair,” Woolrich said about her attempts to have the school make an exception to its weapons ban. “It’s one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with.”

Woolrich was 16 years old and working in a San Diego café when she says a man came in to buy coffee and then kept returning throughout the day, staring at her for long periods of time and trying to flirt with her. The man, 67-year-old Richard Bennett, kept this up for days, she says, even sitting outside the store for an entire day and then following her home, demanding that she talk to him and saying he was “trying to protect her.”

She filed a restraining order, but it did little to keep Bennett away. Woolrich says he constantly harassed her during her first two years at Dartmouth, stalking her on social media and sending messages in which he “promised” to fly across the country to see her at college.

“I thought they were empty threats, but when I came home from school last summer, he was at my front door within eight hours of my plane landing,” she said. “That’s when I realized how serious it was.”

Woolrich and her family called the police, and Bennett was arrested. A search of his car uncovered a slip noose, a knife, gloves and other items.

And:

But Dartmouth administrators told her she was “absolutely not” allowed to carry a weapon on campus. She says she tried to plead her case and was told to speak with several campus officials, all of whom provided little to no help.

“There’s no option. There’s no one to go to. They don’t want to hear my case,” she said.

Many colleges across the country have banned guns on campus to prevent mass shootings and accidental shootings by irresponsible or inebriated students. But the pro-gun rights Crime Prevention Research Center, in a study published on Monday, said there have been no reported problems or issues with college-age permit holders on campuses in the nine states –  Colorado, Florida,Wisconsin, Utah, Pennsylvania,Oregon, Mississippi, Kansas and Idaho – whose laws mandate that students and others be permitted to carry concealed handguns on public college grounds.

“There’s this fear about the possibility of students causing problems, but people talk about these things without actual examples,” the center’s president, John Lott, told FoxNews.com. “By far, the safest course of action is to carry a gun for protection, especially for female victims.”

“[Woolrich] has legitimate concern,” he added. “There’s only so much a restraining order can do.”

Nothing to be concerned about, say the Darmouth College administrators. After all, we wouldn’t want anyone to be shot. Guns are so bad! But I’ve noticed that some people agree with the Dartmouth administrators, and think that it’s better for this woman to be raped and murdered, than for her to wave a handgun around to ward off her attacker. Now I disagree with these people, and I think that women should be encouraged to own guns, because they typically have less upper body strength than men, and guns equalize that. If anyone should be carrying a gun for self-defense, it’s a woman.

Let me explain again how gun ownership deters criminals from committing crimes, by appealing to academic studies.

A quick refresher on why people own guns

People own guns so that they deter criminals and reduce the crime rate in their communities. The more guns there are in the hands of law-abiding citizens, the lower the crime rate goes, because criminals don’t like being shot at by their crime victims.

Whenever I get into discussions about gun control, I always mention two academic books by John R. Lott and Joyce Lee Malcolm.

Here is a paper by Dr. Malcolm that summarizes one of the key points of her book.

Excerpt:

Tracing the history of gun control in the United Kingdom since the late 19th century, this article details how the government has arrogated to itself a monopoly on the right to use force. The consequence has been a tremendous increase in violent crime, and harsh punishment for crime victims who dare to fight back. The article is based on the author’s most recent book, Guns and Violence: The English Experience (Harvard University Press, 2002). Joyce Malcom is professor of history at Bentley College, in Waltham, Massachusetts. She is also author of To Keep and Bear Arms: The Origins of an AngloAmerican Right (Harvard University Press, 1994).

Upon the passage of The Firearms Act (No. 2) in 1997, British Deputy Home Secretary Alun Michael boasted: “Britain now has some of the toughest gun laws in the world.” The Act was second handgun control measure passed that year, imposed a near-complete ban on private ownership of handguns, capping nearly eighty years of increasing firearms restrictions. Driven by an intense public campaign in the wake of the shooting of schoolchildren in Dunblane, Scotland, Parliament had been so zealous to outlaw all privately owned handguns that it rejected proposals to exempt Britain’s Olympic target-shooting team and handicapped target-shooters from the ban.

