Tom Knighton

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Virginia sees drop in crime during surge in gun sales

The left has been screaming for a while about how fewer guns will mean less crime.  The flip side is that they argue that so many guns on our streets mean that our world is a more violent place.  Therefore, we law abiding citizens need to roll over and just give up our guns.  After all, Dianne Feinstein’s dream is to say, “Mr. and Mrs. America, turn ‘em in!”

Unfortunately, once again those pesky things called facts get in the way of the left’s jihad against guns:

Gun-related violent crime continues to drop in Virginia as the sales of firearms continue to soar, a pattern that one local criminologist finds interesting “given the current rhetoric about strengthening gun laws.”

Major gun crime collectively dropped for a fourth consecutive year statewide, while firearms sales climbed to a new record in 2012 with 490,119 guns purchased in 444,844 transactions — a 16 percent rise over 2011, according to federally licensed gun dealer sales estimates obtained by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The proliferation of guns occurred as the total number of major reported crimes committed with all types of firearms in Virginia dropped 5 percent, from 4,618 offenses in 2011 to 4,378 last year, according to Virginia State Police data.

Looking back over seven years, total firearm sales in Virginia have risen a staggering 101 percent from 2006 to 2012, while gun-related crime has dropped 28 percent during that period.

How can this be?  Democrats have been championing the idea that guns are bad.  More guns clearly make us unsafe, right?

Do Stand Your Ground Laws Lead to More Violence?

Eric Holder hates them.  People like Yours Truly love them.  Folks typically fall on one side or the other.

I’m talking about Stand Your Ground laws. The question is, does the data really support Holder’s idea that they lead to more violence? Well, Michael Doyle over at McClatchy took at look at the numbers, and the conclusion?:

The controversially concluded Florida murder trial of George Zimmerman has prompted fresh debate over whether “stand your ground” self-defense laws hinder violence or, perversely, propel it.

The evidence appears mixed.

Some studies show enhanced public safety. Others suggest the opposite. One study concluded that several dozen men a month are killed as a consequence of the laws. In a speech this week, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder showed himself to be among the skeptics.

The resulting ambiguity, like the Zimmerman trial itself, in which he was found not guilty of murdering 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, may confound anyone hoping for a neutral finding of fact. It also allows advocates and critics alike to cherry-pick their preferred experts, which can enliven debate but complicate lawmaking.

It’s actually somewhat surprising that the evidence is mixed.  However, the McClatchy piece also boasts an interactive map that, after clicking a state, shows the violent crime rate over a period of years.  It also notes when that state passed its Stand Your Ground law.

Of course, there are some factors that have been missed.

Holder Calls for Repeal of ‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws

One of many issues that has come under fire since the start of the whole George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin drama has been “Stand Your Ground” laws.  To many, they were the root of Martin’s death.

Zimmerman’s acquittal has clearly done nothing to change this.

Yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder threw his own opinions into the ring.

“Separate and apart from the case that has drawn the nation’s attention,” Holder said of the Zimmerman case, “it’s time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods. These laws try to fix something that was never broken. There has always been a legal defense for using deadly force if – and the ‘if’ is important – no safe retreat is available.”

Holder said the law has “victimized too many people.”

“By allowing and perhaps encouraging violent situations to escalate in public, such laws undermine public safety,” Holder continued. “The list of resulting tragedies is long and – unfortunately – has victimized too many who are innocent. It is our collective obligation – we must stand our ground – to ensure that our laws reduce violence, and take a hard look at laws that contribute to more violence than they prevent.”

First, I’d like to point out something to Mr. Holder.  “Stand Your Ground” laws only apply to actual cases of self defense.  His desire that you or I should have to try to get away from a criminal before being able to defend ourselves will not save innocent lives.  No, it will further empower criminals who will then know that they can have their way after you retreat.

American Media Focused on Snowden, Ignores NSA Spying

Edward Snowden

When news broke that the National Security Agency was spying on American citizens via a program called PRISM, there was outrage.  News reports appeared everywhere.  Many people wanted to know how revealed this information.  So, somewhat reluctantly, Edward Snowden stepped forward to admit he had leaked the information, despite the risk he was taking.

