So now the RAND Corporation has gone to the trouble of compiling a list of ‘experts’ whose views are consulted whenever RAND wants to say anything about guns. And RAND has been saying a lot about gun violence lately, with a goal to “establish a shared set of facts that will improve public discussions and support the development of fair and effective gun policies.”

              You don’t fool around with RAND. After all, this outfit has nearly 2,000 employees spending all their time doing what they call ‘objective research’ on the key policy areas about which both the public and private sectors need to be informed. Which is why I spent most of last night looking at RAND’s list of the go-to people when it comes to understanding what we need to do about the violence caused by guns.

              You can see the names of the individuals whom RAND considers to hold expertise on gun issues by downloading this report which RAND published for the second time in 2021. Among other things, this report gives the list of every ‘expert’ who was invited to participate in the survey which constitutes the basis of this document.

              The experts are divided into two categories. The first category is ‘academic researchers,’ and to make this list you either needed to have published five or more pieces of research about guns, or you are the first author in any piece of published research which has been cited more than 30 times.

              The second group of experts are individuals who are nominated for their expertise by ‘advocacy and professional’ organizations, of which 37 such organizations were sent requests for nominations, a list which included the usual gun-control and gun-nut suspects, like Brady and the NRA.

              RAND also invited 20 staffers from Senate and House committees which play some role in fashioning national gun legislation on The Hill. In particular, this group included staff from the Judiciary Committees of both the upper and lower chambers, which is where gun laws usually start and, by the way, usually end. All of this information can be found on pp. 8 – 14 of the report.

              RAND defines gun policy experts as “a diverse group of people with a professional interest in understanding and communicating the likely effects of gun policies.” This is all fine and well except for one little problem, the existence of which makes this entire survey and all the work being done by RAND on guns and gun violence to be nothing but what Grandpa would call ‘vishtugidach,’ (read: horsesh*t, and I’m being polite.)

              Why do I say that? Why do I take such a distaff view of the work of all these experts brought together by RAND? Because what I don’t see in any of the categories whose membership comprises what RAND considers to be the country’s experts on the issue of guns, is a single person whose job rests entirely on his/her ability to ‘understand and communicate’ about the laws we use to regulate guns, namely, someone who works for a company which manufactures the goddamn things.

              You think that Smith & Wesson, Glock, Sig, Kahr, Springfield and all the other gun makers don’t spend lots of time, energy and resources trying to figure out how to deal with public and private efforts to regulate both the kinds of products they sell and the way they go about selling those products to gun nuts both here and abroad?

              Many years ago, The New Yorker ran a great cartoon which showed an Archie Bunker type sitting in his living room and picking up the phone. He’s just gotten a call from some outfit which is doing a public opinion survey and the first question is: “What should we do about cigarettes?” He answers: “Ban the damn things.” The next question: “What should we do about drugs?” Answer: “Ban the damn things.” Last question: “What should we do about guns?” Answer: “Don’t ban them! That won’t do anything at all!”

              The point is that the gun industry is the only consumer products industry in which if there’s a certain political alignment in D.C. and another Hinckley comes along and takes a pot-shot at the President, a bill could easily slip through Congress which would get rid of privately-owned guns once and for all.

              Everyone who works for a gun company lives with this reality. That being the case, how does RAND take seriously the idea that it can create a ‘diverse’ group of gun experts and not include one representative of one gun company at all?

              Because believe it or not, the NRA and that phony 2nd-Amendment Foundation represent themselves, and they raise money to pay themselves by figuring out what to say to their donors every time a gun-control law is introduced up on The Hill.

              RAND gets away with promoting its so-called research on guns because its audience and its donor base happen to be populations which also don’t know anything about guns. RAND would never dare create a research initiative into trading practices on the stock exchange without soliciting the views of staff from Merrill-Lynch or Wells Fargo because everyone has a 401K.

              On the other hand, somewhere around two-thirds of American households somehow manage to feed and clothe everyone in the household without having legal title to a single gun.

              I have been saying for years that the problem with Gun-control Nation is they only talk to themselves. There’s a nice gun show coming up near me the weekend of January 28th. Lots of good food, lots of MAGA t-shirts, lots of old guns.

              If any of The RAND gun experts would like to learn the first thing about the industry they are trying to regulate in more effective ways, just send me an email and I’ll take you around at the show.

              I’m willing to bet that of the 325 ‘experts’ contacted by RAND, less than 10 have ever been to a gun show.

              Better yet, wait until November and I’ll meet you at the NASGW show. I’m sure there aren’t ten RAND gun experts who even know what the acronym NASGW means.