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Posts Tagged ‘Gun control’

Time to add to our collection of humor about gun control.

Back in 2013, I conducted a poll on the most important reason to oppose gun control. The most-common answer was to have the ability to resist government tyranny. Which is the theme of our first item.

The next bit of humor has the same message.

Our third item reminds me of my “IQ test” for criminals.

Next we have a cartoon that combines two hot-button issues.

As is my tradition, I’ve saved the best for last.

And the reason it’s the best is because it is such an accurate depiction of the thinking of our friends on the left.

P.S. Regarding the quiz I mentioned at the start of the column, I think the correct answer is that we should oppose gun control in order to have the ability to protect ourselves in case of societal breakdown.

As we saw most recently at the height of the pandemic, it is unwise to rely on government to protect us during times of crisis.

Heck, governments don’t do a good job of protecting us during times of calm.

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Back in March, I wrote that the dramatic expansion of concealed-carry laws was the feel-good story of 2022. At least for supporters of the 2nd Amendment.

Of course, that was before the Supreme Court recently ruled against New York’s draconian restrictions on gun owners, so people definitely can make an argument for that being the best gun-related news for 2022.

But allow me to suggest that there is a dark-horse candidate for the year’s feel-good story on the right to keep and bear arms.

Except it’s not a story. Instead, it’s the notion that folks on the left are slowly but surely changing their minds about the right – and desirability – of private gun ownership.

A good example in this column for the New York Times, in which Laura Adkins explains why she wants the right to own a gun for self-protection.

Every month, 70 women on average are shot and killed by an intimate partner. But states like mine make it legally cumbersome to defend yourself with a legally purchased handgun. If my life is ever in danger, I want to be able to protect myself with a gun. And now, thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, I am one step closer to carrying one. …I…understand why some of my fellow liberals would like to ban guns outright. But guns are already prevalent among those who don’t follow the rules: Despite strong gun laws in my state and city, illegal trafficking abounds. The reality is that in addition to preventing abusers from owning guns, we must empower vulnerable citizens to protect themselves. …New York’s onerous gun licensing requirements deter law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves.

I applaud the New York Times for being willing to publish a differing point of view.

And I certainly hope Ms. Adkins soon will be the proud owner of her M&P Bodyguard.

While recently visiting a state with less restrictive gun laws, I found exactly the gun I would like to buy: a small Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard, light enough for me to confidently handle and safely store. It sells for about what a handgun license application in New York City costs. And as soon as I am able to legally buy and carry it without too much hassle, I look forward to sleeping soundly.

At this point, some of you may be wondering whether I’m reading too much into one column.

That’s possible, of course, but allow me to suggest it’s part of a trend. I’ve previously written about other folks on the left who have had epiphanies on gun control and gun ownership.

  • In 2012, I shared some important observations from Jeffrey Goldberg, a left-leaning writer for The Atlantic. In his column, he basically admitted his side was wrong about gun control.
  • Then, in 2013, I wrote about a column by Justin Cronin in the New York Times. He self-identified as a liberal, but explained how real-world events have led him to become a supporter of private gun ownership.
  • In 2015, I shared a column by Jamelle Bouie in Slate, who addressed the left’s fixation on trying to ban so-called assault weapons and explains that such policies are meaningless.
  • More recently, in 2017, Leah Libresco wrote in the Washington Post that advocates of gun control are driven by emotion rather empirical research and evidence.
  • Alex Kingsbury in 2019 acknowledged the futility of gun control in a column for the New York Times.
  • In 2020, Charles Blow of the New York Times wrote about the value of private gun ownership, particularly for minorities.
  • Last but not least, Danielle King in 2021 wrote for the Washington Post about her decision to buy a gun for self-protection.

All of these columns were authored by folks on the left side of the ideological spectrum. And all these columns appeared in media outlets that normally cater to folks on the left.

Are most left-leaning people still on the wrong side on this issue? Yes, but I would be very interested to see in-depth polling data on whether there is more acceptance on the left for the right to keep and bear arms today than there was 10 years ago. I think the answer would be yes.

P.S. And we might convince more leftists if we can help them understand that gun control has a very racist history.

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Two weeks ago, I shared my response to the awful school shooting in Texas. The topic of gun control came up once again in a new episode of the Square Circle.

Regarding my comments, it’s no surprise that I have a new reason to dislike Justin Trudeau. He’s a typical, empty-suit, posturing politician.

But the more relevant point from the discussion is that there has been a huge increase in gun ownership in the United States in recent decades. And that increase in gun ownership has coincided with a big drop in violent crime.

You could argue that crime has dropped because more law-abiding people are now armed.

There certainly is a case to be made for that point of view. But as I said in the discussion, I think demographics deserve most of the credit.

You’ll also notice that part of the discussion revolved around Australia’s so-called gun buyback.

I’m certainly not an expert on that topic, but I think we can safely conclude it was a failure since writers for both the New York Times and the Washington Post admit it hasn’t been successful (and the same is true for New Zealand).

Here’s the bottom line: criminals will get guns no matter how much gun control politicians impose on a nation (just like people got booze during prohibition and they get illegal drugs today).

So the only effect of buybacks, bans, and other anti-gun policies is that bad guys will be better-armed than their victims.

Call me crazy, but that doesn’t seem like a good idea.

Especially since we can’t trust the police to protect us when things go sideways.

P.S. Watch this video from Reason to see why gun control is impossible in the United States.

P.P.S. One of my cats, Itchy, made a cameo appearance during the interview.

P.P.P.S. Always remember that gun control has a very unsavory history in the United States.

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I support the the right to keep and bear arms. That said, the horrific school shooting in Texas almost leads me to wish that guns did not exist. Here’s some of what I said as part of a recent episode of The Square Circle.

My main argument during the program is that gun control simply does not work. Such laws might deter law-abiding people from owning guns, but bad people – especially the nutjobs – obviously don’t care about breaking rules.

It is true that nationwide guns bans and gun confiscation might make it harder for these evil people to obtain firearms, but watch this video from Reason (or look at this polling data) if you actually think that’s a practical approach.

Some people argue that it would be better to allow teachers and other school staff to possess weapons.

That would be better than nothing, but who knows if that would have a measurable impact.

Other people say the problem is mental health and/or societal decay.

I’m sure those are factors as well, but pointing out problems is not the same as devising solutions.

Though maybe there is a way we can strengthen “red flag laws” while also guarding against abuse. I’m skeptical, but would like to be proven wrong.

For purposes of today’s column, I want to focus on what appears to be negligent behavior by the cops in Texas. Here are some excerpts from a report by the New York Times.

The grief of families in Uvalde, Texas, was compounded by anger and frustration on Thursday as police leaders struggled to answer questions about the horrific hour it took to halt a gunman who opened fire on students and teachers inside Robb Elementary School. …Parents had massed outside the school on Tuesday as gunfire erupted inside, urging the police who were holding them at bay to go in and stop the carnage. …An armed Uvalde school district officer, who had been nearby, responded…the gunman began firing at the windows and entered the building. The officer did not open fire. …the gunman…went through an unlocked door at 11:40 a.m…and began shooting inside. Police officers, including the school district officer, went into the school minutes later. By the time officers reported that the gunman had been killed around 1 p.m., he had shot dead 19 students and two teachers.

We don’t yet know how quickly this dirtbag killed the kids, but a delay of more than one hour obviously gave him plenty of time.

During that terrifying time — well over an hour — parents of students who were trapped in the school gathered outside the building… Some were physically restrained by the police in a scene that witnesses described as disorder bordering on mayhem. …“Parents were crying and some were fighting verbally with the police and screaming that they wanted their children,” Marcela Cabralez, a pastor, said. Miguel Palacios, a small-business owner, said frantic parents were so upset that at one point they tried to take down the school’s chain-link fence. “The parents were on one side of the fence, the Border Patrol and police were on the other side of the fence, and they were trying to tear it open,” he said. Some of the parents implored the heavily armed police officers at the chaotic scene to storm the school. Others, including those who were off-duty members of law enforcement, went inside themselves to try to find their own children. “There were plenty of men out there armed to the teeth that could have gone in faster,” said Javier Cazares, 43, who arrived at the school on Tuesday as the attack was taking place. He said he could hear gunfire; his daughter, Jacklyn, was inside.

Sadly, the cops in Uvalde either lacked modern training or they disregarded that training.

…questions remained about the decision by the police at the scene to await the arrival of specially trained officers from the Border Patrol to finally storm through the classroom door roughly an hour after officers had first pulled back. …Officers are now trained to disable an active shooter as quickly as possible, before rescuing victims and without waiting for a tactical team or special equipment to arrive.

As I said in the interview, I would not want to charge into a classroom and face hostile gunfire. But if I signed up to be a cop, I would understand that periodic bravery was part of my employment contract.

If I then failed to act, I would live in shame for the rest of my life and would not argue about getting fired and losing my pension.

P.S. When writing on gun-related issues, I always like to share what some honest folks on the left have written.

  • In 2012, I shared some important observations from Jeffrey Goldberg, a left-leaning writer for The Atlantic. In his column, he basically admitted his side was wrong about gun control.
  • Then, in 2013, I wrote about a column by Justin Cronin in the New York TimesHe self-identified as a liberal, but explained how real-world events have led him to become a supporter of private gun ownership.
  • In 2015, I shared a column by Jamelle Bouie in Slate, who addressed the left’s fixation on trying to ban so-called assault weapons and explains that such policies are meaningless.
  • In 2017, Leah Libresco wrote in the Washington Post that advocates of gun control are driven by emotion rather empirical research and evidence.
  • Last but not least, in 2019, Alex Kingsbury confessed in the New York Times that his long-held dream of gun confiscation was utterly impractical.

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Economics in part is the analysis of how people respond to incentives (do high tax rates encourage or discourage work, do trade barriers increase or decrease prosperity, etc).

This type of analysis also applies to the study of crime.

For instance, do guns encourage crime (by giving bad people access to weapons) or discourage crime (by giving potential victims a means of protection)?

My view is that bad people will get guns, even if they are illegal. As such, the only real-world impact of gun control is that law-abiding people are made more vulnerable.

And that means more crime. In other words, crooks respond to incentives.

Let’s look at some new scholarly evidence. Alessandro Acquisti of Carnegie Mellon University and Catherine Tucker of MIT have produced a new study that investigates whether criminals respond to data regarding the likelihood of armed victims.

The main takeaway is that more guns is correlated with less crime.

This paper explores…a case study of the publication of a gun ownership database in Tennessee. This information was made available due to a FOIA request by the local newspaper and made public online. We evaluate how information about the location and numbers of gun permit holders being made publicly available affected crime… Did the online publication of gun permit holders’ information deter, or increase, certain types of crimes? Or did it simply displace crime from one area to another? We investigate this question using detailed crime and handgun carry permit data for Memphis and nearby areas, from before and after the newspaper’s publication of the permits. We evaluate how incidences of burglaries changed before and after the database was published and publicized, as a function of the number of guns in a zip code. Our analysis suggests a post-publicization relative decrease – both in absolute and in percentage terms – in burglaries in zip codes with higher numbers of gun permits, relative to zip codes with median numbers of permits, and a post-publicization relative increase in zip codes with fewer gun permits: our estimates suggest an 18% relative decrease of burglaries in those zip codes with the largest number of gun permits.

Wonkier readers may be interested in this chart, which maps burglary rates over time in neighborhoods with varying rates of gun ownership.

The authors explain what the numbers imply.

