My newest piece in the Daily Caller: Misinformation about Terror Watch List and the ability to buy guns

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My latest piece in the Daily Caller starts this way (originally titled: "Does George Stephanopoulos Even Know What Gun Laws We Have Now?"):
Do gun control advocates even read what gun laws are on the books?  The hot new claim is that there’s nothing to stop identified terrorists from buying guns in this country.
On Sunday, on ABC’s “The Week,” George Stephanopoulos asserted that, “Under current law, individuals on the terror watch list and the no-fly list have been allowed to buy guns and explosives.”  That same day, New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton got on “Meet the Press” and asked Congress to “help us out with that Terrorist Watch List, those thousands of people that can purchase firearms in this country.” Chuck Todd then pressed Ohio Governor John Kasich on whether he would protect Americans by following Bratton’s advice.
It sure sounds scary.
But Bratton surely knows better. Law enforcement is notified every time that a person on the terror watch list attempts to buy gun. If it raises other flags, that case may be further scrutinized.
Being on the watch list doesn’t mean that you are guilty of anything. You can be on the list simply because the FBI wants to interview you about someone you might know. About 300,000 people on the watch list are under “reasonable suspicion” even though they have “no affiliation with known terrorist groups.”
Being on the watch list doesn’t mean that you have been arrested, prosecuted, or convicted of a crime. Of over 2,000 people on the watch list that bought guns between February 2004 and December 2014, not a single one has been identified as using a gun in a crime.
It is pretty easy to get on the terrorist watch list even if you haven’t done anything wrong. About 700,000 people were on the watch list last year, and this number has grown dramatically during the Obama administration. In 2014, about 50,000 people were on the “no-fly” list. This is a 10-fold increase since the beginning of 2009. . . .
The rest of the piece is available here.



At least 40 School Districts in Ohio allow Teachers to Carry Permitted Concealed Handguns

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WKRC-TV Channel 12 in Cincinnati reports:
. . . In Ohio, around 40 school districts now allow teachers with concealed carry licenses to carry their weapons in class. In upstate Ohio there is top level, extraordinary teacher training.
The teachers and administrators train side by side with local law enforcement and paramedics at John Benner’s Tactical Defense Institute. They're training for a nightmare, when classrooms and hallways become killing fields. . . .
Parents in a district asked that their staff be armed. The board OK'd the training and the carrying of weapons on campus by trained staff. . . . .
The instructors are from John Benner's Tactical Defense Institute in Adams County, Ohio . . . .  Benner himself is a former SWAT commander.
He said, “We've believed in this for a long time, but never thought we'd be able to pull it off until Sandy Hook. And then everything changed. Now people realize if you don't have somebody in the school that's armed willing and capable you're gonna lose a lot of people.”
The cost of training is entirely covered by the Buckeye Firearms Foundation, a pro-gun organization.
Joe Eaton of Buckeye said, “There are teachers who are willing to die for the children we leave with them every day. When they come to us and say we need a solution, we need something that will happen. When we have experts that can provide the training to provide these solutions our foundation is obligated to make this happen for the schools.” . . .
Some interesting information from Utah, where teachers across the entire state are allowed to carry at school.  Utah definitely does this right as Utah law prevents districts from asking the teachers that have guns.


Even DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier says Civilians Should Shoot Mass Public Shooters "Before Police Can Get There"

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DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier on 60 Minutes about active shooters --   "If you're in a position to try to take the gunman out, it's the best option for saving lives before police can get there."  Yet, according to Emily Miller, the chief investigative reporter for Fox News Channel 5 in DC, DC has only granted 45 concealed handgun permits.



13-year-old boy uses mom's gun to shoot and kill armed man breaking into home

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From Fox News:
A South Carolina teenager left home alone used his mother's gun to shoot and kill a burglar, authorities said Tuesday.
Fox Carolina reported that deputies responded to a report of shots fired at a home in Ladson Tuesday shortly before 2 p.m. EST Tuesday. When they arrived, they found the unidentified 13-year-old boy and asked him to come out of the home.
The boy said he heard a vehicle pull up behind his house, then heard someone trying get inside a few minutes later. At that point, the teen picked up his mother's gun and went to the back door of the home.
Authorities said the boy told them he fired the gun through the door and the person outside fired back. The boy fired several more shots, apparently wounding the suspect. . . .


