10/96 Senate Balks At Forcing Gun Ban Repeal

After the 1994 elections, President Clinton mournfully admitted that pushing the ban on semi-automatic firearms had cost him almost two dozen House Democrats, and thus, “handed control of the chamber to the Republicans.”

A few months later, Sen. Bob Dole (R-KS) stated publicly that repealing the gun ban was one of his legislative priorities.

That was March of 1995. Sen. Dole wrote to Tanya Metaksa, head of NRA/ILA, and said that the repeal of the semi-auto ban “is one of my legislative priorities. . . . I hope to have a bill on President Clinton’s desk by this summer.”

It seemed that gun owners clearly had the momentum. It seemed that Congress would soon be playing “offensive ball,” rather than always just reacting to the latest gun control proposal initiated by Sarah Brady.

And yet, almost two full years after the 1994 elections, the Senate has yet to vote on a bill to repeal the gun ban. The President has not had the opportunity of vetoing even one pro-gun piece of legislation.
Lost opportunities

If Congress had truly wanted to pass a gun ban repeal, the terrorism bill would have been the perfect vehicle. After all, the President would have swallowed almost anything to sign his precious anti-terrorism bill.

On the other hand, if Clinton had vetoed the terror bill to stop the repeal measure, then gun owners would have been spared the anti-gun provisions which were loaded in the terror bill. It would have been a “win-win” situation for gun owners. But such was not to be the case.

After Dole’s resignation from the Senate, GOA approached the office of the new Majority Leader, Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS), and asked him to schedule a vote on repealing the semi-auto ban. It seemed that having a Majority Leader from the pro-gun state of Mississippi would be a stroke of fortune for gun owners nationwide.

But to GOA’s surprise, Lott’s office stated the Senator was not going to take the lead on this issue. While he would not stop another Senator from bringing it to the floor, Senator Lott was not going to take the lead — a role which was clearly his to take.

Now as the Congress is only a few weeks away from its final recess, GOA is once again focusing its efforts on getting a gun vote in the Senate.

Some have defended the actions of those in the Senate. They say that holding a vote now raises the gun issue in such a way as to play into the President’s hands. Moreover, they claim that the repeal vote would almost certainly fail, thus making gunnies look bad.

But as long-time political activist Paul Weyrich notes: “Bring measures to the floor of the Senate for a vote, regardless of whether or not you have enough senators willing to pass the bills.

“I often told Dole, ‘By losing, you win. These votes will reveal the [anti-gunners] for what they are and will help you elect more [pro-gunners] to the Senate.'”

Likewise, Gun Owners of America has argued that even if it comes the day before the election, the Senate should deliver on a vote to repeal the gun ban.
Senate vote on repeal bill is critically needed

“First and foremost,” said GOA head Larry Pratt, “holding a vote on repealing the gun ban is good public policy. And it is public policy that plays well at the polls.

“After all, it was gun owners that, according to Bill Clinton, gave the Republicans control of the Congress. It was gun owners that ‘took them to the dance.’ It was gun owners that made Sen. Dole, and then later Sen. Lott, the Majority Leaders in the Senate,” Pratt said.

“They owe gun owners a vote on repealing gun control legislation.”

It should follow that if Clinton’s gun ban resulted in a massive loss of anti-gun Congressmen, then voting pro-gun should be good politics. In fact, Campaigns & Elections magazine (Dec/Jan 1995) documented how the gun issue during the 1994 elections was a major factor in almost 60 races where the pro-gun challengers beat sitting incumbents.

Moreover, the publication recounted how former House Speaker Tom Foley and Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell had warned the President that including the semi-auto ban in the crime bill would “mobilize gun owners” against Democrats who supported the Clinton crime bill. Their warning came all too true.

Despite these facts, the arguments one hears on Capitol Hill goes something like this: “We don’t have the votes to pass a gun ban repeal; and even if we did, President Clinton would veto it. So why even try?”

