Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

No self-defense at Fort Hood: another shooting in another gun-free zone

Investors Business Daily explain why it happened twice in the same place.

Excerpt:

Another tragedy at Fort Hood is compounded by the absurdity of well-trained and disciplined soldiers told to “shelter in place” until the police arrive.

[..]It is… a grim echo of its predecessor, which was an act of terrorism called “workplace violence.” And to this day, the commander in chief calls Maj. Nidal Hasan’s Nov. 5, 2009, rampage in which 13 were murdered and 32 wounded “workplace violence.”

In that tragedy, Hasan, a self-proclaimed “Soldier of Allah,” shouted “Allahu Akhbar” and opened fire on dozens of U.S. civilians and soldiers who were unarmed and unable to fire back. Then, as now and in the Sept. 16, 2013, mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, military personnel trained to defend themselves were unable to do so and had to wait until the police arrived.

[...]Because of the nonsensical policy, terrorists or the mentally unstable would face more return fire if they began shooting at a Texas Wal-Mart than they would face at Fort Hood, home of the heavily armed and feared 1st Cavalry Division. During the second attack in five years at Fort Hood, soldiers were again forced to run from a violent and armed perpetrator.

I would say that there would not even be any attacks at Fort Hood if people were allowed to concealed carry their own firearms. Who the heck would be stupid enough to start shooting an an army post if the people there could actually carry weapons?

This article from National Review shows that multiple-victim public shootings are common in gun-free zones.

Excerpt:

Gun-free zones have been the most popular response to previous mass killings. But many law-enforcement officials say they are actually counterproductive. “Guns are already banned in schools. That is why the shootings happen in schools. A school is a ‘helpless-victim zone,’” says Richard Mack, a former Arizona sheriff. “Preventing any adult at a school from having access to a firearm eliminates any chance the killer can be stopped in time to prevent a rampage,” Jim Kouri, the public-information officer of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, told me earlier this year at the time of the Aurora, Colo., Batman-movie shooting. Indeed, there have been many instances — from the high-school shooting by Luke Woodham in Mississippi, to the New Life Church shooting in Colorado Springs, Colo. — where a killer has been stopped after someone got a gun from a parked car or elsewhere and confronted the shooter.

Economists John Lott and William Landes conducted a groundbreaking study in 1999, and found that a common theme of mass shootings is that they occur in places where guns are banned and killers know everyone will be unarmed, such as shopping malls and schools.

I spoke with Lott after the Newtown shooting, and he confirmed that nothing has changed to alter his findings. He noted that the Aurora shooter, who killed twelve people earlier this year, had a choice of seven movie theaters that were showing the Batman movie he was obsessed with. All were within a 20-minute drive of his home. The Cinemark Theater the killer ultimately chose wasn’t the closest, but it was the only one that posted signs saying it banned concealed handguns carried by law-abiding individuals. All of the other theaters allowed the approximately 4 percent of Colorado adults who have a concealed-handgun permit to enter with their weapons.

“Disarming law-abiding citizens leaves them as sitting ducks,” Lott told me. “A couple hundred people were in the Cinemark Theater when the killer arrived. There is an extremely high probability that one or more of them would have had a legal concealed handgun with him if they had not been banned.”

Lott offers a final damning statistic: “With just one single exception, the attack on congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson in 2011, every public shooting since at least 1950 in the U.S. in which more than three people have been killed has taken place where citizens are not allowed to carry guns.”

There is no evidence that private holders of concealed-carry permits (which are either easy to obtain or not even required in more than 40 states) are any more irresponsible with firearms than the police. According to a 2005 to 2007 study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin and Bowling Green State University, police nationwide were convicted of firearms violations at least at a 0.002 percent annual rate. That’s about the same rate as holders of carry permits in the states with “shall issue” laws.

Here’s Dr. John R. Lott to explain why gun-free zones should really be called “helpless victim zones”.

Excerpt:

Contrary to public perception, Western Europe, most of whose countries have much tougher gun laws than the United States, has experienced many of the worst multiple-victim public shootings. Particularly telling, all the multiple-victim public shootings in Western Europe have occurred in places where civilians are not permitted to carry guns. The same is true in the United States: All the public shootings in which more than three people have been killed have occurred in places where civilians may not legally bring guns.

