Weekend Read: 97.8% of Mass Shootings Are Linked to This

Estimated Reading Time: 8 minutes

Do Psychiatric Meds and War Games Lead to Mass Shootings?

  • While many have bought into the simplistic idea that the availability of firearms is the cause of mass shootings, a number of experts have pointed out a more uncomfortable truth, which is that mass shootings are far more likely the result of how we’ve been mistreating mental illness, depression and behavioral problems
  • Gun control legislation has shown that law-abiding Americans who own guns are not the problem, because the more gun control laws that have been passed, the more mass shootings have occurred
  • 97.8% of mass shootings occur in “gun-free zones,” as the perpetrators know legally armed citizens won’t be there to stop them
  • Depression per se rarely results in violence. Only after antidepressants became commonplace did mass shootings really take off, and many mass shooters have been shown to be on antidepressants
  • Antidepressants, especially selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), are well-known for their ability to cause suicidal and homicidal ideation and violence

While many have bought into the simplistic idea that the availability of firearms is the cause of mass shootings, a number of experts have pointed out a more uncomfortable truth, which is that mass shootings are far more likely the result of how we’ve been mistreating mental illness, depression and behavioral problems.

An article written by Molly Carter, initially published on ammo.com at an unknown date1 and subsequently republished by The Libertarian Institute in May 2019,2 and psychreg.org in late January 2021,3 noted:

“According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), a mass murder occurs when at least four people are murdered, not including the shooter … during a single incident …

Seemingly every time a mass shooting occurs … the anti-gun media and politicians have a knee-jerk response — they blame the tragedy solely on the tool used, namely firearms, and focus all of their proposed ‘solutions’ on more laws, ignoring that the murderer already broke numerous laws when they committed their atrocity.

Facts matter when addressing such an emotionally charged topic, and more gun control legislation has shown that law-abiding Americans who own guns are NOT the problem. Consider the following: The more gun control laws that are passed, the more mass murders have occurred.

Whether or not this is correlation or causation is debatable. What is not debatable is that this sick phenomenon of mass murderers targeting ‘gun-free zones,’ where they know civilian carry isn’t available to law-abiding Americans, is happening.

According to the Crime Prevention Research Center,4 97.8% of public shootings occur in ‘gun-free zones’ – and ‘gun-free zones’ are the epitome of the core philosophical tenet of gun control, that laws are all the defense one needs against violence …

This debate leads them away from the elephant in the room and one of the real issues behind mass shootings — mental health and prescription drugs.

Ignoring what’s going on in the heads of these psychopaths not only allows mass shootings to continue, it leads to misguided gun control laws that violate the Second Amendment and negate the rights of law-abiding U.S. citizens.

As Jeff Snyder put it in The Washington Times: ‘But to ban guns because criminals use them is to tell the innocent and law-abiding that their rights and liberties depend not on their own conduct, but on the conduct of the guilty and the lawless, and that the law will permit them to have only such rights and liberties as the lawless will allow.’”

The Elephant in the Room: Antidepressants

Thoughts, emotions, and a variety of environmental factors play into the manifestation of violence, but a mental illness by itself cannot account for the massive rise in mass murder — unless you include antidepressants in the equation. Yet even when mental health does enter the mass shooter discussion, the issue of antidepressants, specifically, is rarely mentioned.

The fact is, depression per se rarely results in violence. Only after antidepressants became commonplace did mass shootings take off, and many mass shooters have been shown to be on antidepressants.

Prozac, released in 1987, was the first selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) to be approved for depression and anxiety. Only two years earlier, direct-to-consumer advertising had been legalized. In the mid-1990s, the Food and Drug Administration loosened regulations, direct-to-consumer ads for SSRIs exploded and, with it, prescriptions for SSRIs.

In 1989, just two years after Prozac came to market, Joseph Wesbecker shot 20 of his coworkers, killing nine. He had been on Prozac for one month, and the survivors of the drug-induced attack sued Eli Lilly, the maker of Prozac. Since then, antidepressant use and mass shootings have both risen, more or less in tandem.

In the two decades between 1988 and 2008, antidepressant use in the U.S. rose by 400%,5, and by 2010, 11% of the U.S. population over the age of 12 were on an antidepressant prescription.6

In 1982, pre-Prozac, there was one mass shooting in the U.S.7 In 1984, there were two incidents and in 1986 — the year Prozac was released — there was one. One to three mass shootings per year remained the norm up until 1999 when it jumped to five.

How can we possibly ignore the connection between the rampant use of drugs known to directly cause violent behavior and the rise in mass shootings?

Another jump took place in 2012 when there were seven mass shootings. And while the annual count has gone up and down from year to year, there’s been a clear trend of an increased number of mass shootings post-2012. Over time, mass shootings have also gotten larger, with more people getting injured or killed per incident.8

How can we possibly ignore the connection between the rampant use of drugs known to directly cause violent behavior and the rise in mass shootings? Suicidal ideation, violence, and homicidal ideation are all known side effects of these drugs. Sometimes, the drugs disrupt brain function so dramatically the perpetrator can’t even remember what they did.

For example, in 2001, a 16-year-old high schooler was prescribed Effexor, starting off at 40 milligrams and moving up to 300 mg over the course of three weeks. On the first day of taking a 300-mg dose, the boy woke up with a headache, decided to skip school, and went back to bed.

Sometime later, he got up, took a rifle to his high school, and held 23 classmates, hostage, at gunpoint. He later claimed he had no recollection of anything that happened after he went back to bed that morning.9

The Risks Are Clear

The risks of psychiatric disturbances are so clear, ever since mid-October 2004, all antidepressants in the U.S. must include a black box warning that the drug can cause suicidal thoughts and behaviors, especially in those younger than 25, and that:10

“Anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility (aggressiveness), impulsivity, akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania, and mania have been reported in adult and pediatric patients being treated with antidepressants for major depressive disorder as well as for other indications, both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric.”

SSRIs can also cause emotional blunting and detachment, such that patients report “not feeling” or “not caring” about anything or anyone, as well as psychosis and hallucinations. All of these side effects can contribute to someone acting out an unthinkable violent crime.

In one review11,12 of 484 drugs in the FDA’s database, 31 were found to account for 78.8% of all cases of violence against others, and 11 of those drugs were antidepressants.