What this ignores is that Congress already votes on legislation that it thinks might not pass or might be vetoed by the President. As already mentioned, a reason for this strategy is that it will help voters decide who is for them and who is against them. How else can voters decide, if Congress never votes on the tough issues?
Forcing votes in Congress

While in office, Senator Dole would occasionally force a vote on a bill that he knew would fail. For example, just before he resigned from the Senate, Dole forced a vote on the balanced budget amendment even though he knew it would not pass.

In the Macomb Daily (5/31/96), it was reported that Dole wanted to schedule a “vote on the balanced budget amendment . . . even though he knows it will fail.” On June 7, USA Today quoted Dole as saying, “It’s not whether you win or lose [on the balanced budget amendment], but whether you’ve made the statement.”

Naturally, the question then arises: why not make a “statement” on the gun ban repeal as well?
Filibuster vote would draw the line

Even if anti-gun Senators kill the repeal bill with a filibuster, getting a cloture vote (that is, a vote on breaking a filibuster) would become the real gun vote. The cloture vote would let gun owners know who is on their side — which of the 100 Senators truly support their gun rights.

There are many politicians that sound like John Wayne before the elections, but then do nothing for gun owners after they are elected. Forcing a gun vote would put these legislators on record and let gun owners hold accountable those legislators that betray their Constitutional oath of office.

If moderate Senators do not feel gun owners’ wrath in November, then it will be extremely difficult to build any momentum for the next year. In politics it is important to continually hold legislators accountable. Otherwise, like an undisciplined child, they will think that bad behavior has no consequences.

If the Senate helps send a gun ban repeal bill to the President before the final recess, Mr. Clinton will be forced to veto a pro-gun bill. It would be just one last reminder to the pro-gun voters in his party of the incredible contempt their President holds for the Constitution.
Fighting Brady on Two Fronts
Brady Case to be Heard by Supreme Court
— Gun Owners Foundation files amicus brief

Before the ink from President Clinton’s signature dried on the Brady law, Sheriff Richard Mack of Graham County, Arizona, filed a lawsuit in the federal district court in Tucson. From the outset of the case, Gun Owners of America and Gun Owners Foundation have been assisting and supporting, in every possible way, Sheriff Mack’s challenge to the federal government. Now, Sheriff Mack’s case, along with that of Sheriff Jay Printz of Montana, has worked its way through the court system and will finally be heard by the Supreme Court.

GOF has recently filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief on behalf of the sheriffs. GOF makes the point that the Brady law is not only bad policy (it does not reduce crime and violence in this country as its proponents claim) but it is also blatantly unconstitutional.

Recently, in a lecture before a group of medical students in Washington D.C., Bob Walker of Handgun Control Inc., made the statement that the Constitution of this country is whatever the Supreme Court says it is. That reasoning, in spite of the fact that it is taught in most government schools, is patently false.

The Supreme Court, according to Article III of the U.S. Constitution, is obligated to rule in cases “arising under this Constitution.” It was never intended that the Court would interpret the Constitution as a living, breathing document, having diverse meanings with changing times and ever changing views. Rather, the Court was to base its decisions according to a predetermined, established rule of law. In essence, the Court was set up to ensure that the Constitution not become a living, elastic document. The current Court, it seems, is at least in some degree attempting to return to these fundamental principles.

In the most recent decision affecting our Second Amendment rights, the Court declared in Lopez v. U.S., that the Congress cannot regulate firearms in a “school zone” based on the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. In Lopez, five Justices demolished the government’s shallow argument, which went something like this: “Guns near schools create a negative environment, which diminishes education, which eventually will have an impact on commerce.” Justice Clarence Thomas, in his concurring decision, pointed out that according to the government’s broad definition of commerce, Congress could “regulate every aspect of human existence” and still be within its Constitutional parameters. Hopefully, the Court will continue to be guided by the Tenth Amendment and the principle of limited government as it considers the constitutionality of the Brady law.

Gun Owners Foundation, in its brief to the Court and in prior studies of Brady, has pointed out several aspects of the law which violate the Constitution. These arguments against Brady should be studied and understood by all concerned gun owners.

