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Florida, The ‘Gunshine. State, Shines Again!

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              It seems like a million years ago but the date was actually February 14, 2018 when a 19-year old kid walked into the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida with his AR-15 and shot the place up. The final toll was 17 dead and another 17 injured, and the shooter is going to face 17 murder and 17 attempted murder counts when his trial finally takes place in September of this year.

              After the massacre, Trump went on TV and here’s a bit of what he said: “We must also work together to create a culture in our country that embraces the dignity of life, that creates deep and meaningful human connections and that turns classmates and colleagues into friends and neighbors.”

              Trump was concerned about the ‘dignity’ of life? Trump was worried about ‘deep and meaningful human connections?’ Give me a break. Oh well, the good news is that he’s gone. Anyway.

              Right after the shooting, the Florida Legislature quickly passed a new law, the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, which bars anyone under the age of 21 from buying a long gun – Federal law already prohibits anyone under 21 from buying a handgun. Given that this was Florida, the ‘gunshine state,’ the law also created a new program, School Guardians, who are volunteers trained to patrol schools and carry guns.

              Two weeks ago, a District Court Judge upheld the law but yesterday the NRA announced they would appeal the case and try to get the judge’s ruling overturned, in particular, the prohibition against anyone owning a long gun who is not yet 21.

              “There is no question that 18-to-21-year-olds are adults in the eyes of the law and the Constitution,” says the NRA’s Florida lobbyist, Marion Hammer. “To deny those younger adults their rights because of the actions of criminals is nothing less than political discrimination.”

              Good old Granny Hammer. Here she is, all 81-years old and she’s still running around the State Capitol in Tallahassee trying to get gun things done. I love how she knows ‘for a fact’ that the Constitution says that 18-year-olds are adults. Which Constitution is she talking about?

              When it comes to gun laws, Florida is really in a class all by itself. Back in 1987, the state passed a law which prohibited localities from passing any gun law that is different from statewide law. They went back in 2011 and changed the law so that any local official who passes a local gun ordnance that pre-empts a state law will lose his job.

              The best gun law in Florida was actually a law that didn’t become a law. It was a bill filed by Idiot Number Two, Matt Gaetz, (Idiot Number One is Marjorie Taylor Greene) when he was a State Senator. The bill never got out of committee, even though it was a legislative committee chaired by Gaetz. The bill would have allowed people who were shot to sue the owner of a facility if the shooting took place in a gun-free zone.

              Maybe Gaetz figures that when Granny Hammer finally retires, that he can become the NRA’s lobbyist in Florida. Of course, it will be a little tough for him to buttonhole legislatures in the State House if he’s sitting in jail. Oh well, oh well.

              I don’t think the NRA really gives one rat’s damn about whether anyone in Florida who is 18 should be able to own an AR-15. What I think their challenge to the Florida gun law really represents is that life is slowly but (hopefully) returning to normal after the ravages of Covid-19.

              Because when you stop and think about it, what could be more normal than the NRA leading the crusade to protect our 2nd-Amendment ‘rights?’

Will Andrew Cuomo End The Gun Business?

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Yesterday Andy Cuomo signed a law that he hopes will help reduce gun violence in New York. When it comes to going after the gun industry, Andy is, without doubt, the strongest and most dedicated public official in the United States. He’s the guy who, in 1999, wrote the agreement that Smith & Wesson signed with the Clinton Administration that almost put S&W out of business.  In 2013, he rammed the SAFE ACT through the New York State Legislature which was the toughest gun-control law passed after Sandy Hook.
So now, in response to a startling increase in shootings in New York City, we now have another gun law in New York which responds to “the dangers to safety and health and creation of a public nuisance caused by the sale, manufacturing, distribution, importing and marketing of firearms.”

Basically, the law says that any dealer who sells a gun that winds up being used in an act of gun violence will not only be subject to legal sanctions imposed by the state government, but also can be sued by anyone who was damaged by someone else who assaulted them by using that gun. 

