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  #1 (permalink)  
Old Tue Feb 27, 2001, 12:16am
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Question

Jim Porter has posted an article in the Members Only section dealing with and avoiding confrontations. Jim cites that
Quote:
According to the National Association for Sports Officials' (NASO) web site, only thirteen states have enacted legislation to protect sports officials from assaults. Twenty-three states have laws held up at some stage of legislation. That leaves fourteen states who have no such legislation even introduced. Since that is the best route that we as officials have to protect ourselves, each one of us has a duty to contact our state representatives to get the ball rolling.


Although I have written to elected officials to support legislation carrying penalties for physical abuse I am not sure that this actually "prevents" the abuse. It appears that it may deal appropriately with the abuse after the fact. I don't believe there have been any studies comparing states that have enacted laws with those that have not.

Does anyone have any "facts" that can be used? Jim Simms/NYC
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Old Tue Feb 27, 2001, 12:36pm
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Re: An opposing view

Quote:
Originally posted by Jim Mills
I have written my legislator urging her not to support any such legislation. It is already illegal to physically abuse a sports official in every state--in the same manner in which battery against anyone is generally illegal. If the law enforcement establishment doesn't enforce what is already on the books, what makes anyone think they will enforce a new one with any degree of regularity or consistency? I dislike incidents of battery against umpires as much as you do, but my role as citizen outweighs that of sports official.

This entire crusade by NASO is a waste of legislative time. Jim, your call for studies comparing states that have enacted laws with those that have not is logical, premature, and useless. Whenever a group sees itself as "doing something" to address a problem, that group never lets the facts get in the way. If a study shows the new laws to have little or no effect, or even to be counterproductive, the typical crusader mindset interprets it to mean that even tougher laws are needed, or more money is needed, "if we are truly going to make a difference." See, e.g., the DARE program.

As a result of these new laws that define sports officials as yet another protected class, some new prosecutions will occur, some convictions won, some civil liability established. The crusaders will declare victory and point out to us what wonderful things they've done on our behalf. They will not point out that the exact same ends could be achieved with laws already on the books.
[/B]
Here, here, Jim! I admire your courage to say this. Too often legislation makes us feel good without changing the situation.

P-Sz
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Old Tue Feb 27, 2001, 12:43pm
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This is sports. It may be a murky area which does require additional legislation. You can't just make a statement that battery is already illegal because:

A hockey body check, footbal tackle or block, etc. is NOT an illegal act in the appropriate sport but WOULD be if someone did it to a person walking down the street. In fact, penalties for on the field, against the rules, and sometimes injury causing acts, are routinely handled on the field, not in a court. No one gets arrested for using a knee-wrecking chop block or for hitting a batter with a pitch.

In baseball in fact, no one gets arrested for malicious contact - just ejected from the game.

It isn't necessarily that clear.

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Old Tue Feb 27, 2001, 01:12pm
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Why legislation?

First off, I'm very happy to see my article sparking this discussion. Thanks to Jim Simms for bringing this up.

To answer Jim's original question, all searches I have done reveal no state to state study. If I come across any additional information, I will pass it along to you.

So, why do we need "special" legislation? Because we indeed work under special circumstances.

It is traditional for the public-at-large to hate the umpire. It has become accepted through the years that we, as sports officials, are required to put up with abuse - - that it comes with job.

When someone yells out, "Kill the ump!" no one thinks that's a threat. It's not even a threat when they're yelling it at us with their faces mashed against the chain link fence. It's not a threat when they're in our faces and bumping our chests. It's not considered a threat, even as they're following us to our cars, and yelling obscenities and cursing our families.

Nope, it's all a part of the job. If you don't like it, don't be a sports official - that's a popular attitude.

Since we are the authority figures - the "police" of sports if you will, that leaves us vulnerable to assault. Couple that with the attitude that we are required to accept a certain degree of abuse as a part of our jobs, and the issues become even cloudier. Add to that the fact that, historically, sports officials are abused while fans cheer, and that places us even further away from mainstream society when it comes to assault. That's right, when officials are assaulted, people stand up and cheer.

