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Want To Get Rid Of The NRA?

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              I just received my annual request from Wayne LaPierre to renew my membership in the Golden Eagles program, which means I’m expected to send him a nice, big check. I’m already a Patriot Life Member – Benefactor Level and a Defender of Freedom, two other accolades which demonstrate that I send them big bucks.

              Why do I keep shelling out dough for my friends in Fairfax to piss away on various pro-gun schemes? Because I’m a gun nut, remember?  That’s what gun nuts do. They go to gun shows. They hang out with other gun nuts. They get letters from Wayne-o asking for more dough.

              I also give the Brady Campaign and Everytown $1,200 a year each and donate that much or more to the Wilderness Fund, the National Parks Conservancy and a couple of other tree-hugging outfits as well. I like to be inside the tent pissing out – on both sides. Anyway, back to Wayne-o and the NRA.

              So, Wayne’s put up a statement on the NRA website to let all the members know that he’s not going away or backing down – at least as of today. It’s a typical effort to remind the faithful that ol’ Wayne-o’s out there doing everything he can to protect our ‘rights’ to own and even walk around with our guns.

              There’s only one little problem with what he says, namely, it’s what he didn’t say which is more important than what he actually said. Because although Judge Hale gave the NRA another shot at bringing a Chapter 11 filing into his courtroom, contrary to what Wayne-o says, the judge threatened to appoint a court trustee to manage the filing. And Wayne-o needs a court-appointed trustee to take over his organization like he needs a hole in his head.

              Want to read a remarkable document about this case?  Try the 700 paragraph-long complaint filed by New York State’s Attorney General which found that Wayne-o and other NRA executives engaged in what is referred to as ‘pass-through’ financial transactions, which is a polite way of accusing the Fairfax bunch of money laundering, which is a not-so-polite way of saying that organizational money (e.g., member dues) were used in ways it shouldn’t have been used.

              How did this little scheme work? Wayne-o and other NRA managers would go out to dinner, sometimes also taking along the wives. And sometimes these fancy dinners, which could roll up a thousand-dollar tab or more, took place at fancy hotels where they were all staying for the night, or maybe a couple of nights.

              When the bill had to be paid, someone pulled out a corporate credit card issued to them by the NRA’s public-relations firm, Ackerman-McQueen. So, an NRA employee paid for a non-business activity with a credit card issued not by his employer, but by a vendor to the NRA who would then include this charge in the monthly invoice submitted to the NRA. Cute, isn’t it?

              Here’s what Wayne-o says about the New York AG’s suit: “Her subsequent pursuit of the NRA has been characterized by many legal experts and constitutional scholars as a gross weaponization of legal and regulatory power.” These must be the same ‘legal experts’ whose attempts to overturn the 2020 election results were thrown out by more than 60 courts. 

              Notwithstanding what I have just said, in my book about the NRA I actually conclude that the organization needs to remain in business and that Wayne-o should also be kept on board. Why do I say this?  Because if you think the NRA is some kind of crazy, misinformed, and extreme gun-rights organization, you haven’t met the competition, okay?

              For example, check out the Virginia Citizens Defense League. They don’t believe in any kind of background checks because they can’t find the phrase ‘background checks’ in the Constitution, so obviously background checks shouldn’t exist. Then there’s Larry Pratt, who runs Gun Owners of America, and believes that we need to be armed until Jesus Christ returns because “until Christ comes again, people will be sinful.”

              Want to deal with those schmucks? Like many of my Gun-control Nation friends, they’re just waiting and hoping the NRA will disappear.

Welcome To The NRA – Kindle edition by Weisser, Michael. Politics & Social Sciences Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

What Happened To ‘Thoughts and Prayers?’

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              At least to Joe’s credit, he didn’t say that his ‘thoughts and prayers’ were with the families of the people gunned down yesterday in San Jose. Joe’s got a different slogan in response to gun violence – Enough!  Which leads me to ask a question: Enough of what?

              Way back in 1968 our friend Frank Zimring put together a report on gun violence included in an initiative by President Lyndon Johnson to study the causes of violence in the United States. Too bad ol’ Lyndon didn’t ask anyone to explain the causes of violence that we were committing at the same time in Viet Nam. Oh well, oh well.