In other words, this law gets around the immunity from personal damages that the gun industry has enjoyed under the Federal PLCCA law and was specifically drafted to avoid being in conflict with the PLCCA law.

And by the way, the law clearly states that a dealer who sells a gun which ends up in the ‘wrong hands’ can be held responsible even if this dealer had absolutely no intention of using his business to sell any kind of illegal gun. If I were a dealer in New York State, I’d close my shop down by the end of this week.
And also by the way, the law isn’t just aimed (pardon the pun) at dealers who do business in New York State. It specifically says that anyone engaged in the business anywhere who sells a gun that is used to commit gun violence in New York State can be held liable under this law. Which means that if a dealer in, say, South Carolina, sells a gun to someone who then has the gun stolen and this gun somehow winds up being picked up by the cops in Brooklyn after a shooting of someone on Bushwick Avenue, the dealer in South Carolina can be sued because maybe he didn’t take proper precautions to make sure the gun would always be kept in a safe and proper way.
This new law won’t be on the books two weeks before the gun industry goes into court and tries to get the statute overturned. Because new laws have a way of spreading from state to state and if this version of the ‘Albany flu’ were to be copied in some other Communist state like California, or Illinois, or anywhere else where the blue team rears its ugly head – watch out!  Bye-bye guns.
Last week the Commies who rule the city of San Jose passed a law which requires gun-owning residents to carry liability insurance on their guns. The monies would be used to cover the costs of police response to shootings, medical costs of treating gun injuries and even the charges for carrying the wounded to a hospital and the dead victims to the morgue.
Why San Jose? Because recall that on May 26th a guy showed up at the city’s public transportation hub with his trusty assault rifle, shot and killed 9 people and then shot himself. 
Remember when every neighborhood had a drug store, a hardware store and even a clothing store? They’re all replaced by chains. What makes this New York State law a threat to the gun industry is the fact that guns are the only consumer item that are still sold in small, independent retail stores. And the owners of these stores don’t have money to hire lawyers if they get sued for selling a ‘crime’ gun. 
The New York State gun law could be the start of bye-bye American pie.
                  

Do We Need A New ATF Director?

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When Gun-control Nation thinks about the organizations which promote guns, the first one that always comes to mind is the National Rifle Association because, after all, the NRA has been the group which has been leading the gun charge for more than one hundred years.

There’s also the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which runs Gun-nut Nation’s annual trade SHOT show.

The group whose activities really determine how the gun industry behaves, however, is a small and not-so-public group known as the National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers, or NASGW. This outfit represents the 30 wholesalers who are responsible for selling and moving just about all the guns and ammunition made in America which wind up on the shelves of the retail stores that sell guns.

There isn’t a single gun-control advocate or a single gun-control researcher who is a member of the NASGW other than me. But why bother to learn anything about the industry that you want to regulate just because you want the industry to operate in a more responsible way?

Yesterday I received an email from the NASGW asking me to sign a letter opposing the nomination of David Chipman to head the ATF.  I received a similar email from the NRA, except the NASGW letter is going to be sent directly to Joe Manchin, whose vote on any issue before the Senate has now become the litmus test for what Joe Biden will get done and what he won’t get done.

Or to put it another way, what Joe Biden will do to wreck the United States. That’s the way that Biden is being described by Donald Trump. Remember Donald Trump? He used to be a tenant in a very nice apartment located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, D.C. Now he’s just a blowhard and a schmuck. Anyway…

So, the battle lines are forming over the Chipman vote, with all my friends in Gun-control Nation certainly hoping that his nomination will be approved. After all, this is a guy who retired from the ATF and then went to work for the gun-control gang! He’s still employed by Gabby Giffords, and he’s also said some nice things about Mayor Mike.  In other words, to quote Grandpa, he’s nisht gut – no good.

