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.
1. New Kopel columns. Six new articles.
2. From the front lines at Santee.
3. Links on Santee.
4. New Wisconsin report.
5. Politics of Gun Rights
6. More on "Arming America."
7. Statistical Research Service analyzes "More Guns, More
8. Michael Yardley on the gun crime surge in England, and
the push to ban replica guns.
a. Faith of Our Fathers. Why Garry Wills ought to read the
Second Amendment in English, not Latin.
National Review Online
b. Defending Gun Shows. With Paul Gallant and Joanne Eisen.
National Review Online
b. Sure, Blame the Gun. The Santee murders.
National Review Online. Mar. 9, 2001.
With Ari Armstrong.
c. Make Crime Pay. Criminals are often rational, not sick.
National Review Online.
Feb. 28, 2001. With Linda Gorman.
d. Anti-Gun, Anti-Science. Firearms factoids from the
federal government. National Review Online. Feb. 27, 2001.
e. Britain: From Bad to Worse
Dave Kopel, Dr. Paul Gallant and Dr. Joanne Eisen
Originally published in America's 1st Freedom.
Reprinted for the web on Newsmax.com
March 21, 2001
Remember Counterterrorism 101. Terrorists seek publicity;
to avoid repeats, it usually a wise policy to deny that
publicity. We should have the same response to schoolyard
terrorists. Responsible media should focus on the
true victims, describing their assailant as no-name scum
deserving no notoriety. This is not a call for censorship,
just a request that media demonstrate responsible self
restraint. Read the following first hand
account, and see if the Police Chaplain is right.
Friends and fellow Peace Warriors,
This note is from a friend, a police chaplain, who was
THERE in Santee after the latest massacre. It says it all.
Pray for them.
Feel free to pass this on.
Lt. Col. Dave Grossman (killology.com)
<< Hi Dave. Just returned from the Santana High mass
shooting. If these crazy kids who do these shootings could
see the devastating heartbreak of the parents, families and
friends of those they so callously cut down in
their power and revenge frenzies, I wonder if they would
stop and think how horrible their murderous thoughts really
are. Video games don't show you the aftermath of the
widespread human devastation, the lives of both
rescuers and surviving victims that become so altered
As one of the mothers, seated in the make shift command
center of Taco Bell, ensconced with two chaplains and a
trauma specialist, was told by the lieutenant that her son
was dead, her paralyzing wails of unfathomable
grief will echo in my mind forever. They could be heard
outside the building and sent chills throughout the parking
We could only gather together and pray for her and those
inside who were breaking the news to her. Fifteen years of
a mother's love and she can never speak to him again in
this world. His lifeless body lays for hours while an
endless stream of necessary investigators and forensic
specialists pour over his place of destiny. And mama can't
touch him. Her arms ache for a little boy she can't even
hold in death. Build a virtual reality machine that shows
the gut wrenching emotion of the horror unleashed when
such fate filled fantasies are played out. Make them watch
until the thought of taking a weapon to fellow students is
finally to them the nightmare it is. Press on in your
crusade, brother. This young fellow
was smiling at the realism with every pull of the trigger.
a. Try to learn something from tragedy
March 11, 2001
b. California: Another Lesson about Children and Guns
Miguel A. Faria Jr., M.D.
March 12, 2001
c. Media feeds narcissism, leading to youth violence
by Kathleen Parker
Mar. 12, 2001
d. School Disaster
March 12, 2001
e. Gun Control That Works
March 12, 2001
Subject: 50% of Wisconsin firearm homicides occur in only 4
zip codes in 1 city.
50% of homicides occuring in only 4 zip codes of a state
where firearms ownership is widespread and legal
restrictions are identical on all residents is indicative
of an isolated SOCIAL problem with the population of
those 4 zip codes NOT a widespread result related to
firearms density (much higher in other areas of the state)
nor to insufficient restrictions on possession,
acquisition, or use of firearms. Since Wisconsin is very
similiar to Minnesota, the same should hold true here as
Prof. J. E. Olson, Hamline University School of Law, St.
Paul, MN 55104
Firearm Injury Center Offers Nation's First Comprehensive
Statewide Firearm Fatality Report (Milwaukee, Wisconsin 03/01/01)
The Medical College of Wisconsin's Firearm Injury Center
will release the nation's first, comprehensive, statewide
firearm fatality report at its annual meeting. Wisconsin
had a total of 136 firearm homicides, 270 firearm
suicides and 12 unintentional firearm fatalities in 1999.
The report links vital statistics such as age, race and
sex, with law enforcement and crime laboratory data on all
Wisconsin firearm fatalities in 1999. It also includes
Southeastern Wisconsin firearm fatality data from
1994 to 1999, and Milwaukee County data since 1991.
