DSB Scientific Ballistic Radio Transcripts
The following is a transcript of the 04/14/2013 broadcast of Ballistic Radio highlighting guests Nikki Goeser and John Lott.
The podcast for this episode can be heard at http://ballisticradio.com/2013/04/15/podcast-ballistic-radio-episode-6-april-14-2013/
Announcer: The views and opinions expressed on this program do not necessarily reflect those of 55KRC The Talk Station and Clear Channel Worldwide.
Announcer: Welcome to Ballistic Radio, Cincinnati’s only gun talk show. Join Us. We’re going to explore the topic of firearms and your rights as a law abiding citizen. Ballistic Radio, brought to you by Kyle’s Gun Shop in Finneytown, your source for premium firearms and ammunition. Now here’s your host, John Johnston, on 55KRC The Talk Station.
John Good evening and welcome to Ballistic Radio brought to you by Kyle’s Gun Shop in Finneytown, your source for premium firearms and ammunition. I’m your host, John Johnston. As always, check us out on ballisticradio.com and facebook.com/ballisticradio. Tonight, co hosting with me is Mr. John Benner, owner of TDI. John, I appreciate you coming out.
John B. It’s my pleasure.
John And, we’ve got two very special guests this evening. First up, we’re going to have Nikki Goeser. Nikki is a firearms activist that pretty much had a horrible, horrible thing happen to her. But, instead of folding like most people do when that happens, she’s kind of made something positive out of it. She’s actually holding on the line; I’m going to get to her in a minute.
And then, as a surprise guest, we have Dr. John Lott coming on the later half of the show. You might have recognized him off of FOX News, CNN. Or, maybe you’ve read his book More Guns, Less Crime, or The Media Bias Against Guns. He’s got a new one out. So, we’ll talk to him a little bit later in the show.
But, pretty much, I kind of just wanted to address - if you’re under the impression that passing stricter gun laws is somehow going to make our society safer, you’re wrong. Stricter guns laws only help the criminals prey on law abiding citizens. And, I’ve got some examples of that this evening, unfortunately.
But, we’re going to get to Nikki right about now, if I can get her on the line. Nikki, are you there?
Nikki Yes. Hi there, John.
John Hey, Nikki. I appreciate you coming on the show tonight, taking time out of your Sunday evening to make a phone call. So, I certainly appreciate it. I guess, well, I guess we’ll - if you don’t mind, just kind of relate to everyone what happened and why it is that you’re a gun rights activist now. So.
Nikki Sure. Back in 2009, my husband, Ben, was murdered right in front of me by a man who had been stalking me. This occurred in a restaurant that serves alcohol where my husband and I were running our mobile karaoke business at the time. And, this karaoke customer of mine that would not leave me alone - my husband had nicely asked this man to please leave me alone in the past. He was stalking me. And, I asked management to remove him as soon as I saw him. And, realizing I was being stalked, I was concerned. So, I asked management to get him out of there. But I also realized that, you know, my legal permitted handgun was locked in my car because at the time Tennessee state law said that you could not carry a firearm for self defense in any establishment that serves alcohol. So, I followed that law.
John B Right.
Nikki I left my gun locked in my vehicle. However, the man that was stalking me, he didn’t follow the law. He did not have a handgun carry permit. He brought in a gun illegally and put six bullets in my husband in front of myself and fifty other patrons in the middle of a busy restaurant.
I’ll always wonder, probably for the rest of my life, if I possibly could have stopped that from happening. I’ll never really know because we were denied that chance. And, that’s something that I have been trying to speak with the public about - is the fact that gun free zones are killing zones. You have to really stop and ask yourself, “Who’s most likely to follow the law?” It’s the law abiding people. Those with evil intent, criminals, bad guys, they could care less. And, you know, that old saying, “When seconds count, the police are minutes away.” It is so very true. Because, you know, the only way that that man could have been stopped, I believe, is if, really, if I had been armed. I don’t know that anyone else would have had the wherewithal or the frame of mind to stop him because no one else realized he was stalking me other than myself.
