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. April 23, 2003.
Dave Kopel's Second Amendment Project is based at the Independence
Institute, a free-market think tank in Golden, Colorado.
1. New by Kopel. Monograph debunks claim that 500,000 people every year
are killed by small arms. NRO article debunks "Bowling for Columbine."
Amicus brief in school gun picture censorship case. Journal article on UN
effort to ban guns for "non-state actors." NPR on the NAACP vs. Guns.
"Smart" gun mandate in New Jersey. Dangers of pacifism.
2. Kopel's Corner. Short NRO items on the NAACP case, nit-picking
on John Lott, and Kalashnikov logo-gear.
3. Culture: "Bowling for Columbine" backlash.
4. International: Oh, Canada! Plus pro-gun Israeli court decision.
5. Hunting: Wisconsin voters add right to hunt to state constitution.
6. CCW: Lott on armed pilots; Cramer on Sean Penn; Shall Issue
enacted in New Mexico.
7. Research, Scholarship, Information: Harvard Law School debate.
New Outdoor Wire daily e-mail.
8. Technology: Danforth Commission Waco re-enactment may be bogus,
FLIR expert says.
Global Deaths from Firearms: Searching for Plausible Estimates.
With Paul Gallant & Joanne D. Eisen.
Firearms prohibition advocates claim that firearms kill 500,000
around the world every year. This factoid is clearly untrue, and
the assumptions used to create the statistic mask the significant
dangers of firearms prohibition.
The UN Small Arms Conference
SAIS Review, vol 23, no. 1
The SAIS Review is published by the Johns Hopkins University
School of Advanced International Studies
National Public Radio, The Tavis Smiley Show.
Kopel interviewed for 4/9/03 program on the NAACP's
lawsuit against the firearms industry.
A Moriori Lesson. A Brief History of Pacifism.
National Review Online. Apr. 11, 2003.
With Paul Gallant & Joanne D. Eisen.
When a Pacific tribe adopted complete pacifism, everything
was fine—until another tribe invaded.
Bowling Truths. Michael Moore's Mocking.
National Review Online. Apr. 4, 2003.
Deconstructing the dishonest "documentary"
"Smart Guns": New Jersey's new "smart gun" law proves that a gun ban
by any other name still has the same devastating results.
America's 1st Freedom, March 2003.
Independence Institute Amicus Brief
In the case of Newsom v. Albermarle, a middle school threatened to
punish a student for wearing a NRA shooting sports camp t-shirt.
An Independence Institute amicus brief for the Fourth Circuit Court of
appeals argues that shooting sports are wholesome and promote good
character, and that speech promoting shooting sports cannot
rationally be censored in a public school.
Coming soon: Kopel and retired Marine helicopter pilot David Petteys
on the TSA's efforts to constrict the armed pilots program. National
"Ballistic Fingerprinting: Not Ready for Prime Time." By Kopel and
Sterling Burnett, National Center for Policy Analysis.
NAACP VS. GUNS [Dave Kopel] Yesterday was opening day for the NAACP's
lawsuit against the firearms industry, in the Brooklyn court of
federal Judge Jack Weinstein. The NAACP attempted to portray the
lawsuit as not hostile to gun ownership. The NAACP attorney told the
jury, according to the transcript:
"Certainly the NAACP of all organizations in this country
understands and respects the constitutional right to bear arms.
Upon the NAACP's founding on 1909 in New York City, soon
thereafter it took up its first criminal law case In Ossien, Michigan,
where a black male, Mr. Sweet, was charged with killing a white
supremacist along with several accomplices. The court, to rule
out Mr. Sweet and his family to be pushed out of their
home in Michigan, it was in that case that the presiding judge, to
uphold Mr. Sweet's right to be with his family, coined the popular
phrase 'a man's home is his castle.'"
One might take the attorney's claim about upholding the constitutional
right to arms a little more seriously if he were more scrupulous
about the facts. In Detroit (Not "Ossien") Michigan in 1925-26,
the NAACP and Clarence Darrow came to the defense of Dr. Ossian Sweet,
and his family. The Sweets were black people who a black man who had
fatally shot a man in a white mob which was attacking their home because Dr. Sweet had moved into an all-white neighborhood.
