Another ‘Proven’ Way to Reduce Gun Violence.


              Back in 2021, you may recall that the Biden-Harris Administration announced a ‘comprehensive strategy’ to reduce violent crime, which is more or less a euphemism for gun violence. They took some dough out of the $1.9 trillion Covid Rescue Plan and set it aside to give various jurisdictions money to expand community policing and ATF enforcement activities, along with investing in ‘proven Community Violence Intervention Programs.’

              A good friend has just sent me an email from a group, CT Against Gun Violence (CAGV), alerting everyone to a new funding program from the CT Department of Public Health, which will cover costs of community violence intervention programs for one to three years.

              CAGV started its efforts in 2020, and this new initiative, which I suspect is using monies set aside from the Rescue Plan, is proof that CAGV’s work is “beginning to pay off.” You can learn more about CAGV’s history and efforts right here.

              Let me make it clear that what I am about to say does not represent some back-door method to spike the efforts of any group which promotes a program for effective gun control. Notwithstanding the fact that I am a Lifetime Patriot Benefactor Member of the NRA (which means I give them enough money so they can’t throw me out) I am foursquare in favor of controlling the ownership of guns which are used to commit 120,000+ intentional fatal and non-fatal gun assaults every year.

              On the other hand, I am also foursquare against gun-control programs which are designed to reduce the interpersonal violence caused by guns but avoid or ignore the principal reason why such violence occurs, which happens to be the manufacture, sale, and possession of certain kinds of guns.

              The United States is the only country in the entire world that grants law-abiding residents’ legal access to guns which are designed to be used only for the purpose of ending someone else’s life besides the life of the person with access to that gun.

Note I am not talking here about suicides, which are also a form of violence according to the World Health Organization. But individuals who suffer mental anguish to the point of wanting to end their lives will, for the most part, find a way to do it even if they can’t get their hands on a gun.

              Sweden’s basically an unarmed population but has a suicide rate higher than the suicide rate in the United States – ditto Japan, Norway, and Belarus.

              Thirty years ago, two brilliant researchers, Art Kellerman and Fred Rivara, published research which definitively linked guns in the home to the medical risk of homicide. This research did not qualify guns as being safely or not safely stored.

              The response of the gun industry to this research was to prohibit the CDC from supporting gun violence research for nearly the next three decades. Frankly, I couldn’t blame the gun companies for finding a willing Congressional toady – Congressman Jay Dickey – who sponsored the bill which kept the CDC from giving out the kind of research monies which had been used by Kellerman and Rivara to do their research.

After all, if you manufactured a product that has been around for 150 years and now you were told that the product was too dangerous to be sold, wouldn’t you try to find some sponsor in the government to bail out your ass and the asses of all the people working for you?

The CDC re-opened the gun research spigot two years ago, so the groups and organizations which support such work have now come up with a narrative which is used not only to justify figuring out what to do about gun violence but is an approach which neatly sidesteps all that messy talk about gun ‘rights’ and 2nd-Amendment ‘guarantees.’ After all, the word ‘intervention’ can mean all kinds of things, but the one thing it doesn’t mean is taking away the guns.

Unfortunately, to paraphrase the original 2021 announcement out of the White House about using monies from the Rescue Plan to reduce gun violence – ready? – THE ONLY PROVEN WAY TO REDUCE GUN VIOLENCE IS TO GET RID OF THE GODDAMN GUNS. Now I understand why Trump uses all caps for his tweets or his truths, or whatever he calls his daily/nightly rants.

I once asked the head of a community intervention program whether his staff would report that someone who had just agreed to step back from a violent, street-corner interaction was walking away with a gun in his pocket and here was his response:

“Oh no. Our people would never tell the police that someone who had responded positively to their request to refrain from violence had a gun. If our folks were identified as working with the cops, nobody would listen to them at all.”

If someone can show me a more serious threat to community health than a teenager walking down the street with a Glock in the seat of his pants, I’m all ears.

Does Anyone Care About Mass Shootings?


