The Washington Post Explains The AR-15.


              So, the Washington Post, whose readership is certainly not a major slice of the people in this country who own guns, has now published a study of the AR-15, which they claim is based on a seven-month research project that involved interviewing more than 200 people with relevant firsthand experience, including “firearms industry executives and lobbyists, gun owners, shooting survivors and victims’ families, lawmakers, trauma surgeons, first responders, activists, armed militants, academics and ballistics experts, among others.”

              This research was then combined with a national survey of hundreds of AR-15 owners, along with reviewing more than 1,000 pages of documents, including “internal company records, court and regulatory filings, and autopsy reports.” Together, the three articles which comprise this study engaged 14 reporters, 11 video and pictorial staff and 20 others who are identified as having supplied ‘additional support,’ whatever that means.

              I hate to break it to the WaPo, so I’ll do it gently. One person could have walked into a gun shop just about anywhere in the United States, plunked a tape recorder down on the counter, spent an hour talking to the shop owner about the AR-15, and would have learned as much as these 45 people claim to have learned working on this issue for six months.

              Notice incidentally, that the lengthy list of people with ‘relevant experience’ didn’t include one, single individual who earns his living by selling AR-15 rifles to anyone at all. How do you do a serious study of any consumer product and not spend one minute talking to the people who are ultimately responsible for getting that product into the consumer market? You don’t.

              You get away with such shoddy and shabby journalism when you publish an article for a reading audience which knows as much about guns as you know about guns, which to quote Grandpa, is ‘gurnisht helfen’ (read: not a goddamn thing.)

              To show you how far away from anything even remotely close to reality this article ends up, take a quick look at the demographics of the Ipsos poll, which was allegedly answered by hundreds of AR-15 owners. Now take a look at the demographics of gun owners in a survey published by Pew in 2021.

              Guess what? Know how much of a difference there is between the demographics of the general gun-owning population as opposed to the population which owns AR-15’s?  There’s no difference. And the reason for this is very simple. Most gun owners own multiple guns because they like guns.

              This is the same population which ran out and bought polymer-based, bottom-loading handguns when those types of weapons began to appear and quickly replaced steel revolvers in the 1980’s. This was the same population which ran to the gun shows and bought up all the ‘sporterized’ M-1 rifles after World War II.

              Of course if the Washington Post, which every gun nut knows is anti-gun, asks gun owners how come they went out and plunked down six or eight hundred dollars to buy a new ‘type’ of gun, the AR-15 owner isn’t about to say something like ‘I wanted to buy another gun,’ or ‘I had some cash in my pocket from plowing last week so I walked into the gun shop while the wife was doing grocery shopping down the street.’

              No, he’s going to give the WaPo pollster some answer to make it appear that the decision to add an AR-15 to his collection is based on some real thought, like the importance of the 2nd Amendment or maybe the need to be more serious about armed, self-defense.

              I notice, by the way, that the Ipsos/WaPo poll does not include a single question which would give us any idea about how many guns the respondents own, or what kinds of guns they own, or anything else which might actually inform us about the motives or reasons why people bought an AR-15. And the whole point of this story, or course, is to continue building the argument that we need to find some way to regulate this gun more strictly because it is the weapon of choice for those shitheads who charge into a public space and try to shoot the whole place up.

              I have been saying for years that the AR-15 is too dangerous to be sold just like any other sporting gun, so don’t get the idea that I’m being critical of the WaPo because they have published an article which is clearly aimed (pardon the pun) at advancing the idea that a ban on the AR-15 would be a good thing.

              My issue with the WaPo is simply this. Here is one of America’s most respected and respectable sources for informing us about important issues which has dressed up a discussion of this issue with all kinds of falderal derived from interviews with all kinds of experts, supplemented by a national survey which makes absolutely no sense.

              Gun-control Nation gets it wrong again. Gee – what a surprise!

Thanks ToJo.

Do Gun Makers Deserve to be Protected by the Bill of Rights?

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Once Remington Arms agreed to fork over $73 million to compensate the families of the Sandy Hook victims, I knew the gun industry would come up with some kind of narrative to turn Remington’s defeat into the gun industry’s victory.

And this narrative appeared last week in a statement issued by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), which has come up with a response to the Remington settlement that not only reminds Americans that guns have their own Constitutional protection in the form of the 2nd Amendment, but now receive should receive special sanction from the 1st Amendment as well.

