Another Gun Expert ‘Explains’ Mass Shootings.

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Here he goes again, with another one of his nickels. But the truth is that if I had a nickel for every person who becomes an expert on gun violence, even though they have not the slightest degree of understanding about guns or contact with people who own guns, I really wouldn’t have to keep working to earn a living.

The latest expert heard from is Mark Follman, who writes for Mother Jones and now has a book about mass shootings, Trigger Points, which is getting the usual raves from his friends in the liberal media, none of whom know any more about guns than he does.

You can get Follman’s analysis of mass shootings in an interview with Amy Goodman which was done right after the nut job shot up an N Train in the New York City subway system last week, which Follman discussed in a Mother Jones column as well.

Follman begins this advertisement for himself by telling Goodman that he needs to demolish several ‘big myths’ about mass shooters, of which the first is the myth that these guys ‘just snap.’ He says, “These are not impulsive crimes. These are crimes that are planned over a period of time and follow a “robust trail of behavioral warning signs.”

The shooter who banged away at the concert crowd in Las Vegas was known at every shooting range around town. The Sandy Hook shooter was shlepped by his mother from one shrink to another for years before his big event. The kid who killed 33 students and staff at Virginia Tech had been released from a mental ward in the weeks leading up to his big moment.

Follman is patting himself on the back for demolishing a myth about mass shooters which doesn’t exist. And it’s not as if Amy Goodman knows enough about mass shootings to maybe, just maybe tell Follman that he’s full of sh*t. 

Oh, I forgot. We don’t interview people to figure out what they know and maybe don’t know. We interview them so that they can tell us how smart they are whether they know what they’re talking about or not.

Of course Follman’s a real expert on mass shootings because he runs something on Mother Jones called the Mass Shooting Database, which tracks mass shootings from 1982 until today. Except there’s only one little problem. The data in this database is wrong. Of the 127 mass shootings which have allegedly occurred since 1982, only 12 of them took place between 1982 and 1992.

That’s an impossible spread. There’s simply no way that 65 percent of the mass shootings which have occurred in this country since 1982 occurred during 15 percent of the time covered by this list, i.e., the administrations of Obama and Trump. Did it ever occur to Follman that the sources he uses for this database, which are all internet-based, for the most part didn’t exist prior to Obama’s first term?

But the real issue I have with Follman is his discovery that the way to prevent mass shootings is through ‘community-based violence prevention’ because mass shooters leave a “robust trail of behavioral warning signs” that can be picked up by community groups who can then alert authorities and prevent the mass shooting before it occurs.

This idea of pro-active responses from the community where the violence occurs has become the non-plus-ultra mantra for gun-control advocates, up to and including the CDC, which last year renewed its funding of gun research by handing out early $8 million in research grants to study “innovative and promising opportunities to enhance safety and prevent firearm-related injuries, deaths, and crime.”

What I am going to say is something I have said previously, but this time I’ll direct the comment towards Mark Follman: Believe it or not Mark, gun violence simply cannot occur unless someone has access to a gun. Or as Grandpa would say, ‘gnug schaen’ (read: enough is enough.)

I don’t see Mark Follman, or any other so-called gun-violence expert mentioning this issue at all. We’ll continue to allow gun makers to add several million guns designed for tactical use to the civilian arsenal every year but somehow this won’t increase gun violence as long as we make sure to spot the people planning to shoot the joint up by checking their Facebook accounts.

What does the word ‘tactical’ mean? It’s a polite way of describing guns that are designed for killing people and are routinely carried by military troops around the world. Gus made by Glock, Sig, companies like that.

Want to take your Glock into the woods to pop one at Bambi? Go right ahead.

Let’s Start a Militia Movement.


              I have a great idea for what we can do to make a buck and also have a lot of fun. Let’s form a militia. We’ll call it, hmmm, the Citizen’s Liberal Militia, or CLM.  I’ll get my stepdaughter to design a logo because she’s a designer who trained at Parsons, no less.  I’ll get my son who’s an internet macher to design a website.

              Why do we need a militia?  That’s an easy one. We need a militia to protect us against all those enemies of the Deep State. And they’re out there, make no mistake about it. They’re getting stronger and are becoming more of a threat every…single…day!

