Maybe The Game Is Really Up For the NRA.


              Our friends at The Trace have just published a second article on the doings of Wayne LaPierre which may be the final straw that will break America’s ‘first civil rights’ organization’s back. It’s actually a video of Wayne-o and his wife bagging two elephants in a Botswana preserve during an African safari they took back in 2013.

              The video was produced but never released for a segment of a TV series called ‘Under Wild Skies,’ which was being peddled to various video channels by the same company, Ackerman-McQueen, who did all the PR work for the NRA

              The video is disturbing because here’s this poor elephant who walks up to about 50 yards from Wayne-o and after he’s gunned down by a single round, the animal’s still alive because the great white hunter then stands right next to the poor creature and misses several more shots.

              I’m not sure if this video demonstrates anything at all about the issues that are being argued in a Texas bankruptcy court. You can follow the daily proceedings on a website that has been posted courtesy of our friends at Everytown, but I’m not even sure that the testimony being given by various NRA operatives, including Wayne-o himself, changes things all that much.

              What has changed is the degree to which the NRA can count on its membership to continue supporting gun ‘rights’ with their wallets and their bank checks.  In 2018, which was before the veritable sh*t hit the veritable fan, the NRA collected $170,391,374 in membership dues. In 2019, this number dropped to $112,969,564.  How do you stay in business when you are a membership organization, and the members decide to stop sending you money by as much as one-third? Duhhh, you don’t.

              The NRA wouldn’t be having a problem in bankruptcy court if it was financially on the ropes because revenues showed such a big drop. Companies go bankrupt all the time when they lose customers and hence, lose sales. The 45Th President of the United States is an expert at starting ventures which don’t maintain initial revenues and then go bust.

              The NRA’s bankruptcy, on the other hand, is not so much a function of diminishing revenue as it’s the result of all kinds of questionable expenditures, in particular, annual compensation for the organization’s top dogs. The last year that the NRA operated in the black was 2015. Since then, from 2016 through 2019, they have lost nearly 80 million bucks.

              Meanwhile, in 2016, the total compensation for what the IRS refers to as: “current officers, directors, trustees and key employees” was $10.3 million, in 2019 after losing 80 million over the previous four years, total payments made to the top dogs was $15 million, an increase of 50 percent!

              Over that same four-year period, Wayne-o’s cash compensations went up from $1,422,339 to $1,884,707. So, membership revenues dropped by one-third over the same period that Wayne-o’s salary increased by the same amount. That’s how you compensate a CEO? The more the company loses, the more he gets paid?

              I’m not sure, by the way, how much of this entire mess at the NRA is or isn’t due to the superb reportage by The Trace’s Mike Spies, whose initial article on all the financial goings-on and flimflams appeared the exact, same week that Oliver North announced he was stepping down as NRA President, having only served for one year.

              What evidently caused this shakeup was a conflict between Wayne-o and the PR firm that produced the African safari video, a conflict which has resulted in not one, but two messy lawsuits between the NRA and Ackerman-McQueen.

              I’m not saying that the reportage by Mike Spies is what brought the issues of financial management and all kinds of crazy expenditures (like Wayne-o’s $40,000 Zegna wardrobe) to a head. I’m saying that Mike’s 2019 story was so well done that it was co-published in The New Yorker Magazine.

              Remember Frances Fitzgerald’s ‘Fire in the Lake’ New Yorker article which set off the national debate about Viet Nam? Maybe the work by Mike Spies on the NRA will set off the national debate about guns.

Another Plan To End Gun Violence.


I hate to say it, but sometimes there’s a certain arrogance which infects liberal academics who believe it’s their responsibility to inform us about what we need to do in order to create a better life for what Rush Limbaugh used to refer to as the ‘deserving poor.’

One such liberal prognosticator is Patrick Sharkey, whose book on urban violence, Uneasy Peace, made a big splash when it was published back in 2017.  He’s at Princeton, where he now sits in the sylvan campus glades and tells us how and what we should do to help all those poor, unfortunate residents of the ‘underserved’ world make things better for themselves.

