How to Spot Misleading Statistics in the Gun Control Debate
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.
It seems a lot of people have a misconception of the meaning of the Second Amendment; The Bill of Rights gives no one anything. What it does do is stop the government from infringing on your right that is inherent to you just being a person. This goes way back 200 years in British common law.As for getting the soldiers and National Guard on our streets to make them safe. Can’t do that because of Posse Comitatus. It makes it illegal for federal troops to be used as a police force. If you don’t think this is a problem, check on the fiasco of the aftermath of the Boston bombing where the police dressed like the military went door to door without warrants. If you didn’t want to comply, the police broke into your house and searched it anyway.
There are estimated between 5 million and 10 million AR-15s in America. As of this writing, there have been 20 AR-15s used by school shooters. That is 0.0002 percent of AR-15s. You are worried about this? This is going to sound heartless but your child is more likely to be hit by lightning than be killed by a school shooter. It isn’t callous, it is just math.
If you really want to understand the Second Amendment, read “The Federalist Papers” written by the real writers of the Constitution — James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay — in particular numbers 29 and 36.
Rock Island County activist Eliza Siep is all in favor of legislation that she believes will make Illinois communities safer by protecting Second Amendment rights.
“I would stand for that,” Siep told Rock Island Today of a push among some lawmakers in the county to have the area designated as a Second Amendment Sanctuary County. “If people want guns in our state, in our counties and in our cities, I actually feel safer. When I’m walking around the Walmart I would love to think that somebody would be carrying a concealed weapon legally and would be able to help out. When people have their firearms legally, they’re able to protect themselves and others if need be.”
Rock Island County Republican Party Chairman Drue Mielke
Rock Island County Republican Party Chairman Drue Mielke
In adopting such a policy, Rock Island County officials would be following in the footsteps of Effingham, Mercer, Henry, McDonough, Stark, Henderson and LaSalle counties, all of which have recently passed resolutions not to enforce state laws that they believe “unconstitutionally restrict the Second Amendment.”
Rock Island County Board member and County Republican Chairman Drue Mielke told WQAD that he was recently approached by a local citizens group so intent on adopting the legislation that they were thinking of trying to have the issue appear on the 2020 ballot as an advisory referendum.
Siep said her mind is already made up.
“Even in schools, I wished that teachers had the right to bear arms,” she said. “Whatever we can do to keep our streets and children more safe, I’m willing to do. If people have guns around me and they’re willing to use them correctly, I am more than happy to have them.”
Siep said she can only hope that more Illinois residents will come to feel as she does on the issue.
“I hope that Chicago would follow suit and try something different because whatever we’re doing hasn’t worked,” Siep said.
Two Hot Springs men were arrested Tuesday night after they allegedly forced their way into a local residence only to be chased away by the homeowner who had a gun.
Dewayne Marvin Johnson Jr., 18, who lists a Riley Street address, and Wintrell Va’quint Coleman, 20, who lists a Highway 290 address, were both charged with a felony count of aggravated residential burglary, punishable by up to life in prison, and a misdemeanor count of first-degree criminal mischief, punishable by up to one year in jail.
Johnson, who was taken into custody around 11:45 p.m. after allegedly trying to run from Hot Springs police, was also charged with a misdemeanor count of fleeing on foot while Coleman was taken into custody shortly after 2 a.m. in the same area.
They were initially being held on zero bond, but both appeared via video Wednesday in Garland County District Court and pleaded not guilty to the charges. Judge Joe Graham set bond for each at $25,000 and a felony review hearing for both of them is set for Oct. 21. Graham also issued a court order barring them from future contact with the victim.
BRISTOL, Va. — UPDATE 6:07 a.m.
A manhunt is underway in Bristol, Virginia following an overnight home invasion. The call came in around 3:00 a.m. Friday morning.
Police tell us three masked suspects broke into a home on Island Road in the area of Wagner Road.
Investigators say the resident was asleep on the couch when the suspects came into the home. According to investigators, at least one suspect and the resident fired several shots before the suspects fled the scene.
They believe all three suspects are young males.
