Sept. 30, 2002, 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.

Dave Kopel's Second Amendment Newsletter. Sept. 30, 2002.
Dave Kopel's Second Amendment Project is based at the
Independence Institute, a free-market think tank in
Golden, Colorado.

Delivery of this newsletter comes courtesy of the
Second Amendment Foundation, in Bellevue, Washington

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Table of Contents for this issue

1. New by Kopel: Dem Hopes? What the legal options are in
New Jersey. Making Coltsville into a national park.
Joyce Malcolm and her critics.
2. The Canadian gun registry melt-down. By Lorne Gunter.
3. Culture: Italian Priest tells his flock to "shoot, shoot,
shoot." New poll shows surge in support for 2d Amendment.
4. State politics. Michigan gubernatorial candidates accept
concealed carry; Minnesota candidates split.
5. International: Pakistan allows Christian churches to arm
for self-defense.
6. Terrorism: Kates on Iraq.
7. History: Bellesiles appeals ruling by Emory investigators.
8. Law: NRA sues school for t-shirt ban. 7th Circuit rejects
Lopez gun theory.
9. Self-defense. New articles by JPFO and Lott.
10. Research. Some new and older DOJ studies.
And many more links too!

1. New by Kopel

Dem Hopes? What the legal options are in New Jersey.
Why Democratic claims that Torricelli can be replaced on
the ballot are incorrect.
National Review Online, Oct. 1, 2002.
Learning from Coltsville.
National Park status for Coltsville, the industrial village created
by Samuel Colt.
National Review Online. Sept. 23, 2002. With Michael Brotherton.
Malcolm in the Middle.
Has Joyce Malcolm's research on the history of English gun rights
been "discredited"?
National Review Online. Sept. 16, 2002.

2. End the billion-dollar gun registry boondoggle:
The Liberals have lost interest in this ineffective operation,
but fear to close it down
20 September 2002
p. A16
By Lorne Guner
Something appears to have gone drastically wrong at the national
gun registry in July, but it is difficult to find anyone who will
admit it.
No, let me rephrase that: Lots of people inside and outside the
registry will admit something went wrong. Rather, there are
conflicting reports over how drastic the foul-up was, and whether
it was out of the ordinary.
Several gun owners -- scores, if not hundreds or even thousands --
received letters this summer asking them to re-register firearms
they had already registered.
One source, a senior Liberal staffer on Parliament Hill, insists
this was made necessary by a "huge crash of the processing computers,"
sometime in early July. He also insists the crash wiped out "thousands"
of firearms records entered into the computers around or just after
Christmas -- more like tens of thousands.
Another source, this one closer to the Department of Justice, which
runs the registry, says there were indeed "delay problems" in July,
but they were nothing unusual. The system is prone to "periodic
interruptions" during which no files are lost because all registration
records are kept in duplicate on separate computers systems.
Frankly, I tend to believe this latter source when he claims disasters
are run-of-the-mill fare at the registry, and also when he claims
safeguards are built into the computers to ensure vital information
is never lost.
Still, it strikes me as funny that the government's explanation for
why no one should be concerned about the July crash is, in essence,
"Don't worry, that happens all the time."
Plenty of gun owners reported an inability to get through to the
firearms registry both on the phone and via the Internet at about
the same time -- early to mid-July. For days on end, callers received
a recorded message telling them telephone volume was so heavy no one
could speak with them nor even take a message. They were advised to
call back another time.
The registration of firearms slowed to a crawl, too. According to the
registry's own numbers, it processed only 10,000 registrations per week
in mid-July, but was back up nearly to normal (40,000) by mid-August.
Turmoil Seems Normal
Whether this incident was uniquely bad, or merely catastrophe-as-usual,
three things are clear about the registry as it approaches its fourth
anniversary and as the deadline (Jan. 1) for registering all firearms
approaches: It is in turmoil.
The Liberals have, for all intents and purposes, abandoned it. And, the
processing of owner licenses and firearms registrations has become so
perfunctory the registry cannot possibly make Canadians safer from gun
On Sept. 9, the Yellowknifer newspaper reported that the federal firearms
officers in both Yellowknife and Hay River had quit their jobs. No
replacements were being sought. These resignations follow hard on the
heals of resignations by firearms officers in Saskatoon, Regina and
Winnipeg. Since spring, eight in all have left their posts.
Between now and the end of the year, the government must register
another 3.5 million firearms (assuming its own ridiculously low estimate
of the number of guns in Canada is correct). It cannot possibly meet
that target, particularly if its staff keep quitting and its computers
keep crashing. It has taken nearly two years to register the first
4.2 million.
The entire registry staff continues to shrink in number, though.
The Liberals claim this is because the peak of the registry's
workload has passed. But it hasn't. It is more likely the peak
political benefit the government can derive from the
registry has passed.
The Liberals cannot afford the political "hit" from closing it,
but they also can't makeit work effectively, so they are keeping
it going, but as small as they dare.
The staff is likely being downsized, too, because the nature of
their work has changed, dramatically. When the new registry opened,
every application for a licence to own guns was going to be
rigorously screened, and every registration of a firearm was
going to be verified for accuracy by a government inspector.
But now, there are no verifiers.
By all accounts a registration form comes in, it is scanned into the
registry's computers, and a certificate is issued to the applicant.
The 4.2 million certificates generated so far contain nearly
3.2 million blank information fields. Nearly 20 per cent list
no serial number. The principal reason the Liberals gave of the
necessity to register all guns, at the time the Firearms Act was
passed in 1995, was so they could be traced to their owners
following the commission of crimes, thereby making it easier to
solve crimes and lower the crime rate.
Millions of the certificates are useless for this purpose.
Licensing owners, too, were going to keep guns out of the
wrong hands. While the Liberals claim their registry is
doing this -- that under the new law many more licences
have been refused or revoked than under the old --
the rate of refusals and revocations has actually declined
because of the rubber-stamp procedures being used to
grant licenses.
Between 1979 and 1999, 0.76 per cent of applications for Firearms
Acquisition Certificates were refused. Since 1999, the refusal
rate for one of the new licenses has been half that,
just 0.38 per cent.
It's galling that the Liberals won't end this
billion-dollar boondoggle, now.
Lorne Gunter Columnist, The Edmonton Journal
Editorial Board Member, The National Post