Sharkey has just published a new advisory report for the uplifting of the inner-city folks, ‘Social Fabric: A New Model for Public Safety and Vital Neighborhoods.’ This is a plan to lift up the poor and downtrodden which weaves together “a social fabric composed of residents and community institutions, upheld by the social supports that government budgets are intended to nurture.”

Another version of the Marshall Plan writ large. I have been listening to my liberal friends express their belief about the ameliorative impact of public spending on social programs since Michael Harrington discovered American poverty back in 1962.  Every few years someone like Sharkey comes along, tells us that we need to spend more money but need to spend it in a different way and things will be just fine.

How does Sharkey want the money spent?  Various programs “that would iteratively shrink the uses of the criminal justice system,” such as after-school activities for the kids, summer employment, better lighting of public spaces, these and other programs of course being based on the “best science that we have.” The liberals always trot out science whenever they want to justify plans for social change.

The paper published by Sharkey and his colleagues is advertised as a ‘pilot project’ that should be conducted in New York City and then expanded to other urban, inner-city zones which experience high levels of violence and social distress. The whole point of this approach is to get various community groups to become more involved in street-level activities that will create social cohesion and allow the police to operate only when crime or violence gets out of hand.

What I find very interesting in this compassionate and hopeful approach to inner-city poverty and crime is a complete absence of any discussion at all about the two issue which are more responsible for creating and sustaining the violence endured by these neighborhoods than anything else: housing projects and guns.

The single, moist violent neighborhood in New York City is a neighborhood in Brooklyn called East New York. Back in the 1920’s, this area was a location for immigrant Jews, all of whom moved out during the decade following World War II. They were replaced by an impoverished Black population, many of whom had roots in the South.

Where did this new population live when they came to East New York? They were crammed into the single, worst, most disgusting housing ever invented for human beings, namely, the housing projects which still dominate the skyline in East New York. These projects were invented by liberal academics known as urban planners and I don’t notice that an urban expert like Professor Sharkey says one word about the existence of these vertical slums.

Yea, yea, I know that the word ‘slum’ is a word I’m not supposed to use.  What should I call these monstrosities?  Garden apartments like they have in Queens?

Then there’s the other little, unmentionable issue, which we refer to as guns.  Last week, there were 50 shootings in New York City, of which almost half occurred in Brooklyn, many in East New York. Does Sharkey and his colleagues at the Square One Project have a plan that can displace the cops when someone pulls out a banger and bangs someone else in the head?

Know what Professor Sharkey can do with his plan?  He can add it to his CV and use it as a script when he appears at TED.

A 2nd Amendment Case Gets To The Court.


              Uh-oh, sooner or later we knew it would happen. We elect a President who actually shows some concern about gun violence and the other side gets its conservative friends on the Supreme Court to expand gun ‘rights.’

              Here’s what the Giffords group had to say about yesterday’s announcement that the Court will take up a challenge to a New York State law which makes someone jump through a whole bunch of legal hoops before they can walk around the neighborhood carrying a gun: “Today’s announcement,” said Giffords, “is a warning sign that our nation’s highest court is poised to brush aside the will of the people and instead side with gun lobby groups seeking to eliminate even the most modest firearm laws.”

              Not to be outdone, our friends at Everytown made sure to link this threat to our safety to the threat posed by Covid-19: “Gun violence has only worsened during the pandemic, and a ruling that opened the door to weakening our gun laws could make it even harder for cities and states to grapple with this public health crisis.”

              The New York State law basically says that if you want to walk around town with a gun in your pocket, you have to apply for a license which is different from the license you need to buy or own a gun. While the latter license only requires that you pass a background check, the former requires that the applicant explain why he needs to use a gun for self-protection, and if the explanation doesn’t convince the issuing authority that there’s a good reason to be self-armed, the application can be denied.

              The problem raised by the plaintiffs in the New York case is not whether New York State can issue a separate license to allow someone to walk around with a gun. The alleged denial of 2nd-Amendment ‘rights’ is based on the fact that the cops have complete and arbitrary authority to approve or deny the concealed-carry license request.  How do the cops figure out whether someone has made a convincing argument for protecting himself with a gun? Whatever way they want to figure it out.