              Zimring’s study of gun violence was published in 1969. I may be the only living person other than Frank Zimring who actually owns a copy of that report, and here’s what it says: “Times and dangers have changes from frontier days when a gun was often necessary for survival. The extent to which guns are actually useful for defensive purposes must be reappraised.” [Page 61.]

              Folks – that was written more than fifty years ago. And the appraisal has yet to take place. Or I should say, to the extent that guns are still considered useful for defensive purposes, what we are now told is that we need guns to defend ourselves against the tyranny of the government and the national state.

              Too bad the guy who killed eight people in the transit depot in San Jose had to then shoot himself at the end of his spree. Because if he were still alive, I’d really like to find out if he went on that rampage because somehow the San Jose Transit Authority represented the political tyranny which puts his Constitutional ‘rights’ at risk. Or better yet, maybe the poor bastards he gunned down were all secretly working for the Deep State.

              The loonier and crazier Gun-nut Nation becomes when they have to respond to another instance of mass slaughter perpetrated with a gun, the more I am convinced that the days when any red-blooded American patriot can simply walk into a gun store and walk out a minute later with a ‘sporting’ gun designed to end the lives of scores of men and women may be coming to an end.

              Why do I say that?

              Because on the one hand, we are the only country in the entire world which lets people settle a dispute with lethal force. It’s called ‘stand your ground,’ and no other society sanctions this kind of behavior and also allows its citizens to engage in such behavior by using a gun. The two guns that Sam Cassidy used to shoot and kill eight co-workers yesterday weren’t ‘sporting’ guns. They were semi-automatic pistols, designed to be used the way they were used in yesterday’s assault.

              On the other hand, like it or not, this country is becoming more diverse, more color-blind and more gender-heterogeneous every day. And as that happens, the attitudes which promote the kind of gun violence we witnessed yesterday in San Jose will fade away.

              The promoters of walking around with a gun for self-protection are no longer all that interested in protecting themselves against co-workers or anyone else who pisses them off. Their gun is the only way they can be ‘free’ and protected from the encroachments of the tyrannical state. Now the fact that this statist tyranny only seems to rear its ugly head when the Democrats are in power, duhhh, that’s just a nuance which should never be taken to question the monthly arrival of my social security check.

              The extraordinary racial, cultural and gender diversity of this country is the product of laws and court decisions enacted by that tyrannical, national state. And as the social dimensions of those laws continue to reverberate throughout American society, the anger about such remarkable changes will slowly but surly go away.

              As that anger and fear disappears, the guns will disappear as well.

All my gun books right here: Gun Violence | TeeTee Press.

Why Did We Ever Take Back Those Confederate States?

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              I used to think that Jeff Sessions was the dumbest member of the United States Senate, but he’s been eclipsed by John Kennedy from Louisiana, who is running this lovely PSA on YouTube: https://twitter.com/NRA/status/1396945973830725635.

              For the life of me, I don’t understand why in God’s name we ever took them back. After all, there’s nothing in the Constitution about secession. As for the notion of a perpetual Union, Lincoln made the whole thing up.

              When the representatives from the Confederate states stood up in Congress and threatened to walk out and go home if Lincoln won the 1860 election, a few radical Republicans wanted to let them go. So, we didn’t get compensated for the post office buildings they turned into Confederate property. So what?

              Everyone keeps talking about how Northern cities like Philadelphia and Baltimore have high rates of gun violence because guns continue to flow up I-95, the ‘iron pipeline,’ because Southern states have little or no gun regulations, so guns wind up in the more regulated, Northern states. But if all those mini-vans bringing that contraband had to stop and go through a checkpoint at the Virginia-Maryland border, that would ne the end of that.

              What do we get from those Southern states besides guns? Oh, I forgot. We get tobacco. That’s perfect, just perfect. Two products that we know are risks to health, and both of them come up from the South.

              What else do we get from the South? We get idiots like Senator John Kennedy who tells us that there’s nothing he does which expresses his love of other people as well as walking around with his little gun. At least he carries the gun in a leather holster and not one of those cheap, plastic jobs. That shows class, real class.

