Another Gun Nut Who Didn’t Need A Gun.

One of the most important tenets of gun-nuttism, if not the most important belief, is the idea that when faced with any threat to yourself, your loved ones (I love the phrase ‘loved ones’) or even your property, the first and most important rule is: Grab Your Gun. After all, the cops won’t get there in time no matter how quickly they respond. And anyway, the cops are just another branch of the Deep State; a.k.a. the government. And the whole point of keeping a gun handy is the last thing you ever want to rely on is the government, right?

So it turns out that last Friday a guy named Dan King drove past Willie Robertson’s house in Monroe, LA, stuck a pistol out of the window and popped off a few rounds. The bullets hit the house but nobody inside was hurt. The guy was later arrested and spent a few days in jail. He was charged with assault and a few other things, and cannot go anywhere near Robertson’s property for the next couple of years. By the way, the shooter was also drunk.

Who is Willie Robertson? He runs a company called Duck Commander, a multi-million dollar business chiefly known for producing the Duck Dynasty series on reality TV. Of course he’s also a ‘devout’ Christian and a gun nut. That’s always part of the script. And it goes without saying that he is, of course, a devoted right-wing jerk; that’s also part of the script.

I once watched one of the Duck Dynasty episodes and it was basically Willie and some other guys standing around mumbling something about a broken hitch for one of their boats and what was going to be served for dinner that night. The episode also featured some friendly mix-up between two of the Dynasty gals which played like the Bayou version of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

Of course last week, the moment the shots rang out, the head of the clan, Phil Robertson, had to decide whether or not to defend life and limb with a gun. Does he own a trusty, assault rifle? So he says. But he very quickly decided not to swing into armed action because, as he said, “If I go up there and kill them all, I probably would wind up on the wrong side of this thing.”

Hey! Wait a minute! I thought that Louisiana had a Stand Your Ground Law. In fact, it happens to have an SYG law that is one of the strongest and most definitive SYG laws around. Not only does it allow you to ‘meet force with force’ if you believe you are facing a threat, but the statute doesn’t allow a judge to even determine whether you could have retreated before responding to the threat.

So here we have a dream-like scenario for the gun nuts, particularly those nuts who cherish the notion of armed, self-defense, and what does a self-professed gun nut and assault-rifle owner like Phil Robertson do when his home and family are under attack? He calls the cops. Who then quickly arrest the dope who was shooting off his gun.

I can guarantee you that if Phil Robertson or any other member of the family had returned live fire with live fire, by now they would be on their way to NRA headquarters to receive some kind of award. Because isn’t this exactly what we are all worried about in the midst of this Plague Year? Shouldn’t everyone be ready, willing and able to take out the ol’ weapon and bang away at the first hint of an attack?

If I were the head of Brady or some other gun-control group, I would send a ‘thank you’ down to Phil Robertson for behaving like a normal, rational and intelligent man. The current occupant of the White House should behave the same way. But don’t count on it.

Want To Drive Through New York City With A Gun? Not Yet.

              Today I am going to try doing what nobody has yet to do, namely, to explain in clear, readable and understandable English what the New York City  gun-control law that was remanded by the Supremes back to a lower court is really all about. The law, was challenged by the NRA as a violation of 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’ The issue became moot because following the NRA’s legal action, da city took the law off its books. Nevertheless, four SCOTUS justices still want the courts to decide whether federal and state courts are applying the 2nd Amendment correctly in cases involving guns. So the issue is dead but it ain’t really dead.

              Here’s how the law used to work.  In New York City, the good people are protected from gun violence by the Sullivan Law, which was passed in 1911. If you want to buy, own and keep a gun in your New York City residence, you apply to the NYPD for a gun license which is issued after a background check. Once the license is issued, the individual then applies for a permit to purchase a specific gun, or what is known as a PTP (permit-to-purchase.) You then take this permit to the gun shop, purchase the gun and bring it down to the NYPD licensing division to be tested and approved. After all, the cops don’t want you to own just any old gun. It has to be a gun that meets their standards for ownership, whatever those standards happen to be.

