Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.

Gun Rights Archive



August 2014



Risks Come in Many Forms

Written by , Posted in Big Government, Culture & Society, Foreign Affairs & Policy, Gun Rights, Liberty & Limited Government, The Nanny State & A Regulated Society

The New York Times editorial board has some sound advice for Great Britain as it worries about the threat of home grown terrorists. It’s a serious problem, and one which the UK has largely invited on itself through a failed experiment in cultural appeasement that has only served to embolden extremism. Be that as it may, NYT editors are right to warn against overreactions that undermine civil rights by concluding that, “scrapping civil liberties should not be the first line of defense in a democracy.”

Terrorists pose a safety risk, and mitigating that risk should be done with respect to civil liberties rather than trampling them. But there are a great many risks in society, and unfortunately the NYT editorial board fails to consistently apply this principle on other issues. They have no problem curtailing rights for the illusion of security when doing so confirms their ideological biases, such as limiting speech in the name of removing money from politics, or scrapping the Second Amendment in the name of reducing violence.

In fact, just a day before sternly warning the Brits against overreacting to their homegrown extremism problem, the very same New York Times editorial board overreacted to a single gun accident caused by the irresponsibility of parents and an instructor that allowed a young girl who couldn’t handle the weapons and its kickback to shoot an Uzi, ultimately resulting in the instructor’s death. Not only did they use the unusual incident to finger wag at defenders of the Second Amendment and note in horror all the various ways in which gun enthusiasts enjoy their hobby, but they also demanded the restriction of rights in response. Citing a similar incident over half a decade ago (giving indication to  how rare these events are) where a young child accidentally killed himself at a gun range, the NYT editors praised his state of Connecticut for reacting by banning access to certain guns even at gun ranges for those under 16, regardless of the level of supervision, precautions taken, or capabilities of the shooter. They then lamented that there will be no “swift action in Arizona, where the gun culture is deeply entrenched.”

Rights are precarious things. They are at their most vulnerable when the populace is scared. The New York Times recognizes this when it comes to foreign threats, but fails to understand that domestic panics over extremely low risks of harm are just as dangerous.



February 2013



Don’t You Dare Poke Fun at the President

Written by , Posted in Gun Rights

The Administration decided to release photos of the president skeet shooting in order to show you wingnuts what a big man he is.

Woop-tee-do. What’s interesting to me is the incredibly presumptuous instructions that came with the picture:

“This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.”

Don’t you plebes dare photoshop President McThinSkin! This is a president who was a constitutional law professor prior to running for elected office. He obviously didn’t write this, but it’s a bit ironic given his background to see such a ridiculously expansive claim made under his name. Though it’s entirely consistent with his demonstrated views on executive power.

Naturally, the warning had the opposite effect. A sampling:





December 2012



Why Are New York Gun Permits Public Information?

Written by , Posted in Gun Rights, Liberty & Limited Government

There’s been significant uproar since a New York newspaper published a database of permit holders for handguns within its readership area. The decision to treat gun owners as sex-offenders is indeed worthy of criticism, and there’s no valid public benefit for exposing the privacy of citizens in such fashion. But it seems to me the bulk of the criticism ought to be directed at another target – the government of New York. They should not have ever made this information available in the first place.

The newspaper in question merely collected and put into easily accessible form information that was already publicly available by Freedom of Information Act request. They had no valid reason to do even this beyond cheap sensationalism, but it ought to be the government that is held most responsible. The information was none of the newspaper’s business and never should have been available to it in any form.

People must be free to exercise their rights without undue fear of intimidation tactics by intolerant political opponents. It is for this reason that we have secret ballots. If the government is going to require permits for the exercise of particular rights, a highly dubious and questionable practice to begin with, we ought to all at least agree that they will keep the information to themselves.

Some states, like Florida and Illinois, exempt such information from FOIA requests. New York and any other state that has not yet enacted the same protections to ensure the privacy of law-abiding citizens must immediately do the same. It is simply not the place of government to track and make public the lawful activities of the people.