Incidentally, in case you don’t remember, the NSSF is located in the same town which used to be the location of the Sandy Hook Elementary School. The school building no longer exists because it reminded the townsfolk of the terrible 2012 massacre, – that was the slaughter of 26 adults and young children which Alex Jones says never took place. Anyway….

What the anti-gun zealots are now going to do, according to the NSSF, is attacking the gun industry by claiming that the advertising done by gun makers to promote their altogether legal products violates various state laws which prohibit false advertising (like the Connecticut law that was used to go after Remington) thus preventing gun makers from maintaining their rightful and Constitutionally-protected presence in the consumer market space.

But this Constitutional guarantee is not just a function of the 2nd Amendment. It’s also found in the 1st Amendment which protects freedom of speech and lets the gun industry say anything it wants to say about its products, whether the anti-gun gang likes it or not. And since the lawsuit against Remington could not cite a specific instance in which Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook shooter, was motivated to murder 26 adults and children at the elementary school because he read an ad for an assault rifle, Remington shouldn’t be held liable for what happened because that would be a violation of the company’s ‘right’ to exercise free speech.

So now, we not only have an industry whose products are used to kill and injure more than 125,000 men, woman, and children every year claiming that they are protected from liability not just by one Amendment in the Bill of Rights, but by two! And this argument wasn’t just dreamed up in the offices of the NSSF, it has been made for the gun industry by experienced and noted Constitutional scholars, who no doubt might have testified on Remington’s behalf if the Sandy Hook case had gone to court.

Over the years, our friends in Gun-control Nation have gone out of their way to posture themselves as being concerned about not infringing on 2nd-Amendment ‘rights,’ an argument first made in a 1989 Yale Law Journal article by a liberal Constitutional scholar, Sandy Levinson, who said that if liberals wanted everyone to support the 1st Amendment, then they needed to show the same reverence for the 2nd Amendment as well.  So, chickens have really come home to roost, haven’t they?

There’s only one little problem with this attempt to shield the gun industry from taking responsibility for producing a product that was used to slaughter adults and children at Sandy Hook and other mass-shooting events as well (e.g., Aurora.) And the problem is that when someone walks into a crowded, public space and shoots off more than 90 rounds of military-grade ammunition in four minutes or less, this behavior has nothing to do with the Constitution or the Bill of Rights at all.

The AR-15 assault rifle which Adam Lanza used in his Sandy Hook rampage was not only functioning perfectly as he walked from one classroom to another killing and wounding as many as he could, but he used an AR-15 because this gun was designed to be used exactly the way it was used, which is what would have been argued by the plaintiffs if the case had been tried in open court.

Now you can say that Adam Lanza should have realized that he wasn’t walking down a street in Fallujah or wading through a rice paddy in Vietnam. But as long as Americans are allowed to purchase and own guns that were designed only for the purpose of ending human life, from time to time a nut-job like Adam Lanza will pop up.

Want to prevent kids like Adam Lanza from killing 26 adults and children in an elementary school?  It’s very simple – stop making the types of guns which are used in such horrendous events again, again and again.

Sandy Hook: A Man Sold A Gun: Weisser, Michael R: 9780692945025: Amazon.com: Books

Just What Your Kid Needs – An AR-15.


              It figures. Now that Remington has agreed to shell out $73 million because its AR-15 assault rifle was used to kill 26 adults and kids at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, a gun-maker announced that it will be marketing an assault rifle designed specifically to be used by younger kids.

              What makes this new gun a kiddy product? According to the gun maker, it will be the first assault rifle which will have a ‘safety’ feature that allows adults to ‘control’ how and when the gun is used. This feature is a knob on the side of the gun which has to be rotated by an adult in order to unlock the trigger and fire the gun. 

              Why does this safety knob keep kids from shooting the gun without intervention by an adult?  Because allegedly the spring which holds the safety knob in place is too strong to be manipulated by anyone who doesn’t have adult-size hands.

              Otherwise, the gun, which is 80% the size and weight of a standard AS-15, is exactly like the gun that was used in the massacre at Sandy Hook, except that it is chambered only for 22LR ammunition, not for the more lethal .223 ammo which the adult gun fires.

              On the other hand, the manufacturer is going to ship the gun with a hi-cap magazine that holds 15 rounds. Thank God for that.

              Yesterday I was able to get to the gun maker’s website, today the website is blocked. I suspect there have been numerous efforts to hack the site and why not?  This new product may represent the single dumbest and most cynical product launch in the entire history of the gun industry, bar none.

