These Petitions Need Your Support.


I am running two national petitions on Change.org and they can be seen right here:



You can also read some details about guns and gun bans right here: Home | Ban These Guns.

The reason I am running these two petitions is I’m sick and tired of how and why the two sides in the gun debate continue to promote their arguments without the slightest degree of reality behind what they say.

On the one hand, we have my friends on the pro-gun side who want you to believe that the country is a safer place if everyone would be walking around with a gun. On the other hand, we have my friends on the gun-control side who continue to promote various gun-control laws (e.g., safe storage) which have never been shown to have the slightest impact on gun violence rates at all.

Reducing gun violence to a tolerable level (which means accidents, not deliberate shootings) can be done by simply taking the guns which are designed only for the purpose of committing violence and getting rid of them entirely or putting them on the NFA list alongside machine guns.

Know when was the last time that someone was shot by someone else using a full-auto gun? Try 1947 or 1948.

Know when was the last time that someone was shot by someone else using a Glock or an AR-15? Try thirty seconds ago, okay?

The United States is the only country in the entire world which allows residents to walk into a gun shop and walk out five minutes later with a gun which if it then falls into the ‘wrong hands’ will be used to injure or kill someone else. And by the way, if you think that banning these kinds of guns would be a violation of the 2nd Amendment only proves that you have no ixea what the 2nd Amendment says and doesn’t say.

Do me a small favor, okay? If you don’t want to sign either or both of the petitions, don’t post some stupid, snarky comment just to demonstrate that you’re a real patriot or some other nonsense like that. Either sign or don’t sign and I thank you for taking the time to read and consider my request.

Do Physicians Understand a Health Risk Called Gun Violence?


              I love how the media refers to the ‘epidemic’ of gun violence in the United States, as if an epidemic can last for 30 or more years. What we have in this country is an endemic gun violence problem, which produces more than 100,000 deaths and serious injuries year after year.

              And why do we experience this endemic gun violence problem, when we have solved epidemics like Covid-19 in jut several years?

              We have the problem for two reasons, and we will continue to have it until these two reasons change.

Reason #1: The United States is the only country in the entire world which allows residents to buy and own guns designed and manufactured only for the purpose of killing human beings. For every person who is killed by one of these guns, two other individuals suffer serious but are not fatally injured because the shooter didn’t properly aim the gun.

              Semi-automatic, bottom-loading pistols from companies like Glock, Sig, S&W, Ruger, et. al., are referred to as ‘self-defense’ guns. But they happen to be used offensively most of the time, and because a million or more of these guns are added to the civilian arsenal every year, some of them wind up in what we refer to as the ‘wrong hands.’

Despite the fact that Detroit now puts all kinds of anti-theft devices on cars, more than a million vehicles are stolen every year. So how can we prevent a few thousand guns from being swiped and resold in the street? We can’t.

When I looked at the more than 9,000 guns picked up by cops in 2014, what struck me was how many of these guns were at least thirty years old. Guns don’t wear out, okay? Once a gun gets into the criminal market, it stays there and will be used again and again.

So, either we get rid of the guns whose use causes gun violence, or the violence will continue every day.

Reason #2: The profession – medicine – whose research and practice we depend on both to explain threats to public health as well as to develop practical measures for dealing with such threats, now promotes a response to the gun violence problem which doesn’t reflect the problem at all, and worse, ignores the findings of evidence-based research.

It is thirty years since Art Kellerman and Fred Rivara published definitive research clearly demonstrating that access to guns in the home creates medical risk. The authors of these studies did not qualify access in terms of how guns were used, owned, or stored. They simply found that guns and gun violence are one and the same thing.

Now we have a new initiative from one of America’s most prestigious medical institutions, Massachusetts General Hospital, a training program for first-year medical residents which teaches these new physicians how to talk to patients about guns and gun violence in clinical settings, the idea being that this training will overcome the natural reluctance of physicians to engage in conversations with gun-owning patients about the risk of guns.

The training sessions focus on talking about gun risk in a non-judgmental manner to gun-owning patients, followed by a discussion about making guns ‘safe’ and offering gun locks as well as discussing legal measures like extreme-risk prevention orders (ERPO) to remove guns from individuals whose behavior clearly marks them as potentially using a gun in a violent way.

