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Nebraska is 40th state to enact Shall Issue licenses for defensive handgun carrying:

Yesterday the Nebraska legislature defeated a filibuster, and passed a Shall Issue law for licensing the carrying of concealed handguns by adults who pass a background check and a safety class. Nebraska's governor has said he will sign the bill into law.

The law does not preempt Omaha's ban on concealed carry; in this regard, the Nebraska law is like Pennsylvania's 1989 Shall Issue law, which allowed Philadelphia to refuse to issue permits to qualified citizens. Later, the statewide success of the Pennsylvania law convinced the legislature to eliminate the Philadelphia loophole. Omaha's loophole will probably be eliminated sometime within a decade.

Here is the nationwide status of the law regarding carrying of concealed handguns for lawful defense:

40 states generally allow such carrying:

No permit needed. 2 states do not require a permit for any adult who is legally allowed to possess a firearm. These are Alaska and Vermont. These states will issue a permit, however, upon application. (See discussion of "reciprocity," below, for why a person would want a permit.)

"Do Issue." 3 states have statutes which reserve some discretion to the issuing law enforcement agency. These are Alabama, Connecticut, and Iowa. In these states, local law enforcement will generally issue a permit to the same kinds of persons who would qualify for a permit in a Shall Issue state.

"Shall Issue." 35 states, including all states not listed elsewhere. Nebraska (this week) and Kansas (last week) are the most recent states to join this list.

10 states generally do not allow such carrying.

"No Issue." Illinois and Wisconsin have no process for issuing concealed carry permits. Illinois allows certain persons (e.g., law enforcement, security guards) to carry without a permit. By a decision of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, no permit is needed for concealed carry in one's home or place of business. (See my Albany Law Review article for discussion of the Wisconsin and Rhode Island cases.)

"Capricious Issue." 8 coastal states give local law enforcement almost unlimited discretion to issue permits, and permits are rarely issued in most jurisdictions, except to celebrities or other influentials. These states are Hawaii, California, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.

The future:

The Wisconsin legislature has twice come within one or two votes of over-riding the Governor's veto of a Shall Issue law. In every state where Shall Issue laws have been blocked by a veto, a Shall Issue law has eventually been enacted. It seems reasonable to predict that Wisconsin will one day become a Shall Issue state.

Rhode Island actually has a Shall Issue law (for issuance by local law enforcement) and a Capricious Issue law (for issue by the Attorney General). The Attorney General has succeeded, at least temporarily, in stifling the local Shall Issue system, but a decision of the Rhode Island Supreme Court suggests that this state of affairs is untenable. All that is necessary to implement Shall Issue in Rhode Island is a new Attorney General with a different attitude, or the proper legal challenge. Rhode Island too seems a likely candidate to become a Shall Issue state.

The Delaware legislature is currently considering a Shall Issue law, and proponents seem optimistic. I suggest that Delaware's politics are, on the whole, more similar to the normal pattern of the 40 issuing states than to the 9 other hold-outs. I expect Delaware to enact a Shall Issue law, perhaps this year, or within the next several years. (UPDATE: The bill has passed one committee, and has enough co-sponsors to pass both houses; the Governor has not yet taken a position. As with Wisconsin, the existence of majority support in both houses makes Shall Issue a near-certainty to become law sooner or later.)

Of the remaining seven hold-outs, three states (New York, Illinois, and California) have previously passed a Shall Issue bill through a single house of the legislature. The passage suggests that Shall Issue, although hardly easy to enact into law, might be accomplished. In all seven of the final hold-out states, it would appear almost impossible to pass a Shall Issue law by a wide enough margin to over-ride a veto.

The pattern in almost all the states with Shall Issue laws has gone something like this: Initial discussions follow a predictable pattern, with proponents promising reductions in the crime rate, and opponents warning of Wild West shootouts. John Lott is discussed, pro and con, in infinite detail.

Over time, the personal testimony of female Shall Issue advocates sways some legislators. Other legislators, looking at the experience of other states, conclude that Shall Issue is, at the least, harmless; the lurid and sweeping predictions of opponents have not come true anywhere. The more states that enact Shall Issue laws, the more that legislators in a hold-out states become open to the idea that Shall Issue is not dangerous. Ohio, Minnesota, and Michigan are examples of states which are not considered strongly pro-gun, and whose enactment of Shall Issue legislation was possible only because so many other states had acted previously. As the number of Shall Issue states rises, so does the possibility of enacting Shall Issue in the dwindling number of hold-outs.

As momentum builds in a given state, the bill eventually attracts the support of all or almost all Republican legislators, and of almost all Democrats with a C rating or higher from the National Rifle Association. Many of the swing votes (the C-rated legislators, who say that they are pro-Second Amendment, but who often vote for gun control laws) are attracted by the objective standards of the Shall Issue system--which, unlike the Capricious Issue system--forbids gun carrying in certain places (e.g., hospitals), sets objective standards about who may not receive a permit (persons with various disqualifying conditions), and (in most states) requires a specific amount of firearms safety training.

Interestingly, Congress passed the Brady Bill 5-government-working-day waiting period for handgun purchases when there were only 22 states that had any kind of waiting period (and in many of those states, the wait was shorter than the Brady wait). As the number of states which regularly issue carry permits climbs into the 40s, the correlation of forces in Congress in favor of a national carry law also increases.

Brady passed in part because it was a "free" vote for some legislators. A legislator from, say, California, who usually but not always supported gun-owners could vote for Brady (earning praise from most of the media) while at the same time doing nothing that interfered directly with the gun purchase rights of his own constituents (since California already had a 15 day waiting period).

Conversely, a legislator from, say, Ohio, who usually but not always supports gun control, can now cast a "free" vote for a national carry law; he can curry some favor with pro-gun interests, while doing nothing to weaken the gun controls in effect in Ohio (which already has a Shall Issue law).

I am not arguing for or against the merits of a national Shall Issue law—merely commenting on the political realities.

For many decades, every state has recognized driver's licenses issued by any other states. For concealed handgun licenses, the trend is clearly in that direction. As detailed by packing.org, today a permit issued by one state can be used in 28 states, through the principle of "reciprocity." The new Kansas law will have reciprocity, while the Nebraska law does not. (Often, states with no reciprocity or weak reciprocity add a broader reciprocity provision several years after the enactment of the Shall Issue law.) A number of other states (e.g., Maine, N.H., Conn., Washington, Nevada), although having no reciprocity or limited reciprocity, issue their own permits to non-residents. (Nevada, however, requires that the training be conducted in Nevada.)

The continuing expansion of reciprocity also adds strength to the movement towards a federal Shall Issue law.

Significantly, Congress has also created the precedent, by enacting legislation which allows police officers and retired police from any state, after following certain procedures, to carry firearms in all fifty states.

In addition, I suggest that one day within the next 20 years, Congress and the President will decide that it is anomolous that residents of the District of Columbia are denied the defensive handgun carry rights which are enjoyed by the residents of all (or nearly all) 50 states; Congress will use its authority to legislate for the District of Columbia and will enact a Shall Issue system for residents of the District.

The modern trends towards Shall Issue was started when Florida became a Shall Issue state in 1988; previous Shall Issue bills had been vetoed by Governor Graham, but Governor Martinez signed the bill. The bill was the project of Marion Hammer, the head of Unified Sportsmen of Florida, who later served as President of the National Rifle Association. A few states (such as Washington and the Dakotas) already had Shall Issue laws, but the Florida law was the one that began a national movement.

Hammer was also the prime mover of the NRA's Eddie Eagle gun safety program, in which a costumed character (similar to Smokey the Bear) teaches young children that they should only be around guns if there is a responsible adult present; if a children find an unattended gun, they should "Stop! Don't touch! Leave the area! Tell an adult!" The Eddie Eagle program has now been taught to millions of children nationwide.

Hammer's latest Florida success is Stand Your Ground legislation, affirming that victims of a violent felony do not need to retreat (even in a public area) before using forceful self-defense. As with Shall Issue, there are already some states, such as Utah, with strong protections of self-defense rights, but the 2005 Florida law may begin a national trend in which, every year, a few more states enact Stand Your Ground laws. Indiana and South Dakota enacted Stand Your Ground laws this year, and Georgia and Alabama may also do so soon.

UPDATE: Mississippi enacted Stand Your Ground (a/k/a "Castle Doctrine") this week; the bill applies to homes, cars, and one's place of business (and thus is weaker than the Florida model, just as some states have Shall Issue laws which are more restrictive than the Florida model).

the real Eric:
His truth is marching on....
4.1.2006 2:25am
jgshapiro (mail):
Maybe we'll get lucky and the trend will reverse.

Unfortunately, this is only likely to happen once some gun nut from a shall issue state rips up a shopping mall or a school and is found to have been legally issued a permit. Then the bubble states will switch back to no issue or what Kopel calls "capricious issue" (or what calmer minds might call careful issue).

I particularly like the reference to "defensive handgun carry rights." God, Orwell was a genius. Of course, such rights are "defensive" and not "offensive" only when the barrel is not pointed at you.
4.1.2006 2:42am
PersonFromPorlock:
jgshapiro:

So, you can't be trusted with a pistol?

Oh, did you think the gun-controllers were talking about somebody else?
4.1.2006 3:22am
jgshapiro (mail):
No, I can't be trusted with a pistol. But apparently I have a right to pack one anyway.

I suppose you had better hope you draw faster than me. ;-)
4.1.2006 4:02am
Fern:
Why isn't the loophole which allows some of the citizens of the state to be treated differently than others a violation of the Equal Protection Clause? Wasn't there a case out of Illinois where their highest court said that a city ordinance which forbade carrying a concealed weapon when the rest of the state was allowed to do so violated the EP Clause?
4.1.2006 5:48am
btorrez (mail):
Fern: I am no expert on the law, but live in Illinois and we have no concealed carry law here, so you must be thinking of a situation in another state. Several Illinois cities, Morton Grove and Chicago, amoung them, have banned private possession of hand guns, no doubt delighting the jgshapiros of the world.
4.1.2006 8:31am
Publicola (mail) (www):
Mr. Kopel,
First of all let me say that anytime you'd wish to get together to discuss the following over a drink ro twelve or a day at the range just let me know.

The problem I have with this trend is that "shall Issue" CCw is still a procedure where in order to excercise a Right one must pay a bribe, jump through certain hoops &beg for permission. In addition it's a very practical form of gun owner registration.

There were some plausible arguments that Nebraska's constitution included carrying concealed in its Right to arms provision, &I'd argue with anyone who cares to that a "national CCW law" is unnecessary because the 2nd amendment is inclusive of concealed or open carry. Pragmatically Colorado's "May Issue" law was more lenient on gun owners than the current "Shall Issue" law &I expect this could be the case in a few other places. So I think the NRA &various others who push &promote "Shall Issue" laws are doing gunowners a disservice. They're introducing a program of gun owner registration &conditional excercise of a Right when they should be pushing for the free excercise of said Right without any prerequisites, bribes or groveling. But then again I've never been one to claim the NRA was actually pro-gun (I find they support way too much gun control for my tastes).

So with the above in mind, why didn't you include any predictions or analysis on what is or could be done to have permitless concealed carry recognized in one or all of the states? Do you think that politically it's out of reach entirely within the next decade or two, or do you feel comfortable with such gun control measures such as "shall issue" ccw?

jgshapiro,
You've hit it exactly - offensive &defensive are terms that can describe the same action but under different circumstances &/or with different intent. But what I'm not sure you grasp is that because one person uses something one way that everyone else, or a significant portion of everyone else, is bound to use it in the exact same manner. Hence we must not judge the tool, or even that a person carries a tool, but how it is used.

What I believe you advocate is prior restraint based upon your understanding of the uses, or possible uses of a certain tool. I'm sure folks here could point out that the number of positive uses of that tool far outweigh the number of negative uses, but I don't think that would be swaying to you.

I simply ask you this; because you do not trust yourself to possess or carry a certain tool then why do you project that mistrust onto me? &(assuming you were king for a day or so) what levels of violence do you think are acceptable to prevent me from merely carrying said tool?


[DK: I hope to take you up on the drinks offer sometime this summer. I'm not unsympathetic to your broad reading of the 2d Amendment and its state analogues, but it's not realistic to expect contemporary judges to read it the same way. Shall Issue results in more practical ability to exercise the right than does theoretical wishing for maximal judicial enforcement of RKBA provisions. I think Colorado's Shall Issue is a vast improvement over the May Issue situation of the previous decade; the application forms in many jurisdictions were much more intrusive than the current state form, and I think it's very important Denver residents have the ability to carry -- not only for their personal protection, but also for the long-term influence on Colorado's cultural attitudes about guns. I don't have a strong sense about states being able to shift from Shall Issue to no-license carry. Alaska is an unusual state politically; about 90% of the population has a favorable attitude towards the NRA (and I bet that a bunch of the remaining 10% are folks like you who think the NRA is too soft). I think the most realistic prospects for expanding no-license carry are to push for various zones (e.g., one's own business premises, automobiles, rural areas) where a license would not be needed; there's a lot of state precedent for such zones already. In the Southeast, for example, there is a very strong tradition of no-license automobile carry, but I think that enacting no-license carry even in the Deep South would be almost impossible.]
4.1.2006 8:45am
Frank Drackmann (mail):
Most States don't allow you to carry your pistol into a bar or nightclub, or if you've been drinking, when you really need the gun.
4.1.2006 8:48am
PersonFromPorlock:
JG: No, I can't be trusted with a pistol.

Well, in that case you probably can't be trusted with a vote, either. Votes are really dangerous weapons.
4.1.2006 8:56am
Guest44 (mail):
jgshapiro -

If 0.1% of the general population ends up commiting a violent crime using a gun, and 0.001% of people with a concealed carry permit commit the crime with their gun, what lesson would you draw?


The truth is that people who have permits are far, far less likely to use guns criminally than people who don't. What you're asking for is to take the guns away from a population that is more law-abiding than everyone else.
4.1.2006 10:35am
Robert Racansky:
Well, in that case you probably can't be trusted with a vote, either. Votes are really dangerous weapons.

Make the requirements to vote the same as to own a gun.