Figure 2 shows mean trends, over time, for burglaries in the period from October 2008 to May 2009. …the figure…suggests an upward trend in crimes across all zip codes in December, spiking around Christmas, followed by a downward trend in January. After the publicity around the database started intensifying in early February (solid vertical line), the downward trend seems to intensify. …From the perspective of our analysis, what matters is whether burglary trends in zip codes with more gun permits differ more from the trends in zip codes with lower numbers of gun permits after the publicization of the database, than they differed before. … zip codes with more gun permits experienced a larger decrease in burglaries relative to zip codes with fewer gun permits. …Relative to zip codes with the middle number of permits, zip codes with the highest concentration of permits experienced roughly 1.9 fewer burglaries per week/per zip code in the 15 weeks following the publicization of the database, and those with the lowest concentration experienced on average 1.4 more burglaries. Given that, on average, there were 9.7 burglaries per week in each of the top zip codes, our results imply a 20% relative decrease of burglaries in those zip codes.

For what it is worth, this issue is sort of like an IQ test.

On the margin, bad people are smart enough to target houses (and locations) where they perceive there is less likelihood of armed resistance.

But are our friends on the left smart enough to draw the obvious conclusion about public policy? For some of them, the answer is yes. For most of them, the answer is no.

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I shared four editions of gun control humor (here, here, here, and here) in 2021, but none so far this year.

Time to rectify that oversight, starting with this amusing video.

Next, we have a message for leftists who think America is a horrible society, yet for inexplicable reasons always want government to have more power and authority.

Our third item deals with America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, which was the right policy but the wrong implementation.

One consequence is that the Taliban gained control over billions of dollars of sophisticated weaponry.

Needless to say, that made many Americans jealous.

This next item made me laugh.

In part because some people are dumb enough to think it’s easier to get a gun than vote and in part because Martin deserves an award for cleverest comeback.

Here’s my favorite item from today’s collection.

The United States arguably leads the world in gun ownership. That would not be good news for any invaders.

The jab at Oregon was particularly amusing. People who vote higher taxes on themselves obviously are incapable of self-government, much less self-defense.

If anyone knows what is meant by “contractors” and “CMP people,” please let me know if the comments section.

P.S. If you want more gun control humor, click here.

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Two years ago, I rhetorically asked whether the movement for gun control was dead.

But, given how states have been expanding civil liberties for gun owners, perhaps I should have asked about the vitality of the movement for gun rights.

For instance, check out this map of states that no longer require a permit for concealed carry.

The map is taken from a report in the Washington Post by Kim Bellware.

Here are some excerpts from this feel-good story.

On Monday, Ohio became the 23rd state to enact a law eliminating permits as a requirement for concealed carry. The Buckeye State closely followed Alabama, where Gov. Kay Ivey signed a similar law on March 10. The back-to-back wins for gun-rights advocates who want to see fewer restrictions on the Second Amendment signal how partisan divides and relentless activism at the state level are significantly reshaping the landscape around gun possession. …Seventeen of the 23 states that allow permitless carry passed their laws in the past seven years. By contrast, concealed carry wasn’t even legal in every state until 2013, when Illinois lifted its longtime ban decades after most other states. …experts expect more laws easing gun restrictions to pass. Already, bills to allow permitless carry are active in Indiana and Florida.

Proponents of permitless carry make very sensible arguments.

…the grass-roots Buckeye Firearms Association. Executive Director Dean Rieck…argued that licensing laws end up stopping only law-abiding citizens from fully exercising their Second Amendment rights, since lawbreakers won’t submit to restrictions whether they exist or not. …Jake Pelletier, who owns Raven Firearms Training in New Hampshire with his wife, Crystal, offered a comparison…in states that make training a hard-and-fast requirement of concealed carry: “I’ve heard it put that it’s like saying you can exercise your right to free speech as long as you take a communications course.’”

By contrast, the reporter apparently couldn’t find anybody with a compelling argument from the pro-gun control side.

Why do I say that? Because this is the only “evidence” from the left cited in the story.

Researchers have sparred for years over the question of whether easing gun restrictions lessens crime or fuels it. A 2021 analysis by The Washington Post’s Fact Checker found states with looser concealed-carry laws had a higher homicide rate on average during a recent five-year period than the eight states with stricter permit laws.

This type of analysis is nonsensical.

Honest experts don’t simply look at murder rates in two different groups of states. After all, it is quite possible that certain states decided to approve permitless carry because citizens were worried about high murder rates.

Social scientists with integrity would use a different approach.

For instance, they might look at states that made changes (either pro-gun control or pro-gun rights) and then compare murder rates in the years before and after (while also considering whether other factors might play a role).

Though I give the reporter credit. She cited the research, but at least she also acknowledges that it does not prove anything.

…the role looser laws played in higher crime rates — if any — was unclear.

Let’s close by reverting to the main issue for today, which is celebrating the fact that 2nd Amendment freedoms are expanding in the United States.

This is, in part, a victory for common sense.

But I also think that more of our friends on the left are waking up on this issue.

  • In 2012, I shared some important observations from Jeffrey Goldberg, a left-leaning writer for The Atlantic. In his column, he basically admitted his side was wrong about gun control.
  • Then, in 2013, I wrote about a column by Justin Cronin in the New York Times. He self-identified as a liberal, but explained how real-world events have led him to become a supporter of private gun ownership.
  • In 2015, I shared a column by Jamelle Bouie in Slate, who addressed the left’s fixation on trying to ban so-called assault weapons and explains that such policies are meaningless.
  • More recently, in 2017, Leah Libresco wrote in the Washington Post that advocates of gun control are driven by emotion rather empirical research and evidence.
  • In 2019, Alex Kingsbury acknowledged the futility of gun control in a column for the New York Times.
  • Most recently, Danielle King wrote last year for the Washington Post that it makes sense for blacks to become gun owners.

P.S. For those who want to enjoy gun control-themed humor, click here.

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When I wrote about race and gun control two years ago, I included five short videos to help show the value of the 2nd Amendment for minorities.

For today’s column on the same topic, we’ll start with this full-length video.

If you don’t have time to watch the video, one of the key messages is that gun control has a racist history, both in principle and in practice.

Gun control was used to make it difficult for freed blacks to own guns after the civil war. And gun control was used to hassle and intimidate blacks during the battle for civil rights last century.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that civil rights for gun owners have been expanding in the United States.

And the latest issue of the U.K.-based Economist has an article that looks at the growth of gun ownership specifically among minorities.

Annette Evans…is Chinese-American, lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia and identifies herself as socially liberal—not the archetypal conservative, rural white man. Yet she owns over a dozen rifles, pistols and shotguns (“one for every occasion, like purses or shoes”) and teaches self-defence courses to women. …Of the 7.5m Americans who bought firearms for the first time between January 2019 and April 2021—as gun-buying surged nationwide—half were female, a fifth black and a fifth Hispanic, according to a recent study… The share of black adults who joined the gun-owning ranks, 5.3%, was more than twice that of white adults. …Blacks have a long history of owning guns: Harriet Tubman toted them, Martin Luther King kept them at home. …The broadening tent is good for manufacturers and bad for gun-control advocates.

Not everyone is happy about this expansion of civil liberties.

In a column for National Review, David Harsanyi reviews a book that makes a twisted argument about the 2nd Amendment.

Left-wing academic Carol Anderson’s new book, The Second: Race and Guns in a Fatally Unequal America, is all over the news. “The Second Amendment is not about guns — it’s about anti-Blackness, a new book argues,” reads a CNN headline. …This is wishful thinking. The Second is an attempt — much like the 1619 Project — to reimagine history in purely racial terms. The result is tendentious polemic that suffers not only from a paucity of historical evidence, but from a dishonest rendering of the facts we do know. …This is a contention that isn’t backed by a single contemporaneous quote or piece of hard evidence in the book. …Anderson ignores the tradition of militias in English common law — codifying the “ancient and indubitable” right in the 1689 English Bill of Rights — which had nothing to do with chattel slavery. Anderson ignores the fact that nearly every intellectual, political, and military leader of the Founding generation — many of whom had no connection to slavery — stressed the importance of self-defense in entirely different contexts.

Opining for the Boston Globe, Jeff Jacoby explains why gun control is a civil rights issue, notwithstanding the ACLU’s moral blindness.

The American Civil Liberties Union caused some double takes last Sunday with a tweet blaming racism and “anti-Blackness” for the presence of the Second Amendment in the Constitution. It was jarring to see the ACLU, once an indomitable champion of the Bill of Rights, endorse the revisionist view that one of its core components, the right to keep and bear arms, exists for malevolent racial reasons. …the real racism associated with the Second Amendment isn’t in the rights of gun ownership that the Bill of Rights cemented into the Constitution’s text. It is in the long and shameful record of those rights being denied. …In blatant disregard of the Second Amendment’s guarantee, Southern states enacted laws prohibiting Black people, enslaved and free alike, from owning firearms. …After the Civil War, racists continued to use gun control as a tool of white supremacy. …The most notorious of those gun-control posses called itself the Ku Klux Klan. …A favorite formulation of Frederick Douglass was that if Black people were to be really free, “they must have the cartridge box, the jury box, and the ballot box to protect them.”

Amen.

Olivia Rondeau and Hannah Cox (narrator of the above video), in an article for the Foundation for Economic Education, also point out that gun control has a racist history.

The Second Amendment has indeed been selectively upheld throughout our nation’s history, with gun control frequently being used to block black Americans from accessing their right to self-defense. Additionally, enforcement of gun control laws has been discriminatory, and the rhetoric around guns has often framed black people as a threat. …black people were prohibited from owning guns under the “Slave Codes” and “Black Codes.” …in the 1870s, racists in power turned to the use of “facially neutral laws” to continue blocking black people from gun ownership. …They used things like police-issued licenses, permit laws, and business and transaction taxes on guns that disproportionately affected black people, thus successfully disarming them. …By no means was this the end of discriminatory gun control laws or enforcement in our country. To date, black Americans are more likely than any other group to suffer the adverse impacts of gun control laws.

Last but not least, Jacob Sullum adds his two cents, writing for Reason about how gun control is bad news for minorities.

Progressive politicians nowadays overwhelmingly oppose pot prohibition and criticize the war on drugs, in no small part because of its bigoted origins and racially skewed costs. Yet they overwhelmingly favor tighter restrictions on guns, even though such policies have a strikingly similar history and contemporary impact. Drug control and gun control are unjust because they criminalize conduct that violates no one’s rights, which erodes civil liberties, contributes to mass incarceration, and unfairly imposes lifelong restrictions on millions of Americans. …Both types of policies have long targeted racial and ethnic minorities, at first explicitly and later in practice. …”The historical record provides compelling evidence that racism underlies gun control laws—and not in any subtle way,” historian Clayton Cramer noted in a 1995 Kansas Journal of Law and Public Policy article. “Throughout much of American history, gun control was openly stated as a method for keeping blacks and Hispanics ‘in their place,’ and to quiet the racial fears of whites.”

Since the War on Drugs is wasteful and inane, I obviously have no problem with Sullum’s analogy.

P.S. If you like feel-good stories about racial harmony (and assuming you’re not Michael Bloomberg), click here.

P.P.S. As illustrated by columns from Charles Blow and Danielle King, a growing number of African-Americans are embracing gun ownership.

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It was back in May when I last shared some satire about gun control, so let’s update the collection.

We’ll start with this very important public service announcement about the horrible consequences of drinking and smoking during pregnancy.

Next, we know that Texans have a gun-loving reputation, both nationally and internationally.

Now they’re taking the right to keep and bear arms to the next level.

Our third item is very clever, though won’t be well received by self-described feminists.

I sometimes joke that I’m a lesbian trapped in a man’s body.

Here’s the gun control version of changing one’s identity.

As usual, I’ve saved the best for last.

If I was still doing coronavirus-themed humor, this item would have been very appropriate.

But it also is perfect for mocking gun control.

For what it’s worth, this is both amusing and true.