              Back in the olden days, by which I mean maybe just a couple of years ago, when someone pulled out a gun and shot a bunch of people standing around in the same place at the same time, it was a big, friggin’ deal. 

              Now it doesn’t even make the evening news.

              Yesterday there were at least 3 shootings which resulted so far in 6 deaths and 10 other people injured, and I had to download a spreadsheet from the Gun Violence Archive (GVA) to learn anything about these events at all.

              Incidentally, it’s a real comment on this situation that in order to even learn anything about the 328 mass shootings that have so far killed 385 and injured another 1,351 victims this year alone, I have to download the data from a private, non-profit outfit like the GVA. The government tracks things like the cost of this and the cost of that, but tracking the costs of gun violence? Yea, right.

              And by the way, note that I talk about the fatality number as if it’s not complete and might change. That’s because the fact that someone is brought to an ER with a bullet in their head and is still breathing, doesn’t mean they’ll leave the ER and still be alive.

              For that matter, even if someone is discharged from a trauma center after recovering from a gun wound, the indications are that this individual will not live out a normal lifespan even if he or she completely recovers from being assaulted with a gun.

              Way back in 2007, our good friend Kathy Christoffel published an article on gun violence (which can be downloaded here) in which she discussed how shootings, which were once considered to be an epidemic, had now become endemic in everyday life. But Dr. Christoffel wasn’t talking about mass shootings, she was talking about the random, everyday one-on-one shootings that occur all the time.

              Guess what? Today it’s the mass shootings, the shootings where four or more people are killed and injured at the same time, which have become endemic within our way of life.

              And what, to me, is most interesting about thus whole situation is the relative lack of concern about this issue coming from the gun-control side.

              I donate regularly to Everytown and Brady, and I also throw in some money to Giffords from time to time. I’m also a Lifetime Benefactor Member of the NRA because this way they can’t throw me out of America’s ‘first civil rights organization (as they refer to themselves) no matter what I say about guns.

              The NRA is all hot and bothered about Biden’s call for a new assault rifle ban – I get the emails, the texts, the letters from Wayne-o all the time.

              What do I get from groups like Brady and Everytown who you would think would be all up in arms (pardon the pun) about the current state of gun affairs? What Grandpa would call ‘gurnisht helfen’ (read: nothing at all.)

              The truth is that my friends who manage groups like Brady and Everytown find it a lot easier to get their donors all riled up about gun violence when the Oval Office is controlled by the GOP. Want to come up with a message which blames Donald Trump for doing nothing about gun violence?  Piece of cake.

              But when the guy who is your guy in the White House comes out and blames Gun-nut Nation for blocking a new assault rifles ban, what more is there to say?  It’s been said for your side, okay?

              Except it hasn’t been said because we could scoop up every single assault rifle personally owned in the United States and the number of shootings where four or more people are killed or injured wouldn’t change at all.

              We have mass shootings in this country for one simple reason – I’ll say it again in the same way as I have said it many times before.  Ready?

              The United States is the only country in the entire world which allows just about anyone to own and carry around guns that are designed solely for the purpose of being used to end human life.

              You don’t pop one into Bambi’s rear end with a Glock. You don’t knock birdie out of a tree with a Sig.

              Until my friends in Gun-control Nation stop worrying about the 2nd Amendment and drop their bullsh*t about how they all respect gun ‘rights’ as long as guns are used in safe and responsible ways, we will continue to experience the kinds of mass shootings which last weekend alone accounted for 46 deaths and serious injuries, and probably more.

              Too bad that gun violence, even mass gun violence, tends to be racially homogeneous – both the shooters and the victims tend to come from the same racial group. If gun violence was more frequently committed say, by whites against blacks, or blacks against whites, every night you would see a story about the latest shooting on the evening news.

              And the segment wouldn’t be stuck behind Lester Holt asking some fat, old white lady about why she’s still supporting Donald Trump.

The Best Gun Message – Both Ways!

