By Nancy Thorner – 

Are you like many Americans concerned about your gun rights, as you have every right to be? The Second Amendment is considered to be one of the most important civil rights in the United States. This right has been under assault because liberals have long had an appetite to impose strict gun control measures.

John R. Lott, Jr., called by Newsweek the “Gun Crowd’s Guru,” addressed 80 members and friends of The Heartland Institute at its Arlington Heights headquarters on Wednesday, October 5. Lott’s talked about the issues raised in his new book, The War On Guns: Arming Yourself Against Gun Control Lies. Lott’s comments took aim at well-funded anti-gun studies and stories that perpetuate false statistics in order to frighten Americans into giving up their guns.

Lott has spoken four times before at Heartland Institute events, but this was the first time at Heartland’s Arlington Heights facility, which they moved into after being located in Chicago for 31 years.

Lott is president of the Crime Prevention Research Center. He received his Ph.D. in economics from UCLA in 1984, and went on to hold research and/or teaching positions at the University of Chicago, Yale University, Stanford University, UCLA, Wharton Business School, and Rice University. Lott has published nine books, including his latest book, and his publications include over 100 articles in academic journals. His TV appearances include evening news broadcast of ABC and NBC, Fox News Channel, PBS’s The NewsHour, and the Today Show.

Dramatic Prelude to the Event

Before the event got properly underway, Development Director Gwendalyn Carver took the stage to inform the audience that the son of another Heartland executive was recently shot in Chicago. (The young man is now in recovery.) Carver stressed that the victim’s mother wished to stress that “gun control does not stop crime.” “These criminals will always be able to get illegal guns,” Carver continued. “We recognize this is a serious matter, not only in the city of Chicago, but in our families.” She asked all in attendance to pray for the family.

Lott’s initial comments were in solidarity with Carver’s comments about the senseless shooting of a Heartland co-worker’s son. In speaking about urban crime, Lott reiterated how difficult it is to stop gangs from getting drugs. Should success actually be achieved in getting drugs or weapons away from gangs, mused Lott, it would take but 20 minutes before they started coming back into the area. Gang members use the same source to obtain illegal guns as they do to obtain illegal drugs.

Would Background Checks on Private Transfer Be Effective?

Hillary Clinton is pushing a law to impose background checks on the private transfer of guns – which often involves a family member giving or selling a firearm to a relative. Lott said exactly zero criminal shootings would have been stopped by such a law in the last 16 years, according to the latest gun statistics.

Lott reported that 2.4 million so-called dangerous people have been stopped from getting a gun through background checks, but 99 percent of them were cases of mistaken identity. They had the bad luck of having names similar to those of criminals. Unfortunately, many of the cases of mistaken identity negatively affect those who really need guns. He noted that 40 percent of the U.S. Vietnamese population has the same last name; and the “same identity” rate among the U.S. black population is 30 percent.

Why such a high rate of false positives? When an individual fills out and sends in the 4473 Form government bureaucrats are negligent in carefully checking names, Social Security numbers, and the addresses listed on the forms it receives.

The Cost of Gun Bureaucracy

The appeals process to clean up a mistaken identity requires one to hire a lawyer – which is expensive and discourages minorities in high-crime urban areas from getting guns for personal protection.

Also, 16 hours of study is needed to quality for a concealed carry permit in Chicago. Because of the absence of gun shops in the city, those who want training must travel the suburbs. Because of the high cost ($450) of getting a concealed carry permit in the first place, those who most need guns for self-protection are unable to defray the cost.

America’s Mass Shootings Are Not Higher Than in Other Nations

President Obama is wrong when he claims the U.S. is the only country in the world encountering mass, pubic gun attacks, Lott said. During the first seven years of the Obama administration, there were 25 mass shooting in Europe, the same number as occurred here in the U.S. In looking at shootings involving K-12 schools, three out of four of the worst attacks happened in Europe. In France, which has one-fifth our population, four public mass shootings occurred with 532 casualties.

This rather amazing statement was made by Lott: “The murder rate in the rest of the world is 20 percent higher than in the U.S.”  The Solomon Islands, where guns were banned in 1988, is a good example, Lott said. The media had reported not a single act of gun violence in the Solomon Islands from 2001 to 2005. But Lott uncovered the truth by checking the Solomon Islands police records. In fact, the islands, which has a population of 500,000, there were three large-scale public shootings. Why no public accounts of the mass shootings?  The Solomon Islands depend of tourism for operating revenue, and reporting the truth would hurt business.

In Africa gun violence is 380 percent higher than in the United States, Lott added. Israel has a rate 2000 percent higher; and Australia’s gun violence tops America’s by 320 percent.

Gun Free Zones

Lott noted that 98 percent of all mass shootings occur in “gun free zones,” such as a church. Lott talked about the Charleston church shooting, which took place at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, on the June 17, 2015 during a prayer service. The shooter cased the church, and determined how long it would take to drive from the police station to the site of his crime. 

In 2012, a gunman opened fire at a screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado, turning the Batman movie into a real-life horror film. The shooter chose the only movie theater out of the seven near his apartment that had a sign posted banning hand guns. Consider also the 2007 Westroads Mall shooting in Omaha, Nebraska. Although there were other malls in the area, the shooter chose the one with the “no guns” sign posted out front.

France’s Attempts to Tackle Terror

Paris, France is at a disadvantage because all venues are gun free zones, as is the situation in other EU countries, Lott said. After the Charlie Hebdo shooting in January 2015, France went on high alert. The president of France opted to put 10,000 military personnel on the street, thinking it would stop gun crime. But it failed, because not all of the military was on the streets at the same time. There were too many targets that required guarding. Three more shootings took place after Charlie Hebdo.

One mass shooting that received wall-to-wall American TV coverage was the Paris shooting which left 100 dead at the Bataclan concert hall at the hands of three ISIS terrorists. Policemen might be the most important factor in reducing crime, but because of their uniforms they are also targets. This was the fate of some of the armed guards in the Paris shootings.

This interesting bit of information was related by John Lott: From 1940 to 1972, machine guns were used in Israel by terrorists. Why did terrorists switch to bombs after 1972?  Because Israeli citizens were permitted to carry guns. Using a bomb meant there would be very little left of the individual(s) targeted by the terrorist, who considered the sacrifice of his/her own life a noble act which offered great rewards in the here after. [It could be concluded that France, and other countries in the West – including the US – are increasingly the victim of a cruel twist of irony in which their own founding values and principles are turned against them.] 

Q&A Session with John Lott

Question: What was the emotional state of the recent American mass shooters?

Answer: Sixty percent of the shooters were under the care of a mental health professional, but not one was identified as being a danger to themselves or others. Why? The mentally ill are considered less likely to be violent than those in the general population.

Question: Why do you have difficulty getting on TV to debate, Mr. Lott?

Answer: Even on Fox producers sometimes call Lott at the last minute to tell him that his debate opponent won’t go on if he’s involved. Either the person insists on appearing by himself, or Lott is asked if he could suggest another person who has the same views to act as a substitute. Those supporting gun control are therefor able to control the message of what people hear and see on TV.

Question: What about crime in Chicago?

Answer: Fifteen percent of all shootings in Chicago result in death. The shootings relate to the large volume of drug trafficking in Chicago and gang turf battles. Furthermore, gang members don’t shoot well but tend to spray when shooting. Corruption is also wide spread in Chicago. Policemen are told to not go into certain areas of Chicago or they will be suspended. Then too, murders are often reclassified as “accidents,” so the actual murder rate in Chicago is unknown.  

Question: How can the crime rate be reduced in Chicago?

