Finally – A Good Book on Concealed Carry.


              When I was a kid, which was back in the last Stone Age (the 1950’s), the only people who were allowed to carry handguns were cops and a few guys employed as ‘armed’ security guards. If you wanted to do anything with a gun other than use it for hunting, or just fooling around, you upped for the military, because that’s where you could spend all day shooting guns.

              The earliest home movie of me was taken by my father on my 6th birthday. I was standing in front of my grandfather’s little grocery store in Rockaway Beach, Queens wearing the birthday present I had just received, which was a cowboy hat and matching belt and holster containing a plastic revolver – a toy version of the gun carried by Roy Rogers in the movies and on TV. 

              In this 8mm color home movie, I was standing on the sidewalk, twirling the gun with a big smile on my face. This was what it meant to be self-armed in the 1950’s; in other words, acting out a complete fantasy which had absolutely nothing to do with the why, where or when of carrying a self-defense gun.

              I have just finished reading Angela Stroud’s book, Good Guys With Guns, The Appeal and Consequences of Concealed Carry. In 35 interviews of Texas residents who took the course required in Texas in order to walk around with a gun, she discovered that much of the fantasy which I acted out with my Roy Rogers six-gun outfit when I was a kid, continues to define the decision by many of the adults whom she met when she took her concealed-carry course. 

              However, there was or is one major difference between the fantasy which I acted out in front of my grandfather’s grocery store and the motivational thoughts of the concealed-carry population described by Professor Stroud (who teaches Sociology at Northland College) in her clever and though-provoking book; namely, the identity or the supposed identity of the people whose presence represents a threat that can be mitigated or vanquished by using a gun.

              In my childhood, I acted out the pretend confrontation between myself and some bad guys like the bad guys I saw in cowboy movies like Shane. I must have gone to the RKO-Keiths’s movie theater in my neighborhood a dozen times to watch Alan Ladd pull out his gun and mow down Jack Palance.

              The adults whom Angela Stroud met in her concealed-carry course, on the other hand, weren’t spending any time practicing their fast-draw techniques against some nasty, hired gun who was white, by the way. Professor Stroud’s classmates, as well as the instructors she met, in the main believe they need to carry a gun in order to respond to the possibility of an assault or some other crime about to be committed against them by someone who is black.

              Here’s the prescient statement from Stroud’s book: “… my analysis suggests that danger is a social construction based largely on perceptions that are shaped by race, class, and gender rather than by an objective assessment of risk.” [p. 109] And of the three perceptual categories, her book clearly shows that the issue of race stands out above the other two issues in terms of generating the fears which motivate some of the adults among us to walk around carrying a gun.

              If I have one caveat about this book which isn’t so much a criticism as simply a concern, it is the lack of comparative interviews with people who are also concerned about personal safety and threats of crime but decide to deal with such feelings by not arming themselves with a gun. Notwithstanding the fact that the number of concealed-carry licenses has gone up by a factor of five since such licensing became common beginning in the 1970’s, a majority of Americans do not see concealed-carry of handguns as an effective or necessary personal response to crime.

              Is the concealed-carry population more sensitive to issues of crime and race than the population which doesn’t walk around with a gun the way I walked around with my Roy Rogers six-shooter outside of Grandpa’s store? Are there other factors, for example, geography or community culture, which may play determinant roles in how people make up their minds about whether they need to carry a gun?

              Early in her narrative, Professor Stroud confronts one of the most persistent attitudes which circulates amongst the gun-carrying population, which is the idea that a gun is an ‘inanimate’ object no different from any other way which people might get killed. Whether it’s cars, or knives, or even swimming pools, the end result is the same. [p. 23.]

              This is a very important argument because the whole issue of concealed-carry turns on whether guns make things better in terms of community safety, or make things worse.

              The author of this timely book hits this nail squarely on its veritable head when she says that we can be sure of one thing: “more guns might only equal more guns.” [p. 46]

              Perfect, just perfect. Thank you, Professor Stroud.

A New Gun Book You Should Read.


              Nikki Goeser is a lady in her mid-40’s who graduated from the University of Tennessee, went to work as a financial adviser at a local technical college at Nashville and in 2008 married the ‘love of her life’ Ben. Her husband was a commercial designer who did fix-it work on the side and he and Nikki also did a karaoke show at various Nashville restaurants and bars.

              On the night of April 2, 2009, they were doing a karaoke gig when Nikki spotted a guy in the audience who had been to some of their previous shows and had then started sending Nikki some inappropriate messages through MySpace which she ignored.

              All of a sudden, the guy was sitting next to her husband. Then he went to the bathroom, came back out, walked over to where Ben was sitting putting a batch of songs into the computer, pulled out a Colt-45 pistol, and after shooting Ben in the head, continued standing over him and popping six more rounds.

              The shooter calmly walked away from the spot where he had just killed another man, and was promptly tackled by a U.S. Marine who, with the help of several other customers, disarmed the guy and held him down until the cops arrived.

