Report: Fort Leavenworth Soldier Intervenes, Takes Out Active Shooter

H/T Breitbart.

This proves what Second Amendment advocates have been saying It takes a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun.

A Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, soldier intervened during a firearm-based attack Wednesday morning and took out an alleged active shooter.

KMBC reports that the incident occurred on Centennial Bridge around 11 a.m. where an unidentified suspect allegedly using a handgun and a rifle took shots at passing vehicles.

A Leavenworth soldier who was in traffic ascertained what was happening and drove his car into the suspect, ending the attack.

Leavenworth police chief Patrick Kitchens summarized the soldier’s actions: “There was an active-duty soldier assigned to Fort Leavenworth waiting in traffic behind the event who saw the event unfold and determined it was an active shooter. The soldier intervened by striking the shooter with his vehicle, causing him to be critically injured, ending the encounter with the active shooter and likely saving countless lives.”

KXLH reports that another soldier was wounded by the attacker’s gunfire prior to the gunman being stopped. That soldier and the attacker were both transported to a hospital for treatment.

Cases Attacking the Second Amendment the Supreme Court Refused to Hear

H/T AmmoLand.

Why is the Supreme Court avoiding these cases?

U.S.A. –-( Because the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in cases discussed infra,* had blatantly ignored and dismissed Heller and McDonald precedent, Justice Thomas and the late Justice Scalia, and, later, Justice Gorsuch, were visibly annoyed, angered really, at the failure of the High Court to take up any of the cases, as evidenced in several dissenting comments. These cases include:

Silvester vs. Becerra: Petition for certiorari denied on February 20, 2018

“Issues: (1) Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit improperly applied lenient scrutiny in a Second Amendment challenge to the application of California’s full 10-day waiting period to firearm purchasers who pass their background check in fewer than 10 days and already own another firearm or have a concealed carry license; and (2) whether the Supreme Court should exercise its supervisory powers to cabin the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit’s concerted resistance to and disregard of the Supreme Court’s Second Amendment decisions.”

California’s full 10-day waiting period to firearm purchasers remains in effect.

Justice Thomas was livid. He said:

“The Second Amendment protects “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms,” and the Fourteenth Amendment requires the States to respect that right, McDonald v. Chicago. . . . Because the right to keep and bear arms is enumerated in the Constitution, courts cannot subject laws that burden it to mere rational-basis review. District of Columbia v. Heller.

But the decision below did just that. And it is symptomatic of the lower courts’ general failure to afford the Second Amendment the respect due an enumerated constitutional right.

If a lower court treated another right so cavalierly, I have little doubt that this Court would intervene. But as evidenced by our continued inaction in this area, the Second Amendment is a disfavored right in this Court. Because I do not believe we should be in the business of choosing which constitutional rights are “really worth insisting upon,” Heller . . . I would have granted certiorari in this case.”

Drake v. Jerejian: Petition for certiorari denied on May 5, 2014

No hearing; no comment

“Issue: (1) Whether the Second Amendment secures a right to carry handguns outside the home for self-defense; and (2) whether state officials violate the Second Amendment by requiring that individuals wishing to exercise their right to carry a handgun for self-defense first prove a ‘justifiable need’ for doing so.”

The weblog, outside the beltway, had this to say about the case:

“Well it’s official. The Supreme Court has abdicated the Second Amendment.

No Second Amendment right, in New Jersey, to carry a handgun outside the home; and proof of “justifiable need” to carry handgun outside the home for self-defense remains in effect in New Jersey

“Today, the Court denied cert in Drake v. Jerejian, the New Jersey carry case. This case offered a perfect vehicle to test whether the Second Amendment applies outside the home. It was relisted a few times, which this term has been a prerequisite to cert. Yet, it was denied today.

Since the Supreme Court decided McDonald v. Chicago in 2010, they have not deigned to take a single Second Amendment case. Not one. Several have been relisted a few times, but all ultimately denied, with not even a statement concurring or dissenting from denial of cert.

As I noted in this post, this strategy of ‘deny, deny, deny’ is reminiscent of the absence of Cert grants in cases concerning Guantanamo Bay. There, the Court seems content to let the D.C. Circuit rewrite habeas law. I suppose, in a similar fashion, the Court is happy with a plethora of nation-wide Circuit splits about the meaning of the right to keep and bear arms.”