We do need special legislation, because we work under special conditions. An ordinary citizen, whom original laws were designed to protect, is not in an authority position, is not traditionally despised, is not expected to accept a certain degree of abuse, is not in a position where their very job places them in arm's reach of assault, and generally is not cheered and jeered by hundreds of people as a dad punches him in the face for a call against his kid.

Nope, we're in special circumstances, and we need special legislation to send a clear message to our would-be attackers. Legislation would be preventative - that's the whole point to having laws - to deter crime. By pushing for laws which recognize that we are in a job with special considerations, we take giant leaps toward slowing this assault trend down.
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Old Tue Feb 27, 2001, 02:35pm
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Re: An opposing view

Originally posted by Jim Mills

I have written my legislator urging her not to support any such legislation. It is already illegal to physically abuse a sports official in every state--in the same manner in which battery against anyone is generally illegal. If the law enforcement establishment doesn't enforce what is already on the books, what makes anyone think they will enforce a new one with any degree of regularity or consistency? I dislike incidents of battery against umpires as much as you do, but my role as citizen outweighs that of sports official.

Jim, the problem too many people who are abusing officials get a mere slap on the wrist . Unfortunatley, when something bad happens, then someone will jump on it . I have had 1 bad experience. The 3rd base coach picked up at bat and took a few steps towards me, but then he dropped it on his way to his car.

We have enough to worry about without having to "fear for our lives". This might be farfetched but if someone isn't going to help the official, it won't be long before officials "take matters into their own hands" and then let's see what happens.

If more and more people got jail time for these ludicrous acts perhaps coaches / players / spectators would think twice about attacking an official.

Pete Booth

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Old Tue Feb 27, 2001, 02:46pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rich Ives
This is sports. It may be a murky area which does require additional legislation. You can't just make a statement that battery is already illegal because:

A hockey body check, footbal tackle or block, etc. is NOT an illegal act in the appropriate sport but WOULD be if someone did it to a person walking down the street. In fact, penalties for on the field, against the rules, and sometimes injury causing acts, are routinely handled on the field, not in a court. No one gets arrested for using a knee-wrecking chop block or for hitting a batter with a pitch.

In baseball in fact, no one gets arrested for malicious contact - just ejected from the game.

It isn't necessarily that clear.
Granted that it "isn't necessarily that clear", Rich, that doesn't alter the fact of Jim's position that the rules already exist to deal with the problem. What needs altering is the MINDSET which prevents these things from being dealt with under the current legislation. As you say, a lot of things happen on the field/diamond/court that would not be tolerated by society elsewhere. The MINDSET is that people put themselves in the way of these otherwise unacceptable actions when they sign on to play the game. To a certain extent that's true, but there are also lots of actions which are illegal in the sports involved too.

People seem to feel that punishment for illegal acts by the sports should not be followed up with punishment by the courts, because that would be a form of DOUBLE JEOPARDY for a single offense. I prefer to think of it as an appeal of the sentence to a higher authority by the aggrieved party! If you deliberately hit an umpire on the diamond you might be banned from the sport for life. Is that an appropriate or sufficient punishment? I don't think so, personally. If that were to happen to me I wouldn't think twice about pressing charges for criminal assault AND suing for damages in a civil court! The fact that I have chosen to enter the field as an official shouldn't operate to open me up for criminal assault or preclude me from seeking the civil remedies normally available to me elsewhere.

Officials seem to feel that, because the game specifies a punishment for an illegal act, they have no recourse to other means. Not true. If you are assaulted in a way that deprives you of your income, or that permanently alters your life style, behaviour or appearance, any punishment the game offers is NOT going to compensate you for what you have suffered. The game can only deal with the illegality according to its own rules. There is no opportunity for those rules to specify criminal penalties or civil damages. You have to have civil recourse at least. I don't see why that shouldn't also apply to criminal recourse. It only takes one conviction to set that precedent. We are starting to see that taking place even now. Assault a football referee on television and you WILL be charged with criminal assault. The MINDSET is changing, IMHO for the better. Participation in sport should NOT be a licence to behave contrary to society's mores.

