Sometime in the next month, I am going to announce the launch of a new organization called SAFE, which stands for Security and Firearms Education. It will be an organization that will produce and disseminate informational resources to help individuals understand the laws, context, and proficiency training required to use a gun effectively and safely for armed, self-defense.

              You might wonder how come someone who has been an outspoken advocate of gun control for the last decade would be willing to switch sides, so to speak, and now start promoting the ownership and use of self-defense guns? That’s a good question, and here’s my response.

              I published my first comments about gun violence in May 2013. Since that time, more than 150,000 Americans have been shot to death by other Americans, and probably another 750,000 or more Americans have been shot but survived their wounds. In other words, the number of victims who were injured or killed by someone else using a gun is now approaching one million over the ten years since I started writing about guns.

              What has been the response of the advocates and researchers who are shocked and saddened by this state of affairs? The answer to this uniquely American type of behavior is to mandate more gun-control regulations against legal gun owners whose legal status is based on the belief that they can be trusted not to commit violent behavior with their guns.

              Are there times that legal gun owners do things with their guns that they shouldn’t do with their guns? Of course. Since when have human beings ever been error-free?

              But the last time I looked at the Violence Policy Center’s report on concealed killers, the number of fatal assaults by private citizens who were legally allowed to carry a concealed weapon averages about 150 fatal assaults per year, a number which also includes some suicides, by the way. Want to compare that number to the 20,000 or so gun homicides committed each year, almost all of which are the work of individuals who cannot legally own guns?

              Don’t get me wrong. I don’t buy the argument that if everyone were walking around with a gun, that violent crime would go down. By the same token, I don’t buy the argument that individuals walking around with guns are committing all those fatal and non-fatal gun assaults.

              Back in June, when the Supreme Court struck down New York’s law which requires that concealed-carry applicants show valid cause for needing to walk around with a gun, the various GVP groups all knew ‘for a fact’ that New York was heading for an Armageddon of gun violence, no matter what.

              I am still waiting for the first piece of evidence-based research which definitively shows a connection between the issuance of concealed-carry licenses and a substantive, verifiable increase in violent crime. Sorry, but just finding a coincidence between when a law is changed and how people behave isn’t cause and effect.

              I have sold thousands of guns to people who walked into my gun shop and said they wanted to buy a gun for armed, self-defense. Most of these customers were kids who had been playing video shooting games as they grew up and now were old enough to have the real thing.

              At some point I sent emails and asked several hundred of these customers how often they were walking around with their self-defense gun. Less than 10 percent of the people who responded to my email said they were carrying their gun on a regular basis – the rest were walking around with a concealed weapon occasionally or not at all.

              Here’s what happens when you begin carrying a self-defense gun. You discover that there are places you can’t bring the gun, like shopping malls or restaurants that serve booze. You also discover that the gun is heavy, it’s bulky, so you won’t carry it during the warm months because it looks kind of stupid to be wearing an overcoat at the beach.

              For all the complaints from the gun-control folks about how issuing concealed-carry licenses increases risk, has there ever been one study which seeks to figure out how many of those newly licensed gunslingers are actually walking around with their cherished guns? Nope, not one.

              Why do most people buy Apple phones or droids? Not because they actually need to use the device, but because everyone else has one and looking at some video or sending a text is fun.

              Think it’s any different with people who buy self-defense guns? It’s not.

              But an iPhone 13 is one thing, a Glock is something else. So, to help those new owners understand the lethality and risk of the self-defense gun they just bought, I will shortly be putting up a website which tells them what they need to consider if they want to engage in armed, self-defense.

The website will have three content pages, one which explains the legal issues surrounding armed, self-defense, along with another page telling owners of self-defense guns how to determine whether the guy coming towards them is really a threat, and another page describing a 10-minute, daily exercise to develop and maintain necessary muscle memory which doesn’t require using a gun.

I may also add a page specifically geared towards women who want to defend themselves or others with a gun.

Everyone knows that guns represent a risk. If their lethality didn’t create risk nobody would consider using them for self-defense. But you’re not going to convince anyone to restrain from buying or using a self-defense gun by publishing some data-laden article in a public health journal which shows some kind of ‘correlation’ between access to guns and 100,000+ fatal and non-fatal gun assaults every year.

Every time I turn on my car’s engine and back out of the driveway, I’m taking a risk. Every time I gobble down a handful of those Lay’s potato chips, I’m taking a risk.     Every time I plunk down some dough to buy shares in the latest ‘hot’ social media company, I’m taking a risk.

How come we are so benign about certain risks and so hostile to other risks? How many Americans still believe that getting vaccinated against Covid-19 guarantees that, sooner or later, you’ll come down with the disease?

If nothing else, my new website is an attempt to inject a little bit of reality into the gun debate.