media bias against guns


John R. Lott
esident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute

Presented at:
at a Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar

Seattle, Washington.

May 25, 2004




While polls can provide us with important insights about people's views, they can also mislead in subtle ways. In the case of weapons, poll questions are almost always phrased with the assumption that gun control is either a good thing or, at worst, merely ineffective. The possibility that it could increase crime is never acknowledged. When crimes are committed with guns, there is a somewhat natural inclination toward eliminating all guns. While understandable, this reaction actually endangers people's lives because it ignores how important guns are in protecting people from harm. Unbalanced media coverage exaggerates this, leaving most Americans with a glaringly incomplete picture of the dangers and benefits of firearms. This is how the media bias against guns hurts society and costs lives.

 (Authors' abstract)


Inside or outside the law?
Tightening legislation and the principles of firearms ownership


Jeannie Baker and Samara McPhedran
Sporting Shooters Association (SA) Inc.

Presented at:
Crime in Australia : international connections
Hilton on the Park, Melbourne
29-30 November 2004



Legislation, whether national or international, requires acceptance as being 'socially just'. In order to be effective, legislation must have clearly defined outcomes and procure a high level of compliance from the main group it is directed against. This study examines the effect of Australian firearms legislation and its ramifications if the fundamental principles of controlling illicit firearms are ignored. These principles revolve around the assumption that tighter legislation of private ownership reduces firearms misuse and abuse and illicit activities. The results of two surveys undertaken in Australia, which focused on non-firearms- and firearms-owners and their attitudes towards the effectiveness of firearm legislation on prevention of firearms misuse, are presented in relation to perceived differences between the two groups, existing firearm legislation, and private ownership. This research addresses affirmative and negative motivations for compliance with government regulations that may be extrapolated to the wider Pacific region. (Authors' abstract)


The impact of firearm control legislation
on suicide in Queensland: preliminary findings.


Cantor CH, Slater PJ.J

Suicide Research and Prevention Program, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, QLD.


  • Paper is unavailable for download




To examine the effect of specific firearm control legislation on firearm and overall suicide rates. DESIGN: Retrospective survey of data from the Register of the Suicide Research and Prevention Program, Queensland Department of Health. The hypothesis was tested that the legislation would reduce firearm and overall suicides more in metropolitan and provincial city areas than in rural areas, where firearm ownership is higher. SETTING: State of Queensland 1990-1993. OUTCOME MEASURES: Suicide rates by age, sex and method for metropolitan, provincial city and rural areas in the two years before (1990-1991) and after (1992-1993) legislation. RESULTS: Mean annual firearm suicide rates declined significantly (P < 0.05) in metropolitan and provincial city areas after legislation (from 3.6 to 2.3 per 100,000 and from 5.2 to 3.1 per 100,000, respectively), with significant declines among men and in the 15-29 years age group. Rates increased slightly in rural areas (from 7.2 to 8.2 per 100,000). Overall suicide rates declined in provincial areas only, with minimal change in metropolitan areas and a slight rise in rural areas. CONCLUSION: These results provide preliminary evidence that firearm control legislation, including a 28-day "cooling-off" period before firearm purchase, reduces suicide rates, especially among younger adult men.


Lawyers' Ethics and Criminal Justice


Richard H S Tur


Presented at:




Discussion of the struggle between "crime control" and "due process" that in the view of some commentators characterises anglo-american criminal justice systems. Despite its avowed commitment to the fundamental principle that any accused is to be presumed innocent and the corollary that the burden of proof (beyond reasonable doubt) lies squarely on the prosecution, the English criminal justice system appears altogether too likely to prosecute and to convict the innocent. In particular, the ethical quality of the primary decision to prosecute calls for scrutiny.  In so far as that criminal process is indeed based on a battle model with no quarter asked or given, wherein the outcome is all and its moral merits or demerits count for nothing, the decision to prosecute assumes an even greater importance because the impact even on an individual eventually acquitted may be severe and at the very least there is a moral duty not to visit avoidable or unnecessary suffering on others.  Prosecutors have a duty to present matters fairly and in particular must present all the relevant facts to the court even where these facts suggest that the accused is innocent. In practice, defence lawyers and prosecutors alike can and do justify their crossing the boundaries of fair play and ethical conduct by reference to the other side's misconduct. Thus zealous prosecutors may "come to believe that any tactic is justified by the pursuit of the holy grail - conviction." There is more to law than the letter, or the reasoning, however sophisticated. There is also ethical sensitivity and judgment






Michael Ignatieff  
Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University


The New York Times Magazine,
2 May 2004




Frightened Majorities do reprehensible things. Abiding disagreement about the trade-off between liberty and security should be a characteristic of a free society.  An examination of how the increase of Government Power should be considered, were it not for the manner in which partisan politics and civil liberties ideology make it hard to take an unbiased look at what has actually occurred.

This is why terrorism's chief impact on democracy -- not just in the United States but also in every other free society and especially in Spain and Britain -- has been to strengthen the power of the executive at the expense of the general public and the courts. This is democracy's dark secret -- the men and women who say they are serving and protecting us are doing so with a bodyguard of lies.

Consider the Port Arthur Massacre as Australia's own September 11 - a valid enough reason used by governments in the beginning, but now nothing but an excuse to justify beyond rationality the theft of civil liberties of all Australians, and not just those of arms collectors.