              But don’t make the mistake of thinking that Kennedy’s some kind of trailer-park redneck. In fact, he happens to be an attorney who attended Magdalen College at Oxford after graduating from Vanderbilt Law School, is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and has published numerous books and articles on product liability and constitutional law.

              He ran for Senate as a Democrat in 2004 and received 15% of the vote. So, he switched parties in 2008, almost beat Mary Landrieu, then ran again as a Republican and won his Senate seat in 2016.

On occasion, he’ll say something that’s not right out of the Trump version of the GOP playbook, such as voting not to confirm several of Trump’s judicial nominees who were so dumb that they struggled to remember their own names. His great line was, “Just because you’ve seen ‘My Cousin Vinny’ doesn’t qualify you to be a federal judge.”

It’s not that Kennedy’s dumb at all. In fact, he’s very smart. And he’s smart enough to know that the best way to keep himself politically relevant in a Confederate state is to pander to the lowest intellectual denominator of all. And what’s the absolute bottom of the barrel when it comes to convincing the ‘average’ voter that you’re just like him? Pull out the ol’ firearm and pretend that you’re just another guy sitting around the house, cleaning one of his guns.

And if the gun you’re cleaning is one of those little, itty-bitty things that people want to carry around to defend themselves against all those street thugs? Talk about perfect political theater in a Confederate state.

Texas is about to become another state that has legalized ‘Constitutional carry,’ which means that if you can pass a background check, you can walk around the neighborhood with a concealed gun. Not that there’s any mention in the United States Constitution about concealed-carry, nor was the practice discussed by Tony Scalia in his District of Columbia v. Heller opinion that granted Constitutional protection to private gun ownership but not concealed-carry, published in 2008.

I love how all those ‘staunch’ conservatives like Senator Kennedy have invented a Constitutional legalism which doesn’t exist.  

All my gun books right here: Catalog | TeeTee Press.

When It Comes To Gun Violence, DeAndra Has Some Choice Words To Say.

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              I happened by sheer accident yesterday to tune into CNN for the noon report and actually found myself watching a story other than yet another interview with someone in Belarus. The young lady, DeAndra Dycus, is the mother of a kid who was shot and may or may not ever make any kind of decent recovery from his wounds. DeAndra, who lives in Indianapolis, now works with the MOMS group because she knows what she’s talking about when it comes to the violence caused by guns.

              The last 4 days, from May 21 through May 24, our friends at the Gun Violence Archive have counted up 429 shootings, resulting in 542 victims, of whom 134 so far are dead. That’s 45 fatal shootings every day, and if this rate of violence were to continue, we would wind up with more than 16,000 men, women and children killed over the course of a year.

              We came pretty close to that number in 2017, and we certainly exceeded it last year although we don’t yet have any validated data for the year that we also had to deal with Covid-19. What seems to be most disturbing about the surge of gun violence is that shootings which kill or injure 4 or more victims at the same time keep going up. There were 337 mass shootings in 2018 and 417 the following year.  This past weekend alone there were 13 mass shootings with 11 deaths and 70 non-fatal injuries across eight separate states.

              What’s going on? Truth is, nobody knows. DeAndra Dycus, who talked about her son’s terrible injuries at the Democratic National Convention last year, delivered another honest, clear and emotionally-wrenching narrative about gun violence yesterday on CNN, but like everyone else, she can only talk about what she thinks and hopes could turn the tide, not what she knows would work.

              I’ll tell you what won’t work. What won’t work is to continue to pay the slightest bit of attention to the drumbeat about the importance of gun ‘rights’ from a crowd who wouldn’t know what effective gun control means if it hit them right in the face.

When I post a column on my website, I often receive at least one angry message from someone who accuses me of not understanding how important it is to defend ourselves against the ‘tyranny’ of the national state. They tell me about how Hitler disarmed everyone after 1933, or how Mao disarmed everyone after 1949. And as long as we have guns, it won’t happen here.

There’s only one little problem with this doomsday scenario which somehow gets around the fact that 350 men, women and children are either killed or scarred for life by gunfire every, single day.  It’s nonsense. It’s total crap. There’s about as much chance that we would ever need to defend ourselves against a tyrannical government as there’s a chance that I’ll lose five pounds before I go for my annual medical checkup next week.