Simply go to the polling place, fill out a Form 4473, show your ID, and the poll worker will check with the FBI database to make sure that you're not prohibited from voting. If everything is working correctly, you will be allowed to vote in a few minutes.

If the GCA/Brady system doesn't violate the rights of gun owners, then what possible objection could there be to implementing the same system for voting?
4.1.2006 10:37am
Nick Mumford (mail):
My knowledge of constitutional law is poor. What is the authority for any state regulation of guns given the 2nd and 14th amendments?
4.1.2006 10:49am
Christopher A. George:
jgshaprio,
Someone who is bent on shooting up a mall, etc. is going to do so regardless of laws. What state do you live in? Does it allow concealed carry? When was the last time a licensed carrier went on a shooting rampage?
If you don't want to carry a gun, fine. The people that do legally aren't a threat to you. But if you think they are, maybe you should move to Washington D.C. There, you can rest assured the only people with guns are the police and criminals. Kinda makes you feel all safe and secure doesn't it?
C.A.G.
4.1.2006 10:50am
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
If the GCA/Brady system doesn't violate the rights of gun owners, then what possible objection could there be to implementing the same system for voting?


Good question, anyone have an answer beyond "guns are icky"?
4.1.2006 11:03am
Gump:
Why oh why do I still live in Maryland?
4.1.2006 12:33pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
Good question, anyone have an answer beyond "guns are icky"?

Other than an irrational fear of crime, what possible reason is there for issuing concealed carry permit to ordinary citizens. Despite the the predominance of handguns in this society and lax gun laws, there is absolutely no correlation between an armed citizenry and lower crime rates or lower victimization rates.

Like you gun nuts say, Guns don't kill people, people do. And if you are so paranoid people around you and society that you are afraid to leave the house without a firearm, then I am afraid of you, because you are not a rational person. You are likely to inflate a non-threatening situation into a threat to your life or property and increase the likelyhood that a simple misunderstanding will turn into a "justifiable" homicide. If you are so afraid of your shadow, my advice is stay home and hide under your kitchen table.
4.1.2006 1:01pm
jgshapiro (mail):
I simply ask you this; because you do not trust yourself to possess or carry a certain tool then why do you project that mistrust onto me? &(assuming you were king for a day or so) what levels of violence do you think are acceptable to prevent me from merely carrying said tool?

Well, I was being facetious.

But to take the larger point, you have to look not just at the percentage of gun-related violence, but also the magnitude of the harm. Almost all murders are gun-related. If they were axe-related, I would say regulate and/or register axes, even though most people could probably be trusted to use their axe just to chop wood.

I don't support banning gun ownership outright, though it does not surprise me that advocates of gun rights quickly jump from the proposition that you favor any gun regulation to the assumption that you must favor all gun regulation or prohibition. (For the record, I don't support prohibition of axes, either.) Nor are my views about guns based on a feeling that "guns are icky." As someone said above in a related Kopel thread, "Only on the subject of gun control have I ever seen the brain switch off so quickly."

The argument that if guns were banned people would just switch to axes (or another weapon - choose your poison) and commit the same crime ignores reality - the reality of how easy it is to engage in violence with a gun (because of how easy it is to shoot a gun and because the recipient cannot really defend themselves against a speeding bullet), the reality that almost all crimes involving guns are going to result in serious injury or death, and the reality that other weapons have been around forever and the amount of non-gun-related violence is negligible.

The argument that if guns were regulated, criminals would still use them ignores the fact that they would be much harder to get, as would ammunition. Not every criminal is a repeat offender who would be stopped from purchasing at the background check; some are first time offenders. Some would-be criminals are just hotheads who would never commit the crime if forced to sit through a waiting period and chill out. And not every criminal has access to an underground arsenal of weapons. (Moreover, it is virtually impossible to go after underground weapons when there is no registration and you have such things as the gun-show exemption.)

There is also the observation that we are really the only nation with virtually unrestricted citizen gun ownership among Western nations, and also the nation with by far the highest homocide rate. Yes correlation does not prove causation, but what other factor(s) could account for this?

We all essentially watch the same television and movies, because these days, everyone watches American popular culture, so that can't be it. We go to church more than almost any other country, so it can't be the absence of religion or moral values. Are we just genetically more predisposed to violence than other people? Or could there be a connection between the ease of obtaining lethal weapons here and the degree of violence in America?
4.1.2006 1:03pm
RobbL (mail):
David,
What is your opinion about cases where people use guns to defend themselves against the police, such as the Cory Maye case?


[DK: I think the Cory Maye case is outrageous. I was the first journalist to write about it in a major American newspaper (my media column in the Rocky Mountain News). The Maye case is another example of the police criminal violence and dishonesty that has been spawned by the Drug War. I discuss the problem in my book "No More Wacos," and in various articles and monographs here: http://www.davekopel.com/CJ.htm#Police. ]
4.1.2006 1:05pm
Pete the Streak (mail):
Freder Frederson: "Like you gun nuts say, Guns don't kill people, people do. And if you are so paranoid people around you and society that you are afraid to leave the house without a firearm, then I am afraid of you, because you are not a rational....blah, blah, blah..."

I get it. April Fools quote. Right?
4.1.2006 1:14pm
jgshapiro (mail):

What state do you live in? Does it allow concealed carry?

I live in California. No. We have lots of nuts here, both left and right wing, but somehow we have kept the gun nuts at bay. Maybe because the Republicans governors that get elected here - at least in the last 30 years - tend to be pretty mainstream (e.g., Deukmejian, Wilson, Ahhnold) and the Democratic governors tend to be pretty law and order too, despite their other failings (e.g., Davis). You have to go all the way back to Jerry Brown or Ronald Reagan to get to a governor that could not be described as fundamentally moderate (and Reagan was pretty moderate as governor; witness the abortion rights bill he signed into law).

If the GCA/Brady system doesn't violate the rights of gun owners, then what possible objection could there be to implementing the same system for voting

You cannot have democracy without voting. Voting is an essential precondition to a functioning democracy, which is why measures that would seem objectively reasonable (such as a literacy test) as a precondition to voting have nevertheless been banned, both because of the disparate impact they have and the message they send.

You can have democracy without private gun ownership. Most democracies do. Gun ownership is not a right that is essential to the concept of ordered liberty - which is why the 2nd Amendment has not been incorporated to apply to the states under the logic behind the 14th amendment incorporation decisions. So establishing preconditions to owning weapons (waiting periods, registration, one gun per month), the types of weapons that can be owned (a Glock vs. an Uzi, smart triggers) or to continued possession of them (safe storage, training) do not raise the same kinds of issues.

I'm curious as to the number of conservatives that (1) oppose a waiting period on purchasing guns, and (2) support a waiting period on obtaining an abortion. Seems like these are related issues: both are designed as cool-down periods, and both relate to rights that are deemed to be constitutional or fundamental.
4.1.2006 1:30pm
A.K.:
(Moreover, it is virtually impossible to go after underground weapons when there is no registration and you have such things as the gun-show exemption.)

There is no such thing as "gun show loophole" or "gun show exemption."

Laws and regulations regarding firearms sales are exactly the same in gun shows as they are anywhere else.

Or, at least they were until the rash of gun-show related laws in the late 1990s. Now, in many states, gun laws went from being exactly the same to more regulated at gun shows than anywhere else.

With all due respect, anyone who uses the "gun show loophole" argument has demonstrated a profound ignorance of the subject; not just a disagreeable opinion.

you have to look not just at the percentage of gun-related violence, but also the magnitude of the harm. Almost all murders are gun-related.

Given that most murders are committed by people whose skin happens to be darker than average, do you support racial profiling (as some people do "gun owner profiling")?

the reality that almost all crimes involving guns are going to result in serious injury or death

If I recall correctly , crimes involving guns are less likely to result in injury than use of another weapon. But when an injury does result, it's more likely to be extremely serious or fatal than with other weapons. (I don't have time to look up the details, although I will try to later. I think Gary Kleck also dealt with this in a few of his books. The basic premise is that victims are more likely to submit to robbers with guns, whereas robbers with knives are more likely to cause injury to get what they want.)
4.1.2006 1:34pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
I get it. April Fools quote. Right?

No, I'm dead serious. Anyone who carries a handgun just out of a generalized fear of crime must have some deep-seated insecurity and paranoia.
4.1.2006 1:35pm
big dirigible (mail) (www):
The gun in Cory Maye's possession was not a legal one. So a license requirement would have accomplished what, exactly?
4.1.2006 1:35pm
big dirigible (mail) (www):
"Anyone who carries a handgun just out of a generalized fear of crime must have some deep-seated insecurity and paranoia."

So those 500+ women who use a firearm every day in America to discourage a rape or sexual assault are really imagining it? Well that's comforting.
4.1.2006 1:40pm
JonC:
jgshapiro says:

The argument that if guns were banned people would just switch to axes (or another weapon - choose your poison) and commit the same crime ignores reality - the reality of how easy it is to engage in violence with a gun...

I don't think anyone on the pro-2nd Amendment side argues that if guns were banned people would switch to other weapons. Rather, the argument, which has a fair amount of statistical evidence supporting it, is that if guns were banned, criminals with an inclination to wield guns would simply go right ahead doing so anyway. Or do you think that the average gang-banger would suddenly become highly solicitious of the law in the wake of a gun ban?
4.1.2006 1:46pm
JonC:
jgshapiro goes on to say:

The argument that if guns were regulated, criminals would still use them ignores the fact that they would be much harder to get, as would ammunition.


Really? Marijuana is regulated. Ask your average 10th grader how much difficulty he has obtaining a dime bag. What makes you those who already traffick in guns illegally would have a harder time than they do now?
4.1.2006 1:50pm
Bizarro Freder Frederson (www):
Other than an irrational fear of crime, what possible reason is there for restricting concealed carry permit to ordinary citizens. Despite the the predominance of gun control laws in this society and various gun laws, there is absolutely no correlation between controlled citizenry and lower crime rates or lower victimization rates.



Like you gun control nuts say, people don't kill people, guns do. And if you are so paranoid people around you and society that you are afraid to leave the house without banning firearms, then I am afraid of you, because you are not a rational person. You are likely to inflate a non-threatening law abiding gun owner into a threat to your life or property and believe that they are just waiting for the opportunity to increase the likelyhood that a simple misunderstanding will turn into a "justifiable" homicide.. If you are so afraid of your shadow, my advice is stay home and hide under your kitchen table.



[Bizarro number .45: This am post deserving to have same color as harmless green kryptonite!!]
4.1.2006 1:54pm
jgshapiro (mail):

Given that most murders are committed by people whose skin happens to be darker than average, do you support racial profiling (as some people do "gun owner profiling")?

No. As with voting, I think the societal costs of racial profiling outweigh the benefits, though I concede there are benefits. But I don't think the same is true of gun control laws. The benefits there outweigh the costs.

BTW, most murder victims are also people whose skin happens to be darker than average and people who happen to be poor. So to the extent that gun control laws decrease gun violence - and I submit that this 'extent' is a significant amount - they will disproportionately benefit the poor and racial minorities.


If I recall correctly , crimes involving guns are less likely to result in injury than use of another weapon. But when an injury does result, it's more likely to be extremely serious or fatal than with other weapons.

The basic premise is that victims are more likely to submit to robbers with guns, whereas robbers with knives are more likely to cause injury to get what they want

Assuming you are correct, your data supports my point. Wouldn't you rather be injured than seriously injured or killed? And isn't the reason that injury is more likely to flow from non-gun-related crimes that people tend not to resist gun-related crimes because they recognize that they are likely to be seriously injured or killed if they do?

Think about it. A guy points a gun at you and demands your money. Unless you are an idiot, you give it to him. You aren't going to be able to take the gun away before he shoots you and you can't outrun a bullet. But the same guy waves a knife at you and you may not react the same way. You might disarm him before he cuts or stabs you. You might run faster than him. Even if you don't subdue him or get away before he injures you, how many times is he going to be able to come at you before you can get close enough to him to subdue him, or before you can get away?

Logic also tells you that you are less likely to see a crime committed by someone with a knife/axe/baseball bat than someone with a gun, because the latter is almost certainly going to succeed in his crime and not get hurt in the process, while the former may not succeed and may get hurt very badly or arrested. Therefore, to the extent that you can keep a gun out of the robber's hands at the societal level, you will also deter violent crime at that level.
4.1.2006 2:02pm
SayUncle (mail) (www):
jgshapiro:

Did you really just intimate that maybe we'll get lucky and someone will go on a shooting rampage? I'm glad you're on the other side, you're just their type.
4.1.2006 2:03pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
So those 500+ women who use a firearm every day in America to discourage a rape or sexual assault are really imagining it? Well that's comforting.

Well, most of them yes, as are most of the supposed "defensive" uses of firearms and those wonderful and exaggerated, and rarely verifiable, "armed citizen" stories found in NRA publications.
4.1.2006 2:11pm
jgshapiro (mail):

Marijuana is regulated. Ask your average 10th grader how much difficulty he has obtaining a dime bag. What makes you those who already traffick in guns illegally would have a harder time than they do now?

Marijuana is regulated, but these laws are not that strictly enforced, in favor of laws targeting more serious drugs. Even so, I submit it would be a hell of a lot easier for the same 10th grader to get pot if it was entirely unregulated. For example, it is easier and cheaper for him to get alcohol than pot, if only because he can get his friend to walk into the local store and buy it for him legally.

If guns were registered, it would be easier to track guns in crime and solve gun-related crimes than it is today. If the cool-down period were reinstated, you would prevent many (not all) heat-of-the-moment gun crimes. With safe storage and smart trigger laws, you would see many fewer injuries and deaths to kids who find guns around the house. With the one-gun-a month law, you would put a serious dent in the ability of people to quickly build an arsenal or to illegally traffic in guns.

All of these restrictions would allow law-abiding gun owners to own guns, but take common sense approaches to reducing gun-related crime and accidents. Why the hangup over reasonable restrictions? No one here is arguing for prohibition of ownership or confiscation.
4.1.2006 2:14pm
SayUncle (mail) (www):
Well, most of them yes, as are most of the supposed "defensive" uses of firearms and those wonderful and exaggerated, and rarely verifiable, "armed citizen" stories found in NRA publications.


