Earlier today, Independence Institute Research Director Dave Kopel took President Obama to task for his comments in Paris about how no other country has mass shootings like America.  During a news conference Tuesday morning, Obama said, “I mean, I say this every time we’ve got one of these mass shootings; this just doesn’t happen in other countries.” Kopel proceeds to first discuss whether it is true that every time there is a mass shooting, whether Obama makes that statement:

In one sense, the answer would be “yes.” President Obama’s statement was in the form of: “Every time X happens, I say Y.” As a historic self-description of Obama’s own rhetoric, Obama’s statement is mostly true, but only in recent years. When President Obama was running for national office in 2007 through November 2012, he never used mass shootings to compare the United States unfavorably with other countries. Nor did he use mass murders as an occasion to make political demands for gun control. This was his rhetorical approach from the Virginia Tech murders in April 2007, through the Aurora theater murders in July 2012.

However, as President Obama explained to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in March 2012, “After my election I have more flexibility.” This was an accurate prediction, and not just about foreign relations. After winning reelection in November 2012, President Obama in December 2012 used the Newtown, Conn., murders as the basis to make gun control the primary focus of his political efforts through April 2013. He has promised that gun control will be his top priority during his final year in office. When commenting on mass murders in the United States, President Obama has repeatedly claimed that such crimes do not occur in other countries.

Thus, the President’s Dec. 1 statement is mostly accurate as a self-description of what he frequently says, at least from December 2012 onward.

Then, Kopel goes to the real question – is America the only country that experiences mass shootings with such frequency:

Suppose we accept the president’s implicit premise that “other countries” includes only the most-developed countries of the West. With this limitation, what is the accuracy of his statement that “these mass shootings; this just doesn’t happen in other countries”? Plainly false, especially considering that the president was speaking in Paris, the site of multiple mass shootings on Nov. 13 and of the Charlie Hebdo mass shootings in January.

More generally, an October article in the Wall Street Journal looked at mass shootings in 14 countries from 2000 through 2014. The article reported the research of professors Jaclyn Schildkraut (State University of New York Oswego) and H. Jaymi Elsass (Texas State University). They are co-authors of the forthcoming book “Mass Shootings: Media, Myths, and Realities,” to be published in 2016 by Praeger. All of the countries had one or more mass shootings in this period, but the United States had by far the most. In terms of per capita fatalities, the United States was fourth, after Norway, Finland and Switzerland. Another article, at the Independent Journal website, provides a “Rampage Shooting Index” for 10 countries, covering 2009-2013. Again, the United States is first in total number of incidents, and sixth in per capita fatalities. (Behind Israel and Slovakia, as well as the previously mentioned nations). Updating the index to account for 2015 would put France ahead of the United States. (French data are reported in the I.J. article, but not the Wall Street Journal article.)

Kopel goes on to point out that if what we define “developed” as meaning a member of the Organization for Economic Co‑operation and Development, then the U.S. gun homicide rate is about in the middle for “developed” countries.  Kopel closed by reminding the reader that he is not the first to point out Obama’s penchant for hyperbole:

As President Obama pointed out today, he has repeatedly made the same claim about “other counties” and mass shootings. When he did so last June, Politifact examined the issue, including the research of Professors Schildkraut and Elsass. Politifact rated the Obama claim “Mostly False.” Yet he continues to make the claim, speaking in a city with repressive gun control and which only 18 days ago suffered a horrific series of mass shootings. President Obama’s second book touted his “audacity,” and the president’s remarks today demonstrated chutzpah.

But don’t look for the sycophants in the press corps to point this out the next time Obama repeats this discredited claim.

President Obama and the gun ban lobby would have us believe that their proposal for so-called “universal” background checks and bans on standard capacity ammunition magazines are just commonsense.  It’s what they don’t tell us that should have us worried.  For instance, Independence Institute Director of Research Dave Kopel has recently written about the unintended (or likely intended) consequences of “expanded” background checks as laid out by Everytown for Gun Safety.  Now NRANews commentator Dana Loesh goes a step further in identifying what the gun ban lobby really wants.

Dave Kopel has a great piece over on the Washington Post’s Volokh Conspiracy blog that details just what so-called “universal” background checks mean for safety training and self-defense.  Make no mistake, the gun ban lobby’s version of background checks is not what most people think of when the term is used:

The Bloomberg system applies to every firearms “transfer.” In normal firearms law, a “transfer” means “a permanent exchange of title or possession and does not include gratuitous temporary exchanges or loans.” Chow v. State. 393 Md. 431, 473, 903 A.2d 388, 413 (2006).

However, the Bloomberg laws create a very different definition. For example, the Washington state law says that “ ‘Transfer’ means the intended delivery of a firearm to another person without consideration of payment or promise of payment including, but not limited to, gifts and loans.” Rev. Code Wash. § 9.41.010(25). In other words, it applies to sharing a gun while target shooting on one’s own property, or to lending a gun to a neighbor for a weekend hunting trip.

Under the Bloomberg system, transfers may take place only at a gun store. The transfer must be conducted exactly as if the retailer were selling a firearm out of her inventory. So the transferee (the neighbor borrowing the hunting gun) must fill out ATF Form 4473; the retailer must contact the FBI or its state counterpart for a background check on the transferee; and then, the retailer must take custody of the gun and record the acquisition in her Acquisition and Disposition book. Finally, the retailer hands the gun to the transferee and records the disposition in her Acquisition and Disposition book. A few days later, after the hunting trip is over, the process must be repeated for the neighbor to return the gun to the owner; this time, the owner will be the “transferee,” who will fill out Form 4473 and undergo the background check.

Kopel goes on to explain why this is bad for self-defense and safety training.  Read the entire article and file it for use when explaining why we oppose this move by the gun ban lobby.

