“Write what you know” is an admonition most often given to fiction writers. It’s often misread as advice to limit one’s scope of subjects, but it’s really advice to do your research. This old saw also applies in other fields. As an engineer, I can testify that there are lots of engineers who will happily tell you what’s what on subjects that are far outside their field of expertise. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t say anything about new subjects, or that you should have an advanced degree before you can have an opinion. But, you do need to do the research. And it’s that research that helps you to spot things that are just too good to be true. This, in turn, keeps you from saying things that make you like an idiot.

Like claiming that passing certain gun laws will reduce firearms deaths by 90%.

This is precisely what a group at Boston University is claiming. Their study, Firearm legislation and firearm mortality in the USA: a cross-sectional, state-level study, was published in The Lancet in the UK. It claims that passing three laws nation wide would reduce gun-related homicides, suicides, and accidental deaths by 90%. The laws they advocate are: “universal” background checks for firearms sales, background checks ammunition sales, and “ballistic fingerprinting”.

Now you’d think that the rest of the anti-gun lobby would be shouting from the rooftops about this study, but they aren’t. In fact, they’re quite critical

“That’s too big — I don’t believe that,” said David Hemenway, a professor of health policy at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “These laws are not that strong. I would just be flabbergasted; I’d bet the house if you did [implement] these laws, if you had these three laws and enforced them really well and reduced gun deaths by 10 percent, you’d be ecstatic.”

“Briefly, this is not a credible study and no cause and effect inferences should be made from it,” Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy & Research wrote in an e-mail.

Webster goes on to worry that studies like this will “harm the brand”…

But Webster took a different perspective, noting that any research on the effects of gun control policy can be politicized and that a high-profile study that is flawed but in favor of gun control laws could shake people’s faith in the science and fuel critics to question the study’s ultimate conclusion that gun control works. He said he frequently finds himself explaining to policy makers and the public that they should be cautious in accepting research that hasn’t been peer-reviewed and published in a journal.

“What I find both puzzling and troubling is this very flawed piece of research is published in one of the most prestigious scientific journals around,” Webster said in an interview.”Something went awry here, and it harms public trust.”

It got out there, Doc, because it said what the editors at The Lancet wanted to hear: Guns baaaad! That it happened at all is because the authors weren’t writing what they knew.

I got curious about the study’s lead author, Bindu Kalesan, wondering how much work she’s done on firearms. A look at her CV shows a tremendous amount of really interesting work in cardiology and cardiological intervention. It also claims an interest in firearms injuries, but doesn’t list either this paper or another I’ve found references to. In that study, she says:

In an email, the study’s author Dr. Bindu Kalesan told Medical Daily that the overall message revealed by the results was that “each state has its unique pattern and are driven by changes in sub groups exclusive to that state’s socio-political environment.”

In a state-by-state and racial breakdown, firearm deaths fell in Arizona, California, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, and the District of Columbia, mostly among people of Hispanic and black backgrounds. Rates, however, rose in Florida and Massachusetts, largely due to more gun deaths among people of white and non-Hispanic backgrounds, and an increase in the gun-related murder rate. Although the number of unintentional deaths largely fell, the number of gun-related murders and suicides seemed to remain the same.

Also the reason for decreases varies from state. “In AZ, NV the decline is driven by reduction in homicide gun deaths among blacks and non-Hispanics. In CA, the reduction occurs in all groups and is mainly by reducing suicide gun deaths,” Kalesan explained. The reasons for disparities among different races also varied, with Kalesan concluding “different gun control legislation, policing strategies, crime rates, etc. characteristic to each sate drives these race/ethnicity differences.”

Something tells me that she doesn’t know that Arizona, Illinois, Nevada, and North Carolina are shall issue states. Or that Arizona is now a Constitutional Carry state. Thus states that rejected the advice of the gun banners are among those she cites as places with lower gun related death rates.

