In this era of increased harassment and persecution of people on the basis of political viewpoints and…
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First Amendment Rights: Good News from the IRS on Donor Privacy

In this era of increased harassment and persecution of people on the basis of political viewpoints and First Amendment expression, there’s actually good news to report.

In fact, that positive development comes from none other than the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which few people typically consider a font of good news.

Specifically, the IRS just announced a proposed rule to stop requiring nonprofit organizations to file what’s known as a Form 990 Schedule B, which exposes sensitive donor information not only to the federal government and potential rogues like former IRS official Lois Lerner, but also people who seek to access and use that information to target people on the basis of political belief.

As we at CFIF have long asserted, this welcome move will help protect the…[more]

September 12, 2019 • 11:07 am

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Gun Controllers: The Most Uninformed Among Leftist Subgroups Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, September 05 2019
Moreover, the U.S. murder rate has plummeted by almost half since 1993, while at the same time our firearm possession rate has approximately doubled.

I sometimes ponder which among the political left’s subgroups tends to be the most unsavory.   

Granted, there’s a great deal of overlap among those subgroups.  Nevertheless, they are in some ways discrete and distinguishable. 

In terms of transparent insincerity, the climate alarmists maintain a wide lead. 

Consider that political leaders like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez incessantly lecture us that we’re running out of time to save the planet from man-caused climate change.  They’ve explicitly asserted a ten-year timeline until we reach a “tipping point” after which recovery will be impossible – never mind that we’ve been warned of similar ten-year windows since at least the 1980s.  Yet when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R – Kentucky) took them at their word and put their “Green New Deal” to a vote, not a single one of them voted in favor.  Not one. 

Similarly, celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio and Katy Perry signal their virtue demanding that people change their lifestyles to avert climate disaster.  But when was the last time one of them canceled an overseas vacation or red carpet appearance because of the damage the flight would inflict upon the planet? 

In terms of sheer ignorance, however, Second Amendment restrictionists claim the ignoble prize.  

First and most fundamentally, gun controllers falsely assume that the United States suffers an extraordinarily high murder rate as a direct result of our high firearm possession rate.  

To their credit, they’re correct in one respect:  The U.S does maintain the world’s highest firearm possession rate, by far.  According to the 2017 Small Arms Survey, the estimated U.S. civilian firearms possession rate is 120.5 per 100 citizens.  In other words, there are more guns in civilian possession than there are citizens.  That’s almost twice as high as the second-highest rate in the Falkland Islands, with 62.1 per 100 people. 

So with such an astronomically high firearm possession rate, the U.S. naturally suffers a comparatively high murder rate, right?

That’s where gun controllers veer wildly off the rails.  The simple reality is that the U.S. murder rate falls substantially below the worldwide average, at just 5.3 per 100,000.  That’s one slot better than Greenland, with its 5.31 per 100,000.  By comparison, next-door Mexico effectively prohibits firearm possession, but suffers a murder rate of 24.80 per 100,000. 

Moreover, the U.S. murder rate has plummeted by almost half since 1993, while at the same time our firearm possession rate has approximately doubled.  Whether that suggests that more guns bring less crime, in the words of Dr. John Lott, is a debate for another time.  But at the very least, the opposite suggestion that more guns mean more crime fails the simple test of fact and recent historical experience. 

Another way in which gun controllers demonstrate their ignorance is in their incessant assertion that the U.S. suffers an epidemic of mass shootings unknown to other civilized nations.  The truth, as the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) has shown, is that the U.S. mass shooting rate falls below most other European nations.   Out of 18 nations in Europe and North America, the U.S. stands 12th, below such countries as Norway, Finland, Belgium, Austria and France, and just one place above Canada at 13th. 

In a broader worldwide comparison, the CPRC finds the same reality: 

[T]he U.S. makes up less than 1.1% of mass public shooters, 1.49% of their murders, and 2.20% of their attacks.  All these are much less than the U.S.’s 4.6% share of the world population.  Attacks in the U.S. are not only less frequent than other countries, they are also much less deadly on average.  Out of 97 countries where we have identified mass public shootings occurring, the United States ranks 64th in per capita frequency of these attacks and 65th in the murder rate.  Not only have these attacks been much more common outside the U.S., the U.S.’s share of these attacks has declined over time. 

Another area in which Second Amendment restrictionists betray their ignorance is in their fashionable call for a so-called “assault weapons” ban. 

In fact, a federal “assault weapons” ban was in effect from 1994 to 2004, and gun controllers predicted doom when it was allowed to expire during the Bush Administration.  Instead, the U.S. murder rate fell nearly 20% from 2004 through 2011. 

All of this information is readily available to Second Amendment proponents and restrictionists alike.  Whether restrictionists are guilty of deliberate dishonesty, simple ignorance or some amalgam thereof is open to speculation. 

But what’s beyond debate is the fact that gun controllers’ agenda is untethered from simple, demonstrable fact. 

Question of the Week   
On September 11, 2001, the United States was attacked by terrorists using which one of the following?
More Questions
Quote of the Day   
 
"There's an old joke often expressed well into banquets and conferences, where a speaker says, 'We're at the point where everything that needs to be said has been said, but not everyone has said it.' We're already at that point with the Democratic primary debates. Tonight was a three-hour ordeal, and candidates largely repeated the arguments they made in the previous two debates. There's not much…[more]
 
 
—Jim Geraghty, National Review
— Jim Geraghty, National Review
 
Liberty Poll   

Is the desire to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan in conflict with the lessons of September 11, 2001?