Second Amendment: Timeless Natural Right, Protected | National Review

Source: Second Amendment: Timeless Natural Right, Protected | National Review

What part of ‘unalienable’ do you not understand? A progressive correspondent asks: “If you were drafting the Constitution in 2017, would you include the Second Amendment?” It’s an ignorant question, but one that was asked in good faith, and the answer may be illuminating to some of our friends who are mystified by conservative thinking on the question.

The short answer is: Yes, of course a 21st-century Bill of Rights should codify the right to keep and bear arms. The document does not create the right; the right precedes the document, which merely recognizes it and ensures that the government is constrained when, inevitably, its all-too-human members are tempted to violate that right.

Progressives take a tabula rasa view of the human condition, the human animal, the human experience, and human society. In this view human beings, individually and corporately, can be shaped into . . . whatever we desire to shape them into. Rights, in this understanding, come from the state: We decide together, through democratic and other political means, what rights and obligations people are to have, and the state acts (in theory) as our instrument in that matter. If you take that view, then the progressive attitude toward the right to keep and bear arms — that it is more trouble than it is worth and that it therefore should be reduced or eliminated altogether — is entirely understandable.

Conservatives take a different view, one that is rooted in the nation’s foundational philosophy. The American premise is a theological premise: that all men are endowed by their Creator — not the state — with certain unalienable rights. For our Founding Fathers, who were steeped in the Anglo-Protestant liberal tradition, this was not only the truth but the “self-evident” truth. The right to keep and bear arms, like the right to speak one’s mind, worship as one sees fit, and petition the state for redress of grievances, is not the king’s gift to give or to withhold — the matter was settled by no less an authority than God Himself. For those who are not of a religious cast of mind, the same conclusion can be arrived at through the tradition of natural law and natural rights, which the Christian liberals of the 18th century understood as complementary to their discernment of Divine intent. Whether one believes that man was created by God or by evolutionary processes, the conclusion ends up being the same: Man has reason, individual and corporate dignity, individual and corporate value, and these are not subject to revision by any prince, power, or potentate.

Put another way: The right to keep and bear arms would still be there without the Second Amendment. Like the right not to suffer political or religious repression, it exists with or without the law. It is an aspect of the human being, not an aspect of the governments that human beings institute among themselves. The state does not grant the right — the state exists because the right exists and needs protecting from time to time. The state protects our rights from criminals and marauders, and the Constitution protects our rights from their protectors.

No doubt that sounds like a lot of crazy talk to many of our progressive friends. “Rights from God! Imagine!” That is a critical failure of our most progressive institution, the schools, which consistently neglect — or decline — to provide our students with even a rudimentary education in American civics and the history of the American idea. It isn’t that the modern left-winger is obliged to accept the intellectual and philosophical basis of the American order, but he ought to understand that things are the way they are for a reason. The idea that the Second Amendment could simply be repealed — that’s that! — isn’t only an attack on the right to keep and bear arms: It is an attack on the American constitutional order per se. That our progressive friends often are so pristinely ignorant of the moral order underpinning the American Founding is one of their great intellectual failures. They do not understand the American idea, and, as a result, they do not really understand their own ideas, either.

Why did the Founders care so deeply about the right to keep and bear arms, to such an extent that they put it on equal footing with freedom of speech and freedom from arbitrary government violence? That’s a complicated question. There were concerns unique to the Founding era, among them the libertarian dread of standing armies. Without a permanent military, the ability of the people to organize quickly and effectively against threats foreign and domestic was essential. One possible threat was that of tyrannical domestic government, something that weighed heavily on the minds of the Founders, who knew Roman history. (To say nothing of English history!) Our modern progressive friends scoff at the notion that the Second Amendment could really allow ordinary Americans to frustrate the tyrannical ambitions of a modern federal government with the modern U.S. military — gunships, nukes, and all — at its command. That’s probably true, though one need not be a sophisticated military tactician to appreciate the fact that the mighty America military has been bogged down for 15 years in Afghanistan, unable to tame a raggedy gang of modestly armed rustics — there is more to warfare than armaments.

