Nov. 5, 1999 Second Amendment Project newsletter

About once a month, Dave Kopel produces a free e-mail Newsletter containing short summaries and links to important new research and writing involving the Second Amendment and firearms policy. The newsletter also reports on Kopel's latest writing.

The content of this newsletter is produced by the Second Amendment Project at the Independence Institute, a think tank in Golden, Colorado. The newsletter is electronically distributed by the Second Amendment Foundation in Bellevue, Washington. Thus, the Second Amendment Foundation will be given your e-mail address.

Archive of past issues.

The Second Amendment Project is based at the Independence Institute, a free-market think tank in Golden, Colorado.

Table of Contents for this issue:

1. The Truth about Gun Shows. By Dave Kopel

2. Column on gun registration in Canada, by Edmonton Journal columnist Lorne Gunter.

3. Future Farmers of America under attack for gun raffle.

4. Kopel quotes in the newspapers. On gun shows, law enforcement militarization, and self-defense.

1. The Truth about Gun Shows

2. Column on gun registration in Canada, by Edmonton Journal columnist Lorne Gunter.

[appeared in the Edmonton Journal Sunday 31 October 1999]

[PLEASE NOTE: This is a longer version of my column than made it into print. We at the Journal recently relaunched our paper and the column "holes" in the new version are not always the same size as in the old. The edited version is very faithful to my original. It is the version that should be consulted for the purposes of quotation. But since this version includes a few barbs that recipients might enjoy, I am sender the longer one for your amusement.]

In its obsessive, pig-headed and ignorant rush to register all the gopher guns and target pistols in the country, it is entirely likely the Liberal government in Ottawa will end up getting more Canadians killed than would ever have been saved had the registry lived up to the fantastical promises made in order to sell it.

This shouldn't surprise. Liberals, both big and small-l, are famous for getting stung by the law of unintended consequences.

Liberals devised universal welfare to eliminate poverty and in the attempt expanded the ranks of the poor. They made divorce easier to get to free wives from abusive husbands and make women more independent, and ended up causing half the marriages since to break up and shackling vast numbers of women to the poverty of single motherhood. They raised taxes to pay for their multitude of schemes and killed the jobs that generate the income to pay the taxes.

Why shouldn't it be that the when Liberals set out to reduce murders, accidental death and suicides by making every homeowner, farmer and hunter declare his or her firearms to the government the end result would be an increase in the number of dead Canadians? It fits the pattern.

In the nearly 11 months since the Liberals imposed their universal registry on the nation's recreational firearms community, black market gun sales have boomed. Scores of legitimate gun shops have gone under or are about to. But under-the-tables sales are as healthy as all get out.

In large part, this is because the Liberals new gun laws instantly criminalized hundreds of thousands of gun sales that for centuries had been legal. Canadians have always sold each other weapons of all sorts privately, including firearms. Such over-the-fence transactions occur as often as a quarter-million times each year, perhaps more.

Thanks to Justice Minister Anne McLellan's hysterically rigid insistence that each and every gun sale, even these neighbour-to-neighbour sales, be approved by her department in advance, nearly all these sales are now so-called black market sales.

But beyond this administrative expansion of the black market, there has been a real increase in the number illegitimate sales. Since buying a gun the Ottawa-approved way through a licensed gun shop often takes days or weeks, and costs at least $25 just for the government imprimatur, many frustrated owners are turning to - let's call them - less-conventional suppliers.

This action on the part of otherwise law-abiding firearms aficionados is lamentable, even as it is entirely

understandable. Before Ottawa will approve sales to the banker down the block, or your kid's hockey coach, or the university prof who hunts with his buddies each fall, it wants to know if they are alcoholics, if they are good spouses, if they have ever lost a job or gone bankrupt, if  their neighbours have any complaints about them. It wants them to build or buy expensive safes for their guns and others for their ammunition. It wants them to take lengthy and expensive safety courses; to get permission (in many cases) before they move their guns from one home to another, or from home to the shooting range. It even wants to approve in advance the willing of guns to their heirs.

And Ottawa wants legitimate gun owners to pay handsomely to clear all these obstacles.

Ottawa's anti-gun minions hoped this labyrinth of inconvenience, harassment and bureaucratic proctology would, over time, cause Canada's four or five million firearms owners to give up their sport. Recreational shooting and hunting would become more trouble than they are worth, and firearms owners would voluntarily turn their guns over to police. Rather than out-and-out confiscation, this was a scheme for constructive disarmament of the civilian population. 

But here comes the law of unintended consequences, again. There is no justification for denying law-abiding citizens the ownership of firearms in a democracy, in a political system in which they are the ultimate sovereigns. This was never a sentiment much articulated in Canada. Yet it turns out it was deeply held.

The gun registry is bitterly resented by legitimate gun owners in Canada, not just for its cost and convoluted intrusiveness, but for its underlying message that the government does not trust its own people.

So as McLellan's own group of hand-picked firearms experts recently told her, her government's legislation has prompted "an unchecked growth in the most unwanted elements of the firearms trade...the black market." Black market guns cannot be traced. Under the old system, gun shop owners often helped police identify suspects and the guns they purchased before they committed their crime. Black market gun sellers almost never talk; to do so would be to admit to participating in an illegal act (the under-the-table sale).

Black market guns are many times more likely to be used in crimes. Thus black market sales equal more gun deaths. McLellan and the Liberals' gun registry equals more black market sales. Therefore, McLellan and the Liberals' registry equals more gun deaths.

Moreover, three weeks ago, proof arrived of how futile the registry has been from the start. Statistics Canada says that of the 555 murders in 1998, just 151 (27.2 per cent) were committed with guns. Of those, only nine per cent, just 14, were committed with a legally owned, unregistered rifle or shotgun. All the rest were committed with guns that have had to be registered since 1934 (handguns) or with illegal guns, such as sawed-off shotguns or full automatics.

