The Gottlieb-Tartaro Report
HIGH CRIME RATES IN COUNTRIES WITH GUN CONTROL
Gun control advocates love to tout the high crime rates in gun-loving America relative to those peaceful countries that ban private gun ownership.
But now the facts don’t support that claim.
Reliable statistics on crime in other parts of the world have been released that show America to be safer than most countries with strict anti-gun laws.
The International Crime Victims Survey, conducted by Leiden University in Holland, shows that England has much higher levels of crime than the U.S.
Among industrialized nations, England and Wales rank second overall.
Twenty-six percent of British citizens have been victimized by violent crime.
Australia leads all industrialized nations with 30 percent of its population victimized.
Canada ranks fifth, with 24 percent of its citizens victimized.
What about the United States? Not even in the top-10. In the U.S. 21 percent of the citizens have been victims of a violent crime.
Some more highlights:
Percent of population that suffered “contact crime”:
• England and Wales: 3.6 percent
• United States: 1.9 percent
• Japan: 0.4 percent
Rates of burglary with entry (breaking and entering):
• Australia: 3.9 percent
• Denmark:3.1 percent
• England and Wales: 2.8 percent
• United States: 2.6 percent
Important point: Australia leads industrialized nations in burglary rates. Why? It’s illegal to own a firearm for self-defense in Australia. Predators know that the homes they break into will not likely be defended by a homeowner with a gun.
Denmark ranks second in burglaries, and the U.S. ranks eighth. England and Wales lead in car thefts, followed by Australia and France. The U.S. didn’t rank in the top 10 in car thefts.
As the G-T Report has frequently noted, both Great Britain and Australia have some of the harshest anti-gun laws in the world. Recall that the Australian government banned privately-owned guns and confiscated thousands of firearms. In Britain, private ownership of handguns was banned after the Dunblane massacre in 1996. Violent crime in both countries has soared.
Citizens of Britain and Australia can’t fight back. Criminals can do as they wish without fear of consequences.
Americans can fight back. More than 7,000 times a day, Americans use guns to defend themselves. The value of self-defense is shown in our low crime rates compared to the rest of the world.
This should matter to every American. We can’t let the gun-grabbers ignore it.
Government REVEALS MORE details of fatal ATF raid
As a result of a lawsuit brought by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the federal government has released a more detailed account of the events leading to an Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms Bureau raid that left a man dead in his bedroom. The ATF had a no-knock warrant.
Federal authorities killed four-time convicted felon CARL WILSON, 60, in a shoot-out when they arrived before dawn on Jan. 12 this year at his home in rural Faulkner County, Arkansas. After the raid, the ATF revealed that they were searching for an old Winchester rifle.
But why the ATF wanted the gun remained a mystery, sealed in federal court. The newspaper recently filed a motion asking that the case file be made public. The government initially objected to the newspaper’s request.
But U.S. Magistrate J. THOMAS RAY ordered prosecutors to unseal the documents, while granting their request to redact, or “black out,” portions of the file beforehand to protect witnesses and informants.
The revealed information was scanty, with whole paragraphs blacked out, but indicating that drug trafficking was part of the ATF’s reason to obtain the no-knock warrant. Drug paraphernalia and marijuana were listed on the inventory of items seized during the raid on WILSON’s home.
No-knock warrants are typically granted in drug cases when there’s a risk of someone getting rid of evidence. They also are issued when police believe that knocking could lead to violence.
There was an exchange of gunfire during the raid. WILSON, as a four-time convicted felon, was not allowed to possess firearms, but he had them at the time of the raid. Details of the type of firearms were not released.
However, a key issue in the newspaper’s case was the legality of keeping the raid documents secret.
In the order to unseal the case, U.S. Magistrate RAY declared unconstitutional the Eastern District of Arkansas rule that automatically seals all documents related to search warrants, responding to arguments of the newspaper’s attorney.