But there is much, much more to that question than revolutionary fantasies. The government’s ability to maintain order does break down from time to time, if only locally and temporarily. The Second Amendment is not only for imaginary revolts against overbearing authorities in Washington. It is for events such as the Los Angeles riots of 1992, during which the local police authorities comprehensively failed in their duty to protect the lives and property of citizens. This is an example of something that often eludes our progressive friends: Government is an instrument, a tool. Anything that is permissible for government to do is permissible for the free people who form that government to do. We deputize the police to protect our lives and property because we desire that this crucial and dangerous work be done in a fashion that is orderly, predictable, and in accordance with the rule of law. We want to avoid feuds and vendettas and the like. But we do not forfeit our right of self-defense when we delegate self-defense to the state. That is universally acknowledged: That is why shooting a burglar in your house isn’t murder or impersonating a police officer. When the water was high in Houston and people needed help, those in a position to give that help did not say: “Well, I’m sure somebody from the county will be along in a bit. Good luck!” They rendered aid, even in cases in which doing so probably involved breaking a law or two.

The right to bear arms is intrinsically linked to citizenship, another fact well understood by the Founders but lost to many of our contemporaries. From the ancient world through feudal Europe to the American colonies themselves, some people enjoyed the right to bear arms and some did not. In the latter category were serfs and slaves. Slaves and free blacks were of course widely and generally prohibited from owning weapons in the antebellum United States: Under Louisiana law, a black man carrying a cane in public was subject to summary execution; Maryland law forbade free blacks from owning dogs, which were considered a potential weapon. If you desire to know who is really considered a full citizen, look at who is permitted to bear arms. For the Founders, a society in which only government officials enjoyed the right to bear arms could not be a proper democratic republic at all, because the vast majority of the people would have been excluded from full citizenship.

Again, there is nothing requiring the modern American progressive to share this philosophy. But we ought to ask ourselves what the alternative is. The short answer is totalitarianism, in principle if not in practice. If rights come from the state, and if we enjoy our liberty and our property only at the sufferance of the state, then nothing is outside the state, and there are no limits on it other than passing democratic whimsy. (If you think “whimsy” is too loose, consider this progression: Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump . . . ) If everything is negotiable, then there are no rights at all, properly understood.

So, a Second Amendment even in the 21st century? Yes. There are permanent things and non-negotiable truths. The Second Amendment did not create the right to keep and bear arms; it was created by it. Much has changed since 1776, including, of course, the efficacy of small arms. But some things have not changed, including the nature of human beings and the nature of their relations with one another. Neither technological progress nor political regress obviates any of that. That’s what “unalienable” means.

Guns and Alcohol

Someone dared to compare alcohol deaths and other harms with those from guns.

 

Clayton Cramer proposes some “reasonable” alcohol restrictions, based on what the gun control crowd considers “reasonable” restrictions on guns:

1. Mandatory background checks for every alcohol purchase. Felons, DUI convicts, and domestic violence misdemeanants prohibited.

2. One six-pack or one bottle of wine per day. Who needs more than that?

3. Distilled spirits have no legitimate need in a polite society. Everyone knows high alcohol percentages are part of the problem. Completely ban them.

4. Mandatory serial numbers on every alcoholic beverage container so that when teenagers are arrested, we can track it back to the retail customer.

5. Every vendor will keep records for 20 years of all beverages.

6. Brewers and distillers will be held liable for every violent crime or traffic accident caused by their product.

7. You cannot buy distilled liquor outside your state of residence.

Just like you want for guns! 1, 4, 5, and 7 are current federal gun law. 2, 3, and 6 are the alcohol equivalent of what the control movement wants.

