Surely murder is a serious subject, which ought to be examined seriously. Instead, it is almost always examined politically in the context of gun control controversies, with stock arguments on both sides that have remained the same for decades. And most of those arguments are irrelevant to the central question: Do tighter gun control laws reduce the murder rate?
That is not an esoteric question, nor one for which no empirical evidence is available. Think about it. We have 50 states, each with its own gun control laws, and many of those laws have gotten either tighter or looser over the years. There must be tons of data that could indicate whether murder rates went up or down when either of these things happened.
But have you ever heard any gun control advocate cite any such data? Tragically, gun control has become one of those fact-free issues that spawn outbursts of emotional rhetoric and mutual recriminations about the National Rifle Association or the Second Amendment.
If restrictions on gun ownership do reduce murders, we can repeal the Second Amendment, as other Constitutional Amendments have been repealed. Laws exist to protect people. People do not exist to perpetuate laws.
But if tighter restrictions on gun ownership do not reduce murders, what is the point of tighter gun control laws— and what is the point of demonizing the National Rifle Association?
There are data not only from our 50 states, but also from other countries around the world. Professor Joyce Lee Malcolm’s empirical study, “Guns and Violence: The English Experience,” should be eye-opening for all those who want their eyes opened, however small that number of people might be.
Professor Malcolm’s book illustrates the difference between isolated, cherry-picked facts and relevant empirical evidence.
Many gun control advocates have cited the much higher murder rates in the United States than in England as due to tighter gun control laws in England. But Professor Malcolm’s study points out that the murder rate in New York has been some multiple of the murder rate in London for two centuries — and, during most of that time, neither city had serious restrictions on gun ownership.
As late as 1954, “there were no controls on shotguns” in England, Professor Malcolm reported, but only 12 cases of armed robbery in London. Of these only four became ever more severe — and armed robberies in London soared to 1,400 by 1974.
“As the numbers of legal firearms have dwindled, the numbers of armed crimes have risen” is her summary of that history in England. Conversely, in the United States the number of handguns in American homes more than doubled between 1973 and 1992, while the murder rate went down.
There are relevant facts available, but you are not likely to hear about them from politicians currently pushing for tighter gun control laws, or from the mainstream media, when those facts go against the claims of gun control advocates.
Despite hundreds of thousands of times a year when Americans use firearms defensively, none of those incidents is likely to be reported in the mainstream media, even when lives are saved as a result. But one accidental firearm death in a home will be broadcast and rebroadcast from coast to coast.
Virtually all empirical studies in the United States show that tightening gun control laws has not reduced crime rates in general or murder rates in particular. Is this because only people opposed to gun control do empirical studies? Or is it because the facts uncovered in empirical studies make the arguments of gun control zealots untenable?
In both England and the United States, those people most zealous for tighter gun control laws tend also to be most lenient toward criminals and most restrictive on police. The net result is that law-abiding citizens become more vulnerable when they are disarmed and criminals disobey gun control laws, as they disobey other laws.
The facts are too plain to be ignored. Moreover, the consequences are too dangerous to law-abiding citizens, whose lives are put in jeopardy on the basis of fact-free assumptions and unexamined dogmas. Such arguments are a farce, but not the least bit funny.
Thomas Sowell, a National Humanities Medal winner, is an American economist, social theorist, political philosopher and author. He is currently Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
Conflating Sovereign Citizens and Constitutionalists
The FBI and federal and local law enforcement groups categorize many libertarian, constitutionalist and other groups and individuals as “sovereign citizens.”
According to an FBI counterterrorism analysis, sovereign citizens “may refer to themselves as ‘constitutionalists’ or ‘freemen,’ which is not necessarily a connection to a specific group, but, rather, an indication that they are free from government control.”
The FBI considers the Redemption Theory (the abandonment of the gold standard in favor of fiat currency), emancipation “from the responsibilities of being a U.S. citizen, including paying taxes,” and “conspiracy theories,” including the formation of global government and a police state, as indicators of extremist or sovereign citizen ideology.