              First of all, the gun is allegedly designed to be used by consumers who aren’t old enough to actually buy or own a gun.  The website had a picture of some pre-adolescent girl shooting what the company says is a product that ‘looks, feels and operates just like Mom and Dad’s gun.” Legally speaking, Mom or Dad would also have to be the owner of this ultra-safe gun.

              Of course, I can just see Josh Hawley introducing a bill in Congress that will drop the legal age for gun ownership down to twelve, or maybe get rid of any age requirement at all, as long as the gun has a safety device that can only be operated by an adult. For sure, the bill will easily get co-sponsorship in the House from Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene.  And maybe the company will run ads on the new social media platform – Truth – owned by Donald Trump.

               Ever since the 1970’s, when the term ‘outdoor sports’ started to mean floating down some stream in a kayak rather than tramping through the woods to take a pot-shot at Bambi, the gun business has been trying to figure out how to get consumers interested in their products who aren’t older, White men. 

              They’ve gone after women, they’ve gone after minorities, they’ve gone after the gun ‘rights’ crowd and they have failed every, single time. The only time that some newbies got interested in becoming gun owners was during the Covid-9 pandemic, an event which happens (hopefully) about once every hundred years.

              Want to know what happened to gun sales in January, which is usually the biggest month for gun sales all year?  They dropped by 50 percent from the number of guns sold in January 2020, right back to the total for January 2019. Oh well, oh well, oh well.

              There’s an old joke in the gun business which says that if you want to make a million dollars in guns, start with two million bucks. If the guy whose company is making this gun doesn’t have two million, maybe he can hire Rudy Giuliani to hit up one of his Ukrainian friends.

              I can see it now. Next week all the faithful will be gathering in Orlando for the CPAC conference to pledge undying to the conservative cause. The usual bromides will be coming out of the mouths of Trump, DeSantis, Cruz and all the other wannabees for 2024.

              After the spiels, the audience can go wandering around the area where displays are set up and buy a Trump-2024 banner, or a Ted Cruz for President hat, or a Mike Pompeo coffee mug. Then they can sign a petition at the WEE1 Tactical booth to lower the minimum age for gun ownership to – duhhh – five! 

              Right now, there are some 60 million Americans between the ages 5 to 20 years old. Talk about a new market for guns.

Should We Celebrate The Holidays With An AR-15?


              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?


              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.

The Assault Rifle Finds A New Champion.


              So now the companies that manufacture the AR-15 assault rifle have a new champion who is touting the value and importance of this kind of gun. It’s none other than Lindsey Graham, the second-ranking member of the GOP Senate caucus, who came out and said he was happy to have an AR-15 in his house to protect himself against a “roving gang.”

              Graham’s house in South Carolina is located in the town of Seneca, which is located in Oconee County, the foothills of the Appalachians in the northwest corner of the state. Know how many people live in Seneca?  Nobody. Know how many ‘roving gangs’ are floating around Oconee County? None.  But Graham needs an assault rifle to stay happy and healthy in his home.

              Back in 2013, Joe got in a lot of trouble when he told Field and Stream Magazine that he kept a shotgun in his house which Jill would use to shoot anyone who tried to break down the front door. He made a point of saying that his house was located out in the woods, that he was often away from home and Jill was by herself, and that teaching her how to use a shotgun for self-defense had been a good thing.

              This was the first time that a national politician ever advocated armed self-defense. You would think that the NRA and the entire Gun-nut Nation would have jumped for joy. You would wonder how come the owners of Mossberg, or Browning, or some other company that made shotguns didn’t immediately show up at Joe’s office and present him with a new gun.

              You can think all you want, but what happened was that the entire pro-gun noisemaking industry came out against what Joe had just said. He was reckless, he was breaking the law, he was telling people to do what they should never do.  One idiot even said that if you shot a shotgun into the air, the pellets would fall down and kill someone when the pellets hit them in the head.

              The reason that Joe’s comments were universally condemned by the movers and shakers of Gun-nut Nation is that Democrats aren’t supposed to ever say anything positive about guns. That’s a narrative which has always been owned by the GOP. If Democrats were all of a sudden to come out in favor of guns, it would be tantamount to Republicans calling for an increase in funding for food stamps.

              Yesterday my little petition to ban assault rifles, which went up last Thursday night without any publicity at all, went over 2,500 names.  As of this moment, the petition is up to 2,730 signatures. When I started this petition I was hoping that maybe, God willing, I would wind up with a thousand names.  I suspect the petition will hit 5,000 names by this time next week.

