November 2003

New York City’s Latest Gun Misfires

City Council plans misguided changes in wake of shooting.

The shocking murder of City Councilman James E. Davis has stirred New York City’s council to consider at least 11 new gun-control laws; Mayor Michael Bloomberg set new rules on guns at City Hall soon after the attack. Yet the vast majority of these rules would never have prevented Davis’ murder — and many would actually make future similar crimes more likely.

City politicians don’t realize who will be obeying their new laws — mainly law-abiding citizens, not criminals. Remember: Davis’ killer, Othniel Askew, owned his handgun illegally, and brought it into City Hall illegally.

The mayor’s solution is to ban off-duty and former cops from carrying guns in City Hall. But why trust officers on-duty, but not off?

Bloomberg was very troubled that Davis, the victim, was a retired police officer with a permit to carry a gun: “I don’t know why people carry guns. Guns kill people.”

To protect themselves, Mr. Mayor. Most people can’t afford their own security detail. No, James Davis was blindsided by the attack, and so couldn’t use his gun to protect himself.

Yet criminals obviously have less to worry about if fewer people can act to defend themselves and others. And there is a clear drawback to relying only on uniformed officers: If would-be killers want to attack, they need only wait until the uniformed officer leaves the area, or take out the officer first.

Meanwhile, the proposed laws before the council deal with rifles and shotguns, not handguns. The bills would force rifle and shotgun owners in the city to buy liability insurance, require dealers to obtain information on buyers of ammunition, limit the purchase of rifles or shotguns to a maximum of one every 90 days and ban sales of rifles or shotguns to anyone under 21.

What does the Davis tragedy have to do with the regulations of rifles and shotguns?

There is no evidence that such regulations have reduced violent crime. Even when rules like this are applied to handguns, not one academic study finds reductions in violent crime from age restrictions on purchasing guns or one-gun-a-month rules or limits on ammunition sales. It is even less obvious why these “controls” would reduce crime when applied to rifles and shotguns.

Then there’s the proposal to make gunmakers liable for any harm caused by their guns. This makes as much sense as making automakers liable for medical costs and other harms from car accidents.

Worse, the law, if taken literally, would make gunmakers even more reluctant to sell guns to police. Police, after all, sometimes use guns improperly, presumably making gunmakers liable for any harm. Indeed, about two or three times a year, a criminal uses a police handgun to even kill police.

Kahr Arms, a company that sells guns to the NYPD, noted that only “one lawsuit would put us out of business.”

With all the city’s existing gun-control laws, where is the evidence that they have reduced crime? Take registration: The NYPD doesn’t even collect information on how many murders are committed by people with a registered gun, as opposed to by a gun obtained illegally. Canada does keep such data: Only in 3 percent of handgun murders there was it even possible that the weapon might have been registered to the perp.

Mayor Bloomberg may wonder why people carry guns, and much of the City Council may agree. But Councilman Davis, a former cop, understood the risks and benefits: While not foolproof, guns certainly help the odds. That is why he carried a gun.

-by John R. Lott Jr.


John Lott, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute is the author of “The Bias Against Guns.” This article first appeared in the September 16, 2003, New York Post, www.nypost.com.

----------

Rounding out the HK LEM package are night sights, a special edition HK International Training Division bronze medallion, an extra magazine and lockable wood presentation case.

Commemorative Offer: HK’s Pretty Package For a So-So Pistol
In the October 2002 issue, we reviewed compact polymer .40 S&W pistols from Glock, Springfield, and HK. We preferred the Glock and Springfield guns over the double-action LEM.

So we greeted the news of a commemorative LEM with a yawn. Fewer than 200 of HK’s USP Compact .40 LEM (Law Enforcement Modification) Commemorative HK International Training Division Edition gun were made, so if this gun is one you like, be prepared to look hard for it. HK says the Commemorative has the new LEM trigger mechanism, a high-gloss blued slide with HK International Training Division logo and “special operator” laser etching. For us, however, that’s akin to putting lipstick on a pig.

For more information, contact HK Law Enforcement Sales at 703-450-1900; www.hecklerkoch-usa.com.

----------

Short Action Ultra Mags: Playing Catch-Up To Winchester Short Mags
Remington has introduced the first short-action Model 700 magnum rifles — the Model 700 BDL SS and Model 700 Sendero SF in .300 Remington Short Action Ultra Mag and 7mm Remington Short Action Ultra Mag. In our view, this is Big Green’s reaction to the runaway success of the Winchester Short Magnums.

Top: The Model 700 BDL SS (Stainless Synthetic) has a black synthetic stock and a 24-inch magnum contour 416 stainless magnum contour barrel. Bottom: The Model 700 Sendero SF (Stainless Fluted) features a 416 stainless action bedded in a handlaid composite stock reinforced with aramid fiber. It comes with swivel studs and a 26-inch free-floated, 416 stainless steel barrel.

Supposedly, shorter actions allow for smaller, lighter guns, but the new introductions from Remington don’t reflect that advantage. The 7mm and .300 BDL SS guns measure 43.6 inches in overall length and weigh 7.5 pounds. Stock dimensions include a LOP of 13.4 inches, drop at comb of 0.5 inch, and drop at heel of 1.4 inches. They have MSRPs of $775. Even heftier, the Sendero SF guns measure 45.75 inches in length and weigh 8.5 pounds. Stock dimensions include a LOP of 13.4 inches, drop at comb of 0.6 inch, and drop at heel of 0.6 inch. They have MSRPs of $1,016.

Which proprietary cartridges would we bet our hunts on? We admit we need more time behind the Remington rounds, but we really like the WSM stubbies, which continue to appear in new chamberings every year.

----------

Small-Gun Holster
Need a K40 Kahr-specific holster? We like the Don Hume Waistband Clip-On, an inside-the-waistband holster that sells for $25. It is available from Kahr Arms. 914-353-5996; www.kahr.com.

----------

All the News That Fits
Nearly everyone wants something for nothing, so if you would like the chance to win a pretty good hunt and a couple of guns, then log on to www.remington.com and enter a hunt promotion sponsored by Remington and Burbank Goose of Washington state.

We did enter the promotion, spending about 15 minutes filling out a fairly intrusive online questionnaire (we expected to get a question about our use, or not, of Viagra). But we understood the trade-off: Remington wanted good marketing data on people who came to the website, and in exchange for that free demographic information, we got to roll the dice on a Pacific flyway waterfowl hunt slated for January 2-5, 2004. But there’s a time crunch: Contest entries end at midnight EST, November 30, 2003.

This package includes round-trip air transportation, a guided duck and goose hunt with Burbank Goose, all tags and licensee fees, use of a Remington shotgun and ammunition during the hunt, lodging, and all meals for the four-day/three-night hunt. The combined total of all prizes is valued at $4,500. Along with the hunt, two winners will receive Remington Model 870 Wingmaster 12-gauge shotguns.

• The SIGARMS Academy will move from its existing facility in Epping, New Hampshire to a new Exeter, New Hampshire, training facility, doubling the existing classroom training area, and incorporating a new, non-toxic, lead-free, frangible ammunition shooting range to accommodate increasing student enrollment.

“Since the Academy will be in the same building with our manufacturing operation, students and other customers at the Academy will have a much better opportunity to learn and see the top quality manufacturing materials and process that go into the making of SIGARMS products,” said Jim Pledger, vice president of law enforcement and military sales.

Several members of our staff have taken courses at schools across the country, and the SIG facility and sessions got high marks. Contact the company at www.sigarms.com or call (603) 772-2302.