John Right. And recognizing the threat is obviously very important in a situation like that.
John Go ahead, John.
John B Nikki, think about this. You know, if we’re, if you’re talking about action versus reaction, even if you’re prepared, you know, I wouldn’t - I think you ought to go a little bit easier on yourself. Even if you had been armed, and which I certainly agree with, it would have been a much better situation. But, you know, the fact is is that if somebody comes up, you’re not prepared, even if you’re aware that this guy’s a problem, unless you’ve got your gun in your hand, and you’re very lucky and you can react that quickly that, you know - anybody that just walks up and starts shooting people, you know, in an action versus reaction situation, you know, you’re behind the power curve. And, you may have taken him out, but chances are he’d have at least gotten a chance to shoot your husband. And, that’s very unfortunate. And, I’m sorry about that.
John Well, and I guess the other thing, too, you know, it’s like Nikki said. We’ll never know just because she was denied that opportunity. Now, you had had your carry permit for a year to the day, hadn’t you, Nikki?
Nikki Yes. Exactly one year to the day.
John And, like you said, your handgun was in the car because Tennessee at the time didn’t have restaurant carry or bar carry, places where alcohol is served. Now, I had read, correct me if this is wrong, that there was a Marine that was at the bar at the time, after your husband was shot was actually the gentleman that detained the murderer. And -
John And, he had had some intent to possibly kidnap you or harm you as well? Or, did that ever come out?
Nikki Well, we don’t really know. You know, when management went to confront him, I could tell that they were asking him to leave. I could tell that he was not wanting to comply. I kept my eye on him the entire time. And, he started to slowly back away and unzip his jacket. And, I saw him reach under his armpit, and I realized at that moment what he was doing. He was pulling out a gun.
And, after he shot my husband, he very calmly put the gun back in the holster, zipped up his jacket and just acted like he was just going to walk out without anyone knowing he was the shooter. And, when he turned around the corner into the pool table room to leave, that’s when that Marine that was in the crowd, he chose not to run like so many others. It was total pandemonium and chaos, but his name is Todd Kane. And, he lives here in the Nashville area. Amazing, very brave man. Took him down in a full body slam and about four or five other men jumped on top. And they all held him until the police came. They disarmed him. They secured the gun back in the office.
Nikki And, you know, I’ve been told that it took the police about three minutes to arrive, but I got to tell you, when it’s happening to you and your loved one, it seems like an eternity.
John I would imagine so. Now when we come back from the break, if you don’t mind, Nikki, I’d like to hear about what you’ve done kind of in response to all this. Right now, everyone is listening to Ballistic Radio on 55KRC The Talk Station.
John Welcome back to Ballistic Radio on 55KRC The Talk Station brought to you by Kyle’s Gun Shop in Finneytown. We’re talking to Nikki Goeser, who - amazing woman, like I said. Now, Nikki, you were just telling us how your husband was unfortunately murdered in front of you. And you were legally allowed to carry a firearm everywhere except where you were working that evening because they served alcohol there, which seems pretty arbitrary to me. But, you’ve actually since this has occurred, you’ve done something a little different than most people. Can you tell me how that thought process worked for you and what you’ve accomplished in the last couple of years as far as restaurant carry goes?
Nikki Sure. Well, I have to tell you, immediately after my husband was killed, the one person that came to my mind was Suzanna Gratia Hupp. I had learned about Suzanna in my own handgun carry permit class a year before. And, I remember sitting there thinking to myself, “How is this even possible?” That I listened to this woman give her testimony before Congress, and I remember thinking, “How does this woman function? How does she go on? How does she live?”
John Now can you, for the listeners that might not be aware, can you tell just a little background on who it is you’re speaking?
