Gallup: By a 56 to 41 Percent Majority, Americans Believe that More People Carrying Concealed Handguns make US Safer

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For almost all categories of Americans, there is significant support for the notion that allowing people to carry permitted concealed handguns makes Americans safer.  Only Democrats and those with a post-graduate education do not believe this, but that doesn't mean that these individuals believe that carrying represents a risk.  If the question were asked whether allowing people to carry concealed handguns either made us safer or had no effect, it is possible that the results would be even more overwhelming (after all while the vast majority of research finds that concealed handgun laws improve safety, no peer-reviewed research by criminologists or economists find that it increases murder, rape or robbery rates).  Non-gun owners and Independents are equally divided.

Hillary Clinton on gun control on May 6, 2014: “We’re way out of balance. I think that we’ve got to reign in what has become an almost article of faith that anybody can have a gun anywhere, anytime. And I don’t believe that is in the best interest of the vast majority of people.” Clinton went on to further proclaim the dangers of people “carrying guns in public places. . . . Look at the types of things that have caused people who are carrying guns in public places to respond.  Loud music from a bunch of kids, someone knocking on your door seeking help, . . ."

UPDATE: There is also a related CNN poll, but the big difference is that this question doesn't ask if people have a permit or even whether they are law-abiding citizens.
CNN Poll on Carrying Guns Oct 14-17

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My latest piece in Investors' Business Daily: "'Demographic Death' Of NRA Just Another Big Media Myth"

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My latest piece at Investor's Business Daily responds to a recent op-ed by Adam Winkler in the Washington Post.  The piece is as follows:
Gun ownership is greatest among rural whites, a group whose voting power is diminishing. The conclusion, according to Adam Winkler in the Washington Post, is that the NRA will inevitably decline in power. 
The theory isn't new. Tom Smith, director of the General Social Survey, told me in 1997 that the large drop in gun ownership shown by his poll would "make it easier for politicians to do the right thing on guns." 
According to Smith's survey, the percentage of homes with a gun has fallen fairly continuously since the 1970s — from approximately 50% to 32% earlier this year.
On the other hand, surveys by Gallup and ABC News/Washington Post show that gun ownership rates have been flat since the 1970s. The number is uncertain for a number of reasons, including people's willingness to tell the truth to pollsters about whether they own guns. 
The "hard" data that we do know is that concealed handgun permits and gun sales have soared. Concealed handgun permits tripled from 2007 to 2015. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System shows that the number of gun purchases doubled from 2006 to 2014. 
But while significant demographic changes have been occurring for decades, there hasn't been any steady increase in support for gun control. Indeed, the opposite is actually true.

According to Gallup, 78% of voters supported stricter gun control in 1990. By last fall, that number had fallen to 47%. Look at PEW polls and you'll see that support for stricter gun control has fallen dramatically since the late 1990s. CNN's polls show a similar pattern since 1993. . . . .
The rest of the piece is available here


The logical consequence of campaign finance laws: Judge rules that "School’s Facebook post a campaign contribution"

If you can't give a campaign money to take out an ad, can you be stopped from putting up an ad yourself?  Apparently a judge in Colorado sees the link.  From the Coloradoan newspaper:
A state judge has ruled that a Facebook post by Liberty Common School amounts to an illegal campaign contribution to a Thompson School District board candidate. 
In August, the Fort Collins charter school shared with its Facebook followers a newspaper article about a parent of a student running for a board seat in the neighboring school district. Liberty Common’s principal, former Colorado Congressman Bob Schaffer, then shared the post and called candidate Tomi Grundvig an “excellent education leader” who would provide “sensible stewardship” of Thompson. 
Liberty Common has 566 followers to its Facebook page. Schaffer, who lost a 2004 bid for U.S. Senate, has more than 3,900 “friends” on his personal page. . . .




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This piece is in the process of being put together while I am traveling today.  Please view it as a preliminary post.

The Washington Post's Christopher Ingraham has another new post on gun control (earlier ones here), where he is claiming that most people are wrong to believe that permitted concealed handguns make them safer.  In this case, Ingraham is responding to a new Gallup poll that finds that by a 56-to-41 percent margin Americans believe that more people legally carrying permitted concealed handguns would make them safer.

Summary: Ingraham's piece selectively picks eight studies on right-to-carry laws and crime rates: six find to effect on crime and two claim to find a bad effect.  Of the two that claim to find a bad effect one is inaccurately described (for homicides it provided no evidence of a bad effect and some statistically significant evidence of a benefit) and the other paper is unpublished with severe flaws.  Of the peer reviewed studies that Ingraham references no evidence of a statistically significant bad effect from right-to-carry laws is offered.

