PODCAST: David Harsanyi on America’s Enduring History With the Gun

On today’s show we feature an interview with David Harsanyi, author of the new book “First Freedom: A Ride Through America’s Enduring History with the Gun.” Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist and is a nationally syndicated columnist whose column appears weekly on The Daily Signal.

Also on today’s show:

  • Ken Starr, who served as independent counsel during Bill Clinton’s presidency, discusses impeachment, the Mueller investigation, and Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
  • We feature your letters to the editor. Don’t forget, your letter could be featured on our show; write us at letters@dailysignal.com or call 202-608-6205.
  • And some good news from two of America’s favorite quarterbacks.

The Daily Signal podcast is available on the Ricochet Audio Network. You also can listen on iTunesSoundCloudStitcher, or your favorite podcast app. All of our podcasts can be found at DailySignal.com/podcasts.

If you like what you hear, please leave a review or give us feedback. Enjoy the show!


American Values Are the Cure To Leftism

“Donald Trump isn’t the cause; he’s a symptom.”

Prominent leftists across the country parrot that statement often, but it’s most recently been championed by former President Barack Obama. A little over a month ago, Obama took the podium at the University of Illinois and echoed that exact sentiment to a crowd of sheep—that Trump is merely a symptom of the divide in our country, not the cause of it. The audience responded with mindless applause. Little did they know, Obama implicated himself, his party, and his ideology as the plague on our society.

Barack Obama

Obama’s assertion, then, begs the question: Who is the cause? And what exactly is Donald Trump a symptom of?

Radical leftists have long spent their days seeking control over individuals’ lives, pocket books, and freedoms, but since the turn of the 21st century, radical leftism in the United States has accelerated into the mainstream of the Democrat party and is looking to systematically dismantle the rights and values Americans have held since the colonists declared their independence.

Beginning in 2008, we experienced an Obama presidency that enabled leftism to sink into every facet of our lives. Political correctness and left-wing ideology infected governmental philosophy and the halls of Congress for generations previous. Radical rhetoric festered inside Washington, D.C., but rarely did it extend so far that it planted its roots so deeply into our daily lives.

White House

Gradually, we saw sporting events, the National Anthem, TV shows, and music take a downward turn toward the extreme left. Traditional values and American principles were scoffed at, and so-called “progressives” treated those who held said values with disdain, calling them bigots, xenophobes and homophobes. Leftists saw Heartland Americans—people found in Hillary’s basket of deplorables—as little more than ignorant rubes who clung to their god and their guns.

The left spread lethal lies and deadly rhetoric about law enforcement. They were disrespected as a whole, and children were raised to mistrust them, which gave rise to radical groups like Black Lives Matter and paved the way for a massacre of Dallas police officers.

Police Car

Trump is undoubtedly a symptom as well, but he’s not a symptom that indicates how far our country has fallen. Donald Trump is a symptom of our recovery. He’s a symptom that demonstrates America—the America the Founders envisioned—is beginning to wake up. He’s the sign that there is a cure to toxic liberalism.

NRA President LtCol Oliver North has found the cure.

The cure to the ills Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have inflicted upon our country is the Constitution. The cure is an American people who respect law and order, who cling to their god and their guns, who view America as the greatest country on the face of the earth.


The cure is people like Mark Robinson, a law-abiding citizen who stood for the Second Amendment. This is a man who had never owned a firearm, never was never a member of the NRA, yet he saw a fundamental right being chipped away and refuse to be silent.

The cure to mob rule and the violent left is people like Stephen Willeford, who responsibly own and bear arms for the defense of themselves, their families and their communities.

The cure to extreme leftism and socialist policies is people like Roozbeh Farahanipour, who experienced extremist tyranny first-hand and led a student revolt against the Iranian government. It’s people like Roozbeh who know what authoritarianism looks like and have stared it in the face, willing to be tortured and imprisoned if it means protecting their rights.

The cure to governmental overreach is people like Lucretia Hughes, who recognize that our inalienable rights of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness are given by our Creator and that they cannot and must not be taken away from us.

After eight years of an America under the weather, we’ve found the cure.

We are the cure.

EDITORS NOTE: This column with all images is republished with permission.

Bloomberg Finds Home in Today’s Democratic Party

In what observers have pegged as a preparatory step for a presidential run in 2020, on October 10 billionaire gun control financier and former-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg registered as a Democrat. Bloomberg ran as a Republican in his 2001 and 2005 mayoral campaigns. In 2009 Bloomberg ran for reelection as an independent. Despite having spent the better portion of the last two decades working to dismantle various freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, the would-be oligarch claimed he rejoined the Democrats to stand “as a bulwark against those who threaten our Constitution.”