God forbid one of those geniuses out there who keeps spouting that nonsense about needing a gun to protect himself from ‘tyranny’ would take the trouble to read the gun-control laws passed by governments like Weimar Germany or the 2nd Republic of France, and then compare those laws to the federal laws that we passed to control guns in 1934, 1938, 1968 and 1994.

They would discover that all our gun-control laws state explicitly that the laws exist to help the cops fight crime. But the gun-control laws of every other government were passed because the government felt threatened by organized, armed groups from the Left and/or the Right. Who exactly are the Proud Boys worried about when they march around with their guns? Themselves?

I’m very pleased that DeAndra Dycus continues to add her voice to the debate about guns. I just hope her desire to promote community-based responses to gun violence includes some immediate plans for keeping the streets safe.  

The Deadliest Pathogen: Guns and Homicide (Guns in America): Weisser, Michael R.: 9781792317866: Amazon.com: Books

Want To Increase Gun Violence? Pass Another Gun-Control Law.

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              Last week one of the liberal media’s most persistent gun-control websites came out with yet another brilliant idea for reducing gun violence and got it all wrong. Not just a little bit wrong. All wrong.

              I’m referring to a piece in Vox written by one of their gun experts, German Lopez, who has decided that the way that guns are licensed in Massachusetts is a template that could and should be followed in every other state. There’s no question, according to Lopez, that the way Massachusetts goes about licensing state residents to buy or own guns is the best and most effective gun-control system around.

              Here’s how the Massachusetts system works, according to the intrepid journalist from Vox. He refers to this system as “requiring a license to buy and own a firearm.” Note the singular – i.e., firearm, okay?

              And here’s what the Massachusetts system supposedly involves: “a multi-step process involving interviews with police, background checks, a gun safety training course, and more. Even if a person passes all of that, the local police chief can deny an application anyway. That creates more points at which an applicant can be identified as too dangerous to own a gun; it makes getting and owning a gun harder.”

              Note again the reference to owning one gun. And how well does this system work in reducing gun violence? “Massachusetts, for one,” says Lopez, “has the lowest rate of gun deaths in the country.”

              I happen to live in Massachusetts. I happen to own a gun store in Massachusetts. I happen to have taught the gun-safety course to more than 7,000 residents of Massachusetts and Connecticut who then maybe went back home and applied for a gun license either to the town chief (MA) or the State Police (CT). Once a resident in ether state ireceives a license, he can walk into a gun shop and buy every gun in the place. Not just one gun. Every gun.

              Now note Lopez’s comment that Massachusetts has the ‘lowest rate of gun deaths of any state in the United States. That’s true. It also happens to be true that the state’s gun-violence rate has been among the lowest of all states since the law covering gun licensing referred to by Lopez was passed in 1999.

              There’s only one little problem. Before Massachusetts passed the gun-licensing law that Lopez believes should be adopted in all 50 states, Massachusetts not only had a very low gun-violence rate, but the rate was significantly lower than after the new law was put into effect. Duhhh.

              From 1981 through 1999, Massachusetts had a gun-death rate of 1.73, only 6 states (HI, IA, MD, MN, SD, VT) had lower rates. Since 1999, only Hawaii has had a gun-violence rate slightly lower than the Massachusetts rate.

              But here’s the point: The gun death-rate in MA has almost doubled since the state passed what Lopez believes is a very effective gun law. Indeed, the national gun-violence rate has also just about doubled since 1999.

              So, what does the Massachusetts gun law have to do with reducing the gun-violence rate in my state?  It has nothing to do with it because the rate hasn’t gone down, it’s gone up.

              If you look at the map of state-by-state gun-violence rates which Lopez attaches to his article, you’ll notice that other than California, all the low GV states are in the Northeast. With the exception of Maine, where nobody lives anyway, the Northeast states (NY, NJ, MA, CT, RI) happen to be the states with the lowest rates of gun ownership.

              Gee – what a surprise! States where a healthy majority of residents don’t own guns are not only states with the lowest gun-violence rates, but also are states which have the strongest gun-control laws.