However, Dr. Kalesan and her co-authors aren’t alone when it comes to writing what they don’t know. For example, since most anti-gun researchers don’t know guns or gun owners, they don’t know what Professor River Song might call “Rule 1” when it comes to gun owners: Gun owners lie. When some stranger calls on the phone and asks if we own guns, we lie like rugs. And yet, most studies about the “risks” of owning guns rely on survey data. Since we gun owners are a bunch of big, fat liars when it comes to the subject, these studies undercount the number of gun owning households in the US. This in turn causes them to overstate the “risks” and understate the benefits of gun ownership since they don’t realize just how many homes actually contain firearms. By the way, gun owners’ predilection for prevarication isn’t a big secret. We’ve been warning these researcher for years that their data are unreliable. But, since they won’t stick to writing what they know…

News

This takes stupid to a whole, new level…

AB 2459 (McCarty),  would require that all firearm and ammunition sales be videotaped by the seller.

Why? Because straw buyers are supposedly camera shy.

This does, however, bring up some interesting questions about existing gun control laws in California. In addition to the Federal requirements, California requires a “Dealer Record of Sale”, or DROS, for every firearm transfer. Additionally, this is not a NICS State, so there is a 10-day waiting period for all gun buyers. Supposedly, the 10-day wait is to allow State investigators time to examine each DROS application before the sale goes through. The State checks the buyer’s name against its database of prohibited persons to keep those people from purchasing guns. In most cases, this check takes only minutes to complete.

But, in its recent oral arguments before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the State seemed to cast doubt on the quality of that database. At issue is the 10-day wait as applied to those already known to the State to possess firearms. The State came perilously close to arguing that their own database is so unreliable that computerized checks are not a sufficient means to detect those on the prohibited persons list who already have weapons. McCarty’s bill, whether he intends it or not, also calls that database into question. Why back up the DROS form (and the Federal 4473 form) with a video record if the State database is at all reliable? Given that the State has spent quite a sum of money on the system, we should all be wondering whether or not we’re getting our money’s worth.

And perhaps I owe Mr. McCarty an apology for implying that he’s an empty headed twit parroting Bloomberg talking points. He may, in fact, know more about the State’s inability to enforce its own gun laws than I do.

AB 2459 News Privacy

The Brady Campaign is in the bag for Hillary Clinton. Brady president Dan Gross has been bashing Bernie Sanders on her behalf for his old positions on gun rights. Gross ignores the fact that the old Commie has long since thrown law abiding Vermonters under the bus. But then again, Gross is easily confused.

Take, for example, his repeated claims that “Brady background checks have blocked more than 2.4 million gun sales to prohibited purchasers like convicted violent criminals, domestic abusers and the dangerously mentally ill.” But as John Lott points out, nearly all of these “blocked” sales later went through.

In 2010, the last year that the Department of Justice’s annual report on the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) was released, it showed that 94 percent of “initial denials” were dropped after the first internal fact check. A 2004 review by Congress found that another two percent were dropped when the cases were sent out to BATFE field offices. Many more cases were dropped during the three remaining stages of review.

So in reality, roughly 84,000 sales were stopped since November of 1998. During the same period, there were over 228,000,000 NICS checks that were not rejected. So the great success Gross touts is a rejection rate of .04%. Math was involved, as well as a Google search, so I’m sure you understand how confusing this must have been for him.

Something else that confuses Dan is The Onion. He doesn’t seem to understand that it’s a parody site and not a news outlet. And to think that he’s convinced that he knows more about guns than we do.

News Politics

Is political dissidence a sign of mental illness?

Back when the USSR was a going concern, political dissidence was, in fact, treated as a mental illness. Dissidents were regularly confined to psychiatric hospitals. ChangeskiThe government wasn’t necessarily being malicious; the apparatchiki who sent them there really did believe that opposition to Marxism was a sign of mental or emotional instability. But could that happen here?

There is a recognized psychological disorder in children called Oppositional Defiant Disorder. And now there’s a movement in the mental health community to expand the ODD definition to include adults. In children, calling this behavior a pathology is understandable. This is defiance for its own sake; where the child might even admit that they’re harmed by their own behavior. And there can be adults who similarly show defiance for its own sake rather than as a reasoned response. But what about defiance to authority based upon deeply held personal conviction? No one would call that a pathology; even if the individual suffers harm for his belief.

…unless, there were some other motivation to do so.