A National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) report produced by the Office of University Programs, Science and Technology Directorate at the Department of Homeland Security in 2014 lists sovereign citizens as the primary domestic terror threat in the United States, followed by Islamic jihadists, “militia/patriot” and “extreme anti-tax” groups.
The document attempts to persuade law enforcement that sovereign citizens are a direct threat to them. “Such changing perceptions about what is a serious terrorist threat is an important finding because identifying and prioritizing a threat is akin to hitting a moving target and evolves as new intelligence, data, and events develop,” the START report argues.
The FBI high school informer network initiative is part of a larger effort “identifying and prioritizing” supposed threats.
The FBI initiative—the latest manifestation of the “see something, say something” surveillance matrix—further engenders a government informant culture that shares a parallel with East Germany’s “Inoffizieller Mitarbeiter” or informal collaborator culture.
This Stasi network served as a primary instrument of repression in communist East Germany. The government forged partnerships with business, state institutions and social organizations. It is estimated that the Stasi had an informal collaborator or informant network exceeding 624,000 people (in 1989, at the height of Stasi power, the population of East Germany was 16.5 million).
Former intelligence professionals are well aware the United States is well on its way to becoming a totalitarian high-tech surveillance state that will soon rival the East German variant.
In January 2015 a delegation of Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence—which included ex-officers from the NSA, CIA and British MI5—visited the Stasi museum in Berlin.
“As the former intelligence officers-turned-whistleblowers walked among the well-preserved offices and conference rooms of a former totalitarian state’s internal spy apparatus,” writes Elizabeth Murray, who served as Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East in the National Intelligence Council, “the sense of deja vu and irony of what the United States of America has become was clearly not lost on any of them.”
The White House announced it will unveil President Obama’s promised executive orders Tuesday morning on “common sense” gun control, but Second Amendment advocates and Republicans in Congress say “not so fast.”
They’re gearing up for a battle that will extend to the legislative branch and the courts.
Obama is expected to announce his unilateral plans to work around Congress to rein in gun sales and “make our communities safer,” according to a White House statement that appears to borrow the exact talking points of Michael Bloomberg’s Every Town For Gun Safety. He plans to deliver remarks at 11:40 a.m. EST Tuesday from the East Room. The president also plans to pitch his ideas at a nationally televised town hall Thursday with Anderson Cooper on CNN.
On Monday evening, the White House released a memo titled, “Promoting Smart Gun Technology.” The memo ordered the Department of Defense, the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security to “conduct or sponsor research into gun safety technology that would reduce the frequency of accidental discharge or unauthorized use of firearms, and improve the tracing of lost or stolen guns.” The White House also instructed the departments to “explore potential ways to further [the technology’s] use and development to more broadly improve gun safety.”
In the memo, Obama said he directed the Department of Justice in 2013 to review gun safety technologies “such as devices requiring a scan of the owner’s fingerprint before a gun can fire.”
As WND reported, Frank Miniter, author of “The Future of the Gun,” has warned that mandatory smart-gun technology could make every existing gun in the U.S. illegal.
Also, under the plan announced by the White House:
- Obama plans to expand the definition of a licensed gun dealer to include anyone who sells firearms at gun shows and online. He argues the move will close a purported “legal loophole” that lets gun buyers bypass background checks by purchasing firearms through trusts and corporations.
- Legal barriers will be removed so states can share information on Americans disqualified from gun ownership due to mental health reasons.
- The FBI will hire more than 230 new examiners to process background checks 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- Obama plans to ask Congress to authorize $500 million to fund increased access to mental health care.
Obama insists his actions are within his legal authority and supported by “the overwhelming majority of the American people, including gun owners.”
But if Obama acts without Congress’ approval to expand background checks to person-to-person gun transfers among fellow gun enthusiasts, he will in effect be laying the foundation for a national gun registry, critics say. And they’re preparing to push back hard against any such measures.
“If you think Obama is going to stop now, you are badly mistaken. This is only the beginning,” Alan Gottlieb, executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, told WND.