The phrase "a man's home is his castle," while certainly relevant to
the Sweet case, first appears in a 1499 case which arose during the
reign of Henry VII.
Notwithstanding the nice, half-way accurate beginning, the NAACP
lawyer then turned to such a harsh and emotional attack on the gun
industry that Judge Weinstein repeatedly interrupted him to announce
that the attorney was wrong in what he was telling the jury that the
case was about. At the end of the NAACP opening statement, Judge
Weinstein addressed the jury and told them: "Ladies and gentlemen,
thank you. I want to emphasize the case is not a case about
segregation or discrimination; is that clear? It's not a case about
lobbying, getting particular legislation or not getting it. Is that
The attorney's comparison of the firearms industry to people who
drown babies in rivers was not corrected by the judge.
NIT-PICKING [Dave Kopel]
Today's Sunday New York Times includes a cartoon about Michael
Bellesiles and John Lott, accusing them of moral equivalence. It's a
hard claim to make since Bellesiles's book was a fabrication through
and through, as Clayton Cramer has proven.
In contrast, the Lott controversy involves only a single sentence in his
book, and the rest of the book is supported by detailed data which Lott
has made available to many dozens of researchers. But I think the worst
thing about the cartoon is that it shows the continuing decline of quality
editing at the Times. The on-line version of the cartoon refers to
"knit-picking" scholars who questioned Lott. People who pay attention
to small details are not like people who pick at knitted fabric; the
proper word is "nit-picking"--a metaphor for picking tiny lice eggs
(nits) out of hair. Nit-picking, both literally and figuratively is a
very important activity. During my father's 22-year career in the
Colorado legislature, he was known as the body's chief nit-picker,
which meant that he paid careful attention to how proposed statutes
were worded, so that sloppy language did not cause unintended
problems. (He also worked on scores of bigger projects, authoring
many major bills, and serving for a while as House Judiciary
Chairman, and as Assistant Minority Leader). Nit-pickers get rid of
problems which are tiny now but which will cause serious trouble
later if they are not removed. Let's not confuse much-needed
nit-pickers which the pointlessly destructive people who distress
NOT JUST GUNS [Dave Kopel] Gun companies such as Smith & Wesson have
long enjoyed a profitable sideline selling logo items. Now, Mikhail
Kalashnikov, inventor of the AK-47, is getting into the business.
He's just signed a deal with a German company to sell "manly" items
such as snowboards, umbrellas, shaving foam, watches, penknives, and
a vodka cocktail. "The articles are very similar to my rifle:
reliable, easy to use and indestructible," he says.
David T. Hardy provides extensive analysis of the
(in)accuracy of "Bowling for Columbine"
"Ugly Truth About Bowling for Columbine"
The fact-free "documentary" is Leftist fantasy.
Campaign to revoke "Bowling" documentary Oscar,
on the grounds that Academy rules prohibit deliberate
deception and falsehood in a documentary
Reason Magazine thanks Michael Moore
for enlivening an otherwise dull Oscar night:
NewsMax.Com's editors offer their 'Hot Topics' view of Michael Moore,
suggesting that his search for 'Stupid White Men' begin close to home:
Attorney and Talk-Show host Debbie Schlussel compares Michael Moore's
fictions with those he attributed to President Bush in his
An Australian editorialist's observations that Michael Moore's
disdain for the United States and Capitalism do not serve to prevent
him from enjoying the benefits of either, traits shared by other
Fake gun lands costumed 6th grader five-day suspension.
Student carried a gun prop from a school play
Summary of the Battle of King's Mountain, one of the battles
in the great movie "The Patriot"
Dr. Ted Morton Presents his research on the Canadian government's
violations of Canada's Charter of Right and Freedoms,
in the Firearms Act. This is a six-page summary of his paper:
Committee Testimony with Respect to the Government's Proposals
to Control "Inexplosive Ammunition Components"
37th Parliament, 2nd Session, Legislative Committee on Bill C-17
February 20, 2003
Two Canadian Academics, W.T. Stanbury and Gary Mauser
demonstrate the financial and practical inefficiency of
Canada's ongoing efforts to restrict firearms freedoms.
