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It’s the Handguns, Stupid!

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              Way back in 1968, a Presidential Commission under Milton Eisenhower (Ike’s younger brother) was put together to study the causes and prevention of violence following the large-scale riots and disturbances that broke out after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The Commission published its final report on December 10, 1969, and the 337-page document included a chapter, ‘Firearms and Violence in American Life’ co-authored by our good friend Franklin Zimring, who now teaches law at Boalt Hall on the Berkeley campus.

              I have now tried to upload this report to the media file on my website four times and the upload has failed every time. But if you would like a copy of the document, just send me an email (mweisser3@outlook.com) and I’ll send it right out to you.

              The other co-author of this chapter is a very distinguished attorney, George Newton. The Commission staff also included Marvin Wolfgang, who without a doubt was the most brilliant criminologist ever to hold an academic position in the United States.

              The chapter starts off with the following statement: “The availability of guns contributes substantially to violence in American society.” The idea that more guns = more violence is an accepted cornerstone (thanks to David Hemenway) of current gun-control narrative. And the report also underscores today’s argument for stricter gun control when it notes that the proportion of guns used in violent crime tends to parallel how many guns are sold to the public at any point in time.

              The report then goes on to note that Americans are increasingly buying guns to be used for self-defense. But this finding is followed by this: “From the standpoint of the individual householder, then, the self-defense firearm appears to be a dangerous investment.” And what Zimring and Newton are referring to here is the degree to which guns are used for self-protection to a much lesser degree than they figure in injuries within the home.

              The whole notion of access to guns as a cause of fatal injuries – homicide, suicide – was the finding of two articles published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 1992 and 1993.  These two articles not only inaugurated the attention and concern of public health research on guns and gun violence, but also were the primary reason the CDC stopped funding gun research for nearly twenty-five years.

              Zimring and Newton made the same argument about guns as risks to public health in 1969.

              Finally, in its conclusion, the report notes that “It is the ready availability of the handgun, so often a weapon of crime and so infrequently a sporting arm, which is the most serious part of the current firearms problem in this country. The time has come to bring the handgun under reasonable control.”

              Here is where the work by Zimring and Newton establishes a very clear standard for how to think about and implement effective gun control. Note, in particular, the acknowledgement that handguns are ‘infrequently’ used as ‘sporting’ arms.

              How many Americans have been victims of gun homicides since Zimring, and Newton’s chapter was published more than fifty years ago? I think that 700,000 would be a good guess. How many Americans have been seriously injured because someone took a shot at them but didn’t aim straight? Maybe 3,500,000, give or take a couple of hundred thousand more or less.

              These numbers exist because we are the only country in the entire world which pretends that handguns designed and issued to the military beginning in 1911 and continuing to the present day, are considered, legally-speaking, to be ‘sporting arms.’ Zimring and Newton figured this one out in 1969. What have all my friends in public health gun research been doing since that time?

              They have been creating, affirming, and reaffirming a patently false narrative that we would not suffer from 100,000+ fatal and non-fatal gun assaults every year if everyone would just lock up their guns. This is what my friends in Gun-control Nation mean when they talk about ‘responsible’ gun ownership, okay?

              The argument made by Zimring and Newton in 1969 and indisputably supported by research published in 1992 and 1993 did not qualify gun violence as being the result of unlocked guns. It is the presence of handguns designed as non-sporting weapons which, to quote the 1969 report, doesn’t cause’ gun violence but ‘facilitates’ it to a degree which otherwise would not occur.

              It’s really time for my friends in Gun-control Nation to drop their Alice-in-Wonderland approach to the issue of gun violence and start developing strategies for controlling guns which Zimring and Newton brought to our attention more than a half-century ago.

              Or to paraphrase a statement from Clinton’s 1992 Presidential campaign – it’s the handguns, stupid. The handguns.

Is There Such a Thing as a ‘Safe’ Gun?

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              I started writing and blogging about guns and gun violence in May 2012, when I learned that the NRA was sponsoring a law in Florida and elsewhere that would criminalize physicians for counseling patients about guns. Since I first went started this effort, I have produced somewhere around 1,800,000 words on guns and gun violence, much of my writing connected to the issue of guns, medicine, and public health.  This output includes 1,760 blogs on my website,  15 self-published books, 252 weekly columns I wrote for Huffington Post and 9 academic papers I have published on SSRN.

