Jacob Sullum

Posted February 10, 2016

During the last Republican presidential debate in which he participated, Rand Paul condemned the National Security Agency's mass collection of Americans' telephone records, cautioned against reckless intervention in Syria's civil war, and declared that a "true fiscal conservative" must "look at all spending" for savings, meaning the military budget is not sacrosanct.

Posted February 03, 2016

Ted Cruz, who won the Republican caucus in Iowa on Monday, says he has always opposed legalizing the 11 million people who live in the U.S. without the government's permission. Donald Trump, who finished second in Iowa, has promised to deport them all, while Marco Rubio, who was a point behind Trump, has renounced the "path to citizenship" he used to support and wants to double the size of the U.S. Border Patrol, even as net migration from Mexico has dropped below zero.

Posted January 27, 2016

The "report card" from America's Renewable Future, a biofuel industry group, is not complicated. If you are a presidential candidate participating in Monday's Iowa caucuses and you support "the commonsense, bipartisan Renewable Fuel Standard," you get a "good rating," symbolized by a fuel gauge pointing to "full." Otherwise, you get a "bad rating," symbolized by a fuel gauge pointing to "empty."

Posted January 20, 2016

During last week's Republican presidential debate, Ted Cruz said it's "really quite clear" he is eligible to run for president even though he was born in Canada, because his mother was a U.S. citizen.

Posted January 13, 2016

A lack of background checks for gun buyers plainly had nothing to do with the mass shootings that have grabbed headlines in the last few years. The weapons used in those crimes were purchased legally from federally licensed firearms dealers, which means the buyers passed background checks.

Posted January 06, 2016

The new gun controls that President Obama announced on Tuesday include a "clarification" of who is "engaged in the business of selling firearms," the upshot of which is that more gun buyers will be subject to background checks.

Posted December 30, 2015

On Monday, when he announced that a grand jury had declined to indict two Cleveland police officers in the 2014 shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty said enhanced video of the incident showed the boy was drawing what looked like a gun from his waistband. Although the object was actually an Airsoft pellet pistol, McGinty said, Timothy Loehmann, the officer who killed Tamir within two seconds of arriving at the scene, had no way of knowing that.

Posted December 23, 2015

In a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit last August, Judge Rhesa Hawkins Barksdale argued that a rap song featuring allegations of sexual harassment against two high school coaches represented a threat to civilization itself.

Posted December 16, 2015

Two days after the massacre in San Bernardino, Marco Rubio said something that most gun control supporters probably thought was outrageous.

Posted December 09, 2015

There is not much the government can do about the sort of terrorist threat that President Obama described in his speech on Sunday. It will always be difficult to stop self-radicalized jihadists, operating under no one's instructions, from carrying out attacks on soft targets too scattered and numerous to secure.

Posted December 02, 2015

After Officer Timothy Loehmann fatally shot a 12-year-old boy named Tamir Rice at a Cleveland park in November 2014, police sources fed two exculpating details to the press: Tamir had disregarded Loehmann's command to raise his hands, and had instead brandished an Airsoft pellet gun that looked just like a real pistol.

Posted November 25, 2015

The recent attacks in Paris have inspired various half-baked proposals to prevent terrorism in the United States. Here are four of the dumbest.

Posted November 18, 2015

During a talk radio debate last week, Tulsa's district attorney, Steve Kunzweiler, warned that civil forfeiture reform would invite "some of the most violent people in the history of this planet" to set up shop in Oklahoma, making decapitated bodies "hung from bridges" a familiar sight in the Sooner State.

Posted November 11, 2015

After public school officials in Canon City, Colorado, discovered at least 100 students had been using their cellphones to swap nude photos of themselves, the Associated Press reported that "it could take a month to sort the offenders from the victims."

Posted November 11, 2015

After public school officials in Canon City, Colorado, discovered at least 100 students had been using their cellphones to swap nude photos of themselves, the Associated Press reported that "it could take a month to sort the offenders from the victims." Part of the challenge is that Colorado, like many states, makes no such distinction: If you are under 18 and take a sexually suggestive picture of yourself, you are both victim and offender.

Posted October 28, 2015

Testifying before the House Select Committee on Benghazi last Thursday, Hillary Clinton bristled when Peter Roskam, a Republican congressman from Illinois, described the consequences of overthrowing Libyan dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi. "After your plan, things in Libya today are a disaster," Roskam said.

Posted October 21, 2015

When it comes to gun control, Hillary Clinton said last Friday, "Australia is a good example" for the United States to follow. That comment suggested the leading Democratic presidential candidate's plans in this area are much more ambitious than she usually lets on -- so ambitious that implementing them would require ignoring or repealing the Second Amendment.

Posted October 14, 2015

Donald Trump, who in the 1990s tried to force an elderly widow out of her Atlantic City home as part of a plan to expand his casino, now says he is glad she resisted, because it helped him avoid a bad investment. By successfully fighting condemnation of her home, Trump told Breitbart News last week, Vera Coking "saved me a fortune."

Posted October 07, 2015

The problem is that we generally do not know a gun buyer "wants to inflict harm on other people" until he does it. That reality shows the folly of relying on background checks or psychiatric intervention to prevent mass shootings.

Posted September 30, 2015

In a "Meet the Press" interview on Sunday, Hillary Clinton said she has tried to "be as transparent as possible" in response to questions about her use of a private email server as secretary of state. A timeline of her efforts so far suggests she needs to try a little harder.