We can easily accept that it is illegal to shoot or stab someone on the field of play. Why should things be different simply because the weapon of choice is a body part such as a fist, a knee or a head? Where criminal acts in sport are concerned, the question revolves around the intent to cause injury rather than simply to play the game and is properly decided in the courts NOT by a sporting body.

Cheers,

[Edited by Warren Willson on Feb 27th, 2001 at 01:59 PM]
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Old Tue Feb 27, 2001, 03:36pm
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Exclamation one missed point.....

Quote:
Originally posted by PeteBooth
Originally posted by Jim Mills

I have written my legislator urging her not to support any such legislation. It is already illegal to physically abuse a sports official in every state--in the same manner in which battery against anyone is generally illegal. If the law enforcement establishment doesn't enforce what is already on the books, what makes anyone think they will enforce a new one with any degree of regularity or consistency? I dislike incidents of battery against umpires as much as you do, but my role as citizen outweighs that of sports official.

I must say I agree with Jim; but, sad to say most of society it seems does not.
As to your statement Pete - re:
This might be farfetched but if someone isn't going to help the official, it won't be long before officials "take matters into their own hands" and then let's see what happens.
I submit that officials have already begun to act. When was the last time you hear any association or school state there was an abundance of officials on hand for the games? Oops, make that "ex" officals! jmo.....





Jim, the problem too many people who are abusing officials get a mere slap on the wrist . Unfortunatley, when something bad happens, then someone will jump on it . I have had 1 bad experience. The 3rd base coach picked up at bat and took a few steps towards me, but then he dropped it on his way to his car.

We have enough to worry about without having to "fear for our lives". This might be farfetched but if someone isn't going to help the official, it won't be long before officials "take matters into their own hands" and then let's see what happens.

If more and more people got jail time for these ludicrous acts perhaps coaches / players / spectators would think twice about attacking an official.

Pete Booth

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Old Tue Feb 27, 2001, 04:15pm
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An Attitude of Respect

Quote:
Originally posted by Jim Mills

...If civil laws don't apply on the field, why do officials need liability insurance? Why do teams? In amateur sports, when illegal acts that result in injury are committed, and the victim proves malicious intent or reckless disregard for safety, perpetrators are indeed punished, both criminally and civilly. Let's watch the Wichita State case.

Just wondering if you could provide a brief overview I do not recall what the Wichita State case concerns.

Quote:
It is already against the law to batter a sports official in every state. People inclined to hit the umpire ignore those laws--just as they will ignore any new law. They are criminals, and by definition they don't obey laws.

I am not sure how many people who resort to violence at sporting events, such as the father who killed the ice hockey coach in Massachusetts, are "repeat offenders". I could actually foresee signs being placed on backstops right next to the field # advising someone of the penalties of assaulting an umpire. That could be preventative.
Quote:
The fact that convictions are not won speaks to the attitudes of prosecutors, judges and juries. No new law will change that.

I think that is a terrific point. I think it is covered by Warren as "mindset". We see these negative attitudes in how officials are treated in American advertising. Somehow if your team didn't win it must have been the official who screwed you. Couple negative "mindset" or attitude with beer and you have potential for a real explosive situation.

Quote:
Homosexuals and blacks are sometimes battered before cheering crowds in this country. The behavior is every bit as illegal when inflicted upon them as when it is upon officials, or Joe Citizen. We passed laws making them each a protected class. The behavior has not abated.

I think that part of the movement toward national legislation to protect against crimes based upon a victim's sexual orientation is born not so much out of protecting a specific class but because some prosecutors at the local level have chosen not to prosecute or have sought the lowest penalty. I understand the position that these individuals do not need "special laws" just as I can see why someone would believe laws on the books already protect sports officials. If however you are an Asian American who was singled out for attack and your local district attorney does not pursue justice for you it may need further redress.

