Mike The Gun Guy Magazine.

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I have been listening members of the gun violence prevention (GVP) community lament again and again that we need to engage in positive and constructive discussions with gun owners about the risks of owning guns.

shooting_gallery_with_winchesters_headerSo we have decided to make my website become a place where just such discussions can take place.  Accordingly, we have made the following changes to my site and hope that everyone who wants to create and sustain a discussion about guns from both sides of the argument will contribute their views here. This is what you will now find:

  1. Contributions from people other than Mike.  We now have an outstanding group of Contributing Editors, and we will be adding more. These writers are free to contribute their thoughts on any topic they like without editorial control of any kind from me. If you would like to contribute your thoughts to this website, please contact me and I’ll explain the rules, except there are no rules other than sending us a brief bio and thumbnail pic so that you can be listed on our Contributing Editors page.
  2. New and relevant readings. The publishing industry has changed to the point that many important and informative books are now self-published, or what is called ipress, including writers like Mike who can’t wait a year or longer for the trade or university press folks to get his brilliant texts into print. These books and important articles will be listed on the For Further Reading page, and we encourage readers to send us titles which they think should be on this page as well.  And every listing will include a link that will take readers to the place where they can actually buy the book or download the article. We will also be encouraging independent publishers and the trade press to send us notices about new books.
  3. The Gun Forum.  This page gives everyone an opportunity to contribute their thoughts and ideas about guns, to share those thoughts with others and move from being passive readers to active communicators.  You can join an ongoing discussion or create a new one and you don’t need to be ‘approved’ in order to get involved. We are also going to keep edits to a minimum because we assume that everyone who participates wants the discussions to be intelligent, rational and devoid of insults or other childish rants

You may also notice some advertisements on the site. We are partnering with WordPress in this venture with the understanding that the ads will all be for legitimate products or services and will not be intrusive on the site. If the ads become a bother or a nuisance, they will be curtailed.

Please feel free to send us feedback about our new site.

Reducing Gun Violence The New York City Way.


How should we go about reducing gun violence? According to The New York Times, we need to adopt a ‘public health strategy’ based on lessons we learned in reducing fatalities from accidents involving cars. The approach favored by the less-compassionate crowd; i.e., Vladimir Trump and the NRA, is to ‘get tough’ on crime and lock all those ‘street thugs’ right up.

blight2              In fact, we seem to have a remarkable example of a successful drop in gun violence within New York City, where homicide numbers in 2017 might end up at the lowest level since the 1950’s, as well as representing nearly a 90% drop from the 2,245 homicides recorded in 1990, an all-time high.  To give you another perspective on these numbers, this year the city of Baltimore may finish with more homicides than New York, even though Baltimore’s population is around 650,000, whereas more than 8.5 million call the Big Apple their home.

To explain what’s going on, the Times turned to our good friend Frank Zimring, whose book, The City That Became Safe, attempted to explain the decline through a combination of more effective, data-driven policing focused on specific high-crime ‘spots’ rather than the more generalized ‘quality of life’ policing tactics such as looking for ‘broken windows’ or stop-and-frisk. But Zimring’s book only went through 2010, and homicides have dropped nearly 50% since that time. What’s driving the decline now? It’s “utterly mysterious” says Zimring, who is hardly alone in not being able to figure it out.

With all due respect to the criminologists and social scientists who have looked at New York’s crime stats again and again, I’m going to throw out a little theory based on an element of the urban landscape in New York and other places which appears to be overlooked. It’s a phenomenon I call ‘re-urbanization;’ i.e., the reclaiming of distressed, inner-city neighborhoods not through ‘urban renewal’ plans, but on a block-by-block basis by newly-arrived residents who move into cheap, marginal housing which they renovate, upgrade and slowly but surely create a stable environment where middle-class families can work and live. Know why New York is a ‘sanctuary city?’ Because it’s those new immigrants, those documented and undocumented ‘aliens’ whose presence brings many distressed neighborhoods back from the dead.

Several years ago I took a ride in Brooklyn all the way down Atlantic Avenue from the Brooklyn Academy of Music to the border of Queens, a trip which took me through parts of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville and East New York.  When I was growing up in New York in the late 1950’s, these three neighborhoods comprised the worst part of the Brooklyn ghetto; going from the corner of Sutter and Rockaway Avenues to Times Square was like going from the Earth to the Moon.