The curriculum developed for this effort is designed to impart basic ideas about gun ‘safety’ with the word ‘safety’ appearing countless times in the text. Which only shows how this curriculum was developed by a well-intentioned group of physicians who don’t know anything about guns.

Leaving aside the fact that there has never been a single study showing any connection between educating gun owners on gun risk and a consequent change in gun violence rates, the idea that one can talk about a handgun loaded with 16 rounds of military-certified ammunition in terms of being a ‘safe’ gun is absurd.

Worse, and this is where the medical approach on gun violence borders on the criminal, if not on the absolute senselessness of their ideas, is that one can develop mitigating mechanisms to thwart gun violence without getting rid of the guns.

And why do physicians like the Massachusetts General group create an entire educational program on gun violence which in not a single sentence anywhere in the curriculum state that the preferred goal should be to eliminate access to the kinds of guns which are only used to inflict serious harm?

Because these doctors and their colleagues in other medical institutions actually base their curricular model on the idea that maybe they can find some common ground with gun owners and thus not be seen as being anti-gun.

This may come as a great shock to the medical professionals who continue to lament the human carnage caused by guns every day, but the 2nd Amendment actually gives government the authority to determine which kinds of guns can be owned by law-abiding adults and which kinds of guns cannot be owned.

Don’t believe me? You’ll find the relevant text on pp. 54-55 of the Heller decision which is precedent for what today’s interpretation of what the 2nd Amendment actually means.

I’m not asking doctors to become legal experts. I’m also not expecting them to meet me at a shooting range and spend the day learning about guns. But I do expect them to stop trying to fashion some kind of educational program about gun violence based on some nonsense about the values and virtues of ‘safe’ guns.

That’s simply crap.

Everytown Takes on the ATF and Gets It Wrong.


              When the Pandemic began its relentless spread in 2020-21, there was also a serious uptick in shootings. Of course, everyone knew ‘for a fact’ that the two trends were in some way or another related. 

              And the assumption that there was a link between Covid-19 and gun violence was obvious: more and more people were buying guns.

              Now the fact that there was never one, single study which attempted to figure out the provenance of all those guns that were used in shootings during the months when the Pandemic raged, didn’t in any way make any of the experts mention the possibility that maybe, just maybe we were looking at coincidence without any connection between illness and gun violence based on cause.

              That was then, this is now. And now we find that even as the Pandemic appears to be fading, gun violence, particularly multiple shootings in the same place at the same time seem to be going along at full speed.

              So now who do we blame? We get the answer from the people who do research for Everytown, and have just published their findings right here. And what they have found, or at least they believe they have found, is that the nonending cycle of gun violence can be connected to what goes on inside the retail stores where guns are sold.

              Everytown sums it up like this: “Dealers play an important role in stopping the flow of guns from legal to illegal markets. Understanding who is licensed to manufacture and sell guns is vital to ensuring licensed gun dealers play their part in building safe communities.”

              That’s all fine and well except for one little thing, which is nowhere in this entire article do we learn the connection between all those gun dealers and all the guns which wind up being used improperly or illegally in the street. Since every gun first moves into the hands of someone who can pass a background check, obviously something is going on inside those 78,000-gun shops which is making it easier for the ‘bad guys’ to get their hands on guns.

              In fact, there aren’t 78,000 locations which are selling guns. The federal firearms license simply allows the license-holder to receive guns from other federal licensees. In order to resell those guns to any Tom, Dick or Harry who wants to buy a gun, the federal dealer must at the very least have the federal license approved by the CLEO (chief law enforcement officer) in his jurisdiction, and he must also meet whatever licensing requirements are imposed in his location to operate any kind of retail establishment.

              I operated a retail gun shop in Massachusetts from 2001 until 2015. Not only did I need to secure a federal firearms license, but I also needed to be issued a state dealer’s license, along with a town license to operate a retail store, and an approval both from the police chief and the town government which issued zoning permits.

              Now Massachusetts happens to be a state which imposes all kinds of regulations on every aspect of commercial behavior. When you get down South or out to the Mountain States, the attitude towards small retailers and guns is more laissez-faire. But I am still waiting for the first attempt by any of the so-called gun research groups to try and figure out what that awesome number of 78,000 federal licenses really means.