              Our friend David Hemenway published a study on this licensing procedure in Massachusetts, which is one of the eight states, along with New York, which grants police an arbitrary authority to decide who can and who cannot walk around with a gun. A large majority of the 121 police chiefs who answered David’s survey stated they were comfortable with the retaining discretionary authority over the issuance of concealed-carry permits, but only 2% of the permit requests were denied each year.

              Let’s say the Supreme Court sides with the plaintiffs in this case and says that New York State has to relinquish its authority to arbitrarily decide who can, and who cannot walk around with a gun. This would represent such an ‘elimination of modest firearm laws’ (to quote Giffords) that New York State would join the other 42(!) states which have already ‘eliminated’ this ‘modest’ firearm law.

              In 1986, there were exactly 7 states whose residents could apply for a concealed-carry permit without having to cite a particular need. That same year, the national homicide rate stood at 8.6, with 60% of all homicides committed with guns. In 2019, with 42 states giving just about every law-abiding resident the right to walk around with a gun, the homicide rate was 5.8, with 75% of all homicides committed with guns.

              What’s the connection between the so-called elimination of ‘modest’ gun laws and an increase in gun violence throughout the United States? Beats hell out of me.

              Know why our homicide rate keeps going down but more and more of the killings are committed with guns? Because we are the only country in the entire world which imposes ‘modest’ gun laws based on how we hope gun owners will behave, and not on what kinds of guns they can own.

              Want to get rid of gun violence? Get rid of the guns which are used to commit violence, okay?


Kimberly Ellis – ‘Pushed, A Short Story.’


It was early in the evening and she was just doing some much-needed house chores, when the doorbell rang. But being she had no roommates; it was a lot easier to keep track of what went where. She hurried from the other end of the house to answer the door when she HEARD who it was.

“Rachel? Open the goddamned door already!” the man at the door yelled. She shuddered at just the sound of HIS voice. Just the sound. But it wasn’t only his words that caused pain, it was him. She knew this. “Jesus Christ, Charlie! Hold on a minute will yah?!?” she said in quite an aggravated tone.

“Who the hell you got in there this time huh Rachel?” … “Jake? or maybe Alex? You are such a WHORE, Rachel, do you know this? I knew I never should have trusted you… you fuckin bitch”

Charlie then started kicking at the door, pounding it harder and harder, yelling some more obvious obscenities. She could hear the threats he launched, the threats he always followed through on. The threats that she knew had to come to an end.

“Shut up! Shut up! Just shut UP, will you!?” she screamed as she dropped to the floor on all fours and crawled into the nearest closet and shut the door.

Rocking back and forth with her head between her knees, she tightly cupped her hands over her ears, trying to forget everything he ever said. And everything that ever happened. Just trying to forget it all. EVERYTHING. But something had clicked in her head, and this time it was different. This time she had to do something. Something drastic.

Completely outraged and blinded by hysterical tears she kept mumbling. “Can’t take it anymore, can’t take it, must do something to stop it. Just STOP it all now. Stop him.” Gritting her teeth, she repetitively chanted these words in a complete and total rage. Always feeling helpless and incredibly angered at the same painful words she’s been hearing for the past six months. She knew it was a bad idea to get involved with him, his temper, and just the way he “handled” her in public. Handled. She knew she didn’t deserve this and she tried to stop it, she talked to him, she pleaded, she yelled, she SCREAMED for God’s sake. Nothing worked. But a bullet? Hey, it works on television, right? This was her philosophy. One sided thought it might have seemed it was the only alternative she could think of besides TAKING it from him… again and again and again. She despised guns or any other type of weapons, but she wasn’t about to let him batter her and degrade her as a person or as a woman ANYMORE or ever again for that matter. Ever.

