If you were to suggest that the majority of academics are vehemently opposed to “letting” Americans exercise their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms on campus, or anywhere else for that matter, you wouldn’t get much of an argument from me, If you were to link their opposition to a misplaced faith in their own intellectual superiority and their willful unwillingness to consider the facts of the matter, that’s another point against which I would not protest. But if you were to say that all academicians are that stupid, well, here’s evidence to the contrary [via idahostatesman.com] . . .

The wonderful thing about federalism is that each state is effectively a public policy experiment. If an idea works in some states you can see it as evidence that the idea is valid. The results of the experiment are now in; repealing the license requirement does not endanger public safety; quite the opposite.

In Alaska, murder rates for the period 1993 through 2003 (when Alaska had a concealed weapon permit law similar to Idaho) averaged 7.0/100,000 people; after passage of a law similar to HB 89 murder rates for 2004 through 2012 averaged 4.6/100,000.

Similarly, Arizona and Wyoming passed laws similar to HB 89 in 2010 and 2011 respectively. Wyoming’s murder rate fell from 2.6/100,000 (for 2002-2011), to 2.4/100,000 (for 2012). Arizona’s murder rate fell from 7.4/100,000 (for 2001-2010 ) to 5.8/100,000 (for 2011-2012). In the case of Alaska and Wyoming, murder rates fell faster than the national murder rate.

How could repealing a gun control law reduce murder rates? Because gun control laws are primarily passed to create the illusion of safety; for example; states that have adopted mandatory background checks on firearms transfers since 1960 are more likely to have murder rates rise than fall. Of course, I am assuming concealed weapon licensing is about reducing murder and non-negligent manslaughter, and not just making people feel safe. American history suggests otherwise.

Clayton E. Cramer knows of what he speaks. Here’s his bio via wikipedia.org:

Clayton E. Cramer is an American historian, author, and software engineer. He played an important early role in documenting errors in the book Arming America by Michael A. Bellesiles, a book that was later proven to be based on fraudulent research. His work was cited by the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas in United States v. Emerson, 46 F.Supp.2d 598 (N.D.Tex. 1999). His research also informed the Supreme Court decision in the seminal Second Amendment cases District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago. He holds an MA in history from Sonoma State University. He currently resides in Horseshoe Bend, Idaho, near Boise.

As you can see, Mr. Cramer is one of those rare educators who supports gun rights. His students are lucky to have him, as are the rest of The People of the Gun. Especially when he writes stuff like this:

The concealed weapon laws of the U.S. have a fascinating history of illusion. California’s current concealed weapon permit law (under which licenses are generally granted to people with political influence or big campaign contributors to the sheriff’s election campaign), was originally passed in 1923 as part of a bill that supporters forthrightly admitted was passed to disarm Chinese and Hispanics.

Florida’s law regulating the carrying of guns passed in the 1890s, according the Florida Supreme Court decision Watson v. Stone (1941), was passed to disarm blacks and give whites a better feeling of security. The statute was never intended to be applied to the white population. As the Enlightenment criminologist Cesare Beccarin observed in “On Crimes and Punishments” (1764), laws forbidding the carrying of arms primarily disarm victims and have little impact on people who intend to commit some of the worst crimes such as murder and rape.

Historically accurate common sense gun rights analysis from TTAG’s Gun Hero of the Day. Kudos to you sir, and both the College of Western Idaho and the Statesman for giving you a platform for your views. You can buy his book Concealed Weapon Laws of The Early Republic: Dueling, Southern Violence, and Moral Reform at amazon.com. Free shipping for college students!

63 Responses to Gun Hero of the Day: Professor Clayton E. Cramer

    • Particularly the People’s Republic of the North End (of Boise), where all of the precious people live – the ones who left California because of the crime and taxes, and now want to turn Idaho into California. FOR THE CHILDREN!!!!

      • Truth. At least when you head up the canyon towards cascade that type of citizen is harder to find. Beautiful country too, I just don’t have any plans to ever go back to McCall. Once was enough and I will stick to the hills and the east side of Idaho.