Many people may have questioned the validity of the information Snowden shared with the world without knowing who revealed it and how they had access to it.  Clearly, Snowden did.  Unfortunately, now all the news has been about this man, rather than the information he shared.

The NSA is spying on millions upon millions of Americans.  We have their word that they can’t or won’t do anything with what they’re picking up, but really? I’m supposed to take their word for it?  Pardon me if I’m less than accepting.

However, Big Media doesn’t give a damn about all that.  They want to know what color Snowden’s poop is and where that poop is today and where it will be tomorrow.

Over at the Freedom of the Press Foundation:

Reasoned perspective on George Zimmerman verdict

George Zimmerman

Over at Slate, William Saletan has joined the plethora of pundits voicing an opinion about the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case.  However, unlike the vast majority of them, Saletan seems to really understand a little something called “reality” when it comes to this case:

The problem at the core of this case wasn’t race or guns. The problem was assumption, misperception, and overreaction. And that cycle hasn’t ended with the verdict. It has escalated.

I almost joined the frenzy. Yesterday I was going to write that Zimmerman pursued Martin against police instructions and illustrated the perils of racial profiling. But I hadn’t followed the case in detail. So I sat down and watched the closing arguments: nearly seven hours of video in which the prosecution and defense went point by point through the evidence as it had been hashed out at the trial. Based on what I learned from the videos, I did some further reading.

It turned out I had been wrong about many things. The initial portrait of Zimmerman as a racist wasn’t just exaggerated. It was completely unsubstantiated. It’s a case study in how the same kind of bias that causes racism can cause unwarranted allegations of racism. Some of the people Zimmerman had reported as suspicious were black men, so he was a racist. Members of his family seemed racist, so he was a racist. Everybody knew he was a racist, so his recorded words were misheard as racial slurs, proving again that he was a racist.

Once again, laws don’t matter to Obama

President Obama clearly believes what Nixon once said, that if the president does it, it’s not illegal.  Now, he’s trying to circumvent the law that helps protect patient privacy in order to restrict millions of Americans from buying firearms.

From Reuters:

President Barack Obama said he wants to see state governments contribute more names of people barred from buying guns to the database, part of a sweeping set of executive actions he announced after a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in December.

The database, called the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, is used by gun dealers to check whether a potential buyer is prohibited from owning a gun.

States are encouraged to report to the database the names of people who are not allowed to buy guns because they have been involuntarily committed to a mental hospital, or have been found to have serious mental illnesses by courts.

Many states do not participate. So the administration is looking at changing a health privacy rule - part of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) - to remove one potential barrier.

Here’s the problem with that.  You see, the law actually prevents people who have been adjudicated from owning firearms.  It says nothing about specific diagnosis.  It requires a court to determine an individual is unfit to own firearms.

President Obama seeks to skirt two laws in one fell swoop.

Unsurprisingly, gun rights advocates have reacted, sending thousands of letters to the Health and Human Services Department.  However, the department also received a number of comments from health professionals.

Illinois becomes the 50th state to enact concealed carry

Illinois

For gun rights advocates, it’s proof that miracles really do happen…or else hell has apparently frozen over in July.  Illinois has now shed its title as the only state with no concealed carry.

The state legislature overturned Governor Pat Quinn’s veto by a margin of 41-17 in the senate and 77-31 in the House, a veto Quinn used to push for changes he felt were necessary such as prohibiting guns in restaurants that serve alcohol and limiting gun-toting citizens to just one firearm at a time, despite there being no demonstrative advantages in either of these proposals.

For gun rights advocates in Illinois, the fight is sure to continue due to the structure of the concealed carry law:

The law as approved by the Legislature permits anyone with a Firearm Owner’s Identification card who has passed a background check and undergone gun-safety training of 16 hours — longest of any state — to obtain a concealed-carry permit for $150.

Training is a sore point for many in the Second Amendment crowd, and for good reason.  A training requirement can easily be used to artificially limit the number of people who are allowed to carry a firearm by making the requirement an difficult as possible.

