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
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
Delivery of this newsletter comes
courtesy of the
Second Amendment Foundation, in
Please visit Dave Kopel's website,
containing articles on
the Second Amendment and other freedom
New: Kopel's Second Amendment page
news updates from FirearmsNews.com
Table of Contents for this issue
1. New by Kopel: Dem Hopes? What the
legal options are in
New Jersey. Making Coltsville into a
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
5. International: Pakistan allows
Christian churches to arm
6. Terrorism: Kates on Iraq.
7. History: Bellesiles appeals ruling by
8. Law: NRA sues school for t-shirt ban.
7th Circuit rejects
Lopez gun theory.
9. Self-defense. New articles by JPFO
10. Research. Some new and older DOJ
And many more links too!
2. End the billion-dollar gun registry
The Liberals have lost interest in this
but fear to close it down
20 September 2002
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
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
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
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
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
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
because of the rubber-stamp procedures
being used to
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
billion-dollar boondoggle, now.
Lorne Gunter Columnist, The Edmonton
Editorial Board Member, The National
Christians and Guns
by Carlo Stagnaro
A fine essay detailing a sermon by an
Italian Priest urging parishioners
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
The right is "not important": 33% in
1997. 20% in 2002.
Don't know/refused. 3% in 1997, 2% in
PAKISTAN'S CHRISTIANS TOLD TO 'PROTECT
Sept. 10, 2002
By Barbara G. Baker
Pakistani security tells Christians to
arms for protection
against Muslim terrorists, because the
Government now allows churches up to
four gun licenses.
NRA sues county schools
By ADRIENNE SCHWISOW
Sept. 18, 2002, The Daily Progress
"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
DISARMED ~ DEFENSELESS ~ DEAD: IT'S THE
Jews for the Preservation of Firearms
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.
Guns, Violent Crime, and Suicide in 21
Martin Killias, John van Kesteren &
43 Canadian J. of Criminology 429 (2001)
There is "no statistically significant
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.
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