Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war. -- Billy Beck

Monday, June 21, 2004

I Also Do Requests

Reader Sarah forwarded a link to me and asked that I fisk it. It's to the Brady Campaign's "CCW FAQ" page. I'm very much pressed for time at the moment, so I'm going to have to do this in pieces, but I promised her I'd do it, and it is fiskworthy, as you'd expect. Let's get right to it, shall we?
Q: What is a "carrying concealed weapons" license?
A "carrying concealed weapons" (CCW) license allows an individual to carry a loaded, concealed gun.

CCW laws have nothing to do with private firearms ownership in the home. They relate solely to allowing individuals to carry their concealed guns almost anywhere in the community.
Except places where the government prohibits, like courtrooms and schools and restaurants that serve alcohol, and places that have signs prohibiting concealed carry on the premises. Pretty much anywhere the Brady Bunch et al. can get the business owner to object.
Q: The gun lobby, headed by the National Rifle Association, has been engaged in a major campaign in all 50 states to pass the weakest CCW laws. What is their rationale for making it easier for just about anyone to carry a concealed, loaded weapon?
It is extremely important to understand the NRA's motivation for advocating these laws - the NRA is a special interest group whose primary goal is to increase gun ownership in America.
Right-o! The idea behind the NRA is to have a nation of marksmen - people who possess weapons and are trained in their proper use. I'm all for that.
The NRA no longer disguises the fact that they are an advocacy group for the gun industry. In response to questions about the new, more deadly ultracompact guns that have appeared on the market, Tanya Metaksa, chief lobbyist for the NRA, crowed that: "The gun industry should send me a basket of fruit - our efforts have created a new market."
"More deadly"? More deadly that what? The high-capacity pistols that they made ultra-expensive by stopping the manufacture of magazines of greater than 10 rounds capacity? How is an "ultracompact" 9mm handgun that holds ten rounds "more deadly" than a regular sized one that carries fifteen? Sophistry.

This is evidence that "the NRA is an advocacy group for the gun industry"? The NRA must have a gun industry to accomplish its ends - defined above as "increasing gun ownership in America." Allowing the gun controllers to wipe out the source lets them end-run the Second Amendment without bothering to overthrow it. Damned straight the NRA supports the gun manufacturers. The gun banners change the rules, and then bitch when the market responds to the rule changes. You don't get it both ways.

Or perhaps, if you're the Brady Bunch, you do.
Laws that make it easier to carry concealed weapons are legislative sales tools for the gun industry and their loudest cheerleader, the NRA. In fact, gun sellers view these laws as excellent marketing tools. According to the Vice President of Marketing for Interarms, the effort to weaken CCW laws is the "most important star on the horizon."
They sure are. And they're also a great way for people to take responsibility for their own safety. It's a win-win situation for people who want to be citizens and not wards of the State.
Former National Rifle Association President Tom Washington was often quoted as saying: "an armed society is a polite society."
If he was, he was quoting author Robert Anson Heinlein from one of his science fiction novels.
If this were the case, the United States would be the most polite society on earth. Already there are over 222 million privately-owned firearms in the country, and we are by no means the safest nation on earth.
And we are not and armed nation. We're a nation with a lot of guns, certainly, but we're not "armed" in the sense that Heinlein meant it. Here's the entire quotation:
"An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life."
(Emphasis mine.) In Heinlein's meaning, "armed" means "bearing weapons." Yes, perhaps as in carrying concealed. Yet in the states that have "shall issue" CCW only about 2% of the eligible population actually acquire a permit, and it's probable that only about half of those actually carry at any time. This is hardly an "armed society."

We've got lots of guns in cabinets, safes, and closets, but very damned few in hand or on hips. Perhaps if there were more of the violent but protective out there bearing arms, our society would be more polite.
In 1994, 38,505 Americans were killed by firearms - in homicides, suicides and accidents. Between 1987 and 1994, the rate for non-handgun murders declined by 11%, while the rate of handgun homicides increased by 52%. 1.1 million violent crimes were committed with handguns in 1993. Recently, the extraordinary benefits of reasonable gun control laws like the Brady Law, the Federal ban on assault weapons, and certain state laws have started to emerge. Crime with guns is just now falling faster than the overall crime rate. It is vital that we continue to move forward in our fight against gun violence in America.
Spin, spin, spin. It's all they can do. They know that all the gun laws they've tried have not affected violent crime in the least, but they've got to make it look good. How about some reality? Here's the long-term homicide trend in the U.S., 1950 through 2000:
Click on the graph for the data set by year. Note that there were peaks in 1972, 1980, and 1991. By 1994 and the passage of the Assault Weapon Ban, the homicide rate was declining. Bear in mind that each and every year about two million new long guns and one million new handguns enter the civilian market. Including lots of those "assault weapons" that the Brady's and others protest "skirt the ban."

The Brady's want to take credit for that decline by citing "the Brady Law, the Federal ban on assault weapons (that isn't a ban), and certain state laws." Let me present another graphic for you to look at of "certain state laws," and please note the dates:
Is CCW in any way responsible for the precipitous decade of decline in homicide rates? I don't know, but my assertion is every bit as possible as theirs. Throwing in the other statistics about violent crime and handguns? Just more cherry picking to obscure the fact that gun control laws haven't had any noticeable effect on crime rates. Here's another long-term trend, this time of gun crime:
Again, click on the graph for the source data. Notice that the Brady center picked 1993 - the WORST year for gun crime in the last 30 for their piece. But the Brady law was passed in 1994 and was reviewed in 2000 by the (not gun friendly) Journal of the American Medical Association by (not gun friendly) Jens Ludwig and Philip Cook of Georgetown University in their paper “Homicide and Suicide Rates Associated with Implementation of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act.” Let me quote from the paper for you:
Our analyses provide no evidence that implementation of the Brady Act was associated with a reduction in homicide rates. In particular, we find no differences in homicide or firearm homicide rates to adult victims in the 32 treatment states directly subject to the Brady Act provisions compared with the remaining control states.


Although our study detected no reduction in homicide rates in treatment states compared with control states, we found that suicide rates for persons aged 55 years or older were reduced in the treatment states. The estimated association between the Brady Act treatment and gun suicide rates among persons aged 55 years and older is equal to ?0.92 per 100000 (95% CI, ?1.43 to ?0.42), or about 6% of the gun suicide rate among this age group in the control states after the Brady Act had become law.

However, we did not detect an association of the Brady Act with overall suicide rates.Wefind some signs of an offsetting increase in nongun suicides to those aged 55 years or older, which makes the reduction in the total suicide rate smaller than the reduction in gun suicides. Neither the increase in nongun suicides nor the decrease in suicides from all causes are statistically significant at the conventional 95% level, though the overall pattern of findings is consistent with theories of “weapon substitution."
Let me translate: The Brady law did not affect homicide. It resulted in some elderly men choosing a different method of committing suicide. That's it. And that result was reported by two champions of the gun control movement.

As I keep saying, the gun control philosophy cannot be wrong! So "Do it some more, only HARDER!" is ever the cry.

More to come...

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