              I’m not listing all this output to pat myself on the back. I’m mentioning it because in all my writing about guns and gun violence, I have realized that I have ignored the most important issue of all.

              This is the issue of risk. And if you don’t understand and apply a proper definition of risk to the issue of gun violence, then you can’t understand anything about guns. Which unfortunately, appears to be the case with my friends in medicine and public health who honestly endeavor to find solutions to the problem of gun violence and yet again and again either ignore. misunderstand or mis-state guns and risk.

              How do we define risk from a medical point of view? We define medical risk as the probability of suffering harm when exposed to a specific risk factor. What is the risk factor in gun violence?  The gun. How do we know this? Because Art Kellerman and Fred Rivara found that the presence of a gun in the home created homicide and suicide risks. Is there any medical risk that is more serious than death?

              How has medicine and public health responded to the evidence that assigns a high level of medical risk to the presence of a gun? They have decided and they promote the idea that this risk can be mitigated and reduced by making the causal factor – the gun – something ‘safe.’ The gun will be made ‘safe’ because it will be used in a ‘responsible’ way, or it will be made ‘safe’ because it is locked up or locked away, or it will be made ‘safe’ by allowing people to go before a judge and take the gun away from someone who isn’t using the gun in ‘safe’ way.

              This is total and complete nonsense, and the only reason that such absurdly ridiculous strategies get any traction at all in the public domain is because my friends in medicine and public health actually believe that gun owners will take them seriously if they can just convince these gun owners that nobody wants to take away their guns. It’s what various medical and advocacy groups now refer to as ‘consensus,’ the idea being that we’ll come up with solutions to the 100,000+ fatal and non-fatal gun injuries which occur every year by incorporating life-saving strategies from ‘both sides.’

              Is there a single physician or public health specialist in the United States who would dare suggest that we should arrive at a ‘consensus’ approach to cigarettes? Should we develop a plan to reduce childhood obesity by asking some overweight kids or their overweight parents to tell us which full-calorie soft drinks they should imbibe?

              What none of these well-meaning gun-control advocates seem to understand is that the overwhelming number of fatal and non-fatal gun violence isn’t caused because gun owners not behaving properly or responsibly with their guns. Gun violence in this country is caused because we are the only country in the entire world which allows consumers to buy, own and use guns that are designed only for the purpose of ending human life.

 My Glock 17 pistol, which holds 16 rounds of military-grade ammunition, wasn’t designed by Gaston Glock to shoot a bird out of a tree.  My Colt AR-15 rifle, which allows me to get off 30 rounds of military-grade ammunition in 20 seconds or less wasn’t designed by Gene Stoner to take a pot-shot at Bambi or pop one into Smokey the Bear’s rear end.

These guns represent a level of risk that can only be reduced by restricting their ownership and use. If and when Gun-control Nation and their academic/clinical partners finally figure this out and begin promoting strategies that reflect the risk of such weapons, we might actually experience a decline in gun-violence rates.

If not, we won’t.

Students Demand Action – Now!

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Yesterday I received what I thought was going to be a Seasons Greetings card from our friend Shannon Watts and the Everytown/Moms Demand Action gang. But when I opened the envelope, what came out was a card from an organization called Students Demand Action, with a great pic of ten girls and one guy standing underneath what looks like the Santa Monica pier.

The group is nicely masked up, by the way, which pleases me no end. Everyone is also smiling and obviously enjoying standing in the surf.  But most of all, what impresses me about the picture is that everyone is wearing the ‘uniform,’ the red t-shirt which has become the most recognizable and identifiable symbol in the gun-violence advocacy movement since Shannon founded MOMS back in 2013.

Shannon did more than start a group to raise awareness about violence connected to guns. She actually began what has become a national movement for gun reform that has become as strong as the leading group on the other side, a.k.a., the NRA.

She’s had some help along the way, some of it coming from Mike Bloomberg, who merged his own gun group, Everytown, with the MOMS in 2014. But for everyone who thinks that Shannon and her girls couldn’t fail because they had access to Bloomberg’s bucks, let me break it to you gently, okay?

Money lets you do lots of things, organizationally speaking, that are much harder, if not impossible to do without dough. But for every organization which figures out how to spend its money wisely, there’s another organization out there which just pisses money away.