Or, you know, in the press. And, of course, that such uses go unreported unless someone gets shot.
4.1.2006 2:16pm
jgshapiro (mail):
SayUncle:

If you want to engage in intelligent debate, you should learn some basic reading comprehension skills first.

The post said that maybe we would get lucky and the trend [Kopel talks about toward more 'shall issue' states] would reverse. Unfortunately, that would probably happen only after another gun-related tragedy.
4.1.2006 2:18pm
Robert Racansky:
You cannot have democracy without voting. Voting is an essential precondition to a functioning democracy, which is why measures that would seem objectively reasonable (such as a literacy test) as a precondition to voting have nevertheless been banned, both because of the disparate impact they have and the message they send.

There are preconditions to voting: age, residency, non-felon status, "one vote per election," not being dead (except in Illinois and Missouri), etc.

It is in the interest of legitimate voters, and democracy (or republicanism, if you prefer) in general, to minimize voter fraud. Having somebody's vote nullified due to fraud is as great an injustice as somebody being denied their right to vote.

In what way would a "voter instant-check" deny somebody the right to vote? It is not a poll tax. It is not a literacy test. It is simply a measure to verify the identity and eligibility of a voter before proceeding with the transaction. It is the same "common sense" and "reasonable" system that gun-control proponents claim prevents prohibited person from buying guns without denying the rights of the law abiding.
4.1.2006 2:20pm
jgshapiro (mail):

Rather, the argument, which has a fair amount of statistical evidence supporting it, is that if guns were banned, criminals with an inclination to wield guns would simply go right ahead doing so anyway. Or do you think that the average gang-banger would suddenly become highly solicitious of the law in the wake of a gun ban?

First of all, this argument ignores the fact that it would be more difficult for that criminal to get a gun. Not every criminal has unlimited access to an underground arsenal of weapons.

Second, if guns were registered, it would be easier to track them after the commission of a crime. So, you would have an easier time solving the crime, even if you could not prevent it. You might therefore prevent the next crime by the same criminal, by apprehending him after the first one.

Third, not all gun-related violence comes from criminals or gang-bangers with easy access to underground weapons. Some of it comes from what you might call 'amateur' criminals, who don't have access to underground arsenals. Some of it comes from people who just get pissed off at someone and decide to settle the score with a gun instead of their fists. Or maybe they just brandish a weapon to threaten someone, and the situation gets out of hand.

I don't pretend that reasonable gun control restrictions will end all gun-related violence or all violent crime, only that they will make a significant dent. That is enough for me.

"Never let the perfect be the enemy of the good."
4.1.2006 2:29pm
jgshapiro (mail):
Robert Racansky:

I don't want to get off on a voting rights tangent here. I'm simply saying that the comparison between restrictions on voting and restrictions on gun ownership does not wash. Nevertheless, I don't have a problem with a voter instant-check, nor do I have a problem with a 30-day voter registration requirement to allow time necessary to check out a voter's qualifications and to prevent voter fraud.

BTW, in response to the poster who originally made the comparison, you can do a lot more harm with a single gun than a single vote. How many elections have been decided by one vote? How many people have been killed by one gun?
4.1.2006 2:36pm
Fishbane (mail):
Marijuana is regulated, but these laws are not that strictly enforced, in favor of laws targeting more serious drugs.

?!? You have to be kidding.

Meth is a bit of a trend at the moment, but the war on pot in this country has been a constant because (a) marijuana is a cultural icon in this country, (b) mostly harmless, (c) and exremely popular, thus providing a lot of low-hanging fruit to drug warriors who need to make thier numbers.
4.1.2006 3:22pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
Or, you know, in the press. And, of course, that such uses go unreported unless someone gets shot.

You know, it really doesn't help your point when you send me to a web site that, when read with my skeptical eye, lends credence to my argument. I especially liked the first one--it tellingly neglected to mention who started the altercation by ramming his car into the other, the guy with the gun or the guy with the bat. And also the tale of the guy who recklessly fired his gun blindly into the night in a resedential neighborhood after someone shot out his windows with a bb gun. He's a real responsible gun owner.
4.1.2006 3:33pm
Strophyx:
Anyone who carries a handgun just out of a generalized fear of crime must have some deep-seated insecurity and paranoia.
This applies with equal validity to people who purchase fire insurance and auto beyond the minimum required by law. I must be a complete basket case, since I've also got a couple of fire extinguishers around my house, a first aid kit in my car and take the trouble to be certified in first aid and CPR.
By the way, what psychological label do you apply to someone whose response to a generalized fear or threat is to sit back and do nothing? Do you have some reason for believing that firearm ownership and concealed carry represents a specific threat to you, as opposed to other people (e.g., you've so antagonized your co-workers and neighbors with absurd comments about their alleged psychological problems that, if allowed to carry guns they'd probably kill you), or is your opposition simply motiviated by some deep-seated insecurity and paranoia?
4.1.2006 3:34pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
This applies with equal validity to people who purchase fire insurance and auto beyond the minimum required by law. I must be a complete basket case, since I've also got a couple of fire extinguishers around my house, a first aid kit in my car and take the trouble to be certified in first aid and CPR.

Uhh, no. All those things are reasonable precautions that are much more likely to be beneficial to you than carrying a handgun will ever be. I don't know what the profile is of the person who gets a concealed carry permit or regularly feels the need to carry a firearm, but I'm willing to bet that his or her chance of being the victim of a violent crime, where the possession of that firearm will actually do him the least bit of good, is infintesimal compared to the very real risk of a house fire or car accident.

Furthermore, that if we spent a tenth of the time, money and effort in this country spreading the proven crime reduction programs that the NRA does on fighting every conceivable gun control law, we would see real reductions in crime, not some false sense of security you get from keeping a gun on your person or in your home.
4.1.2006 3:47pm
Haggard:
I wish it were true that Shall Issue "might be accomplished" in New York, but it will never happen. For years, the Republican-controlled senate has passed all sorts of gun-friendly legislation, knowing full well that the bills will never make it out of committee in the assembly. The assembly likewise regularly passes all sorts of anti-gun laws that they know will never see the light of day in the senate. It's a little game the politicians play to curry favor with their constituents.

New York ostensibly did away with machine politics in the 1960s. But in reality, the two majority leaders and the governor still decide ahead of time which laws will be enacted. Everything else is just for show. New Yorkers refer to it as "government by three men in a room".
4.1.2006 3:54pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
By the way, what psychological label do you apply to someone whose response to a generalized fear or threat is to sit back and do nothing?

The proper response to an irrational fear is to ignore it. If you are afraid of flying, it is hardly a rational response to drive everywhere, as that is more dangerous than flying. Likewise, it is completely irrational and irresponsible to carry a gun into a suburban shopping mall where your chances of being the victim of violent crime are about the same as being hit by lightning. You have unnecessarily introduced a deadly weapon into a situation where it is of no use and almost inconceivable that it will protect you from anything. Why not wear body armor, a kevlar helmet, and a big metal cup in case someone tries to kick you in the balls? Do you test your food at the food court for poison before you eat it? Someone might be trying to poison you. Heck, why conceal your gun, nobody will mess with you if you have a big .44 Magnum strapped to your leg. You probably don't do all those things because you're afraid you'll look foolish.
4.1.2006 4:01pm
SayUncle (mail) (www):

If you want to engage in intelligent debate, you should learn some basic reading comprehension skills first.


After reading your posts (particularly the first) i didn't figure you were capable of intelligent debate. Seems I was right.


You know, it really doesn't help your point when you send me to a web site that, ... responsible gun owner.


Irrelvant. You said such instances were generally only covered in NRA mags. The are not. Regarding the first incident, the press account mentioned who was arrested and it wasn't the guy with the gun.
4.1.2006 4:01pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
I wish it were true that Shall Issue "might be accomplished" in New York, but it will never happen.

Why should New York have shall-issue. Contrary to all you "more guns, less crime advocates" who love to rave about DC, New York City (and Chicago for that matter) have managed to lower their violent and gun crime rates to historical lows with some of the most draconian gun control laws in the country. New York has one of the lowest crime rates in the country and Chicago lowered its murder rate 25% in one year. That kind of shoots holes in all your theories, doesn't it (pun intended). In fact, the cities with the worst violent crime rates tend to be those in the states with the most lax gun laws (or like DC, surrounded by states with lax gun laws).
4.1.2006 4:07pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
Irrelvant. You said such instances were generally only covered in NRA mags.

Seems like you need to bone up on your reading comprehension as I never said any such thing.
4.1.2006 4:10pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
I'm always fascinated by people who try to make the case that people who have opposing positions are either psychologically damaged or insane. From a psychological perspective, attributing your opponent's position to mental problems is probably emotionally satisfying, but actually exhibits the psychological issues of the accuser.

A mirror is not a window to the mind.

To the person who stated that the US is the most violent nation in the world, I'm sure that you believe that and have not been given any contrary information by the "drive by media" but like all well known "facts," this one is just not so.

In terms of gross numbers of murders, The United States ranks sixth, below India, Russia, Columbia, South Africa and Mexico (Mexico?). In terms of murders per capita, the United States ranks 24th below such paragons of virtue as South Africa, Venezuela, Mexico (again), Russia and Costa Rica. To those who argue that the murder rate is influenced by gun laws, it should be noted that in most of these murderous countries, guns are forbidden to ordinary citizens, demonstrating the effectiveness of laws outlawing guns.

Why is it that a perfectly logical theory -- say, outlawing guns will reduce murders -- has, when subject to the real world, turn out not to be true? Could it be that something as complex as human nature is not subject to simple syllogisms?
4.1.2006 4:18pm
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
First of all, this argument ignores the fact that it would be more difficult for that criminal to get a gun. Not every criminal has unlimited access to an underground arsenal of weapons.

That doesn't follow. I don't have documentation, but I have heard other posters at this site state that illegal handguns purchased in the UK are close to the price of legally purchased guns here, indicating that they are not signficantly more difficult to obtain, even under total prohibition.

Illegal firearms trafficing is already a revenue stream for organized crime in this country. If prohibition were to occur this would only expand the market and increase its profitability. Therefore under prohibition it could be forseeably easier for criminals to obtain an illegally trafficed weapon.

Second, if guns were registered, it would be easier to track them after the commission of a crime. So, you would have an easier time solving the crime, even if you could not prevent it. You might therefore prevent the next crime by the same criminal, by apprehending him after the first one.

This doesn't necessarily follow either. If most crimes are committed with an illegally obtained firearm, registration does little to improve investigational efforts. The exception would be "straw" purchases.

Third, not all gun-related violence comes from criminals or gang-bangers with easy access to underground weapons. Some of it comes from what you might call 'amateur' criminals, who don't have access to underground arsenals. Some of it comes from people who just get pissed off at someone and decide to settle the score with a gun instead of their fists. Or maybe they just brandish a weapon to threaten someone, and the situation gets out of hand.

But the majority of gun crime still originates from illegally obtained guns, which would be unaffected or lightly effected by registration and unaffected or possibly expanded by prohibition.

Also, I believe you made the statement that because minority groups are most likely to be the victims of gun violence that prohibition would benefit them the most. That also doesn't necessarily follow. If they are the groups most likely to be victimized by illegally-obtained firearms, prohibition would have little effect, and in fact might increase their rate of victimization. This is in addition to putting them more directly exposed to illegally trafficked weapons, because they are more frequently exposed to organized crime in the form of street gangs.
4.1.2006 4:26pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
To the person who stated that the US is the most violent nation in the world,

I don't think anyone argued that. What they argued was that the U.S. was the most violent Western nation. If you compare this country to others with similar standards of living and per capita incomes that is certainly true, and by a wide margin.
4.1.2006 4:29pm
rightwingprof (mail) (www):
Indiana also passed a lifetime CHL law, and has been a shall issue carry state for seventy years.
4.1.2006 4:32pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
But the majority of gun crime still originates from illegally obtained guns, which would be unaffected or lightly effected by registration and unaffected or possibly expanded by prohibition.

This particular argument always makes me laugh. Where exactly do you think "illegally obtained guns" come from? They just don't appear out of thin air. They are obtained through straw purchases (the reason for implementing restrictions on the number of guns you can purchase) or stolen from law abiding citizens like you (even the NRA admits 90% of home invasions occur when the hous is unoccupied, so if you keep a gun in the house for self-defense, guess what, the burglar is going to steal it).
4.1.2006 4:34pm
Brett Cashman (mail):
You have things precisely backwards, Freder. In a free society, the operative question is not: What possible reason is there for allowing people to carry concealed weapons?

Rather, the operative question is: What possible reason is there to prohibit people from carrying concealed weapons?

I don't expect people to have a good reason before exercising their fundamental civil rights, and I'm sorry you're so desperately afraid of a society of free individuals.
4.1.2006 4:47pm
Harvey Mosley (mail):
So to the extent that gun control laws decrease gun violence - and I submit that this 'extent' is a significant amount


Do you have a source for that, or does it just "feel" right?
4.1.2006 4:54pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
On the contrary, someone stated that the United States was "…the nation with by far the highest homicide [not my spelling error] rate."

I have pointed out that is not true, even if you include the qualifier "Western."

You and others who equate our gun laws to our homicide rate are perpetrating another logical fallacy: "post hoc ergo propter hoc." One of the other primary determinants of the rate of violent crime is the makeup of a society. The fact is that if you are a white suburbanite in virtually any American community, you are as safe or safer than a resident of Finland. And you are undoubtedly safer than the residents of Paris right about now.

If you wish to attribute our crime problems to guns, feel free to continue in your opinion. If you believe that having the ability to defend myself -- an increasingly lethargic late middle aged male - and my home and family against intruders is a mental illness, take your attitude somewhere else. Snotty does not belong here.
4.1.2006 4:56pm
Dick Eagleson:
As the late Sen. Moynihan once noted, you are entitled to your own opinion. You are not entitled to your own facts.

jg: Guns are not the means in "most" murders. Historically, the gun homicide fraction has been about half. The other half were mainly the ever-popular stranglings, beatings and knifings. The explosion of street gang activity starting in the early 80's tipped things in a more "gun-ward" direction for awhile. Things have been returning toward a more typical half-and-half split in recent years as demographics and more competent policing have suppressed gang activity. See for yourself.

