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This is the Fox News rundown extra. I'm Dave Anthony. Today, another double play on something that's a trend in this current crisis. Gun sales have been surging since March, but the virus isn't the only reason. We have, of course, had months of anti police protests nationwide sparked by George Floyds death during an arrest in Minneapolis in May that led to four officers being fired, then charged one with murder.
Those protests have also at times gotten violent, especially in Portland, Oregon. But there's also been a spike in shootings and murders in other cities. So gun sales so far this year have already surpassed all of last year.
You'll hear two different views on that, one from the gun control group Brady United, the other from John Lott, president of the Crime Prevention Research Center. He also wrote a book, Gun Control Myths How Politicians, the Media and Botched Studies have Twisted Facts on Gun Control. He is first. Now one note. He mentions shootings in other countries and his numbers on deaths. In some cases, he cites is often the incidents in Russia and France. He talks about where part of terror attacks, not just random shooting sprees.
OK, now here's John Lott on the Fox News rundown extra.
Joining us on the Fox News rundown is John Lott, he's the president of Crime Prevention Research Center, also has a book, Gun Control Myths How Politicians, the Media and Botched Studies of Twisted Facts on Gun Control. There's a lot to get to, of course. John, thanks very much for joining us.
Oh, thanks very much for having me on. I appreciate it. We've had quite a year, obviously, the whole Korona crisis and then all of the protests and a rise in shootings across the country and gun sales have skyrocketed. We already have had more in 2020 than all of 2019.
Probably not a surprise to you know, it's not a surprise. I mean, just two days ago, there was a report that in one night Portland had had over sixty nine one one calls that the police had ignored. You know, you have across the country police being ordered to stand down. You have cuts in police budgets and places like New York. You've had, you know, a whole department inside the police department disbanded. You know, at the same time, you look across the country and their jails and prisons that are releasing large number of prisoners in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
You've had about 50 percent of inmates in jails being released. That's not uncommon. There's many jails and prisons across the country which have had between a third and half of their inmates being released. So it's not surprising that we have this concern for people's safety. You know, police, anybody who's read my academic work knows that. I think police are extremely important, probably the single most important factor for reducing crime. But even during normal periods, police themselves realize that they virtually always arrive on the crime scene after the crimes occurred.
And that raises questions about what's the safest course of action for people to take. But we're we're not in normal times. You know, with the coronavirus that you mentioned, there were already many cases where police departments were ordered not to respond to calls. And now with riots and police being overwhelmed, that's gotten even worse. And the it's important that people do the safest course of actions to be able to go and protect themselves. And having a gun turns out to be the safest course of action, particularly for two groups of people, the most vulnerable people in our society, people who are relatively weak or physically women in the elderly and people who are most likely victims of violent crime, overwhelmingly poor blacks who live in high crime urban areas.
Those are the people who benefit the most from owning guns.
Well, we have obviously a lot of shootings in the last few months in urban areas. We've had a big increase in violence and shootings from Chicago to New York to Cincinnati over the weekend. Lots of places have been dealing with this. The the gun laws in these cities are in these areas. Does it make it tougher for some people to own a firearm?
Yeah, and it particularly makes it more difficult for the very people who need guns the most for protection to be able to go and get a gun for protection, you know, in Chicago in order to get a concealed handgun permit, you're talking about a total cost, about four hundred and fifty dollars, plus all the other restrictions. It seems like they've gone down the list to make it difficult for poor people to get. I mean, it's fine, you know, that wealthy people who live in the suburbs are the ones who primarily get concealed handgun permits in Illinois, but they're not the ones who are in most danger of having crimes being committed against them.
I mean, you compare a place like Illinois to neighboring Indiana and Indiana. You have about 19 percent of the adult population has a concealed handgun permit. In Illinois, it's about three percent. And in the mix of people who go and get a concealed handgun permits is incredibly different. In Indiana, you have, you know, more than the national share percentage for blacks having concealed handgun permits in Illinois. It's only a tiny fraction of that. You literally only have a percent or so of the adult blacks in Illinois having a concealed handgun permit.