The L.A. Times reports that when President Obama returns to his hometown of Chicago on Tuesday to address the annual International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Conference, that he will use the platform to push for gun control:

Obama will talk about the need for tougher gun laws with police chiefs gathered in Chicago on Tuesday, aides say, as part of a broader conversation about violence and how police can work more effectively with their communities to combat it.

He’s traveling to Chicago simply because that’s the site of the annual gathering of the International Assn. of Chiefs of Police, but advisors say he’s well aware of the symbolism in returning to his hometown amid this debate.

Obama will have a receptive ear as many big city chiefs are in favor of gun control and the IACP has in the past endorsed such policies as banning modern sporting rifles.  Obama’s remarks come however at a time when multiple polls of the public show Americans oppose stricter gun laws or that addressing mental health issues are more important.

Jazz Shaw has a great post over on Hot Air that really picks apart those numbers that the main stream media used to take President Obama up on his challenge to compare the number of Americans killed by terrorism and those killed by people who used a gun.


He chose to focus on 2011, probably because some government numbers lag behind others and that was the year for which he could get the most complete stats:

First of all, look at the number of gun deaths on that chart from 2011. It’s 32,351. That’s a lot of gun deaths to be sure. So that’s the total number of murders by gun owners, right? The answer is not only Hell No, but it’s not even remotely close. It’s true that this figure is close to the total number of human lives ended in incidents involving a gun, but that’s all incidents. So how did those deaths happen?

Straight from the CDC where most of the media is drawing their numbers (while not as good of a source as the FBI or the Justice Department) we can find out that of those 32,352 gun deaths, 21,175 of them were suicides. That leaves us with 11,177 deaths to account for. But as it turns out, the FBI records that 8,583 deaths were murders of various sorts involving guns of all types. The remaining roughly 2,500 were accounted for by accidents and unintentional injuries. These include hunting accidents, toddlers getting hold of unsecured weapons and shooting somebody or just plain idiots who proved Darwin right.

Then he delved into the type of firearms used in those murders:


After almost every mass shooting, one of the top three proposals from the gun ban lobby is we have to ban so-called “assault weapons.”  That’s just one more “check off the list” proposal because when we look at the actual 8,583 gun murders committed in 2011, only 323 were committed with rifles. That’s not just “assault” rifles,  that’s all rifles, including bolt action, hunting rifles and all the rest. Shaw notes that the number committed with so called “assault” rifles were a fraction of the total.  Compare that with the almost “1,700 who were stabbed as well as nearly 500 murdered with blunt objects and and more than 700 beaten to death by somebody with their bare hands.”  I guess the advocates for victims killed with hammers and fists will soon be calling for a ban of those too.

Then there are the calls for so-called “universal background checks.  Shaw addresses that:

So we’re down to 8,583 intentional killings using guns. That’s still one heck of a lot of bodies, and surely enough to justify new background checks and other restrictions on legal gun purchases, right? Again… not even close. The Justice Department has been studying the question of legal vs. illegal sources of guns used in crimes for decades, going back to this study issued in the early nineties. They admit that the numbers are simply too hard to track for us to pin down exact figures, but the trends are steady over the years. The vast majority of guns used in crimes were gotten through illegal means outside the legal purchase regimen followed by law abiding gun owners. Roughly one quarter of inmates convicted of gun crimes admitted to having stolen a gun in that study. For the ones that weren’t stolen directly, another 2004 study showed that 40% of convicts bought their guns on the black market and another 37% got them through the “gray market” in various illegal methods.

In fact, one study after another has shown that legally purchased weapons which followed all the normal firearms transfer rules accounted for somewhere between six and eight percent of all murders. And the majority of those were domestic violence incidents, violence between family members, crimes of passion and, yes… murders committed by the insane. But let’s give the gun grabbers the benefit of the doubt, round it up and say that ten percent were committed with legally purchases guns. That works out to around 850.

We can agree that 850 is still too many people, but it’s nowhere near the 32,000 per year that the gun ban lobby typically talk about.

The vast majority of people who die by firearms do so at their own hand, suicide.  As Shaw and others have noted, that’s not a gun control issue.  Accidental (or negligent as I prefer to call them) deaths are also a small part of the total but those numbers have been going down steadily over the years and the NRA and the National Shooting Sports Foundation have done a good job helping to make that happen.

So, the next time someone pushing gun control tries to trot out that over 30,000 people a year die because of “gun violence” you now have the facts to effectively refute them.

News reports are already surfacing talking about an increase in gun and ammo sales in the wake of the Oregon Community College shooting.

In Huntington, guns shop owner John Ray Rice said every time the conversation pops up, guns sales go up in suit.
“It’s just common human nature; I need to protect myself and my family,” Rice said.
Much of the common sense legislation proposed in Congress involves stricter background checks, a ban on assault style weaponry and capping magazine size, making it harder for gunmen to kill in large crowds.
“I don’t think that’s common sense,” Rice said.

Look for the monthly NICS reports to show an increase in background checks when the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) shares the information on October sales next month.

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe will not be running for reelection this November, but his hopes are high for his legislative agenda. According to WTOP, McAuliffe has made it a priority for Democrats to become the majority in the Senate, allowing him to pursue his gun control proposals. I had the chance earlier this week to talk about the WTOP article and this year’s election with NRANews’ Cam and Company host Cam Edwards, where I noted Democrats need only two more seats in the Senate for a clear majority, and only one with Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam as the tie-breaking vote. Six races are considered to be competitive this year. Because it is the state association affiliate of the NRA, VSSA is urging Virginia gun owners to visit the NRA-PVF website, and cast their votes for candidates that support the Second Amendment.


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