Prior to this public declaration, Bloomberg was already deeply involved in Democratic Party politics. In June, the septuagenarian magnate announced that he would spend $80 million to help Democrats gain a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. Bloomberg later increased his expenditure to $100 million. In October, Bloomberg declared that he would spend $20 million to back Democratic Senate candidates. The tycoon was given a speaking slot at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

To be sure, there are plenty of pro-gun Democrats throughout the country. NRA, as a non-partisan single issue organization, endorses individuals who respect the Second Amendment regardless of party affiliation. However, in recent years the national leadership of the Democratic Party has made a concerted effort to attack the rights of law-abiding gun owners.

Following Democratic nominee Al Gore’s defeat in the 2000 presidential election, which Bill Clinton blamed on NRA, Democratic leadership sought to strike a more moderate tone on the issue. This effort was reflected in subsequent versions of the Democratic Party Platform.

The 2004 platform stated, in part, “We will protect Americans’ Second Amendment right to own firearms…”

The party’s 2008 platform included, “We recognize that the right to bear arms is an important part of the American tradition, and we will preserve Americans’ Second Amendment right to own and use firearms.”

In 2012, the Democratic platform added “individual” to the 2008 language and read, in part, “We recognize that the individual right to bear arms is an important part of the American tradition, and we will preserve Americans’ Second Amendment right to own and use firearms.”

In 2016, the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee endorsed Australia-style gun confiscation and refused to concede that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. The party’s platform shifted accordingly. Gone was any mention of the Second Amendment or the individual right-to-keep and bear arms.

Given the national Democratic Party leadership’s recent track record on the Second Amendment, Bloomberg should feel right at home. More reasonable Democrats, on the other hand, would do well to re-examine the historical difficulties the gun issue has presented to their party before jumping into bed with the biggest name in gun control.


Levi’s Teams with Billionaire Michael Bloomberg to Attack Gun Rights

Who’s BS’ing Now? Gonzalez Argues for Gun Confiscation but Insists She’s “Pro Second Amendment”

NRA Downgrades Sen. Tester’s Rating to a D

Federal Court Upholds N.J. Mag Ban, Reminds Gun Owners Importance of Federal Judiciary

Anti-gun Researcher Refutes His Own Anti-gun Conclusion

EDITORS NOTE: This column with photos is republished with permission.

Michael Cutler: Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner Says Illegal Immigration Contributes to Chicago Gun Violence

Former INS Agent Michael Cutler joins Dana Loesch to weigh in.

LtCol Oliver North: Don’t Let Them Make America Weak Again

“We cured the ills they brought to our country, so come this November, don’t let their disease make America weak again.” —NRA President LtCol Oliver North

Full Transcript

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have a new favorite line… that Donald Trump is a symptom, not the cause.

But here’s the Truth… Our President and all of us who believe in Making America Great, are a cure…

A cure to an ideology of elitism that looks down on those who own guns or pray to God, and calls our neighbors in the heartland deplorables.

A cure to an America last foreign policy that restricted the might of our military, and denied our wounded heroes the care they deserve.

A cure to targeting law enforcement, while celebrating those who dishonor our flag.

A cure to a Secretary of State who lied about Benghazi and a former president who disgracefully called the murder of those four Americans, a conspiracy theory.

And a cure to those who deny America’s greatness.

We cured the ills they brought to our country, so come this November, don’t let their disease make America weak again.

Florida’s “Red-flag” Law Has Red Flags Of Its Own

Mr. Thompson et al – you deserve a big Garland for your Ledger and News Chief editorial of October 6th entitled “Red-Flag” law has red flags of its own.

My wife and I, both of whom are Constitution loving, U.S. Army veterans, and law abiding gun owners; extensively studied Florida’s new 105 page SB 7026 school safety law. We immediately saw problems and warned in writing about much of your excellent editorial’s content/concerns regarding the “Risk Protection Orders (RPOs) also referred to as “Red Flag” laws. We have also notified our Polk County Congressional Delegation of our concerns. You are 100% accurate when you wrote about Florida being a (surprising) outlier compared with the other 10 states enacting red-flag laws which “are known for harboring hostility to guns and a proclivity for stricter gun-control laws.”

This law was hastily written following great pressure on the Legislature and Governor after the evil Parkland murders. With few exceptions, much of this law would never have been passed under other circumstances. It was a knee jerk reaction to a failure of law enforcement in Broward County both at the FBI and Sheriff levels and the Broward County School Superintendent as well. Yet, to date they have not been held accountable !