In addition to the Commerce Clause and Tenth Amendment arguments, the GOF brief also points out that Brady violates the Faithful Execution clause of Article II, Section 3, of the Constitution. In accordance with the separation of powers doctrine, Congress may pass laws, but it does not have enforcement authority. With Brady, however, Congress has arbitrarily appointed officials who are not answerable to any federal executive branch agency. What the Brady law has created amounts to Congress’ own national posse. It is a dangerous precedent for Congress to be allowed to arbitrarily seize the resources of locally elected sheriffs.

In New York v. United States, the Court held that Congress cannot commandeer a state’s resources in order to implement federal policy. Brady declares that the Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) is responsible for undertaking the background check, be it instant or otherwise, of each handgun purchase transacted through a firearm dealer. Congress has, in effect, conscripted virtually every sheriff across the country to do its bidding.

Many people correctly point out that this is an unfunded mandate. But as Sheriff Mack stated, it was not the unfunded part that bothered him, because they couldn’t pay him to do that work. It is the mandate that is so onerous.

Of course, the main reason Brady is so dangerous is also the most obvious. The law infringes on the individual’s inalienable right to keep and bear arms. Any background check, regardless of how long it takes to conduct it, places the individual in the position of receiving the government’s permission before being “allowed” to exercise his rights. If gun owners allow themselves to fall into the trap of accepting the least cumbersome form of gun control, i.e., the instant registration check, then the debate becomes how much gun control will we be willing to accept at a given time. Instead, we must diligently keep the debate on our foundation, the Constitution, and argue that Congress may not simply ravage the Constitution in the name of misguided political expediency.
GOA Leading the Fight to Repeal Brady Registration

In October of 1995, Representative Steve Stockman (R-TX) introduced HR 2470, a bill to repeal the Brady law. To date, only 12 other Congressman have cosponsored the bill. Additionally, no action whatsoever has been taken in the Senate. Why is it that in this supposedly pro-gun Congress, there is so little support for repealing this unconstitutional and dangerous law?

Most people, including many on Capitol Hill, are under the mistaken impression that the Brady law sunsets in 1998, and therefore there is no need to repeal it. However, Brady merely sunsets from one form of gun control to another. While the waiting period does expire in two years, some form of the so-called instant check must be in place in all 50 states.

Thus far, it seems that many in the pro-gun community are swallowing the “instant check” hook, line, and sinker as an alternative to a waiting period. In fact, many people who normally are active supporters of the Second Amendment are actually encouraging and helping states comply with Brady’s instant check. That means people who should be on our side are inadvertently doing the work of Sarah Brady and Chuck Schumer.

Don’t be fooled, though. The instant check system is not as harmless as one is led to believe. In addition to being unconstitutional, the instant check could easily facilitate an “instant registration” system.

If this sounds paranoid, consider that in order to conduct the instant background check, the name of the firearms purchaser must be entered into a computer and checked against criminal, mental illness, or one of several other records. Most people realize that when names go into a computer, there is no guarantee they will come out, as they are supposed to under Brady. And if they are not deleted, there is no guarantee that access to the names will not be abused or misused in the future.
Government Records Invite Government Abuse

Recall the recent filegate flap. The names of many people connected with the previous administration were still on file with the FBI. When the new administration came in, they accessed the files and used them for unethical — if not illegal — purposes.

In addition, GOA has learned that some police officials in Texas are keeping the records of firearms purchases, in defiance of the law. These records go back many months and have been used for purposes other than that which they were intended for, such as collecting fines or fees. These records include, of course, the name and address of the gun owner.

In California, officials attempted to register so-called assault weapons. The effort was unsuccessful because most people did not want to be registered as a gun owner with the state. It does not take much imagination to see how such a list could be used in the future should those firearms be banned entirely.