The researchers concluded that violence against others was a “genuine and serious adverse drug event” and that of the drugs analyzed, SSRI antidepressants and the smoking cessation medication, varenicline (Chantix), had the strongest associations. The top-five most dangerous SSRIs were:13

  • Fluoxetine (Prozac), which increased aggressive behavior 10.9 times
  • Paroxetine (Paxil), which increased violent behavior 10.3 times
  • Fluvoxamine (Luvox), which increased violent behavior 8.4 times
  • Venlafaxine (Effexor), which increased violent behavior 8.3 times
  • Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq), which increased violent behavior 7.9 times

Depression Is Vastly Overdiagnosed

In her article, Carter also reviewed the clinical determinants for a diagnosis of clinical depression warranting medication. To qualify, you must experience five or more of the following symptoms, most of the day, every day, for two weeks or more, and the symptoms must be severe enough to interfere with normal everyday functioning:14

Sadness Anxiety
Feeling hopeless Feeling worthless
Feeling helpless Feeling ’empty’
Feeling guilty Irritable
Fatigue Lack of energy
Loss of interest in hobbies Slow talking and moving
Restlessness Trouble concentrating
Abnormal sleep patterns, whether sleeping too much or not enough Abnormal weight changes, either eating too much or having no appetite
Thoughts of death or suicide

The reality is that a majority of patients who receive a depression diagnosis and subsequent prescription for an antidepressant do not, in fact, qualify. In one study,15 only 38.4% actually met the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) criteria, and among older adults, that ratio was even lower. Only 14.3% of those aged 65 and older met the diagnostic criteria. According to the authors:16

“Participants who did not meet the 12-month MDE criteria reported less distress and impairment in role functioning and used fewer services. A majority of both groups, however, were prescribed and used psychiatric medications.

Conclusion: Depression overdiagnosis and overtreatment is common in community settings in the USA. There is a need for improved targeting of diagnosis and treatments of depression and other mental disorders in these settings.”

What Role Might War Games Play?

Aside from antidepressants, another factor that gets ignored is the influence of shooting simulations, i.e., violent video games. How does the military train soldiers for war? Through simulations. With the proliferation of video games involving indiscriminate violence, should we really be surprised when this “training” is then put into practice? As reported by World Bank Blogs, young men who experience violence “often struggle to reintegrate peacefully into their communities” when hostilities end.17 While American youth typically have little experience with real-world war, simulated war games do occupy much of their time and may over time color their everyday perceptions of life. As noted by Centrical, some of the top benefits of simulations training include:18

  1. Allowing you to practice genuine real-life scenarios and responses
  2. Repetition of content, which boosts knowledge retention
  3. Personalization and diversification, so you can learn from your mistakes and evaluate your performance, thereby achieving a deeper level of learning

In short, violent mass shooter games are the perfect training platform for future mass shooters. Whereas a teenager without such exposure might not be very successful at carrying out a mass shooting due to inexperience with weapons and tactics, one who has spent many hours, years even, training in simulations could have knowledge akin to that of military personnel.

Add antidepressant side effects such as emotional blunting and loss of impulse control, and you have a perfect prescription for a mass casualty event.

On top of that, we, as a nation, also demonstrate the “righteousness” of war by engaging in them without end.19 When was the last time the U.S. was not at war someplace? It’s been ongoing for decades.

Even now, the U.S. insists on inserting itself into the dispute between Russia and Ukraine, and diplomacy isn’t the chosen conflict resolution tool. Sending weapons to Ukraine and calling for more violence against Russians are. Sen. Lindsey Graham has even called for the assassination of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Showing just how serious such a suggestion is, the White House had to publicly disavow it, stating Graham’s comment “is not the position of the U.S. government.”20

Graham, meanwhile, does not appear to understand how his nonchalant call for murder might actually incite murder. In the wake of the Uvalde school shooting, he now wants to mobilize retired service members to enhance security at schools, and while that might be a good idea, how about also vowing never to call for the murder of political opponents? Don’t politicians understand that this could translate into some kid thinking it’s acceptable to murder THEIR perceived opponents?

As far as I can tell, mass shootings have far more to do with societal norms, dangerous medications, a lack of high-quality mental health services, and the normalization of violence through entertainment and in politics, than it does with gun laws per se.

There are likely many other factors as well, but these are clearly observable phenomena known to nurture violent behavior. I’m afraid Americans are in need of a far deeper and more introspective analysis of the problem than many are capable of at the moment. But those who can, should try, and make an effort to effect much-needed change locally and in their own home.

*****

This article was published by Dr. Rich Swier and is reproduced with permission.

 

More Alarming Inflation Data Undercut the Progressive ‘Greedflation’ Narrative

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Companies haven’t jacked up prices to even fully match the increase in their costs, let alone exceed them. Another day, another disturbing price inflation metric.

 

The federal government just released the latest Producer Price Index (PPI), an index that tracks the prices of a basket of the typical inputs businesses rely on, like energy, warehousing, etc. It finds that prices rose 0.8% from April to May and a whopping 10.8% from May 2021 to May 2022. The PPI is the Federal Reserve’s preferred metric of price inflation, and this latest update keeps it near a 40-year high.

To see just how extreme this trend continues to be, just check out this graph from Fox Business [above].

Of course, this latest update comes just one day after another alarming inflation update. Released Monday, the latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) showed an 8.6% year-over-year increase in consumer prices. That metric imperfectly measures prices for a basket of consumer goods a typical US household might buy, and it too remains near 40-year highs.

What’s the significance?

Well, these updates offer more proof that rising prices are hurting American families, eroding paychecks, and bursting budgets. But we already knew that.

The really interesting insight here comes from comparing the producer price data to the consumer price data. Contrasting the two undercuts the progressive “greedflation” narrative that argues rising prices are in large part due to corporate greed.

“Inflation first rose because of other factors, like Covid and economic stimulus bills,” the New York Times writes in an article explaining what “greedflation” advocates believe. “But companies raised prices more than necessary to net higher profits. They knew they could get away with it because consumers no longer had a benchmark for what prices should be. And they did not face enough competition to keep prices down.”

Or, as Senator Elizabeth Warren argues, “profiteering” and “price-gouging” have driven higher prices because “they [can] get away with it because our markets lack competition.”

But this narrative has never made any sense. For one thing, corporations are no more “greedy,” aka profit-seeking, than they were 5 years ago or 10 years ago, when inflation wasn’t surging. What’s more, some sectors have seen much bigger price hikes than others. Are companies in some industries just less greedy than in other sectors?