              The CLM website, of course, will have an online store. We’ll start with t-shirts for $29.95, hoodies for $49.95, some swanky camo outfits that CLM troops can wear when we are forced to abandon home and hearth and bivouac out in the woods. And let’s not forget some two-way radios and other electronic gear. After all, the CLM has to be ready for any assault from the enemies of truth, freedom, and the American way.

              Of course, then we come to the tricky part, which is the issue of guns. I mean, you can’t be a militia that will be taken seriously unless you’re armed, right? There’s an outfit at Georgetown University Law School, the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection (whew!) which just got a whole page of free advertising from our friends at The Trace. They submitted a brief to the SCOTUS in the case – New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Kevin P. Bruen – which may or may not allow Americans to cross state lines with a concealed gun.

              In their brief, the Institute for Constitutional whatever they are leads off by saying that “unfettered access to firearms poses a grave national security and public safety threat to the Nation.” They go on to cite two examples of how guns used by alleged terrorists killed scores of people in two mass shootings in California at a welfare center and in Florida at The Pulse. The shooters in these two events were about as much a pair of terrorists as my cat Leonard is a terrorist trained in the Near East.  The shooter in Florida was a domestic abuser, the guy in California had been fired from the staff of the organization, so then he went back and shot the place up.

              What I clearly recall from the January 6th riot was that all those so-called militia groups advised their members to leave their guns home. If Trump had done what he should have done and called out the National Guard to deploy in force while his schmucky fans were listening to his stupid speech before they began their march towards the Capitol, there would have been no riot, there would have been no insurrection, there would have been no attack.

              I spent a day with the now-famous Michigan Militia, some years after Timothy McVeigh showed up at several of their meetings before he blew up the Murrah Federal Building in 1995. I met them at a gun range where they were having a good time shooting off their guns. But what these overweight, overage Boy Scouts did for most of the afternoon was wolf down pizza and soft drinks, because as one of them told me, it was a public range, so beer wasn’t allowed.

              I think we can do better than that. Our militia will also give out food when we get together to shoot our guns, but we’ll have some real food, like a kale salad, a baked gruyere cheese pie with almond pieces, and maybe an espresso or a latte to sip.

              Rather eat a hot dog? Go join the Proud Boys.

              The militia movement is a bunch of nobodies hoping to get noticed by the media so that they can send a Facebook link back to Momma and Poppa or drive around in their Dodge Ram 1500 with a Trump flag fluttering out the back.

              To quote Joe in one of his better moments: “Want to take on the U.S. Government? Show up with an F-15.”  

You Can’t Commit Gun Violence Without a Gun.


              Yesterday I got an email from our friends at Everytown asking for some dough. Which is fine. They do an excellent job and I’m happy to support them as well as their sister group, Shannon’s MOMS.  But they might want to rethink yesterday’s messaging just a bit, because to tell you the truth, it didn’t make sense. At least, it didn’t make sense to me.

              Their email starts off by saying that the Supreme Court will shortly rule on a case which challenges concealed-carry in New York State.  If the plaintiffs get their way in this case, it opens the door for individuals with concealed-carry (CCW) status to take their guns with them no matter where they go. And now that many states allow residents to carry guns as long as they have the legal right to own a gun, what this means is that America will be turned into even more of an armed camp.

              To quote the email from Everytown: “If the court strikes down New York’s critical gun safety law, that could mean more people with more guns in high density places like the subway.”

              Note the reference to ‘New York’s critical gun safety law.’  This law, which was passed in 1911 and has been on the books for over one hundred years, has been about as critical and valuable for protecting New Yorkers from gun violence as the man in the moon. In November 2020 there were 115 shootings in the Big Apple, the year before, November 2019, the number of shootings was 51.

              Fine. 2020 was the Pandemic and violence increased in just about every big city. But an increase of 112%? And by the way, for the year as a whole, New York City shootings basically doubled, while overall crime was more or less flat. So much for the ‘critical’ value of the Sullivan law,

              Know what would happen if the Supreme Court ruled that law-abiding folks could carry a gun from state to state?  I guarantee you that New York State or New York City or both would pass a law which would prohibit someone from bringing a gun into New York City unless they possessed a carry license issued by the NYPD.