There are two firearm suicides for every homicide in
Wisconsin and white males were six times more likely to be
a victim of firearm suicide than of firearm homicide.
Forty-eight percent of all firearm fatalities occurred in
Southeastern Wisconsin [Milwaukee metro area], representing
83 percent of the state's firearm homicides and 31 percent
of the state's suicides.
Wisconsin's firearm homicide rate for black male victims
was 32 times higher than for white males, and black females
were ten times more likely to be firearm homicide victims
than white females.
Thirty-six percent of the state's total firearm fatalities
occurred in Milwaukee County, and homicides comprise nearly
75 percent of Milwaukee County firearm fatalities. Sixty-
eight Milwaukee County firearm homicides
occurred in the following Milwaukee zip codes: 53206,
53208, 53204 and 53210, representing exactly 50% of all
Wisconsin firearm homicides.
Handguns were most frequently used in Wisconsin's firearm
homicides, as well as in Milwaukee County suicides. Long
guns, that is rifles and shotguns, were most frequently
used in firearm suicides in rural areas, as
well as in urban areas outside Milwaukee County. * * *
To order a copy of the 1999 report, call (414) 805-6453.
a. By David J. Sanders
Donrey News - Little Rock Bureau
February 18, 2001
When quizzed about why he [Congressman Marion Berry]
considers himself a conservative, he instantly goes to the
issue of guns. Berry says he and his fellow Blue Dogs have
challenged the Democratic leadership to drop
their infatuation with the gun-control issue. "Gun control
shouldn't be a political issue. It's a losing issue, and
our leadership needs to understand that."
b. A PR Overhaul for the Gun Ban Lobby
By Tanya Metaksa
Handgun Control, Inc., will change its name.
c. Guns and Poses
The Left's gun-control script.
By Henry Payne & Diane Katz
March 14, 2001
6. More on "Arming America."
From Clayton Cramer
Bellesiles's _Arming America_ on p. 63 asserts
"In 1630 the Massachusetts Bay Company reported in their
possession: "80 bastard musketts, with snaphances, 4
Foote in the barrill without rests, 6 long Fowlinge
peeces...6 foote longe; 4 longe Fowlinge peeces...
5-1/2 foote longe; 10 Full musketts, 4 Foote barrill, with
matchlocks and rests," one hundred swords, and "5 peeces of
ordnance, long sence bowght and payd For." There were
thus exactly one hundred firarms for use among seven towns
with a population of about one thousand."
The source cited is Shurtleff, ed., Records of
But as usual, when you look up the source, it says
something completely different from what Bellesiles has
represented. It is NOT a list of weapons in their
possession in Massachusetts.
It is a list of "Necessaries conseaued [considered?] meete
for or intended voiadge for New England to bee prepared
forthwith." It is a list of arms to be purchased and
brought over by the company. There is NOTHING on the cited
pages that indicates that this is a list of all the guns in
the colony, or includes privately owned guns, as Bellesiles
The date on the pages is clearly written as 1628-9. The
year 1630 does not appear. As usual, practically nothing
that Bellesiles writes checks out.
This is NOT an ambiguous source. It is as clear as it gets.
Clayton E. Cramer http://www.ggnra.org/cramer to see
excerpts from my five published books and full text of a
number of scholarly and popular articles.
"Talk softly, but carry a big stick" has a universal
appeal. In theory, criminals should be deterred from crime
if they risk significant harm from such big sticks in the
course of their activities. This theory gained momentum
with the publication of research by John Lott and his
colleagues (eg "More Guns, Less Crime," University of
Chicago Press, 1998), which found that the passage of laws
allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons generally
reduced crime. Not surprisingly, these provocative findings
have come under fire from critics.
One recent shootout took place in The Economist's full-page
"Economics Focus" feature on January 13th ("Do guns mean
crime?"). In outlining research by University of Chicago
scholar Mark Duggan the article stated that "data on gun
ownership exists only at the national level." Dr. Duggan
had therefore sought a proxy for gun ownership at state and
county levels. He found it in the circulation figures of a
gun magazine (Guns and Ammo). The article also stated that
"until recently ... studies used the passage of [concealed-
carry] legislation ... as a proxy indicator of gun
ownership." Dr. Duggan's work concluded that "a 10%
increase in an average state's rate of gun ownership,
proxied by magazine sales, was associated with a 2% rise in
its homicide rate." Furthermore, "increases in gun
ownership led to increases in crime in the following year,
but the reverse did not hold."