Officers are currently reviewing video from a nearby home to try to learn more about the suspects. Investigators have not been able to determine how the suspects left the area. They are working to determine if they were on foot or if they left in a waiting vehicle
MUNFORD, Tenn. — A suspected burglar was shot by a homeowner in Munford.
The Tipton County Sheriff’s Office said a homeowner noticed that his surveillance cameras outside his home were being moved so he got his gun and went to see what was going on. When he went outside he found a man in his yard who then lunged at him.
That’s when the homeowner reportedly shot him.
That suspect was later identified by authorities as Thurmon Morrow. He was treated at the hospital and then booked into the jail on aggravated assault and resisting arrest charges.
Want to run with adults but still act like a petulant brat?
Be prepared for the mockery.
Fred Fleitz, president of the Center for Security Policy, served in 2018 as deputy assistant to the president and to the chief of staff of the National Security Council. He previously held national-security jobs with the CIA, the DIA, the Department of State, and the House Intelligence Committee staff. He remarks on the whistleblower complaint.
I am troubled by the complaint and wonder how an intelligence officer could file it over something a president said to a foreign leader. How could this be an intelligence matter?
It appears likely to me that this so-called whistleblower was pursuing a political agenda.
I am very familiar with transcripts of presidential phone calls since I edited and processed dozens of them when I worked for the NSC. I also know a lot about intelligence whistleblowers from my time with the CIA.
My suspicions grew this morning when I saw the declassified whistleblowing complaint. It appears to be written by a law professor and includes legal references and detailed footnotes. It also has an unusual legalistic reference on how this complaint should be classified.
From my experience, such an extremely polished whistleblowing complaint is unheard of. This document looks as if this leaker had outside help, possibly from congressional members or staff.
Moreover, it looks like more than a coincidence that this complaint surfaced and was directed to the House Intelligence Committee just after Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), an outspoken opponent of President Trump, expressed numerous complaints in August 2019 accusing President Trump of abusing aid to Ukraine to hurt Joe Biden. This includes an August 28 tweet that closely resembled the whistleblowing complaint.
House Republicans need to ask the whistleblower under oath whether he spoke to the press or Congress about his complaint.
Also very concerning to me is how the complaint indicates intelligence officers and possibly other federal employees are violating the rules governing presidential phone calls with foreign leaders.
The content and transcripts of these calls are highly restricted. The whistleblower makes clear in his complaint that he did not listen to a call in question, nor did he read the transcript — he was told about the call by others. If true, intelligence officers have grossly violated the rules as well as the trust placed on them to protect this sensitive information.
I refuse to believe that the leaking, timing and presentation of this complaint is coincidence. I don’t think the American people will buy this either.
I’m more worried, however, that this latest instance of blatant politicization of intelligence by Trump haters will do long term damage to the relationship between the intelligence community and US presidents for many years to come.
Climate Worship Is Nothing More Than Rebranded Paganism
We’re seeing sexualized dances, hallucinogens, worshiping nature, confessing sins in pagan animism, worshiping purified teen saints, all to promote a supposedly greater cause.
Well, just to point out, when they started back up with that ‘Gaia’ business from Greek mythology, this should have been clear to most anyone.
Lynn Townsend White Jr., an American historian from Princeton, wrote an influential essay in 1967, at the height of the cultural revolution in Western campuses, arguing that Christianity and Judeo-Christian values are responsible for ecological disaster and climate change. The essay, naturally, was adapted by generations after, ironically almost like a document of faith.
The central argument went like this. White argued, “The victory of Christianity over paganism was the greatest psychic revolution in the history of our culture. … By destroying pagan animism, Christianity made it possible to exploit nature in a mood of indifference to the feelings of natural objects.”
Greta Thunberg and the Church of Mother Earth
As secular liberalism destroyed the fundamental ties that bind society — faith, flag, and family — the human instincts for faith — to believe, worship, submit, and fear — didn’t just go away but manifested in various other pre-civilized tribal ways. For example, a liberal seminary encouraged its students to skip classes to pray and confess sins in front of potted plants. In Switzerland, 250 people in full funereal garb mourned the apparent approaching death of a glacier.
