From www.NealKnow.com, 2 part article, Has anything changed??


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alan
November 28, 2004, 10:51 PM
Three Decades Later --

Gun Laws Still Don’t Work

By Neal Knox

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Jump to Part 2

The June and July 1966 Guns & Ammo magazines contained my attached article challenging Sen. Thomas Dodd’s (D-Ct.) bogus statistical arguments for what eventually became the Gun Control Act of 1968. It was, I believe, the first widely published footnoted study of the failure of gun laws to reduce crime.

As I noted in the article, "Senator Dodd has added a new dimension to the old emotional gun control arguments -- statistics purporting to show that availability of guns has a direct relationship upon the incidence of crime, particularly murder rates."

Sound familiar?

I recently reread that piece and decided to reprint it (with Guns & Ammo’s permission) and post it on my web site (http://www.nealknox.com/). While the crime statistics have changed – crime, and crime with guns is far greater despite all the gun laws in the last three decades -- the principles are just as sound today as they were a third of a century ago.

The article shows that anti-gunners’ penchant for twisting crime statistics is not a new phenomenon.

Neither is the overwhelming hatred of guns and gunowners by the news media. The press and much of the public was inflamed because of the assassination of President Jack Kennedy with a mail-order Italian Army Carcano bolt action rifle. And Officer Tippet, killed during the search for the assassain, was shot with an inexpensive "mail order" handgun.

During the 1964-65 Senate Juvenile Delinquency Committee hearings concerning "Mail-order Guns," surplus imports, and "Saturday Night Special" handguns, Chairman Dodd (father of the present Sen. Christopher Dodd) blistered pro-gun witnesses, particularly NRA Executive Vice President Franklin Orth and then-G&A Editor Tom Siatos.

They were accused of lying about his bill and the press dutifully parroted his statistical distortions. The gun-owning public didn’t know who to believe; Dodd and the press had succeeded in the never-ending objective of discrediting the pro-gun leadership.

My reason for including footnotes wasn’t to make it a scholarly piece but simply to make it more credible. I had no idea where, or if, the article would appear, but I wanted to show that every significant statement could be verified so gunowners could quote from that article with confidence. The published version had 40-odd footnotes, about a third of the longer original version. The footnotes in this HTML version are hot-linked -- you can jump from footnote back to the text by clicking the note number.

With the benefit of hindsight, some sections are somewhat embarrassing – particularly my emphasis on hunting and recreational shooting. Though I well knew that the Second Amendment wasn’t about preserving guns for sport, I was trying to jar awake the mass of hunters and casual gun owners who were either oblivious to Congressional dangers to their gun rights, or utterly convinced that the Supreme Court would strike down any Federal gun law on Second Amendment grounds.

We still have the same apathy problems now – although far more are awake today than in 1966.

The basic arguments that I made then are equally valid today, and the evidence just as persuasive, although despite the Gun Control Act gun crime rose to incredible heights over the next quarter-century. Irrespective of additional restrictive gun laws, crime rates finally began to recede only when states started locking up violent repeat offenders, as I recommended in 1966.

Because of the broad wording of key sections of Dodd’s bill, I noted – as NRA’s Frank Orth had – that regardless how the sponsors claimed the law would be enforced, it would allow regulations that went far beyond its obvious provisions. Sure enough, ten years after the law passed, when I was the Executive Director of NRA-ILA, the BATF attempted to rewrite the regulations to create a total registration system.

I gingerly mentioned in the 1966 article that during the uproar after the Kennedy assassination NRA had endorsed the Dodd bill, even after he had amended it apply to long guns. I was shocked by that endorsement, which I learned about while reading the hearings, particularly since NRA had led the members to believe they were opposing it. The NRA Board, after getting hammered by members, rescinded the endorsement a few months later.