However, this was only the first volley. In a letter
published in The Economist, (Letters, Jan. 27) Lott fired
back that the magazine was "wrong to claim that my research
used concealed-handgun laws as a proxy for gun ownership
... Although it is probable that more people will buy guns,
concealed-handgun laws can reduce crime even if gun
ownership remains constant as guns become available to
protect people outside their homes." Lott also pointed out
that state-by-state survey data is available on gun
ownership figures, allowing state-level examination of the
data without any need for proxies.
Further, the use of Guns & Ammo magazine sales as a proxy
for handgun ownership is open to question. Guns & Ammo is
only the fourth largest selling gun magazine and its
audience consists mostly of "sportsmen" – 93 percent own
hunting equipment, 94 percent own camping equipment and 84
percent personally perform maintenance on their vehicle.
These are the demographics of people who buy long guns for
sport, not handguns for self-protection. Dr. Duggan argues
that "Guns & Ammo is focused relatively more on handguns
than [the three larger-selling magazines]" but a more
obvious choice would have been Handguns, published by Guns
& Ammo but dedicated solely to handguns.
There are an estimated 60-65 million gun owners in the US,
of whom 30-35 million own handguns. But there are only 14
million hunters nationwide. Any publication that is geared
to hunters will miss a large proportion of handgun owners.
Dr. Duggan tests the magazine's statewide sales data
against common characteristics of gun owners as identified
by previous research, the number of gun shows, gun accident
rates and membership of the National Rifle Association
(NRA). None of these is a good indicator of handgun as
opposed to all gun ownership. The difference is crucial
because 82 percent of nonfatal firearm crime victims were
shot by handguns, compared to only 14 percent by shotguns
and 4 percent by rifles, according to current Bureau of
Justice Statistics figures on shootings in which the type
of weapon was known. Thus, long arms are not a significant
factor in crime.
Finally, in analyzing county data, Duggan collapses all
counties with fewer than 100,000 residents into a single
"rest-of-state" category. Since smaller counties account
for 86% of "the total number of counties, but for a very small
proportion of crime, throwing so many crime-free counties
into one observation may distort the findings.
Dr. Duggan's study seems to show that after hunters buy
hunting gun magazines, the state homicide rate goes up;
conversely, the homicide rate has no effect on hunters
buying hunting gun magazines. The latter conclusion seems
intuitively true. The former can probably be explained by
crime trends in the years Dr. Duggan selected for his study
(1980-1998) – homicide rates trended upwards from 1985 to
1994. It might be possible to demonstrate a link between
increases of sales in teen magazines and increases in
homicides on the same basis.
The Economist's article, and the study on which it was
based, seemed to have the target clearly identified. But
because the sights were misaligned, the shot went wide.
8. Sportsmen have been disarmed but gun crimes still
increase : Five years after Thomas Hamilton killed 16
children and their teacher at Dunblane, a ban on hand guns
has done nothing to halt the rise in firearms
The Daily Telegraph (England)
March 13, 2001
By Mike Yardley
After one man went on the rampage at Dunblane five years
ago today, anti- gun campaigners persuaded the government
that a ban on sporting handguns would make the public
safer. They whipped up such a frenzy that logical debate
was impossible. The ban was enacted, the sport of pistol-
shooting was destroyed, many small businesses were ruined
and the British taxpayer had to foot a bill which, though
yet to be fully calculated, runs into hundreds of millions
Yet five years on, the criminal misuse of handguns has
actually increased greatly. Handguns are used in a greater
proportion of offences involving firearms - 54 per cent in
1999 compared with 44 per cent in 1989. Clearly the ban has
not had any positive effect. So you might expect the anti-
shooting lobbyists to keep quiet. Instead, they make ever
more extreme demands.
The latest scheme to make us all safer is to ban replica
firearms. Already the lobbyists have some members of the
police service and the Labour Party on side. The
presumption is that if at first a ban does not succeed,
Figures provided by the Home Office indicate that during
1999-2000 in England and Wales there were 823 crimes
involving imitation firearms. Quite how the Home Office
calculates its figures is not clear. The figures have also
shown a significant increase in thefts of handguns in
recent years (although the possession of handguns - save
for a few in the hands of vets and other specially
authorised persons - has been made illegal). It has been
suggested - apparently by the police - that between 50 and
60 per cent of armed robberies are carried out with replica
In the early 1990s, I carried out research with Detective
Inspector Adrian Maybanks, as he was then, of the
Metropolitan Police. It indicated that the proportion of
imitation weapons (not all of them so-called "replicas") used in
armed crime was, in fact, even greater. But this
significant criminal use of imitation firearms was not
automatically a reason to ban them. We concluded: "All the
evidence suggests that existing controls on real weapons
have had little or no effect. Moreover, there is a
significant danger that criminals might be encouraged to
make more use of real guns if new controls were imposed on
One might add to this that no ban on replicas could be
enforced. For a start, more than half a million have
already been sold. It would be vastly expensive to try to
enforce a ban, and futile at the same time, because
imitation firearms are so easily made. A man once held up a
building society with a cucumber in a plastic bag.