“Greedflation” conspiracy theorists cite market concentration, i.e. monopoly power, as to why companies can supposedly be what’s driving this. But, as MIT economist David Autor notes, market concentration hasn’t meaningfully shifted in the last two years… while inflation most certainly has!

That’s why a survey of top economists found that the vast majority reject the “greedflation” narrative out of hand.

What’s this have to do with PPI, CPI, and other inflation metrics?

The new data set put the nail in the coffin for the “greedflation” narrative.

Why?

Well, if companies were truly greedy and just jacking up prices to make money, we would expect them to be hiking prices for consumers at a rate higher than their own production costs are going up. But these data sets actually reveal the opposite: consumer prices rose 8.6% while producer prices rose 10.8%—suggesting that, roughly estimating, companies haven’t jacked up prices to even fully match the increase in their costs, let alone exceed them.

Where’s the evidence of this rampant special surge in “greed” we keep hearing about?

It’s nowhere to be seen, of course, because the “greedflation” narrative was always a political talking point simply meant to deflect blame away from the federal government and onto Big Business, a popular boogeyman.

*****

This article was published by FEE, Foundation for Economic Education and is reproduced with permission.

 

The Costs of Leniency

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

The leniency of British penal policy might be defined as the means by which crime’s financial costs to the middle-class taxpayer are limited while its costs to the quality of life remain where they arise: among the relatively poor. For example, in a town not far from mine in England, a man who lived in ‘social’ housing was sentenced to life imprisonment (meaning, for once, prison was where he would stay for the rest of his life) only after his third killing, having served a grand total of five years for his first two. 

It comes as a strange kind of consolation to know that this idiocy, this indifference to the brutality that poses as generosity or liberality of mind and spirit, exists on the other side of the Channel.

A man aged 37 called Nicolas Alba was recently arrested on a charge of rape of a 22-year-old woman. He abducted her at knifepoint, raped her, and threatened to kill her and her family if she went to the police. Forensic evidence supports the charge, which he admits. He says that he now regrets what he did.

It turns out that Nicolas Alba was known to the police. In 2010, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison for having killed a woman aged 79 in the course of a burglary two years earlier. He stabbed her 82 times while she was in bed. He was under the influence of alcohol, cannabis, and other drugs at the time, and while he acknowledged what he had done, he expressed surprise that he had stabbed his victim so many times. He thought it was “only” fifteen. He told the gendarmes that he feared she might recognize him. 

After he killed her, he spent an hour searching her flat and took about $200, some jewelry, and her credit card, with which he tried to withdraw money from an ATM. He explained his conduct as an expression of his sorrow at the death of a nephew, murdered by his sister’s boyfriend. ‘All the anger that was in me came out,’ he said. A psychologist told the court that there might be a symbolic connection between the taboo against killing a child and that of killing an old woman.

He was released conditionally in 2020, supposedly under supervision. Two psychiatric and other reports had concluded that the risk of reoffending was low; he had behaved himself while in prison. He had also abided by his conditions of release, as far as anyone could tell, which were then relaxed.

The overarching error is that legal punishment is a form of personal therapy for the punished, a kind of psychotherapy within high walls.

The point, surely, is not that the psychiatric and other reports were mistaken, almost laughably so were it not for the tragic consequence of their erroneousness: it is that they were called for in the first place. For if a man can do what Nicolas Alba did and not thereby forfeit his right to live ever again as a free man in society, it is difficult to know what someone would have to do to forfeit that right.

The whole episode exhibits the intellectual and moral confusion behind penal policy both in Britain and France, presumably under similar doctrinal influences.

The overarching error is that legal punishment is a form of personal therapy for the punished, a kind of psychotherapy within high walls. Of course, it is a good thing if the punished learn something from their punishment: though the principal factor in improvement is probably the passage of time (crime being mostly a young man’s game).

But criminality is not analogous to, say, arachnophobia, from which the sufferer rightly seeks psychological assistance. And while the very concept of punishment has come under sustained philosophical attack for many years, and one eminent British criminologist admitted that criminology had for a century amounted to a conspiracy to deny its efficacy or very necessity, I think it fair to say that no large-scale society has so far found it possible to dispense with it.

Our societies, however, have decided (quite rightly) that there must be a limit to the severity of punishment. Having abolished the death penalty, the maximum a civilized society can inflict is imprisonment for life. Moreover, everyone subjected to imprisonment should be treated with decency, the avoidance of cruelty or brutality being a deontological moral requirement.

There is another penological principle that has to be followed: namely, that the severity of punishment must be proportional to the crime, even if the proportionality can only be approximate and grosso modo, since there is no common measure of severity and many factors go to constitute it. Any decent system must allow for mitigation (aggravation is less popularly urged).

Now if there is a maximum penalty that can be decently inflicted, and if penalties must be proportional to the severity of the crime, it follows that the maximum penalty must be inflicted only for the most serious crimes. But with crimes as with states of mind as described by the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, “No worst, there is none.” There is always a crime worse, at least potentially worse, than that currently before one.

Though the mind shrinks from doing it, it is possible to imagine or conceive of a crime worse than that of Nicolas Alba. This being the case, it might have seemed impossible, unjust, to inflict on him the severest penalty that any civilized society could inflict. But this way of thinking has the corollary that a civilized society can never inflict its maximum penalty, because a worse crime can always be imagined than the one under consideration.

Another corollary is that downward pressure on all sentences is exerted, especially in circumstances in which supposedly determinate periods of imprisonment are routinely reduced, halved or more, by early release. If a man such as Nicolas Alba is released after only ten years, what sentence can be given to a mere burglar? And yet, as everyone who has ever been burgled knows, burglary is not a minor crime, nor is burglary, when it is common, without profound social effects. (By the way, the poor are burgled much more frequently, and with more devastating effects, than the rich.)

There is an obvious solution to the problem. The maximum penalty can be inflicted for crimes that reach a certain level of severity, without them having to be the worst imaginable. Even though, with effort, one can imagine a worse crime than that committed by Nicolas Alba—at least, worse in its extent if not in its depravity—his crime surely passed the threshold of severity that should reasonably call forth a sentence of imprisonment for life. And if, nevertheless, one wished to preserve the principle of proportionality, one could do it purely symbolically. Nicolas Alba could have been sentenced to a term far exceeding his life expectancy—two hundred years, say. And if subsequently there were a crime committed even worse than his, the culprit could be sentenced to three or four hundred years.

