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Want To Go Into The Gun Business? Machine Guns Are Fetching A Good Price.

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              There’s a guy down in Texas who’s my kind of guy.  He’s 73 years old and still trying to make a living in the gun business. I’m 76 years old, so this guy’s in my league when it comes to sticking around in Gun-nut Nation until you croak.

              The guy’s name is William Scott Simms, and he lives in McAllen, TX, which is all part of the problem. Because McAllen happens to be located right smack dab next to the ol’ Rio Grande, which means that the town’s southern border happens to be Mexico. Which means you just walk down ol’ South Depot Road a bit, hop across the railroad tracks and you’re in the land of tortillas and fried beans.

              You’re also in the land where Americans have been selling machine guns that allegedly fetch a better price over there than over here, at least this is what the U. S. Government is saying is the reason they arrested ol’ boy Billy Simms. He was indicted back in May for getting’ ready to take eleven machine guns that he manufactured and sell them south of the border for – ready? – $10,000 apiece! 

              That’s a hundred grand for sittin’ in the kitchen, slapping together some plastic and metal parts that you can buy online for a couple of hundred bucks, then plopping a full-auto sear into the metal band above the trigger, attaching the sear to a loading spring and you’re good to go. In case you’re interested folks, I just told you how to make a machine gun.

              Billy Boy Simms was not only charged with the possession of ‘unregistered’ machine guns, which means the guns didn’t have serial numbers, which means they are so-called ‘ghost guns,’ he is also charged with exporting these guns to Mexico, which is a violation of export laws.

              As to the fact that the guns didn’t have serial numbers, the DOJ press release says that “On April 8, President Biden issued executive orders specifically targeting the manufacturing and transfer of ghost guns.” Uh-oh. Our man Simms is now in real deep doo-doo because he’s going up against a regulatory system which finally is going to get rid of those ‘ghost’ guns.

              Except the statement happens not to be true. Joe can issue all the executive orders he wants to issue about ghost guns or anything else, but if the order requires a change in the Federal code or the wording of any Federal law that defines the behavior of any government agency, such a change can only be made after a 90-day period which allows for the public to make comments about the new text has elapsed.

              When it comes to illegally exporting guns to Mexico, the Federal Government has machine guns on the brain.  You may recall that between 2006 and 2011, the ATF forced gun dealers in Arizona to make illegal sales of semi-automatic rifles which were then allegedly turned into full-auto guns in a car repair shop in Phoenix that would then be sold in Mexico as machine guns, i.e., the ‘Fast and Furious’ mess.

              The whole thing turned out to be nonsense, not a single machine gun was ever found anywhere, and if the Republicans sitting on the Senate Judiciary Committee hadn’t been so ga-ga about using their investigation to embarrass Obama and instead done some clean-up of the ATF, maybe we’d actually have a government agency responsible for regulating the gun business that would get something done.

              These days, everyone seems to have machine guns on the brain. The Associated Press just ran a story about how almost 2,000 military guns seem to have disappeared, including more than 1,000 rifles, all of which are full-auto guns. And here’s the headline: Some Stolen Military Guns Used in Violent Crimes.” Except if you actually read the story, you discover that a) we have some 2 million military guns sitting around so how could we not be missing a few, and b) the only military gun used in crimes is the Beretta M9 pistol, which is a semi-automatic gun.

              Now how come I can’t seem to find the full-auto sear that I want to plop into my AR-15?

Gun Trafficking in America (Guns in America) (Volume 5): Weisser, Mr. Michael R.: 9780692386125: Amazon.com: Books

A New Book On The 2nd Amendment

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              For all the noise made by Gun-nut Nation about how they are always on the verge of losing their 2nd-Amendment ‘rights,’ a new book by Carol Anderson, who runs African-American Studies at Emory University, focuses on the 2nd Amendment as a device which was stuck onto the Constitution to help maintain the slave system and is still being used to foster what she calls the ‘fatal inequality’ between Blacks and Whites.

              I am convinced, incidentally, that if Donald Trump hadn’t flipped three states – MI, PA, WI – by 3/10ths of one percent of the total votes cast in those three states, he wouldn’t have won the 2016 election and the growth of concern about endemic racism – BLM, The 1619 Project, critical race theory, Anderson’s book – would probably have never occurred. If Hillary had been President when George Floyd was killed, she would have rounded up the usual suspects, appointed a Presidential Commission to publish a report, and that would have been the end of that.