She wiped the mass of ocean from her face and as she was pulling herself up off the floor, she opened the closet door and let herself out. As hard as she tried not too, she could still hear him shouting things at her behind the steel door, the steel door in which she was very thankful for right about then. She stood still for a moment and tried to get control of herself, then she moved quickly, walking into the same closet that she had just stepped out of, her eyes searched the closet rapidly. Then, after removing some boxes, she lifted the carpeting up off the closet floor and pulled it back, putting her foot over it, holding it down. “Oh Charles, would you please hush!” she whispered with a quite amused tone as she lifted the latch of the metal box that lays between the floor boards. “I’ll be there in a minute; I have to take care of something first!” More like ‘someone’ she thought to herself, cackling obnoxiously, knowing he couldn’t hear a damn word she was saying.

She then reached for the case that lays in the box, unzipped it and pulled out the loaded gun her father gave her for protection. And even though guns were totally against everything she ever believed in; she took his advice. She never wanted to use it and she never thought she would have to use it and apparently neither did her father because it occurred to her that she was never actually taught how to use the weapon. But then she realized it didn’t matter and that she really didn’t care either. Just as long as it took care of him once and for all. “Have to” she thought out loud. “Have to end this” she whispered, chanting once again. She then moved towards the front room and stood in front of the door, holding the gun straight in front of her, a ’38 special. She then unlocked the door and backing up a few feet, she INVITED him in. “Charles, dear? Would you like to come in?” she said sarcastically while laughing loudly, hoping the ‘bastard’ would hear her. Her shoes dug into the carpet, she stood straight, with her entire body in line. Solid.

Time To Get Rid Of Killer Guns


              Over the years, I have come to believe that from time to time, The New Yorker Magazine publishes an article which has a fundamental impact on the way we discuss political issues and events. I am thinking, for example, about ‘Fire in the Lake,’ the 1972 article by Frances Fitzgerald, which set the national discussion about Viet Nam onto a proper track.

              I was hoping that the recent article by Ian Frazier, ‘Fighting America’s Gun Plague,’ might do the same thing. After all, the article appeared at the same time that a serious Congressional debate about gun violence is about to take place.

              Unfortunately, Frazier’s article doesn’t move the discussion about gun violence forward at all. What it does is promote the same, basically useless bromides for dealing with gun violence that the gun-control community has been promoting for the past 20 years.

              The USA doesn’t suffer 125,000 intentional gun deaths and gun injuries every year because guns aren’t safely stored. We don’t have a fatal violence rate that is 7 to 20 times higher than any other advanced country because we don’t require that personal transfers of guns be FBBI-approved. We don’t have a gun-homicide rate which is the 3rd-highest cause of deaths for people between the ages of 25 and 34.

              Most of all, we don’t have gun violence because we own 275 million guns, or 300 million guns, or 375 million guns, or whatever the real number is.

              We have gun violence for one, simple reason – ready?  We are the only country in the entire world which allows guns that are designed and used only for killing human beings to be commercially and legally sold.

              This many come as a great shock to my many friends who are active in the various efforts to reduce the violence caused by guns, but anyone who believes that a Glock 17 handgun or an AR-15 rifle can be made ‘safe’ just by talking about gun ‘safety,’ doesn’t know anything about guns. But what does Ian Frazier and his group of activists at New Yorkers Against Gun Violence (NYAGV) believe? That we can reduce gun violence by lobbying for ‘gun-safety’ laws.

              New York State now has a very strong gun-safety law. It requires that “all guns in homes with children be under lock and key.”  The law, known as Nicholas’s Law, was passed in 2015 and the NYAGV group takes well-deserved credit for getting this measure onto the books. Frazier’s article about gun violence is basically a paean to the work being done by the NYAGV.

              There’s only one little problem, however, when we sit down and try to figure out whether Nicholas’s Law has made guns more ‘safe.’ New York State registered 849-gun deaths in 2015, the number dropped to 772 in 2017 and went back up to 821 the following year. Know how many of these deaths each year were accidental? Since 2010, the number of accidental gun deaths in New York State has never been higher than – ten!

              Do me a favor and please don’t respond to the previous paragraph by telling me that ‘every life’ is important. That’s not the point. The point is that The New Yorker Magazine says that Ian Frazier’s article is all about how we should ‘fight’ America’s gun plague.

              So, tell me. If the “Chinese virus” was only killing 10 people in the United States every year, would we be calling it a pandemic or a plague?  No, we wouldn’t be paying attention to it at all.