If banning is not the answer, what is? First, one might ask
what is the real problem? It is not the sporting use of
firearms. Shooting is one of the safest of all sports -
"golf with guns" as it has been called. It also sustains a
large, if ever diminishing, number of connected jobs.
Shooting enthusiasts have been unfairly demonised in recent
years simply because they and the tools of their sport are
What is to blame, then, for the rise in firearms offences?
The public, which has no experience of shooting sports,
sees firearms being misused every day in popular
They have become fetish objects in films such as Pulp
Fiction, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch.
"Gangsta rap" sings about them, children zap the zombies,
even characters in British soap operas blow each other away
these days. (According to Lord Cullen's report, Dunblane
killer Thomas Hamilton liked to watch Terminator and Alien
"because of the guns".) After Dunblane, I made a study of
the top 10 rental videos: they had an average of 13
firearms killings each. Research concluded more than a
decade ago that between 22 and 34 per cent of young
American criminals imitated techniques they had watched on
Film and television are not the only culprits, though. The
increase in firearms crime is directly (and perhaps most
directly) connected to the increase in the use of drugs.
Where there are drugs you will find illegal guns. The
barons need them to protect their turf. In an age of
impotence and alienation, guns are also seen as symbols of
power, and this symbolism seems most potent in the black
communities of our inner cities (who may also have been
influenced by the rise of the gun gangster in the
Because of the drugs trade and the fashion for firearms,
there is an increasing demand for illegal guns. This is met
from a variety of sources. One especially worrying trend is
the increasing use of automatic and semi-automatic weapons.
Many of these appear to be of eastern European origin.
Tokarev pistols, for example, which 10 years ago would have
been a rarity, have frequently been appearing in criminal
hands recently. The reduction of EU frontier controls and
the limited resources of HM Customs and Excise mean that
large numbers of modern guns are entering Britain
illegally, just as are large numbers of illegal immigrants
and vast quantities of drugs.
What should we do? The Metropolitan Police has mounted
Operation Trident - which focuses on black crime and
firearms crime in particular - and this is a step in the
right direction. But it is only a fraction of what is required.
Both police and Customs must have the resources and the
methods to tackle drugs and illegal firearms importation
The media must stop pretending that they have had no
influence on the rise of gun culture and the police and
Government should stop hassling innocent sportsmen. Bans
and further restrictions are not the answer; all they have
done is to bring some police licensing departments to a
In London in 1954 (when there were roughly double the
number of legitimate firearm certificate holders), there
were four robberies with firearms in the whole year. Now
there are as many each day. The difference is not explained
by the shooting sports but by a change in our culture.
Address that change and you begin to address the real
Mike Yardley is an author and psychologist who gave
evidence to Lord Cullen's inquiry
a. Zero Tolerance Yes, But for Bullies, not Guns
March 12, 2001 / 17 Adar, 5761
b. Track gun litigation news, opinions, and pleadings
c. Its the law in Kennesaw
By Jonathan Hamilton and David Burch
Mandatory gun ownership helps make Kennesaw the safest city
of its size in the U.S.
d. The American Colonist's Library.
Primary Source Documents Pertaining to Early American
Includes European documents as well.
e. Medical Marchers Ask: Should Guns Be Part
of Patient Profile?
by Josh Benson
f. Guns often help keep ordinary citizens from winding up
as crime statistics
By Robert A. Waters
Mar. 16, 2001
g. National Center for Injury Prevent and Control
Injury Mortality Page.
Very sophisticated collection of mortality data,
searchable by many different criteria.
h. Kentucky Coalition to Carry Concealed
Very active and effective grassroots group.
i. Unarmed and unsafe
February 28, 2001
Paul Craig Roberts
j. More Facts, Fewer Liberals
Are liberals evil or just stupid?
March 8, 2001
(Editor's note: Plenty of liberals have intellectual
integrity. But not the ones mentioned Ms. Coulter's
k. And finally, my favorite recent link:
Do guns get up and shoot people by themselves?
The truth revealed! Check out this website:
Criminal Justice and the Second Amendment:
Kopel short articles: http://davekopel.org.
The Columbine High School murders:
The Waco murders: http://i2i.org/Waco.htm
The Independence Institute's on-line bookstore. Start your
browsing at the Second Amendment section:
That's all folks!