Nikki Sure. Susanna, Susanna Gratia Hupp. Back in the early ’90’s, she witnessed both of her parents murdered. Basically, a madman drove his truck through a Luby’s Cafeteria where she and her parents were eating. And, this madman got out of his truck. Everyone thought that it was just an accident - he accidentally drove the truck through the window. But, he didn’t. When people went to try and help him out of the truck, he pulled two handguns and just started randomly shooting people and killing them. And, Susanna’s father tried to stop the man by running after him to take him down, and her father was shot. And then Susanna was able to run out a window that was broken by another patron to escape. And, she tried to get her mother to follow her, but her parents had just celebrated their 47th wedding anniversary. Her mom wasn’t going to go anywhere. And her mom instead went to cradle her dying husband, and that madman came right up to her mom and held the gun to her head and killed her mother, also.
Susanna, like myself, had to leave her gun locked in her car because of that state law. And, I just remember thinking to myself, “How is this even possible that I’m going through the same type of scenario as this woman?” And, it wasn’t long after everything happened, I reached out to Susanna. And, I actually got her on the phone. And, she’s actually the one that gave me the strength to do what I wanted to do which was to speak out about the dangers of Gun Free Zones and what had happened to us. And, I remember her just telling me, “Nikki, you would be amazed at what you can do that can influence other people and how you can make change. And, it’s tough. You know, you’ve got to develop some thick skin because people are going to be not so very nice to you. There’s people that are not going to agree with you.” But, she just told me how her father was a golfer, and how disappointed she was that her children would never really get to know him and that he wouldn’t be able to teach them how to golf.
And, with that very poignant conversation, I got started. I immediately got involved in the gun rights movement and grass roots organizations. It wasn’t long before the BBC called, German television called, FOX News, ABC with Charles Gibson, Nightline. It just went on and on and it just kind of snowballed. And, I’ve just done whatever I can to try and educate the public about how dangerous it is when only the bad guy is the one with a gun.
Nikki Because when the bad guy is the only one with a gun, guess who wins.
Nikki He does.
John Well, and just for some of the listeners that may not know, you’ve actually come up to Ohio, and when we were trying to get restaurant carry passed here, you were, you testified and by all accounts were an extremely large influence on the lawmakers that have allowed us to since start carrying in restaurants. So, just personally, I’d like to thank you for that. And, for anyone else that’s listening that I’m sure feels the same way, I appreciate you doing that. So.
I have to ask you, now, you have a lot of - you see a lot of folks that have a tragedy occur and for whatever reason they choose to exhibit animosity toward the object. That the person that’s done this thing has kind of faded in the background and the object gets blamed. Why didn’t that happen with you? Or, did that at any point?
Nikki No, that never happened with me. I never blamed the gun. I blamed the perpetrator. And, I blamed those that kept me from at least having a fighting chance.
Nikki And those would be legislators. You know, but, at the same time, those legislators, they have to represent their constituents. So, in order to change the minds of legislators, you really have to change the minds of their constituents, which would be the public. Because, they know they’re not coming back to office if they do something against what the people they represent want.
Nikki You really have to try and educate the public. I mean, you can go to committee, you can go to the Capitol and talk to them all day long, but if their constituents don’t support it, you may not get anywhere. So that’s what I’m trying to do is just basically educate public, especially women because women are at a huge disadvantage physically. You know, we can’t fight back against a guy even our own size sometimes, let alone someone much larger even with his own bare hands.
Nikki I’m just - I’m trying to get women to take responsibility for themselves, their safety and the safety of their loved ones as well.
John I actually met - it’s funny that you mention that - I met - can’t remember - I want to say it was William Aprill, but I’m not sure, but he was talking about not teaching women self defense classes unless they involved a firearm because if he tried to teach empty hand tactics to the women, they just ended up discouraged once they realized that even if you have someone that’s in top physical condition and is extremely well trained, the physical disadvantage is so very hard to overcome that. And, it’s interesting to me that the people that always seem most interested in taking guns away from folks are the same people that speak out for the disenfranchised, those that are supposed to be, you know, held back for some reason or another. And, the guns are almost what helps those people the most. You know, when you’re talking about the elderly or women or whoever. And, I just, I don’t understand. And, it’s really just kind of terrible.