That is why members of “Extinction Rebellion” do what they do. Extinction Rebellion is an apocalyptic cult that wants to radically end every thing around you, from your private cars to the burgers you eat and the plastic chairs in your yard. It is a cult that was formed after its founder took psychedelic drugs and prayed for “social change.” Members have blocked D.C. and London intersections, “twerking” the way people in a pre-civilized era would perform a fertility dance to pray to Gaia.
And then there’s Saint Greta, our perpetual teen of sorrow. I have been comparing her worship to Joan of Arc ever since she was invited to the British Parliament, the birthplace of modern democracy. She was surrounded by buffoons nodding their heads like they were listening to gospel truth.
The White House has announced new plans on gun control. House Democrats are pushing another universal background check bill, and high-profile Republicans in both chambers of Congress are campaigning for a new federal grant program that would incentivize states to pass “red flag” laws. It is not overstating the case to say that there has never been a greater threat to due process and the Second Amendment.
“What we can’t do is fail to pass something,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, when asked about last month’s shootings in El Paso, Texas; Dayton, Ohio; and Philadelphia.
Statements like this should infuriate the American people for multiple reasons. Never in American history have we seen our Second Amendment and due process rights under siege from so many different directions. In the midst of such a volatile and unprecedented situation, careless remarks like these from our nation’s leaders cannot be tolerated.
This is why, earlier this month, 40 of my colleagues in the South Carolina General Assembly joined me in a letter to President Trump and Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott urging them to address the numerous factors that are being ignored on this issue, including the erosion of our civil liberties the dangers of gun-free zones.
Academic studies roundly demonstrate that more laws simply will not prevent mass shootings. On the contrary, the key to curtailing gun violence lies not in destroying our Constitutional liberties but in recognizing the sacred right of every law-abiding American to self-defense, both from violent crime and the threat of a tyrannical government.
Likewise, 94% of mass shootings actually occur in gun-free zones, according to research conducted by the Crime Prevention Center. Multiple studies elsewhere point to states and cities with the toughest anti-gun laws (such as Chicago and Washington, D.C.) as having the highest crime rates, rather than the other way around.
The Founding Fathers warned us to never trade liberty for security, but that is exactly what is happening before our very eyes. When law-abiding citizens are left defenseless against murderers, the last thing Congress should do is just “pass something”.
Our letter also points out the role the mainstream media holds in sensationalizing gun violence and setting a false narrative that violent crimes are on the rise. Just like the notion that gun-free zones make us safer, this couldn’t be any further from the truth. In fact, data gathered by the FBI and the Bureau of Justice Statistics indicate that violent crime in the United States has steadily decreased since 1993.
I have taken an oath before God to defend the Constitution and am proud of my fellow legislators for joining me on this defining issue. Even with such a stirring display of unity, however, vigilance and courage will be demanded of us as the federal government’s crusade against our Constitutional rights continues.
To the elected officials across the U.S. who still believe in liberty: Now is not the time to stop fighting. President Calvin Coolidge warned that “it is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones.” The inevitable slippery slope that follows when government neglects due process is one that we cannot afford to fall down. I hope that this attempt to further destroy our liberties fails.
Stewart Jones, a Republican, is a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, currently serving on the Medical, Municipal, and Public Affairs committee.
Massive NRA lobby, pro-gun judges and other key factors which could defeat any gun buy-back scheme in the US
A number of Democratic presidential hopefuls have sought a buyback but the number of guns in circulation is at 16 million and the challenge is huge.
So the gun grabbing proggies may be coming to the understanding that their fantasies are just that; fantastical
Democrat presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke has proposed a massive buy-back in a bid to curb the shooting menace which is rampant in American society. The Representative from Texas vowed in a recent debate to take back the deadly AR-15 and AK-47 rifles from people. However, O’Rourke’s idea has not struck a chord with many, even from his own party, for people feel there are far too many weapons in the country to confiscate. However, O’Rourke is not the only politician to have proposed such an idea. At least two other Democratic candidates in Kamala Harris and Julian Castro, besides other leaders, have backed the idea of buying back weapons.