              It turns out the guy who killed Nikki’s husband had been stalking Nikki for months. He had never spoken to her but had sent her endless internet messages and for some reason, never explained, was obsessed with her and felt that Ben’s existence was keeping him from getting into a relationship with this woman who was lighting up his life.

              When Nikki first saw this guy pull his gun, she immediately realized that she had left her own gun locked in her car. The restaurant where Ben and Nikki were doing their karaoke show had a gun-free policy, typical of public spaces where liquor is served. As the shooter pulled out his weapon, Nikki thought to herself: “Oh my God, I don’t have my gun! He is going to shoot somebody and I don’t have my gun!” [p. 22] I will return to Nikki’s comment below.

              After several more emotionally-charged chapters covering the immediacy of this terrible event, Nikki then then covers the events leading up to and covering the shooter’s trial, for which he was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 20 years. These chapters are written beautifully, and they remind me of Dominick Dunne’s description of the trial of the man who killed his daughter which appeared in Vanity Fair.

              For me to compare the writing of any newly published author to the prose of Dominick Dunne is to make it clear that the author whose book I am reviewing has a great deal of talent when it comes to telling a story which you might want to read.

              That being said, of course I also have to make some critical comments about this book, if only because every book review needs to be somewhat balanced between the good and the bad. In this instance, what I am calling ‘bad’ are the last few chapters in which Nikki Goeser swerves away from a heart-rending and personal account about the emotional and social traumas that she has survived and gives us the usual song-and-dance about why everyone should be walking around with a gun.

              To that end let me refer again to Nikki’s statement that she was unable to help her husband avoid getting killed because she didn’t have her gun. According to her story, maybe two or three seconds at most passed from the time she realized the assailant had a gun until the time her husband took a round in the head.

              What could Nikki have done with her gun if it had been in her pocket instead of out in the car? Nothing. Not one, goddamn thing.

              This is the biggest problem with gun violence, a problem discussed brilliantly by Lester Adelson, who was Cuyahoga County coroner (Cleveland) for nearly 40 years, so he saw plenty of people whose lives were ended by the use of a gun. Adelson sums it up this way:

. “With its peculiar lethality, a gun converts a spat into a slaying and a quarrel into a killing. Facile access to firearms is an invitation to their wrongful use by the neurotic, the psychotic, and the socially maladjusted.”

              By the time Nikki Goeser gets done talking about the trial of her husband’s killer, there’s simply no doubt that this guy exactly fit Lester Adelson’s description of the kind of individual who will use a gun in a ‘wrongful’ way. And the real problem is that most of these nut-jobs plan their ‘wrongful’ behavior well in advance, and the idea that someone legally authorized to carry a gun will proactively prevent such individuals from carrying out their misdeed is a wonderful fantasy but simply is not true.

              That being said, for the clarity of its language and the emotional impact of its tone, I recommend Nikki Goeser’s book as a good, solid and informative read.

Does The SCOTUS Decision on Concealed-Carry Mean More Gun Violence?

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              Know how I learned about the Court’s decision to throw out the New York gun law? Because I got an email from one of the gun-control organizations saying something about how the decision would result in more gun violence, less community safety and oh, by the way, send us some dough.

              Was it a coincidence that the Court’s decision was announced at the exact, same time that the Senate got 65 votes to override a possible filibuster by Rand Paul, or Ted Cruz, or one of those other Republican jerkoffs and will now proceed to a vote on the gun bill?

              Either way, I’m going to (as usual) give my Gun-control Nation friends a minority view of yusterday’s ruling because I happen to think that: a) the law deserved to be thrown out, and b) Gun-control Nation is making a mountain out of a molehill and maybe it’s time to stop farting around with such nonsense and do some serious work.

              You should download and read the decision right here, but I’ll save you the trouble as long as you’re willing to trust that what I am going to say is based on an honest reading of what the Court said.

              First of all, if the Court’s decision does not (read: not) obviate New York’s authority to determine whether a law-abiding state resident can purchase and/or own a gun. It simply says that the 2nd Amendment does not distinguish between keeping a gun inside the home versus walking around with a gun outside the home. Since the former is justified for self-defense, the latter should be justified on the same basis as well.

              The Court further notes that this approach, which is referred to as ‘shall issue’ and removes the arbitrary authority of licensing authorities to grant concealed-carry of guns outside the home, is only practiced in 6 states, with New York and California leading the pack. In many of the other 44 states, the process for licensing residents to buy or own a gun is the same regardless of whether the gun is kept inside the home or carried around outside the home.

              Which brings us to the central issue about concealed-carry (CCW) which this decision says is Constitutionally-protected in the same way as the 2008 Heller decision gives Constitutional protection to handguns kept in the home. And the question is as follows: Does the lawful carrying of a handgun outside the home represent a threat to community safety, which is what the fundraising email I received yesterday from a major GVP organization claims to be the case?

