Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Gun Rights News Roundup

Articles, news stories, and op-eds of interest to gun owners:

[Germany] Interior Minister says no need for stricter gun laws in wake of German school shooting:
BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany does not need to tighten its gun laws in response to school shootings by a teenager in southwestern Germany on Wednesday, Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said.

Some German politicians have called for a ban on private gun ownership and urged authorities to set up airport-style security systems at schools in response to the massacre, which left 16 people dead, including the killer.

"I can't see how a change in weapons rules would contribute anything to solving the problem," Schaeuble, an ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, told Reuters.

In Germany's worst school shooting in seven years, 17-year old Tim Kretschmer shot dead 12 people at his former school and three more outside before turning his gun on himself after being wounded in a police shootout. ...

John Lott weighs in on the Alabama and German shootings:
... Unfortunately, the latest German attack is just another in a string of horrible K - 12 public school shootings in that country. In 2002, 16 people were killed at an attack in Erfurt. There were two other smaller multiple victim public school shootings in 2002 alone. In 2006, 11 students were wounded in Emsdetten. Germany has had the two worst multiple victim K - 12 school shootings in the world. The last seven years of German school shootings make the United States seem peaceful by comparison: though the US has almost five times as many students as Germany, a total of thirty-seven people were killed during all multiple victim K-12 shootings in the US during the eight years from the Fall of 1997 to the summer of 2005.

Yet, Germany already has some of the strictest gun control laws in Europe and much stricter gun control laws than are being publicly discussed in the United States. It might not get much attention because it doesn’t fit the template of gun violence in the U.S., but during the last seven years, other European countries — including France, Finland, and Switzerland — have experienced multiple-victim shootings. The worst outside of Germany have involved 14 murders, and all these killings have occurred in places where guns were banned.

We all want to take guns away from criminals, but gun control is more likely to disarm potential victims relative to criminals and make crime easier to commit.

Multiple-victim public shootings are terrifying and they drive much of the gun control debate, but they make up just a tiny fraction of one percent of the murders in the United States, Europe, or the rest of the world. The problem is that the gun control laws that come out of these crimes not only make crime go up, they also make multiple victim public shootings more likely. Research shows that police are the single most important factor for reducing crime, but even the police themselves understand that they virtually always arrive on the crime scene after the crime has occurred. Letting law-abiding citizens defend themselves not only deters some crimes from occurring, but it is the surest way of reducing the carnage when attacks do occur. ...

Washington Times opines that more guns equals less crime (looks like another John Lott op-ed piece):
... Multiple-victim public shootings are terrifying and drive much of the gun control debate, but they make up just a tiny fraction of one percent of the murders. The problem is that the gun-control laws that come out of these tragic events usually push crime rates up and make multiple-victim public shootings more likely. Police are the single most important factor for reducing crime. Yet even the police understand that they virtually always arrive on the scene after the crime has occurred. Letting law-abiding citizens defend themselves not only deters some crimes, but is the surest way of reducing the carnage when attacks do occur. The crimes that are stopped by guns rarely get much news coverage.

If lawmakers bow to calls for more gun control, Americans will find it harder to carry the one thing that stops school shootings-a gun in the hand of a law-abiding citizen.

Los Angeles Times notes Germany's strict gun controls:
Germany is known for having strict gun possession laws. The legal age for owning recreational firearms was raised from 18 to 21 after a 2002 shooting in Erfurt that killed 16 people.

Weapons cannot be bought without a license, which can be acquired only after proving expert knowledge of firearms and a need for the weapon. ...

WorldNet Daily argues for arming teachers:
By the time a 17-year-old gunman had finished his wild shooting spree at a school near Stuttgart, Germany, this week, at least nine young pupils and three teachers lay dead. Only after fleeing the scene, with the police in hot pursuit, and a final shootout with authorities, was the attacker finally killed.

Could an armed teacher have made a difference? Of course. Surely a teacher with a gun in the hand would have been better than a cop on the phone. The incident proves what has long been known: The only person who can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun – nobody else will be of much help.
In Israel, teachers and parents who serve as school aids are armed with semi-automatic firearms whenever they are on school grounds. Since the country adopted this policy in the 1970s, attacks by gunmen at Israeli schools have become non-existent.

In 2004 Thailand adopted a similar approach to ensure the safety of its schoolchildren.

On April 27, 2004, Associated Press reported, "Interior Minister Bhokin Bhalakula ordered provincial governors to give teachers licences to buy guns if they wanted to, even though it would mean bringing firearms into the classrooms when the region's 925 schools re-opened on May 17, after two months of summer holiday."

The report stated that though Thailand's government was extremely hostile to gun ownership in general, it recognized that teachers ought to be in a position to safeguard themselves and their students. ...

