Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 11, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

THE LATEST ON LOTT....Here's the latest chapter in the continuing follies of John Lott:

John Lott Jr. of Virginia, a former U. of C. visiting professor, alleges that [Steven] Levitt defamed him in the book [Freakonomics] by claiming that other scholars had tried and failed to confirm Lott's conclusion that allowing people to carry concealed weapons reduces crime....According to Levitt's book: "When other scholars have tried to replicate [Lott's] results, they found that right-to-carry laws simply don't bring down crime."

.... Lott acknowledged in the suit that some scholars have disagreed with his conclusions. But he said those researchers used "different data or methods to analyze the relationship between gun-control laws and crime" and made no attempt to "replicate" Lott's work.

Testy, isn't he? Needless to say, to "replicate" a result doesn't necessarily mean to use precisely the same data and methods as the original researcher, but as it happens other researchers have used Lott's data and methods, and once they corrected his coding mistakes they found that his results didn't hold up. In response, Lott simply switched to a new method so that the correctly coded data would continue to support his theory.

If it takes more than five minutes for a judge to toss this out, there's no justice.

Kevin Drum 1:03 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (91)

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Comments

Wonder what Lott's wife would have to say about this.

Posted by: Kenji on April 11, 2006 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

The real story here is how the right will support anyone who holds a politically correct position (from their perspective) regardless of inconvenient objective reality. I'm sure that Lott gets lots of positive reinforcement from conservative/libertarian groups who just like the idea of everyone packing heat. That's what makes him keep going in the face of ... err ... reality.

We see the same phenomena with issues like global warming, stem cells, evolution, etc.

aa

Posted by: aaron aardvark on April 11, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

but as it happens other researchers have used Lott's data and methods, and once they corrected his coding mistakes they found that his results didn't hold up.

LIAR. There were no coding errors. As John Lott said in refuting your lies

Link

"There are no coding errors in the data used in More Guns, Less Crime. The book used crime data from 1977 to 1996, and as far as I know, no academics have claimed that there were any coding errors in that data. An interesting and useful Stanford Law Review article by Plassmann and Whitley added an additional four years to the data and the problem arose in this additional data. Overall, less than 200 cells out of 7.5 million cells were accidentally left blank. More important, the results that Plassmann and Whitley noted were the results which they thought were the correct ones were not affected at all by this minor change in the data."

Posted by: Al on April 11, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

By "different methods", I guess he means they didn't make up data and then deploy sock-puppets to argue their case.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on April 11, 2006 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

f it takes more than five minutes for a judge to toss this out, there's no justice.

But that would mean it was a frivolous lawsuit, and we know right wingers never file those

Posted by: Martin on April 11, 2006 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

I feel like there is a lot of good things going on these days, alot of grassroots organizing, alot success stories - including the fall of some key republicons. But how do we get these success stories told? How do we make sure more people know the positive things that are happening. After all I think cyncism and apathy are our real enemies.

I think independent media orgs are doing a great job, but we need to reach a larger audience, so that people know there is hope, that there is an alternative. I think we need to take advantage of video as a mass media on the internet.

Check out these online independent news videos
-http://www.coanews.org/video

And there is also a Free "Video Alert Service".
http://www.coanews.org/lists/index.php?p=subscribe Once a week, email subscribers get the latest news videos for a diverse group of independent media outlets (democracyNow!, G Channel etc) sent to their inbox.

You can sign up for free email video alerts here:
http://www.coanews.org/lists/index.php?p=subscribe

But again; how can we reach more people with this media?

I think that independent media orgs, need to focus more on video (like Freespeech does), but beyond that we need to find a way to disseminate them to a larger audience.

Online video is taking off right now, and we need to position ourselves so that independent media is an established and accessible part of the landscape. Corporate media outlets, and advertising agencies, are drumping boatloads of money to ensure they are established online video distributors, while also trying to narrow the range of video available.

We need to raise funds (more people donating, and becoming members of indy media orgs)for independent media so they can compete. Perhaps indy media orgs could have citizen coalition groups to take an active role in rallying people to raise funds. I believe PBS and NPR have groups like this, so why can't we do the same.
-maybe a trust or fund controlled by citzens?

-but we also need a grassroot movment to help disseminate their content, and keep the internet open. Part of this is simply using any way possible to promote the online video that is produced by indy meida orgs - use your website, blogs, email lists, classes, workers groups etc...

There is no time to waste

Posted by: ryaninfo on April 11, 2006 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

Let's wait and see what the amicus curiae brief from Mary Rosh has to say.

Posted by: tom on April 11, 2006 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

I feel like there is a lot of good things going on these days, alot of grassroots organizing, alot success stories - including the fall of some key republicons. But how do we get these success stories told? How do we make sure more people know the positive things that are happening. After all I think cyncism and apathy are our real enemies.

I think independent media orgs are doing a great job, but we need to reach a larger audience, so that people know there is hope, that there is an alternative. I think we need to take advantage of video as a mass media on the internet.

Check out these online independent news videos
-http://www.coanews.org/video

And there is also a Free "Video Alert Service".
http://www.coanews.org/lists/index.php?p=subscribe Once a week, email subscribers get the latest news videos for a diverse group of independent media outlets (democracyNow!, G Channel etc) sent to their inbox.

You can sign up for free email video alerts here:
http://www.coanews.org/lists/index.php?p=subscribe

But again; how can we reach more people with this media?

I think that independent media orgs, need to focus more on video (like Freespeech does), but beyond that we need to find a way to disseminate them to a larger audience.

Online video is taking off right now, and we need to position ourselves so that independent media is an established and accessible part of the landscape. Corporate media outlets, and advertising agencies, are drumping boatloads of money to ensure they are established online video distributors, while also trying to narrow the range of video available.

We need to raise funds (more people donating, and becoming members of indy media orgs)for independent media so they can compete. Perhaps indy media orgs could have citizen coalition groups to take an active role in rallying people to raise funds. I believe PBS and NPR have groups like this, so why can't we do the same.
-maybe a trust or fund controlled by citzens?

-but we also need a grassroot movment to help disseminate their content, and keep the internet open. Part of this is simply using any way possible to promote the online video that is produced by indy meida orgs - use your website, blogs, email lists, classes, workers groups etc...

There is no time to waste

Posted by: ryaninfo on April 11, 2006 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

With any luck, it'll be thrown out and Lott will have to pay Levitt's attorney's fees.

Posted by: Tbag on April 11, 2006 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

"...there's no justice."

Yeah... what else is new?

Posted by: Mitch on April 11, 2006 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

ryaninfo,

I think that frantically spamming message boards on liberal blogs with off-topic posts will definitely have the effect you're looking for.

Oh, the more misspellings the better: it shows you're sincere!

Posted by: Rick on April 11, 2006 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

As the resident liberal/libertarian gun rights activist, I can tell you Aaron that very few groups like the idea of everyone packing heat. We like the idea of law abiding citizens being allowed to protect themselves.

Lott's work is politically inconvenient for Dems (who are just now starting to grasp that gun control has hurt us a lot more than it's helped) and as such his methodologies have been attacked, but his conclusions are generally supported by the work of other researchers (including Gary Kleck, a former gun-control advocate who went looking for data to attack pro-concealed carry laws and found that, in fact, the data support letting private citizens protect themselves). If he can demonstrate that other sources indeed justify his conclusions, I suppose he might have something of a case. But by and large that would mean everyone can pretty much sue everyone in politics.

In case you're curious: Virginia let's me carry as a non-resident. Virginia ranks 35th in violent crime. Maryland, where I live, doesn't let anyone carry unless you're a wealthy business owner (a discriminatory, anti-working class policy). We rank 2nd, yes, that's right, according to the FBI we're the second most violent state in the country. We lead the way in armed robbery, and Prince George's county accounts for 10% of the car jackings in the entire UNITED STATES.

I don't really care if CCW laws reduce crime or not; one thing we know for sure is that gun control sure doesn't.

Posted by: Sebastian on April 11, 2006 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

tom,
"Let's wait and see what the amicus curiae brief from Mary Rosh has to say."

Not to mention the distinguished Dr. Ramy Sohr and his colleague Dr. Harry Som, both of whom assist in Dr. Lott's studies.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on April 11, 2006 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

I suppoe to truly replicate Lott's experiments, you would have to replicate all relevant lies and distortions.

Posted by: Buce on April 11, 2006 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Tim Lambert, arch-critic of Lott, is already on the case.

http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2006/04/lott_leaves_aei.php

http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2006/04/lott_leaves_aei.php

It appears that Lott has left the American "Enterprise" Institute. I wonder why.

Posted by: raj on April 11, 2006 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

Please don't take away my concealed weapon. It makes me feel like a man.

Posted by: dilbert on April 11, 2006 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

But, carrying around a gun just FEELS safer, and makes me think I'm James Bond.

Kiss Kiss, Bang bang baby.

Posted by: TomStewart on April 11, 2006 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

What does the data tell us about the effects of concealed weapons permits on litigation?

Inquiring minds want to know!

Posted by: Saam Barrager on April 11, 2006 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

So it's a throwdown between "More Abortions = Less Crime" and "More Guns = Less Crime."

Whoever wins, crime loses. I guess.