Answer: If we really want to reduce crime rates we must legalize drugs. During the last year of the prohibition on alcohol in 1932, murder rates were at their highest levels. After 1934, they fell because the incentive for gangs to fight over turf with one another was eliminated. (The solution suggested by John Lott of how to rid Chicago of gangs is soundly rejected by Nancy Thorner. Comparing the consequences of alcohol use with that of drug use seems shortsighted and without merit, yet the libertarian viewpoint is in line with this message.)

Question: Should airline pilots be allowed to carry guns?

Answer: From 1924 to 1963, every commercial airline pilot was required to have a hand gun with them. Up until 1979, pilots were still permitted to carry a loaded gun on a plane. It was Jimmy Carter who ended the practice.

Question: Why is this presidential election so important?

Answer: There has never so much at stake as there is right now with this election. Some 70 percent of federal judges have been appointed by a Democrat, and the Supreme Court is tied 4-4. One more Clinton appointment is needed to overturn the Heller Supreme Court decision allowing personal gun ownership in Washington, DC.      

Watch the entire Heartland event with John Lott here.


The picture, of course, is the pistol crossed out with a red line as seen above — the ubiquitous “No Gun” sign, otherwise known as a “Criminal Protection Zone.”  The recruiting office in Chattanooga, TN, and the theaters in Aurora, CO and Lafayette, LA had signs similar to the above graphic, but exactly whom did they protect?

Anti-gun zealots like Mayor Bloomberg, Hillary Clinton and now Bernie Sanders are lining up to decry our lax gun laws, wanting to restrict this Constitutional right even further. President Obama “regrets” that he failed in this endeavor.

President Obama in his 2012 State of the Union Address promised he would continue his gun control efforts “with or without Congress.”  He has followed through with this promise, using multiple secret, backdoor methods to limit an individual’s rights to own certain types of firearms and ammunition.  They include:

  • Taking Executive Action by signing Executive Orders to circumvent Congress.
  • Creating artificial Ammo Shortages through the enormous buying power of the Federal government.
  • Forcing closure of a lead smelting plant that is integral in the ammunition production industry through the EPA.

Gun Laws as a Deterrent?

Why did all fail? Because existing laws are not enforced, and the proposals sent to Congress have not worked in the past and will not work in the future to prevent incidents such as what happened in Chattanooga, Aurora, and Lafayette.

First and foremost, criminals by definition do not obey laws, starting with “Thou shalt not kill”, which is an integral part of the Old Testament Law, known as the Sixth Commandment.  Ironically, the Sixth Commandment also constitutes the basis upon which many people have come to believe that the Bible is against the death penalty as punishment for the very criminals for whom the Sixth Commandment has no relevance in deterring criminal activities.

Background checks only work when backgrounds are really checked.  NICS background checks were started in 1998. To date there have been over 183 million checks, of which about a million were rejected, or 0.59%. A substantial number were falsely rejected due to a mix up in names, but most were for felony or domestic assault convictions.   In 2012, out of 34,000 people rejected,only 44 were prosecuted out of 80,000 individuals who made false statements.  That’s still a pretty low count for falsifying a federal document.

Mental Illness Addressed

Since 1966 the National Rifle Association has urged the federal government to address the problem of mental illness and violence, while federal law since 1967 has barred the possession or acquisition of firearms by anyone who “has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution.”  More recently the NRA has supported legislation to ensure that appropriate records of those who have been judged mentally incompetent or involuntarily committed to mental institutions be made available for use in firearms transfer background checks.

Gun zealots, however, aren’t satisfied that adjudicated confinement for mental issues aren’t always reported, so they want nearly anybody who sees a patient, including the receptionist, be given reporting status. Such zealots throw things against the wall; eventually something will stick.

Accordingly, the New York “SAFE” act goes even further. Any mental health professional (including nurses) can add someone’s name to the prohibited list. NY also monitors prescriptions for anti-depressants and anti-psychotic drugs at pharmacies. The law is similar in California. “Receptionist” is hyperbole. The danger to liberty is the lack of an adjudication process whereby a citizen can contest the opinion with the help of an attorney.

Most Recent Restriction Limits Firearm Magazines

Defying sharp warnings from gun rights groups, Los Angeles recently on Tuesday, July 28, thrust itself into the national debate over gun control when city lawmakers voted unanimously to ban the possession of firearm magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. Noting that such magazines have been “the common thread” in almost all the mass shooting, backers of the plan described the ban as a small but meaningful step to minimize the bloodshed by forcing the attackers to at least interrupt their rampages to reload.

Los Angeles decision to limit firearm magazines is foolish for the following reasons:

  • The standard magazines for most handguns hold more than 10 rounds. Compliant magazines are often hard to get.
  • Magazines can be exchanged in a couple of seconds after a little practice. Ten rounds quickly becomes thirty.
  • Small bore weapons often require multiple hits to stop a determined attacker in self defense. That’s why police carry larger magazines, and why responsible citizens need them too.
  • Criminals can buy magazines in other states without restriction. It’s illegal to bring them into California, but shooting people with criminal intent is illegal too. Criminals will have them anyway, and have little to lose if caught.
  • Magazine capacity rarely figures into shootings. Holmes’ large magazine jammed, forcing him to use his pistol. In Charleston, the shooter used a standard pistol, as did the shooter at Virginia Tech (it took police 3 hours to respond). In the Navy Yard shooting, a 5 round shotgun was used. The shooter of Gabby Giffords fumbled trying to reload using a ridiculously long magazine, allowing him to be tackled and disar

What About Gun-free Zones?

Gun Free Zones don’t exclude criminals, but deny people trained and licensed to carry weapons as is their Constitutional rights to do so for self-defense. Thestudy by the Crime Prevention Research Center in 2014 found that 11.1 million Americans now have permits to carry concealed weapons, up from 4.5 million in 2007. The 146 percent increase has come even as both murder and violent crime rates have dropped by 22 percent, yet only a handful have been convicted of violent crimes using those weapons in the last 20 years. An innocent civilian is three times safer around a concealed carrier than an armed policeman.

In Illinois, there are 23 listed areas where concealed carry is forbidden, including public transportation, city parks and government buildings (including outhouses in parks). Furthermore, any private business can post his establishment with the force of law.   Chicago has gone one step further, and requires any restaurant with a liquor license to post on pain of losing his license (only those with liquor sales 51% or more are required to post by Illinois law)

How has that worked out? Criminals are drawn to “gun free zones” such as train platforms, because they know they will be unopposed. The same places “protected” by zealots under the law are the most likely to subject citizens to violent attacks.

Whether or not military recruiters are armed is a small subset of the real issue. Those “No Guns” signs must come down with few exceptions, under both State and Federal law. Perhaps replace them with “Zombie Free Zones”, because those fictional beings are more likely to cause harm than legally armed citizens.


By Nancy Thorner – 

Heartland’s noontime Author Series on Thursday, September 5th featured David B. Kopel and his book, “The Truth About Gun Control.” It was a timely topic given President Obama’s two mandates issued on August 29 to impose new regulatory restrictions on gun purchases and imports after the crippling blow he suffered on April 17 when the U.S. Senate rejected a bill to expand federal gun controls.

David Kopel, an associate policy analyst and research director at the Cato Institute, also serve as an adjunct professor of Advanced Constitutional Law at Denver University, Stum Collge of Law. Kopel is the author of a number of books, among them No More Wacos: What’s Wrong with Federal Law Enforcement, and How to Fix It, Antitrust After Microsoft, and The Samurai, the Mountie, and the Cowboy: Should America Adopt the Gun Controls of Other Democracies.

