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Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue


Congressman Raul Grijalva, who heads the House subcommittee on national parks, is accusing Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne of pandering to the National Rifle Association.

In a strongly worded letter to the Interior secretary on his efforts to allow national park visitors to arm themselves, the Democrat from Arizona asserts that the proposal "is not sound policy; it is pandering to an interest group with no interest in National Parks."

In the two-page letter (attached below), Representative Grijalva not only points out misrepresentations in the NRA's push to see concealed carry allowed in national parks and national wildlife refuges but also says the secretary's proposal will not simplify gun laws across the country as he contends but "will destroy uniformity of application and hopelessly muddle visitor understanding of the requirements."

The congressman also maintains the proposal, if adopted, will further undermine the safety of park rangers.

"NPS law enforcement personal will also be put at greater risk. Most of these brave men and women work alone, confronting large crowds where alcohol can be prevalent. Wading into a situation alone to restore and protect park visitors and park resources is daunting under the current rule. The last thing these dedicated public servants need is loaded guns hidden in the crowd.


Enough with the careless use of statistical data. PLEASE!

Anyone, with little or no effort, can find and quote data gathered by various organizations on virtually any topic imaginable. These data are invariably "editorialized" to provide the organization with whatever "statistical evidence" they require to elicit some emotional outburst on any issue, both pro and con. Any attempt to normalize these data slants the actual findings toward whatever opinion those gathering the data represent. Data which serve not to support their views are deemed outliers, and not included in the findings, so as to not make the hypothesis lack credibility, and try to "prove" their point.

That aside, its one matter to throw out "facts and figures" in an effort to project an image of knowledge. It's quite another to effort an explanation of your data sets, and EARN that image. But that would entail an ability to do the math, understand the hypothesis and the scientific method, then with complete objectivity, offer an explanation of these data. What I'm seeing here is a total lack of objectivity on both sides of the fence, and the equivalent of a bucket of mudslinging by most parties, without offering one iota of supporting evidence aside from these useless statistical rationalizations.

For example, I could cite evidence that shows you are almost 10,000X more likely to be accosted while driving your car than you would be in a NPS unit. But rightfully so, we as a society deem road rage a crime, an emotional outburst easily curbed by thinking before reacting. But some smartass will use such a study to claim justification for driving armed, so that they can protect themselves while getting from Point A-B. In my view, retaliation against someone who has "assaulted" you with their automobile hardly justifies or legitimizes gunfire.

So I beg to offer this point for your general consideration. At what point is your method of "self defense" acceptable? What line has to be crossed before you determine that discharging your sidearm is the "proper" response? You might be licensed to carry, but consider are peace officers, yet they are educated in a variety of mechanisms of gaining control of a situation, and their handgun is considered a LAST resort, not a primary line of defense. I have asked in earlier posts for people to consider alternative mechanisms of defense, and I have been told I must have been visiting the mushroom patch again. To me, it sounds as though your HGH is wearing off when that's the best response you can garner. But that's just one man's opinion. I guess that asking some people to take a moment to think before they act is asking too much.

Just be aware of this, vigilantes. In the State in which I reside, if a home invasion is in progress, and the use of deadly force is used against an unarmed intruder, you will be charged (and many have been convicted) of Manslaughter in the 1st degree, which carries a term of 10+ years. If you use deadly force inside your residence and no imminent threat exists to you or your family, the charge is Murder in the 2nd degree. If you manage to scare off the intruder, or they decide to retreat and leave your residence, and you fire upon them WHILE THEY ARE STILL ON YOUR PROPERTY, the charge is Murder in the 1st degree. Once they cross your property line, the term "premeditated" is added to the charges, since you had the opportunity to break off the pursuit and chose to let your testosterone get the best of you. The point is you can defend your property while you are there, but defending yourself or someone else at the grocery store, baseball game, truck stop, hotel / bar, etc. is generally viewed with more contempt by the legal system insomuch as you are viewed as just that, a vigilante, not a peace-keeper. You may be a licensed gun carrier, but you're certainly not licensed to kill, by any means. As much as the American public would like nothing more, except maybe to kill all the lawyers, than to rid the nation of gang-bangers, rapists, serial killers, etc. more guns on the city streets won’t solve the problem, and I’ll tell you why. The Criminal Element, as the pro-gun crowd chooses to label them, have no fear of you and your CCP guns. You carry one, they carry a bigger one. They are going to continue their business as usual, making you a target of their rage, not hiding in the shadows every time you approach. Escalation into a society of assault rifles and military arms is your suggestion on improving the quality of life in America?