Posted by: Grumpy on April 11, 2006 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

Al's at it again...

Posted by: Uncle Jeffy on April 11, 2006 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

Come on guys - you have to admit that Lott isn't half as awful as Bill Frist has been.

Good thing about Lott is that he never got over how Bush ditched him.

AND personnally I think it was Big Pharm that must have made a direct call to the Bush hotline because I don't think Bush thought Lott was any more a racist the Tom Daschle though Lott was a racist.

Nothing personal Lotty boy, it was just BAU but says something about Bush and how loyality is really only one sided with this administration. Bush expects loyalty but certain doesn't feel like he has to give his loyality to anyone and Colin Powell certain understands that all to well, I'm sure.

Posted by: Cheryl on April 11, 2006 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK


I don't really care if CCW laws reduce crime or not; one thing we know for sure is that gun control sure doesn't.

Coincidentally, I was reading the very chapter of Freakonomics in contention here over lunch. You might be interested in knowing, Sebastian, that Levitt pretty much agrees with you.

His conclusions are that only one gun control method -- giving a stiffer sentence to a felon with a gun than one without -- has any impact on crime rates, and then not a terribly large one. And, while he goes with the consensus of people who actually know how to properly run a study when concluding that Lott's work is flawed, it's hard not to read the chapter without coming away with the impression that Levitt wouldn't particularly mind if people carried more guns anyway.

Posted by: cminus on April 11, 2006 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

Come on guys - you have to admit that Lott isn't half as awful as Bill Frist has been.

Good thing about Lott is that he never got over how Bush ditched him.

AND personnally I think it was Big Pharm that must have made a direct call to the Bush hotline because I don't think Bush thought Lott was any more a racist the Tom Daschle though Lott was a racist.

Nothing personal Lotty boy, it was just BAU but says something about Bush and how loyality is really only one sided with this administration. Bush expects loyalty but certain doesn't feel like he has to give his loyality to anyone and Colin Powell certain understands that all to well by now, I'm sure.

Posted by: Cheryl on April 11, 2006 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

Come on guys - you have to admit that Lott isn't half as awful as Bill Frist has been.

Good thing about Lott is that he never got over how Bush ditched him.

AND personnally I think it was Big Pharm that must have made a direct call to the Bush hotline because I don't think Bush thought Lott was any more a racist the Tom Daschle though Lott was a racist.

Nothing personal Lotty boy, it was just BAU but says something about Bush and how loyality is really only one sided with this administration. Bush expects loyalty but certain doesn't feel like he has to give his loyality to anyone and Colin Powell certain understands that all to well by now, I'm sure.

Posted by: Cheryl on April 11, 2006 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Come on guys - you have to admit that Lott isn't half as awful as Bill Frist has been.

Good thing about Lott is that he never got over how Bush ditched him.

AND personnally I think it was Big Pharm that must have made a direct call to the Bush hotline because I don't think Bush thought Lott was any more a racist the Tom Daschle though Lott was a racist.

Nothing personal Lotty boy, it was just BAU but says something about Bush and how loyality is really only one sided with this administration. Bush expects loyalty but certain doesn't feel like he has to give his loyality to anyone and Colin Powell certain understands that all to well by now, I'm sure.

Posted by: Cheryl on April 11, 2006 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Wonder what Lott's wife would have to say about this.

I think she turned into a pillar of salt when she looked back at the city of Reality.

Posted by: Alek Hidell on April 11, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Dr. Lott has never falsified anything, and I would know. He's the best professor I've ever had.

Posted by: Mary Rosh on April 11, 2006 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

I don't really care if CCW laws reduce crime or not; one thing we know for sure is that gun control sure doesn't.

If Maryland controls guns and Virginia doesn't, And Virginia lets you carry as a non-resident, then it sounds to me like Criminals would just go get their guns in Virginia. So Maryland wouldn't really have effective gun control in the first place.

Posted by: Wrye on April 11, 2006 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

I enjoyed Lott's first (but lesser known) book:

"More Candy; Less Cavities"

Posted by: Tim on April 11, 2006 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

cminus, Sebastien, Wrye:

yup, that's my understanding of what the data indicates as well....neither gun control laws or liberal possession and carry laws seem to have a discernable impact on crime. it's a wash.

Posted by: Nathan on April 11, 2006 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

Psst - Cheryl, you're thinking of Trent Lott, the guy who spoke at Strom Thurmond's funeral. We're talking about John "Mary Rosh"Lott, author of "More Guns Less Crime" and noted Wikipedia edit-warrior.

Posted by: Mithrandir on April 11, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

From what I can tell (you can search my website till you're blue in the face, all sorts of pros and cons to be found, www.progunprogressive.com) it seems the case is either a wash or a slight decrease in crime. In any event...even if it's a wash, why not let us defend ourselves? Seems simple enough. Snide comments about being a man or James Bond from idiots aside, I've been held up at gun point. I know people who've defended themselves with guns, who wouldn't be here if they'd been unarmed. Liberal politics has nothing to gain from insisting that we make easier victims of ourselves.

Wrye: you're missing the point somewhat--the issue isn't getting guns (you can buy them in MD). The point is laws that prevent carrying them outside your house, which we have here in MD. The problem is that criminals don't tend to obey those laws...anyone willing to risk life in jail for robbing or killing you isn't going to sweat the 30 days he'd face if he's caught packing.

The point really is this: VA is awash in guns, but not crime, while MD prevents us from carrying and is still swamped with crime. The message there is that it's not the guns, it's the criminals.

Frankly I'd rather not have CCW laws turn on whether crime goes down or not anyway--if that's the case, our carry rights would be wiped out as soon as the crime levels go down. Your right to defend your life and your family's lives don't hinge on crime rates--you should have the same rights to defend yourself in Baltimore that you have in the middle of nowhere.

Posted by: Sebastian on April 11, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

If Maryland controls guns and Virginia doesn't, And Virginia lets you carry as a non-resident, then it sounds to me like Criminals would just go get their guns in Virginia. So Maryland wouldn't really have effective gun control in the first place.

Yup. It's hard to imagine any study in the US properly accounting for the presence of the interstate system, and the lack of internal borders between states.

One thing we do know is that when we compare nations, we find that those with stricter firearms controls usually manage to do a much better job keepings guns out of the hands of criminals (unless, of course, you believe that British or Canadian police are so much more skilled than America's). I personally think law-abiding Americans ought to be able to own firearms, and I want to be exercise that right myself should the need arise, but I don't think it would be too much of an imposition for the government to regulate this ownership in the same manner it does, say, the automobile.

Posted by: P.B. Almeida on April 11, 2006 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

Fake Al - See this link:
http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2006/01/yet_another_attempt_by_lott_to.php

Relevant points -
Lott messed up in a way that conveniently backed up his agenda. Correction of his mistakes led to an elimination of his central claim. He changed his model without telling anyone, then tried to change his earlier version without anyone knowing, except he doesn't understand time stamps and left evidence all over the place. Beautiful ...

Posted by: Matt on April 11, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

From the data I've seen, Lott's claim that more guns means less crime is plainly ridiculous. On the other hand, the data doesn't seem to support the argument that more gun control means either less guns or less crime either.

Just a hunch, but crime rates probably have more to do with other factors, such as economic and social stability, than with gun control laws.

Having said that, then, it seems the most logical position is to have each community decide the gun laws that work best for it. If NYC wants to make it very difficult to carry, fine. If Laramie WY wants liberalized carry laws, fine too.

It also makes sense that certain types of weapons simply have no civilian application and ought not to be accessible to the general public.

Posted by: moderleft on April 11, 2006 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

Moderleft:
It's not plainly ridiculous, it actually makes sense. Criminals prefer unarmed victims. While the rest of the country experienced about a 9% decrease in violent crime in the last ten years, Florida saw a 23% decrease in the same period (concurrent with shall issue CCW laws). You probably can establish what Lott was trying to establish (and other researchers have).

Agreed that crime is a function of socioeconomic factors (which is what progressives, liberals, social libertarians ought to be concerned with in the first place!!!! Gun banning policies only help the GOP.)

Don't buy that NYC should get to have different policies. Why should I get to defend myself in PA, but not in NY? Why should states get to ignore the 2A? What other parts of the constitution should they get to ignore?

Sounds like you'd enjoy debating this over at progunprogressive.com. ;)

As for your last comment, you do realize that machine guns are illegal under the NFA of 1934? Assault weapons bans are pointless and don't do anything about crime, as criminals prefer handguns overwhelmingly. Assault style weapons are rarely used in crimes because criminals prefer cheap, concealable weapons.

Consider:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=118x123401

and

http://progunprogressive.com/?p=125

Posted by: Sebastian on April 11, 2006 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

John Lott's work has been ripped apart and couldn't be replicated. And let's not forget that he posed as a 3rd party person on the internet praising himself.

Despite all that - AEI still keeps him busy. Along with Dinesh D'Souza and that Dow 36,000 dude. Yup, they're a real research organization.

And as other commenters have noted, the concealed weapons info does NOT hold up internationally. The US has by far the highest violent crime rates in the world and the most liberal gun laws.

Comparing between states of course is complicated by the fact that you can just waltz across state lines.