Two armed men break into home while mother is breastfeeding, she is wounded but shot back and caused robbers to flee

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North Carolina woman defends herself from two armed men who started firing as soon as they broke into her home. They shot her twice, but she was able to keep her baby safe.
As the intruders broke into the home and opened fire, Bunce fired back with her own weapon.
"I think it was a shock to the intruders just as much as it was to her," her husband, Paul Bunce, told the affiliate.
Her son was unharmed in the shooting, police said. . . .
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police have charged Reco Latur Dawkins Jr., 23, with attempted first degree murder, felony breaking and entering and conspiracy in connection to the incident. . . .
One of the two men who broke into Bunce's home, Reco Dawkins, had a long criminal record.


Debates coming up this next week on Gun-free zones at Universities in Austin and San Antonio

Kennesaw State University Talk

University of Texas at Austin Law School -- Debate on gun-free zones at universities from noon to 1 PM in the law school, Tuesday, November 17, 2015.

St. Mary's University Law School, San Antonio, Texas -- Debate on gun-free zones at universities from 5:30 P.M. - 7:30 P.M.in the law school, Tuesday, November 17, 2015.


Fox News: "Scrapped: Maryland ends bullet ID program after 15 years, $5M and zero cases solved"

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I was quoted extensively in a Fox News article about Maryland's decision to scrap its ballistic fingerprinting system.  Ballistic fingerprinting was just another way of trying to register guns.
State authorities have conceded that the bullet ID program, enacted in 2000, cost $5 million, was plagued by technical problems and did not solve a single crime. Now, the 300,000 shell casings, one from every handgun sold in the state since the law took effect, will now be sold for scrap metal. . . . 
“It was clear 10 years ago that this program was not going to work,” John Lott, president of the Crime Prevention Research Center told FoxNews.com. "Millions were spent on funding this program, money that could have been better used for actual police and law-enforcement resources.” 
Lott even predicted that the program would fail over a decade ago in an op-ed piece in the National Review in February 2005. Even though the state spent approximately $60 per gun to catalog each firearm's unique ballistic signature, critics, including Lott, said legally purchased guns were typically not the ones wielded by criminals. They also said the program suffered from widespread erroneous entry of data and the inadequate software often resulted in hundreds of "matches" being found for each casing tested. . . .
The real problem with Maryland's system wasn't erroneous data entry or inadequate software, it was the science predicted that the system would fail.



My research discussed by Ben Swann on CBS46-TV in Atlanta

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In his report, Ben Swann on the local Fox affiliate in Atlanta, Georgia mentions the CPRC research on the number of permits issued as well as our work on how law-abiding permit holders are.
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Gun Control is the Strongest Election Issue for Republicans over Democrats and that is the one topic that they have been getting even stronger on

PEW Survey on Election Issues
The new PEW Research Center Poll shows that gun control is the strongest issue that Republicans have over Democrats, and that gap has been growing.  And while Democrats have been getting stronger against Republicans on abortion, foreign policy, taxes and terrorism, the one issue that Republicans have been getting stronger compared to Democrats is gun control.
PEW Survey on Election Issues Changes over time



News Stories on at least 18 defensive gun uses by concealed handgun permit holders during October

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We have already posted a number of concealed handgun permit holders who have used guns defensively during October (see herehere, and here).  But here are some more cases that we hadn't previously included.  All together there are 18 news stories here.

Dearborn, Michigan (October 5, 2015) -- "At least one carjacker approached the car, reached in the window and tried snatching the cellphone. Witnesses say an argument then took place over the driver's wallet. The suspect apparently punched the driver in the face.  That's when witnesses say the driver took out a gun and shot at the suspect."

Joliet, Illinois (October 6, 2015) -- "About 1:30 a.m., a 65-year-old man came home to the 500 block of Strong Avenue and was approached by an armed man in his driveway who demanded money, according to Joliet Police Chief Brian Benton. 'The victim pulled a legal concealed-carry weapon and he and the suspect began to shoot at each other,' Benton said."

Sarasota, Florida (October 6, 2015) -- "Surveillance video obtained exclusively by the Herald-Tribune appears to buttress claims by the attorney for a 22-year-old Sarasota man involved in a "road rage" shooting on Monday who says his client was only acting in self defense. . . . . Gunter's defense attorney, Jeffrey Young, says the shooting is a classic example of a "Stand Your Ground" defense."