So, you’ve been working on getting restaurant carry passed. You accomplished that in Tennessee. You helped accomplish that in Ohio. Are there any other states on the agenda there, as far as that you’re trying to work on? Or, what’s next, I guess?
Nikki I had been talking with North Carolina about their restaurant carry. So, we’ll see where that goes. But, you know, I’ve kind of gotten involved in campus carry as well, because I was working in two Gun Free Zones at the time. I mean, I was dealing with someone stalking me. I was working at a college as a financial aid adviser during the day and I ran karaoke shows in that restaurant at night.
Nikki That man could have very easily followed me and knew where my secondary place of - where my primary place of employment was. I don’t know. I’ll probably never know.
Nikki But, I’ve often thought about how easy it would have been for him to come there.
John And that’s -
Nikki And -
John That was actually something we had addressed I want to say two shows ago. We had Mike Newbern on from Students for Concealed Carry talking about just some of the things they’ve been trying to accomplish with getting campus carry passed. Mike’s a great guy. You would actually probably do well to talk to him.
Nikki I know Mike.
John Oh, do you?
Nikki I know Mike. He’s a great guy.
John Yeah, he is. Funny. Funny man.
But, you brought up a good point there. There’s, you know, we’re kind of focusing a little bit on restaurant carry right now just because that’s where the tragedy that occurred to you happened. But, there are all sorts of places in our day-to-day lives where we are disarmed for whatever reason. And, we face a terrible option of having no means to protect ourselves or, you know, breaking the law. And, it’s just -
John It’s really a terrible thing.
Nikki Right. I don’t, I don’t really understand why it is that we can be trusted as permit holders to carry everywhere else, but all of a sudden when you cross an arbitrary line onto a college campus or, you know, a restaurant that serves alcohol, all of a sudden you can’t be trusted. It just doesn’t make any sense. If I can carry everywhere else, then why not there?
John You’re right. And I think there seems to be some sort of confusion for folks. A lot of places that allow restaurant carry do not allow you to consume any alcohol if you are armed in an establishment. Now, there are some places that do, and they treat it just like you are operating a motor vehicle, that, you know, if you go over the legal limit, it’s a similar charge.
John But, for anyone that may be listening that, you know, “Oh! Guns and bars, drunk, people drinking don’t need to have guns,” many, many times that is not what’s occurring at all. And, I know there was -
Nikki Right. In Tennessee, the law is very clear. The law says that you cannot consume any alcohol. You can’t have it in your system and be in physical possession of a gun.
Nikki And, that’s the way the law was before, even before the restaurant carry bill was passed. As far as right to carry goes, you can’t be under the influence of alcohol or drugs and have the gun physical on you. You can’t.
Nikki And, the restaurant carry bill even reiterates that. I mean, you cannot consume alcohol. And, you know, as much as the media went on and on about doom and gloom, and it would be the OK Corral and the wild, wild west, it’d be horrible with blood running in restaurants, this law’s been in place now for over two years with no incidents where permit holders have gone and murdered anyone. And, you know, the media - they don’t seem to want to go back and talk about how very wrong they were.
And, the law has not been repealed. No one has even tried to repeal it. This law actually is in the majority of the United States. There’s only a handful of states left that don’t have restaurant carry.
John Well, it’s actually convenient that you mention the media there, because coming up in - and, I’d love to you stay on for it, too - is we’re going to be having John Lott talking a little bit about why, you know, his opinions and some of the things he’s noticed. He’s in the national spotlight a little bit more than a lot of the folks that I know personally at least. So maybe he’ll have some insights. He’s actually written a book about the media bias against guns.
And, I do have to thank you, Nikki. For anyone listening, the reason John Lott’s coming on the show later is directly because of Nikki. So, thank you again for that as well, Nikki.
Nikki Yeah. John’s a great guy. I actually got to meet him on the set of FOX News. That’s how I met John. So. He’s a great person, and I admire his work.