A great comparison is that more schmo, Besalius (sp?) in Emory who got sacked for some minor data problems in his anti-gun work. While Lott does worse - but stays employed.

Posted by: Samuel Knight on April 11, 2006 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

Sebastian, you don't buy that local communities have the right to decide for themselves the best way to protect themselves?

I don't have a problem with you living in a community where everyone walks around with a six shooter strapped to their hip, but you would deny me the right to live in a community where I don't have to worry about someone drawing a weapon on me.

That's neither democratic nor liberal nor libertarian. That's just fascist.

And that's where I part ways with the so-called "progressive" gun nuts.

And, no, I don't expect you to understand any of this.

Posted by: Disputo on April 11, 2006 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

Since Lott is claiming that Levitt besmirched his reputation, the defense has ever right to ascertain just how strong that reputation really is. That means the defense can basically put "Mary Rosh" on the defense list.

A David Irving-like denouement, couldn't happen to a more deserving person.

Posted by: kth on April 11, 2006 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

Samuel Knight:
"The US has by far the highest violent crime rates in the world and the most liberal gun laws."

both of these statements are, of course, false.

If you wanted to look at an interesting flipside, look at the violent crime rate in London...much higher than NY in every category except for firearm homicides (the knife-related homicide rate on the other hand....)

you also need to deal with Western Canada (low crime rate, high gun ownership), Switzerland (low crime rate, throughout the cold war it featured mandatory conscription with government issued firearms in every household)

Posted by: Nathan on April 11, 2006 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

Samuel Knight, you're simply dead wrong as I've noted here:

http://progunprogressive.com/?p=35

Our murder rates actually aren't the highest in the world, nor do we have the most liberal gun laws (when you consider how many places essentially have none). There are plenty of countries both in the modern, industrialized world and in the 3rd world much more violent than the US. But thanks for playing.

It's amazing how true it is that if you repeat a lie often enough, idiots really will start to believe it.

Disputo--no amount of gun control laws seem to ever let you live in a place where you don't have to worry about that! Even in DC (where ALL handguns are barred) you still have to worry about criminals getting guns. If you don't like guns, don't buy one or carry one. But that doesn't mean I shouldn't get to make the choice to defend myself from the inevitable criminal element.

People willing to undergo background checks, get fingerprinted, register their possession of a weapon, lawfully purchase it, and get trained in how to properly carry it (all things I had to do in VA to get my nonresident permit) are simply NOT the people you have to worry about being armed.

Criminals, on the other hand, are carrying every day, no permit required.

Preventing me from carrying doesn't make you more safe, in fact it makes you less safe.

So no, I don't think states should get to prevent me from protecting myself any more than they should get to prevent me from practicing my religion (or lack thereof in my case), speaking my mind, peaceably assembling, petitioning for redress of grievances, or any of the other protections guaranteed in the bill of rights.

That community where you don't have to worry about someone drawing on exists only in your fantasies.

Posted by: Sebastian on April 11, 2006 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

And besides, hows the old saying go? Your right to express yourself with your fists stops at my nose; your right to live in a gun free community should be balanced against the more pressing civil and human right to defend oneself.

Posted by: Sebastian on April 11, 2006 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

I used to be a big pro-control advocate myself (actually co-authored a paper on the effects of liberal gun laws and suicide rates).

But the Bush administration change my mind for me. Now I want to be armed to the teeth.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on April 11, 2006 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

Sebastian, A question for you and others who want to carry concealed handguns......Would you be willing to provide the police with a sample bullet fired from your handgun? The bullet would be collected from your gun in a controlled way and preserved for future reference. You would be responsible for all bullets that are ever fired from your gun, with consequences if you allow the gun to fall into other hands. OK?

Posted by: tim on April 11, 2006 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

Actually Tim, we already have that here in MD. It's called ballistic fingerprinting. Every handgun sold in MD has to go through that exact process.

There are tons of problems with it. For one, it only gets you back to the registered owner. If the gun is sold, lost, stolen, etc...that sample casing is useless.

Second, you've been watching too much CSI. In fact, they've tested ballistic fingerprinting processes here in MD and found them to be essentially worthless. As you shoot a gun, fast moving metal on metal changes the gun's "fingerprint" with every round. I've got 10000 rounds in practice through my Glock. The casing that MD has on record probably won't match my gun today.

Third, criminals know this. They tend to alter guns before they use them.

We've spent tens of millions of dollars on ballistic fingerprinting in MD, and have yet to use it to catch a SINGLE criminal.

So yeah, you can have a fired round from my gun. In fact, MD already does.

But I think you watch too much TV, because the spent round is worthless.

And no, I shouldn't be held liable if my gun is stolen any more than I'm liable if a bank robber steals my car and runs an old lady over as he runs from the cops.


Dr. Morpheus--good point, in George Bush's America, the idea of only agents of the state having power (that's fascism, disputo) is scary.

Posted by: Sebastian on April 11, 2006 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

But hey, if you're really worried about my gun getting stolen, you should let me carry it with me. It's a LOT less likely to get stolen when it's concealed in my holster under my shirt than it is when it's in my house when I'm at work.

In reality, stolen guns make up less than 10% of all crime guns according to the BATF.

Posted by: Sebastian on April 11, 2006 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK
So no, I don't think states should get to prevent me from protecting myself any more than they should get to prevent me from practicing my religion (or lack thereof in my case), speaking my mind, peaceably assembling, petitioning for redress of grievances, or any of the other protections guaranteed in the bill of rights.

States can adopt time, place, and manner restrictions on your exercise of all the rights you are insisting should be the model for the state's power with respect to RKBA restrictions, so I don't think that makes the point you are hoping to make with that analogy.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 11, 2006 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely: I see what you're saying, but the analogy I would draw is that states can make it illegal to cry "fire!" in a crowded theatre without infringing on my 1st Amendment rights. What I'm arguing is that handgun prohibition, laws that make me leave it at home, etc. are indeed such infringements.

As far as making it a states vs. federal issue, the problem I have is that A) much like the civil rights issue, states violate the 14th amendment due process protections when they deny my 2A rights, and B) heck, we let people with Idaho drivers licenses drive in Massachusetts...why should carrying a self defense tool be any different?

The civil rights analogy is particularly apt for me; protecting yourself from harm is the most basic civil right, and all the other rights we enjoy are predicated on still being alive. If you can't protect yourself, the other rights don't matter much. You know who was an early supporter of gun control? The KKK!! We can't have all those pesky freed slaves protecting themselves from us, now can we? Tricky Dick Nixon also supported gun control, bigtime--can't have all those liberals, peace activists, Black Panthers, anti-war militants, etc. protecting themselves from my police hit squads!

Posted by: Sebastian on April 11, 2006 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

Why is anyone talking about gun control? This news is about the continued intellectual bankruptcy of John Lott.

My anecdote: when Lott published his "Rush Limbaugh Was Right" column I downloaded his data (which, I grant, is a stretch in the first place, since Mary Rosh reminds me that when it comes to John Lott, never trust, only verify) and tried to replicate his results.

I ran the simplest applicable model of which I could conceive (a Poisson regression), and not only did not replicate Lott's results, but came up with the opposite: Rush was wrong.

True, if you slavishly followed Lott's model (a Tobit regression, an analysis usually used for censored economic data, not for count data as in those news stories), you did indeed come up with the Rush-is-wrong conclusion.

There was no explication of his choice of model.

William of Ockham has an idea why he chose it, mind you.

My wife's anecdote: she studies, among other things, elections, for a living. She has taught graduate-level math in same. She read John Lott's paper on Florida 2000, which unlike all others concluded that those most likely not to have their votes counted were..

..wait for it..

..black *republicans*.

In said paper, he used a weird, nonstandard model. She couldn't figure it out. She tried to replicate his results using more common techniques, and naturally came up with the opposite conclusion.

Lott provided no explication of his choice of model.

William of Ockham has an idea, though.

Now, all y'all, whether pro- or anti- on concealed carry, can pick up John Lott's books and articles. Even if you study the stuff, you will not know why he chose his models -- and after Mary Rosh, Rush Limbaugh, and disenfranchised Florida-2000 Republicans, perhaps you should ask:

Is William of Ockham right yet again?

Posted by: wcw on April 11, 2006 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, I should clarify, by "liberal gun laws" I meant states where there were few laws control the possession of handguns.

Not "liberal" in the political sense.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on April 11, 2006 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

"In reality, stolen guns make up less than 10% of all crime guns according to the BATF."

Isn't the vast majority of gun crime men shooting thier wives and girlfreinds?

Posted by: jefff on April 11, 2006 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

Why is anyone talking about gun control?
I for one am glad it came up; gun control is one of the Democratic Party's sacred cows, and it keeps helping Republicans win elections. The sooner we progressives get over it as failed thought experiment gone awry, the better we are for it.

But I suggest it is relevant; since truth is usually an absolute slander and defamation defense, you'd think proving his case would prima facie be important to Lott's case.

Posted by: Sebastian on April 11, 2006 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

Jefff-
A large portion of gun crime probably is domestic violence, but exactly what percentage I'm not sure.

Here in Baltimore, over 80% of the homicides in the last year were tied to the drug trade; so at least here the answer is "no", but it might be true elsewhere.