              If German Lopez really wants to understand how and why the United States has a national gun-violence rate that has basically increased by 100% in the last twenty years, he would sit down, take a serious look at the evidence, and withdraw his latest hot-air missive published by Vox.

              And if I want to lose some weight, I’d stop eating those Pringles before I go to bed.

Welcome To The NRA: Weisser, Michael R.: 9798505387108: Amazon.com: Books.

Do Guns Make Us Free?

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Yesterday the Amazon drone dropped off a book I have been waiting for with great anticipation.  It’s called Crackup, The Republican Implosion and the Future of Presidential Politics, and the author is a friend of mine whom I have known since the 1970’s named Sam Popkin, who has been thinking, teaching, and writing about contemporary politics at UCSD for the last fifty years.

In looking at the changes in politics leading up to 2016, Sam makes the point that it was during the first Bush administration that the ideological underpinning of the GOP’s effort changed from ‘liberty’ to ‘freedom,’ the former implying the existence of rules which checked behavior, the latter implying that government needed to stay out of the way, if not disappear altogether.

I’m not sure how and why this change took place, I suspect it was to some degree a function of the growing importance of the Religious Right, but it certainly is most pronounced today in the narratives put out there by Gun-nut Nation to explain and justify their adoration of guns.  Here’s the latest example of this crap.

Remember that idiot in St. Louis who stood on the front steps of his house and pointed an AR-15 at a bunch of BLM demonstrators last year? What was this guy thinking, if indeed he has ever had a rational thought swirl around inside his head? Did he think that the demonstrators were going to burn his house down when they were surrounded by an escort comprised of St. Louis cops?

But when you’re a member of Gun-nut Nation, particularly that segment of Gun-nut Nation which really believes that the only good guy is a guy walking around with a gun (or standing on his front steps with a gun), then ‘freedom’ is what it’s all about. And what we know for a fact is that the moment government gets involved in community safety, the first thing the government will do is take away your guns.

Missouri happens to have a Stand Your Ground (SYG) law, which lets you defend your person and property with a gun. The state also abolished pre-purchase licensing of handguns to make it easier for you to buy and use a handgun to help law and order, which is what all members of Gun-nut Nation believe they should do.

The jerk who threatened to use his assault rifle to keep those BLM ‘rioters’ from destroying his home has become something of a folk hero among the community which believes that guns keep us ‘free.’ He gave a speech at the Republican National convention, he’s now running for U.S. Senate, an activity he announced on Tucker Carlson – where else? He’s even been told by the idiot Governor of Missouri that he will be pardoned if he’s convicted of a felony for threatening the lives of the BLM marchers with his gun.

Of course, the moron with his assault rifle needs to be ‘free’ in order to protect himself with his gun. His first campaign ad states that “an angry mob marched to destroy my home and kill my family.” Which if what he said was even remotely close to being true, he could have not been charged with a felony thanks to Missouri’s SYG law.

What he said wasn’t true but since when does truth have anything necessarily to do with what either side says about guns?  On the one hand, we have guys like this St. Louis asshole who stands there, waving around his gun; on the other hand, we have folks in Gun-control Nation who just as fervently believe that Grandpa’s old shotgun rusting in the basement represents a threat to community health.

What I found very informative and useful about Sam Popkin’s book is how he explores and explains the shift in how and why the GOP seems to have lost its way from being a middle-right political party to being a haven for the alt-right. Which also happens to be what may happen to Gun-nut Nation, given the possible collapse of the NRA.

And don’t forget to buy and read Sam Popkin’s book: Crackup: The Republican Implosion and the Future of Presidential Politics: Popkin, Samuel L.: 9780190913823: Amazon.com: Books

Is This A New Way To Reduce Gun Violence?

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              Want the best and most powerful statement made about gun violence since the Pandemic began?  Click this link, which will take you to YouTube, then sit back, watch, and listen to a video, ‘Shiny Gun,’ which was first recorded and released by the NoSuga group in 2002 and has just been released again.

              The storyline is very simple. A young man points a gun at his girlfriend believing the safety is on, pulls the trigger and she’s dead.  The NoSuga band wrote and recorded this piece when one night they heard about a fiend who has just committed suicide with a gun, and at the same moment saw a TV report about a young guy who had accidentally killed his girlfriend with a gun.