One outright error in the piece was my claim that Congressional committee chairmen usually didn’t preside over their own bills, much less badger the bills’ opponents. It was and is done that way all the time, but I didn’t know it until I had spent some time on Capitol Hill. I got a first-hand taste in early 1967 when, as editor of Gun Week, I testified against the Dodd bill before Dodd in his Senate subcommittee and before House co-sponsor and Judiciary Committee Chairman Emanuel Cellar (D-N.J.).

I know of only one earlier attempt to determine whether gun laws had any relationship to crime rates. That was an obscure study done in 1960 by the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Library.

The Wisconsin legislature, under pressure to enact additional gun laws, had asked their researchers to determine whether new gun laws were likely to have any positive effect. As I wrote in G&A, "That report, which includes several pages of detailed comparisons of crime to gun laws and other factors, concludes: ‘From the foregoing statistics it would be difficult to determine the effect that either licensing or nonlicensing of firearms has on the extent of crime in a State, particularly upon the murder rate per 100,000 population.’" (About 1967 that study was replicated and expanded by Dr. A.S. Krug, and widely distributed by National Shooting Sports Foundation.)

My effort was miniscule compared to the massive studies which have followed it, particularly University of Massachusetts (Amherst) Sociologist James D. Wright’s review (funded with an almost-$200,000 grant by the Carter Administration’s Justice Department and grudgingly released by the Reagan Justice Department in 1981).

In 1978 ILA’s researchers and I had met with Dr. Blair Ewing of the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, which conducted criminological research for the Justice Department. I complained that all LEAA’s research was focussed on what type of gun law to pass rather than whether gun laws reduced crime, their ostensible purpose.

Because ILA had just succeeded in cutting $4.2 million from BATF’s budget for attempting the previously mentioned national firearms registration regulations, we had the attention of all Washington’s bureaucrats – and LEAA was doubly nervous, for their agency was about to be eliminated.

As a result of that meeting, and confident that objective research would show the benefits of "gun control" laws, LEAA granted almost $200,000 to Dr. Wright, a published advocate for "gun control" laws. To the undoubted surprise and disappointment of his sponsors, Dr. Wright really was objective. He told me several years later that he expected his research to make him "the hero of the gun control movement" because he expected to determine what type of gun law was most effective. Instead, he became their goat.

Dr. Wright’s research found that no gun law or combination of gun laws could be shown to have reduced crime. His book Under The Gun, by Wright, Rossi and Roll, is based on that earthshaking study.

The next major milepost was Florida State University Criminologist Gary Kleck’s surveys which indicate up to two million crimes per year are foiled because of self-defense with privately owned guns – most of which never had to be fired. He describes his work in Point Blank. Like Wright, Kleck’s findings were doubly effective because he describes himself as a "doctrinaire liberal."

Dr. John Lott Jr.’s massive 1997 study went the next critical step. He statistically analyzed the crime rates in the 3,000-plus U.S. counties following the passage of concealed carry licensing laws during the past two decades.

After controlling for virtually every conceiveable factor, from demographics to imprisonment rates, he showed that arming the citizenry through concealed carry laws had resulted in significant crime reductions. He also predicted the percentage of crime reduction and lives saved if more states passed such laws.

And to make his message explicit, he titled his book More Guns, Less Crime, (University of Chicago Press).

Dr. Lott’s heresy, and his evangelism for concealed carry laws (though he didn’t even own a gun when he began his research), has brought him under ferocious personal attack. But his enemies can’t challenge his finding – except by twisting the statistics as Tom Dodd pioneered in the 1960’s.

These three landmark studies provide all the evidence one could wish that, as I wrote a third of a century ago, prohibitive gun legislation "has been attempted for half a century. It has not worked. It will not work."

See Part 2

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alan
November 28, 2004, 10:56 PM
Part 2

Copyright © 1999 Neal Knox Associates All Rights Reserved

July 1966 Guns & Ammo Magazine

The Dodd Bill Both Fact ... and Fantasy
PART II
By Neal Knox

The anti-gun clan has based its arguments on numerous subjects over the years - crime, fifth columnists, gangsterism, firearms accidents, extremist armies, even world peace and disarmament - but the movement has always relied most on "waving the bloody shirt" of emotionalism.