“We are an open society,” said lawyer JESS ASKEW, who is representing the Democrat-Gazette. “As Justice [WARREN] BURGER has said, people in an open society do not demand infallibility from their institutions, but it is difficult for them to accept what they are prohibited from observing.” The judge agreed.
But while the newspaper believes his decision leaves questions unanswered in the WILSON case, the judge’s ruling will dispel the secrecy that once surrounded the execution of search warrants.
In the past, all documents pertaining to searches conducted in the Eastern District of Arkansas have been automatically sealed under Amended General Order No. 22.
RAY called the order unconstitutional, saying, “a simple request from the public or press generally should be sufficient to gain access to review all documents contained in a search warrant file, so long as the search warrant has been executed and returned.”
If the court’s decision becomes final or is affirmed, the judge said, the court clerk should treat these documents as they would any other public record. Prosecutors who want a file sealed would have to make a specific request to the court.
gun rights advocates rally at Missouri capitol
The Missouri legislature’s gun-rights advocates spent much of last year lying low, but now they have roared back to life as citizen activists encourage them by swarming lawmakers’ offices defending the right to keep and bear arms.
The pro-gun lawmakers responded with at least seven bills to keep gun owners happy. Two proposals would prohibit the state or local governments from suing gun makers to recover the cost of dealing with crime victims of gunshot wounds, as the City of St. Louis has done.
Five others would free up the state’s ban on carrying concealed weapons.
It was less than two years ago that Missouri voters rejected a proposal to legalize concealed firearms. It has angered gun-control supporters that five CCW bills have come up in the legislature so soon after the state ballot measure.
STACEY NEWMAN, co-president of the St. Louis chapter of the Million Mom March, said “I think it’s really sneaky. The voters had their say. We’re blown away that they are bringing it up again.”
House Speaker JIM KREIDER, Democrat from Nixa in southwest Missouri, said the issue was being raised again because rural lawmakers’ constituents wanted to be able to carry concealed weapons.
The statewide vote was a classic split between urban anti-gun populations and rural gun owners, 52 to 48 percent against.
GUN CONTROL BILL SLAMMED AT NEW HAMPSHIRE HEARING
A recent public hearing in Concord, New Hampshire turned up 400 people to hear about a proposed law that would set strict guidelines for firearms dealers and owners in the name of consumer safety.
It didn’t go well for the lead sponsor of the bill. Rep. MARTHA FULLER CLARK (D-Portsmouth) was booed after her remarks.
Her proposal, House Bill 736, runs 18 pages long, but Rep. CLARK said it was a “simple” plan.
“Its sole purpose is to make it more difficult for children and criminals to obtain guns,” she said.
The crowd was skeptical and would have none of it.
Pro-gun activist and gun store owner RALPH DEMICO of Hooksett said the bill “is poorly disguised legislative twaddle.” He said the introduction is part of a national conspiracy by gun control advocates.
The hearing lasted more than six hours.
PAYMENTS TO ANTI-GUN BILL BACKERS INVESTIGATED
Texas lawmakers have been asked to investigate cash payments made to three Houston men who appeared before a House committee to support bills that would require instant background checks at gun shows.
DAVE SMITH, president of Houston-based Texans for Gun Safety, said he gave the three men, members of Young Texans Against Gun violence, about $300 each to cover their expenses and lost wages for the trip. All three men, however, said they are currently unemployed.
SMITH, who gave the men the cash just outside the committee hearing room, said Young Texans Against Gun violence is an arm of his group.
SUZY WOODFORD of Common Cause Texas, a group that monitors government ethics, said using cash and paying for witnesses’ time raises ethical questions.
“It totally undermines the witness’s credibility,” WOODFORD said. “My attitude from the time I got here is, ‘How will this look’?”
CHRIS STARK, head of the Gun Owners Alliance, has asked his thousands of members to seek a House investigation of the payments and to have the hearing disregarded.
STARK was accused of racism by SMITH, since two of the three men are black and one is Hispanic. STARK said the racism charge was a mere coverup.