              I still am waiting for someone – anyone – to do a definitive study which shows a connection between the number of people walking around in any community with legal guns and the number of individuals in that community who end up getting injured because someone shoots them with a gun.

              For that matter, the argument made by Gun-nut Nation about how gun violence and crime in general go down when more people are walking around with legal guns is just as much based on bunko as the argument about more legal guns result in more crime, an argument made all the time by my Gun-control Nation friends, i.e., what Everytown said in their email to me.

              When it comes to the violence caused by guns, we have a very simple problem in this country which goes like this. Ready?  Gun violence is overwhelmingly caused by the fact that we are the only country in the entire world which lets its residents purchase, own and carry guns that are designed for the sole purpose of being used in violent ways.

              Do you think that Gaston Glock designed his pistols to be used to shoot a bird out of a tree? Do you think that John Browning designed his Hi-Power pistol to pop one into Bambi’s rear end? I happen to own both of these guns and believe me, there’s nothing ‘sporting’ about them at all.

              Now you can refer to gun violence as being used to commit an assault or as being used to protect someone from an assault. I really don’t care. Violence is violence and we should be trying to reduce or eliminate violence any way we can.

              The idea that we can reduce or eliminate violence by giving people access to products designed only for the purpose of committing violence is so far-fetched and so removed from reality that I’m amazed our gun-violence numbers aren’t a lot worse.

Do Gun Buybacks Work? They Sure Do.


              If I had a nickel for every time that someone who has absolutely no knowledge at all about guns either refers to himself as a gun ‘expert’ or writes a featured column in a major media outlet about guns even though everything he says is wrong, I really could spend all my time at my club’s golf course which, by the way, opened (yay!!!) today.

              The latest so-called gun expert to rear his head is a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, Peter Nickeas, who just did a piece on gun buybacks in Chicago for CNN. The Windy City’s Mayor, Lori Lightfoot, is trying to raise a million bucks to do two big buyback every year, but Nickeas knows that the buybacks won’t do very much to help reduce Chicago’s endless gun violence.

              How does he know this? Because he’s read all the so-called studies about gun buybacks done by all the other so-called gun ‘experts’ and the studies all show that gun buybacks don’t work, or at least they don’t take guns away from people who shouldn’t have guns.

              There’s only one little problem with this now-universal belief held by all the experts on how and why gun buybacks don’t work. Not one of these scholars understands how to judge the effectiveness of a gun buyback, so to make a judgement about the effectiveness of something when you don’t know how to define what you are trying to figure out, is an exercise in what Grandpa would call ‘bupkes,’ (read: nonsense) even if it gets you published in some academic journal and quoted on CNN.

              The latest piece of scholarly nonsense which shows that gun buybacks don’t work was published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) which is the research outfit required by Congress to determine when a recession starts and when it ends. So, when it comes to knowing how to use economic data, NBER knows what it’s doing, okay?

              This paper is chock-full of data – graphs, charts, statistical formulations, the whole bit. Too bad the research team has absolutely no idea how the value of a gun buyback should be judged. For that matter, they don’t even seem to know how to define a gun buyback because the first buyback they mention was the gun buyback which occurred in Australia in 1996, a nationwide effort which they claim had ‘mixed’ results.

              The Australian effort, however, shouldn’t be compared to any gun buyback that has ever occurred in the United States. In Australia, the government decided that certain kinds of guns that had been legally purchased could no longer be legally owned and had to be turned in – but here’s the kicker – with the owners given compensation at the fair-market price. In other words, the Australian buyback wasn’t a buyback as we use that word here; it was a forcible confiscation of legal property, which you can’t do in our system unless you pay the owners what that property is worth.

              How do you compare that kind of an effort to community-based programs where nobody is required to turn in a gun and when they do show up and hand over a gun they don’t want or need, they are given a gift card that can be redeemed at a local store? You don’t make such a comparison if you know anything about guns.