Look at recent history. Where have the worst K–12 school shootings occurred? Nearly all of them in Europe. The very worst one occurred in a high school in Erfurt, Germany, in 2002, where 18 were killed. The second-worst took place in Dunblane, Scotland, in 1996, where 16 kindergartners and their teacher were killed. The third-worst, with 15 dead, happened in Winnenden, Germany. The fourth-worst was in the U.S. — Columbine High School in 1999, leaving 13 dead. The fifth-worst, with eleven murdered, occurred in Emsdetten, Germany.

It may be a surprise to those who believe in gun control that Germany was home to three of the five worst attacks. Though not quite as tight as the U.K.’s regulations, Germany’s gun-control laws are some of the most restrictive in Europe. German gun licenses are valid for only three years, and to obtain one, the person must demonstrate such hard-to-define characteristics as trustworthiness, and must also convince authorities that he needs a gun. This is on top of prohibitions on gun ownership for those with mental disorders, drug or alcohol addictions, violent or aggressive tendencies, or felony convictions.

The phenomenon is not limited to school attacks. Multiple-victim public shootings in general appear to be at least as common in Western Europe as they are here.

Dr. Lott then lists about two dozen incidents – all occurring in gun free zones.

Filed under: News, , , , , ,

New CDC study on gun violence that Obama requested undermines gun control

Here’s an article about the CDC study from the leftist Slate magazine. (H/T ECM)

First – Obama ordered this study, and it was performed by an agency under his control – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The article says:

Earlier this year, President Obama ordered the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to assess the existing research on gun violence and recommend future studies. That report, prepared by the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council, is now complete. Its findings won’t entirely please the Obama administration or the NRA, but all of us should consider them.

The article explains 10 findings of the report.

Here are a few of them:

2. Most indices of crime and gun violence are getting better, not worse. “Overall crime rates have declined in the past decade, and violent crimes, including homicides specifically, have declined in the past 5 years,” the report notes. “Between 2005 and 2010, the percentage of firearm-related violent victimizations remained generally stable.” Meanwhile, “firearm-related death rates for youth ages 15 to 19 declined from 1994 to 2009.” Accidents are down, too: “Unintentional firearm-related deaths have steadily declined during the past century. The number of unintentional deaths due to firearm-related incidents accounted for less than 1 percent of all unintentional fatalities in 2010.”

5. Mass shootings aren’t the problem. “The number of public mass shootings of the type that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School accounted for a very small fraction of all firearm-related deaths,” says the report. “Since 1983 there have been 78 events in which 4 or more individuals were killed by a single perpetrator in 1 day in the United States, resulting in 547 victims and 476 injured persons.” Compare that with the 335,000 gun deaths between 2000 and 2010 alone.

7. Guns are used for self-defense often and effectively. “Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year … in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008,” says the report. The three million figure is probably high, “based on an extrapolation from a small number of responses taken from more than 19 national surveys.” But a much lower estimate of 108,000 also seems fishy, “because respondents were not asked specifically about defensive gun use.” Furthermore, “Studies that directly assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns (i.e., incidents in which a gun was ‘used’ by the crime victim in the sense of attacking or threatening an offender) have found consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies.”

10. It isn’t true that most gun acquisitions by criminals can be blamed on a few bad dealers. The report concedes that in 1998, “1,020 of 83,272 federally licensed retailers (1.2 percent) accounted for 57.4 percent of all guns traced by the ATF.” However, “Gun sales are also relatively concentrated; approximately 15 percent of retailers request 80 percent of background checks on gun buyers conducted by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.” Researchers have found that “the share of crime gun traces attributed to these few dealers only slightly exceeded their share of handgun sales, which are almost equally concentrated among a few dealers.” Volume, not laxity, drives the number of ill-fated sales.

The findings of the CDC study are not aligned with either side of the gun control debate, but considering the source (an agency of the Obama administration), I expect them to be even more liberal than the real state of affairs.

A better place to look for the truth about guns is in the academic literature. Here are two books I really like for that.

Both of those books make the case that permitting law-abiding citizens to own firearms for self-defense reduces rates of gun violence.

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

Violent crime rate more than doubled in the four years after the 1997 UK gun ban

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.

I found this interesting article from August 2011 by Dr. Malcolm in the Wall Street Journal, where she catches us up on what it is like to live in the UK under draconian gun control laws.

Excerpt:

As wild gangs of youths burned homes, shops and cars and severely beat anyone who tried to stop them last week, English people tried to defend themselves. Their desperation triggered a 5,000% increase in purchases of baseball bats from Amazon.