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              I have been connected to the gun business in one way or another for sixty years. And during that time, I have read or heard just about everything and anything which has been written or spoken about guns.

              But when it comes to a narrative which can be used better by both sides in the gun debate, the hat pictured above takes the cake.

              Think about the wording and images on that hat for a minute, okay? Think about how we have Donald Trump connected to God and guns as a way of promoting his 2024 Presidential campaign.

              But then turn it around and think about how even the most conservative religious leaders can’t find anything positive about mass shootings committed by using AR-15 guns.

              As we get into the 2024 political season, which gets heated up around Labor Day, it’ll be interesting to see how the gun issue plays out.

              On the one hand we have Joe saying something about an assault weapons ban in just about every speech.  On the other hand, all the GOP candidates, both the two or three real candidates plus all the fakes, aren’t about to say anything about guns which doesn’t embrace the Godly blessing and Constitutional ‘right’ to armed, self-defense.

              I know the previous paragraph sounds like it came right out of a standard Eisenhower (‘on the one hand this, on the other hand that’) response to every question asked in a press conference, but I don’t know how else to describe the argument between Gun-nut Nation and Gun-control Nation when it comes to what we should or shouldn’t do about guns.

              Now that the Supreme Court has legitimized the idea that anyone with a clean record should be able to walk around the neighborhood with a Glock or a Sig hooked onto their belt, the basic argument from the pro-gun side of the table boils down to ‘let’s leave well enough alone.’ The other side of the table, the gun-control side, wants to see more laws passed to regulate guns, even though, btw, laws regulating how law-abiding gun owners use their guns has never been shown (public health so-called ‘evidence-based’ research) to have any real impact on gun violence rates at all.

              But it occurs to me that the Trump hat could actually be used to spread a powerful message by my friends in Gun-control Nation, assuming they are really looking for a way to promote a gun-control strategy that could actually work.

              What my friends in Gun-control Nation need to do is post a picture of that hat all over the place to remind everyone that a vote for Trump is also a vote for mass shootings and an unacceptable among of gun deaths.

              The picture should not only be posted on the websites of gun-control groups like Brady and Everytown but should be adopted by the Democat(ic) National Committee to be used for lawn signs and banners all over the place.

              Trump wants to sell himself as a big, tough guy who believes in God and guns? I can’t see how that narrative will get him a single vote more than the votes he already has.

              Which means he needs to find votes from voters who may not be thinking about mass shootings when they cast their ballots on Tuesday, November 5, 2024.

              This picture is exactly the reminder they will need.

Why Do (Some) Americans Buy Guns?

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              I have never understood how my friends in public health do research on gun violence when they don’t know anything about guns.  None of them are gun owners, none of them hang out with gun nuts, none of them are members of the gun industry’s trade group, NASGW, none of them go to the big gun shows, or the little shows, for that matter.

              Meanwhile, every time that a public health researcher publishes some research on gun violence, there is also a footnote about how the work is being done to help develop more effective approaches to dealing with guns.

              Would the SEC publish a new regulation covering the stock market without first passing it by Merrill-Lynch?  They wouldn’t dare.  Would the FDIC send out a new notice about banking rules without first consulting Bank of America or Chase?  Ditto.

              The most incisive analysis that public health and other gun-control researchers give us to explain how and why 300 million or 400 million guns are floating around America in private hands is the answer to the question asked in every, single survey conducted by Pew, RAND, Harvard, Hopkins, and everyone else: Why do you own a gun? 

              The survey respondents, if they are gun owners, are asked to choose between the following answers: (1). self-defense, (2). hunting (3). sport shooting.

              And the headline for these surveys is that Americans are increasingly buying and owning guns to protect themselves from whatever they believe might be a threat to them.

              Whereupon the researchers always note that violent crime has declined by half over the last twenty or so years, which only goes to prove that when gun owners tell you why they buy guns, they don’t know what they’re talking about.

              So, if you are trying to figure out how to talk to gun owners about the risks represented by their guns, how do you come up with an effective message when the population you are trying to reach doesn’t even know the real reasons why they like guns? 

