Thursday, December 22, 2005

Review of The Bias Against Guns: Why Almost Everything You've Heard About Gun Control Is Wrong by John Lott: "Following up on his controversial study More Guns, Less Crime, economist Lott argues that widespread gun ownership prevents crime. He cites survey data and news reports to argue that the fear that victims might be armed strongly deters criminals, and that guns are used in self-defense or to ward off criminal threats about 2.3 million times a year. Because they impede law-abiding citizens' access to guns, even mild gun-control regulations-assault weapons bans, "one-gun-a-month" laws-actually increase crime, according to Lott, while right-to-carry laws lower crime and help prevent (or violently terminate) terrorist attacks and "rampage" shootings. Even measures to keep guns away from children, like "gun-free school zones" and "safe storage" laws that require guns to be locked away, are misguided because children need guns for self-defense (he cites news reports of kids as young as 11 gunning down criminals). The benefits of untrammeled gun availability are clear, Lott insists, and only the anti-gun bias and selective reporting by the media and government officials have kept this fact out of public consciousness. Lott supports his bold claims with elaborate statistical analyses that tease sometimes small effects out of the welter of factors that influence crime rates; there are lots of graphs and tables, and much space is devoted to scholarly discussions of statistical methodologies. Many readers will find these sections rough going, but Lott's provocative thesis is sure to stir interest among second-amendment stalwarts and gun-control supporters alike"

N.Y.: Silly Shelly Silver: "Gun dealers could be held liable if they sell weapons that are later used to commit a crime under an Assembly proposal that's under fire by gun-rights proponents. The proposal, drafted late last week, merges Republican proposals that would stiffen penalties against illegal gun sellers with Democratic proposals to increase restrictions on legitimate dealers. The Assembly bill calls for dealers to carry at least $1 million in liability insurance, affix new and lengthy warning labels to all guns, and cancel a sale if there is a "reasonable suspicion" the gun could be resold to criminals. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, the bill's architect, has been under political and media fire since the recent shooting deaths of two New York City cops. "They're trying to hold gun dealers liable for criminal misuse of firearms," but that's prohibited by federal law, said Jacob Rieper, legislative director of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association. "They're just doing it as harassment.""

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