“President Obama is determined to take away our Second Amendment rights before he leaves office. He has made a public promise to enact his gun control agenda with or without Congress,” Gottlieb said. “Now it appears he is starting to make good on his promise through executive orders. This is a direct assault on our Second Amendment rights.”
Gottlieb said if Obama follows through with this assault, he should expect SAF and other groups to mount a vigorous legal challenge.
“We intend to bring a lawsuit against to the Obama administration if he follows through on his executive orders and regulations against our constitutional and civil rights,” Gottlieb said.
Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., said Republicans in Congress will attempt to cut funding for any executive orders on gun control, but the legislative body has already given up much of its leverage by passing the omnibus budget bill just before Christmas.
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2016/01/obama-executive-actions-on-guns-coming-tuesday/#TYLbGO6HA4iPOoFL.99
The Federal Bureau of Investigation processed a record number of background checks in the month of October, indicating that gun sales were at an all time high for the sixth month in a row.
The FBI’s National Instant Background Check System processed 1,976,759 firearms related checks in October. That is a 373,290 increase in checks over last year and a new record for the month. It also makes October the sixth consecutive month to see a record number of checks.
Since every purchase of a new gun in the United States requires a background check the metric is considered a reliable proxy for how many overall gun sales there have been, even though the number does not represent a one to one calculation for gun sales. The federal government and most states do not require background checks on gun sales made between private parties. Additionally, some states request FBI background checks on their citizens who apply for gun carry permits.
So far in 2015 the FBI has performed 17,584,346 firearms related checks. Currently, 2015 is on pace to beat 2013’s record 21,09,273 checks.
Gun rights activists have pointed to Democrats’ calls for new gun control measures as one reason why gun sales have increased. Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton has said that the Supreme Court is wrong on the Second Amendment, that Australian style mandatory gun buybacks should be considered in the United States, and that she would implement new gun control through executive action.
“Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton are the best gun salespeople on the planet. The more they scream for new gun control laws the more guns walk off the shelves at gun stores,” said Alan Gottlieb, the head of the Second Amendment Foundation. “To quote the lyrics of Peter, Paul and Mary, ‘When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn.’”
This will never, ever happen. Long before they can achieved their goal, America will be convulsed with its third bloody civil war. And who will be responsible for that war? Obama, the Clintons, and the racists — folks like Eric Holder — they have brought into the national government to destroy the nation’s liberty and history and to build a tyranny.
The terms “turning point” or “sea change” are misused so often in these days that they have become nearly meaningless. But the effective negation of the 2nd Amendment via the use of the rank tyranny of executive power by either Obama or Hillary Clinton — if she can serve as president from jail — may just be the break point.
Quite simply, only a well-armed citizenry can install the mandatory caution, worry, and fear for their lives in the governing elite, men and women who seem to want other Americans not as equals and countrymen, but as laboratory animals on which they can conduct their social, medical, economic, educational, and multicultural experiments.
On September 29, Breitbart News reported on a Quinnipiac University poll showing that the majority of American voters oppose more gun control—and this opposition includes roughly 3 out of 4 Republican voters and 49 percent of Independent voters.
Yet amid all this opposition to more gun laws, the poll clearly indicated that Americans have yet to grasp that background checks are gun control’s Trojan Horse.
The Quinnipiac poll shows Republicans reject more gun control by a margin of 73 percent to 23 percent and Independents reject it by a margin of 49 percent to 45 percent. And when demographics were viewed along racial lines, whites opposed more gun control by a margin of 52 percent to 43 percent, while blacks and Hispanics kept with previous polls and supported gun control.
But any congruent line of thought ended when Quinnipiac asked about “requiring background checks for all gun buyers.” At that point, 90 percent of the Republicans who were overwhelmingly opposed to gun control said they supported such checks, 92 of Independents also supported the checks, as did 93 percent of whites. This is proof positive that many American voters who staunchly oppose gun control have not yet come to understand that expanded background checks are gun control’s Trojan Horse.