I have been donating money to various liberal and left-wing groups and causes since, hmmm, maybe 1968, maybe before. And no group that I have supported over the years does as good or as effective a job as Shannon does with her girls.  Or ladies, Or whomever they are.

To keep things even-steven, I should also tell you that I’m a member of the NRA. Not just a member, but a Lifetime Benefactor member, which means I hear from the boys in Fairfax all the time. I also get invited to lots of NRA events, and if weren’t for the goddamn Covid I could show up at a gun show or a pot-luck dinner from time to time.

Know what?  I can also go to meetings and activities run by MOMS.  They have a nice search function on their website which lets me register for various events, and to my great surprise, MOMS isn’t just active in the usual, blue-liberal states.  They have an event coming up on January 10th in – ready? Idaho! How in God’s name does a gun-control group hold an event in the state which is where the whole militia movement got its start? 

But that’s exactly why I support Shannon and, by the way, you can and should support them too, Because it’s no big deal to find some folks interested in working to reduce gun violence in Washington, D.C.  But Idaho? Or Indiana, where the gals are holding three lunch meetings next month?

If it wasn’t for the goddamn Covid, I would probably be giving some kind of spiel about guns to some group at least once a month.  But I’ve stopped appearing before gun-control groups because they know what I’m going to say.

People like me need to appear before the gun-owning groups because those are the folks who don’t hear what people like me have to say. And know what? Every time I talk to a bunch of gun owners, someone will come up at the end of my talk and tell me that he doesn’t agree with me, but I’ve given him something to think about. And that’s what it’s all about.

When Shannon first started MOMS, she told me that she wanted to get her messaging in front of people who needed to understand the risks of guns. And who better to aim such messaging at than the people who are usually most concerned about safety in the home? 

But thanks to the card I got yesterday, it’s clear that Shannon has widened her net and now wants to get her messaging in front of not just parents, but in front of the kids as well. Take a look at the 16 high school students who represent the next generation of advocacy leadership and you’ll see what I mean.

And while you’re at it, go to the MOMS store and spend a few bucks. And don’t give me some nonsense about how you’re too broke to chip in. 

Can Gun ‘Rights’ And Gun ‘Control’ Groups Ever Agree?

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              Yesterday I received an email from a good friend who wanted to know my thoughts about a group – Gun Owners for Responsible Ownership – which claims to be a group of gun owners that wants to “take the lead to promote safe gun ownership and sensible laws and regulations.”

              When the NRA began to collapse following its brief honeymoon with Donald Trump, a whole bunch of gun organizations started to get some attention, most of them being groups that were more vociferous about their gun ‘rights’ than the boys from Fairfax, but there were also several groups which claimed to be interested in finding a ‘middle way’ between the pro-gun and anti-gun extremes. This group is in that latter camp.

              According to their website, their commitment to the 2nd Amendment goes hand in hand with a desire to promote “gun safety” through comprehensive background checks and secure storage of guns. They also partner with the gun-research group at the University of Michigan as well as a foundation that distributes free gun locks in Oregon public schools.

              Promoting academic gun research, safe storage and universal background checks happen to be priorities of all the gun-control groups. So, the fact that this group is committed to the same agenda but is made up of gun owners needs to be taken as perhaps an important straw blowing in the wind.

              The only problem (and here Mike the Gun Guy™ is going to do what he usually does to piss everyone off) is that the wind happens to be blowing the wrong way. You can call safe storage and universal background checks whatever you want to call them – responsible, accountable – I don’t care. The truth is that we do not suffer from gun-violence rates that are 7 to 20 times higher (thank you David Hemenway) than any other economically-advanced country because we don’t have universal background checks or because many gun owners don’t keep their guns locked away.

              We endure and suffer from more than 125,000 intentional and unintentional gun injuries every year for one, simple reason, which is that we are – ready? – the one country in the entire world which allows its residents to purchase, own and carry on their persons guns that are designed only to injure and kill human beings.

              Several years ago, our friends at The Trace published an inventory of more than 9,000 guns picked up by the cops connected to crimes throughout the United States. I took the trouble to analyze this entire listing and you can download and read my analysis of the data right here.

              On the other hand, if you don’t want to spend any time gorging your brain on my faultless prose, I’ll summarize this information by saying that we may own somewhere between 300 and 400 million guns, but most of those guns don’t have anything to do with gun violence at all.