Jackson vs. City & Cnty. of San Francisco: Petition for certiorari denied on June 8, 2015

“Issue: Whether San Francisco’s attempt to deprive law-abiding individuals of immediate access to operable handguns in their own homes is any more constitutional than the District of Columbia’s invalidated effort to do the same.”

The requirement to keep handguns inaccessible in-home remains in effect in San Francisco.

(Thomas dissenting; Scalia joins dissent) Thomas writes:

“‘Self-defense is a basic right’ and ‘the central component’ of the Second Amendment’s guarantee of an individual’s right to keep and bear arms. Less than a decade ago, we explained that an ordinance requiring firearms in the home to be kept inoperable, without an exception for self-defense, conflicted with the Second Amendment because it ‘ma[de] it impossible for citizens to use [their firearms] for the core lawful purpose of self-defense.’ District of Columbia v. Heller. Despite the clarity with which we described the Second Amendment core protection for the right of self-defense, lower courts, including the ones here, have failed to protect it. Because Second Amendment rights are no less protected by our Constitution than other rights enumerated in that document, I would have granted this petition.”

Friedman vs. City of Highland Park, Illinois: Petition for certiorari denied on December 7, 2015

“Issue: (1) Whether the Constitution allows the government to prohibit law-abiding, responsible citizens from protecting themselves, their families, and their homes with a class of constitutionally protected ‘arms’ that includes the most popular rifles in the nation; and (2) whether the Constitution allows the government to prohibit law-abiding, responsible citizens from protecting themselves, their families, and their homes with ammunition magazines that number in the tens of millions and make up nearly half of the nation’s total stock of privately owned ammunition magazines for handguns and rifles.”

Semiautomatic weapons defined as ‘assault weapons,’ even if in common use remain illegal in City of Highland Park, Illinois

Thomas dissenting:

“The City of Highland Park, Illinois, bans manufacturing, selling, giving, lending, acquiring, or possessing many of the most commonly owned semiautomatic firearms, which the City branded “Assault Weapons.”

The City gave anyone who legally possessed ‘an Assault Weapon or Large Capacity Magazine’ 60 days to move these items outside city limits, disable them, or surrender them for destruction. Anyone who violates the ordinance can be imprisoned for up to six months, fined up to $1,000, or both.

Instead of adhering to our reasoning in Heller, the Seventh Circuit limited Heller to its facts and read Heller to forbid only total bans on handguns used for self-defense in the home. All other questions about the Second Amendment, the Seventh Circuit concluded, should be defined by ‘the political process and scholarly debate.’

But Heller repudiates that approach.

There is no basis for a different result when our Second Amendment precedents are at stake. I would grant certiorari to prevent the Seventh Circuit from relegating the Second Amendment to a second-class right.

Kolbe vs. Hogan: Petition for certiorari denied on November 27, 2017

No hearing and no comment

Issues: (1) Whether District of Columbia v. Heller excludes the most popular semiautomatic rifles and magazines from Second Amendment protection; and (2) whether they may be banned even though they are typically possessed for lawful purposes, including self-defense in the home.

Maryland’s ban on ‘military-like’ ‘assault weapons’ and ‘high-capacity magazines upheld.

Peruta vs. California: Petition for certiorari denied on June 26, 2017

Issue: Whether the Second Amendment entitles ordinary, law-abiding citizens to carry handguns outside the home for self-defense in some manner, including concealed carry when open carry is forbidden by state law.

California law denying law-abiding citizens the Second Amendment right to carry handguns outside the home for self-defense in the absence of a showing of “good cause” remains in effect.

Thomas Dissenting; Gorsuch joins Dissent:

The Second Amendment to the Constitution guarantees that ‘the right of the people to keep and bear Arm[s] shall not be infringed.’ At issue in this case is whether that guarantee protects the right to carry firearms in public for self-defense. Neither party disputes that the issue is one of national importance or that the courts of appeals have already weighed in extensively. I would therefore grant the petition for a writ of certiorari.

The Court’s decision to deny certiorari in this case reflects a distressing trend: the treatment of the Second Amendment as a disfavored right.