              The authors of the NBER paper then go on to use FBI crime data (NIBRS reports) to assess gun violence before and after339 gun buybacks in 277 cities between 1991 and 2015.

Looking at NIBRS numbers for a year prior to a year following each buyback, the overall results in gun violence was basically little or no change.

              All this quantitative and statistical analysis really proves is that we are a country which is obsessed with numbers and if you don’t use statistics to make or prove an argument, nobody takes you seriously and you’ll wait until what Grandpa would call ‘shabbos noch schvi’ (read: Saturday after a religious holiday) to get published in an academic journal and list the article on your CV.

              The value and importance of a gun buyback is simply this: It’s an opportunity to spread the word about gun violence and the risk of gun access in a city or a town. And believe it or not, there are lots of well-meaning people out there who don’t realize that the gun in their home represents any kind of risk.

The real value of a gun buyback can’t be quantified by the number of guns that are turned in or whether violent crimes crime goes up or down. Rather, it’s a question of changing community culture which is always a slow and difficult task.

Anyone who thinks that something as complicated and multi-faceted as violence committed with or without guns doesn’t know anything about violence and certainly doesn’t know anything about guns.

Want To Carry a Gun? Don’t Bother With Training.


Yesterday, our friends at The Trace published an article by Jennifer Mascia on the Florida law requiring training for a resident who wants to walk around with a concealed gun.  The point of Jennifer’s research is that the law is written in such a way that as Grandpa would say, the training requirement is ‘nisht’ (read: nothing.)

According to Jennifer, who interviewed a group of gun trainers who do their thing in the Gunshine State, the law which requires that someone fire one ‘live’ round allows trainers to set up a little pipe filled with sand in a hotel conference room, stick the gun barrel into the end of the pipe and – bang!  Or the class participants can shoot one round of non-lethal ammunition into a water tank or some other simulated device.

So, here we have yet another example of how Americans are walking around with all those guns that they don’t really know or understand how to shoot, which is just another reason we have so much gun violence, right?

According to Jennifer, there are now 33 states which allow legal gun owners to walk around with guns whether they have undergone any training or not. One of the trainers she interviewed put it like this: “You miss your intended target, the bullet goes somewhere else. That could potentially kill somebody.”

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy.  It’s the Old Wild West all over the place.

Except there’s only one little problem, which is that the word ‘training’ is probably the single, most mis-used word in the entire gun world, perhaps mis-used even more frequently than the word ‘rights,’ which is also a word that is endlessly mis-used by both sides in the gun debate.

Jennifer’s article contains quotes from 7 different guys in Florida who call themselves gun ‘trainers.’ Know how you get to be a gun trainer in all 50 states?  Call yourself a gun trainer.

“Hi. I’m Mike Weisser. I’m a gun trainer.”  That’s it. Now I’m a gun trainer.

The gun industry is the only industry in the United States which makes products that are advertised as lethal and dangerous but does not have any (as in zero) industry standard for safety training at all. And in states which require some kind of training, the training requirement, like Florida’s one live round to be fired, is described, but the requirement to be the individual who confirms that someone fired that live round is never imposed by the gun industry itself. 

At best, anyone can become a ‘certified’ gun trainer or instructor by sitting in a classroom for a couple of hours while some old guy reads from a booklet published by the NRA, then you take a short-answer quiz which nobody ever fails, then you pay the guy who in turn gives you a piece of paper which says that you’re a ‘certified’ NRA trainer. That’s it.

Know what the word ‘training’ means?  It means you do a specific, physical task like shooting a gun or backing a 16-wheeler into a loading bay the exact same way every…single… time.

I was trained to shoot an M-14 rifle at Fort Gordon and what impressed me was how the Army could take a bunch of illiterate red necks and ghetto whoppers and in six weeks get them to clean, load, fire, and re-load a rifle even with their eyes closed. It helped, by the way, that if you couldn’t get through this drill without making any mistakes, you didn’t get chow.

That’s training. The so-called training conducted by all those so-called trainers who were interviewed by Jennifer Mascia is pure crap.