If you want less crime, make sure there are plenty of law-abiding people with guns.

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I don’t like Joe Biden being a lackey of the teacher unions, and I think the entire Department of Education should be eliminated.

That being said, intervention from Washington is the not the main cause of America’s education problems. The real problem is that we have an inefficient monopoly system that is – for all intents and purposes – run for the benefit of teachers and bureaucrats.

All of us should be upset that we see more and more money going to more and more employees, but we don’t get any progress in boosting academic outcomes.

I sometimes think the system can’t get any worse.

But then I read something that almost makes me think that politicians want the system to be a failure.

Here’s a story from Yahoo! News that I first assumed was from the Babylon Bee. But it’s not satire, it really happened.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown privately signed a bill last month ending the requirement for high school students to prove proficiency in reading, writing, and arithmetic before graduation. Brown, a Democrat, did not hold a public signing or issue a press release regarding the passing of Senate Bill 744…, an unusually quiet approach to enacting legislation, according to the Oregonian. …The bill, which suspends the proficiency requirements for students for three years, has attracted controversy for at least temporarily suspending academic standards… Backers argued…the new standards for graduation would aid Oregon’s “Black, Latino, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, Tribal, and students of color.” …Republicans criticized the proposal for lowering academic standards. “I worry that by adopting this bill, we’re giving up on our kids,” House Republican Leader Christine Drazan said.

I don’t know which part of the story is more reprehensible. Should we be more outraged that state politicians wants to eliminate standards, or should we be more outraged that supporters are implicitly (at the very least) racist in thinking that minority students can’t perform?

This is equivalent to breaking your bathroom scale because you don’t like your weight.

In any event, we have more evidence that government schools squander lots of money and deliver very poor results.

Which means we have more evidence in favor of school choice.

P.S. Since I’m pointing out the failure of government schools, I can’t resist sharing a couple of older stories

Here’s a bizarre story from New Jersey (h/t: Reason).

Ethan Chaplin, a Glen Meadow Middle School student, told News 12 last week that while he was twirling a pencil with a pen cap on in math class, a student who bullied him earlier in the day yelled “He’s making gun motions, send him to juvie.” He was suspended for two days and then underwent five hours of a physical and mental exam at Riverview Medical Center’s crisis unit, his father told NJ.com.

We have another crazy example of political correctness run amok, as reported by the New York Post (h/t: Daily Caller).

Meet 8-year-old Asher Palmer, who was tossed out of his special-needs Manhattan school for threatening other kids with a toy “gun’’ — which he made out of rolled-up paper. …[His mom] was incensed that Principal Micaela Bracamonte told other staffers in an email that Asher “had a model for physically aggressive behavior in his immediate family.’’ Spadone thinks Bracamonte was referring to her husband because he served in the military during the Kuwait war. If that was the reason for the comment, she said, “I find it offensive and inappropriate.’’ As far as the toy gun is concerned, she said Asher, a first-year student, made it out of a piece of paper after discussing military weapons with his dad.

I’ve previously shared many stories of anti-gun political correctness in government schools (see here, here, here, here, here, and here). Makes me wonder whether that kind of nonsense is even more counterproductive to kids that some of the excesses of critical race theory.

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Charles Blow is a doctrinaire left-wing columnist for the New York Times. But I applauded him late last year for expressing sympathy for black gun ownership.

He’s certainly not a full-blown supporter of the Second Amendment.

And I don’t think he realizes that many of the first gun control laws had racist motivations.

But I’m not going to nit pick. I welcome converts, even half-hearted ones.

Which is why today’s column will cheer another newcomer to the cause.

In a column for the Washington Post, Danielle King describes her decision to become a gun owner.

I never thought I’d own a gun. But there I was, in Hazard, Ky., in the middle of a pandemic on a Saturday, buying a .38 snub-nosed revolver. I’m not your stereotypical gun owner…as a Black woman, I am a statistical rarity… But I had come to believe that I had two choices: take steps to protect myself, or become a victim. I decided I needed to be armed. …it wasn’t until one night last April at my Kentucky home that I decided to become a gun owner myself. The brightness of the living room light startled me from my sleep. …The rustling sounds confirmed that we had an intruder. …The invader eventually made his way to the bedroom door. …The intruder slammed against the door like a battering ram in an attempt to take it down. He nearly succeeded, shattering the frame, but my husband held the rest of the door shut while I hid on the balcony and called the police.It took officers more than 45 minutes to arrive… I realized we needed protection. …Three days after the break-in, with my husband’s encouragement, I went to the gun store and purchased my revolver and some hollow-point bullets.

Ms. King notes that many other blacks are joining her and becoming gun owners.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation reported a 58 percent surge in gun purchases by Black men and women in the first six months of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019, citing a survey of gun retailers. Of all purchasers, 5.4 percent were Black women. I strongly support private gun ownership and the Second Amendment… To be honest, I am still afraid of having guns in my home — and even of having one in my possession. But we are products of a violent nation, and ultimately, I don’t feel like the police can or want to protect me. …My first practice shot was a couple of feet from my backyard, bordering the woods. My husband created a target for me to practice on. …Terrified, my hands trembling, drenched in sweat, I anxiously grasped the revolver’s handle while searching for the trigger. Then, lining up the target while calming my breath, I pressed the trigger to hear a POP. Now, I thought, we are protected.

By the way, I hope what she wrote about the police isn’t true. I’d like to think they want to protect her and her family.

But Ms. King is definitely correct to fear that the police may not have the ability to protect her. Just consider the fact that it took 45 minutes for cops to arrive when her family was threatened by an intruder.

And it would be especially foolish to rely on the government for safety during a pandemic. Or during a period of civil strife.

If you read Ms. King’s full column, it’s clear that she hasn’t embraced the full libertarian view on gun ownership. But just as was the case with Charles Blow, I welcome her shift in the correct direction.

P.S. Here are the other columns celebrating folks on the left who have had epiphanies on gun rights.

  • In 2012, I shared some important observations from Jeffrey Goldberg, a left-leaning writer for The Atlantic. In his column, he basically admitted his side was wrong about gun control.
  • Then, in 2013, I wrote about a column by Justin Cronin in the New York Times. He self-identified as a liberal, but explained how real-world events have led him to become a supporter of private gun ownership.
  • In 2015, I shared a column by Jamelle Bouie in Slate, who addressed the left’s fixation on trying to ban so-called assault weapons and explains that such policies are meaningless.
  • More recently, in 2017, Leah Libresco wrote in the Washington Post that advocates of gun control are driven by emotion rather empirical research and evidence.
  • Last but not least, Alex Kingsbury in 2019 acknowledged the futility of gun control in a column for the New York Times.

P.P.S. Here’s a column on race and gun control.

P.P.P.S. If you want unintentional comedy, here’s a column by a British leftist who equates gun ownership and slavery.

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There are some very serious moral, practical, and constitutional arguments against gun control.

But I’m a big believer in also using satire to make the case for the 2nd Amendment.

And that’s the purpose of today’s column, which starts with this reminder – as Ron Swanson told us – that bad guys don’t care about laws.

Our second item involves a woman who obviously never studied logic or history.

Makes me wonder if she’s also the woman holding the Trump sign in this column?

Our third item also pokes fun at the logic (or lack thereof) of our leftist friends.

Next, the clever folks at Babylon Bee explain various home-defense strategies for a gun-free world.

Guns are on their way out. And thank goodness! We can’t wait to return to the utopian paradise we lost when guns were invented… Still, once in a great while, you might need to defend yourself against a ne’er-do-well. When those ruffians come kicking your door down, you need to be ready. Here are seven great ways to defend your home against an armed burglar when your guns have all been confiscated.

Here are a few of those options.

Option #3 surely is the best, just as demonstrated in this video.

Yet never forget that there are people who think gun-free zones are a real answer.

Our next item is for guys, especially libertarian guys.

Reminds me of Barbie for Men.

As usual, I’ve saved the best for last. This meme is a helpful reminder that the Bill of Rights wasn’t limited to the technology of 1787.

By the way, this is an encore appearance for the man and woman in the above meme.

P.S. The full collection of gun control satire is available here.

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Back in 2012, I shared a video clip of Ice-T defending the 2nd Amendment, but that video is now dead, so I’m glad to see that Prager University has added his comments as a prologue to this defense of gun rights by Prof. Eugene Volokh.

Ice-T and Prof. Volokh make for a good combination, one dispensing common sense and the other sharing academic analysis.

In the case of Prof. Volokh, he walks through the language of the Constitution and succinctly explains why the 2nd Amendment clearly was designed to protect the individual right to keep and bear arms.

And that’s the view that consistent with the liberty-focused attitude of the Founding Fathers, who correctly saw government as a potential source of tyranny.

But there’s another part of the video that also deserves attention. Shortly before the 4:00 mark of the video, Volokh explains that the Founders gave people – through their legislators – the option of amending the Constitution (the great Thomas Sowell has made the same point).

And that does happen, sometimes with bad consequences.

But there’s been no serious effort to undo the 2nd Amendment for the simple reason that people value their constitutional liberties.

Indeed, states have been taking steps to expand and enshrine gun rights.

P.S. A British writer argued that defending gun rights was akin to defending slavery. In reality, the 2nd Amendment has been especially valuable for blacks.

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Time to add to our collection of satire about the foolishness of gun control.

We’ll start with a comparison of the logic of those who believe in the 2nd Amendment and those who believe only the government should have guns.

The obstacle course isn’t as elaborate as my regulation obstacle course, but maybe that’s because the anti-gun crowd doesn’t have the fortitude of business owners.

For the next item in today’s collection, this headline from the Babylon Bee basically needs to commentary, but I’ll add that the War on Poverty also has been a costly failure.

Feel free to draw the obvious conclusion about government competency (or lack thereof).

This next item doesn’t just apply to Democratic gun control “logic,” but also to the cognitive shortcomings of any Republican or independent who thinks disarming law-abiding people is the right solution to criminal behavior.

Sort of like getting rid of your refrigerator because your neighbor is too heavy.

This following meme is a clever twist on an old theme.

And I like this next bit of satire because the bottom frame captures the mindset of naive leftists who think passing a law will magically achieve a certain result.

Seems like the 911 operator read the wrong fairy tale as a kid.

Last but not least, here’s my favorite because it cleverly shows the real consequences of gun control. The people who obey such laws are never threats to society. Meanwhile, anti-gun laws are almost no barrier to bad people.

And remember that life is much better for criminals when there are fewer guns in the hands of law-abiding people.

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Time to add to the collection of humor about gun control.

We’ll start with this observation from Ron Swanson (who periodically makes cameo appearances since he was TV’s most famous libertarian) about the relationship between gun laws and crime rates.

Next is a cartoon strip with an amusing twist.

For what it’s worth, I buy t-shirts that already have the right message.

Here’s a hotel employee giving a much-needed wake-up call.

Our next item features a sensible observation from Elizabeth Warren, followed by an equally sensible observation from Dan Gannon.

Next, we have an example of the “slippery slope” in action.

By the way, the above image is real. The United Kingdom has some of the world’s silliest anti-gun policies, which were the gateway drug for absurd anti-knife laws (and even – I’m not joking – anti-teaspoon laws).

I’ve saved the best for last, as usual.

Here’s “Fauxcahontas” getting a clever response from Meme Cat.

Just in case you don’t get the joke, Senator Elizabeth Warren falsely claimed Indian ancestry, even using her fake-minority status to get preferential treatment.

P.S. I also recommend this mockery of Sen. Warren’s approach to class warfare.

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I’m (unfortunately) not a rich person, but that doesn’t stop me from opposing punitive taxes on successful entrepreneurs, investors, and small business owners.

Likewise, I’m not a gun aficionado, but that doesn’t stop me from opposing efforts to restrict the rights of law-abiding people to own and bear arms.