The four police precincts covering these neighborhoods – 73rd, 75th, 79th, 81st – patrol a combined population of 246,050 which in 2000 racked up 289 homicides; last year the homicide total was 54.  These same four precincts made 458 arrests for illegal weapons in 2000; the 2016 number more than doubled to 979. Want to reduce gun violence? Get rid of the guns.

What really struck me as I drove and walked through these neighborhoods, however, was the extent to which I could see again and again the degree to which new pockets of residential housing and commercial enterprise were springing up all over the place.  Take a look at this apartment complex on Gates Avenue in Bed-Stuy.  The tab to live in what the developers call ‘historic’ Bedford-Stuyvesant begins at $2,500 bucks a month. Check out a rehabbed building at 1365 Fulton Street; no vacancies at the moment but if one comes up the monthly for a one-bedroom will only run you two grand.

People moving into those apartments don’t expect to be robbed or shot. And they won’t be because for all kinds of reasons as an urban environment becomes more prosperous, it also becomes crime-free. Want to reduce gun violence? Try upgrading a neighborhood where gun violence occurs.




Dave Buchannon – Make A New Year’s Training Resolution.


I hope you had a wonderful, peaceful and joyous holiday.  Now that you’ve digested all of those wonderful holiday treats, you’re probably ready to make some resolutions for the new year and I, for one, would like to see every gun owner make a resolution to train more frequently.

training2Now I’ve heard the complaint that it is expensive to practice your shooting skills frequently, but before you pick out your first class seat on the complaint train, let’s put “expensive” into perspective.

Back a few years I used to golf every Saturday morning with the same three guys.  We’d travel to different courses in our region because we’d always heard that some course “over there” was better then where we played “over here,” actually we just enjoyed playing different courses.  We didn’t play highbrow courses, we sought mostly nice municipal and private courses that were open to the public.  The point is, we usually paid around $35 each for a round of golf, which didn’t include the lost balls or the round of beers at the 19th hole.  We all considered thirty-five bucks a reasonable price to pay for a half-day of fun in the sun.  More importantly, our wives were all willing to pay that much just to get our butts out of the house for a while.

Today I can run down to my local sporting goods store or gun shop and pick up a box of 50 rounds of pistol ammo for about $12, and I do not live in an inexpensive region.  So for right around what I used to pay for a single round of golf I can buy 150 rounds of pistol ammunition… without any coupons or discounts.  Of course that doesn’t include the cost of my rod & gun club membership but that’s a sunk cost, meaning if I joined the club I’m paying for it whether I train once a year or three times a week.

So for about the same cost as a weekly round of golf I can get in at least two hours of training, even more if I’m pacing myself correctly.  The reality is that most of us get bored after an hour on the range, so in the future I’ll share some drills to help keep your range time interesting while building important skills.

But what if your limiting factor is time instead of money?  Or what if it’s difficult for you to get to the range, or what if you belong to one of those clubs with a range that’s so busy the only slot available is next week are at 2:30 am on Wednesday?  Find another club. Really.  Not all training though, has to involve throwing real lead downrange, there are some serious training alternatives you can use right at home.

If you want to improve your skills, laser pistols are great for training when you can’t get to the range.  There are a number of options you could cash those holiday gift cards on at one of your favorite online retailers for a reasonable price.  Avoid the temptation to go cheap.  As with all things in the gun world, you get what you pay for.  A well built laser trainer will give you years of service and you can even set up your own laser range with targets that respond to ‘hits’ and ‘misses.’  There are laser trainers that replicate the size and weight of most carry weapons fairly well.

You can get the same effect with a ‘laser bullet’ inserted into the barrel of your carry weapon.  These are like tiny laser pointers that fit into the barrel of your pistol like a cartridge would.  When you pull the trigger, the firing pin presses on a little switch and ‘fires’ the laser so you can see it ‘hit’ your target.

Want to practice your holster work?  Most ranges won’t allow it.  So spend a few dollars on a blue gun replica of your carry weapon and you can practice your draw and re-holster to your heart’s content without even the remote possibility of an accidental discharge.