              Back in the 1980’s, the NYPD in their wisdom decided that nobody in da city could own a Glock? Why? Because it was a ‘plastic’ gun and therefore could be brought into a courtroom or some other secure spot. Today, most of the current members of the NYPD carry Glocks.

The premise gun license, as it is called, allows the gun owner to transport his gun in a locked container to a shooting range, as long as the range is located within the city itself. Here was the crazy part of the law. If you wanted to leave the city, let’s say because you had a beach house on Long Island or a summer place upstate, you couldn’t take the gun with you because you were going somewhere in the city other than to a shooting range. Which means you were going around New York City with a concealed gun.

Conversely, if you applied and received a gun license in any county other than the five counties that comprise the City of New York, you couldn’t bring your gun into da city unless you had a concealed-carry permit issued by NYPD.  How did you get the CCW license from NYPD?You got one if your name was Donald Trump.

What are the odds that the Supremes will decide to vacate any state or local law which imposes specific regulations for walking around with a gun? Isn’t that what Gun-nut Nation wants more than anything else – national concealed-carry without any specific licensing at all?

To effect such an action, the conservative Supreme Court justices, all of whom were vetted and approved by the Federalist Society, would have to stand Federalism on its head. Note what Scalia said in the 2008 Heller opinion: “There seems to us no doubt, on the basis of both text and history, that the Second Amendment conferred an individual right to keep and bear arms.”  He then goes on to say that each jurisdiction can decide for itself how to define and regulate the words ‘keep’ and ‘bear.’

Here’s the point. By allowing New York residents to take a gun from their city apartment out to a house at the beach would still require the journey to be made with the gun locked away and out of reach. That’s not what Gun-nut Nation wants. What they want is somehow get around da city’s very restrictive rules on carry-concealed. And that will happen around the same time that da city will stop charging me $14 dollars to drive over the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge. Or maybe now it’s $18 bucks.

Oh My God! Everyone’s Buying Another Gun!

              Per usual, my friends on both sides of the gun debate are trying to ramp up fears about the virus by promoting their views on guns. On the one hand, Gun-nut Nation wants everyone to buy a gun because sooner or later, your house will be invaded and ransacked by desperate neighbors who want to grab your toilet paper stash. On the other hand, Gun-control Nation is absolutely convinced that the recent spike in gun sales will result in all kinds of violence and deaths.

              As far as I’m concerned, both sides need to tone it down. But why miss an opportunity to get your message in front of a captive audience since everyone has nothing better to do these days than sit at home and read Facebook posts, right?

              I opened my gun shop on August 1st, 2001. Five weeks later the planes slammed into the towers and gun sales spiked. You had Newt Gingrich saying he expected an ISIS invasion of Philadelphia at any moment. It was really that dumb. And since there wasn’t really any kind of grass-roots, gun-control movement the way there is today, Gun-nut Nation more or less had the public narrative all to themselves.

              Except by the time that The New York Times reported an increase in gun sales in a story that appeared on December 9, the spike was over, at least in my store. I suspect the same thing will happen again. Granted, FBI-NICS background checks for handguns jumped almost 50% from February to March, but comparing year-to-year monthly sales has to take into account that until the COVID crisis, gun sales have been in the toilet over the course of the Trump regime. If anything, the increase in sales will make up maybe 2% of the revenues that gun companies have lost over the last three years. Yesterday, Smith & Wesson stock closed at $9.64. A month before the 2016 election it was trading at $30 a share.

              As for my friends in Gun-control Nation, they need to calm down a bit and stop believing that every time some guy walks into a store and buys a gun, that this represents a threat to the common good. What it really represents in most cases is the fact that the guy got his income tax refund or maybe that bonus check signed by Trump. Either way, it’s found money  ‘The wife’ hasn’t claimed her share, so why not go out and buy another toy? Worst comes to worst, if the washing machine breaks down or the truck needs new tires, you can always sell the damn thing back.

              Or maybe you can sell it to a friend.  This constitutes the biggest bugaboo to Gun-control Nation because until we get comprehensive background checks covering every transfer of every gun, we know for a fact (I love the term ‘for a fact’) that a lot of those legally-purchased guns are going to wind up in the ‘wrong’ hands. We know this ‘for a fact’ even though there has yet to be one, single evidence-based piece of research which shows that legal gun owners sell their guns, consciously or unconsciously, to someone who shouldn’t get their hands on a gun.