The President of the Canadian Coalition for Gun Control rebuts
the above article's criticism of Canada's hugely
expensive and over-budget registry of firearms owners. "A reality
check on the gun registry: Canada's gun control law is a long-term
investment in our security."
Two articles by W.T. Stanbury and Allan Smithies summarize Canada's
history of firearms ownership and regulation.
Part I: 1867-1945
Part II: 1945-1995
The parents of two children murdered with outlawed weapons in Britain
urge violators of the national gun ban to surrender their
already-prohibited weapons during an amnesty:
The Jerusalem District Court orders a the state to restore an Israeli
citizen's ability to carry weapons in self-defense, and to pay
restitution for depriving him of his due rights:
Wisconsin Hunting Amendment.
Wisconsin voters add state constitutional amendment, with over
"The people have the right to fish, hunt, trap, and take game
subject only to reasonable restrictions as prescribed by law
Similar referenda campaigns are under way in Indiana,
Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska and New York.
Wisconsin Voters Support Sportsmen - Nebraska and Missouri would like
Montana House Bill 306.
Approved the legislature as a referendum for the Nov. 2004 ballot:
If voters approve, Article IX of Montana Constitution would
have a new section:
Section 6. Preservation of harvest heritage. The opportunity to
harvest wild fish and wild game animals is a heritage that shall
forever be preserved to the individual citizens of the state and does
not create a right to trespass on private property or diminution of
other private rights.
Double Standard in 'Arbitrary Carry.'
From Clayton Cramer: Marin County, California, refuses carry
permit applications from judges, but granted a permit to Sean Penn,
despite a recent violent misdemeanor conviction.
New Mexico becomes 34th state to adopt "Shall Issue" CCW Law
Arming of Pilots Is Way Overdue
By John Lott
Los Angeles Times, April 14, 2003
7. Research, Scholarship, and Information
Survey of Gun Collection and Use among Three Groups of
Veteran Patients Admitted to Veterans Affairs Hospital Treatment Programs
Southern Medical Journal, 96(3): 240-243; Mar 2003
Thomas W. Freeman, MD; Vincent Roca, PHD; Tim Kimbrell, MD
Veterans with chronic post-traumatic stress disorder own more
guns than veterans who are schizophrenics or substance abusers.
Studying "exposure" to firearms: household ownership v access
R M Ikeda, L L Dahlberg, M-j Kresnow, J J Sacks and J A Mercy
Injury Prevention, 2003;9:53-57
Owning a gun is not equivalent to having access to a gun within
10 minutes or less, and vice versa.
This treatment points out that a survey respondent asserting the mere
ownership of a firearm should not be equated with the ability or
opportunity to employ one in a crisis situation.
RealPlayer video Gun Policy and the Second Amendment
debate featuring Eugene Volokh, Alan Dershowitz, and Dennis Henigan.
4/8/2003, Harvard Law School
The Outdoor Wire, a free daily e-mail briefing service,
provides news from non-profit organizations such
as NSSF, from the various governing bodies in the shooting sports,
and from outdoor businesses.
Free Subscription Form:
When a Gun Is More Than a Gun: The U.S. Army will soon be equipping
individual soldiers with thermobaric weaponry. These weapons are
several orders of magnitude more destructive than previous military
A South African inventor claims to have invented a 'smart
gun' that could only be operated by a single individual.
Former San Jose police officer Leroy Pyle.
Famous 1989 videotape explaining that the difference between "assault
Weapons" and other guns is purely cosmetic.
Now available on the web, in a variety of formats.
Expert: Government science failed at Waco
Says conclusion agents did not fire weapons possibly pre-determined
April 12, 2003
Independent expert says Danforth Commission re-enactment may
Not be valid.
This newsletter was prepared for electronic publication by Dr. Rob S.
Dr. Rice, no relation to Ann, is a historian, writer and factotum of matters
electronic to David Kopel.