Armed, and Safer, Iraqis

I turn over my column this month to John R. Lott Jr., a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and the author of the recently released The Bias Against Guns. -Todd Woodard


June 26, 2003 - The June 14 deadline for Iraqi citizens to turn in banned weapons worked about as poorly as any gun buy-back program in the United States. After the two-week program ended, a guard at one of the designated places to turn in guns said, We have had plenty of reporters, but no weapons come in.

American soldiers are laying down their lives to protect Iraqi citizens, and the last thing that we want to do is put them in harms way. On Tuesday, six British soldie...

Downrange: 08/03

The U.S. Supreme Court justices have altered their summer schedule to make room for lengthy and complicated arguments against the campaign-finance reform law enacted by Congress last year. The National Rifle Association is challenging it in 12 related cases and others arguing that preventing involvement in political campaigns is a violation of the First Amendments freedom of speech protection. Oral arguments are scheduled for September 8, at a time when the court usually is standing down in preparation for a new session that starts in October.


The nations largest retailer has agreed to pay $200,000 in a co...

Downrange 07/03: Firearms Industry Wins Victory

A 12-member advisory jury in the NAACPs Brooklyn lawsuit against the firearms industry exonerated manufacturers and distributors with a decision that found unanimously for 38 of the industry defendants. Jurors found for seven other defendants by a vote of at least 10 of the 12 jurors, and in 23 additional instances the jury failed to come to a decision. Not a single defendant was found to be either intentionally or negligently responsible for a public nuisance the NAACP claims occurs within the highly regulated and federally licensed chain of distribution and sale of firearms in America.

We welcome the advisory jurys common sense finding that the manufacturers and distributors of firea...

Downrange: 06/03

HESTON STEPS DOWN. At the NRAs annual convention in Orlando April 26-27, Charlton Heston stepped down as the groups president. Unquestionably, Hestons celebrity helped amplify the NRAs gun-rights message and put supporters in Congress and the White House.

As the NRAs public face for five years, he successfully steered the organization through several public-relations disasters involving shootings, and he won wide favor with fellow celebrities and politicians. For example, as part of his going-away event, country music singer Toby Keith performed in Orlando, and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush gave the conventions keynote speech.

It helped the NRA immeasurably to have Charlton He...

Downrange: 05/03

JUNK LAWSUITS UNDER REVIEW. Congress is considering legislation that will stop lawsuits holding companies in the firearms industry responsible for the criminal misuse of legally sold guns. Forty-six Democrats are among 247 House members who originally co-sponsored H.R. 1036, introduced by Florida Congressman Cliff Stearns. And there are 52 co-sponsors of Senate bill 659, introduced last week by Idaho Senator Larry Craig, including nine Democrats with Minority Whip, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, among them. We strongly urge interested firearms enthusiasts and those who make a living from the responsible and safe use of firearms to write and call their representative in the House and...

Downrange: 04/03

BIG GUN, BIG NEWS. Smith & Wesson caused quite a stir when it unveiled its Model 500 five-shot revolver chambered for the new Smith & Wesson .500 Magnum cartridge. Anti-gun groups denounced the handgun as too powerful; it fires a round producing about three times the muzzle energy of a .44 magnum. Orlando-based TV crews scrambled to get pictures of it on the network feeds, even though area law-enforcement officials told them the 4.5-pound hunting firearm, introduced at the February SHOT Show, was hardly the sort of thing criminals would tote around. Then, Illinois Congressman Danny Davis made the curious observation that no one hunts deer with a handgun.



Downrange: 03/03

FINGERPRINTING GUNS NOT SO EASY. In a report to Californias legislature, state Attorney General Bill Lockyer acknowledges his Department of Justice finds technical limitations and a poor success rate in its attempts to expand ballistic imaging technology, designed to identify individual firearms found at crime scenes, into a database encompassing non-crime firearms.

The California Department of Justices own Bureau of Forensic Services used fewer than 800 semi-automatic handguns to test the system, and its experts discovered failure rates as high as 62.5 percent in attempts to match cartridge components with the handguns that fired them. Each year, according to the attorney gen...

Downrange: 02/03

THE NUTTY NINTH CIRCUIT: For better or worse, it seems that the issue of individual gun rights might be headed for a Supreme Court showdown.

The reason: Before Christmas, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals made a reasoned, if mistaken, argument that put the California court at odds with the Fifth Circuit, which held last year in U.S. v. Emerson that the Second Amendment does, in fact, protect an individuals right to firearms.

The Ninth Circuits decision came in a case called Silveira v. Lockyer, which pitted nine plaintiffs against the state of California, which a decade ago banned assault weapons. But the law made an exception for individuals who owned such weapons...

Downrange: 01/03

TIME HEALS ALL WOUNDS? If you had wondered if Smith & Wesson could recover from its troubles and travails, perhaps an advance look at one of the companys 2003 product introductions might suggest the company is returning to good health:

The SW99 line will be expanded with the addition of a full-size .45 ACP pistol and two compacts. The .45 ACP SW99 pistol will feature a 4.25-inch barrel, 9 + 1 capacity, and weigh 25.6 ounces. The compacts will be available in a 9mm and .40 S&W version. All these SW99s will feature interchangeable backstraps, interchangeable front sights and adjustable rear sights. From our perspective, the most interesting of these guns will be the SW1911, a 191...

Downrange: 12/02

NATIONAL AMMO DAY. A grass-roots activist who coined the idea for National Ammo Day says hes hopeful about the results of what he calls a BUYcott.

Kim du Tuit is a self-employed database management consultant living near Dallas, and he had the idea that hunters and shooters nationwide should pick up an extra 100 rounds of ammunition last month on November 19. He says he had nothing to gain from the idea, except that he wanted to send a message to people trying to infringe on his rights by encouraging an increase in the sales of ammunition on that day.

On his website, Mr. Du Tuit wrote, There are an estimated 75 million gun owners in the United States of America. If each gun...

Downrange: 11/02

Its long been debated that all or part of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms, well known by its acronym BATF, should be moved from the Treasury Department to the Justice Department. Those discussions have been renewed as part of the Bush administrations overall realigning of the federal governments law-enforcement operations. Over the years, various administrations have considered reassigning ATF to other agencies. Much of the debate has historically focused on how best to handle the Bureaus two branches: its criminal law-enforcement arm, responsible for enforcing the nations firearms and explosives laws, and its regulatory division responsible for...

Downrange: 10/02

After spending 50 days in the Burn Unit of St. Johns Hospital in Springfield, Missouri, Ross Carter and Diane Hammond have returned home to Harrison, Arkansas, with continuing treatment on an outpatient basis. Carter is a well-respected gunsmith we consult on a regular basis.

One of the ways in which money is being raised to help Carter and Hammond get back on their feet is by donation of custom guns by renowned gunsmiths for raffle. One such gun was a Kimber Gold Match tuned by Richard Heinie. This is a special-edition model that was originally donated for raffle at the first Factory Gun Nationals run by Dick Metcalf of PASA Park. The raffle winner, Rog...

‘Background Check’ Rule Is Coming For You

On April 11, 2024, the Biden Administration’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives issued a new rule to expand background-check requirements for private...