O’Rourke’s idea has a similarity with New Zealand government’s move of buying back guns following the mosque massacres in Christchurch in March 2019. Six days after the attacks, New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern government came up with a ban on “military-style” semi-automatic rifles. New Zealand’s neighbor Australia is also known to have implemented strict gun-control laws in the mid-1990s that have reduced the menace on their soil substantially.
Can gun violence in the US be controlled the way it has been in Australia and New Zealand? In New Zealand, over 10,000 firearms were bought by the government in less than a month as part of its gun buyback scheme.
In the US, the number of guns in circulation is at 16 million which creates an immense challenge in rounding them up. New Zealand has a population of around five million while the US is home to 330 million people and it is the third most populous country in the world. Buying those many guns back will also put the government’s finances under a big pressure.
The number of AR-15 and AK-47s in the US is estimated at a staggering 16 million, creating logistical challenges to take them out of circulation. Many gun owners are also unwilling to turn in the weapons, and if the government offered to buy them all back at face value, the price tag could easily run into billions of dollars. New Zealand also doesn’t have gun ownership as a constitutional right which makes it less challenging for the government to impose the sanction.
But apart from the problem with the quantity or constitutional right, there are some other realistic reasons that make the idea of buying back weapons in the US a tough one.
The NRA challenge:
Irrespective of the growing anti-gun voice in the US and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors designating it as a domestic terror organization because of its pro-gun stance, the National Rifle Association (NRA) is not withering away any time soon……
The Second Amendment of the Constitution makes it challenging for the anti-gun groups. The left-leaning states have shown more interest in carrying out gun-control measures but overall, the country’s judicial system has emerged as a hurdle. The Supreme Court has said more than once in recent times that right to keep personal weapons is constitutionally assured…………..
Lack of genuine will
The problem with America’s gun violence is that the anti-gun groups come up with their demands and movements after a tragedy occurs while the pro-gun lobbies maintain their stance consistently…………
The Democrats came to control the House of Representatives in the mid-term elections in 2018 and one would think that this could put the pro-gun Republicans under some challenge. But the way the House congressional districts are laid out, many by state legislatures controlled by the GOP, more seats have the possibility of tilting towards the right……….
I’m sorry adults have frightened you about climate change and how it might affect your future. You might be less afraid if you knew some facts that adults intentionally do not explain to you. I’ll tell you here.
The news was once a source of real information, or so we thought. But in the modern world, the news people discovered they can make more money by presenting scary news regardless of whether it is true or not. Today, much of the news on the right and the left is opinion that is meant to scare you, not inform you, because scary things get more attention, and that makes the news business more profitable. The same is true for people who write books; authors often make books scary so you will buy them. Most adults know all the scariness is not real. Most kids do not. You just learned it.
Nuclear energy used to be dangerous, back in the olden days. Today’s nuclear power plants (the ones built in the past 20 years all over the world) have killed zero people, and are considered the safest form of energy in the world. More people have died installing solar panels and falling off roofs than have died from nuclear power problems anywhere in the world for the past few decades. And nuclear energy is the obvious way to address climate change, say most of the smartest adults in the world, because it can provide abundant, cheap, clean energy with zero carbon emissions.
Nuclear energy as a solution to climate change is one of the rare solutions backed by several Democrats running for president and nearly all Republicans. Please note that two Democrats in favor of nuclear energy (Corey Booker and Andrew Yang) are among the youngest and smartest in the game. To be fair, the oldest Democrat running for president, Joe Biden, also supports nuclear energy because he is well-informed.
If you are worried about nuclear waste, you probably should not be. Every country with nuclear energy (and there are lots of them) successfully stores their nuclear waste. If you put all the nuclear waste in the world in one place, it would fit on one football field. It isn’t a big problem. And new nuclear power designs will actually eat that nuclear waste and turn it into electricity, so the total amount of waste could come way down.
The United Nations estimates that the economic impact of climate change will reduce the economy by 10% in eighty years. What they don’t tell you is that the economy will be about five times bigger and better by then, so you won’t even notice the 10% that didn’t happen. And that worst case is only if we do nothing to address climate change, which is not the case.