For those of us who work in marbled halls, guarded constantly by a vigilant and dedicated police force, the guarantees of the Second Amendment might seem antiquated and superfluous. But the Framers made a clear choice: They reserved to all Americans the right to bear arms for self-defense. I do not think we should stand by idly while a State denies its citizens that right, particularly when their very lives may depend on it. I respectfully dissent.”

It is one thing for a lower Federal Court to abdicate its responsibility to defend and protect the U.S. Constitution. It is quite another thing for the U.S. Supreme Court to do so. The lower Courts take their cue from the Highest Court in the Land. If the Supreme Court abdicates its responsibility, it should well expect the lower Courts to do so as well.

And, they have.

Despite Lockdown, Chicago Has Deadliest Memorial Day In 5 Years

H/T Bearing Arms.

I bet these thugs did not practice social distancing.

Chicago isn’t a safe place.

Well, let me rephrase that. Parts of Chicago aren’t safe places. Much of the Windy City is just as safe as pretty much anywhere else. Millions walk down those streets every day and are never witness to violence and lawlessness, despite what we tend to see in the news. That’s because much of that lawlessness is confined to specific neighborhoods, and those are places most people don’t really go.

But people don’t look at violence as a neighborhood issue. They look at it as a community issue. We look at it as a community issue.

After all, reports aren’t generated about violence in specific neighborhoods, but in particular cities, and in that regard, Chicago sure looks like it’s not a very safe place.

Especially after Memorial Day weekend, which was so deadly the new police commissioner had to speak out about it.

In his first press conference confronting the grim realities of Chicago gun violence, new Police Superintendent David Brown promised some familiar-sounding solutions on Tuesday, the day after the deadliest Memorial Day weekend in five years.

Ten people were killed and at least 39 people wounded in shootings over the three-day weekend, according to police.

Brown called the violence “alarming, and “unacceptable” and lamented that the statewide stay-at-home order, in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic, did not seem to impact the gunshots that echoed in historically high-crime neighborhoods.

“The stay-at-home order did little to prevent violence, particularly in the parts of the West and South side[s],” Brown said. “These incidents primarily involved disputes between rival gang factions, as well as clashes involving the sale of illegal drugs.”

What, Brown thought that the very people who routinely ignore laws regarding shooting people and buying guns despite the copious gun control laws that infect the state of Illinois would follow a simple stay-at-home order?


Oh, that’s adorable.

At some point, people have to come to understand that the criminals that infest our inner cities don’t respect the rule of law. They respect force. They respect strength. They respect violence.

That’s about it.

They’re not going to worry about some virus. Keep in mind that these are generally younger people. That’s a demographic that’s notorious for acting like they believe they’re immortal. Does anyone really think they’re going to be concerned about a virus that doesn’t actually have that high of a mortality rate, particularly for young, healthy people?

Probably not.

Which means they’re going to do the kind of thing they normally would. Expect, because of the virus, there are likely fewer witnesses around and fewer police officers actually patrolling the streets. It’s like a Memorial Day wonderland for the Chicago criminal, so they made the most of it.

Couple that with heightened tensions due to months of quarantine, stress stemming from economic concerns, and the virus and yeah, you’ve got a recipe for violence.

In fact, the stay-at-home order was never going to prevent it. How could it? After all, at this point, it might well have been the cause of some of it.

This Week In Gun Rights, Pennsylvania, New York, California, Louisiana, The Second Circuit, the ATF, and More! [VIDEO]

H/T The Truth About Guns.

A look at things that affect the Second Amendment around the nation.

This is TTAG’s weekly roundup of legal and legislative news affecting guns, the gun business and gun owners’ rights. For a deeper dive into the topics discussed here, check out this week in gun rights at FPC

Meltdown after new pro-gun bill in Pennsylvania

man scream horror fear

On Wednesday, Pennsylvania House Republicans passed H.B. 2440. It’s not even three pages long, but the Pennsylvania House Democrats seem to believe that the sky is falling over the Commonwealth. The contents of the bill are pretty straightforward: in a single paragraph, the House voted to establish shooting ranges, sportsman clubs, hunting facilities, firearms and ammunition manufacturers, retailers, importers, and distributors as life-sustaining businesses. The bill protects these entities and their employees from being put out of business or restricted in operation by the state.