Children were murdered and something substantial needed to be done quickly such as Sheriff Judd’s Sentinel/Martial program to provide protection for children in our schools by school start-up but not with these RPOs which can bring the loss of rights, financial expense and reputations of law abiding citizens who are also gun owners.

You followed with the astute comments that “Yet strict attention must be paid to how this law is executed. The RPO process is fraught with significant potential for abusing the rights of law-abiding gun owners”. How true, including potential violations of our 2nd, 4th, 5th and 14th Amendment rights. As stated above, the only part that should have been so rapidly put into place was Sheriff Judd’s Sentinel or Martial program. The rest should have been thoroughly thought through including specific, understandable, not subject to open interpretation, constitutional procedures. Three (3) weeks was not enough time to get this hugely significant legislation right. Mid-term elections should not have been a consideration in the Legislature’s decisions..

After your explanation of potential factors for issuing a RPO such as violent criminal history, threatened violence, history of mental illness or substance abuse or threats of self harm you rightfully followed with “Yet, per Florida Senate staff analysis of the law, judges may grant RPOs after considering a simple “intent” to possess guns, or “any relevant information” supplied by family members or witnesses.”

You then quoted Kendra Parris, an Orlando lawyer who has been critical of the law, as noting on her blog that this standard is way too broad writing “Virtually anything can be considered relevant” – she also noted “the risk doesn’t have to be “concrete, likely, or imminent,” and she is so right about that.

For example, it is very disturbing to me as a combat veteran that a PTS diagnosis might be considered “relevant information” here especially since 99.9999% of those veterans with PTS are non-violent and non-threatening nor should this in any way be construed as mental illness.

Many of us lawful gun owners fear cases involving angry neighbors, jealous wives or girlfriends, vindictive ex-spouses, anyone who is anti-gun and knows others with guns or has an axe to grind can call in a false report. There are countless other false scenarios which could lead to an improper seizure by an RPO including possibly even the involvement of biased liberal judges or DAs with an anti-gun agenda. To make matters worse, the seizures come first followed by a hearing which is wrong and violates 4th, 5th and 14th Amendment rights to be free from unlawful seizures and to have Due Process. Unless there is formidable evidence of an imminent threat, the hearing should occur, the evidence heard and considered and the accused being able to present evidence before all the guns, accessories and concealed carry permits (if issued) are seized.

Please see the attached articles including my Letter to the Editor which you published. Lawyers are also beginning to recognize the potential violations of 4th, 5th and 14th Amendments because of the loose way this portion of the law is written leaving itself to many various interpretations. As stated above, I was gratified to see your reference to Orlando Attorney Kendra Parris adding her voice to the chorus of those concerned about the potential violations of Constitutional rights especially of Due Process. You also referenced Lakeland Attorney Tony C. Dodd’s concerns in your front page article of Sep 30 entitled Guns under lock – he was absolutely correct in his assessment and appreciate your inclusion of his remarks in this article. I would also invite you to read what another Attorney, Cynthia Clark had to say about this law.

Speaking of this Sep 30 article. I wrote to you and reporters Mr. Chambliss and Ms. Schottelkotte about their article the same day it was published – please see email below. Unfortunately, I have not received a response in answer to the following:

“Mr. Chambiss and Ms. Schottelkotte, I would urge you to follow up on this very huge issue including information on how many of these 121 Risk Assessment Orders since Sep 17 and beyond are/were overturned and at what cost to the rights (and personal financial expense) of law abiding, actually non-threatening citizens.” Also “what is/was the bureaucratic procedure for obtaining his (the grandfather in case overturned) lawful firearms back; how big a hassle was it; how much time did it take to get their property back and what condition were his guns in upon return?”.

It should also be noted that a person ordered to appear before a NPO hearing would be smart to hire an attorney but the law gives no recourse for this person to be reimbursed for his/her legal fees if found not to be a threat. Additionally, all of the accused’s firearms, accessories and permit most likely are seized before the hearing commences which is not Due Process. Nor is it Due Process for the accused to have to prove they are not a threat and should keep their firearms rather than the Court/Prosecutor proving they are a threat and holding all their seized firearms, accessories and concealed carry permit (if issued) for 1 year leaving them defenseless to protect themselves and their families against possible criminal acts.

Again, thank you for this timely and astute editorial on the RPO portion of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Act and please follow up on this whole issue. Lakeland Lawyer Tony C. Dodds was insightful when he predicted that “there will be numerous challenges to its constitutionality.” With the exception of Sheriff Judd’s Sentinel or Martial Program many parts of this law including the part dealing with ex parte and RPO seizures are bad law as written.