In part, my views on guns are driven by cost-benefit analysis. Simply stated, the evidence is fairly clear that there is less crime when bad people have to worry that potential victims have the ability to defend themselves.

But I also very much agree with the constitutional argument for gun ownership, as well as the “societal disarray” argument.

Interestingly, it seems that more folks on the left are coming to their senses on the issue of gun control, generally for practical reasons rather than philosophical reasons.

  • In 2012, I shared some important observations from Jeffrey Goldberg, a left-leaning writer for The Atlantic. In his column, he basically admitted his side was wrong about gun control.
  • Then, in 2013, I wrote about a column by Justin Cronin in the New York Times. He self-identified as a liberal, but explained how real-world events have led him to become a supporter of private gun ownership.
  • In 2015, I shared a column by Jamelle Bouie in Slate, who addressed the left’s fixation on trying to ban so-called assault weapons and explains that such policies are meaningless.
  • More recently, in 2017, Leah Libresco wrote in the Washington Post that advocates of gun control are driven by emotion rather empirical research and evidence.
  • Last but not least, Alex Kingsbury in 2019 acknowledged the futility of gun control in a column for the New York Times.

Today, we’re going to add to the collection.

Charles Blow of the New York Times recently wrote about how he has become more understanding of why fellow blacks want to own guns.

Growing up in rural northern Louisiana, everyone I knew, at least every household, seemed to have guns. …Gun ownership was the norm in those parts, including in the Black community. It was not associated with danger but with safety. …Indeed, one could argue that the right to bear arms in this country has never been so brazenly and openly abridged as it has against Black people. Many state codes prohibited Black gun ownership before the Civil War and allowed for the disarmament of Black people after. …When I moved north, first to Detroit and then to New York, I moved into a mental space of more stringent gun control. …city dwellers simply didn’t have the same need for weapons as the people in the rural community where I was raised… I, like many, were convinced that fewer guns in the Black community would make it safer. But, for many Black people, that sentiment has turned. …gun sales to Black people are surging. …I, as much as anyone, would like to live in a society in which all citizens felt safe without the need of personal firearms. America could have created such a society. However, it chose not to. …many Black people feel the need to defend themselves from their own country.

To be sure, Mr. Blow can’t be considered a full convert to the 2nd Amendment. That being said, I think it’s nonetheless remarkable that even a committed, hard-core leftist has (partially) seen the light.

Though I can’t resist quibbling with one point in his column. He wrote, “America could have created” a society where gun control would be desirable because no guns would be needed, but “it chose not to.”

I would replace “it chose not to” with “our government is not sufficiently competent.”

Heck, I would probably add “or trustworthy” as well. Given the unsavory history of gun control, Mr. Blow should be among the first to appreciate that argument.

P.S. In 2018, I shared the story of Ryan Moore, another leftist who changed his mind on gun control. But since he also evolved away from being a leftist, I don’t include him

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When I write about gun control, it’s normally to make wonky points about how gun ownership reduces crime by changing the cost-benefit analysis of potential bad guys.

Today, in honor of Bill of Rights Day, let’s change the focus and celebrate the ratification of the 2nd Amendment. It was on this day, back in 1791, that the right to keep and bear arms was added to the Constitution.

To celebrate that freedom, here are some wise observations by some of America’s Founders. We’ll start with Thomas Jefferson.

Next is Samuel Adams.

Here’s what George Mason had to say.

Thomas Paine had the right perspective.

And we’ll finish up by sharing some wisdom from James Madison.

P.S. I feel quite confident that all of these quotes are genuine (not an easy task when perusing the Internet).

P.P.S. Maybe I’m being a Pollyanna, but it does seem that more folks on the left are coming to their senses on the issue of gun control.

  • In 2012, I shared some important observations from Jeffrey Goldberg, a left-leaning writer for The Atlantic. In his column, he basically admitted his side was wrong about gun control.
  • Then, in 2013, I wrote about a column by Justin Cronin in the New York Times. He self-identified as a liberal, but explained how real-world events have led him to become a supporter of private gun ownership.
  • In 2015, I shared a column by Jamelle Bouie in Slate, who addressed the left’s fixation on trying to ban so-called assault weapons and explains that such policies are meaningless.
  • More recently, in 2017, Leah Libresco wrote in the Washington Post that advocates of gun control are driven by emotion rather empirical research and evidence.
  • Last but not least, Alex Kingsbury in 2019 acknowledged the futility of gun control in a column for the New York Times.

P.P.P.S. Feel free to enjoy this collection of satire on the topic of gun control.

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Donald Trump has his share of flaws and he wasn’t the type of Republican I like, but that doesn’t prevent me from acknowledging that he was good on some important issues. He moved tax policy in the right direction, for instance, and also began to reverse the tide of red tape.

I fully expect the Biden White House to be much worse on those issues. And I’m sure Biden will also try to move policy in the wrong direction on other issues as well, including a push for gun control (an issue where Biden is both wrong and clownish).

It’s therefore likely that the upcoming years will require some columns about why his anti-gun agenda would undermine the Constitution, increase crime, and diminish freedom.

Before having to wrestle with those serious topics, though, let’s enjoy another edition of satire about gun control. We’ll start with this item that definitely elicited a chuckle from me.

If you want some serious discussion of armed teachers, click here and here.

But I want to stick with humor, so let’s go to this item about the difference between conservatives and libertarians.

Reminds me of the difference between liberals, conservatives, and Texans.

This following item compares Maine and Chicago.

Very reminiscent of “research” on the difference between Houston and Chicago.

Here’s some diversity that everyone can support.

Next we have a reminder that the 2nd Amendment is not about hunting.

As usual, I’ve saved the best for last.

This final image is amusing, particularly as I imagine my left-leaning friends spluttering as they try to argue with its logic.

As you might suspect, those friends also haven’t been able to get a passing grade on the gun control IQ test.

P.S. For those interested, I have an entire collection of gun control humor.

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Back in 2014, I wrote about “The Unsavory History of Gun Control” to document how many of the first gun control laws in the United States were used as a tool to oppress blacks.

Today, let’s take a closer look at this issue.

And since we have a lot of material, we’ll follow a chronological outline, first addressing some of the history of the 2nd Amendment, followed by some historical data on gun control, and closing with a look at growing support for gun rights in the African-American community.

Regarding the 2nd Amendment, I’ve written a couple of columns about the Constitution’s right to keep and bear arms.

But not everyone views that part of the Bill of Rights favorably.

Indeed, some people actually view gun rights as being a legacy of racism. Here’s a tweet from Nikole Hannah-Jones of the New York Times.

This is historically inaccurate.

Writing for National Review, David Harsanyi debunks the notion that the 2nd Amendment was created to help slaveowners.

There’s no historical evidence to suggest that the Second Amendment was “created to ensure Southern slaveowners the right to maintain & arm slave patrols to put down insurrections amongst the enslaved,” even if southerners subsequently used guns for their nefarious purposes. …The right to self-defense, in fact, is incompatible with the idea of slavery — it runs counter to the arguments made by the Founders, even if some of them were hypocrites… The animating ideas of the Second Amendment — both as personal and communal protection — are predicated on natural rights and English common law. And while nearly every intellectual, political, and military leader of the Founding generation stressed the importance of the right to bear arms as a means of preserving liberty, some of its most vociferous champions were against slavery. …The first American effort to codify and guarantee the right to bear arms was made in Pennsylvania, under a conference run by Benjamin Franklin, also president of the colony’s antislavery society. The second colony to do so was Vermont, where there were few slaves and no fear of a revolt. …What’s most ironic about Jones, who names herself after 19th-century civil-rights leader Ida B. Wells, is that the historic figure was a champion of the Second Amendment. She maintained…“that a Winchester rifle should have a place of honor in every black home, and it should be used for that protection which the law refuses to give.”

And David Kopel of the Independence Institute explains that gun control historically has been a tool used by racists.

If the Times’ project is historically accurate, then it will explain that America’s unique arms culture predates slavery, and historically developed in opposition to slavery. By contrast, American gun control had a close connection with slavery and the maintenance of a racial caste system. …Unlike American gun culture, gun control in America did grow out of slavery. …South of the Mason-Dixon line, various laws were enacted against unauthorized arms possession by slaves, and sometimes against free blacks as well. In the South, slave patrols searched slave quarters to look for unauthorized arms. …some people believe a bogus theory that the Second Amendment was created for the sole purpose of suppressing slave insurrections. But this can’t explain the ardent support for arms rights in Massachusetts, where slavery had already been abolished by 1791, or in Pennsylvania, where slavery was rare and already on its way to extinction. …former slave states quickly enacted laws banning firearms possession by blacks, or allowing such possession only with a government license. The Reconstruction Congress responded vigorously. The Second Freedmen’s Bureau Bill, the Civil Rights Act, and then the Fourteenth Amendment were all enacted with the express purpose of wiping out southern gun control.

Moving to the post-Civil War period, Tho Bishop explains, in an article for the Mises Institute, that the real legacy of racism is with those who want to curtail gun rights.

Prior to the passing of the 14th Amendment, eight states​ had gun control legislation that criminalized the possession of fire arms by non-white free citizens. Virginia required such individuals to receive government permission. Three additional states​ had constitutional language that specified that gun rights were reserved exclusively for white men. In order to maintain the horrific institution of slavery, the state had to disarm those most likely to empathize with its victims. While the “peculiar institution” was ended as a result of the Civil War, racially motivated gun control laws were not. While the 14th Amendment prevented states from explicitly mentioning race in legislation, state governments still managed to find ways to disarm black citizens. …these included laws that banned pistols that were not used by former Confederate officers, severe racial discrepancies in the penalty for unlawfully concealed carrying, as well as gun licensing requirements  that, in the words of a future Florida Supreme Court Justice, were “passed for the purpose of disarming the negro laborers” and “was never intended to apply to the white population.”

And this becomes even clearer as we advance to the 1950s and 1960s.

Charles Cobb wrote an entire book about gun ownership and the civil rights movement. Here are some excerpts from the Amazon webpage.

Like King, many ostensibly “nonviolent” civil rights activists embraced their constitutional right to self protection—yet this crucial dimension of the Afro-American freedom struggle has been long ignored by history. In This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed, civil rights scholar Charles E. Cobb Jr. describes the vital role that armed self-defense played in the survival and liberation of black communities in America during the Southern Freedom Movement of the 1960s. In the Deep South, blacks often safeguarded themselves and their loved ones from white supremacist violence by bearing—and, when necessary, using—firearms. In much the same way, Cobb shows, nonviolent civil rights workers received critical support from black gun owners in the regions where they worked. Whether patrolling their neighborhoods, garrisoning their homes, or firing back at attackers, these courageous men and women and the weapons they carried were crucial to the movement’s success. …Drawing on his firsthand experiences in the civil rights movement and interviews with fellow participants, Cobb provides a controversial examination of the crucial place of firearms in the fight for American freedom.

Writing for Reason, Thaddeus Russell reviews Cobb’s book and explains how armed blacks helped topple the racist laws imposed by Dixiecrats.

I have a dream that one day children in seventh grade will…read about people like C.O. Chinn. …Chinn was a black man in Canton, Mississippi, who in the 1960s owned…a large collection of pistols, rifles, and shotguns with which he threatened local Klansmen and police when they attempted to…intimidate civil rights activists working to desegregate Canton and register black residents to vote. …Although the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) were formally committed to nonviolence, when their volunteers showed up in Canton they happily received protection from Chinn and the militia of armed black men he managed. …According to Charles E. Cobb’s revelatory new history of armed self-defense and the civil rights movement, This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed, Canton and the rest of the South could not have been desegregated without people like C.O. Chinn… the original civil rights leadership publicly believed that, as Frederick Douglass put it in 1867, “a man’s rights rest in three boxes: the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box.” …the Ku Klux Klan, whose primary mission was to disarm ex-slaves and thus was one of the first gun-control organizations in the United States. …Williams established an all-black chapter of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and used his NRA connections to procure “better rifles” and automatic weapons for his constituents. …the Monroe City Council banned Klan motorcades and, according to Williams, the KKK “stopped raiding our community.”