Houston, Texas (October 9, 2015) -- "One person is dead and another is injured after they allegedly attempted to rob a man carrying a concealed handgun early this morning.  The suspects approached the man with a gun as he was walking on the 600 block Cypress Station Drive around 1am.  That's when deputies say the man surprised the would-be robbers by pulling his own handgun. He fired the gun at both suspects, killing one of them."

Toledo, Ohio (October 20, 2015) -- "Terrance Reid, 21, arrived home from his job as a welder at about 4 a.m. when police say he was approached in the front yard by Antonio Hadley, 40, of Toledo, just outside the house, WTVG Channel 13 reports. . . . Reid, who has a concealed-carry permit, pulled out a handgun and fired several shots at Hadley, who ran away, police say. Reid then called 911."

Jacksonville, Florida (October 25, 2015) -- "Police say a Domino’s delivery driver was delivering  pizzas near Timothys Landing off 103rd street when  he was approached by two armed man, demanding money.  The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said the deliveryman grabbed his own gun and shot one of the suspects. Action News Jax spoke with crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson . . . .  “This is a clear case of self-defense this person was working and was approached by two armed men,” said Ken Jefferson."



My latest piece at Investor's Business Daily: "Mass Incarceration: Tell Hillary Clinton Punishment Matters"

My newest piece at Investor's Business Daily starts this way:
It's easy to forget that in 1991 the U.S. murder rate was well over twice what it is today. In a speech last week at Atlanta's Clark University, Hillary Clinton showed she doesn't understand her call for an "end the era of mass incarceration" will endanger lives. She now proposes to end mass incarceration by "keep(ing) more nonviolent drug offenders out of prison." 
There are good reasons to decriminalize drug possession, though Clinton mentioned none. Furthermore, she is wrong in believing that decriminalization would end mass incarceration. 
In 2012, less than 7% of inmates at state and federal prisons were in for possessing illegal drugs. And it was rarely just for possession of marijuana. There are no national data, but data from Arizona indicate as few as 0.3% were incarcerated for marijuana possession, and those cases involve people arrested multiple times. 
In California, even adding together trafficking or possession offenses, only 1% of state prisoners are incarcerated for marijuana offenses. . . .
The piece is also available here.


My latest piece at the Daily Caller: "The New York Times Keeps Getting Its Gun Facts Shockingly Wrong"

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John Lott has a new op-ed at the Daily Caller:
Last week, a New York Times editorial shockingly claimed that American concealed handgun permit holders have been responsible for 763 non-self-defense deaths since 2007. The Times editorial cites these numbers as proof of the “myth of the vigilant citizen” and “foolhardy notion of quick-draw resistance.” 
But the numbers they rely on from the Violence Policy Center are fatally flawed, quadruple counting legitimate self-defense cases as criminal murders and blaming suicides on permits when the suicides don’t even involve guns. More disturbing, the Times has been called on using these same numbers before, but they keep on using the numbers and never acknowledge any of the problems. 
Take Michigan, which is supposedly by far the worst with over a third of all claimed deaths — 278 of the 763. Of these 278 deaths in Michigan, 215 were suicides. But Michigan State Police reports don’t collect information on whether suicides were committed with their permitted concealed handgun — just that permit holders committed suicide. The police simply match their records on permit holders to the Michigan Department of Community Health’s records on suicides. 
There is a simple response to the New York Times claim that permits cause suicides: Michigan permit holders committed suicide at less than 40% the rate of the general adult Michigan population. . . .
The rest of the piece is available here.



New "Mothers Against Gun-Free Zones" Citing CPRC Research

Christy Stutzman
Christy Stutzman, the mom of a high schooler and the wife of Congressman Marlin Stutzman, announced the formation of a new organization called "Mothers Against Gun-Free Zones."  From her piece in today's Washington Times:
. . . My No. 1 priority is to know with assurance that my son will be kept safe in every way and that, if attacked, he will have the ability and freedom to defend himself. Yes, by all means, we need to discuss the current lack of adequate treatments for mental health. There are obviously major issues that need to be addressed in that area of health care. But until that complicated subject is honestly addressed and corrected, there is one sure-fire, no-fail way to keep our kids safe: No Gun-Free Zones. . . . 
Looking at every mass shooting on record, since 2009, one thing is clear: Gun-free zones don’t protect, they endanger. The Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) released a report in 2014 showing that 92 percent of mass public shootings between January 2009 and July 2014 took place in gun-free zones. Have we become so politically correct that we are willing to ignore the facts to the detriment of our children’s safety? . . .