              I have been saying what follows again and again for the last nine years since I started writing about gun violence before the massacre at Sandy Hook. So, I’m going to say it again.

              Until we get rid of guns that are only designed to do one thing – end human life – we won’t get rid of gun violence, no matter how many trips a bunch of school kids make to Albany or to Washington, D.C.

              Want to understand what needs to be done? You can read it right here: Home | Mysite 1 (bantheseguns.org).

              Want to get things started? Try https://www.change.org/bankillerhandgunsnow or https://www.change.org/Ban_Assault_Rifles_Now.

            And yes, as soon as my 501c3 application is approved, there will also be an organization you can join.

Is America’s Love Affair With Guns Coming To An End?


              Sometime early next week I am going to publish the first chapter of a new book entitled Boom to Bust – The NRA Faces an Uncertain Future. It’s going to come out first in serialized form on the new Kindle-Vella platform which is due to go live perhaps as early as today. I’m going to do a chapter each week and when the entire book is available, I’ll move it as well to a print edition for those who (like me) want to hold books in their hands.

              I started thinking about this book when the NRA found itself in turmoil after Ollie North was dumped as the organization’s President back in 2019. When he was first named President the previous year, I thought the NRA was just hitting a new stride. Between North’s fundraising prowess and Trump’s constant blathering about 2nd-Amendment ‘rights,’ you would have thought that the NRA and Gun-nut Nation in general were going to hit a new high.

              Except it didn’t turn out that way. Not at all. North lasted just one year as NRA President – he was deposed as part of a nasty fight between the organization and its long-time PR firm, Ackerman-McQueen. Wayne LaPierre is facing his own set of nasty allegations about spending all kinds of money on personal expenses which have nothing to with his work for the NRA. And worst of all, America’s ‘first civil rights organization’ is trying to escape from New York State where the Governor just happens to be the single, most anti-gun Governor in all of the 50 states.

              Worst of all, the gun-rights group is broke. Which means that all the money they used to hand out to compliant members of the GOP Senate and House caucuses isn’t there anymore. In 2019, the group spent $3.2 million on lobbying. In 2020 that amount fell to just over $2 million bucks. No money, no honey.

              My book is going to cover all these issues, as well as some of the other messy things that have involved the NRA over the past couple of years, in particular the crazy attempt to form a subsidiary organization in Russia, of all places, which happens to be a country where almost nobody owns a gun.

              All of that said and done, however, there’s another, much more important reason why I am writing this book. Because notwithstanding all the strurm und drang over the spike of gun sales during the Pandemic, a spike which, by the way, seems to have run its course, what I will talk about is my sense that maybe, just maybe the love affair between America and guns is coming to an end.

              To begin with, guns are a very old technology. Other than substituting polymer for carbon steel, the way guns work hasn’t changed one bit in more than a hundred years. And if there’s one thing which is different about the under-30 population, it’s the fact that they are all enamored of technology, particularly in a handheld device.

              Next time you’re in a shopping mall, take a look at the size of the crowd in the Apple store. You will never (read: never) see multitudes like that in any store which sells guns. And even though the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says that the percentage of Americans who hold hunting licenses has increased from 7% to 10% between 1960 and 2020, these folks sure aren’t buying any guns. The number of shotguns made in the United States in 2018, was exactly the same number manufactured in 1986.

              Know what self-defense weapon has seen a remarkable surge in sales since the “Chinese flu” arrived.  Try stun guns, a.k.a., tasers, with manufacturers reporting recent sales increases of 300%!  And you don’t need to pass a background check or get a gun license in order to buy, own and carry one of these little devices around. It goes without saying that you can buy a taser online.

              The price of Axon stock, a company that manufactures stun guns, has moved up 70% since August 1st of last year. Over the same  9 months, the price of Smith&Wesson stock hasn’t budged one inch. Okay?

Want To Protect Yourself From Covid-19? Buy A Shield.


              Yesterday my American Rifleman magazine arrived, so I sat down, made a coffee, and had a good read. I have yet to meet a single member from any of the gun-control organizations who reads American Rifleman because I have yet to meet a single follower of Gun-control Nation who is also a member of the NRA.