We did the same thing as kids years ago. The quickest way to disperse a crowd, or make the police retreat was to fire off 2-3 rounds from a 30.06 into the air. It was funny watching the police, knowing they were out-gunned, scamper back behind their cruisers and back off as quickly as they could while calling out for backup. It gave us just enough time to clear out before the police massed. So, while you’re out there on your patrol with your concealed .32 or .38 and somebody pulls an Uzi or the new 500 series on you, or you witness someone with advanced firepower pulling a job, you’re telling me you have the advantage in that confrontation? You’re either ignorant or just plain foolish to take on those odds. But if you decide to, best of luck to you. You’ll be needing it.

Shhh, don't tell the Brady Campaign, but there's big trouble in gun-control paradise.

The Times of London reports:

"Knife-carrying youths face automatic prosecution as street violence spirals"

Editor's note: This comment was edited

> Oh, one other thing. Can we stop comparing stats yet?;-)

As promised, John Lott data. Despite their best efforts and scurrilous attempts by the brady bunch to discredit Lott's data he's honest and his data are comprehensive and well-researched.

If I find additional state-level data I'll pass it along.

Data from John Lott “More Guns Less Crime” Second Edition, publish date 2000, Chapter nine, pages 219-222

Chapter 8 Do concealed-handgun permit holders pose a risk to others?

But Susan Glick, a researcher for the Violence Policy Center in Washing­ton, a research group that focuses on gun laws found that many people issued concealed-weapons permits in Texas, a state with comparatively loose gun laws, had run afoul of the law. Some 15 people in Texas out of perhaps 200,000 who were issued permits to carry concealed weapons since 1996 have been charged with murder or attempted murder, Ms. Glick said. (Dirk Johnson, "Divided Missouri to Vote on a Right to Carry Concealed Guns," New York Times, April 2, 1999, p. A16)

In states with lax CCW [concealed carry weapon] laws, hundreds of licensees have committed crimes both before and after their licensure. For example, in Texas, which weakened its CCW law in 1996, the Department of Public Safety reported that felony and misdemeanor cases involving CCW permit holders rose 54.4% between 1996 and 1997. (Douglas Weil, "Carrying Concealed Guns Is Not the Solution,", March 26, 1998)

Antigun activists complain that no reliable data exists linking concealed weapons to crime because the gun lobby has been successful in hiding it. (James N. Thurman, "As More Carry Hidden Guns, Who's Safer" Christian Science Monitor, September 1, 1999, p. 1; Thurman was responding to my statement that "The kinds of people who go through the criminal background check and undergo the training aren't the kinds of people who commit the crimes")

The types of people who obtain permits tend to be extremely law abiding. That holds true for Texas as well as other states. Texas issued over 192,000 permits during the first three years of its right-to-carry law, from January 1, 1996, to December 31, 1998. Arrests for crimes "involving a gun" are a particularly misleading statistic, because someone who uses a gun defensively is likely to be arrested except if the police officer was completely sure that the person behaved properly. By March 1999, an Associated Press report stated that "only 515 of the charges. . . resulted in convictions, though some were still pending. . . . the bulk of the convictions against licensed concealed-handgun holders were misdemeanors, including 185 for drunken driving and 21 for prostitution. Felonies included 31 convictions for aggravated assault, six for assault causing bodily injury and five for aggravated sexual assault. No licensed handgun holder in Texas has been convicted of murder."93 Tela Goodwin Mange, a Texas Department of Public Safety spokeswoman, noted that "The fact there are so few incidents relative to the number of people who have concealed handguns is a positive thing."

Doug Weil is indeed correct that Texas experienced a 54 percent increase in arrests between 1996 and 1997, but he fails to mention that the number of permits also increased by 50 percent between those two years, thus making the rate at which permit holders were arrested virtually unchanged. Weil's statement also makes it appear that the law changed between the two years, but the Texas law actually went into effect Janu­ary 1, 1996.