John Yeah. I’ve actually been reading his things for years now. So.
But, so, coming up next, we’re going to have Dr. John Lott. You’ve seen on FOX News, CNN. He’s going to be talking a little bit about what he thinks we can do to make some of our cities safer.
Right now, you’re listening to Ballistic Radio on 55KRC The Talk Station.
John Welcome back to Ballistic Radio on 55KRC The Talk Station brought to you by Kyle’s Gun Shop in Finneytown.
Joining us on the line is Nikki Goeser and just on is John Lott, Jr., author of the new book At the Brink: Will Obama Push Us Over the Edge? I’m going to try to do something I’ve never done: have two people on the phone at once here. So, let’s see if it works. John, are you there?
John L Yes, I am. Thanks for having me on.
John Oh, thank-you. Nikki are you still there? Oh, we’ve lost Nikki. We’ll, she’ll call back in, I’m sure, and we’ll talk to you for a little bit here, John.
John L Alright.
John Now, if you could just go through your background a little bit. You’ve been kind of paying attention to this for years now. What got you interested in the whole dialog about firearms and whether or not they help or hurt?
John L Oh well, I guess I kind of got into it through a roundabout pattern. I had done a lot of work on crime over the years. I was Chief Economist at the United States Sentencing Commission during the late ’80’s. I had done a lot of academic research and teaching classes at universities, like the Wharton Business School and Chicago and other places that dealt with crime. And, I was teaching a class at Wharton and a couple of my students asked me if I could go and talk about gun control. I really wasn’t that interested, but I figured I could do a short lecture. We were ahead on the lectures in class at the time. And, so it kind of forced me to look at the existing literature more carefully. I mean, I’d seen some of it. I guess everything I’d seen was pretty poorly done, but I had always assumed that there was some better research out there. And, I have to say, I was pretty shocked by how poorly done things were. And when you’re an academic, you do research because you think you can do a better job than other people have done or you have some new idea. This is - I almost always do it the latter category, almost always new ideas. But, I kind of got started on this and I don’t know. One thing kind of led to another. But, I almost stopped about five or six times because, just, it was a lot of data and I, you know, didn’t have the normal kind of twists - logical twists - for most of the papers that I deal with. But, I carried it out, and the rest is history, I guess.
John Well. And it seems to have been very productive for you since then. Now, just for those that might not be familiar, essentially most of the studies - all of the studies you’ve done - have shown that guns - pretty much the more there are, the less crime there is? Or not -
John L Well, most of the studies by most academics now show that, that they show that when you allow would-be victims to be able to defend themselves, you see reductions in violent crime rates. I’d say about 70% of the academic research by criminologists and economists show that. But, you know, it’s in the other 30% basically claims to find no effect. But, really no one finds statistically significant evidence of a bad effect that exists. And, you know, I think that’s pretty much becoming the norm among - in terms of the debate - among criminologists and economists.
John It’s pretty much everyone’s in agreement, just no one wants to talk about it. If you want to hold on one second. Excellent. I think we got Nikki on the line now. Nikki, are you back?
Nikki Hi there. Sorry I lost you.
John Yeah, I actually hung up on you on accident. I very much apologize for that. Apparently, when they put more than one button on a phone, or, well, I guess in fairness, sixteen buttons on a phone, I get confused. So, I do apologize for that.
John was just kind of telling us what his research has shown. Now -
John L I think Nikki has heard that before.
John Yeah. I think she might.
Nikki I heard that a lot.
John I’m kind of the same way. I tend to repeat myself sometimes. Now, out of curiosity, you’ve run into quite a bit of push-back from people that I guess just did not want to accept what your research has shown. I guess people already have a foregone conclusion, and they just look for evidence to support that, but, so what’s kind of what you’ve generally run into, John? What’s that been like?