              The first half of Anderson’s book is a detailed discussion which tries to revise the standard explanation for the 2nd Amendment, which says that the existence of local militias comprised of citizens who carried their own weapons was designed to maintain the political and military supremacy of the individual states. Against this view, Anderson posits the thesis that the existence of the militia was primarily to maintain slavery by chasing down runaway slaves and suppressing slave revolts.

              As far as I’m concerned, you could have it either way.  The fact that the way gun ownership is regulated today is couched in legal terms that which dates from the eighteenth century and grows out of a legal tradition which nobody really understands, may be an interesting discussion-point for a seminar on Constitutional law, but really doesn’t enlighten today’s argument about gun violence at all. If the NRA and Gun-nut Nation want to believe that the Founders understood the necessity to maintain their vigilance against the ‘tyranny’ of the national state, good for them. The guys who commit 125,000+ gun assaults against themselves and others every year aren’t thinking about whether they have any kind of ‘right’ to walk around with a gun.

              Professor Anderson makes a convincing argument about how the 2nd Amendment has been used in the modern period to enfranchise Whites with gun ownership while denying the same enfranchisement to Blacks. In particular, she cites recent instances in which Blacks who were in legal possession of guns (Philando Castile, Jemel Robertson, Emantic Bradford) were shot by cops even though the cops weren’t in any way threatened by the behavior of these Black men.

              The author also notes that exceptions to 2nd-Amendment guarantees fall disproportionately on Blacks, in particular the whole idea that only ‘law-abiding’ citizens can own guns. And since the incarcerated population is overwhelmingly minority-based, obviously any withholding of the ‘right’ to self-defense from members of minority groups hurts more than helps these individuals protect themselves and their families once they get out of jail.

              On the other hand, what Professor Anderson does not want to acknowledge is the fact that even though 2nd-Amendment ‘rights’ are seemingly reserved for members of the White race and denied to Blacks, it cannot be said that this particular type of discrimination makes Blacks more vulnerable to gun violence perpetrated by Whites. In fact, gun violence is overwhelmingly almost to the point of universality, an intra-racial event. When it comes to using a gun to hurt someone else, Blacks shoot Blacks, Whites shoot Whites. And it certainly can’t be argued that by restricting legal ownership of guns only to law-abiding Whites, that this practice has made it difficult for residents of inner-city, minority neighborhoods to get their hands on guns.

              Carol Anderson has written a lively book and there’s no reason to ignore the fact that there have been too many, much too many instances of Blacks getting shot and killed by cops, whether the victims were armed or not.

              I just don’t think the issue of gun violence will be better understood by viewing through the vortex of 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’

Are Guns Here To Stay?

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              Back in November, the Gallup Organization published its annual national survey on what Americans think about gun control, something they have been doing since 1990, and to the delight of Gun-nut Nation, support for stronger gun laws has slipped back down to where it was somewhere around 2016-2017, having hit its all-time high in 2018.

              This dip in the public’s perception of not needing stricter gun laws was then taken up by our friends at the NRA to kick a little bit of dirt onto the shoes of Everytown and Shannon Watts: “Reality provides clear evidence for why Shannon Watts and other professional gun controllers seek to tie themselves to every unrelated issue and crisis. It’s because their gun control agenda just isn’t popular. Everytown just doesn’t get it. No amount of focus groups, talking points, or double-speak will ever trick the American people into giving up their Constitutionally-affirmed right to keep and bear arms.”

              Of course, if you take the trouble and drill down into the details of the latest Gallup poll, there’s a lot more for the gun industry to be worried about even if the support for stricter gun laws has dropped a couple of points. If anything, the underlying trends found by Gallop point to a real possibility that gun laws might become much stricter in the years to come. Let’s look at the details, okay?

              First and most important question: Do you have a gun in your home? The ‘yes’ was 42%, up from 37% in 2019, but down from 43% in 2018. So, this number hasn’t really changed.

              Should gun laws be stricter? The ‘yes’ was 57% but for women it was 67%, for men it was 46%. As the age of respondents goes up, the ‘yes’ percentage goes down, from 62% for ages 18-34 down to 59% for anyone over 55 years old.