Adam Winkler, a law professor at UCLA, wrote for Huffpost about MLK and guns.

Martin Luther King Jr…kept firearms for self-protection. In fact, he even applied for a permit to carry a concealed weapon. …King had armed supporters take turns guarding his home and family. He had good reason to fear that the Klan in Alabama was targeting him for assassination. William Worthy, a journalist who covered the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, reported that once, during a visit to King’s parsonage, he went to sit down on an armchair in the living room and, to his surprise, almost sat on a loaded gun. Glenn Smiley, an adviser to King, described King’s home as “an arsenal.” …One lesson the gun advocates took was from the early King and his more aggressive followers: If the police can’t (or won’t) to protect you, a gun may be your last line of defense.

Makes this tweet from Iowahawk especially noteworthy.

Now let’s shift to modern times and consider how African-Americans are now more appreciative of the 2nd Amendment.

Here are excerpts from a story in the New York Times by Lela Moore.

…more than 100 people who responded when we asked black gun owners to tell us about their interactions with law enforcement, other authorities and the general public. …A quarter of black men and women in a 2017 Pew survey said they own guns. Some of those who wrote us said they have had no issues with authorities or the general public. Others said they have faced fearful store owners and had confrontations with law enforcement over guns they carried legally.

Here’s a sampling of responses from the article.

  • I moved to Pocatello, Idaho, (a place where guns are very popular) from St. Louis, Mo., about eight years ago. I decided to purchase a firearm so that my 2-year-old son can learn to treat firearms with respect and know that they aren’t a toy. …since purchasing the gun, I’ve experienced a sense of camaraderie with a lot of conservatives who are deep in gun culture. — Andrew Casey, 32, Pocatello, Idaho. Gun owner for two years.
  • At times, I’ve felt out of place when I’m one of the few people of color at shooting events or gun shows, but I’ve also been heartened to see other Americans of African descent and people of color there. People have been welcoming and willing to share information. …The Second Amendment is for everyone. I am the “good guy with a gun.” I’m just like you. — L. Kenton Dunn, 40, Charlotte, N.C. Gun owner for two years.
  • I am black and transgender. …I tend to not discuss guns with fellow liberals anymore. They have shown they lack the capacity to discuss the issue with integrity, maturity and nuance. — Naomi Daniels, 33, Houston. Gun owner for two years.
  • Law-abiding black people are just as motivated to defend themselves, their families and their homes as any other racial group. The right to bear arms has played a vital role in the lives of blacks for generations, and it will continue to do so. — Damon D. Colbert, 42, Alexandria, Va. Gun owner for 18 years.

In a column for the Foundation for Economic Education, Jon Miltimore opines on the growing support for firearms ownership in the black community.

Americans have the right to protect themselves and their property from violence, and some African-Americans are saying it’s past time that people of color embraced their constitutional right to arm themselves against threats. Rapper Michael Render (better known by his stage name “Killer Mike”) recently challenged the black community to reject the stigmatization of legal gun ownership and to find fresh solutions to preventing violence. …Nor is Render alone. Appearing on MSNBC in May following the death of Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed 25-year-old black man fatally shot in Georgia, Charlamagne tha God said owning a firearm was a reasonable means of self-defense for African Americans. …”I would also tell all my brothers and sisters out there to go buy yourself a legal firearm and learn how to use it so you can protect yourself and your family.” …Render makes a similar observation. “I put this statement out because the police cannot always get to you on time, and the world is not a just place,” he writes.

Some black gun owners recently held a rally in Oklahoma, as reported by KFOR.

Over a hundred people marched with their firearms in a Black gun owners rally to bring awareness to their Second Amendment rights. They started at the Ralph Ellison Library and made their way to the Governor’s Mansion. “It’s time that we let everybody know, especially those that may not be aware, that you can carry your weapons too and that you can protect yourself by any means necessary,” Michael Washington, the organizer, said. …“We’re trying to get Black people to understand the Second Amendment does not only apply to a certain ethnic group, that the Second Amendment applies to everybody.” Omowale said.

In his Boston Globe column, Jeff Jacoby celebrated expanding minority firearms ownership.

The gun control crowd isn’t having a good year. Americans have been buying firearms at a phenomenal pace. …First-time buyers have accounted for an estimated 40 percent of gun purchases in 2020,…and of those new gun owners, 40 percent have been women. …Black Americans in particular have been getting a pointed lesson in the value of their Second Amendment right to bear arms, and translating that lesson into action. …The National African American Gun Association, which began in 2015 with a single chapter in Atlanta, now comprises more than 100 chapters with 40,000 members — 10,000 of whom joined within the past five months. …Black gun ownership is as essential today as it was in 1892, when Ida B. Wells wrote that “a Winchester rifle should have a place of honor in every black home, and it should be used for that protection which the law refuses to give.”

In a piece for the New York Times, Tiya Miles rethinks the issue of gun control.

I am an African-American historian and, on the matter of guns and most other political issues, decidedly liberal. …I am anti-gun and support strict gun control laws. But…walking the floors where the Haydens and their compatriots had plotted what turned out to be the roots of a political revolution to overturn slavery, pried ajar a little door in my mind. …“Black abolitionists, especially those involved in the abolitionist underground and Vigilance Committees, tended to arm themselves … fugitive slaves, often resorted to armed self-defense when confronted by slave catchers and law enforcement.” The Underground Railroad activist Harriet Tubman was said to carry a revolver and did not hesitate to point it… In the tumultuous civil rights era of the 1950s and ’60s, black activists and community organizers openly took up arms. And not just those in the more explicitly militant Black Power movement. Martin Luther King Jr., several N.A.A.C.P. officials and other leaders perceived as much more dovish, still carried or stored weapons to defend their households and communities from potential attacks. …Maj Toure, founder of Black Guns Matter…is a former member of the N.R.A., and he told me in a phone interview that…he is critical of the N.R.A. for not doing more for urban Americans, he sees the group as an important civil rights organization. …Philip Smith founded the National African-American Gun Association in Georgia. …Mr. Smith stresses. “We have black Republicans, Democrats, gay, straight.” In what may come as a surprise to some, black women make up 60 percent of the association’s membership.

Kim Trent opines for USA Today about growing support for gun ownership in the black community.

African-American gun advocates argue that guns also preserved our ancestors’ peace when they were menaced by racists in the antebellum South and the divided North. …Kenyatta, co-founder of Detroit’s Black Bottom Gun Club,..believes that gun control measures are often a  response to black Americans’ attempts to exercise their Second Amendment rights. He points to Michigan’s adoption of gun ownership restrictions after Ossian Sweet, a black physician who bought a house in a heretofore white Detroit neighborhood in 1925, used a shotgun to protect his family against an angry white mob. …on May 2, 1967, 30 or so fierce-looking members of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense clad in leather coats entered the California Capitol toting loaded pistols and long guns. The Panthers were protesting proposed legislation they believed was targeting black militants’ right to use guns to protect themselves… They declared loudly that their right to carry the weapons was enshrined in the Second Amendment.  …“Gun control has a racist past and present,” says Kenyatta.

Let’s close today’s lengthy column with some very good videos.

Here’s a video about black firearms ownership from the New York Times.

Here’s a video from the recent protests against gun control in Virginia.

This may be my favorite because the guy says everything I would say, but does it even better.

Here’s a video reviewing some of the history we discussed above.

In this clip, Condoleezza Rice shares a first-person story about gun ownership helping blacks resist oppression.

And here’s a feel-good tweet showing people protecting their property with firearms.

If you like feel-good stories (and assuming you’re not Michael Bloomberg), click here.

P.S. Here’s a family I’d like to have as neighbors.

P.P.S. For what it’s worth, while the intellectual case for gun control is dead, I fully expect Biden (assuming he wins in November) to push gun control next year. The silver lining to that dark cloud is that Americans of all races will engage in widespread civil disobedience.

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In recent months, governments released prisoners and announced that some laws wouldn’t be enforced because of the coronavirus. Now, with protests against police misbehavior, we’re seeing governments fail to maintain law and order.

As suggested by this excellent Reason video, these developments bolster the case against gun control.

But does this mean politicians will be more supportive of the 2nd Amendment?

The answer (at least for anyone with an IQ above room temperature) should be yes.

From an economic perspective, one major goal is to change the cost-benefit analysis for criminals. If bad guys have to worry that good guys may be armed, that significantly increases the potential cost of illegal behavior.

A well-functioning system of law enforcement can help, of course, but that’s not a description of how things work in some communities – even in normal times, much less when there’s civil unrest.

But all this evidence and analysis doesn’t seem to matter for Joe Biden. A look at his campaign website shows support for a wide range of gun-control laws from the soon-to-be Democratic nominee.

…gun violence is a public health epidemic. …In 1994, Biden – along with Senator Dianne Feinstein – secured the passage of 10-year bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. As president, Joe Biden will defeat the NRA again. …As president, Biden will: …Ban the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. …Regulate possession of existing assault weapons under the National Firearms Act. …Biden supports legislation restricting the number of firearms an individual may purchase per month to one. …End the online sale of firearms and ammunitions. …Give states incentives to set up gun licensing programs.

What’s especially discouraging is that Biden apparently hasn’t learned anything about so-called assault weapons since 1994.

In a 2019 column for Reason, Jacob Sullum dissected Biden’s incoherent views on the topic.

Joe Biden…is still proud of the ban on “assault weapons”… Biden argues that it made mass shootings less common…, citing a study reported in The Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery last January. But that is not what the researchers, led by New York University epidemiologist Charles DiMaggio, actually found. …The study…looked not at the number of mass shootings, as Biden claims, but the number of mass-shooting deaths as a share of all firearm homicides. The difference in total fatalities during the period when the ban was in effect amounted to 15 fewer deaths over a decade, or 1.5 a year on average, including mass shootings that did not involve weapons covered by the ban. …The causal mechanism imagined by Biden is even harder to figure out. He describes “assault weapons” as “military-style firearms designed to fire rapidly.” But they do not fire any faster than any other semi-automatic. …Under the 1994 ban, removing “military-style” features such as folding stocks, flash suppressors, or bayonet mounts transformed forbidden “assault weapons” into legal firearms, even though the compliant models fired the same ammunition at the same rate with the same muzzle velocity as the ones targeted by the law.

I wonder if Biden understands the policy he’s advocating.

Does he think that “assault weapons” are actual machine guns, capable of firing multiple rounds with one pull on the trigger (a remarkably common misconception among gun-control advocates)?

Or, if he understands that a so-called assault weapon is just like any other gun (firing one round each time the trigger is pulled), then why would he think anything would be achieved by banning some guns and leaving others (that work the same way) legal?

Perhaps most relevant, does he even care what the evidence shows?

The bottom line is that people are “voting with their dollars” for gun ownership for the simple reason that they know it’s unwise to trust government (either to protect them from crime or to respect their rights).

But that doesn’t mean their constitutional freedoms will be secure if Biden wins the 2020 election.

P.S. The good news is that there will be widespread civil disobedience if politicians push for new gun bans.

P.P.S. Another silver lining is that we’ll get more and more clever humor mocking gun control.

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In some cities, legitimate protests about abusive and improper police behavior have degenerated into riots.

One consequence of this mayhem is that police don’t have the manpower to effectively protect households and businesses.