MICHIGAN ANTI-GUN REFERENDUM HIT WITH LAWSUIT
Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) and other pro-gun groups have filed suit to reject a petition calling for a referendum on a new law, PA 381, which reformed Michigan’s Carry Concealed Weapons Statute last December. PA 381 made it easier for residents to obtain a concealed carry permit.
A Referendum would stop the scheduled July 1 effective date of PA 381 and place the issue before voters on the November 2002 ballot.
MUCC and the other plaintiffs say the petition, presented to the Michigan Secretary of State by a group called People Who Care About Kids, asks for an unconstitutional Referendum.
The Michigan Constitution states, “The power of referendum does not extend to acts making appropriations for state institutions.”
PA 381 makes appropriations of money, about $1 million, to the Department of State Police to pay various expenses associated with the new law.
Michigan Secretary of State CANDICE MILLER asked Attorney General JENNIFER GRANOLM to issue an opinion on whether the new law is subject to a referendum. At press time, no opinion had been issued, despite Secretary of State MILLER’s request to meet a deadline now passed.
Opponents of the new law could put the issue on the November 2002 ballot as an initiative if the referendum is ruled invalid. But they would have to start the petition drive all over again, and collect at least 242,169 signatures.
If the referendum loses MUCC’s legal challenge, gun owners would be able to get concealed carry permits for 16 months before voters could decide next year if they want to revise the law through a ballot initiative.
The Catholic Church was behind much of the opposition to Michigan’s new concealed carry law. It rallied to organize 300 churches in Michigan, with 175 in the Detroit Metro area, to work on the petition drive with People Who Care About Kids.
The church has been involved in numerous public policy issues in the past 30 years, but some Catholics think this time it went too far.
JOE WALDRON, executive director of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, himself a member of the Catholic Church, took strong issue with Roman Catholic Church involvement in the campaign.
“As a gun owner and church member, I find it unconscionable that the church would cross way over the line separating church and state, to embroil itself in this kind of activity,” WALDRON said. “It’s an affront to Catholic gun owners throughout the Great Lakes State that the church would take a position that stands in direct violation of their parishioners’ right to self defense.”
DAVE EDWARDS, a member of St. Isaac Jogues Catholic Church in St. Clair Shores, said “I do not believe that the anti-CCW faction in the Michigan Catholic Church speaks for me nor many other Catholics. While they do a lot of good, their efforts are misguided at best on this issue and are not in line with the teachings of the Catholic Church.”
Public debate over the law’s effect on Michigan has involved the usual forecasts from anti-gunners of bloodbath, blood in the streets, and other bloody prophecies.
However, one Michigan locale, Macomb County, has seen the future and it’s pretty good. Back in 1995, Macomb County enacted a policy that closely parallels the new state law. It has been living with a proliferation of legal gun carriers since then. More than 11,000 concealed weapons permits - nearly half the state’s current total - have been issued there.
What really happened? The Detroit Free Press did an analysis, and found that crime rates declined after concealed carry became legal in Macomb County. Violent crime (murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) was down nearly 18 percent.
Macomb County, just as the new law allows, has issued a CCW license to any sane adult who completes a gun-training course and passes a rigorous background check.
A decision on whether the anti-gun Referendum goes to the ballot is expected soon from Michigan’s Court of Appeals.
BACKDOOR ATTACK ON SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS
The Center to Prevent Handgun Violence (CPHV) has launched a new campaign by its Legal Action Project to urge the attorneys general of at least 20 states to use consumer protection laws to stop the sale of guns.
The tactic is modeled after the anti-gun regulations imposed last April in Massachusetts by the state administration, without the need for any new laws. Cutting out the lawmaker has become necessary for the extremist gun control crowd because their agenda has been steadily losing appeal with politicians.
The Massachusetts regulations have been disastrous for firearms dealers, effectively banning the sale of handguns except those that meet impossibly stringent state regulations on firearms design. The regulations include ridiculous requirements such as mandating that each new handgun include a second “hidden” serial number.
