You came for the headline, obviously, but you’ll soon walk away feeling enlightened or in a state of laughter, or both. Peter Funt—son of the late Allen Funt who created the classic show Candid Camera (1948-2014)—followed in his father’s footsteps as a host of the show between 1996 to 2004. A little over a year ago, however, he made it known that he had reservations about Kamala Harris, or should I say “a” reservation: Harris owns a handgun.
Out of all the despicable things Harris is well-known for, owning a gun doesn’t even make the list. Nevertheless, here are several “reservations” that anyone should have regarding Harris. Quoting from KamalaHarris.info, she “put parents in jail for children skipping school—and laughed about it.” She argued against the expansion of California’s prisoner release program because her “lawyers claimed that releasing them would cause prisons to lose an important pool of forced labor for putting out California’s wild fires (for which the prisoners only get paid about $2 a day).” As for the death penalty, “She claimed that the decision by the federal judge to outlaw the death penalty ‘undermines important protections that our courts provide to defendants.’”
Keep these points in mind, but now let’s return to Funt’s article in which the tagline reads as follows:
Harris, a former DA, apparently thinks it’s fine to own a handgun for personal safety. That’s a position held by the NRA, not progressive Democrats.
Notice the language used here: on one side, there are progressive Democrats like him, while on the other side, there are NRA members. Now clearly, Funt is a reasonable man on a hunt for truth (aren’t we all?), so why couldn’t he be bothered to dig into some of his alleged sources? For example, what percentage of NRA members would you assume are Democrats or Republicans? By Funt’s standards, it’d have to be 0% and 100%, respectively. Yet as recent as 2017, “Roughly three-quarters (77%) of gun owners who say they belong to the NRA are Republicans or lean Republican, while only 20% are Democrats or lean Democratic.” Talk about a bogus dichotomy! But surely, this was just a minor blunder.
“Harris,” he continued, “has shot herself in the foot” because “her words are fine, but for a progressive like me, they are undermined by that handgun.” Funt’s next claim, unsurprisingly, is just as outrageous as the first:
Keeping a handgun for personal safety is a bedrock conservative view. The best defense against a “bad guy with a gun,” the NRA falsely argues, is “a good guy with a gun.”
Not only did Funt link to an ABC News article, which proved nothing and merely alluded to a “study” by John Donohue from Stanford University—but there lies another issue: where is the study? And which study for that matter? He didn’t link to one or reference one! After doing Funt’s research for him, I am guessing it was in reference to a working paper from November 2018 titled “Right-to-Carry Laws and Violent Crime: A Comprehensive Assessment Using Panel Data and a State-Level Synthetic Control Analysis.” To cut to the chase, Donohue and his co-authors conclude that “states that passed RTC laws experienced 13-15 percent higher aggregate violent crime rates than their synthetic controls after ten years.” Sounds quite daunting! In fact, the entire study is meant to appear this way, and to the untrained eye, it’s not at all obvious what the methodology and figures used are.
As a first approximation, the study only looked at aggregate violent crime rates, yet the Right-to-Carry would not factor into many types of violent crimes (such as rape). The most glaring error the authors made was that it compared, Texas to Nebraska, California, and Wisconsin. Notice the issue? All of these states vary in terms of population, culture, landscape, and a plethora of other factors—the conclusion is non-sequitur. Lastly, an economist always asks the question “relative to what?” Yet this study looks at only one side of the equation which is violent crime rates as they exist in relation to Right-to-Carry laws, yet what about crime rates in the absence of these laws? Considering we don’t live in a world where we can make this scenario a reality, they used mathematical modeling to “predict” what these crime rates would’ve been, which should strike anyone as odd regardless of one’s expertise in mathematics. The study, even if Funt had the mathematical and economical knowledge to read and comprehend it, doesn’t pass the smell test.
