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What’s Next After Sandy Hook?

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There’s a company out there, Wolfe Publishing, which publishes books and magazines about outdoor sports, which means hunting and sport shooting, in case you didn’t know. If you scroll through the Wolfe website, you’ll notice that it’s almost entirely focused on hunting and sport shooting, the latter subject covered by articles and books on handloading ammunition, customizing hunting rifles, discussions about where and how to hunt different species of game.

Ever hear of paper-patching ammunition?  I just bought a book on the subject from this website – I didn’t think there was anyone still alive who knew anything about paper-patching ammo at all.

              This website and the products it sells would be typical of the gun business were it not for the fact that the United States is the only country in the entire world which allows law-abiding residents to purchase, own and walk around the neighborhood with guns that are designed and used as weapons of war, i.e., guns whose sole purpose is to be carried into battle by military troops.

              Now I can understand how and why a military trooper isn’t going to patrol a street in a place like Kabul or Baghdad without carrying an AR-15 or a Sig M-18, which happen to be the guns currently issued to U.S. troops but can also be bought at any gun shop that you choose.

              Of course, gun makers like Sig, Glock and Bushmaster will tell you that such weapons are necessary for civilian ownership because we have the God-given ‘right’ to protect ourselves and use a gun for armed, personal defense. The only problem with this nonsense is that title notwithstanding, the Bill of Rights doesn’t grant any ‘rights’ at all. In this country, ‘rights’ are defined not by God but by laws.

Want to live in countries where God has the last word when it comes to ‘rights,’?  Move to Afghanistan or Iran.

              The fact that our legal system and the laws covering gun ownership doesn’t differentiate between guns as ‘sporting’ products versus guns being designed solely for the purpose of killing a human being is what yesterday’s decision about Remington and the Bushmaster AR-15 is really all about.

              What the gun industry has been hiding for years is the idea that a gun specifically designed and used by the military in combat situations doesn’t represent a danger to society when placed in civilian hands. 

              If you think the AR-15 manufactured by Remington didn’t represent a danger when it was shot more than 150 times in less than three minutes and killed 26 adults and children who happened to be sitting in a public school, then I suggest you open up your dictionary and see what the word ‘danger’ really means. 

Yesterday, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which happens to be located in the same town where the slaughter at Sandy Hook took place, had the balls to announce that Remington would have been found innocent if the case had gone to trial in open court. They can’t be that dumb. No – not that dumb.

              What yesterday’s agreement really represents is the possibility that gun makers who sell weapons of war as ‘sporting’ guns may find themselves facing similar lawsuits in other states which hold sellers liable when they sell a product which they know is too dangerous to be sold or owned.  I mean, how difficult would it be to find a couple of families in any state who have lost loved ones to gun violence and initiate a lawsuit against Sig or Glock?

              Actually, the guns currently manufactured by companies like Sig are being used exactly the way they were designed to be used. Ditto the companies which manufacture assault rifles like the AR-15 that was used at Sandy Hook.

              The truth is that every gun which shoots real ammunition can be used to end a human life. But that’s like saying that every car rolling down the highway can be used to smash into another car and end lives in both cars.

              But cars are made to get the driver and/or the passengers from here to there. And many guns are designed to put some venison stew on the dinner table or knock a bird out of a tree.

              What the Sandy Hook versus Remington case may mean is that the gun industry should consider getting out of the business of making products which punch holes in human beings rather than holes in paper targets hanging downrange.

Will The AR-15 Disappear From California?

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Yesterday the Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, announced a novel and significant approach to gun violence which, if it becomes law in California, I can only hope will spread.  The initiative, according to Newsom, was copied from the new Texas law which allows residents to sue someone who offers abortions which violate the state’s new abortion ban. In California, the state has passed a ban on assault rifles, and Newsom wants state residents to be able to sue anyone who ‘manufactures, distributes or sells’ an assault rifle in the Golden State.

When this initiative was announced, members of Gun-nut Nation in California immediately began whining about how such a law would deprive gun owners of their 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’

There has never been a gun-control law announced anywhere in the United States which doesn’t violate the s0-called 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’ Of course, the fact that the 2nd Amendment happens to be an amendment and not a ‘right’ is somehow always left unsaid. A reader sent me a message stating that I was just a typical example of the ‘insidious, Left-wing mentality’ that has been destroying American life since World War II.”