December 2012



Michael Moore Admits Guns Don't Cause Crime

Written by , Posted in Gun Rights

A shocking thing happened today – Michael Moore acknowledged guns don’t cause violence. He doesn’t realize it, but he did it nonetheless.

A lot of folks are focusing on Moore’s claim that Americans own guns because they are racist. Certainly it was a stupid thing to say, but I also found it rather mundane in its predictability. What I found more interesting was his acknowledgment that there is little violence in areas where guns are most prolific. Here’s what he said, with the key section in bold:

“I think we’re a very frightened people. I think we’ve been frightened ever since we landed on these shores. …

And I was fascinated in that subject when making ‘Bowling for Columbine,’ of how fear is used to the point where everybody feels like they’ve got to have a gun in the house. Now, not every house has a gun but we’ve got over a quarter-billion guns in people’s homes. And they’re mostly in the suburbs and rural areas where there is virtually no crime and no murder. So why is that? What are they really afraid of? What do they think of — who’s going to break into the house? Do they think it’s little freckled-face Jimmy down the street? I don’t think so. I don’t think that’s who they’re afraid of. And it cuts down to the heart of our race problem that we still haven’t resolved. And I thought it would be interesting to take a look at that in the movie.”

So, “there is virtually no crime and no murder” where there is the most guns? Doesn’t that kind of blow up the whole premise of gun control?



December 2012



Stop and Think Before Acting

Written by , Posted in Culture & Society, Gun Rights

At times of mass hysteria, rational voices must speak up and urge calm. And what we are seeing now in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre can safely be described as mass hysteria.

The media’s anti-gun agenda is clear, and is entirely out of proportion with the facts. For instance, there have been almost 500 murders in (gun-free) Chicago this year, or the equivalent of approximately 19 Sandy Hook massacres. But that gets little to no coverage. The reality is that mass shootings of the type that occurred in Newtown, CT, as shocking as they are, amount to a negligible risk, and are dwarfed by other kinds of violence and more mundane causes of mortality (traffic fatalities in the US last year equaled approximately 1,245 Sandy Hook shootings). It’s not just the leftists in media, either. Joe Scarborough has basically lost his mind and is eagerly throwing freedom under the bus to pander to his audience.

But the media isn’t the only source of hysteria at the moment. Lawmakers, who actually have the power to produce real damage with their overreactions, are throwing around a host of awful ideas. It’s not just the usual and pointless effort to ban scary looking guns – so-called “assault weapons” that are distinguishable from other guns only by cosmetic features – though they want to do that too. The most moronic and hysterical idea I’ve seen to date comes courtesy of Sen. Boxer, who wants to deploy the national guard to schools.

The last time the nation collectively freaked out and made policy in response to an incredibly low likelihood event the result was the TSA – an ineffective and costly bureaucracy that seemingly finds new ways to violate our rights with each passing day.

Schools are, statistically speaking, one of the safest places for children to be. We don’t need armed troops parading the halls. We don’t need to wall them up and turn them into prisons. For God’s sake people, calm down.

Here, have some more perspective:

After spikes in the 1990s and 2000s, both in the number of deadly shootings and victims, mass public shootings have followed no discernible trend. The number of shootings rose in the early 1990s, then dropped just as precipitously. A decade later, it happened again.

In spite of high-profile cases of the past few weeks, there hasn’t been an uptick in mass shootings this year, said James Alan Fox, a professor of criminology, law and public policy at Northeastern University. Fox tracks mass murders dating back to 1976 and said most occur inside places such as homes and workplaces. But he said public shootings in restaurants and malls are nothing new.

“It’s awful,” Fox said. “Yet this is not an epidemic and we’re not seeing a new upward trend.”

In schools, where public angst over shootings is often highest, the truth is actually more definitive: Deadly shootings are rare and getting rarer.