              The other narrative being promoted on the gun-control side is the idea that during periods of financial stress, suicides and domestic violence go up, trends that would be aggravated if more guns are floating around. In fact, in the years directly after 9-11, the gun-suicide rate remained about the same, the rate of women killed with guns actually went down.

              I think my Gun-control Nation friends should stop ignoring the fact (there’s that word ‘fact’ again) that every time cops are asked whom they fear least, the guys walking around with legally-owned guns always make the top of the list. I’m not excusing those jerks who show up at the stupid, little anti-lockdown rallies with their AR’s. They’re just dumb as hell and have nothing better to do. But the last thing we need right now is more sturm und drang because some guns are flying off the store shelves.

              Better we should dump Trump.

It’s The Ammunition, Stupid.

Was it Jeff Cooper who said, ‘there’s nothing as useless as an unloaded gun?’ Maybe it was Bill Jordan. Anyway, I have never really understood why my friends in Gun-control Nation get all hot and bothered about regulating guns but almost never seem to be concerned about the ammunition which goes into the gun.

This issue came home to me yesterday when a judge in California stopped the state from enforcing a law requiring gun owners in the Golden State to pass a background check before purchasing ammunition for their guns. He said the law violated 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’ The head of the Brady Campaign said the ruling was ‘contrary to what the Framers intended.’ And I thought the daily CONOVID-19 briefing from the White House was a lot of hot air. The statements by Judge Benitez and Kris Brown from Brady are just as far off the mark.

When the law called Proposition 63 was passed in 2016, it did some good things. It banned high-capacity gun magazines, it also contained a provision penalizing anyone who didn’t report a lost or stolen gun. But the law also exempted reloaded (i.e., home-made) ammunition from any controls, which basically nullified the law’s intent.

If you are going to require that someone pass a background check to buy ammunition, all you are doing is telling the bad guys to go out and make their own ammo, or go to a shooting range and buy reloaded rounds. For that matter, anyone in California can drive to a neighboring state and buy all the ammunition they need. My state, Massachusetts, requires a background check for purchasing ammunition, but I can drive into New Hampshire and load up with ammo (and fireworks), no questions asked.

That being said, I nevertheless don’t understand how Judge Benitez could find Prop. 63 to be an infringement on the 2nd Amendment when the government has always been given authority to regulate the ownership and sale of explosive devices, which is what ammunition happens to be. Now maybe the explosion that occurs when the firing pin of a gun hits the primer of a 9mm round doesn’t create the same degree of noise or destructive power caused by a stick of dynamite going off, but it’s an explosion, nonetheless.

Here’s how the ATF defines explosive device: “Explosive materials are any chemical compound, mixture, or device, the primary or common purpose of which is to function by explosion. The term includes, but is not limited to, dynamite and other high explosives, black powder, pellet powder, initiating explosives, detonators, safety fuses, squibs, detonating cord, igniter cord, and igniters” Now take a look at the bottom of a handgun round, let’s say 9mm or 45acp. The little, round cap in the middle of the shell’s base is called the primer, and it happens to be an igniter because when it is struck by a firing pin it explodes inside the casing, ignites the powder and the round goes – boom!

Has anyone ever said that the ATF’s regulation of igniters is a violation of 2nd-Amendment ‘rights?’ For that matter, is there any mention anywhere in the Constitution about any kind of ammunition at all? Last time I looked at the 2nd Amendment it says something about keeping and bearing ‘arms.’ Doesn’t say anything about ammo – not a single word.

There is nothing in the Constitution that gives any guidance about whether or not ammunition should be regulated the way we regulate guns. But the courts have been very clear over the years in defining governmental authority to set limits on how we behave and what we can buy based on the compelling state interest doctrine, otherwise known as keeping the community safe. El Schmuck-o Trump learned that one in spades last week.