The present leader, Senator Thomas Dodd (D. Conn.), who claims that he is not "anti-gun," is no exception. His administration-backed bill, S. 1592, would clamp rigid restrictions and excessive fees upon dealers in firearms or ammunition, outlaw some big game rifles and many antiques, and eliminate interstate sales of firearms of all types to individuals.

But many of the tragedies the Senator relates to gain support for his bill would not have been averted or even affected by his proposal.1 Thus it is apparent that he has plans for even stricter controls once he has succeeded in making S.1592 part of the law.

However, Senator Dodd has added a new dimension to the old emotional gun control arguments - statistics purporting to show that availability of guns has a direct relationship upon the incidence of crime, particularly murder rates.

An analysis, in the first of these articles, of the crime rates of five "tight control" cities and two "light control" cities selected by Senator Dodd showed that although fewer gun murders are committed where guns are closely controlled, the total number of murders is little affected.2

Robbery rates in Senator Dodd's "good example" cities were, in most cases, far higher than in the "bad example" cities. Preliminary FBI figures for 1965 show that the number of murders in the "good example" cities either remained virtually unchanged or increased as much as 50 percent, while murders in both the "bad example" cities decreased by a fourth.3

If the Dodd bill were passed and the criminal could no longer purchase guns legally out of state, he obviously would steal them, make them or buy from an out-of-state bootlegger who could buy from dealers.

Despite Senator Dodd's claims that "the facts" are on his side, he has deliberately ignored one of the few comprehensive analyses of the relationship of firearms laws to crime.

In 1960 the Wisconsin Legislature authorized the Wisconsin Legislature Reference Library to conduct a study to determine if that state should pass firearms control measures to further reduce its admirably low crime rate.

That report, which includes several pages of detailed comparisons of crime to gun laws and other factors, concludes:

From the foregoing statistics it would be difficult to determine the effect that either licensing or nonlicensing of firearms has on the extent of crime in a State, particularly upon the murder rate per 100,000 population...

Obviously there are many factors which affect the murder rate...A comparison of the rate of murder with the density of population is inconclusive. Of the 24 States with the highest murder rate, 12 of them rank among the lower half. Fifteen of the 24 States with the highest murder rate also rank in the upper half in rate of robberies, while 9 rank in the lower half. There seems to be more definite relationship between murder on the one hand and education and income on the other. Only 7 of the 24 States with the highest murder rate rank in the top half in median years of schooling completed and in income while 17 rank in the lower half these items.

The report notes that while "licensing States appear to have a slightly better record with regard to the number of murders than the non-licensing States... Wisconsin, a non-licensing State, has one of the lowest murder rates in the Nation.4

The results of this study further shatter Senator Dodd's thesis and introduced social problems which show definite relation ships to crime rates.

The FBI Crime Reports state that "crime is a social problem" and warns readers against "drawing conclusions from direct comparisons of crime figures between individual communities without considering the factors involved."5

Senator Dodd has ignored this prefacing statement. And he and the others who contributed to almost a half-million words of testimony and statements during the 1965 hearings also ignored or failed to notice an FBI statistic that closely relates crime, particularly murder, to social and economic conditions.

The 1964 FBI report states, "Over one half the victims of murder were Negro and over one-half the arrests for murder were Negro."6 More specifically, 53.9 percent of murder victims were Negro7 and 58.8 percent of all persons arrested for murder were Negro.8

These figures are not included to stir any feelings of racial bias, but to emphasize that crime breeds and grows in areas with social and economic problems.

The social and economic problems of the Negro, under close scrutiny of Congress and the public for several years, are commonly known. Yet it is difficult to realize that an ethnic group that comprises less than 10 percent of the nation's population is responsible for well over half of the nation's murders.