And the result of the 1997 gun ban:

The result of the ban has been costly. Thousands of weapons were confiscated at great financial cost to the public. Hundreds of thousands of police hours were devoted to the task. But in the six years since the 1997 handgun ban, crimes with the very weapons banned have more than doubled, and firearm crime has increased markedly. In 2002, for the fourth consecutive year, gun crime in England and Wales rose—by 35 percent for all firearms, and by a whopping 46 percent for the banned handguns. Nearly 10,000 firearms offences were committed.

[...]According to Scotland Yard, in the four years from 1991 to 1995 crimes against the person in England‟s inner cities increased by 91 percent. In the four years from 1997 to 2001 the rate of violent crime more than doubled. The UK murder rate for 2002 was the highest for a century.

I think that peer-reviewed studies – from Harvard University, no less – should be useful to those of us who believe in the right of self-defense for law-abiding people.

A more recent study – from 2014

A new study that was in the news confirms these findings. Newsmax reported on it.

Excerpt:

A recent study showing a reverse correlation between concealed weapons and murder rates has renewed the contentious national debate about the effect of gun controls on violent crime.

Reason magazine reported last week on economist Mark Gius’ study of gun controls, published in the journal Applied Economics Letters showing states with restrictions on concealed weapons had higher gun-related murder rates than other states.

The study looked at the effects on murder rates of both state-level assault weapons bans and concealed weapons restrictions from 1980 to 2009.

[...]The findings come as A 2007 study has been also getting a new look from those who dispute gun control efforts aimed at stemming gun violence, Boston magazine reported last summer.

In research first published in Harvard’s Journal of Public Law and Policy, criminologists Don Kates and Gary Mauser looked at the correlation between gun laws and death rates.

“International evidence and comparisons have long been offered as proof of the mantra that more guns mean more deaths and that fewer guns, therefore, mean fewer deaths,” the pair wrote in their introduction. “Unfortunately, such discussions [have] all too often been afflicted by misconceptions and factual error and focus on comparisons that are unrepresentative.”

The pair found “correlations that nations with stringent gun controls tend to have much higher murder rates than nations that allow guns.”

It’s not a reasonable position to think that disarming law-abiding citizens will reduce crime rates. The evidence is against it.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , ,

Doctor shoots man who opened fire on hospital staff

I’ve bolded the interesting parts of the story, which is from USA Today.

Excerpt:

A psychiatric outpatient opened fire Thursday inside a psychiatrist’s office at a hospital near Philadelphia, killing his caseworker and slightly wounding the doctor, who shot the gunman with his personal firearm, authorities said.

The suspect, Richard Plotts, of Upper Darby, Pa., was reported in critical condition after the shooting at 2:20 p.m. in an office at the Mercy Wellness Center of Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan said at an evening news conference.

The unidentified 52-year-old doctor shot Plotts three times and suffered a graze wound when the suspect returned fire, Whelan said at an evening news conference. Two guns were recovered.

[...]Whelan said Plotts, who has a history of unspecified psychiatric problems, and his caseworker arrived at the doctor’s third-floor office about 2 p.m., Whalen said. Soon after, another staffer heard a loud argument and opened the door to find the suspect pointing a gun at the doctor. The worker then closed the door and call 911.

Minutes later, gunfire erupted.

[...]Plotts, described as being in his mid-30s, was in surgery at the Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania. He was shot twice in the torso and once in an arm.

[...]A sign tells visitors to the wellness center to check weapons at the front, a medical technician told The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Hospital policy allows only on-duty law enforcement officers to carry weapons on campus, a Mercy Health System spokeswoman told the Associated Press.