A society that lacks either the will or the courage to imprison someone like Nicolas Alba for life (without, I hasten to add, any cruel treatment) is a society that has no confidence in its own judgment, either moral or practical.

*****

This article was published by Law & Liberty and is reproduced with permission.

A World Turned Upside Down

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

When Cornwallis surrendered to Washington at Yorktown, the band played a tune called “The World Turned Upside Down”. We could use some of that music today.

As I quietly celebrate a new national holiday called “Juneteenth”. I am grateful for the opportunity to have another chance to feel guilty about something. Another reminder that we are all racists never does any harm, does it? A holiday is a great time to feel bad, or at least sad. I always feel terrible at Thanksgiving about what we have done to turkeys.

The prices of Bitcoins and all the rest of the crypto-nonsense are hurtling down the drain, yet the business media pretends these are just stocks seeking to “find a bottom”. How about zero? Nevertheless, some “expert” just trotted out a poll showing that 70% believe that Bitcoins are “trustworthy”. What does that even mean? People can be trustworthy; fantasies, not so much.

Another report shows the price of jet fuel up 128% in the last year. Airlines are about to jack up prices again. Yet everyone seems ready to fly somewhere, even though incomes are lagging further and further behind inflation. My guess is that credit card defaults will soon be spiking.

The airlines have canceled tens of thousands of flights this weekend, citing staffing problems. The Administration’s Transportation Secretary, Pete Buttijug, is threatening to fine the airlines if they don’t hire more people. Maybe they should train some of those homeless people to fly. Many of them already take self-activated trips every day. Pistol Pete neglected to mention that the main reason for the cancellations was the short-staffing of the Government’s own air traffic controllers. All those kids playing video games should make ideal air traffic controllers.

The Secretary has been touting the excellence of AMTRAK. Yet, when he had a flight between DC and NYC canceled, he drove instead. I wonder why?

Based on the latest statistics, it appears we will have a new record: over 2 million illegals coming to the U.S. this year. Now the Administration is planning to bus them further from the border, giving large cities an opportunity to host more people who committed a crime getting here and no one knows how many more beforehand. Their major contribution seems to be that they keep our supply of fentanyl growing.

A decision on overturning Roe v Wade is due any day now. It seems clear that the case was wrongly decided on legal grounds many years ago. Each State will now get to decide what they want. A lot of misery is coming, but as long as the lawyers have won, we should all be happy. Who better to make moral decisions than lawyers? Politicians?

The price of a barrel of oil has come down from the stratosphere. Don’t celebrate just yet. The price of gasoline has little to do with Russia and the war. Years of reducing investment in exploration for new sources have guaranteed a supply deficiency for years to come. Even the Saudis don’t have an inexhaustible supply. We do, but we don’t want to continue to depend on our own supply. Some think it better to be dependent on foreign supply. The Germans believed it a good idea to depend on Russian gas and now look at the mess they are in.

The President says the fault is the greedy oil companies. Having never actually been in business himself, he apparently does not know that companies make investment decisions based on expected profitability. Who in his right mind would make a decision to invest when the President of the U.S. is determined to put you out of business and continually issues Executive Orders aimed at facilitating your demise? In fact, Biden is so determined to kill the U.S. oil industry that he goes begging to our enemies to please pump more oil in order to keep the price down. The only logical conclusion is that he sees the destruction of hundreds of thousands of high-paying jobs in the U.S. as an unavoidable consequence of making us the leader in the attempt to halt climate change.

His own spending binge caused the current bout of inflation, the worst since Jimmy Carter’s feckless presidency. Spending has to be financed, and since we could not find the money elsewhere, it fell to the Treasury and the Fed to just print the money. Flooding the country with too much money is what causes inflation, not greedy oil companies.

Biden’s answer is to combat climate change and inflation by stimulating the development of electric vehicles, and wind and solar power. As always, the question is how all this change will be financed and how major practical problems will be solved. He promises to put charging stations every 50 miles along the nation’s highways, apparently unaware that there are long stretches in the West that have no way to bring electric power to run the charging stations. And let’s not forget that his Transportation Secretary wants to tear down parts of the Interstate Highway System because they bulldozed black neighborhoods when they were constructed in the 1950s.

We are told that inflation will soon subside, even though it keeps increasing. It will be interesting to see what the Social Security benefits increase will be for 2023. One thing is sure. The number will be manipulated downward using technical esoterica in justification. It won’t be the first time, nor the last. The Social Security System simply can’t raise benefits by 8% without the Fed having to print more money.

I laugh when various experts come on TV to debate the “possibility” of a recession. Open your eyes, guys! We are already in one. All the talk of “soft landings” is pure balderdash. Inflation will moderate eventually but forget quickly. I frequently eat lunch with a friend at Otro Café, a local restaurant that serves the best tacos in Phoenix. Like many men, we always have the same thing. For a long time, the price of our lunch for two was $35. This past week it was $48. Same meal, same tax, same % tip. That is a 37% increase. I could quote similar increases in other restaurants, One restaurant’s takeout price was $48 during COVID, $60 now. Same meal. This can’t continue. Demand destruction is just around the corner.

Suppose that prices just stay high. If the public won’t support higher prices, and they just stay the same, isn’t that a lower rate of inflation? Yes. If only…!  In reality, wages have fallen quite a bit in relation to inflation. Workers need to catch up, and the sudden interest in unionization in places like Amazon, Apple, and Starbucks suggests that workers feel the need for unions to make them whole again. Of course, increasing wages means pressure to increase prices in order to keep the business going. And so, inflation does not just go away.

In the long sweep of history, there are two facts that we need to keep in mind as we lurch from one insanity to another.

We have been fortunate to have lived our lives in a relatively small number of years when the climate of planet Earth has been exceptionally favorable to life, agriculture, and to prosperity. Continuance is not an inevitability. But neither is our ability to materially change geophysical realities. Climate change is real, but it is not man’s fault, nor can we do as much to change what we don’t like as we would like to think. Exaggeration of facts is not the way to sound responses.

Empires have frequently risen and fallen. Ours is not necessarily immortal. With enough arrogance and stupidity, we could actually hasten the fall of the most productive and free world power the world has ever known. There is always “another side” in a debate. When the major objective of politics is the annihilation of opposition, the final outcome may well be the annihilation of all. Neither Republicans nor Democrats seem to recognize that at this time.