Adult ODD isn’t a real diagnosis that a health care provider can submit a bill for. There is no ICD-10-CM code for it. There is, however, a broad, catch-all diagnosis for adults called “Personality disorder, unspecified“. The description is:

  • A diverse category of psychiatric disorders characterized by behavior that deviates markedly from the expectations of the individual’s culture; this pattern of deviation is pervasive and inflexible and is stable over time. The behavioral pattern negatively interferes with relationships and work.
  • A major deviation from normal patterns of behavior.
  • Personality disorders are long-term patterns of thoughts and behaviors that cause serious problems with relationships and work. People with personality disorders have difficulty dealing with everyday stresses and problems. They often have stormy relationships with other people. The exact cause of personality disorders is unknown. However, genes and childhood experiences may play a role. Symptoms vary widely depending on the specific type of personality disorder. Treatment usually includes talk therapy and sometimes medicine.
  • When normal personality traits become inflexible and maladaptive, causing subjective distress or impaired social functioning, they can be considered disorders.

One can see how, with a little creative license, motivated clinicians could tar many an RKBA or TEA Party activist with this diagnosis. We’ve also discussed how Obama’s latest executive orders remove legal impediments to sharing formerly confidential patient information with the Federal government. And indeed, this may the “the long game” the president is playing where the States (read: Blue states) are not simply given permission to share this data, but are encouraged to do so. Congress has been a dead end for his schemes, but he has his loyalists in many State governments. His orders and new rule making may be an end-around to nullify Congress’ authority by pushing action down to the State level. Is there any possibility that legislatures in places like Sacramento or Albany wouldn’t rubberstamp this President’s demands?

There is a serious need to improve reporting of adjudicated mental defectives to the NICS system. But there must also be due process involved; clearly defined ways to get on to and off of the Government’s list of prohibited persons. There must also be a nearly fanatical dedication to doctor-patient confidentiality by all concerned. There are already people out there avoiding help with mental or emotional conditions out of fear of being stripped of their rights. Obama’s orders to State level apparatchiki are not improving this situation.

News Privacy

News

Did you kind of ignore the whole Obamacare thing? Tony Canales unpacks Obama’s executive orders to show why you shouldn’t have…

The reservations here though lie with the bifurcated technique being used by President Obama. While Judge Andrew Napolitano notes that this week’s Executive Orders stand a good chance of being overturned, one has more concern for actions like the Final Rule on Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) related to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

What this does is give “permission” to various agencies at state and local level to reveal private mental health information determinations to the Federal Government without risk of being subject to Federal penalties for releasing that private health information.

But what happens when it is not a judge making this finding, after due process, but instead is a politicized commission making the “diagnosis”? Or a single-payer health provider? Or a state-run Medicaid agency?That is the part that seems most unclear, and seems most dangerous to one’s Constitutional rights.

And are there protections built into the new HIPAA rule being promulgated by the President? Apparently not, since it leaves additional State Prohibitor classifications up to the States to determine, promulgate and share with the Feds as they see fit.

Add to that there is no Federal process noted in the HIPAA rule that calls for prior notification to gun owners of a State Prohibitor designation, and one gets the sneaking suspicion that one can end up committing the serious crime of attempting to purchase a firearm when one has been listed as having a Federal or State Prohibitor status. In many cases, conviction for such an attempt may end up with a felony judgement, which in turn permanently ends one’s right to keep and bear arms for the foreseeable future.

In other words, President Obama’s Devil Is In The Details here with this weeks foray into a civilian disarmament campaign. Gun owners stand on notice- they need to involve themselves in the political process fully in what is now the most important election of their lifetime. It’s either that, or be satisfied with servitude until Judgement Day.

Of course, we’re still at the not-too-late stage of the game. You can help to stop Obama’s lone wolf attack on the Bill of Rights by clicking on the link to the right and joining the NRA.

News

From NRA-ILA:

TUESDAY, JANUARY 5, 2016

Fairfax, Va. – The executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, Chris W. Cox, released the following statement on Tuesday regarding President Barack Obama’s Executive Gun Control Order:

Once again, President Obama has chosen to engage in political rhetoric, instead of offering meaningful solutions to our nation’s pressing problems.  Today’s event also represents an ongoing attempt to distract attention away from his lack of a coherent strategy to keep the American people safe from terrorist attack.