School shootings have declined dramatically over the past few decades, even as attacks such as those at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999 and Scotland’s Dunblane Primary School in 1996 have loomed large in our imaginations. The early 1990s were among the worst years for school killings, as gang-related incidents “spilled over into schools,” Fox said.

After reaching a high of 63 deaths in the 2006-2007 school year, the number of people killed in “school-associated” incidents dropped to 33 in 2009-2010 – the lowest in two decades, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

While a few dozen children are killed each year in school, statistically speaking it remains the safest place a child will likely ever be, with the lowest chance of being killed. “When you consider the fact that there are over 50 million schoolchildren in America, the chances are over 1 in 2 million, not a high probability,” Fox said. “And most cases that do occur are in high schools and less so in middle schools – and hardly ever in elementary schools.”

So lawmakers, please stop and think before acting. For the rest of you, calm down and don’t encourage foolish lawmakers with knee-jerk demands to “do something.”



December 2012



Easy Answers Rarely the Best

Written by , Posted in Culture & Society, Gun Rights

An awful, horrific thing happened today – the mass murder of innocent children.

The response to the tragedy is predictably one of mourning. Some people process such traumatic events by reflecting, others by lashing out in anger at the perceived cause. All are understandable methods for dealing with such an horrific event, but we shouldn’t let our immediate emotions lead us to knee-jerks demands to limit freedom.

Many of those reacting to today’s shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut want us to finally have that debate about gun control. But since we’ve been debating gun control nonstop for decades, I assume what they actually mean is that we should stop debating gun control and start doing gun control, implementing whatever happens to be their preferred level of restrictions. Forgive me for not immediately jumping on board that train without first actually discussing the matter.

But perhaps before we begin yet another discussion about guns with all the same arguments,  we can start with a discussion of what problem(s) today’s event actually exposed. I wonder, is the presence of a gun really the biggest problem people see with what happened today? What about the society that birthed and raised the person who could do such a thing? Can we perhaps spend a little time talking about that? Or given reports that the shooter may have a mental illness, perhaps we should look at how we deal with such people. It seems to me that the polarizing issue of guns has obscured so many other, perhaps more important, factors at work.

Guns provide an easy answer, but not a particularly good one when actual evidence is considered. Focusing on access to weapons furthermore doesn’t require any self-reflection. It requires no questioning of just what we are all capable and how social pressures work to restrain our impulses in ways that allow us to live together as a community, much less where they have seemingly gone wrong. It’s far easier to avoid all of that mess and just demand new gun control laws. But doesn’t the evidence suggest that there are other factors at play?

We might want to consider, and I know this will be hard for many to accept, that there is no easy public policy solution. Not every social ill can be solved with government legislation. I don’t have all the answers, but I can’t help but feel that the proliferation of moral relativism, replacement of civil society institutions with less personal government institutions, and the general erosion of social cohesion – perhaps related to technologically driven changes in human interaction – are possibly playing a part in the seemingly increasing frequency with which young, disaffected males are committing mass atrocities (as it turns out, guns are not the only relevant commonality). These are just some of the possibilities that immediately come to mind, and I’m sure others can contribute many more possibilities than I, so perhaps we should first identify all the problems before demanding that somebody do something.

We would also do well to keep some perspective, perhaps by remembering that despite recent events violent crime in the US is on a 40-year long decline, and that gun crime in particular is at a 45-year low.

If and when we are eventually ready to talk about potential solutions we must weigh without excessive emotion the costs and benefits of taking any particular action. After all, life is not and cannot be made to be risk free. So we must ask: should we really sacrifice some of our freedoms to enhance our security, or the illusion thereof? Will the intended goals of any action actually achieve those goals, or does the evidence suggest it is merely wishful thinking? We should also be cognizant of the fact that laws born out of emotional demands to do something tend to have the worst unintended consequences. Finally, what if anything can we do as members of society that doesn’t necessarily involve the force of government?