When gun control advocates like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Governor Terry McAuliffe (D), or Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly call for expanding background checks, they are saying that private gun sales out to be outlawed and that every gun sale—retail or private—should be required to take place under the oversight of the government. Giffords and Kelly are fond of telling Americans that this will make us safer, while Manchin and McAuliffe tell us it is just “common sense.” Ironically, none of these gun control advocates tell us the most important thing—namely, that background checks do not prevent public attackers from acquiring guns with which to kills innocents.
Perhaps the greatest bit of overlooked hypocrisy in the background check push is the fact that Gabby Giffords’s attacker—Jared Loughner—passed a background check for the very gun he used to attack her. Another example of hypocrisy on this issue was Governor McAuliffe’s call for background check legislation after Vester Lee Flangan shot and killed a television reporter and cameraman on air on August 26. The hypocrisy in McAuliffe’s actions rested in the fact that Flanagan passed a background check for the gun he used to commit his heinous crime.
But the greatest example of hypocrisy to date regarding background checks came from Senator Manchin, who traded his pro-gun campaign promises for the approval of President Obama and Michael Bloomberg in the wake of the attack on Sandy Hook Elementary. Manchin pushed expanded background checks as a remedy to the heinous attack. He touted them at press conferences, on Sunday morning news shows, and during weekly appearances on various cable networks. Then, just three days before the Senate vote on expanding background checks was to be held, Manchin admitted that his background check bill would not have stopped the Sandy Hook tragedy from happening.
And this gets to the root of what the American voter needs to understand. Background checks to not deliver on promises made when they were implemented for retail sales, so there is no rational reason to believe expanding the number of checks that take place will make any difference. What such expansion will do is further the progress of the gun control advocates by providing them with a cornerstone around which they can build and upon which they can erect more and more gun controls by assuring us that a little tweaking here and a little tinkering there is necessary to make expanded background checks work just right.
One of these tweaks will be a national gun registry. Breitbart News previously reported that such a registry is necessary to the enforcement of expanded background checks. Without it, how can the government know who is selling a gun and when or to whom? Other possible tweaks could be limits on the number of guns Americans are allowed to buy within a given time frame. One gun per month limits have been popular with progressive governors and legislatures throughout history. And gun storage laws with unannounced police visits to verify how every gun registered is being stored would be a very logical tweak once gun control enters American life via the Trojan Horse that is background checks.
The American voter has to be lucid enough to understand that when people are pushing background checks based on crimes committed by people that passed background checks—Flanagan’s attack in Virginia, Loughner’s attack on Gabby Giffords—then background checks might not really be the end goal. The goal might actually be something larger, something which cannot be accomplished without first getting a foot in the door via background checks.
WASHINGTON — Renewed calls for more restrictive gun laws, following a succession of fatal shootings in the United States, immediately appear to be generating a boost for the gun industry.
Newly released August records show that the FBI posted 1.7 million background checks required of gun purchasers at federally licensed dealers, the highest number recorded in any August since gun checks began in 1998. The numbers follow new monthly highs for June (1.5 million) and July (1.6 million), a period which spans a series of deadly gun attacks — from Charleston to Roanoke — and proposals for additional firearm legislation.
While the FBI does not track actual gun sales, as multiple firearms can be included in a transaction by a single buyer, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System’s numbers are an indicator of a market upswing in the face of growing anxiety about access to guns.
“Whenever there is a call for gun control, sales increase,” said Larry Keane, general counsel for the firearm industry trade association National Shooting Sports Foundation. “Unfortunately, this is a pattern that repeats itself.”
The summer trend is not on par with the panic buying boom that followed the 2012 Newtown massacre, which jump-started state and federal campaigns for a host of new firearm measures. During the months that followed the Connecticut attack, which featured new calls for an assault weapons ban and expanded background checks, apprehensive gun buyers emptied the shelves of dealers across the country. Yet, the recent uptick represents a similar buying pattern that dates to the uneasy period before 1994 adoption of the assault weapons ban. (That ban expired in 2004.)
