A Christmas Story.

This picture appeared last night on a social media site visited and maintained by gun owners. I am a member of maybe a dozen such sites because I like to know what gun owners really think, not what some freelance writer who is paid to write 1,000 words on guns for some liberal news blog wants me to know what he or she thinks gun owners are thinking about.

The happy lady’s caption was: “Look at my new baby!” The first two comments were: “Love it, its for conceal carry or for home defense?” and “We use the Garand for home defense :).”

Incidentally, her new baby happens to be a Walther PPK. It is similar in design and function to the guns whose use causes nearly all the 125,000 intentional gun injuries (fatal and non-fatal) each year. This number happens to represent probably 90% of all gun injuries, by the way.

On the other hand, what would you expect this lady to say? Should she have captioned her pic by thanking someone who gave her a present that she could use to kill or injure 6 or 7 people happily sitting around their Christmas tree? On Christmas eve, 6 people were shot at one time in High Point, NC. The lady’s new ‘baby’ could have easily been used to do the trick.

I’m willing to bet you that this happy lady is the legal owner of that gun. And I suspect that if she picked up her telephone and someone said they were running a national survey about guns and then asked her if she would support a ‘reasonable’ gun law like comprehensive background checks, she’d probably say, “Sure. Why not?”

This woman happens to be clueless. She wouldn‘t understand what Art Kellerman and Fred Rivara said about the risk of handguns in the home if her life depended on it. Unfortunately, her life or the life of someone else does depend on it. Which is exactly what my friends in the public health gun-research community don’t understand. They don’t understand the issue for which the CDC has just added $25 million to its research budget because these happy academic folks never (read: never) talk to gun owners at all.

Why bother to talk to the people whose little hobby ultimately accounts for every, single gun injury that occurs every day? After all, you can always hire some hot-shot survey outfit who will do the talking on your behalf. Or you can wander around a bunch of gun shows looking for illegal sales, an activity which launched the career of one of our most celebrated gun researchers a number of years ago. If Garen Wintemute had spent some time just talking to gun owners rather than trying to get everyone hot and bothered over some illegal sales, he might have actually made a serious contribution to figuring out what to do about guns.

Am I asking too much of my gun-researcher friends in public health to devote a small fraction of that new CDC stash to try and figure out what’s in the heads of people like the woman pictured above? Because until and unless this issue is addressed and understood, too many people will submit to all those ‘reasonable’ gun laws while they stand in a gun shop buying a gun.

14 thoughts on “A Christmas Story.

  1. Which reminds me. Its time for my annual viewing of A Christmas Story, by Jean Shepherd.

    More seriously, I wish the NRA and NSSF would provide a free three hour safety course with each gun purchase.

    • Why waste money like that? A one-time class might be just that. People learn through repetition. Furthermore by coupling training with gun purchases it only teaches adult gun owners.

      If we put gun safety lessons in public schools, this would #1 Teach children to respect and be safe around firearms. #2 Teach the next generation of adults how to be safe around firearms (and possibly the current generation because the kids will talk about what they learned, and parents help kids with homework) #3. It will teach non gun owners safety. Just because you and your kids live in an anti-gun home, it doesn’t mean you will live your entire life in an anti-gun space. I once had to help out a friend clean out a house after her father died. She was never interested in guns, and her Dad was from the generation where you don’t teach girls how to use guns….yet there she was in a house full of guns, some of them loaded, with no knowledge how to safely handle them. Luckily she had a friend who helped her, but if she didn’t, then what?

      Same with kids playing in other homes. What if your kid finds a gun not properly stored? The Anti-Gun lobby talks about fixing such problems with laws, but simply google the name “Laquarry Jefferson” he was shot in Boston by a gun that belonged to his cousin. The Cousin happened to be a drug dealer, and was not in the home because he was incarcerated. In Mass you need a permit to own a gun, only certain guns can be legally sold, background checks must be done at every sale so bad people like drug dealers don’t get guns, all guns must be registered with the state. and guns must be locked when not in use. Not one single one of these laws were followed, and young Mr. Jefferson was shot dead.

      If you care about gun safety, it should be taught in public schools.

      • Sure! I’d love that. We teach reading, writing, and rhetoric so people can exercise their First Amendment rights. What about the 2A?

        But in today’s world, the gun industry, like the motorcycle industry, needs to circle the wagons and do something useful. Moto industry formed the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. Right now the NRA owns training but its a non profit. Gun industry should step up to the plate.

        Maybe the lady in the picture above really is akamai about guns. But if not? Recall A Christmas Story: “You’ll shoot your eye out”

  2. “… Because until and unless this issue is addressed and understood, too many people will submit to all those ‘reasonable’ gun laws while they stand in a gun shop buying a gun.”

    Right on! And not addressing the issue means getting the aforesaid ‘reasonabe’ laws passed is rather unlikely.

  3. It is indeed rare for a GVP person to listen, actually listen, to a gun person. It seems as though the GVP folks feel that it’s beneath them.

      • Yep.

        What really burns my bacon regarding this issue is that, as gun guys, we could serve as scouts and advisers to the GVP. They make the same mistakes over & over, ramming their heads against a brick wall when there’s an open window in it.

    • Brent, GVP is just another name for total gun bans. This is why for all of Bloomberg’s millions not one cent has been used for safety training on safe gun use. Teaching how to safely use a firearm implies that there is a legitimate reason to use a firearm, be it an AR-15, a concealed carry revolver, or one of your beautiful caplocks.

      They will only talk to a gun owner if they think they can use them for a stepping stone towards gun bans.

      • I tried to work a UBC law in New Mexico to make it convenient to gun owners rather than a chore. I still have the Everytown tire tracks on my back for that effort.

      • Given that the expressed motivation of both the Second Amendment Activists and the “Gun Violence Prevention” Activists are stopping violence and improving public safety, you would think they would want to talk with each other about common ground.

        At least one of those sides has to be lying on their motivation.

        Given that every Gun Rights group has meetings that are open to the public, or will allow ANYBODY to join attend meetings. Meanwhile I am unaware of any anti-gun group that even has memberships. You can join a mailing list, and you can donate money, but you have zero access to the group or any status within it.

        Couple that with all the people saying “Nobody is Coming For Your Guns” and “You’re Just Paranoid thinking X Bill is a Slippery Slope” or “Don’t call us Anti-gun, we’re **Euphemism dujour**”

        And then Robert O’Rourke got thunderous applause both on and Off the Stage for declaring his intention of banning AR-15 and AK rifles. And the more “Moderate” candidates have just said they would want to “Only” ban AR rifles and large capacity pistols….which outside of the specialty sporting market and gun enthusiasts and collectors is literally ALL the guns out there.

        Any gun owner who thinks he can work with the anti-gun lobby is a Black Angus thinking he can work with the cowboys.

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