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Want To Protect Yourself From Covid-19? Buy A Shield.

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              Yesterday my American Rifleman magazine arrived, so I sat down, made a coffee, and had a good read. I have yet to meet a single member from any of the gun-control organizations who reads American Rifleman because I have yet to meet a single follower of Gun-control Nation who is also a member of the NRA.

              Now how you can spend time, energy and money trying to reduce the influence of an organization without knowing how that particular organization argues its case is beyond me. But lots of things are beyond me, so let’s just leave it at that.

              In any case, this month’s issue featured a review of a new product from Smith & Wesson, whose factory is right down the road from where I live. The product is a gun called the Shield Plus, which happens to be the pistol pictured above.

              Like most of the company’s products, this gun is designed to be attractive to consumers who believe they want to have a gun at the ready to protect themselves from all those bad guys walking around. And since the number of bad guys has increased substantially since the ‘China flu’ arrived, obviously we should all be carrying a gun.

              Incidentally, for all the talk about how everyone rushed out to buy a gun to protect themselves from the virus, or from the BLM marauders, or the Antifa gang, in fact March purchases of handguns this year dropped by almost 20% from the same month a year ago. No wonder S&W stock has been sitting at $18 a share since last September, down from $22 a share in 2016. The Dow has almost doubled over that same period of time. Oh well, oh well.

              Now back to the Shield Plus. The gun called the ‘plus’ because it has been redesigned to hold more ammunition – the extended magazine holds 13 rounds and with a live one in the chamber you’re walking around with 14 rounds.

              How big is this gun which holds enough ammunition to mow down half the entire roster of the New York Mets?  Try this: 6 inches long from end to end. My droid is almost 6 inches long. How much does the gun weigh? A little over 1 pound.

              I can fit this weapon with this immense amount of military-grade firepower into the front pocket of my pants or the shirt pocket of the jacket I wear when I go out on the golf course and I won’t even know that I have the gun with me.

              There is simply no other consumer product that represents this degree of lethality. And by the way, the whole deal will set you back around $500 bucks. Yesterday I bought a new battery for my car which cost me $250 bucks. What’s $500 bucks? Nothing.

              There is only one reason why S&W is making a gun which is both this deadly and this small. And it’s a reason you will never hear mentioned in all the advertisements for this gun. The reason goes like this.

              What the gun industry is selling these days is not just lethality based on the number of military-grade ammunition you can fire before you have to reload your gun. What they’re really selling is lethality based on – ready? – stealth.

              The problem is that there are lots of places where you can’t take a gun. You can’t usually bring a gun into public spaces like theaters and shopping malls, you can’t bring a gun into most schools. If anything, the recent uptick in mass shootings will only make us more, not less accepting of the idea that we should all be walking around armed.

              But for the gun nuts and wannabe gun nuts who buy into the nonsense that the ‘bad guys’ can be stopped if all the ‘good guys’ have guns, the gun market will continue to be dominated by products as small and concealable as the Shield Plus.

              Now where did I put my car keys?

They Finally Get A Chance To Carry A Concealed Weapon In California. Or Do They?

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Back in February, the 9th Circuit in California ruled that the state’s concealed-carry law was unconstitutional, a ruling which was hailed by the NRA and other pro-gun groups as a “major victory” in the campaign to extend the 2nd-Amendment ownership rights defined in the 2008 Heller vs. DC decision to carrying a gun outside the home. But while the judicial panel’s initial decision was stayed pending appeal to the full 9th Circuit (whose action may then result in the SCOTUS finally deciding whether the 2nd Amendment extends to CCW,) the court let stand the part of the law which allows the sheriff in each California county to set concealed-carry rules. Most of California’s counties, including San Diego, which challenged the current law, have decided to wait and see how the whole legal issue plays itself out.  But Orange County began accepting CCW applications immediately after the 9th Circuit ruling and has been, according to County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens, “overwhelmed” with the demand.

Sheriff Sandra Hutchens

Sheriff Sandra Hutchens

Notwithstanding the fact that crime in Orange County has declined by 20% over the last ten years, it appears that most of the demand for concealed-carry permits is being driven by the conviction that walking around with a gun will make people feel more safe.  At least this is what the Orange County Sheriff says, and she should know since she has hired 15 part-time workers to handle the administrative load and the waiting time for the required interview that must precede issuance of the permit is now out to 30 months.

Wait a minute!  A “required” interview before the license is issued?  I thought that the 9th Circuit’s panel found California’s CCW law unconstitutional because it was only granted if an applicant could convince the police that carrying a concealed weapon was a necessity for business reasons or documented proof of the need for personal defense.  And when Orange County started accepting CCW applications, the Orange County Register stated that a permit would now be issued if a county resident simply stated that they needed to carry a gun for “personal safety,” without requiring any documentation of this claim at all.

So I decided to do what nobody ever seems to take the trouble to do whenever a law is passed regarding guns, namely, I actually read the text that defines the Orange County application process itself.  And the process is as follows.  In addition to the usual background check, fingerprints and let’s not forget the $200 fee, the applicant must also provide “documentation” that “good cause” exists for the license based on the following criteria: (1). “Specific evidence that there has been or is likely to be an attempt on the part of a second party to do great bodily harm to the applicant;” (2). “The nature of the business or occupation of the applicant is such that it is subject to high personal risk and/or criminal attack;” (3). “The occupation or business of the applicant is such that no means of protection, security of risk avoidance can mitigate the risk other than the carrying of a concealed firearm.”

There are a couple of more issuance criteria listed on the sheriff’s website but I think you get the point.  Sheriff Hutchens may say that she’s going to issue a license to everyone who says they want one, but Orange County is not about to deprive their law enforcement authorities from having the last word on who shall and who shall not walk around with a gun.  Which is hardly the same thing as saying that anyone who wants CCW will get it just by showing up at the police department with a clean background and a $200 check.

If the argument over whether the 2nd Amendment covers CCW ever gets to SCOTUS and if gun-nut Scalia writes another decision which cites the new California law as a valid protection of gun-ownership rights, the Brady Campaign and Shannon Watts will be able to arouse their followers over this NRA threat to safety, but the truth is that the law doesn’t really change things at all.  But what laws actually say never seems to concern either side in the gun debate. It’s a lot more fun to yell and scream than to sit down and figure out what, if anything, should really be done.

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