And it's kind of like the Democrats who control the state legislature and the governorship in Illinois have gone down a list of things to make it particularly difficult for poor people. It's just not the cost. Isn't surprised that you make it much more costly, you get fewer people to get permits and you also change the mix, but you're not allowed to go and take a permanent concealed handgun on public transportation. There's no training facilities in Chicago. If you're a poor person and you don't own a car, you have to go and borrow a car to travel well outside the city on multiple days in order to meet the 16 hour training requirement that's there.
And that's just one example. I mean, you look at the whole debate about background checks. Well, you know, these we frequently hear that there are 2.5 million dangerous, prohibited people that have been stopped from buying guns because of background checks. And that's simply false. What they should say is that there have been 2.5 million initial denials in something. Over 99 percent of those are mistakes. It's one thing to stop a felon from buying a gun.
It's another thing to stop someone simply because they have a name similar to a felon from buying a gun. And overwhelmingly, the mistakes are made against minorities. People tend to have names similar to others in their racial groups. Hispanics tend to have names similar to other Hispanics. Blacks tend to have names similar to other blacks. 33 percent of black males in the United States are legally prohibited from owning guns because of past felony records. Whose names do you think their names are most likely to be confused with other law abiding black males who want to have a gun to protect themselves and their families?
And there's no reason why these mistakes should be occurring. When you when you buy a gun, you fill out the form 473, you put down your name, your Social Security number, your address, your birthday, your race, your eye color. You think the government using all that information, what they end up using is roughly phonetically similar names and similar birthdays in the vast majority of cases. And, you know, companies do background checks on employees all the time.
If a company had an error rate that was one hundredth, the error rate that the federal government has under federal law, they'd be sued out of existence. If you went to your employers at Fox and said, you know, I think you guys had to use roughly phonetically similar names in doing background checks on employees. You know, your employers would look like you are from Mars and think you're nuts because they wouldn't know all the mistakes that would be occurring.
All you'd have to do is have the federal government have to meet the same regulations for doing background checks that the federal government mandates that private companies have to do. And you'd eliminate a huge percentage of these mistakes. But any time that that type of simple reform is brought up, Democrats and gun control advocates claim it's a poison pill and will fight tooth and nail against that type of reform. But the bottom line is I could go on for a long time.
A lot of these gun control laws specifically stop poor minorities and even many times middle income minorities from being able to go and get guns to protect themselves. And there's no reason why you should have that type of discriminatory law in effect. But you're exactly right.
When you are dealing with the rise in gun sales there, people have already said there are too many guns. I mean, in Chicago, that's what has been talked about. There's too many illegal guns out on the streets. So adding more guns, which obviously are illegal, how does that solve the problem?
Right. Well, the problem is, is that you have drug gangs and criminals with guns, not enough law abiding citizens with guns. And the problem that you have to deal with with gun control laws is if they primarily disarm law abiding citizens relative to criminals. Look, the major source of illegal guns are drug dealers. Drug dealers have lots of guns because they have very valuable property. It's not like a drug dealer can go to the police and say, look, this other dealer stole our drugs.
Can you help us get them back? They have to go and set up their own little militaries in order to protect that property. You know, if you think you're going to be any more successful in getting criminals, stopping them from getting guns than you've been able to stop them from buying illegal drugs, you know, good luck with that. But, you know, I'll give you a simple example. Every place in the world that's banned, either all guns or all handguns has seen an increase in murders.
You think that a random this one time you'd at least see. Case where murder rates went down or stayed the same. And yet there's not one single time where that's occurred and there's a simple reason for that. And that is when you ban guns, it's the most law abiding citizens who obey the laws, not the criminals. And to the extent that you relatively disarm law abiding citizens relative to criminals, you actually make it easier for criminals to go and commit crimes.