I’m sure you know that both Senator’s Bill Nelson and (disappointingly) Marco Rubio have indicated they favor national Red Flag laws and so has anti-2A Representative Darren Soto – 9th Dist and Gov candidate Andrew Gillum. Nelson, Soto and Gillum also are on record for banning AR 15 type rifles and high capacity magazines of all kinds (rifle and pistol) and mandatory registration of all firearms.

Sir – when I went to bed at 3:30 am on November 7, 2016, I was hugely relieved that Hillary Clinton would not be my President. Among other reasons she was adamantly against my 2nd Amendment and other God given natural rights spelled out in the Bill of Rights not as rights but as prohibiting government over-reach of these rights. She would have taken action including SCOTUS appointments to do away with or weaken my Second Amendment and other rights. Now, with this Florida government over-reach, I find myself with this same kind of anxiety as a resident of the State of Florida because of this bad law. This isn’t right and must be changed !

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is by Debby Hudson on Unsplash.

VIDEO: Kavanaugh, Gorsuch Are Our Firewall Against the Anti-Gunners

“Today, I rejoice, thanks to the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh and his ascension to his seat on the United States Supreme Court. We have a firewall in place when it comes to the protection of the Second Amendment. With Judge Kavanaugh joining Judge Neil Gorsuch on the high court, gun owners can rest a tad easier.” —Grant Stinchfield

A Month Ago, Levi’s Wanted Your Guns. Now They Want You To Elect People To Take Them

Levi Strauss is a clothing company with an agenda. It has a “1” ranking in all five of 2ndVote’s categories where it takes corporate action and just a month ago launched a million-dollar anti-gun campaign.

Now it’s pushing an ad to get out the vote — and we know from their corporate actions which way they want voters to go:

“Levi’s is all about authentic self-expression,” said Jen Sey, senior VP and chief marketing officer of Levi Strauss & Co. in a statement. “And there is no purer form of self-expression than voting.”

Levi’s left-wing values can’t be hidden by its ad’s blue-collar workers. Levi’s matches corporate donations to Planned Parenthood and has aligned its company to get approval from the Human Rights Campaign. It backs environmental policies which harm U.S. workers and do scant good for the environment, like cap-and-trade.

In short, Levi’s is part of the same movement as the demagogues in Congress who are right now smearing Judge Brett Kavanaugh as a sexual assailant. These folks are so fixated on their dangerous ideologies that they can’t even see how they are standing against traditional American values.

2ndVote shoppers, we need you to act. Click the button below to tell Levi’s to stop sticking its nose into politics. And be sure to consider shopping at Eddie BauerCarhartt, AnthropologieTommy HilfigerJ. Crew, and Van Heusen — all neutral companies which focus on impressing you, the customer, not a few loud liberal talking heads.

Send Levi Strauss an Email!

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is by Bogdan Glisik on Unsplash.

Vote NO to Amendment 13 on your Florida Absentee Ballot Arriving Soon

In the Palm Beach Post article “Cerabino: “Humane treatment” of greyhounds triggers NRA alarm in Florida” staff writer Frank Cerabino wrote:

The Florida Greyhound Association tried to get the measure, which would become Amendment 13, thrown off the ballot. The group was temporarily successful when Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers ruled that the ballot language was too deceptive.

“In short, proposed Amendment 13 is misleading and inaccurate and incomplete, while adding up to a ‘hide the ball,’ ‘fly a false flag’ and outright ‘trickeration,’ ” the judge wrote.

[ … ]

But it was another objection Gievers had to the ballot language that caught the attention of the NRA.

Gievers wondered if voters would even realize that in the fine print of this Amendment, the “humane treatment of animals” would become a “fundamental value” in the state constitution.

Gievers’ ruling was overturned this month by the Florida Supreme Court on a 6-1 vote. The majority of the justices took issue with Gievers’ strong condemnation of the measure’s wording, finding that “the ballot language does not mislead voters with respect to Amendment 13’s scope.”

The following information was sent via email to NRA members by the NRA Political Victory Fund:

Amendment 13, while claiming to stop betting on greyhound racing, has a hidden agenda that could lead to a ban on hunting and fishing.

Animal rights extremists are pushing this amendment to establish a legal foothold in the Florida Constitution that can be used to ban legitimate activities involving all animals — including pet ownership.

Amendment 13 includes the phrase:  “The humane treatment of animals is a fundamental value of the people of the State of Florida.”

The above language will not appear on the ballot BUT IT IS IN THE AMENDMENT and it is dangerous.

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), is the lead organization pushing for Amendment 13’s passage.  HSUS opposes hundreds of common and traditional activities involving animals because they claim they are “inhumane.”