              Now how you can spend time, energy and money trying to reduce the influence of an organization without knowing how that particular organization argues its case is beyond me. But lots of things are beyond me, so let’s just leave it at that.

              In any case, this month’s issue featured a review of a new product from Smith & Wesson, whose factory is right down the road from where I live. The product is a gun called the Shield Plus, which happens to be the pistol pictured above.

              Like most of the company’s products, this gun is designed to be attractive to consumers who believe they want to have a gun at the ready to protect themselves from all those bad guys walking around. And since the number of bad guys has increased substantially since the ‘China flu’ arrived, obviously we should all be carrying a gun.

              Incidentally, for all the talk about how everyone rushed out to buy a gun to protect themselves from the virus, or from the BLM marauders, or the Antifa gang, in fact March purchases of handguns this year dropped by almost 20% from the same month a year ago. No wonder S&W stock has been sitting at $18 a share since last September, down from $22 a share in 2016. The Dow has almost doubled over that same period of time. Oh well, oh well.

              Now back to the Shield Plus. The gun called the ‘plus’ because it has been redesigned to hold more ammunition – the extended magazine holds 13 rounds and with a live one in the chamber you’re walking around with 14 rounds.

              How big is this gun which holds enough ammunition to mow down half the entire roster of the New York Mets?  Try this: 6 inches long from end to end. My droid is almost 6 inches long. How much does the gun weigh? A little over 1 pound.

              I can fit this weapon with this immense amount of military-grade firepower into the front pocket of my pants or the shirt pocket of the jacket I wear when I go out on the golf course and I won’t even know that I have the gun with me.

              There is simply no other consumer product that represents this degree of lethality. And by the way, the whole deal will set you back around $500 bucks. Yesterday I bought a new battery for my car which cost me $250 bucks. What’s $500 bucks? Nothing.

              There is only one reason why S&W is making a gun which is both this deadly and this small. And it’s a reason you will never hear mentioned in all the advertisements for this gun. The reason goes like this.

              What the gun industry is selling these days is not just lethality based on the number of military-grade ammunition you can fire before you have to reload your gun. What they’re really selling is lethality based on – ready? – stealth.

              The problem is that there are lots of places where you can’t take a gun. You can’t usually bring a gun into public spaces like theaters and shopping malls, you can’t bring a gun into most schools. If anything, the recent uptick in mass shootings will only make us more, not less accepting of the idea that we should all be walking around armed.

              But for the gun nuts and wannabe gun nuts who buy into the nonsense that the ‘bad guys’ can be stopped if all the ‘good guys’ have guns, the gun market will continue to be dominated by products as small and concealable as the Shield Plus.

              Now where did I put my car keys?

Does The 2nd Amendment Protect Gun Ownership? Depends On The Gun.


              Yesterday I listened to Michael Smerconish interview CNN’s Joan Biskupic on the 2nd Amendment. Smerconish is an expert on everything, Biskupic is only an expert on law and legal affairs. If you think that either of these two experts knows anything about the 2nd Amendment, as Grandpa would say, oy zuch en vai (read: they don’t know sh*t.)

              They went on and on about how the 2nd Amendment covered guns that were kept at home but were used when the gun owner had to show up for militia duty. Since we no longer have a militia (except for the Proud Boys), the 2nd Amendment gives Constitutional protection to privately-owned guns kept in the home which have no connection to militia service at all.

              Smerconish and Biskupic are convinced that the 2008 Heller decision is definitive in protecting private gun ownership, hence, the only way we can control guns is either to get rid of the 2nd Amendment or change the ideological balance of the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, either strategy would take a long time to achieve its intended results.

              There’s only one little problem. Neither Smerconish nor Biskupic really understand what the Heller decision is all about. They spent an entire segment talking about issues which have little, if anything to do with why we suffer from 125,000 intentional gun injuries every year or what we should do to reduce those injuries so that we no longer refer to gun violence as a ‘public health threat.’

              The Heller opinion which allegedly protects private ownership of guns turns on how Scalia defined this phrase: “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” He defines this phrase on Page 8 of his opinion: “The term was applied, then as now, to weapons that were not specifically designed for military use and were not employed in a military capacity.”