Virginia Del. Patrick Hope, a Democratic member of the state Assembly who proposed an expansion of background checks following last month’s shooting deaths of two journalists near Roanoke, said the stockpiling of weapons represented an “over-reaction.”
“We’re not at all threatening any one’s ability to get a gun,” Hope said. “What we’re talking about here is common sense legislation. I don’t think any one is threatened by background checks.”
In the recent Virginia shootings, an attack carried out on live television, gunman Vester Flanagan passed a background check prior to last month’s purchase of two Glock handguns, including the weapon used in the Aug. 26 assault in which reporter Alison Parker, 24, and Adam Ward, 27, were killed. A third person, a local chamber of commerce official, was wounded. Flanagan later used one of the weapons to kill himself.
Hope said his expanded background check proposal, supported by a petition containing 28,000 signatures, is aimed at the unchecked market of private firearm transactions, mostly over the Internet and at gun shows, that account for about 40% of firearm sales.
“I chose background checks, not because it would have prevented (the Virginia shooting) but because this would be easiest to pass,” Hope said. “We will not be able to prevent every single incident. We need to do something.”
But Keane said the legislative proposals commonly offered in the emotional wake of fatal shootings often do not account for specific circumstances leading up to the attacks.
“These things are being offered up before the person is even arrested or before (investigators) even know what happened,” Keane said. “For people concerned about their Second Amendment rights, the concern never goes away.”
Keane said the gun purchases prompted by calls for new restrictions are “certainly legitimate to the person exercising their fundamental civil liberties protected by the Second Amendment.”
“The concern that anti-gun politicians are seeking to infringe and restrict the right to keep and bear arms is very real and well-founded,” he said.
Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said there is risk during periods of increased sales when all purchases are not covered by background checks.
“When gun sales rise, more and more weapons find a set of dangerous hands to call home,” Gross said. “There are people in this country, people like felons, fugitives, and domestic abusers who we all agree simply should not have guns.”
On July 24, the day after John Russell Houser allegedly used a handgun to kill two people in Lafayette, Louisiana, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley called on Congress to ban “the sale of assault weapons” and “[establish] a national gun registry.”
He also said it is time to “[increase] inspections” on gun shops and mandate that gun owners lock up their guns in their homes.
Writing in The Boston Globe, O’Malley boasted of the gun controls he was able to pass while Governor:
In Maryland, we implemented some of the toughest measures in the nation to crack down on gun violence. The reforms we put in place included required licensing, fingerprinting, background checks, and safety training. We ensured that these requirements applied to all buyers, whether they were acquiring a gun from a dealer, a secondary sale, or as a private gift.
We took action to keep guns off the street and make them less deadly. We banned the sale of assault weapons and limited the size of magazines. And, if a firearm was lost or stolen, we required it to be reported immediately to law enforcement.
What a list: license requirements for firearm owners, mandated training, background checks, bans on assault weapons, and a ban on “high capacity” ammunition magazines.
O’Malley then suggested that the goals of Maryland at the time — when gun control was enacted — and the goals of the United States now should be one and the same.
Well, let’s see. How has gun control worked out for Marylanders? According to USA Today, not well. They report there were “43 homicides” in May of this year alone and a total of “116 homicides” in Baltimore through the first five months of the year.
To hedge his bets O’Malley points away from Maryland, pointing instead to the nation as a whole and claims there were 204 mass shootings “during the first 204 days of 2015.” That is a mass shooting a day.
How can Democrats claim a mass shooting a day? They list any shooting incident where at least two people are killed as a mass shooting. Thus, Adam Lanza’s heinous Sandy Hook attack, killing 26, was a mass shooting and Nidal Hasan’s 2009 Fort Hood attack, killing 13, was a mass shooting and John Russell Houser’s alleged July 23 attack on a Lafayette theater, killing two, was a mass shooting as well.
On January 5, 2014, Breitbart News reported that MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence’s Len Everett talked of how “mass shootings” are increasing every day. They also revealed that their new criteria for a mass shooting would be any shooting where two or more people were killed.