About the book, The Truth About Gun Control is a 44-page, pocket sized inexpensive book published by Encounter Books which can easily be read in one sitting, The following is noted on its back cover:

Who is sovereign in the United States? Is it the people themselves, or is it an elite determined to rule citizens who are seen as incapable of making choices about their own lives? This is the central question in the American gun-control debate.

In the Broadside, David Kopel explains why the right to keep and bear arms has always been central to the American identity — and why Americans have always resisted gun control.

Gun control is not an issue of left vs right or urban vs. rural.  The right to bear arms is crucial to prevent large-scale tyranny by criminal governments and small-scale tyranny by ordinary criminals — to to protect our Constitution.

Jim Lakely, Director of Communications at Heartland, introduced David Kopel.  Prior to his introductory remarks, Lakely spoke about the very important happening that will take place at a news conference in Chicago on Tuesday, September 17, with the release of the first volume of Climate Change Reconsidered II.  

Check Thorner’s articles at Illinois Review on Friday, Sept. 6 and Sunday, Sept. 8 for a full description of what the report is all about and how you can participate in the report’s release

Remarks by David Kopel:

  • How nice it is to be in Chicago again.  It is like speaking in Warsaw, Poland, shortly after the collapse of the Warsaw Pact in light of the 7th Court of Appeals Court where Judge  Posner ruled against the no-carry statute in Illinois in a display of intellectual honesty (elected officials and security guards were exempted from Illinois’s no-carry law).
  • Judge Posner’s decision represented a huge civil rights victory in Chicago, where its laws, practices, and regulations are even more oppressive than those found in New York City.  NYC has gun stores and licensed firing ranges, while Chicago has neither, which has resulted in more and more gun owners in Chicago staying in the closet.  The ignorant media continues to play along with the anti-gun sentiment found in Chicago.
  •  Kopel believes that concealed carry in Illinois will re-normalize gun ownership making the closet no longer necessary for gun owners.  Kopel also predicts that by April of 2014 there will be individuals walking on Michigan Avenue carrying concealed guns.  This practice will gradually change the existing sentiment against gun ownership in Chicago when perceived that adults who pass fingerprint tests and safety training can carry a gun safely and responsibly without going on shooting sprees.  Kopel compared the gun issue to what happened in the South when desegregation was passed.  White people had been conditioned to be afraid of black people, but after they found that going to movies, or that children attending schools with blacks didn’t threaten their well-being, fear was overcome. This doesn’t mean that Mayor Rahm Emanuel will ever turn into a pro-gun guy!
  • The American Revolution was sparked over a gun control issue.  To Americans in the 13 colonies, the right and duty of self-defense applied to a householder protecting her children and to militiamen protecting their communities from foreign enemies or from tyranny.  In the fall of 1774 King George began sending out Redcoats to seize arms.  Soon after the 13 colonies agreed that the time had come, recognizing as they did that an armed people could not be governed without their consent, and that arms were necessary to defend against tyranny.
  • The right to bear arms was not controversial in early America until 1850 when the “crime against Kansas” happened, also known as “Bleeding Kansas,” which many view as a precursor of the Civil War.  Anger erupted when the 2nd Amendment rights of the “free soilers” settlers in Kanasa was violated when their guns were taken away.
  • The 14th Amendment was passed after the Civil War.  One of its key purposes was to guarantee that  freedmen (formerly slaves) could exercise their Second Amendment right to own guns for self-defense, especially against Klansmen.  It also had as its goal the eradication of civil rights suppression. The 14th Amendment mandated that all states had to recognize the civil right of citizens to bear arms.
  •  Although the NRA was founded in 1871, it wasn’t until 1920 when the gun debate started to heat up with added crime brought on by prohibition. The NRA defeated two handgun-prohibition campaigns. The 2nd campaign was orchestrated by Franklin Roosevelt’s first attorney general, Homer Cummings, who hoped his bill would set the stage for a handgun ban.  It led instead to the National Firearms Act of 1934.  While Congress was unwilling to impose special restrictions on handguns, the NFA did impose stringent controls on machine guns and short-barreled shotguns.  Thus the issue of “assault weapons” came in being which remains front and center in 2013, a hoax invented by the gun-prohibition lobbies and spread by willfully ignorant media.
  • Shortly before Pearl Harbor in 1941 The Property Requisition Act was passed reconfirming the 2nd Amendment.  This Act made clear that it would not impair or infringe in any manner the right of any individual to keep and bear arms, including seizing guns from the American people.  It was WW II and the atrocities of the Nazi regime and other totalitarian governments that brought home the message to the American people of how intended victims were always first disarmed before genocide or mass murder took place.
  • David Kopel is firmly against the ban of so-called assault weapons.  Ordinary guns like the Colt AR-15 rifle and the Ruger Mini-14 rifle — the best selling riffles over the last 5 – 8 years — look like machine guns but they do not function like machine guns. They fire only one round each time the trigger is pressed, just like any other ordinary gun.  Likewise is the attempt to limit the size of magazines.  The standard capacity for many handguns is from 16 – 20 rounds.
  • Kopel’s sentiments about Mayor Bloomberg were ones of disgust, especially Bloomberg’s remark when he says that the only reason to own an AR-15, or to use a magazine with more than ten rounds, is because of a desire to mass murder people.  What about target practice and for self defense, Mayor Bloomberg?  Attacking people on the other side as mass murderers is evil and unproductive in any gun debate.

In conclusion David Kopel asked these questions as they pertain to this nation today.

1.  Is America to be ruled from the top down where the government makes decisions for those who can’t or don’t wish to do for themselves?, or,

2.  Will the American model remain where the people are the sovereign body and government is created to serve the people?

Never to be forgotten, or lost through indifference to a stealth political agenda, is that the fundamental human right to keep and bear arms is an inherent right of all Americans.  From the very first days of colonial settlement  America rejected British and European precedent, fashioning laws that recognized the right of individuals to use force for protection, whether to protect themselves from large-scale criminals such as tyrants, or from lone criminals invading a home or attacking a school.  This is consistent with the American principle of retaining extensive power in the hands of the people.

The next Heartland Author Series will feature Rupert Darwell, discussing his book, “Age of Global Warming,” on Thursday, September 26, from 11:30 to 1:30 p.m.  For more information or to register call 312/377-4000 or visit

Wednesday, September 11, 2013 at 11:00 AM | Permalink

270x300By Nancy Thorner & Ed Ingold – 

On Wednesday, April 17, of this year, the U.S. Senate rejected a bipartisan plan to expand background checks for gun buyers, dealing a crippling blow to President Obama’s campaign to “curb gun violence” in the aftermath of the Newtown school massacre. It is noteworthy that the guns involved in the Newtown Massacre were legally purchased by the gunman’s mother, subject to some of the strictest regulations in the nation, including background checks.

An angry Obama said of the vote: “All in all, this was a pretty shameful day for Washington, adding the effort is not over.”

Fast forward to Tuesday, August 27, when President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder held a closed-door, private meeting with a group of mayors to talk about ways to reduce youth violence in U.S. cities. President Obama promised mayors that he would continue doing everything in his power to combat gun violence through executive action and to press Congress to pass common-sense reforms like expanding the background check system and cracking down on gun trafficking.

Although 18 large city mayors attended from all over the nation, noticeable absent was Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel.  Is not Chicago know for its high crime rate irregardless of its strict gun control laws?

Only two days later, August 29, the Obama administration made a surprise announcement through Vice President Joe Biden, when Biden,looking resolute and puffing his lips while standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Attorney General Eric Holder and U. S. Director of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) Todd Jones, declared the Obama administration would take two new steps to curb American gun violence.

If Congress won’t act, we’ll fight for a new Congress, Biden said in the Roosevelt Room of the White House.  It’s that simple.  But we’re going to get this done.

