Yesterday I wrote about yet another news article which represents the seemingly endless effort by my friends in Gun-control Nation to scare the bejesus out of everyone because Americans keep buying so many guns. Now the fact that the reporter overestimated the number of guns being purchased by maybe a factor of ten to one, oh well, oh well, oh well.

              Anyway, it occurs to me that whether someone believes that having a gun sitting around their home somehow reduces the risk of gun violence, even though the research shows such a belief to be absolutely untrue, is still a belief held by lots of Americans. It’s what my friends in academe would call ‘cognitive dissonance,’ and if we are ever going to come up with an effective strategy to reduce gun violence, we have to figure out why this widespread instance of cognitive dissonance actually exists.

              This issue has actually been studied in quite some detail by my friends in criminology, but their research rarely, if ever, gets mentioned in the current debate about gun control. This is because Gun-control Nation relies overwhelmingly on research conducted by our friends in the field of public health. And everyone knows that all the criminologists want to do about gun violence is to lock ‘em up and throw away the key, whereas public health is all about those ‘underlying’ causes of threats to health – poverty, family dysfunction – which can only be resolved with a more compassionate, enlightened approach.

              I happen to believe that we should not only look at research by criminologists about gun violence but make a point of spending as much time discussing that kind of research as we spend discussing the research conducted by our friends in public health. I say this for one, simple reason, namely, that even including suicides, at least 90% of all gun violence happens to be a crime.

              Now you may not like the fact that when some jerk walks up to someone, pulls a gun out of his pocket and shoots the other guy in the head, that he happens to have committed a very serious crime for which we have always believed that some kind of punishment must be meted out. Okay, okay, the shooter comes from a violent family, he’s got no job, he’s what my father would call a ‘poor, unfortunate.’

              But he just killed or injured someone else. And because he did it with the gun, the odds that he killed his victim are far greater than if he had attempted to injure that other person in any other way.  And in case you didn’t know it, the guns that are used in just about every assault are designed only for the purpose of killing or injuring yourself or someone else.

              I have just read four pieces of criminological research on why people believe they need a gun to protect themselves, which is what everyone says is the reason for the spike in gun sales since the appearance of Covid-19. You can download these articles from my website here, here, here and here,

              It turns out that people who buy or own guns often suffer from less fear than people who don’t. Maybe this has to do with other psychological factors which cause some people to become gun owners, maybe it’s access to a gun which reduces their fears. The research isn’t definitive either way.

              But what the research does seem to indicate is that much of the fear which may be driving the current spike in gun sales comes “when politicians pro[1]pose restrictive immigration policies, they employ menacing portrayals of immigrants, which are widely reproduced in the media.” Sound familiar? It should.

              The good news is that the biggest noisemaker in this respect has just been told that he won’t be coming back on Facebook any time soon.

On the other hand, when Trump first started his race-mongering about immigrants, gun sales actually went down. But let’s not forget that Covid-19 wasn’t a home-grown virus. It was, after all, the ‘Chinese flu.’ Confessions of a Gun Nut: Chasing Guns for Sixty Years (Guns in America Book 8) eBook: Weisser, Michael: Books