What was the response from the Pennsylvania House Dems? Big bad scary ghost guns and 3-D printed guns will be sold to felons! Illegal gun sales are now okay! And it’s going to “make[] the wild, wild west look like Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.” How much fun that sounds aside, there’s a few things to talk about.

First of all, you can’t make something that’s illegal “okay” under the law – it’s either illegal or it’s not. Politicians often take this route to make a mountain out of the proverbial molehill of not doing additional banning. Second, if you thought “ghost guns” were going through Cabelas and brick-and-mortar FFLs, what is it you’re so scared of?

Five anti-gun bills pending advance in California

Colorful California Map Collage Of Stars, And Scratched Round Re

The measures included AB2847, a microstamping bill; AB2362, which jacks up fines for gun dealers; AB2617, shoring up gun violence restraining orders; AB2699, setting requirements for handgun storage (because I guess Heller is just a distant memory); and SB914, which imposes still more restrictions on loaning a firearm.

Odd Second Circuit ruling on serial numbers

serial number

In an opinion released by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, the court determined that the sentencing enhancement for obliterating or altering a serial number on a firearm applies to any serial number on the firearm. Here’s why that’s wrong, and why this determination is bad for gun owners.

The Gun Control Act of 1968 requires that certain firearms have a serial number. Unfortunately the court overlooked the part where the Act specified the number must be on the frame or receiver. You know, the part that’s legally a gun.

The Court chose to take an aggressive, blanket approach. The law’s clear intention surrounds the serial number on the “firearm” component. However, factories choose to place serial numbers on more parts than are required. Slides, barrels, bolts, and other less regulated components often have serial numbers. The Second Circuit’s interpretation, at least with respect to a sentence enhancement, includes those non-essential serials on things like slides, which aren’t in and of themselves firearms.

By misinterpreting this requirement, the Second Circuit has increased the probability of defendants spending more time in prison for something as immaterial as swapping out a barrel or a slide, even when the issue at trial has nothing to do with something related to ballistics. The Court should at least clarify that the Gun Control Act only affects the frame and receiver so as to prevent this decision from reaching conduct far beyond the intent of the legislature.

New Zealand and New York see a surge in gun crimes, homicides

New Zealand Guns

After the Christchurch incident in New Zealand, the country’s prime minister did exactly what any progressive with virtually unchecked power would do—she banned guns. A lot of guns. It’s a classic story—whenever there’s a tragedy involving things that you generally don’t like, ban them while the iron is hot and the people upset. The problem is, none of these policies do anything to prevent the acts they respond to. Well, Kiwis are learning a hard lesson this year, with rates of gun crimes and gun-related killings the highest they’ve been in a decade.

What does any crafty politician do in response? They blame something else, of course. Auckland city councillor Alf Filipaina thinks the cause might be gangs, or drugs, or domestic violence. Maybe ghosts? Alf isn’t really sure, so he’s taking the safe route and leaving the door open to more gun control. If the trend keeps up, I’m sure more laws will be just over the horizon.

In yet another example of how gun control doesn’t stop violent crime, reports indicate that New York City, probably the most difficult jurisdiction in which to legally buy a gun, is experiencing a surge in shootings, with incidences increasing 21 percent over the last year. What’s driving the increase? Well, I’m not a statistician, but according to the comptroller, unemployment could reach 22% in June, a record for the city.

Louisiana is advancing new pro-gun bills

Louisiana politicians are salty this session. Sure, that’s not really news, but this time they’re mad about four bills making their way through the state legislature. The first is House Bill 140, which would prevent local authorities and governments from restricting firearms possession (Pittsburgh, take note). I’m sure they think that passing laws at a local level is practical, but all local restrictions tend to do is inhibit rights, create legal inconsistency within a broader jurisdiction, and cause the prosecution of people who usually don’t deserve it.

The second bill is House Bill 334, which would authorize concealed handgun carry in churches, synagogues, mosques, and other places of worship. The law previously required individuals to get advance permission from the place of worship, and that congregants be notified of the grant of permission, as well as imposing additional training and insurance requirements.