So there was a “gun-free zone” sign. That didn’t stop the crazy person from coming in with a gun. And thankfully, it didn’t stop the DOCTOR from having a licensed concealed-carry firearm. But what if the doctor didn’t have a firearm? Well, then he’d be dead. The police would NEVER have got there in time to save him. And who knows how many more people the crazy person would have shot? I think this story shows the reason why law-abiding people need to own and carry firearms. When seconds count, the police are just minutes away.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , ,

Judge orders DOJ to release Fast and Furious documents blocked by Obama

Katie Pavlich reports on it for Townhall.com.

Excerpt:

Thanks to a Freedom of Information Act Lawsuit pursued against the Department of Justice by government watchdog Judicial Watch, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has ruled documents being withheld from Congress under President Obama’s claim of executive privilege must be turned over. Obama made the claim on the same day Attorney General Eric Holder was voted in criminal and civil contempt of Congress in June 2012.

“This order forces the Obama DOJ, for the first time, to provide a detailed listing of all documents that it has withheld from Congress and the American people for years about the deadly Fast and Furious gun running scandal,” Judicial Watch released in a statement.

The FOIA lawsuit has been ongoing for 16-months and is now proceeding after a lengthy delay. The Justice Department originally asked the court for an indefinite hold on a FOIA request from Judicial Watch, citing executive privilege and an ongoing investigation. That indefinite hold request was shot down more than a year ago.

The documentation DOJ is required to now turn over is a “Vaughn index” of “all requested Fast and Furious materials from a June 2012 Judicial Watch FOIA request.”

A Vaughn index must: (1) identify each document withheld; (2) state the statutory exemption claimed; and (3) explain how disclosure would damage the interests protected by the claimed exemption.” In ordering the DOJ to provide Judicial Watch the Vaughn index, the Court ruled, “In this circuit, when an agency is withholding documents under exemption claims, courts require that the agency provide a Vaughn index so that the FOIA requester – at a distinct informational disadvantage – may test the agency’s claims.”

“Once again, Judicial Watch has beat Congress to the punch in getting key information about another Obama scandal – this time, the Fast and Furious outrage,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “A federal court has ordered the Obama administration to produce information that could, for the first time, provide specific details who in the administration is responsible for Fast and Furious lies to Congress and the American people. This is a battle that put Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, saw Nixonian assertions of executive privilege by Barack Obama, and a hapless Congress in face of all this lawlessness. Finally, we may get some accountability for Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and the countless others murdered as a result of the insanely reckless Obama administration program.”

Unfortunately, this is coming too late for Obama’s 2012 re-election contest, and the mainstream media is unlikely to report it, just like they failed to report the IRS scandal. But if we all share this story, it will help people to realize how lawless and corrupt this administration really is. It’s gangster government, as Michele Bachmann said. The crooks are in charge.

Related posts

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St. Louis couple uses guns to defend their daughter against two criminals

The Blaze explains who no one in the mainstream media (or the White House) seems to understand: Guns Save Lives.

Excerpt:

Two armed criminals reportedly put a gun to a 17-year-old girl’s head on Monday night as she was outside retrieving something from a car. The man, whose intentions still aren’t entirely clear, then ordered the teenager to take them into her house — a decision that would prove to have deadly consequences.

Peering out the window of the St. Louis home were the girl’s mother and father, each prepared to protect their daughter with deadly force. There was also a 5-year-old boy in the house, though his relationship to the family wasn’t known on Tuesday.

The girl’s father, a 34-year-old man, reportedly observed the men walking towards his home while holding a gun to his daughter’s head, a sight that no father ever wants to see. He quickly retrieved his firearm and his wife did the same.

The brave dad then confronted the two criminals and opened fire, hitting both suspects with accurate shots. The girl’s mother also fired off some rounds, but failed to hit either suspect.

One of the men was reportedly pronounced dead at the scene while the second suspect escaped only to later be arrested after calling his brother to take him to the hospital because he had been shot.

“Police identify the suspect who was killed as 31-year-old Terrell Johnson from north St. Louis,”KTVI-TV reports. “The second suspect- a 33-year-old man- is hospitalized in critical but stable condition with gunshot wounds to his chest and both thighs. Police say he will face charges.”