Questions: Other than a ritual scratch of the apparently genetic liberal itch to make lists and require that all human interactions be mediated by bureaucracy, why the hard-on about registration? How, exactly, is gun registration supposed to assist crime suppression, or even crime solving after the fact? Vehicle registration has been a modest help in the latter even when the involved vehicle has been stolen because autos are a lot harder to conceal than guns and because the registration number is required by law to be publicly displayed. Even so, knowing the registered owner of a vehicle often proves of no investigative value, especially when the vehicle is stolen prior to whatever other crime it is involved in. Gun serial numbers are not observable to either victims or witnesses. Career criminals both commit more crimes and are more likely to use stolen/smuggled weapons than impulsive or opportunistic criminals. Gun registration is, therefore, of least help in catching exactly those criminals who are most prolific and dangerous. Given that registration, where mandated, requires non-trivial government resources that cannot, therefore, be otherwise deployed in fighting crime, I think the burden of proof for gun registraion-based net improvements to public safety are considerable for your side and, thus far, to put it mildly, not made.

Frederson: Moynihan be upon you too. The American Heritage Dictionary defines paranoia, thusly:

1. A psychotic disorder characterized by delusions of persecution with or without grandeur, often strenuously defended with apparent logic and reason.

2. Extreme, irrational distrust of others.


As a previous commenter noted, the crime rate of concealed carry permit holders is miniscule and their gun crime rate is close to zero. Thus, your evident fear of ordinary, law-abiding Americans with guns is the actual paranoia on display here, not the often well-founded fear of violent criminals that motivates at least some of us to promote liberalized CCW laws.

Note: Given that Mr. F introduced the subject of psychological health into the discussion here - with the obvious, if risible, intent, in so doing, of defining his policy opponents as dysfunctional in some way - "that door has been opened" as the lawyer shows on TV like to put it.

Allow me to step through said door and make an observation of my own. I have come to the conclusion, over many years of encountering what has come to be commonly referred to as the "liberal" or "left-wing" mindset, that it can be fairly characterized, in many ways, as a type of aperceptual or dysmorphic mental disorder. Briefly, liberals are, by their own testimony, often deeply fearful of things which, by any objective analysis, are not danagerous while simultaneously expressing no particular concern about things which objectively are dangerous, even to the point of indicting others who disagree.

Mr. F's stated attitudes about ordinary American citizens viv-a-vis street criminals is just the example that happens to inhabit this comment thread, but the general pattern is pervasive in liberal speaking, writing - even art. Allow me to provide a couple of randomly selected additional data points:

1. Sen. Feingold - among many others - alleges to be more frightened of Pres. Bush's NSA intercepting possible terrorist messages to and from persons inside U.S. borders than by the possible consequences of providing absolute guarantees of communications privacy to America's declared enemies in time of war.

2. In Warren Beatty's wonderfully wacky liberal Rorschach blot of a movie "Bullworth," L.A. street gangs are portrayed as cute and cuddly moppets. Fat white insurance executives in fancy suits, though - they're stone killers.

The debate over various aspects of gun policy is, by its nature, more likely to elicit these sorts of essentially non- or even anti-rational expressions than many other areas of public policy. Despite a massive lack of evidence, for instance, we members of the actual "reality-based community" are still deluged by fusty, dusty nonsense like the "Dodge City-style shootouts" meme and the other pitiful excuses for argumentation that keep being trotted out decades after evidence and statistics have properly consigned them to the policy analysis landfill.

But, as the late Robert A. Heinlein noted, there is a certain kind of liberal mentality that is impervious to experience.
4.1.2006 5:05pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
I have pointed out that is not true, even if you include the qualifier "Western."

Of course it is. As to your comment about Paris. Remember the horrible race riots in Paris last year? Do you recall how many people were killed in those terrible riots? Exactly one. So far nobody has died in the current round of riots.

I don't expect people to have a good reason before exercising their fundamental civil rights, and I'm sorry you're so desperately afraid of a society of free individuals.

Sorry, the only fundamental civil right I see is for the state to maintain a well-regulated militia. Having a bunch of people carrying concealed weapons while they shop at the grocery store is hardly a well-regulated militia in my book. Its not like the Sioux are on the warpath up there in Nebraska.
4.1.2006 5:10pm
Sebastian (mail):
jgshapiro:

First of all, this argument ignores the fact that it would be more difficult for that criminal to get a gun. Not every criminal has unlimited access to an underground arsenal of weapons.

All it takes to make a gun is a halfway decent machine shop someone could easily set up in his garage. It's not difficult to make a gun, and the ATF has been known to arrest people with milling machines for "manufacturing without a license". These are individuals who had them for making parts, not black market operations. If that's the level of threat you're dealing with, how can you reasonably believe that making guns illegal would have any effect at all on the supply of guns to criminals?
4.1.2006 5:17pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
Dick,

Excellent points. There is something extraordinarily bizarre about some paranoid worried about Mrs. Middle America carrying a gun in her purse at the Kroger. Interesting, isn't it that the largest mass murder in recent American history was carried out with box cutters, airplanes and flying lessons?
4.1.2006 5:29pm
Kevin Murphy:
No, I'm dead serious. Anyone who carries a handgun just out of a generalized fear of crime must have some deep-seated insecurity and paranoia.

Currently, it is illegal for someone who drives a taxi or a tow truck, at night, to carry a weapon in any part of Los Angeles. The city of Los Angeles almost never grants carry permits, at one point having issued none in 10 years. State law only allows a unloaded gun in the trunk, where it's not very useful.

You seem to think that most people who want to carry do so for capricious reasons. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you don't beleive this, I have a few places in Los Angeles I invite you to stand unarmed for 5 minutes at night.
4.1.2006 5:32pm
Sebastian (mail):
I really enjoy this argument:

1. The US is such a violent country so we need more gun control!
2. You're completely irrational and paranoid if you carry a gun for self-defense because you'll never need it.

Well, which is it?
4.1.2006 5:34pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
Things have been returning toward a more typical half-and-half split in recent years as demographics and more competent policing have suppressed gang activity. See for yourself.

You know it's just amazing when you make a point and then link to a web site that contradict it. Anyone who can read a graph can see that firearms account for over 2/3 of the homicides in this country.
4.1.2006 5:49pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
The handgun is the weapon of choice for roughly half of the murderers in the United States. That is the point of the will-issue laws. There are few laws regarding the purchase or use of long guns so that issue is off the table.

But, since the issue has been raised by FF, I fear for the sanity of people who are paranoid about what the other shoppers at Kroger are carrying.
4.1.2006 6:10pm
RyanC:
FF--
You can read for yourself the murder stats available at teh FBI as their Uniform Crime Reports. Moneyrunner is right. Firearms account for half of murdrs. Knives account for more than shotguns and rifles combined. You can access the pertinent data here:
http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/ucr.htm
They change the formatting year-to-year (2004 is in pdf, 2003 uses Excel spreadsheets), but if you go to murder by weapon tables, you can see the empirical support for what I just wrote.
Incidentally, if you include other homicides (non-murder, like manslaughter, including negligent manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, and such), the percentage of firarms used in non-suicide deaths decreases even further.
4.1.2006 6:23pm
AppSocRes (mail):
Re: "capricious issue": I do not think you are totally fair in your characterization of Massachusetts police chiefs. Most police chiefs in Massachusetts -- a notable exception is the proto-fascist police chief of Brookline MA -- have not allowed their unlimited power to restrict gun ownership to go to their heads. Permits to carry are issued rather routlinely. I myself have one. As is usually the case in situations where police exercise control over a civil right, the lower classes and politically less-connected are often denied the right to carry when middle class persons are granted it with little effort.
4.1.2006 7:06pm
Frank Drackmann (mail):
Nicole Simpson would still be alive today if she had invested in a colt python and a little target practice. OJ even got the murder weapon back after his aquittal. He'd probably sell it on ebay except then he'd have to pay a portion to Nicoles family.
4.1.2006 7:13pm
Brett Bellmore (mail):
It may be that approximately half of all murders are committed with firearms, but the relevant statistic is instead, that in any given year, roughly one gun in 10,000 is used to murder.

Which means that virtually every person whose rights you'd restrict is, and would remain, innocent.

I've heard it said that it's better that ten guilty men go free, than that an innocent man be convicted, but evidently you think it's better that 10,000 innocent men be stripped of their rights, than that a guilty man not be inconvenienced. Can't say I think your formulation makes more sense....
4.1.2006 7:31pm
Elais:
Dick Eagleson,

And here I thought the very definition of 'conservative' and 'right-wing' was irrational and paranoid. Conservatvies seem to me the epitome of fear, look how scared to death they are of immigrants, minorities, non-Christians, muslims. Look how much effort they spend in imprisoning us to 'protect' us. Look how much effort they spend to ensure that everyone can shoot first and ask questions later.
4.1.2006 7:43pm
Jordan (mail):
This is interesting:
In the two years following the 1997 handgun ban, the use of handguns in crime rose by 40 percent, and the upward trend has continued. From April to November 2001, the number of people robbed at gunpoint in London rose 53 percent.


More fun:
Gun crime is just part of an increasingly lawless environment. From 1991 to 1995, crimes against the person in England's inner cities increased 91 percent. And in the four years from 1997 to 2001, the rate of violent crime more than doubled. Your chances of being mugged in London are now six times greater than in New York. England's rates of assault, robbery, and burglary are far higher than America's, and 53 percent of English burglaries occur while occupants are at home, compared with 13 percent in the U.S., where burglars admit to fearing armed homeowners more than the police. In a United Nations study of crime in 18 developed nations published in July, England and Wales led the Western world's crime league, with nearly 55 crimes per 100 people.


What about Australia?

Here is the comparison in violent crime trends between Australia and the United States for the period of 1995 to 2001, calculating rates by dividing the number of crimes reported (7) by the population figures. (8,9). (Negative trends are in parentheses.)

Homicide: AUS -- (11%) US -- (32%)
Assault: AUS -- 39% US -- (24%)
Rape: AUS -- 19% US -- (14%)
Robbery: AUS -- 70% US -- (33%) (10)

It is interesting to note that violent crime rates are higher in Australia.
4.1.2006 8:11pm
Jordan (mail):
Here's good study by the Fraser Institute, too. It contains stats for Britain, Australia, and Canada.
4.1.2006 8:12pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
Just this morning, 9 law students from the U of New Mexico went out together to a range for about 3 hours to fire an assortment of weapons, and even a Civil War era rifle. I'll bet those Harvard and Yale wimps couldn't get more than 3-4 guys to do that together. They'd be too busy crying about gun control. Someone needs to remind them that an armed society is a polite society.
4.1.2006 8:27pm
Frank Drackmann (mail):
In the south at least, most of the gun permit laws were aimed at keeping blacks from owning guns. In North Carolina you have to get a permit from the local Sheriff in order to just purchase a pistol, much less carry it.
4.1.2006 8:33pm
Fern:
jgshapiro--You can get a license to carry a concealed weapon here in California. You get it through the sheriff, so depending on the county it can be rather easy or rather difficult.
4.1.2006 8:33pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
What is fascinating -- and instructive - in this issue is the unwillingness of the Left to take experience into account when theory conflicts with practice.

People are allowed to carry concealed weapons and … no shootouts at the OK Corral. Handguns are banned in England and violent crime goes up. For the left, no lessons learned. For the chattering classes, reality never intrudes on theory.

That is why "socialism" and "communism" are still goals toward which the Left strives despite the experiences of Russia and China. The answer is always that "real" gun control or "real" communism has never been tried.

It is said that a conservative is a liberal who's been mugged. Not enough liberals are being mugged. In fact, some are enjoying it (see Robert Fisk).
4.1.2006 8:40pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
Jordan,

You mean that the Frasier Institute shows that violent crime rates are higher in the Commonwealth countries than in the US? How can that be since the Commonwealth countries have the sort of gun laws advocated by FF and shapiro?

Paranoia runs deep. What's in your pocket at the Kroger?
4.1.2006 8:50pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

And if you are so paranoid people around you and society that you are afraid to leave the house without a firearm, then I am afraid of you, because you are not a rational person. You are likely to inflate a non-threatening situation into a threat to your life or property and increase the likelyhood that a simple misunderstanding will turn into a "justifiable" homicide.
So why hasn't this happened in the 38 states that have liberalized concealed carry laws these last two decades?
4.1.2006 8:51pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

The proper response to an irrational fear is to ignore it.
You've already insisted that fear of crime is irrational. So you agree then that gun control laws (which are based on far of crime) are also irrational?
4.1.2006 8:55pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

No, I can't be trusted with a pistol.
Then don't buy one. Oddly enough, people that qualify for concealed carry permits are very trustworthy. There have been a few (a dozen or so) cases over the last 20 years where someone with a concealed carry permit has misused that gun in a crime--and considering that millions of people in the U.S. have such permits, that's pretty impressive.
4.1.2006 8:56pm
jgshapiro (mail):
The fact is that if you are a white suburbanite in virtually any American community, you are as safe or safer than a resident of Finland. And you are undoubtedly safer than the residents of Paris right about now.

Well, that may be true, but I don't see what your point is, unless your view is that you don't care about other places because you don't live in them. We can't have one rule for places where gun violence is a problem and another for white people living in the burbs, if the rule is going to be effective. So the issue is whether the danger of gun violence in in some areas justifies a restriction that may be unfair to white suburban dwellers but makes sense looking at the whole picture.

And in making this argument, I am discounting the white suburbanites who buy guns for self defense and end up shooting their wives when they find them in bed with another man, or shooting their neighbor when an argument gets out of hand. I wouldn't call them criminals (at least until after the shooting), but the violence is still real and would almost certainly have been less serious if there was no gun involved.

All it takes to make a gun is a halfway decent machine shop someone could easily set up in his garage. It's not difficult to make a gun, and the ATF has been known to arrest people with milling machines for "manufacturing without a license".

Sure and all it takes to buy an Uzi after the assault weapons ban is to fly to Israel, buy one off a soldier and smuggle it back to the U.S., perhaps bringing it in by chartered sailboat following a trip through the Med, past Gibraltar and across the Atlantic. How many sailboats are searched upon entry to United States waters?