The last two bills address states of emergency and natural disasters. House Bill 746 would permit anyone who lawfully possesses a firearm to carry it during a mandatory evacuation in these situations, and House Bill 781 establishes that firearm and ammo manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, suppliers, and retailers are essential businesses that can’t be shut down in a crisis. As a bonus, House Bill 781 also limits restrictions on gun possession under emergency curfews.

ATF 4473 Changes

Form 4473 and GLOCK (courtesy

ATF is rolling out a new 4473 this summer and all FFLs must convert over no later than November 1st of this year. Sure, it’s not exactly the sexy content you usually read this column for, but it’s important. First is relocation of the firearm information on the form. On the new version, the manufacturer/import, model, serial number, type, and caliber are the first thing you see. Some in the industry are happy about this change because it reduces the risk of error and if the transaction is stopped midway through filling out the paperwork, the FFL doesn’t have to recall the identifying details of the firearm. The previous form had the firearm’s information on the second page.

The second noticeable change to the 4473 is the inclusion of “borough” and “parish” next to “county.” Apparently people were mistaking “county” for “country” so often that the ATF decided to place the other terms nearby to reduce the likelihood of buyers writing U.S.A.

The third change is the least visible, but the most significant. The new 4473 will include a non-binary option for specifying sex on the form. Up until now, it was legally difficult for non-binary individuals to obtain a firearm from an FFL when neither option was appropriate for them. The ATF previously made a stir when it opined that transfers ought be denied to individuals who did not select “male” or “female.”

Personally, I wonder why the ATF even cares. As long as enough information is given to identify the purchaser, there is no reason to deny someone who isn’t accurately described by any individual factor. While I’d prefer the “sex” box be eliminated altogether (and race—it’s really none of their business). I hope the addition of this third option eases the strain on those affected and will hopefully lead to more people embracing their right to Keep and Bear Arms.

Violent Crime Increased During Lockdowns In Many U.S. Cities

H/T Bearing Arms.

These crimes take place in cities with strict gun control laws.

Despite the stay-at-home orders and other measures put in place in cities across the country over the past few months, violent crime on the streets in places like Baltimore, Cincinnati, and Denver have been trending up since the orders took effect, and authorities say the increase isn’t being driven by new gun owners. Instead, it appears as if career criminals are continuing to ignore the same laws that they always have, with deadly consequences.

In Cincinnati, for example, homicides from January 1st to May 1st this year were more than double the number of murders over the same time period in 2019.

Homicides are up 115% so far this year, more than doubling to 28 from 12 at this time in 2019, Police Chief Eliot Isaac told City Council’s Law & Public Safety Committee Tuesday.

“Of our 28 homicides, 25 of those are gun-related,” the chief said. “The other three are by other means, which is a little bit higher than what we normally see.”

Shootings so far this year also are up, by 52 percent compared to this time last year with 120 total, he said. Out of those, 95 were non-fatal.

At the same time, police have been unable to do some proactive and preventive measures such as distributing flyers, community sweeps and putting the gunshot detective system ShotSpotter in Westwood, the chief said.

Aggravated assaults and robberies are also up in Cincinnati compared to the same time period in 2019, and I’m not sure all that can be blamed on a lack of flyers and community sweeps.

In Baltimore, some categories of violent crime are actually down compared to last year, but the city is still on pace for more than 300 homicides for the sixth straight year after eight homicides over the Memorial Day weekend.

By Monday, Baltimore City Police Commissioner Michael Harrison held a press conference to address the violence.

“Several of our victims had handguns on them when police arrived and at the time of the incident which speaks to why we have to have smart enforcement and real consequences for people who are illegally carrying firearms because that is at the core of this culture of violence,” he said.

“We know that most of the persons or several of the persons are no strangers to our criminal justice system to include murder convictions, attempted murdered convictions, and robbery convictions,” Harrison said. “Some of this was retaliatory violence.”

If most of the victims and perpetrators of violence are well known to law enforcement, doesn’t that beg the question as to why so many repeat offenders are still on the street after murder, attempted murder, and robbery convictions? And if city leaders are intent on cracking down on people illegally carrying firearms, perhaps the state of Maryland should get with the program and actually have concealed carry laws that enable the average resident to acquire a concealed carry license. Currently, applicants must demonstrate a special need in order to receive a carry license, and that doesn’t seem to be doing anything to reduce violent crime even as it infringes on the constitutional rights of Maryland gun owners.