              You don’t. But that doesn’t mean you can’t apply to the CDC or the Joyce Foundation for another research grant that will enable you to conduct the same survey in another couple of years.

              That all being said, and I have chastised my public health friends many times for their lack of knowledge about the industry which they want to regulate in more effective ways, I have just finished reading a remarkable study which sheds what I consider to be the most penetrating and profound insights into the contemporary gun-owning mentality, and you can download a copy of this research right here.

              The article is the handiwork of three faculty members at Oregon State’s College of Business, who conduct research into a mental and marketing mode known as ‘consumer responsibilization,’ which their discipline defines as “a moralizing, neoliberal governance process that leverages market logic—free choice, rationality, and individual responsibility—to shift responsibility for addressing social problems from the state to the individual, and, in so doing, create a responsible consumer.”

              Now if that hasn’t been the basic marketing strategy adopted and promoted by the gun industry for the past forty or so years, I don’t know a better way to describe why and how this industry has managed to compensate for the decline in hunting over the same period of time. In 1975, Americans bought 14 million hunting licenses. In 2015, Americans again bought 14 million licenses which allow them to go out in a field and take a whack at Bambi’s rear end.

              The population of the United States in 1975 was 214 million. In 2015, the number was 325 million.  The same number of hunting licenses were sold to a national population which has grown by 50 percent(!) over those forty years.

              Meanwhile, anyone who wants to see how the gun industry has reacted to the shift in gun owning culture and consumer preference doesn’t need to conduct an expensive, national survey on the internet or by phone. All you have to do is take a look at the annual report covering gun manufacturing published by the ATF and you’ll see the shift from hunting to armed, self-defense right there.

               I’m not going to analyze this repot from Oregon State University in detail, except to say that what it captures in brilliant clarity is the degree to which the decision by a consumer to purchase a consumer product known as a ‘gun,’ has many nuanced, variables attached to that decision which go far beyond whether the gun is being purchased for self-defense or sport.

              Someone who walks into a gun shop to buy a gun is no different than someone who walks into a boutique to buy some jewelry or an extra pair of shoes. Our economy is the world’s largest because so much of what represents economic activity results from the purchase of goods and services that we really don’t need.

              You don’t need to carry a gun in order to get to work. You need a car. You don’t need a gun in order to make the little brat a lunch for school. You need bread, some peanut butter, and some jam.

              If Gun-control Nation is ever going to convince the other side that guns first and foremost represent a risk rather than a benefit, they need to understand why gun owners buy guns and that understanding can be gained in this masterly piece of research.

Does ‘Safe Storage’ Reduce Gun Violence?

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              So, yesterday the wife and I were taking a drive in the country, and we passed the billboard pictured above on Route 22 just outside of Pittsfield, MA. The number of daily suicides committed by using a gun is actually somewhat above 70 such events this past year, but I think you get the point.

              Because Route 22 in this area is a long-time favorite for hunting deer, plus the towns tend to be rural villages where lots of residents engage in outdoor sports, this billboard is on a road which gets a lot of traffic from people who own guns.

              The billboard is sponsored by a Brady in a partnership with the Ad Council, and is described in a website called End Family Fire, which covers what is referred to as “a shooting caused by someone having access to a gun from the home when they shouldn’t have it.”

              The website is basically a promotion for what is referred to as ‘safe storage,’ which means that all guns located in a home should be locked or locked away. This idea of safely storing guns has become the nonplus ultra narrative for the gun-control movement, the idea being that getting rid of guns is a violation of the 2nd Amendment but keeping guns away from kids or people suffering from mental distress will help bring gun violence numbers down.

              This whole idea of gun owners being more ‘responsible’ or behaving in a ‘safer’ way with their guns is about as stupid and devoid of reality as any idea the gun-control movement has ever come up with to deal with the 125,000 injuries and deaths suffered every year by Americans who shoot themselves or get shot by someone else with a gun.