There are actually people sitting around who think that way. Luckily, I suspect that most of them live in those red states where nobody is vaccinated which means they won’t be around to vote in 2022 or restore Trump to his rightful place in the Oval Office in 2024. Oh well. Anyway, back to Newsom.

The history of the United States is usually written to show that the country developed from East to West. So, for example, with the exception of the West Coast, we added states from East to West. We also opened the frontier to farming and human settlement from East to West.

But when it comes to nuttiness, things usually go the other way. After all, the shift of the GOP to nutty, right-wing ideas started in California with Ronald Reagan when he first ran for President in 1978. And what food product has ruined billions of cups of coffee? Half and half, which the dairy industry started selling in the 1960’s but was also first produced in the Golden State.

Except I don’t think that Newsom’s idea of giving residents the legal authority to express how they feel about the guy next door sitting there in front of his TV with a can of beer on the coffee table and his AR-15 on his lap is nutty at all. In fact, to the contrary, and let me tell you why.

When the first assault-rifle law was proposed, and it was also in California, by the way, the gun industry attacked the law because the AR-15 was a semi-auto design and hence, a ‘sporting’ gun. Semi-automatic guns had been used for hunting and sport since the semi-automatic design was developed by John Browning in 1898, and the AR-15 was just a ‘modern’ adaptation of Browning’s original design and the ‘modern sporting rifle’ had no connection to assault rifles sat all.

This was a good argument, a clever argument, an argument to keep the AR-15 design from being thrown on the ash heap of gun designs by liberal gun-haters like Michal Bloomberg, et. al.

There was only one little problem. The argument that the AR-15 was no different from any other semi-automatic rifle was simply wrong.

What makes the AR-15 dangerous and a threat to community safety is not whether only one round comes out of the barrel every time the trigger is pulled. The issue is how many rounds can be fired out of the gun before it needs to be reloaded and how much time is required to reload the gun.

The kid who blasted his way into the Sandy Hook Elementary School killed 26 adults and children in less than 3 minutes because over that period of time he fired more than 90 rounds! He got off that many shots in such a brief period of time because the AR-15 is a bottom-loading gun, so he was able to attach magazines holding 30 rounds to the bottom of the frame and switch from empty to full mags in two seconds or less,

If anything, firing a semi-auto gun is easier and more accurate to control than a full-auto gun, which is why the assault rifle currently issued to our military troops, the M4A1, can be fired in semi-auto mode.

If you are convinced that the AR-15 represents a danger to life and limb, the only thin you can do right now is send an email to your Congressional rep or send some dough to one of the national, gun-control groups which is trying to ban the gun. In other words, you can only express your worried and fears on a second-hand basis.

But let’s not forget that for every gun owner out there, there are probably two adults who don’t own guns. And if a bunch of them were to send a message to the powers-that-be about some guy wandering down the street with his AR-15….

Should We Celebrate The Holidays With An AR-15?

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              Back in 2008, I played around with the idea of importing a modern sporting gun. It was a 22-caliber, bolt-action target rifle with Olympic-grade accuracy but a moderate price. So, the first thing I did was to try and get some internet presence for my product by applying for a trademark like the trademark I own for Mike the Gun Guy™.  

The Patent & Trademark Office turned me down. They said the phrase, ‘modern sporting gun’ had been in public parlance for too long and therefore couldn’t be consigned to a particular individual like me.

              So, then I did the next best thing and purchased modernsportingrifle.com. I figured that if I decided to import the rifle without the trademark, the URL was the next, best thing.

              The following year, 2009, I had a booth at the big gun trade show, the SHOT show, because I was importing a pistol but had decided that I wouldn’t bring in a target rifle the following year.

              At some point during the show, a gentleman came up to my booth and said he was a counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) which owns and runs the SHOT show. He asked if I would be willing to sell the modernsportingrifle.com to the NSSF, but instead of selling the URL, I just gave it to the NSSF in return for a better booth location at the 2010 SHOT show.

              Why did the NSSF want to own modernsportingrifle.com? Because they were going to start a campaign to promote the idea that the AR-15 wasn’t an assault rifle but was just another sporting gun.

              Why did they want to start this campaign? Because, according to their counsel, the NSSF was getting reports that big-box stores like Cabela’s were concerned about stocking the AR-15 because their stores were family destinations and mothers wouldn’t want their kids to go into a location that sold military guns. You can see NSSF’s description of the AT-15 as a ‘modern sporting rifle’ right here.

