Unsecured guns

David Hardy writes:

USA Today reports, with customary horror, that 1,700,000 children are in homes with unsecured guns, and that one-third of American homes have firearms in them. It goes on to say 1,400 “children and teens” are shot to death each year, and pumps for laws on gun storage (i.e., to criminalize failure to store in various ways). “It’s a frightening problem,” says Michael Barnes, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, a lobbying group that favors limiting gun ownership.

Let’s look at the figures. Actually, in 2003 762 Americans of all ages died in gun accidents, according to the National Safety Council. USA Today gets a higher number by including teens (i.e., up to age 20) and gang-banger homicides, which are hardly relevant to safe gun storage.

Economist John Lott calculated the actual number of child gun accidental deaths, and found it was about 30 per year — lower than the number that die of drowning in buckets.

However, if you look at the study cited by USA Today, you will see that the 1,400 deaths are for children under 18 and they do not include 18–20 year olds. Nor does it seem correct to ignore deaths by murder or suicide since easy access to a loaded gun by a child could certainly be a factor in such cases.

In any case it is not true that there were 30 child gun accidental deaths per year. WISQARS says that there 115 such accidental deaths for ages 0–17. Hardy can’t even blame Lott for this one, since Lott said that his figure was just for children aged 0–4.

Nor is Hardy correct when he says that USA Today pumps for laws on safe gun storage. As well as reporting Vernick’s support for such laws, they report an NRA spokesman arguing that education was a superior approach.


  1. #1 ben
    September 8, 2005

    Kevin commments on the article and gets it right over at [smallest minority](http://smallestminority.blogspot.com/2005/09/fact-checking-for-children.html)

  2. #2 Eli Rabett
    September 8, 2005

    The real problem is that the newspapers no longer fact check opinion articles, even on issues which are simple verification of statistics. Editorial review needs to be reinstituted.

  3. #3 SayUncle
    September 8, 2005

    When I go to whisqars for 2002, i get accidental firearm deaths for children (age 10-14, none occur at a younger age according to their data), there were 34. In ages 15-24, there were 210.

  4. #4 Kevin Baker
    September 8, 2005

    Uncle, you can enter custom age ranges for WISQARS data.

  5. #5 Scott
    September 8, 2005

    Three points if I may:

    1) The real problem is that the newspapers no longer fact check opinion articles, even on issues which are simple verification of statistics. Editorial review needs to be reinstituted.

    The editorial simply states that that is what the Pediatrics article concluded.

    2) When I took hunter’s safety (it was mandatory where I went to middle school) we were told repeatedly, lock firearms and ammunition away separately, BY NRA INSTRUCTORS!

    3) Last but not least, my Republican, Army brat wife was raised in a gun owning household (my father-in-law shot skeet occasionally and was later issued a pistol for use as a personal weapon). To my surprise, she is adamant that our son never shoot a gun of any kind unless he joins the service some day. I’m not saying that safe storage laws are a panacea, but they are hardly unreasonable and by opposing any laws related to firearms, the gun rights industry is slowly but steadily giving shooting sports a bad name.

  6. #6 Eli Rabett
    September 8, 2005

    Ah Scott, so it is lying by relay.

    All you have to do is find someone who is lying, quote them and then it is ok?

  7. #7 slickdpdx
    September 8, 2005

    I am for reasonable gun control. But I don’t find the NRA’s position re: education ridiculous. They weigh the importance of gun ownership differently, so an alternative that reduces fatalities without infringing on gun ownership makes sense.

    The most important thing I think the stats show is that the danger of gun possession is not that significant compared to other behaviors: riding in cars or, to give a less necessary example, any number of recreational activities or drugs.

  8. #8 Kevin Baker
    September 8, 2005

    The problem with “safe storage” laws is the one brought up in the fifth paragraph of the article:

    There’s little known about how well these laws are enforced, Vernick adds. “They’re great, and we absolutely need more states with laws. But often they seem to get enforced after it’s too late, when a child has shot himself or someone else.”

    They’re enforced after the incident. We already have laws allowing prosecution for reckless endangerment. To “enforce” safe-storage laws prior to an incident requires inspection to ensure compliance, does it not? And either very strict guidelines on what is and what isn’t “safe storage,” or dependence upon the judgment of the inspector, no?

    In addition, it also requires knowledge of just who owns guns, else you have enforcement authorities going door-to-door inspecting every home, looking for guns stored unsafely.