What we do know is that people accidentally shot by guns make up a teeny tiny portion of the deaths.

In any event, it underscores what we all should recognize--guns are value neutral objects, just like crowbars, baseball bats, knives, etc.--their moral import is given to them by the user. Guns in the hands of violent abusers, drug dealers, corrupt cops = bad. Guns in the hands of people defending themselves = good.

We also know that defensive gun uses greatly outnumber criminal uses; people use guns to defend themselves every day in this country, at a greater rate than they use them to commit crimes.

Posted by: Sebastian on April 11, 2006 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

I sent the news link to my wife. Her response: "he's so crazy he really believes what he writes."

If you really believe in concealed carry, Sebastian, you should be praying Lott settles rather than pursue the case. As you noted, truth is the prima facie defense against accusations of defamation, and I fully expect Levitt and harper-Collins to deploy it, and win.

Huge publicity win for the publisher and its bestselling author.

Crushing PR defeat for the case in favor of concealed carry.

I can't get exercised about the issue on policy or political grounds.

I do admit I rather relish the idea of Lott going down in flames.

It'll be like the Dover ID case over again -- not because the case for concealed carry is as empty as ID's, but because Lott really is that crazy.

Enjoy the show, kids.

Posted by: wcw on April 11, 2006 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

WCW--actually this is exactly what we CCW advocates need, something to get it back in the news and on TV again instead of much of the nonsense on the news these days.

And you're wrong--Lott's methodology and results might be questionable, but the net benefits of CCW laws can't be denied--and other researchers without his baggage (my favorite is Kleck, since he started out Pro-Gun Control until his findings changed his own mind) will support his findings ultimately.

Posted by: Sebastian on April 11, 2006 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

I gotta say I agree with Sebastian on the politics, if I'm an agnostic on the merits. I don't think gun control is especially central to a liberal worldview and it's a political liability, I know for a fact, here in Michigan and probably many other places, too. I say retire it as a liberal concern until we've got more pressing things. Even in America, we can save more lives with 'car control' than we can with gun control.

But then I suppose I can not too much about gun laws because 1.) nobody seems to much want to ban my 12-gauge 2.) I don't live in a particularily dangerous area or have a particularily dangerous job 3.) I just have long guns 4.) i don't agree with Sebastian's interpretation of the 2nd amendment, 5.) I don't have any emotional investment in having a gun or not.

Posted by: witless chum on April 11, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

Here in Baltimore, over 80% of the homicides in the last year were tied to the drug trade...Guns in the hands of violent abusers, drug dealers, corrupt cops = bad. Guns in the hands of people defending themselves = good.

I don't disagree with any of this, but, why is it that other rich countries generally do a much better job of keeping guns out of "the hands of violent abusers, drug dealers..." etc.? Why are American criminals so frequently armed with guns, and so capable of ratcheting up US levels of violent crime? Surely it has something to do with the the large numbers of firearms in America (compared to other rich countries) and the lax system of controls (again, compared to other rich countries).

While far from impossible, it would appear that it's a lot more difficult for criminals to obtain guns in these countries than it is in the US. The NRA helped popularize the slogan about outlawing guns (in which case "only outlaws will have them"). That still leaves us with the question "how exactly do we keep outlaws from having guns in the first place"?

Apparently other rich countries seem to know the answer, but haven't revealed it to the US.

Posted by: P.B. Almeida on April 11, 2006 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think gun control is especially central to a liberal worldview and it's a political liability, I know for a fact, here in Michigan and probably many other places, too.

Funny, I pretty much think the same thing, and actually believe gun control could easily (perhaps in another universe) be a conservative position. Conservatives have generally made good political hay out of the law and order/crime and punishment issue. It seems to me to be a non-brainer for at least some conservatives to support a more heavy-handed brand of governmental action with respect to denying criminals access to firearms (which in my opinion will only be achieved with far more draconian firearms regulations, especially targeting the retail distribution system). The problem I think is that way back when, liberals favoring beefed up firearms regulations often advocated firearms prohibtion. And from that day down to the present, gun control has often meant gun bans in the minds of many people.

Posted by: P.B. Almeida on April 11, 2006 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

Sebastian, you're being awfully shortsighted. All publicity, in this case, is not good publicity.

One, Lott's personal credibility is intimately tied to many of the concealed-carry laws. I was living in Minnesota when they passed their law, and Lott's efforts were intimately involved with greasing the skids. Should Lott pursue and Levitt defend, when (not if) Lott goes down in flames, it will grease the same skids to repeal that law, in Minnesota and in any other state where Lott testified before the law's passage.

Two, TV and the news are not known for their fine distinctions. The headline will never be, "Kleck Right, Lott Wrong," it will be, "Concealed-Carry Proponent Wrong." If you think that's a path to more and better right-to-bear-arms laws, I'm surprised.

Last, Lott is not just "wrong" -- he's a completely mendacious individual. If Lott does push his way back into the news, it will be with Mary Rosh, fake Amazon reviews and obvious cherrypicking in tow. His name is already shorthand for concealed carry; once his true nature makes it into the public consciousness, the policy will forever be tarred by it.

Quite seriously, I am agnostic on concealed carry. You're not, though -- you should have your John-Lott-does-not-represent-my-movement talking points down.

Posted by: wcw on April 11, 2006 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

PB? Which countries are you talking about? The US ranks 23rd in terms of per capita murder rates.

I would presume that a large part of the reason that the PacRim and Western European countries you're thinking of as non-gun owning nirvanas are generally racially and culturally homogenous countries with already lower crime rates generally in the first place, the "US is a gun crime hell" comparison you're making isn't as apt as you think it is. We're a violent country because A) its in our history, B) we have huge extremes of rich and poor, C) a wasteful war on drugs with urban blight as a result, and D) the general social conditions that lead to crime.

Of the 23 or so countries that outrank us in terms of violence, many of them do it without firearms--the point being, in the absence of firearms people still find ways to do harm onto others. Remember Rwanda? Like Vincent says in Collateral, nobody's killed that fast since Nagasaki, but they did it with machetes.

In short...I've even gotten a BATF agent to agree that criminals will get guns if they want them. The "other countries" you're dreaming about probably have less of a demand for guns, but if the criminal demand was ever there, the market would supply the guns.

Witless--what's your objection with my 2A interpretation? As I recently saw it joked, The phrases Right of the people to peaceably assemble, right of the people to be secure in their homes, enumerations herein of certain rights shall not be construed to disparage others retained by the people, and the powers not delegated herein are reserved to the states respectively, and to the people all refer to individuals. However, The right of the people to keep and bear arms refers to the state. Heh. There's simply no merit to the recockulously stupid idea that the 2A doesn't say exactly what it fuckin says.

Believe me, if the Founding Fathers wanted it to say "you can only have a gun when you're in a militia", it would have fucking said that. =)

Posted by: Sebastian on April 11, 2006 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

WCW--I think I have all I need; suffice it to say that even a stopped clock is right twice a day, and the CCW movement isn't dependent on one man's research. The headlines about Lott's dumb ass will be what they are...oh well. Other people have found the same thing he's found, so good enough for me.

Heck, the CCW movement is doing fine anyway. 10 years ago there were about 15 CCW states, today there are over 40 if you count the more liberally-may-issue states. We just need to win in MD.

Posted by: Sebastian on April 11, 2006 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

Sebastian seems a reasonable chap, so here is some reason in return. I would venture that many who would sloppily be labled as "against the second amendment" are really against the following.

First, it appears that there really are no criminal masterminds. Talk about too much CSI. It seems that a very high percentage of crime is perpetrated by people who know each other. I wish I had the cite, but I believe I have seen studies which put the odds of being a victim of random violence as incredibly low.

What then is the typical pattern? Someone usually under the influence of some drug, and often participating in drug use that we have chosen to label illegal, gets f-d up and grabs a conveniently located gun and bang -- another headline.

Given this view, we are then treated to requests for laws allowing MORE guns, when, all the evidence points, not to master criminals who could evade the most stringent control and registration regime, but to some drunk guy who wouldn't be able to even FIND a gun if the lax laws we already have did not allow them to be literally lying around. No figuratively lying around, literally lying around.

Into this argument you come. If I was a betting man, I'd almost put the odds on you actually using your gun in a defensive gunfight at close to zero. Moreover, you'd probably comply with whatever laws were in place anyway.

That is all fine and good, but it just seems irrational to propose less regulation of firearms as an answer to too many goddam firearms.

Posted by: hank on April 11, 2006 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

Hank,
I don't really give a flying fuck what percentage of crime is domestic; I was robbed at gun point by a man who had a gun while mine was locked in my bedroom, complying with MD law. Any law that says I should be disarmed, in the face of the very fact that such criminals are armed (regardless of any laws you care to pass), is an unjust law. Criminals will be armed no matter what we do, so laws allowing the carrying of defensive weapons aren't really laws allowing MORE guns (I already had a gun, I just couldn't carry it), they're allowing us the means of self defense.

Frankly I reject the idea that there are too many guns. That's not the problem. The problem is that too many BAD GUYS have guns, and they happen to know the good guys are unarmed.

You're certainly wrong on the odds. The odds of being a violent crime victim in MD are about one in two. So sorry pal, can't help you there.