But has Obama put politics ahead of people on Guns?  According to a report commissioned by his own CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), which dovetails with a recent study in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, neither banning nor reducing the number of firearms would reduce the number of murders or suicides.

A CDC report, ordered by President Obama, came to the following conclusions:

  • Most indices of crime and gun violence are getting better, not worse.
  • Handguns, not so called assault weapons, are the weapons of choice by criminals.
  •   Mass shootings aren’t a growing problem, and constitute a tiny fraction of all homicides
  • Gun suicide is a bigger killer than gun homicide.
  • Guns are successfully used for self-defense more than twice asoften as for crime.
  •  It isn’t true that most gun acquisitions by criminals can be blamed on a few bad dealers.

Upon evaluating the effectiveness of Obama’s two new executive gun orders, it becomes apparent that neither would do anything to prevent criminals from using firearms. They are deceptive and ineffective gun control measures enacted unilaterally by the President through executive mandates that bypass Congress and the will of the people.

As such President Obama seems intent on trumping fundamental rights based on political calculations that rely on the public’s emotional reaction, and not on a reasoned assessment of the facts.

Order one:  Ends the import of military surplus weapons — not machine guns — but military looking semi-automatic rifles.  More than 250,000 of these weapons have been imported and sold since 2005 and not a single one has been linked to a crime.

Through this mandate the re-import of military weapons the US donatedto foreign countries in the past would be banned.  We have given thousands of Garand (semi-auto) and Springfield bolt action rifles, even 30-40 Krag rifles from the 1890s, to our allies over the last century. Once returned, these rifles are sold through the Civilian Marksmanship Program as an inexpensive way to train our youth. That program paid off big time in advance of WW2, the Korean Conflict and others to follow, not to mention training tens of thousands in marksmanship and gun safety. Perhaps Obama thinks firing a few dozen cruise missiles will replace an army of riflemen. However our experience at the beaches of Normandy, shores of Iwo Jima and more recently, Kosovo, shows that aerial bombardment alone is never a winning strategy.

Other guns banned from import include old Soviet Nagant rifles, which have been an inexpensive way for people to acquire center fire rifles for target shooting and hunting.  The thought that these rifles end up “on the street” is preposterous. They are uniformly large and heavy, hardly attractive to street thugs. How do you carry an eleven pound, four foot rifle in your “ride”? Under your hoodie? In short, the ban doesn’t need a purpose, it just needs to bypass Congress.

Order two:  Forces corporate board members and officers to undergo background checks if a gun was to be registered to the corporation, foundation or trust.  When is the last time anyone has heard of a foundation trustee or CRO using a gun registered to a corporation in the commission of a crime.  Of course the answer is never.

As such the thought of changing the way trusts and corporations are treated is even more devious. People buying NFA weapons (National Firearms Act of 1936, including short barreled rifles and machine guns) often set up a trust so that the weapon can be transferred to another qualified individual, upon death for example, with a longer grace period.The vetting process is exhaustive, including rules for transfer, as are rules for use and transportation.

The President’s proposals would simply make this process impossible to execute. Rules governing corporations go even further to the ridiculous. Can you imagine if General Motors needed to subject each employee to fingerprints and a background check if they bought weapons for their security staff?

The Obama administration has failed in gun control because it has failed to enforce existing gun laws.  Enforcing the laws would reduce crime.

The FBI reported 71,000 instances of people lying on their background checks to buy guns in 2009, but the justice department prosecuted a mere 77 cases, or a fraction of 1%.… This is yet another example of how the Obama administration chooses which laws to enforce and which to ignore. The Emperor, after all, is above the law.

Just how else is the Department of Justice helping reduce gun crime?  Most of the “gun” offenses in Chicago, for example, constitute a crime under Federal statutes, which carry long prison terms. These offenses include possession of a firearm by someone under 18 (21 for a handgun), a felon, altered serial numbers, and a battery of civil rights offenses. Rather than put these gang-bangers away for years, their average sentence under state law amounts to 3 months plus probation. (The man who shot 15 year old Hadya Pendleton was on probation for a felony.) Fewer than 1% of qualified offenses are prosecuted under Federal law. Apparently street crime is an acceptable alternative to facing the protests of parents deprived of their criminal offspring, rogue priests and community organizers. You don’t stop crime by taking guns from honest citizens. You stop crime by stopping criminals who use guns.

Emily Miller, senior opinion editor at the Washington Time wrote these choice and true words:…

The biggest fight in history over Americans’ right to keep and bear arms is being waged today. There were attacks on the Second Amendment in the early 1990s with the passage of the Brady bill and the “assault weapons” ban.

The gun control battle of 2013, however, could easily see the greatest losses of Second Amendment rights ever.

There are two key factors that make this assault more serious: billionaire New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who is willing to spend anything to win, and a longtime anti gun fanatic Barack Obama, who is applying the full power of the presidential bully pulpit for the gun grabbers’ cause.

Do the American people have the will to fight back before more and more or their rights are stolen from them by one who lack respect for the fundamental truths upon which this nation was founded? How long do we tolerate an administration which proposes ineffective solutions to problems, in order to deflect attention from “phony” scandals?

Wednesday, September 04, 2013 at 12:01 PM | Permalink



The lead headline in the Chicago Tribune on Monday stated: “Clock ticks on assault weapon bans.” It’s subtitle: “State concealed carry bill offers one-time windows for local regulations, so many towns scramble to weigh gun measures.


The article related how firearm enthusiasts and gun control advocates were attending municipal board rooms in many suburbs as towns considered outlawing or regulating assault weapons before a state law completely eliminates their authority to act. Suburban gun control advocates are riled up perceiving the issue as an infringement on Second Amendment rights and action taken in haste without any existing problem to mandate such action.


The debate was triggered when the state legislators recently approved a bill to allow legal Illinois gun owners to carry concealed handguns. Illinois is the only state in the nation without some manner of concealed carry. HB183, waiting for Quinn’s signature, would preempt municipal home rule authority when it comes to local gun issues with this one caveat.  It allows local laws to stand if already on the books or were created 10 days before the governor signed the bill.  Pat Quinn has until July 9  to sign House Bill 183 also known as the Firearm Concealed Carry Act.


Already the City Councils in Highland Park and Melrose Park have taken action to ban assault weapons after their June 24 public hearing.


In the upscale community of Lake Forest in northern Illinois at a  meeting on Monday, July 1st, the Lake Forest City Council (mayor and eight alderman) gave a first reading to an ordinance that would ban assault weapons.  There was standing room only in the Lake Forest City Hall meeting room.  As a home rule community, unless Lake Forest acts within 10 days of Gov. Patrick Quinn signing HB183 into law, Lake Forest would be prohibited from legislating about assault weapons in any way and at any time in the future.


The following morning limited insight was given into what took place at the meeting the night before (July 1) by Lake Forest Patch editor, Jacob Nelson, in his article, Lake Forest City Council discusses Assault Weapons Ban.

Scott Drury (D-Highwood) was in attendance at the Lake Forest meeting.  He noted the repercussions of the concealed carry law and what they would mean for home rule communities like Lake Forest, they would lose a right they originally were able to regulate themselves.  In this case, that right had to do with firearms.  Drury also made clear that the gun law should not be treated as a second amendment issue, but as one involving Lake Forest’s home rule status.


State representative  Rep. Drury lost no time after the concealed gun legislation was passed in Springfield to let municipal officials know in his 58th Representative District what communities and towns had to to do to preserve their rights.