              The fact is that most guys who hold a federal license are collectors and hobbyists who like to buy, own, and play with guns. The same gun that would cost me $500 in a retail shop will run me about $350 or even less if I used my license to buy that gun direct from a wholesaler or from the factory where the gun was made.

              The gun industry doesn’t like me using words like ‘hobbyist’ to describe the people who buy their products, because the industry is heavily invested in promoting the idea that everyone should keep a gun handy under the pillow because you never know when some ‘bad guy’ will try to crash through your back door.

              But I can tell you from my own experience selling more than 15,000 guns to customers over the 25 years I owned retail shops in three states, that most of the buyers bought guns simply because they liked guns.

              Why do you think that women buy shoes? They like shoes. Men like guns, okay?

              Which brings me to another issue, one of many, which the Everytown researchers just don’t get. In this respect I’m talking about the vaunted time to crime data assiduously collected by the ATF, which is then utilized to figure out which dealers are selling guns, as we say in the trade, out the back door.

              What the article says is that “the shorter the time to crime, the more likely it is that the gun was purchased with the intent of being used in a crime.”

              But the ATF calculates time to crime (TTC) from the date that the gun is first sold to the date that the ATF receives a tracing request on a gun picked up by the cops. And since most gun shops have an inventory which is comprised of 50% used guns, the TTC calculation made by the ATF has no relationship to reality at all.

              One more issue and then I’ll sum up. The researchers claim that more than 10,000 guns disappear from gun shops every year. The result? “This amounts to a rate of 28 guns per day likely moving from legal to illegal markets where they can be trafficked to be used in crimes.”

              Now in fact, there is absolutely no data which can be accessed to connect guns which are solen or lost from gun shops to guns that are used in crimes. But the fact that the Everytown researchers assume that guns which are ‘lost’ end up in the street, tells you how much these researchers know about how the ATF operates and how it regulates the commerce in guns.

              When a dealer is inspected by the ATF, he must supply full and complete paperwork to show the movement of every single gun in and out of his shop – where the gun came from, to whom it was then sold. If the dealer is unable to produce the requisite paperwork, he must call the lady in ATF’s Atlanta office who runs the ‘missing-stolen’ list and report the guns.

              When I was inspected in 2014, I could not produce the paperwork on 3 guns which were no longer in my shop. Were these guns stolen? Had I sold them to ‘persons unknown?’ Not a chance. I simply couldn’t dig up the requisite 4473 background-check forms (out of the several thousand that were inspected by the ATF inspection team), and I had forgotten to list the transfers in my Acquisition-Disposition book. Big, friggin’ deal.

              Talking about paperwork, when my inspection was concluded, I received a notice that the inspectors had found more than 800 mistakes in my documentation, which meant that I was facing a permanent suspension of my dealer’s license. Under the GCA68 law, which created the current regulatory authority of the ATF, each of those mistakes constituted – ready? – a felony for which I could be given serious jail time.

              Know why the ATF found more than 800 mistakes in my paperwork?  Because every week we received 20- 30 guns from the same wholesaler who had been in business for 50 years and had been inspected numerous times by the ATF. So, when the guns came into my shop, I abbreviated the name of the wholesaler to save some time because otherwise I would have spent all day filling out the stupid A&D form instead of selling guns.

              The ATF didn’t bother to discipline me for my serious failure to follow the rules, because they knew that if I showed up in court to be sentenced for my egregious failure to obey the law, that the judge would shut the case down even before it would begin.

              How does Everytown want you to understand the lack of regulatory energy represented by the slipshod methods of the ATF? Here it is: “In sum, the frequency of violations and the rarity of inspections allow the possibility that thousands of dealers are violating federal gun regulations each year without any corrective action by the ATF.”

              To quote Aesop – the mountain roars and out comes a mouse.

              Much of the Everytown report appears to be based on research that was done and published by the ATF back in January and February of this year. Back in 2015, the Center for American Progress released a 200-page report which proposed that the ATF become a division under the FBI. Many of the recommendations in that report can be found in this new Everytown iteration as well.

What I find interesting about both of these documents is that in neither instance did the individuals involved in preparing these reports bother to interview one single gun dealer. Not one.