3. Culture
Christians and Guns
by Carlo Stagnaro
A fine essay detailing a sermon by an Italian Priest urging parishioners

to "Shoot, shoot,shoot" when attacked by criminals.
The essay explains why family defense isa Christian duty.
By the way, Mr. Stagnaro runs the website for Gun
Owners of the Venices, for which Kopel serves
as an advisor.
State of the First Amendment 2002
The Freedom Forum

See question 8, page 24. Question about the importance of the
right to own firearms:
The right is "essential": 1997, 33% agreed. 2002, 48% agreed.
The right is "important." 31% in both surveys.
The right is "not important": 33% in 1997. 20% in 2002.
Don't know/refused. 3% in 1997, 2% in 2002.
Ms., Armed
"Freedom of choice" I can get behind.
September 24, 2002
By Elizabeth Fitton.
National Review writer participates in NRA "Women on Target" program.

Knives can't go on planes. But they should go everywhere else.
By James Swan
National Review Online

4. Politics and the States
Richard Blumenthal Goes Too Far
John R. Lott, Jr.
Hartford Courant
August 20, 2002
The misbehavior of America's most anti-gun attorney general.
Pioneer Press
Anti-gun follies
Washington Times
Republican candidate for Maryland Governor criticizes new
anti-gun laws which harass citizens but don't reduce crime.
Gun-control crowd keeping silent these days
Lansing State Journal
Sept. 18, 2002
By Chris Andrews
Michigan gubernatorial candidates.

5. International
UN Secretary General
Report on small arms addressed for the Security Council.
On the surface, the recommendations are not bad, but, as with
all U.N. programs, reasonable language approved at the
highest levels gets twisted into very repressive and
intrusive mandates by the implementing bureaucracy.
United Nations disarmament website
Shooting is 'better for children than video games'
By Charles Clover, Environment Editor
The (London) Telegraph
So says 77% of the British public, in a recent poll.;$sessionid$



By Owen Bowcott
Sept. 21, 2002
The Guardian
Appeals judges find that man who defended his home from repeated
burglary invasions was mentally ill. Finding sets stage for parole
from life sentence.,3604,796286,00.html
Manchester News
Church of England Priest is fired, and sentenced to four months
in prison after police discover a derringer hidden inside a
grandfather clock in his home.
Sept. 10, 2002
By Barbara G. Baker
Pakistani security tells Christians to arms for protection
against Muslim terrorists, because the government cannot
protect them.
Government now allows churches up to four gun licenses.
Renée Cordes
Belgian government pushes for total gun registration,
ban on self-defense, and requirement for co-habitant
approval for gun permits.,181,&item_id=9191
The Guns of Zimbabwe
National Review Online
by Jim Swan
Sept. 17, 2002
Shooting sports are helping keep a turbulent region afloat.

6. Terrorism
Shouldn't People Who Favor Gun Control Favor War in Iraq?
By Don B. Kates
Aug. 26, 2002
By Kelly Patricia O'Meara 

7. History
Bellesiles appeals independent panel ruling;
provost says deadline for appeal process 'soon'
By Arin Gencer
The Emory Wheel
September 24, 2002

8. Law
NRA sues county schools
Sept. 18, 2002, The Daily Progress
Charlottesville, Vir.
"The National Rifle Association sued Albemarle County's school
system Tuesday, accusing administrators of violating a 12-year-old
boy's free speech rights by forcing him to turn his NRA T-shirt
inside out."
U.S. v. Lemon
Seventh Circuit rejects Lopez-based challenge to federal
felon-in-possession laws.

9. Self-defense.
Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership
Discusses the Zelig case in California, in which the government
was found not liable after an ex-husband stabbed his former wife
to death in a court house.
Reduce Crime, Let Citizens Carry Concealed Guns
By John R. Lott, Jr.
The Record (Bergen County, N.J.)
August 15, 2002

10. Research
Guns, Violent Crime, and Suicide in 21 Countries
Martin  Killias, John van Kesteren & Martin  Rindlisbacher
43 Canadian J. of Criminology 429 (2001)
There is "no statistically significant international
correlation" between  gun ownership and total levels of
homicide, suicide, robbery or assault.
Gun ownership does correlate use of guns in homicide, suicide,
and some crimes.
Guide to the Technologies of Concealed Weapon and Contraband
Imaging and Detection
National Institute of Justice
Hand-Held Metal Detectors for Use in Concealed Weapon and
Contraband Detection
National Institute of Justice
Background Checks for Firearm Transfers, 2001
Bureau of Justice Statistics
Survey of State Procedures Related to Firearm Sales,
Midyear 2001 Bureau of Justice Statistics
Getting Smarter: Making Guns Safer for
Law Enforcement and Consumers
National Institute of Justice
Al Qaeda delenda est!

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