              That was then, this is now. And now we have a member of the U.S. Congress, Tom Massie from Kentucky, sending out a holiday greetings tweet surrounded by his family, three of whom are women gleefully holding up their AR-15’s.

              On the other hand, when it comes to using an assault rifle to score some political points, Massie’s a rank amateur compared to Mark McCloskey, who brandished his AR-15 at a group of BLM protestors marching peacefully by his house. He’s now running for Senate and his campaign website seems to be less a promotion for his candidacy and more an advertisement for his gun.

              Back in June, McCloskey held a political rally to mark the one-year anniversary of his stand against the forces of Socialism, Communism, Soros-ism and all the other isms that marched past his house. Want to read a great piece of journalism? Try a description of the rally in a local paper which drew a crowd so small that the reporter almost missed the event entirely because almost nobody showed up.

McCloskey rally.

I bought my first AR-15, a Colt Sporter, back in 1978. The dealer gave me a $30-dollar discount to move the gun off the shelf. In those days, people didn’t walk around a state capital building in Madison, WI or march down a street in Charlottesville, VA carrying their AR-15’s, and no candidate would ever have used a positive comment about assault rifles as a verbal prop in a national campaign.

What did Trump say when asked if he would ban assault rifles in the wake of the massacre at The Pulse? He claimed that AR-15’s were necessary because people needed protection, a stance which directly reversed an assault-rifle ban that he supported in his 2000 book, The America We Deserve.

By pretending to be in favor of using assault rifles for personal defense, Trump was cynically trying to take advantage of what he perceived to be the mood of voters whose support he needed to win the 2016 campaign.

Except it turned out that even if Trump grabbed a few extra votes in 2016 by stoking the belligerent mood, the mood hasn’t lasted vey long. I have sold a lot of assault rifles and I can tell you that I don’t think a single AR-15 purchaser walked out of my gun shop ready to go into battle against the forces of international terrorism or the shock troops of ANTIFA and BLM.

Customers bought an assault rifle because someone else had bought one, and they didn’t want to be the only guy without this newest adult toy when they showed up at the range.

For the first time since Charlton Heston raised a flintlock over his head at the annual meeting of the NRA, the gun industry has come up with a product that tells everyone which way you plan to vote.

Back in 2016, Jason Kander, a Democrat, ran for Senate in Missouri against the GOP incumbent, Roy Blunt. He put out an ad showing him assembling an AR-15 while he explained why he supported expanding background checks. Kander lost to Blunt by less than 3 points.

Let’s face it. Assault rifles have become as much a partisan issue as mandating masks or getting the vaccine. Which is fine with me because every week the number of people who have gotten their vaccinations keeps going up.

What Does Walking Around With An AR-15 Really Mean?

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              The same day the Rittenhouse jury began trying to figure out how to come up with a verdict in this case, The (failing) New York Times gave its readers an interesting perspective on in the form of an op-ed by a guy who usually writes about technology, but this time wants to inform the paper’s readership about the AR-15.

              In case you didn’t know it, the gun that Kyle Rittenhouse used to kill two people and injure a third, happens to be the same kind of gun, in terms of design and function, that our troops use out in the field. Except in this case the gun was carried and used by a 17-year old who had never undergone the slightest military training at all.

              For that matter, the op-ed columnist, Farhad Manjoo, also has no practical experience with assault rifles – I can tell that from how he talked about the AR-15.

              Actually, he didn’t really talk about the AR-15, even though his op-ed says that he’s going to give his readers “the truth about Kyle Rittenhouse’s gun.” Instead, what we get is the standard, liberal response to the narrative promoted by the gun industry, namely, that owning this kind of gun doesn’t give you an ‘effective’ and ‘necessary’ weapon of self-defense, nor does it help you shield yourself from the ‘tyranny’ of the state.

              These arguments are what Manjoo refers to as the “foundational tenets of gun advocacy,” and they are all wrong. The AR-15, in the hands of someone like Kyle Rittenhouse, actually engenders violence and loss of human life, rather than keeping society safe and secure.

              I’ve been listening to this argument from Gun-control Nation for years and on occasion I have indulged in it myself. But enough is enough. Want to know the real reason dopey kids like Rittenhouse show up at a pitched battle between the cops and the demonstrators with their AR-15?

              I’ll tell you why. And I’ll tell you based on my own thoughts and reasons which have led me to buy and own more than one AR-15.