So for 2018 resolve to train more, you really can afford it.

The Problem Isn’t Gun Violence – The Problem Is Violence.


It has long been a tenet of faith with the gun violence prevention (GVP) community that our homicide rate is far beyond the homicide rates of in other advanced (OECD) countries because we have so many guns. And study after study shows that although our overall violence is about the same as everywhere else, our violence is more fatal because so many people each year die from injuries caused by guns.

skidmore              This truism then morphs into a second truism, namely, that minorities, particularly African-American adolescents and young men, are disproportionately represented in the numbers killed each year with guns. This latter belief is bandied over the media because every weekend, it seems, Chicago is ablaze with guns, ditto other major urban centers with large minority populations and intractable inner-city poverty like St. Louis, Baltimore and New Orleans.

I have never felt entirely comfortable with this line of reasoning because it assumes that without all the guns floating around, we would be as peaceful and non-violent as most other advanced countries, an assumption which is simply not true.  If we compare our non-gun homicides to homicides in the rest of the OECD, we still wind up with a homicide rate that is 2 to 3 times greater than anywhere else. If America was a gun-free zone, we would also have to believe that some of the people who now commit gun murders would go about killing in some other way. In which case, our homicide rate without access to guns would be 4 or 5 times greater than what we see in Italy, Germany, Austria or France.

What concerns me about the public health research on gun violence is that I don’t see any of these scholars, whose work I support and admire, looking at why the U.S. is a more violent country, not just because of our access to guns, but just because we happen to be more violent pari passu (which means colloquially, ‘that’s the way we are.’)

Take alook at a story on the website of my friend John Lott, who analyzed county-level homicide numbers for all 3,100 counties and discovered that half of the murders committed in 2014 occurred in 2% of all counties, whereas more than half of all counties had no murders at all. Which counties were the worst when it comes to violence? Counties that contained cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, you know the drill. What John Lott told us in 2017 is what GVP scholars have been saying for the past 20 years.

There’s only one little problem with both points of view. When we think about community safety, we not only need to know the number of injuries, but the rate at which those injuries occur. It’s the injury rate, not the raw number which defines the relative safety or lack of safety in the place where we live.

Everyone knows that Atlanta has a high crime rate, in 2014 the homicide rate was 13. But take a outside of Atlanta to Bibb County where the 2014 murder rate was 11 – this year it will be 19 or worse.  New Orleans racked up a murder rate in 2014 of 40, but tiny Acadia Parish located in the rural, northwest part of the state, didn’t do all that bad with a murder rate of 26. For comparison’s sake, the per-100K national murder rate in 2014 was around 5.

There are counties like Acadia and Bibb in many states, and in case you are wondering, in many of those counties the majority of the residents aren’t minorities, they happen to be white. If you live in a toney, upper-class Los Angeles neighborhood you’ll never experience the violence that goes on in East LA or Watts. But if you live in Jefferson County, AR, where the murder rate is above 20 per year, you can’t avoid the violence unless you move away.

In this country fatal violence isn’t just a function of access to guns, something else is also going on. Figuring that one out might be a good New Year’s resolution for 2018.

The ‘Gun Rights’ Movement Is Ready To Save America From The ‘Deep State.’

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Once the MAGA movement started showing up at rallies with AR rifles in full view, I knew it was only a matter of time until the alt-right/white media blowhards would jump on the bandwagon and begin pushing a hyped-up version of not just using guns for self-defense, but using guns to protect America from a counter-coup led by the ‘deep state.’ And this message finally appeared full-flower last week on (what else?) the Youtube channel owned by Alex Jones, with an hour-long rant, complete with shooting guns at a Texas indoor range.

jones             What makes this video appealing to the loony set is that it also features none other than Roger Stone, who is introduced as the ‘former head of the Trump campaign,’ although Alex forgot to mention that Stone was not only never the head of Trump’s operation, but was pushed onto the sidelines after he began taking credit for his alleged connection to Julian Assange when Wikileaks started dumping the emails that upended Hillary’s campaign.  Stone got his start as a dirt-digger under Nixon and is probably more responsible for the intertwining of Republican political messaging and conspiracy theories than anyone else.  Which gave him impeccable credentials to serve as a handmaiden for the Trump campaign where racism and nationalism have come home to roost.