In Denver, Colorado, both homicides and aggravated assaults dramatically increased beginning in March of this year, despite the state’s gun laws, which include a universal background check, ban on ammunition magazines that can accept more than 15-rounds, and a local “assault weapon” ban on the books in Denver. According to police in the city, domestic violence calls are in line with what they’ve seen in previous years, and Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen says he believes the increase in shootings is because many career criminals were set free from local jails over coronavirus concerns.

He said Denver police have caught the same people committing multiple crimes since pandemic guidelines have changed how the justice system does business: “We have contacted and arrested several people for these high-level crimes and then rearrested them days later.”

Considering the crime spikes after the 2008 recession, Pazen said he’s concerned that the summer of 2020 will be a busy one for his officers.

A busy summer for police means a dangerous summer for citizens, and that’s probably the biggest factor driving up firearm sales for first-time gun owners in recent months. Law-abiding Americans aren’t exercising their right to keep and bear arms because they’ve decided to become violent criminals themselves. Instead, they’re simply trying to protect themselves and their families in an increasingly dangerous environment where career criminals are being put right back on the streets with no consequences for their violent actions.

Suicides not impacted by gun control law

H/T Gun Watch.

Gun control laws do not work.

Top 2 lines, blue, total suicides and suicides with guns. Bottom 2 lines, purple, total homicides and homicides with guns

It is only the last decade or two when those who want a disarmed population in the West have started to stress “suicide” as a reason for disarming the population.  The early pushes for population disarmament were predicated on the excuse of reducing violent crime, particularly homicides. The actual motivation had nothing to do with crime. The original motivation was to reduce armed rivals. In New York, to reduce armed resistance to organized crime, particularly the Tammany Gang. In England, to reduce armed support for a potential revolution. Originally, the push was to eliminate handguns from almost all the population. There was some talk of accidents, but suicides were almost never mentioned.

As gun control policies were implemented in various countries, it became clear violent crime and homicides were not reduced by gun control.  The push to ban handguns in the United States had failed, and those pushing for citizen disarmament moved on to semi-automatic rifles. The famous quote by Josh Sugarman of the Violence Policy Center was near the start of this phase. This push did not depend on homicide or violent crime for its existence. Semi-automatic rifles are seldom used in violent crime. Rather it is the similarity in appearance to military firearms which is used, under the pretext that military firearms are not useful to the ordinary citizen, and most citizens are not familiar with them. From the Violence Policy Center, 1988:

..handgun restriction is simply not viewed as a priority. Assault weapons—just like armor-piercing bullets, machine guns, and plastic firearms—are a new topic. The weapons’ menacing looks, coupled with the public’s confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons. In addition, few people can envision a practical use for these weapons.

The homicide rate topped out in 1993. As more and more handguns and semi-automatic firearms were sold in the United States, and more and more people obtained carry permits and used them, the homicide rate dropped in half. During the same period, fatal firearm accident rates fell to record lows.

What to do? The idea that “more guns = more homicide” had been demolished. Those pushing for population disarmament created a new pretext. As the homicide rate had dropped, the suicide rate had risen. An Orwellian term was created. “Gun violence”.  “Gun violence” was defined as all deaths associated with guns; homicides, whether justified or not; legal intervention, or not; suicides, and accidents. Most people think of “gun violence” as homicides. Over two thirds are suicides. Only a tiny amount of fatalities with guns are accidental.  While the suicide rate had risen, the percentage of suicides with guns had fallen.

Intuitively, people do not think restrictive legislation on guns will reduce suicide. There are many alternatives out there. George Orwell, in 1984, in the last page of PART ONE, foresaw the distopian vision in which control over guns would be claimed to reduce suicide.

It was at night that they came for you, always at night. The proper thing was to kill yourself before they got you. Undoubtedly some people did so. Many of the disappearances were actually suicides. But it needed desperate courage to kill yourself in a world where firearms, or any quick and certain poison, were completely unprocurable.

George Orwell, (Eric Blair), was a socialist. For all his brilliant understanding of the totalitarian mindset, Orwell did not consider how easy it is to commit suicide.

