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.

Second Amendment Project Newsletter. September 14, 2001.

The Second Amendment Project is based at the Independence

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


"… let us be aware that while they  preach the supremacy of the state, declare its omnipotence over individual man, and predict its eventual domination of all peoples on the earth, they are the focus of evil in the modern world.... I urge you to beware the temptation ... to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of any evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong, good and evil."

Ronald Reagan, Speech to the National Association of Evangelicals,

March 8, 1983.

Special note from Dave Kopel:

As President Bush leads our nation in the beginning days of a war which will continue for years before final victory, many Americans are wondering exactly who our enemy is. The real enemy is the same one that we fought when we in the hot war against Nazi Germany and in the cold war against Soviet Communism. It is the same enemy that mankind has been fighting for many centuries. Evil may wear different faces, and totalitarianism may find different pretexts,  but in the end, the goal is always the same: to crush forever man's sacred capacity for reason, to extinguish the human spirit. The enemy's vision is that that of Big Brother in George Orwell's novel 1984: "If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stomping on human face... FOREVER."

In the early 1980s, most people thought the Soviet Union would endure for many more decades, perhaps forever. But President Reagan understood the fundamental weakness of a society founded on the supremacy of the state over the individual and the family. In 1981,he called Communism "a sad, bizarre chapter in human history whose last pages are even now being written."

In 1983, he described the USSR as "a society where productive forces are hampered by political ones. It is the Soviet Union that runs against the tide of history by denying freedom and human dignity to its citizens. The march of freedom and  democracy will leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash-heap of history."


So too will bin Laden and the Taliban and their allies lie in the ash-heap of history. Just as World War II led to the liberation of the Japanese people from military dictatorship, the new war will liberate much of the world from a dictatorial dark age.

As we destroy the enemies of freedom, we must take care not to allow them the victory of destroying our own freedom. They hate us precisely because we are free, because we show the world that freedom works, that man can govern himself. Political opportunists in America are already trying to use the war as a pretext for hustling  Americans into surrendering the rights which were won at such great cost at places like Lexington and Saratoga, and defended with so much blood at New Orleans, Normandy, Midway, Inchon and thousands of other battlefields.

The casualties from the first day of bin Laden's war appear to be nearly as large, and perhaps much larger than, total American civilian casualties during World War II. They will not be the last casualties – although there be fewer casualties in the long run because we are fighting now, rather than allowing the forces of darkness to grow stronger.

We must ensure that our sacred, inalienable rights – endowed by our Creator and guaranteed by our Constitution – never become casualties in this war. Our rights are not obstacles to our success in this war; they are the very reason we are fighting.  It our duty to  ensure that the rights we pass to the next generations of America emerge from this war better protected than ever, rather than sacrificed to panic.

Already, a concerted assault on the Fourth Amendment and privacy has begun. A massive expansion of government surveillance – including authorization for the government to trace a person's web browsing withouta warrant – passed the Senate 98-0 with no time for reflection of debate. If it is important to you that Congress and the President protect the Constitution, your elected officials need to hear from you very soon. 

You can be sure that before the war is over, there will be similar assaults  on the Second Amendment.  Now more than ever it is important to defend and exercise your Second Amendment rights.

Even more so  than in World War II, the American heartland is at risk of enemy attack. As I detail in the first article in this newsletter, armed American citizens could have saved thousands of lives on Tuesday. The next time that terrorists attempt to strike inside our borders, they must  be instantly destroyed by armed American citizens. Not since the Second was ratified in 1791 has the right to keep and bear arms  been so important to our national  defense.

In 1941-42, armed Americans assisted in guarding the coasts of Hawaii, Virginia, and Maryland. Today, every American state is a potential target, and we know that our enemy's offensive operations will take place primarily in the United States. Be prepared.

Be prepared too to use your First Amendment rights and other political rights to defend the Second Amendment against all who would use the war as a pretext to infringe and eventually destroy it.


The first section of this newsletter deals  with the war which began Tuesday. Other sections of this newsletter, which were created before Tuesday, address more mundane Second Amendment issues. 

Table of Contents for this issue

1.  The War – and the importance of armed civilians and civil liberties.

2. Recent Kopel articles on other gun issues.

3. The National Academy of Sciences commences it gun control study.

4. Links

5. The rest of the Star-Spangled Banner.

1. The War

"It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace—but there is no peace. The war is actually begun!. . . Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?"

Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775.


Making the Air Safe for Terror:
Disarming everyone turns airplanes into safe zones for hijackers.

By Dave Kopel & Captain David Petteys, retired United Airlines pilot,

Marine helicopter pilot in the Vietnam War,

National Review Online

Sunday, Sept. 16, 2001


What Now? The ultimate test.

By Dave Kopel

National Review Online

Sept. 12, 2001


Don't Sacrifice Freedom

Glenn Harlan Reynolds

Fox News Channel

September 14, 2001


Wired Magazine

The best source for up-to-date information about fast-moving

Congressional legislation aimed at electronic privacy.


2.  Recent Kopel articles on other gun issues

Jamaica Farewell. The consequences of gun prohibition.

National Review Online. Sept. 10, 2001.

With Paul Gallant and Joanne Eisen.


Protecting Makers of Weapons Boosts Democracy, Rights.

Analysis of California Supreme Court decision, Merrill v. Navegar.

Los Angeles Daily Journal, page 6,

and the San Francisco Daily Journal. Aug. 30, 2001. 



3. National Academy of Sciences study

Political Science: Doing science a grave injustice.
By Dave Kopel & Glenn Reynolds

National Review Online. Aug. 29, 2001.