Any law can be evaded by someone determined enough. That is not a good argument for no laws. The law will still deter enough people to be worthwhile, and you will have to use other means to deal with the would-be machine shop owners and world-traveling Uzi-smugglers.

I don't have a clue how to build a gun. If I tried to buy a gun to shoot my old boss and was stopped for whatever reason, I might use another (less dangerous) weapon or I might give up the plan. Building a gun from scratch seems unlikely.

"Never let the perfect be the enemy of the good."
4.1.2006 8:59pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

jgshapiro--You can get a license to carry a concealed weapon here in California. You get it through the sheriff, so depending on the county it can be rather easy or rather difficult.
But in some counties, a large contribution to the sheriff's re-election campaign can turn "rather difficult" into "rather easy." California's process is terribly corrupt. Some of the people that get permits--like Sean Penn--are arguably being issued permits in violation of California's law--and would not be eligible for permits in most of the other states. But he's politically connected, so he gets a permit.
4.1.2006 9:01pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Of course, why does Omaha get to keep its local ban? Because that's where Nebraska's black population is concentrated, and discretionary permit systems exist primarily because of their historic importance in keeping blacks from shooting back at the Klan.
4.1.2006 9:04pm
PersonFromPorlock:
What they argued was that the U.S. was the most violent Western nation. If you compare this country to others with similar standards of living and per capita incomes that is certainly true, and by a wide margin.

Maybe 150 million Europeans died violently in the last century, compared to one or two million Americans. This would seem to call the above assertion into question.
4.1.2006 9:05pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

And in making this argument, I am discounting the white suburbanites who buy guns for self defense and end up shooting their wives when they find them in bed with another man, or shooting their neighbor when an argument gets out of hand. I wouldn't call them criminals (at least until after the shooting), but the violence is still real and would almost certainly have been less serious if there was no gun involved.
And how often is that? Actually, quite rare. About 40% of all murder suspects have previous felony convictions. About 1/3 of all murder suspects are minors--who can't legally buy a gun, and in most states, can't legally possess them. At least 5% of murders in 1992 (when this was last studied) are committed by mentally ill people who have stopped taking their medications (and by federal law may not buy a gun, and can't get carry permits in any state, to my knowledge).

Roll those all together, and you start to see that the supposed nice normal middle class adult who has never committed a crime until he one day pulls out a gun and kills someone--is actually pretty scarce.
4.1.2006 9:08pm
jgshapiro (mail):
You mean that the Frasier Institute shows that violent crime rates are higher in the Commonwealth countries than in the US?

I think you are conflating non-homocide violent crime rates with homocide rates. The data shows these countries have higher rates of robbery, rape and assault, but - tellingly - lower rates of homocide.

What explains that except restrictions on the ownership of guns? A majority of homocides happen with guns. If you have fewer guns, you will get fewer homocides. You might still have other violent crime, but it is less likely to result in death.

The data also excludes rates of accidental death caused by guns, which would raise the killing rate even higher. The kid who finds his father's gun and accidentally shoots his sister is (probably) not going to be charged with homocide. But his sister is still dead.
4.1.2006 9:13pm
David Wangen:

the white suburbanites who buy guns for self defense and end up shooting their wives when they find them in bed with another man, or shooting their neighbor when an argument gets out of hand. I wouldn't call them criminals (at least until after the shooting), but the violence is still real and would almost certainly have been less serious if there was no gun involved.


Yes, because when a 6'0", 200-lb man attacks a 5'2",110-lb woman, he needs a gun to kill her. His baseball bat, kitchen knives, High School Sports trophies, and random paperweights are certainly not capable of dealing deadly wounds. -End Sarcasm-

On the other hand, when a 5'2", 110-lb woman finally leaves her abusive 6'0", 200-lb husband, that handgun might just allow her to survive an attack if he tries to beat her.
4.1.2006 9:20pm
Kevin P. (mail):
jgshapiro wrote:

Sure and all it takes to buy an Uzi after the assault weapons ban is to fly to Israel, buy one off a soldier and smuggle it back to the U.S., perhaps bringing it in by chartered sailboat following a trip through the Med, past Gibraltar and across the Atlantic. How many sailboats are searched upon entry to United States waters?


What does the presence or absence of the assault weapons ban have to do with this chain of smuggling events?

Hint: Nothing


I don't have a clue how to build a gun.


I suspect that you don't have a clue about much else about guns.
4.1.2006 9:24pm
jgshapiro (mail):
Clayton:

Your numbers may overlap - someone with a previous felony conviction may be a minor and may be mentally ill to boot - so assuming these numbers are accurate today, or ever were, that still leaves at least 50% of homocides. If you could make a dent in half of all homocides through reasonable gun restrictions (note, not confiscation), wouldn't that be worth it?

What about the guy who committed a felony, but never was convicted, for whatever reason? (Maybe he shot the only witnesses.) Nothing stopping him from buying a gun and carrying it as a concealed weapon until he shoots someone and is subsequently convicted of it.

Here in California, that guy wouldn't have a prayer of getting a concealed permit. The police would look at his arrest record and just say no. But once you establish objective standards, which you have to do for a "shall issue" law to have any meaning, you have a problem, because you are going to have a hard time establishing a standard of having not been arrested or charged with a crime, as opposed to having been convicted of it.

OTOH, if the standard is subjective, as with the "may issue" states, the police don't have to say why. If you are a dirtbag who managed to avoid conviction but should not be trusted with a gun (e.g., Robert Blake), you will never get a permit. Sure, Blake can always build a machine shop in his garage, but what are the odds of that? At the very least, you have made it signifcantly harder for him to get his hands on a gun, which is unquestionably a good thing.
4.1.2006 9:27pm
jgshapiro (mail):
sorry, homicides.
4.1.2006 9:29pm
Brett Cashman (mail):
Freder:

Sorry, the only fundamental civil right I see is for the state to maintain a well-regulated militia.


As you are no doubt aware, this "collective right" model of the Second Amendment has been utterly discredited by the weight of modern scholarship. I suppose next you'll be floating the old howler that the National Guard is the "well-regulated militia" envisioned by the Framers.

Though I do admire your ability to withstand the cognitive dissonance necessary to believe that a governmental power can somehow be a civil right. Good luck with that.
4.1.2006 9:34pm
jgshapiro (mail):
Kevin P:

Thanks for your contribution to this debate. Maybe syou should take the same remedial reading comprehension class that Say Uncle so desparately needs.

I'll try and make it easy for you to understand: it's an analogy. The idea that reasonable gun restrictions are useless because you can build a gun in your garage is ludicrous. It is like saying (note: here is the analogy) that the assault weapons ban is pointless as to Uzis because you can jump through a thousand hoops and smuggle them in from Israel.

In both cases, very few people will resort to these measures to get around the restrictions, so the restrictions will be largely effective.
4.1.2006 9:34pm
David Wangen:

Here in California, that guy wouldn't have a prayer of getting a concealed permit. The police would look at his arrest record and just say no. But once you establish objective standards, which you have to do for a "shall issue" law to have any meaning, you have a problem, because you are going to have a hard time establishing a standard of having not been arrested or charged with a crime, as opposed to having been convicted of it.


So, you do not believe in "Innocent Until Proven Guilty" either? Could you explain any other rights you feel should be eliminated?
4.1.2006 10:02pm
Jordan (mail):
The data also excludes rates of accidental death caused by guns, which would raise the killing rate even higher. The kid who finds his father's gun and accidentally shoots his sister is (probably) not going to be charged with homocide. But his sister is still dead.


According to the Fraser Institute Study posted earlier,
Accidents involving guns, despite the media coverage they seem to generate, are quite rare. Typically, guns account for less than 1% of accidental deaths in any developed country


I think you are conflating non-homocide violent crime rates with homocide rates. The data shows these countries have higher rates of robbery, rape and assault, but - tellingly - lower rates of homocide.


Their homicide rates are indeed lower, but homicide rates for Canada, Australia, and Britain have all increased since the passage of more restrictive gun laws. In both Britain and Australia, the homicide rate was decreasing until the gun restrictions were passed.

Meanwhile, murder rates here have been decreasing steadily for the past 10 years, despite (read: because of) the passage of less restrictive gun laws.

And how about some gun bans closer to home?
According to Lott, the Washington, D.C., and Chicago gun bans have done far more harm than good. He points out that in the five years prior to the Washington, D.C., gun ban, the capital city's per-capita murder rate fell by 27%. After the ban, that trend reversed.

In fact, within five years, Washington's per-capita murder rate climbed by 3%. Robberies spiked by nearly 63%. With all lawfully-owned firearms required to be disassembled, unloaded and locked up under D.C.'s "safe storage" mandates, residents weren't even safe in their own homes anymore: In five years, burglaries increased by 56%.


"Chicago's gun ban didn't work at all when it came to reducing violence," Lott wrote. "Its murder rate fell from 27 to 22 per 100,000 in the five years before the law, and then rose slightly to 23. The change is even more dramatic when compared to five neighboring Illinois counties: Chicago's murder rate fell from being 8.1 times greater than its neighbors in 1977 to 5.5 times in 1982 (when the gun ban was passed), and then went way up to 12 times greater in 1987."
4.1.2006 10:41pm
Brooks Lyman (mail):
David,

As AppSocRes points out, Massachusetts, while definitely NOT a shall-issue state, is not one (like New York City) where only the rich, celebrities and the politically connected can get a CCW permit. His example of Brookline is one of the extremes. In addition, Boston and a few other large cities and (mainly Boston) suburbs won't issue a License To Carry Firearms (LTC, known colloquially as a "pistol permit") for anything other than Target and Hunting and may require you to prove that you are a member of a gun club where you can shoot the gun. That's how Boston was back in 1966 when I got my first permit there; I believe that that has not changed.

Out in rural central MA where I now live, the police chief has told me that he doesn't like guns, but that he will obey the law, and he has - I am not aware of any resident having been denied a permit for capricious reasons, and he is willing to issue permits for "all lawful purposes," which covers defense of person and property. Since the new (1998) gun law made the reason for issuance a restriction on the use of the license, applicants have been advised by Gun Owners Action League to get an "all lawful purposes" LTC as protection against capricious or accidental "overenforcement," particularly if one is stopped outside of one's own town (like when visiting friends in Brookline, for example...).

I happen to be currently President of the MIT Pistol and Rifle Club in Cambridge - sometimes referred to as the "People's Republic of Cambridge" - and we run into some of the Boston/Brookline/Belmont problems; one of the services we offer our members is writing letters to their police chiefs vouching for their membership. Cambridge, surprisingly, is not too bad by comparison to some of the other Boston-area cities and towns.

I might also add, that contrary to AppSocRes' comments, I have never been aware of (with the possible exception of the Boston/Brookline axis) the need to be politically connected. I was definitely apolitical for the first 20 years of holding an LTC in a number of different MA cities and towns and never had a problem. The big thing, is to have a clean record on such things as violent crime, mental health and addictions (including alcoholism). Economic status is also not an issue, assuming that you have a place to live and wear clean clothes when you visit the police station to apply for the LTC.

Massachusetts is a long ways from perfect, but it's not New York City, and it might also be mentioned that Upstate New York is far more reasonable than NYC.
4.1.2006 10:59pm
Kevin P. (mail):
jgshapiro:

Thanks for your contribution to this debate. Maybe syou should take the same remedial reading comprehension class that Say Uncle so desparately needs.


It is always good practice to spell check the paragraph where you accuse your opponent of trouble with reading and writing. :-)

Also, it is homicide, not homocide. We have no idea what the latter means.
4.1.2006 11:39pm
Kevin P. (mail):
About jgshapiro:

So, you do not believe in "Innocent Until Proven Guilty" either? Could you explain any other rights you feel should be eliminated?


I suggest that jpgshapiro be required to obtain a license to write about guns. This could require firearms training, education and the discretion of law enforcement. I am sure that he will be fine with this since it is a very reasonable regulation of the right of free speech.
4.1.2006 11:45pm
Sebastian (mail):
Blake can always build a machine shop in his garage, but what are the odds of that? At the very least, you have made it signifcantly harder for him to get his hands on a gun, which is unquestionably a good thing.

So I guess all those heroin users are growing their own poppies eh? It would only take a few shops to be able to reasonably supply all the criminal demand for guns in any given area. The people you think will be deterred by a law on banning guns are exactly the people who you don't have to worry about. Why do you attribute the worst qualities to law-abiding gun owners?
4.2.2006 1:44am
a cornellian (mail):
Is there anyone who will argue there are people that we as a society don't want to have a gun?

Is there anyone who will argue with the fact that a gun can cause more damage more rapidly than any other object avaiable to most civillains? (I'm going to assume there is a reason the military keeps using them) [bonus points: who wants to justify why citizens need rpgs for protection? (the black choppers from the UN are coming!)]

Is there anyone who is going to argue that requiring safety class as a pre-requsite for owning a gun is a bad idea? (not aimed a crime, aimed at safe handeling and such.)

Have all of you realised what works in one part of the country is not right for another? Manhatten has very different needs when it comes to guns then say, rural Montana.

Regarding the illeagel guns thing. It is often used as a proxy for other crimes because they are often far easier to show beyond a reasonable doubt (either they have the gun and paper work or they don't)

If you have no regulation at all you lose all this.

I will cede that a list of gun owners is mildly troubling, but I think the benifits out weigh the danger.

Why isn't there more focus on reducing crime to begin with, like more funding for education, lowering unemployment and such?

I also take deep issue with the concept that you need a gun to protect yourself. It seems to fly in the face of the assumption of the rule of law, but I would bet a bunch of this crowd think the minutemen (the modern pozers) are a good bunch of guys, so I susspect atleast this part of my babbling will fall on deaf ears.

In short I think I'm trying to say that both sides of the arguement are being irrational. Something in the middle is right, screaming about the extreams only makes the whole matter worse.
4.2.2006 4:25am
Sebastian (mail):
In short I think I'm trying to say that both sides of the arguement are being irrational. Something in the middle is right, screaming about the extreams only makes the whole matter worse.