Today’s shooting represents the worst of human capabilities, but it also serves to remind all of us of our inherent vulnerability and, we can hope, our shared humanity.



July 2012



The Gun Grabber Onslaught Continues

Written by , Posted in Culture & Society, Gun Rights, Liberty & Limited Government

I noted on Friday the incredible speed with which gun grabbers pounced on the Aurora shooting to advance their anti-gun rights agenda. The usual suspects have now piled on or, in Nanny Bloomberg’s case, doubled down.

Michael Bloomberg, who first falsely claimed that violence is getting worse in America, predictably responded to Piers Morgan’s anti-gun pestering by taking his initial stance a step further and declaring that cops should illegally go on strike until politicians are forced to seize guns from law-abiding Americans. Roger Ebert chastised America for being “one of few developed nations that accepts that notion of firearms in public hands.” Piers Morgan chimed in on twitter to note that “now is that time” for America to “do something about its gun laws.” And some guy at the Washington Post wants to require that another party co-sign for someone’s sanity before they can buy a gun, while is despicably pestering shooting victim relatives to endorse gun control.

But what exactly are the knee-jerkers proposing that could have prevented the Aurora shooting? Holmes had no criminal record nor documented evidence of mental illness. The one actual specific proposal offered above wouldn’t work either, as we’ve seen numerous people who knew Holmes state how they couldn’t have imagined him doing anything violent, so it’s no stretch to say one would have co-signed a hypothetical gun application.

The simple reality is that the only way to theoretically keep guns away from the likes of the Aurora shooter is by keeping guns away from everyone – in other words by eviscerating the Constitution and our Second Amendment rights. And I say “theoretically” because even if every gun was outlawed, we know criminals would still get them.

The lack of a practical and realistic solution isn’t the only problem with these reflexive, knee jerk calls to “do something.” The truth of the matter is there just may not be a problem here to solve. I know it’s tempting to react emotionally to any horrific incident, but when it comes to setting policy we need to be logical. Sadly, when it comes to risk management through public policy, logic is often lacking (see TSA).

The shooting in Aurora was horrible, to be sure, but for a little perspective, the equivalent of one Aurora massacre occurs every ten days in Chicago, otherwise known as the gun-control capital of the United States, according to Doug Ross. For even more perspective, 7,630 people died in traffic accidents in the first quarter of 2012, or approximately 7 Aurora massacres per day, or one every three and a half hours.

So we’re essentially talking about shredding our Constitutional rights to prevent another incident whose death toll is matched every three and a half hours on our roads, where nobody cares. Makes perfect sense. And never mind the number of additional crimes that would be occurring or made worse, like this one, once people lose the ability to protect themselves.

The truth is that sometimes bad things happen. It’s part of life, and that you might not always be able to prevent them from happening is part of the price of living in a free society. Sometimes it seems like a high price to pay, but it’s still much better than the alternative.



July 2012



Gun Grabbers Pounce on Tragedy as Excuse to Attack Your Freedoms

Written by , Posted in Gun Rights, The Courts, Criminal Justice & Tort

The gun-grabbers haven’t wasted any time in the wake of the Colorado theater shooting to begin plotting the curtailment of your basic rights. Nanny Bloomberg quickly came out with rhetorical guns blazing by hyping a national emergency and the need to seize guns:

“Soothing words are nice,” Bloomberg said during a regularly scheduled appearance on WOR 710 AM in New York. “But maybe it’s time the two people who want to be president of the United States stand up and tell us what they’re going to do about it, because this is obviously a problem across the country. And everybody always says, ‘Isn’t it tragic?’”

“I mean, there’s so many murders with guns every day,” Bloomberg continued. “It’s just gotta stop. And instead of these two people, President [Barack] Obama and Governor [Mitt] Romney talking in broad things about, they want to make the world a better place. OK, tell us how. And this is a problem. No matter where you stand on the Second Amendment, no matter where you stand on guns, we have a right to hear from both of them, concretely, not just in generalities, specifically, what are they going to do about guns?”