However, many Second Amendment rights observers are sure to be surprised by the law’s “Shall Issue” slant, something not expected in such a progressive stronghold state.  While the training requirement may be used to limit, there is no language in the law that permits law enforcement officials to have an arbitrary determination over who is permitted to carry and who isn’t.

Despite the training requirement though, the law isn’t all that bad.  For example, what if Quinn had gotten his way?:

No, We Will Not Ignore Tyranny!

President Obama doesn’t think you should listen to people warning against “tyranny”.  That’s what he said in a graduation speech at Ohio State University anyways.  I addressed this in a piece over at TheBlaze:

President Obama is warning people to ignore those of us talking about tyranny.  In a speech at Ohio State University, President Obama is quoted as saying, “Some of these same voices also do their best to gum up the works. They’ll warn that tyranny always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave, and creative, and unique experiment in self-rule is somehow just a sham with which we can’t be trusted.”

In short, he’s saying that you should pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

This is just the latest example of Obama’s demonizing of the right. After all, when President Bush was in office, many of the left went on and on about tyranny. After the passage of the Patriot Act, it was perfectly understandable to me. The government is supposed to have limited powers, and enacting a law that expanded those powers contra to the Constitution in some cases is something that should be troubling.

Now, however, since Obama is in the White House, talk of tyranny is clearly ridiculous. After all, it was President Obama who signed the NDAA into law that allows the indefinite detention of American citizens. It was President Obama’s administration that took ages to finally come out and say, “No, we won’t use drones to kill Americans who aren’t engaged in combat against the United States.”  It was the Obama administration that sent piles of guns across the border into Mexico, then used the resulting use of guns as grounds to take away our Second Amendment rights.

Common Core: More Federal Government Involvement in Education

Common Core

Anyone who follows education on any level has probably heard the phrase “Common Core” regarding curriculum in their home state.  They’ve probably also heard that there is some push back against it, though most don’t really understand what the issue really is.

It would be easy to assume that Common Core requires such controversial topics as anthropogenic global warming and gun control to be taught.  Well, that doesn’t appear to be the case.  Oh, it’s happening, but it doesn’t seem to be the fault of the cirriculum.

That’s not to say there aren’t problems.

The idea behind Common Core is a national standard for education.  Basically, it’s an attempt to create a single, challenging standard that would raise the educational value of public school.

Whoops.

Common Core does create a single standard.  It does appear to be genuinely challenging as well.  So, what’s the problem?

Well, first, Common Core is really just a continuation of one of the biggest problems with traditional education, and that is the fact that it treats all students as identical.  Even the name, Common Core, alludes to this fact.

Republican Tom McMillin, a Michigan lawmaker introduced a bill to repeal that’s state’s use of Common Core, said, “We don’t want our kids to be common. We want our kids in Michigan to be exceptional.”  Since my home state of Georgia uses this standard, I can understand the sentiment.

Common Core also places and emphasis on how answers are acheived, rather than just getting it right.  The argument appears to be that the process matters more in our technologically advanced world for whatever reason.  I get the gist of the concept.  I really do.  Unfortunately, this continues to make the same assumption that all kids are the same.

The Left Could Come After Fireworks After Boston Bombing

fireworks

Sometimes, I just shake my head at the ignorance.  I mean, it must require a certain willful stupidity to put your head in the sand and believe that government can make all the bad men stop.

Right now, the left is trying to figure out how to destroy our freedoms in an effort to curb future terrorist acts like the Boston Marathon bombing.  Now, the irony of how they bucked at the right’s efforts after 9/11 isn’t exactly lost on me.  However, that’s something to chuckle about later…after we stop this kneejerk reaction and undo the Right’s kneejerk reactions from the last decade.

Over at ThinkProgress.org, they’re already wringing their hands at the idea of restricting various kinds of powder such as black powder, smokeless powder, and whatever the hell it is they put in fireworks:

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Tom Knighton

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Tom Knighton has been a blogger here at United Liberty since 2010. In 2011, he made history when he became the first blogger anywhere known to have purchased a newspaper when he purchased The Alba... Click here to read full bio


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