 

 

The true secret of the NRA’s success | New York Post

Source: The true secret of the NRA’s success | New York Post

<blockquote>In the wake of the horror in Las Vegas this week, countless politicians, journalists and commentators are insisting that the National Rifle Association has a “stranglehold” on the Republican Party. Hillary Clinton claimed that the GOP-controlled Congress simply does “whatever they are told to do” by the NRA and the gun lobby.

{….}

The New York Times listed total NRA donations to certain GOP politicians alongside their statements offering condolences and prayers for the victims in Las Vegas. And the op-ed pages have been suffused with claims that the NRA has bought Republicans with blood money, stifling the popular will and thwarting democracy in the process.

There’s just one problem: It’s not true.

Oh, it’s certainly the case that the NRA and related groups have given a good amount of money to Republican politicians (and quite a few Democrats) over the years. But in the grubby bazaar of politician-buying, the NRA is a bit player.

Consider that $3.5 million in donations over nearly 20 years the Washington Post made such a fuss about. According to Opensecrets.org, the legal profession contributed $207 million to politicians in 2016 alone. Fahr LLC, the outfit that oversees the political and philanthropic efforts of billionaire anti-global-warming activist Ton Steyer, gave $90 million (all to Democrats) in 2016.

{….}

Some people, even when they know these numbers, still can’t let go of the idea that opposition to gun control is bought and paid for.

Tim Mullaney, a writer for Marketwatch, wrote a richly detailed essay in which he chronicled just how minuscule the NRA’s financial support is — and how small the entire gun industry is — and yet he still concluded it has to be about the money. He writes that “it’s shocking when you realize that it costs only $2,500 per each of the 22,000 or so gun-murder victims of the last election cycle to make Congress cower and refuse to tighten gun rules.”

Part of the problem, I think, is that people who hate guns and gun rights cannot believe that people disagree with them in good faith. There must be evil motives, chiefly greed, that explain everything.

The simple reality is that the NRA doesn’t need to spend a lot of money convincing politicians to protect gun rights. All it needs to do is spend a little money clarifying that a great many of those politicians’ constituents care deeply about gun rights.

{….}

Politicians may be craven (it’s often the safest assumption), but their priority is winning elections. Money-grubbing is a means to that end. And so is vote-grubbing. Maybe some politicians secretly favor stricter controls on guns. But what keeps them from pursuing such restrictions isn’t cash from the NRA; it’s votes from their passionate constituents.

In other words, don’t follow the money, follow the votes.</blockquote>

 

I used to think gun control was the answer. My research told me otherwise. – The Washington Post

Source: I used to think gun control was the answer. My research told me otherwise. – The Washington Post

Before I started researching gun deaths, gun-control policy used to frustrate me. I wished the National Rifle Association would stop blocking common-sense gun-control reforms such as banning assault weapons, restricting silencers, shrinking magazine sizes and all the other measures that could make guns less deadly.

Then, my colleagues and I at FiveThirtyEight spent three months analyzing all 33,000 lives ended by guns each year in the United States, and I wound up frustrated in a whole new way. We looked at what interventions might have saved those people, and the case for the policies I’d lobbied for crumbled when I examined the evidence. The best ideas left standing were narrowly tailored interventions to protect subtypes of potential victims, not broad attempts to limit the lethality of guns.

I researched the strictly tightened gun laws in Britain and Australia and concluded that they didn’t prove much about what America’s policy should be. Neither nation experienced drops in mass shootings or other gun related-crime that could be attributed to their buybacks and bans. Mass shootings were too rare in Australia for their absence after the buyback program to be clear evidence of progress. And in both Australia and Britain, the gun restrictions had an ambiguous effect on other gun-related crimes or deaths.

When I looked at the other oft-praised policies, I found out that no gun owner walks into the store to buy an “assault weapon.” It’s an invented classification that includes any semi-automatic that has two or more features, such as a bayonet mount, a rocket-propelled grenade-launcher mount, a folding stock or a pistol grip. But guns are modular, and any hobbyist can easily add these features at home, just as if they were snapping together Legos.

