Second Amendment Project Newsletter. April 13, 2001.

About once a month, Dave Kopel produces a free e-mail Newsletter containing short summaries and links to important new research and writing involving the Second Amendment and firearms policy. The newsletter also reports on Kopel's latest writing.

The content of this newsletter is produced by the Second Amendment Project at the Independence Institute, a think tank in Golden, Colorado.

 The newsletter is electronically distributed by the Second Amendment Foundation in Bellevue, Washington. Thus, the Second Amendment Foundation will be given your e-mail address.

Archive of past issues.

The Second Amendment Project is based at the Independence

Institute, a free-market think tank in Golden, Colorado.

Table of Contents for this issue

  1. New articles and studies from the Independence Institute: Dave Kopel, Linda Gorman, John Lott, Diane Nicholl, Ari Armstrong

  2. John Lott on gun licensing and registration.

  3. Pope accepts gun society medallion.

  4. Links: New Cato study blasts Danforth cover-up of Waco. Many more.


1. New from the Independence Institute

Spriggs is Sprung: New Colorado U.S. Attorney is bad news, unless you're a burglar.

By Dave Kopel

April 4, 2001.

Bullying Johnny.

By Linda Gorman

National Review Online

April 2, 2001

Firearms Deaths in Colorado

Issue Background by Diane Nicholl and Dave Kopel


2. "Some Time To Kill: In Waiting Periods, Gun Buyers Are At Mercy Of Criminals,"

by John R. Lott Jr., from the Investor's Business Daily

California's government -- which has demonstrated its obvious prowess as a regulator of energy -- is searching for another vital product to regulate. The California Legislature launched hearings this week on the licensing of guns. California's would-be regulators might want to examine the experiences with gun licensing in places like Canada and Hawaii before they enact any ambitious and reckless new laws.

Canadians are a law-abiding lot. But as of Jan. 1, millions suddenly became criminals, thanks to C-68, Canada's gun licensing law, which was passed back in 1995. The law ordered Canadians to obtain a license and register their guns within five years.

Officially, the Canadian Department of Justice now claims that there are only 2.5 million gun owners, a 31% drop from their figure just a couple of years ago.

This means that millions of gun owners are now operating outside of Canadian law, an assumption confirmed by press accounts that report internal Canadian Justice Department documents identifying 5 to 7 million gun owners and by academic and private surveys which indicate possibly more gun owners. The 2.5 million estimate, some academics argue, is surprisingly similar to the Canadian Wildlife Service's estimate for the number of people hunting each year.

Getting the government to release information on the costs of licensing and registration is like cracking the black ops budgets in the U.S. Defense Department. The numbers are even refused to many members of Parliament.

"Inside sources" have told members of Parliament that, excluding any costs borne by the federal police (the Royal Canadian Mounties) or in Quebec, $ 265 million (Canadian dollars) will be spent by the federal Canadian Firearms Centre this year. To put it another way, just this limited accounting number corresponds to 5% of all police expenditures in Canada.

Just as with unfunded mandates in the U.S., the vast majority of gun licensing costs in Canada are borne by the provinces and local governments. For example, the attorney general's office of Alberta has complained that the law "is an administrative mess and it is very costly, and it is using money that would be better used really fighting crime."

Canada's licensing laws are notable for their extremely intrusive character: Applicants must report if they've experienced a divorce, breakdown of a significant relationship, job loss or bankruptcy in the past two years. Despite the objections of Canada's Privacy Commissioner that files are filled with "unsubstantiated hearsay and incorrect information," the government questions people like ex-spouses, possibly bitter over divorces, to assess the gun licensee's fitness for a license.

These are real problems. But the largest one pertains to the impact these rules will have on violent crime. We look with interest to see how Canada's crime rate changes this year. In the meantime, we can assume from America's experience with similar gun restrictions that Canada is in for some bad news.

Consider what is happening in Hawaii. According to gun licensing theory, if a gun is left at the scene of the crime, licensing and registration would allow a gun to be traced back to its owner. But police have spent tens of thousands of man-hours administering these laws in Hawaii (the one state with both rules), and there has not been even a single case where police claim licensing and registration have been instrumental in identifying the criminal.

The reasons for this are simple. First, criminals very rarely leave their guns at the scene of the crime. Second, would-be criminals virtually never get licenses or register their weapons.

Gun licensing advocates ask, might licensing at least have allowed even more comprehensive background checks and thus kept criminals from getting guns in the first place? Unfortunately for these gun control advocates, there is not a single academic study that finds that background checks reduce violent crime.

Instead, licensing prevents people who are being stalked or threatened from quickly obtaining a gun for protection. When added to California's 14-day waiting period, the processing time for a license will delay access to a gun by at least a month. While research shows that even short waiting periods increase rape rates, waiting periods longer than 10 days increase all categories of violent crime.

Canadians will undoubtedly take some solace in press accounts noting that police won't "come knocking at the door any time soon." But as distracted police spend tens of thousands of hours trying to enforce the licensing, the doors of Canadians may be knocked down by gun-wielding criminals who pay no mind to the regulatory fads of political correctness. Are Californians paying attention?


Contact: John Snyder, 703-418-4480

ARLINGTON, VA - His Holiness Pope John Paul II has accepted the presentation of a special St. Gabriel Possenti Society medallion, John Michael Snyder, Society Founder/Chairman, announced here today.