              I couldn’t find one, single ‘crime’ gun on this entire list manufactured by such long-time manufacturers as Remington, Mossberg, Winchester, Browning, Marlin, or Savage Arms, which together have certainly produced more than 100 million of the guns privately owned.

              What are the guns that turn up again and again in the daily shootings which create our extraordinary gun-violence rates? Try Glock, Sig, Beretta, Smith & Wesson, Colt, and all the cheapie lookalike wanabees (Taurus, Kahr Arms) that are floating around.

              Now, the idea that such guns are considered ‘sporting’ arms by Gun-nut Nation just because they don’t fire in full-auto mode only goes to show you how far from reality the gun debate in this country remains.

              But the fact is that the gun-control groups buy into the same nonsense. They also want comprehensive background checks and safe storage of guns. The fact that there has never been one, single piece of published research which shows any connection between gun safety or background checks and gun violence rates, so what?

              Matter of fact, Colorado instituted universal background checks in 2013, a year when the overall gun violence rate was 11.44.  In 2019, the rate was 14.45. Gee, that’s only an increase in gun violence of 25 percent. No biggie, right?

              Want to reduce gun violence? It’s very simple. Get rid of the guns which are used to commit that violence. There’s simply no other way, no matter how ‘safe’ or ‘responsible’ we hope everyone will behave with their guns.

Why Do Americans Like Guns?

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              Yesterday I received an email from one of the gun-control organizations telling me that the time has come for all of us to support “bold, evidence-based comprehensive policies” to overcome “well-funded information campaigns” which have led a majority of Americans to believe that guns will keep them safe.

              Gun-control Nation has been running this narrative about the ‘well-funded’ pro-gun campaigns up the flagpole for almost the last thirty years. At the same time, evidence-based studies on gun violence definitively show that access to a gun increases, not decreases risk.

              How do we account for this cognitive dissonance between what the research shows and what a majority of Americans believe? It has to be all that money which Gun-nut Nation spends to define and promote their side of the debate, right?

              Unfortunately, there’s only one little problem with this point of view. And the problem lies in the assumption made and supported throughout Gun-control Nation-land, that people make up their minds about issues because one side outspends the other in getting their message across.

              And even if this assumption was true, the NRA happens to be broke, and none of the other pro-gun organizations have ever been known for spending money on politics at all. And even if they did, how do you compare what Gun-nut Nation gives in political donations to what Mike Bloomberg forks up alone? You can’t.

              According to Gallup, right now somewhere around 40 percent of American homes contain at least one gun, a number that has been dropping but-by-bit over the last twenty years. At the same time, the number of Americans who believe a home is safer with a gun is twice as high as the number who believe that a gun in the home makes you less safe.

              I don’t care how much money pro-gun groups like NRA spend on spreading their unique brand of ‘disinformation’ around about guns because little or any of that money is spent to reach Americans who don’t own guns.

              If you represent a state like my state – Massachusetts – in Congress, you don’t vote pro-gun. You don’t vote pro-gun because most Massachusetts residents don’t own guns. You vote pro-gun if you come to D.C. from states like Montana or Nebraska because everyone in those states owns a gun.

              But the issue of how people make up their minds about guns isn’t just a function of gun ownership. If the Gallup gun polls are at all accurate, there happen to be a lot of Americans who don’t own guns but also believe that having a gun is a better way to protect yourself than not having a gun. Forty percent of American homes contain a gun, but sixty percent of Americans think that a gun keeps you safe. Get it?

              I look at these polls and then I receive a well-intentioned email from a gun-control group complaining about the ‘disinformation’ being produced by the other side in the gun debate. My reaction is that there’s something wrong with what my friends in Gun-control Nation either believe or what they want me to believe, or both.

              If gun-control advocates and activists are convinced that we need more meaningful and effective gun laws in order to reduce gun violence, then how do you get such laws through Congress when a majority of your fellow Americans don’t happen to share your views on the risks represented by access to guns?

              You’re not going to persuade a lot of Americans who believe the ‘disinformation’ coming out of Gun-nut Nation to change their minds because you have done evidence-based research which shows that not owning a gun makes you safer than owning a gun. The only way you can possibly persuade these individuals to change their minds and come over to the gun-control side is to – ready? – try to figure why they believe a gun makes you safe.