The American people do not need more emotional, condescending lectures that are completely devoid of facts. The men and women of the National Rifle Association take a back seat to no one when it comes to keeping our communities safe.  But the fact is that President Obama’s proposals would not have prevented any of the horrific events he mentioned.  The timing of this announcement, in the eighth and final year of his presidency, demonstrates not only political exploitation but a fundamental lack of seriousness.

The proposed executive actions are ripe for abuse by the Obama Administration, which has made no secret of its contempt for the Second Amendment.  The NRA will continue to fight to protect the fundamental, individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms as guaranteed under our Constitution.  We will not allow law-abiding gun owners to be harassed or intimidated for engaging in lawful, constitutionally-protected activity – nor will we allow them to become scapegoats for President Obama’s failed policies.


Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America’s oldest civil rights and sportsmen’s group. More than five million members strong, NRA continues to uphold the Second Amendment and advocates enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation’s leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the armed services. Be sure to follow the NRA on Facebook at NRA on Facebook and Twitter @NRA.

News

That warning to Ferguson, MO, residents, as they wait to hear the grand jury’s decision in the Michael Brown case, allegedly came from a law enforcement officer in Missouri. The comment was made on an Internet forum for St. Louis area police…

“If you do not have a gun, get one and get one soon. We will not be able to protect you or your family. It will be your responsibility to protect them. Our gutless commanders and politicians have neutered us. I’m serious, get a gun, get more than one, and keep one with you at all times.”

The Boy Scout motto is “Be prepared”. That means prepare before a crisis arises. When smoke is rising from buildings 100 meters from your location and you can smell tear gas on the wind, that’s not the time to start thinking about buying a gun to protect you and yours. And to be honest, today is probably too late to start thinking about it if you live in or near Ferguson. You might have a little time. As far as I can tell, your State has no waiting period to buy a gun. You could get something today and spend tomorrow at the range learning to use the thing. (Yes, you need to practice; otherwise, it’s just a very expensive paperweight.)

However, were this happening in California, things would be completely different. Today would be too late by ten days. Unless you have a time machine parked in your garage, waiting until the last minute to buy a gun isn’t an option in the Fool’s Golden State. Furthermore, you wouldn’t be allowed to purchase standard capacity magazines for a new firearm. Nor would you be permitted to have a magazine release that can be quickly and safely operated on a semiautomatic rifle. You’re also not permitted to buy the latest, and safest, handgun designs. In many ways, today is far more than ten days too late in this State.

News Self-defense

The Fresno Bee reports on what proposed anti-gun legislation will do to gun owners and dealers here in California.

Anti-gun Legislation News State

From NRA-ILA:

Anti-Gun Legislation with Severe Ramifications Continues to Move in Sacramento

Posted on May 31, 2013

Your state Legislators MUST hear your OPPOSITION to these anti-gun bills

 

This week has been hard for law-abiding gun owners in California.  Several egregious anti-gun bills have passed their legislative chamber of origin.

The fight to stop these bills is not over yet.

 

Please continue to call AND e-mail your state legislators urging them to OPPOSE the anti-gun legislation below that will do nothing to reduce violent crime in California or prevent criminal access to or misuse of firearms.  Contact information for your state legislators can be found here.

Also, don’t forget to forward this alert to your family, friends and fellow gun owners in California, because this fight is going to take everyone’s help across California if the Second Amendment is going to survive!

 

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The following radical anti-gun bills with serious ramifications for law-abiding gun owners have passed in the state Senate and are awaiting committee assignment in the state Assembly:

Senate Bill 47 (Yee) expands the definition of “assault weapons” to BAN the future sale of rifles that have been designed/sold and are equipped to use the “bullet button” or similar device, requires NEW “assault weapon” registration of ALL those semi-auto rifles that are currently possessed to retain legal possession in the future, and subjects these firearms to all other “assault weapons” restrictions.  SB 47 passed in the state Senate by a 23 to 15 vote.