Texas's experience is probably best summarized by Glenn White, presi­dent of the Dallas Police Association: "1 lobbied against the law in 1993 and 1995 because 1 thought it would lead to wholesale armed conflict. That hasn't happened. All the horror stories I thought would come to pass didn't happen. No bogeyman. I think it has worked out well, and that says good things about the citizens who have permits. I am a convert."94

The experience has been similar in other states. The vast majority of revocations involve misdemeanors. Even when gun-related violations occur, the vast majority involve cases like carrying a gun into a restricted area like an airport. There is no evidence that any of these violations amounted to anything more than forgetfulness. The National Journal reported recently that permit holders "turn out to be UNUSUALLY law­abiding, safer even than off-duty cops."95

Here are the revocation data for other states:

Alaska. Of the permits issued from January 1, 1995, to August 17, 1999, .3 percent were revoked for any reason. None involved the firing of a gun.96

Arizona. Of the permits issued between the end of the fall of 1994 and July 31, 1999, .1 percent were revoked, though up to half of these were revocations for "administrative reasons" (such as people dying or saying that they no longer required the permit).97

Florida. Of the permits issued during October 1, 1987, to February 28, 1999, .2 percent were revoked for any reason. Of these, 113, or .02 percent, were revoked for any type of firearms-related violations, and almost all of these were nonthreatening.98

Indiana. Of the active permit holders, .16 percent had their permits re­voked or suspended for any reason during 1998.99

North Carolina. Of the permits issued between December 1, 1995, and August 4, 1999, .3 percent were revoked for any reason. While no detailed records exist for what reasons prompted revocations, those who oversaw the collection of the statistics could not recall hearing of any case of im­properly firing a gun.100

Oklahoma. Of the permits issued from 1996 to August 1999, .1 percent were revoked for any reason.101 Even these small numbers exaggerate the risks posed by permit holders, for some of these permit holders had their licenses "revoked" simply because they died. The Oklahoma Supreme Court also recently ruled that the state had improperly revoked some permits for reasons unrelated to one's fitness to carry a concealed handgun.

South Carolina. Of the permits issued from July 1996 to August 16, 1999, .4 percent were revoked for any reason. No violations involved a permit holder firing a gun. Sometimes the reason for the revocation was rela­tively trivial. For instance, one person lost his permit for not keeping his gun properly hidden-he was not wearing a shirt so the gun could be seen extending above his pants' waistband.

Utah. Of the permits issued between the summer of 1994 and July 1999, .4 percent were revoked for any reason. Of these revocations, 80 percent resulted from drunk driving. No violations involved the firing of a gun by a permit holder in Utah.102

Wyoming. Of the permits issued during fall 1994 to July 1999, .2 percent were revoked for any reason. James M. Wilson, the supervisor for the permitting program, stated that "Revocations did not include any cases of discharging of a firearm." 103

> That's a lot of humble pie, Rick. In fact, I'll go out on a limb and guess that in one year there are more murders/manslaughters/negligent homicides,
> and other violent crimes, involving permit holders across the nation than there are crimes of the same nature in national parks over the same period.

I stand corrected, Kurt. More than a single permit holder did commit a crime with a handgun. You proved me wrong.

> Now, I know you don't trust statistics from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

No I don't because they're a sleazy pandering organization that uses distortion and attempts to make money on people's suffering to advance their agenda> They attempt to curtail my rights. The NRA, in whatever they do, acts to support the Constitution. And I still haven't used any NRA data while you continue to use stuff from the brady bunch.

> I'm beginning to believe those who say many states don't break out crimes by CCW permit holders. If you know where to find those individual state
> stats, let me know

That's been a problem for me, too. I'll post this final bit of data from John Lott in a separate post to follow

Commenting on news stories with no outcome, Kurt adds:

> True, I can't predict what the judicial outcome of these cases will be (aside from the guy who also killed himself), but judging from the initial reports,
> these are pretty serious infractions with substantial evidence.

I'll go along with you that there were some serious crimes in that list and that the evidence in a few looked relatively substantial. Just keep in mind the lists of "arrest rates" versus the actual conviction rate.