Red Flagged Nation: Gun Confiscation Laws Put a Target on the Back of Every American

Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force.” — Ayn Rand

 

What we do not need is yet another pretext by which government officials can violate the Fourth Amendment at will under the guise of public health and safety.

Indeed, at a time when red flag gun laws (which authorize government officials to seize guns from individuals viewed as a danger to themselves or others) are gaining traction as a legislative means by which to allow police to remove guns from people suspected of being threats, it wouldn’t take much for police to be given the green light to enter a home without a warrant in order to seize lawfully-possessed firearms based on concerns that the guns might pose a danger.

Frankly, a person wouldn’t even need to own a gun to be subjected to such a home invasion.

SWAT teams have crashed through doors on lesser pretexts based on false information, mistaken identities and wrong addresses.

Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have adopted laws allowing the police to remove guns from people suspected of being threats. If Congress succeeds in passing the Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order, which would nationalize red flag laws, that number will grow.

As The Washington Post reports, these red flag gun laws “allow a family member, roommate, beau, law enforcement officer or any type of medical professional to file a petition [with a court] asking that a person’s home be temporarily cleared of firearms. It doesn’t require a mental-health diagnosis or an arrest.

In the wake of yet another round of mass shootings, these gun confiscation laws—extreme risk protection order (ERPO) laws—may appease the fears of those who believe that fewer guns in the hands of the general populace will make our society safer.

Of course, it doesn’t always work that way.

Anything—knives, vehicles, planes, pressure cookers—can become a weapon when wielded with deadly intentions.

With these red flag gun laws, the stated intention is to disarm individuals who are potential threats… to “stop dangerous people before they act.”

While in theory, it appears perfectly reasonable to want to disarm individuals who are clearly suicidal and/or pose an “immediate danger” to themselves or others, where the problem arises is when you put the power to determine who is a potential danger in the hands of government agencies, the courts and the police.

We’ve been down this road before.

Remember, this is the same government that uses the words “anti-government,” “extremist” and “terrorist” interchangeably.

This is the same government whose agents are spinning a sticky spider-web of threat assessments, behavioral sensing warnings, flagged “words,” and “suspicious” activity reports using automated eyes and ears, social media, behavior sensing software, and citizen spies to identify potential threats.

This is the same government that has a growing list—shared with fusion centers and law enforcement agencies—of ideologies, behaviors, affiliations, and other characteristics that could flag someone as suspicious and result in their being labeled potential enemies of the state.

For instance, if you believe in and exercise your rights under the Constitution (namely, your right to speak freely, worship freely, associate with like-minded individuals who share your political views, criticize the government, own a weapon, and demand a warrant before being questioned or searched, or any other activity viewed as potentially anti-government, racist, bigoted, anarchic or sovereign), you could be at the top of the government’s terrorism watch list.

Moreover, as a New York Times editorial warns, you may be an anti-government extremist (a.k.a. domestic terrorist) in the eyes of the police if you are afraid that the government is plotting to confiscate your firearms, if you believe the economy is about to collapse and the government will soon declare martial law, or if you display an unusual number of political and/or ideological bumper stickers on your car.

Let that sink in a moment.

Now consider the ramifications of giving police that kind of authority: to preemptively raid homes in order to neutralize a potential threat.

It’s a powder keg waiting for a lit match.

Under these red flag laws, what happened to Duncan Lemp—who was gunned down in his bedroom during an early morning, no-knock SWAT team raid on his family’s home—could very well happen to more people.

At 4:30 a.m. on March 12, 2020, in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic that had most of the country under a partial lockdown and sheltering at home, a masked SWAT team—deployed to execute a “high risk” search warrant for unauthorized firearms—stormed the suburban house where 21-year-old Duncan, a software engineer and Second Amendment advocate, lived with his parents and 19-year-old brother.

The entire household, including Lemp and his girlfriend, was reportedly asleep when the SWAT team directed flash bang grenades and gunfire through Lemp’s bedroom window.

Lemp was killed and his girlfriend injured.

No one in the house that morning, including Lemp, had a criminal record.

No one in the house that morning, including Lemp, was considered an “imminent threat” to law enforcement or the public, at least not according to the search warrant.

So what was so urgent that militarized police felt compelled to employ battlefield tactics in the pre-dawn hours of a day when most people are asleep in bed, not to mention stuck at home as part of a nationwide lockdown?

According to police, they were tipped off that Lemp was in possession of “firearms.”

Thus, rather than approaching the house by the front door at a reasonable hour in order to investigate this complaint—which is what the Fourth Amendment requires—police instead strapped on their guns, loaded up their flash-bang grenades, and carried out a no-knock raid on the household.

According to the county report, the no-knock raid was justified “due to Lemp being ‘anti-government,’ ‘anti-police,’ currently in possession of body armor, and an active member of the Three Percenters,” a far-right paramilitary group that discussed government resistance.

This is what happens when you adopt red flag gun laws, painting anyone who might be in possession of a gun—legal or otherwise—as a threat that must be neutralized.

Therein lies the danger of these red flag laws, specifically, and pre-crime laws such as these generally where the burden of proof is reversed and you are guilty before you are given any chance to prove you are innocent.

Red flag gun laws merely push us that much closer towards a suspect society where everyone is potentially guilty of some crime or another and must be preemptively rendered harmless.

Where many Americans go wrong is in naively assuming that you have to be doing something illegal or harmful in order to be flagged and targeted for some form of intervention or detention.

In fact, all you need to do these days to end up on a government watch list or be subjected to heightened scrutiny is use certain trigger words (like cloud, pork and pirates), surf the internet, communicate using a cell phone, limp or stutterdrive a car, stay at a hotel, attend a political rally, express yourself on social mediaappear mentally ill, serve in the militarydisagree with a law enforcement officialcall in sick to work, purchase materials at a hardware store, take flying or boating lessons, appear suspicious, appear confused or nervous, fidget or whistle or smell bad, be seen in public waving a toy gun or anything remotely resembling a gun (such as a water nozzle or a remote control or a walking cane), stare at a police officer, question government authority, appear to be pro-gun or pro-freedom, or generally live in the United States.

Be warned: once you get on such a government watch list—whether it’s a terrorist watch list, a mental health watch list, a dissident watch list, or a red flag gun watch list—there’s no clear-cut way to get off, whether or not you should actually be on there.