Ottawa is spending hundreds of millions of dollars, subjecting decent Canadians to horrendous administrative abuse and spurring an enormous black market on the off chance of saving 14 lives a year.

Dumb, dumb, dumb.


For daily updates about events in Canada, you can subscribe

to the Canadian Firearms Digest. Go to:

The website for Canada's National Firearms Association

(N.F.A.) is:

3. Eastern North Carolina Future Farmers of America Chapter needs Your Help.

By Fred Bonner

Gun raffles have long been a standard method of fund-raising in North Carolina but the North Carolinians against Gun Violence (NCAGV) has decided to bring an end to this practice for a small chapter of the Future Farmers of America (FFA) at the Hobgood Academy in Hobgood, N.C..

The FFA Chapter is trying to raise money by raffling off five guns. A winner will be chosen every day for five days in December. To be given away are three shotguns, one .22 rifle and one centerfire rifle.

Evidently Ms. Lisa Price (the wife of Democratic Congressman David Price) and the anti-gun group, NCAGV, have decided to take on this relatively small private school because they didn't think that they'd have the resources or will to fight back. They were Wrong! They have Eastern North Carolina, a lot of farmers, hunters and gun owners from all across the nation on their side.

The entire scheme to do away with guns may backfire on the NCAGV. Hobgood Academy may well sell more raffle tickets than ever because of the attention that the NCAGV is bringing to bear on the academy's fund raiser.

Press releases from this anti-gun group have gone out all over the world urging that the headmaster of the school, John Hardison, dump the program because it is "inappropriate for a school to be promoting guns." The anti-gun national press has picked up on the issue and it has made the national television news all over the nation.

The press releases from pro-gun groups closely followed this press release and gun owners from all over the nation and world became aware of the problem and are planning to buy raffle tickets to support the Hobgood Academy FFA Chapter. To quote one concerned gun owner: "This is the best way I know of to support the Second Amendment, the Future Farmers of America and to tell Lisa Price and her group that they can kiss our butt."

Another concerned gun owner, Dan Crouch from Washington, N.C. states that "This is the best way that I know of forgun owners to tell the anti-gun crowd to shut-up and leave our Second Amendment alone. By supporting this issue (that they've made such a fuss about) they've rallied thousands of gun supporters to send money to Hobgood Academy. What would have been a small raffle and fund-raiser has suddenly turned into a very major source of money for this FFA Chapter. Frankly, they've (the North Carolinians Against Gun Violence) have done us a favor."

Interestingly enough, not one of the anti-gun press releases will give the address of Hobgood Academy and how to purchase the raffle tickets. They have enough sense to realize that if they did this that it would drive

the raffle ticket sales "out the roof". With that in mind, here's how to order raffle tickets.

Hobgood Academy is standing up to the anti-gun crowd and plans to go ahead with the raffle as planned. The raffle will take place on the week of December 6 through 11, 1999.

Write to the Hobgood Academy, FFA Fund Raiser, P.O. Box 307, Hobgood , N.C., 27834.The raffle tickets cost ten-dollars each. The best way to send this is by check with the check made out to the Hobgood Academy.

[Note from Dave Kopel: A check of Lexis/Nexis revealed coverage of the Hobgood gun controversy in Scripps Howard newspapers; the Chicago Sun-Times; The Scotsman; CNN Morning News; The San Diego Union-Tribune; The Washington Times; The Atlanta Journal and Constitution; The Deseret News (Salt Lake City); The Fresno Bee; The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer; The Seattle Times; The Washington Post; and other newspapers. Your donation to Hobgood Academy is NOT tax-deductible. See the Internal Revenue Bulletin Summary at

And according to the New York Times, Mar. 1, 1982, famed baseball pitcher Gaylord Perry's son attended Hobgood Academy.]

4. Kopel quotes:

THE FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, October 24, 1999, Pg. 1, Editorial Section. "Gun Show & Tell: What the advocates say" 

"Statistics and hard-hitting language on gun shows are used by both the National Rifle Association and Handgun Control Inc. Here is a sample from the groups' Web sites. 



'Some people who don't like guns can't stand the idea of so many  gun owners in one place, buying and selling their wicked products.  It's how some communists feel when they visit the New York Stock Exchange.'

- From an article by Dave Kopel, New York University School of Law professor, on the NRA Web site."


Las Vegas Review-Journal, October 20, 1999, page 8B 

"What about self protection?" (Editorial)

"'It's one of the great lies of the anti-gun people, that people are so incompetent that they're going to have their guns taken away from them,' says David Kopel, research director of the Independence Institute in Golden, Colo., and author of the book 'Guns: Who Should Have Them?' 

'It's certainly possible that it could happen, but it's an extremely rare occurrence.'"


The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, October 10, 1999, P. 1B  "Marching across the thin blue line: Waco revelations have fueled the debate over the U.S. military's role in civilian law enforcement." By Ron Martz.

"For more than a century, the military hewed to the strict separation of what is military and what is civilian law enforcement --- a separation derived from an 1878 law known as Posse Comitatus, which was passed to keep federal troops from acting as police officers in the South after the Civil War. 

The blurring of this law 'is a cancerous threat to law enforcement and civil liberties,' said David Kopel, a former assistant district attorney in New York City who is now the research director for Independence Institute, a nonpartisan public policy forum in Colorado. 

Kopel, co-author with National Rifle Association research coordinator Paul Blackman of "No More Wacos: What's Wrong With Federal Law Enforcement and How to Fix It," contends law enforcement is becoming too militarized and the military is allowing itself to be drawn into areas of civil law enforcement that threaten civil and constitutional rights."

That's all folks!

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