Unlike those who packed the City Council chambers to talk about guns in nearby Highland Park, the rhetoric of those who spoke at the Lake Forest meeting left no doubt that The City of Lake ForestOrdinance No. 2013 — An Ordinance Regulating Possession and Ownership of Assault Weapons was not at all popular.  Out of twenty-four individuals who registered to speak at the Lake Forest Council meeting, all but two were adamantly against the ordinance to ban assault weapons.  The remaining two (both woman) speaking in the affirmative, falsely equated the slaughtering of people because of assault weapons and an unregulated industry.


Comments included the following by those opposed to the Lake Forest ordinance:

Problem is not with assault weapons, but with crazy people who use these weapons.

Gun laws do not work, nor would a ban on guns.

How can assault weapon be defined when even the military doesn’t define them?

The best regulation is no regulation.

The ordinance will not do anything to make my children safer, and it will impose hardships on many who are hunters and collectors, as most of these weapons fall into this category.

The bill is nothing more than a feel good ordinance supported by Quinn to try to make gun laws uniform across the state.

Connecticut ranks 4th in its gun law strictness.  No one was left to protect the children at Sandy Hook.

The reason why criminals have guns in IL is because the state is corrupt.

Evident early in the meeting was that City Manger, Robert R. Kiely, Jr.  (sixth highest paid manager in all of IL), and the lawyer for the city of Lake Forest, Maria Del Perco, were in favor of having some type of action taken by the end of the meeting.
Lake Forest Mayor Don Schoenheider, however, noted that the purpose of the meeting was to have a civil discussion on HB183 to decide what was in the best interest for the residents of Lake Forest in the long term.  Enthusiastic clapping resulted, with a request to refrain from this show of approval, when Mayor Schoenheider indicated that he was not recommending a ban nor the same action that had been taken in Highland Park.
An early speaker was the chief law enforcement officer of Lake Forest.  He indicated that safety was his goal, and that he took no position on HB183.  His position was the defend the constitution and the law and not to protrude on the action of the City Council.  Shared was that only 2 murders had ever been gun-related in Lake Forest, discounting suicides.

One councilman expressed concern over the constitutionality of whatever the Lake Forest City Council might decide to do.  As stated, “Home rule authority does not give us a right to pass an ordinance that is unconstitutional.”  All councilmen recognized a citizen’s right to self defense in the home and that there was no difference between a handgun and a rifle as legitimate weapons of self defense.

Upon hearing comments from all eight City Council members and the mayor it was not surprising that of the three possible options available —  1) agree and pass something tonight, 2) decide to do nothing with the ordinance, or 3) table for now — there is still time to act — and see what action Quinn takes on the HB183 — the latter was the agreed plan of action.  Decided was that any action would be delayed until the next City Council meeting on July 15.

A new wrinkle is now in play.  A few hours after the Lake Forest City Council decided to table its decision until July 15, it was reported on Tuesday, July 2nd in the Chicago Tribune that Quinn would rewrite the proposed legislation using his amendatory veto powers.  As of now it is expected that lawmakers will override Governor Quinn’s changes when they return to Springfield next week, as the concealed carry legislation (HB183) did pass with veto-proof majorities in both the House and Senate.,0,6816106.story

Once again Chicago-style politics is being played out, this time by Governor Quinn, who is a staunch anti-gun proponent.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013 at 08:44 AM | Permalink



John Lott, Jr - Heartland 004

At last week’s Heartland Institute luncheon, John R. Lott, Jr., also tackled the divisive topic of  gun control. His book, At the Brink: Will Obama Push Us Over The Edge?’s Chapter 3 focuses on the gun controversy under the title, “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered.” Another of Lott’s books, More Gun, Less Crime, which has become a game-changing best seller, was described in Part 1 by Heartland’s Communications Director Jim Lakely, as a book that “fills the hearts of liberals with dread.”

Lott’s description of a new level of unprecedented intensity by the Obama administration in its involvement in state politics was disconcerting. In Colorado state legislator arms were twisted to gain their votes for gun control. Because of this action seven state legislators switched votes, enough to get all four gun control bills passed in the Colorado State House. Vice President Biden promised to campaign for those legislators who voted for the gun control bills.

Recently New York State followed Colorado in enacting tough new gun control laws.  Owners of guns that have been reclassified as assault weapons must now register their newly classified weapons.  Although 10-bullet magazines are still legal, it is illegal to load weapons with more than seven bullets.  Another New York provision mandates confiscation of weapons and permits if someone has been prescribed psychotropic drugs.  If that wasn’t enough, the 2013 -2014 New York state budget has earmarked an estimated $28 million to create a central database to hold records.

Already having strong gun laws, Maryland now has among the strictest laws in the nation.  Maryland has become the first state in nearly 20 years to require potential handgun buyers to submit fingerprints to state police.

Although gun laws in Chicago are some of the strictest in the nation, they might as well not exist at all.  During 2012 more that 500 people were murdered in Chicago, even above the fatalities among coalition troops in Afghanistan in 2012.  Does it make sense that Illinois is the only state that doesn’t have concealed carry in some form?

More than any other segment of the population, gun laws and ownership requirements (such as registration fees) are affecting poor blacks who live in high crime urban areas where the police aren’t readily on hand to protect them.  Having guns for safety purposes would offer them some protection.  In Chicago it is well-to-do white individuals who most often get licenses to carry guns.

John Lott then spoke about the false claim President Obama spouted many times about gun background checks prior to the Senate’s gun legislation going down in defeat.  Obama’s claim was that as many as 40% of all gun purchases took place without background checks.

Furthermore, that background checks have kept more than 2 million dangerous people from buying guns.  Both statistics, however, are false.  The 40% number came from a very small study covering gun purchases during 1991 to 1994 before the federal Brady Act took effect in 2004. Thereafter federally licensed dealers were required to perform background checks.

The figure decreases to 14% of guns not actually going through federally licensed dealers when considering family gifting of guns (93%) and guns received through inheritance (91%).

Although there are many denials issued to those making application to own guns, the number of criminals stopped from buying a gun because of background checks is quite small.  Most initial denials are dropped after the first preliminary review.  Either the wrong person was stopped, or it was a case of false positives.

Those who have studied background checks have concluded that background checks don’t reduce crime, but may actually increase violent crime, even if ever so slightly.  False denials may mean delays for law-abiding gun owners who suddenly and legitimately need to purchase a gun for self-defense.

Two Heartland Author Series events are scheduled for May:

On Thursday, May 9, Herbert J. Walberg and Joseph Bast will celebrate the 10th anniversary of their book “Education and Capitalism,” by discussing how free markets and economics can improve America’s schools.

Keith Koeneman will discuss his book, “First Son” The Biography of Richard M. Daley,” on Thursday, May 16.  Expect to hear an enlightening scenario of Daley’s life and his accomplishment, flawed as some of them were.

Both events will be held at the Heartland Institute Headquarters in Chicago, One South Wacker, #2740, from ll:30 A.M. to 1:30 P.M.  For more information visit the Heartland’s Web site at or call 312/277-4000.

Part 1:  John Lott says America is “At the Brink”  


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ThornerBy Nancy Thorner  and Ed Ingold: –

The cause celebre behind measures aimed at preventing gun violence are the incidents of random violence, where madmen attack innocent and largely helpless people in schools, malls, public transportation and theaters. These so-called “soft” targets have a high density of potential victims who are unlikely to offer much resistance, and are easy to reach. The average response time for emergency help is nearly 30 minutes, whereas the typical attack is over in less than 15 minutes. Notable are:

1. All of the “prevention” offered by lawmakers so far has the unanticipated effect of increasing the number of “soft” targets, whether by disarming honest citizens, or by expanding gun-free zones, which encourage rather than deter criminal

2. While they not be as newsworthy, the vast majority of “soft” targets are not school children, movie goers or shoppers, but those walking on quiet streets, waiting for public transportation, or sitting in the privacy of their homes.