      • Actually many Idaho profressives aren’t from California at all. They have fantasies based on how “sensible people” would implement progressive ideas, with no awareness that the logical and of “sensible people” and progressive policies is a null set.

      • Mark Levin calls these parasites “Liberal Locust” who eat up all the liberty in their home states and fly off to turn the new state into the cesspool they fled.

        Ray

  1. I have questions about Wyoming’s murder rate.
    1) How do you murder .4 of a person?
    2) Who transported in the other 75,000 people to make up the “/100,000”?

    • HA HA. So do you live here? Traveled through? Actually, we have almost a half a million people in this state. Amazing right? Least populated state in the union. We also have some of the best gun laws in the nation as well. I get your sarcasm, but it does sound like your bashing on a state that you know nothing about. If your into high end coffee shops, designer clothing or the latest and greatest apple product, yea, this state is not the place for you. But if you like the outdoors, nice people and privacy, wyoming is pretty awesome. But to talk down about a state that has virtually no violent crime by saying no one lives here is pretty childish.

      • Lighten up! There is a difference between “bashing” and “making fun”! Even as a supporter, you have to admit that before a person can commit murder (no matter how much he wants to!), he has to find a person to murder. And your state is beautiful, at least in part due to the sparse population.

      • And let me add, as someone who has traveled through southern Wyoming on !-80 quite often, anyone who can live in Wyoming during the winter has got to have some hard bark on ’em. No place for wusses.

        • Yep. I grew up just outside of Cheyenne, and I can attest to that. One of my chores as a kid was to pick the tumbleweeds out of the snow fence that kept our driveway from drifting over. That was unpleasant, to say the least.

    • How do you murdermurder .4 of a person? Force them to listen to pro gun control agitprop.

    • Eat more Chunky Monkey and shovel snow until August? Count me out. But VT carry is very nice. I was going to write “cool” instead of “very nice,” but the double entendre was more than I could bear.

      • Often that decision is more with the publisher. Publishers that do text books are used to having a ‘captive audience’ and so charge nutty prices.

        • Captive and very small audiences … you’re spreading the non-recurring costs among far fewer copies than “Twilight: Red Dawn” or whatever the latest Teen Paranormal Romance blockbuster is.

        • Professors have no input into the price of their books, and they are almost always just happy to have them published. These scholarly books generate no income for the author, but they are essential in their attempts to gain tenure, advance from associate to full professor, or to create opportunities to teach at a higher ranked institution. The exception to this is when there is a textbook that the professor gets contracted to write. Those can make really money for the authors–especially if there are three editions guaranteed in the contract.

          Perhaps I have had very different experiences than other people, but I never had a class where I had to buy a book written by one of my instructors.

      • He meant the other book: “Concealed Weapon Laws of The Early Republic: Dueling, Southern Violence, and Moral Reform”

      • Don’t touch that URL.

        Beware any page that asks you to ‘sign up’ for a bootleg file.

        Pay for your copy, don’t steal it from the author.

  2. Ah, he’s an engineer as well as a historian. That explains it. An engineer is somebody who objectively analyzed a problem and then finds the most effective solution to solving it, regardless of emotions or politics.
    Very different from the other “intellectuals” with PhDs in useless and a master’s in women’s study or something.

    • I studied women, for years, meticulously. I would even, somewhat brazenly, call some of the research innovative. At least they said so. It’s a creative field. Even Adam, after the sin, is reputed to have said to Eve, “now THAT was original!” Who do I have to pay to get the sheepskin? It would look good on the wall.

  3. In the past, I have decried TTAG’s use of the word “hero” to describe people who took no risks or made no significant sacrifice in the course of expressing pro-2A views. But any professor employed in the liberal bubble of academia might jeopardize his career by speaking the truth about the real history of gun control.

    So I think he deserves the title.

    • From Google’s definition:

      he·ro
      ˈhirō/
      noun
      1. a person, typically a man, who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.