John L Well, I think a lot of people have strong views on crime, but I think it’s wrong to say that facts don’t matter to them. I think it’s just that guns are one issue that people probably think they know more about than almost anything else because, you know, you can’t pick up a newspaper or watch the evening news and not frequently hear about some bad thing that’s happened with guns. And, I think it has a real impact on people’s perceptions about the costs and benefits of guns to constantly hear news stories about bad things that happen and, you know, virtually never hear about guns being used to stop bad things. I think most people get their perceptions about the cost and benefits from the news. And, you know, my guess is without trying, you could recall what seems like thousands of stories about bad things that happen, but how many times can you recall people using guns to stop crime?
And, if you go and look at surveys, the Department of Justice survey indicates that there’s about 450,000 times a year that crimes are committed with guns. There’s only about - about 250-300,000 times that they’re reported to police, but many, many gun crimes aren’t reported to police. So, the government has to go and use surveys to try to figure out how many there are. On the other hand, similar surveys indicate that people use guns defensively about 2 million times a year. So, about four to five times more frequently each year people use guns to stop crime than they use them to commit crime. But, you know, I think if you just watch the news, few people would realize that it’s lopsided in that direction, and as I say, I think the media has a big impact. It’s one of the reasons why I wrote my book The Bias Against Guns some years ago, to try to explain why people have the views that they do about guns.
John I’d actually like to talk about that here once we come back from the next commercial. One question I did have for you is - and just to kind of touch back on the defensive gun use numbers - just to be clear, and I think there’s some confusion here on this, that doesn’t mean that someone ended up ventilated. That means that for whatever reason, either through a presentation or the simple presence of the gun, the crime was averted. Is that right?
John L Yeah, that’s exactly right. In fact, you find that fewer out of every one thousand - once out of every thousand times the people use guns is the attacker killed. Woundings are more frequent. They’re about 7 or 8 times more frequent than the times that the criminal has been killed. But that is still extremely rare. That’s still well less than one percentage point. And, you know, the overwhelming number of crimes that are stopped are done simply because of, as you say, presenting, simply brandishing guns, a few times firing warning shots. But, when people have a gun, criminals move on to go, you know, they break off their crime and go some place else. They have no desire to go and get into a gunfight with somebody - or rarely do.
And, right. So. You know, sometimes you hear these claims that the risks of having a gun in the home is greater than the likelihood that you go and kill an intruder. And, there are several problems with that - big problems. One of them, one problem just related to what we were just saying is that they only count it as a benefit when you go and kill the attacker. And that’s extremely rare; it’s ignoring the benefits for the other, you know, 99.9% of the time that simply brandishing gun or firing a warning shot or even in the rare cases where you wound somebody. Those are real benefits, too, because it’s protecting the victim from having a crime committed against them.
John L One of the other big problems with that is that they just assume that if a gun is owned in a home and somebody died from a gunshot, it was that gun in the home that resulted in the gunshot. The first of these studies, when people looked at it, they had looked at 444 homicides. It turned out that only eight of those were actually due to the weapon in the home. The other 436 had been falsely attributed to the gun in the home and were actually due to a weapon brought in from the outside.
John Well -
John L Go ahead.
John Oh, I’m sorry. I just wanted to say we need to go to commercial here real quick. If you can stay on the line, John, we’ll talk about that when we come back: just why it is you very rarely hear anything positive reported about firearms in the news.
So anyway, you’re listening to Ballistic Radio on 55KRC The Talk Station.
John Welcome back to Ballistic Radio on 55KRC The Talk Station brought you by Kyle’s Gun Shop in Finneytown. We are talking to John Lott, author of the new book At the Brink: Will Obama Push Us Over the Edge. And I believe, unless I’ve hung up on her a second time, we still have Nikki Goeser on the line. Are both you folks still here?
John L Yep.
John Excellent. So, just, we were kind of talking about why it is you don’t hear anything positive in the news, and it seems to me that I can maybe remember once or twice the local media at least reporting on a shooting that was, for lack of a better terms, a good shoot. Where, I really think the only reason they were reporting on it is because there was a body in the front yard. So, it’s not like could really not. What’s been your experience, John? I mean, you’re around quite a few media, for lack of a better term. What?