3. The vast majority of offenders are not mass murders looking for notoriety, but thugs, opportunists, bullies and thrill seekers. No amount of “prevention” is going to screen out or disarm those bent on destruction. If we concentrate on one area, like public schools, it may have the unwanted effect of diverting attacks to other “soft” targets, not easily protected due to expense and almost unlimited opportunities for attacks.

So far, we have been spared attacks by individuals or groups prepared for a force-on-force assault, an every day occurrences in the Middle East. This may prove to be a short-lived respite?

Instead, all of the “domestic terror” attacks, except for 9/11, have been executed by people who live in a fantasy bubble, not unlike players of some video games, who wilt in the face of armed resistance.  At the Clackamas Mall in Portland, OR, a day after Sandy Hook, a gunman committed suicide after killing two innocent shoppers, when confronted by an ordinary citizen with a gun.

Cho (Virginia Tech), Kazmierczak (NIU), and Lanza (Sandy Hook) committed suicide when police entered the buildings. Holmes (Aurora) waited passively in the parking lot behind the theater. That story is repeated too many times for comfort.

A lot of attention has been directed toward putting armed guards in schools, which is reasonable considering the need to protect our most vulnerable and precious resource, our children. What about parking lots, theaters, malls and sidewalks? There are fewer than 800,000 law enforcement officers of any sort in the US, about one for every 400 citizens. Would we even tolerate a more conspicuous police presence, without fearing for our freedom?

Part of the answer is already available. 49 states, with the sole exception of Illinois plus Washington DC, allow citizens to carry firearms for self defense. Of these 40 do not require any special “need”, and issue permits unless otherwise proscribed. Some, like California, New York and Maryland, issue permits only to public officials, celebrities and millionaires.   

There have been no “OK Corral” scenarios (except on the part of the NYPD), and there has been a significant and salutatory reduction in violent crime, other than homicide, in those 40 shall-issue states. Homicides have decreased about 30% nationwide since 1993, continuing to decrease unabated after the first AWB expired in 2004. Aggravated assaults, including robbery and home invasions have decreased nearly 50% in that time frame, EXCEPT in states with draconian gun control laws, where these crimes have increased nearly 20%. (In Great Britain, where nearly all private firearms were confiscated in 2006, violent crime has increased dramatically, and stands at about 5X that in the US. Home invasions are more frequent than burglary of unoccupied homes, and nearly as frequent as muggings and robbery.)

Exactly how do we “harden” attractive targets. One way is to eliminate most “gun-free” zones, which keep licensed citizens from carrying firearms where most needed. Wisconsin enforces a 1000 foot gun-free radius around K-12 schools, but exempts all but school property for licensed carriers. Carry is permitted on college campuses, except for buildings (other than parking structures) when specifically posted by university officials. In most shall-issue states, private businesses can post their buildings under ordinary trespass law, but otherwise have no force of law.

In Utah, concealed-carry-licensed teachers and parents can carry in K-12 classrooms. In general, only courts and legislative bodies, in session, are posted. Significantly, there have been absolutely no occasions where this has caused a problem. The 2% of citizens who avail themselves of the right to bear arms in public aren’t the troublemakers Rahm Emanual and the President routinely associate with guns. On the other hand, criminals who have little to fear from prosecution, but a lot to fear from an armed “victim,” or even an armed witness to a felonious assault. Chicago has a 20% conviction rate for felony arrests. According to the FBI, there were 986 violent or “index” crimes per 100,000 Chicago residents in 2010, but there are no readily available records on the number of arrests for these crimes.

It’s time for solutions, not assaults on our freedom. If we need any law, it could be described as “Contempt of Constitution.” We can all name a few well-known politicians who deserve prosecution under such a law.

Published initially at Illinois Review on Wednesday, April 17.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 08:00 AM | PermalinkTechnorati

Part 1: Gun Control: A Pound of Prevention


Will President Obama’s exploitation of Newtown families force Republicans to cave on gun control? After all, the Democrats want gun control, the media wants gun control, and Republicans want to be loved by the media.

Relatives of Sandy Hook shootings victims were flown to Washington D.C. on Monday, April 8 aboard Air Force One with President Obama to lobby senators to move forward on gun control. In the aftermath, the Senate approved a procedural motion (68-31) to allow debate on the bill. White House spokesman Jay Carney implied that the voices of the Newtown families may have been the decisive factor.

The sixteen Republican senators who voted to allow the firearms bill (S.649) to proceed, however, claim it was because they wanted to know what was in the bill before they needed to vote on it, especially in relation to the  background-check measure, the centerpiece of S.649.  But by voting to proceed the sixteen Republicans did acquiesce to Obama’s recent tilting of the gun control debate around one pivotal message centered on a public relations push, that S.649 deserves a vote.

Michelle Obama  managed to take time out from her vegetable garden to travel to Chicago on Wednesday, April 10, where she tearfully begged for more gun control in remembrance of Hadiya Pendleton, who lost her life due to gang violence.   Hasn’t any one informed Michelle that despite the fact that Chicago has the strictest gun urban control laws in the nation, it has the highest urban gun homicide rate in the nation?….

As to be expected, nobody challenged Mrs. Obama to show that background checks would have kept the gun out of the hands of Hadiya’s killers, who were prowling the streets looking for rival gang members. When they saw a group of young people seeking shelter from the rain, they circled the block and opened fire. Nobody raised the notion of moral turpitude that these thugs possessed. Nobody blamed the Chicago PD for failing to detain and search their car in any of three stops in the previous three weeks, when one was a parole violator. The Police excused their actions because the court records in their computer were not up to date several months after parole was granted. It is implied that white, suburban gun owners are somehow responsible for Chicago gang violence.

Then for continuing drama, President Obama handed the podium over to the mother of a young child killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School, to deliver his Weekly Address on Saturday, April 13.

Just why did the Obama administration spend so much time and effort to garner enough votes so debate could proceed on S.649?  Might it have been because the issue of gun control ranks high on the Democrat’s agenda?  The importance of S.649, which the Democratically-controlled Senate is anxious to pass with limited debate and few amendments, if any, is crucial to what has long been a dream of the Democratic Party to eventually take guns out of the hands of the American people.  Legislation is essential for achieving this goal, as the American people will never willingly give up their gun!

What is at the crux of the gun debate?  The familiar adage is that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This seems to be upset in the assault on our second amendment rights by President Obama and the Democrats. By any reasonable measure, they wish to apply “a pound of prevention for an ounce of cure.” That is because the “prevention” proposed by the Democrats in Congress, and actually implemented in several states, including New York, California, Connecticut and Maryland, have a profound affect on law-abiding gun owners with negligible impact on gun violence.

The popular “prevention” at this time seems to be expansion of background checks for gun purchases. The talking point, proven false, is that 40% of gun purchases are made without a background check. This is based on a survey taken in 1993, before background checks were instituted, on a small number of subjects (681). The real error is in the interpretation of this data, assuming that only purchases made from gun stores incur background checks, and that gun shows and internet sales do not.…

According to present law, all internet sales must go through a federally licensed dealer (FFL), who may be an individual working out of his garage or home office. The seller and buyer agree on a convenient FFL holder, and the seller delivers the firearm to that licensed dealer (or store).  An FFL is required by Federal law to complete form 4473 and execute an NICS background check before transferring a firearm to the buyer. About half the states require background checks at gun shows.