              The reason that this video is so powerful is not because of the story it tells. We read and hear about accidental shootings all the time. We also read and hear about intentional shootings all the time. Last night there was a shooting in Queens, NY which injured three people, one of them an eight year-old kid. Last week, between May 10th and May 16th, at least 47 people were shot in New York City, including a guy visiting the Big Apple from Ohio. He’ll have plenty to talk about when he gets home.

              What makes the ‘Shiny Gun’ video important is not what it says, buy who will be watching and listening to what it says. Folks my age don’t connect to rap. Folks my age don’t download videos.  Folks my age or even folks twenty or thirty years younger than me don’t subscribe to websites like HipHopDX.

              All that stuff is for the kids. And who do you think we’re talking about when we say that men who end up committing gun violence first had to get interested at some point in guns?

              Our friend Al Lizotte has published numerous papers which show that kids start paying attention to guns and carrying guns in their adolescent years. The gun-carrying behavior among adolescents is found more frequently in gang members, but the word ‘gang’ doesn’t just mean organized, national outfits like the Bloods and the Crips. It can also be a group of kids in a particular neighborhood who hang out together, maybe do a little bit of drug, maybe get into a little bit of trouble with the cops.

              Remember when Obama’s Attorney General, Eric Holder, got in all kinds of trouble with the gun ‘rights’ gang when someone dug up a speech he gave to a bunch of Democratic women when he said that gun violence could be curbed if we would ‘brainwash’ kids about the danger and risks of guns?

You think that rap music doesn’t brainwash kids to want to carry a gun?  Try this video, which was made, incidentally, by a very famous rapper, Nipsey Hussle, who was later shot and killed outside of his clothing boutique in Beverly Hills. In fact, ‘Bullets Ain’t Got No Names’ was the video which launched his career, and when he was shot, many of the gun-control groups who spend all their time and your money complaining about gun violence, jumped on the bandwagon and lamented the loss of a young man who had ‘given back’ so much.

Sorry, I don’t buy it. I don’t think we should be lionizing or promoting anyone, dead or alive, who contributes to a culture which has been spreading the gospel of gun violence through the adolescent population for at least the last twenty years. We are now into at least the second generation of boys and young men whose behavior is responsible for just about every fatal and non-fatal gun assault that occurs every year.

These shooters didn’t learn about guns from listening to Luther Vandross or watching Sesame Street. But who knows? Maybe rap music will take a cue from the new release of ‘Shiny Gun’ and begin to brainwash kids the way they should learn about guns.

Print edition: Welcome To The NRA: Weisser, Michael R.: 9798505387108: Amazon.com: Books.

Why Can’t We Reduce Gun Violence?

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Before I get too deep into today’s column, I would like all my friends in Gun-control Nation to click this link and see where it does. In fact, it takes you to a private Facebook group, the 45/70 Club, whose members trade information about the rifles which are chambered for the 45/70 ammunition round.

The 45-70 cartridge was originally developed as a military round and started being manufactured and loaded into rifles and even some Gatling guns beginning in 1873.  The diameter and weight of the bullet, as well as its speed when it leaves the barrel, makes it a very good choice for bagging big game like hogs, deer, and elk.

There are at least five gun makers currently offering rifle models in this venerable, old round, with Marlin and Winchester leading the pack, with Henry, Thompson Center and Connecticut Valley Arms not far behind.

Because the 45-70 is loaded in a long case which holds lots of powder, the bullet zips out to long range, often at speeds above 1,300 feet per second and still hits with a real – smack!

The size of the bullet and the length of the case also makes the 45/70 a favored round to be reloaded and/or shot from a bench rest.

This particular Facebook group, which I joined a number of years ago, has over 32,000 members. I happen to be a member of a bunch of Facebook groups like the 45/70 group, all devoted to a particular type of gun, or a specific round of ammunition, or some other technical or historical subject involving guns.

I would be willing to bet there are at least 25 such Facebook groups, maybe more. Together, I suspect that these Facebook gun groups have a total membership of somewhere around a million subscribers or more. These groups don’t let anyone advertise the sale of guns; they aren’t doubling down as space where the MAGA contingent can rant. They are exactly what they claim to be – internet zones where people trade information about a hobby or an interest which appeals to them.