Leaving all the sturm und drang about Chipman aside, I still don’t understand what difference it makes who is Director of the ATF when it comes to reducing the 125,000 fatal and non-fatal injuries each year caused by the illegal or inappropriate use of guns. This is because I have yet to understand the connection between a bunch of overpaid clerks who wander into a gun shop and spend a couple of weeks making sure that every piece of paperwork is filled out exactly right and the decision by roughly 7% of the guys who try to kick the sh*t out of someone else and do it by using a gun.

The ATF would like to consider itself a federal law enforcement agency on a par with the DEA and the FBI. It’s not. It’s job and most of its budget is used either to provide technical services to other agencies or to pay these so-called Industry Operations Investigators who first must spend 10 weeks becoming “experts in firearms and explosives federal laws and regulations.” They are also trained to “analyze trends and recognize patterns of trafficking and diversion schemes.”

There’s only one little problem with all this training going on at the ATF. When it comes to guns, there doesn’t happen to be any Federal law which either defines or tries to prevent gun trafficking. In fact, Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is the latest in a long line of Members of Congress who have introduced gun-trafficking bills over the last few years. Know where these bills end up? Three guesses and none of them count.

I like David Chipman and I hope his nomination goes through. But If all he’s going to do is manage a government agency which is responsible for enforcing a law that doesn’t exist, to quote Grandpa again, gai gezinta hai (read: who cares?)

Celebrate The 4th – Shoot Someone With A Gun!

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The more I think about it, the more I believe that the good residents of the city of Chicago have found the perfect way to celebrate America’s birthday, which is to get out there with their guns in the streets of the Windy City and mow everyone down. 

After all, what’s more uniquely American than the 2nd Amendment? And the 2nd Amendment says that every red-blooded American is entitled to own a gun.

 And by the way, the 2nd Amendment doesn’t say that I have to possess a license to own a gun. It also doesn’t say I have to be of a certain age to own a gun. So why is everyone always making such a big deal about ‘legal’ versus ‘illegal’ guns?

I think we need more, not less Americans to behave on July 4th the way that Chicago behaved on America’s birthday when 17 people were killed and another 87 were wounded with guns.

And don’t think there wasn’t plenty of competition from other cities whose residents decided to celebrate July 4th in this same, uniquely American way.

In Cincinnati, two teens shot each other dead and three other teens were wounded when an argument between two kids turned into a gunfight because they both were carrying guns. In New York City, the weekend shooting toll was at least 25 victims. All in all, the holiday weekend running from July 2nd through July 4th may have produced 500 shooting victims countrywide, including at least 145 who ended up dead.

Every year the TV news always starts its coverage of the July 4th celebration by talking about the crush in airports and on highways because the ‘holiday travel’ story is a demonstration that the country is alive and well. It was particularly an important story this year because it was a reminder again of how we are finally getting out from under Covid-19.

But maybe next year the media might want to consider starting off the holiday weekend coverage with a screenshot of a couple of kids cleaning and loading their guns or shooting at some old tin cans in the back yard. And then the story can always bring in some idiot who brags about how he never leaves home without his gun because he has the God-given ‘right’ to defend himself from all those ‘thugs’ in the street.

Now that the weekend has ended, we will for sure be treated to the other notable American tradition, which will be a noisy argument about what kind of laws we should pass to keep Americans from killing each other in this uniquely-American way. Other countries don’t share this tradition because they already have laws that keep guns not just out of the ‘wrong’ hands but out of everyone’s hands.

Incidentally, the numbers I stated above about how 145 out of 500 shooting victims died over the weekend has to be a serious undercount of the total who got shot. There’s simply no way that the guys who banged away this weekend have practiced enough to kill only one out of three persons who got shot.  I’m willing to bet that the overall holiday shooting toll will be more like 700 or 800 victims, if only that.

For those among you who are concerned about this penchant we seem to have for killing each other with such abandon and evident delight, is that the July 4th holiday only comes once a year. Which means that beginning next weekend, the number of people who get killed and wounded with guns can drift back down to 300 gun murders and assaults – the normal weekend rate.