The video starts off with Stone delivering a monolog about the worst, largest criminal-conspiracy of all time, namely the Clinton-Hillary uranium deal, and how it’s being covered xup by the ‘deep state.’ At some point Stone then says that he has taken up shooting both to protect himself and the Constitution, Jones chimes in about how Stone has been going to the range frequently to practice his shooting skills, and of course everyone knows that Jones is a long-time and frequent user of guns, right?

Now the action shifts to the range itself with Jones first shooting a 10mm, short-barreled carbine, which he claims to own but doesn’t even know where the safety is located on the gun and tells a range instructor to ‘come on over and show me how this works real quick.’ Stone is even less-informed, picking up a semi-auto Uzi pistol with his finger clearly on the trigger even though the gun isn’t pointed downrange, and as the range officer politely tells him to remove his finer from the trigger, a voice which sounds suspiciously like Alex Jones tells Stone that he’s about to shoot a ‘full-auto’ gun.

Neither Jones nor Stone have any real experience shooting guns at all. But that hardly prevents them from using a shooting motif, particularly one in which the picture of a person is then shot full of holes with a live gun. And if memory serves me correctly, the first politician to stoop to the lowest possible level and run a political ad which pandered to the dumbest of the dumb was a Democrat named Rob Quist who unsuccessfully ran in Montana for the Congressional seat previously held by Ryan Zinke. So before my friends in the gun violence prevention (GVP) community wring their hands in despair as Alex Jones and Roger Stone practice for the upcoming resurrection in an Austin shooting range, let’s just remember that when it comes to promoting themselves, those two jerks didn’t exactly invent the idea of building an identity by shooting off guns.

Talking about building an identity, the latest and even more stupid announcement about the politics of gun ownership comes from another egregious self-promoter, Steve Bannon, who says he’s creating a new movement which will be a ‘revolutionary force’ in American politics, growing out of a coalition of religious reactionaries, pro-life activists, union members (as if there are any union members left) and – who else? – the 2nd-Amendment gang.

What’s behind this overblown, delusional rhetoric is one, simple fact: two media companies known as Infowars and Breitbart, both vying for the same buck.  And now that gun nuts have stopped buying guns, all that spare cash which used to go to support gun ‘rights’ is up for grabs.


Does Concealed-Carry Reduce Crime?



Today’s media will be carrying the story about NRA Board member and NASCAR team owner Dick Childress, who evidently frightened away three dopes who broke into his home by firing a gun at them, an event which Childress claims resulted in no loss of life to himself or his wife thanks to “the 2nd Amendment and God.” No doubt this story will be repeated when the Senate takes up a debate on the national concealed-carry reciprocity bill, with Childress becoming a poster-boy for the idea that we should all be going around armed.

If there is one cottage industry which has emerged and grown within the gun violence prevention (GVP) research community, it’s the continued effort to debunk the work of John Lott, whose book – More Guns Less Crime – has been the clarion-call for the concealed-carry (CCW) movement since it was first published in 1998. The book first appeared when the residents of nearly half the states still had to prove a need to walk around with a gun. As of today, only 8 states still give the authorities who issue CCW some discretion as to who shall and shall not be able to walk around armed; the rest of the country couldn’t care less.

Lott’s argument is based on statistical models which show that as the number of concealed-carry licenses increase in most jurisdictions, criminal activity shifts from in-person to anonymous crime; i.e., a decline in homicides but an increase in burglaries, his argument based on the assumption that criminals don’t want to confront potential crime victims who might be armed.

Lott’s thesis has been attacked by any number of GVP researchers, of whom perhaps the most prominent and prolific scholar is a law professor at Stanford, John Donohue, who has published two, very detailed critiques of Lott’s work.  The first paper was published in 2012, and basically argued that Lott’s argument was based on data which was, at best, incomplete. The second paper was released this year, and went further because it claimed that by using a more sophisticated modeling approach, the data actually showed that in CCW states that violent crime went up. Lott has replied in detail to both these critiques, so the battle wages on.

