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"Candidates from both parties packing heat in campaign ads"

by John Lott on Thursday, September 18th, 2014

This is article 564 of 567 in the topic Gun Rights
From the Washington Times:

Republicans, and even some Democrats, in a dozen states are showing off their shooting skills in videos and television ads or posing with firearms in mailers, underscoring the backlash against federal and state proposals to restrict access to guns and ammunition.

This year’s tone was set by Republican Joni Ernst, who won the Iowa Senate primary in June after running a television ad that shows her firing at a bull’s-eye at a shooting range while promising to “unload” on Obamacare. She now faces Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley.

“Give me a shot,” quips Ms. Ernst in the ad.

The Iowan is by no mean the only one locked, loaded and ready for her close-up. . . .

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Is there anything that the government won’t regulate?: Senate unanimously passed bill to improve sunscreen protection

by John Lott on Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

This is article 189 of 189 in the topic Government Regulations
From The Hill newspaper:

Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) introduced S. 2141, the Sunscreen Innovation Act, which would require the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a process for the review and approve over-the-counter (OTC) sunscreens.

The Senate passed the measure through a unanimous consent agreement and it now heads to the House for further action.

The Senate passed H.R. 4751, which renames the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Memorial as the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial. The House passed the bill earlier this month, meaning it now heads to President Obama’s desk for his signature before becoming law. . . .

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Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner’s (R-Wis.) ATF Elimination Act

by John Lott on Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

This is article 2 of 2 in the topic Legislation
From The Hill newspaper:

. . . “The ATF is a largely duplicative, scandal-ridden agency that lacks a clear mission,” he said. “It is plagued by backlogs, funding gaps, hiring challenges and a lack of leadership. For decades it has been branded by high profile failures.”

The ATF has become a GOP punching bag in recent years after it was revealed the agency lost track of hundreds of guns, some of which ended up in the hands of Mexican drug cartels, part of the infamously botched Operation Fast and Furious.

The Sensenbrenner bill would transfer the agency’s enforcement of firearms, explosives and arson laws to the FBI. ATF would cede jurisdiction over cases involving the illegal diversion of alcohol and tobacco products to the Drug Enforcement Administration. . . .

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New York Times/CBS Poll Shows Republicans doing extremely well this election

by John Lott on Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

This is article 372 of 372 in the topic Elections

Click on figure to enlarge.  The NY Times article on their September 12-15 survey is available here.

– Right before the 2010 midterm elections Obama’s approval rate was at 45 percent.  Before the 2012 election it was at 50 percent.  Today it is at 40 percent.
– Right before the 2010 midterm elections 34 percent thought that the country was heading in the wrong direction.  Before the 2012 election it was at 39 percent.  Today it is at 27 percent.
– At the 2010 midterm elections 46 percent approved of Obama’s foreign policy.  Before the 2012 election it was at 47 percent.  Today it is at 34 percent.
– Right before the 2010 midterm elections 42 percent approved of Obama’s economic policy.  Before the 2012 election it was at 46 percent.  Today it is at 40 percent.
– Before the 2010 midterm elections 51 percent approved of Obama’s terrorism policy.  Today it is at 41 percent.
– Today 30 percent approve of how Obama is handling immigration.
If this election is viewed as a referendum on Obama’s policies, Democrats have reasons to be concerned.

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Actor Liam Neeson lashes out against gun ownership

by John Lott on Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

This is article 563 of 567 in the topic Gun Rights
From the Independent (UK) newspaper:

. . . “I am totally for gun control in the US,” he says. “The population of America is roughly 300 million and there are 300 million guns in this country, which is terrifying. Every day we’re seeing some kid running rampant in a school. And do you know what the gun lobby’s response to Newtown was?” he asks, referring to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, which left 20 children dead in December 2012.

“The National Rifle Association’s official response was ‘If that teacher had been armed…’ It’s crazy. I’ll give Britain its dues, when they had the Dunblane massacre in Scotland, within 24 hours the gun laws were changed so you could not have a handgun.”

Born in Ballymena, County Antrim, but a resident of New York, Neeson became a US citizen five years ago in the wake of the death of his wife, Natasha Richardson, in a freak skiing accident in 2009.  The actor cites the outpouring of goodwill from Americans as one of the main reasons for his decision. Part of the naturalization process involves a test on US civics; Neeson, therefore, understands the Constitution as well as anyone. “It is the right to bear arms which is the problem. I think if the Founding Fathers knew what was happening they would be turning in their graves with embarrassment at how that law has been interpreted,” he says, in reference to the Second Amendment to the Constitution. . . .

Mr. Neeson is of course wrong about what the NRA proposed.  I have proposed allowing staff at school to be armed, but the NRA has wanted to have armed guards.