There is middle ground, and I think the 2nd amendment is no more absolute than any other right, but the burden should be on those advocating for restriction rather than on those advocating for the right to be read broadly. I can accept that there is some legitimate interest of regulating certain weapons that aren't 'personal' arms, but are arms of organized military units, but I'm generally very skeptical of laws barring people from arms, even as far as machine guns and light artillery, since I haven't recently been shelled or read of swarths of people being mowed down by machine gun fire. To the extent we do hear of this, the weapons are universally obtained illegally.
4.2.2006 4:44am
jgshapiro (mail):

It would only take a few shops to be able to reasonably supply all the criminal demand for guns in any given area. The people you think will be deterred by a law on banning guns are exactly the people who you don't have to worry about.

Do you believe that all laws restricting supply should be eliminated, or just those applicable to guns? Should heroin be legal? Crack? What about prostitution? Third-trimester abortion? You know, the people who will abide by laws prohibiting the purchase or possession of heroin are exactly the people that would never buy or shoot it to begin with.

You can always argue that laws against supply, or even just restricting supply (which is all that we are talking about here), can be evaded. But the laws are still largely effective, even if not entirely so. For one thing, the price of the illegal item goes up, which makes the item more difficult for many people to get. Also, the quality of the item you get illegally is not likely to be as good as that you can get legally. It will be harder to find, and those trying to peddle it will be subject to arrest and prosecution.

Again, some people will find ways around the law, but that does not mean that all would-be criminals would, and that fact means that the law will do at least some good. Proving that a law is not perfect does not mean that it is not worthwhile.

So, you do not believe in "Innocent Until Proven Guilty" either?

I believe that people who have not been convicted should not be imprisoned or fined, sure. But that does not mean I would given them a concealed weapons permit. The standard for getting the latter (if there is any right at all) should be higher than having no convictions, which is what you will likely get with a shall issue law. Common sense tells you to look at a person's rap sheet before issuing a permit, even if his rap sheet just shows arrests and charges and no convictions.

Would you give O.J. a permit to carry a concealed gun? He has never been convicted of a crime. I guess there is no danger in letting him carry a gun, right? It's not as if he has a tendency toward violence, or problems with anger management or impulse control. What part of a shall issue law would prevent him from getting a permit?
4.2.2006 5:08am
Tim Lambert (mail) (www):
Morgan has cited various false or misleading articles. He cites an article by Howard Nemerov that purports to compare crime rates in Australia with those in the US. I correct it here.

He cites a Fraser Institute Study by Gary Mauser that also makes bogus comparisons. For example, Mauser compares the violent crime rate between Canada and the US even though it is defined differently in each place. More here.

He cites a Reason on-line article by Joyce Lee Malcolm that claims that violent crime in England has increased when, in fact, it has decreased. Details here.

Finally he cites John Lott's claims of increases in crime as a result of the Washington DC gun ban. Lott manufactured those results by carefully cherrypicking which years to compare. Details here.
4.2.2006 5:59am
Jordan (mail):
Why isn't there more focus on reducing crime to begin with, like more funding for education, lowering unemployment and such?

Unemployment is at 4.8%. 5% is considered full employment. We spend more per capita on education than any other country in the world; you'd be better off burning that money until the NEA and the government monopoly on education are broken.
4.2.2006 6:11am
Publicola (mail) (www):
Sigh.

gentlemen (&I presume a lady or two) I'm afraid the fact tossing &numbers flinging simply does not matter. We simply come from two very different worldviews. I'm afraid it's an empasse that will not be bridged by what we consider logic or accurate numbers.

It can be summed up like this; The people who are in favor of gun control, or more gun control than we currently have tend to be from a school of thought which emphasizes the collective, whereas us gun nuts tend to focus on the individual.

I've got a post in the bullpen that explains this in a little more detail but that was the gist of things. Unless one side switches worldviews - that basic place of origin - then the arguments will not be persuasive.

By all means, go ahead &argue as those teettering are worth swaying but don't get your hopes up on proving anything to each other.

That said one thing that keeps getting overlooked is the basic premise of The Right to Arms as well as the 2nd amendment.

Basic Lockean proerty rights theory - you own yourself &all that you produce through your own labor. That includes your physical being &your life. In order to sustain those things defense from unjustified intrusion is needed, hence tools for defensive or offensive action in order to sustain your property (i.e. your body &your life &your possessions). A firearm is, in most situations, the best kind of tool to have for such defense. hence as long as it is not gained at the unjustified expense of others (i.e. you make it yourslef or pay for it yourself) then it is an essential component to your well being. Even if it's never used it's still a necessary thing to enable you to the best defense of your property (i.e. your life, body, possessions). so owning &even carrying a firearm is a Right. It branches off from the Right to defense which is necessary for the Right to Life, Liberty &Property in certain situations. whether the stats show you have little chance of ever needing it is irrelevant. That you wish to be prepared if the odds aren't in your favor is more than ample reason to justify bearing arms.

The 2nd amendment was put in place not to provide us with the means of defense against muggers &rapists (that was taken for granted) but for protection against our own government. there are a lot of arguments that try to persuade such tools are inadequate for protection against a government, but again we're talking about a Right, not a grant. A right simply ensures you have the ability to pursue an action or goal, not that you'll achieve it. But in any case the reason for the 2nd amendment is so that our people would never have to endure what the Soviets or Cambodians or Chinese or Germans or Turks did at the hands of their governments.

Put those two together &I conclude that carrying a handgun or a rifle or a machinegun, concealed or openly, is neccessary for social harmony - not just between the criminals &the citizens, but betwixt the citzens &the government.

Prior restraint laws, such as background checks, registration, even "safety" classes &concealed cary "permits" represent far too great a danger to that social harmony. Hence I oppose them &will gladly point out to what measure they're evil &how they can be pragamatically &principly detrimental to our society &culture (&I admit I spend most of my time arguing with others who are pro-gun to some extent trying to convince them that any prior restraint based gun control is a bad idea).

But again those in the middle may be swayed, but the hard core anti-gunners probably won't. Still, if it lightens just one dark cave... :)
4.2.2006 7:55am
PersonFromPorlock:
Sebastian:

I can accept that there is some legitimate interest of regulating certain weapons that aren't 'personal' arms, but are arms of organized military units....

Just as a point of interest, this is exactly the class of weapons whose possession the Supreme Court held (in Miller, and in passing) is protected by the 2nd Amendment.
4.2.2006 9:48am
Frank Drackmann (mail):
Restrictive gun laws are just another way the man keeps a brother down. 1/3 of the black male population is either in jail, on parole, or a convicted felon, and legally prevented from owning firearms. Priveleged white males such as Caspar Wineburger, Ted Kennedy, and Dick Cheney either get their felonies pardoned or arnt prosecuted in the first place.
4.2.2006 10:09am
Spirit of George Wallace:
Have all of you realised what works in one part of the country is not right for another? Manhatten has very different needs when it comes to guns then say, rural Montana.

I'm against discrimination of Negroes, unless a locality has voted to do so.

Civil rights laws that might be fine for places like Vermont may not be applicable in places like Alabama.
4.2.2006 10:57am
Freder Frederson (mail):
As you are no doubt aware, this "collective right" model of the Second Amendment has been utterly discredited by the weight of modern scholarship.

This statement, of course, is pure hyperbole. There is a group of modern scholars who have convinced themselves that the second amendment refers to a individual right. But of course to do this, you have to ignore the first thirteen words of the amendment. You can dig into all the federalist papers and letters and writings of the founders you want, but those first thirteen words are still there and they must mean something. If they thought the individual right of firearms ownership for self-defense was so damn important, the amendment wouldn't have mentioned a milita. Many state constitutions do just this.
4.2.2006 11:49am
Freder Frederson (mail):
And how about some gun bans closer to home?

As I am sure Eugene would point out (although not on this subject, since he only seems to care about the proper use of statistics when they support his point of view) correlation does not prove causation. And as I pointed out above, both New York and Chicago have since seen dramatic drops in crime without repealing their draconian gun laws since the dark days of the late 1980's, further calling into question the proposition that gun control laws cause more crime.
4.2.2006 11:54am
TDPerkins (mail):
Responding to the italicized quote, Freder Frederson wrote the blockquote below:

I get it. April Fools quote. Right?

No, I'm dead serious. Anyone who carries a handgun just out of a generalized fear of crime must have some deep-seated insecurity and paranoia.


Then is someone who has several fire extinguishers suffering a deepseated insecurity and paranoia about fires?

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
4.2.2006 12:45pm
btorrez (mail):
F. Frederson
Chicago has undergone a dramatic rebuilding process of its housing stock in the last 20+ years. Whole areas such as Robert Taylor Homes and Cabrini Green (very high crime ares) have been demolished and either are or will be replaced by more upscale housing and consquently middle or upper class residents. Whether that is fair or not is a resonable matter to discuss, but, that, in my view, has had a dramatic effect on crime rates in this city. Prior to the housing shift in the city, gun control laws had little or no effect on criminals as you can see from the murder rate in the city in the early to late 1990s where there were 700 to 900 murders per year. Now it is probably half that with most still concentrated on the west and south sides, areas that have not seen similar rebuilding. In my view all gun control laws do is consentrate power in the hands of an elite. No better example of this is our beloved mayor, Richard Daley, who is staunchly anti-gun and yet has a twenty-four-hour-seven-day-per-week armed body guard detail at tax payers expense to do what: protect him. Just galling.
4.2.2006 1:26pm
Sebastian (mail):
Just as a point of interest, this is exactly the class of weapons whose possession the Supreme Court held (in Miller, and in passing) is protected by the 2nd Amendment.

I'm okay with people being allowed to have fun toys. You want a tank? Machine gun? I"m fine with that. People have them in fact. Want to store a few dozen HEAT rounds in your basement in a residential neighborhood? I can see where there would be a legitimate interest in regularing certain types of ordinance.
4.2.2006 1:31pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
Whether that is fair or not is a resonable matter to discuss, but, that, in my view, has had a dramatic effect on crime rates in this city.

Kleck and Lott's thesis is that gun control laws actually increase crime rates and that More Guns mean Less Crime (that is actually a paraphrase of the title of Lott's book). This thesis is absolutely unsupportable and the data was fudged, manipulated, misrepresented, and just outright fabricated to support the thesis.

I will admit that patchy gun control laws probably have very little impact, one way or another on crime rates. But there is absolutely no evidence that concealed carry laws have any impact on crime rates either.

As for why incidents of what I call casual shootings (idiots shooting each other over road rage, arguments, misunderstandings, etc.) don't go up when concealed carry laws are passed, my theory is that the number of "armed citizens" probably doesn't change significantly with the passage of concealed carry laws. People who thought they needed to carry a gun for self-defense probably carried one before the laws were passed and the concealed-carry law merely legalized their status.

Has there ever been a study on how many people with permits actually carry firearms in concealed carry states, if they carried a gun even when it was illegal, if the actual number of people carrying handguns increased after the laws were passed, or if the inability to get a permit before the laws were passed actually deterred people from carrying a gun?
4.2.2006 2:18pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Clayton:

Your numbers may overlap - someone with a previous felony conviction may be a minor and may be mentally ill to boot - so assuming these numbers are accurate today, or ever were, that still leaves at least 50% of homocides.
There is some overlap, no doubt, but I would guess that most minors who have been convicted of murder are still in juvenile lockup. (There are few murders committed by those under 14, and I think even a liberal would agree that four years is too short for murder.)

If you could make a dent in half of all homocides through reasonable gun restrictions (note, not confiscation), wouldn't that be worth it?
Oddly enough, I'm not arguing against "reasonable gun restrictions." Bans on gun ownership by convicted felons and some violent misdemeanants? No argument from me. Background checks required to buy a gun? No argument from me. Bans on sales of guns to minors? No argument from me.

But that's not what you are arguing for, is it? You are arguing against allowing people with NO felony convictions, NO recent misdemanor convictions, no recent mental illness history, to obtain a permit to carry a gun for self-defense. That's not reasonable.

What about the guy who committed a felony, but never was convicted, for whatever reason? (Maybe he shot the only witnesses.) Nothing stopping him from buying a gun and carrying it as a concealed weapon until he shoots someone and is subsequently convicted of it.
That's true. But it turns out that people like this are a lot scarcer than your paranoia imagines. In any case, a number of states with non-discretionary permit laws (Oregon being one example) do allow the police to refuse a permit if there is specific evidence that a particular individual is likely to be a hazard to himself or others by carrying a gun. The burden of proof is on the police chief. This handles the case of the mentally ill guy who has never been ajudicated as mentally ill, but has a long record of bizarre public behavior. It handles the guy who the police know is a murderer, but has never been convicted.

Here in California, that guy wouldn't have a prayer of getting a concealed permit. The police would look at his arrest record and just say no.
And you are wrong. Sean Penn, in spite of what seem to be disabling domestic violence convictions, has a carry permit issued in Marin County. When I lived in Sonoma County, the sheriff actually issued a permit to a guy with a FELONY conviction. I've talked to Sonoma County sheriffs who, while supporting widespread issuance of permits, were horrified to find out that the sheriff had issued a permit to a drug dealing pedophile--who also just happened to be a big contributor to the sheriff's re-election campaign.

But once you establish objective standards, which you have to do for a "shall issue" law to have any meaning, you have a problem, because you are going to have a hard time establishing a standard of having not been arrested or charged with a crime, as opposed to having been convicted of it.
So why have the 38 states with "shall issue" laws had effectively no problem with this? Indeed, a lot of early opponents who predicted dire consequences have backed down and admitted that they were wrong--like DA Johnny Holmes of Harris County, Texas, who predicted Houston was going to need to add a new floor to the coroner's office to handle all the additional killings.

OTOH, if the standard is subjective, as with the "may issue" states, the police don't have to say why. If you are a dirtbag who managed to avoid conviction but should not be trusted with a gun (e.g., Robert Blake), you will never get a permit.
Do you have any idea how many people like Sean Penn get permits in California because they are famous?
4.2.2006 2:28pm
Kevin P. (mail):
Fred Frederson

There is a group of modern scholars who have convinced themselves that the second amendment refers to a individual right. But of course to do this, you have to ignore the first thirteen words of the amendment. You can dig into all the federalist papers and letters and writings of the founders you want, but those first thirteen words are still there and they must mean something.