John L Well, right, you know, it’s interesting. You know, as we say, if you actually look at the total numbers, you’ll only - you’ll see only about one out of every thousand times, there’s actually a little bit fewer than that, that people actually use a gun is the attacker killed. But, if you look at media coverage, you would think that 80% of the time or 85% of the time that people use guns defensively the attacker is killed. But, that just demonstrates the huge difference in newsworthiness. And all the rest are woundings. But that just demonstrates the huge difference in newsworthiness between, you know, just the two types of cases. If the media is going to cover a defensive gun use, it’s only going to really find it newsworthy when somebody’s died. And, that really gives a real mis-impression about what happens with defensive gun uses.
You know, I think it’s understandable. If you have a case where let’s say a woman brandishes a gun and the would-be attacker runs away, no shots fired, no dead body on the ground, no crime actually committed, you’re not even completely sure what crime would have been committed, it’s understandable why an editor of a news bureau isn’t going to consider that newsworthy. And, why if they do consider a defensive gun use newsworthy, they’re going to find one where somebody died. But, we need to care about all those cases, not just when the criminal dies, but also when victims are just able to drive away a criminal if you want to try to figure out what’s the best policy for people - both the good and the bad things.
John B A perfect example, really, is there was a shooting in one of the colleges down south. There was two young men went out, got guns out of there car, came back in, took this guy into custody and there was like 168 news stories done on it. And, out of those 168 news stories, there was only four of them that mentioned that these guys had a gun. The rest of them said, “Oh, they tackled him” or they did something else. But they probably did tackle him, but they after they stuck a gun in his face.
Nikki I think that was the Appalachian School of Law.
John B Yes, I believe it was.
John Well, and it’s kind of like with the Clackamas Mall shooting where, you know, we have a concealed carry permit holder who, once again, brandishes a firearm and the shooter takes his own life because, as most of the research has done - and actually Mr. Bennett would be better to comment on this, because you’re kind of at the forefront of the whole active shooter training for a lot of law enforcement - but, most of the times, they end up taking their own lives if I remember correctly.
John B About 35% of the time they do. It’s - the, the active shooter situation is a whole other ball game. Law enforcement is actually fairly ineffective with that and we’re in, desperately trying to get more armed school teachers and schools to accept armed school staff. And, in fact, we’ve done a number of classes in that area. We just got finished doing our first full school staff class.
John Well, and I - that’s really great work you’re doing. Now, we’re still talking with Nikki Goeser and John Lott. So, just out of curiosity, and I don’t generally like to cover politics as it’s happening, but I think this sort of bears mentioning. And maybe you can share some insight, John.
Now, I can’t help but notice on whichever news channel you tune to, they’re talking about the proposed bipartisan bill to deal with firearms. And, one of the things that the media seems to be pounding into the ground is how this bill would make it illegal to sell guns online without a background check. Which, the last time I checked, it already was illegal. But why is that? I mean, and maybe I’ve missed it, but why has no one called them on that? John, I mean -
John L Well, there are lots of errors. I mean, I was just reading an op-ed today in the Philadelphia Inquirer by Senator Toomey who’s part of this duo with Senator Manchin from West Virginia. What he was pointing to was this claim that you have about two million times where dangerous people have been prevented from buying guns because of background checks which is essentially a claim that the President has been repeating over and over again. And, it’s simply, simply false.
And, the reason why it’s false is the right terminology is to say two million initial denials. But, there is a huge difference between initial denials and saying that you’ve stopped dangerous people from getting guns. And, I suppose the easiest example just to illustrate this is the late Senator Ted Kennedy from Massachusetts. There were five times he was on the no-fly list - five times that he was was initially denied being able to go and fly on a plane. He later flew. He was just temporarily delayed from doing so. And, he simply had a name that was similar to someone who they really did want to stop. But no one, I assume the President wouldn’t go and say that those were five times we should count a terrorist who we stopped from flying on a plane. It was simply a mistake by the background check system.