The murder rate in Atlanta, Georgia, according to the 1964 FBI report, was 11.2 percent, matched only by other southern cities where Negro populations are high.9

The 1964 Atlanta Police Department report shows of 106 persons murdered, 81 were Negro and 25 white. There were only five cases of murder between the races.10

With a better understanding of the social and economic conditions that play such a major part in murder it is easier to understand why the vast majority of murders are within the family and between acquaintances.

Family members killing each other accounted for 31 percent of all murders in 1964; another 22 percent of murders were classified as romantic triangles or lovers' quarrels. In more than 80 percent of all murders the victim and assailant knew each other.11

The 1963 report showed that the use of guns in this type of murder was higher than other categories, with 60 percent of murders within the family committed with firearms.12

Eliminating guns from homes of persons with low education backgrounds and low income levels might reduce the number of drunken brawl murders by whatever extent a firearm is more deadly than a chair or butcher knife.

But such a law would clearly be discriminatory and unconstitutional. Advocates of strict control laws cannot hope to pass measures directed to the problem areas, so they attempt to pass legislation to reduce or eliminate firearms in all homes.

And such legislation would obviously affect sportsmen without materially affecting the murder rate. For as the evidence shows, sportsmen will obey the law while the category of people that the law is attempting to reach is the group least likely to obey those laws.

In most cities, brawls, knifings and shootings in residences rate no more than three or four paragraphs in the newspaper, even when someone is killed. But a murder during an armed robbery, burglary or other felony crime is page one news, carried by the wire services and often with gruesome pictures of the victim.

This category of crime, classified as felony murder by the FBI, is a relative rarity.

Firearms were used in 44 percent of the 1,100 felony murders during 1963 - about 480 "gun" deaths of about 4,700 murders.13

For comparison, 720 persons died in traffic during the three-day 1965 Christmas weekend. During the year, 49,000 were killed and 1.8 million were disabled in auto crashes.14

In 1964 felony murders increased to 1,350, but for some reason the number committed with firearms is not included in the FBI report. This may be an indication of even smaller percentages of firearms use, for wherever possible the writer of the FBI reports editorializes upon the use of firearms in crime.15

The highest incidence of criminal misuse of firearms is the felony murder of police officers, many of whom were shot with their own guns.

During the five-year period from 1960 to 1964, 225 police officers were murdered, 96 percent with firearms.16

Senator Dodd frequently quotes this figure, but he fails to mention that 78 percent of the 294 persons involved in those police killings had previous arrests for assaultive-type crimes such as rape, robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, assault to kill and assault on a police officer.16

Six officers were murdered by men who had been convicted on earlier murder charges and later released on parole; seven were killed by persons convicted and later paroled on charges of assault to kill.

The 1964 report states: "Convictions had been recorded for 70 percent of the 294 responsible persons on some criminal charge and one-half had received some form of prior lenience during their criminal careers. Almost one-third of the killers were on parole or probation when they murdered the police officer."

The public, as jurors and selectors of judges and parole boards, has allowed leniency and coddling of criminals who have returned to the streets to kill. Can any reasonable person argue that the tool these killers used was responsible for the killings?

If there is a cause-and-effect relationship between the availability of firearms and the murder and robbery rate, why is there such a great discrepancy in the murder and robbery rates of Dallas and Milwaukee which have similar populations and similar "lax" firearms regulations?

Why does "weak law" New Hampshire have one of the lowest murder rates while "weak law" Georgia has one of the highest? The w\two states have almost identical population density, although New Hampshire has a larger percentage of residents of urban areas,17 where crime figures are usually higher.

Why are crime rates higher in Massachusetts, with tight firearms control laws, than they are in border states with "weak" laws?

See Part 2.1

alan
November 28, 2004, 10:57 PM
Why do the cities Senator Dodd selected and cited for having tight firearms control laws continue to have crime rates above the national average? His figures showed that firearms murders can be reduced by prohibitive legislation, but the total number of murders are not.