You will be flagged as a potential threat and dealt with accordingly.

You will be tracked by the government’s pre-crime, surveillance network wherever you go.

Hopefully you’re starting to understand how easy we’ve made it for the government to identify, label, target, defuse and detain anyone it views as a potential threat for a variety of reasons that run the gamut from mental illness to having a military background to challenging its authority to just being on the government’s list of persona non grata.

The government has been building its pre-crime, surveillance network in concert with fusion centers (of which there are 78 nationwide, with partners in the private sector and globally), data collection agencies, behavioral scientists, corporations, social media, and community organizers and by relying on cutting-edge technology for surveillance, facial recognition, predictive policing, biometrics, and behavioral epigenetics (in which life experiences alter one’s genetic makeup).

Combine red flag laws with the government’s surveillance networks and its plan to establish an agency that will take the lead in identifying and targeting “signs” of mental illness or violent inclinations among the populace by using artificial intelligence to collect data from Apple Watches, Fitbits, Amazon Echo and Google Home, and you’ll understand why some might view gun control legislation with trepidation.

No matter how well-meaning the politicians make these encroachments on our rights appear, in the right (or wrong) hands, benevolent plans can easily be put to malevolent purposes.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, even the most well-intentioned government law or program can be—and has been—perverted, corrupted, and used to advance illegitimate purposes once profit and power are added to the equation.

The war on terror, the war on drugs, the war on illegal immigration, and the war on COVID-19: all of these programs started out as legitimate responses to pressing concerns and have since become weapons of compliance and control in the government’s hands.

No matter how well-intentioned, red flag gun laws will put a target on the back of every American whether or not they own a weapon.

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This article was published by The Rutherford Institute and is reproduced with permission.

The Catastrophe of 12 Million Fatherless American Boys

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Editors’ Note: Although the following article is written from a Christian perspective, one need not be Christian to appreciate the role of fathers. Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and atheists, can concur as well. The Left’s attack on men in general, masculinity itself, and the specific attack on white males has created much of this problem. But men have contributed to it as well, with a casual attitude towards sex and its inevitable consequences, and women who defy biological reality and want to be as casual about sex as men. Whatever the complex factors, as a society we must push for the ideal of a long-term marriage between a man and a woman. Other arrangements such as same-sex marriages are tolerated, but they are not relationships that will produce children. For households that do produce children, there is simply no way as a society can we continue to ignore the impact of fatherless households. As heroic as many single mothers are, and as effective as many single mothers can be, the data shows that this is likely more the exception than the rule.

 

Amongst the heated public rhetoric in the aftermath of the Uvalde school massacre, one tragic detail remains stubbornly paramount: the 18-year-old male shooter came from a broken family and was estranged from his father.

While it would certainly be unfair to pin all the blame for monstrous crimes committed by young men on the failings of their parents without considering other factors, there’s no denying what is arguably the central issue facing our nation (and what the Left persistently brushes aside): the breakdown of marriage and the children that grow up fatherless as a result. The Institute for Family Studies recently summed up the situation well: “The decline of marriage and the rise of fatherlessness in America remain at the center of some of the biggest problems facing the nation: crime and violence, school failure, deaths of despair, and children in poverty.”

American boys are at the center of this crisis: they grow up to commit crimedrop out of school, and take their own lives at far higher rates than women do. From 1960 to 1996, the percentage of boys who lived without their biological father almost doubled—from 17% to 32%. Today, the Institute for Family Studies reports that “an estimated 12 million boys are growing up in families without their biological father.”

The result of this implosion of intact families has been absolutely catastrophic for society, particularly for boys. A recent study conducted by the Institute for Family Studies found stark disparities among fatherless boys compared to their peers with fathers in college graduation (14% versus 35%), idleness at ages 25-29 (defined as not working and not looking for work—19% versus 11%), and who have been incarcerated by ages 15-19 (31% versus 21%) and ages 28-34 (21% versus 10%).

Common sense tells us why this is the case. As Adam B. Coleman has astutely observed, involved fathers provide critical guidance to their sons in a host of ways. In particular, they offer:

  • “a blueprint for manhood”;
  • “a source of protection” and a “source of security” from the outside world;
  • “a builder of confidence and a teacher for how to regulate your emotions in stressful situations”; and
  • “the son’s purpose compass as he helps guide him throughout the trials of adolescence towards purposeful adulthood.”

This fatherly nurturing is especially critical during a boy’s childhood and as they approach the teen years. As Family Research Council’s senior research fellow George Barna has written, “Because a worldview is fully developed before the age of 13, young children listen to and watch their parents for clues on how to live an appropriate and successful life.”

Scripture clearly stipulates why an engaged father is so critical during childhood: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

But as common sense also tells us, more responsible fathers aren’t going to just magically appear in our society, despite the best efforts of liberal masculinity lessons. Good fathers are formed through good marriages, just as our Creator designed it (Matthew 19:4-6). As the Institute for Family Studies notes, “[W]e must … revive our most fundamental bond, marriage because it connects men to their sons in a way nothing else does.”

So how can we promote healthy marriages in order to forge the capable fathers that our country so desperately needs? It’s a project all of us must be involved in, and it can take the form of doing practical things like those of us who are fathers talking honestly about fatherhood to our bachelor friends, inviting them into our family and community life, taking an active role in mentoring young men in our circles of influence, and yes, setting up eligible bachelors with eligible bachelorettes in our social circles.

In regard to the more immediate problem of the current crop of fatherless boys in our country, we can ask our representatives to look into passing bills that strengthen fatherhood and mentorship. There are also many practical ways we can minister to the fatherless. We can start by keeping our ears to the ground in our local communities so that we are ready to provide mentorship to the boy next door who we know is living in a single-parent household. This could simply involve inviting them over to play with our kids as often as we can so they can witness healthy Christian family life. Or we may consider getting involved in more formal after-school mentorship programs or other national mentorship programs.

While there is admittedly a multitude of factors that have led to the fatherhood crisis we find ourselves in here in America, one thing is certain: nothing will change unless we are willing to help cultivate genuine, godly masculinity and fatherhood in our own families and communities.

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This article was published by Daily Signal and is reproduced with permission.

Rise of the Soros “Prosecutors”

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

A recent report by the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund (LELDF) examined George Soros’s funding of the progressive district attorney (DA) movement that has swept America’s urban centers and found that the infamous billionaire’s financial support for the disastrous movement has been far larger than was previously thought.