Senate Bill 374 (Steinberg) expands the definition of “assault weapons” to BAN the future transfer of all semi-automatic rifles that accept detachable magazines (including those chambered for rimfire cartridges), requires NEW “assault weapon” registration, requires registration of ALL those semi-auto rifles that are currently possessed to retain legal possession in the future, and subjects these firearms to all other “assault weapon” restrictions.  SB 374 passed in the state Senate by a 23 to 15 vote.

Senate Bill 396 (Hancock) BANS the POSSESSION of any magazine with a capacity to accept more than ten cartridges, including currently legally possessed “grandfathered large capacity” magazines.  SB 396 passed in the state Senate by a 25 to 14 vote.

Senate Bill 53 (DeLeon) requires persons to buy an annual ammunition purchase permit, requires the registration and thumbprint of the purchaser for each ammunition purchase, and bans online and mail order sales of ammunition to Californians.  SB 53 passed in the state Senate by a 23 to 15 vote.

Senate Bill 108 (Yee) requires mandatory locked storage of firearms in a locked house regardless of whether anyone is present.  SB 108 passed in the state Senate by a 21 to 17 vote.

Senate Bill 293 (DeSaulnier) BANS the sale of conventional handguns, if the state Department of Justice approves the sale of “Owner Authorized – Smart” handgun technology. SB 293 passed in the state Senate by a 22 to 14 vote.

Senate Bill 299 (DeSaulnier) turns victims of firearm theft into criminals for failing to report the loss of their firearm within an arbitrarily allotted amount of time.  SB 299 passed in the state Senate by a 24 to 15 vote.

Senate Bill 567 (Jackson) expands the definition of shotgun for “short-barreled shotguns” that are illegal to own with a new definition so flawed it can include reclassify handguns shooting “Shot-shells” as shotguns.  SB 567 passed in the state Senate by a 22 to 15 vote.

Senate Bill 683 (Block) expands the requirement for a firearms safety certificate from handguns to rifle purchases.  SB 683 passed in the state Senate by a 28 to 11 vote.

Senate Bill 755 (Wolk) expands the list of persons prohibited from owning a firearm, including persons who have operated cars and boats while they are impaired commonly referred to as DUI.  SB 755 passed in the state Senate by a 25 to 12 vote.

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The following extreme anti-gun bills with serious ramifications for law-abiding gun owners have passed in the state Assembly and are awaiting committee assignment in the state Senate:

Assembly Bill 48 (Skinner) BANS the sale of magazine parts kits that can hold more than ten cartridges, and requires mandatory reporting of law-abiding citizens who purchase more than 3,000 rounds of ammunition with a five-day period.  AB 48 passed in the state Assembly by a 45 to 26 vote.

Assembly Bill 169 (Dickinson) BANS the sale of handguns not on the state-approved roster.  This would BAN the sale of millions of used handguns currently owned by Californians.  AB 169 passed in the state Assembly by a 43 to 27 vote.

Assembly Bill 180 (Bonta) repeals California’s firearm preemption law by granting Oakland an exemption to enact unique laws regarding possession, registration, licensing and subjecting gun owners to unknowing criminal liability when travelling through Oakland.  AB 180 passed in the state Assembly by a 46 to 29 vote.

Assembly Bill 231 (Ting) expands the law for Criminal Storage of Firearms and child access.  AB 231 passed in the state Assembly by a 46 to 30 vote.

Assembly Bill 711 (Rendon) BANS the use of all lead ammunition for hunting.  AB 711 passed in the state Assembly by a 44 to 21 vote.

You can write your representative here urging them to OPPOSE the anti-gun bills listed above.  Please feel free to also copy and paste all the bill information to ensure your state legislators know which bills to OPPOSE.

You can also send a letter to all elected officials in California here.  Please feel free to copy and paste all the bill information above to ensure the elected officials of California know which bills to OPPOSE.

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Also, the following anti-gun legislation failed to receive a final vote in the state Assembly Appropriations Committee before its deadline, so it has been defeated for the year:

Assembly Bill 187 (Bonta) imposes an additional ten percent sales tax on ammunition.

Assembly Bill 760 (Dickinson) imposes an additional $.05 (five cents) sales tax PER ROUND of ammunition.

 


Click here for a .pdf you can download and print with this and other information on pending California legislation.

Anti-gun Legislation News State