Gun Panel Hears With an Ear Shut

By John Lott

Los Angeles Times
August 31, 2001



Gun Panel Meets and Comes Under Fire
Friday, August 31, 2001
By Kelley O. Beaucar


Shots in the Dark
What do we really know about gun crime? Almost nothing.

August 31, 2001

By Sam MacDonald

Reason Online


4. Links

A. Sports

www.saltlake2002.com  ,

Survey of the favorite Olympic sports, and sweepstakes entry form.  Shooting is listed.

B. Women

AWARE (Arming Women Against Rape and Endangerment)

has a new, expanded web site, including:

1. Two test-yourself quizzes, one on general self-defense, one
specifically on stalking.
2. Questions and answers on various topics, crimes, and defense methods.
3. An extensive book and web site reference section
4. Information about a just-published book, Safety for Stalking Victims

Women & Guns magazine


La liberté des armes au féminin

Run by Claire Joly, this is the first French website for women interested

in the right to keep and bear arms. The site also has  a number of articles in English.

Hosted at the Subversive Liberty website.

Guns in wrong hands are a problem;

guns in right hands aren't
by Kathleen Parker (9/2)
Here I am going out to dinner. I grab my purse, keys, cell phone,

and am half out the door when I realize - dang - forgot my pistol.



C. History

Breaking information on the Michael Bellesiles hoax book, "Arming America."

Disarming America
One of the worst cases of academic irresponsibility in memory.

By Melissa Seckora, National Review  editorial associate
October 1, 2001 issue.

Seckora finds that the San Francisco probate records which

Bellesiles claims to have examined were actually destroyed in

the 1906 earthquake.


"New doubts about gun historian:
Research to receive hard critique today."

By David Mehegan

Boston Globe, 9/11/2001.

The Boston Globe checks the Vermont and Rhode Island probate records

that Bellesiles used, and finds that he grossly misrepresented them.

New research by Clayton Cramer, further exposing the Bellesiles hoax.
Colonial militia statutes


Gun Control in Colonial New England"


"Gun Control in Colonial New England Part II"


"Gun Control in the Middle and Southern Colonies"


"Executing a Terrorist"

The John Brown case, Timothy McVeigh, and Waco.

D. Politics

Polish your jackboots, Reno's running

Don Feder

September 12, 2001



Rambo Reno makes laughable run for governor

Kathleen Parker

September 12, 2001



E. International

Gun crime in London is increasing so rapidly that police fear they may not have the resources to cope, the BBC has learned.



Toronto the Good appears to have become Toronto the Gunned. Its been one
of the worst summers for violence this city has ever seen, and most of it
has come at the end of a gun. Here's a look back at what detectives have
been dealing with since May.


F. Research

New study touts gun registration and licensing.

Center for Gun Policy and Research at the Johns  Hopkins University,


Study examines gun laws and crime

August 31, 2001

By David Williams


Article discussing above story. Includes quote from Kopel


Assessing the Democratic Debate: How the News Media Frame Elite Policy Discourse

Karen Callaghan; Frauke Schnell

Political Communication, volume 18, issue no. 2 (2001), pp. 183-213.

Analyzes network news media framing of the Brady Bill and the "Assault Weapons" Ban, from 1988 to 1996. Concludes that the media consistently framed the issues in a "culture of violence" theme.

Available at academic libraries, or can be purchased on-line for $21, at


Emory University study shows that people who dislike the NRA

the most have the least accurate understanding of it.


Ten Essential Observations on Guns in America
By James D. Wright
Professor of Sociology Tulane University

Published in the mid-1990s, but still very relevant.


G. Schools

Our Killing Schools

Claremont Institute

C. Bradley Thompson, Ashland University.

Lengthy monograph traces school shootings to the moral nihilism taught in government schools.


Clayton Cramer

The Canaries are Dying

The culture of depravity that sets the stage for school shootings.

Schools and Suspensions:
Self-Reported Crime and the Growing Use of Suspensions

Justice Policy Institute.

Argues that zero tolerance policies are too severe.


H. Legal News

Second Circuit

Hamilton v. Accu-Tek.

No. 997753v2 - 08/31/01

Second Circuit unanimously dismisses the grand-daddy of the anti-gun lawsuits. The District Court's finding of partial liability by gun companies is reversed in its entirety.



Fifth Circuit.

US v. Fix

No. 00-10789, August 29, 2001

Three-judge panel unanimously rules that defendant cannot be prosecuted under the federal felon in possession statute because since his rights were previously restored. 

Tenth Circuit.

Three-judge panel unanimously rules that the federal machine gun ban
violates neither the Second Amendment nor Interstate Commerce clauses.

Relying on  Lewis v US, the court describes the Second Amendment

having nothing to do with individual rights.

The defendant went to the police, told that he had unregistered machine guns,

and that the police could not make him register.

US v. Haney, No 00-6129 (10th Cir. August 29, 2001)


Is Federal Court Logjam On The Way?

by James Gordon Meek
Special to lexisONE

Aug. 30, 2001

Concerns about a major increase in federal gun prosecutions.


I. Self-Defense

Operation Self Defense

New website collects comprehensive reports of self-defense incidents.

The rest  of the Star Spangled Banner

We all know the first verse of the Star Spangled Banner.

Most of us know that it comes from a poem, The Defense of Fort McHenry, written by Francis Scott Key as he watched the British shell Fort McHenry, during the War of 1812.

The first verse ends with the question, "O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave, O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?"

The second verse answers the question, as Key sees the flag still flying during battle: 

"On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, now conceals, now discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines on the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! O long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

The third and fourth verses, though, are the ones

with which I would like to leave you, for the tell

us how bin Laden's war will end, and they point us

to our duty:  

"And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wiped out their foul footstep's pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.


"Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: 'In God is our trust.'
And the star-spangled banner forever shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!"


That's all folks!

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