In same cases, as shown by this tweet, a police chief even gave a green light to looters even though taxpayers pay generous salaries to cops because they’re supposed to protect our lives and possessions.

 

This would be a good opportunity to point out how this is another sad example of government being so big and bloated that it can’t fulfill its core roles of protecting life, liberty, and property.

But I want to focus on a more narrow issue, which is why it is vital for citizens to have the right to own firearms so they can protect themselves when there are breakdowns in social order and cops can’t (or won’t) help out.

I wrote about this issue back in 2011, observing that Europeans were largely helpless during that year’s civil unrest because governments had stripped them of the right to self defense.

I also specifically compared helpless British victims of rioting to armed shopkeepers in Los Angeles who were able to protect themselves when there were riots in that city.

Today’s unrest is providing even more evidence. There are already dozens of stories about citizens protecting themselves and their businesses because law enforcement isn’t available.

Here’s one example.

What began as a peaceful protest in Cleveland on Saturday—over the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer— turned violent as the day progressed, prompting Mayor Frank Jackson to issue an 8 p.m. curfew and to request National Guard reinforcements to protect the city from rioters. Corbo’s, a tiny family-owned bakery in the city’s historic Playhouse Square district, took matters into their own hands, brandishing their firearms when rioters came calling. …rioters and looters can be seen approaching Corbo’s Bakery, taunting the owners and threatening them with iron rods and a large pylon with a heavy metal base. Three men stood in the doorway of the bakery, defending their property and exercising their Second Amendment rights. A minute later the rioters were gone, having moved on to the business next door, where they shattered a massive storefront window… Rash asks the men protecting Corbo’s whether or not they have insurance that would cover damage from the rioters. “I mean, really, is it worth having someone get shot? Are you shooting someone over an insured place? But why?” “That’s not the point,” one of the armed Corbo’s workers replied. “Well, it is the point,” Rash counters. “But what if someone accidentally got shot?” An African American bystander defended the bakers, saying, “They just trying to defend they’re sh–.” “You’re out here with guns!” Rash exclaims. “I’m on my fu–ing property,” says a baker

Thankfully, there ultimately was no violence in this encounter.

It’s also worth noting that there was no looting. Another successful example of why it’s so helpful to have private gun ownership.

I wonder if the chaos across the nation is a “learnable moment” for some people. Here’s a tweet from a psychologist in New York.

Supporters of the 2nd Amendment often point out that cops are just minutes away when trouble is seconds away. Well, Mr. Kaufman learned that sometimes the police aren’t just minutes away. They can be hours away or not available at all.

Maybe I’m being overly optimistic, but I hope he now realizes that his earlier calls for gun control were misguided. Unless, of course, he plans to defend himself with Tide pods.

I’ll close with two items. First, I’ll recycle my 2011 poll to see why (or if) people support the right to keep and bear arms. Interesting, the coronavirus (which led to the release of criminals and police announcements that some laws wouldn’t be enforced) produced an increase in the number of people (up from 14.43 percent) who answered “To protect myself and my family if we suffer a societal breakdown.”

Given what’s happening each night in our cities, I’m guessing that number will increase.

Second, I’ll also recycle this image that I shared when writing about the looting that occurred after Hurricane Sandy.

It’s amusing, but I like sharing it because it gives me an opportunity to remind people about the role of incentives.

At the risk of stating the obvious, looters are unlikely to go after this neighborhood and they’re going to be far more likely to cause mayhem in a place like New York City, where an incompetent city government basically gives crooks a free pass and there are tragic restrictions on gun ownership.

P.S. As noted above, I hope Mr. Kaufman has an epiphany. Sort of like the one that Justin Cronin experienced when he dealt with a breakdown of civil order.

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Back in March, I explained that the coronavirus pandemic showed why it’s so valuable for people to have the right of gun ownership.

Let’s revisit the topic and we’ll start with the bad news. As illustrated by this Reason video, Senator Elizabeth Warren wants to exploit the crisis by imposing sweeping limits on our civil liberties guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment.

The good news is that the Trump Administration has been working to make it easier for people to exercise their right to gun ownership.

Licensed gun stores can do drive-thru sales of firearms or sell them out of their parking lots, the Trump administration said…in new guidance designed to facilitate purchases without forcing buyers to enter confined establishments during the coronavirus pandemic. …The only demand is that the required records from transactions still be stored safely inside the building. …Firearms sales have been one of the flashpoints of the crisis. A number of liberal jurisdictions have deemed gun stores to be “non-essential” businesses, which makes them subject to the same shutdown orders as shopping malls, theaters and hair salons. …Lawsuits have been filed against a number of those shutdown orders, arguing they violate the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Gun owners say they can’t exercise that right if they can’t purchase a firearm or ammunition. Those complaints got a boost from the Homeland Security Department, which has issued guidance deeming firearms dealers essential.

And the best news is that many Americans have responded to the coronavirus by stocking up on weapons.

Here are some excerpts from a report by the U.K.-based BBC.

With the death toll climbing every day and most of the country under some form of lockdown, many Americans seem to be turning to guns as part of their response. …The FBI conducted 3.7m background checks in March 2020, the highest total since the instant background check programme began in 1998. …Gun shops across the country report that they are unable to re-stock shelves quickly enough to cope with the rush. …According to Georgia State University law school professor Timothy Lytton, …most new gun sales are being motivated by two factors that have been spurred on by the coronavirus crisis. The first is the concern that civil society – fire, police and health services – could be severely “eroded” someday, leading to a breakdown in law and order. In such a case, a gun can be viewed as a “self-help” survival tool, he says. The second reason is concerns over so-called big government infringing on American freedoms such as gun ownership, which is enshrined in the US constitution. “Many of the public health measures, such as shelter-in-place, restricting peoples’ movements, restricting what people can buy,” Mr Lytton says, “raises fears among many groups of the potential for government takeover and tyranny.”

Here’s a tweet from March showing long lines at a gun store.

A local TV station in the state of Washington reported on the surge in gun sales.

Local firearm stores have been all but emptied out. The response we got from several gun stores in numerous counties showed how overwhelmed they are with business. Many said they barely had time to take our call and compared the demand to that of toilet paper. …We heard from several employees of local gun shops who say it’s undeniable that the massive surge is attributed to people’s fear during this time. Jason Cazes, owner of Low Price Guns in Bellevue, says three weeks ago, the boom in business hit like a ton of bricks. …Cazes found himself flooded with new customers with an urgent request. “Hey I need a hand gun, I need a shot gun. All the sudden they’re interested in having something for protection,” he said. …”It’s a lot of first time buyers,” says Cazes

A newspaper in Pittsburgh reported on the same phenomenon.

After standing in line at a Pittsburgh-area sporting goods store for more than an hour, not knowing what he would say to the sales clerk, the self-described “liberal Democrat from New York City” bought a gun. …His purchase last week occurred during a nationwide rash of firearm sales to people who had never considered gun ownership until becoming rattled by concerns about COVID-19’s impact on America’s social infrastructure. …On Wednesday at Keystone Shooting Center in Mars, Butler County, owner Ty Eggemeyer said the percentage of customers buying their first gun was “extremely high.” “Most of what’s selling is for self-defense and protection,” he said. “Mostly handguns. Our home-defense shotguns, wiped out.”

Stephen Gutowski writes for the Washington Free Beacon about the potential political implications of expanded gun ownership.

Scott Kane went 38 years without ever touching a gun. That streak would have continued had it not been for the coronavirus. In March, fearful of the harassment his wife and child experienced over their Asian ancestry, Kane found himself in a California gun shop. His March 11 purchase of a 9mm would have been the end of the story, were it not for a political standoff over shutdown orders and background checks. Now Kane, a former supporter of gun-control measures and AR-15 bans, is frustrated by the arduous process that has denied his family a sense of security. The pandemic has made the soft-spoken software engineer an unlikely Second Amendment supporter. …Kane is not alone. An influx of new gun owners has the potential to permanently alter the politics surrounding guns in the United States. …Brian, a 40-year-old Floridian, used his savings to buy a Smith & Wesson M&P Shield in March after being laid off—the experience changed his entire approach to Second Amendment issues. …Andrew, a federal contractor who, along with his wife, bought a Heckler & Koch VP9 on March 21 in Virginia, said the state’s Democrat-controlled legislature pursuing a package of gun-control laws this winter in the face of unprecedented opposition directly contributed to his purchase.

And Kira Davis, in a column for Red State, also suggests that the coronavirus has led to new-found appreciation for the 2nd Amendment of the Bill of Rights.

My friend’s father owns a gun range near me and she said he’s seen a huge amount of liberals coming in to purchase weapons in recent weeks. How does he know they’re liberals? “They’re shocked to discover they can’t just walk out of the store with a gun.” …Not only are many liberals suddenly learning to love their Second Amendment rights, many of them are finding out that the gun control narrative in this country — as repeated loudly and often by Hollywood and the mainstream media — is a complete lie. …As a gun-owner who formerly abhorred the Second Amendment, …I find this whole situation fascinating. …There are a lot of people like me out there right now — first-timers and Second Amendment haters who feel like a hypocrite for wanting a gun for protection. …now they are navigating our convoluted gun laws for themselves… As these revelations begin to spread among our liberal brethren in the state of California, will we see a shift in gun laws and support for anti-Second Amendment legislators? Only time will tell

Aaron Tao, in an article published by the Foundation for Economic Education, summarizes the case for gun ownership.

In the United States, depending where you live, police response time ranges from nine minutes to over an hour. Right now, one in five New York police officers are currently out sick due to COVID-19. Police in multiple states have announced they will no longer respond to theft, burglary, and break-ins. Given the current climate, it’s not unreasonable to assume police will take much longer to arrive, if they do at all, should someone dial 911. Furthermore, Americans need to understand there is no legal obligation for the police to protect you, which is affirmed by the Supreme Court and multiple lower courts. (See Castle Rock v. GonzalesWarren v. District of Columbia, and Lozito v. New York City). Should the police fail to arrive or protect you when needed, you can’t even sue for neglect. …Should an even deadlier natural or man-made catastrophe take place, if the authorities haven’t been incapacitated, displaced, or destroyed completely, whatever personnel and resources are left will be prioritized to protect high-ranking government officials, their inner-circle, and critical government facilities and infrastructure. …ruling elites will be evacuated to a secure bunker in some undisclosed location while John Q. Public will be left to fend for himself. …Many Americans, especially minorities, have realized the need for self-protection in times of social upheaval and breakdown. It is unfortunate that it took a tragedy as extreme as the COVID-19 pandemic to remind people that we should never take peace, prosperity, and freedom for granted. But millions have now taken the first steps to defend themselves and their loved ones.

I don’t pretend to know whether the new surge in gun ownership will change the political landscape, but I know it’s good news when more people learn about the issue. Especially folks on the left. Not only the ones mentioned in the stories above, but also these articles that I’ve shared.

  • In 2012, I shared some important observations from Jeffrey Goldberg, a left-leaning writer for The Atlantic. In his column, he basically admitted his side was wrong about gun control.
  • Then, in 2013, I wrote about a column by Justin Cronin in the New York TimesHe self-identified as a liberal, but explained how real-world events have led him to become a supporter of private gun ownership.
  • In 2015, I shared a column by Jamelle Bouie in Slate, who addressed the left’s fixation on trying to ban so-called assault weapons and explains that such policies are meaningless.
  • In 2017, Leah Libresco wrote in the Washington Post that advocates of gun control are driven by emotion rather empirical research and evidence.
  • Last but not least, in 2019, Alex Kingsbury confessed in the New York Times that his long-held dream of gun confiscation was utterly impractical.

P.S. If you want some humor that combines coronavirus and guns, click here (next-to-last item), here (third item), and here (first item).

