May 2, 2000, Second Amendment 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.

Second Amendment Project Newsletter, May 2, 2000.
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. New on the web.
2. Updates on anti-gun lawsuits.
3. Lorne Gunter compares the Canadian reaction to gun misuse
and car misuse.
4. Linda Gorman: "Prevent Rapes, Support Concealed Carry."

1. New on the Web.

a. "Rampage killing facts and fantasies." By John Lott Jr.
Washington Times, April 26, 2000
Lott debunks a recent New York Times "report" on rampage killers;
the report was based on false or incomplete data, and was
twisted in order to support gun control.

b. "Paschall's School Safety Proposal Rejected."
by Ari Armstrong, Colorado Freedom Report. April 31, 2000
Arm teachers to protect students? Gun prohibitionists hate the
idea, but are unable to articulate a reason.

See also: "Proven Solution to End School Shootings."
By Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership

c. Anti-freedom frenzy in Massachusetts. Check out the website for
GOAL, the Gun Owners Action League, for details on the repressive
state regulations which are being touted as a national model to ban
handguns under the guise of consumer safety. 

2. Updates on anti-gun lawsuits.

a. The Firearms Litigation Clearinghouse has created a new website, the
The site provides updated information about anti-Second Amendment
lawsuits all over the United States. The Clearinghouse is a project
of the Educational Fund to End Handgun Violence, the legal arm
of the Coalition of Stop Gun Violence (formerly known as the
National Coalition to Ban Handguns).

b. There's no better analyst of lawsuit abuse than Walter Olson.
His website has a major section on abusive lawsuits against the
Second Amendment, with original material, and links to many other articles: 

c. Trigger Locks.
Details on how trigger locks can cause gun accidents.

d. Magazine disconnects.
Smith & Wesson's Faustian agreement with Bill Clinton
requires the company to install magazine disconnects on
all its self-loading pistols-as S&W has been doing for many years.
But it turns out that the S&W magazine disconnect sometimes
does not prevent the gun from firing. See,2960,41871-101000327,00.html

e. Kopel materials on anti-gun lawsuits. 

f. National Shooting Sports Foundation. With information about
the countersuit filed against illegal activities by prohibitionist

3. Edmonton Journal 24 March 2000. By Lorne Gunter

The Montreal Gazette is one of the most anti-gun newspapers in the

The paper's editors would likely disagree with such a styling. We're not anti-
gun they've argued in print. We just believe it is in the best
interests of the public to subject potential gun owners to months of
excruciating bureaucratic harassment if they wish to possess such
potentially dangerous objects.

The Gazetteers have recently argued the only problem with Ottawa's
Intrusive and Byzantine registry of all owners and guns is that it does not go
far enough. Still, they would probably prefer to be thought of as supporters of
modest precautions against firearms violence. So be it. They're sensible middle-of-the-roaders on guns.

That doesn't change the fact they're still logic escape artists.

Wednesday's Gazette carried an editorial about a recent outbreak of road rage in and around Montreal. Last week a young man riding in a friend's truck was
tragically shot and killed on a Montreal-area freeway by a motorist whose
driving the young man and his friend had dared criticize. Monday, another
motorist fired shots at a transit bus that had cut off his car.

The Surete du Quebec reports at least four other incidents of road rage, three
involving firearms, in greater Montreal in the past 10 months.

Okay, that's enough incidents of road rage assaults to raise concerns;
not enough to declare a public emergency, but enough to get people thinking.

So what do the Gazette's editors propose? They want the police to target
dangerous drivers and those driving without licenses.

Sounds good. Have police go after those causing the problem.

The Gazette argues "San Francisco, for example, instituted a program
Known as STOP, which impounds the cars of illegal drivers. Between 1995...and
1998, the city saw an 80-per-cent reduction in drunk-driving fatal crashes, a
20-per-cent reduction in crashes causing injuries and a 44-per-cent reduction in hit-and-runs.

"Quebec should consider implementing a program like this," the paper
advocates. "Extremely aggressive drivers care for no one's safety on the
road...The key is to keep them off the highways." The Gazette also
favours more police patrols of sections of highways where traffic tensions are
likely to be high. Police would then concentrate on dangerous and illegal
driving along those sections.


But aren't cars like guns? Certainly the advocates of gun control, the
Gazette among them, have told us they are. If we register cars and
drivers, they ask, why not register guns and gun owners?

Exactly. If road rage is a problem, then why aren't the editors of the
Gazette proposing as a solution the licensing of all drivers and the
registration of all vehicles? Where is the paper's call for a universal
registry to foster a "culture of safety" on local streets and roads?

Oops. You're right. Drivers and cars are already licensed and
registered. The editors know this and subconsciously understand it has not done
and never will do anything to stop crime on the roads. So they propose actions
that target the people committing the crimes.