As for silencers — they deserve that name only in movies, where they reduce gunfire to a soft puick puick. In real life, silencers limit hearing damage for shooters but don’t make gunfire dangerously quiet. An AR-15 with a silencer is about as loud as a jackhammer. Magazine limits were a little more promising, but a practiced shooter could still change magazines so fast as to make the limit meaningless.

As my co-workers and I kept looking at the data, it seemed less and less clear that one broad gun-control restriction could make a big difference. Two-thirds of gun deaths in the United States every year are suicides. Almost no proposed restriction would make it meaningfully harder for people with guns on hand to use them. I couldn’t even answer my most desperate question: If I had a friend who had guns in his home and a history of suicide attempts, was there anything I could do that would help?

However, the next-largest set of gun deaths — 1 in 5 — were young men aged 15 to 34, killed in homicides. These men were most likely to die at the hands of other young men, often related to gang loyalties or other street violence. And the last notable group of similar deaths was the 1,700 women murdered per year, usually as the result of domestic violence. Far more people were killed in these ways than in mass-shooting incidents, but few of the popularly floated policies were tailored to serve them.

By the time we published our project, I didn’t believe in many of the interventions I’d heard politicians tout. I was still anti-gun, at least from the point of view of most gun owners, and I don’t want a gun in my home, as I think the risk outweighs the benefits. But I can’t endorse policies whose only selling point is that gun owners hate them. Policies that often seem as if they were drafted by people who have encountered guns only as a figure in a briefing book or an image on the news.

Instead, I found the most hope in more narrowly tailored interventions. Potential suicide victims, women menaced by their abusive partners and kids swept up in street vendettas are all in danger from guns, but they each require different protections.

Older men, who make up the largest share of gun suicides, need better access to people who could care for them and get them help. Women endangered by specific men need to be prioritized by police, who can enforce restraining orders prohibiting these men from buying and owning guns. Younger men at risk of violence need to be identified before they take a life or lose theirs and to be connected to mentors who can help them de-escalate conflicts.

Even the most data-driven practices, such as New Orleans’ plan to identify gang members for intervention based on previous arrests and weapons seizures, wind up more personal than most policies floated. The young men at risk can be identified by an algorithm, but they have to be disarmed one by one, personally — not en masse as though they were all interchangeable. A reduction in gun deaths is most likely to come from finding smaller chances for victories and expanding those solutions as much as possible. We save lives by focusing on a range of tactics to protect the different kinds of potential victims and reforming potential killers, not from sweeping bans focused on the guns themselves.

How Could Anyone Deny the Need for Tougher and More Stringently Enforced Gun Laws in the Wake of the Vegas Slaughter? – Hit & Run : Reason.com

Source: How Could Anyone Deny the Need for Tougher and More Stringently Enforced Gun Laws in the Wake of the Vegas Slaughter? – Hit & Run : Reason.com

To resist an instant call to more or tougher gun laws or enforcement in the wake of terrors like Vegas, you need to understand it is not only that existing laws and regulations will not reliably prevent such crimes as long as guns exist. All the new or expanded national gun control laws advocated as sensible and necessary would have had no effect on horrible crimes such as occurred in Las Vegas last night, even if perfectly enforced, as Jacob Sullum explained atReason earlier today. (Nor, it seems to me, would wider skilled civilian possession of guns likely done much good in this particular scenario. Hard as it is to admit, some tragedies are not meaningfully preventable.)

With that understood, the only relevant legal response to nightmares like Las Vegas is a total ban and confiscation of at least types of weapons, as The New York Times argued in a rare front page editorial against what they consider “assault rifles” in December 2015 after the Orlando nightclub massacre.

[….]

Nevada’s figures, though, show an unusually large number of gun murders where the type of gun used is unknown. But if you presume the ratio of handgun to rifle murders is similar for known and unknown gun type, you should add 20 more rifle murders, for a total of 24 in the three-year period. That larger number represents 4 percent of total murders in Nevada over that three-year period. For some context, killers used hands or fists to murder 25 times during that same period.