              Back in the 1980’s two-thirds of gun owners said they owned a gun for hunting or sport, one-third said that the primary reason they owned a gun was to protect themselves and their families from harm. Forty years later, those percentages have reversed. Now for every American who says he owns a gun to go hunting, there are two gun owners who say they want to protect themselves with a gun.

              The standard explanation for this shift is usually the idea that hunting is simply an outdoor activity which is no longer why people go out to the outdoors. But I don’t think this is true. Because if it was, how come the people who stopped hunting or never hunted decided they needed a gun for self-defense? Why didn’t they just decide not to buy a personal-defense gun?

              For all the talk by Gun-control Nation about the dangers to community safety that exist because so many people own or are buying guns to protect themselves or protect someone else, I have yet to see a single, serious piece of research which even attempts to figure out why almost two-thirds of Americans believe that a gun keeps you safe.

              Given how the gun-control community seems to venerate evidence-based research to develop strategies for reducing gun violence, you would think that there would be at least some attempt to do some research that would provide answers to one, very simple question: Why do people like guns?

              Not a single researcher has ever asked me to explain why I have 50 or 60 guns lying around.

If New York’s Sullivan Law Goes Away, What Difference Will It Make?

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When I lived in New York City, I could carry a concealed gun because I was the manager of a wholesale gun business. In 1983, the day after I notified the police that I was closing down the business because we had sold the building we used for our offices and warehouse, two cops came by from the Licensing Division, took my gun away and told me I could have it back if I applied for a license to own and keep a handgun in my city home.

This process brought me into contact with the city’s infamous Sullivan Law, passed in 1911, which is going to be challenged in the Supreme Court next year. The law only requires a background check in order to keep a gun anywhere within the city, I can even take the gun outside of my apartment if I am going to a shooting range to keep up my shooting skills.

On the other hand, if I want to walk around with a concealed weapon, I have to apply for a different license and I must convince a hearing officer in the Licensing Division that I need to carry a gun because I have either personal safety issues or business reasons which cannot be handled by the normal, everyday policing of the NYPD.

This process, known as discretionary, or ‘may issue’ licensing, was the rule until the mid-1990’s, when a majority of states passed laws allowing for concealed-carry of a weapon (CCW) without any special reason at all. There are now only 8 states which still require someone who wants to protect themselves with a gun outside of their home to justify this desire based on some special need.

The states which still give the cops discretion as to who can and who cannot carry a gun outside the home are CA, HI, MD, DE, NJ, NY, MA, and RI. It is assumed that if the SCOTUS overturns the Sullivan Law, the discretionary, ‘may issue’ laws will quickly disappear in the other states as well.

I happen to live in one of the remaining ‘may issue’ states – Massachusetts. But in fact, police chiefs in just about every jurisdiction in Massachusetts, with the exception of the three large cities – Boston, Springfield, Worcester – routinely grant CCW without any kind of interview or intervention at all.

Before 2002, when Massachusetts moved all state licensing to a central location which was also the office which actually produced the physical license and mailed it to the local chief, many of the small-town cops didn’t even bother to send the application into the state for the background check. As one chief in a town of some 600 residents explained to me, “I know everybody in the town.”

Want to read a really good article which sums up what guns mean to cops in small towns?  You can download it right here. Basically, the article finds that rural cops have a very different view about guns than cops in big cities, because there are endless shootings in urban centers, whereas in the small towns the only thing that gets shot is a deer or a bird.

If the SCOTUS strikes down the Sullivan Law, I can guarantee you that the New York City cops will find some other way to keep law-abiding city residents from getting their hands on guns. Last year, Connecticut’s Governor, Ned Lamont, shut down the state’s fingerprint-processing office because of the Pandemic, which effectively kept anyone applying for a gun license to be approved. He was taken to court by a pro-gun group and was ordered to re-open the office which he did, briefly, and now he’s shut it down again.

Want to walk around town with a gun in your pocket to keep yourself safe and sound? Don’t live in a high-crime place like New York City. Live in some small town like where I live where your CCW application will be immediately approved.

Of course, there hasn’t been a violent crime of any kind committed in my town since a neighbor’s kid ran his dirt bike over my front yard and left some tread marks on the lawn.

[Thanks Gail.]