In fact, the list of activities HSUS and other animal extremist organizations find objectionable is huge and includes hunting, fishing, farming, animal husbandry, marine parks, owning an animal as a pet.  That’s what this is really about.

Many believe the first action of these extreme animal rights groups will be to immediately seek bans on hunting and fishing.

Make no mistake, training, owning and using working dogs including military dogs, cattle dogs, seeing-eye dogs, companion dogs, police dogs, or any animal that gives aid, protection, safety or comfort could be challenged as “inhumane” if Amendment 13 passes.

If you own an animal that has become a member of your family, watch out for Amendment 13.  It could shatter your way of life if some animal rights organization decides to challenge the right to own an animal or have an animal in your home or on your property by calling it “inhumane.”

Your absentee ballot will be arriving soon and whether you are voting absentee, early voting or at the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018

VOTE NO to Amendment 13

Amendment 13 needs to be defeated to protect your rights and the preservation of true animal protection in the field and at home.

Floridians must understand the long term potential impact of any Constitutional ballot initiative.

RELATED ARTICLE: Cerabino: “Humane treatment” of greyhounds triggers NRA alarm in Florida

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is by Arnaud Jaegers on Unsplash.

How to Spot Misleading Statistics in the Gun Control Debate

The question should not be, “Do guns prevent crime?” The question should be, “Are guns useful at resisting crime?”

The academic debate over gun control consists mainly of a war of statistics. New studies come out every few weeks, and as a result, both sides are constantly locking horns over the validity or invalidity of this-or-that study in this-or-that country.

For those who aren’t formally trained in data analysis, this debate can seem impossible to navigate. How should untrained laypersons go about interpreting the findings of statistical studies?

It’s About Resistance, Not Prevention

Statistics come in all shapes and sizes, so the first thing we need to do is determine which kinds of statistics are relevant to the gun control debate and which are irrelevant. To do this, we need a clear understanding of what the gun control debate is fundamentally about. We can’t separate the relevant from the irrelevant if we aren’t clear about how to frame the issue.

So, what is the debate over gun ownership fundamentally about? Many seem to think that it’s about deterrence; that is, whether gun ownership prevents crime. The most well-known proponent of this view is John Lott, who argues that shall-issue right-to-carry laws are effective at reducing crime rates by means of deterring criminals. Lott’s research has been corroborated by a number of other studies and criticized by others.

Regardless of whether Lott’s research stands up to scrutiny, I want to suggest that it’s mistaken to think about the gun ownership debate chiefly in terms of crime prevention. On the contrary, whether there exists a right to own guns depends chiefly on whether guns are reasonable means of resisting crime.

Although prevention is more socially desirable (it is better that a crime not happen in the first place), any deterrent benefits that guns may have would owe to their resistance benefits, so the latter is more fundamental. Guns are valued for self-defense primarily because of their ability to dispense lethal force, which means that resistance—not prevention—is primary. Prevention is an added benefit, but it is secondary.

None of this is to say that Lott’s research is wrong. Rather, the point I’m making is that prevention and resistance are two very different things, and the latter is what the gun debate is fundamentally about.

To illustrate the difference, let’s suppose that I encounter a mugger while taking a walk. I brandish my firearm to the mugger, who is undeterred and rushes me with a knife. I then shoot the mugger, stopping the crime. In that situation, my gun has failed to prevent a crime, but it was successful at resisting a crime. The gun was an effective and reasonable means of self-defense even though it failed to deter the would-be mugger.

This is a very crucial point that must be carefully appreciated. Even if guns don’t prevent crime by reducing the overall crime rate, it wouldn’t mean that guns are not a reasonable means of resisting crime. As far as gun rights are concerned, the single most important issue is simply the question of whether guns do a good job when deployed against a criminal assailant. Deterrence is not the key issue at stake.

The Wrong Kinds of Studies

With that point in mind, we are now in a position to evaluate the relevance of empirical studies. Suppose for the sake of argument that pro-control advocates are right that gun ownership or right-to-carry laws do not deter crime. What follows from this? Nothing much, actually. Since the gun debate is primarily about whether guns are reasonable means of resisting crimes, the fact that guns may not work to prevent crime doesn’t really damage the case for gun ownership.

This same is true even if guns increase crime. Let’s revisit the earlier scenario involving the mugger. Suppose that upon seeing my brandished gun, the mugger becomes enraged and charges me. In that case, not only has my gun failed to prevent a crime, it may actually have worsened one. But that wouldn’t mean that my gun wasn’t a reasonable means of resisting crime, nor that I wasn’t justified in using it to defend myself.