With its “lax” gun laws, Nevada saw 67 percent of its murders committed with a gun last year. That is one percentage point lower than the 68 percent for the country as a whole in 2016.

Reluctance to call for more gun laws also requires believing that some individuals are bizarre and horrific outliers who can and do horrible things. But noticing how rare are such events, despite the millions of rifles out there, might give one pause when imagining a national legal solution to such bizarre individual crimes.

Guns or rifles are not the only tools that allow an evil maniac to cause so much harm, as the driver of the truck that produced 84 casualties in 2016 in Nice, France shows. We normally recognize using an existing tool to cause harm is insufficient reason to ban the tool. And recall, too, legal solutions short of bans are largely irrelevant to these sorts of crimes.

 

John R. Lott Has A Modest Proposal: Apply Background Checks For Gun Purchases To Voting – Wizbang

Source: John R. Lott Has A Modest Proposal: Apply Background Checks For Gun Purchases To Voting – Wizbang

One must admire the audacity of the logic.

COMMENTARY: APPLY BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR GUN PURCHASES TO VOTING
BY JOHN R. LOTT JR., THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Republicans worry about vote fraud. Democrats claim that Republicans are just imagining things. But in testimony Tuesday before the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, I will suggest a simple solution that could make both parties happy: Apply the background check system for gun purchases to voting.

Democrats have long lauded background checks on gun purchases as simple, accurate and in complete harmony with the Second Amendment right to own guns. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has bragged that the checks “make our communities and neighborhoods safer without in any way abridging rights or threatening a legitimate part of the American heritage.”

If Democrats really believe that the National Instant Criminal Background Check System doesn’t interfere “in any way” with people’s constitutional rights to own a gun, doesn’t it follow that the same system would not constitute an infringement on people’s right to vote? This would give Republicans a system for stopping vote fraud and Democrats a system that they have already vigorously endorsed.

The NICS system doesn’t just determine if potential gun buyers have criminal histories. It also checks whether a person is in this country illegally, has a nonimmigrant visa or has renounced his citizenship. Such people are not allowed to vote. The system doesn’t currently flag people who are on immigrant visas but who could be added to the system.

Better yet, explicitly link the provisions. The provisions for establishing eligibility to purchase and / or possess weapons shall be identical to the provisions for voter registration and polling.

GUN WATCH: Scientist Responds to Claim that John Lott is Responsible for Mass Murder

Source: GUN WATCH: Scientist Responds to Claim that John Lott is Responsible for Mass Murder

A writer at Pacific Standard, Peter Moskowitz, assigned a measure of responsibility for a few of the latest mass public shootings ( Orlando Pulse Jihadi attack, Columbine, Sandy Hook, Fort Hood Jihadi attack, Navy Yard shooting, Aurora Theater shooting, and Charleston Church shooting) to John Lott. Why?

It appears to be because John Lott conducts research that shows that more legally armed citizens reduce violent crime, and that gun free zones attract mass shootings.

Moskowitz admits that he is ill prepared to judge Lott’s work. From psmag.com:

I will not be able to debunk Lott here and now. I am not an academic. I—and 99 percent of people, I’d venture to guess—am not as good with statistics as Lott. What I can tell you is what the people who do have that skillset say. There are many people who agree with Lott—especially in the fields of criminology and economics. But it appears the majority of researchers who work in the field say Lott’s wrong: that his analyses are misleading, that they skew data to favor certain outcomes, and that his research methods don’t stand up to scrutiny. If they did, his critics say, Lott would still be published in academic journals, or doing his research out of a university instead of a non-profit called the Crime Prevention Research Center.

Every person is faced with the problem of confirmation bias when determining how to evaluate various claims. People selectively prefer claims that confirm their perception on disputed subjects. Scientists are trained to fight this tendency. It was with interest that I read another scientist’ evaluation of Lott’s work. It was posted in a series of comments on Mosqowitz’ article.