              I bought my first AR-15, the Colt Sporter model, back in 1978. I bought a second Colt AR, the heavy-barreled ‘target’ model in 1993, or maybe it was 1998. I also bought a Bushmaster in the 90’s, and at some point, I traded a Browning semi-auto, 7mm Rem Magnum for a Stag Arms AR-15.

              Why did I own four AR rifles over the last forty-some odd years? Because I’m a gun nut, and gun nuts always buy more guns than they would ever need.

              In fact, I never really ‘needed’ any of these guns. For that matter, I had no real ‘need’ for the several hundred guns that I have bought, sold, and traded since I paid some old guy fifty bucks for a Smith & Wesson 22-caliber handgun at a tag sale on Highway 441 in the Florida Glades back in 1956.

              The difference between me and a pea-brain like Kyle Rittenhouse is that I never, ever thought that I might use an AR-15 or, for that matter, any of my other guns to shoot someone else. But here’s the dirty little secret about the gun business which someone like Farhad Manjoo would never know. And he would never know this little secret because he doesn’t really know anything about guns.

              Kids like Rittenhouse want to own and walk around with an AR-15 because they enjoy fantasizing about the idea that maybe, just maybe, they’ll get a chance to shoot someone else with their gun. Of course, they never, ever imagine that such behavior is wrong. They will only shoot someone who is threatening them or someone else. After all, let’s not forget that we have a ‘right’ defend ourselves with a gun. That’s what the 2nd Amendment says we can do.

              Except the 2nd Amendment doesn’t say that at all. What It says is that you can keep a gun in your home in case someone tries to break in and do you harm.

              Rittenhouse claimed that he took his AR-15 with him to Kenosha to help some car dealer protect his cars. But the real reason he showed up in Kenosha with his AR-15 is that he was hoping he would get a chance to defend himself with his gun. And how do you defend yourself with an AR-15? You aim the gun not at some paper target on the range, but at a living human being, pull the trigger and the guy you hit goes down.

              Guns like the AR-15 don’t get bought because someone wants to go into the woods and take a shot at Bambi or Smokey the Bear. They get bought because some of the people who buy them want to believe that walking around with that kind of gun makes you a big, tough guy.

              Actually, all it really does is show everyone that you’re a self-proclaimed jerk. Unfortunately, being a jerk has never disqualified anyone from owning a gun.

Want To Get Into Politics? Learn How To Shoot An Assault Rifle.

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              Way back in 2000, Charlton Heston stood up at the annual meeting of the NRA, raised a plastic version of a flintlock musket over his head and vowed that in order to take away his gun, the government would have to take it from his “cold, dead hands.”  I was at that meeting, but I didn’t attend Heston’s speech. What I do remember is that after the speech, lots of kids and even some adults went walking past my booth with a clenched fist in the air and shouted, “from my cold, dead hands.”

              The use of a musket to represent what makes America ‘great’ has been a fixture of American culture for years. After all, it’s how Davey Crockett ‘kilt’ him a bar when he was only three.’ Or maybe he was six. I don’t remember which was which.

              Then of course there was the Alamo where Crockett, James Bowie and William Travis held off Santa Anna’s Mexican Army for almost two weeks with their trusty flintlock guns.

              But time moves on and things change. And one of the things which appears to be changing is the use of AR-15 rifles as prop in campaign ads for candidates from both sides.

              As of last week, six Republicans have announced their intention to run in the 2022 election to replace Missouri’s retiring GOP Senator, Roy Blunt. One of those candidates is none other than Mark McCloskey, the idiot who stood in front of his house and waved an AR-15 at some BLM protestors who were marching by. He and his wife, who was waving a pistol at the crowd, copped a misdemeanor plea last week so McCloskey immediately went out and bought himself another AR-15.

              How do we know he now owns another AR-15 to replace the gun taken from his ‘cold, dead hands’ as part of his plea deal?  Because he immediately posted a pic of himself with the gun on his Twitter page, where else?

              It goes without saying, of course, that McCloskey’s Senate campaign will probably be based on trying to get every gun-nut in Missouri to show up and vote to protect their 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’ I mean here’s a guy who used a gun to defend himself, his wife, and his home from a Black ‘mob.’ Which trigger-head in Missouri wouldn’t vote for him?

But let’s not sit back, my fellow members of Gun-control Nation, shake our heads in dismay and assume that only members of the red team believe that using a gun as a stage prop is a quick and easy way to pile up the votes.