How do you conduct a detailed study about the activities of a regulatory agency without spending one second talking to the people whose business activities are the sole subject of what that agency exists to regulate and control?

If the SEC conducted a detailed study on how the financial industry conducts its business affairs, it would never dare publish such a work without first asking representatives of various financial institutions to review what they were going to say.

But this is the gun business, and it is standard operating procedure for this particular industry to be studied and discussed by so-called research experts who know absolutely nothing about the gun business at all.

Does America Have a ‘Gun Culture?’


              I love the title of last week’s article in Vox: ‘America’s Unique, Enduring Gun Problem Explained.’ In fact, the article doesn’t explain sh*t. What we get is what we always get from the Fake News when some high-profile shootings make it onto the front page, namely, some quick quotes from the same five or six experts who are always ready with their quick quotes: David Yamane tells us that Americans now buy handguns, the Harvard group tells us about those ‘supers owners’ with their stacks of guns, Michael Siegel talks about gun violence and weak gun-control laws, Jeff Swanson gives us a blip about gun violence and mental illness, and Robert Spitzer throws in his two cents as well.

              How come the writers of this piece didn’t get the usual twenty words or so from Garen Wintemute, the ER doctor out of California who always has something to say? And how come in a lengthy section on the Supreme Court’s Bruen decision there wasn’t a quote from Adam Winkler, the law professor and 2nd-Amendment expert out of UCLA?

              You’ll forgive me if I sound a bit less than enthusiastic about the verbal meanderings of the group whose quotes allowed the writers of this article to present themselves as competent journalists when it comes to the issue of guns. Not only did the authors of this piece simply string together a bunch of quotes without attempting even the slightest degree of critical review, but they even got the facts wrong, or at least the use of data to support their presentation of the facts.

              For example, the authors state, according to the FBI, that 45% of all murder victims were killed by handguns in 2019. Except that the percentage of handguns used in killings is probably much higher, because the FBI was unable to identify the actual type of gun used in 25% of all fatal gun assaults.

              Please don’t think for one minute that the purpose of today’s column is to call into question the research published by any of the gun ‘experts’ quoted in the Vox piece. They all do good and important work.

What I’m calling into question is the fact that whenever gun violence reaches a level where the Fake News needs to run a piece, invariably the persons who are given the task of throwing something together to meet the publishing deadline are nice, intelligent men and woman who know absolutely nothing about guns.

              And because the writers of this Vox article fall squarely into the category of journalists who know how to write but don’t know anything about what they are writing, invariably they’ll miss or misstate the most obvious points.

              And the most obvious point about gun violence which somehow keeps being vaguely understood but never really confronted, is the fact that virtually all the data we use to understand the gun ‘culture’ is data based on legal owners of guns, whereas gun violence is overwhelmingly and almost completely a function of behavior by individuals who do not have legal access to guns.

              Take, for example, the brief discussion about the Bruen case, where the Supreme Court has made it easier for Americans to walk around their neighborhood or drive across the country with a gun. According to this article, Bruen will result in a proliferation of street shootings, a judgement which has been repeated umpteen-thousand times by every gun-control group.

              Know what? For all the research that has been done on guns and gun violence and gun culture and gun everything else, there has yet to be one, single piece of research which tells us how many acts of gun violence are committed by individuals with legal access to guns, versus the number of gun assaults which are the handiwork of individuals using illegal guns.

              With rare exceptions, law-abiding gun owners aren’t the individuals who are running around committing upwards of 250 fatal and non-fatal gun assaults every day. Gun violence isn’t a culture, it’s a form of behavior which in more than 80% of all gun-violence events, happens to be a crime.

              The Vox article is largely based on what four researchers told the writers about guns. Not one of the experts consulted for this piece has any connection whatsoever with criminology or has ever published any research involving crime at all.

              Know why the gun-control community avoids the issue of crime? Because such an approach would lead into a consideration of race and the racial groupings not of the victims of gun violence, which is mentioned all the time, but of the shooters, would have to be addressed.

              In 2019, the last year for which we have complete data, the FBI says that 2,302 whites were arrested for homicide, for blacks the number of arrests was 3,282. Know what these numbers produce when we use them to create a homicide rate based on race? The white rate is 0.97%, the black rate is 7.01%. I am calculating the rates for each racial group by using the overall population for that group because homicide is overwhelmingly an intra-racial event.