In fact, our gracious host, Eugene Volokh himself, has written about the meaning of the first thirteen words of the Second Amendment here:
The Commonplace Second Amendment

The collective rights interpretation of the Second Amendment is a dishonest interpretation designed to ensure that the Amendment is rendered meaningless.

What is a "collective right"? Nobody can explain this to me. Who possesses such a right? If the right is nullified, who has standing to sue in a court? Since the States and Federal government have plenary power to organize militias and draft citizens into them, what could possibly prevent state militia members from keeping guns on duty? Why would this right even exist? How can a group of citizens possess a right in the collective, and not possess the right as individuals? If the state of Montana created a well regulated citizen militia consisting of all citizens of Montana, and armed those citizens with machine guns, would they have the right to keep and bear arms in the collective? Or would some other clever legal opinion render the collective right meaningless? A collective right is legal nonsense, mumbo jumbo intended to destroy a part of the Constitution through the personal opinion of those opposed to it.
4.2.2006 2:45pm
SayUncle (mail) (www):
Sure and all it takes to buy an Uzi after the assault weapons ban is to fly to Israel, buy one off a soldier and smuggle it back to the U.S.


That would be illegal. Uzis are machine guns and have been regulated since 1934. Since 1986, new possession is banned in the states. Since the early 1990s, import of the semi-auto version (i.e., the one that's not a machine gun) has been banned.
4.2.2006 2:53pm
jgshapiro (mail):

You are arguing against allowing people with NO felony convictions, NO recent misdemanor convictions, no recent mental illness history, to obtain a permit to carry a gun for self-defense. That's not reasonable.

I'm arguing that shall issue laws are a bad idea. First, I don't think anyone should be allowed to have a concealed weapon that doesn't need one based on a job in law enforcement. So, I favor a need-based permit system when it comes to concealed weapons.

Second, if a need-based system isn't in the cards for whatever reason, I favor at least a may issue system over a shall issue system. A shall issue system does not give sufficient discretion to the local police to deny a permit. Sure, that discretion can be abused, but more often than not, it will prevent someone who should not be allowed to carry a concealed gun based on a risk assessment of his past behavior from doing so. The sheriff who gave Sean Pean a gun despite domestic violence charges (convictions?) better pray that he doesn't use it to harm his wife (or anyone else), because if he does, that sheriff is going to have a very hard time getting re-elected. After the fact, people will look at Penn's rap sheet and say that the decision to give him a permit was an exercise in very bad judgment.

Is it reasonable to refuse to issue a permit to Robert Blake or O.J. Simpson, despite the fact that neither one has any felony convictions or recent misdemeanor convictions or recent mental illness history? I submit that it is. I use Blake and Simpson as examples because everyone knows of their stories or can easily find out about them on the Web. But there are thousands more like them that you have never heard of. They are clearly bad risks for carrying a concealed gun. I don't see how a shall issue law could stop them from getting a concealed gun permit. But a may issue law could easily do so.

I'm not arguing against "reasonable gun restrictions." Bans on gun ownership by convicted felons and some violent misdemeanants? No argument from me. Background checks required to buy a gun? No argument from me. Bans on sales of guns to minors? No argument from me.

I'm arguing for a different definition of reasonable gun restrictions than you are. I don't have any problem with a 30-day waiting period to buy a gun, with a restriction on buying one gun per month, with a restriction on buying assault weapons (though we need to clarify the definition), with requirements for safe storage, with a requirement for gun registration and/or licensing of gun owners, and for mandatory safety courses (to obtain a license). All of these restrictions are reasonable.
4.2.2006 4:40pm
jgshapiro (mail):

There is middle ground, and I think the 2nd amendment is no more absolute than any other right, but the burden should be on those advocating for restriction rather than on those advocating for the right to be read broadly.

Concealed carry laws are state laws and the 2nd Amendment does not apply to the states.

Even to the extent that some of the restrictions we have been discussing outside of concealed carry might need to be national to be effective (e.g., the assault weapons ban), no serious scholar believes that the 2nd amendment would prohibit those laws from being enforced. Those that believe that the 2nd amendment's 'militia' premise applies to each person as a member of the general militia, nonetheless typically conclude that the latter half of the amendment does not prevent any gun control law from being enacted.

Moreover I am unaware of any gun control law has that ever been successfully challenged under the 2nd amendment. If someone can point one out, I would appreciate it. I wonder if the NRA has even tried to challenge any of these laws under the 2nd amendment?

Since we are not talking here about a ban on gun ownership or about gun confiscation, or about any restriction that would effectively prevent you from bearing arms to stop an insurrection, rebellion or the like, I don't see the relevancy of the 2nd amendment to this thread. It is a red herring.
4.2.2006 5:00pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
What is a "collective right"? Nobody can explain this to me. Who possesses such a right? If the right is nullified, who has standing to sue in a court? Since the States and Federal government have plenary power to organize militias and draft citizens into them, what could possibly prevent state militia members from keeping guns on duty?

You are of course applying twenty-first century notions of government on an eighteenth century document. It is dishonest in the extreme to pretend that it was a settled question in 1789 how the police and military power vis a vis the states and the federal government was going to be allocated. The entire structure of government was brand new and your assumptions about the plenary powers of the states was certainly not so obvious back then.

The argument can certainly be made that the 2nd amendment right is an individual right, but it is extremely weak, no matter how much Libertarians like Volokh wish otherwise. It ignores the historical context of the Constitution, the founders distrust of a standing army and their belief in a military made up of citizens, not professional soldiers, and the fact that eighteenth century militias supplied their own arms when called upon. It also ignores the amendment immediately following it that also addresses the rights and responsibilities of the military. Not all the rights in the bill of rights are individual rights. In fact, both the Ninth and tenth amendments specifically address the rights of the states.

So don't pretend this question is anywhere near settled in your favor, because it isn't. You still haven't overcome the plain language of the amendment.
4.2.2006 5:01pm
Harvey Mosley (mail):
My perfect world: Only the good guys carry guns.

jgshapiro's perfect world: No one carries a gun (except police officers, who never ever commit violent crimes ;)

The real world: Bad guys carry guns, have always carried guns, and will always carry guns.

So the question becomes: Do you want the only (non-law enforcement) people carrying guns to be the bad guys? Or do you think it might possibly be a good idea to let the good guys carry guns, too?

Before you answer, remember the police have no obligation to protect you, according to the courts. There job is to apprehend criminals after they commit the crime.
4.2.2006 5:57pm
K Parker (mail):
a cornellian,

"Is there anyone who is going to argue that requiring safety class
as a pre-requsite for owning a gun is a bad idea?
"

Sure, I'll rush in! :-) Washington state, which has had shall-issue concealed carry for much longer than most states (since some time in the '60s IIRC) has absolutely no training requirement. The state's experience with permit-holders in terms of both criminal convictions and accidental shootings is not substantially different from any other state. (Need I re-emphasize that the rate of both is quite low?) Thus I would conclude that, despite its intuitive appeal, a training requirement appears to be fairly unnecessary.

jgshapiro,

"First, I don't think anyone should be allowed to have a concealed weapon that doesn't need one based on a job in law enforcement."

So, they're our lords and betters? You're welcome to feel that way yourself, but don't expect the rest of us to go along with you!
4.2.2006 6:18pm
jesse (mail):

As for why incidents of what I call casual shootings (idiots shooting each other over road rage, arguments, misunderstandings, etc.) don't go up when concealed carry laws are passed, my theory is that the number of "armed citizens" probably doesn't change significantly with the passage of concealed carry laws. People who thought they needed to carry a gun for self-defense probably carried one before the laws were passed and the concealed-carry law merely legalized their status.


Heh, I'd disagree with your premise, but since these sorts of incidents are extremely rare among those who have concealed-carry permits, do you realize that you're essentially arguing that there's no need to require permits to allow law-abiding citizens to carry concealed firearms?

If the vast majority of people who are currently legally carrying concealed without incident were also doing so before it was legal (also without incident), doesn't that suggest that the permit process was unnecessary?
4.2.2006 7:01pm
Jordan (mail):
First, I don't think anyone should be allowed to have a concealed weapon that doesn't need one based on a job in law enforcement.

Unbelievable. This would be a criminal's dream come true.
4.2.2006 7:46pm
K Parker (mail):
Perhaps a clarification is in order. I originally misread a cornellian as referring to a training requirement for concealed carry. I'd say my confusion was understandable since this post is about Nebraska's new CCW law. But if he/she really means to refer to a training requirement for the mere purchase or ownership of a weapon, then I hasten to add that this has additional constitutional issues as well, at least for states like Washington that have right-to-bear-arms clauses in their state constitions that are stronger and/or less ambiguous than the 2nd Amendment.

Surely no one is in favor of requiring people to have a journalism degree before committing an act of journalism, right?
4.2.2006 7:51pm
Andrew Olmsted (mail) (www):
"Concealed carry laws are state laws and the 2nd Amendment does not apply to the states."

Perhaps the lawyers in the groups could correct me, but since the 14th Amendment is seen as extending the rest of the Bill of Rights to the states, does the 2d Amendment not also apply to the states now? A state, after all, cannot establish a state religion, even though the First Amendment only says that Congress shall make no law establishing religion, because 14th Amendment jurisprudence extends those rights to the citizens of all the states. If the 2d Amendment is an individual right (and I see no way of construing it otherwise, since the 'militia' in 1787 was all the able-bodied men in the area), then if the 1st Amendment applied to the states, so too does the 2d.
4.2.2006 8:26pm
Jordan (mail):
Surely no one is in favor of requiring people to have a journalism degree before committing an act of journalism, right?

Nobody except for Molly Ivins.
4.2.2006 8:27pm
Jordan (mail):
Perhaps the lawyers in the groups could correct me, but since the 14th Amendment is seen as extending the rest of the Bill of Rights to the states, does the 2d Amendment not also apply to the states now?

I was wondering that, too. Since there seems to be an abundance of lawyers here, can somebody offer some insight?
4.2.2006 8:28pm
jgshapiro (mail):

Perhaps the lawyers in the groups could correct me, but since the 14th Amendment is seen as extending the rest of the Bill of Rights to the states, does the 2d Amendment not also apply to the states now?

The 14th amendment does not extend all of the rights specified in the Bill of Rights to the states, just most of them. The rights that have been extended have been extended on a case-by-case basis. The 2nd amendment has never been extended to the states.
4.2.2006 9:28pm
TDPerkins (mail):
Referring to the incorporation doctrine created by the SC regarding the 14th amendment, jgshapiro wrote:

"The 2nd amendment has never been extended to the states."

But it should be noted that there is zero excuse for the notion that the wording or the debates surrounding the adoption of the 14th amendment require the "incorporation" of rights in the first 8 amendments in order for them to apply to the states. It is a wholly inexcusable doctrine adopted by the SC so they only have to apply the 14th in ways they don't find to be too icky, like letting all those freedmen &descendants carry guns.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
4.2.2006 10:12pm
Brett Bellmore (mail):
The 2nd amendment IS made binding on the states by the 14th, but shortly after the 14th was ratified, a racist Supreme court set out to render it toothless by bad faith interpretation. Decades later the Supreme court finally got around to remedying the "mistake", but in a piecemeal fashion that had no basis outside the Court's happening to like some of the amendments, and dislike others.
4.2.2006 11:23pm
juris_imprudent (mail):
jgshapiro

No, I can't be trusted with a pistol.

Yet, strangely enough, you can be trusted with a vote, to speak your mind, and to procreate. Or do you disavow your ability to also exercise those rights responsibly?

On the other hand, I do have to admire your candor, in understanding your limitations and restraining yourself - even when the law would not.
4.3.2006 12:10am
juris_imprudent (mail):
Oh Freder

Well, most of them yes, as are most of the supposed "defensive" uses of firearms and those wonderful and exaggerated, and rarely verifiable, "armed citizen" stories found in NRA publications.

Irrelvant. You said such instances were generally only covered in NRA mags.

Seems like you need to bone up on your reading comprehension as I never said any such thing.

And anti-gun people wonder why they have so little credibility when it comes to "reasonable" proposals.
4.3.2006 12:25am
Ken Arromdee (mail):
Is it reasonable to refuse to issue a permit to Robert Blake or O.J. Simpson, despite the fact that neither one has any felony convictions or recent misdemeanor convictions or recent mental illness history?

By the same reasoning, you could ask if it's reasonable to keep OJ out on the street. Denying him a gun is supposed to reduce the chance he'll hurt someone, at a cost to his freedom. Well, locking him up will reduce the chance he'll hurt someone by an even larger amount, at a greater cost to his freedom.

Or if you don't want to lock him up, surely there are other things you could do. For instance, you could decide that even though he hasn't been convicted of a crime, he should be forced to report to a probation officer. That would reduce his freedom less than locking him up, yet would still make it less likely he'll commit a crime.

We don't do any of these things because we've decided that people who are found innocent in court will be treated as innocent. We won't find people innocent and then take away some of their rights anyway just in case. If we want to do that, we need to have a trial which finds them guilty. We should let OJ carry a gun for the same reason we let him walk around without a probation officer, or without a RFID tag on his wrist, or even without doing community service.

Besides, OJ is physically fit and would have no problem killing another woman using his bare hands. He doesn't need a gun to do it.
4.3.2006 2:00am
h0mi:
Well, most of them yes, as are most of the supposed "defensive" uses of firearms and those wonderful and exaggerated, and rarely verifiable, "armed citizen" stories found in NRA publications.


Interesting statement from someone decrying this in the New Orleans thread:

I deeply resent being turned into some kind of academic abstraction.
4.3.2006 5:18am
jgshapiro (mail):

By the same reasoning, you could ask if it's reasonable to keep OJ out on the street . . . Or if you don't want to lock him up . . . you could decide that even though he hasn't been convicted of a crime, he should be forced to report to a probation officer. We don't do any of these things because we've decided that people who are found innocent in court will be treated as innocent.

I think the disconnect here is that you think carrying a concealed weapon is a right and I do not. Owning a gun is a right (though it can be subject to some restrictions), but being allowed to carry it concealed on your person is not. It is a privilege. Indeed, if it is a right, I question why you would even need a permit to exercise it. I don't need a permit to walk around on the street or to justify not reporting to a probation officer. The very fact that you do need a permit, everywhere, suggests that there can and should be conditions placed on obtaining that permit. Why can't one of those conditions be a showing of good character?