              I’m going to send a link to Lindsey Graham’s comment out to everyone who has supported my gun-ban idea because there’s nothing that makes people get behind an idea when someone who disagrees with them says something as dumb as what Graham has just said.

              I think this country is in a much different place right now than it has been for the last four years. And I think that we need to be careful if we make any assumptions about the current political scene based on what went on between the 2016 election and what is going on today.

              If you haven’t signed the petition to ban assault rifles, please do it now. And please send the petition to everyone you know.  Thank you for your support, your comments and your good cheer.

Sign it here: https://www.change.org/Ban_Assault_Rifles_Now

Another Gun Nut Who Didn’t Need A Gun.

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One of the most important tenets of gun-nuttism, if not the most important belief, is the idea that when faced with any threat to yourself, your loved ones (I love the phrase ‘loved ones’) or even your property, the first and most important rule is: Grab Your Gun. After all, the cops won’t get there in time no matter how quickly they respond. And anyway, the cops are just another branch of the Deep State; a.k.a. the government. And the whole point of keeping a gun handy is the last thing you ever want to rely on is the government, right?

So it turns out that last Friday a guy named Dan King drove past Willie Robertson’s house in Monroe, LA, stuck a pistol out of the window and popped off a few rounds. The bullets hit the house but nobody inside was hurt. The guy was later arrested and spent a few days in jail. He was charged with assault and a few other things, and cannot go anywhere near Robertson’s property for the next couple of years. By the way, the shooter was also drunk.

Who is Willie Robertson? He runs a company called Duck Commander, a multi-million dollar business chiefly known for producing the Duck Dynasty series on reality TV. Of course he’s also a ‘devout’ Christian and a gun nut. That’s always part of the script. And it goes without saying that he is, of course, a devoted right-wing jerk; that’s also part of the script.

I once watched one of the Duck Dynasty episodes and it was basically Willie and some other guys standing around mumbling something about a broken hitch for one of their boats and what was going to be served for dinner that night. The episode also featured some friendly mix-up between two of the Dynasty gals which played like the Bayou version of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

Of course last week, the moment the shots rang out, the head of the clan, Phil Robertson, had to decide whether or not to defend life and limb with a gun. Does he own a trusty, assault rifle? So he says. But he very quickly decided not to swing into armed action because, as he said, “If I go up there and kill them all, I probably would wind up on the wrong side of this thing.”

Hey! Wait a minute! I thought that Louisiana had a Stand Your Ground Law. In fact, it happens to have an SYG law that is one of the strongest and most definitive SYG laws around. Not only does it allow you to ‘meet force with force’ if you believe you are facing a threat, but the statute doesn’t allow a judge to even determine whether you could have retreated before responding to the threat.

So here we have a dream-like scenario for the gun nuts, particularly those nuts who cherish the notion of armed, self-defense, and what does a self-professed gun nut and assault-rifle owner like Phil Robertson do when his home and family are under attack? He calls the cops. Who then quickly arrest the dope who was shooting off his gun.

I can guarantee you that if Phil Robertson or any other member of the family had returned live fire with live fire, by now they would be on their way to NRA headquarters to receive some kind of award. Because isn’t this exactly what we are all worried about in the midst of this Plague Year? Shouldn’t everyone be ready, willing and able to take out the ol’ weapon and bang away at the first hint of an attack?

If I were the head of Brady or some other gun-control group, I would send a ‘thank you’ down to Phil Robertson for behaving like a normal, rational and intelligent man. The current occupant of the White House should behave the same way. But don’t count on it.

The Dumbest Pro-Gun Legislator This Year – So Far.


              I used to think that Matt Goetz (R-FL) was the dumbest pro-gun politician in America because when he was a State Senator, he introduced a bill that would have made a business owner financially liable if his premises were a gun-free zone and a customer got shot because some jerk walked in, yanked out a banger and went bang. But I am beginning to think that maybe Goetz has been upended by a State legislator from Michigan, Beau LaFave, who had two guns, a handgun and an assault rifle, stolen from his residence last week.

Just because someone has guns stolen out of their home doesn’t necessarily mean that they deserve the Dumbest Pro-Gun Legislator Award (and yes, we also give out an award to the dumbest gun-control public figure each year.) But in LaFave’s case, his being situated at the lowest point on the left side of the bell curve is much more a function of what he did before the theft took place, and what he said after he lost his guns.