Next time my friends in Gun-control Nation run one of their surveys to see whether gun owners like or dislike ‘reasonable’ gun laws, maybe they should throw in a question about whether background checks should be carried out for all purchases of ammunition as well. I know the answer to that one.

Why Do We Have Gun Violence? My New Book Attempts An Answer.

I remember watching the TV news on February 1, 1968 when this film of a suspected Viet Cong agent being assassinated by a South Vietnamese Army colonel flashed across the screen. The shooting took place during the Tet Offensive and this one picture changed the entire course of the war.

Until that moment, there were still lots of folks who were against the war but hoped that maybe, just maybe we could find a way to wind things down but also protect the South Vietnamese. War was bad, but so was an immediate retreat. The picture above put an end to that argument once and for all.

This picture can be found on the final page of my latest book on guns which is available on Amazon as of today. The book is in print right now, the Kindle edition will appear shortly. It is Volume 10 in my Guns in America series, it is also the longest book by far, running some 66,000 words along with charts, graphs, maps nd copious footnotes – the whole bit. Incidentally, the previous 9 volumes can be purchased en toto in a Kindle edition for $49.95. I’m not trying to stack up my royalties; in fact, I just found out that Amazon has created this Kindle offer.

The reason I end the new book with the photo of the shooting in Saigon is because the whole point of this book is to discuss the way we have been talking about gun violence over the last seven or eight years. Concerns about gun violence were raised here and there from time to time going back to the assassination of JFK in 1963 and the passage of the big gun law in 1968. But it wasn’t until the massacre at Sandy Hook in December, 2012, that gun control became a continuous discussion, particularly within the many gun-control groups that sprang up after that date. The Newtown massacre also provoked the medical profession to get more involved in talking about guns and gun violence, ditto more research attention paid to this issue within the academic world, particularly public health.

The problem I have with this far-reaching concern about gun violence is that virtually all of the discussions within the gun-control community focus on the issue of violence without any concern or even awareness about the issue of guns. The gun-research community has published endless studies which explain who gets shot, where they get shot, how they got shot and why they get shot. But I can’t think of a single piece of research which tells me anything about the people who do the shooting. How can you create an ‘epidemiology’ of gun violence (the public health researcher’s favorite word) if you don’t know how and why the behavior which causes the injury actually spreads?

Which is what I try to do in this new book. Talk about how and why a certain number of individuals pick up a gun and use it to harm themselves or someone else. I trace this behavior – with data and personal testimonies – back to long before there was any professed concern about the violence caused by guns. And that’s why the book ends with the picture of one guy shooting another guy in South Vietnam, because when all is said and done, there’s really no difference between a shooting on a street in Saigon and a shooting on a street in Chicago’s West Side.

Like Walter Mosley says, ‘You walk around with a gun and it will go off, sooner or later.’

Do Guns And Politics Mix?

              I don’t know what’s worse. Is it the fact that I have to stay shut up at home or the fact that I continue to read stories about all the gun-nuts in America galvanizing around the anti-lockdown demonstrations, thus giving El Schmuck-o Trump another opportunity to attack the fake news? The latest such missive comes from, of all sources, none other than The Washington Post, whose online caption, ‘Democracy Dies in Darkness,’ may be referring to the possibility that Jeff Bezos hasn’t paid the paper’s current electric bill.

              Here’s the WaPo headline: “Pro-gun activists using Facebook groups to push anti-quarantine protests.” This is then followed by a picture of the two schmucks standing in front of the State Capitol in Lansing, MI with their assault rifles guarding the other 15 schmucks who were standing on the steps of the building – of course one of the patriots can’t wear a mask because then he wouldn’t be able to take a drag on his cigarette.

              The WaPo reporter tells us about a father, Ben Dorr, and his two sons, who own a bunch of Facebook pages devoted to gun groups which have become “digital hubs for the same sort of misinformation spouted in recent days at state capitol buildings — from comparing the virus to the flu to questioning the intentions of scientists working on a vaccine.”  The story then goes on to detail how the various Facebook gun groups have aligned themselves with the rest of the alt-right internet cabal to promote anti-lockdown rallies in various Democratic states.