A New Documentary About The NRA. Guess What? It’s Not Pro-NRA.

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              Next week a new documentary, The Price of Freedom, is going to open at theaters around the country.  The movie was made by Judd Ehrlich, a skilled and well-known documentary film-maker, and it’s a look at how the NRA has morphed from being an organization devoted to hunting and sport shooting to an organization that increasingly pushes a radical, far-right agenda about guns. You can view a 2-minute trailer here.

              Guess which side the film comes down on?  Hint: It was shown at the Tribeca Film Festival. And now the film is getting the usual positive notices by the usual liberal media sources like thefailing New York Times.  Actually, the NYT stock price has gone down from $49 on January 20th to $42 today, so maybe the NYT is failing. But what would you expect when Joe and the Deep State are turning the country into a Socialist mess? Anyway, back to reality.

              Talking about reality, Ehrlich’s new film is a realistic view of the NRA’s shift into media stupidity and crowd-pleasing, alt-right pandering during the administration of what’s his name, which began before the election was stolen last year, but today, America’s ‘first civil rights organization’ has once again begun to follow its traditional path. Gone from their website are the loony and vicious video tantrums of Dana Loesch, gone are the conspiracy theories of Grant Stinchfield, gone is the AR-wielding, prancing around of Colion Noir.

              For the boys in Fairfax, it’s back to business as usual, which means sending out the monthly magazine to the members, planning for the annual meeting that’s coming up in September at Houston and re-stocking the online store with what is really a very good collection of clothing and other goodies that promote the NRA.

              I’m assuming that Ehrlich took his camera to an NRA annual show, I’m also assuming that after the interviews with all the big machers like Clinton, et. al., that Ehrlich took the trouble to sit down with a couple of your average, NRA types who are members more out of habit than anything else. If he did, he would discover what I have known since I attended my first NRA show in 1980, namely, that most of the people whose yearly payment of dues is what keeps the organization alive, pay their dues out of habit and could care less about what the leadership says or does.

              Do most NRA members vote Republican? Gee, what a surprise. Are most NRA members older, White males who drive around in a truck? Another big surprise. Do most NRA members believe that liberals want to take away their guns? Surprised me again.

              My response to those surprises is – so what? If you think that NRA members voted for Trump because they really believed he would stand up and fight for their ‘rights,’ think again. Every Republican candidate for President has showed up at every annual meeting of the NRA and promised to protect the 2nd Amendment since Ronald Reagan showed up in 1980 and pledged the same thing.

              When I go to the annual NRA show these days there’s a good chance that I’ll be introduced to the children of NRA members I have been meeting and greeting for the last 40 years. In fact, at the more recent shows I’m introduced to grandchildren. The NRA show is no different from the yearly get-together of the Shriners, except maybe the NRA folks don’t get quite as drunk.

              Incidentally, Judd Ehrlich’s idea that the NRA has been promoting a complete dissolution of all gun laws is simply not true. In fact, the NRA always refers to its members as ‘law-abiding gun owners,’ and it’s not all that easy to abide by laws that don’t exist. The argument between the NRA and its opponents is about whether laws which regulate the behavior of lawful gun owners make any difference insofar as more than 85% of all gun violence, including suicides, happen to be committed by individuals who, generally speaking, don’t obey any laws at all.

Welcome To The NRA: Weisser, Michael R.: 9798505387108: Amazon.com: Books

Not Yet 21 But Need A Handgun? You Can Buy One Now.

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Yesterday, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals just gave the gun industry a very nice gift. They decided a case which if the opinion stands, will allow persons between 18 and 20 years of age to buy and own handguns. There happen to be about 13 million men and women in that age bracket which means that every, single one of them might now be considered as possible customers for owning a handgun.

If you take the trouble to read the majority opinion written by a judge who was put on the bench by Donnie Trump, you’ll find yourself in the same kind of never-never land thinking that was thrown out of virtually every court that Rudy Giuliani and a couple of other so-called attorneys tried to convince about the 2020 election ‘theft.’  The entire opinion, which basically throws out a provision of the gun-control law passed in 1968 (GCA68), rests on a long-winded historical recitation of pre-Constitutional militia laws, plus a selective reading of data on whether guns in the hands of people under the age of 21 represents a community threat.