Most of the theory predicting a reduction of suicides is based on the concept that suicide ideation is temporary, and access to firearms provides a unique ability to commit suicide quickly and decisively.  If a person can survive the temporary desire for suicide, the theory is, they will not commit suicide.

There are several problems with the theory. The first is alternate quick and decisive methods of suicide are easily available. Hanging is almost as quick, easy, and decisive. In a word with electrical appliances, wire, clothesline and rope, hanging has been the substitution method of choice in Australia. Quick access to suicide does not depend on firearms.

However, it should be noted that different studies produce different results of the fatality of different methods. For instance, JJ Card2 estimated the lethality of suicide by guns as only 91.6% effective, and Farberow and Shneidman3 had it as low as 84.7%. The Hawaii Department of Health (1990) had it even lower at 73%. The same studies showed the effectiveness of hanging to vary between 77% and 88%.

The second is the time-scale of suicide ideation varies considerably. Survivors of suicide attempts will naturally be biased toward those who are less motivated and determined to commit suicide.

A third is suicide rates around the world have no correlation with access to firearms.  The highest suicide rates are in countries with very few firearms.

How can the theory that suicide rates will be reduced, if access to firearms is highly restricted, be tested?

It has been tested in the real world. When more restrictions were put on access to guns, overall suicide rates were not affected.

The suicide rate did not go down in Australia, with some of the most severe and restrictive gun laws, drastically and dramatically implemented in 1996-1997.

As more restrictive laws on access to guns have been implemented in California, there has been a clear substitution effect. From the large study comparing gun show regulation in California v. Texas:

The results of our study generally indicate that gun shows do not have substantial impacts on either gun homicides or suicides. While there is some evidence of statistically significant effects in both California and Texas, these effects are relatively modest in size. For example, our findings indicate that in the average year from 1994 to 2004, there are four additional gun suicides in the entire state of California resulting from the 102 gun shows occurring in the average year. Moreover, this increase is offset entirely by an almost identical decline in the number of non-gun suicides, suggesting that gun shows influence the method but not the number of suicides. We find no evidence to suggest that gun shows increased the number of homicides in California during our study period.

The study found a statistically significant effect that relatively unregulated gun shows in Texas decreased gun homicides by 16 per year.

When the Brady law was implemented in 1994, scholars in favor of restricting guns did a rigorous study of homicide and suicide rates, comparing states which already had background checks to those where they were recently required by the new law. From the abstract by Cook and Ludwig:

Based on the assumption that the greatest reductions in fatal violence would be within states that were required to institute waiting periods and background checks, implementation of the Brady Act appears to have been associated with reductions in the firearm suicide rate for persons aged 55 years or older but not with reductions in homicide rates or overall suicide rates.

When Canada instituted strict new gun control laws, there was no significant effect on suicide rates. From Mauser, 2007, p. 38:

While some public-health researchers claim that the unique deadliness of firearms means that substitution effects are not important in suicide [e.g. Gabor,1994], this is belied by the empirical evidence. Unfortunately, the public-health literature generally ignores the relevant criminological research. As shown above, the evidence is consistent with strong substitution effects. As seen in figure 1, as firearm suicides declined over the past decade, hanging suicides increased in Canada

In a large study from 2018 on the changes in firearms laws in California, found no effect on homicide rates or suicide rates.  The study looked at changes in comprehensive background checks (CBC) and the addition to the prohibited person list of those with violent misdemeanors (MVP).

CBC and MVP policies were not associated with changes in firearm suicide or homicide. Incomplete and missing records for background checks, incomplete compliance and enforcement, and narrowly constructed prohibitions may be among the reasons for these null findings.

An Rand corporation update in 2020 on gun control policies, surveying studies of gun control policies, downgraded the effects of both background checks on suicides and violent crime.  From NSSF:

There are a couple of notable changes from the first edition of the report. For example, the authors concluded in 2018 that there was “limited evidence” that background checks decreased total suicides and “moderate evidence” they decreased firearm suicides. Upon re-evaluating the earlier reports and considering additional studies, the new, downgraded conclusion is that there is “inconclusive evidence” for either. The same downgrade was found for the impact of background checks on violent crime.