              Here’s the big one – race. White respondents wanted stricter gun laws by 48%, non-Whites – ready – by 75%! Hey – what happened to all those African-Americans out there allegedly getting into guns? 

              Finally – education. Two-thirds of college grads want gun laws to be stricter. 49% of respondents with ‘some college’ opted for less strict gun laws. The phrase ‘some college’ usually refers to guys who get certified in some kind of hands-on skill-set like HVAC or IT.

              For all the talk and hot air coming from Gun-nut Nation about how all these new groups like women and minorities are getting into guns, the American home which contains a gun is still, on average, a household headed by a White male with some college, above age 50 and it goes without saying, considers himself to be a conservative and votes for the red team.

              In other words, when it comes to who comprises Gun-nut Nation, plus ça change, plus la même chose. Or as Grandpa would say, “gurnisht macht gurnisht.”

              And if that’s not a problem for the gun business, I don’t know what is. Because right now, White males over the age of 40 comprise about 10 percent of the total population, and for the first time, a majority of the population under age 16 is non-White.  In other words, the demographic profile on which the gun industry is not only solidly rooted but continues to show basically no change, happens to be a profile which is going to fade away over the next several decades.

              For those of you who are committed to seeing gun violence disappear, twenty to thirty years may seem like a long time. But let me tell you something. When my mother was pregnant with me in 1944, her doctor told her to stop smoking until after I was born. How long did it take the FDA to finalize warning labels on cigarette packs? Try 40 years.

              Guns happen to be a very old technology. More than anyone else, the kids like things that are ‘new.’ There may have been a line in front of some gun shops at the height of the Pandemic, but I have never seen the Apple store anything but filled.

              If I wanted to plunk some money into the stock market, I’d take Apple over Smith & Wesson every time.

Why Are Guns Lethal: 9781536814002: Reference Books @ Amazon.com

Do Cops Need To Carry Guns?

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              Now that the surge in gun violence seems to be getting worse while the spread of Covid-19 seems to be getting better, I’m waiting for my friends in Gun-control Nation and my friends in Gun-nut Nation to come up with a new theory as to why so many Americans are walking around shooting at so many other Americans on a daily basis. 

              Here’s the basic argument that divides the two sides: More guns mean more gun violence versus more guns means more people can protect themselves from violence. So, either we take the guns away from people who use them to commit violence, or we take guns away from people who use them to protect themselves from violence.

              But the one group whose access to guns has never previously been questioned, and this group happens to use guns for both purposes, are the cops. After all, cops use guns to shoot people, which is the definition of gun violence, and they also use guns to protect themselves and others from people who would commit violence, right?

              It turns out that this question has now become an issue in the heated New York City mayoralty campaign when Maya Wiley, the ‘progressive’ candidate, who has been endorsed by that Communist or whatever-she-is rabblerouser, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, stated in a debate that she ‘wasn’t sure’ whether NYPD officers should be walking around with guns.

              Wiley got slammed by all the other Democratic candidates who couldn’t get over their joy in being able to shit attention away from having to explain exactly how they would go about cleaning up the mess that has been created by eight years of Bill DeBlasio’s tenure in City Hall, with our friend Eric Adams saying how ‘alarmed’ he was that someone would want to take away the tools needed by the cops to deal with the ‘thousands’ of guns flooding the city’s streets.

              The only problem with what Adams and the other mayoral candidates is saying is that it’s really not clear whether there really is a connection between the cops protecting the city from crime and the cops walking around with guns. The idea that a cop needs to have a Glock on his hip while he stands in the middle of an intersection directing traffic has never been questioned except there have just been too many recent incidents where cops shot the wrong people with their guns.

              So far this year, at least 400 people have been shot and killed by cops, although the rate of cop shootings is actually slightly lower than it has been in any year since 2015. So far in June, there have been at least 20 fatal cop shootings around the United States and in only one case was the shooting caught by a body cam, so we have to rely on the account by the shooters themselves as to what actually took place. And I hate to say it, but why should we assume that how a cop describes why he shot someone is necessarily more accurate than how a civilian describes doing the same thing?

              My friends who do research on gun violence are always quick to trot out the idea that we suffer so many shootings because we are the only country which gives all law-abiding residents access to guns. Wouldn’t the same argument apply to cops?