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Looking through my archives, I shared three column of gun control humor in 2019 (March, August, and December).

So it’s definitely time to add some new items to our collection.

We’ll start with a cartoon that shows how gun-control zealots would try to stop the coronavirus.

And I’m sure it will work just as well as signs declaring gun-free zones.

Next we have some satire about civil disobedience, this time in Virginia.

The bad news is that some new restrictions on gun rights were approved. The good news is that the worst idea was blocked by a citizen revolt.

Adolf Hitler imposed gun control after the Nazis seized power, so he’s looking up from hell (along with his fellow dictators) and can’t believe some people want to be disarmed.

Our next item for the collection is a clever depiction of the difference between open carry and concealed carry.

In either case, life is more difficult for criminals.

This next bit of satire is self-explanatory.

I don’t know Jordan Howard, but “a group of Karens who hate freedom” is a very succinct description.

As is my habit, I’m closing with my favorite item (even if the person who put it together obviously isn’t an expert on guns).

I’ve been in this situation a few times, though efforts to muzzle me usually aren’t very effective.

I don’t even own any “assault weapons,” much less one with a high-capacity magazine. But I definitely don’t want the government to restrict my freedom in case circumstances lead me change my mind.

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About 10 years ago, when Europe was in the midst of fiscal crisis, advocates for welfare spending rioted in some nations.

Given the continent’s grim long-run outlook, that got me thinking about the potential for a future breakdown of civil order and I wrote that it was tragic that most people in Europe didn’t have the right to own guns for self-protection.

Which led to this interview with NRA TV.

Today, the big concern is coronavirus rather than a future collapse of the welfare state

But it does raise the same issue of how to protect yourself and your family if there’s a breakdown or erosion of civil order.

I don’t think that’s imminent, but these headlines are somewhat worrisome.

We’ll start with an example from CNN that’s relatively benign.

But we then learn that the changes involve lack of enforcement and releasing crooks.

From MSN.

From Syracuse.com.

From the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

From NBC.

I’ve saved the best headline for last.

Call me crazy, but I don’t think crooks are likely to comply with such a request. After all, they wouldn’t be committing crimes if they were civic minded.

Which is why, when I read these types of stories, it reinforces my belief in the 2nd Amendment.

I want to protect people’s civil liberties for all sorts of reasons, and self-protection in extraordinary circumstances surely belongs on that list.

So the moral of the story is that what’s happening now is another strong argument against gun control.

Let’s close with this poll, which I originally shared back in 2013. I’ll be curious whether there will an increase in the percentage of people (14.43 percent as of this morning) citing “societal breakdown.”

P.S. Here’s a column from someone on the left who became a gun-rights supporter after dealing with the chaos caused by a natural disaster.

P.S.S. And let’s not forget the Korean merchants who defended their lives and property during the L.A. riots.

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Back in 2012, I asked readers to pretend they were criminals and to contemplate whether they would want to rob a house with armed residents.

This “IQ test” was designed to help people understand that cost-benefit analysis applies to all types of human behavior, including criminality. Some criminals are smart and some criminals are stupid, but all of them want to get the most benefit at the lowest cost.

And, at the risk of understatement, the possibility of getting shot is definitely a potential cost.

But don’t take my word for it. A Colorado TV station has a very revealing story about burglars engaging in cost-benefit analysis.

In the dead of night, when no one is awake — that’s when it’s most likely that a burglar will break into your home. It usually happens in minutes, but of all the house on the block, the thieves picked yours. What about your house made it a target? Two El Paso County jail inmates are spilling their secrets. They are two men behinds dozens of break-ins back in 2011. …Their opportunities came in the form of doors left unlocked, garage doors never closed and patio screens unlatched… When asked, what in a home will make you turn away? …They say any indication on your home or vehicles that you could fight back could keep them away. Inmate #2 explains, “If it’s something that says you’re Republican, you’re not going to get hit because Republicans like their 2nd Amendment rights. They love carrying guns. I’m not going to mess with that guy.” …”I don’t know if you’re in there with a shotgun waiting for me. We’re literally terrified,” Inmate #1 says.

Here’s a screenshot from the interview.

The obvious takeaway is that criminals prefer unarmed victims (as do dictators, terrorists, mass shooters, etc).

This is common sense, which is why some folks on the left have had epiphanies on the issue of guns.

It also may explain why a strong majority of Americans agreed that gun ownership promotes safety.

Nearly six in 10 Americans say that gun ownership increases safety…58 percent agree with the statement that gun ownership does more to increase safety by allowing law-abiding citizens to protect themselves. …These findings represent a reversal from 1999, when a majority — 52 percent — said gun ownership reduces safety. And they come at a time when 47 percent of American adults say they have a firearm in the household, up from 44 percent in 1999.

There was a very recent episode in Texas that underscores why it’s important for good people to possess weapons.

New Texas gun laws made it possible for a security team at the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement to act quickly and save countless lives of worshipers on Sunday, some lawmakers said. A gunman killed two people before a member of the congregation’s security team fatally shot him. “…we have taken a number of steps to help make sure that our places of worship — which should be a refuge from evils of the world — are safe for all who attend,” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said… State Sen. Donna Campbell…said the new law worked. “This is clearly why it was passed,” she said. “Evil is out there. But it’s not the gun. It’s the person who has control of the gun.” …State Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, echoed the sentiment. …“The Texas Legislature understood there were some weaknesses in the laws preventing law abiding Texans from protecting themselves,” Krause said. “I think we saw the benefits of those recent laws taking effect.”

The gunman presumably thought the church was filled with unarmed victims.

Thankfully, that wasn’t the case. And this will send a signal to other lunatics. At least in Texas.

An entire town in Georgia is sending a message to bad guys about potentially very high costs.

An unconventional welcome sign greets visitors….addressing would-be criminals and warning them not to cross the locals.“Welcome to Harris County, Georgia,” it reads, sarcastically adding: “Our citizens have concealed weapons. If you kill someone, we might kill you back. We have ONE jail and 356 cemeteries. Enjoy your stay! -Sheriff Mike Jolley.” The sheriff said it’s his saucy way of welcoming people to his county while…warning them that a number of the citizens exercise their right to bear arms. …Jolley said over that the past several years, concealed weapon permits in Harris County have tripled. …Jolley said he is giving out-of-towners fair notice about what they can expect.

Crooks presumably realize that there are some unarmed homes in Harris County, notwithstanding the sign, but this message may influence their cost-benefit analyses.

The bottom line is that there are bad people in the world and gun-free zones (whether in public areas or private homes) tilt the playing field in favor of those bad people.

Which is why the idea is so ripe for satire (also see here and here).

P.S. Speaking of satire, this comparison of Chicago and Houston is entertaining.

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Other than an occasional column about events in my home county of Fairfax, I’ve never written about public policy in Virginia.

This is because the Commonwealth has had a dull profile. It doesn’t have a track record of notably good policies, such as Florida and Texas, and it doesn’t have a track record of notably bad policies, such as Illinois or New Jersey.

But that’s changed now that Democrats have total control of government and are trying to restrict Second Amendment rights.

Here are excerpts from a report immediately after last November’s elections.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Wednesday said he will reintroduce gun control measures in the upcoming legislative sessions now that Democrats have taken control “…These are common-sense pieces of legislation,” he told CNN’s John Berman on “New Day.” “I will introduce those again in January. And I’m convinced, with the majority now in the House and the Senate, they’ll become law…”Northam and Democrats will now have an advantage in the assembly to pursue gun control measures that Republicans have pushed against and blocked. …A ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and reinstating Virginia’s one-handgun-a-month law were among eight policy proposals Northam introduced ahead of the session.

From a policy perspective, Northam and his allies are misguided.

In a tweet,Stephen Gutowski debunks some of the Governor’s demagoguery.

And the invaluable John Lott touches on another error in his Townhall column,

Democrats, who just took control of the Virginia state legislature, are about to pass a law that will dramatically limit the ability of people with concealed handgun permits from other states to carry in Virginia. …Currently, Virginia recognizes concealed handgun permits issued by all other states. Out-of-state permit holders can carry in Virginia as long as they follow local laws and carry photo identification. …If state Democrats and Henning get their way, criminals will only need to look for an out of state license plates to know who to attack. …There’s no good reason not to issue permits much more generously. Permit holders are extremely law-abiding… Police rarely commit crimes… But permit holders are even more law-abiding, facing a conviction rate that is just one-tenth as often. …there is a reason that over 86% of police chiefs and sheriffs support national reciprocity. And over 90 percent of street officers support concealed handgun laws. These are the people who see first-hand how reciprocity and concealed carry works. Overwhelmingly academic research finds that letting people carry concealed handguns reduces crime.

But this isn’t just an issue of bad policy (I strongly recommend this column if you want to learn more about the senselessness of proposals to impose gun control).

It’s also an example of how ordinary citizens can – and should – engage in civil disobedience.

The Wall Street Journal recently opined on how counties are voting to become sanctuaries for the Second Amendment.

Eighty-six of Virginia’s 95 counties have passed…sanctuary measures opposing restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms. They suggest that the counties might not enforce new state laws limiting gun rights. …Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam has made gun control a priority… Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw would make it a felony to sell, manufacture, purchase or possess so-called assault weapons and large-capacity magazines. …one state representative wants to call in the National Guard to enforce gun laws, and another has introduced a bill that requires firing police officers who don’t enforce a gun statute. …But the sanctuary movement has a point about the Constitution. The Supreme Court confirmed in its landmark Heller ruling that individuals have the right to bear arms, but politicians have often ignored it. …Sanctuary counties that decline to enforce Virginia laws are endorsing lawlessness. But it is no less lawless when the courts or politicians ignore Supreme Court decisions.

And the Washington Examiner reports on protests from citizens across the state.

Some 100,000 Virginia gun owners who have rallied at county and town meetings for “gun sanctuaries”…the Virginia Citizens Defense League, which is leading the gun sanctuary movement…issued an “alert” to supporters to start lobbying lawmakers in Richmond against gun control. He said that the new anti-gun laws from Democrats are “pouring in like a waterfall.” …Van Cleave’s group and another organization, Gun Owners of America, have helped to spark a pro-gun movement in Virginia that did not exist before Democrats swept the November 2019 elections. In the two months since, they led the sanctuary movement that has won approval in 94% of the state. …“Virginia had been a very free state for a long time. This is where freedom started…people are looking at Virginia, saying our freedom started here and … we’ll be damned if it ends here,” he added.

Indeed, there’s a big protest planned in Richmond for January 20.

And the Governor is quite nervous, as reported by NPR.

Fearing potential violence, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is declaring a state of emergency and is banning firearms and other weapons on the Capitol grounds in Richmond ahead of a gun rights demonstration… The event, hosted by Virginia Citizens Defense League, is expected to draw thousands of armed demonstrators, some from out of state. …On a Facebook page organizing the gun rights demonstration hosted by the Virginia Citizens Defense League, several commenters expressed frustration at Northam’s move to restrict guns from the Capitol grounds. One wrote, “This is simply a move to infringe on not only our 2nd Amendment rights but our 1st Amendment rights as well.”

By the way, there are sanctuary movements and other forms of civil disobedience all across the nation.

I’ve already written about such efforts in Colorado and Connecticut, and the Wall Street Journal reports on what’s now happening in New Mexico and Illinois.