Besides, even if you were right about what constitutes most gun crime, and I don't think you are, that has no bearing at all on whether I should be allowed to defend myself.

So, other than the fact that you're mischaracterizing my argument and mischaracterizing the problem completely and utterly...no biggie =)

Posted by: Sebastian on April 11, 2006 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

I would presume that a large part of the reason that the PacRim and Western European countries you're thinking of as non-gun owning nirvanas are generally racially and culturally homogenous countries with already lower crime rates generally in the first place, the "US is a gun crime hell" comparison you're making isn't as apt as you think it is. We're a violent country because A) its in our history, B) we have huge extremes of rich and poor, C) a wasteful war on drugs with urban blight as a result, and D) the general social conditions that lead to crime.

Sebastian:

I'm well aware that many, probabaly most countries on this planet suffer from rates of homicide higher than the America's. I was careful to use the term "rich countries". We generally like to equate wealth with quality of life. Given the wealth of the United States, one might hope Americans would be as safe from death at the hands of their neighbors as the denizens of other rich countries, but this is not the case. I think I'm on firm ground in claiming that Americans are more likely to be murdered than residents of any other rich country (i.e., Western Europe, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand).

Now, lack of resources to fight the crime of murder isn't the issue, because the US is wealthier than most of the countries mentioned above. Nor do I think Americans are gentetically predisposed to commiting murder. I doubt racial tension has much to do with it either, because murder in the US very seldom flows from racial animus. The war on drugs you cite is generally being fought by other rich countries as well; as far as I know none of them have broadly legalized narcotics.

I think poverty and social conditions have something to do with America's high rate of murder, but I can't believe that if (say) drug dealers or abusive spouses were limited to using knives and clubs, the US wouldn't have a far lower rate of homicide. Firearms turn violent tendencies into lethal ones.

Again, I oppose prohibiting law-abiding citizens from owing firearms, but I think it would make sense to have them jump through a few more hoops to be able to do so, and I favor sharply constricting the wide open firearms retail and distribution system prevelant in the United States.

Posted by: P.B. Almeida on April 11, 2006 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not going to recharacterize your argument, but mine is basically that when we are talking about public policy we are not talking about anecdote.

But let's cover the anecdote for a moment. The problem was that had you been carrying your gun, you could have had a gunfight with the guy that robbed you? Is that it? Presumably, you would be in favor of non-concealed carrying laws then, right? I mean, ideally the theory is that the robber would think twice about robbing a guy with a gun strapped to his belt.

I'm trying to get the gun out of the hand of the guy that robbed you. But I mean, its not that simple either, right? If we force the guy to use a baseball bat, he might actually hit you over the head and kill you, whereas with the gun, all he got was money.

Posted by: hank on April 11, 2006 at 8:03 PM | PERMALINK

PB--That argument would be great if it weren't complete bullshit. You're conflating two things--"the rich country" argument and the "guns make it easier argument". I don't doubt that guns make it easier to kill, that's why they were invented. But you're missing a big point--a bullet or knife or machete or crowbar or fist or foot or baseball bat doesn't care whether it's wielded by a wealthy or poor person in a wealthy or poor country. The fact is that there are 22 or 23 more violent countries on the face of the planet where people kill each other just fine, with or without guns. Magically spiriting the guns away isn't going to help. The relative wealth of a country is irrelevant--the only thing that matters is the fact that people who want to kill each other find a way.

Even if it would help, it isn't going to happen--how people arm themselves is a function of the technological means of their society and their relative wealth. Even poorer people here can afford guns, because we live in a more advanced society than can make them readily. The plain reality is that guns aren't going anywhere, and efforts to get rid of them only seem to ensure that bad guys have them.

Now, on to your argument that we're an anomaly because we're the only "rich country" that kills its citizens at an alarming rate, the other conflation you're making. If your argument that other societies would be just as violent if they had more guns held water, if it were true that those people are itchy to harm each other as we are, you'd see lots of people exporting arms to those erstwhile peaceful nations like Japan, Oz, NZ, West. Europe...if there were people there clamouring for better means to kill each other, someone would supply it. Don't think so? Consider the fact that many of the more peaceful "rich" countries (Finland, Canada, Switzerland, etc) have tons of guns and gun ownership is common.

The reality is that the social conditions in America ARE different than Japan, West. Europe, etc. The argument that the ONLY difference is guns is complete horseshit. Anyone who's traveled even a little knows that social attitudes about violence are different, the racial, cultural, and class clashes are different, and sorry, you're wrong, the attitudes about drugs are different. I'm not saying that racial animus is the cause of murder, but I am saying that our history of racial segregation has created a class and race caste system that lends itself to intraracial violence. Come visit Baltimore if you don't think that's true.

I think you're glossing over important facts in an effort to suggest that guns are the only differences in crime between the US and the other wealthy countries of the world, and in doing so you're glossing over some of the glaring differences in our attitudes about violence, crime, and the social conditions conducive to violence here. If what you were saying was true, you'd see a high rate of non-lethal violence in W. Europe, Japan, etc....but you don't. The fact is they're less violent period. Guns are NOT the only difference.

In any event...what the fuck does your distinction (even if it wasn't baloney) matter? Nothing is going to change the fact that A) there are lots of guns in America and B) there are lots of social conditions conducive to crime. Nothing. While we're waiting for utopia to come around, nothing you're saying negates the fact that I should be allowed to defend myself.

Hank: my anectdote was purely for reference, but if you want to talk public policy, then lets: MD has the most violent big city in America (I'm in it right now), we're leading the country in robbery, and we're #2 in violent crime.

As for your theory about non-concealment, you're wrong. The idea behind CCW is A) you can carry to protect without tipping off the bad guy you're carrying, and B) when the criminals don't know who's armed, they're more apprehensive about striking in the first place. If you can't conceal, they just wait for an unarmed person. If you can conceal, they can't tell who is armed.

As far as getting the gun outta the guy's hand...great, I'm all for it as well. The problem is those policies tend to only disarm ME, not that guy. He's going to ignore a gun control law, every time. Why would someone willing to risk death, life in jail, etc. care about 60 days in jail?

Posted by: Sebastian on April 11, 2006 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

Sebastian, I'm really sorry to hear you got robbed, and especially sorry that the perp endangered his and your life by using a firearm. As I said, I can't get exercised about where your own pistol was, but I am glad nobody was hurt.

Should Lott pursue his case and have even yet more funding from whatever mysterious sources pay his way, I do predict that you and all other concealed-carry proponents will be sorry. However, I'm prepared to be wrong about that.

None of this, though, makes John Lott anything other than an utter waste of oxygen as a scientist (for all I know he's a doting father and loving husband). That's the bottom line: anyone who cares about policy, mathematics, or truth itself will cheer his ignominous, public reprobation by any sane justice.

Posted by: wcw on April 11, 2006 at 8:59 PM | PERMALINK

Don't misread me, I don't doubt for a minute that getting rid of guns would get rid of the occasional idgit who got drunk and killed his/her wife/husband murders. But the problem is that Americans use their guns way more often DEFENSIVELY than they do for criminal purposes; even the most conservative estimates of how many defensive gun uses there are outweigh the number of people harmed by criminal gun use. I don't think those people should be forced to be defenseless because a smaller number of idiots can't control themselves. W. Europe, Pac Rim, etc are less violent because they're culturally different places, not because they don't have guns.

If nothing else, I just think we should have the right to defend ourselves. Without the MEANS to defend ourselves, the right to do so is worthless. John Lott might be a maroon, but even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

Posted by: Sebastian on April 11, 2006 at 9:09 PM | PERMALINK

Don't misread me, I don't doubt for a minute that getting rid of guns would get rid of the occasional idgit who got drunk and killed his/her wife/husband murders. But the problem is that Americans use their guns way more often DEFENSIVELY than they do for criminal purposes; even the most conservative estimates of how many defensive gun uses there are outweigh the number of people harmed by criminal gun use. I don't think those people should be forced to be defenseless because a smaller number of idiots can't control themselves. W. Europe, Pac Rim, etc are less violent because they're culturally different places, not because they don't have guns.

If nothing else, I just think we should have the right to defend ourselves. Without the MEANS to defend ourselves, the right to do so is worthless. John Lott might be a maroon, but even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

Posted by: Sebastian on April 11, 2006 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

Don't misread me, I don't doubt for a minute that getting rid of guns would get rid of the occasional idgit who got drunk and killed his/her wife/husband murders. But the problem is that Americans use their guns way more often DEFENSIVELY than they do for criminal purposes; even the most conservative estimates of how many defensive gun uses there are outweigh the number of people harmed by criminal gun use. I don't think those people should be forced to be defenseless because a smaller number of idiots can't control themselves. W. Europe, Pac Rim, etc are less violent because they're culturally different places, not because they don't have guns.

If nothing else, I just think we should have the right to defend ourselves. Without the MEANS to defend ourselves, the right to do so is worthless. John Lott might be a maroon, but even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

Posted by: Sebastian on April 11, 2006 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

But the problem is that Americans use their guns way more often DEFENSIVELY than they do for criminal purposes; even the most conservative estimates of how many defensive gun uses there are outweigh the number of people harmed by criminal gun use.