No one other than the suspected criminals were injured in the incident.

So, now might be a good time to review the science on guns and self-defense.

A quick refresher on why people own guns

People own guns so that they deter criminals and reduce the crime rate in their communities. The more guns there are in the hands of law-abiding citizens, the lower the crime rate goes, because criminals don’t like being shot at by their crime victims.

Whenever I get into discussions about gun control, I always mention two academic books by John R. Lott and Joyce Lee Malcolm.

Here is a paper by Dr. Malcolm that summarizes one of the key points of her book.

Excerpt:

Tracing the history of gun control in the United Kingdom since the late 19th century, this article details how the government has arrogated to itself a monopoly on the right to use force. The consequence has been a tremendous increase in violent crime, and harsh punishment for crime victims who dare to fight back. The article is based on the author’s most recent book, Guns and Violence: The English Experience (Harvard University Press, 2002). Joyce Malcom is professor of history at Bentley College, in Waltham, Massachusetts. She is also author of To Keep and Bear Arms: The Origins of an AngloAmerican Right (Harvard University Press, 1994).

Upon the passage of The Firearms Act (No. 2) in 1997, British Deputy Home Secretary Alun Michael boasted: “Britain now has some of the toughest gun laws in the world.” The Act was second handgun control measure passed that year, imposed a near-complete ban on private ownership of handguns, capping nearly eighty years of increasing firearms restrictions. Driven by an intense public campaign in the wake of the shooting of schoolchildren in Dunblane, Scotland, Parliament had been so zealous to outlaw all privately owned handguns that it rejected proposals to exempt Britain’s Olympic target-shooting team and handicapped target-shooters from the ban.

And the result of the 1997 gun ban:

The result of the ban has been costly. Thousands of weapons were confiscated at great financial cost to the public. Hundreds of thousands of police hours were devoted to the task. But in the six years since the 1997 handgun ban, crimes with the very weapons banned have more than doubled, and firearm crime has increased markedly. In 2002, for the fourth consecutive year, gun crime in England and Wales rose—by 35 percent for all firearms, and by a whopping 46 percent for the banned handguns. Nearly 10,000 firearms offences were committed.

[...]According to Scotland Yard, in the four years from 1991 to 1995 crimes against the person in England‟s inner cities increased by 91 percent. In the four years from 1997 to 2001 the rate of violent crime more than doubled. The UK murder rate for 2002 was the highest for a century.

I think that peer-reviewed studies – from Harvard University, no less – should be useful to those of us who believe in the right of self-defense for law-abiding people.

A more recent study – from 2014

A new study that was in the news just last week confirms these findings. Newsmax reported on it.

Excerpt:

A recent study showing a reverse correlation between concealed weapons and murder rates has renewed the contentious national debate about the effect of gun controls on violent crime.

Reason magazine reported last week on economist Mark Gius’ study of gun controls, published in the journal Applied Economics Letters showing states with restrictions on concealed weapons had higher gun-related murder rates than other states.

The study looked at the effects on murder rates of both state-level assault weapons bans and concealed weapons restrictions from 1980 to 2009.

[...]The findings come as A 2007 study has been also getting a new look from those who dispute gun control efforts aimed at stemming gun violence, Boston magazine reported last summer.

In research first published in Harvard’s Journal of Public Law and Policy, criminologists Don Kates and Gary Mauser looked at the correlation between gun laws and death rates.

“International evidence and comparisons have long been offered as proof of the mantra that more guns mean more deaths and that fewer guns, therefore, mean fewer deaths,” the pair wrote in their introduction. “Unfortunately, such discussions [have] all too often been afflicted by misconceptions and factual error and focus on comparisons that are unrepresentative.”

The pair found “correlations that nations with stringent gun controls tend to have much higher murder rates than nations that allow guns.”

It’s not a reasonable position to think that disarming law-abiding citizens will reduce crime rates. The evidence is against it.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , ,

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