I recently began a study of murder from a forensic point of view, hence, I took the trouble to read Lott and Donohue again and find myself unable to subscribe to either point of view. The reason I am unpersuaded has nothing to do with the validity of statistical models employed in either approaches; rather, it is based on the assumptions that both Lott and Donohue make about the behavior of criminals versus the behavior of armed citizens, assumptions which I believe in both cases to be totally wrong.

Let’s go back to the three jerks who broke into the home where Dick Childress and his wife were asleep. Obviously, they didn’t do their homework in preparation for the attack because not only were the residents in their home, but the homeowner was certainly armed. I mean, a member of the NRA Board wouldn’t have been able to pull out a gun?

But let’s presume for the sake of argument that the burglary team’s collective IQ wasn’t below the standard of ‘dumb.’ The point is that anonymous crimes, crimes of stealth, usually involve some degree of thought and planning before the crime occurs.  On the other hand, what emerges from the brilliant, 1,000-page textbook on forensic homicide by Lester Adelson is the proven argument that of all crimes, murder is the one crime which is preceded by any planning or conscious thought at all.

Then there’s the question of the degree to which the population which commits the most violent crime – murder – has any degree of contact with the population that believes they need to protect themselves by walking around armed. Because if these two population groups don’t come into contact with one another, making some kind of causal connection between how the two groups behave regarding any issue is about as far away from reality as you can get.

Violent crime, particularly murder, is overwhelmingly an intra-racial affair. Blacks kill blacks, whites kill whites; for both races the intra-racial character is around 90 percent. And just as murder is segregated by race, it’s also segregated by income and where people live. Warren Buffet lives in Omaha, the only murder in Buffet’s neighborhood in the last couple of years was an elderly lady, living alone, who met some dope on the internet and then invited him to move in. He repaid her for her generosity and kindness by bopping her over the head and running off with her jewels. Meanwhile, a mile away from Buffet’s house is a small ghetto surrounding a ballfield and some swing sets known as Giffords Park. The neighborhood has about 5,000 residents but chalks up 8 or 9 shootings each year, the reason that most of the victims survive is because the park is located a block away from the Creighton University Medical Center and ER.

If we are really going to do something about the behavior caused by guns which will probably result in more than 12,000 murders this year, I think it’s time to stop indulging in arguments about statistics and statistical models and start paying attention to how, when and where these murders actually occur. And by the way, don’t make the mistake of assuming that the number of individuals who have concealed-carry licenses represents in any way, shape or form, how many Americans are walking around with guns.  Let me break it to you gently – in neighborhoods, both white and black, where most murders occur, everybody’s got a gun.

Have A Wonderful and Joyous Christmas Season.  


Will National Concealed-Carry Reciprocity Increase Gun Violence?


What would be the result if the national concealed-carry bill being considered by the Senate actually passed and was signed into law? According to the pro-gun gang, this law will allow every American to use a gun for self-defense no matter where he or she goes. The gun-control gang, on the other hand (I’m trying to be as even-handed as possible but don’t expect me to keep it up) says that such a law will unleash a wave of untrained people carrying guns from states that require little or no pre-licensing training to states which require some kind of safety certification before someone can walk around with a gun. Let’s start with the pro-gun argument first.

CCW1             By now everyone is aware of the ‘fact’ that people with guns prevent millions of crimes from being committed each year. This argument first burst out of the brain of Gary Kleck in the early 90’s, and continues to pop up on various sites here and there. Although Kleck doesn’t necessarily go along any more with his own nonsense, the idea that more guns equal less crime is a gun-nut refrain which floats around about as frequently as the idea that Trump and the Russians had nothing to do with each other during the 2016 Presidential campaign. Last month, according to John Lott, armed citizens prevented a whole, big 22 criminal attacks from taking place, which is a whole, big nothing.

Unfortunately, the reverse argument used to support the idea that concealed-carry laws (CCW) will lead to more crime, isn’t a study of CCW at all.  It’s a critique of how Lott analyzed data in his book, More Guns, Less Crime, which isn’t a study of the impact of CCW, no matter what his critics say. The fact that a particular jurisdiction makes it easier to receive a CCW license, or abolishes the CCW licensing process altogether, doesn’t mean that more people are necessarily walking around with guns. And it certainly doesn’t mean they are walking around in neighborhoods where most crime actually occurs.