Early this year the Capital Research Center reported that Soros had spent at least $29 million directly supporting dozens of DA candidates, nearly two dozen of which remained in office. Now it is clear that Soros’s capture of the criminal justice system is even more expansive than was feared.

Millions More

LELDF’s report highlights that Soros has also spent millions of dollars supporting far-left organizations that serve as the foundation of the “rogue prosecutor” movement, including the Brennan Center, Fair and Just Prosecution (a project of the notorious Tides Foundation), and the Vera Institute for Justice.

Over the years dozens of prosecutors and DAs around the country have attended seminars and policy sessions hosted by the Soros-funded organizations. DA’s have also signed onto criminal justice reform letters written by the organizations, gone on sponsored jaunts across the globe for meetings and forums, and received public relations help from doting videos and articles about their commitment to justice and reform. In all, LELDF concluded, as many as 75 prosecutors have benefited, directly and indirectly, from Soros’s financial largesse, which totaled over $40 million.

Among them is the recently recalled, former San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin, who benefitted indirectly from Soros’s contributions to organizations that opposed his recall. John Chisolm, the Milwaukee County prosecutor who disastrously decided to let the man responsible for the Waukesha massacre out of jail on minimum bail, also made the list after receiving direct support from Soros’s Safety and Justice PAC.

While there is a substantial difference between direct and indirect support from Soros, Soros’s PR attack dogs have done nothing to dispute the $40 million figure, choosing instead to quibble over the characterization of “Soros prosecutors.”

Catastrophic Reform

No matter how much Soros and his allies attempt to obfuscate, the evidence is clear. Soros has spent tens of millions of dollars to impose his vision of “reform” upon the world, and the results in America’s urban areas have been catastrophic.

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This article was published by Capital Research and is reproduced with permission.

The Economist Whose Theory Predicted Today’s Calls for Censorship in the 1970s

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Nobel Prize-winning economist Ronald Coase wrote a paper in 1974 that implicitly predicted the increasing popularity of censorship among the intellectual class.

 

After Elon Musk’s offer to purchase Twitter was accepted, the Department of Homeland Security unveiled plans for a “disinformation” governance board. Musk’s purchase is not final, and the governance board is now paused, but the reaction to these events has been telling.

One might expect professionals in the market for ideas would be concerned by a government agency policing speech. Curiously, many groups who historically have defended free speech against interference seem slow (or absent) in response.

Members of the journalism industry have reacted negatively to Musk’s vocal support of free speech. His purchase is “dangerous,” and his commitment to free speech will lead to people being “silenced”.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press attacked Musk for wanting free speech, claiming that this desire was inconsistent with the fact that he has criticized people in the past.

This claim by the AP confused many, as criticism is obviously compatible with free speech.

Time magazine voiced opposition to Musk from another angle, trying to disparage his “tech bro” obsession with free speech

CNN writers crafted the suggestive headline, “Twitter has been focused on ‘healthy conversations.’ Elon Musk could change that”.

At The Conversation, Filippo Menczer, a professor of informatics and computer science at Indiana University, argues John Milton’s idea of the uncensored marketplace of ideas is outdated and calls for “refereeing” of social media. And of course, this refereeing isn’t censorship. Why would you think that?

Another professor writing for The ConversationJaigris Hudson, argues Elon Musk’s free speech push will make speech less free because if harsh language is allowed some people will stop talking. This article when set next to this Washington Post piece and the AP tweet underscores a consistent theme of mistaking free speech for freedom from criticism.

Head bureaucrat of the government’s “paused” disinformation board, Nina Jankowicz, also wishes Twitter would move in another direction. Jankowicz wonders, why not allow verified accounts to edit the Tweets of people using free speech too dangerously?

Although it isn’t uncommon for high-level military bureaucrats like Jankowicz to desire censorship, academics and journalists have long been stalwart defenders of the importance of an uncensored marketplace for ideas. For a long time, universities and newspapers were seen as places where controversial means and ends could be debated publicly. “The truth will out” was the final defense of these institutions against calls for censorship.

This defense of the marketplace of ideas was so universal among the professional intellectual class that it inspired Nobel Prize-winning economist Ronald Coase (1910-2013) to write a paper trying to explain why this was so. And, using this same paper, we can see Coase implicitly predicted the increasing favorability of censorship among the professional intellectual class.

In a 1974 paper, Coase, the Clifton R. Musser Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago Law School, mused over an interesting puzzle. Professional intellectuals focus tremendous effort in highlighting why the market for goods and services requires regulation. Meanwhile, those same intellectuals often argued that the market for ideas should be free from regulation.

So, why the asymmetry?

To answer this puzzle, Coase first dismissed two popular but wrong explanations for this paradox.

The first explanation is that markets for goods and services can have market failures. For example, if gasoline buyers and sellers don’t have to pay for the pollution gasoline generates, they will buy and sell too much at the expense of those who experience pollution.

However, the problem with this explanation is obvious. There can also be failures in the market for ideas. Even if it’s correct that the best idea will win, it’s obvious that the best idea won’t always win immediately. Pollution in the market for ideas, such as disinformation, is also possible.

In other words, the market for ideas also has market failures. On this criteria, both types of markets should be regulated–or neither.

The second wrong explanation for why professional intellectuals defend the market for ideas from regulation is that unregulated speech is necessary for a functioning democracy. This explanation sounds okay at first, so what’s wrong with it?

Well, the market for goods and services is also necessary for a functioning democracy. As Coase puts it,

For most people in most countries (and perhaps in all countries), the provision of food, clothing, and shelter is a good deal more important than the provision of the “right ideas,” even if it is assumed that we know what they are.

So good ideas being necessary for a functioning democracy can’t be an explanation for why the market for ideas should be unregulated, since professional intellectuals favor regulation for goods and services which are also necessary for a functioning democracy.

The asymmetry remains.

Coase finishes his essay by solving the paradox. Why do professional intellectuals defend the market for ideas against regulation but not the market for goods and services?

The market for ideas is the market in which the intellectual conducts his trade. The explanation of the paradox is self-interest and self-esteem. Self-esteem leads the intellectuals to magnify the importance of their own market. That others should be regulated seems natural, particularly as many of the intellectuals see themselves as doing the regulating.

So, the market for ideas is the market controlled by intellectuals. They see their market as a higher and more important calling. The market for goods and services, in their view, is both less important and more corrupted.