Even though the Massachusetts regulations were imposed under existing consumer protection laws to prevent “unfair and deceptive practices,” they have no connection to any such practices - and gun makers have never been found guilty of such practices.
Taking this tactic national is a conscious ploy by the CPHV to get around lawmakers by attempting to coerce attorneys general into helping impose an unpopular agenda. CPHV President MIKE BARNES - also president of CPHV’s sister organization, Handgun Control, Inc. - admits that his organization “can’t wait for Congress to act” on legislation imposing new regulations on the design of firearms.
SENATE DEMOCRATS INTRODUCE BIZARRE ANTI-GUN BILL
It’s not clear what Democrat Senators DIANNE FEINSTEIN of California, CHARLES SCHUMER of New York, and TEDDY KENNEDY of Massachusetts have in mind with their new bill, S. 505, The Military Sniper Weapon Regulation Act of 2001.
What is clear is that they have no regard for the facts.
This bill would ban all sporting use of .50-caliber rifles by amending the National Firearms Act to prohibit “a 50 caliber sniper weapon.”
But S. 505 is not about snipers. It’s about stopping the sporting use of civilian-developed long-range rifles whose owners have organizations, competitions, and perfect records of crime-free behavior.
The bill says “Congress finds that (1) certain firearms originally designed and built for use as long-range 50 caliber military sniper weapons are increasingly sold in the domestic civilian market.”
That’s backwards. The rifles were developed by civilians in the late 1970s for long-range (half-mile-plus) sport shooting in large open ranges such as deserts. Later, in the 1980s, the U.S. military became interested in the new rifles and began procuring them for military use. Police find them useless for SWAT team snipers.
The bill says, “(3) these firearms are neither designed nor used in any significant number for legitimate sporting or hunting purposes and are clearly distinguishable from rifles intended for sporting and hunting use.”
Wrong. Sport is what they were designed for. There are more than 5,000 .50-caliber owners, and the .50-Caliber Shooters Association represents most of them. There have been .50-caliber target competitions and organized events for years. Such firearms are not used in hunting - and the military does not use them as anti-personnel weapons, but against armored vehicles.
The bill says, “(4) extraordinarily destructive ammunition for these weapons, including armor-piercing and armor-piercing incendiary ammunition, is freely sold in interstate commerce.”
Wrong. Such ammunition is already illegal for private use.
The bill says, “(5) the virtually unrestricted availability of these firearms and ammunition, given the uses intended in their design and manufacture, present a serious and substantial threat to the national security.”
Wrong. We could not find even one single instance of a .50-caliber rifle being used in a crime. We could only find three Senators willing to fabricate a gun ban.
CONCEALED-CARRY STATES HAVE REDUCED CRIME RATES
Against the predictions of anti-gun doom-sayers that blood would flow in the streets, states that have passed laws making it easier for residents to obtain permits to carry concealed weapons enjoy decreased crime.
In Virginia, State Senator VIRGIL GOODE’s 1995 bill required circuit court judges to issue such permits unless the applicant was a convicted felon, a foreign national, or had been involuntarily committed for mental reasons.
Delegate KENNETH MELVIN said at the time, “This bill will make our streets infinitely more dangerous. This bill will imperil our police officers. This bill is scary.”
Wrong. Violent offense across the state fell to 316 per 100,000 residents in 1998, from a peak of 380. In Richmond, the homicide rate declined 43 percent from 1995 to the lowest level in 20 years. Overall crime in the state declined 24 percent from 1991 to the lowest level since 1975.
Virginia is the latest state to weigh in on the benefits of concealed carry, confirming University of Chicago economist JOHN LOTT’s findings in his book, More Guns, Less Crime.