The commenter with the screen name of Dan N agreed to the publishing of his comments. Daniel sent me an updated copy. The arguments and data presented are essentially the same:

This article is written in reaction to a piece published on June 1, 2017 by Peter Moskowitz entitled “Inside the mind of America’s Favorite Gun Researcher”. To give the reader some perspective, I never fired a firearm until I was 36 years old and did a year of research before bringing one into my house. I was firmly on the fence about owning a gun until I did this research. I took it seriously and did not give much credence to opinions that were not thoroughly supported by statistics. I have a Ph.D. in a science that requires me to be at conversant, however not fluent, in statistics. I take the frustrating stance that people need to validate what they read. If the statistics are too confusing, as Moskowitz says, then you need to learn some basic statistics, not just trust what someone else tells you.

It is clear that Moskowitz of has not thoroughly read the source material. I have read Lott’s updated “More Guns, Less Crime” (3rd edition, 2013) and some of Hemenway’s reports and other leading anti-gun reports.
I cannot comment on the original 1997 publication; however Lott has updated it extensively with new data and did additional permutations in response to the criticisms of Hemenway and others. In some of Lott’s responses to criticisms he added additional permutations, the results are more dramatic. In other permutations, it’s less.
Lott gives a tremendous amount of detail on how he handles the data sets. None of it appears outlandish. It is mostly for mathematical purposes.
For example, he can’t compare a county gaining right to carry in 2006 that had 0 murders in 2005 and 1 in 2006, as that is essentially an infinite increase. Likewise, 1 murder in 2005 and 0 in 2006 it would be a 100% decrease. He admits that the two things that do increase are property crimes and aggravated assaults.
Such changes are rationale and justifiable, but this type of data filtering is exactly what Lott is often criticized for. For anyone who has read the actual source material, Lott makes no obscene claims. Effects are quite modest. However, a modest 5% difference in homicide rate is all the difference in the world to someone able to live to tell about it.

Mr. Moskowitz made some errors in his critique. For example, he mentions the white urban men owning guns and the permits while urban minorities are often the perpetrators and victims of crimes, but this criticism does not hold water.

Lott polled over 3,000 counties. The trends he calculates most of his work on are within counties, not within states. He goes to extreme length to specify this, and it is something the author has miscategorized.
As far as his critics are concerned, Ayres and Donohue published a piece entitled “Shooting down the more guns, less crime hypothesis.” Despite their criticisms of Lott’s data analysis, they have faults of their own. For example, the authors do not use defined periods before and after the passage of concealed carry laws and compare that to violent crime rates as Lott does. Instead, states are lumped together in the same time frame where one state could have passed RTC early and another late. Furthermore, anti-gun papers rarely conclude that guns make crime rates any worse when viewed at a national level. At best they claim that Lott’s numbers are more dramatic than reality. For a better idea of errors, please refer to Lott’s own work as his dissection of methodological errors is superior to anything I’ll write here.

Please remember that Lott has done 20,000 regression analysis in his reports. Yes, some of them will be wrong. If you are reporting at 95% confidence (meaning a 5% error rate, common in statistics) you are looking at 1,000 of his 20,000 measurements wrong. Cherry picking the studies which do not pan out over the years, as is frequently done to discredit Lott, does not disprove the data set in its totality.
Using the Ayres paper again as a reference, they criticize Lott’s use of arrest rates as a mechanism of judging crime levels. While it is true that this is not perfect, Lott uses multiple comparisons and collectively concludes the benefits of gun ownership from the totality of evidence, not just single regressions. I’ve personally downloaded and done my own longitudinal studies from publicly available FBI reports (https://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=dcdetail&iid=245). I’ve come to the same conclusion as Lott with independent data collection.

I publish heavily in peer reviewed journals, some of the top journals in the world in fact (nothing to do with criminology). I know editors of these journals. That world is, unfortunately, extremely liberal and highly politicized. I have viewed the Ivory Tower of Academia from within and without, and I assure you it can be an ugly place. It is so liberal and politicized, my wife has insisted I do not bring up my hobby of trap shooting around academics because she thinks it will negatively impact my career. In fact, my name here is a nom de plume. While I cannot comment on the specifics of Lott’s exit from academia, it does not surprise me in the least.