One last point worthy of discussion in Funt’s is as follows:
Harris justified owning the gun by pointing out that “I was a career prosecutor.” She could have said, “Dealing with dangerous criminals while serving as district attorney in San Francisco I felt compelled to have a handgun. After leaving that job I disposed of the weapon.”
One of the major talking points that gun-proponents espouse is that the government doesn’t want to eradicate guns in actuality, but instead they want to be the only ones with guns. Funt’s choice of words to describe Harris couldn’t elucidate this point any clearer. Individuals with guns are either dangerous criminals, and hence are not in the government ambit, or they’re defenders against dangerous criminals, hence they are in the government ambit. Again with the bogus dichotomy’s, it’s worth mentioning a statistic from The National Academies Press which is also flaunted by the Center for Disease Control (CDC):
Estimates of gun use for self-defense vary widely, in part due to definitional differences for self-defensive gun use; different data sources; and questions about accuracy of data, particularly when self-reported. The NCVS has estimated 60,000 to 120,000 defensive uses of guns per year. On the basis of data from 1992 and 1994, the NCVS found 116,000 incidents (McDowall et al., 1998). Another body of research estimated annual gun use for self-defense to be much higher, up to 2.5 million incidents, suggesting that self-defense can be an important crime deterrent (Kleck and Gertz, 1995). Some studies on the association between self-defensive gun use and injury or loss to the victim have found less loss and injury when a firearm is used (Kleck, 2001b).
 Funt also hosted the show in 2014 as well.
 Eugene Kiely, “Kamala Harris Spins Facts on Truancy Law,” FactCheck.org, May 14, 2019. https://www.factcheck.org/2019/05/kamala-harris-spins-facts-on-truancy-law/.
 Jackie Kucinich, “Kamala Harris’ A.G. Office Tried to Keep Inmates Locked Up for Cheap Labor,” The Daily Beast, February 11, 2019. https://www.thedailybeast.com/kamala-harris-ag-office-tried-to-keep-inmates-locked-up-for-cheap-labor.
 Lara Bazelon, “Kamala Harris Was Not a ‘Progressive Prosecutor’,” The New York Times, January 17, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/17/opinion/kamala-harris-criminal-justice.html.
 Peter Funt, “Kamala Harris owns a handgun. That’s disqualifying for a 2020 Democrat in my book.,” USA Today, April 26, 2019. https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2019/04/26/kamala-harris-owns-handgun-unacceptable-2020-democratic-race-column/3567371002/?fbclid=IwAR2MmNRdG9sHa5xT1JroWj3pE232AxUlmnm7IjYwsy1rPLCfsmFnUpoqA8U.
 Kim Parker, “Among gun owners, NRA members have a unique set of views and experiences,” PewResearch.org, July 5, 2017. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/07/05/among-gun-owners-nra-members-have-a-unique-set-of-views-and-experiences/.
 John J. Donohue, Abhay Aneja, and Kyle D. Weber, “Right-to-Carry Laws and Violent Crime: A Comprehensive Assessment Using Panel Data and a State-Level Synthetic Control Analysis,” National Bureau of Economic Research, November 2018, 42. https://www.nber.org/papers/w23510.pdf.
 The errors of this study need not be dwelled on, but it’s interesting to note that a 2014 study—in response to a 2011 study by Aneja, Donohue, and Zhang—determined that “the most robust result, confirmed using both county and state data, is that RTC laws significantly reduce murder,” while Right-to-Carry Laws have been statistically shown to “decrease rape” and “reduce the victim costs of crime.” See Carlisle E. Moody, Thomas B. Marvell, Paul R. Zimmerman, and Fasil Alemante, “The Impact of Right-to-Carry Laws on Crime: An Exercise in Replication,” Review of Economics & Finance, February 2014. http://www.bapress.ca/ref/v4-1/1923-7529-2014-04-33-11.pdf.
 National Research Council, “Priorities for Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related Violence,” The National Academies Press, 2013, 45. https://doi.org/10.17226/18319.