My friend John Lott has taken it upon himself to track the increase in CCW licenses issued over the last few years, but even he admits that “the main focus from a crime prevention point of view should be whether people actually do carry guns.” Unfortunatrly, neither he nor anyone else can provide data which confirms that more CCW means more people are actually walking around armed. The Pew gun survey found that 40% of gun owners kept a gun within ‘easy reach,’ but only 10% carried one around all the time.

What seems to provoke the greatest degree of concern among advocates opposed to national CCW reciprocity is that someone living in a state which requires little or no training will be able to take a weapon into another state where training is mandated, thus creating a safety risk that would not exist if issuing authorities continued to set the requirements for CCW within their own state.  Last year some of our public health research friends published a survey of gun training, noting that only 60% of gun owners underwent training of any kind, findings that were turned around and immediately ballyhooed by the GVP media, proclaiming that 4 out of 10 self-defense handgun owners received no training at all.

What nobody in either the research team or the GVP media bothered to point out is that the so-called training received by a majority of CCW-holders is about as effective in preparing them to actually use a gun in self-defense as a driving course prepares someone to pilot a rocket module to the moon. The good news is that less than 1% of victims of violent crime actually use a gun in self-defense; the point being that the entire argument over national CCW has little to do with either gun violence or violent crime. A debate about guns not based on reality? No, I don’t believe it.  Can’t be true.

Jon Sutton – How To Get Kids Into Hunting.


Our right to bear arms was not necessarily designed in direct association with firearms being used for hunting, but today the two are critically linked. While second amendment supporters place substantial value on maintaining widespread gun rights, hunting is an area that people on the fence about gun control deem a sensible use of firearms. Obviously, being able to hunt with a firearm is highly dependent on gun laws, but it would appear that gun rights and hunting are connected on multiple levels.

suttonAnyone who is passionate about guns, hunting or both is very aware that preserving our rights and opportunities requires an ongoing battle. It is important that as gun owners and hunters we band together to continue our defense of those rights, but we also look forward to the future. That means getting today’s youth involved with hunting and guns so they can carry on the traditions as well as the defense of our rights.

The Value of Getting Kids Involved

Clearly, there is value in getting kids started hunting and using firearms when it comes to preserving the rights, opportunities and culture of the sport. There is also significant value to the individual kids. Both shooting and hunting are great ways to promote maturity and respect, as both are fun, but come with a lot of responsibilities. As you begin to teach your kid about serious topics like safety and ethics, it should help develop their ability to make sound decisions.

Hunting and shooting sports both encourage exercise and time spent in the outdoors- both things kids today could use a little more of. They also include quality time spent with friends and family, something that today’s youth lacks whenever their lives become a little too focused on technology-derived entertainment.

How to Get Them Started

If you are a hunting or shooting parent, many kids will take an early interest in participating, because that is what kids do- try to emulate their parents. Early introduction to any hobby or sport should be done with a certain amount of caution and patience since burnout is a real possibility. We have all seen the prodigies that are great at something when very young, but lose interest before adulthood because they overdo it early on. Hunting and shooting are no different. Try to involve them at a level and pace that mirrors their interest; do not force it on them.

A good way to start is to get them behind an air rifle and then a .22. If they have toy guns when they are younger, start to explain to them the rules of gun safety. These obviously become significantly more important when the gun is real, so you want to make sure they are old enough and mature enough to grasp the differences and the gravity of using guns before introducing them. Once they reach that point, target practice is a great way for them to start developing marksmanship skills. Some kids may develop a love for shooting but not for hunting. Transversally, some people end up liking hunting but shoot guns only for that purpose.

The next gun you buy them is a critical step. Make sure it is appropriately sized and in a reasonable chambering. Too much gun is a great way to turn a young shooter away from the sport or cause them to develop bad habits. Starting with the pellet gun and moving on up, make sure they always have more than enough ear and eye protection.