That makes sense, just as it makes much more sense to target people
committing crimes with guns if one's goal is to reduce firearms

The Gazette knows drivers without licenses are still going to buy cars
and drive. Yet it seemingly escapes the editors that criminals without
Firearms licenses are still going to buy guns and use them in hold-ups and

That paper is all for impounding the cars of illegal drivers, and knows
It would be useless in reducing road crimes to compel all drivers to put
steering-wheel locks on their cars and lock their cars and gasoline in separate
vaults. Yet it favours impounding the guns of law-abiding gun owners who fail to register them, or lock them and their ammunition in separate vaults.

So why the logic on road rage and the pathological illogic on guns?

For one thing, there the almost total ignorance of Canada's political
And cultural establishment towards responsible firearms ownership and
responsible owners. Then there's the powerful symbolic challenge to the
state posed by private ownership of firearms, which on some level seems
to grate those who (most journalists among them) favour the expansive
welfare state.

And, finally, there's the fact most reporters and editors don't own
guns. It's easy for them to support subjecting someone else to hours and hours
of highly personal paperwork and months of wrangling with incompetent clerks to
get a license. If journalists had to go through the same demeaning, useless,
expensive and time-consuming hoops to renew their driver's licenses or license
plates, papers would be full of commentary on the injustice and futility of it

Lorne Gunter, Columnist
The Edmonton Journal

by Linda Gorman. Colorado Daily.

[This article discusses a recent series of rapes in Boulder, Colorado.]

An animal rapes women, and the powers that be hold another community meeting at which they dole out the same old advice about not walking alone at night. No matter that the most recent victim was driving a paper route. The advocationally concerned write Letters-to-the-Editor gushing about the rewards of volunteering for the Boulder Rape Crisis Team. According to one man's testimonial in The Daily Camera, men who volunteer make a decision to "help a community in crisis" and gain experience "offering information and assistance to survivors of sexual assault" as a part of a "wonderfully diverse and compassionate team" that can "demonstrate that men are a necessary part of the healing process."

When ghouls like this have finished making themselves feel better by telling everyone how much they benefit from their interactions with those who have been raped, perhaps we can dispense with the canned compassion and the silly advice and move on to discussing what can be done to put rapists permanently out of business.

In the seventies, rape avoidance programs encouraged victims to play along with their attacker. Sympathize with him, women were told, get him to relax and lower his guard so you can escape. Do not fight back. That will make him more likely to beat or kill you. Rape is not as bad as being dead.

Of course time marches on, dead bodies accumulate, and the politically correct advice changes form. Today women are advised to take immediate action against their attackers. They should drop everything, make noise, fight back, and try to run.

What they really should do is carry a gun. With a gun, a 100 pound woman is more than a match for an attacker twice her size and has a real possibility of convincing him that the cost of raping her is far too high. Without a gun she can fight back, and, unless she is extremely lucky, get raped anyway.

Let others argue about the preventative effects of consciousness raising and educational programs. Let the lawyers and the victim advocates argue over the nuances of whether "no" means "no" and what evidence will be allowable should a rape victim survive to see her day in court. A woman facing a rapist needs effective self-defense. A gun is the most effective form of self-defense ever devised. It follows that those interested in preventing rape would support laws giving women the right to buy and carry a gun should they feel it necessary.

According to John Lott and David Mustard's landmark 1997 study "Crime, Deterrence, and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handguns," if all states had adopted right-to-carry laws in 1992 roughly 4,000 rapes a year could have been prevented. (See

Results from the Department of Justice's National Crime Victimization Survey support Lott and Mustard's conclusion. They show that women who offer no resistance are 2.5 times more likely to be seriously injured than women who resist their attackers with a gun.

Groups like SAFE, Handgun Control, and the Bell Campaign say that this is nonsense. They point to the paper by Arthur Kellermann et al. that appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1993 and use its results to claim that owning a gun increases one's risk of being murdered. Using a methodology designed for medical research, Kellermann matched a "case sample" of 444 homicides with 388 controls who lived nearby and were the same sex, race, and approximate age. But gun ownership is not random.

Kellermann et al. ignored the possibility that people who thought they were more likely to be killed might also be more likely to have a gun in the house. They also failed to report that in only 8 of the 444 homicides was it established that the house gun was the one used in the homicide.

Because real data show that guns do more good than harm, gun phobics typically rely on emotional half-truths. One SAFE representative suggested that those in favor of concealed carry visualize Mile High Stadium filled with 70,000 drunken fans. Imagine the carnage! She must consider Bronco fans particularly murderous. Buccaneer and Dolphin fans, many of whom tipple at least a bit on game days, manage to avoid shooting one another despite the fact that Florida has relatively liberal shall issue concealed-carry law.

It is theoretically possible that liberalizing gun laws would increase accidental firearms deaths (although John Lott's research finds no evidence of a significant increase). At present the United States has about 1,000 accidental firearms deaths each year, 300 with handguns. In contrast, there were almost 96,000 forcible rapes, an estimated 4,000 of which would have been prevented by liberalizing gun laws.

Public policy is about tradeoffs. What's yours?

Linda Gorman is a Senior Fellow at the Independence Institute, a free-market
think tank in Golden, Colorado. Citations for the sources used in this article are available at the Institute's web site,

That's all folks!

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