Bloomberg went on to suggest most of the nation’s governors should also make their stances clear, and said the problem wasn’t limited to major cities like New York.

“This is killing people every day,” he said. “And it’s growing. And it’s not just an inner city, East Coast, West Coast, big city phenomenon. Aurora is not a big city, it’s a suburb of Denver. … The murder rate in the rural areas is as just as bad, if not worse than the murder rate in the urban areas.”

But Bloomberg is either lying or doesn’t know what he is talking about. It’s not “growing.” Homicide rates are down considerably from where they were decades ago, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

The gun-grabbers at the Brady Campaign also demanded the seizure of guns from law-abiding citizens.

“We understand that President Obama has just spoken and so might Mitt Romney,” Brady Campaign president Dan Gross said in a statement. “As someone who has suffered the lasting impact of gun violence, and President of Brady, I can tell you that we don’t want sympathy. We want action.”

Gross noted that this past April 16 marked the anniversary of “the worst mass shooting in American history,” when 32 people were shot and killed by a gunman on the Virginia Tech campus in 2007.

Gross called on people to “demand Congress take action to stop arming dangerous people.” He said the Brady Campaign is meeting today with activists around the country to sign a petition against arming dangerous people.

“We are insistent that our elected leaders take action to prevent future tragedies. Political cowardice is not an excuse for evasion and inaction on this life-and-death issue,” said Gross.

The suspect in custody, James Eagan Holmes, had no criminal record. So the only way to comply with the demands of the Brady Campaign to “take action to stop arming dangerous people,” those like today’s shooter we are to understand, is to “stop arming” everyone.



April 2012



Stabbing Rampage Halted By Gun Owner

Written by , Posted in Gun Rights

While nannies like Michael Bloomberg continue to wage war on the Second Amendment, guns are saving lives (Hat-tip: All American Blogger):

A man stabbed two people at the Smith’s Marketplace grocery store in downtown Salt Lake City before being subdued by a bystander.

…According to a witness, it appears one man was stabbed in the side of the head and another was stabbed in the stomach. The exact condition of the victims is unknown, but police believe the injuries are very serious and possibly critical.

…Police say a bystander with a concealed carry permit witnessed the attack and stepped in to keep it from escalating.

“(The bystander) was suspicious of what might be going on, and when he saw the stabbing, he just drew his pistol and challenged the individual,” which caused the alleged attacker to lie down on the ground, said Salt Lake City police officer Brian Purvis.

How many more victims there would have been if not for this gun-toting bystander, we can never know. But one thing I know for certain is that you won’t see this story get any significant play at the national level, as it doesn’t fit the narrative.



February 2012



Gun-Grabbing Nannies Invade Super Bowl XLVI

Written by , Posted in Gun Rights

In case you weren’t watching the game, here’s the commercial in question:

The two mayoral gun-grabbers start off by claiming that both support the 2nd Amendment, proof once again that the easiest way to tell when a politician is lying is to notice when their lips are moving. But the idea that Bloomberg, perhaps the single biggest nanny in the country, is a supporter of the Second Amendment is laughably absurd.

Just recently I highlighted a story so egregious – a shop owner being fined $30,000 for stocking six obviously fake toy guns – that I simply declared the entire state to be hoplophobic. This might have been hyperbole, but it’s certainly true of Bloomberg and his city. New York City has a track record of gun hysterics, and recently threw the book at a marine and Iraq War veteran who attempted to check his legally owned gun at the Empire State Building . Nanny-in-Chief Bloomberg’s prosecutors think he deserves 3 years in jail for the horrible offense of bringing a legally purchased and owned gun into the People’s Republic of New York. The man has an irrational, nonsensical fear of guns, and will stop at nothing to eliminate our Constitutional right to posses them.

Update: According to DHS, this post makes me a “militia extremist.”