The point here is this: even if studies showing that gun ownership or right-to-carry laws increase crime are right, they’re irrelevant. It doesn’t follow that guns are not effective when used in self-defense. Since the merits of gun ownership center around their resistance benefits, it is misleading to attack that by focusing on their lack of preventative benefits. The failure of a gun to prevent crime doesn’t imply its failure at resisting crime.

Proponents of gun control are therefore guilty of a subtle sleight of hand when they cite studies showing that guns lead to more crime or that gun-owners have a higher risk of being killed by a gun. Even if all these studies are true (and there is considerable reason to doubt that they are), they are wholly irrelevant to what is actually at stake in the debate over gun ownership. It confuses the risk that guns have in general with their effectiveness when used for self-protection.

Now to be fair, many gun advocates are guilty of making this same mistake, in that they frame the entire debate in terms of deterrence and crime prevention. While it’s not wrong to look at these questions, they should be secondary to what really matters. Gun advocates should direct their primary attention to the number of defensive gun uses and the effectiveness of guns in self-defense, as they pertain directly to the core issue of the gun debate: resisting crime.

So, the next time you see a study showing how gun ownership may increase crime or one’s chances of dying, know that it is irrelevant to what is actually at stake. Being able to make the distinction between prevention and resistance won’t make you an expert at data analysis, but it will go a long way in helping you wade through the morass of anti-gun statistics.

The Right Kinds of Studies

The type of studies we should be paying attention to are those studies that deal directly with the effectiveness of guns when used in a self-defense scenario. On that topic, there is a clear and overwhelming consensus that guns are effective when used in self-defense.

A 1993 study published in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology found that out of eight different forms of robbery resistance, “victim gun use was the resistance strategy most strongly and consistently associated with successful outcomes for robbery victims.”

A 2000 study published in the Journal of Criminal Justice found that men and women who resisted with a gun were less likely to be injured or lose property than those who resisted using some other means or who did not resist at all. In the case of women, “having a gun really does result in equalizing a woman with a man.”

A 2004 study published in the journal Criminology found that out of sixteen different forms of victim self-protection, “a variety of mostly forceful tactics, including resistance with a gun, appeared to have the strongest effects in reducing the risk of injury.”

Finally, a 2010 study published in Crime and Delinquency found that resistance with a gun decreased the odds of robbery and rape completion by 93 percent and 92 percent, respectively.

Taking stock of these points, the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council concluded in a 2013 review of the literature that

studies that directly assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns have found consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies.

When it comes to the use of studies and statistics, both sides tend to focus on the impact of gun ownership and right-to-carry laws on causing or deterring violence. These are certainly interesting issues to examine, but deterrence (or lack thereof) isn’t actually relevant to the key question in the gun debate. What matters is simply the question of whether guns are effective at doing what they’re designed to do. And on that question, there is clear consensus that guns are extremely effective at self-defense.

Tim Hsiao

Tim Hsiao

Tim Hsiao is Instructor of Philosophy and Humanities at Grantham University. His website is timhsiao.org

INFOGRAPHIC: Side by Side Comparison of Candidates for Governor of Florida

This infographic provides a comparison of the policy positions of Gubernatorial Candidates Republican Ron DeSantis and Socialist Andrew Gillum.

Infographic provided by Ron DeSantis for Governor campaign.

EDITORS NOTE: The modified featured image is by Alex Perez on Unsplash.

Gun Control Twist: Saving One Life “Does Not Justify” Right-to-Carry

Gun control advocates often use some version of the phrase “if it saves one life” in order to justify their ineffective proposals. This week, the anti-gun editorial page of the Chicago Sun-Times offered a different take. Fearful that the Right-to-Carry was getting too much good publicity in the wake of an Illinois concealed carry permit holder’s heroic actions, the Sun-Times editorial board felt it necessary to lecture its readers, “One brave rescue of a Cicero cop doesn’t justify concealed guns.”

According to a news report from the Sun-Times, on September 13, Cicero Police Officer Luis Duarte and his partner were attempting to pull over a vehicle when the driver sped off. Officer Duarte and his partner gave chase and were able to immobilize the suspect’s car. Trapped, the driver retrieved a gun and fired at the officers, striking Officer Duarte four times.

As the officers and the suspect exchanged gunfire, a nearby motorist, and Right-to-Carry permit holder, exited his vehicle and came to the aid of the officers, firing at the gunman. The gunman was struck during the exchange and was later taken to the hospital in serious condition.