A number of companies have recently built machines that can suck CO2 right out of the air. At the moment, using those machines would be too expensive. But as they come down in cost and improve in efficiency, we have a solution already in hand should it ever be needed. It would be expensive, but there is no real risk of CO2 ruining the world now that we know how to remove any excess from the atmosphere. (Plants need CO2 to thrive, so we don’t want to remove too much. Greenhouses actually pump in CO2 to make plants grow better.)
Scientists tell us that we could reduce climate risks by planting more trees. (A lot more.) That’s all doable, should the world decide it is necessary. There are a number of other companies and technologies that also address climate change in a variety of ways. Any one of the approaches I mentioned (nuclear energy, CO2 scrubbers, planting trees) could be enough to address any climate risks, but there are dozens of ways of dealing with climate change, and more coming every day.
Throughout all modern history, when we humans see a problem coming from far away, we have a 100% success rate in solving it. Climate change is no different. All the right people are working hard at a wide variety of solutions and already know how to get there, meaning more nuclear power plus CO2 scrubbers, plus lots of green power from solar, wind, and more.
If you are worried about rising sea levels, don’t be. The smartest and richest people in the world are still buying property on the beach. They don’t see the problem. And if sea levels do rise, it will happen slowly enough for people to adjust.
Adults sometimes like to use children to carry their messages because it makes it hard for the other side to criticize them without seeming like monsters. If adults have encouraged you to panic about climate change without telling you what I am telling you here, they do not have your best interests at heart. They are using you.
When you ask adults about nuclear energy, expect them to have old understanding about it, meaning they don’t know the newer nuclear energy technologies are the safest energy on the planet.
What I told you today is not always understood even by adults. You are now smarter than most adults on the topic of climate.
My generation has a lot of faith in your generation. You will be the most educated and effective humans of all time. My generation (and a few generations younger than me) already has the fixes to address climate risks coming online. Your generation will finish the job.
We adults respect your passion and your energy on the topic of climate. But it isn’t fair for us to deny you the basic facts while at the same time scaring you into action. I hope this letter helps you sleep better. We adults have this problem under control, or will soon, and you’ll help us finish the job. So get some good sleep tonight. Together, we got this.
Everyone remember MSG(R) Bob Ross?
I just dug up this clip from 1992…
Severn Cullis-Suzuki's speech to the UN in 1992 on climate change sounds an awful lot like Greta Thunberg's in 2019.
I cut the two together to show just how similar the language is: pic.twitter.com/18ptTzX4M4
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) September 26, 2019
Here she is now. And she looks just fine… The UN has used children to push various agendas for decades. After some years they drop their child-warrior and move on to the next one. pic.twitter.com/dcgEXdB7qQ
— Obianuju Ekeocha (@obianuju) September 26, 2019
In the midst of all the impeachment crap -and let us not mince words, it is all crap – New York Democratic Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez announced a package of six bills as part of what she calls “A Just Society.” This is her latest attempt to turn the United States into a socialist nation since the Green New Deal really has not gone anywhere, aside from the fantasies of eco-fundamentalist freaks rife with delusional climate anxiety. The key promises of this “Just Society” is your right to not to be fat and have perfect mental health, illegal immigrants receiving endless federal welfare and benefits, and national rent control, among other policies that would hurt American workers. In short, it basically wants to put the government in every aspect of your life and your money in efforts the United States should not be supporting.
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez introduced her ambitious plans on Wednesday. Here are just six plans, none saying how the American people will pay for them. Of course, we know it will be through higher taxes.
Here are the six bills:
(1) A Just Society Recognizes & Eradicates Poverty: The Recognizing Poverty Act directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in collaboration with the Bureau of the Census and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, contract with the Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT) to propose a new official poverty guideline. This guideline would account for costs related to geographic variation, health insurance, child care, and “new necessities” such as internet access. This would ensure the accuracy of our current poverty measure, which determines eligibility for much of the social safety net including — Medicaid, Food Stamps, Family Planning Services, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and the National School Lunch Program.
(2) A Just Society Creates a Place to Prosper: The Place to Prosper Act would protect low-income tenants and rein in corporate landlords by, among other things – creating an access to counsel fund for renters facing eviction, imposing a 3 percent national cap on annual rent increases, and imposing disclosure requirements on the nation’s largest landlords.