So how does Coase’s explanation here predict the increasing calls for censorship in the market for ideas?

Remember the explanation Coase gave. Professional intellectuals considered the market for ideas as above regulation because they controlled the market.

But times have changed since Coase wrote his article in 1974.

The internet has revolutionized the landscape of the market for ideas. It’s no longer the case that the well-credentialed have the most sway in the ideas market. Recent years have been characterized by creators on YouTube, podcasts, and, most recently, Substack dominating the market for ideas.

Now that the market for ideas is no longer dominated by academia and the journalism industry, members of those groups no longer have the same incentives to stop industry regulation.

In fact, as in many industries, it may be in incumbents’ best interest to regulate competition. After all, if people get their new commentary from Joe Rogan and not CNN, that hurts CNN’s bottom line.

So, although Coase did not foresee the decentralization of the market of ideas in his piece, the logic of his paper gives a clear prediction. If the ones who hold the reins to the market for ideas lose their grip, calls for regulation are sure to follow. And this is exactly what we’re seeing.

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This article was published by FEE, Foundation for Economic Education and is reproduced with permission.

Forget School Choice, Education Microgrants Are Microsocialism

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Not all education choice initiatives are created equal.

West Virginia’s near-universal Hope Scholarship, for example, empowers families to choose the learning environment that’s the best fit for their children — without costing taxpayers more. Microgrants do exactly the opposite.

The Hope Scholarship is an education savings account, or ESA, that families can use for private school tuition, tutoring, textbooks, online learning, educational services and therapies, and more. The ESA provides students leaving the public system or entering kindergarten or first grade with nearly 100% of existing state-level K-12 funding. That’s about $4,300 per pupil, and in West Virginia, where the average private school tuition is about $4,750, it goes a long way. In contrast, Idaho’s microgrant program, Empowering Parents, gives only $1,000 toward various educational expenses (excluding private school tuition) yet still costs taxpayers more money. That’s because there’s a catch: Idaho’s microgrants are primarily for children who stay in public schools.

That’s a common problem with microgrant programs. At the margin, West Virginia helps a child’s family afford a better option; Idaho does not.

The larger economic problem is that microgrants are microsocialism. Rather than redirecting funds from the existing K-12 education budget, as ESAs do, microgrants generally require new money. That means taxpayers fork over additional money the state distributes to somebody else. That’s why the Left does not see microgrants as a threat to the status quo. If the point is merely a larger handout, the Left loves it. But the point should be that every family finds the educational environment that’s best for their child. By that standard, microgrants are counterproductive.

Not only are microgrants bad policy, but they’re also a bad education reform strategy.

When presented with two proposals, one more robust and one more modest, legislators tend to opt for the more modest proposal. This way, they can have their cake and eat it, too, getting credit for at least doing something while blocking the more expansive reform.

Aware of this dynamic, proponents of microgrants portray them as a form of “school choice.” Legislators then think they can placate school choice proponents by enacting microgrants while reassuring choice opponents that they blocked more robust policies, such as ESAs. In this sense, microgrants are entirely parasitic on efforts to enact broad education choice policies. This is why proponents of microgrants work almost exclusively in red states, where the prospects of enacting choice policies are the best they’ve ever been. Microgrant proponents count on education choice coalitions to do the hard work of moving the Overton Window, then slip in and pass their own modest proposal at the expense of true school choice proposals…..

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Continue reading this article at The Washington Examiner.

Biden Pressuring Dem Governors for More Gun Control

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Biden-Harris administration is sympathetic Democratic governors to pass more gun control legislation with the apparent belief that if more states pass restrictive anti-gun bills, it will be easier for the administration to push for similar legislation at the federal level.

The White House has already contacted governors in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Rhode Island, Connecticut, California and Delaware. The bills they have come up with are similar in concept and some even use similar language. The legislation usually includes 21+ age restrictions for firearm purchasers, Red Flag bills as well as “assault weapon” and standard-capacity magazine bans.

Nowhere have gun owners been hit harder than in Biden’s home state of Delaware, where a bill that would prohibit magazines capable of holding more than 17 rounds and a bill that would outlaw most semi-auto rifles are awaiting Gov. John Carney’s signature, after flying through the Democrat-controlled General Assembly.

“Every center-fire rifle that’s magazine fed will be banned,” said John Sigler, who is past president of the Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association, past president of the National Rifle Association, and a current NRA Board member.

Delaware is a small state. Sigler has known Biden for decades.

“All of this is being driven by the White House,” Sigler said. “Joe has been a gun banner forever – back to when he was running the Senate Judiciary Committee. My first dealings with him involved ‘Saturday Night Specials’ and ‘Cop Killer’ bullets. This is exactly what those of us here in Delaware feared when he announced he was running for president.”

HB 450 will become law the moment Gov. Carney signs it, which he is expected to do. It will ban 63 firearms by name, as well as any semi-auto rifle with a detachable magazine, any shotgun with a telescoping or folding stock or a revolving cylinder, any pistol with a detachable magazine outside the grip or a threaded barrel, and all pistols and rifles with fixed magazines capable of hold more than 17 rounds.

HB 450 states that gun owners cannot sell, offer for sale, transfer, purchase, receive or possess one of the banned firearms after the effective date – except you can keep what you had on or before the effective date. By prohibiting sales, the bill takes away the firearm’s value.

SS 1 for SB 6 bans magazines capable of holding more than 17 rounds. It, too, awaits Gov. Carney’s signature, which he has promised to do.

There is no grandfather clause in this bill. Anyone who owns a magazine capable of holding more than 17 rounds must surrender it to police for a “buy back” or risk misdemeanor charges for the first offense and felony charges the second time they’re caught with a 17+ magazine.

At first, the bill said the state would pay the owner $10 per magazine, but they only allocated $45,000 for the “buy back.” Now, the bill has been amended to offer the owner “current market value” for their property, which the legislature did not define. It has still only allocated $45,000 taxpayer dollars.

Delaware Sportsmen will sue

The Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association has no choice but to sue once the bills are signed into law, Sigler said. It will be a costly endeavor.

“Our membership is stepping up to the plate, and people we’ve never heard of are contributing,” Sigler said. “We are preparing right now and we will see what transpires, but we will litigate. We promised to sue and we are going to carry out our promise.

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This article was published by the Second Amendment Foundation and is reproduced with permission.