              What a journalistic coup! Is WaPo actually saying that gun-nut activists tend to be right wing? Is it possible that the AR-15 putzes who show up at these rallies to protect their Constitutional ‘rights’ are the same AR-15 putzes who show up every time a state legislature controlled by Democrats tries to pass a gun bill? Say it ain’t so, Joe, say it ain’t so.

              Incidentally, it should be noted that the size of these ‘massive’ demonstrations to keep us from descending into a Socialist state (it should only happen, God forbid) are also being hyped not only by the alt-right media but by the mainstream media as well. A website called the 2nd Amendment Daily News claimed that last week’s protest attracted “tens of thousands of protestors.”  Meanwhile, the State Police estimated that maybe 1,000 cars rolled through Lansing, which means that each car held 10 occupants, kind of like the clown car at the Barnum and Bailey Circus, right?

              But the real crowd crush occurred in Austin, TX where a crowd of 200 helped “fuel” what none other than The New York Times says are conservative protests against the lock-down here, there and all over the place.  Two hundred people in a state of 29 million, that was some rally in Austin.  But let’s get back to all those gun groups on Facebook that have become the front line for the pro-Trump, anti-lockdown surge.

              I happen to belong to a bunch of those Facebook groups. One group talks about Remington rifles, another group loves Glocks, a third group is all about the Colt 1911 pistol. These groups have thousands of members and thousands of ‘likes.’ But I notice that the people who put up posts and make comments tend to be the same handful every day.

              The problem with Facebook groups is that if you don’t post fresh content all the time, the page very quickly becomes stale. And then group members stop going to the page and then they don’t click on the ads. Which is what Facebook (and the rest of the internet) is really all about. The ads.

              I really wish my friends in the ‘fake news’ media would stop trying to manufacture stories that are just attempts to get people upset about nothing at all. Two dopes walking around with their assault rifles at the ready represent nothing more than two dopes. I’m much more interested in the yard signs sprouting up that as us to vote for ‘any functioning adult.’

              Thanks to Paula Schaap for suggesting this column.

Josh Montgomery: Best Guns For Winter Weather.

When it comes to winter carry, so to speak, there are two things that you have to worry about! First of all, you have to consider the finish of the particular weapon that you want to carry, as well as its ability to resist cold and maybe even wet environments.

Second of all, you have to think at how easy it’s going to be for you to handle that particular weapon, not to mention the space it is going to take – either in a case or under your jacket.

Considering all of the above, there are some guns that are ideal for winter weather and carry. This makes it easier for the owner to handle, carry, and fire them!

  • Dan Wesson 715 Pistol Pack

Nothing says fit for winter weather better than a Dan Wesson pistol – let’s see why. In terms of keeping it chill, the 715 pistol pack is made using stainless steel. This means that, even though the gun is going to be cold, it won’t suffer any damage because of it.

Moreover, the 715 model is also extremely versatile, as it comes with three .357 Magnum barrels that can be interchanged. The three are eight, six, and four inches in length.

Speaking of fit for winter weather, this particular handgun comes with a target trigger. This is a feature known for helping people fire their guns better in tough – in this case, cold – conditions.

  • Smith & Wesson Victory

We thought of introducing you to a handgun – in case you don’t fancy revolvers. This Smith & Wesson model is a lot less bulky than the previous model – as well as smaller, making for a snug fit in a belt or special body holster.

Naturally, the gun is made for all-weather conditions, mainly due to the presence of its stainless-steel frame and the multiple match grade barrels that can be switched.

The cherry on top is the textured grip that offers a great hold for any type of weather.

  • Marlin 1895 Modern Hunter

Moving on to close-quarters winter-fit guns, we present you the 1895 Modern Hunter, which is a .45-70 big-bore thumper that can hold up to six shots in its 18-inch barrel.  As mentioned, this gun is ideal for hog or any close-quarters game hunting.

It features a laminated stock that is painted to blend with the environment, as well as Cerakoted metalwork that ensures the weapon’s durability in any weather condition.

Last but not least, the 1895 Modern Hunter comes with what’s called a happy trigger and with a large-loop lever, which is a perfect fit for this type of rifle.