Behind this approach is the majority’s concern about gun-control laws which would relegate the 2nd Amendment to a ‘second-class’ status, a phrase first used by Clarence Thomas when the SCOTUS refused to hear another 2nd-Amendment case. The dissenting judge, who was appointed by Obama, responded to this concern with this: “Indeed, in a country that boasts a Congress, bench, bar, academy, and electorate that are all attentive to the prerogatives of gun owners, where many may conceal their weapons,1 carry them openly,2 or “stand their ground,”3 and where civilian gun ownership rates are second to none,4 the majority’s second-class status concern is simply surreal.” [pp. 89-90.]

The dissenting judge also reminded his colleagues that GCA68 does not make it illegal for persons under the age of 21 to own or possess handguns, the law simply prevents federally-licensed gun dealers from selling handguns to anyone who is not yet 21-years-old. The judge then goes on to say, and here’s where the rubber truly meets the road, that “the Second Amendment is exceptional not because it is uniquely oppressed or imperiled, but rather because it is singularly capable of causing harm.” [ p. 90.]

Bingo!  That’s what this case is really all about.  Forget all this malarky about whether a kid who was in some state militia back in 1764 could walk into the town’s gun shop and buy a handgun to take home.  There weren’t any gun shops doing business in 1764.

Forget this nonsense about how all these millions of law-abiding Americans are walking around with guns and keeping themselves and their neighbors safe. There’s about as much truth to that crap as there is to the claim that thousands of phony mail-in ballots mysteriously showed up in Pennsylvania and moved that state’s 20 electoral votes to Joe instead of to – what’s his name?

But sometimes even the most flagrant lies and distortions end up being regarded as true. It turns out, for example, that the self-styled militia groups like the Three Percenters and the Oath Keepers are now realigning themselves to oppose the government’s promotion of getting vaccinated against Covid-19. Want to prove you’re a real American? Spend a week on a ventilator at your local ICU.

In sum, I happen to think this 4th Circuit decision to let gun dealers sell handguns to kids is a good thing. Because maybe, just maybe it will make my friends in Gun-control Nation ask themselves what we really should do to reduce the injuries and deaths caused by the use of guns.

We don’t need to prevent someone who is 19-years-old from buying a semi-automatic pistol which holds 17 rounds of military-grade ammunition and can be reloaded in 5 seconds or less.  We need to restrict everyone from buying and walking around with those types of guns.

Want to keep a handgun in your house in case one of those ‘street thugs’ tries to break his way in?  I’ll sell you a nice, used, six-shot revolver for $299.95. It will do the job just fine.

Celebrate The 4th – Shoot Someone With A Gun!

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The more I think about it, the more I believe that the good residents of the city of Chicago have found the perfect way to celebrate America’s birthday, which is to get out there with their guns in the streets of the Windy City and mow everyone down. 

After all, what’s more uniquely American than the 2nd Amendment? And the 2nd Amendment says that every red-blooded American is entitled to own a gun.

 And by the way, the 2nd Amendment doesn’t say that I have to possess a license to own a gun. It also doesn’t say I have to be of a certain age to own a gun. So why is everyone always making such a big deal about ‘legal’ versus ‘illegal’ guns?

I think we need more, not less Americans to behave on July 4th the way that Chicago behaved on America’s birthday when 17 people were killed and another 87 were wounded with guns.

And don’t think there wasn’t plenty of competition from other cities whose residents decided to celebrate July 4th in this same, uniquely American way.

In Cincinnati, two teens shot each other dead and three other teens were wounded when an argument between two kids turned into a gunfight because they both were carrying guns. In New York City, the weekend shooting toll was at least 25 victims. All in all, the holiday weekend running from July 2nd through July 4th may have produced 500 shooting victims countrywide, including at least 145 who ended up dead.

Every year the TV news always starts its coverage of the July 4th celebration by talking about the crush in airports and on highways because the ‘holiday travel’ story is a demonstration that the country is alive and well. It was particularly an important story this year because it was a reminder again of how we are finally getting out from under Covid-19.

But maybe next year the media might want to consider starting off the holiday weekend coverage with a screenshot of a couple of kids cleaning and loading their guns or shooting at some old tin cans in the back yard. And then the story can always bring in some idiot who brags about how he never leaves home without his gun because he has the God-given ‘right’ to defend himself from all those ‘thugs’ in the street.