              The answer to this question is found in the dissent written by Associate Justice Breyer who cites numerous studies which have found that “the United States suffers a disproportionately high rate of firearm-related deaths and injuries” which is associated with the existence of at least 300 million guns in privately-owned hands. Breyer then goes on to cite the recent increase in mass shootings as a further reason why loosening CCW restrictions creates a danger, stating the fact that “64.4% of firearm homicides and 91.8% of nonfatal firearm assaults [in 2018] were committed with a handgun.”

              There’s only one little problem with the evidence which Breyer uses to support his argument that legal CCW is responsible for our excessive gun violence or that the spread of CCW to states like New York and California will only lead to an increase in violence committed with guns. And the problem is this: Overwhelmingly, gun violence is not committed by individuals who exercise legal access to guns either in their homes or in the street, particularly gun owners who exercise CCW with their guns.

              The Violence Policy Center has compiled a list of all shootings committed by individuals since 2007 who were identified as people who practice concealed-carry. The total to date is 2,203. Know how many gun homicides have been committed since 2007? Somewhere around 200,000. So, if we couldn’t walk around with a handgun outside our homes, what would this mean in terms of the rate of gun violence?  A drop in overall numbers of one percent?

              I’m afraid that Associate Justice Alito, for whom I have no particularly positive feelings, hit the nail on the head in his concurring opinion on CCW when he said: “Our decision, as noted, does not expand the categories of people who may lawfully possess a gun.” Which is exactly what’s really at issue here, namely, do we or don’t we like guns?

              I don’t like full-calorie soft drinks. I don’t like tobacco. I don’t like the guy who just roared past me in his Beemer doing 75mph in a 30mph zone. I think that my friends in Gun-control Nation should stop pretending they have no problem with the 2nd Amendment as long as gun owners use their guns in a responsible and safe way.

              What’s wrong with building a gun-control movement around the idea that guns are simply no good?  I’m ready to donate. How about you?

Does Concealed-Carry Increase Gun Violence?


What would happen if every red-blooded American above the age of 21 went walking around with a gun?  Right now there are somewhere above 14 million men and women who are licensed to carry a concealed weapon, and since there are roughly 70 million between the ages of 21 and 65 living in a home with at least one gun, let’s say that the number of gun -carrying adults jumped from the current 14 million to 40 million; in other words, one out of every two.

              If this were happen, first and foremost the gun industry would recover from the doldrums it has been experiencing since the election of Sleazy Don Trump. Funny, isn’t it? We finally elect a President who endorses concealed-carry and the gun industry collapses like a wet suit on the golf course; it’s in the dumps.  If the Democrats make the mistake of running fat-ass Hillary in 2020 again, Sleazy Don will stay in the Oval Office until 2024 and the gun business will wither and die.

Let’s pretend for the moment that the Clintons finally shut up and go away, the blue team nominates a serious candidate (sorry, but my friend Deval Patrick ain’t no Obama on The Bomber’s worst day) and both the Senate and the House seat a majority who aren’t red. The new President is inaugurated in 2025, the gun-control gang demands its much-deserved payoff, and another semi-useless gun law actually gets into the Federal code

Could it happen?  I’m not quite ready to take the short odds, but this scenario doesn’t immediately fail the plausibility or possibility test. And if it does happen, we might easily end up with 40 million or more Americans who can wander around with a handgun stuck in their pocketbook or their pants.

Bear in mind, of course, that we do not have any real idea of how many people legally able to carry a concealed Glock or Sig are actually walking around with a gun. I asked a number of people who had gotten their concealed-carry permit(CCW)  after they had taken the safety course I teach whether or not they were carrying a gun on a regular basis, and the ratio of CCW license-holders to gun-carriers was on the order of ten to one. After the immediate thrill of playing Bruce Willis or John Wick wears off, walking around with a gun, unless you’re paid to walk around with a gun, is a real pain in the ass. Sooner or later you’ll forget it, or you’ll drop it, or in some other way you’ll do something stupid or careless and God forbid what you do causes the gun to go off.

Despite what my Gun-control Nation friends believe, the idea that people with legal concealed-carry privileges are a threat to others or themselves is simply not true.  In the last 12 years, CCW-holders shot and killed 1,200 people, of which 550 happened to be the  CCW -holders themselves. Which means that, on average, people who walk around with a legal handgun fatally injure 55 other people every year.  That’s 4/10ths of 1 percent of yearly gun homicides.  This makes CCW-holders a threat to community safety and peace?

The biggest joke of all is the opposition to  national concealed-carry law by various office-holders from blue states (ex: Schumer – NY) who say they don’t want gun-toters coming into their state from another state where CCW licenses are simply given away, as opposed to more restrictive states (like New York) which require more detailed vetting and a safety course before CCW is approved.

Is Schumer serious?  Does he think that the Sheriff in New York State’s Chenango County gives one rat’s damn about a more detailed background check or what’s being taught in the so-called ‘safety’ course? Chenango County has about as many people living in it as live in the same square city block in Manhattan where Schumer lives.

Want to get serious about reducing gun violence?  Stop going after straw men like CCW and do something about the guns.

And while you’re at it: https://www.facebook.com/nostinkingun/.




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