    So, while they’re there, shouldn’t they inspect for, oh, say, improperly stored cleaning chemicals and insecticides? Unsecured medications, half-filled mop buckets, rope and sharp implements? After all, we’re trying to prevent accidental death and suicide, right? It’s “for the children!

    “Safe storage” sounds reasonable, until you think about what it really means.

    Ask Robert George Wilton.

    And what if you keep a weapon for self-protection? It’s difficult to do that and keep it stored separately from the ammunition, isn’t it?

    Most of us “opposing any laws related to firearms” aren’t trying to affect the name of shooting sports at all. We’re trying to preserve the right to arms. “This far, no further.”

    Ask the Brits now what kind of name the shooting sports have there – after decades of going along with all kinds of “reasonable” gun control laws.

  9. #9 Ian gould
    September 9, 2005

    >They’re enforced after the incident. We already have laws allowing prosecution for reckless endangerment. To “enforce” safe-storage laws prior to an incident requires inspection to ensure compliance, does it not? And either very strict guidelines on what is and what isn’t “safe storage,” or dependence upon the judgment of the inspector, no?

    >In addition, it also requires knowledge of just who owns guns, else you have enforcement authorities going door-to-door inspecting every home, looking for guns stored unsafely.

    So Scott do you have any evidence that any of this is happening?

    The reason for safe storage laws is the same as, for example, the reason for the laws concerning drug licensing, they codify how people can prove they’ve met the pre-existing common law duty of care.

  10. #10 Kevin Baker
    September 9, 2005

    “So Scott do you have any evidence that any of this is happening?”

    I’ll presume that question was actually directed at me, since the quote above it was mine.

    Well, the police in New South Wales were ordered to perform surprise weapon safety audits of registered gun owners. I covered that here. They later backed off the “surprise” part. I covered that here. However, it seems that the New South Wales police “seized and destroyed 43,000 weapons,” “most of which” were firearms.

    Does that qualify as “evidence?”

  11. #11 matt
    September 9, 2005

    Both homicide and suicide by definition require intent. Once the intent to kill has been formed, it’s seldom difficult to find means of putting that intent into effect. Thus, Tim, I don’t find your claim that “easy access to a loaded gun by a child could certainly be a factor in [firearm suicides and homicides by minors]” very persuasive at all. Perhaps it could be a factor, but what’s the evidence that it is a factor? Hardy’s decision to exclude intentional killings tracks my own intuitions much more closely than your argument for including them.

    Now, here’s a broader question about the legitimacy of using CDC mortality data as a basis for arguments about safe storage laws, and it’s not just directed at Tim. I welcome a reply from anyone with a good answer.

    Unless I’m missing something, I think the CDC data tells us almost nothing useful about the meed for or possible benefits of safe storage laws. My question is: Am I missing something?

    Everyone seems to assume, for purposes of this discussion, that child firearm deaths are caused by children, who wouldn’t have access to guns if only safe storage laws were in effect. But even leaving aside the question of how effective safe storage laws would be at denying children access to firearms, I’m not at all convinced that we know who causes child firearm deaths, other than suicides. The CDC data breaks down mortality by the age of the victim, not the age of the perpetrator (and I am here using “perpetrator” to include people responsible for accidental deaths). On what basis can we conclude that perpetrators and victims are of even approximately the same ages?

    For example, if an adult father accidentally shoots his ten year-old son to death, that death is included in the CDC mortality data as an accidental firearm death for a 10 year-old, right? But I think we can all agree that a “safe storage” law would be unlikely to prevent such a death, unless “safe storage” includes a prohibition on adults even possessing firearms in the presence of children.

    The same goes for parents who intentionally kill their children with guns. (I don’t say “murder” because that’s a legal term with specific meaning, and doesn’t include all intentional homicides.) Those deaths, too, go down on the CDC’s rolls as child firearm homicides yet, even moreso than with accidental shootings, are unlikely to be affected by safe storage laws.

    On the flip-side, the death of an adult due to the actions of a gun-wielding minor — whether accidental or intentional — is recorded as an adult firearm death by CDC, and isn’t included in the data that USA Today cites. Assuming, just for the sake of argument, that safe storage laws would be at least partially effective at preventing kids from getting their hands on guns, shouldn’t we count these adult deaths as part of the argument for safe storage requirements? Of course we’d also need to know what proportion of the child perpetrators had gained control of their guns without adult acquiescence, versus those who were given access to their guns by adults. If I give my son a rifle and take him hunting, and he accidentally kills me, that’s not a death that any safe storage law (as that term is commonly understood) could have prevented.