In 2019, less than 4% of all the victims of gun violence were under 14 years old. The reports from this past weekend, however, seem to indicate that younger kids are now engaged in gun violence both as victims and shooters of guns.

There’s nothing like getting the next generation ready to share in a traditional way of life, right?

Gun Violence | TeeTee Press

The Militia Threat Is Real – So Is My F-15.

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              Sooner or later, I knew it was going to happen. The liberal media would wake up to the fact that the so-called militia ‘movement’ isn’t just a bunch of fat, old White guys eating some pizza, drinking some beer, and then romping around in the woods with their guns.

              Yesterday, the Massachusetts State Police chased a bunch of heavily-armed men into a wooded area on I-95 about 10 miles north of Boston. The highway was closed down, the SWAT teams showed up, the negotiations went back and forth, and the insurrectionists finally gave up. No shots were fired, nobody was hurt.

              The group turned out to be members of something called the Rise of the Moors, an outfit in Rhode Island which has, of course, the usual website and professes to be part of the Nation of Moorish-Americans who do not believe that they are citizens of the United States. Hence, they do no feel obligated to obey American laws, or pay American taxes, or submit to American sovereignty in any other way.

              Why were a bunch of these self-proclaimed separatists sitting on the shoulder of I-95 in Wakefield, MA filling up one of the vehicles in their caravan with gas? Because they were on their way to Maine for ‘training,’ whatever that means. Give me a break.

              What did the liberal media do as soon as this story made the news?  They called up the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League, both organizations immediately characterizing the Rise of the Moors as an ‘extremist movement.’ I mean, what else is the ADL going to say? The last movement that the SPLC or the ADL investigated that wasn’t an ‘extremist movement’ was the Boy Scouts, and even then, they weren’t completely sure.

              If there’s one legacy which has come out of the Trump years and refuses to go away, it’s the idea that all you have to do is let some idiots walk around with assault rifles who say they are protecting us from the ‘tyranny’ of the Deep State, and you have proof that the militia movement is here to stay and getting worse every day. One of the really accomplished liberal journalists, Lucian Truscott (who should know better) just put up a piece on Salon in which he claims that the GOP has shifted so far to the Right that the Proud Boys, the Three Percenters and the Oath Keepers are the party’s base.

              And what do these groups all share in common? They all call themselves ‘militias’ and they all love to strut around showing off their guns. Don’t forget – they have military commanders like General Roger Stone getting them in line for the next charge up San Juan – oops! – I mean Capitol Hill.

              I’m not trying to downplay the seriousness of what happened on January 6th. But I really think that our man Joe is correct when he says that if you want to take on the American government, you’d better have something more than an AR-15, like maybe an F-15, okay?

              The day after he made that comment some idiots on a Facebook gun group to which I belong began telling each other that they knew some guy who owned his own F-15. When I mentioned that a 30-foor, cigar-shaped aluminum cylinder with wings but without avionics or weapons is a replica and not a real warplane, I was denounced as just another anti-gun liberal who’s on the payroll of the Deep State. Which, since I conduct lethal-force certifications for federal law-enforcement agencies, happens to be true.

              I guess because I sold maybe 100 or more assault rifles in my gun shop between 2001 and 2015, I just can’t find myself getting all worked up about the ‘threat’ posed by either the home-grown protectors of the Constitution indicted after January 6th, or by the followers of Sharia law arrested in Wakefield yesterday.

              I’ve actually attended a couple of militia ‘training’ sessions out in the woods. The pizza was still warm, and the beer was cold.

How Come The Assault-Rifle Ban In California Was Overturned?

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Just under a month ago, Judge Robert Benitez overturned California’s assault weapon ban, a ruling greeted with hosannas from the mountaintops of Gun-nut Nation, and with equally-loud expressions of dismay and anger from the gun-control side. The judge called the 1989 ban a ‘failed experiment’ because the prohibition did not do what it was supposed to do, namely, protect California residents from the threat to public safety allegedly represented by that type of gun.