              Back on January 29, just before Michigan’s Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, delivered her State of the State address, this jerk walked into the State Capitol with an AR-15 slung over his shoulder to protest what he claims are her “proposed unconstitutional gun laws.” Whitmer has proposed a red-flag law which is bottled up in some committee; she is also on record favoring some kind of assault rifle ban, although she claims to have no issue with state residents who own guns for self-protection or sport.

              What does LaFave really want when it comes to gun laws?  He probably doesn’t want any new laws. After all, Michigan already requires background checks for private handgun sales. Isn’t that enough? The fact that the state does not require persons convicted of domestic abuse to surrender their firearms even if they are prohibited from owning guns should be reason enough to consider the passage of a red-flag law. But according to LaFave, all a red-flag law would do would be to disarm all those law-abiding state residents who have the ‘right’ to own a gun.

              So, over the weekend, while LaFave was out wandering around, someone broke into his home and stole the AR-15 that he carried into the State Capitol building, along with a .40-caliber handgun. The two guns were nestled side by side in the clothing chest drawer where LaFave keeps his underwear and socks.

              Punto Stupido Numero Uno: The guns weren’t locked up. The guns weren’t locked away. Want to break into someone’s house and find something valuable in 30 seconds or less? Start by looking through the clothing drawers – that’s the first lesson in Burglary 101. Why weren’t his guns locked or locked away? Because according to LaFave, he needed to be able to get his hands on his guns just in case he needed to “access them quickly.”

              Punto Stupido Numero Dos: Right after LaFave pranced around the Capitol building he tweeted a picture of himself with his trusty gun. That’s what he did. You don’t go to all the trouble of making a complete fool out of yourself and then forget to make sure that everyone is reminded as to exactly what a dope you happen to be.

              Did it ever occur to this idiot that maybe, just maybe he was telling everyone that if they took the trouble to break into his house, they might find a stash of guns? In talking to reporters, LaFave denied there was any connection between his self-promoting armed march through the State Capitol and the theft of his guns. Yea, right. No connection at all.

              My friends in Gun-nut Nation still seem unable to accept the fact that somehow, don’t ask me how, every single gun used to commit a fatal or non-fatal gun assault was first bought by someone who could legally own a gun. So how do these guns wind up in the hands of people who commit an act of gun violence against someone other than themselves? 

              I can guarantee you that the guy who swiped the guns from Beau LaFave isn’t some gun hobbyist who just wanted to add two bangers to his private collection. And Beau did everything he could, including advertising the guns on his Twitter account, to make sure that his guns ended up in the wrong hands.

When Is An Assault Rifle Not An Assault Rifle?


              The gun industry better come up with a basic narrative to staunch what could be some serious financial problems, assuming that the AWB virus (read: assault weapons ban) begins to spread throughout the globe. Because it just doesn’t work to refer to a gun as a ‘modern sporting rifle’ when the so-called ‘sport’ results in 50 people getting killed. It also doesn’t work to refer to an AR-15 as a ‘tactical’ gun when you can hardly consider a high school, a synagogue  or a mosque to be a war zone.

              This search for a new excuse to continue making profits from the sale of .America’s most popular’ rifle’ was on full display yesterday with a really stupid op-ed in The Washington Examiner. The writerlikened allowing families of Sandy Hook victims who want to sue the gun maker to be just as ‘ridiculous’ as allowing someone to sue a company which manufactures kitchen knives after some ‘crazy person’ takes a knife out of the cupboard and sticks it in someone else’s head.

              Last week I bought a knife from an online seller whose advertisement claimed that for $69.95 I was getting my hands on the best, most versatile and most effective ‘tactical’ knife ever made.  The advertisement made a point of promising that with this knife in my pocket, I could defend myself from any and all threats. There was no mention of whether I could also use this knife to slice a loaf of bread.

Of course I could stick this knife in the same kitchen drawer where I keep the utensils which I use to prepare and eat food. But I can also go down to Wal Mart and buy an entire set of forks, knives and spoons, or a complete set of steak knives (in a nice, wooden knife-holder) for less than $69.95. And I would be the last person to argue that if my loony cousin Arthur escaped from the loony bin, showed up at my house, grabbed one of those steak knives and pushed it into my head, that my wife should be able to sue Wal Mart because they sold me a product that was designed to trim the side of my Porterhouse filet.