If a firearm is a cause of murder, were the knives, hammers, clubs, nylon stockings and other instruments of death the cause of the half of murders not committed with firearms?

Would even total prohibition of firearms affect the largest category of firearms murder - in the home and between relatives and "loved ones?' Would the number of killings be materially decreased?

Would any prohibition-type legislation prevent experienced criminals from acquiring and using firearms? Liquor prohibition didn't work. This type of legislation has been attempted for half a century. It has not worked. It will not work.

It is long past time for lawmakers to consider other methods of controlling crime. Senator Dodd and the majority of S.1592's backers claim they aren't interested in curtailing the legitimate activities of sportsmen. They only want to end senseless and wanton murders and other gun crimes.

Thus they have the identical goal of the firearms' enthusiasts. The controversy is limited to the method to be used in achieving this goal.

Wouldn't the logical approach to stopping illicit use of firearms be to provide for severe and certain punishment of the user?

Such a bill has been proposed and is heartily endorsed by the NRA and other sportsmen's groups. Rep. Bob Casey's proposed amendment to the Federal Firearms Act, H.R. 11427, States:

"Whoever during the commission of any robbery, assault, murder, rape, burglary, kidnapping, or homicide (other than involuntary manslaughter), uses or carries any firearm which has been transported in interstate commerce shall be imprisoned ..."for not less than 10 years for a first offense or less than 25 years for a second offense."

Since virtually every firearm has been transported across a state line at some time, this law would make the use or carrying of almost any gun in a major crime a federal offense.

If any would doubt the effectiveness of such a bill, consider the impact of the Lindbergh Law, which has severe penalties for the interstate transportation of a kidnap victim and provision for the FBI to assist in investigation of all kidnapping cases.

Stiff penalties and high probability of arrest and conviction reduced kidnapping for ransom from a lucrative criminal trade to a rarity.

The Casey bill would do the same thing for criminal misuse of firearms.

Senator Dodd calls the proposal a "gimmick to see that no new legislation is passed."18

He was quoted as saying "Such a law, if strictly enforced and if upheld by the courts, would present staggering administrative problems." He contended that federal law enforcement staffs would have to be tripled and the capacity of the federal prisons increased by a half.18

Maybe it would and maybe it wouldn't. He is overlooking the reason for the bill--to reduce criminal use of firearms. If it works the extra force and prisons wouldn't be necessary.

If it doesn't work crime would be reduced by eliminating repeaters who serve two or three years in a state prison before being freed to rob and murder.

This nation can well afford to solve the administrative problems - we have one Federal Aviation Agency employee for every two licensed private aircraft in the United States -19 and if that is what it takes to control crime we can do it.

But the bill would work - and after a few of their cohorts had been provided long federally financed vacations a criminal wouldn't touch a gun with a 10 foot pole.

Testimony during the 1965 hearings showed that there are non-criminal areas of firearms abuse that should be corrected with additional regulation of firearms sales.

One of these is that juveniles are able to purchase firearms in circumvention of local laws. This could be stopped by a requirement that a notarized statement be attached to the order stating that the buyer would not be receiving the firearm in violation of local laws.

Residents of large cities have little need of mail-order purchase, but rural residents and citizens of smaller towns often must buy by mail if they are to have a wide selection of makes and models. This method of control would allow the law-abiding to buy where they chose.

No such legislation has been proposed but a similar system is being used - without benefit of law - in Washington, D.C. through an "arrangement" between Washington police, the U.S. Attorney's office and Railway Express Agency.20

Passage of these measures and the Casey bill would accomplish all that Senator Dodd and the administration seek to accomplish. Hunters, shooters, and collectors would be benefitted.

Within a short time criminal use of firearms would be as rare as kidnapping.

Juveniles and mental incompetents could not easily acquire firearms in violation of local laws. Criminals wouldn't want them.