> The bottom line? I have no qualms about agreeing with you that there are more violent crimes involving guns in the general population than
> involving CCW permit holders.

Fair enough

> Any chance you'll agree that more than a sprinkling of permit holders nationwide do indeed commit violent crimes

I'll agree with you that 99.7% of the general population is more dangerous than concealed carry permit holders.

> and that arming park visitors is not a panacea to feeling safe in the parks?

:^) You didn't think I'd ever concede that one, did you, Kurt?

There is a hugely differentiating criterion in this overall discussion that there are people who commit crimes and those who are victims. Those crimes the brady bunch reports allege involve victims, outside of national parks, who had [key point here, with emphasis] the OPPORTUNITY and legal right to possess the means to defend themselves.

That they didn't avail themselves (except in those "shootout reports) of that right is unfortunate, but their decision, nonetheless. Most of those news reports make it seem like many of these incidents are "acquaintance" types of crimes you mentioned in one of your earlier posts - but by no stretch to the degree that the Kellerman junk science claims.

I still stand by my determination to amend 36CFR 2.4 and will continue to assert my right to be able to defend myself within the bureaucratically defined boundaries of a park inside a state in which I'm authorized to possess my firearm.

I said this before and I'll say it again. I've unwillingly been a bit close to a couple situations that proved without any doubt that I am responsible for my own safety and that of my family. People here can continue to delude themselves that the wonderful park service will magically prevent their majestic park experience from being interrupted by a rapist, thief or murderer but just remember - they are "law enforcement" - as in , after the fact. They're not out there to protect you. That's my life insurance policy.

> Oh, one other thing. Can we stop comparing stats yet?;-

Aww, c'mon, Kurt, I'm just getting warmed up. Here's my last, and only non-academic and non-NRA but pro-gun stat, link: The World Wide Web Gun Defense Clock:

I have a three-drawer filing cabinet filled with _academic_ studies and a hard drive full of data . My wife calls me a gun nerd. I just call it a balancing act.

Guns save lives.


You have dona almost the impossible. You have managed to get a pro-gun comment in with an anti-Atzlan comment in the same post. Congratulations. I didn't think it was feasible. You have to watch out for those tricky Hispanics in Congress.

Rick Smith



The editorial is clearly marked as such, and the other comments were in response to issues raised by gun proponents.

Also, please clearly read those comments of mine. I don't believe in them I proclaimed myself to be upset by the statistics. Rather, I was just making a point in response to previous comments that there are some CCW permit holders who have been arrested and convicted for violent crimes.

You said

“Now Art, you can configure the statistics anyway you want, but you still end up with 27 murders/non-negligent manslaughters, two forcible rapes, five robberies, 376 aggravated assaults and 454 "other assaults" committed by CCW holders from 1996-1999.”

As I said before, According to the Rocky Mountain News in 2006 .... And this is ONE YEAR

"Last year, there were 11 homicides, 35 rape cases, 61 robberies, 16 kidnappings, 261 aggravated assaults and 320 other assaults out of a total of 116,588 offenses in national parks."

Sounds like by your standard National Parks are indeed dangerous. Your letter to the Interior Secretary omitted the numbers for rape robbery, kidnappings, and aggravated assaults for 2006.

In your letter you said “During 2006 there also were 320 assaults without weapons, 1,950 weapons offenses, 843 public intoxication cases, and 5,752 liquor law violations. How many of those might have turned deadly were concealed carry allowed in the park system?"

Do you expect me to believe that the source for this information included public intoxication and not rape and kidnappings? Are you going to correct this omission in a follow up letter to the Secretary of the Interior or are you going to allow your argument to be framed by cherry picked facts?

You are upset about CCW crime numbers? How about police who murder, rob, rape, etc. What were their numbers? Are they included in your CCW numbers? I know that there were a couple policemen in the news recently involved in murders. How can you trust the police to be armed when some of them commit crimes? The only common theread for criminals is that they do not respect the law and other people, that’s what makes them criminals, even the former governor of NY is a criminal by his own standard!