Consider that in New York City, police used gun registration lists to confiscate the firearms of law-abiding citizens. The Daily News reported in 1992 that, “Police raided the home of a Staten Island man who refused to comply with the city’s tough ban on assault weapons, and seized an arsenal of firearms….Spot checks are planned [for other homes].”

New York City police were able to use the gun registration lists, which were started in the 1960’s, to determine which gun owners were not complying with the semi-auto ban. Clearly, gun owner registration can be, and often is, a prelude to gun confiscation.

The simple fact is that it is too great a temptation for officials to keep names on file even after they are supposed to be deleted. This is a risk that gun owners, and all law-abiding citizens, should be unwilling to take.

But even if the instant check did not lead to registration, it is still not only unconstitutional, but also bad policy. Why? Because it just does not work.
Who was safer, Beaver Cleaver or the Fresh Prince?

Ask yourself this question, or better yet, ask someone who supports gun control. Was America safer in the 1950’s or the 1990’s? The answer is obvious, isn’t it?

Now, ask this question. Does America have more gun control now or in the 1950’s? Again, the answer is obvious.

According to gun prohibitionists, gun control is supposed to lead to a safer society. Yet, currently we have more gun control than ever in the history of this country, but we still feel less safe.

If gun control worked, this country, and especially inner cities like Washington DC, would be safer now than ever before. But areas with the most restrictive gun control, like our inner cities, have the most serious problems with gun violence.

Obviously, the gun control policies have not worked. In fact, they may have made matters worse. By disarming the law-abiding population, thereby making them mandatory victims, criminal predators have the safest and easiest targets to choose from. It’s like a caged hunt.

Meanwhile, states with the least restrictive gun control usually have the lowest crime rates. But gun prohibitionists insist on implementing the failed gun control policies of our cities on the rest of the country. The instant background check is no more effective than the other 20,000 laws that are already on the books.

While proponents point to statistics on the number of persons denied firearms, they cannot point to a similar increase in the number of dangerous criminals who are sent to jail.

A January 1996 report from the General Accounting Office confirms this fact: after the first year and a half, there were only seven successful prosecutions for making false statements on Brady handgun purchase forms — and only three of them were actually incarcerated.

With only three criminals sent to jail, one can hardly argue that the Brady law — including its instant background check — is working to keep violent criminals from getting handguns on the street.
Few Hardened Criminals Submit to Background Checks

Proponents of the instant check operate under the assumption that hordes of violent felons are going to have the decency to follow the law. The fact is, according to the National Institute of Justice, 93% of criminal predators obtain their firearms through means other than normal transactions through gun dealers.

Even if a violent felon needed to purchase a firearm through a dealer, the instant check is hardly an obstacle. If the person couldn’t obtain a fake ID, they could simply buy the gun through a person who had no criminal record, commonly known as a “straw purchase.”

Clearly, the instant check will not enhance public safety. It will, however, violate the Second Amendment rights of all lawful Americans. Therefore, gun owners, above all people, should reject the “instant registration” check, and urge their representatives to do the same.
Election 1996 – A Lot More Work To Do

Almost two years ago, the so-called revolution of the 1994 elections was brought on in large part by the firearms issue. Even President Clinton admitted shortly after the election that almost two dozen House seats were lost because of votes in favor of gun control. He credited the gun issue as having lost him control of the Congress.

However, what began in 1994 is not enough. Consider that not one piece of pro-gun legislation has reached the President’s desk. Virtually no pro-gun action was even considered in the Senate. It is as if what happened in the ’94 elections was a mirage. The people who came into Congress on the vote of pro-gun America have forgotten their marching orders.

We need a Congress that will not only introduce, but pass and send legislation to the President that will take back the freedoms we have lost throughout this century. And more importantly, we need a Congress that can override a Presidential veto — no matter who is in the White House.

One thing is clear already this year. Just like 1994, being pro-gun is not a liability as far as the voters are concerned, while being anti-gun can cost a person the election. Consider just a few examples.