              Know what happens when we compare homicide rates by race? The whole argument that has been circulating through gun control-land about how violent we are because of the existence of all those gun begins to fall apart. In fact, the gun-violence rate for white Americans is below the gun-violence rate in Great Britain, which is invariably touted as the safest country of all.

              And by the way, the white population in the United States not only has a very low gun-violence rate but is a population which happens to own maybe 400 million guns. So much for how the Supreme Court’s decision to allow law-abiding Americans to walk around toting a gun will result in a tsunami of bloodshed coming down the streets.

              Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to find some backdoor way to promote the gun business while pretending to be liberally inclined. I’m also not a Trump-ite in disguise. But this country has been cursed by racism since we justified bringing black slaves to America in 1619 or whenever the first black slaves appeared.

              And what the curse of racism creates is a situation in which any issue which touches on behavioral differences between the races is overstated by the alt-right and handled with kid gloves by the alt-left.

              Which is why the Fake News continues to lament about how gun ‘culture’ kills and injures countless Americans every day, without ever explaining why guns, gun culture and gun violence may mean very different things depending on who you are, where you live and the color of your skin.

Should Doctors Talk to Patients About Guns? Depends What They Say.


              Because of the importance of this issue, this comment is twice as long as my usual column posted on this page. Please give yourself a few extra minutes to read the entire column and responses eagerly expected and will be published as they come in (anonymously if you prefer.)

Back in 2011, the NRA got a law passed in the Gunshine State (Florida) which had the potential to criminalize doctors who warned patients about the risk of owning guns. The law sent shockwaves through the medical profession because the law potentially allowed non-doctors to set the terms for how physicians discussed medical issues with their patients, a practice which medicine fought long and hard to abolish more than one hundred years or so ago.

              The truth is that most physicians rarely raised the gun issue with their patients and the NRA’s promotion of this challenge to medical practice and authority was nothing more than a clever campaign to increase their public following and raise a few more bucks.

              That’s what you do when you’re a non-profit operation, which has been the status of America’s ‘first civil rights organization’ since the NRA was founded in 1871. You look for clever ways to increase public awareness about your existence, no matter whether that awareness has anything to do with reality or is just a clever advertising campaign.

              As the Florida gag law, a.k.a., Docs versus Glocks, made it way through the court system until it was finally thrown out in 2017, it also gave birth to a movement within medicine to promote more discussions and counseling between doctors and patients about the risks of guns. This took the form either of various medical societies issuing pronouncements about gun violence or attempts by medical groups to develop narratives which could be used in discussions about guns with patients, or both.

              Declaring gun violence to be a ‘public health problem’ was all fine and well, but in advancing strategies to respond to the problem, the various medical societies found themselves promoting all the usual gun-control laws (safe storage, universal background checks, etc.,) as if having an M.D. degree somehow gave them more or better license to pronounce on legal responses to reduce gun violence, which it does not.

              The role of the physician is to identify threats to health, figure out a medical response to the problem, and then get this response accepted and utilized by society at large. This is what every physician pledges to do before practicing medicine, a pledge which happens to be stated in the Hippocratic Oath.

              So, having decided that the proper response to gun violence was the adoption of certain legal procedures and regulations which have nothing to do with medicine at all, the medical profession then began to instruct itself on the best ways to persuade their patients to follow gun-control laws.

              Unfortunately, when doctors began to ramp up concerns about talking to their patients about guns, particularly after the Florida prohibition on medical gun counseling was thrown out, they discovered that most of their colleagues were reluctant and/or unable to conduct such clinical discussions, because they didn’t know much of anything about guns.

              Here’s an example of a recent attempt to educate doctors on guns, a curriculum developed by physicians at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) to teach new physicians – medical residents – what they need to know about guns and how to discuss risks to health with patients who own guns.

              The curriculum used in this training exercise is built around a series of ‘discussions’ between clinicians and a patient, Chris, who is a 35-year old married to Sam, and together they have a 4-year old son. They have two shotguns and a handgun in their home.