    In summary, it seems to me that CDC mortality data makes a very poor tool for analyzing the need for or likely effects of safe storage laws. I’d think we would need much higher resolution before we could talk intelligently about those issues.

    Again: Am I missing something?

  12. #12 Ian Gould
    September 9, 2005


    (Sorry for confusing you with Scott Baker)

    Yes it’s evidence – of a sort.

    Note though that the surpirse visit proposal was rejected.

    Additionally, given your seemingly extensive knowledge in this area if there were a examples of this happening in the US – the country which was being discussed in the original article – I assume you would have offered them.

  13. #13 z
    September 9, 2005

    Kevin Baker Says:
    “But often they seem to get enforced after it’s too late, when a child has shot himself or someone else.”
    They’re enforced after the incident.

    As with laws against murder, theft, and pretty much anything that doesn’t have “conspiracy to” in the description.

  14. #14 Kevin Baker
    September 10, 2005

    “Note though that the surpirse visit proposal was rejected.

    “Additionally, given your seemingly extensive knowledge in this area if there were a examples of this happening in the US – the country which was being discussed in the original article – I assume you would have offered them.”

    You didn’t read the links, did you? From this one:

    There’s been one comment on the story:

    rod Masters
    Wednesday, 4 February 2004

    RE firearms inspections
    whilst I do not live in the Tamworth area, i had my fireamrs(sic) inspection in Penrith on Saturday 24/1/04. A policeman turned up on my door and said that he was there to conduct my inspection, at no time was I contacted to arrange an appointment, or advised that if it was not convenient I could have the inspection rescheduled.
    I feel that people need to be aware that if the inspection is at an inconvenient time, then they have the option to have it rescheduled.

    So much for not having “surprise inspections.”

    No, I didn’t use an American example because we haven’t travelled that far down the path yet. But we have an excellent example in Australia to point to, don’t we? It is a “sort” of evidence. It’s exactly the evidence you asked me for. Now you want to complain that it just isn’t an American example? Ian, this is what I’m fighting to prevent here. The first step to preventing it is the keep such laws from being passed in the first place.

    You said, “The reason for safe storage laws is the same as, for example, the reason for the laws concerning drug licensing, they codify how people can prove they’ve met the pre-existing common law duty of care.” Last time I checked, the right to arms was codified as the Second Amendment to the Constitution, and the wording is “shall not be infringed.” Licensing, from my perspective, is an infringement because it turns a right into a privilege that the State can withhold at its whim – as it is doing in Australia and England.

    The way it’s supposed to work is that your right to arms is guaranteed unless you do something criminal and are then given due process of law. Your right can be stripped from you, just as your freedom and even your life, but only after you have your day in court, and on an individual, not wholesale basis.

    Today, in New Orleans, the police department is going door-to-door and confiscating the weapons belonging to the remaining residents. They are doing so with absolutely no legal authority. They are blatantly violating the Constitution of the United States, and the Louisiana Constitution, and your advice is to trust my government? That “safe storage” laws won’t be abused?

    Pardon me if I’m just a wee bit skeptical, would you?

  15. #15 Chris Jarrett
    September 10, 2005

    Kevin, the police in NOLA are not violating the US Constitution. The 2nd Amendment applies only to the Federal Government. It does not apply to local police. The NOLA police are not violating Louisana law either. 14 La. Stat. 329.6 states that officials are allowed to make laws “regulating and controlling the possession, storage, display, sale, transport and use of firearms, other dangerous weapons and ammunition.”

    Your use of Australian examples is interesting. You and your gun buddies get all worked up about making comparisons across countries when the comparison makes you look bad. Yet here you are, using examples from Australia when the examples are not generalizable to the situation in the USA.

  16. #16 Matt McIrvin
    September 10, 2005

    “The 2nd Amendment applies only to the Federal Government. It does not apply to local police.”

    I’m not sure I really want to jump into this argument, but I will say that the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution specifically prohibits state and local governments from suspending constitutionally protected rights. While I don’t buy the libertarian arguments about the safety of armed society, I also don’t think that the “that only applies to the federal government” excuse applies to the constitutional protections of speech and religion, or the protections against unreasonable search and seizure, so it stands to reason that it shouldn’t apply to the Second Amendment either.

