Grassroot Perspective – Aug. 4, 2003-Guns in the U.K.; From the Frontlines; Guns and NAACP Ruling; CRIME@CASE Western; Guns in Uganda; A Tale of Two States – Why Washington Has a Budget Crisis and Colorado Doesn’t

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“Dick Rowland Image”

”Shoots (News, Views and Quotes)”


– Guns in the U.K.

By Dave Kopel

Gun crime in England is “growing like a cancer,” according to a BBC
on the annual meeting of the Association of Chief Police Officers.
is discovering that when you destroy the culture of law-abiding gun
the result may not be pacifist utopia, but rather a burgeoning criminal
gun culture.

– From the Frontlines

By Dave Kopel

A reader of my article about British government hostility toward
the right of self-defense offers some details about how bad things have

“I’m an alumna of Pepperdine University, a school which proudly
owns a house/campus on Exhibition Road, literally across the street
from the Imperial University, in the middle of South Kensington, right
near Harrods, Hyde Park, the Albert Hall. Within two days of arriving
for our first semester in London, our relatively small [American] class
(37 students, 10 men, 27 women) was visited by a local police officer to

instruct us on living in London. Her first question was to the women,
‘How many of you brought mace?’ Three girls raised their hands.
She told us we couldn’t use it, shouldn’t even carry it, it was illegal.

“Had any of us brought any other type of weapon, such as a knife?
Several of the men in our group indicated that they carried pocket
knives. She told us to leave them at home too.

“Then she instructed us on how to properly be a victim. If we were
attacked, we were to assume a defensive posture, such as raising
our hands to block an attack. The reason was (and she spelled it
out in no uncertain terms) that if a witness saw the incident and
we were to attempt to defend ourselves by fighting back, the
witness would be unable to tell who the aggressor was. However,
if we rolled up in a ball, it would be quite clear who the victim was.

“The feeling I got was, in London, it is not permissible to defend
I also understood that this police officer thought Americans were more
likely to be aggressive and/or cause more damage to a potential
She was warning us for our own good. I have to admit, she did not make
me feel particularly safe.”

– Guns and NAACP Ruling

By Dave Kopel

The jury has reached a verdict in the NAACP suit against the firearms
industry. The plaintiffs have failed on every count. Thirty-eight of the

industry defendants were unanimously found not liable by the 12-person
jury. Seven other defendants were found not liable by 10 or 11 members
of the jury. For 23 other defendants, the jury could not reach a
The jury is an “advisory jury,” and Brooklyn federal judge Jack
is free to accept or reject any of the jury’s findings within the next
30 days.

In the Seton Hall Legislative Journal,
I argued that the Second Amendment should be protected from abusive
lawsuits just as the First Amendment is protected from libel lawsuits
which might interfere with a free press.

– CRIME@CASE Western

By Dave Kopel

Last Friday, a man who was an advocate of severe gun control and
was also an opponent of the war in Iraq perpetrated a mass shooting at
Case Western University, in Ohio. Below are some thoughts about this
crime from Keith J. Barton, who is director of information and
at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. His words are
from a private discussion group on firearms law and policy. Mr. Barton
me permission to post these on The Corner:

“I hope you will indulge me in a little discussion of an emotional
You see, I was just affected by a mass public shooting. Although I was
not in the building with the shooter, I was in the Law School, which is
closest building and literally just a few feet away from the Peter B.
building where a shooting took place Friday. Consequently, I was at
restricted to certain areas of the building, and then later evacuated
(certainly not as affected as those in the Peter B. Lewis building).

“The first things I thought of (being completely open and honest here —
temporal order) as I learned of the events unfolding next door was
1) to be angry that Ohioans are not allowed to carry concealed firearms,

2) I was grateful the shooter did not choose the Law School, and
3) I was saddened that someone was emotionally disturbed enough to do

I am not suggesting a non-law enforcement person with a concealed
should have searched the building to stop the shooter in this situation.
I cannot
accurately say what I would have done had I been in the building next
instead of where I was. But I can say I believe the shooter would not
have been
at large for 7 hours had one or more persons been carrying a concealed
and had known how to use it. Many will say, and have said already, in
to this incident that this is the best argument for more restrictive
firearm regulations.
I realize not everyone is comfortable around firearms. I also realize my
may be a little different than the average person: I was a primary
instructor in the Marine Corps. I personally believe this is an argument
allowing concealed carry. I would feel much safer knowing I have the
tools with
which to protect myself and those immediately around me should I ever
have the
need to do so.”

– Guns in Uganda

By Dave Kopel

The Financial Times reports on the connection between firearms and equal
rights in Uganda:

“Women who carry guns and fight for their country do not voluntarily
head back to
the kitchen, says a leading member of Uganda’s administration. This is
one explanation
for the change in female fortunes since the National Resistance Army
seized power in
1986 with the help of women fighting and collaborating in other vital
ways to military
victory. Since then, women have achieved a status in Uganda unrivalled
in much of Africa.”