Now that the weekend has ended, we will for sure be treated to the other notable American tradition, which will be a noisy argument about what kind of laws we should pass to keep Americans from killing each other in this uniquely-American way. Other countries don’t share this tradition because they already have laws that keep guns not just out of the ‘wrong’ hands but out of everyone’s hands.

Incidentally, the numbers I stated above about how 145 out of 500 shooting victims died over the weekend has to be a serious undercount of the total who got shot. There’s simply no way that the guys who banged away this weekend have practiced enough to kill only one out of three persons who got shot.  I’m willing to bet that the overall holiday shooting toll will be more like 700 or 800 victims, if only that.

For those among you who are concerned about this penchant we seem to have for killing each other with such abandon and evident delight, is that the July 4th holiday only comes once a year. Which means that beginning next weekend, the number of people who get killed and wounded with guns can drift back down to 300 gun murders and assaults – the normal weekend rate.

In 2019, less than 4% of all the victims of gun violence were under 14 years old. The reports from this past weekend, however, seem to indicate that younger kids are now engaged in gun violence both as victims and shooters of guns.

There’s nothing like getting the next generation ready to share in a traditional way of life, right?

Gun Violence | TeeTee Press

How Do We Know That Gun Violence Is Up?

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              Now that the death rate from Covid-19 is beginning to finally bottom out, with an average count over the past week of less than 350 deaths per day, everyone is starting to get worried again about the number of people dying because they have been shot by guns. So far this year, it appears that gunfire has killed more than 8,100 people, or 54 fatal shootings every day. Meanwhile, during the previous six years, the daily gun-homicide average was 14 deaths per day.

              These numbers come from our friends at the Gun Violence Archive (GVA), which has been tracking shootings since 2014.  The GVA scrapes information about gun violence from a variety of open-source venues, including media and other websites, online police reports, government, and other digital repositories, all together totaling 7,500 sources which may or may not contain daily data about injuries caused by guns.

              The good news is that the GVA website gives you current numbers, whereas the information aggregated by the FBI and the CDC is, at best, several years behind. The GVA listings also allow for studying the details about individual gun events and can be searched by individual shooting events in specific states.

              The not so good news is that because most of the data appears to be lifted from online media reports, the degree to which such reports really capture gun violence trends is often determined by the old news adage about how the editors decide what stories get the daily space, i.e., if it bleeds, it leads.

              Unfortunately, a murder always seems to bleed more than an aggravated assault. Which is why the GVA gun violence numbers are probably near reality when it comes to counting homicides, but don’t come close to telling us what we need to know about non-fatal gun assaults. Because the truth is that the only difference, the only difference between fatal and non-fatal gun assaults is that in the latter case, the guy with the gun didn’t shoot straight.

              The CDC used to publish an annual number for non-fatal gun injuries but has deleted the numbers for every year since 2012. Prior to that year, their yearly estimate was somewhere around 60,000, give or take another 15,000 shooting events. In other words, the CDC was admitting that it’s methodology for estimating non-fatal gun assaults was so weak that maybe the actual number was 50% higher (or lower) than what their numbers actually show.

              So, when the media carries a story today about the surge in gun violence which seems to be happening throughout the United States, the data being used to track this surge only counts what is probably less than one-third of all such events, and could be even less than one-tenth, or even less than that. 

              The World Health Organization (that’s the organization we used to belong to) defines violence as an intentional attempt to injure yourself or someone else. The injury can be fatal or non-fatal, it can be physical or psychological. Either way, intentional attempts to injure someone else which result in that person’s death, are a small part of a much larger whole.

              We can get a partial image of this larger whole by looking at the numbers published by the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) which is an annual report out of the Department of Justice based on interviews with 160,000 respondents in roughly 95,000 households throughout the U.S. Like every other government report, there are the usual complaints about accuracy, reliability, blah, blah, blah, and blah.

              Be that as it may, the 2019 report, which you can download here, shows that there were more than a million assaults that year. Although the type of weapon isn’t specified, we can assume that many of those assaults involved guns.

              The bottom line is that we really have absolutely no idea about whether gun violence is going up or going down. So how do you figure out a new law to prevent or reduce gun violence when you can’t tell whether the law, once enacted, will work at all? 

              You can’t.

Why Are Guns Lethal: 9781536814002: Reference Books @ Amazon.com

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