  17. #17 Matt McIrvin
    September 10, 2005

    …And now I’m going to go partially back on what I just said, because the 14th Amendment actually doesn’t mention *municipal* authorities, just states. Still, I know of no judicial tradition in post-Civil War America that says that local authorities are free to ignore the Bill of Rights.

  18. #18 Eli Rabett
    September 10, 2005

    Matt, go look at [US Bill of Rights](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Bill_of_Rights)
    go down to the section called incorporation:

    >Originally, the Bill of Rights applied only to the federal government and not to the several state governments. Thus, states had established state churches up until the 1820s, and Southern states, beginning in the 1830s, could ban abolitionist propaganda. In the case of Barron v. Baltimore, the Supreme Court specifically ruled that the Bill of Rights provided “security against the apprehended encroachments of the general government?not against those of local governments.” However, in 1925 with Gitlow v. New York, the Supreme Court ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment (which had been adopted in 1868) made certain applications of the Bill of Rights applicable to the states. The Supreme Court then used the Gitlow case as precedent for a series of decisions that made most of the provisions of the Bill of Rights applicable to the states.”

    It was well into the twentieth century before it was agreed that the Bill of Rights and other ammendments applied to US state governments. Much of the “justification” for denying blacks the vote was that voting was a matter for the states who could do what they wanted.

  19. #19 Kevin Baker
    September 10, 2005

    Mr. Jarret:

    Why is it that the 14th Amendment does not extend the protection of the 2nd Amendment to all citizens? Paragraph 1 of the 14th Amendment reads:

    All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    Is not the right to keep and bear arms one of the “privileges or immunities” of citizens of the United States? The Supreme Court certainly thought so in 1856, and used that reasoning to conclude that blacks here, free or slave, could not be citizens. The question in the Scott v. Sanford case, as the Court put it, was

    Can a negro, whose ancestors were imported into this country, and sold as slaves, become a member of the political community formed and brought into existence by the Constitution of the United States, and as such become entitled to all the rights, and privileges, and immunities, guarantied by that instrument to the citizen?

    Because if they could be citizens they’d have

    …the right to enter every other State whenever they pleased, singly or in companies, without pass or passport, and without obstruction, to sojourn there as long as they pleased, to go where they pleased at every hour of the day or night without molestation, unless they committed some violation of law for which a white man would be punished; and it would give them the full liberty of speech in public and in private upon all subjects upon which its own citizens might speak; to hold public meetings upon political affairs, and to keep and carry arms wherever they went.

    Couldn’t have that.

    In 1875, AFTER passage of the 14th Amendment, the Supreme Court decided that the 14th didn’t really mean what it said in plain language, and that the Second Amendment wasn’t applicable to the States:

    The right there specified is that of ‘bearing arms for a lawful purpose.’ This is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The second amendment declares that it shall not be infringed; but this, as has been seen, means no more than that it shall not be infringed by Congress.

    There’s two Supreme Court decisions in the course of nineteen years that in both cases made a point of keeping blacks disarmed.

    And you’re using this as legal justification for gun confiscation in New Orleans?

    Louisiana resides in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, where the Emerson decision declared the right to arms to be an individual one,

    Although, as we have held, the Second Amendment does protect individual rights, that does not mean that those rights may never be made subject to any limited, narrowly tailored specific exceptions or restrictions for particular cases that are reasonable and not inconsistent with the right of Americans generally to individually keep and bear their private arms as historically understood in this country.

    The disarmament in New Orleans is not a “limited, narrowly tailored specific” exception, is it?

    What about the 14th Amendment’s prohibition against deprivation of property without due process of law? Has the Louisiana legislature passed any law giving the NO police the power to confiscate weapons? Yes, I’m aware that they’re debating the jots and tittles of 14 La. Stat. 329.6 over at The Volokh Conspiracy, but perhaps you ought to read Julian Sanchez’s A Heap of Precedent. At some point the actions of government, building on each tiny incremental step does become unconstitutional. That’s what you’re seeing in New Orleans right now. But the lawyers are sitting around debating precedent and language. They aren’t stepping back to see the heap, and neither are you.

    As far as using Australia for my example, “not generalizable to the situation in the USA”? As I said before, that example is what I’m working to prevent here. And the best way to prevent it is to prevent such laws from being passed, because there are a lot of people like you here who don’t believe in a right to arms and would very much like to see the population disarmed. Thankfully, enough of the population here believes otherwise that we have a fighting chance to prevent that.