Getting them out Hunting

When it comes time to start taking your kid along on a hunting trip, safety will be of utmost importance. Hopefully, they will be old enough to have the patience and stamina for a decent amount of time hunting, but a shortened trip because they are worn out matters little compared to an accident because safety rules were not followed. Many states require kids to pass a hunter safety course before hunting, but some do not. Either way, it is ultimately up the parent or guardian to make that final call as to whether the kid is mature and safe enough to start carrying a firearm in the field.

Once you make that decision, follow these guidelines to make their first trip enjoyable:

  • Go on a good weather day
  • Pick a hunt where encounters are likely
  • Pack lots of snacks
  • Dress them to stay warm and dry
  • Be patient and do not put too much pressure on them
  • Encourage questions and take advantage of teaching moments
  • End the hunt when they are ready to be done

Moving Forward

Just like when they are very young, allow the kid to dictate how often, how long and how hard they hunt. Not everyone will fall in love with hunting and guns, but many become very passionate about one or both. The best you can do as parents, guardians or mentors is to put it out there for them, try to make it special for them and see if it sticks. Hopefully, they will join the masses of people who love the sport and support our related rights and opportunities.




Todd Palin – GVP Man Of The Year.


Although I can only speak for myself, I think the gun violence prevention (GVP) community should start handing out an annual award to the person whose behavior best exemplifies what preventing gun violence is all about.  In that respect, I nominate Todd Palin for this year’s award based on the way he behaved in a confrontation this past weekend with his eldest son, a rather disturbed young man by the name of Track.

palin1 According to court papers, the kid showed up at Ma and Pa Palin’s residence, determined to have it out with the old man about something involving a truck.  Finding the front door locked, he began banging and yelling to be let in, at which point his father came to the front window holding a gun.  The story gets a little muddled at this point; none of the Palins has ever been accused of getting their facts straight. But the bottom line is that evidently Todd pointed a gun at Track who responded by breaking through a window, slamming the old man to the floor and proceeded to beat him up.

Even though Sarah Palin has been quoted endless times as saying that she’s always armed and ready to defend herself because self-defense is a God-given right, on this particular occasion she actually did what everyone should always do – she called the police. By the time the cops arrived both she and Todd were driving away in separate cars while Track was still inside the house.  The police report noted that Todd had “injuries to his face and head based on the visible blood running down his face.” Alaska’s former Governor was “visibly upset.” The kid is due back in court on December 27, facing charges of burglary, assault and criminal mischief, the last charge referring to the cost of the window that Track broke in order to gain entrance to the home.

The good news for Track Palin, as well as for his parents, is that the kid didn’t end up on a slab.  Which is the reason I want the GVP to give Todd Palin this award, because he could have done what many people do in a similar situation, namely, pull the trigger of his gun.  And what we find again and again in situations where an argument breaks out between two people, one of whom is armed, “if you walk around with a gun, it will go off sooner or later.” So says Walter Mosely.

I just took a random glance at the website of the Violence Policy Center which contains specific descriptions of instances in which people with concealed-carry licenses kill themselves or others with the gun they are supposed to be carrying for self-defense.  Here’s a description of a shooting that occurred in Maine: “On October 6, concealed handgun permit holder Merrill “Mike” Kimball, 70, shot and killed Leon Kelley, 63, following a confrontation at Brown’s Bee Farm, a beekeeping business in North Yarmouth.” They got into an argument about honey!  About honey, get it?  They got into an argument about nothing but one of them had a gun. To quote the brilliant Lester Adelson, “With its peculiar lethality, a gun converts a spat into a slaying and a quarrel into a killing.”

The FBI defines a home invasion as” the unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or theft.” It turns out that more than one-third of all home invasions which occur each year involve the behavior of someone who had legal or social access to that particular home.  Which creates a big problem for proponents of armed self-defense because if you fire a gun at a home invader, there’s a one out of three chance that you knew the person who might wind up dead.

And that’s the reason I want GVP to honor Todd Palin because he didn’t use his gun to protect himself against this particular home invader, who happened to be his son.

New Report from Giffords Law Center.

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giffords report


The Giffords Law Center has just released an important report, Investing in Intervention, which examines the costs and benefits of reducing gun violence at the community level through programs which identify high-risk individuals and engage them in intervention programs.

You can go to the For Further Reading page on our website and download the report.

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