To the contrary, Judge Benitez found that the ‘modern sporting rifle,’ or AR-15, had become a favored consumer product for self-defense. Moreover, from testimony and briefs presented at the trial, if anything, the AR-15 was a better and more reliable self-defense weapon than a handgun. And since the Heller decision recognizes the ‘right’ of citizens to keep self-defense weapons in their homes, the California assault-rifle ban needed to be shut down.

How did our friends in Gun-control Nation respond? By doing what they usually do, which was to attack the credibility and the testimony of the pro-gun witnesses, leading off with the ‘mis-information’ provided to the District Court by the hated John Lott. So, for example, Devin Hughes backs up his criticism of Lott’s ‘mis-information’ by citing data which shows that California had the 7th-lowest rate of gun deaths in 2020.

There’s only one little problem.  Hughes got this ‘data’ from Giffords, which based its ranking of California’s gun-death rate on all causes of gun deaths, not just deaths from gun assaults. The moment you pull gun suicides out of the overall number of gun deaths, California becomes the 28th highest of all 50 states.  And there’s no discussion at all about suicides and assault rifles in the California case. Who’s mis-informing who (or whom?)

What bothers me about the reaction of Gun-control Nation to the Benitez decision is that it’s a perfect example of what the gun-control community gets wrong whenever it attempts to either promote more regulations of guns (i.e., an assault-weapons ban) or tries to block an attempt by the other side to make it easier for people to buy, own and use guns. What Gun-control Nation gets wrong again and again, is that you don’t regulate an industry when your knowledge of that industry and its products add up to zilch.

The stupidest section of the Benitez decision (Section III, A, 1) was where the Judge ran through a whole series of examples to ‘prove’ that the ‘prohibited features’ on the AR-15 (adjustable stock, handgrip, etc.) makes the gun a much more effective weapon for home defense than a pistol or a shotgun, the usual weapons that people keep around their homes for self-defense.

So what if the hand grip makes it easier for someone defending their home because they only need to hold the gun with one hand? So what if an adjustable stock makes it easier to keep the gun’s recoil under control? The whole point about the AR-15, which not one so-called ‘expert’ for the State of California pointed out, was that the AR-15 wasn’t designed to be a ‘sporting’ gun. It was designed to do one thing and one thing only; namely, to end human life.

And not just to end one human life. The kid who broke his way into the Sandy Hook school in 2012 needed less than 5 minutes to shoot and kill 26 adults and children, and much of that time was spent moving from room to room. In the slightly less than 3 minutes that he actually used the gun, he fired off more than 90 rounds. That’s a sporting gun?

Until and unless my friends in Gun-control Nation start learning something about the industry and the products produced by that industry that they want to regulate in more effective ways, they will continue to find themselves losing legal arguments to the Gun-nut gang. Would the SEC roll out a new regulation without first running it past people who actually work in Wall Street firms?

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

How Do We Know That Gun Violence Is Up?

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              Now that the death rate from Covid-19 is beginning to finally bottom out, with an average count over the past week of less than 350 deaths per day, everyone is starting to get worried again about the number of people dying because they have been shot by guns. So far this year, it appears that gunfire has killed more than 8,100 people, or 54 fatal shootings every day. Meanwhile, during the previous six years, the daily gun-homicide average was 14 deaths per day.

              These numbers come from our friends at the Gun Violence Archive (GVA), which has been tracking shootings since 2014.  The GVA scrapes information about gun violence from a variety of open-source venues, including media and other websites, online police reports, government, and other digital repositories, all together totaling 7,500 sources which may or may not contain daily data about injuries caused by guns.

              The good news is that the GVA website gives you current numbers, whereas the information aggregated by the FBI and the CDC is, at best, several years behind. The GVA listings also allow for studying the details about individual gun events and can be searched by individual shooting events in specific states.