(3) A Just Society Is Merciful: The Mercy in Re-entry Act ensures that notwithstanding any other provision of law, an individual may not be denied any Federal public benefit solely on the basis that the individual was convicted of a criminal offense (whether under Federal, State, tribal, or foreign law).
(4) A Just Society Embraces Our Immigrants: The Embrace Act ensures that notwithstanding any other provision of law (including title IV of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996), an individual may not be denied any Federal public benefit solely on the basis of the individual’s immigration status.
(5) A Just Society Uplifts Our Workers: The Uplift Our Workers Act would direct the Department of Labor (DOL), in collaboration with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), to create a “worker-friendly score” – similar to LEED certification – for federal contractors. This score would consider factors including, but not limited to, paid family leave, scheduling predictability, hourly wage, and union membership. Thereafter, DoL and OMB are to provide federal agencies with recommendations on how to evaluate – and give systemized preference to – “worker-friendly contractors as it makes contracting decisions.
(6) A Just Society Guarantees the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of All: This resolution would direct the Senate to give its advice and consent to the ratification of the U.N. Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. This Covenant recognizes the right to just and favorable conditions of work, the right to form trade unions, the right to adequate food, clothing, housing, and the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.
Bill number four on this list seems particularly outrageous. This massive welfare state for illegal immigrants would encourage only more border crossings from every nation in the world. We can barely afford to help our veterans and American citizens who need welfare, let alone open the floodgates to illegal aliens who could come here solely for federal public benefits.
Senate Republicans Shut Down ATF Nominee
GOP senators wary of Chuck Canterbury’s support for gun control
Chuck Canterbury, President Trump’s nominee to serve as head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, is likely to see his nomination withdrawn due to stringent opposition from Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Washington Free Beacon learned on Thursday.
“Chuck Canterbury does NOT have sufficient support in the Judiciary Committee and is now expected to be held up instead of getting a vote today,” a GOP Senate aide told the Free Beacon on Thursday morning. “Republican members are (1) Concerned about his stances on gun control, and (2) there is still some bad blood for him flipping the Fraternal Order of Police in support of the First Step Act (after opposing the more moderate version), allegedly in exchange for the ATF Director nomination.”
“His 2A views are bad and he’d lose a lot of votes in committee,” a second Senate source told the Free Beacon. “We expect the White House will pull him given lack of support from Republicans on the Judiciary Committee.”
At least one Republican senator, Utah’s Mike Lee, seemed to agree with this assessment when reached for comment.
“Sen. Lee has concerns about Canterbury’s Second Amendment views and is pleased the markup has been delayed,” Lee’s office told the Free Beacon.
Canterbury, who served as the president of the national Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), was expected to receive a vote out of committee Thursday morning. But his nomination was blocked by conservative Republicans who voiced concerns about his stances on gun control.
Canterbury’s nomination seemed in trouble during his July confirmation hearing when he frustrated Republican senators by refusing to deviate from the official positions of the FOP on gun control. He avoided answering questions about his views on the Second Amendment and even explicitly said he did not understand ATF regulations well enough to say what gun control policies he could or could not implement.
“If you’re not familiar with the process running the ATF, then you are not qualified,” Sen. John Kennedy (R., La.) told him at the time.
It was Canterbury’s views on gun control, however, that sealed the deal. His past support for universal background check proposals and for President Obama’s attorney general Eric Holder were both major stumbling blocks, according to the second Senate source.
While head of the FOP, Canterbury explicitly supported background checks. In a 2013 letter, he told then-Senate Judiciary chairman Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.) that “expansion of background checks on firearm purchasers” was an “absolutely critical” element of “addressing gun violence.”
“We believe the most logical starting point to address gun violence is the expansion of the background check system,” Canterbury wrote on behalf of the FOP. “Incomplete or absent background checks create a gaping hole in the wall between firearms and criminals.”
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, just 10.5 percent of gun violence offenders purchased their firearm through a transaction that would be covered by any expanded background check proposal. Additionally, a Free Beacon analysis earlier this year found Colorado’s universal background check law had little effect on the number of checks done in the state, suggesting it was not as effective as advocates claim.