  • Weatherby Mark V

The next entry on our list is a bolt action rifle – namely, the premium Weatherby, Mark V. The interesting part is that this particular model comes in multiple options, specially designed for various weather conditions.

As such, the stock is camouflaged (synthetic Monte Carlo) and comes in patterns like SubAlpine, First Lite, and High Desert – to suit the weather/environment. On top of that, this bolt action features Cerakoted metalwork as well, making it an outstanding choice for winter weather hunting.

  • Savage 110 Storm

This rifle comes equipped with the best in terms of accuracy – namely with AccuTrigger, AccuFit, and AccuStock. While Savage has available multiple models made to fit winter conditions, the Storm option is probably the best. Why?

Well, because it comes with a synthetic yet durable stock that features adjustable comb as well as length-of-pull, making the weapon highly customizable. Then, for increased durability, the gun was also equipped with stainless metalwork.

Last, but not least, the hunters can safely rely on the highly convenient rubberized grip panels that ensure ideal grip in wet, muddy, rainy, and snowy conditions!

  • Traditions Outfitter G2

The Outfitter G2 is a break-action, single-shot rifle that is ideal for snowy and cold conditions. It is chambered in a straight-walled manner, making it ideal for those that have to deal with centrefire restrictions. Obviously, as you may know, the Traditions models are quite affordable, especially when it comes to all-weather guns.

The stock features a textured grip, as well as the central part beneath the barrel, helping you properly aim and fire the gun without any potential slides, even if you wear gloves.

  • Mossberg 590A1

This 12-gauge shotgun comes with some features that make it more than ideal for winter weather and conditions. Namely, it has a tough parkerized finish that makes it blend with its surroundings, as well as black synthetic furniture that slightly increases grip ability.

You could also opt for a model that comes with either a bead shotgun sight or with ghost ring sights. If you have any doubts, then it is worth mentioning that this is the only pump-action shotgun that was able to pass the infamous shotgun torture test of the US Army.

Special Notes

When it comes to guns for winter weather, it is very important to mention that you have to consider your gear/equipment as well. For example, gun enthusiasts know that Ruger and Glock make some of the best all-weather weapons and that even the AK can be used in the snow – but you’ll still need proper gloves to be able to handle them.

As such, even if the gun labeled as all-weather comes with a textured grip, you don’t want to turn down special hunting gloves that can offer you extra grip and stability.

On top of that, as mentioned above, you’ll want to look out for the gun’s finish as well, as it may get damaged if exposed to low temperatures for too long. In such a scenario, you may want to consider a gun case with extra padding or a gun with a sturdier framework and with a better finish, ideal for winter weather.

The Bottom Line

There are plenty of other weapons that could endure winter weather – even your trusty AR. But, as previously mentioned, you have to prepare both yourself and your weapon for a snowy hunting session.

Moreover, if your gun is not known as an all-weather model, then you may want to take a couple of extra steps to properly protect. Even better, you can replace it with a winter-fit model for when you go out in the cold!

Want To Promote Liberty And Justice For All? Carry An AR-15.

I would rather not inundate the written airwaves with an extra column this week, but before the jerks who showed up with their AR-15 rifles in their ‘freedom’ cavalcade in Michigan inaugurate a national movement of freedom-loving jerks doing the same thing elsewhere, a few points need to be made.

What happened is a group calling itself the Michigan Liberty Militia helped organize a demonstration in East Lansing, protesting Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s lock-down order which drew fire from one of America’s staunchest freedom fighters, Rudy Giuliani, as well as from El Schmuck-o himself. The protest in East Lansing was the handiwork of the usual right-wing nut jobs who long ago took leave of even the most rational political beliefs, which of course gave the militia members an opportunity to parade around with their guns.

“We are just here to make sure that everyone has the right to assemble peacefully,” said one of the rifle-toting schmucks, who just to make sure that we all understand his devotion to civil rights, this idiot was wearing his MAGA hat. Exactly which group represented a threat to the demonstrators was never made clear, but no doubt we will soon see other such demonstrations of stupidity led by patriots like Cliven ‘let me tell you about your Negro’ Bundy’s sons. Remember when those morons made a ‘hard stand’ at the Malheur National Forest until the FBI wouldn’t let them get any more pizza delivered to their latter-day version of Valley Forge?