Regardless of state law, most of the dealers at gun shows have an FFL, complete the paperwork and NICS checks, and comply with local laws. While this seems to constitute a loophole, a survey of Federal prisoners indicates that only about 0.8% obtained guns used in their crimes from gun shows. 40% were bought on the street from unlicensed dealers, and 40% were obtained from family members (who should have known better). About 11% were stolen. In short, background checks is a solution looking for a problem.…

The devil is in the details. Senator Schumer’s version would make it a felony to loan a gun to a friend for an informal plinking session, unless it were on a licensed target range.  Schumer’s bill also tightens the qualifications for any gun range, requiring full-service training personnel and range safety officers. It is estimated that 80% of existing ranges will be forced out of business due to the expense of compliance.… .

The Durbin-Kirk version of anti-trafficking measures makes it a felony to lose a firearm to theft or mishap unless you report it to the Attorney General within 24 hours.… – –

Another section of S649 requires owners obtain a million dollar liability insurance policy for each firearm, at enormous expense. Why? Because gun crime causes financial hardship on the victims and government. Of course, the people responsible for gun violence aren’t the same people being forced to comply (or face a $10,000 fine). Worse yet, it implies that law-abiding gun owners are responsible for gun violence, or that they should be punished for exercising their Constitutional rights.

Suffice to say, S649 (and other gun-related bills) are bad bills which should be rejected – too many pounds of prevention, too few ounces of cure. Like vaccinations against disease, there are always bad effects which must be weighed against the advantages, but it cannot be shown that S649 will have any measurable effect on reducing gun violence. Since the right to keep and bear arms is a Constitutional right, second only to the right of free speech and religion, it is doubly important that whatever we do is effective, not just easy.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 07:14 PM | PermalinkPublished initially at Illinois Review on Tuesday, April 16.


Tags: Dick, Durbin, Ed, Illinois, Ingold, Kirk, Mark, Nancy, Newtown, Review, More…



By Nancy Thorner and Ed Ingold –

President Obama in his Chicago speech on February 15th —  part of his tour following his State of the Union address on Tuesday, February 12th — deplored the gun violence in Chicago and urged Congress to at least vote on his failed gun bans (to get the Senators’ positions on paper).  

Obama called for better community services to keep young people entertained, better schools so they can get better jobs (50% fail to graduate in Chicago), and more emphasis on family values (60% of Chicago births are out of wedlock). 

In other words, Obama and others of his ilk are demanding that more taxpayer “investments” be thrown at the problem, believing that money can substitute for the soaring fatherlessness, illegitimacy, and disintegration of the family that has been part of Chicago’s inner-city life for decades, unchanged from the time when Obama was a community organizer in the same inner-city area.

But money has long been a ploy used to promote ambitious plans (social experiments) aimed at curing past inner city violence in Chicago.  Senior adviser and former Chicago real estate mogul/city planning commissioner Valerie Jarrett and her former boss, Richard Daley, presided in the mid-1990’s over a massive “Plan of Transformation” which dumped nearly $500 million of federal funding into crime-ridden housing projects.  Further more, during the last three years Democrats poured another $20 million in public money into the city’s public schools to curb youth violence.  Both social justice programs failed miserably. To President Obama’s credit, he did call on the nation to do more to “promote marriage” and “encourage fatherhood, but these desirable attributes cannot be legislated through law or mandated to happen by the president. 

Attempting to connect with many in his captive audience, Obama draw a parallel between the youth in Chicago’s gang-ridden neighborhoods and his own “troubled” youth.  In realityObama’s “troubled” youth, other than being born to a single mother, was spent in the more forgiving atmosphere of Hawaii where young people weren’t sent to jail or murdered nightly on streets by gang-related revenge killings.  

Might President Obama’s faulty and revealing parallel give some insight into Obama’s attitude toward street crime, as well as his obstinate refusal to address the problem directly? Like many individuals on the far Left, might President Obama exhibit empathy with the culture and families of the gangsters who always come to their defense no matter how grievous the offense?  After all, many participating in the gun violence are his heritage and his core constituency. 

Of note is that Obama voted against the prosecution of juvenile gun offenders in and around schools as adults when a member of the Illinois Senate before his election as president.  Now as president, Barack Obama and his confidante, Rahm Emanual, are blaming Chicago violence on guns owned by law-abiding suburbanites and are directing their efforts to abridge the second amendment rights of millions of citizens. It also relates directly a public policy of going easy on so-called minor crimes while blaming others for the major ones.  Breaking an occasional window and writing on sidewalks is a juvenile crime. Carrying a gun and murdering children is something else, and must be countered with every means at our disposal.  

So what CAN be done? Chicago needs a vigorous, unrelenting effort to catch street criminals for other offenses before they commit murder which has nothing to do with proper education, nothing do to with youth services, nothing to do with more taxpayer “investments” thrown at the problem, and nothing to do with guns in the suburbs.  It instead has everything to do with young men bereft of morals and consideration of others. If the courts are not reporting convictions in a database available to the police, then those responsible should be replaced with effective judges and clerks. If the police need access to this database on the streets, supply them with the computers and communications needed to get the job done.

The two men, aged 18 and 20, arrested for killing Hadiya Pendleton, were stopped several times while cruising the streets. Ward, the driver, had no convictions, but was wounded in a gang incident months earlier. Williams was on parole for illegal gun possession. Had this information been available at the time of contact, the Williams could have been arrested for parole violation and the car searched. A search would probably have uncovered a gun, and ended this affair before it came to tragedy.  As it was, Ward handed a pistol to Williams, and waited while Williams got out of the car and fired six shots into a crowd of teenagers he thought might belong to a rival gang, thus the tragic situation: Pendleton, who marched with a band at the President’s inauguration, was shot once in the back and killed.

A more effective solution is in the works.  Chicago is under court order to establish the ability of private citizens to own handguns under MCDONALD ET AL. v. CITY OF CHICAGO, ILLINOIS.

A decision by the US 7th Court of Appeals expands this to mandate that Illinois grant its citizens to carry loaded handguns in public, giving Illinois until June to effect this decision. Chicago’s response has been to erect the same barriers to self defense that existed before, with fees and licenses which often exceed the cost of the firearm, and endless bureaucratic delays.

In every known instance, allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons has led to a significant decrease in robbery and violent assaults, because criminals fear an armed victim more than arrest and conviction. Concealed carry has had little effect on homicides, because most are ambushes like that which killed Hadiyah Pendleton. 

Even though fewer than 4% of the population takes advantage of this right to bear arms nationwide, crime nonetheless takes a hit. Even armed criminals run away rather than “shoot it out,” as seen in a regular succession of videos taken when citizens offered armed resistance. Fewer than one instance in a thousand results in the death of the assailant. (Part of the training for concealed carry is that you can use deadly force to STOP an assault, but you must not shoot at a fleeing or disabled assailant.)

Democrats are still railing against Wayne LaPierre’s main proposal to station armed guards in schools, and to train teachers if they so desire.  Alan Colmes of Fox News think those who side with LaPierre are schizophrenic and need help.  

As Wayne LaPierre related in his response to Obama’s State of the Union address:

“It was only a few weeks ago when they [the administration] were marketing their anti-gun agenda as a way of protecting schoolchildren from harm.  That charade ended at the State of the Union, when the president himself exposed their fraudulent intentions.  

“It’s not about keeping our kids safe at school.  That wasn’t even mentioned in the president’s speech.  They only care about their decades-old gun control agenda — ban every gun they can, tax every gun sold and register every gun owner.” 