On Denver's KOA Radio to discuss a Washington Post article on concealed handgun laws

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I talked to Mike Rosen on Denver's giant KOA to discuss the Washington Post’s Christopher Ingraham recent article on concealed handgun laws (Thursday, October 28, 2015 from 4:05 to 5:00 PM EDT).


On The Dana TV Show: Discussing the New York Times use of the Violence Policy Center Data to Attack Concealed Carry and Everytown's Attacks on Lott

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 I talked to Dana Loesch on her TV show about the New York Times reliance on the Violence Policy Center's discussion about concealed handgun permit holders (6:15 to 6:22 PM, October 26, 2015). The whole segment is available here. 


Classic debates during 1968 between Bill Buckley and Gore Vidal: This is the way debates should be

If I am missing one of the debates, please let me know.  These are quite enjoyable to watch.

Debate 1

Debate 2

Debate 3 part 1

Debate 3, part 2

Debate 4

Vidal calling Buckley a "crypto-Nazi"



On Los Angeles' KABC: Discussing LA's new ordinance mandating that guns be stored locked or not operational

 I appeared on KABC's Doug McIntyre on McIntyre In The Morning to discuss LA's newest gun control regulations that mandate guns be stored locked or disabled (Wednesday, October 28, 2015 from  8:35 to 8:42 AM PDT).


Washington Post's Christopher Ingraham again cherry picks research and misstates what those studies show

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The Washington Post's Christopher Ingraham has another new post on gun control (earlier ones here), where he is claiming that most people are wrong to believe that permitted concealed handguns make them safer.  In this case, Ingraham is responding to a new Gallup poll that finds that by a 56-to-41 percent margin Americans believe that more people legally carrying permitted concealed handguns would make them safer.

 Summary: Ingraham's piece selectively picks eight studies on right-to-carry laws and crime rates: six find no effect on crime and two claim to find a bad effect.  Of the two that claim to find a bad effect one is inaccurately described (for homicides it provided no evidence of a bad effect and some statistically significant evidence of a benefit) and the other paper is unpublished with severe flaws.  Of the peer reviewed studies that Ingraham references no evidence of a statistically significant bad effect from right-to-carry laws is offered.  With the exception of part of Lott's research, he ignores all the national studies that find benefits from the law.

 I have reached out to Ingraham both by email and telephone to discuss these points, but have not received a response from him.

  Details: Much of the discussion here focuses on the research by John Lott, but Ingraham has again cherry-picked research to give a very selective view of peer-reviewed research on concealed carry.  Table 2 in this paper from the University of Maryland Law Review in 2012 has a survey that shows most research show a benefit from concealed carry, but there are other more recent papers that find a benefit (see papers here towards the end of this list).  As with other gun control advocates, Ingraham wants to imply that it is just Lott's research versus various critics, but this ignores that most of the peer-reviewed academic research using national data supports his and David Mustard's original research.  In a similar vein in claiming that Lott's research was "completely discredited," Ingraham completely ignores our responses here and here to those assertions.
-- "Lott, for his part, still stands by his idea, although he has nuanced it a bit. He's recently argued that studies critical of right-to-carry laws have failed to properly account for state-level differences in how difficult it is to acquire a handgun permit."
The paper that Lott wrote looked at 4 studies.  In direct contrast to Ingraham's claim about me responding to studies "critical of right-to carry laws": two of those papers that Lott discussed found a benefit from right-to-carry laws, one claimed no effect, and one claimed increased crime.  The point of Lott's was that those papers (even the two that found a benefit) were biased towards not finding a benefit.  If Ingraham had looked at the new paper closely or my research from 2000 on, he would also know that the term "recently" is incorrect.  Lott has been trying to account for the change in permits since the second edition of "More Guns, Less Crime" in 2000.
-- "But as Evan DeFilippis and Devin Hughes recently point out at The Trace, even more recent research from Texas A&M looked at the number of permits issued, not just the passage of various laws. Philips found 'no significant effect of concealed handgun license increases on changes in crime rates... this research suggests that the rate at which CHLs are issued and crime rates are independent of one another—crime does not drive CHLs; CHLs do not drive crime.'"
In a previous post on this website we mentioned numerous problems with the Texas A&M study, we mentioned several problems.  One included (emphasis added):
No explanation is offered for why these authors exclude other states or years?  County level permit data are easily available for Illinois and Wisconsin because no permits were issued over this entire period of time.  Oregon, Tennessee, North Carolina, and other states have county level data over this period of time.   This is important because the test that they are preforming compares these states relative to one another during the period that they all have right-to-carry concealed handgun laws.  When authors throw out data there had better be a good explanation for why they are doing it, but no explanation is offered here.
On other studies:
-- "Changes in gun ownership are significantly positively related to changes in the homicide rate" (Ludwig, 2002)
If Ingraham had read the paper he cites here, he would have not only noticed that the paper was done by Mark Duggan, but, more importantly, Ingraham doesn't mention the part of the paper that deals with concealed handgun laws (the purpose of his piece).  In Table 12 of Duggan's paper, out of the 6 results that are reported on murder rates, 5 out of 6 estimates show a drop in murder rates after adoption of the law (three of these are statistically significant).  The sixth estimate was essentially zero.  None of the estimates show a significant bad effect.