              The not so good news is that because most of the data appears to be lifted from online media reports, the degree to which such reports really capture gun violence trends is often determined by the old news adage about how the editors decide what stories get the daily space, i.e., if it bleeds, it leads.

              Unfortunately, a murder always seems to bleed more than an aggravated assault. Which is why the GVA gun violence numbers are probably near reality when it comes to counting homicides, but don’t come close to telling us what we need to know about non-fatal gun assaults. Because the truth is that the only difference, the only difference between fatal and non-fatal gun assaults is that in the latter case, the guy with the gun didn’t shoot straight.

              The CDC used to publish an annual number for non-fatal gun injuries but has deleted the numbers for every year since 2012. Prior to that year, their yearly estimate was somewhere around 60,000, give or take another 15,000 shooting events. In other words, the CDC was admitting that it’s methodology for estimating non-fatal gun assaults was so weak that maybe the actual number was 50% higher (or lower) than what their numbers actually show.

              So, when the media carries a story today about the surge in gun violence which seems to be happening throughout the United States, the data being used to track this surge only counts what is probably less than one-third of all such events, and could be even less than one-tenth, or even less than that. 

              The World Health Organization (that’s the organization we used to belong to) defines violence as an intentional attempt to injure yourself or someone else. The injury can be fatal or non-fatal, it can be physical or psychological. Either way, intentional attempts to injure someone else which result in that person’s death, are a small part of a much larger whole.

              We can get a partial image of this larger whole by looking at the numbers published by the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) which is an annual report out of the Department of Justice based on interviews with 160,000 respondents in roughly 95,000 households throughout the U.S. Like every other government report, there are the usual complaints about accuracy, reliability, blah, blah, blah, and blah.

              Be that as it may, the 2019 report, which you can download here, shows that there were more than a million assaults that year. Although the type of weapon isn’t specified, we can assume that many of those assaults involved guns.

              The bottom line is that we really have absolutely no idea about whether gun violence is going up or going down. So how do you figure out a new law to prevent or reduce gun violence when you can’t tell whether the law, once enacted, will work at all? 

              You can’t.

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

Get Ready. The NRA Show Is Almost Here!

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Guess what came in my email this morning? My invitation to the NRA Annual Meeting, which is happening Labor Day weekend in Houston.  More than 14 acres of guns and gear, 65,000 square feet of exhibit space chock full of all my favorite adult toys, plenty of food, plenty of t-shirts to buy, plenty, plenty, and plenty.

Since I am a Life Benefactor Member, I’ll even be able to relax in a private lounge, meet some of the celebrities and politicos who will no doubt show up, and maybe get a chance to congratulate Wayne-o for staying on as Executive V.P.  Will Marjorie Taylor Greene come by to say hello?  Where else would she be that weekend?

I have been going to the NRA get-together since 1980, and from time to time I even bump into a few folks who have been coming to the shindig even before I first began showing up. Going to NRA is kind of like making the pilgrimage to Mecca – you do it because you have to do it. You don’t ask whether or not you should make the trip.

For all the talk over the past year about how the NRA was in a state of collapse, how they couldn’t even pay their legal fees, how the members were leaving in droves, I have a funny feeling that the Houston show will be just like every other NRA show – lots of guns, lots of people playing with guns, lots of reminders that gun owners are the good guys and the good girls.

This may come as something of a shock to my friends in Gun-control Nation, but the last thing anyone thinks about while they’re walking around the beautiful displays of products from Smith & Wesson, Sig, Beretta, Kahr, Taurus, Colt, et. al., is that these companies make and sell products that are used to kill and injure 125,000 men, women, and children every year. You would never guess from the festive atmosphere at the annual meeting that these products caused more intentional deaths in 2020 than in any year since 1995.

Hey – just wait one goddamn minute! It’s not the guns that cause those deaths. It’s the people, the bad guys, who use those guns in ways they shouldn’t be used. If a gun is used ‘responsibly’ and ‘safely,’ two favorite words of my friends in Gun-control Nation, nobody would get hurt from guns at all. Or at least almost nobody except for the occasional dope who tries to clean his gun before he checks to see if it’s loaded or not.