None of these measures would have changed the course of events at the tragedies used to justify them. Yet the administration and main stream media continue to mock LaPierre’s suggestions, despite the fact that many schools are proceeding in this direction. How can we deny public schools the same protection afforded to fans at football games?
Monday, February 18, 2013 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


Without waiting for Congress, President Barack Obama announced on Wednesday, January 16, a sweeping $500 million program to curb gun violence in the wake of the Connecticut school shooting, which is sure to set up a fight over universal background checks and bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.

In Obama’s announcement were a list of twenty-three executive “actions” in which Obama promised to use his presidential powers to act ahead of congressional approval. Most of Obama’s executive orders amounted to fluff, nothing really new, other than to prop up or enforcing existing law, but some are not without merit or beyond scrutiny.

Tucked away in item 18 is a mandate to beef up school security with armed guards. This was a dangerous, radical idea when Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the National Rifle Association, proposed it a week after the Sandy Hook tragedy, but now has official, if quiet and underfunded, sanction from the President.

Beefing up school security with armed guards has become one of the few substantive items on the President’s list, and a cornerstone of his action plan to protect our children.

There is also an end run around the privacy requirements built into HIPAA (item 2, “Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act”), which was enacted on August 27, 1996, to protect health insurance coverage for workers and their families when they change or lose their jobs. Now Obama wants addressed unnecessary legal barriers that may prevent states from making personal health information available for HIPAA backgound checks.

With 2,700 pages, the new healthcare law gives the president near-dictatorial control over your healthcare, but who would have guessed that privileged conversations with our physicians would be so tempting to this President? If Obama gets his way doctors across the county could play a key role in his new gun control initiative by asking what type and how many guns do you have in your house?

Order 16, as summarized, simply states federal agencies will “Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.” Already causing significant controversy, the Administration is planning to offer guidance clarifying that the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), doesn’t prohibit or otherwise regulate communication between doctors and patients, including about firearms.

In a strange twist of fate, Obamacare contains an amendment (Sec. 2716, part c) which specifically forbids the Federal government from collecting data on firearm and ammunition purchases for lawful use, added as an accommodation to the NRA , which the President would dearly like to do.

Despite bold predictions by Vice President Biden, the wording in item 6 shows that Obama is doing “the crayfish” on this issue. In Louisiana terms, that’s pretending to “face” the problem while slowly backing away. Item 6, instructing FFL’s how to conduct background checks for private sellers, simply reiterates what FLLs do on a daily basis. Current law does not require background checks in private sales of firearms, only those conducted through FFL’s. Although the President did ask Congress to change the law, he made no attempt to do it by executive order.

Authorizing the CDC (Center for Disease Control) to investigate the cause and effect of gun crimes is another blind alley (item 14). In a 1995 study, the CDC concluded that gun laws, including the AWB and gun-free school zones, were ineffective.

The New England Journal of Medicine published an anecdotal article which posed that owning a gun was more dangerous to the owner than to an assailant. This study was faulty in several ways: (a) The ONLY way you can be injured with your own gun is if you own one. (b) 65% of all homicides with guns are suicides, yet the vast majority of suicides use drugs or suffocation. (c) According to criminologist Gary Kleck, more than 93% of all instances where a gun is used for self defense go unreported – no shots were fired or the defender would be in more trouble than the offender if reported (e.g., Chicago, NYC or Maryland). Of those incidents reported, shots were fired in only one time in one hundred.

The President also wants to aggressively prosecute illegal guns sales and gun running (item 13). Perhaps Obama should take care of his own house by first seeing to it that gun-walking Eric Holder and the top 6 appointees in BATF are suspended and brought to trial. Order 13 is nothing more than a pledge to enforce existing law. Prosecutions for falsification of background checks (form 4473) are almost non-existent. Connecticut has a record of only one prosecution since 1968. Even New York, the “shining example of gun control” only recently prosecuted the purchaser of the weapons used by ex-con, William Spengler, to kill two volunteer firemen and wound two others.

Calling for “universal background checks” is a matter for Congress to address, which even the President acknowledges. It is widely claimed that 40% of all gun sales are made without this safeguard. However, this figure is false, promoted mainly by the organization, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, headed by Michael Bloomberg of NYC.

The correct figure is closer to 6%. The erroneous statistic comes from interpretation of data collected in 1991, before background checks were instituted in the 1994 Gun Safety Act (aka AWB). A survey was taken of 251 gun purchasers, asking whether they bought firearms from a store or private dealer. It was later assumed that only stores conducted background checks. In fact, transactions through a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) use the same forms and NICS checks as brick-and-mortar stores. All Internet sales and nearly all gun show sales involve an FFL. Many sales are between close relatives and through inheritance, which are exempted in both existing and Obama’s proposed regulations. The face to face sale between strangers is only about 6% of the total, not counting illegal transfers which won’t change regardless of the law.

Several items address gun safety issues, including item 15, which implies a renewed interest in “personalized” or biometric systems, which are expensive, unreliable and cannot be easily retrofitted. The most expensive tool is one that won’t do the job, and a “safety” system that disables the weapon in the time of need is downright dangerous to the owner. As for safety, nearly as many children (thirty drown by falling into mop buckets each year than by gun accidents (about forty). Being struck by errant gang shootings does not qualify as an accident.

Modern firearms are inherently “dangerous” when used properly, in once sense of the word. Otherwise, why would they exist. Truly accidental discharges are almost unheard of. A better term is “negligent” discharge. They can be dropped, kicked or otherwise abused without firing. You must deliberately (or injudiciously) pull the trigger. They won’t go off in a hot car – it takes a temperature of nearly 400 deg F to sizzle powder – pizza oven temperature – even then with more of a whimper than a bang.

In order to protect 2nd Amendment rights, the first priority of concerned citizens must be to persuade your Congressmen to eschew new restrictions on so-called “assault weapons,” and “high capacity” magazines, which under Feinstein’s proposal would include over 80% of handguns and rifles in common use.

Since fewer than 1000 homicides (1%) are committed each year with assault rifles, out of 30 million in circulation, by people who routinely ignore laws, nothing is gained by removing these guns from the vast majority of owners who have them for sport and self

What will work? Make the background checks more effective, and prosecute false statements. Make sure adjudications of mental illness, where the patient is likely to hurt himself or others, is reported to the NICS database (opinions don’t count unless supported by evidence and subject to challenge). Eliminate or limit most gun-free zones, including malls, theaters and most government buildings, which serve as “soft targets” for criminals. Lawful possession and carry should be licensed on a “shall issue” basis. Prosecute those who commit assaults, robberies or carry guns in schools unlawfully as ADULTS. The President seems averse to the latter, considering his voting record in his rare appearances on the legislative floor.

If universal background checks are required, a reasonable process should be established for private, non-FFL sales. Exchanges between family members and inheritances
should continue to be exempted.

It was noted on Friday, January 18, that Obama is mobilizing his campaign organization to pressure Congress and the public into supporting his gun law proposals. We foresee a series of speeches against a backdrop of worshiping supporters, highly publicized protest marches and a blizzard of TV ads. Obama will get a lot of favorable coverage from the main-stream media, but Congress will not likely be impressed. Obama’s appearances will be in areas which voted for him, large cities and such, which compose the Obama “choir”. It is doubtful that Phoenix will be on his tour, nor Salt Lake City or Indianapolis.

Since the press won’t check facts, it’s important for those of us who are concerned about the direction of our nation to continue to build our case with lawmakers, pro and con, on the key issues. We need to rally our supporters in Congress, and shake the confidence of our opponents. We are not in a position to make compromises. Our opponents won’t give an inch, and we shouldn’t make their job any easier.

There is no solution more likely to achieve positive results against violence than vigorous enforcement of existing laws, which is sadly lacking, nor any solution less effective than one directed at millions of law-abiding gun owners.

Published at Illinos Review on Monday, January 21, 2013.