              The United States has a rate of cop killings which is 10 to 20 times higher than any other country in the OECD, which is about the same difference in the number of guns floating around between the U.S. and the rest of the OECD

              The cops will tell you that the reason they need to carry guns is because all the ‘bad guys’ out there have guns. But there have just been too many cop shootings recently, like the shooting of Patrick Warren in Killeen, TX where the victim was completely unarmed.

              I know cops have a tough job. I know they are underpaid, underappreciated, and usually undertrained. But that doesn’t change the fact that a Glock in anyone’s hands is a threat to public safety, okay?

Gun Violence | TeeTee Press

A Surgeon Talks About Gun Violence.

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The author of this piece is a surgical resident in Pennsylvania and this column, along with her painting (above) was published in the June 10th edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.

To say that the Covid-19 pandemic has changed all our lives dramatically is an understatement. The population of North Philadelphia is no exception. In a city where gun violence was rampant before Covid, bloodshed has only increased with the upheaval of the structure of everyday life. Over the past year, there have been more than 2200 shooting victims and 500 homicides in Philadelphia, reflecting increases of 54% and 40%, respectively, over 2019.1,2 In November 2020, while completing a trauma rotation, I witnessed the aftermath of such violence. One boy, along with many others from that time, will always haunt me.

When he arrived in the trauma bay, he was alive. He had been shot in the chest. I immediately started working to gain access to his femoral vein as another doctor monitored his airway. His legs were kicking as he screamed, “Help me! Help me!” As I focused on securing the central line, I noticed that the nurse holding his legs down no longer needed to apply as much force. His writhing had slowed, then stopped. I looked up at the head of the bed, where the trauma chief and the attending stood, and glanced down just in time to see the light in the patient’s eyes go out. “Don’t leave, don’t die. We’re here,” I pleaded silently.

Everything happened so quickly, like a choreographed dance. The urgency in the room was palpable. Everyone had a role, and all those roles were equally vital to the objective. One resident was intubating the patient. The chief resident took a scalpel to the left chest, just caudal to the nipple, curving cranially as he drove the knife to the bed. He saw me beside him and handed me the scissors. I opened the chest to find blood, as another resident placed a chest tube on the right. Blood sprayed out under pressure. I knew what that meant. I wielded the metal mallet and hammered the bladed bar across the sternum, extending the thoracotomy into a clamshell. We placed the Finochietto retractor, opened the pericardium, and cross-clamped the aorta. Blood was everywhere.

I scooped blood and clots out of his thorax to identify the injuries. And there they were. An 8-cm hole blown through the right atrium and a 10-cm hole in the posterior inferior vena cava. We did our best to clamp the holes and attempt cardiac massage. The clamps were not big enough. They would not hold, as blood leaked around them during attempts to squeeze the heart. We started sewing urgently, in an attempt to stop the bleeding and pump the heart. Even with our best efforts and several transfusions, there was no bringing him back. He had left us. What I saw before me was a teenager covered in his own blood, his chest flayed open in the attempt to save his life. The dance was over, and it had not been fast enough.

The attending called out the time of death. The room had quieted, and the teams shuffled out. I stayed, alone with the shell of a human, left to close the chest that I had opened. I closed his eyes and covered his lower body in a blanket, then began meticulously sewing his chest closed with silk.

When I was finished, I trudged to the locker room to change my scrubs – my pants were soaked in dark blood. I was shaking from the adrenaline crash, and my eyes were swimming with tears. As I pulled off my scrub pants, I realized the blood had seeped through to my skin. A nurse in the locker room looked at my shins in horror and brought me chlorhexidine wipes, a gentler solution than the bleach wipes I was using to scrub away the blood. I knew I had to pull myself back together. I knew my pager could go off any minute for the next trauma. I walked the halls and did what was required of me to finish my 24-hour shift. I felt numb as I walked out to the garage the next morning. I called my sister on the drive home, and I finally let myself fall apart and cry. “I am a surgeon. I am supposed to be able to stop bleeding.”

Over the course of the 6-week rotation, I was involved in seven emergency thoracotomies in patients with gunshot wounds. It was difficult, but over time I found peace in the quiet after each procedure concluded. I gently closed the patients’ empty eyes, covered their bodies, and sutured. Somehow, in making that closure perfect while I thought about their too-short lives and the loved ones they’d left behind, I felt that I was honoring the victims. Looking back now, I think that maybe in choosing to take on the task of approximating the skin of those corpses, I was really trying to put myself back together. I had been changed by what I had seen, and I knew it. I spent time coping outside work by painting a picture of that first boy (see image). I let myself feel the pain again with each stroke of scarlet paint across his body.