There’s only one little problem with this fanciful scenario which is repeated by every Gun-nut Nation zealot whenever they try to ‘explain’ why there’s no difference between a gun and any other consumer product like a bicycle or a droid – you’ll hear this spiel again and again at the NRA show.

The whole point of using a gun ‘responsibly’ is to use it to inflict a serious, often fatal injury on someone else. What do you think the gun was designed to do? Do you think that Gaston Glock wanted to design a product that could be hung up on the wall behind the stove and used for making scrambled eggs?

Last week a friend who works for the Brady Campaign told me that he is planning a public meeting in my state that will be held in mid-September, right when I get back from the NRA show. The program will feature several speakers, including a survivor of gun violence and a police officer who will talk about safe storage of guns.

Isn’t that just wonderful how everyone on both sides of the gun argument now agrees that all we need to do to get rid of all those unfortunate shooting events is to make sure that guns are used in a safe and responsible way?

Which only goes to prove that you don’t have to go to the NRA show to have a completely unreal view about guns.

How Should We ‘Sell’ Gun Violence?

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This is going to be a tough column to write because I have no choice but to criticize the efforts of a man and wife who lost a son to gun violence and are now devoting themselves to raising public awareness about preventing gun violence, or what we refer to as GVP.  The couple, Manuel and Patricia Oliver, lost their son in the massacre at Parkland High School in 2018, and they now run a program which “uses urban art and nonviolent creative confrontation to expose the disastrous effects of the mass shooting pandemic. It also brings focus to the NRA’s corrupt maneuvers to buy lawmakers, while forcing solutions which are essential to healing mass shooting victims’ families’ lifelong grief.”

Last week they got serious media attention when they posted a video showing David Keene, past-President of the NRA, and the hated John Lott allegedly delivering commencement speeches to a parking lot filled with 3,044 empty chairs. The chairs represented students who have not been able to graduate from high school because at some time or another because they have been gunned down.

The commencement was allegedly going to take place at ‘James Madison Academy’ in Las Vegas, except there is no such school in Las Vegas or anywhere else. Both Keene and Lott delivered their remarks in a television studio which, they were told, were warm-ups for their actual speeches later that day. But then they were told that the commencement had been cancelled because of concerns about Covid-19.

So, you do a taping of Keene and Lott from behind as they are saying whatever they said to an empty room. Then you edit the tape and put in a picture of a bunch of empty chairs and – voila! – you’re ready for prime time on the GVP network, i.e., YouTube, Democracy Now and everywhere else. If Donald Trump could hold a daily press ‘briefing’ in a room in the White House made to look like the South Lawn, what’s to stop anyone from creating total fiction with a video file and a software package like Adobe’s Premier Pro?

Again, please understand that I’m not even remotely trying to criticize Manny and Pat Oliver for what they did. My concern is how their foray into the public debate over gun violence may turn out to have a result which is exactly the opposite from what they and other GVP advocates intend.

Right now, the political alignment in D.C. is exactly what it was every time the Federal Government passed a law regulating guns: a liberal President and both Houses of Congress controlled by the blue team. Will Joe introduce a gun bill sometime soon? I suspect so. Will the bill get signed into law? WTFK?

But even if the Senate can’t find 60 votes, for that matter they couldn’t find 60 votes after Sandy Hook. But Obama’s attempt to pass a bill (with the help of Joe Manchin, by the way) inaugurated the birth of a true, national, grass-roots GVP movement, which will only be more invigorated if a new gun bill is introduced this year.

That being the case, here’s my problem with the video meme produced by Changethe Ref which shows Keene and Lott supposedly talking to a bunch of empty chairs.

I don’t think we get anywhere explaining gun risk to gun owners by blaming the ‘other side.’ I don’t think that a narrative which focuses on anything other than the lethality of guns when they aren’t being used for hunting or sport advances the GVP agenda one, single bit.