But at the same time, John, there are people who are from other countries that shake their head at the number of mass shootings that we have in the United States. We have far more of these mass shooting events than than others. Well, what other mass shootings are similar to what we've had in the last 10 years in the US?
Well, I mean, just look at France or Russia. I mean, France, for example, has a per capita rate of fatalities from mass public shootings. That's 50 percent or 111 percent higher than the rate in the United States.
Do they have events like we had in Las Vegas or in these schools that have, you know, concerts shooting in November 2015 in Paris, 130 people were killed. You know, you have you know, the thing is these shootings in other countries just don't get the news attention usually that we get in the United States. You know, the worst school shooting was in Russia in 2005. There are three hundred and eighty five students that were killed. You know, people know about the New Zealand mosque shooting last year, but you know that within less than 24 hours of that, there was a big school shooting in Brazil where there was a mass public shooting that occurred in the Netherlands.
These things just don't get news coverage. And when they do, they're usually in the back of newspapers. We recently completed the study where we looked at all the mass public shootings in the world using the FBI definition of mass public shootings, where four more people are killed in a public place not involving some other type of crime, like a robbery or, you know, a gang fight over drug turf to get exactly the type of case that you were talking about, like the Las Vegas shooting.
And the United States made about one percent of the world shooters. Even though we make up almost five percent of the world population, we're way below the world average. There are many countries in Europe that have worse mass public shooting rates per capita than we have in the United States. You also have to adjust for population differences. We have 330 million people in the United States. But, you know, Russia, for example, is a rate 50 percent higher.
You have major countries in Europe like Finland and Switzerland and Norway as well as France, that have much higher rates, at least 25 percent higher per capita fatality rates for mass public shootings than we have in the United States, in lots of smaller countries like Serbia and places like that that have very high rates. And once you get outside of Europe, you have lots of countries that have very high rates. They just don't they just don't get news coverage in the United States in many of these countries have extremely strict gun control law.
France has, you know, banned semiautomatic guns. Norway, which had the 2011 shooting where if you ignore the bombing deaths, had 67 people that were murdered, which again, is significantly more than the Las Vegas attack that you mentioned. You know, makes has licensing rules that can take a year for people to go and get a license to be able to go and get a gun. Germany has three of the six worst K through 12 school shootings since 2000 and since 2000.
You know, but, you know, my guess is few people would know that the school shooting with 18 people killed in Germany or 17 people killed is in two of them there. You know, how how long does the United States cover an attack like that? You'll see news media will mention it briefly on the news, but it's not something that's going to be talked about for months afterwards.
Here we are, John, at the Democratic convention this week. And gun control will certainly be an issue brought up. If Joe Biden were to win and if Democrats were to control Congress, would you expect a renewed push for stronger gun control in 2021?
I think the future of private ownership of guns is more at stake now in this election than we've ever had in any past election. And there are a couple simple reasons for that. One is. From president from former Vice President Biden to Kamala Harris to Democratic leaders in the Senate are promising to get rid of the filibuster, you know, up until now, you know, no party has controlled 60 seats except for two years during the beginning of the Obama administration.
And that's required bipartisan support for legislation to get things through when they if they get rid of the filibuster. If you have 50 votes in the in the Senate, as well as Kamala Harris to go and break a tie, you're going to be able to pass, you know, anything they want to pass and it's going to legislation's going to shoot, zip through quickly in both the House and the Senate. And one can just read the Democratic platform draft to see how they're talking about everything from licensing and registration of guns to banning large segments of semi-automatic guns to making it more costly in many other ways for people to be able to own guns, to having lawsuits against gunmakers and gun sellers whenever their guns are used in the commission of a crime or used improperly in accidents.
You know, and that's only part of the story. The other major part of the story is going to be what's happening with the courts. You know, people talk about all the judges that Trump has put on the bench and he's put on just over 200 federal judges. But let's not recognize this. He's just brought the courts into rough political balance. Democrats control the circuit courts and 24 states, plus the D.C. Circuit, which is the second most powerful court in the country.