Sebastian, you're going to have to provide some serious scientific backup here. This sounds way off base to me - even if you're including cases where people use guns in the BELIEF that they are being threatened. Bernard Goetz would have construed his shooting of 5 aggressive teenagers on the New York subway as a "defensive" gun use, though the teenagers hadn't brandished any weapons. And that woman in Texas a few years back who shot another woman in the face when they were stopped in traffic and the other woman approached her car to argue with her would also have claimed her gun use was "defensive". As would the guy in Texas who shot and killed an Asian exchange student who rang his doorbell because of a mistaken address. And naturally, in any gunfight between two drug gangs, both sides are going to claim they were using their weapons "defensively".

Posted by: brooksfoe on April 11, 2006 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

As for your own situation, I'm sure you've already considered this possibility, but I'd like to see your reasoning: if you had been carrying a concealed weapon, and you had reached for it, wouldn't you very likely be dead now, instead of a few dollars poorer (and a little PTSD'd)?

Posted by: brooksfoe on April 11, 2006 at 10:06 PM | PERMALINK

Surely. http://www.guncite.com/gun_control_gcdguse.html

Even the DOJ readily admits there's more defensive than criminal gun use. Thanks for asking! Pretty much any way they try to slice it, people use guns defensively a LOT. Remember not ever gun use involves a shot being fired.

As for my own situation, I suggest you read up on my website. It's quite common for a CCW holder to get the drop on a robber, who probably isn't expecting armed resistance (in my case, his gun was unchambered and at his side, pointed down. When I reached for my wallet, I could have just as easily gone for a gun and blasted him before he shot me).

In retrospect, if I'd been armed, I probably would have just given him the money anyway. The kid who robbed me isn't the guy you resist against. The Balto. police told me I was lucky, and that many robbers anymore in Balto. just make you kneel down and shoot you to avoid witnesses--that's the fucker you resist against.

Anyway, check out my site as you're obviously of the illusion that guns aren't useful self defense tools (which begs the question, why do cops--even off duty cops who carry concealed--carry them?)

Here's a fun link if you think you can't get the drop on an armed robber:

http://progunprogressive.com/?p=122

Here's a link to a video of a CCW holder getting the drop on a guy who ALREADY had his gun leveled at his victims.

http://www.mdshooters.com/showthread.php?t=344

In other words, no, you're still better off with a gun than without.

Posted by: Sebastian on April 11, 2006 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

BTW, that's an EXTRAORDINARILY common response to the gun rights/CCW issue--the old "the criminal will just kill you before you can use your gun, so you shouldn't have one". And each time you folks act like you're the first person to think of it. Aside from having to be a lunatic to think you're better without it than with when someone wants to execute you, why is it that anti-gun weenies think that a person like me--who sends 3000 rounds a year downrange (more than any cop I know of), can shoot with competitive accuracy, and has been trained in tactical awareness, how to draw and fire from cover, and how to get the drop on a robber--is not going to be able to use his gun effectively? Gangstas, robbers, muggers, crooks, etc, don't practice with their weapons. They don't realize that CCW permit holders practice, train, etc. Yes, anything can happen...but better to have a gun and not need it than to desparately need it and not have it.

Much like picking a fight with Bruce Lee isn't a good idea when you haven't had Jeet Kune Do lesson number one, if you're a gangsta wannabe without training...picking a gun fight with me or someone like me who practices is probably not going to go well for you.

Posted by: Sebastian on April 11, 2006 at 11:18 PM | PERMALINK

I don't doubt that guns make it easier to kill, that's why they were invented.

Exactly, and so it stands to reason that, ceteris paribus, a society in which firearms are extremely common will see more killing than one in which they're rare. It's simply easier to kill with a gun than with a knife or with one's fists.

But you're missing a big point--a bullet or knife or machete or crowbar or fist or foot or baseball bat doesn't care whether it's wielded by a wealthy or poor person in a wealthy or poor country.

I'm not sure what "big point" you're making here. You seem to be imparting human-like consciousness to inanimate objects.

Magically spiriting the guns away isn't going to help. The relative wealth of a country is irrelevant--the only thing that matters is the fact that people who want to kill each other find a way.

You're being incoherent here. If we were to "magically" make guns disappear, we would indeed see less murder in America, because murder would become more difficult. Moroever, a nation's relative wealth certainly is relevant. Poverty and deprivation tend to breed violence, and also tend to make it difficult to pay for the policing infrastructure that helps keep crime at bay.

I think you're glossing over important facts in an effort to suggest that guns are the only differences in crime between the US and the other wealthy countries of the world, and in doing so you're glossing over some of the glaring differences in our attitudes about violence, crime, and the social conditions conducive to violence here.

I am not suggesting or implying or stating this. The prevelance of firearms in the US tends to make crime here more lethal, and is a major factor -- perhaps the largest factor -- driving America's murder rate above the level of other wealthy countries, but it is clearly not the sole factor. And at any rate, to the extent that greater poverty, differing attitudes about violence, etc., make America a more violent place, I would submit that such difference make sensible firearms regulations more, not less, necessary. America deals less ably with a plethora of firepower, in other words, than would, say, Japan or Switzerland.

If what you were saying was true, you'd see a high rate of non-lethal violence in W. Europe, Japan, etc....but you don't.

What I'm saying is true, and there is ample evidence suggesting that violent crime is quite common in Europe (though likely not in modern Japan, which I agree is a remarkably peaceful place). IIRC the assault rate is somewhat higher in Britain than in the US, for instance, but Britain's murder rate is (I'm quoting from memory) only one-third of America's. Of course, crime statistics are famously difficult to interpret and compare: different jurisdictions maintain different standards. A bar fight that may go unreported in one location becomes felony assault in another. Homicide, though, provides the gold standard of crime statistics, because corpses can't be faked. And here America easily wins the competition with other rich countries.

In any event...what the fuck does your distinction (even if it wasn't baloney) matter? Nothing is going to change the fact that A) there are lots of guns in America and B) there are lots of social conditions conducive to crime. Nothing.

My "distinction" does matter, of course, because properly educated, American voters will demand sensible policies to give them the greater freedom from violence that citizens of other rich democracies enjoy.

He's going to ignore a gun control law, every time. Why would someone willing to risk death, life in jail, etc. care about 60 days in jail?

Criminals do ignore gun laws, of course, to the extent that they're able. But they cannot ignore the laws of economics. Drastic retail supply constraints, taxes, background checks, tough licensing requirments, no-nonsense personal liability legislation, discard protocals: A serious effort along these lines will have the effect of making firearms a lot less common, more expensive, and more difficult to acquire. America's problem isn't that criminals possess guns -- criminals in every country -- including rich ones -- have firearms. America's problem is that its vast supply of firearms makes them not only easy to obtain, but absurdly cheap. So it's not just higher level crime kingpins or mafiosi who own guns as in (say) Japan. In America it's also the common street corner drug pusher and the fifteen year-old gang member who's packing heat.

Posted by: P.B. Almeida on April 12, 2006 at 2:37 AM | PERMALINK

Like a few other posters above, I also agree that gun control really is not central to the progressive platform and should not be a central policy point. I'm fine with communities enacting the gun laws they feel are appropriate for themselves.

What annoys me is those holing maximalist pro-gun views who insist that their desire to carry guns wherever they like trumps everything. Usually it's formulated in terms such as "the right to defend myself is a human right" or some such phrasing. The evidence does not at all back up the proposition that guns make one safer. It is, at best, ambiguous (and hence why I don't think gun laws should be a central policy point). You're overstating the case when you try to equate CCW with voting rights or other authentic civil rights.

I also am worried by the philosophical underpinnings of insistig that self defense = carrying a gun. A philosophy that insists on the ability to shoot people dead as necessary for self defense, and that further posits that the likelihood of this neccessity arising is so great that a gun must be carried at all times is hardly a recipe for a peaceful, sustainable society.

Finally, it really irks me when gun maximalists would deny a community the right to self-governance. I live in NYC, and, as I stated earlier, its fine if Laramie WY wants to have CCW, but Laramie should not get to write the gun laws for my neighborhood.

Posted by: moderleft on April 12, 2006 at 9:04 AM | PERMALINK

Exactly, and so it stands to reason that, ceteris paribus, a society in which firearms are extremely common will see more killing than one in which they're rare. It's simply easier to kill with a gun than with a knife or with one's fists.
Except you missed the part where there are plenty of societies where guns are extremely common that don't have lots of people killing each other. Jeesus, didn't you see Bowling for Columbine? Even an anti-gunner like MM could grasp that.

I'm not sure what "big point" you're making here. You seem to be imparting human-like consciousness to inanimate objects.
NO, I'm pointing out the exact opposite--rich or poor country doesn't really matter when you're talking about the means to kill one another--a bullet from a rich man's gun is the same as one from a gun fired by a peasant soldier in Nigeria's civil war. The larger point is even in poor societies with low technological capabilities, people find ways to kill each other. I suggest you google a little country called "Rwanda".