Following the incident, Cicero Police Superintendent Jerry Chlada praised the armed citizen, noting, “We were lucky enough to have a citizen on the street there who’s a concealed-carry holder, and he also engaged in gunfire.” Cicero town President Larry Dominick offered similar appreciation for the carry permit holder, stating, “He got out and started helping the police, which is something I’ve got to be proud of.” Illinois became a Right-to-Carry state in 2013, making it one of the more recent states to adopt a shall-issue permitting regime, and the last to adopt a system by which a citizen can be licensed to carry a gun for self-defense.

All of this commendation for the selfless act of an armed hero proved too much for the Sun-Times. Lamenting the support the incident might provide for the Right-to-Carry, the paper huffed, “Hang your argument on a single anecdote, and you can defend almost anything.” Going further, the editors argued that “one brave deed does not justify bad public policy.”

First, Right-to-Carry is not bad public policy. Right-to-Carry permit holders have proven themselves to be exceptionally law-abiding. Repeated examinations of Right-to-Carry permit holder revocation data in large states like Florida and Texas has shown that concealed carry permit holders are among the most law abiding demographic in the country.

Second, instances of private individuals using firearms to defend themselves and others go well beyond the anecdotes that make the press. In his most recent analysis of the data on defensive gun uses, Florida State University Criminologist Gary Kleck determined that Americans use firearms for self-defense about 1 million times per year. Some of the Sun-Times’ ignorance on this matter might stem from the Center for Disease Control’s failure to report this information to the public.

To be sure, gun rights supporters enjoy individual stories of armed citizens confronting criminals – and there is no shortage of them. The Armed Citizen column, and before that Guns & Bandits, has been a staple of The American Rifleman since 1932. In 1996, NRA-ILA published a special compilation booklet of armed citizen stories where ordinary Americans had directly assisted law enforcement officers in their fight against crime.

The Sun-Times’s denigration of the Right-to-Carry and denial of defensive gun uses is nothing out of the ordinary. It’s the way they dismissed gun owners that is interesting.

Decades of anti-gun messaging has told the American public that if a gun control measure “saves just one life” any infringement on the rights of law-abiding gun owners is justified.

For example, in early 2013, President Barack Obama implored Congress to enact gun control by stating, “If there’s even one thing we can do to reduce this violence, if even one life we can save, we have an obligation to try it.” Vice-President Joe Biden reiterated the president’s sentiment, noting, “As the president said, if your actions result in only saving one life, they’re worth taking.”

A pair of older, Chicago-related examples occurred in the 1990s. In 1994, the Cook County Board of Commissioners passed a ban on commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms. Upon passage, Commissioner John P. Daley told the Sun-Times, “If this legislation saves one life, so be it.” In 1998, Mayor Richard M. Daley touted the Windy City’s frivolous lawsuit against the gun industry and other gun control measures in an op-ed for the Sun-Times. Demanding action, the mercurial mayor wrote, “One life lost is one too many.”

Coupled with the messaging of their anti-gun allies, the Sun-Times appears intent on creating a can’t-lose scenario for gun control. This holds that if even one life may be saved by a particular gun control measure, it must be adopted. However, if a measure permitting access to firearms for self-defense may save one life, it is not adequate justification to condone such freedom. Gun rights supporters should give this latest evolution in gun control rhetoric the same consideration as its traditional iteration: none.

New Industry Statistics Underscore Popularity of “America’s Rifle”

JFK with an AR-15 (M-16) in the Oval Office. Photo: White House.

Senator Dianne Feinstein has spent the last 26 years pushing gun control at the federal level and earlier this month demonstrated her willingness to distort facts and Supreme Court precedent in her ongoing effort to restrict your Second Amendment rights. During a confirmation hearing for President Trump’s latest Supreme Court nominee, Feinstein ludicrously claimed that semiautomatic rifles like the AR-15 – long heralded as “America’s Rifle” – are not “in common use.”

We now have more than 16 million reasons to disagree with her.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the firearms industry trade association, has calculated the number of semi-automatic rifles – including AR and AK pattern rifle –  produced (minus those exported) and imported in the U.S. on an annual basis between 1990 and 2016. During that time, there have been approximately 16,069,000 AR and AK semi-automatic rifles available for sale in the United States.

NSSF estimated that there were 2.3 million semi-automatic rifles manufactured or imported into the United States in 2016. Their figures trace the growth of the market through the late 1990s and early 2000s, with 2009 ushering in a modern boom. There were more ARs and AKs produced in the U.S. in 2009 than there were produced and imported in 2008. The same is true of 2012, of 2013, and of 2014. Domestic production ebbed in 2014, but then rebounded strongly in 2015 and peaked in 2016.