This is exactly why the argument against banning assault rifles falls apart. Because an assault rifle is designed to do one thing: deliver massive, military-grade firepower into a public space containing multiple human beings who are targeted by the guy who has the gun. And the fact that nearly everyone who owns such a weapon wouldn’t think of using it to hurt or injure someone else, doesn’t make this type of gun any less dangerous or any safer for civilian sale.

One of the most popular semi-automatic rifles ever manufactured is a gun made by Ruger known as the Mini-14. It fires the same type of ammunition as the AR-15 (.223 or 5.56) and bears a slight resemblance to the old M-1 carbine, which was the 30-caliber version of the storied M-1 Garand. It was designed by Bill Ruger specifically to be a lightweight, sporting gun that could be used to hunt varmints or just have some shooting fun.

When Ruger started shipping this rifle it came and still comes with a 5-shot mag. So here was a gun that looks like a military gun, feels like a military gun and shoots like a military gun except that Bill Ruger didn’t want anyone thinking they were buying a military gun. In fact, Bill Ruger first characterized his company as ‘Arms Makers for Responsible Citizens,’ but the factory now ships what they call a ‘tactical’ Mini-14, complete with hi-cap mags.

Could Ruger refit its Mini-14 with a non-detachable mag that only holds 5 rounds? Of course they could, but the gun wouldn’t sell. And this is the reason why the gun industry has become, to paraphrase Hamlet, hoisted with its own petard. Because they can’t have it both ways. Either we shoot for sport or we shoot to kill. It’s as simple as that.

What’s The Best Way To Regulate Guns?

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              Coming up shortly is a debate in the U.S. Senate about a bill which passed through the House extending background checks to all transfers of guns. At the same this issue wends its way through Congress, another approach to reducing gun violence is going through the courts in the form of the lawsuit against Remington brought by some of the parents of victims killed at Sandy Hook.

              These two initiatives represent different methods for making us safe (or at least safer) from a type of behavior which kills and injures more than 125,000 people every year.  This behavior which is referred to as gun violence because it occurs whenever someone picks up a gun, aims it at themselves or someone else and goes – bang!

              I happen to believe that the latter approach is a much more effective method for dealing with this problem. My proof for that statement lies in the fact that the gun-control method embodied in the DeSoto v. Remington case aligns itself with the way in which other countries deal with gun violence, which is the reason why other countries have gun-violence rates far below our own.

              We are the only advanced society which has decided that the most effective way to regulate a consumer product known as a gun is to regulate the behavior of the consumer who owns the gun. Therefore, in order to be a legal gun owner in the United States, you have to prove that you do not fall into a particular behavioral category which prohibits owning or buying guns. These categories are all listed on the 4473 background check form which is filled out when someone buys a gun, but they apply equally as well to owning a gun, no matter how that ownership status came about. The background check bill currently before the Senate basically extends the certification of ‘good’ behavior to any way in which someone gets their hands on a gun. But like the current system, it is still regulating how people behave with a particular consumer product, not how the product is designed or sold.

              The majority opinion in DeSoto v. Remington correctly understood that what is at issue in this case is not the behavior of the shooter per se, but the conscious effort by the manufacturer to advertise the product in a way that would attract consumers who wanted to use this gun to inflict injuries to other human beings. To quote from the decision: “The AR-15 and M16 are highly lethal weapons that are engineered to deliver maximum carnage with extreme efficiency.” Which is hardly how guns designed to be used for ‘sport’ can best be described.

              On the other hand, as long as a gun doesn’t fire in automatic mode, it can be bought and sold by anyone who doesn’t have a behavioral history indicating that the person  buying or owning the gun is at risk for using the weapon in a violent way. Adam Lanza, who shot and killed himself and 27 other kids and adults in Newtown, used his mother’s rifle but if he had waited a few months until he was 21, he could have walked into any gun shop in Connecticut and purchased the same gun himself.

              I’m not saying that extending background checks to secondary sales won’t have an impact on whether or not guns end up in the wrong hands. But as long as we continue to regulate this consumer product by believing that purchase and ownership of products as dangerous as an AR-15 require only meeting minimal standards for lawful behavior, the number of such guns floating around in private hands will continue to increase. And as the number of such guns goes up, the number used to commit violent acts will also go up.

              If a consumer product is dangerous because of the way it’s designed, either you change the design or the product can’t be sold. How do you make an AR-15 safer so that it can’t be used to mow down a classroom filled with kids? You can’t.

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