Back in 2017, Montana held a special election to fill a House seat vacated by Ryan Zinke who was picked to run the Interior Department for Trump. Both candidates ran TV ads showing them shooting guns. But the guns in their ads were old-style, lever-action rifles right out of the Old West. You don’t see guns around like that anymore. Those lever-action guns are just as old-fashioned as the flintlock that Charlton Heston held over his head.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming, however, that it’s usually a GOP candidate like McCloskey who runs campaign ads featuring what the gun industry calls a ‘modern sporting rifle,’ even though it’s really just an assault rifle known as the AR-15.

Pennsylvania’s 17th Congressional District is currently represented by a Democrat named Conor Lamb. The 17th District is about as rural and country as you can get. What kind of TV ads did Lamb run when he won his Congressional seat in 2018? An ad showing him banging away at a shooting range with his trusty AR-15.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with using a gun as a prop in ads for political campaigns. But that doesn’t mean we have to let civilians own those guns. After all, nobody who saw Charlton Heston raise a flintlock over his head at the NRA show went out and bought one of those guns to keep around the house for self-defense.

    

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

      

        

         

       

     

Don’t make the mistake of assuming, however, that it’s usually a GOP candidate like McCloskey who runs campaign ads featuring what the gun industry calls a ‘modern sporting rifle,’ even though it’s really just an assault rifle known as the AR-15.

Pennsylvania’s 17th Congressional District is currently represented by a Democrat named Conor Lamb. The 17th District is about as rural and country as you can get. What kind of TV ads did Lamb run when he won his Congressional seat in 2018? An ad showing him banging away at a shooting range with his trusty AR-15.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with using a gun as a prop in ads for political campaigns. But that doesn’t mean we have to let civilians own those guns. After all, nobody who saw Charlton Heston raise a flintlock over his head at the NRA show went out and bought one of those guns to keep around the house for self-defense.

We Need To Get Rid Of These Guns.

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              When I started my petition to ban assault rifles five days ago, I thought I would be lucky to get several hundred signatures. As of this morning, with no publicity whatsoever, we have gathered more than 1,660 names along with more than $1,000 in donations, the latter basically covering the costs incurred by Change.org for administering the petition and sending it around.

              Here’s the link: https://www.change.org/Ban_Assault_Rifles_Now.

              So, all of a sudden, what started out as just a little effort on my behalf to send a message to my friends, has become a serious affair. And yes, I am going to do everything I can to make this petition seen and supported by everyone who would like to see gun violence come to an end.

              Yes – there will be a website. Yes – there will be a Facebook page. Yes – there will be more promotions like the one running right now which gives you a free Kindle copy of my new book on assault guns. And yes, I do happen to own a 501c3 which at some point I will begin to use as an organizational venue and ask you all to join.

              If my little petition to ban assault rifles had gathered a couple of hundred names over the last five days, I wouldn’t be making any plans to move this issue forward at all. But the petition happens to be registering more than 300 signatories every day!  So, something’s going on out there and I need to respond to whatever that something happens to be.

              On the other hand, let me make it clear that I am not (read: not) trying to undercut or undermine the honest efforts of any advocacy group which has developed and is promoting a different agenda to reduce the violence caused by guns. I donate monthly to Brady and Everytown, and I have no intention of cutting those payments back. Reducing gun violence shouldn’t be a competition – we all want to do the same thing.

              That being said, I still believe, and if someone wants to argue this point with me, I’m always willing to give them some space on my blog, that banning the guns which are used to commit gun violence is the only way to reduce gun injuries to a point where such events are no longer considered to be a public health issue at all.

              For all the talk about approach gun violence as a public health issue, you don’t clean up the dirty water in Flint by making it a little less dirty. You don’t prevent the risk of tobacco by telling smokers to smoke less. You don’t prevent the spread of a virus like Covid-19 by saying that you only need to wear a mask when you go out some of the time.

              Either you have a preventive approach to medical risk, or you don’t. And such a strategy won’t work if you promote a strategy which allows people to decide for themselves how much they want to behave in a certain way. If we took that approach with car accidents, then why bother with speed limits or seat belts?

              You think the guy who stops at the gun mill and gets loaded on his way home from work doesn’t know that he’s doing something he shouldn’t do?  Of course, he knows. But he does it anyway.  I mean, what the Hell. What’s wrong with glass of beer. Or two? Or three?

We’re human beings. We all do stupid and careless things. And you’re not going to make an appreciable difference in gun violence rates if you allow people to buy and own guns that are designed only for the purpose of committing gun violence, no matter how responsible the owners of those types of guns behave.