  20. #20 Kevin Baker
    September 10, 2005

    One other thing, Mr. Jarrett:

    Louisiana Constitution, art. I, sec. 11 (enacted 1974)

    The right of each citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be abridged, but this provision shall not prevent the passage of laws to prohibit the carrying of weapons concealed on the person.

    I don’t think 14 La. Stat. 329.6 trumps the Louisiana Constitution.

    What we’re discussing here is whether governments will confine themselves to following the rule of law or not. We have the federal and state constitutions for a reason. Providing toilet paper for our public officials is not the reason.

  21. #21 Chris Jarrett
    September 10, 2005


    Here’s a clue for you: selective incorporation.

    SCOTUS has not included the 2nd amendment as being covered by the 14th. It simply does not apply.

    The declaration of the State of Emergency does override the constitution.

    You can ignore the facts all you wish but they are not on your side.

  22. #22 Kevin Baker
    September 10, 2005

    Mr. Jarrett:

    Selective incorporation. Yes, so selective that every other “right of the people” has received an “incorporation” decision, including the 3rd Amendment’s prohibition against housing of troops?

    Odd, isn’t it? Doesn’t it bother you just a little bit that the government has worked so hard to deny a fundament right to a minority so that now the government can disarm everyone who doesn’t draw a government paycheck?

    As to whether a State of Emergency trumps the constitution, well, (assuming the courts still give even a head-nod towards rule of law) we might find out in the aftermath of all this.

    But what you’re witnessing here is “might makes right,” and that’s not how a representative republic is supposed to function, is it?

    As the first person interviewed in this CNN News clip (an attorney, no less!) put it, all the government should do, if he so desires it, is to treat him with “benign neglect.”

    Clueless? No, I’m the one paying attention to the bigger picture.

  23. #23 Chris Jarrett
    September 10, 2005

    No, Kevin, not all rights have been incorporated.

    The parts of the BoR that have been adjudicated to apply to the states
    via the Fourteenth Amendment are:

    First – Freedom of Speech – Gitlow v. New York 268 US 652 – 1925
    (Dictim) and Fiske v. US, 425 US 391 – 1927 (Holding)

    First – Freedom of the Press – Near v. Minnesota 283 US 697 – 1931

    First – Freedom of Assembly – DeJonge v. Oregon 299 US 353 – 1937

    First – Free Exercise of Religion Cantwell v. Connecticut 310 US 296 –

    First – Ban on Religious Establishment – Everson v. Board of Education
    330 US 1 – 1947

    First – Freedom of Association – NAACP v. Alabama 357 US 449 – 1958

    Fourth – Right against unreasonable search and seizure – Wolf v.
    Colorado 338 US 25 – 1949

    Fourth – Exclusionary Rule – Mapp v. Ohio 367 US 643 – 1961

    Fifth – Right to Just Compensation – Chicago, Burlington & Quincy
    Railway v. Chicago 166 US 226 – 1897

    Fifth – Right against Self Incrimination – Malloy v. Hogan, 378 US 1 –

    Fifth – Right against Double Jeopardy – Benton v. Maryland, 395 US 784
    – 1969

    Sixth – Right of Counsel in capital case – Peterson v. City of
    Greenville, 373 US 244 – 1963

    Sixth – Right to Public Trial – Oliver, in re, 333 US 257 – 1948

    Sixth – Assistance of Counsel in all felony cases – Gideon v.
    Wainwright, 372 US 335 – 1963

    Sixth – Right to confront adverse witnesses – Pointer v. Texas, 380 US
    400 – 1965

    Sixth – Right to impartial jury – Parker v. Gladden, 385 US 363 – 1966

    Sixth – Right to compulsory process to obtain witnesses – Washington
    v. Texas, 388 US 14 – 1967

    Sixth – Right to Speedy Trial – Klopfer v. North Carolina, 386 US 213
    – 1967

    Sixth – Right to jury in nonpetty criminal cases – Duncan v.
    Louisiana, 391 US 145 – 1968

    Sixth – Right to counsel in imprisonable misdemeanor cases –
    Argersinger v. Hamlin, 407 US 25 – 1072

    Sixth – Right to notice of accusation – Rabe v. Washington, 405 US 313
    – 1972

    Sixth – Right to unanimous verdict if only six jurors – Burch v.
    Louisiana, 441 US 130 – 1979

    Eighth – Ban on Cruel and Unusual punishment – Robinson v. California,
    370 US 660 – 1962

    Only the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th Amendments have had all or a portion adjudicated as incorporated by the Fourteenth Amendment.