O.J. and Robert Blake would have a very difficult time meeting a good character standard. Good character cannot be shown just through the absence of criminal convictions. Evidence that would meet a civil court standard of preponderance of the evidence but not a criminal court standard of beyond a reasonable doubt would be relevant and should be considered - and in both cases would preclude O.J. and Blake from getting permits. Rap sheet evidence that is routinely considered in police investigations should also be considered in concealed carry applications. Turning a blind eye to this evidence is crazy when you are deciding whether to permit someone to hide a lethal weapon on themselves when they walk around in public.

OJ is physically fit and would have no problem killing another woman using his bare hands. He doesn't need a gun to do it.

The fact that O.J. could kill someone with his hands is no reason to make it easier for him to do it with a concealed gun. We take all sorts of precautions in society, but we don't (can't) guard against everything. In my 'perfect world' - to use a phrase from a previous poster - O.J. can still own a gun, he just wouldn't be able to carry it around in public. Is that really such a big deal?

And what do you mean by "another woman"? I thought you said that O.J. was innocent? ;-)
4.3.2006 6:15am
Publicola (mail) (www):
Shapiro (inadvertently) hit it on the head: carrying a firearm, be it concealed or open is a Right. That a permit is required for it is downright offensive.

&that's one of the detriments regarding CCW laws - they get people used to treating a Right (carrying arms) as a privilege. That's the big danger of such "pro-gun" gun control laws - they give you a little more rope while weaking one of the legs of the stool you're standing on. But enough choir preaching.

How can owning a firearm in your home be a Right yet carrying one on your person not be? Does the character of a person change when he leaves his property? Do the homicidal demons stay at bay when he's on his own land?

No. Pragmatically there's no difference. Unless he lives in a rural area he could do as much harm by shooting out his front or back door as he could shooting in a mall. Conversely he could also be in as much (if not more) danger walking outside his home (say in a parking lot late at night) than he would be staying inside it.

In principle, again there is no difference. Is a person's life defensible only at his home? Does the Right of self defense cease at his gates?

Again no. The only negation I can see is if he enters another person's property who forbids arms. &before anyone gets started public land, such as sidewalks or parks, would not constitute private property which would invoke that ol' Lockean trump card. Saying a person's Right to arms or defense can be curtailed in public places would be to say that freedom of conscience or speech or privacy could be done away with if it's in the name of public use. But no; a person's right to arms &defense is no less existent on a sidewalk than it is in his home.

Now touching on the practice of issuing permits as an indicator that carrying concealed isn't a Right - please. By that logic we'd have merely accepted that bills of attainder were a good thing &skipped that whole pesky revolution business. Because a government has enough force to mandate something does not mean it's proper, moral or even constitutional. Ask anyone involved in the civil rights movement of the 60's if that premise has any merit whatsoever.

Denying OJ a permit... as I've said I think the permitting process is an abomnible system. I disagree very much so with our host (Mr. Kopel) that "Shall Issue" ccw laws are the best pragmatic way to go about things. In fact I'd go so far as to argue that the efforts of the NRA &similar organizations &folks who see "Shall Issue CCW" as a holy grail of some sort make permitless carry more difficult if not impossible (after all, if you lower your goals because the ideal is impossible you'll neevr reach the ideal will ya?).

That being said there should not be anyone to grant or deny OJ a permit. If he's walking freely he should not be hindered in his ownership or possession of whatever arms he deems fit to have. If he really is a danger to society then he needs to be seperated from society. But if he cannot be convicted then we must assume that he is innocent, despite opinions to the contrary.

Besides, if we did accept somehow that the insulting practice of granting permission slips for carry was okey dokey &that anything less than a conviction for a violent crime was grounds for denial, then who the hell gets to decide? I simply do not trust the government that much. Go down to the DMV &spend an hour or two just watching &tell me you want those same folks deciding important things about your life.

Permits; the last vestige of Jim Crow left. &it's still widely accepted, even when it's discretionary. The permit system for firearms started as discretionary. If you were black they figured you didn't have the right kind of discretion &they denied the permit. Yet some folks are arguing to go back to the same damn system which facilitated so much discrimination &denied so many arms for their own defense. Try to find the numbers for California CCW permits. then try to break them down by race. California has exactly the sort of discretionary ("may issue) permit system some here have upheld as a good compromise. I guarantee if the object was voting they'd recoil in horror at such a system being proposed.

But again I must ask; to those who wish for no carrying of arms outside the home, what level of force would you think appropriate to enforce such a law? &to those of you who champion any sort of permit system ("may issue" or shall issue") what level of force would you deem appropriate to make folks comply with such laws?

That's the bottom line. How much force would you think is appropriate to use against someone who wishes to carry a means of defense against criminals &/or government?
4.3.2006 9:04am
Jordan (mail):
How can owning a firearm in your home be a Right yet carrying one on your person not be? Does the character of a person change when he leaves his property? Do the homicidal demons stay at bay when he's on his own land?

Not to mention the fact that if he wants to go on a shooting spree outside of his house, a permit requirement isn't going to prevent him from doing it.
4.3.2006 1:42pm
Brett Bellmore (mail):
Well, of course, it's the concealment, not the carrying, that is being licensed. In most of the shall carry states you have the legal right to carry openly without any license, though the practice is frequently suppressed by abusive enforcement of laws against "brandishing" or "creating a public disturbance".
4.3.2006 1:49pm
juris_imprudent (mail):
jgshapiro,

Why can't one of those conditions be a showing of good character?

And what exactly is your objective definition of good character? Does the 5th Amdt hold as little meaning to you as the 2nd? Would you just leave it to the whims of the politicians know as "police chiefs", as CA now does? Aren't you just a little concerned that a certain actor, known for violent outbursts, is permitted to carry a concealed firearm in this very state?
4.3.2006 8:22pm
jgshapiro (mail):

And what exactly is your objective definition of good character?

It's a judgment call based on the past history of the applicant. If you don't think your police chief has enough good discretion to exercise this judgment, you should replace him (or her).
4.3.2006 9:36pm
jgshapiro (mail):

Does the character of a person change when he leaves his property?

The character of the person does not, but the risk of harm does.

Not to mention the fact that if he wants to go on a shooting spree outside of his house, a permit requirement isn't going to prevent him from doing it.

You seem to be assuming that there are only two classes of people, law-abiding people who would never hurt anyone (except in self defense) and criminals bent on killing someone, regardless of the law. I suppose if your world is that black and white, a permit requirement makes less sense (though it would still give you an extra charge against a criminal after the fact that is easier to prove - remember Capone was convicted of tax evasion, not mob crimes).

But if you recognize that there are people who might not ordinarily get involved in gunplay, but might under the right circumstances, the calculus is different. To the extent that a permit requirement keeps the gun at least temporarily away from a hothead, you can deter gun-related violence. For example, if someone with poor impulse control (O.J.) is walking around in public with a gun and gets into an argument, it is more likely to lead to gunplay than if the gun is back at home. The same goes for the driver who gets cut off or flipped off on the freeway.
4.3.2006 9:53pm
Wince and Nod (mail) (www):
As long as we are restricting rights, it would seem that abridging the right of freedom of association and simply jailing all gang members would be the most effective right to abridge if we want to cut down on murder. Gang membership is many orders of magnitude (a million times? ten million times? at least a thousand times?) more highly coorelated with murder than a shall issue concealed carry license. It would truly be a human rights violation, but since I don't want to be a member of a gang, why should I care?

Except, oddly, I very much care.

Yours,
Wince, pointing out the elephant in the room
4.3.2006 10:49pm
Dick Eagleson:
Elais:

And here I thought the very definition of 'conservative' and 'right-wing' was irrational and paranoid.

I'm sure you did. Most probably, you still do. All that would appear to demonstrate is that you are capable of holding more than one non-factual, non-rational belief in your head at once. I never implied otherwise and freely stipulate now that you can, indeed, do so.

Conservatvies seem to me the epitome of fear, look how scared to death they are of immigrants, minorities, non-Christians, muslims.

Not being a conservative, I can't speak with absolute authority on this one, but I'm sure any actual conservative reader of this thread will help me out if I get things wrong.

That said, certainly there are fearful conservatives of the type you imagine to be emblematic of conservatives generally. Pat Buchanan comes to mind. There are certainly others on the crackpot Right. As a percentage of the total "right wing," however, they aren't very significant. They certainly don't bulk as relatively large on the Right as MoveOn.org and other hard-core types do on the Left. The vast gulf in respective fundraising ability is proof enough of this.

Conservatives are not, in general, afraid of immigrants. They are properly angry at massive flouting of our national borders by people who seem increasingly to regard their unassimilatded presence here as some kind of right. It isn't. And it is not "racist" to say so.

Nor are conservatives, generally speaking, afraid of minorities. I have lived for decades in Rep. Maxine Waters's congressional district in which, as a white, I am a minority. Given the heavy Latino and Asian population hereabouts, I stongly suspect that everyone in this disctrict is - in percentage of the total terms - a minority, though I have never done the Census District research to confirm this. Neither I, nor any white conservatives I know in this area, spend much time looking warily at most of the variously black and brown people among whom we live, though I do note that some of said black and brown people do not seem quite so inclined to cut certain others of variously dusky hues this same degree of slack. The race riots at our local public school campuses tend to be black vs. whatever brown ethnic group is most numerous. Asians and whites tend to sit these little dances out.

This is not to say, however, that many conservatives are not wary of young black males encountered randomly on the street - and for quite rational reasons. I'm no conservative, but I share that caution - as, quite famously, does the Rev. Jesse Jackson. Though representing less than 2% of the U.S. population, black males between 15 and 35 account for roughly half of the violent crime committed in the U.S. Mark Twain was correct when he said that it could probably be proven with statistics that there is no native American criminal class except Congress, but he'd be wrong if he said the same thing today. Black males between 15 and 35 now represent a native, self-made criminal class of fairly recent vintage. Thus, I freely acknowledge my own prejudice against strangers who fall into this demographic cohort and would be unsurprised to find that conservatives - of all racial extractions - are of a comparable mind. Further, I think most liberals are too. They just won't say so in public.

As for non-Christians, conservatives are famously supportive of Israel, which can hardly be said of liberals, and even less so of hard Lefties - even Jewish ones - these days. Myself, I'm libertarian-ish and pretty tolerant of most religions, though Islam is defintely on my personal "watch list." I am also an atheist, but, as I like to put it, not an evangelical one. This allows me to - much of he time - get along with conservatives. I'll stand and bow my head to be polite, I just don't say the prayers or sing the hymns.

What I think most religious conservatives have trouble with are not non-Christians so much as anti-Christians. I sympathize somewhat. There certainly is a lot of quite virulent evangelical atheism on display among the politically Left these days. I think most folks are, quite properly, inclined to be at least a bit wary - even fearful - of people who loudly and repeatedly announce their hatred of them.

Oh yeah. That last bit is also why the Right is not exactly filled with unreserved warmth for all things Muslim these days. If you don't think fear of a sizable fraction of Islam is a rational attitude at present, I can only say, it figures.

Look how much effort they spend in imprisoning us to 'protect' us.

Yeah. And whaddayaknow, it works too. California's been a lot less Hobbesian since our 3-Strikes law went in some years ago. The nasty and brutish - whether short or not - are a lot less trouble in stir than on the streets. What part of this is irrational?

Look how much effort they spend to ensure that everyone can shoot first and ask questions later.

Actually, we want to be able to shoot first and answer questions later.
4.4.2006 1:00am
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
Freder-

This particular argument always makes me laugh. Where exactly do you think "illegally obtained guns" come from? They just don't appear out of thin air. They are obtained through straw purchases (the reason for implementing restrictions on the number of guns you can purchase) or stolen from law abiding citizens like you (even the NRA admits 90% of home invasions occur when the hous is unoccupied, so if you keep a gun in the house for self-defense, guess what, the burglar is going to steal it).

Don't know if you're still following this thread, but to address your points:

"Straw" purchases: We already have many laws on the books prohibiting this, and a whole federal law enforcement agency which has gun law violations as one of its major responsibilities. If registration were enacted "straw" dealers would just get better at obliterating serial numbers. Law-abiding owners would be effected, while the actual criminals would be relatively unaffected.

Stolen firearms: When a firearm is stolen from a legal owner it is generally reported stolen and the make, model, serial #, etc. are provided to police. This is the same information that they would have under a registration system, so a registration system would provide little or no additional benefit in the case of firearms stolen from legitimate owners. Again, law-abiding owners would be effected, and the actual criminals would be relatively unaffected.
4.4.2006 5:03am
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
Freder-

Forgot to mention one other thing - "straw" dealers do not explain why black market guns in the UK are close to the same price as legally purchased guns here. If prohibition started tomorrow the illegal market would quickly expand here.
4.4.2006 7:18am
Joe Knows:
Of course someone who's going to kill people can do so any number of ways; but it's much easier with guns.

Do you support drunk driving laws? Remember, one can be charged with DUI even though one drives perfectly. That's because the potential is so much greated when you're drunk. The same basic principle applies when evaluating guns.

That's why I support putting up "legal hoops" for people buying handguns, automatic weapons, etc. I don't for hunting rifles and the like, since I feel these are much less likely to be dangerous. If you only require those buying handguns to go through hoops, that's probably 5% of the total population's gun purchases. Not at all unreasonable.
4.4.2006 7:51pm
juris_imprudent (mail):
jgshapiro,

To the extent that a permit requirement keeps the gun at least temporarily away from a hothead, you can deter gun-related violence.


Ah, then you did get my allusion to Sean Penn. Does it bother you that he has one due to the whims of some CA police chief?
4.5.2006 12:35am
RichC:
Another post with respect to Massachusetts. As Brooks Lyman said, many police chiefs (chiefs are who MA law gives the power to issue a CCW permit) outside of Boston/Brookline/Worcester/Springfield issue CCW permits as a matter of course, and not just in rural areas. For example, Arlington, one of the most densely populated municipalities in the Commonwealth, has a chief who routinely issues CCW permits (the cover letter to the permit application packet you gets even says that CCW permits are "generally issued", and experience bears that out, as Arlington is rated green by packing.org).
4.5.2006 6:35pm