…in New Mexico, 30 of 33 county sheriffs have signed a letter pledging to not help enforce several gun-control measures supported by Democrats in Santa Fe, according to the state’s sheriff association. The sheriffs, who are elected, say they are heeding the wishes of voters in the counties they serve. More than two dozen counties in the state have enacted “sanctuary” resolutions backing the sheriffs and affirming that no tax dollars in their jurisdictions should go to enforcing the proposed laws. …Elsewhere, about 60 counties in Illinois have approved—some by ballot measures—pro-Second Amendment resolutions, according to the Illinois State Rifle Association. …More than half of Washington’s sheriffs have denounced a gun-control package…as an unconstitutional and unenforceable step toward banning semiautomatic weapons. …In 2013, Colorado sheriffs joined a lawsuit in protest of expanded background checks and restrictions on higher-capacity ammunition magazines… Colorado sheriffs have very rarely charged anyone with violations, according to Dave Kopel, an attorney and scholar who represented the plaintiffs.

The article cites a law professor who explains that there is a downside to civil disobedience.

Norman Williams, a Willamette University law professor…drew a distinction between prosecutorial discretion and a categorical refusal to enforce a law. The latter undermines the rule of law, he said.

That’s a very fair point. But I also agree with the Wall Street Journal‘s argument that it is also “lawless when the courts or politicians ignore Supreme Court decisions.”

And that’s a perfect description of the actions of Northam and the rest of the anti-gun crowd.

Let’s close with a map showing the widespread resistance to the Virginia Governor’s anti-Second Amendment efforts.

Hopefully, more green has been added to this map over the past two weeks (though keep in mind that a big chunk of the state’s population lives in the handful of localities – Richmond, Northern Virginia, etc – that have not joined the resistance).

P.S. As noted above, civil disobedience is not the ideal way to deal with bad government policy. But when laws are immoral, despicable, and/or unconstitutional (everything from wretched Jim Crow laws to predatory traffic cameras), then I fully understand why ordinary citizens choose not to comply.

P.P.S. On a related note, citizens can also resist bad law by engaging in “jury nullification.”

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When I wrote yesterday’s column, which augmented my collection of satire about gun control, I had no idea I would feel compelled 24 hours later to address the issue from a serious perspective.

But two tragic events over the weekend underscore why the individual right of gun ownership is such an important part of the Constitution.

First, an anti-Semitic nutjob attacked Jews Saturday night.

At least five people have been stabbed in an attack at a synagogue in New York’s Rockland County. That attacker is now reportedly in custody after fleeing the scene. …The suspect has been identified as 37-year-old Grafton Thomas, of Greenwood Lake, New York, in Orange County. Thomas, covering his face with a scarf, reportedly entered the building and pulled out a machete to attack the victims during a Chanukah celebration. Thomas reportedly chased after and stabbed victims as they fled the synagogue before running off and escaping in a gray Nissan Sentra. …This incident happened amid a rash of anti-Semitic attacks this week. …“We will NOT allow this to become the new normal. We’ll use every tool we have to stop these attacks once and for all. The NYPD has deployed a visible and growing presence around Jewish houses of worship on the streets in communities like Williamsburg, Crown Heights and Boro Park,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio added in a tweet.

Needless to say, Mayor de Blasio is being dishonest when he claims he will “use every tool…to stop these attacks.”

Like politicians in Europe, he’s a dogmatic opponent of private gun ownership and believes Jews shouldn’t be allowed to defend themselves.

Fortunately, Jews who live outside New York City still enjoy some civil liberties and are now prepared to thwart attackers.

More power to these people, who are the Orthodox Jewish versions of these good ol’ boys from Texas.

For what it’s worth, I suspect dirtbags will be less likely to target the Jews in Rockland Country.

There was another attack at a house of worship over the weekend.

Though this report from Texas has a happy ending.

Police said they received a call shortly before 10 a.m. local time about gunshots at the West Freeway Church of Christ, in a suburb a less than an hour from downtown Fort Worth. After the suspect entered the church and fired a weapon, “a couple of members of the church returned fire,” killing the alleged shooter, state officials said at a news conference. …Gov. Greg Abbott (R) condemned the “evil act of violence” in a statement, adding: “Places of worship are meant to be sacred, and I am grateful for the church members who acted quickly to take down the shooter and help prevent further loss of life.” …New laws that took effect in 2019 allow Texans with concealed-carry permits to bring guns to places of worship unless a sign is posted prohibiting it.

The happy ending is that the bad guy was killed by armed members of the congregation, presumably minimizing the death toll.

I’ve joked before about Texans and guns, but we have a real-world case of how lives are saved. And what happened over the weekend wasn’t the first time.

Let’s now shift from anecdotes to data.

A few years ago, John Lott looked at the evidence about gun-free zones, armed citizens, and mass shootings.

…not one of the mass shootings since at least 2000…would’ve been stopped by these laws. Nor would renewing the federal “assault weapons” ban solve the problem; even research paid for by Bill Clinton’s administration found no evidence the ban reduced any type of crime. …a young ISIS sympathizer planned a shooting at one of the largest churches in Detroit. An FBI wire recorded him explaining why he had picked the church as a target: “It’s easy, and a lot of people go there. Plus people are not allowed to carry guns in church.” …PoliceOne, a private organization with 450,000 members (380,000 full-time active law enforcement and 70,000 retired), polled its members in 2013 shortly after the Newtown, Conn., massacre. Eighty percent of respondents said allowing legally armed citizens to carry guns in places such as Newtown and Aurora would have reduced the number of casualties. …According to police and prosecutors, there have been dozens of cases of permit holders clearly stopping what would have been mass public shootings. It’s understandable these killers avoid places where they can’t kill a large number of people. Research I have conducted with economist Bill Landes looked at 13 different types of gun-control laws. Right-to-carry laws were the only type that made a difference in the rate and severity of these mass public shootings. …even the most ardent gun-control advocate would never put “Gun-Free Zone” signs on their homes. Let’s finally stop putting them elsewhere.

Amen.

John Lott is an invaluable resource on these issues, as is Jacob Sullum.

Though it’s really an issue of common sense.

Mass shooters are evil, but they’re calculatingly evil. Even if they’re willing to die, they want a high body count. Armed citizens make that less likely.

The bottom lines is that we can save lives by making sure law-abiding people have the right to keep and bear arms.

What happened this past weekend simply provides us with more evidence.

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I haven’t added to the collection of gun control humor since way back in August.

So let’s rectify that oversight, starting with this sarcastic tweet about the logic of gun control.

Quite similar to this cartoon about stupid and illogical ways of fighting rape.

This cartoon strip zings both sides. While the left is sadly right that evil people won’t be stopped by “thoughts and prayers,” it’s also true that they are wildly wrong in thinking that gun control will succeed.

Indeed, advocates of gun control will make society less safe if they succeed in disarming law-abiding people.

Here’s some satire on both gun buy-backs and so-called red flag laws.

I’m skeptical about red flag laws, but I haven’t studied the issue enough to offer any commentary.

Though it’s definitely true that governments historically have the worst track record of violence.

But since this is a humor column, I’ll steer clear of serious analysis and instead note that the government of Baltimore was at least kind enough to provide some unintentional humor on the issue of buy-backs.

Since my left-leaning friends need plenty of tutoring on guns, here’s a helpful guide.

And we’ll close with some much-needed wisdom on being armed.

If you think this is an empty slogan, I very much recommend this article by someone who leans left but had an epiphany on the importance of self defense.

P.S. I have a collection of columns dealing with honest leftists on the issue of gun control. For other examples, click here, here, here, and here.

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I’ve shared examples of brain-dead behavior by bureaucrats at the Transportation Security Agency.

But the folks at the TSA may be paragons of wisdom and judgement compared to administrators at government schools.

Those bureaucrats seem incapable of improving test scores, even when they get showered with tax dollars, but they’re always ready to go overboard when kids…gasp…play with toy guns.

Or even when they pretend a stick is a gun. Or when they pretend their fingers are a gun.

Here’s a crazy example that just happened.

A 12-year-old Overland Park girl formed a gun with her fingers, pointed at four of her Westridge Middle School classmates one at a time, and then turned the pretend weapon toward herself. Police hauled her out of school in handcuffs, arrested her and charged the child with a felony for threatening. …according to Johnson County District Court documents, on Sept. 18, the girl “unlawfully and feloniously communicated a threat to commit violence, with the intent to place another, in fear, or with the intent to cause the evacuation, lock down or disruption in regular, ongoing activities …” or created just the risk of causing such fear. …“I think that this is something that probably could have been handled in the principal’s office and got completely out of hand,” said Jon Cavanaugh, the girl’s grandfather in California, where the girl is now living. He said his granddaughter has no access to a real gun and she had no intent of harming anyone. “She was just mouthing off,” he said.

School bureaucrats also over-react if students like a picture of a toy gun.

Here’s a story from two years ago.

An Edgewood Middle School student was handed a 10-day suspension for “liking” a picture of a gun on Instagram with the caption “ready.” The parents of Zachary Bowlin posted a picture of the intended suspension notice which read, “The reason for the intended suspension is as follows: Liking a post on social media that indicated potential school violence.” “I was livid, I mean, I’m sitting here thinking ‘you just suspended him for ten days for liking a picture of a gun on a social media site,” father Marty Bowlin said. “He never shared, he never commented, he never made a threatening post… anything on the site, just liked it.” The picture in question is of an airsoft gun, and according to the students’ parents, their child didn’t comment on the post but simply liked the picture.

We’ll wrap up with another bizarre case from this year.

School bureaucrats also don’t approve if students engage in legal behavior when they’re not at school.

Two male students at Lacey Township High School in New Jersey posted photos of guns on Snapchat. One of the boys captioned his photo with “hot stuff” and “if there’s ever a zombie apocalypse, you know where to go.” The photos were not taken at school. They were not taken during school hours. They did not reference a school. They auto-deleted after 24 hours, which was well before the school became aware of them. And yet, administrators at Lacey Township High School suspended the boys for three days, and also gave them weekend detention. This was a clear violation of the students’ First Amendment rights, and the American Civil Liberties Union has now filed suit. …The two students had visited a gun range owned by an older brother on Saturday, March 10, 2018. They practiced shooting with “legally purchased and properly permitted” guns, according to the lawsuit. They also took a few photos and posted them on Snapchat. None of the snaps were threatening, and none of them referenced a school. Nevertheless, a parent of another student heard about the photos and contacted school authorities. On Monday, the boys were forced to meet with an assistant principal and an anti-bullying specialist, who quickly decided to punish them for clearly constitutionally-protected speech.

Kudos to the ACLU for getting involved on the right side.

I wish it was because they supported the 2nd Amendment as well as the 1st Amendment, but their involvement is a plus regardless.

But that’s a separate issue.

For today, our topic is misbehavior by school bureaucrats. Is there a way of discouraging these ridiculous suspensions?

The good news is that schools often back down when these episodes of political correctness get exposed. And maybe legal action also could help.

But I suspect the only effective answer is busting up a hopelessly bad government school monopoly.

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It’s time to add some new material to our collection of gun control satire.

We’ll start with this clever use of rhetoric from the debate over illegal immigration.

Seems like a very humane approach.

Next, fans of Willy Wonka will appreciate this side trip into the land of make-believe.

By the way, I’m always happy to share clever humor from the other side, such as this depiction of an American breakfast.

So enjoy this German-language explanation of how to smuggle candy into an American theater.

This next bit of satire is amusing, though I wish its creator just used a random collection of David Hogg-types for the lower frame. As explained by the Pink Pistols, gun rights are especially important for sometimes-persecuted groups.

Three years ago, I shared an amusing comparison of how Europeans and Texans respond to terrorism.

Well, here’s a left-wing version of Paul Revere, warning neighbors of a looming terror attack.

Finally, let’s close with an amusing modification of the one-liner that Elizabeth Warren uses to denigrate gun owners.

We can safely assume that Ms. Warren has never seen this image. Or, if she has, she reached the wrong conclusion.

P.S. On a more serious note about gun control, I invite readers to peruse my collection (here, here, here, here, and here) of honest leftists.

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