Plotting these production numbers with recent control of Congress and the White House reveals an obvious pattern; one can see the impact of anti-gun politicians on spiking production numbers.

However, the market will only accommodate what consumers want, and we have seen strong background check numbers even as pro-gun allies won control of Congress and the White House. In 2017, there were more than five million NICS checks related to the sale of long guns and more than 2.9 million through the end of August this year.

The FBI doesn’t split semi-automatic rifles out from other rifles or shotguns in the “long gun” category, but NSSF Senior Vice President Lawrence G. Keane told Guns.com that, “Modern sporting rifles are the most commonly purchased rifle by Americans today.”

Needless to say, there is nothing “reasonable” or moderate about banning what is literally the most popular class of rifles in America. And the relative infrequency with which any sort of rifle (semiautomatic or not) is used in violent crime underscores the fact that the Americans who are buying these guns by the millions do so for lawful purposes.

In any case, the Supreme Court could not have been clearer in Heller that the arms protected by the Second Amendment depend on the choices of law-abiding Americans, not criminals.

And Americans have made their choice by elevating modern semi-automatic rifles to the top of the list.

EDITORS NOTE: The AR-15, military designation M-16, was widely expanded for use in the U.S. armed forces under President John F. Kennedy and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. President Kennedy was a life time member of the NRA.

Colion Noir Reports on Gang Retaliation in Chicago

“Imagine being in a community where you’re surrounded by people who are willing to retaliate at the drop of a dime for helping out with the police investigation.”

Colion Noir investigates the problems plaguing Chicago that the politicians ignore and the media never talks about. City officials say residents should work with police to identify criminals and violent gang members, yet they don’t consider that doing so could put someone’s life at risk of retaliation. But there are good people in Chicago – outside of the politicians – who are working to address this problem. Among them are Chicago Guns Matter’s Rhonda Ezell and Pastor Brooks and Pastor Grooms of New Beginnings Church of Chicago.

Noir speaks with them to understand the complex relationship between the police and inner city residents, the fear of retaliation that perpetuates gang control and a media willing to the stoke the flames of violence in a city that’s seen more than 2,100 shootings this year alone. This is about solutions—about changing a cycle. About bringing an end to people living in fear of retaliation.

How Louisiana Stood Up to the Anti-Gun Corporate Elite

The state of Louisiana recently held some members of the corporate social police accountable for discriminating against law-abiding Americans.

By a vote of 7-6, the State Bond Commission excluded Citigroup and Bank of America from the running for a lucrative state contract. Our reason for doing so: these corporations had introduced bank policies that restrict legal access to firearms and bank misrepresentations on those policies.

While our governor and his allies sided with these anti-gun corporations, conservatives stood together to protect the Second Amendment rights of Louisiana citizens.

Citigroup and Bank of America’s policies were grotesque attempts to capitalize on the tragedy in Parkland, Florida. In the wake of the tragedy, they proudly and publicly announced plans to restrict the distribution, manufacture, and purchase of firearms.

When called to task by our commission this past spring, these “too big to fail” companies asserted that they had no policies restricting the availability of firearms to law-abiding citizens.

When asked to defend these positions a second time, Citigroup and Bank of America then attempted to convince us their policies would have minimal effects on Louisianans, stressing that they were specifically tailored to either a particular age group or class of firearm.

This type of double-speak is not uncommon in today’s liberal corporate culture. Banks, airlines, tech firms, and many other corporations have tried to cash in on easy public relations wins by appeasing outraged activists so that “news” outlets like CNN and MSNBC will applaud their actions.

Fortunately, our commission did not fall for the trap. Instead, we fought back—something other government entities would be wise to do.

The clear disconnect between the banks’ policies and their likely effects shows exactly how little these companies care for our Second Amendment rights. Such casual dismissal of our cherished rights and values should not be minimized or dismissed.

Recently, the people of my state directly and overwhelmingly approved the strongest possible constitutional protection of our gun rights. The constitutional amendment states that “the right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right and any restriction of that right requires the highest standard of review by a court.”

I intend to continue upholding that duty and fighting boardroom elitists who seek to use their power to undermine our constitutional rights.

I have not and will not allow their public virtue signaling to even nominally affect the ability of Louisiana citizens to enjoy their Second Amendment rights. I am proud of our majority on the Louisiana Bond Commission who saw these policies for what they are.

I hope others will follow our example and hold these companies accountable for the full extent of their actions, especially those that restrict Americans’ exercise of their right to defend themselves and their families.


Portrait of Jeff Landry

Jeff Landry is the attorney general for Louisiana. Twitter: .

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EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of Shreveport, Louisiana is by Sean Pavone/Getty Images.