              One way or another, I have been involved in the gun business for more than 60 years. During that time, I have probably met and talked to more than one-thousand-gun owners, and that’s a minimal number by far. I have also owned retail gun shops in South Carolina, New York, and Massachusetts, so my knowledge of how gun owners think about their guns and how they behave with their guns is pretty deep and wide.

              I have never met a single gun owner who didn’t understand that bringing a gun into their home represented a serious risk. But for all kinds of reasons, having a gun handy is a risk that gun owners are willing to accept.

              Does the acceptance of gun risk make these gun owners behave in an unsafe way? No. It simply reflects the degree to which most of us accept all kinds of risks in our daily lives. When was the last time I stopped for a yellow light? When was the last time I stayed on my diet for more than two consecutive days?

              Do I know that by walking out of my house and leaving a loaded gun in the top drawer of my clothing chest or my desk that I am creating the possibility that someone will ultimately end up doing something terrible with that gun? Of course, I know that, and I try my damnedest to always lock all my guns away.

              But I’m human. Sometimes I’m careless. Sometimes I forget. So, telling me that I should always lock my guns away is preaching to the converted. Except sometimes, even the most ardent converts don’t listen to the sermon, okay?

              Incidentally, of all the advanced (OECD) countries, the United States ranks about the same as five or six other countries in terms of the overall suicide rate. None of these other countries, places like Sweden, Belgium, Austria) have anywhere near the number of privately-owned guns that we possess, and Japan, with a suicide rate almost exactly the same rate as our rate, has a civilian population which is totally and complete unarmed.

              There is only one way to reduce gun violence to an acceptable (read: zero) level, which is to get rid of the types of guns which are used in most of the intentional shootings that occur every year. Yesterday, 23 people were shot and one killed when gunfire erupted at a Juneteenth celebration held at a strip mall in Willowbrook, IL.

              Think this wouldn’t have happened if the guns that were shot off had been safely stored?

Do You Have The ‘Right’ To Own a Gun?


              Yesterday I watched Chris Christie on the CNN Town Hall, and one of the questions he had to answer was about guns. The questioner asked him: “How do you balance out more gun-control laws versus our right to own a gun?”

              This narrative about gun ‘rights’ has become a fixture on both sides of the gun debate. On the pro-gun side, the argument goes that laws which in any way make it more difficult or more costly to own and use guns are a violation of the 2nd-Amendment ‘right’ for private citizens to own guns. On the gun-control side, we get a standard disclaimer about how a new proposed gun-control law or gun-control regulation doesn’t conflict with gun ‘rights’ at all.

              This entire notion about how Americans have the ‘right’ to own guns is made up out of whole cloth.  There is nothing behind it other than a clever way to promote gun ownership and gun sales, and Gun-control Nation should have enough knowledge about the American Constitution to reject this entire argument out of hand.

              There is no such thing in American jurisprudence or Constitutional precedent which grants unlimited ‘rights’ for anything. The fact that what we refer to as certain ‘freedoms’ of speech, religious belief and gun access which appear in a document known as the Bill of Rights doesn’t vest these so-called ‘freedoms’ with any unlimited or universal ‘rights’ whatsoever.

              The Amendments which comprise the Bill of Rights are Constitutional texts which have been altered or added to the Constitutional document through a process which is very explicit, very clear and takes anywhere from several months to several hundred years.

              But what gives all the amendments their legal authority is when Congress passes a law or multiple laws which define what behavior is allowed under a particular Amendment, and what behavior cannot be approved or condoned. When Congress ratified the 13th Amendment which outlawed slavery in 1865 and turned some four million pieces of chattel property into human beings, Congress then had to go back and pass a civil rights law the following year which defined what it meant to be a citizen of the United States.

              In fact, Congress has passed five laws which define the 2nd Amendment in terms of what someone can and cannot do with a gun. The first law, passed in 1934, imposed an excise tax on guns and also created a separate licensing system for certain types of guns. The 1938 federal gun law imposed licensing and record-keeping requirements on gun dealers and the 1968 law extended the regulations of the 1938 law to cover not only gun dealer, but gun owners as well. The last two guns laws which created the Brady background check system and the assault weapons ban, were passed in 1993 and 1994.