              The clinical encounters require that the clinician ask a series of questions about guns, including whether or not the guns are locked or safely stored, whether anyone in the home is suffering from depression, and whether the patient is aware of various laws which exist to help reduce gun risk, in particular laws which allow individuals to seek court orders for the removal of guns, known as ERPO (Extreme Risk Protection Orders) or ‘red flag’ laws.

              The treatment scenarios present the medical learners with narratives that can be used to discuss the various issues, along with taking care to always address the problem in non-judgmental ways, and how to respond if the patient exhibits any degree of anger or resistance when asked to talk about guns.

              Obviously, it is too early to determine whether such clinical encounters will have a positive impact on gun violence in the patient community which MGH serves. Nevertheless, I find these scenarios not only to be entirely insufficient when it comes to the medical reaction to gun risk, but the scenarios do not even follow from the most significant evidence-based research on gun risk, a protocol which physicians are supposed to follow in developing treatment practices to any medical risk or disease.

              The medical risk represented by guns was definitively stated in two articles published in the New England Journal of Medicine, which found a significant health risk from guns in the home. The articles did not qualify guns as to whether they were safely stored, or what types of guns were found in the home. The research simply stated unequivocally that guns represent a significant medical risk (homicide and suicide) and no serious medical researcher has ever denied the validity of this work.

              In the subsequent years since those articles appeared, there has not been one evidence-based study which shows any change in gun violence rates either through safe storage, or the other gun-control laws which have appeared on the books. Indeed, the studies which argue that states with more gun laws experience less gun violence do not, as a rule, compare violence rates before and after the laws were passed, because if they did, it would turn out that for every state which experienced a decline in gun violence after a gun-control law was passed, another state experienced an increase in gun-violence rates following the passage of a new law.

              The United States is the only country in the entire world which allows its residents to own and carry guns which are designed solely for tactical purposes (‘tactical’ being a polite way of describing the shooting of one person by another) and it is the existence of these guns –bottom-loading, hi-capacity, semi-automatic pistols chambered for military-grade ammunition – which is the reason we suffer from a gun-violence rate not found in any other advanced nation-state.

              If the medical community knew anything about guns – which they don’t (MGH teaching curriculum notwithstanding) they would address this threat to public health in the only way which it should be addressed, i.e., restrict the use and ownership of those highly-lethal, tactical guns.

              There is precedent for such a strategy by the way, which has been lawful procedure since the first federal gun law was promulgated in 1934. This law defined full-auto guns as too dangerous for commercial sale unless the buyer underwent a serious and prolonged review by both local and federal cops. A prospective buyer also could only purchase such a gun from a dealer who received clearance to sell such weapons, and there could be no personal transfer of such guns.

              Know the last time someone was killed in an assault where the attacker used a full-auto gun? Try 1947 or 1948.

              When the 1934 law was first proposed, the Attorney General, Homer Cummings, wanted handguns to be regulated in the same manner as machine guns were treated under this new law. The law was eventually passed without defining handguns as too great a risk for normal commerce and trade, but what’s stopping us from promoting this strategy again?

              And by the way, the fact that a ban on tactical handguns might be difficult, if not impossible to achieve, should not be the defining criteria for determining what physicians say and don’t say to patients about guns. Since when should physicians define health risks based on the vagaries of regulations and laws?

              If anything, the fact that our laws permit access to health threats of various kinds (e.g., tobacco) is all the more reason why physicians need to be particularly aware of how and what should be said to patients about the risk of legally acquired guns.

              Frankly, I am sick and tired of all these well-meaning physicians and public health professionals who honestly want to see this country no longer suffer the wholesale slaughter of our population with the use of guns but can’t bring themselves to promote or even mention the one, basic strategy that would bring gun violence to an end.

              And that strategy is to get rid of the guns whose use is responsible for most of the gun violence, or at least make the ownership of such weapons as highly regulated and controlled as we did with full-auto guns in 1934.

              To that end I am shortly going to announce the formation of a national organization which will first attempt to ban or tightly regulate semi-automatic handguns in various states, and as this effort gains traction, to begin pushing for a mandatory national buyback of such guns.

              I estimate that such a buyback would cost a minimum of $15 billion, or maybe $20-$25 billion at most. It is currently estimated that the bill for gun violence is currently around $300 billion every year.

              A one-shot payment of $20 billion to save 40,000 lives every year is chump change – wouldn’t you agree?