              Note the words, ‘military capacity.’ According to Scalia, guns that are used by the military do not (read: not) qualify for any Constitutional protection at all. Not when the 2nd Amendment was written, not since.

              I am still waiting for any of the so-called legal experts on either side of the 2nd-Amendment debate to demonstrate that they possess even the slightest degree of knowledge about guns. For that matter, I’m still waiting for any advocate on either side of the gun debate to demonstrate a shred of such knowledge at all.

              Because if such knowledge existed within or without the various groups, including all the so-called public health experts who do what they refer to as ‘evidence-based research’ on guns, they would have to confront the fact (note the word ‘fact’) that the guns which are used to commit 95% of all intentional gun injuries happen to be guns which were designed specifically for military use.

              And not only were guns manufactured by companies like Glock, Sig, Beretta, and Colt designed specifically for military applications, in fact (note again the word ‘fact’) they are carried today by military units throughout the world, in particular by troops deployed by the good, old, U.S.A.

              The United States is the only country in the entire world which gives law-abiding residents free access to bottom-loading, semi-automatic guns, which happen to be the design features incorporated into every military gun. We don’t suffer a gun violence rate 7 to 20 times higher than any other OECD country because we own 300 million guns. We suffer 125,000-gun injuries every year because we can buy, sell, and transfer guns which have absolutely no sporting use at all.

              And by the way, before you start ramping up your concern about 2nd-Amendment ‘rights,’ let me break the news to you gently, okay? There happen to be several jurisdictions which have passed laws which forbid ownership of military weapons, in this case the AR-15, and these laws have been upheld by that terribly conservative Supreme Court.

              I’m not a legal expert by any means. But I was taught to read English in the 3rd grade. So, I know what the Heller opinion written by Scalia says and doesn’t say.

I also know a little bit about guns, and I’d be happy to share that knowledge with Smerconish or Biskupic if they would like to drop by my shop.

Do We Reduce Gun Violence By Making Sure The Data Is Correct? I Don’t Think So.


              So, it turns out that the kid who shot and killed 8 people at the FedEx depot in Indianapolis used two assault rifles that he legally purchased last year after the cops took away his shotgun after his mother complained that he was mentally ill.

              Hey – wait just a darn minute! I thought that Indiana had a ‘red flag’ law, which is a statute that allows the cops to disarm someone after a judge decides that the individual in question might otherwise be a danger to himself or someone else.

              In fact, Indiana does have a ‘red flag’ law, known as the Jake Laird law, which was passed in 2005.  The law allows the cops to disarm someone who they consider to be too dangerous to have access to guns, and then a court hearing must occur within two weeks to determine whether the guns stay in the police station or are returned.

              The guy who loses his guns can petition the Court to get them back after six months. The Court will then hold another hearing to determine whether or not the former gun owner is or is no longer a ‘danger’ to the community or to himself. If the guns don’t go back to the owner after five years, the Court can tell the cops to destroy the guns.

              Incidentally, the law was named after an Indianapolis cop who responded to a call that someone was walking down the street shooting an assault rifle. The shooter had already killed his mother and he then killed Tim Laird when the officer appeared on the scene. The shooter’s guns had been taken away the previous year after he threatened a cop but were returned to him several months before the fatal killings took place. Now let’s get back to last week.

              When the Indianapolis Police Chief, Randal Taylor, was asked about the FedEx shooter losing his shotgun but then going out and buying two assault rifles, he made a comment which I’m sure he would love to forget.  Referring to the fact that the cops didn’t return the kid’s shotgun he said, “I don’t know how we held on to it, but it’s good that we did.”

              The reason that Chief Taylor didn’t know that the kid’s shotgun was still sitting in the evidence locker at his Department is because after the gun was no longer in the possession of the shooter, no red flag hearing was ever held. And because there was never a hearing, the kid was able to go out and buy two more guns. God only knows how Chief Taylor could ever imagine that swapping a shotgun for two assault rifles was a good thing.