The point is that assault weapons have become a symbol of alt-right political activity in the same way that the ‘V for Victory’ sign became the New Left’s energizing symbol in the marches and demonstrations protesting the Viet Nam War. When the Nazis showed up in Charlottesville toting their AR’s and Trump couldn’t find a good reason to tell these douchebags to stay away, the AR as symbolizing ‘freedom’ and ‘defense against oppression’ began to move into the cultural and political mainstream and now is regularly toted around whenever any political rally promoting the alt-right agenda takes place. A whole bunch of these AR-loving guys showed up at Richmond back in January to protest a whole new tranche of gun laws. The only law that didn’t pass was the law banning AR’s; no doubt such a ban would have been considered a violation of free speech.

I want to refer everyone to an article about the cultural significance of assault rifles that was written by two criminologists in 2005 and can be downloaded here.  One of the major findings in the research was that while youngsters rarely used assault rifles in the commission of crimes, the popular media – movies, music – is replete with endless depictions and verbal references to AR’s. If anything, the degree to which full-auto assault rifles have become a standard prop in just about every ‘action’ movie and video game has increased dramatically over the last several years.

The guys from the Michigan Liberty Militia may be, chronologically speaking, full-fledged adults, but the truth is that when it comes to understanding anything about politics, COVID-19 or anything else, they’re just a bunch of kids.  Don’t believe me?  Take a look at their Facebook page. The very first post is a quote from one of the biggest self-defense scam artists of all time – David Grossman – who runs something called the Killology Research Group which presents seminars on protecting schools and first responders from terrorist threats.

And let’s not forget that the upsurge in right-wing political activity pushing back against government attempts to enforce social distancing happens to be an organized, alt-right strategy being peddled by Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the MAGA crowd. You think this bunch isn’t the latest iteration of the Tea Party? Think again.

I’m not trying to find a reason to justify anyone who walks around toting an assault rifle in a public place. But I also don’t take these guys all that seriously because, when push comes to shove, these infantile idiots are much more prepared to shoot off their mouths than to shoot off their guns.

Please stay safe.

How About Another Gun To Protect Yourself From Covid-19?

              Now that every red-blooded American has bought that extra gun that will help them to defend themselves, their families and their President from COVID-19, I’d like to use this column to talk about guns and self-defense, because as usual, whenever this argument breaks out between Gun-nut Nation and Gun-control Nation, both sides get it more wrong than right.

              The gun nut gang talks about self-defense and gun ownership as if one automatically presumes the other.  This is basically the argument made by the NRA when they sued Andy last week for shutting down gun shops in New York State. It was also the argument made by my late friend Tony Scalia when he decided that the 2nd Amendment gave Constitutional protection to privately-owned guns because, as he said, keeping a gun in the home was a ‘traditional’ way to defend yourself from an attack. Of course he also mentioned, by the way, that the government could regulate how and when guns could be kept anywhere at all, which just happens to have been the basis upon which Andy told Gun-nut Nation to stick their beloved 2nd-Amendment ‘rights’ up their beloved rear ends.

              On the other hand, when the gun-control gang made a big hue and cry over Schmuck-o’s exemption of gun shops from the advisory issued by Homeland Security about which types of individuals and businesses needed to remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic, they also pushed an argument that happens to ignore certain salient facts. Chief among those facts is the idea that without access to guns, ammunition and shooting range facilities, not one single cop in the United States could do his or her job.

              More than half the sworn officers in the United States (the term ‘sworn officer’ means someone who has legal authority to effect an arrest) happen to work in agencies which number 50 sworn officers or less. They carry their own guns, they buy their ammunition at a local gun shop, then submit a receipt and get reimbursed. They have to show some proof that they have actually practiced, on occasion, using their gun. Unless some way could be figured out to let the cops enter Mike’s Gun Shop through the back door, closing down gun shops in many states would be tantamount to telling the cops that they can’t do their jobs.