              Along with these five federal gun laws, every state has multiple laws and regulations written into their state law codes. Some states have more laws, some states have fewer laws, but no matter where you live, if you want to own a gun, you have to obey federal laws, state laws and in many cases, laws covering a specific county or municipality as well.

              There’s a reason why the National Rifle Association (NRA) always refers to its members as ‘law-abiding gun owners.’ The NRA doesn’t use that sobriquet just to remind everyone that most gun owners are the ‘good guys with a gun.’ It’s also a way for the NRA to avoid being held responsible for all the murders, assaults and other criminal acts which involve the use of guns.

              There are some far-out, radical elements in Gun-nut Nation who promote the idea that since guns are protected by the 2nd Amendment, there’s no reason to have any government regulation of gun ownership at all. This argument is usually linked to the idea that we have a God-given ‘right’ to self-defense, and there’s no better way to defend yourself than with a gun.

              Want God to regulate how we behave with guns or with anything else? Pack up your guns and move to Iran.

How Many Americans Really Own Guns?


              Everyone knows and trusts the RAND Corporation to conduct serious and valid research on issues of paramount concern, which it has been doing now since 1948. In particular, their work is often cited by government agencies both to define challenges, as well as to help set priorities to meet specific needs.

              The company’s motto is ‘objective analysis, effective solutions,’ which together guide the organization’s research resulting last year in more than 800 reports and journal articles – whew!

              One of the areas where RAND has been creating a presence and doing research is gun violence, covered by RAND in a specific research initiative, Gun Policy in America, which attempts to examine the role and value of different laws and programs on current gun violence trends.

              I happen to have just finished looking at a database published by RAND in 2020 which gives an estimate for the number of gun-owning households in each state. This is a fundamental issue in the whole question of gun violence because it is taken as a given that our excessive rate of gun violence is somehow connected to a civilian arsenal which numbers somewhere between 300 million up to above 400 million guns.

              The data on ownership covers the years 1980 through 2016 and shows an overall national gun-owning average in 2016 of 32%, down from 45% in 1980. Of course, given that the national population has increased from 226 million to 327 million over those 36 years, if these estimates are correct, it means that there are at least 3 million more households with guns at the latter date.

              To arrive at the national; and state-level estimates of gun ownership, the research group tracked 4 data trends: (1). Firearm suicides; (2). Hunting licenses; (3). subscriptions to Guns and Ammo magazine; and (4). background checks. This is a rather interesting collection of data used to count households with guns, since background checks in most states didn’t start to begin until 1998 or 1999. As for Guns and Ammo magazine, although its monthly printing runs some 10 million, at least half that total goes to newsstands and other retail outlets whose locations aren’t known.

              All that being said, however, I have a much more fundamental problem with the attempt by RAND to correlate gun ownership with gun violence on a state-by-state basis and my problem is simply this: the data being used to calculate or estimate household gun ownership is counting different categories of legally owned guns. Individuals who are not legally allowed to own guns aren’t in the habit of buying hunting licenses, nor are they going to undergo background checks.

              On the other hand, the behavior which constitutes 80% of all gun violence events (homicides and aggravated assaults) is overwhelmingly committed by individuals who are not using legally acquired or legally owned guns. How can you make any kind of correlation between the number of legal gun owners on the one hand, and the number of gun assaults committed by individuals who are not legally entitled to own guns?

              You can make such a correlation all the time, and such correlations have been floating around gun violence research circles for years. But there is no valid reason to assume that such correlations explain anything about gun violence at all.

              I am still waiting for anyone from RAND or anywhere else to try and figure out how many guns are in households where guns, legally speaking, don’t belong. I would also be happy to see one gun violence researcher who even admits that maybe, just maybe, we need to figure out the reasons for gun violence from the perspective of crime, as opposed to the seemingly endless wringing of hands about how all those shootings occur because the poor kids in the inner city have nothing better to do with their time.