Extremist groups could not legally acquire or own "live" military ordnance without payment of heavy transfer and registration fees.

Ownership of pistols, rifles and shotguns for hunting, recreation and home protection would not be affected.

Evidence that laws aimed at criminal users of firearms will reduce crime might eventually result in relaxing stringent gun control laws.

Hunters and shooters must recognize that existing legislation is not adequate to control increasing problems of criminal and other misuses of guns.

The measures outlined offer the only effective solution acceptable to sportsmen. The alternative is to continue to argue against ever-more stringent gun control laws until privately owned guns are extinct.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Notes
1Federal Firearms Act Hearings. Subcommittee To Investigate Juvenile Delinquency. On the first day of the televised hearings, Senator Dodd, chairman, cited six cases of juveniles involved in misuse of guns, then said: "While the firearms which were misused in these cases were not mail order, the fact is that the vast and unregulated proliferation of all types of firearms misused by immature youths and irresponsible adults is part of the problem with which we are faced. When we consider the added attraction to the juvenile, the criminal, and the emotionally disturbed, of the secrecy of mail order, the problem becomes even more frightening." Transcript, Pp 2,3.

2See Part I, Guns & Ammo, June 1966. Information taken from Crime In The United States, Uniform Crime Reports - 1964. Issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Table 4, Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas. Pp. 69-87.

3"Federal Bureau of Investigation _ Uniform Crime Reporting. 1965 Preliminary Annual Release."

4Exhibit 91, 1965 Hearings. Copy of Study of Firearms Licensing Conducted by the State Legislature. "XXIII. Does Licensing Have Any Effect On The Crime Rates. Transcript Pp. 377-385.

5FBI Reports - 1964. P. XI.

6FBI Reports - 1964. P.7.

7FBI Reports - 1964. Table 17. Murder Victims By Age, Sex and Race. P.104.

8FBI Reports - 1964. Table 24. Total Arrests By Race. P.116 (Total arrests for homicide and non-negligent manslaughter, 5,017, includes White, 2118, Negro, 2819.)

9FBI Reports - 1964. Table 4. Pl. 69-87

101965 Annual Report of Atlanta Police Department P. 13. Reprinted in 1965 Hearings Transcript. P. 516.

11FBI Reports - 1964. P. 7.

12FBI Reports - 1963. P. 7

13FBI Reports - 1963. P. 7.

14Associated Press, from National Safety Council release.

15FBI Reports - 1964. P. 6. "A gun, because of its accessibility and lethal nature, makes murder easy."

16FBI Reports - 1964. Pp.33-35.

17Compton's Pictured Encyclopedia.

18Quoted by Tom Nolan, Newspaper Enterprise Association, in a three-part series. Published in Wichita Falls (Tex.) Times Features Magazine Feb. 6, 1966

19The AOPA Pilot March 1966.

201965 Hearings Transcript. Statement of John B. Layton, Chief of Police, Metropolitan Police Department, Washington, D.C. Pp 281-282. See also statement of Rep. John Saylor (Penn.). Pp. 391-392.

Copyright © 1966 Peterson Publishing Used with permission.

Standing Wolf
November 28, 2004, 11:32 PM
Wow. I didn't realize how long Neal Knox had been fighting the fight!

Dr. Wright’s research found that no gun law or combination of gun laws could be shown to have reduced crime.

Sooner or later, someone with national stature has to stand up and state the obvious: the root cause of crime is criminals.

fjolnirsson
November 29, 2004, 03:38 AM
Sooner or later, someone with national stature has to stand up and state the obvious: the root cause of crime is criminals.

In a rational world, people would understand this without being smacked over the head with it..... :(

alan
December 1, 2004, 10:44 AM
Standing Wolf :

I would not hazzard a guess as to who has been fighting this battle longer, Knox of myself, each in our own way. He is better connected than I ,or worked harder at it than I did. He most certainly is a better writer than I.

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