In 2009, Canterbury testified on behalf of then-nominee Holder, calling “his positions, his policy work, and the official acts … consistent with the goals of the FOP.” Holder would go on to oversee operation Fast and Furious, a gun-running investigation where officials allowed guns to be sold to people connected with Mexican cartels in an effort to track their networks. The program was poorly overseen and led to the death of a Border Patrol agent. Critics argued the program’s failure was due to Holder’s negligence.
Opposition to Canterbury also stemmed from his convincing the FOP to change its position on the FIRST STEP Act, the White House’s landmark criminal justice reform bill. The FOP initially opposed FIRST STEP, but changed its view after several revisions.
GOP Senate aides indicated that Canterbury was integral in bringing about this shift and that his work on FIRST STEP helped him clinch the ATF nomination, a view further indicated by Politico reporting in May. The Fraternal Order of Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
While GOP aides expect Canterbury’s nomination to be withdrawn, that has yet to happen officially.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment as to its intentions.
Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire is testifying before the House Intelligence Committee. I have embedded the committee’s live feed below.
Having just watched the shameless Chairman (ugh!) Adam Schiff examine Maguire, I am impressed yet again by the dishonest and deceitful approach of Schiff to all matters Trump. Schiff serves one legitimate purpose, though not the one he intends. He strongly suggests to me that this affair is “a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham.” By contrast, Devin Nunes made an excellent opening statement and is doing a good job examining Maguire as I write.
They’re calling Beto O’Rourke the “AR-15 salesman of the year” after he forcefully stated in the last Democratic debate that an O’Rourke presidency would mean the mandatory government confiscation of such rifles. His exact quote was: “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47– We’re not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore.”
He’s the first to be so direct, but he isn’t treading into empty waters. Many Democratic presidential hopefuls want to curb, regulate, and restrict gun ownership and sales.
America has seen tragic gun violence recently. Everyone can agree that these seemingly regular mass-shootings are horrific and detestable. We can do more as a society to prevent these occurrences. But the guttural reaction of the left to use government regulation to fix the problem is harmful, not helpful, to the safety of the American public.
The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does not grant the right to bear arms to the American citizen. Here, many misunderstand the basic founding principles of our country. The right to bear arms, just like the right to free speech, assembly, life, and liberty, are all rights we are born with. Neither the Constitution nor any federal law grant those rights, they are our inheritance. The Second Amendment reminds and restricts the government from its ability to interfere with those rights. Here’s the full text of the Amendment:
“A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Our founders had no more ability to grant us those rights than the modern American political leader has to take them away. They are natural rights: ours and ours to keep. Even repealing the Second Amendment wouldn’t change this. And we should be so thankful. A government that has the power to grant rights has the power to take them away – and the nullifying, retracting, or ignoring of natural rights by government has been the vehicle by which the most egregious human rights abuses have and will continue to take place worldwide.
Even the most ardent progressive would agree that protecting human rights at home and abroad is a persistent and unending challenge of the civic minded activist. Nothing can secure a people’s rights more firmly than to recognize they are ours by birth, not granted by any human or government. For this alone I encourage the left to rally around the American system and think twice before slashing into any Constitutional protection…………….
There are about 393 million guns owned in America, or 46% of the world’s total gun supply. After the Christchurch shooting this year in New Zealand, the mandatory government buyback program made underwhelming performance, barely making a scratch in the estimated number of firearms held by the public. And that was in a country with far less identity wrapped around the right to bear arms.
The government simply cannot collect them all.
Cities in America with some of the strictest gun control laws often appear among the list of the top 10 cities with the highest gun-crime rates in the country…………..
Important yet absent from the gun control debate is an examination of how many crimes are prevented because of legally owned guns, or the role of guns as a defensive verses offensive tool. An Obama-era CDC study estimated as many as 3 million crimes are prevented in the US by guns annually—or 8,200 a day. According to the Foundation for Economic Education:
60 percent of convicted felons admitted that they avoided committing crimes when they knew the victim was armed. Forty percent of convicted felons admitted that they avoided committing crimes when they thought the victim might be armed.