And that’s - when you look at those two million initial denials, they were virtually all mistakes. Conservatively, you’re talking about at least 95% of those initial denials are mistakes. It’s probably over 99%. It’s just that you can’t figure out the exact number because of some of the vagueness in the annual reports that the government puts out on the NICS system.
And, here’s the problem. And that is while it’s true for the vast majority of those almost two million people who should have gotten a gun but were stopped from doing so for months, it’s probably just an inconvenience. But, when you’re talking about such a large number, you’re going to be dealing with a small but significant number of people who really need to get a gun quickly for self defense and are being stopped from doing so. And, there’s a real safety issue there.
And, it’s not just the two million who are delayed for months, there’s another twelve million that are delayed for several days. You know, their checks aren’t instant. The vast majority of those take a full three days to complete. But, even a short, three day waiting period in a small number of cases can make the difference between whether or not somebody is going to be able to quickly defend themselves. If a woman’s being stalked or threatened, she may not have a few days. She may not have months to go and get a gun for protection.
And, the problem with this debate is that people list out the possible benefits of background checks, so they really never seem to go out and check to see how it actually works. Because I think if they actually looked at the academic literature, they’d see that no one finds that there’re benefits from reduced crime - in terms of criminologist or economist have looked at it. And, if you actually look at the cases that they prosecute, they’re almost zero. In 2010, there was 76,000 initial denials. The government brought prosecution against 44 and won convictions in 13 of the 76,000 cases. That’s not 13,000; that’s not 1300. That’s 13 out of 76,000 initial denials.
And, I think when you look at the numbers, because the ultimate bottom line is how many criminals are we stopping versus how many law abiding citizens who should have been able to get a gun quickly for self defense and may have needed to get a gun quickly for self defense are we stopping. And, unfortunately, I think the numbers are fairly lopsided. By far, we’re massively preventing law abiding citizens who need to get a gun quickly for self defense, not criminals.
And, we’re making the situation worse. And, I am concerned that the current bills that are before the Senate right now will make the situation worse. If you go and add millions more names in, so, we’re going to be adding in people who are voluntarily committed. If you go in - have a drinking problem and go in for treatment, if you go in because you feel a little depressed - those individuals are going to find that they’re going to be denied to be able to purchase a gun for the rest of their lives.
John And that seems to be - and something else, too, it’s funny as much as, you know. It’s kind of nice, because veterans as of late have been treated much, much better than they were in the past when they’d come home from wars. My father tells me stories about when he came home from overseas. But, going back to what you were saying, the voluntarily committing someone, that’s a veteran coming home and trying to deal with their PTSD or something of that nature, too, that would be, once again, denied from owning a firearm.
Now, the hour’s gone really fast. We’ve only got about another minute left. I just wanted to thank both of you for coming on. What do you think the answer is? I mean, do we just need to try and educate people more? Or, you know, how can we help fix the problem do you figure?
John L Well, I mean, I guess that’s the reason why I wrote At the Brink, to try to get people the information that they need for this current debate. I just worry that there’re so many false claims that are being put out by the President and others that they really endanger people’s safety. And, they make mistakes because they don’t know what the right arguments are on these things. And, the press isn’t educating them properly.
John And that’s it.
Well, it’s that time. We’ve been talking with Nikki Goeser and John Lott, author of quite a few interesting reads. I want to thank you both for coming on. Also, John Benner from TDIOhio.com, owner. I appreciate you stopping in, sir, and helping me out with the show tonight.
John B No problem.
John So, next week, we’ll be talking to Todd Lewis Green of pistol-training.com about his 90,000 round H&K endurance test, his take on firearm reliability, the importance of performance tracking. We’ll see you Sunday at 7 pm, right here on 55KRC. Make sure you check us out at ballisticradio.com and facebook.com/ballisticradio.
Thanks for listening, everyone. Be safe. Have a good night.
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