UTAH ALLOWS OUT-OF-STATERS TO BRING THEIR GUNS
House Bill 376 has become law in Utah, and recognizes concealed-weapons permits from every state except Vermont, which does not require permitting. Rep. GLENN DONNELSON, (R-North Ogden) expects more states to begin recognizing the rights of Utah’s concealed-weapon permit holders to carry guns when they travel to other states. Sixteen state already have reciprocity with Utah.
NEW MEXICO OFFICIALS QUARREL OVER CONCEALED CARRY
A concealed carry bill has gone into effect with the approval of Gov. GARY JOHNSON. The bill, sponsored by Rep. JUDY VANDERSTAR RUSSELL (R-Rio Rancho), cleared the legislature after a contentious debate in both chambers. The new law allows residents 21 or older to carry a concealed handgun.
The compromise version that passed into law allows local governments to ban concealed weapons in their jurisdictions, although the provision was in and out of the Senate version at various stages of the debate.
Already left-wing Albuquerque Mayor JIM BACA has said, “We are going to have to figure out a way to keep concealed weapons from happening in Albuquerque.”
BACA has asked the state attorney general and the city attorney to see if putting the issue in the hands of local authorities is constitutional.
BACA was the Clinton Administration’s first Director of the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management, but he alienated so many people he was fired after only a short time in office.
ALABAMA SENATE PASSES RECIPROCITY BILL
A concealed carry reciprocity bill sponsored by state Senator ZEB LITTLE has unanimously passed the Alabama Senate. The bill allows mutual recognition of concealed weapon permits between the states. The Bill passed with little fanfare. Similar bills are on file in the House and little opposition is expected.
NEWSPAPER STORY SLAMMING PERMITS SPURS RUSH FOR PERMITS
The Philadelphia Daily News ran a story recently about how some people with gun permits do crazy and dangerous things. The day after the article appeared, the number of people applying for permits began to jump sharply. In the ten days after the story was published, there were 267 new applications, compared with 154 applications during a comparable period the month before. Capt. GERALD FRETZ, commander of the police gun-permit unit, said, “We got hammered.” People who did not know about the permits found out about them from the newspaper story and rushed to get one of their own. Numerous business people applied for a concealed carry permit as an added safety factor when carrying large amounts of money to the bank.
GUN NEWS TICKER: SHORT TAKES ON GUNS
• Boston: A gay and lesbian gun rights group, the Pink Pistols, is protesting a 1998 Massachusetts gun law, saying it discriminates against gay and lesbian gun owners. Pink Pistols founder DOUG KRICK said, “It’s a discriminatory piece of garbage. There’s no set standard as to who may or may not carry firearms in this state. When things are left to that level of discretion, it’s been shown that laws are not equally enforced.” In particular, the Pink Pistols are protesting against the law’s discretionary licensing, which gives each Massachusetts police chief final authority to distribute gun permits.
• Chicago: The anti-gun Joyce Foundation sponsored a recent poll of 1,229 people to see which U.S. special interest groups people like and which ones people hate. The gun lobby was the third least-favorite group at 14.7 percent, behind first-place gay-rights groups (22.9 percent) and the tobacco lobby (18 percent). However, the gun lobby was also the third most-liked group at 13.9 percent, behind environmentalists (23.9 percent) and anti-abortion groups (21.1 percent). Pollsters at Ohio State University performed the study.
• Westminster, Maryland: The Carroll County Republican Central Committee has decided to repeat last year’s fund-raising gun raffle with a 12-gauge shotgun as the prize. Last year the GOP group raised more than $17,000 raffling off a Beretta handgun. W. DAVID BLAIR, committee chairman, said, “We saw this as a good opportunity to expand it and continue to build the base that we have of support, not only in Carroll County but throughout the state as well.” Last year 3,400 tickets were sold and television crews from as far away as Norway and Canada descended on the town of Westminister to witness the raffle. Democrat Gov. PARRIS N. GLENDENING called the raffle “an absolute disgrace.” GOP enthusiasts replied, “Get used to it.” Maybe the critics did: This year, there has been no reaction to the raffle. No organized protest has been planned.