              Don’t get me wrong. Like Hobbes, I believe that human lives are nasty, brutish, and short, particularly when those lives have to be lived on a shoestring budget or less. But this doesn’t take away from the fact that gun violence as a response to social dislocation and gun violence as a crime are two differing explanations where the gap seems to be getting wider all the time.

              Is it therefore any surprise that the amount of gun violence also keeps growing all the time?

A ‘New’ Way to Deal with Gun Violence.

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              Gun violence became an issue of public concern and public advocacy when a 20-ywear old kid shot his way into the Sandy Hook public school in Newtown, CT and killed 20 kids and 6 adults before killing himself. This event turned what had been a sporadic concern about gun violence into an ongoing issue, sparked partially by a failed attempt by Obama to get a new gun law passed, then a massive infusion of dough from Mike Bloomberg into gun-violence advocacy, and a stupid but unceasing attempt by Alex Jones to explain the whole thing as just another, liberal-led hoax.

              Behind these activities was an increased concern about gun violence as a threat to public health. And even though the CDC was prohibited from sanctioning research into gun violence from 1997 until two years ago, public health research groups at Harvard, Hopkins and other locations published plenty of research about how and why this country suffered from a unique health problem caused by the misuse of guns.

              What did all this public advocacy and research accomplish? Not one, goddamn thing.

              The CDC has just released injury data for 2021. The national rate for gun violence in 2001 was 9.95.  In 2021, it was 14.30. That’s only an increase just short of 50 percent. Big deal.

              What do we get from the so-called experts who do gun violence research? We are told that this increase is due to the stresses and strains of the Pandemic, even though the annual gun-violence increase became noticeable beginning in 2015.

              Now, if we want to put an end to this problem or at least show some degree of decline, these same public health experts roll out the same, totally incorrect nostrums and remedies they have been rolling out for years.

              At Harvard, we get the argument that America has so much gun violence because Americans own so many guns. Now the fact that many of those 300 or 400 million guns happen to be for the most part Grandpa’s old, broken shotgun sitting in the basement waiting to be turned in at a gun buyback in exchange for a gift card, oh well, oh well.

              The Hopkins group, on the other hand, tells us that gun violence would be significantly reduced if every state imposed a requirement that only allowed people to purchase handguns after they go through a specific licensing process for that gun, a process known as permit to purchase, or PTP.

              The Hopkins bunch uses as their ‘proof’ a study they conducted on what happened in Connecticut after that state imposed a PTP procedure in 1999. Except there’s only one, little problem. Connecticut doesn’t have a PTP procedure and never did. When I pointed this out to members of the Hopkins team, they were too busy to pick up the telephone and call any gun shop in Connecticut to inquire about the existence of PTP.

              So, here we have the two major public health research groups whose findings are used by all the groups advocating to reduce gun violence and the findings which these groups are using are totally and completely wrong.

              Incidentally, I send copies of every blog I post on my website to members of those two research groups, and if any member of either group would care to explain how and why they continue to promote strategies to reduce gun violence which are incorrect, I’ll immediately make a thousand-dollar donation to their respective schools.

              All that being said, there does seem to have been an interesting breakthrough in the efforts to reduce gun violence announced yesterday by the U.S. Marshall’s Service, whose teams arrested 95 fugitives, of which at least 60 had committed violent crimes using guns. The arrests took place in and around Baltimore, MD which has suffered from more than 300 annual homicides since 2015, which was years before anything known as what Donald Trump called the ‘king flu’ arrived on our shores.

              This operation finally gives all those public health gun researchers an opportunity to evaluate whether dealing with gun violence not as a symptom of inner-city stresses and strains, nor as the hopelessness of poverty, but as a violent crime, may actually yield some significant results.

              Of course, such an effort would also require these well-meaning, academic researchers to roll up their sleeves, get out into the streets and stop pretending they can figure out the ‘epistemology’ of gun violence by staring at their computer screens.

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