I believe the issue we face in society is not a product of the guns we own but of the lack of morality we are fostering. We are seeing a devaluing of the nuclear family unit, the secularization of society, a de-emphasis of religion and tradition, and an embrace of emotional and identity politics.
America should curb gun violence with a measured and principled response.
The guns we own, and even the Second Amendment that protects the right to own them, is an easy but misplaced target. And it is a starting point of dire vulnerability from which our recognition of natural rights can be dismantled.
I’m not praising guns, I am explaining the rationale behind the sacred rights that we each carry with us by virtue of being born, and how unique and important it is that the American Constitution recognizes and prohibits the government from taking these from us, including the right to bear arms. We shouldn’t be so quick to forsake Second Amendment protections in misplaced attempts to tackle gun violence because other precious rights will become negotiable in the same way at a later time. We can’t stop the bleeding on this one. Either we acknowledge and protect all natural rights, or we have none.
Bryan Griffin of the London Center for Policy Research is a lawyer and author who specializes in American policy in the Middle East.
Earlier this month, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled a person charged with misdemeanor domestic battery is entitled to a trial by jury, because the state Legislature in 2017 enacted a law saying someone convicted of such a crime could have their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms denied.
In keeping with a 1993 U.S. Supreme Court decision, our state’s high court had previously held that only those persons charged with a “serious” crime are entitled to a jury trial, which was defined as a crime carrying a sentence of greater than six months.
The unanimous opinion written by Justice Lidia Stiglich stated the change in state law to prohibit firearms possession by someone convicted of domestic violence effectively increases the “penalty” and makes the crime “serious” rather than “petty.”
“In our opinion, this new penalty — a prohibition on the right to bear arms as guaranteed by both the United States and Nevada Constitutions — ‘clearly reflect[s] a legislative determination that the offense [of misdemeanor domestic battery] is a serious one,’” Stiglich writes in a case out of Las Vegas.
The ruling concludes, “Given that the Legislature has indicated that the offense of misdemeanor domestic battery is serious, it follows that one facing the charge is entitled to the right to a jury trial.”
Attorney Michael Pariente, who represented appellate Christopher Anderson, told the Las Vegas newspaper, “I applaud the Nevada Supreme Court for unanimously doing the right thing. I think it’s a huge decision. They spoke with one voice, and it’s a good day for people who are charged with misdemeanor domestic violence. It forces the prosecutor to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt to a 12-person jury instead of one single, sitting judge.”
But Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford, whose office argued against allowing a jury trial in such cases, put out a statement saying, “The devastating consequences of this decision cannot be overstated. Misdemeanor courts across this state are not equipped for jury trials, and this decision could have a widespread chilling effect on domestic violence victims coming forward. My office is working hand-in-hand with city, county, and federal officials to formulate a response and prevent the domestic violence epidemic in this state from further devastating our communities. The most immediate priority for my office is doing whatever it takes to ensure more people are not killed by their abusers as a result of this decision.”
Frankly, we have to ask: Why did it ever come to this?
The Webster’s definition of “all” is: “the whole amount, quantity, or extent of; every member or individual component of; the whole number or sum of; every.”
You see, Article 3, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution states: “The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury …”
The Sixth Amendment reads: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury …”
The Nevada Constitution says: “The right of trial by Jury shall be secured to all and remain inviolate forever …”
How the U.S. Supreme Court decided “petty” crimes do not warrant a trial by jury is beyond our feeble minds, but in any case the Nevada high court is to be applauded for deciding that the denial of the fundamental right to bear arms constitutes a serious matter and deserves a trial by a jury of one’s peers. — TM
To the editor:
Anyone in this country that thinks we, the citizens, don’t need AK47 and AR15 semi-automatic rifles and large capacity magazines just needs to look at what is happening in Hong Kong. If you don’t think that could happen in this country, you’ve got your head in the sand. In fact, we should have the same weapons as the military as it was set up when the Constitution was written. That’s what the second amendment is all about!
Dianna Muller, who served in the Tulsa Police Department for 22 years and is the founder of gun advocacy group The DC Project, was among the witnesses at the House Judiciary Committee hearing.