In Colorado, two House candidates were attacked for being pro-gun and for being supported by Gun Owners of America Political Victory Fund. The attacks against one, Pat Miller of the Second District, were particularly insidious, coming even from the Secretary of the Republican party in the district. Miller, a Republican, won her primary.

In Colorado’s Fourth Congressional District, Bob Schaffer, who campaigned as a pro-gun candidate, faced a challenge from two people who had voted against the Second Amendment in the state House and Senate. The gun issue was perhaps the most visible, if not the most important, issue in the race. Again, the anti-gun position was on the losing side.

This is not only true in Colorado. In Kansas, not known for its pro-gun stalwarts, candidate Vince Snowbarger was in a tight race with his chief opponent, Ed Eilert. Eilert claimed that Vince was pro-gun and labeled him an extremist. Eilert boasted that Handgun Control, Inc. was fully supportive of his own candidacy, and that he would fight to take so-called assault weapons off our streets. Vince Snowbarger, who was endorsed by GOA-PVF, won the primary election.

Regardless of what happens in the Presidential race, there is a lot to look forward to in the Congress. The races mentioned above are just the tip of the iceberg. We need to work hard to elect as many pro-Second Amendment candidates as possible.

Gun Owners of America’s Candidate Rating will appear in the November issue of Guns & Ammo and Hunting magazines, as well as in the October issue of The Gun Owner. Please review these ratings, and use them as your own pro-gun election guide.

                 GOA-PVF’s List of the Top Ten,
        Staunch Pro-gun Candidates in Difficult Races*

     Candidate                                   Phone
Rep. Helen Chenoweth (ID-1)                  208-336-5525
Rep. David Funderburk (NC-2)                 910-891-1994
Rep. Steve Stockman (TX-9)                   713-996-6900
Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (MD-6)                  301-696-1139
Hon. Woody Jenkins (LA)**                    504-923-1700
Timothy LeFever (CA-3)                       916-678-1994
Pat Miller (CO-2)                            303-421-7929
Dr. Ron Paul (TX-14)                       1-800-766-7285
John Tate (VA-2)                        804-518-9696/474-0946
Paul Young (ME-2)                            207-941-9699

* Difficult races also includes those races where candidates have
come under vicious attack for supporting the pro-gun cause.
** Indicates a candidate for the U.S. Senate

House Passes Another Anti-gun Terror Bill

Following the bombing at the Olympics in late July, President Clinton stepped up the heat on Congress to pass many of the “anti-rights” provisions that had been stripped from the terrorism bill passed earlier this year.

From within the Congress, Rep. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) also prodded his fellow colleagues to “give law enforcement what they want” and to give the President what he was seeking. Fortunately for gun owners, neither Schumer nor Clinton got everything they wanted.

But because of the nationwide attention surrounding the bombing and the intense pressure to “just do something,” Rep. Schumer found an overwhelming number of Congressmen willing to vote with him in early August to pass H.R. 3953.

This new terror bill was substantially gutted from the version which the President was seeking. Nevertheless, the President, along with several leaders in the Senate, has continued pushing for amendments that would expand the government’s power, even in areas that are not directly related to terrorism.

For example, the President is seeking to give even more wiretapping authority to the FBI (even though less than 0.2% of almost 10,000 wiretap applications between 1985 and 1993 were for terrorist type offenses). Clinton also wants to expand the ability of officials to prosecute gun owners for Title II firearms registration offenses. (And yet, published reports indicate that only one registered machine-gun has ever been used in a crime in this country.)

While many harmful provisions were deleted from the House version (temporarily), the House did pass a study on tagging gunpowder. Gun Owners of America objected to the bill on these grounds, pointing out to Congressmen that they had no business ordering a study on gunpowder when there was no constitutional authority to regulate it.

Gun owners should be concerned that this study will only be a “first step,” and could very well be the “research” used to push for future regulations. Speaking on the House floor, Rep. Harold Volkmer (D-MO) made this exact point:

    I do not believe in taggants in black powder. I think this study brings us to where you do have taggants in black powder. That is where it leads us, right down that road. That is another reason to vote against this thing.