I promote my daily column on my website, three Facebook pages, a twitter feed and two gun-control Facebook groups. I also send out a link to my column on a very private email list containing the names of leaders and activists from the national and statewide gun-control groups, journalists who write about guns for the mainstream media, bloggers and researchers connected to at least a dozen universities and other research initiatives as well.

Dollars to doughnuts, I’ll bet there isn’t a single person of the more than 7,000 subscribes to my website, my Facebook pages or is on my email list who has ever joined or even scanned any of these gun groups. By the same token, I suspect there isn’t a single member of any of these Facebook gun groups who has ever taken the trouble to read or think about any of the content on the websites run by Giffords, Brady or MOMS.  The disconnect between the two sides who have been arguing about guns in America for more than twenty-five years is total and complete.

Which is why, when all is said and done, nothing has really changed.  Know what the gun-violence rate was in 1981?  13.73.  Know what it was in 2019?  11.57.  That’s a whole, big decline in the death-rate from all gun violence of 15 percent.  In raw numbers, 7,500 more were shot and killed in 2019 than in 1981.

Yesterday I was watching a news report from Gaza. It occurred to me that Hamas and Israel have been going at it since Israel invaded Lebanon in 1978. Forty-four years of killing, maiming, and brutalizing two populations and there’s no end in sight. I could say exactly the same thing about gun violence in the U.S.A.

 Being a member of the 45/70 Facebook gun group has absolutely nothing to do with gun violence. Being a tree-hugging liberal is not any kind of threat to 2nd-Amendment ‘rights. How do we move beyond such nonsense and get something done?

The print edition: Welcome To The NRA: Weisser, Michael R.: 9798505387108: Amazon.com: Books.

A New Book On The NRA – By Me!

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              This morning I am pleased to announce the publication of the tenth book I have written about guns since I published the first volume in 2013. All my gun books are contributions to the ongoing argument about guns in American society, and I hope they contribute some reality to both sides of the debate.

              The latest volume deals with a topic which has probably been the most contentious of all topics in that debate, namely, the role and activities of America’s ‘oldest civil rights organization,’ a.k.a, the NRA.

              I have been a member of the NRA since 1955 when I joined the NRA-sponsored rifle team which practiced in the shooting range in McFarland Junior High School in – ready? – Washington, D.C. The NRA was then located in downtown DC, and I spent many an afternoon wandering around the gun displays on the group’s first floor of its headquarters building.

              My book, like all my books, is not designed to promote one or the other side of the gun debate. I’ll leave advocacy about guns and gun violence to the advocates. All I’m trying to do in this hundred-page account is explain how and why the NRA found itself in its current legal and financial state, how and why it may not be able to dig itself out of its current hole, and how and why it might try to survive the current storm.

              Why should the NRA try to survive? Because if you think the NRA is extreme, you haven’t met up with the competition that wants to lead the gun ‘rights’ fight. Take the pro-gun group in Virginia, for example, which is pushing a ‘sanctuary city’ movement to prevent the state’s new gun-control rules from taking effect. The group has found a willing ally in Sheriff Scott Jenkins of Culpeper County, who says he will ‘deputize’ any County resident who wants to be exempt from having to obey all state gun laws.

              What if the Proud Boys or the Boogaloo bunch were to start promoting gun ‘rights’ because, after all, the country is on the verge of another civil war? Want to try and sit down with those morons and have an open and honest discussion about guns? Go right ahead.

              I’m not saying that the NRA’s malfeasance should be excused or exonerated in any way. Much of the Trumpian rhetoric about ‘fake news’ and ‘deep state’ conspiracies was first broadcast and spread around by media hucksters like Dana Loesch and Grant Stinchfield on NRA-TV. For that matter, the NRA is certainly not blameless for how the GOP continues to foster the racism, stupidity, and hate-filled rhetoric of people like Majorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz.