This is a sad symbol of the failure of the British approach to crime—with its sympathy for offenders, intolerance of self-defense, and unwillingness to pay for adequate crime control. A people once proud of their peaceful country and unarmed policemen had to resort to clubs to protect life and limb.

Great Britain’s leniency began in the 1950s, with a policy that only under extraordinary circumstances would anyone under 17 be sent to prison. This was meant to rehabilitate young offenders. But the alternative to incarceration has been simply to warn them to behave, maybe require community service, and return them to the streets. There has been justifiable concern about causes of crime such as poverty and unemployment, but little admission that some individuals prefer theft to work and that deterrence must be taken seriously.

Victims of aggression who defend themselves or attempt to protect their property have been shown no such leniency. Burglars who injured themselves breaking into houses have successfully sued homeowners for damages. In February, police in Surrey told gardeners not to put wire mesh on the windows of their garden sheds as burglars might hurt themselves when they break in.

If a homeowner protecting himself and his family injures an intruder beyond what the law considers “reasonable,” he will be prosecuted for assault. Tony Martin, an English farmer, was sentenced to life in prison for killing one burglar and wounding another with a shotgun during the seventh break-in at his rural home in 1999. While his sentence was later reduced to five years, he was refused parole in 2003 because he was judged a danger to burglars.

In 2008, a robber armed with a knife attacked shopkeeper Tony Singh in West Lancashire. During the struggle the intruder was fatally stabbed with his own knife. Although the robber had a long record of violent assault, prosecutors were preparing to charge Mr. Singh with murder until public outrage stopped them.

The UK experience with gun control really shows where the anti-gun people would take us. This is their view – this is what the gun control supporters want. People who refuse to permit and promote responsible gun ownership by law-abiding citizens side with the criminals. They want criminals to be free to threaten, assault and murder law-abiding citizens. That’s the truth of it. I would also say that if a man does not believe in using any and all means necessary to protect his family, and others, by opposing aggression by criminals in his own home, then he is not a man to marry. Ladies, avoid him.

Filed under: Polemics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

10 people shot on Friday in Chicago, the city with the strictest gun control laws

From the Chicago Tribune: (H/T Doug Ross)

Shootings across the city Friday afternoon and night wounded at least ten people, according to Chicago police, including four teens in three separate South and West side attacks.

The rest of the article has details on who was shot and where.

In August 2012, 13 people were shot in 30 minutes in Chicago.

Now, you might think that Chicago has some of the most permissive gun control laws in the country – especially if you were a leftist. But that’s not the case. Chicago is run by an anti-gun radical named Rahm Emmanuel, and they basically have a de facto ban on guns in the entire city. So how is banning guns working for them?

Take a look at this CNS News article:

There were 192 shootings in Chicago throughout the month of November – a 49 percent increase from a year earlier – according to police records obtained by the Chicago Tribune.

In November of 2011, Chicago recorded 129 shootings compared to the 192 shootings this November.  Police records also reveal that shootings increased more than 11 percent in the first 11 months of 2012 compared with a year earlier.

Total homicides in Chicago rose to 480 for the first eleven months of 2012; a 21 percent increase from last year.  On November 30, 2012, there were four fatal shootings within the city.  These murders brought the homicide total to 38 for the month, just above the 37 recorded in November of last year.

Back in 2011, a ban on guns was overturned and crime rates were dropping. But then along came Rahm Emmanuel in 2012, pushing for gun registries and more gun control.

The policies of the left are not working. And that’s because they are not looking at the root cause of crime.

Doug Ross explains:

How much of the violence in Chicago that occurs each night is authored by kids without fathers?

That’s the question we should be asking. Only that question won’t be asked and it won’t be answered, because it indicts the Democrat Party’s failed policies on a monumental scale.

How many dead, crippled and imprisoned inner-city youths has “Great Society” left in its wake? Tens of thousands? Hundreds of thousands? Millions?

How many have died thanks to “the War on Drugs”, “the War on Guns”, and “the War on Poverty”? And how many more must die before we reverse course on the Democrats’ failed welfare state policies and their catastrophic impact on the two-parent family?

And he’s not just making that up. Take a look at the evidence from National Review:

A Detroit study found that about 70 percent of juvenile homicide perpetrators did not live with both parents. Another study found that of girls committed to the California Youth Authority (for serious delinquents), 93 percent came from non-intact homes. Nationally, seventy percent of youths incarcerated in state reform institutions come from single-parent or no-parent homes. A survey of juvenile delinquents in state custody in Wisconsin found that fewer than 1/6 came from intact families; over two-fifths were illegitimate.