And now for a quick peek inside the world of statistics. It will delve a bit off topic, but the point is to illuminate how the author can pull the wool over your eyes. Part of what I do for a living as a scientist is to analyze data sets. If I ever published data in the manner these gun control groups academics did, my career would be over. It can be trivial for me to debunk them and is a guilty pleasure to do so.
Few, if any, do longitudinal studies. By this I mean that they do not study a region before or after an event (passage of RTC). Far to many are taking data sets from a single year. A particularly egregious error was made by Kalesan and Galea published in the very prestigious Lancet last year. They claim that ballistic fingerprinting/microstamping to be one of the most efficacious laws on the books. However, California simply passed a law mandating microstamping but not a single firearm is commercially available capable of microstamping. Maryland’s ballistic fingerprinting program was a colossal waste of taxpayer’s money and police efforts failing to solve a single case in 15 years. So how can Kalesan and Galea find them to be such influential laws?
It simply means that there are variables beyond that law that dictate crime rates in those states. Many arguments disintegrate once suicide is separated from homicide. Having a best friend that killed himself with his father’s gun, I find this dishonesty especially infuriating. For example, one cannot compare the high gun ownership of Alaska with the low ownership of Hawaii and claim any causality with suicide. Many in Alaska suffer from depression due to the lack of sunlight for several months and there are far fewer women than men, Hawaii suffers from neither of these problems. I cannot recall anyone, other than Lott, distinguish legal gun ownership from illegal gun ownership despite the fact that as much as 80% of homicides are gang and drug related. I’ve critiqued numerous top studies, and I’ve never found any that come close to the comprehensiveness of Lott’s.

Hopefully this encourages whoever reads this to dig into primary data for themselves and not to put blind trust into pixels on a screen, print on a page, or a talking head on a screen.

I have read Trump’s books, and quite a few of his papers. I am a trained scientist, (retired out of the DOD). I find the statistical methods used intimidating, but understandable.

One thing stands out: No one is credibly claiming that violent crime is increased by the increase in people legally carrying firearms. You see this reflected in the arguments used to oppose gun reform legislation. Instead of people claiming that a reform of restrictions on carry will increase murder and robbery, you see more and more of the argument shifted to the claim that a reform of gun law will “not make us safer”. Some make the unsurprising claim that more guns will lead to more suicides committed with guns.

It is not a persuasive argument. Our society is based on the model that if it is not prohibited, it is allowed, instead of the totalitarian model that if it is not allowed, it is prohibited. While the rate of suicide with guns has risen, it has risen less than the rate of all suicides.

None of the people pushing for more controls are using the county level of data to analyze the effects of guns on crime. My suspicion is when data is analyzed at the level of counties, the anti-rights researchers are not getting the results that they want.

It is credible that Dan N is not interested in having his understanding of the debate over the effects of legal firearms carry published in his name. His wife fears for his career. It is a real fear, based on real potential consequences.

I was downgraded in my career for a number of years, based on my willingness to push for less restrictions on firearms use. Two separate supervisors both told me that was the reason I was downgraded, in separate conversations, years apart. They were sympathetic, and appreciated that I did not hold them responsible. As I recall, one of them volunteered the information, the other responded to a carefully worded neutral question.

As a white male who had no reasonable claim to membership in a specially protected group, I judged it best to forgo legal challenges.

There can be a price for integrity and/or activism. It is wise to pick your battles and chose your favored field of action. I do not regret my decisions.

Consider what Peter Moskowitz is preaching. Because John Lott has published work that John reasonably believes to be true, John Lott is judged to be complicit in mass murder. It is hard to see the causal connection. It seems that John Lott’s real “crime” is disagreeing with Peter Moskowitz, and challenging his world view.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.