      No sacrifice or risk necessary. The word “or” enables the person to be admired for any one of the attributes listed. Although, I’d say this man has achieved all three.

  4. I think the Alaska numbers make a better statistical case because you are roughly comparing a decade average to a decade average. Difficult to make the same validation in the Arizona and Wyoming cases simply because there aren’t as many data points yet, but they are going in the right direction.

    • True, but even the Wyoming and Arizona numbers show that the “blood in the streets” hysteria that the anti-gunners try to gin up whenever anyone talks about loosening restrictions on guns isn’t borne out by actual reality. Whether the murder rate actually goes down or stays the same, their claim that it will instantly skyrocket never seems to happen.

      • Yes, but that point has been proven around 100 times since I first heard it in 1987 regarding FL’s CC law. Doesn’t matter, the EXACT SAME hysterical arguments come up every single time. The media carries the story breathlessly, every single time, and the fact that it has repeatedly been proven false escapes notice by the media or the masses, every single time. It’s almost as if the whole movement is more about ideology and “feelings” than about facts.

      • Liberal Arts types just have no respect for the meaning of scientific formulas. You can’t just add guns to a population X and get more gun crime. You have to add guns and lots of punks, and some new laws that prevent the original population from caging punks. Simple. Unfortunately they seem to be figuring that out in this administration.

  5. Do not misunderstand me, I like Professor Cramer; however, I think he missed the mark when he said, “…gun control laws are primarily passed to create the illusion of safety…”

    Gun control laws are *sold to the public* using the illusion of safety; they are *passed* for two primary reasons:

    1. To assert governmental control; and,
    2. To increase the government’s cash flow (which is a variation on theme #1).

    • If he were to say so, he would be giving anyone who doesn’t already agree an excuse to dismiss his statement out of hand. Perhaps he believes what he said exactly, or perhaps he understands it as you do, but stating it as he did is the better option if you want it to be presentable to fence sitters.

      In short it doesn’t matter. Convincing someone that the laws actually have an effect inverse from what is “intended” is sufficient for most people (hardcore antis not included), trying to convince them that they only real reason to push for gun control is to reach total disarmament and subjugation will likely cause most normal reasonable folks to dismiss everything you say.

      Sad but true, folks who haven’t bothered to delve into the philosophy underpinning the constitution and declaration won’t care to much about the philosophy underpinning gun control, so sick to effectiveness. After all, the pro gun movement has morality and social utility working for it, use whichever will work best on the audience.

    • This my first introduction in firearms history in 1994. I have been following him ever since. Thanks for locating it again.

  6. I find it strange that Clayton Cramer needs introduction. He’s been a huge force in gun rights for a long time, especially in the notorious Clinton days when Bellesiles was lying to the world. But then, the internet was new back then. He’s still out there, but there are more voices now.

    I think I traded emails with him back in the 1990’s. I’m sure he’s busier than to do that anymore.

  7. I’m an engineer turned college history instructor who supports the 2nd Amendment without any ‘buts’. Kudos to Professor Cramer for being so open and public about it. I’m not that brave. I mostly teach pre Civil War so I can inform students on the intent of the Constitution while distancing myself from present-day perversions (thus protecting my non-tenured job).

    FWIW In the past 5 years I have noticed a definite trend in my classes where students increasingly arrive with a stronger understanding of the Constitution and the 2nd Amendment. It use to be I’d have to encourage pro-2A students to speak up. Lately it has been the opposite.

    • This is the ‘Backlash Effect’ I and many others have predicted.

      The louder the left yells about the 2A, the more fence-sitters take a look at it.

      I’m also convinced the economy of the past decade and the politics of the current president are creating a fresh crop of young Libertarians who don’t see guns as evil. Just a tool. No inherent evil.

      The first person shooter multi-player video games and Hollywood movies show guns not as evil objects. There’s a sea-change happening in our favor on gun rights.