• Austin, Texas: In the wake of recent school violence, a lawmaker has filed a bill that would let school principals and superintendents carry guns at rural schools to protect students. Rep. SUZANNA GRATIA HUPP (R-Lampasas) bill only applies only to officials with concealed handgun licenses in counties with fewer than 20,000 people. HUPP’s office said the bill was filed because several school officials from rural communities asked for it. “Because of the recent school shootings, schools across the nation have looked for ways to increase security, said TREY BLOCKER, HUPP’s legislative director. But rural schools can’t afford many of the security measures, such as armed guards and metal detectors, that cities have, BLOCKER said. School officials not already licensed would have to undergo training that tests proficiency in the handling of a gun and conflict resolution. Background checks also would be conducted.
• Chicago: An anti-gun doctor’s group, Doctors Against Handgun Injury, is using a study by Johns Hopkins University to push its gun control agenda. The study consisted of interviews with 45 boys incarcerated at a Maryland juvenile center and considered at high risk for criminal violence with a gun. The study concluded that teens could be discouraged from committing crimes with guns if authorities emphasized the likelihood of arrest and jail time. Results appeared in a recent issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. The logical conclusion of this study would seem to be that enforcing existing laws is the best policy. However, Doctors Against Handgun Injury released its handgun policy recommendations simultaneously with the Johns Hopkins study and came to the opposite conclusion: Handgun injuries should be considered a public health emergency, intrusive background checks should be added to existing requirements, and a national database tracking firearm injuries should be created. The group is actually a coalition of 13 medical associations and includes the American Medical Association. Their call for such gun control measures is the first time so many medical groups have joined forces to promote anti-gun propaganda.
FIGHT CRIME: SHOOT BACK
Is a rash of self-defense breaking out all over? Not really - it’s a constant fact of life. But several stories recently made headlines validating gun owners’ knowledge that the armed citizen is a lousy target for crime.
Take the man in Oxon Hill, Virginia whose doorbell rang three times one night with no one there. Suddenly the home-owner heard the crash of glass at the rear of his house. He went to his gun cabinet and took out a registered 9mm handgun. He found an intruder standing in his living room among shards of broken glass. The intruder did not identify himself and made no move to leave. The homeowner fired four or five rounds, striking the suspect three times. The intruder, an unidentified man in his thirties, is in Prince George County Hospital Center in critical condition with gunshot wounds in his torso and legs. No charges have been filed against the home-owner, a firefighter who works in the county and was off-duty at the time.
Then there was Richard Peppers of Cape Coral, Florida, who heard his neighbor screaming for help at 3:00 a.m. The woman was screaming, “Help me, I’m being raped. Somebody’s trying to kill me.” Peppers pulled out his Ruger .357 Magnum revolver, for which he has a concealed weapons permit, and went to his neighbor’s aid. He found Rolando Mota, 20, standing beside the brutally beaten woman and scared him off. The 45-year-old woman was treated and released at a local hospital. A police K-9 unit tracked the suspect to a hiding place at another neighbor’s house and arrested him. Mota was charged with burglary with a person present, battery, and sexual battery with force.
And perhaps most hopeful of all, South Carolina Attorney General Charles Condon recently made it state policy to stop prosecuting home-owners who use force, even deadly force, against home invaders. The decision came after Lisa Mackey Gant, 36, was charged with murder for stabbing William Brock to death after he attacked her in her home. Because Brock was the father of Gant’s child, and the stabbing was the result of an argument in which Gant wanted to end the relationship, police viewed the matter as a simple domestic violence case and charged her with murder. However, Brock, who lived 20 miles away from Gant, entered her house, slapped her and put her in a headlock. She ordered him out of the house, but he broke the door down and pursued her into the kitchen, where Gant stabbed him to death. Attorney General Condon intervened in the case and declared the policy that he would prosecute home-invaders, not home-owners.
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