William Wallis, “Freedom Fighters Win Political Clout, Financial Times,
15 April 2003.

Above articles are quoted from Second Amendment Foundation, Dave Kopel’s
Second Amendment Newsletter May 28, 2002

”Roots (Food for Thought)”

– A Tale of Two States – Why Washington Has a Budget Crisis and Colorado

By Paul Guppy May 14, 2003

Washington lawmakers gathered in special session this week to wrestle
with the state’s looming $2.6 billion budget gap. Amidst the bustle and
negotiations some of them may pause in a quiet moment and wonder how we
got into this fiscal mess in the first place. No doubt some console
themselves with the comforting belief that the economic downturn, not
the way the state spends money, is the root cause of the budget deficit.

Yet the state is due to collect some $1.3 billion more in revenue in the
next two-year cycle than it did in the last, so how can the state be
short on money? The answer is that state spending is rising at an even
faster rate than revenues. Washington’s deficit is not, contrary to the
impression created by many news reports, caused by a reduction in tax
revenues. The budget gap is the result of tax revenues not growing as
fast as predicted. The $2.6 billion “deficit” is the difference between
the actual increase in tax money available and the amount lawmakers
would like to spend if they had more.

The problem of lawmakers’ spending desires outstripping available
resources has existed for some time. In an effort to control the rate of
spending increase, voters in 1993 passed Initiative 601, holding the
rise in public spending to the rate of population growth plus inflation.
Chafing under the new limit, the legislature soon weakened Initiative
601’s restrictions, and by the end of the decade the measure no longer
restrained the yearly rise in state spending. Through the 1990’s General
Fund spending soared by $6.4 billion, or almost 43%. The hot economy and
lack of spending limits induced public officials to become accustomed to
regular increases of 8% to 10% in the amount of money they could devote
to public programs. Now that the economy has slowed, they have to make
do with a mere 6% increase.

Another comforting thought for lawmakers is that Washington is not alone
in its budget dilemma — other states face a similar fiscal crunch. Yet,
in one Western state, Colorado, the legislature has just wrapped up its
120-day session by passing a balanced budget for this year and next, all
with no increase in taxes. The reason for this success is Colorado
leaders have accepted a more effective approach to managing the yearly
growth of state government.

Colorado voters, like their Washington counterparts, became concerned
about the runaway costs of state government. In 1992 they passed the
Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR), which has proved effective in holding
the growth of spending to reasonable levels. Today Colorado lawmakers do
not harbor unrealistic expectations about how much tax money they will
be collecting in the years ahead. This in turn serves to keep
unsustainable government spending in check. Here’s how it works.

The TABOR law limits the amount of tax revenue the state can keep each
year to the sum of inflation plus population growth. Any taxes collected
above this amount must be returned to taxpayers in the form of rebates.
The legislature must seek voter approval before it can collect taxes
above the TABOR limit. In addition, voters made the limit part of
Colorado’s constitution, so it cannot be weakened in the ordinary budget

At first TABOR didn’t have much effect because the growth in state
revenues was below the legal limit. In 1997, however, the robust economy
caused state revenues to soar, just as they did in Washington and every
other state. In Colorado, though, the TABOR law prevented the
legislature from using boom-time revenue levels to ratchet up state
spending to unsustainable levels. Instead, surpluses were returned to
taxpayers. Between 1997 and 2002 Colorado residents received a tax
rebate every year, for a total of $3.2 billion over the five-year

Colorado’s budget was as severely effected by the recession as those of
other states. But Colorado lawmakers’ consistent fidelity to
voter-passed spending limits kept the problem manageable. Washington
lawmakers now face painful budget decisions and burdensome tax proposals
without the benefit of statutory spending limits. Our elected leaders
will ultimately pass a balanced budget, but the job would be easier if
legislators had not abandoned Initiative 601, our version of TABOR, and
its ability to keep government spending at sustainable levels.

Above article is quoted from Washington Policy Center Opinion/Editorial
May 2003

”Evergreen (Today’s Quotes)”

“Money Talks. No man will take counsel, but every man will take money:
therefore money is better than counsel.” — Jonathan Swift

“Thinking Things Out. Either you think — or else others have to think
for you and take power from you, pervert and discipline your natural
tastes, civilize and sterilize you.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender Is
the Night

”’Edited by Richard O. Rowland, president of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, 1314 S. King Street, Suite 1163, Honolulu, HI 96814. Phone/fax is 808-591-9193, cell phone is 808-864-1776. Send him an email at:”’ ”’See the Web site at:”’