Gun control notes from all over


In light of the seemingly imminent demise of Canada’s long gun registry, readers may be interested in the latest gun control developments in the United States, where the Associated Press reports that 24 states have passed 47 new laws loosening gun restrictions over the last two years.

  • Arizona, Florida, Louisiana and Utah have made it illegal for businesses to bar employees from storing guns in cars parked on company lots.
  • Tennessee and Montana have passed laws that exempt weapons made and owned in-state from federal restrictions. In Tennessee, this would include the .50-caliber shoulder-fired rifle made by Barrett Firearms Manufacturing, which the company says can shoot bullets up to eight kilometers.
  • Tennessee’s new gun law, passed after lawmakers overrode a veto by the governor, also allows handguns in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol.
  • A similar Arizona law that took effect in September allows people with concealed-weapons permits to bring their guns into bars and restaurants that haven’t posted signs banning them.

In 1959, 60 percent of respondents to a US Gallup survey said they favored a ban on handguns except for “police and other authorized persons.” Gallup’s most recent annual crime survey in October found 71 percent opposed such a ban.

Class size vs. achievement

How much does class size affect performance on standardized tests? The charts displayed below plot US state-level student-teacher ratios against against the results for three parts of the SAT Reasoning Test (formerly Scholastic Aptitude Test and Scholastic Assessment Test) used in US college admissions.






These tables, from the wonderful FlowingData website, obviously use US data, but the results may have implications here.

States with higher SAT scores are shown in green, and generally have lower student-teacher ratios.

The ratio is not perfect, however. Utah has the largest classes in the US, but maintains better-than-average test scores. Maine has the smallest classes in the country, but ranks among the lowest in SAT scores.

Click for a larger version and a fuller explanation.

Whether SATs measure anything that could remotely be termed “aptitude” is another question.