I wanted others to know about these violent deaths. I wanted people to know what I had gone through, what I had seen. I wanted them to understand it on a deeper level than the statistics they read in the news reports.

As I attempted to tell the people around me, however, I realized it was too heavy, too painful. It made them uncomfortable. My brother, an Army Ranger, who had recently returned from deployment overseas, pulled me aside. “We signed up for jobs where we see horrific things,” he said, “so that those we love don’t have to see them.”

Later, I was recounting the gory details of my rotation to one of my attendings, explaining how angry and frustrated I was. This was not what I had signed up for, I told him.

“Yes, you did,” he assured me. “You just didn’t know it.”

His response will stay with me, along with the faces of so many patients in their final moments. I am certain that no one can fully prepare for what they will encounter in medicine, nor what the profession will require of them. I certainly did not foresee the coming of a pandemic before starting this career. The reality is that we are often witnesses to the lowest and darkest moments in many of our patients’ lives. Residency takes from us in myriad ways; above all, it demands our time. I now know that it is paramount to set aside time to cope with loss and death — not only for our immediate well-being, but also for our self-preservation. Three years into my career as a surgeon, I am beginning to understand the true gravity of what I signed up for.

The Dumbest Gun Law Passed This Year.

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              I used to think that the dumbest gun law ever produced came from Matt Gaetz who, when he was a State Senator in Florida, introduced a law (which went nowhere) that would have allowed patrons who were shot by someone in a gun-free zone to sue the owner of the property who had made his space gun free.

              But the Governor of Missouri, Mike Parson, is about to sign into law a bill which is even dumber than the law put out there by child-molester Gaetz. This is a law called the ‘2nd-Amendment Preservation Act,’ which prohibits the police in Missouri from enforcing federal laws which would be “considered infringements on the people’s right to keep and bear arms, as guaranteed by Amendment II of the Constitution of the United States.”

              Exactly what laws are they talking about? The most egregious infringements on gun ‘rights’ in Missouri would be any federal law which would result in “any registration or tracking of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition.”

              So, if a local police department shows up at a crime scene, let’s say a murder, and finds a gun next to the corpse which was evidently used to kill the guy, according to this new law the cops can’t ask the ATF to trace the gun in order to figure out who may have actually committed the crime.

              And why do the good people of Missouri need such a law? Because according to the Governor’s office, this law will “empower people to protect themselves.” The Governor’s spokesperson, Kelli Jones, actually said this. She actually stated those exact words.

              In 2019, the most recent year for which we have data, Missouri was one of 7 states with a murder rate in double digits, specifically the rate was 10.23 murders per 100,000 residents. There were only 4 states in 2019 which suffered from a higher rate of murders where the killer used a gun. So why not make it harder for the cops to figure out who pulled the trigger when they find a dead body on one side of the street with his head blown off and then find the gun on the other side of the street?

              Obviously, the guy who got his head blown off wouldn’t have been a murder victim at all if he had taken the trouble to ‘empower’ and protect himself, right? And how could this guy have empowered himself to make sure he didn’t get his head blown off by someone else?  That’s simple. All he needed to do was go out and get himself a gun.

              I can certainly understand why the head of Missouri’s gun-control group, MOMS, would issue a statement calling this law something with no benefit at all. But that’s not completely true, because after all, as the fear of Covid-19 abates and less people feel they can protect themselves from the virus by buying a gun, the guys who own gun shops in Missouri will need to find some way to boost sales.

              Know how many guns were purchased in Missouri last month? Try 40,192.  Know how many guns were sold in Missouri in April? Try 51,356.  In March it was 65,739.  So, over the last three months, gun sales in Missouri have dropped by almost 40%! That’s no good. No good at all.

              If it weren’t for the idiot state legislator, Jered Taylor, who sponsored this bill, and the idiot Governor, Mike Parson, who signed the bill, the gun business in Missouri might collapse, and then all those state residents who still need to empower themselves to keep themselves safe would be sh*t out of luck.

              Maybe what those poor folks would have to do is sneak into someone’s house when they’re not around and swipe one of their guns. And if the neighbor reports the theft to the cops and the cops want to trace the gun, then the local cops will also be sh*t out of luck.