    Now, until you can produce a SCOTUS decision that applies either all of the BOR to the 14th admendment or a SCOTUS decision that applies it to the 2A, you are SOL and you know it.

    The Bush administration is responsible for putting in the Patriot Act and taking away pretty much any rights you have in the US.

    You and your gun buddies are largely responsible for putting the Bush Republicans in charge. He’s your guy. You got what you deserved.

  24. #24 Kevin Baker
    September 11, 2005

    “You and your gun buddies are largely responsible for putting the Bush Republicans in charge. He’s your guy. You got what you deserved.”

    And John “I own a Chinese assault rifle – no I don’t” Kerry was a better choice? Or Albert Gore Jr?

    Comedian Lewis Black, before the 2000, election said it best:

    In my lifetime, we’ve gone from JFK to Al Gore. In my lifetime we’ve gone from Ike to G.W. Bush. If this is evolution, soon we’re going to be voting for PLANTS!

    (Can I get a big “AMEN!”?) Our choice as “gun buddies” as you put it, was between a wedgie and castration. We chose the wedgie. We know the Democrat position on gun control. It’s the one exhibited by New Orleans Superintendent of Police P. Edwin Compass III

    No one is allowed to be armed. We’re going to take all the guns.

    I have already granted that the Second Amendment has not received an incorporation decision, but let me quote Judge Alex Kozinski of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals concerning the Second Amendment:

    Judges know very well how to read the Constitution broadly when they are sympathetic to the right being asserted. We have held, without much ado, that “speech, or…the press” also means the Internet…and that “persons, houses, papers, and effects” also means public telephone booths…. When a particular right comports especially well with our notions of good social policy, we build magnificent legal edifices on elliptical constitutional phrases – or even the white spaces between lines of constitutional text. But, as the panel amply demonstrates, when we’re none too keen on a particular constitutional guarantee, we can be equally ingenious in burying language that is incontrovertibly there.

    It is wrong to use some constitutional provisions as springboards for major social change while treating others like senile relatives to be cooped up in a nursing home until they quit annoying us. As guardians of the Constitution, we must be consistent in interpreting its provisions. If we adopt a jurisprudence sympathetic to individual rights, we must give broad compass to all constitutional provisions that protect individuals from tyranny. If we take a more statist approach, we must give all such provisions narrow scope. Expanding some to gargantuan proportions while discarding others like a crumpled gum wrapper is not faithfully applying the Constitution; it’s using our power as federal judges to constitutionalize our personal preferences.

    The able judges of the panel majority are usually very sympathetic to individual rights, but they have succumbed to the temptation to pick and choose. Had they brought the same generous approach to the Second Amendment that they routinely bring to the First, Fourth and selected portions of the Fifth, they would have had no trouble finding an individual right to bear arms.

    The same seems to hold for the Supreme Court as well.

    You cite the Patriot Act as an example of bad law. I’ll cite another one for you: The McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act. Yet you’re more than happy to tell me that what’s going on in New Orleans is perfectly legal?

    Is there no point in your world where you stand up to authority and say “NO!”?

  25. #25 Chris Jarrett
    September 11, 2005

    Kevin, gun-rights activists like you didn’t stand up to authority and say “NO!”. You stood up and let Bush get fraudulently elected instead of Gore.

    As for the Democratic position on guns, your comments are largely the creation of gun-rights activists and not the actual positions.

    Right now all you are doing is engaging in a Wizard of Oz ‘don’t look behind the curtain’ act by trying to get people to look elsewhere at other things.

    The stench from NOLA is in your house. You’re responsible for it. You get to clean it up.

    The rest of the world watched in horror as the US re-elected Bush. It’s about time for you and people like you to stand up and say “NO!”

  26. #26 Kevin Baker
    September 11, 2005

    Tim: Sorry this has gotten so far off topic. This will be my last response to Mr. Jarrett.

    Mr. Jarrett:

    From my perspective, and the perspective of many, many like me, the side trying to steal the election of 2000 was the Democrats, as they were apparently intent on recounting until they got the result they wanted. Hanging chads, pregnant chads, etc., etc.

    Read my take on it from back then, if you wish.

    Several newspapers joined together to review the votes in Florida after that debacle – including the New York Times and concluded that Bush would have won regardless of the Supreme Court decision.

    HOWEVER, what I and others like me objected to most strenuously was the Democrat attempt to change the rules in the middle of the election. I’m certain you disagree, but that’s what we saw, and it seems the standard modus operandi of the Left – rules are just annoying things to be bent or broken when they get in the way of “Progress.”