              But here’s the point of this sad tale. You can pass all the laws you want, but don’t ask me why, don’t ask me how, laws have a funny way of sometimes not being carried out. Recall back in 2015 that another young guy walked into a church in Charleston and killed 9 people who were attending a Bible class. In this case, the cops forgot to notify the FBI that the shooter should have been disqualified from buying the gun he used to commit his rampage because he took a plea on a drug charge.

              This communication failure between the local police and the FBI-NICS, or maybe the lack of information-sharing was between the court and the local cops, has come to be known as the ‘Charleston loophole.’ Except there was no loophole at all. Someone simply forgot to do what the law said they were supposed to do.

              Cops are paid for making arrests and closing as many cases as they can. They aren’t paid to sit around and update this or that database. As long as we continue to believe that we can reduce gun violence by making sure that all the information we have on gun owners is complete, like we say in IT, ‘garbage in, garbage out.’

Please don’t forget: https://www.change.org/bankillerhandgunsnow.

Want To End Gun Violence? Try Drinking A Little Less.


              I don’t know what’s worse about the media’s reaction to shooting rampages, like the rampage that took place last week at FedEx, or the shootings that took place the previous week, or the week before that, or the week before that. At a certain point I tend to lose track of these events, but the media’s reaction is always the same.

              First, they play some dumb-ass, pro-gun politician like Cruz or McConnell making the usual ‘thoughts and prayers,’ comment or reminding us that nutty people shouldn’t be allowed to own guns. This is balanced it out with a comment from some anti-gun person about the ‘fact’ that America has too many guns.

              I’m not surprised when some right-wing jackass pretends to be all caught up in a religious response to gun violence – that’s what the script has always been. But when someone who claims to be a ‘scholar’ gives us an explanation that is no more valid as to why some kid pulls up in a FedEx parking lot, climbs out of his car with not one but two legally purchased assault rifles and starts banging away, there’s really something wrong.

              I’m referring to an interview on CNN with Adam Lankford, who made a big splash a few years ago when The New York Times picked up on his research which found a connection between the number of mass shootings and the number of guns we have floating around. Lankford never produced any data to validate his argument about the number of mass shootings which take place in the United States or anywhere else, but why would anyone need to rely on evidence-based research in order to become a gun-violence expert on media today?

              Data or no data, facts or fiction, Lankford’s at it again. His interview on CNN starts off with the biggest piece of gun-control nonsense of all, namely, that we have so many more mass shootings than any other country because we own so many more guns. He claims that we have 5% of the world’s population and 40% of the civilian-owned guns, and firearm access “seems to be a critical factor” in explaining why we have many more mass shootings than any other place.

              My retail gun shop normally carried an inventory of about 200 guns, of which maybe half were new, and half were used. I sold about 40 guns a month, which was a pretty good turn. With each gun I also tried to sell a box of ammunition or some other accessory item because the mark-up on guns was never more than 20%, the markup on ammo and accessories was 40% or more. 

              Of those 200 new and used guns, the best-sellers were the small, semi-automatic pistols made by Glock, Sig, Beretta, S&W, Springfield Armory, and Kahr. The assault rifles made by Bushmaster, S&W and Panther Arms also sold pretty well. But my shop was located in an area where folks hunted deer in the Fall, turkeys in the early Spring, and birds year-round. So, most of what I sold, and what just about every gun shop sells, were hunting guns – shotguns, bolt-action rifles, long-barreled revolvers – which never (read: hardly ever) figure in gun violence at all.

              We don’t suffer more than 125,000 deaths and injuries from guns every year because we have ‘too many’ guns. Gun violence is a public health issue because we are the only country in the entire world which gives its residents free access to the types of guns that are designed only for the purpose of being used to end the life of the gun owner or of someone else.

              How many assault rifles are floating around out there?  Maybe 20 million. How many small, semi-automatic handguns have been sold over the last 30 years? Somewhere around 40 million – you can count up an exact number right here.

              Sixty million guns isn’t three hundred million. If we bought back all those guns at $700 a clip, the whole big deal would amount to less than one-fifth of what we spend on booze each year.

              Want to cut down your drinking by 20 percent for one year and end gun violence once and for all?

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