              Of course, we can assume that Schmuck-o probably exempted the gun business from the advisory because he wanted to toady up to the NRA. Fine. So, what else is new? But I suspect there isn’t one, single member of Gun-control Nation who knows anything at all about how cops get their ammunition and their guns. That being said, either we have an informed discussion about how to exempt first-responders from social distancing rules which should apply to you and me, or we don’t.

              I also happen not to believe that the increase in gun sales has much, if anything to do with how much violence is caused by guns. Over the last three years of Schmuck-o’s first (and hopefully last) Presidential term, the gun business has been in the toilet, with annual sales dropping off more than 20 percent since the end of the Obama regime. Meanwhile over the same three years, the number of deaths attributed to guns has gone up by as much as 15 percent.  Hey!  I thought it was supposed to be the other way around. After all, more guns mean more gun violence, right?

              I’m not expecting my Gun-nut Nation friends to engage in an informed discussion about gun violence. After all, they don’t believe gun violence is a problem as long as we keep guns out of the hands of all those street thugs. But I hold my friends in Gun-control Nation to higher standards of discussion and thought.  In that respect, perhaps I’m making another assumption which has no basis in truth or fact.

              So, to quote my beloved grandfather in the midst of this plague year, “det’s det.”

Is COVID-19 Social Distancing A Template For Dealing With Gun Violence?

For all the talk by physicians about gun violence, the only doctor in the entire United States who is actually doing something tangible to reduce this public health threat is Mike Hirsh, a pediatric surgeon at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester. He has been running a region-wide gun buyback which is now in its 18th year. The city of Worcester is now into its third year without having suffered a death from penetrating trauma, and while the buyback is certainly not the only reason for the city’s lack of gun violence, what Mike has really achieved is a remarkable degree of coordination and respect between physicians on the one hand, and uniformed services on the other.

If there is one thing about the public health and medical response to gun violence which I find wrong to the point of absurdity, it’s the refusal of both groups to talk about the fact that more than 80% of all gun injuries happen to be crimes. What I hear the gun-control medical groups and public health folks saying again and again are variations on the theme of ‘we need to do more research.’ What I never hear them saying is ‘we need to work with the cops to deal with the illegal use of guns.’

The story in Worcester is very different. The story in Worcester is that every year there is an active collaboration between doctors and cops to spread the word about gun risk which now occurs not just in the city of Worcester, but in more than 20 surrounding towns. It didn’t happen overnight. It wasn’t just a one-shot deal.  It took a year-after-year commitment on the part of white coats and blue coats to bring this about.

This year Mike Hirsh was named Medical Director for Worcester and has found himself in the middle of a new threat to community health which still doesn’t seem to be understood as a threat by Schmuck-o in the White House. But at least in Worcester and surrounding towns, a coordinated effort is being done to make sure that everyone who has to play a frontline role in responding to the COVID-19 virus knows what they have to do. Whether it’s responding to emergency calls, or organizing and coordinating facilities, or getting the word out via social media and other communication venues, the bottom line is that the Worcester hospitals have not experienced the kind of patient ‘crush’ that is happening elsewhere and creates serious roadblocks for dealing with this disease. In other words, the degree of citizen compliance seems to be having a positive effect.

Yesterday, the State Board of Health updated their numbers on viral infections and mortality and reported 8 new deaths in Suffolk County (Boston) and 2 new deaths in Worcester County. The population of both counties is roughly 800,000 and of course these number could change. But Boston doesn’t have anyone coordinating the activities of all medical and uniformed first responders, even though the city has 1,200 employees working for its Health Commission, Worcester has 28.

The more I think about how to implement and manage a social distancing strategy to deal with COVID-19, the more I think it’s what we should be doing about gun violence as well. After all, social distancing simply means that we take it upon ourselves to behave in a certain way based on an informed awareness of what needs to be done. Isn’t that what everyone should be doing in response to gun violence – behaving in a certain way with guns based on an informed awareness that guns represent a risk to health?

If the latest estimates are correct, the COVID-19 virus will begin to disappear after we suffer some 60,000 deaths. We suffer more than 100,000 deaths and serious injuries from guns, year after year after year. Maybe what Mike Hirsh is doing in Worcester for COVID-19 could become a national template for dealing with guns.