Comment: I believe that attacks at schools in Israel still occur, it's just that armed teachers and/or adult students have stopped the attacker(s) and minimized the loss of innocent life.

Weapons flow to Mexico blamed on U.S.:
... Homeland Security officials told lawmakers Tuesday they are quickly trying to clamp down on arms trafficking into Mexico that is fueling a bloody war between drug cartels and the Mexican government.

According to the Mexican government, about 90 percent of weapons seized from the cartels came illegally from the United States.

One shipment seized in November included 500,000 rounds of ammunition, 288 assault rifles, 287 grenades, two grenade launchers and a rocket launcher used to take out tanks, Mexico's ambassador to the United States wrote recently in a letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.
Feinstein and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., want the Senate to ratify the Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Other Related Materials.
[emphasis added]

To date, 29 countries have ratified the convention, including Mexico -- but not the United States.

Feinstein and Durbin wrote to Senate Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry, D-Mass., and ranking member Richard Lugar, R-Ind., asking them to consider the convention and report it to the full Senate.

They said ratification would "provide an unequivocal statement that the United States is serious about stemming the tide of weapons flowing to Mexico." ...

Comment: Would you trust anything the corrupt Mexican government says? Even if the 90% figure is accurate, select-fire assault rifles, grenades, grenade launchers and rocket launchers are likely coming from ... drum roll please ... U.S. military or law enforcement agency arsenals and armories, not gun shows or your mom and pop FFLs.

Another individual, this one a retired army General and adjunct professor at West Point, no less, repeats the ninety percent number and says these hand grenades, RPG’s, and AK-47’s are coming from "licensed US gun dealers":
... Mexican law enforcement authorities and soldiers face heavily armed drug gangs with high-powered military automatic weapons. Perhaps 90% of these weapons are smuggled across the US border. They are frequently purchased from licensed US gun dealers in Texas, Arizona, and California. AK-47 assault rifles are literally bought a hundred at a time and illegally brought into Mexico. Mexican authorities routinely seize BOXES of unopened automatic military weapons. The confiscation rates by Mexican law enforcement of hand grenades, RPG’s, and AK-47’s are at the level of wartime battlefield seizures. It is hard to understand the seeming indifference and incompetence of US authorities at state and Federal level to such callous disregard for a national security threat to a neighboring democratic state. We would consider it an act of warfare from a sanctuary state if we were the victim. [emphasis added]

The bottom line---the US is ineffective and unresponsive to Mexican concerns about weapons, bulk cash, and precursor chemicals flowing south into Mexico from the United States--- with a blow-torch effect on the security of the Mexican people. ...

Comment: In other words, Mexican violence is all our fault, due to our "ineffective and unresponsive", uncaring attitude and lack of concern for the safety of Mexico's people. The report appears to be signed by retired army Gen. Barry McCaffrey, a highly decorated (two Distinguished Service Crosses, two Silver Stars, three Purple Hearts) four-star general. Thus, it's disappointing that Gen. McCaffery doesn't realize that the arms he describes probably aren't coming from "licensed gun dealers" (including those in California, no less!), but more likely from U.S. military or law enforcement armories. Or, even more likely, are coming from Mexican military armories via bribery or theft, or are getting smuggled and/or imported directly into Mexico from other (non-U.S.) sources. Sigh.

[D.C.] House lawmakers discuss more gun controls to stem Mexican border violence:
... "The United States and Mexico border violence can only be solved if we look at all parts of the equation," Rep. John Tierney, D-Mass., said Thursday during the House subcommittee session considering changes to U.S. gun laws. "Let's examine our gun laws, let's cut down on U.S. drug consumption, let's ask there to be more resources to root out drug-money laundering," he said.

Tierney said 90 percent of the weapons seized from Mexican organized crime came from the United States, according to information from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Gun-control expert Tom Diaz said the U.S. needs to enforce gun-importation laws already on the books to prevent weapons coming into the United States and ending up in Mexico.
[emphasis added]...

The Washington Times opines on the Mexico drug war and gun control:
There may good reasons for deploying the National Guard along the U.S.-Mexican border, but illegal firearms isn't one of them.

The administration recently launched a study to examine whether soldiers should patrol the Southern border to staunch the flow of firearms headed for drug dealers in Latin America. The silence you hear is the concern about armed drug gangs headed here. In short, the administration seems more concerned about the guns going south than the non-citizens streaming north.
We won't do any better with guns. The drugs are extremely valuable and drug lords have many enemies, ranging from governments to rival gangs. So gangs have powerful incentives to own guns-to defend their lives and property-and access to vast smuggling networks.

Even digging a moat between the U.S. and Mexico wouldn't stop the flow of guns. Consider the experience of island nations -Ireland, Jamaica, and the United Kingdom- all of which saw murder rates climb after guns were banned. In the land of the disarmed, the one-gun man is king. ...

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