              Missouri’s known as the ‘show me’ state. Want to show me a law that is dumber than this new gun law? 

Why Are Guns Lethal: 9781536814002: Reference Books @ Amazon.com

A New Gun Law That Could End America’s Love Affair With Guns.

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              Sooner or later, someone would figure out a way to get around the tort immunity enjoyed by the gun industry since 2005 when Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA).  The law basically says that no point in the supply chain – manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer – can be held responsible for the 125,000 shooting deaths and injuries which occur every year because guns are legal products and, hence, the responsibility for how they are used can only be framed around the individual behavior of who actually used the gun to assault themselves or someone else.

              The PLCAA law does not protect gun makers from civil liability if their behavior runs counter to state laws that cover false advertising, such as the Connecticut law known as ‘negligent entrustment’ which is being used to sue the gun maker – Remington – whose gun was the instrument that killed 26 adults and children at Sandy Hook.

       The New York law goes after the gun industry for creating a public nuisance in the way it markets and sells guns, and opens the industry to civil liability if it doesn’t “establish and utilize reasonable controls and procedures to prevent its qualified products from being possessed, used, marketed or sold unlawfully in New York State.”
       In other words, if Smith & Wesson ships a gun to a licensed wholesaler in Massachusetts, who then ships it to a licensed retailer in Virginia, who then sells the gun to a licensed gun owner, who then has the gun stolen by someone who takes the gun to New York, sells it on a street corner to some dope who then pops off a round which hits some kid in the head, Smith & Wesson can be sued because the company didn’t establish ‘reasonable controls’ to prevent that entire scenario from taking place.
        What are the ‘reasonable controls’ that S&W has to put in place?  The legislation doesn’t define those controls. How do we know if S&W has created such controls? Because guns from other states will stop being picked up at crime scenes in New York. 
        Between 2010 and 2015, more than three-quarters of all the crime guns picked up in New York State were originally sold to residents of some other state. Despite the so-called ‘iron pipeline’ which brings guns up I-95 from more gun-permissive Southern states, most of the New York crime guns that came into the state were initially sold in the surrounding and adjacent states. 
        If you are Smith & Wesson, how do you prevent your products from being legally sold in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, then being stolen, or lost and somehow winding up across the Hudson River and used to commit a crime in New York? You don’t and you can’t. To protect itself from the civil liability which this law could potentially impose on S&W, the company would have to cease shipping its guns to any state which might be a source for those guns being used in a criminal event. 
        Maybe S&W could stop making guns and start making handheld power tools. Better yet, what the gun company should really do to keep itself afloat is to stop manufacturing products whose design and engineering hasn’t changed in more than one hundred years, and start looking at electronic, self-defense products like the Vipertek taser pictured above, which provides all the personal security anyone could ever need without creating any kind of liability issue at all.
       Last week I drove past an Apple store and there was a line around the block. For all the talk about surging gun sales, the gun shop nearest me never has more than a couple of folks waiting around to buy a gun. 
      If the New York law that gets around PLCAA begins to spread to other states, it might be the best thing that could happen to the gun industry since smokeless powder was invented in 1884. 
     And don’t worry, all the noisemakers who argue back and forth about 2nd-Amendment ‘rights will find something else to argue about, that’s for sure.

Catalog | TeeTee Press

A New And Exciting Response To Gun Violence.

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              Right now, the city of Miami and surrounding Dade County seem to be caught in a spiral of gun violence that doesn’t want to end. Increased community meetings, increased police presence, increased seizures of crime guns – the violence goes on.

              Meanwhile, in addition to an uptick in daily gun violence, there have been two mass shootings, including a drive-by outside a location where a graduation party was taking place that left 3 dead and 5 injured, with no suspects arrested or even identified as of yet.

              What caught my eye in all of this, however, was a bill filed by State Senator Jason Pizzo, which is a unique approach to the problem, but because it was not only a new legislative perspective on gun violence but may have made a difference if it has been signed into law, the bill never got out of committee. We’re talking about the Gunshine State, ze hais?