But the good news is that it probably doesn’t matter whether the people who take that training can hit the broad side of the barn or not. I have yet to see one, single piece of serious research which actually makes any kind of causal connection between all those legal gun owners walking around without any training and the 300 or so people who every day shoot themselves or someone else with a gun. 

Want to train yourself to use a gun?  Join the Army or the Marines.

Join The March on Mother’s Day!


              This year, instead of sending Mom a bunch of smelly flowers on May 8th which she’ll pitch into the garbage can, I have a better idea about how to celebrate Mother’s Day. If you live in or around Boston, you can go to the Town Field Park in Dorchester, MA and join in the 26th Annual Mother’s Day Walk for Peace sponsored by the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute, or you can make a donation to help fund this effort, or you can do both.

              Got something better to do on May 8th?  No, you don’t, and here’s the reason why you don’t.

              Louis Brown was a 15-year old student who was on his way to a meeting of a group in Dorchester called Teens Against Gun Violence when he was caught in the middle of an outbreak of shooting and was shot dead.  His death occurred on a public street in the middle of the day.

              Following this unthinkable incident, his parents, Joseph and Clementina Chery, had nowhere to turn to help them deal with their grief. So, they founded the Peace Institute in 1994 which was eventually recognized as a major factor in reducing juvenile crime in Boston and continues this important work today.

              The Institute’s work is supported and championed by many community-based anti-violence organizations, as well as the major hospitals in Boston and a gun-control group, the Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, that was formed after the Sandy Hook massacre and has been active in trying to reduce gun violence in the Bay State.

              Among other efforts, the Coalition worked tirelessly to help pass the state’s Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) law, which makes it easier to intervene in situations where someone may be considering suicide who also happens to have access to a gun.  In case you didn’t know, guns and depression are a lethal combination, and the Coalition’s efforts in this regard should be commended and expanded into other issues where access to guns breeds disastrous results.

              Come to think of it, access to guns in any circumstance is a recipe for disaster, unless you believe that a half-ounce piece of lead flying through someone’s head is a good thing. Oh, I forgot. The group which fronts for the NRA in Massachusetts, the Gun Owners Action League, (GOAL) will tell you that promoting gun ownership is all about protecting freedom, whatever that means. 

I guess what they mean is that if you own a gun, you’ll be able to shoot yourself or someone else with it whenever you want. After all, the guy who shot and killed Louis D. Brown in 1993 was only protecting his Constitutional ‘rights.’ Right?

Either we do something meaningful about gun violence or we don’t. I just hope that everyone who joins the Mother’s Day march on behalf of the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute finds a way to get someone else to join the march next year.

When all is said and done, when it comes to dealing with any issue, boots on the ground mean a lot more than boots plopped up on the coffee table while you’re watching MTV.

Donate – 26th Annual Mother’s Day Walk for Peace (mothersdaywalk4peace.org)

Do We Think Rationally About Guns?


              Yesterday I spent a couple of minutes watching Alex Jones explain why he didn’t come out right after Sandy Hook and say what he knew to be the truth, that a horrible massacre of kids and teachers in an elementary school had taken place. Jones is being sued for defamation by some of the parents of children who died on that terrible day and he’s finally showing up to give his side of the story in that case.

              If Jones didn’t invent conspiracy theories, he should be given credit for doing it anyway. This guy can turn just about any event into a contest between good and evil, with ‘good’ being all the people who tune into his Infowars website, the ‘bad’ being liberals, one-world government people, the Deep State and now his latest target which is something he calls ‘corporate media.’

              So, the question is this: How do we explain the mass cognitive dissonance which is represented by people who believe what Alex Jones says, or for that matter still believe that Trump lost the 2020 election only because it was ‘stolen’ from him? A reporter from The Guardian cruised around at Trump’s Michigan rally last week and found that many of the rally-goers were still absolutely convinced that the election was a fraud.

              The reason I am asking this question on a blog which is all about guns, is because when it comes to guns and gun violence, many people who own guns often believe things about those guns which are simply not true.  Not only are their beliefs about guns not true, these beliefs could never be true. And yet the beliefs go on.

