By Dave Workman
Rasmussen Reports is one of the best polling outfits in the country, so when they recently disclosed that a majority of Democrats think stricter gun control laws might help prevent mass shootings, and that by a slight majority, they blame the “availability of guns” rather than the perpetrators for mass shootings, it’s a solid finding.
According to Rasmussen, a survey conducted on the two days following the Pittsburgh hate attack that left 13 Jewish worshippers dead at a synagogue, 51 percent of respondents who identified as Democrats “are much more likely than Republicans or (independents) to blame the availability of guns for mass shootings more than the person who pulls the trigger.”
Democrats think stricter gun control is one solution to mass shootings like the one at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life temple. —
Screen snip, YouTube, BBC
But a whopping 71 percent of Democrat respondents favor tougher gun laws. On the other hand, only 28 percent of identified Republicans and 37 percent of independents think cracking down on honest gun owners is a solution.
Rasmussen’s survey polled 1,000 American adults. It had a +/- 3 percentage point margin of error for a 95 percent “level of confidence.”
But what would have prevented the attack? The alleged killer, now facing more than 40 different criminal charges, purchased the firearms recovered at the scene several years ago. He apparently had no criminal record, so even if he had bought the guns last month, he would have been able to complete the transaction and clear a background check.
What should probably alarm gun owners is that the Rasmussen poll found that 46 percent of all the respondents think stronger gun laws would help prevent mass shootings. But just how much stronger can laws get before the right to keep and bear arms becomes a government-regulated privilege?
This seems to be a repeat concern among people who respond to surveys; guns are too easy to get.
On the other hand, the same survey revealed that 62 percent of Americans “say that in crimes involving use of a gun, the shooter is more to blame than the availability of guns.” This only serves to heighten the contrast between Democrats and most other Americans.
SAF, NRA sue Washington State over gun control initiative
The political fight over a sweeping gun control initiative that was passed in Washington State earlier this month just moved to federal court, where the National Rifle Association and Second Amendment Foundation have teamed up in a challenge to the measure’s validity.
Initiative 1639 “classifies ordinary, recreational firearms in common use as “assault” weapons, denies young adults the right to self-protection, and bans the sale of firearms to out-of-state residents. It also creates a new crime called “community endangerment” that could turn crime victims, whose firearms fall into the wrong hands, into criminals.
“We’re determined to fight this egregious measure because constitutionally-protected rights should never be subject to a popularity vote,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “The wealthy elitists behind I-1639 want to turn a right into a regulated privilege. This measure was only designed to have a chilling effect on the exercise of a constitutional right by honest citizens while having no impact at all on criminals, and we cannot let it go unchallenged.”
“The NRA is committed to restoring the Second Amendment rights of every law-abiding Washingtonian,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “I-1639 violates the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens and puts people at risk. This lawsuit is the first step in the fight to ensure that Washingtonians are free to exercise their fundamental right to self-defense.
“The NRA will fight to overturn this unconstitutional initiative,” Cox continued. “We will not sit idly by while elitist anti-gun activists attempt to deny everyday Americans their fundamental right to self-defense.”
The lawsuit challenges the measure on alleged constitutional and commerce clause violations. It was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington (state).
‘Wild West’ States Have Fewer Slayings
You gotta love the FBI Uniform Crime Report, unless you’re trying to convince somebody that living in Chicago is safer than living in Cheyenne, because one look at crime data is going to put the lie to that argument in a nanosecond.
According to Table 20, under the heading of Homicides, one finds a state-by-state breakdown of murders reported to the FBI. If you’re looking for a safe state in which to hang your hat, try Wyoming, Montana or Idaho; three states where spotting somebody with a handgun or rifle has always seemed rather commonplace.
In 2017, Wyoming reported a total of 14 murders, only six of which involved firearms, and in five of those cases, a handgun was used. In the sixth case, the firearm was not identified.
Four western states where lots of people carry guns as tools report a fraction of criminal
slayings when compared to states with more people and tougher gun laws.
Jump across the border into Montana, and there were 41 homicides last year, of which 17 involved firearms. Ten of those killings involved handguns, two more were done with rifles, one for sure with a shotgun and four cases involved unidentified guns.
Idaho — resting place of the late Elmer Keith — saw 28 murders last year, 13 of which were committed with firearms. Eight were done with handguns, four with rifles and one with a shotgun.
Notice a pattern here? In three western states where guns are often viewed as utility tools, and frequently close at hand and handled responsibly, you don’t see much mayhem.
Whip out a pocket calculator and do some comparison math. The grand homicide total in all three states in 2017 comes to 83, of which 36 involved firearms. California, meanwhile—a state where it is rare to see anybody packing a firearm due to the ever-stricter gun control laws—reported a whopping 1,830 slayings last year, of which 1,274 were committed with firearms. Of those, 886 involved handguns, 37 were done with rifles and 34 with shotguns. In 317 of those killings, the type of gun was not identified.
Alaska is another state where guns are pretty common, used as utility tools, and involved in about 55% of the murders. Last year on the Last Frontier, there were 62 slayings of which 37 were done with firearms. In seven of those cases, a handgun was used, and rifles and shotguns counted for three each. In 24 of those murders, the type of firearm was not identified.
Okay, so there aren’t a lot of people in Alaska, and the total populations of the other three states might not fill Chicago, where people still seem to take killing one another pretty seriously. Last year, according to CNN, the Windy City chalked up 650 murders, which is an eyebrow-raiser considering that in all of Illinois, there were 814 reported homicides. If Chicago were suddenly consumed by Lake Michigan, Illinois might be relatively benign.
In Maryland, where getting a carry permit has about the same odds as winning the lottery, there were 475 murders in 2017. Of those, 370 involved firearms, of which 339 were done with handguns, five with rifles and three with shotguns. Twenty-three others were committed with unidentified firearms. People in Maryland and Illinois don’t have guns around as part of their daily implements, unless they are criminals or cops.
There is something else. Alaska, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming are all considered relatively conservative states, with the possible exceptions of Anchorage, Missoula, Sun Valley and Cheyenne — and you might get some arguments about Cheyenne — while Illinois and Maryland are solid blue states.
Maybe it’s a cultural thing. People who are matter-of-factly and responsibly around guns all the time are not in the habit of doing drive-by shootings or committing mass murder, as a general rule.
Post Pittsburgh JPFO Inquiries
Here’s an anecdotal bit of information that probably should not surprise anybody.
In the immediate aftermath of the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, the group Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO), a project of the Second Amendment Foundation, saw a spike in inquiries seeking information about the group and its mission.
This was reminiscent of reports from the Pink Pistols, a gay gun rights organization, that interest in that group spiked following the deadly attack on The Pulse nightclub, a gay night spot in Orlando.
Why do people always seem to wait until after a tragedy to look into groups that focus on self-defense? Perhaps it’s natural for people to react rather than act proactively to keep from becoming a victim.
That Didn’t Come With Fries
The biggest surprise an armed criminal often gets is his last, and that’s how it was for a masked gunman who walked into a McDonald’s in Birmingham, Alabama, last month and opened fire.
It was the 24-year-old’s bad luck that one customer, a father escorting his sons, was armed and fought back. When the smoke cleared, the father and one son had been wounded but the masked man, identified by WBRC news as Antonio Demond Sanders, was down for the permanent count.
Sanders, a Birmingham resident, apparently did not indicate whether he was trying to rob the place or go after somebody in the restaurant, published reports say, and he’s in no condition to clear up the mystery.
Police said the wounded armed citizen will likely not face any charges “at this time.”
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