              Senator Pizzo has refiled his bill this year (SB1310) but it will languish in some committee, but perhaps it will become a template for similar gun bills in states which aren’t so completely under the control of a wannabe Donald Trump like Ron DeSantis. The bill prohibits minors from posting pictures of guns on social media and will require parents of such kids to enroll in education classes if their child used one of their guns for the pictures that are displayed in a social media account that is “openly viewable by the public.”

              This would be an easy law to enforce because such sites – Facebook, Instagram, etc., – are not only viewable by the public but also by the police. And if the parents of juveniles don’t know that their kids are brandishing guns online, it’s something they need to learn and something they need to stop from happening again.

              The problem with enforcing strict penalties for the illegal use of a gun, which is Gun-nut Nation’s universal prescription for how to reduce the violence committed by using a gun, is that such a strategy can only be employed after the criminal event involving gun use has already occurred. The real issue, it seems to me, is how to proactively prevent gun violence before it happens before someone gets it in their head to settle an argument or respond to being dissed by pulling out a gun.

              Our friend Al Lizotte has done the fundamental research on how and when kids get interested in guns and you can download it here. When do kids who use guns for crimes first get interested in guns? In their early teens. When do they start carrying guns? In their middle teens. When does gun violence become the principal cause of homicidal and aggravated assault behavior? From ages 16 on up.

              You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that kids who move from toy guns to real guns in their early teens become the most at-risk population for committing gun violence even before they actually get their hands on a real gun. If they can use a real gun to spice up their appearances on social media, then the transition from gun interest to gun access has already occurred. And even if they only use a plastic imitation of a gun for their social media post instead of the real thing, the intent is clear.

              In 1999, that’s more than twenty years ago, the gun-homicide rate in the United States was 3.88, now it’s 4.39. The gun-assault rate in 2001 was 14.40, it was 18.82 in 2012 and then the CDC stopped trying to compute the non-fatal gun assault rate.

              Never mind the number of gun deaths and injuries that have occurred over the past twenty years. How about the number of young kids who have moved from interest to access, to criminal use of guns during those same twenty years?

              Pizzo’s bill is a good idea. I hope it gets copied in other states.

What Is An Assault Rifle?: Weisser, Michael R.: 9798728410980: Amazon.com: Books

Should Stabilizing Braces Be Regulated By The ATF?

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In his wonderful history of the Spanish Armada, Garrett Mattingly describes the Spanish Monarch, Philip II, as sitting at his desk in the Palacio Escorial, poring over documents “eyes red-rimmed, fingers aching, hard at work at his self-appointed task as Chief Clerk of the Spanish Empire.”

Unfortunately, I don’t think my little shack outside of Amherst, MA qualifies as a latter-day Escorial palace, but I do Iike to think of myself as the Chief Clerk of the Gun Violence Prevention empire, whose jobs it is to explain to all my friends in Gun-control Nation what things mean and don’t mean when it comes to guns.

In that respect, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has just released a proposal to regulate a gun accessory called a ‘stabilizing brace,’ a piece of plastic which when attached to a handgun allows the user to shoot it like a rifle, even though the short barrel means that it should be regulated as an NFA gun.  What does that mean?

It means that in order to purchase a stabilizing brace, the prospective owner has to go through a very extensive background check (actually two background checks), pay a substantial licensing fee to the U.S. Treasury, and then sit around for a couple of months until all the paperwork is processed, and he can go to the gun shop and pick up his brace.

Here’s what a standard, Glock pistol looks like:

And here’s what the same gun looks like with a stabilizing brace:

Get it?  With the brace attached to the gun, you get more stability, particularly when you are banging off a lot of shots as fast as you can. More stability means more accuracy, more accuracy means more injuries if you walk into a public space with your brace-equipped gun and start banging away. In fact, guns with stabilizing braces were used in several mass shootings over the recent months, including a shooting in Colorado this past March.

The ATF initially begun looking at the stabilizing brace issue back in December, issuing a notice that was withdrawn five days later after the usual gaggle of NRA-loving members of the GOP caucus started to squawk. Now the notice has been republished and will no doubt generate the usual pro-gun noise but Trump’s out, Joe’s in and that’s the end of that.

The stabilizing braces were sold and promoted as a device that would allow disabled military veterans to shoot their handguns even if they only had full use of one arm. Nobody really paid attention to the issue either way, and of course the moment that any product hits the market that is designed to make life easier for our wounded warriors, who would dare raise a dissenting peep?

I will if you don’t mind. And if some of my readers mind, bully for them.