You can’t make an AR-15 rifle ‘safe.’ You can’t make a Glock 17 ‘safe.’  Neither the AR-15, nor the Glock 17 is a ‘sporting’ gun. And anyone who says otherwise is either lying or doesn’t know anything about guns.

So, I’m going to continue my little project to get rid of non-sporting guns.  I hope you’ll join me.

https://www.change.org/Ban_Assault_Rifles_Now.

Get it Free: Amazon.com: What Is An Assault Rifle? eBook: Weisser, Michael: Kindle Store

Why Do We Have So Many Mass Shootings?

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              So, here we are, two days after this asshole shot and killed 10 people in Boulder, CO and a team of cops, prosecutors and FBI agents still don’t know why the kid did what he did. But The New York Times has already figured it out.

              You can read the paper’s analysis in a piece written by Max Fisher, who says that the shooting occurred because Americans own so many guns.  That’s it. As Grandpa would say, “prust und prushit.” Which means nothing more needs to be said. Thanks Grandpa.

              This so-called research which explains the fatal and non-fatal injuries which 125,000+ Americans suffer each year from gun shots has been going on since the 1990’s and is perhaps most frequently cited in the work of public health specialists like our friend David Hemenway, who regularly publishes articles which correlate the high rate of fatal violence in the United States with all the enormous pile of guns we have lying around.

              No other advanced country has so many killings, no other country has so many guns. The United States contains 4% of the entire world’s population but owns 42% of the world’s non-military guns. That explains that.

              Our friend Max Fisher seems to think, incidentally, that words like ‘homicide’ and ‘mass shootings’ mean the same thing. He tosses the words back and forth as if one can simply be substituted for the other. If we have a much higher rate of homicide because we own so many guns, when it comes to explaining mass shootings, the same argument can be made.

              Incidentally, the word ‘research’ is also bandied about in Fisher’s commentary to describe the works which he referenced in order to end up saying what he said. I must be a really old guy because when I went to graduate school to do research on the origins of capitalism, I had to go out, find some previously undiscovered data, analyze the data, and use the results to make an argument based on what I believed was a new set of verifiable events.

              The ‘research’ that Fisher has read to come up with his explanation for mass shootings isn’t based on analyzing previously unknown or unstudied data at all. The scholars who tell us that more guns equal more violence simply take some data which is in the public domain, run it through a regression analysis model and – voila! The result shows them what they want to believe. Want to believe something different?  Change the analytical model. 

              Regression analysis is a very handy tool for comparing how two separate trends change over time. Everyone can understand a cute, little chart with two wavy lines. But if you try to use this methodology to explain how one line’s movement affects the movement of the other line, you’re skating on very thin ice.  But so what? At least The New York Times gets something into print, right?

              The issue isn’t whether or not Americans own too many guns. The issue is what types of guns are used to commit mass murders and how many of those guns are floating around. So, we have 270 million guns in the civilian arsenal. So what?  Most of those guns are the types of guns that are never used to kill anyone. Many of the people who own guns don’t even know where the gun is located in their home.

              This kid was arrested in Boulder with an assault pistol, i.e., a short-barreled gun with a collapsible stock and a hand grip for extra control. He obviously knew enough about guns to put together a custom-made model which he could take undetected into a public space and then start blasting away. This type of behavior and planning is quite unlike what happens in virtually 99% of all shootings which occur because two dopes get into an argument, neither backs down and out comes a gun.

              If we really want to do something about mass shootings, then at the very least we need to understand exactly what we’re talking about. What we learn from Max Fisher doesn’t really explain anything at all.

Please sign our petition to ban assault rifles: http://chng.it/vKPcgVB7

Want To Promote Liberty And Justice For All? Carry An AR-15.

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I would rather not inundate the written airwaves with an extra column this week, but before the jerks who showed up with their AR-15 rifles in their ‘freedom’ cavalcade in Michigan inaugurate a national movement of freedom-loving jerks doing the same thing elsewhere, a few points need to be made.

What happened is a group calling itself the Michigan Liberty Militia helped organize a demonstration in East Lansing, protesting Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s lock-down order which drew fire from one of America’s staunchest freedom fighters, Rudy Giuliani, as well as from El Schmuck-o himself. The protest in East Lansing was the handiwork of the usual right-wing nut jobs who long ago took leave of even the most rational political beliefs, which of course gave the militia members an opportunity to parade around with their guns.