The United States is the only country in the entire world which gives its residents free access to guns that were designed and are used today only for the purpose of ending human life. That’s right – it wasn’t just the AR-15 rifle whose design was specifically intended for military use. This happens to be how and why all those concealable, polymer, hi-capacity handguns made by Glock, Sig, Beretta, et. al., also first appeared.

That should be the message about gun violence put out there by all my GVP friends.

The Deadliest Pathogen: Guns and Homicide (Guns in America): Weisser, Michael R.: 9781792317866: Amazon.com: Books

Do Cops Need Armed Civilians To Protect Them?

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              A really terrible event occurred this past week in Arvada, CO, a suburb of Denver, where a private citizen shot and killed a guy who had gunned down a cop and then himself was shot and killed by the police. The cop-killer had already shot to death one officer and had just yanked an AR-15 out of his truck when a legally-armed bystander put an end to his rampage by shooting him dead.

              Unfortunately, the good Samaritan in this case, a 40-year-old named John Hurley, picked up the bad guy’s rifle and another cop arriving on the scene mistook him to be the guy who shot the cop and shot Hurley dead. Here’s the official statement from the Arvada P.D.: Arvada PD views Mr. Hurley’s actions as heroic; it is clear that he intervened in an active shooting that unfolded quickly in a busy commercial area in the middle of the day, and that he did so without hesitation. Mr. Hurley’s actions certainly saved others from serious injury or death.”

              Back in the 1980’s, when the gun industry realized that hunting was on the wane and they needed some other reason for people to buy and own guns, they began running TV ads that asked how long someone had to wait for help if the choice was between calling the cops versus using their own gun. One of the ads shows a guy being beaten up by some street ‘thug’ with a headline that reads: Why Can’t a Policeman Be There When You Need Him?”

              Of course, when it comes to the current debate over defunding the police, the same alt-right dopes who loudly proclaim that they have a ‘right’ to use a gun for self-defense happen to be the same alt-right dopes who believe that the cops need more, not less resources in order to deal with all those street ‘thugs.’ And who was the alt-right dope who began promoting this nonsense back in 2016?  The same alt-right dope who is on his way to Texas to celebrate the ‘completion’ of his wall.

              The problem with ‘citizen-protectors’ as they are venerated in the alt-right media and ads for buying guns, is that they are citizens by dint of their birth, but you don’t get to be a ‘protector’ just because you walk around with a gun. Talking about concealed-carry, the Governor of Louisiana just vetoed a bill that would have allowed state residents to walk around with a gun, even if they haven’t had any training to determine their fitness to be armed.

              The bill’s sponsor, a Republican named Jay Morris, said his law is for “law-abiding and freedom-loving citizens.” I can understanding the law-abiding part but freedom-loving? Since when does giving someone the legal authority to decide for themselves whether they should yank out the ol’ shootin’ iron because the guy across the street looks a little weird constitute a ‘freedom’ test? As Grandpa would say, “gay macht,” which means go stick it in your hat.

              I have been listening to these idiots in Gun-nut Nation tell me how nobody can prevent them from carrying a gun around because self-defense is a God-given ‘right.’ The last time I looked, and maybe I don’t know how to read English, I didn’t see the words ‘self-defense’ mentioned anywhere in the Constitution. In fact, even the sacred 2nd Amendment doesn’t say one word about defending yourself with a gun. The fact that my late friend Tony Scalia told everyone else on the Supreme Court that keeping a musket in your cabin because you had to show up for practice with the militia was no different from keeping a Glock in your pocket when you walked down to the mini-mart, oh well, oh well.

              The whole idea that a gun will keep you safe assumes that sooner or later you’ll find yourself in a position where you won’t feel safe. But the unfortunate guy who ran out in the street and shot the cop-killer wasn’t being threatened by the guy he shot. Let’s not forget that.

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

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