You're being incoherent here. If we were to "magically" make guns disappear, we would indeed see less murder in America, because murder would become more difficult. Moroever, a nation's relative wealth certainly is relevant. Poverty and deprivation tend to breed violence, and also tend to make it difficult to pay for the policing infrastructure that helps keep crime at bay.
I'm not being incoherent, I'm making points that you don't like. Murder being more difficult does NOT necessarily mean it's less likely. There are plenty of other factors that go into a murder rate. Consider the 20-odd countries more violent than the US--many of them do most, if not all, of the killing without guns. No matter how much you want it to be true, it's simply not the case that guns are the only factor here. And if poverty and deprivation were the only issue, why is MD so violent? We're one of the richest states in the union. Obviously it's more complex than that as well.

It's a moot point though--guns ARE NOT going anywhere. Since we know this to be true, the really important part is deciding how we allocate them. Any law that makes it the de facto case that the bad guys have them and the good guys don't is a BAD LAW.

I am not suggesting or implying or stating this. The prevelance of firearms in the US tends to make crime here more lethal, and is a major factor -- perhaps the largest factor -- driving America's murder rate above the level of other wealthy countries, but it is clearly not the sole factor.

Actually you were stating that the US was largely the same re: cultural attitudes about violence until I pointed out to you that that was horseshit. But even if I do concede that guns make violence more lethal (which seems reasonable enough), so what? They're not going anywhere. Attempts to regulate them out of the hands of criminals only make sure that the good guys don't have them. Even if you could make them quit being manufactured, guns are easy to make. People would find a way to fabricate them rather easily. It's nice to fantasize about a gun free world (which wouldn't be as great as you seem to think it is, as bad guys will still arm themselves one way or another), but it's not pragmatic or likely to bring about a solution.

And at any rate, to the extent that greater poverty, differing attitudes about violence, etc., make America a more violent place, I would submit that such difference make sensible firearms regulations more, not less, necessary. America deals less ably with a plethora of firepower, in other words, than would, say, Japan or Switzerland. Aha! So you do concede that other cultures have different conditions and attitudes, so it's clearly not just the guns that make us violent. Thank you! That was like pulling teeth. =)

So what would you propose? From what we've seen of 30+ years of failed gun control policies, all the gun control in the world simply means that bad guys willing to flout the law have guns and we don't. Any law that leads to a de facto case where bad guys are armed and I'm not is an unjust law. If you can think of a way to make sure that the bad guys are disarmed and I'm not, I'm all ears.

What I'm saying is true, and there is ample evidence suggesting that violent crime is quite common in Europe (though likely not in modern Japan, which I agree is a remarkably peaceful place).
There's a lot of political strife in W. Europe now, leading to non lethal types of violence, I'll grant you that. But you can't escape the fact that plenty of societies where arms are prevalent don't exhibit violence rates like ours. The reality is that people in those societies that have high nonlethal violence don't seem to want to take it to a lethal type of confrontation. It's not like they're sitting around saying "well I would have like to have shot that bloke from Liverpool when his team beat our beloved Arsenal lads, but I didn't have access to a weapon." There simply isn't a demand for lethality in Japan, W. Europe, etc that there is in the US. If the demand was there, people would make money meeting it with supply.

And here America easily wins the competition with other rich countries.
My guess is that we'd still win even if the gun supply was cut. Sure some of the random drunk-guy-shoots-wife-and-dog killings would subside, but here in Baltimore and in other urban areas where most homicides are drug war related, the bad guys would resort to edged weapons, blunt weapons, homemade guns, etc. We'd still outpace Japan and France and Italy...we're just more violent culturally.

Like I said...that's a moot point anyway. Guns aren't going anywhere. Deal with it!

My "distinction" does matter, of course, because properly educated, American voters will demand sensible policies to give them the greater freedom from violence that citizens of other rich democracies enjoy.
I'm a voter, educate me. Explain to me your plan to give us freedom from violence. But I don't wanna hear that I have to be defenseless while bad guys aren't. I don't think I owe it to anyone to be a victim. If you wanna play Gandhi, groovy, but there's nothing inherent in my personal liberalism which mandates that I lay down my life for a misguided effort to disarm people who simply will not be disarmed.

Criminals do ignore gun laws, of course, to the extent that they're able. But they cannot ignore the laws of economics. Drastic retail supply constraints, taxes, background checks, tough licensing requirments, no-nonsense personal liability legislation, discard protocals: A serious effort along these lines will have the effect of making firearms a lot less common, more expensive, and more difficult to acquire.
We already have all of that!!!! And it's not working!!! What would you do differently?

America's problem isn't that criminals possess guns -- criminals in every country -- including rich ones -- have firearms. America's problem is that its vast supply of firearms makes them not only easy to obtain, but absurdly cheap. So it's not just higher level crime kingpins or mafiosi who own guns as in (say) Japan. In America it's also the common street corner drug pusher and the fifteen year-old gang member who's packing heat.
Talk about being incoherent. Criminals in those rich European nirvanas you're talking about actually do have guns? I thought those countries were peaceful because they don't have guns? Huh? I guess that would prove the point that the culture is different, so it's the people and not the guns that are the problem, wouldn't it?

As for your contention that only rich mafiosi have guns in other countries, that's absurd, you watch too much TV. What good would the guns do if only they had them? They would have to distribute them to henchmen, who would in turn make a killing selling them to other people who want to have guns. Why doesn't that happen? Because in less violent cultures there isn't a demand for guns in the first place!!! If the reason other countries were peaceful is that guns are too expensive for them, there'd be an incredible amount of money being made in the black market for guns in Japan, W. Europe, and eventually they too would be awash in guns. But they're not. Why? Because the people there are different. For the love of Pete, please grasp this: it's the people, not the guns. The fact they're cheap is irrelevant. People in those countries you're dreaming about don't have guns cause they don't have a need or want for them, not because they're too expensive. If they wanted them and couldn't afford them, they'd fabricate them or be busy killing each other with edged and blunt weapons...but they're NOT!

For the love of god what a stupid argument. The supply of cheap guns is NOT the problem. A culture of violence is. Until that changes, I should not be prevented from protecting myself.


Posted by: Sebastian on April 12, 2006 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

What annoys me is those holing maximalist pro-gun views who insist that their desire to carry guns wherever they like trumps everything. Usually it's formulated in terms such as "the right to defend myself is a human right" or some such phrasing. The evidence does not at all back up the proposition that guns make one safer. It is, at best, ambiguous (and hence why I don't think gun laws should be a central policy point). You're overstating the case when you try to equate CCW with voting rights or other authentic civil rights.
Defending yourself IS a civil right; all the other rights aren't too important if you're not alive to enjoy them. The KKK was all too happy to pursue gun control as far back as the 1870s. The ability to protect yourself is central to maintaining a voice in society. I'm not overstating shit. And the evidence clearly states that you ARE safer with a gun, I don't know who told you otherwise. The FBI did a study that demonstrated that people who resist violent attack with firearms fared better than those who resist with other weapons, bare hands, or not at all. The numbers are pretty dramatic. If you don't think guns make you safer from attack, why do cops carry them? We just had a guy save his own life in a robbery here in Baltimore; you can save your life with a gun.

Felons surveyed report that they're more in fear of an armed citizen than a police officer; they also report they avoid houses that are occupied for robberies for fear of being shot. There's simply no evidence that states guns aren't an effective deterrent to criminal attack.

Americans use guns millions of times a year to prevent crime. Guns ARE an effective deterrent and can save your life.

http://www.gunfacts.info/pdfs/gun-facts/4.0/GunFacts4-0-Screen.pdf Go there and see page 46 to see why you're wrong about the deterrent effect of gun ownership.

http://www.guncite.com/gun_control_gcdgeff.html

Go there to see why you're wrong about guns being effective means of self defense.

I also am worried by the philosophical underpinnings of insistig that self defense = carrying a gun. A philosophy that insists on the ability to shoot people dead as necessary for self defense, and that further posits that the likelihood of this neccessity arising is so great that a gun must be carried at all times is hardly a recipe for a peaceful, sustainable society.
We've discussed the politics of crime ad nauseum, but it's not on me to solve all the world's ills. If I want to choose to protect myself from possible deadly attack, I should be allowed to. If you don't...great. Then don't. But don't inflict your choice ON ME!!

And I reject the notion that I'm suggesting that I need to shoot people dead. I can't draw a gun to shoot a 90lb elderly woman who slaps me. You can only use deadly force when confronted with deadly force. So please spare us the Wild West hyperbole, it's bullshit.

Finally, it really irks me when gun maximalists would deny a community the right to self-governance. I live in NYC, and, as I stated earlier, its fine if Laramie WY wants to have CCW, but Laramie should not get to write the gun laws for my neighborhood.
Laramie isn't writing the boundaries for your laws, the Constitution is. What other aspects of the Constitution should NYC get to ignore? Will you give up your first or third or fifth amendment rights?


Posted by: Sebastian on April 12, 2006 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

PS: Even if we concede that states and cities can make their own laws in this regard...and ignore the Constitutionality of such laws...they're still unjust laws. Why should I be forcibly disarmed where criminals can easily flout the law and arm themselves?

Posted by: Sebastian on April 12, 2006 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

Why should I be forcibly disarmed where criminals can easily flout the law and arm themselves?