“We are just here to make sure that everyone has the right to assemble peacefully,” said one of the rifle-toting schmucks, who just to make sure that we all understand his devotion to civil rights, this idiot was wearing his MAGA hat. Exactly which group represented a threat to the demonstrators was never made clear, but no doubt we will soon see other such demonstrations of stupidity led by patriots like Cliven ‘let me tell you about your Negro’ Bundy’s sons. Remember when those morons made a ‘hard stand’ at the Malheur National Forest until the FBI wouldn’t let them get any more pizza delivered to their latter-day version of Valley Forge?

The point is that assault weapons have become a symbol of alt-right political activity in the same way that the ‘V for Victory’ sign became the New Left’s energizing symbol in the marches and demonstrations protesting the Viet Nam War. When the Nazis showed up in Charlottesville toting their AR’s and Trump couldn’t find a good reason to tell these douchebags to stay away, the AR as symbolizing ‘freedom’ and ‘defense against oppression’ began to move into the cultural and political mainstream and now is regularly toted around whenever any political rally promoting the alt-right agenda takes place. A whole bunch of these AR-loving guys showed up at Richmond back in January to protest a whole new tranche of gun laws. The only law that didn’t pass was the law banning AR’s; no doubt such a ban would have been considered a violation of free speech.

I want to refer everyone to an article about the cultural significance of assault rifles that was written by two criminologists in 2005 and can be downloaded here.  One of the major findings in the research was that while youngsters rarely used assault rifles in the commission of crimes, the popular media – movies, music – is replete with endless depictions and verbal references to AR’s. If anything, the degree to which full-auto assault rifles have become a standard prop in just about every ‘action’ movie and video game has increased dramatically over the last several years.

The guys from the Michigan Liberty Militia may be, chronologically speaking, full-fledged adults, but the truth is that when it comes to understanding anything about politics, COVID-19 or anything else, they’re just a bunch of kids.  Don’t believe me?  Take a look at their Facebook page. The very first post is a quote from one of the biggest self-defense scam artists of all time – David Grossman – who runs something called the Killology Research Group which presents seminars on protecting schools and first responders from terrorist threats.

And let’s not forget that the upsurge in right-wing political activity pushing back against government attempts to enforce social distancing happens to be an organized, alt-right strategy being peddled by Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the MAGA crowd. You think this bunch isn’t the latest iteration of the Tea Party? Think again.

I’m not trying to find a reason to justify anyone who walks around toting an assault rifle in a public place. But I also don’t take these guys all that seriously because, when push comes to shove, these infantile idiots are much more prepared to shoot off their mouths than to shoot off their guns.

Please stay safe.

Is The Ar-15 A ‘Modern Sporting Rifle?’ Like I’m Voting For Donald Trump.

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              Back in October the FBI released their crime report for 2018 which showed that violent crime not only fell another 4% from the previous year, but dropped 14.6% over the last decade. Immediately the hot-air balloon for the gun industry, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) issued a press release contrasting this trend with the continued strong sale of assault rifles, the obvious conclusion being that guns protect us from crime.

              So the gun industry is finally admitting to something that they have been trying to deny for years, namely, that the so-called ‘modern sporting rifle’ is nothing more than a marketing scam to pretend that a gun that was designed for military and tactical purposes is just another good, old hunting gun. And how could anyone feel that any kind of hunting gun shouldn’t be protected by the 2nd Amendment, right?

              The fact is that the AR is advertised and sold as a ‘self-defense’ gun.  Now maybe companies like Bushmaster and Smith & Wesson are thinking of AR-owners as using their ‘black’ guns to defend themselves against an invasion from Iran, Iraq or from outer space. But let’s not quibble over technicalities; anyone who thinks that a bottom-loading gun which can discharge 100 rounds of military-grade ammunition in 4 minutes or less is a ‘sporting’ weapon has about as much of a grasp on reality as someone who believes that Rudy Giuliani is in love with the American way of life.

              When I first started writing about guns back in 2012, the most vicious and angry comments I received from Gun-nut Nation was whenever I stated that the AR-15 was a military gun. ‘How can you call this a military gun when the Army uses guns that are full-auto and this gun is just another semi-automatic gun?’  That was one of the more polite comments I used to receive.

              In fact, the current battle weapon carried by our troops, the M-4 carbine, can be set to fire in semi-auto mode or 3-shot burst. And I have yet to receive an answer from any of the Gun-nut Nation hot-air balloons when I ask them to explain how, if he sets the gun to fire once time every time the trigger is pulled, a soldier can go into battle with a modern sporting rifle.