As an 1860 Italian Catholic seminarian, Possenti rescued the villagers of Isola del Gran Sasso from a gang of 20 terrorists with a striking, one-shot, lizard-slaying demonstration of handgun marksmanship. He died in 1862. Pope Benedict XV canonized him in 1920. Snyder seeks Possenti's Vatican designation as Patron of Handgunners. The international, interdenominational Society highlights the historical, philosophical and theological bases for the doctrine of legitimate self-defense.

"I personally brought the medal, along with a letter for His Holiness, to the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City on March 5, 2001," said Snyder. "The March 12 letter of acceptance, signed by Msgr. Pedro Lopez Quintana of the Vatican Secretariat of State, assures me of 'His Holiness's appreciation of the devoted sentiments which prompted this presentation.'"

The special medallion features a profile of Possenti on the obverse, encircled by the words, "St. Gabriel Possenti, Patron of Marksmen," and on the reverse, an outline of a target below the prayer, "Guide our aim to strike at the center. Protect us from the enemies of love, justice and liberty."

In his March 5 letter, Snyder wrote His Holiness that, "we devote ourselves most particularly to St. Gabriel Possenti because his life shows us the intimate and consistent connection between the right to life, the right to self-defense, the right to the means necessary for self-defense, and the right to arms for self-defense."

Earlier, on February 27, the Feast Day of St. Gabriel Possenti, during a luncheon and conference held in a hotel a short distance from the Vatican, Snyder presented medallions to Col. Jeff Cooper, Founder of the Gunsite Ranch in Paulden, Arizona, Francesco Possenti, a great grandnephew of St. Gabriel Possenti, Most Rev. Archbishop Custodio Alvim Pereira, Vice President of the Chapter of St. Peter's Basilica, Paolo Tagini, Editor of ARMI magazine, and Piero Raggi, author of the book CROCIATA.


For more information, see:

American Handgun Owners Seek Vatican Recognition

By Alberto Carosa

In "Truth, Freedom, Property" (an international magazine

for conservative Catholics)


The homepage of the St. Gabriel Possenti Society


5. Links.

a. No Confidence: An Unofficial Account of the Waco Incident

by Timothy Lynch

Cato Institute

Apr. 9, 2001

b. Waco Revisited
Cato study on Waco decries federal culture of impunity.

Deroy Murdock

National Review Online

Apr. 13, 2001


***c. The Latest Waco Fireball***

By James Bovard

American Spectator

April 5, 2001

Investigators find evidence that DanforthCommission tests were rigged.

d. Gun Violence Studies Based on Flawed Methods, Political Agendas

Medical Sentinel

e. Claremont Institute's Second Amendment page

Many good articles on public health and other issues.

f. Invasion of the Anti-Gun Doctors

Dr. Michael S. Brown
March 28, 2001

g. Disarming Questions.
Reason Magazine

By Jacob Sullum

More on anti-gun doctors

h. Million Mom Eviction
San Francisco Examiner.

The MMM appears to have used taxpayer-funded space

at San Francisco General Hospital illegally. The misuse was exposed

by Keep and Bear Arms,

i. Doctor's Orders
Doctors Against Handgun Injury may be hazardous to your health.

By Andrew Stuttaford, a writer living in New York

National Review Online
April 14-15, 2001


j. Encyclopaedia Britannica "Year in Review"

Article on the gun control debate.

By Iain Murray

k. Arm-Twisting: A historian's book makes the case for gun control. Other scholars hotly dispute his claims.

Wall Street Journal
By Kimberly A. Strassel
April 5, 2001


l. Latest version of Clayton Cramer's book-in-progress

on Michael Bellesiles' "Arming America." 

Warning: it's 707K

m. National Association of Firearms Retailers

Dedicated to providing professional firearms retailers with a unified voice in regulatory and legislative affairs, facilitating communication with other segments of the industry and developing programs that help professional firearms retailers respond to new challenges and opportunities.

n. Members Take Aim at Smith & Wesson Program.

House Republicans, With Help of 10 Democrats, Try to Reverse Clinton Administration's Gun-Control Initiative

By John Breshnahan

Roll Call

Apr. 5, 2001



The original frivolous government lawsuit filed against First and Second Amendment rights is dismissed, by the Louisiana Supreme Court.

(scroll down the page to find the case)

p. Bill to protect gun manufacturers clears Senate

Miami Herald

April 13, 2001


q. US v. Coward

Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Federal judge suggests that federal laws imposing criminal penalties for possession of firearms, unrelated to interstate commerce, are unconstitutional.

r. Wolves Circling the Fire

Essay by Gary Marbut

Montana State Shooting Association

s. Misfire: Firearm Registration in Canada

By Gary Mauser

The Fraser Institute

t. Report on Firearms Control Legislation in South Africa.

Professor Andries Cilliers

Addressing civil liberties and due process problems in the new laws.

u. Proposal for new background check system which could not be used

for registration: Blind Identification Database System (BIDS)


Apr. 12, 2001

v. Statistical Assessment Service

New articles about guns:

Doctoring Gun Data:

Gun Blind:

Zero Tolerance? Yes, But for School Bullies:

w. Let Them Drop Out
A response to the killings in suburban high schools
By Jackson Toby
The Weekly Standard

April 9, 2001


x. Armed Self-Defense Works
By Gary Kleck.

Wall St. Journal

y. Group Advocates Armed Parent Patrols for U.S. Schools

By Jim Burns

CNS News

Mar. 27, 2001\nation\archive\200103\nat20010327a.


z. Shooting For Kids
Fire a shot for a good cause. Shooting sports are some of the safest of all sports, but the media seem to want to avoid covering that story

By James A. Swan

National Review Online.

April 7-8, 2001

That's all folks!

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