Quote:
Officials, like players, are indeed expected to recognize that the activity in which they voluntarily participate subjects them to comments that in other circumstances are recognized as assaults. No officials (well, maybe South American and European soccer referees) operate in an environment in which battery is to be routinely accepted as an inherent risk of the profession, and not actionable in court.

I throw out about one player or coach each year. The one I ejected last year was a 14-15 yr old in the top of the last inning of a blowout. He was out at first and in a voice only the coach and I could hear he told me that was the second call I had blown. I just didn't need to hear a snotty nose kid on that day give me his two cents. When the team tied it up and Johnny couldn't go out on the field the coach told me "..You have to take something.". Have to take? I don't think so. (See mindset) Jim Simms/NYC

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Old Wed Feb 28, 2001, 01:13pm
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Re: An Attitude of Respect

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Ump20
Quote:
Originally posted by Jim Mills

Quote:
Homosexuals and blacks are sometimes battered before cheering crowds in this country. The behavior is every bit as illegal when inflicted upon them as when it is upon officials, or Joe Citizen. We passed laws making them each a protected class. The behavior has not abated.
This is the classic position of the political conservative: Let's not do anything about hand guns; let's just "enforce the laws we have."

If history has shown us anything, it is that the criminal justice system is run by "people of their time and place." A crime that gets one person probation sends another to jail for ten years.

So we find two purposes behind the creation of "hate crime" legislation:
  1. It forces reluctant prosecutors to bring cases;
  2. It publicizes certain crimes and the increased punishment, which may serve as deterrent.

    That's the one that applies to sports officials.

    As an umpire, which would you prefer to hear on the evening news: James Noname today was convicted of first degree assault and battery. He was sentenced to 6 months probation and.... (You know, that piece wouldn't even appear.)

    BUT:

    James Noname today was convicted of first degree assault and battery against Carl Childress, a local umpire who also teaches English at Edinburg High School. Mr. Childress expressed graditude to the jury for....

    It's the added publicity attendant to "hate crime" prosecution that helps make society a little safer for us all.

    [Edited by Carl Childress on Feb 28th, 2001 at 01:22 PM]
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Old Wed Feb 28, 2001, 01:55pm
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Liberal --vs-- Moderate

Carl has stated, quite well, the liberal side of the legislative society.

The California State Legistature meets yearly. Over the last 10 years they have passed 10,000 new laws PER YEAR.

That is the waste.

Sports Officials are not different than anyone else. We don't need new laws to protect postal workers, cab drivers, or college instructors.

We need simply to enforce, with penalties, the laws we have.

I have stated time-after-time on these boards:

It is the criminal justice sytem, judges and attorneys that have scewed up the system.

I too have written letters asking that NO NEW laws be passed on this issue.

Respectfully,

Tee

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Old Wed Feb 28, 2001, 02:42pm
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Re: Re: An Attitude of Respect

Quote:
Originally posted by Carl Childress
It publicizes certain crimes and the increased punishment, which may serve as deterrent.
OK, since this has gotten more broadly political, with the bringing in of gun and hate laws, IF the above assertion is true, then it should be possible to demonstrate this through a reduction in gun crimes after new gun laws are passed.

I challenge anyone to demonstrate this.

Well, I can. There is one gun control law that has had a statistically significant effect in reducing gun violence in the states where it has passed.

It is the right to carry law.

Despite all of the fear-mongering of the ban-all-guns crowd and those who believe thier demagoguery, right to carry laws do NOT result in increased shoot-outs at little league games. But they do result in a reduction in violent crimes against the people.