              Example: We should all be carrying guns because it’s the most effective way to protect ourselves from crime or threats of crime. This idea of guns being used as a self-protective device was first promoted by our friend Gary Kleck, who published a paper in 1995 which, based on a national telephone survey, argued that people who defended themselves with guns were preventing more than 2 million violent crimes every year.  

              Several years ago, Kleck reduced his estimate somewhat of the number of crimes that were stopped each year because of Americans who walked around with guns. But in 1999 our friend John Lott published a book with somewhat different numbers but in terms of using guns to prevent crimes, he basically said the same thing.

              The problem with both studies is that it is simply impossible to validate whether someone is telling you the truth in a phone interview, particularly when they are asked not to explain what they did, but why they did what they did. That’s the reason why to a certain extent we can trust telephone polls about how people are going to vote, because you can then compare the pre-election polls to the votes that come out on the election day itself.

              In 2020, even before Joe was the Democratic nominee, in virtually every Biden v. Trump matchup, Biden was ahead by 7 points. There has never been a national election in which the polls were as steady and unmoving as the polls which showed Joe up by 7 points over Trump.

              So even with the increased turnout for Trump, Joe ended up winning the whole thing by 7 points – gee – what a surprise!

              Another big problem with surveys about guns and crime is that most gun violence is committed by younger males who live in inner-city neighborhoods and don’t own legal guns. So, if you’re going to do a ‘nationally representative’ phone survey about using guns for anything having to do with crime, you’re going to be talking to a lot of people who have never and will never be involved in serious crimes.

              For that matter, claiming that the issuance of concealed-carry licenses demonstrates why people might not want to attack someone who may be armed is also not a valid analysis because the typical victim of a serious crime is an inner-city resident who won’t be given a concealed-carry license by the cops.

              The problem with my argument, however, is that I am making an assumption about people basing what they believe about guns, or crime, or anything else on rational and reasonable thoughts.

              If we have learned one thing from both Donald Trump and Alex Jones, it’s that such thoughts are often in very short supply.

Try This Idea for Gun Control.


              To Gavin Newsom’s credit, at least when he interrupted his vacation to say something about the mass shooting in Sacramento, he didn’t offer ‘thoughts and prayers’ to the families and friends of the people who were gunned down. On the other hand, he made a point of saying that obviously California didn’t have enough laws to keep guns out of the ‘wrong hands.’

              California happens to have more gun-control laws than Carter has little liver pills. So, I have a good idea. Let’s give everybody a gun which they can use to defend themselves and pass a law which requires everyone to go around at all times and in all locations carrying their self-defense gun. That will surely end the problem of gun violence right then and there.

              I stopped carrying a gun because a) it was a pain in the ass to keep the gun concealed, and b) I really didn’t want to shoot anyone with my gun. If I did shoot someone and didn’t run away, there would be all kinds of paperwork and legal bullshit that would keep me busy for years on end. And when you get to my age (78 y/o in August) the last thing you want to deal with is paperwork, particularly paperwork tied to regulations and/or laws.

              But seriously, what’s wrong with requiring everyone to walk around armed? We’ll set the minimum age at 16 and the max at 75, a spread that right now covers about 250 million folks, give or take a million here or there. Let’s deduct several million in jail, another several million in loony bins and another several million in what they politely refer to as ‘rest homes.’

              That brings us down to around 240 million guns that would be needed to arm every law-abiding m-f in the United States.  It might take them a couple of years, but between Smith & Wesson, Glock, Sig, and a couple of other gun makers, together they could produce the guns and make a buck even if the government bought them for $300 apiece.

              That adds up to a grand total of $50 billion and change. Which is no biggie and let’s not forget that it’s a one-shot deal. Hell, we spend more to cover the medical, social, and legal costs of gun violence every year. So, under my plan, by the third year we would be way ahead of the game in financial terms, right?

              Oops! Forgot one thing. After we give everyone a gun, we also have to make sure they get trained. Now the last time I looked online, I saw all kinds of gun-training courses being offered for somewhere between fifty and a hundred bucks. So, let’s require that everyone pay for a training course which they can deduct from their income tax bill as a medical expense.