[...]Young black males from single-parent families are twice as likely to engage in crime as young black males from two-parent families. If the single-parent family is in a neighborhood with a large number of other single-parent families, the odds of the young man becoming involved in crime are tripled. These findings are based on a study conducted for the Department of Health and Human Services by M. Anne Hill and June O’Neill of Baruch College. The study held constant all socioeconomic variables (such as income, parental education, or urban setting) other than single parenthood.

Crime has often been thought to be a problem of race or poverty, since poor people and racial minorities comprise a larger portion of the violent criminal population than of the population as a whole. But in fact, the causal link between fatherlessness and crime “is so strong that controlling for family configuration erases the relationship between race and crime and between low income and crime,” as Barbara Dafoe Whitehead noted in her famous “Dan Quayle was Right” article.

The real cause of gun violence is the antagonism towards marriage by people on the left. They don’t like the traditional family because it has different roles: men work and women raise young children. That clashes with their feminist ideology which says that women should be identical to men. They are the ones that push sex onto young people with early sex education, free contraceptives and free abortions. Premarital sex is good, according to Democrats, because it undermines the traditional (sexist) courting that leads to traditional (sexist) marriage.

For a leftist, it is a wonderful thing when they can reward a woman who has premarital sex with welfare, because single women and especially single mothers vote overwhelmingly for bigger government and higher taxes. Encouraging risky sexual behavior is how Democrats stay in power. When families break down, it creates all sorts of opportunities to grow government and make more people dependent on government.

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

Crime rates in Chicago and DC drop after gun control laws are struck down

From Fox News – what happens to crime rates when gun control laws are repealed?

Excerpt:

Murder and violent crime rates were supposed to soar after the Supreme Court struck down gun control laws in Chicago and Washington, D.C.

Politicians predicted disaster. “More handguns in the District of Columbia will only lead to more handgun violence,” Washington’s Mayor Adrian Fenty warned the day the court made its decision.

Chicago’s Mayor Daley predicted that we would “go back to the Old West, you have a gun and I have a gun and we’ll settle it in the streets…”

The New York Times even editorialized this month about the Supreme Court’s “unwise” decision that there is a right for people “to keep guns in the home.”

But Armageddon never happened. Newly released data for Chicago shows that, as in Washington, murder and gun crime rates didn’t rise after the bans were eliminated — they plummeted. They have fallen much more than the national crime rate.

Not surprisingly, the national media have been completely silent about this news.

One can only imagine the coverage if crime rates had risen. In the first six months of this year, there were 14% fewer murders in Chicago compared to the first six months of last year – back when owning handguns was illegal. It was the largest drop in Chicago’s murder rate since the handgun ban went into effect in 1982.

Meanwhile, the other four most populous cities saw a total drop at the same time of only 6 percent.

Similarly, in the year after the 2008 “Heller” decision, the murder rate fell two-and-a-half times faster in Washington than in the rest of the country.

It also fell more than three as fast as in other cities that are close to Washington’s size. And murders in Washington have continued to fall.

If you compare the first six months of this year to the first six months of 2008, the same time immediately preceding the Supreme Court’s late June “Heller” decision, murders have now fallen by thirty-four percent.

Gun crimes also fell more than non-gun crimes.

Robberies with guns fell by 25%, while robberies without guns have fallen by eight percent. Assaults with guns fell by 37%, while assaults without guns fell by 12%.

Just as with right-to-carry laws, when law-abiding citizens have guns some criminals stop carrying theirs.

Read the whole thing, there are more lovely facts in there. If you ever need to debate this, I recommend buying these academic studies published by the University of Chicago Press and by Harvard University Press. The former shows how crime rates dropped in the USA when Americans rescinded gun control laws, and the latter shows how crime rates rose in the UK when the British strengthened their gun control laws. Sometimes is good to have the data handy.

Let’s learn about the issue from the news

ABC News explains in this short 6-minute clip:

And here is a longer 44-minute show from Fox Business: (featuring a debate between economist John Lott and the Brady Campaign spokesman)

There are other debates in the show as well.

Now watch a 3-on-3 debate on gun control

This debate is in 13 parts, featuring the two of the best proponents of legal firearm ownership – John Lott and Gary Kleck. The real sparks fly during the Q&A, so don’t miss that. (If you can’t watch the debate, then you can read this post and this post instead).

Here’s part 1, which contains the introduction.

Here are the remaining speeches:

This is everything you need to know about whether legal ownership of firearms reduces crime.

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

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