      And that is a Martha Stewart ‘Good Thing’…

  8. It’s rare, but there are definitely pro-gun people in academia. They’re the minority, without a doubt, but they do exist. Where I went to school, I knew of two professors who carried every day, and this was in Colorado, which is one of the only states where people with CHL’s can legally carry on college campuses, and the school has no right to tell them otherwise. Oh, and the professors were (of course) in the STEM fields (one mathematician and one computer scientist), where problems are solved with rational thought and logic.

  9. Surprise surprise. Good for him. Given the state of academia, he’s risking no less than his entire career by speaking out in favor of gun rights.

    • He alienated a large chunk of the academic “community” when he showed the lies in Martin Bellseiles’ anti-gun propaganda book, “Arming America”. It had won a historical writing prize, and the entire academic history mob turned on Cramer when he pointed out the lies. Recommended reading by Clayton Cramer: “Armed America: The Remarkable Story of How and Why Guns Became as American as Apple Pie”.

      • Yup.

        But the truth is the truth. And Clayton, much as the physicist Sokal before him, pulled aside the curtain and exposed academia as the bunch of frauds they are. Sokal had/has all the lefty cred an academic could hope for, and academics turned on him too. Clayton, being a RKBA supporter, came in for extra-special character attacks.

        There’s plenty of falsified “research” in “peer reviewed” journals out there. There’s a bunch of it even in engineering journals, but in the social sciences and humanities areas, academic fraud is positively rampant.

      • Yup. Dont equate “academia” with truth, by default. We only have to look at the corrupting influence of politically driven “science” of anthropomorphic global warming, when driven by huge amounts of money, in federal grants, and a belief system, rather than logic and the “scientific method”.”

        Alinsky’s Rules reign in the left-liberal universities, as tactis to discredit anyone who dare question the orthodoxy and dogma of the Progressive Narrative.

      • Alienated, maybe.

        But he effectively refuted them and proved them to be the unintellectual, self-perpetuating circle jerk of irrelevance that they are. http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/1185

        Lets put things into perspective, Bellesiles’ Bancroft Prize was revoked. This was also the first time the prize had been revoked from somebody. That is a huge mark on Bellesiles’ credibility.

        Thats why it cracks me up when idiots like Mikey numbers cite him.

  10. Good work, TTAG giving visibility to Clayton Cramer, to new POTG. He’s a national treasure, first discovered via Instapundit, aka Prof Glejnn Reynolds, another energing voice in con law. Add Eugene Volokh and his posse, and you wil gain a very solid understanding of the history of gun rights and law.

    You can get a good synopsis here, with context and backgroujd on the most influential 2A case pending now, by an independent reporter at callawer, on a profile of Chuck Michel, west coast attorney on Peruta v Gore.
    http://mobile.callawyer.com/clmobilestory.cfm?eid=939363

  11. Clayton Cramer, there’s nothing I can say that will increase your stature. What honorable work you’ve done! Thanks.

  12. The problem here is that this argument is a textbook example of confusing correlation with causation. During the time periods listed murder rates were dropping throughout most of the country and the claim that the drops in AK, WY, etc are a direct result of these laws is simply not supported by the evidence. Since the passage of the SAFE Act (which I think I can safely assume most everyone here agrees with me is unconstitutional and ineffective) NYC’s murder rate has dropped to 4 per 100,000 (the lowest it has been since the NYPD started keeping statistics in 1963) but I’m sure we can all agree that NYC’s oppressive gun control laws are not the reason why.

    There are many good arguments why unconstitutional and ineffective restrictions on the 2A rights of American citizens should be repealed and making arguments like this is really counterproductive as it allows the antis to easily discredit bad statistics (and, in doing so, paint gun rights advocates as dishonest and/or uninformed) rather than having to confront the real issues.

    • I was careful not to claim that murder rates falling faster than the nation as a whole was because of constitutional carry. Still, if this a safety problem, it is odd that three states have run this experiment, all with dropping murder rates, and none in the opposite direction.

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