First of all, anyone who has to point and shoot a handgun using only one arm is doing something which is foolish and unsafe, I don’t care whether the gun is equipped with a stabilizing brace or not. Aiming a handgun with any degree of real accuracy is difficult enough with two arms and two hands, never mind one arm, one hand and a plastic gizmo resting against your chest.

Second and more important, a gun being held in one hand that gives a pretty good kick when it goes off is a gun that is likely to be dropped on the ground or on the table in front of the bench rest.  Know what happens when guns are dropped? No matter what all the advertising says, sometimes they go off. And a gun that discharges a 9mm round at 1,200 feet per second in a direction that isn’t under the shooter’s control is a gun that isn’t safe. Period.

I used to have a collection of model trains. Sometimes I waited more than a couple of months to add a certain car to a model train. So, I waited. So what?

I would give any disabled veteran a pass on paying the NFA license fee, but what would be so bad if all the guys who want to shoot their pistols like rifles have to wait a few months before they can use their new toy?

Sandy Hook: A Man Sold A Gun (Guns in America Book 7) – Kindle edition by Weisser, Michael R.. Politics & Social Sciences Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

A New NRA Book That Everyone Should Read.

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              Want to read a clever, interesting, and unusually original book about guns? Try Firepower, How the NRA turned Gun Owners into a Political Force in American Politics, by Matthew Lacombe, who teaches political science at Barnard College. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because the author teaches at an Ivy League school, that he’s just another tree-hugging liberal out to explain why guns are no good.

              In fact, at no point during the entire text does Lacombe make any value judgements about guns or the people who own guns at all. What he’s bitten off to chew is the role played by the NRA, organizationally speaking, in the contours of the American political scene. And this is a significant topic at the moment, given the possibility that America’s ‘first civil rights organization’ may shortly be forced to fold up its tent and disappear.

              Lacombe’s book is an examination of how the NRA turned its membership into an organized, political force that ultimately made common ground with the GOP. He divides this gradual evolution into three, distinct periods: (1). The ‘quasi-governmental’ period which ran from the 1930’s through 1968 when the NRA resisted federal gun laws but didn’t choose political sides; (2). The ‘party-group’ alignment period from the late 1960’s until the 1980’s when the NRA found itself increasingly aligned with the GOP; and (3). The ‘partisan’ period beginning with Reagan and going through Trump when the NRA’s messaging was more about politics and often never even mentioned guns or gun ‘rights.’

              Lacombe analyzes the messaging for each period by comparing editorials published each month in the NRA’s flagship magazine, The American Rifleman, and comparing with Letters to the Editor in four major newspapers, one published on the East Coast, one published on the West Coast, and two newspapers published in between. What Lacombe find is that the topics and the wording which appear in NRA editorials is usually similar to the topics and wording found in letters about guns published in the daily press.

              This content consonance between what the NRA says and what gun-owners then repeating allows Lacombe to posit the idea that the NRA has been especially successful in creating a gun-owning ideology which can motivate the members to respond whenever the politics of gun control rears its ugly head.

              The book is written in a jaunty, relaxed but academically-rigorous style. The reader will have no trouble following the detailed ins and outs of how various national gun bills were developed, introduced, debated, amended and ultimately either voted into law or ended up on the Congressional floor.

              This book should be required reading for gun-control advocates and Lacombe’s findings should be used to craft a narrative about gun violence that might convince at least some gun owners to come over to the other side.

              On the other hand, the book’s attempt to explain how the NRA has created and promoted an ideology which links gun ownership to a wider world view and then propelled NRA members into taking active roles on the political stage, is lacking in one, important respect.

              In addition to my membership in the NRA, I am also e member of Brady, Everytown, The National Parks Conservancy, Audubon, and The Wilderness Fund. I get contacted by voice, mail, or email by all those organizations put together about as often in an entire year as I hear from the NRA every, single month.

Even in the midst of the organization’s current problems with New York State, its former PR firm and a stupidly-contrived bankruptcy effort filed and now withdrawn, when it comes to the care and feeding of its members, the NRA does a job simply second to none.

As long as the NRA has enough money to publish the monthly magazine, put together their great clothing catalog and start taking reservations for the annual meeting and show, they will have no trouble getting their members to overwhelm politicians who would like to see gun ‘rights’ disappear.

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