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Percent of the adult population with concealed handgun permits by county

by John Lott on Monday, September 15th, 2014

This is article 565 of 567 in the topic Gun Rights
Data on the number of permits currently issued in Alabama counties is shown below.  The state has a total of 470,005 permits, about 12.6% of the population over 18 years of age.
The article in al.com notes that Alabama is number 1 in terms of the number of concealed handgun permits, but it is very likely that the six states that allow carrying without a permit have higher rates that people are carrying (Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Montana (99.4% of the state), Wyoming, and Vermont).  It would have been nice if the article had provided some balance and noted what most of the literature had found on crime rates.  Donohue’s claims about my work hadn’t accounted for the impact of crack cocaine is simply disingenuous (for discussions in the 3rd edition of More Guns, Less Crime see here and here, but it was dealt with in my original research with David Mustard and the first edition of More Guns, Less Crime).

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Many (but apparently not all) St. Louis-area school superintendents say won’t let designated teachers to carry guns in school

by John Lott on Monday, September 15th, 2014

This is article 566 of 567 in the topic Gun Rights
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch article lists school superintendents who are against guns in school, but notice that it doesn’t say that all the St. Louis-area school superintendents are against let people protect the children.  From the article:

Many St. Louis-area school superintendents say they don’t want guns in their schools regardless of a new state law that allows designated teachers to carry them.

The law lets school districts appoint teachers or administrators as “school safety officers” who would be allowed to carry concealed weapons after training.

Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed this bill in July. But on Wednesday, the Legislature overrode his veto of gun rights expansion legislation that also allows residents with concealed weapons permits to openly carry guns in public.

Parents contacted the Clayton School District late last week concerned that teachers could soon be carrying weapons through the hallways.

“There’s the perception that school districts are required to do this, rather than allowed to do this,” district spokesman Chris Tennill said.

The district’s position was posted on its website Friday afternoon. “There are few, if any, situations that would require the District to consider appointing ‘school protection officers’ given the level of and proximity to law enforcement resources already in place,” it stated. . . . .

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“Shaneen’s Law”: Both Democrats and Republicans in New Jersey moving to allow discretion in sentencing out-of-state residences carrying concealed handguns

by John Lott on Monday, September 15th, 2014

The discussion on this new law is available here.

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Bloomberg’s groups continue to push to ban guns in businesses, but nothing is really changing

by John Lott on Monday, September 15th, 2014

This is article 567 of 567 in the topic Gun Rights
Bloomberg’s groups have been pushing for sometime to get businesses to ban guns in their facilities.  On Monday, Panera Bread announced that it was asking customers not to bring guns to its restaurants” ((314) 984-1000).  But much of the media coverage has been misleading and simply asking people not to bring their guns with them won’t have any legal effect.  The question is if Panera Bread will be posting signs and it doesn’t appear to be the case.  Still, that gives Bloomberg’s groups another PR boast.  From CNBC:

“We are thrilled that after months of discussions between Panera and Moms Demand Action, Panera is taking a proactive position in favor of our families’ safety by putting a new gun policy in place. Moms are the consumers-in-chief of our households and we will reward companies that take a stand for our families’ safety. We urge other national companies follow suit,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, in an email.  . . .

Yet, note that as in all the other announcements that Bloomberg’s groups have been trumpeting for sometime, this new announcement changes absolutely nothing.  From CNNMoney:

The news is another victory for gun safety group Moms Demand Action . . . The company first announced the decision during a CNBC interview with Panera CEO Ron Shaich. He said during the interview that the company would not post anti-gun signs in its stores or require employees to confront gun owners. . . .

Given this, what exactly is the point of the news stories on this announcement?  The company is asking people not to bring guns with them, but it also is going to continue allowing people to bring their guns with them.  So how is this a victory for Bloomberg’s groups? Bloomberg’s groups are now spending “six figures” in ads to force Kroger to also announce that they are not welcoming people who carry guns.  You can see their ads here.

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The Explosion in Insider Trading cases and Penalties under the Obama Administration

by John Lott on Monday, September 15th, 2014

This is article 5 of 5 in the topic Insider Trading
Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at  Sunday, September 14, 4.09 AM
Original data available here.  The number of insider trading cases increased from 6 a year under President George W. Bush to 15 a year under President Obama.  The big increase in cases under Obama didn’t come until 2011, which isn’t surprising as it takes some time after a case is brought before a sentence is determined.  This bodes ill for the increase over cases during the rest of the Obama administration.  Some economists have questioned whether there should even be insider trading laws.  The arbitrariness of what is considered insider trading makes it so that government can often invent crimes after the fact.

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