Gun owners should remember the lesson of the 1980’s. When Congress ordered a study on the instant check (as a way to temporarily kill the Brady bill), anti-gun Congressmen were undeterred. They simply came back the next year using the study as “ammunition” in their efforts to pass the waiting period.

As for the taggants, GOA pointed out that in addition to being unsafe, putting tracers in gunpowder will inevitably lead to the registration of ammunition.

After all, the whole purpose for putting taggants in black or smokeless powder is to “register” the purchaser, so as to help the authorities find the criminal by following the trace left by the taggant. If Congress succeeds in requiring that taggants be put in all gunpowder, then it could eventually be put in ALL types of ammunition — thus registering gun owners in the process.

In the end, the bill did contain some minor improvements in the federal law, but GOA argued that these provisions should have been passed as a separate measure — not as “sugar coating” to help swallow an otherwise bad terror bill.

1. Note: Rep. Volkmer still voted for the bill, a testimony to the mass hysteria and the intense pressure that many Congressmen felt following the bombing at the Olympics.
On Capitol Hill

Senate passes “spanker” gun ban. A new gun ban is working its way to the President’s desk, as Congress is moving to expand the number of people who are prohibited from possessing a firearm.

The bill in question is on the verge of becoming law, yet it could very easily take away a father’s or mother’s gun rights for spanking their children!

The anti-gun language was originally attached to H.R. 2980 as an amendment by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ). His amendment would remove guns from a home where someone has been convicted of a misdemeanor involving domestic violence. But this amendment greatly threatens everyone’s rights! Here’s how:

* Under many state laws, persons convicted of misdemeanors with less than six months imprisonment are not even entitled to jury trials. Therefore, it would be possible for parents to be subjected to a life-time gun ban without enjoying the protection of a jury.

* The Lautenberg amendment is a dangerous expansion of the list which deprives persons of their Second Amendment rights, and opens the door to depriving firearms to all misdemeanor offenders — including non-violent ones (such as traffic violators, small check bouncers, etc.).

The stated purpose of the amendment is to protect women from spousal abuse. But the Lautenberg amendment actually endangers the battered women it purports to help by removing guns from the home. A woman’s best defense against an attacker is a firearm.

Don Kates, a civil rights attorney who specializes in firearms issues, cites a Detroit study showing that three-quarters of wives who killed their spouses were not even charged, since prosecutors found their acts necessary to protect their lives or their children’s lives. (Source: Guns, Murders and the Constitution, p. 25.)

The Lautenberg proposal — when it was first introduced as a stand alone bill (S. 1632) — was cosponsored by Senators Dianne Feinstein (CA), Edward Kennedy (MA), and other infamous anti-gunners. Lautenberg himself has an “F-” rating from GOA.

While Sen. Lautenberg claims to have good intentions (he wants to crack down on abusive spouses), one needs to realize that Lautenberg is not a friend on the gun issue. In fact, any gun amendment by him should be considered suspect. Lautenberg has opened a very dangerous door — a door that could allow the Charles Schumers in Congress to extend firearms prohibition to more and more people. Moreover, his amendment would hamper a woman’s best defense.

H.R. 2980, which now contains the Lautenberg amendment, has been passed by both the House and the Senate. The bill could go to a conference committee, or it may be attached to a Defense spending bill in the Senate.

Gun owners should urge their legislators to vote against H.R. 2980 as long as the Lautenberg language remains in the bill.

CDC’s anti-gun research cut — for now. Led by Rep. Jay Dickey (R-AR), the House recently purged the federal budget of any moneys going for anti-gun research. The Dickey amendment shifted tax dollars intended for anti-gun research away from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC), which is a branch of the Center for Disease Control.

Rep. Dickey saw his amendment pass during committee debate over the Labor-HHS funding bill (H.R. 3755). Soon afterward, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) tried to restore the $2.6 million for anti-gun research on the House floor; but the House defeated her amendment on July 11 by a vote of 263-158.