              Until the Pandemic shut down public gatherings, the fairgrounds across the Connecticut River from Springfield, MA was the site of a gun show every three months. The show, like most gun shows, is sponsored by the NRA which always has a booth near the entrance so that new people can join.  If I walked up to somebody who had just paid NRA dues, tapped them on the shoulder and asked them if they realized that their newly-joined organization was responsible for a level of gun violence across the river which exceeded gun violence rates in Honduras or South Africa, they would stare at me in disbelief.

              And well they should. The fact that incontrovertible research proves that a gun in the home is much more of a risk than a benefit is all fine and well if you develop or firm up your beliefs about public health by reading the latest evidence-based, scientific research. How many American adults still haven’t been vaccinated against Covid-19?

              The NRA, like the industry it represents, develops its messaging through a very conservative lens. What the organization says about guns is what it believes a majority of Americans also believe. It follows public opinion, not the other way around.

              Too bad that when it came to Trump, the boys from Fairfax got it all wrong.

Kindle Edition: Welcome To The NRA – Kindle edition by Weisser, Michael. Politics & Social Sciences Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

Print edition coming shortly.

Should We Get Rid Of PLCAA? Why Bother?

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              If there is one thing that all my friends in Gun-control Nation seem to agree on, it’s the idea that we have to get rid of PLCAA, a 2005 law which protects the gun industry against class-action (tort) suits. But even though it sounds like a good idea because, after all, no sane, rational individual would ever want gun makers to escape responsibility for the 125,000 victims of gun violence every year, I’m not so sure that getting rid of PLCAA would change anything at all.

              The law was the gun-industry’s counter-offensive to an attempt by the Clinton Administration to make the gun industry accept a plan (put together by then-HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo) which would have required gun makers to adopt a self-regulating program that basically would have ended the retail sale of guns in the United States. And because the plan required the gun industry to adopt and enforce the plan themselves, no amount of kvetching about the ‘loss’ of 2nd-Amendment ‘rights’ would have done any good at all.

              Basically, the Clinton-Cuomo plan would have required every gun manufacturer to hire hundreds of people who would go around, visit every, single retail store that sold one of its guns once a year, conduct a full safety inspection of the premises, deliver a seminar on gun safety, and file a report on each visit which would then be forwarded to the government for review.

              In fact, because Smith & Wesson was owned by a British investment group which didn’t know a gun from a hole in the wall, the owners decided to adopt the plan, in return for which the Clinton Administration promised that S&W would be shielded from class-action suits. The resultant boycott by gun wholesalers and retailers almost shuttered the company’s doors except that some Palm Beach County votes were thrown out, Bush beat Gore, and that was the end of that.

              In fact, a class-action suit against the gun industry brought by the NAACP had been floating around Federal Judge Jack Weinstein’s courtroom for a couple of years, the real ‘civil rights’ organization (as opposed to the NRA’s nonsense) charging gun makers with consciously flooding inner-city, high-crime neighborhoods with their products, thus provoking too many deaths and injuries from guns.

              Ultimately, Judge Weinstein was forced to terminate the suit because the NAACP couldn’t demonstrate ‘standing’ in the case. And while Weinstein later said he believed the plaintiffs had a strong case, I’m not so sure that the guns which wind up being used to commit injuries in what we now refer to as the ‘underserved’ neighborhoods are being shipped into those neighborhoods when they leave the UPS truck pulls away from the factory loading dock.

              The reason that Gun-control Nation wants to get rid of PLCAA is because most gun-control advocates believe that by promoting the idea that a gun can protect its owner from being harmed, that the gun manufacturers are consciously and deliberately trying to deceive consumers into believing that guns aren’t as dangerous as many of us would like to believe.

              Unfortunately, the idea that the gun industry plays down the intrinsic dangerousness of its products is a myth which happens not to be true. In fact, gun makers are required to alert consumers to the potential danger, up to and including fatal danger, if their products are mis-used.

              The picture above is the front page of the safety manual which goes with every gun manufactured and sold by Smith & Wesson. The very first sentence of text says: “Read these instructions and warnings carefully. Failure to read these instructions and to follow these warnings may result in serious injury or death to you and others and damage to property.”

              If you believe for one second that the guys walking around with a gun because they want to use that gun to injure someone else don’t know how dangerous and lethal that happens to be? 

              Where do you live? In Fantasyland?

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