Why are you willing to tarnish your reputation as a reporter who can do good for the environment and the parks? Everyone here knows how you feel. You are not reporting you are proselytizing on this issue. Give it a rest. We are going to have a big job on hands if Raul Grijalva fulfills his dream and hands the National Parks (and the rest of his “Aztlan” fantasy ) over to the corrupt Mexican Government!

Can we stop comparing stats yet ? You are the one who started with the baloney Kurt.

And yes we too value the Parks.



Why do I need to look at more data? This whole back and forth started when you asked for proof that a single CCW permit holder had committed a crime, other than a "bureaucratic infraction," and the records you and Art provided, old or recent, amply provided that proof.

And when you say, "Permit holders, with the exception of these TWO, don't kill people," well, since you seem to be referring to Texas statistics, wouldn't you say you're a bit low? What about the stats from the other 49 states?

And why do you keep whittling down the criteria? First you wanted evidence that CCW permit holders committed crimes, then violent crimes, and now you seem to be settling only on murders. If Texas is what you want to focus on, fine, but let's take a closer look at all of the violent crime data involving permit holders for the years you mentioned. After all, those who believe park visitors should be able to arm themselves point to more than just murders in the parks when they try to justify their arguments.

So, reasonable ground rule?

Now, in 2005 there was one murder conviction involving a permit holder. And there was one manslaughter conviction. And five terroristic threat convictions. And seven convictions on sexual assaults of a child. And one kidnapping conviction. Fifteen deadly conduct convictions. And one criminal negligent homicide conviction. And 23 convictions on assault that causes injury in family violence. Eight convictions on assault that causes bodily injury.

2004. No murders, no manslaughters, no terroristic threats. But three convictions on sexual assault of a child. Ten deadly conduct convictions. Nineteen convictions on assault that causes injury in family violence. Fourteen convictions of assault that causes bodily injury. Four convictions on aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Two convictions on aggravated assault that leads to serious bodily injury.

2003? Three convictions on aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. One aggravated robbery conviction. Fourteen convictions for assaults that caused bodily injury. Eight convictions for assault that caused bodily injury family violence. Eight deadly conduct convictions. One murder conviction. Four terroristic threat convictions.

2002. Three convictions for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. One conviction for aggravated robbery. A dozen convictions for aggravated assault that caused bodily injury. Eight that caused bodily injury as a result of family violence. Eight convictions for deadly conduct. One murder conviction. Hmmm. That makes three murder convictions Rick, not two, for the time period you cited. Four if you count the conviction for murder under the influence of sudden passion. Two convictions for terroristic threats.

How did things fare in Texas in 2006? Well, there were five convictions of CCW permit holders for aggravated assaults that caused serious bodily injury. Nine convictions for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. One conviction for aggravated robbery. One conviction for assault against elderly or disabled individual. Twenty-one convictions for assault that causes bodily injury. Twenty-three convictions for assault that causes bodily injury family violence. One conviction for criminal negligent homicide. Eleven for deadly conduct. One for deadly conduct involving the discharge of a firearm. One murder conviction. One conviction for a terroristic threat interrupting a public place.

That's a lot of humble pie, Rick. In fact, I'll go out on a limb and guess that in one year there are more murders/manslaughters/negligent homicides, and other violent crimes, involving permit holders across the nation than there are crimes of the same nature in national parks over the same period.

Now, I know you don't trust statistics from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, but after looking unsuccessfully for crime stats at the state police websites of Kentucky and Virginia, two concealed carry states, I'm beginning to believe those who say many states don't break out crimes by CCW permit holders. If you know where to find those individual state stats, let me know. In the meantime, the Brady Campaign has tracked down at least five homicides committed by permit holders during the first five months of 2008. True, I can't predict what the judicial outcome of these cases will be (aside from the guy who also killed himself), but judging from the initial reports, these are pretty serious infractions with substantial evidence.

The bottom line?

I have no qualms about agreeing with you that there are more violent crimes involving guns in the general population than involving CCW permit holders. Any chance you'll agree that more than a sprinkling of permit holders nationwide do indeed commit violent crimes and that arming park visitors is not a panacea to feeling safe in the parks? Also, what are the odds that you'll join me in urging Congress to better fund the National Park Service so there could be more law enforcement rangers where they're needed?

Oh, one other thing. Can we stop comparing stats yet?;-)

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