In NYC, they take gun laws quite seriously. Criminals cannot "easily flout the law" as you put it. This holds true for many places where gun laws are strict. In Canada, for instance, the Conservative ran on, among other planks, getting tough on gun crime.

BTW, many of those sites you link to base themselves on Lott's data.

Posted by: moderleft on April 12, 2006 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

They also use Kleck's data, the criminologist who started out as an anti-gunner until the facts taught him otherwise.

I always love the "but guns aren't useful in self defense" line...I guess all those troops slogging around in the 110* heat in Iraq are going to be relieved, since guns are useless they can quit lugging the damn heavy things around.

As for flouting NYC gun laws...gimme a break. You actually think coming by a weapon in NY is hard to do? Ask my brother who lives on Spencer St in Flushings if he thinks the guys who mugged him and almost killed him had a hard time arming themselves.

Here's a hint: the bad guys aren't walking into a gun store to get their guns. All the laws in the world only affect those willing to obey them and go through sanctioned channels. Kinda like the laws against illegal drugs must make buying crack, smack, and pot hard to do in NYC, right?

Posted by: Sebastian on April 12, 2006 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

Abortion (Roe V Wade) is what lowered the crime rate.

Concealed carry may help a little, but not near to the extent of allowing young, poor, unmarried girls easy access to abortion has.

Posted by: Jonesy on April 12, 2006 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK
Why should I be forcibly disarmed where criminals can easily flout the law and arm themselves?

You are equivocating. The law no more forcefully disarms you than it does those people who are criminals in the absence of that law.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 12, 2006 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

If you're found carrying, you will be arrested at gunpoint. That sounds forceful to me. The anti-carrying laws create a de facto state where those willing to flout the law can prey upon law abiding citizens who are legally denied the means to defend themselves. Denying the means is denying the right itself.

The reality is that people do do bad things with guns, and they are lethal weapons. But more often people protect their lives and their families' lives with their firearms, and while it's a shame that we live in a violent society, preventing the good people from defending themselves doesn't make it better. In fact, it probably makes it worse.

What's the big objection to letting someone willing to go through an FBI background check, get fingerprinted, get the proper training, register their intent to carry, etc. carry a defensive weapon? The people willing to do that are NOT the people with guns you should be worrying about.

Posted by: Sebastian on April 12, 2006 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

Re: 2nd amendment

It seems obvious to me that the reason being given is to provide a body of armed individuals to serve in a militia. I don't see how that gives me a guaranteed right to own a .38 revolver, because it's not a militarily meaningful weapon.

Rifles, hell "assault weapons" would pass the test, but, to me, the mention of miltia shows what their intent was.

Posted by: witless chum on April 12, 2006 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK
What's the big objection to letting someone willing to go through an FBI background check, get fingerprinted, get the proper training, register their intent to carry, etc. carry a defensive weapon?

Lets start with the fact that there is no such things as a "defensive weapon".

Posted by: cmdicely on April 12, 2006 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

It appears, for those curious but disinclined to follow a day old 86 post thread to the bitter end, that Sebastian's data on defensive gun use comes from a survey, which is one of several.

Taking a look at the survey, and others, one intersting issue is what exactly is "defensive gun use."

To throw some more stats into the mix, according to an article on a guy named David Heminway in Harvard magazine, in the year 2001 there were approximately 30,000 gun deaths, 18,000 of which were suicides, 11,000 of which were homicides, and about 1,000 of which were accidental.

Compare that to the 40,000 highway deaths and the whole reason for the debate is clear.

I suppose there are people who are so concerned about being one of those 40,000 fatalities that they simply take public transportation 100% of the time (hopefully not buses. Ha!). Considering I did not even drill down to finding out how many of those 11,000 were between people who knew each other, even if all 11,000 were completely random homicides, the statistics are still clear, at least on this point -- you're better off not driving than arming yourself to the teeth.

Enter the claim that each year there are "millions" of annual incidents of defensive gun use. This cannot possibly be true. In the Harvard article, there is a bit of discussion about what the respondents to the surveys meant when they claimed to have used a gun defensively.

Unlike Sebastian's anecdote, where had he been carrying he produces a gun instead of his wallet and plugs his armed attacker (now that, obviously, is defensive gun use!) the survey respondants cited things like an argument at a party which only concluded (a la the movie "Swingers") when one or both sides ran to their cars and pulled out guns. That, for pretty much eveyone on this board, is not an example of how useful guns are, it is an example of a disaster only avoided through luck and the basic human aversion to deadly force.

The difference between driving and gun ownership is that driving safely, even defensively, is not quite as big a deal as gun ownership. When the speed limit was reduced to 55, no one cited any amendment to the constitution.

If Sebastian is going to have his guns, I hope he never uses them. Statistically, the odds are with that hope.

Posted by: hank on April 12, 2006 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

Witless--Then why the hell do the anti's spend so much time blathering about assault weapons? If the intent of the 2a was only to protect military weapons, most of the anti movement is dead in the water from the get go. They'll never concede that point. In any event, the mention of the militia indicates the founder's understanding that militia men would have to show up with their own weapons, and know how to use them already. Hard to do if guns are banned. The anti's 2A arguments are nonsensical bullshit.

But I disagree--lots of military forces have used revolvers, they're quite reliable. But hey, if the antis want to go down that route, great, my AR15 and Glock .40 will be safe forever.

cmdicely--A defensive weapon is any weapon you use in self defense. What's hard to understand about that? My gun on my hip is no affront to you unless you mean me harm. The notion that an inanimate object somehow contains "offensive" qualities is silly really--guns are value neutral objects that get their moral import from the user. I'm not a criminal--any use of my gun will indeed be as a defensive weapon.

Hank--why can't it be true? It's really not hard to believe. There are over 60mil gun owners in the US. There's a ton of violent crime in the US. People who are law abiding can freely choose to use guns defensively. Even the anti-gun forces who look at the issue consistently have to admit that DGU is much more common than criminal gun use. I'm not aware of any credible study that suggests that criminal gun use outnumbers defensive.

As for your driving analogy, and the 55mph thing, great. I wouldn't complain if MD let me carry everywhere but stadiums, schools, and airports--which, incidentally, are restrictions already applied to the limited CCW holders in MD, off duty cops, etc. The problem with your analogy is that the anti-CCW or discriminatory CCW states like MD are indeed banning driving altogether in a sense. And the "driving" they're banning is indeed constitutionally protected.


Posted by: Sebastian on April 14, 2006 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

Sebastian,

Since you may actually check back, here's why I find it hard to believe. We all start from anecdote. Through the last 80 or so years, no one in my family (I'm 46), through the level of my grandparents, has owned a handgun, not surprisingly, no one has engaged in any gun use, let alone any defensive gun use. I would say in the same time period (covering eight people through the grandparent level) there have been approximately 5 or so robberies, the worst being when my brother was working at a pizza store and some guy robbed it with what appeared to be a gun. No telling if it was real or if it was loaded.

Morover, no one, friend or acquaintence, has ever lobbed in a story of defensive gun use.

Not that you are a friend or acquaintence, but not even you have added to this anecdotal store of knowledge, as apparently you have never used your gun defensively, although you would have once had you had the gun with you.

Moving to the numbers, according to the CA attorney general, in 2001 there were 135,000 instances of aggravated assault, 63,000 robberies, 9,000 rapes, and 2,000 homicides -- total crime for which one could possibly defend themselves, about 210,000.

If you roughly multiply the survey estimate of 2.5 million incidents of defensive gun use by California's percentage of the population in California, if the survey was correct there should have been 300,000 incidents of defensive gun use in the State that same year.

Considering the TV stations will broadcast any goddamn intersting slow speed chace out here, you'd have to figure that 10%, or 30,000 of those incidents of defensive gun use would be exciting or newsworthy? Right?

That's basically why I don't believe it. For the statistics to be true, attempted assault crime would have to vastly, vastly exceed actual assault crime, and as attempted assault in fact IS A CRIME (I mean, if you had had your gun with you, and would have gotten the drop on the guy who robbed you, you would have called the police and had him arrested, right? You wouldn't have just kept walking down the street?).

So, what do I think. I think the Second Amendment should allow what Switzerland does, an M-16 or whatever in every closet. Handguns ought to pretty much be illegal. I think drugs should be pretty much entirely legal. If you take drug crime out of the equation, the remaining crime drops subsantially. If you take that remaining crime and carve out all crime between, friends and people who know each other, it drops more.

Finally, you get down to crime such as you and my brother expereinced. Considering its statistical likelihood, there is no reason to believe the answer, if there is an answer, is more handguns.

Moreover, from a public policy standpoint, rather than try to regulate human behavior, it might be better to simply lower the speed limit.

Posted by: hank on April 14, 2006 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and as for another wading into the anology pond, its not really a question of banning cars. Its more like your position appears to be that if you want to buy a NASCAR stock car and drive 200 miles an hour on the freeway, why shouldn't you be able to do so? You would take driving classes, you would practice, etc.

The reason has nothing to do with you. The reason is if the general population were allowed to drive at any speed they chose, human nature being what it is, the increase in accidental death and injury would not be acceptable.

Here, we are talking about gun use, and trying to lower the incidents of it. So, the particular expertise of any one gun user is irrelevant.

Posted by: hank on April 14, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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