              Which brings us back to the claim made by the NSSF that the decline in violent crime has something to do with the continued popularity and sales of the AR-15. Except this drop in violent crime happens to have occurred at the same time that the homicide rate has gone up.  Meanwhile, the percentage of murders committed with guns (72%) has remained constant over the last several years.

              In fact, guns have been the weapon of choice for people who kill other people for a century, if not more. According to Brearley’s study of homicide, data from the U.S. Division of Vital Statistics, of the 63,906 murders committed between 1920 through 1926, 45,666 were committed with firearms, which just happens to be 72%. Of course in 1920 the national population stood at 106 million, which means the homicide rate was, on average, around 10 percent. In 2017 the CDC says that the U.S. homicide rate was around 6 per hundred thou.  

              On the other hand, in both 1981 and 1991 the overall homicide rate was above 10 and in both years, guns figured in roughly 70% of all homicidal events. Up, down, no matter which way the murder rate goes, each year the number of people who kill someone else without using a gun stays more or less the same. And guess what? The U.S. murder rate which doesn’t have anything to do with guns is also higher than what happens in other advanced nation-states.

              The bottom line is that talking about gun violence as uniquely American may obscure the fact that America is an exceptionally-violent country with or without guns. Anyone have an answer for that one?

The Sandy Hook Case Moves Forward.

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              On December 14, 2012 a 20-year old first murdered his mother, then shot his way into the Sandy Hook Elementary School, quickly killing 20 young kids and 6 adults before taking his own life.  He left behind a community so devastated that the school building had to be torn down.

              Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court, that’s the court with all those pro-gun judges, declined to hear an appeal of a decision by the Connecticut Supreme Court to allow a lawsuit against the gun maker to go forward. After seven years, it appears that the parents of some of those victims will finally get their day in court.

              The gun industry will also get its day in court. And when this day dawns, the gun industry will, for the very first time, have to prove that at least one of its products isn’t too dangerous to be manufactured and sold.

              Way back in the good old days, in the 1970’s and 1980’s, the gun industry made most of its products for hunting and sport. Companies like Winchester, Ithaca, Remington and Harrington & Richardson made millions of rifles and shotguns that could be found in just about every rural home. When those homes all disappeared, ditto the guns.

The gun industry, not wanting to go the way of the companies that made mixmasters or typewriters, moved quickly into new product lines based on the idea that guns make us safe and secure. The studies which claimed that guns protected their owners from crime had more holes than a slice of Dorman’s swiss cheese, but since when do we decide what to buy based on facts?

The bottom line is that the guns which started to sell more frequently beginning in the 1990’s weren’t designed for hunting or sport. They were designed to do one thing and one thing only – to kill or injure men, women and children, regardless of how or why those killings and injuries occurred.

The gun industry knew full well that pretending that a military rifle like an AR-15 was just another ‘sporting gun’ had no basis in truth. But so what? Nobody was going to sue gun manufacturers just because they came up with a clever slogan as a way to sell more guns.

At the same time the gun industry was avoiding the issue of product lethality, our friends in Gun-control Nation were doing exactly the same thing. Instead of holding gun makers accountable for the dangerousness of their products, they began promoting the idea that we can reduce gun violence by keeping guns out of the ‘wrong hands.’ But what happens when it turns out that most of the mass shooters commit their rampages with an perfectly legal guns?

The two sides in the gun debate avoid the issue of lethality because each side feels it incumbent upon themselves to pretend reverence for the cherished 2nd Amendment.  The pro-gun side never misses an opportunity to ballyhoo (and usually mis-state) the Heller decision, even though prior to 2008 Americans were armed to the teeth without the benefit of any Constitutional protection at all. The anti-gun gang has no choice but to pretend an equally-strong belief in the 2nd-Amendment. After all, who among us would ever dare question the validity of Constitutional ‘rights,’ even if one of those ‘rights’ allows me to yank out my Glock and pop a cap on your head?

The Sandy Hook case cuts through all that nonsense and puts the issue of lethality right where it belongs; namely, whether the manufacturers of this particular commodity can pretend that this item is no more dangerous than any other product bought at the corner store.

The courts have long held that government has a ‘compelling interest’ to protect the community from harm. If someone knows anything more harmful than some jacked-up kid wandering around with an assault rifle and a bunch of 30-shot mags, I’d like to know what it is.  

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