Details: Much of the discussion here focuses on the research by John Lott, but Ingraham has again cherry-picked research to give a very selective view of peer-reviewed research on concealed carry.  Table 2 in this paper from the University of Maryland Law Review in 2012 has a survey that shows most research show a benefit from concealed carry, but there are other more recent papers that find a benefit (see papers here towards the end of this list).  As with other gun control advocates, Ingraham wants to imply that it is just Lott's research versus various critics, but this ignores that most of the peer-reviewed academic research using national data supports his and David Mustard's original research.  In a similar vein in claiming that Lott's research was "completely discredited," Ingraham completely ignores our responses here and here to those assertions.
-- "Lott, for his part, still stands by his idea, although he has nuanced it a bit. He's recently argued that studies critical of right-to-carry laws have failed to properly account for state-level differences in how difficult it is to acquire a handgun permit."
The paper that Lott wrote looked at 4 studies.  In direct contrast to Ingraham's claims: two of those papers found a benefit from right-to-carry laws, one claimed no effect, and one claimed increased crime.  The point of Lott's was that those papers (even the two that found a benefit) were biased towards not finding a benefit.
-- "But as Evan DeFilippis and Devin Hughes recently point out at The Trace, even more recent research from Texas A&M looked at the number of permits issued, not just the passage of various laws. Philips found 'no significant effect of concealed handgun license increases on changes in crime rates... this research suggests that the rate at which CHLs are issued and crime rates are independent of one another—crime does not drive CHLs; CHLs do not drive crime.'"
In a previous post on this website we mentioned numerous problems with the Texas A&M study, we mentioned several problems.  One included (emphasis added):
No explanation is offered for why these authors exclude other states or years?  County level permit data is easily available for Illinois and Wisconsin are easily available because no permits were issued over this entire period of time.  Oregon, Tennessee, North Carolina, and other states have county level data over this period of time.   This is important because the test that they are preforming compares these states relative to one another during the period that they all have right-to-carry concealed handgun laws.  When authors throw out data there had better be a good explanation for why they are doing it, but no explanation is offered here.
On other studies:
-- "Changes in gun ownership are significantly positively related to changes in the homicide rate" (Ludwig, 2002)
If Ingraham had read the paper he cites here, he would have not only noticed that the paper was done by Mark Duggan, but, more importantly, Ingraham doesn't mention the part of the paper that deals with concealed handgun laws (the purpose of his piece).  In Table 12 of Duggan's paper, out of the 6 results that are reported on murder rates, 5 out of 6 estimates show a drop in murder rates after adoption of the law (three of these are statistically significant).  None of the estimates show a significant bad effect.

If one looks more broadly at all the violent crime categories (22 of the 36 estimates imply a drop in crime rates, with 15 of those coefficients showing a statistically significant negative effect, and only one coefficient show a statistically positive effect on crime rates).

Chapter 10 in Lott's "More Guns, Less Crime" explains why Duggan gets the biased results that he did. In particular, that he looks at only before and after averages.  As to the part of the Duggan paper that Ingraham does cite, these results are also questionable as Duggan uses only the sales of one gun magazine to proxy for gun ownership.  Research using the sales of the other six largest gun magazines get the opposite result.  The magazine that Duggan used was unique because it was the only magazine that had to make large self purchases to guarantee those who bought ads a certain level of circulation.

Ingraham cites a list of seven papers, but he ignores that the debate among published research has been long recognized as one between those who say that there is no benefit and those who say that there is a benefit.  Listing some papers that show no impact from the law doesn't change what has already been discussed.
-- "Right-to-carry laws are associated with substantially higher rates" of aggravated assault, robbery, rape and murder. (Aneja et al 2014)
This website has long had a detailed discussion of the problems with this unpublished paper.  Research shown here as also provided a detailed discussion.
More discussion will be added later.

Ingraham has this tweet up pushing his claims.  I assume that he is trying to discredit the research by linking it up to the NRA doing "an amazing job selling" it rather than thinking that the academic debate has has some influence here.  Unfortunately, Ingraham ignores most of the academic research, and, as noted above, he doesn't respond the critiques that have made of the research he cites.

Christopher Ingraham Tweet on MGLC

Newest piece in the Daily Caller: "Hillary Clinton Is Wrong About Gun Laws In Australia And The UK"

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My newest piece at the Daily Caller starts this way:
Democrats keeping telling people that they don’t want to confiscate their guns, but at the same time they are praising the gun control laws in countries that have confiscated people’s guns. But Hillary Clinton’s claims that confiscation made them safer are completely wrong. 
Speaking at Keene State College in New Hampshire, Clinton was asked if the U.S. should try to take away everyone’s handguns, as Australia once did. Clinton responded by praising Australia’s gun buyback in 1996 and 1997, when the government outlawed guns and then used registration lists to identify who owned these newly prohibited weapons. Clinton also praised Canada and the UK, which used similar registration laws to confiscate guns. President Obama has been praising those laws. 
On Friday, Clinton made fun of those worried about confiscation. She said people get scared into thinking that “a black helicopter is going to land in the front yard and somebody is going to take your guns.” 
But why should gun owners trust her when she praises other country’s confiscation efforts? She thinks that Canada, Australia, and the UK are safer because of their strict gun laws, even when the evidence shows the opposite. . . .
The rest of the piece is continued here.