The New Gun Week notes that the $2.6 million figure is equal to the sum of money that the CDC has devoted to “bogus research.” This research would end up being published in articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the New England Journal of Medicine and, from these sources, into the general media.

The NCIPC has come under fire in recent months for its blatant anti-gun agenda. As noted by the New Gun Week, the NCIPC frequently churns out its “anti-gun propaganda, which has been labeled ‘junk science’ by informed doctors and scholars.”

In July, Dickey sent a Dear Colleague letter to fellow Congressmen where he cited examples of the NCIPC’s political agenda. For instance, the director of the division of violence prevention was quoted in Newsday (6/12/96) as saying, “What we need to do is find a socially acceptable form of gun control” — not a statement one would expect from a supposedly unbiased researcher.

The Labor-HHS bill now moves to the Senate, where several Senators are expected to try and restore the NCIPC funding for more anti-gun research.
New Study Says CCW Laws Deter Crime
by Val W. Finnell, MD

What is the worst fear of the gun-prohibitionists? Scientific research that refutes their unfounded claim that non-discriminatory concealed-handgun laws increase violent crime. Their fears are now a reality, thanks to John R. Lott, Jr. and David B. Mustard of the University of Chicago. Their unprecedented research will appear in the January 1997 issue of the Journal of Legal Studies, a peer-reviewed publication.

Lott and Mustard recently released this most comprehensive, methodologically sound research on concealed-carry (CCW) laws in the United States. Unlike previous “research,” Lott did not restrict his study to a few hand-picked counties to prove a foregone conclusion, but rather analyzed FBI Uniform Crime Report data from each of the 3,054 counties in the U.S. from 1977 to 1992. The results? In counties where CCW reform was enacted:

* Homicide fell by 8.5%

* Rapes fell by 5%

* Aggravated assaults decreased by 7%.

Importantly, there appeared to be no significant increase in accidental deaths. Also, the deterrent effect of CCW laws seemed to be greatest in counties with the highest crime rates. The study revealed, however, an increase in property related crime as criminals shifted away from personal contact with victims.

What does this all mean for the nineteen states that have not adopted concealed-carry reform? Lott’s data suggest that, in 1992, approximately 1,570 murders; 4,177 rapes; and over 60,000 aggravated assaults would have been avoided annually.

The anti-self-defense lobby continues to tout their biased and incompetent “research,” largely funded by the Centers for Disease Control’s National Center for Injury Prevention Control (NCIPC). These “studies” only looked at the costs of gun-crime to society and failed to address any possible benefits of personal firearms ownership. According to Lott, in addition to the lives saved and injuries prevented, there is an annual economic gain from meaningful CCW laws in the amount of $6.214 Billion dollars per year. Hardly an inconsequential figure.

What was the gun-prohibitionists’ response when a serious study finally took an objective look at concealed-carry laws across America? Personal attacks against Mr. Lott abounded along with an attempt to squelch the significance e of his conclusions. According to a Washington Times editorial on August 14, 1996, Mr. Lott has even received death threats and threats against his family.

Of course, the truth of the effectiveness of an armed citizenry is nothing new. Thomas Jefferson knew the futility of disarming law-abiding citizens when he quoted criminologist Casare Beccaria by saying, “such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed many may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”

It seems that the real message has been around for over 200 years: “Guns Save Lives!”

Lott and Mustard’s study may be read in its entirety on the World Wide Web. See Links To Source Studies.

Dr. Finnell is the medical advisor for GOA and is the Debate Coordinator for the Eastern Region of Doctors for Integrity in Policy Research, Inc. He is also the Medical Liaison and Webmaster for the Northern Virginia Citizens Defense League.
LIVE FIRE with Larry Pratt
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LIVE FIRE is aired on WWCR, World Wide Christian Radio, Shortwave Frequency 1 and 5.065 from 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm EST every other Tuesday night. Larry’s guest for September 3 is Mike Vanderbough; September 17, Sheriff Richard Mack. October time table: 1st, 15th and 29th.

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