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Academia


Dr. William Van Alstyne:
"There is, to be sure, in the Second Amendment, an express reference to the security of a 'free State.' It is not a reference to the security of THE STATE. There are doubtless certain national constitutions that put a privileged emphasis on the security of 'the state,' but such as they are, they are all unlike our Constitution and the provisions they have respecting their security do not appear in a similarly phrased Bill of Rights. Accordingly such constitutions make no reference to any right of the people to keep and bear arms, apart from state service. And why do they not do so? Because, in contrast with the premises of constitutional government in this country, they reflect the belief that recognition of any such right 'in the people' might well pose a threat to the security of 'the state.'" in "The Second Amendment And The Personal Right To Arms", Duke Law Journal, vol. 43, p.1244 (1994)
Professor of Law Akhil Reed Amar, Yale University:
"the adjective `well-regulated' did not imply broad state authority to disarm the general militia; indeed, its use in various state constitutional antecedents of the Second Amendment suggests just the opposite." "The Bill of Rights as a Constitution", 1991 Yale Law Journal
Professor of Law Akhil Reed Amar, Yale University:
"The states' rights reading puts great weight on the word `militia', but this word appears only in the Amendment's subordinate clause. The ultimate right to keep and bear arms belongs to `the people' not `the states'. As the language of the Tenth Amendment shows, these two are of course not identical, and when the constitution means `states', it says so. Thus as noted above, `the people' at the core of the Second Amendment are the same `people' at the heart of the Preamble and the First Amendment, namely citizens." "The Bill of Rights as a Constitution", 1991 Yale Law Journal
Professor of Law Robert Carter, Rutgers Law School:
"Banning assault rifles is a lovely symbolic thing. It is lawmaking as political rhetoric." New York Times, April 17, 1992
Dr. Brandon S. Centerwall, PHD epidemiology, Univ of Washington:
"The U.S. national homicide rate has doubled since the 1950s. As a member of the Centers for Disease Control violence research team, my task was to determine why. A wide array of possible causes was examined - the `baby boom' effect, trends in urbanization, economic trends, trends in alcohol abuse, the role of capital punishment, the effects of civil unrest, the availability of firearms, exposure to television. Over the course of seven years of investigation, each of these purported causes was tested in a variety of ways to see whether it could be eliminated as a credible contributor to the doubling of rates of violence in the U.S. And, one by one, each of them was invalidated, except for television." House Energy & Commerce Committee's Telecommunications & Finance subcommittee and the Senate Judiciary Committee's Constitution subcommittee, May 12, 1993
Professor Robert Cottrol, Rutgers University School of Law, and Professor Raymond Diamond, Tulane University School of Law:
"when the framers of the Second Amendment used the term militia, they were referring not only to the organized militia, but also to the armed citizenry as a whole. By the time of the amendment's enactment, both the idea of an individual right to keep and bear arms and the view that the militia should consist of the free men of the community armed with individually-owned weapons were established concepts in Anglo-American law." The Legal Times of Washington, May, 1991
Professor Robert Cottrol, Rutgers University School of Law, and Professor Raymond Diamond, Tulane University School of Law:
"Much of the contemporary crime that concerns Americans is in poor black neighborhoods and a case can be made that greater firearms restrictions might alleviate this tragedy. But another, perhaps stronger case can be made that a society with a dismal record of protecting a people has a dubious claim on the right to disarm them. Perhaps a re-examination of this history can lead us to a modern realization of what the framers of the Second Amendment understood: that it is unwise to place the means of protection totally in the hands of the state, and that self-defense is also a civil right." "The Second Amendment: Towards an Afro-Americanist Reconsideration", Georgetown Law Journal, vol. 80, p. 361 (1991)
Professor Matthew DeZee, Florida State University:
"The results indicate that not a single gun control law, and not all the gun control laws added together, had a significant impact ... in determining gun violence. It appears, then, that present legislation created to reduce the level of violence in society falls short of its goals ... Gun laws do not appear to affect gun crimes." "Gun Control Legislation: Impact and Ideology", 5 Law & Policy Quarterly 367 (1983)
Professor Ted Gurr, Eisenhower Commission:
"Americans looking for simple solutions to high crime rates and to political assassinations have repeatedly proposed and sometimes imposed restrictions on gun ownership. Since about two-thirds of murders and all recent assassinations have been committed with guns, the argument goes, dry up the guns and violence will decline. In a country with an estimated stock of 60 million handguns and more than 100 million long guns, not even the most Draconian policies could remove guns from the hands of people who were determined to get and keep them. Those determined gun owners include far more citizens concerned about defending themselves and their homes than predatory criminals. The irony of most gun control proposals is that they would criminalize much of the citizenry but have only marginal effects on the professional criminals. Moreover, an overemphasis on such proposals diverts attention from the kinds of conditions that are responsible for much of our crime, such as persisting poverty for the black underclass and some whites and Hispanics; the impact of post-industrial transition on economic opportunity for working-class youths; and the shortage of prison facilities that makes it difficult to keep high risk, repeat offenders off the streets." Violence in America, 1989
George M. Horn, Department of Linguistics, University of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia:
"If we look at the grammatical structure of the [2nd] amendment, it becomes clear that whatever the interpretation given to the first clause, the stated right to bear arms in the second clause is absolute. the first clause merely specifies a context, or reason, for the granting of the right in the first place. It does not constitute any condition on this right." Guns & Ammo, March 1993
Professor James B. Jacobs, Director of the Center for Research on Crime and Justice at New York University School of Law:
"If there were data, I suspect it would show little correlation between assault weapons and crime." New York Times, April 17, 1992
Professor James B. Jacobs and Kimberley A. Potter, New York University School of Law:
"It is hard to see the Brady law, heralded by many politicians, the media, and Handgun Control, Inc. as an important step toward keeping handguns out of the hands of dangerous and irresponsible persons, as anything more than a sop to the widespread fear of crime." in The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Fall 1995
Professor Gary Kleck, Florida State University School of Criminology:
"When I began my research on guns in 1976, like most academics I was a believer in the `anti-gun' thesis, i.e., the idea that gun availability increases the frequency and/or seriousness of violent acts. It seemed then like self-evident common sense which hardly needed to be empirically tested. However, as a modest body of reliable evidence accumulated, many of the most able specialists in this area shifted from the `anti-gun' position to a more skeptical stance, in which it was negatively argued that the best available evidence does not convincingly or consistently support the anti-gun position. This is not the same as saying we know the anti-gun position to be wrong, but rather that there is no strong case for it being correct. The most prominent representatives of the skeptic position would be [two prominent liberal and formerly anti-gun sociologists] James Wright and Peter Rossi, authors of the best scholarly review of the literature [Wright, Rossi and Daly, Under the Gun:Weapons, Crime and Violence in America, Aldine de Gruyter Press, 1983]. Evidence developed since the completion of [Under the Gun] has caused me to move beyond even the skeptic position. I now believe that the best currently available evidence, imperfect though it is, indicates that general gun availability does not measurably increase rates of homicide, suicide, robbery, assault, rape or burglary in the U.S." Author of Point Blank:Guns and Violence in America (Aldine de Gruyter Press, 1991), speaking to the National Academy of Sciences, Spring, 1993
Professor Gary Kleck, Florida State University School of Criminology:
"there were about 645,000 defensive uses of handguns against persons each year, excluding police or military uses ... Although shootings of criminals represent a small fraction of defensive uses of guns, Americans shoot criminals with a frequency that must be regarded as remarkable by any standard." "Crime Control Through the Private Use of Armed Force.", 15 Social Problems 1 (1988)
Professor Gary Kleck, Florida State University School of Criminology:
"The fact that armed victims can effectively disrupt crimes suggests that widespread civilian gun ownership might also deter some criminals from attempting crimes in the first place. There probably will never be definitive evidence on this deterrence question, since it revolves around the issue of how many crimes do not occur because of victim gun ownership. However, scattered evidence is consistent with a deterrence hypothesis. In prison surveys criminals report that they have refrained from committing crimes because they thought a victim might have a gun. `Natural experiments' indicate that rates of `gun deterrable' crimes have declined after various highly publicized incidents related to victim gun use." Paper delivered to the 1991 annual meeting of the American Political Science Association
Professor Gary Kleck, Florida State University School of Criminology:
"for both robbery and assault, victims who used guns for protection were less likely either to be attacked or injured than victims who responded in any other way." "Crime Control Through the Private Use of Armed Force.", 15 Social Problems 1 (1988)
Professors Gary Kleck & Susan Sayles, Florida State University School of Criminology:
"Victim gun use in crime incidents is associated with lower rates of crime completion and of victim injury than any other defensive response, including doing nothing to resist. Serious predatory criminals say they perceive a risk from victim gun use which is roughly comparable to that of criminal justice system actions, and this perception appears to influence their criminal behavior in socially desirable ways." "Rape and Resistance", convention paper, American Society of Criminology, 1988
David S. Kopel:
"Of the gun deaths in the home, the vast majority are suicides. In fact, in the `43 to one' figure, suicides account for nearly all the 43 unjustifiable deaths." The Blue Press, March 1994
David S. Kopel:
"Notably, Japan, which prohibits handguns and rifles entirely, and regulates shotguns very severely, has a suicide rate over twice the U.S. level. Many of the northern and central European nations also have very high suicide rates to accompany their strict gun laws." The Blue Press, March 1994
David S. Kopel:
"Gun control does not deserve credit for the low crime rates in Britain, Japan, or other nations ... Foreign style gun control is doomed to failure in America; not only does it depend on search and seizure too intrusive for American standards, it postulates an authoritarian philosophy of government fundamentally at odds with the individual, egalitarian ... American ethos." Foreign Gun Control in American Eyes, 1987
Dr. Alan S. Krug, Pennsylvania State University:
"there is no statistically significant difference in crime rates between states that have firearms licensing laws and those that do not." "The Relationship Between Firearms Licensing Laws and Crime Rates: A Statistical Analysis", Congressional Record, January 30, 1968
Dr. Alan S. Krug, Pennsylvania State University:
"Pittsburgh police figures show there's been more people murdered in Pittsburgh with baseball bats than with AK-47s." NRA Pennsylvania Liason, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, December 1, 1993
Professor Stanford Levinson:
"Such an argument founders ... upon examination of the text of the federal Bill of Rights itself and the usage there of the term `the people' in the First, fourth, Ninth and Tenth Amendments. ... It is difficult to know how one might plausibly read the Fourth Amendment as other than a protection of individual rights, and it would approach the frivolous to read the assembly and petition clause [of the First Amendment] as referring only to the right of state legislatures to meet and pass a remonstrance directed to Congress or the President against some governmental act." "The Embarrassing Second Amendment", 1989 Yale Law Journal, vol. 99 (1989)
Professor Stanford Levinson:
"One would, of course, like to believe that the state, whether at the local or national level, presents no threat to important political values, including liberty. But our propensity to believe that this is the case may be little more than a sign of how truly different we are from our radical forebears. I do not want to argue that the state is necessarily tyrannical; I am not an anarchist. But it seems foolhardy to assume that the armed state will necessarily be benevolent." "The Embarrassing Second Amendment," Yale Law Journal, vol. 99, p. 656 (1989)
Dr. John R. Lott, Jr., School of Law, and David B. Mustard Department of Economics, University of Chicago:
"Using cross-sectional time-series data for U.S. counties from 1977 to 1992, we find that allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons deters violent crimes and it appears to produce no increase in accidental deaths. If those states which did not have right-to-carry concealed gun provisions had adopted them in 1992, approximately 1,570 murders; 4,177 rapes; and over 60,000 aggravate assaults would have been avoided yearly. On the other hand, consistent with the notion of criminals responding to incentives, we find criminals substituting into property crimes involving stealth and where the probabilities of contact between the criminal and the victim are minimal. The largest population counties where the deterrence effect on violent crimes is greatest are where the substitution effect into property crimes is highest. Concealed handguns also have their greatest deterrent effect in the highest crime counties. Higher arrest and conviction rates consistently and dramatically reduce the crime rate. Consistent with other recent work (Lott, 1992b), the results imply that increasing the arrest rate, independent of the probability of eventual conviction, imposes a significant penalty on criminals. The estimated annual gain from allowing concealed handguns is at least $6.214 billion." Crime, Deterrence, and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handguns, July 26, 1996
Douglas R. Murray, University of Wisconsin:
"gun control laws have no significant effect on rates of violence beyond what can be attributed to background social conditions. ...[accessibility to handguns] seems to have no effect on rates of violent crime and firearms accidents, another reason why gun control laws are ineffective....gun control laws have no individual or collective effect in reducing the rates of violent crime." "Handguns, Gun Control Laws and Firearms Violence", 23 Social Problems 80 (1975)
Professor of Law Daniel D. Polsby, Northwestern University:
"... gun-controlled Mexico and South Africa should be islands of peace instead of having murder rates more than twice as high as those here... But gun-control enthusiasts, who have made capital out of the low murder rate in England, which is largely disarmed, simply ignore the counterexamples that don't fit their theory." The False Promise of Gun Control, Atlantic Monthly, March, 1994
Professor of Law Daniel D. Polsby, Northwestern University:
"Senator Dianne Feinstein carries a gun" speaking on "The Mike Pintek Show", Pittburgh, PA, March 7, 1994
Dr. Edgar Suter:
"On the issue of guns and violence, our group has uncovered major incompetence, distortions and outright lies in many major medical journals. We have discovered it is quite common for taxpayer-funded gun control researchers to fabricate and sculpt their data to bolster their biased and foregone conclusions." Doctors for Integrity in Research and Public Policy
Professor Hans Toch, School of Criminology at State University of New York, Albany:
"...rates of male firearms ownership tend to be inversely correlated with violent crime rates, a curious fact if firearms stimulate aggression. It is hard to explain where firearms are most dense, violent crime rates are lowest, and where guns are least dense, violent crime rates are highest. ... When used for protection, firearms can seriously inhibit aggression and can provide a psychological buffer against the fear of crime. Furthermore, the fact that national patterns show little violent crime where guns are most dense implies that guns do not elicit aggression in any meaningful way. Quite the contrary, these findings suggest that high saturations of guns in places, or something correlated with that condition, inhibit illegal aggression." [Handguns, March 1993, pg. 25]
Professor Marvin E. Wolfgang, Criminologist, University of Pennsylvania:
"I would eliminate all guns from the civilian population and maybe even from the police. I hate guns--ugly, nasty instruments designed to kill people." Northwestern University Law School's Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Volume 86, Number 1, Summer, 1995
Professor Marvin E. Wolfgang, Criminologist, University of Pennsylvania:
"What troubles me is the article by Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz. The reason I am troubled is that they have provided an almost clear-cut case of methodologically sound research in support of something that I have theoretically opposed for years, namely, the use of a gun in defense against a criminal perpetrator." Northwestern University Law School's Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Volume 86, Number 1, Summer, 1995
Professor Marvin E. Wolfgang, Criminologist, University of Pennsylvania:
"Several students of homicide have tried to show that the high number of, or easy access to, firearms in this country is causally related to our relatively high homicide rate. Such a conclusion cannot be drawn from the Philadelphia data ... few homicides due to shootings could be avoided merely if a firearm were not immediately present ... the offender would select some other weapon to achieve the same destructive goal." Patterns of Criminal Homicide, Philadelphia:University of Pennsylvania, 1958, pp. 81-83
Professors James Wright and Peter Rossi, University of Massachusetts at Amherst:
"there is little evidence that gun ownership among the population as a whole is, per se, an important cause of criminal violence." Weapons, Crime and Violence in America: A Literature Review and Research Agenda, (Washington, D.C.:U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, 1981)
Professors James Wright and Peter Rossi, University of Massachusetts at Amherst:
"Any effort to curtail the private ownership or use of firearms will necessarily affect the lives of about half the families in the nation. Such a procedure, in short, would be highly intrusive, and in a democratic society, not one to be taken lightly." Weapons, Crime and Violence in America: A Literature Review and Research Agenda, (Washington, D.C.:U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, 1981)
Professors James Wright and Peter Rossi, University of Massachusetts at Amherst:
"early socialization into the gun culture predisposes individuals to enlist in the armed forces later in life, which suggests that the gun culture is positively functional for the success of the volunteer army." Weapons, Crime and Violence in America: A Literature Review and Research Agenda, (Washington, D.C.:U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, 1981)
Professor Franklin Zimring, University of California:
"Cultural factors appear to affect the suicide rates far more than the availability and use of firearms. Thus suicide rates would not seem to be readily affected by making firearms less available." [American Rifleman, December 1988, pg. 73]


Academia / Revised June 1997