    As to “not the actual positions” of the Democrats:

    “When we got organized as a country and we wrote a fairly radical Constitution with a radical Bill of Rights, giving a radical amount of individual freedom to Americans” — President Bill Clinton

    “We can’t be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans.” — President Bill Clinton

    “The purpose of government is to rein in the rights of the people” — President Bill Clinton

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to introduce the Public Health and Safety Act of 1993 on behalf of myself and nine of my colleagues: Mel Reynolds, Bill Clay, Jerry Nadler, Eleanor Holmes Norton, John Lewis, Nydia Velazquez, Ron Dellums, Carrie Meek, and Alcee Hastings. This legislation, first introduced in the Senate by Senator John Chafee, would prohibit the transfer or possession of handguns and handgun ammunition, except in limited circumstances. It would go a long way toward protecting our citizens from violent crime.

    The need for a ban on handguns cannot be overstated. Unlike rifles and shotguns, handguns are easily concealable. Consequently, they are the weapons of choice in most murders, accounting for the deaths of 25,000 Americans in 1991.

    A 6-month grace period would be established during which time handguns could be turned in to any law enforcement agency with impunity and for reimbursement at the greater of $25 or the fair market value of the handgun . After the grace period’s expiration, handguns could be turned in voluntarily with impunity from criminal prosecution, but a civil fine of $500 would be imposed.

    Exemptions from the handgun ban would be permitted for Federal, State, or local government agencies, including military and law enforcement; collectors of antique firearms; federally licensed handgun sporting clubs; federally licensed professional security guard services; and federally licensed dealers, importers, or manufacturers.

    The Public Health and Safety Act of 1993 represents a moderate, middle-of-the-road approach to handgun control which deserves the support of all members of Congress who want to stop gun murders now. — Hon. Major R. Owens (Rep. NY, Introduction of the Public Health and Safety Act of 1993, Extension of Remarks – September 23, 1993. Congressional Record, 103rd Congress, 1993-1994)

    Mr. speaker, we must take swift and strong action if we are to rescue the next generation from the rising of tide armed violence. That is why today I am introducing the Handgun Control Act of 1992. This legislation would outlaw the possession, importation, transfer or manufacture of a handgun except for use by public agencies, individuals who can demonstrate to their local police chief that they need a gun because of threat to their life or the life of a family member, licensed guard services, licensed pistol clubs which keep the weapons securely on premises, licensed manufacturers and licensed gun dealers. — Rep. Stephen J. Solarz, New York (August 12, 1992, Congressional Record, 102nd Congress, 1991-1992, Daily Edition E2492-2493.)

    That’s just a couple. Don’t yank my chain. I’ve studied this topic since 1994. I know better.

    And, finally, “The stench from NOLA is in your house. You’re responsible for it. You get to clean it up.” I guess you didn’t donate blood or money or food or clothing to the Red Cross or Salvation Army or any other relief group, then? The poor people of New Orleans can just suffer for your righteousness? No comment about the New Orleans evacuation plan? Or the Ray Nagin Memorial Motor Pool – emphasis on the “Pool”? No? It’s all the fault of Bush? Damn, that’s one powerful, man.

    *[Deleted. No personal attacks, please. Tim]*

    Again, Tim, my apologies for getting so far off-topic.

  27. #27 Chris Jarrett
    September 11, 2005

    Kevin, I’ve studied gun rights since before 1994 and I’m sure I’m more familiar with the scientific literature than you (but not Tim Lambert). The position you attribute to ‘the Democrats” is largely a creation by gun rights advocates. You are cherry picking quotes and inaccurately generalizing.

    The Patriot Act created by Republicans and the Bush administration has destroyed the US Constitution and taken away rights of US citizens.

    You had more rights under Clinton. Had you and your gun rights activists voted for Gore or Kerry, you likely would not have lost any rights. Either administration would have been so sensitive about gun right criticisms they would have bent over backwards to make sure you were happy. Kerry’s hunting with a shotgun was an example. The Bush Adminstration has nothing to fear and they know they can do whatever they want involving gun rights. People like you will be so paranoid about the mythical Democratic “position” that you’ll continue voting Republican even though you are losing rights left and right.

    As for the past week, Belle Waring at Crooked Timber sums up the week nicely: Last week there was a pop quiz on homeland security, and Michael Chertoff failed.