The restrictive laws being pushed hardest by those who desire a disarmed population, would have no effect on suicide.

Reducing magazine capacity? Only one shot is needed.

Banning semi-automatic guns? Only one shot is needed.

Restricting the carry of guns? Suicides are generally conducted in private.

Suicide is being used as an ideological “hook” to support the policy choices of those who want a disarmed population. Facts matter little to those with an agenda.

In nations where violence of any kind is very low, such as in Switzerland, those who desire a disarmed population hang their desire on the very rare events of a few suicides or homicides in a year. The fact that these are very rare never bothers them.

When you actively dislike the idea of firearms in any hands outside of government, and see no positive function for firearms in private hands, you do not see any cost from disarming the population by force.  With zero perceived costs to ban guns, the cost/benefit ratio is infinite with a tiny perceived benefit.

This is an insane way to view the world. People would not own firearms if they did not perceive benefits.  Hundreds of years of history would not show those with firearms ruling those without.

In America, suicides with guns are common because guns are common. Guns are common, because people find guns to be useful for numerous purposes. Large numbers of people actively value guns, as seen by the sales figures.

There is no persuasive evidence the overall suicide rate would decrease with more restrictions on gun ownership.

Focusing on suicide with guns is simply another way to define a social problem as a gun problem. It is a way to define a solution to fit a desired policy.

It is not an honest way to deal with social problems and policy decisions.

©2020 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch

Louisiana Looks to Reduce “Gun Free Zones”, WV SB96 becomes Effective

H/T AmmoLand.


U.S.A. –-( Preemption law reform is moving in Louisiana and becomes effective in West Virginia at the end of May.

As with nearly all states, Louisiana has a statute that preempts local governments from enacting ordinances or regulations which are in conflict with state laws regarding firearms. The idea is that firearms laws should be uniform statewide, so that people exercising their right to keep and bear arms will not be in violation of the law simply by crossing a street from one municipality to another, or one county to another. Some states have rigorous preemption laws, other states have minimal laws.

HB 140 is a bill in the Louisiana legislature that would extend the current preemption law to forbid local governments from banning firearms in certain commercial and public properties.

The effect is to substantially reduce the number of “gun free zones” in Louisiana. From the Abstract of  HB 140

 Present law limits a political subdivision’s authority to enact certain ordinances or regulations involving firearms. In this regard, present law prohibits a governing authority of a political subdivision from enacting any ordinance or regulation that is more restrictive than state law concerning the sale, purchase, possession, ownership, transfer, transportation,license, or registration of firearms, ammunition, or components of firearms or ammunition.

However, present law further provides that this provision of present law does not apply to the authority of political subdivisions to prohibit the possession of a weapon or firearm in certain commercial establishments and public buildings.

Proposed law removes this exception from present law, prohibiting any governing authority of a political subdivision from enacting any ordinance or regulation that is more restrictive than state law concerning the possession of a weapon or firearm in certain commercial establishments and public buildings.

HB 140 has not been voted on yet, but it has made it through the Committee on Criminal Justice in the House. Floor debate on the bill is scheduled for Friday, 22 May, 2020.

Republicans have strong majorities in the Senate 27-12, and in the House, 68-35. Governor Edwards is a Democrat. The Republicans may pass the bill, only to see Governor Edwards veto it.

The history of preemption laws shows a trend to restrict local governments more and more from enacting ordinances and regulations impacting firearms and other weapons. A key strategy of those who want the population disarmed is to enact numerous, contradictory and ever-changing restrictions, so those exercising Second Amendment rights would constantly be uncertain if they are acting legally, or are in violation of an obscure ordinance.

In 2020, on April 14th, the West Virginia Government reformed its preemption law.  The West Virginia bill, SB96, now law, adds pepper spray and other deadly weapons, such as knives, to the weapons protected from local government regulation.

Reading the wording carefully, the bill brings most arms under the protection of the preemption law, with the exception of explosive, chemical, biological, or radiological materials.

SB 96 has been signed into law, and becomes effective in West Virginia on 31 May, 2020.

The ultimate in preemption law would be strict enforcement of the Second Amendment.

About Dean Weingarten:Dean Weingarten

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.