These umpire-protection-act laws are feel-good laws that do not solve the real problem. The real problem is in the attitude of the police and the judges.
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Old Wed Feb 28, 2001, 04:19pm
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Re: Re: Re: An Attitude of Respect

Quote:
Originally posted by Dakota
Quote:
Originally posted by Carl Childress
It publicizes certain crimes and the increased punishment, which may serve as deterrent.
OK, since this has gotten more broadly political, with the bringing in of gun and hate laws, IF the above assertion is true, then it should be possible to demonstrate this through a reduction in gun crimes after new gun laws are passed. I challenge anyone to demonstrate this.
Well, Dakota "sounds" like a fellow who might pack, you bet. And you could do it Texas, by golly.

You'll have to take your complaint up with the FBI. They have statistics for crimes committeed with guns for the first three years of operation of the Brady Bill. (Today is the fifth anniversary of its becoming law.)

Wouldn't you know it? Crimes involving guns decreased each of those three years, according to that source.

As Casey Stengel was wont to say: "You could look it up."

Now, I'm not going to argue that the Brady Bill was the "only" factor that helped decrease gun crimes. The president's relentless intent to put more and better police on the streets was no doubt a factor also.

But it would be too much to say that the Brady Bill and decreased gun crime was pure coincidence. Agreed?

It's a bit away from baseball, but it's relevant to what most hate-crime legislation accomplishes; that is, to bring into the open crimes against a particular class simply because the victim belongs to that class.

Would anyone deny that most assaults against sports officials occur because of a decision they made in a game? Aren't some people attacked just because they are black, or Jewish, or gay?

If you think the answer to those questions is "No," then you should continue your argument against special laws. But if you think the answer to any one of those questions is "Yes," then you ought to join me and others in pressing for special legislation for special groups.

Sports officials is one of those groups.
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Old Wed Feb 28, 2001, 04:59pm
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Unhappy me oh me oh my.....

Do not be delude by what you read, re:
"You'll have to take your complaint up with the FBI. They have statistics for crimes committeed with guns for the first three years of operation of the Brady Bill. (Today is the fifth anniversary of its becoming law.)"
For many years I just happened to be privy to one of the sources from which those FBI stat's were complied. Like many companies, police agencies are no different when it comes to budgets and funding since alot depends on various statistics. So, don't think for one New York minute that those figures are not compiled in a favorable manner. The final FBI tally is insignificant to those composing the local figures.
These figures are compiled from law enforcements agencies nationwide, and I don't even want to think of what the accuracy is on those FBI's figures, these aren't conducted by the Gallup polls with a +/- 3 %.





Quote:
Originally posted by Carl Childress
Quote:
Originally posted by Dakota
Quote:
Originally posted by Carl Childress
It publicizes certain crimes and the increased punishment, which may serve as deterrent.
OK, since this has gotten more broadly political, with the bringing in of gun and hate laws, IF the above assertion is true, then it should be possible to demonstrate this through a reduction in gun crimes after new gun laws are passed. I challenge anyone to demonstrate this.
Well, Dakota "sounds" like a fellow who might pack, you bet. And you could do it Texas, by golly.

You'll have to take your complaint up with the FBI. They have statistics for crimes committeed with guns for the first three years of operation of the Brady Bill. (Today is the fifth anniversary of its becoming law.)

Wouldn't you know it? Crimes involving guns decreased each of those three years, according to that source.

As Casey Stengel was wont to say: "You could look it up."

Now, I'm not going to argue that the Brady Bill was the "only" factor that helped decrease gun crimes. The president's relentless intent to put more and better police on the streets was no doubt a factor also.

But it would be too much to say that the Brady Bill and decreased gun crime was pure coincidence. Agreed?

It's a bit away from baseball, but it's relevant to what most hate-crime legislation accomplishes; that is, to bring into the open crimes against a particular class simply because the victim belongs to that class.

Would anyone deny that most assaults against sports officials occur because of a decision they made in a game? Aren't some people attacked just because they are black, or Jewish, or gay?

If you think the answer to those questions is "No," then you should continue your argument against special laws. But if you think the answer to any one of those questions is "Yes," then you ought to join me and others in pressing for special legislation for special groups.