Republicans in twenty six in the states that have passed the, you know, strongest gun control laws tend to be in those states that the Democrats control the circuit courts and the Supreme Court has been deadlocked. That's the reason why they haven't taken up any case in ten years that deal with gun control issues. You have four Democrats who would overturn the Heller and McDonald decisions. And, you know, people have to understand all those cases said was that the government could not completely ban all guns or an entire category of guns, like all handguns or all rifles.
Well, if that's overturned, then the government, the federal government could ban all guns or local governments could ban all guns. Right now, you have four Democratic nominees who believe that that should be overturned. You have four Republicans who don't. And the reason why they haven't brought up new cases, they were considering 10 this last term was that the Republicans were very concerned that John Roberts justices voted the opposite way on religious freedom cases or on DOCA or on Obamacare would vote with the Democrats on any type of gun control case that they had.
And and so really, you know, if the Democrats get rid of the filibuster, they'd be able to do what they've talked about, and that is expand the number of judges on the different courts because they wouldn't need a single Republican vote to be able to go and double the number of judges on circuit courts, for example. And they'd be able to create a huge imbalance across all the circuits in terms of democratic control. And they'd be able to even add another justice to the U.S. Supreme Court.
And the thing is, with all the changes they're talking about in terms of voting, the first bill that Biden says that he'll put up when he becomes president on the very first day that he's there would be to give citizenship to all illegal aliens in the United States. You know, there are estimates from Yale and MIT that you're talking about 22 million new people that would be given citizenship as a result of that type of bill. And the other changes that they're talking about in terms of voting rules banning voter IDs across the country, making mail in ballots mandatory.
You know, it's not clear that you'd ever have the Republicans win another election, at least in their current form. And, you know, but the gun control issues, you know, you're going to see very radical changes. Nothing has ever would have been similar in our history because before we've required 60 votes or two thirds, if you go back earlier or even higher prior to that, to be able to get legislation through the Senate. And that's no longer.
Going to be the case, John Lotte's president of the Crime Prevention Research Center. John, thanks very much for joining us.
I really appreciate your time. Thank you. People march on our website at crime research. Doug, thank you.
Crime research dog. OK, Jonathan, thanks so much. Thank you.
Now a completely different perspective. Chris Brown is president of Brady United Against Gun Violence. And we also talked to her for Tuesday's run down podcast and couldn't include all of that conversation either. So here it is in the second half of today's FOX News rundown extra. All right, Chris, if you're ready, we can get started.
Yes, I'm ready. Mm hmm.
Joining us again on the Fox News rundown is Chris Brown, president of Brady United, which is a gun control organization and is certainly something that at this time this week with the Democrats gathering in Milwaukee for their convention, the issue will certainly be in the spotlight again. Chris, thanks very much for joining us.
Thank you. It's a pleasure to be here.
When Joe Biden picked Kamala Harris, I know that you were excited by the choice. What does her being added to the ticket mean? Well, for our issue.
We have someone who really understands gun violence as a public health epidemic, who's grappled with various solutions as attorney general and then as senator from California that needs to be implemented not just at the federal level, but also at the state level. And so I think it's important, an important choice to have someone who has a deep understanding and experience in state government, especially as an attorney general responsible for enforcement of laws and has an understanding in her time and the Senate of how the federal government needs to interact with and support states and efforts to combat gun violence as a public health epidemic.
So really thinking about it that way and treating it that way and her track record of understanding this issue is very, very important to us.
If Joe Biden is elected president and let's say Democrats have control of the Senate, what would you do in the House? What would you want done? What are the things that you would like to see to see as far as new legislation, stricter gun laws?
Well, it's a combination of things. Yes, I do want the laws to be strengthened. And I I wouldn't be the head of Brady and have our legacy if that wasn't true. Right. Because we've had a background check system now in place for a quarter century that requires that a background check be done by federally licensed firearms dealers before guns are sold. But today, guns are sold on the Internet. They're sold at gun shows. And technically, the Brady law doesn't apply.