 If one looks more broadly at all the violent crime categories (22 of the 36 estimates imply a drop in crime rates, with 15 of those coefficients showing a statistically significant negative effect, and only one coefficient show a statistically positive effect on crime rates).

 Chapter 10 in Lott's "More Guns, Less Crime" explains why Duggan gets the biased results that he did. In particular, that he looks at only before and after averages.  As to the part of the Duggan paper that Ingraham does cite, these results are also questionable as Duggan uses only the sales of one gun magazine to proxy for gun ownership.  Research using the sales of the other six largest gun magazines get the opposite result.  The magazine that Duggan used was unique because it was the only magazine that had to make large self purchases to guarantee those who bought ads a certain level of circulation.

 Ingraham cites a list of seven papers, but he ignores that the debate among published research has been long recognized as one between those who say that there is no benefit and those who say that there is a benefit.  Listing some papers that show no impact from the law doesn't change what has already been discussed.
-- "Right-to-carry laws are associated with substantially higher rates" of aggravated assault, robbery, rape and murder. (Aneja et al 2014)
This website has long had a detailed discussion of the problems with this unpublished paper.  Research shown here as also provided a detailed discussion. More discussion will be added later. Ingraham has this tweet up pushing his claims.  Presumably he is trying to discredit the research by linking it up to the NRA doing "an amazing job selling" it rather than thinking that the academic debate has has some influence here.  Unfortunately, Ingraham ignores most of the academic research, and, as noted above, he doesn't respond the critiques that have made of the research he cites.

  Christopher Ingraham Tweet on MGLC

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Appearing on the Glenn Beck Radio Show: Discussing President Obama's statements on guns

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  I talked to Glenn Beck about President Obama's views on guns (Tuesday, October 7, 2015).  Lott's discussion starts after the speech by Obama at 5:15 into the segment.  Sorry that we didn't have the audio before now.
Beck: "The best source on gun stats and everything,  if you are trying to make an argument with someone, the best place to go is start with John."
Glenn Beck's show is heard by over 7 million people.



How Bloomberg's Everytown discusses gun-free zones: unable to debate the facts, they engage in personal attack

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Gun-free zones are a serious problem. Shannon Watts, the head of Michael Bloomberg's Moms Demand Action, claimed that research that I had done was "wrong and misleading" and that I was "debunked."  When I responded with a point-by-point refutation of her claim, she accused him of being a Twitter "troll."  Watts makes clearly personal attacks, but she feels that it is improper for someone to factually respond to her claims.  She offers no proof for her claim that I am a "gun lobby researcher," falsely implying that I amfunded by the "gun lobby."  Instead of defending her claims about gun-free zones, Shannon moves on to other personal attacks, saying I supposedly bullied a stalking victim.
Debate with Shannon Watts on Twitter
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Shannon's response w Taylor Woolrich

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Tesla's Model S has a below-average reliability score, no longer considered a top pick from Consumer's Report

My guess is that a lot of the well to do people who buy Tesla cars don't have a lot of time to waste getting their cars fixed.  From CNN:
Tesla (TSLA)'s Model S earned a below-average reliability score in a recent Consumer Reports survey of owners. . . . . 
The bottom line is that the Model S is fun to drive, with great handling and amazing acceleration, but it also suffers from more than its share of annoying technical glitches, according to the magazine.  
About 1,400 Tesla owners surveyed complained of problems with the car's charging equipment, center console area and things like door and windows. They also had issues with the car's electric drive systems and they complained about rattles, squeaks and leaks in the sunroof.  
Tesla shares slid 10% shortly after Consumer Reports released the survey. . . .