Sports officials is one of those groups.
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Old Wed Feb 28, 2001, 05:16pm
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Facts, who's facts?

My, my, my. First, I’m not a Texan. The state I live in leaves right to carry up to the arbitrary decision of the local police, and history has shown their judgment to be truly arbitrary, with no rhyme or reason behind it.

However, your “facts” are selectively chosen, and sloppily applied.

Quote:
Using cross-sectional time-series data for U.S. counties from 1977 to 1992, we
find that allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons deters violent crimes, without
increasing accidental deaths. If those states without right-to-carry concealed gun
provisions had adopted them in 1992, county- and state-level data indicate that approximately
1,500 murders would have been avoided yearly. Similarly, we predict
that rapes would have declined by over 4,000, robbery by over 11,000, and aggravated
assaults by over 60,000. We also find criminals substituting into property
crimes involving stealth, where the probability of contact between the criminal and
the victim is minimal. Further, higher arrest and conviction rates consistently reduce
crime. The estimated annual gain from all remaining states adopting these laws was
at least $5.74 billion in 1992.
Source: Lott, John R. and David B. Mustard. “CRIME, DETERRENCE, AND RIGHT-TO-CARRY
CONCEALED HANDGUNS.” Journal of Legal Studies, vol. XXVI (January 1997). University of Chicago Law School, University of Chicago Press, Journals Division. Available Online: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLS/lott.pdf

The Clinton administration had a thoroughly abysmal record of enforcement of gun control law violations. If there are any examples at all of Brady Law violators actually being prosecuted, it is in the single digits. Further, the much vaunted 100,000 cops turned out to be all talk and little or no results.

But, it certainly felt good to pass that law, didn’t it? It MUST have done some good, because it FELT so good, right?
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Old Wed Feb 28, 2001, 06:16pm
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Re: Facts, who's facts?

Quote:
Originally posted by Dakota
My, my, my. First, I’m not a Texan. The state I live in leaves right to carry up to the arbitrary decision of the local police, and history has shown their judgment to be truly arbitrary, with no rhyme or reason behind it.

However, your “facts” are selectively chosen, and sloppily applied.

Quote:
Using cross-sectional time-series data for U.S. counties from 1977 to 1992, we
find that allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons deters violent crimes, without
increasing accidental deaths. If those states without right-to-carry concealed gun
provisions had adopted them in 1992, county- and state-level data indicate that approximately
1,500 murders would have been avoided yearly. Similarly, we predict
that rapes would have declined by over 4,000, robbery by over 11,000, and aggravated
assaults by over 60,000. We also find criminals substituting into property
crimes involving stealth, where the probability of contact between the criminal and
the victim is minimal. Further, higher arrest and conviction rates consistently reduce
crime. The estimated annual gain from all remaining states adopting these laws was
at least $5.74 billion in 1992.
Source: Lott, John R. and David B. Mustard. “CRIME, DETERRENCE, AND RIGHT-TO-CARRY
CONCEALED HANDGUNS.” Journal of Legal Studies, vol. XXVI (January 1997). University of Chicago Law School, University of Chicago Press, Journals Division. Available Online: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLS/lott.pdf

The Clinton administration had a thoroughly abysmal record of enforcement of gun control law violations. If there are any examples at all of Brady Law violators actually being prosecuted, it is in the single digits. Further, the much vaunted 100,000 cops turned out to be all talk and little or no results.

But, it certainly felt good to pass that law, didn’t it? It MUST have done some good, because it FELT so good, right?
Are you sure we're talking about the same thing? Violations of the Brady Law? I'd be surprised if there had been 10 in the whole country last year. The bill simply requires a 5-day waiting period before the purchase of a hand gun. Cooling off does seem to make a difference.

My facts are simply more up-to-date than yours. You stop at 1992. I'm talking about 1997-1999. But the point is not worth continuing. You're a little bit NRA, and I'm a little bit ACLU. That doesn't mean I wouldn't help you out if you were being assaulted by a Texas tarantula.
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