              Back in 1994, our friend Gary Kleck published an article in which he claimed that people who defended themselves with a gun were responsible for preventing somewhere around 2 million serious crimes every year. But Kleck assumed that only 40% of Americans had legal access to a gun. Since there were 2.5 million crimes committed in 2020, if everyone could defend themselves with a gun, crime would disappear.

              You might want to believe that what you have just read in the last 550 words represents an exercise in hyperbole, sarcasm, or fluff. Not true. Not true at all.

The point of this brief essay is to demonstrate how the two sides in the gun debate make arguments after every mass shooting that are completely removed from any reality at all.

You don’t and can’t end gun violence as long as any law-abiding individual can walk into a gun shop and buy a gun that was designed only for the purpose of killing a human being, whether the human happens to be the person who bought the gun or anyone else.

Sorry folks, it doesn’t work that way.

Is there a single state in the United States that doesn’t impose speed limits on every road where you might drive your car? Cars aren’t designed to kill people, but fatal accidents happen every day. So, if guns are designed to kill people, you’re going to pass a law which prevents such killings from taking place?

And please, please don’t give me that nonsense about how the 2nd Amendment protects gun ‘rights.’ The last time I looked, the Constitution doesn’t say anything about who is or who isn’t allowed to pick up a gun and use it to shoot themselves or shoot someone else.

The ATF Shuts Down a Gun Maker Because They Make Guns.


              I got my start in the gun business in 1963 or 1964 when I spent a month working for my great-uncle in his junk yard and metal fabricating plant in North Carolina. His company was named the Imperial Metals Company, and he made a little, 22-caliber revolver which he sold to pawn shops for $25 and the pawn shops re-sold to customers for $40 or so.

              Every once in a while, one of Uncle Ben’s revolvers shows up on some website which sells guns, but even if the seller says the gun is ‘used,’ I can guarantee you that it has only been shot once.

              How do I know that? Because the gun was made so cheaply that it fell apart if you fired it twice.

              Uncle Ben’s gun was what we call a ‘Saturday Night Special,’ which is a thinly-veiled racist term applied to guns that were so cheap that they were bought and carried into Black-only honky-tonks on Saturday night and pulled out whenever some argument started up. 

              The 1968 federal gun law, a.k.a., GCA68, put Uncle Ben out of business, because the law set manufacturing standards for handguns to protect American gun makers from cheap guns coming in from overseas. The GCA68 also created our current regulatory system to keep guns out of the ‘wrong hands’ based on the activity and responsibility of the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms (and Explosives) agency, a.k.a., the ATF.

              The ATF’s regulatory activity consists of sending its agents around to inspect gun dealers and make sure that the federally-licensed dealers are following the rules on the transfer of guns to customers as defined by two federal laws: GCA68 and the Brady Bill of 1994. Both laws require a dealer to keep track of gun transfers to retail customers by filling out various paper forms for each transaction, which are then inspected for accuracy when the ATF agents carry out an inspection in a gun shop.

              Incidentally, for all the talk about how Gun-control Nation supports the Constitutional ‘right’ of Americans to own guns, as long as these guns are used in a ‘responsible’ and ‘safe’ way, I have never quite understood how a federal agency gets into the act of retail gun sales at all.

              Granted, I’m no Laurence Tribe when it comes to understanding the Constitution, but I always thought that the Constitution’s ‘commerce clause’ covered the sale and movement of goods over state lines (i.e., inter-state commerce) as opposed to the sale and transfer of goods between individuals who live in the same state (i.e., intra-state commerce). And since a gun dealer can only sell a retail gun to someone who lives in the same state where that dealer happens to be located, why is a federal agency like the ATF involved in regulating the gun business at all?

              Legal nuances aside, the ATF has just announced the revocation of a license to manufacture guns which is held by a company known as Jimenez Arms. This company makes a cheap pistol which keeps showing up in guns picked up by the cops, and apparently has frequently been used in crimes which occur in Kansas City, which sued Jimenez Arms in 2020 for creating a ‘public nuisance’ with their cheap guns. Between 2014 and 2018, the cops in Kansas City picked up 166 Jimenez Arms guns.