So one in five guns sold today is sold with no background check at all. The House passed the solution to that to close that loophole in the law. That's H.R. eight that's sitting in the Senate right now that Senator McConnell has refused to act upon. First priority is getting that law passed and signed into law and other priorities that I would name are passing dollars to help states implement what are called extreme risk or red flag laws. Those laws allow guns to be removed from individuals in crisis and have shown to four states that have them, in effect, dramatically reduced suicide by gun in states that have had those laws into place.
So those would be immediate top priorities. I'd also want President Biden to really focus on how ATF is run right now. ATF, because of budget issues and other problems, inspects the average gun dealer once every five to seven years. That's a real problem because we have more gun dealers than Starbucks and McDonald's combined in this country. We need better oversight to protect the American public. So those would be among my top priorities.
You talked about red flag laws. There have been gun rights owner and gun owners. Rights groups have been talking about Senator Harris, the running mate now, and how they say that she has advocated the confiscation of finding a way to get semi-automatic firearms away from those who legally own them. Now, is that something that is in the future? Do you want something like that?
Well, Brady has long supported and did support the enactment of the assault weapons ban. Jim and Sarah worked very hard to get that enacted. And, of course, there was a sunset. Provision we in terms of the details of how an assault weapons ban would work and be implemented for those states that have done it, most states have focused on grandfathering existing inventory and some combination of buyback. Ultimately, I think that's the direction that any proposal or program would end up going if an assault weapons ban demand.
So you wouldn't necessarily you wouldn't advocate necessarily that someone who legally had one would have to give it up.
I think ultimately the focus should be on the manufacture and purchase of new guns. I think there is room to debate and understand the best way to deal with existing inventory. And I think some state programs that have dealt with that through calculated buybacks have worked. So I'd want to look closely at that.
We before we spoke to you, talked to someone who is in the gun owners rights camp. And he has discussed and talked about how it's difficult for people who are low income to be law abiding gun owners, because people who are gun control advocates have made it more costly and put more regulations on that harms people who necessarily are not wealthy or in the suburbs. What do you say in response to something like that?
Well, when you consider that in American society today for any kind of regulated product and I don't hear a lot of gun owners, at least those who are part of Brady, saying they don't think that guns should be regulated. In fact, in every poll that I have seen, gun owners across the board support things like background checks permit to purchase and similar kinds of requirements. And yes, sometimes gun owners, depending on the state, end up paying more for that process.
But I have not seen or reviewed any material that indicates those amounts actually are terribly high or terribly taxing. And so I think when we think about the balancing and all of our rights are about balancing the public interest and ensuring that individuals that we all believe should not have easy access to guns, which require these kinds of systems, most Americans would agree that that kind of approach is the right way to go.
Are you concerned about the level of gun sales so far this year being higher than all of 2019 already? And here we are in August?
I am concerned about it. Part of what I'm concerned about is just the sheer numbers. And from that, research is still coming in. Right. We don't know all of the details about what led to what is a year over year. In July alone, we had one hundred thirty five percent. And so overall, because of covid, people think we have about two million more guns that were sold. Many of them sold to first time gun owners.
And the biggest concern I have is family fire for individuals who are bringing guns into the home. Often for the first time, there's a real and increased risk of unintentional injury of others in the home, and there's an increased risk. We're seeing it across the country with calls the suicide hotline of real risk to people in the home who may have economic and emotional issues dealing with this situation. So my biggest concern is making sure that especially first time gun owners have safe storage in their homes and are making sure that they use that safe storage to end family fire.
We already have eight kids a day in this country who are killed or injured by family fire. That's an unsecured loaded gun in the home. I don't want to see that number increase. I want to see that number decrease. And safe storage is the way to make it happen. So I hope that that is happening and I want to really make sure that people are educated about that.
Chris Brown, president of Brady United, thanks very much for joining us. Thank you so much.
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