    The USA is less safe 4 years after 9/11 and the Bush Administration is 100% responsible for that failure.

  28. #28 Eli Rabett
    September 11, 2005

    Kevin, do you have something better as a reference for those Clinton quotes? I can find them on every radical right web site on earth, but not in various repositories of Clinton speeches and interviews. I can find the transcript of one interview he gave to MTV in September, but it does not have this quote and appears to have a completely different context.

  29. #29 Kevin Baker
    September 11, 2005

    My apologies for the personal attack. I thought it merely descriptive, Tim, but it’s your site. Suffice it to say that given Mr. Jarrett’s post prior to that one, I have nothing further to discuss with him. It would not be constructive, and it’s stopped being entertaining.

    Mr. Rabett, I’ve left a comment on your blog.

  30. #30 Chris Jarrett
    September 12, 2005

    Eli, I think you hit the nail on the head there. The quotes you identified are absent the context and, when viewed in context, change quite a bit.

    It would be interesting to see if Kevin has the guts to produce the entire USA Today article from 3/11/93 instead of that single quote.

    Cherry-picking quotes is a skill used by many gun activists web sites.

  31. #31 Eli Rabett
    September 14, 2005

    Hi, thanks to Kevin I was able to track down one of those Clinton quotes, the one that started:

    It arose in an interesting context in an MTV interview (excerpt from Lexis-Nexis for those of you who have access) 3/11/93

    > Q Mr. President, I’m Richard Dyer (sp), I’m 20 years old, and I’m attending George Washington University.
    Mr. President, the American media is reporting that an American student is about to be punished under a foreign penal system. This system does not base itself on the strong belief in individual civil rights as our does; however, this country and countries like it boast extraordinarily low crime rates. How do you account for that? Is our system outdated? Does it need to be changed?

    > PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well, that’s not where I thought you were going with the question. Good for you. (Chuckles.)

    > MODERATOR: He’s obviously talking about the caning in Singapore.

    > PRESIDENT CLINTON: Yeah, the young man, Michael Fay, in Singapore.

    > As you know, I have spoken out against his punishment for two reasons. One is it’s not entirely clear that his confession wasn’t coerced from him. The second is that if he just were to serve four months in prison for what he did, that would be quite severe. But the caning may leave permanent scars, and some people who are caned in the way they are caned there go into shock. I mean, it can — it’s much more serious than it sounds. So, on the one hand, I don’t approve of this punishment, particularly in this case.

    > Now, having said that, a lot of the Asian societies that are doing very well now have low crime rates and high economic growth rates, partly because they have very coherent societies with strong units where the unit is more important than the individual — whether it’s the family unit or the work unit or the community unit.

    Here is the quote Kevin used:

    >My own view is that you can go to the extreme in either direction, and what — when we got organized as a country, and we wrote a fairly radical Constitution with a radical Bill of Rights, giving a radical amount of individual freedom to Americans,

    and continues

    > it was assumed that the Americans who had that freedom would use it responsibly; that is, when we set up this country, abuse of people by government was a big problem, so if you read the Constitution, it’s rooted in the desire to limit the ability — government’s ability to mess with you because that was a huge problem. It can still be a huge problem. But it assumed that people would basically be raised in coherent families, in coherent communities, and they would work for the common good as well as for the individual welfare.

    >What’s happened in America today is too many people live in areas where there is no family structure, no community structure, and no work structure. And so there’s a lot of irresponsibility. And so a lot of people say there’s too much personal freedom. When personal freedom is being abused, you have to move to limit it. That’s what we did in the announcement I made last weekend on the public housing projects about how we’re going to have weapon sweeps and more things like that to try to make people safer in their communities.

    > So that’s my answer to you. We can have — the more personal freedom a society has, the more personal responsibility a society needs, and the more strength you need out of your institutions — family, community and work.

    I think the answer pretty well stands for itself. Even the excerpt was thoughtful, although in the context of the others the meaning could have been lost.

  32. #32 Eli Rabett
    September 14, 2005

    FWIW I ran the other two quotes attributed to Clinton at Lexis Nexis, both in the categories of General News and Transcripts and came up empty. But Lexis Nexis is a new toy for me, and I don’t understand the nuances.

  33. #33 z
    September 15, 2005

    “Both homicide and suicide by definition require intent. Once the intent to kill has been formed, it’s seldom difficult to find means of putting that intent into effect”
    And yet, the police foolishly persist in taking away your belt and shoelaces when you are incarcerated overnight.

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