              What I want to know is this: How many guns manufactured by Glock did the Kansas City cops pick up between 2014 and 2018? How many guns did the cops in Kansas City pick up that were manufactured by Sig, or by Smith & Wesson, or by Kahr Arms? These companies don’t make cheap guns that retail for $150 bucks.  They make expensive guns that cost $500 or more. But it’s the guns made by Glock and Sig and S&W that are used in the nearly 250 gun homicides which occurred in Kansas City in 2021 alone. That’s not a public nuisance?

              If the government wants to shut down a gun maker based on how often that guy’s guns show up in crimes, going after an outfit like Jimenez Arms is chump change.

              Want to reduce gun violence in the United States? I’ll give you the names of at least a half-dozen gun-making companies that should be shut down today.

Do We Still Need Research on Gun Violence?


              I have been writing about guns, the gun business and gun violence for early ten years.  I posted my first blog in May 2012 when I learned that the NRA, of which I am a Lifetime Endowment member, was pushing a law in Florida that, had it not been overturned by a federal appeals court, would have criminalized physicians who counseled patients about guns.

              I simply didn’t understand how anyone would be afraid of anything said to them by a physician, but I guess I’m kind of naive in that respect, considering how many people are still resisting the Covid-19 vaccine.

              My gun blog had a few viewers but that changed after the Sandy Hook massacre in December which created a media firestorm about gun violence and changed the public discussion about guns in several immediate ways.

              To begin, Obama came out with a new gun-control law which went nowhere but at least generated the beginnings of grass roots gun-control organizations to compete with the NRA. This was also the time that social media made it easier to form advocacy groups and promote ideas and strategies for gun control. Nobody has done this better than Shannon Watts and her girls.

              At the same time, the pro-gun groups or as they prefer to call themselves, the gun ‘rights’ folks, also started popping up on the internet, forcing the NRA to move towards the alt-right, partially to deflect criticisms from gun-control groups, as well as to protect its right flank from the real crazies like Gun Owners of America and the militia nut jobs who have emerged full flower before and during the Age of Trump.

              Meanwhile, if we go back to 2012 and try to understand what has happened with guns and gun violence from then until now, what we quickly realize that things haven’t gotten better, they’ve gotten worse. Know what the national gun-violence rate was in 2012?  Try 10.44. Know what the GV rate was in 2020, which is the most recent year for data from the CDC? How about 13.44. Gee, that’s only an increase of 28.7%.

              But wait a minute, you say. The 2020 number has to be taken with a grain of salt or maybe with a salt shaker because, after all, that was the first Pandemic year.

              Yea, right. Except it’s not right. The national violence rate from 2012 to 2020 went up by 17.4% – a little more than half the increase in the gun-violence rate.

              Now if you tap the average medical or public health gun researcher on the shoulder and ask for an explanation as to why gun violence has shown such a remarkable increase over the past eight years, he or she will tell you that nobody was able to do any CDC-funded research on gun violence over that period of time.

              Which is true, except that I’m not so sure that our inability to prevent or reduce gun violence has little, if anything, to do with research into the causes of this scourge at all.

              Back in the early 90’s, two very able researchers published research which definitively found that access to a gun in the home created risk for homicide and suicide. And by the way, this research did not qualify guns as to whether or not they were safely stored.

              I read these articles when they first appeared and I not only knew they both were correct, but I never understood why it was necessary to do any more research on the issue of guns, gun violence or gun risks.

Meanwhile, during the 1980’s and early 1990’s, the gun industry shifted away from the production of long guns – shotguns, rifles – to the production of handguns, in particular semi-automatic pistols which carried 15 rounds or more of military-grade ammunition.

Why did this product shift take place? Because new manufacturing technologies – MTM manufacture and polymers – doubled and sometimes tripled operating margins for companies that primarily produced handguns. For all the talk about how Americans wanted to own handguns because they needed to protect themselves from increased crime, the gun industry has never succeeded in convincing a majority of Americans that they need to own a gun.

We are the only country in the entire world which allows law-abiding residents to buy, own, and walk around with guns which are designed solely for the purpose of ending human life. I mean, you just don’t use a Glock or a Sig pistol to shoot a bird out of a tree.

Need more research to figure that one out? No, you don’t.

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