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Posts Tagged ‘Tuscon Shooting’

Stephen Hunter is a former film critic for the Washington Post, but the column he just wrote for that paper certainly shows that he does not fit the stereotype of a left-wing journalist. Writing about the threat of gun control after the Tuscon shooting, Hunter explains why “extended magazines” serve a very valuable and legitimate self-defense purpose, particularly for women and the elderly.

What’s often lost amid activists’ carping is that the effect of the notorious extended magazine does little to improve the pistol’s lethality… Neither Seung-Hui Cho, the Virginia Tech mass murderer, nor the alleged Fort Hood killer used extended magazines in their rampages. America’s first gun mass murder, when Howard Unruh killed 13 people in 1949, was committed with a Luger. In fact, the extended magazine…destroys the pistol’s essence; it is no longer concealable. …That’s why extended magazines are rarely featured in crime – and that awkwardness spells out the magazine’s primary legitimate usage. …for those who are not hard-core gun folks it’s an ideal solution for home defense, which is probably why hundreds of thousands of Glocks have been sold in this country. Particularly in rural Arizona, given the upsurge in border violence, it’s likely that residents feel the need to defend themselves against drug predators, coyote gunmen or others. Yes, they can use semiautomatic rifles and shotguns, protected by the Second Amendment and unlikely to be banned by local law, but women generally don’t care to put in the training needed to master them. Nor can the elderly handle them adeptly. For them, the Glock with a 33-round magazine is the weapon of maximum utility. You can load it on Sunday and shoot it all month. (Nobody wants to reload a gun while being shot at.) It’s light and easy to control. You don’t have to carry it or conceal it; it’s under the bed or in the drawer until needed. When the question arises of who needs an extended magazine, the answer is: the most defenseless of the defenseless. Those who would ban extended magazines, will say that although hundreds of thousands are in circulation and thousands more will surely be sold before a ban is enacted, it will be worth it if it saves just one life. But the other half of that question must be asked, too: Is it worth it if it costs just one life?

By the way, Stephen Hunter is a very accomplished author. I’ve read several of his books and they are first rate. And now that I know he believes in freedom, I’ll be sure to go out of my way to buy more of them.

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While some on the left were utterly contemptible in their efforts to blame the Tuscon shootings on anything or anyone other than the nut who pulled the trigger, it is perfectly legitimate for them to claim that the tragedy is a reason to impose gun control and erode constitutional rights.

But that doesn’t mean they’re right. I’ve commented on gun control issues many times, including here, here, here, and here, but let’s see what some real experts have to say. John Lott deals with the “concealed carry” issue for FoxNews.com, and here are some key excerpts.

Of all the multiple victim shootings around the country in public schools, the Appalachian Law School, on city streets, churches, or in malls that have been stopped law-abiding citizens with concealed handguns, none, not a single one has resulted in innocent bystanders being shot. Indeed, rarely do the citizens with the concealed handguns actually pull the trigger, simply brandishing the gun stops the attack. Permit holders do not endanger others. Take Arizona, since that is where all the focus is. As of December 1, 2007, there were 99,370 active permits. During 2007, 33 permits were revoked for any reason — a 0.03% rate — cases that did not involve using the gun to harm others. …most of the academic research, including recent research on right-to-carry research by economists and criminologists do indeed show that the laws reduce violent crime. Among peer reviewed studies in academic journals, 16 studies examining national data find that right-to-carry laws reduced violent crime, 10 claimed that they found no discernible effect, and zero studies found a bad effect from the law. Five other non-refereed studies were more divided, with three finding drops in crime, one claiming to find no effect, and two saying that there were either no effect or possibly small increases in crime. But even “no discernible effect” is usually not the same as “debunking” or “refuting” a hypothesis. Rather it often means that the evidence is not sufficient to draw a conclusion. Both Kristof and Donohue link to a paper by Ayres and Donohue that supposedly “debunks” my research. That is hardly true. Even if we were to fully accept the wording of the research paper, which is questionable, they claim to have found a small temporary initial rise in crime, followed by a long sustained drop. Yet, even the initial increase is a result of a mistake in how they set up their regressions and even their own more precise estimates of the yearly changes in crime never show that increase.

And Robert Verbruggen, writing for NationalReview.com, undertakes the daunting task of trying to educate anti-gun zealots (i.e., journalists) about basic firearms knowledge. He makes a few suggestions that, if followed, would at least protect them from looking completely ignorant.

If a left-of-center reader turned to his favorite pundits this week to find out what to think about the Tucson massacre and gun laws, he’d have read nothing but clichés and half-truths. There are at least two reasons for this. First is that most of these columnists have no firsthand knowledge of guns or gun culture. Second is that they haven’t bothered to read any of the countless academic studies of gun control that have come out since John Lott published More Guns, Less Crime in 1998. …Here are some quick and easy tips for anti-gun columnists — if you follow them, you’ll still be wrong, but at least you won’t sound so ridiculous. 1. Don’t assume criminals follow laws. …2. If you’re going to write that a certain kind of gun is particularly dangerous, consult someone who knows something about guns first. …3. Don’t prattle on about “hunting” or “sport” — and more generally, don’t forget about self-defense.

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