Want To Own a Gun? Join The Holton Militia

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              Want to live in what may be the safest community in the United States? Try a place called Holton, which is in Michigan, located about 10 miles from Lake Michigan, and has some 2,500 people living in 900 or so habitable dwellings, and 98% of these residents are white.

              You can buy a nice, three-bedroom house in Holton for $150,000 and for entertainment you can go to the high school and watch the Red Devils play volleyball which they won the state title in 1994.olton

              What else can you do in Holton? Not a goddamn thing. But the good news is that you don’t have to worry about crime because Holton’s crime rate is just a bout half the rate of crime throughout the United States.  That’s safe, okay?

              Be that as it may, things will be a lot safer now in Holton since the town just decided to form a citizen’s militia for the purpose of protecting everyone, or at least protecting everyone’s 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’

              The good people of Holton were forced to take this brave, new step in community safety because that crazy, liberal Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, just signed legislation which Michigan residents take guns away from other people just because the gun grabbers don’t like the fact that a neighbor might actually own a gun.

              The laws signed by Whitmer are referred to as ‘red flag’ laws, the name representing what is commonly considered a signal of danger, i.e., the display of a red flag.

              As far as I know, there are now 21 states plus D.C. which have some kind of ‘red flag’ law, which is more formally known as an ERPO law, meaning Extreme Risk Protection Order, which does exactly what these words mean.

              These laws allow anyone to go into court and petition to have guns removed from the home of someone who appears to be acting in a nutty or violent kind of way, with such behavior being much more of a threat if that crazy person happens to be in possession of a gun.

              ERPO laws, which first appeared in Connecticut in 1999, differ somewhat from state to state, but basically the law is only imposed after a judge is satisfied that an ERPO can only be imposed when solid proof has been presented which clearly demonstrates the need to remove someone’s guns.

              The ERPO process involves multiple hearings, opportunities for appeal and the intervention of police authorities if a gun or guns must be removed. In other words, these laws can only be applied consistent with Constitutional protections for gun ‘rights.’  Which is a nice-sounding statement but doesn’t satisfy America’s gun nuts.

              When the NRA refers to its members as law-abiding gun owners, the organization is describing people who have not yet committed a crime. But committing a crime is one thing, predicting that a crime might be committed is something else. And that’s where Gun-nut Nation draws the line regarding red flag laws.

              Actually, where Gun-nut Nation draws the line is not on ERPO laws per se, but on any more gun laws of any kind. Right now, roughly 60% of all Americans believe that gun laws could be stricter, 40% say the laws are either too strict or don’t need to be changed.

              What’s the percentage of American with a gun in the house? Try 40%, okay? In a town like Holton, however, probably just about everyone in the town owns guns.

              Which is why, on November 14, Holton passed a resolution declaring the town to be a 2nd-Amendment sanctuary and appended a declaration which created a 2nd-Amendment ‘militia,’ except nobody knows what the militia is supposed to do. You can sign up to join the militia if you can pass a background check which is required even in 2nd-Amendment sanctuaries before you can buy a gun.

              Once you have signed up to be a member of the Holton militia, you have effectively done everything that militia members are required to do. This is because, according to the Town Manager, there is no actual plan to form a group of any kind that will perform militia-like activities such as practicing marksmanship or marching around.

              In other words, the Holton militia exists on paper and in people’s minds. Which the more I think about it, is why every city and town in America should require its gun-owning residents to belong to a group like the Holton militia or else they can’t own any guns.

Will We Ever Learn Who’s Doing All That Shooting?

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              Last week there were two legal decisions involving guns, and each side got one win. Gun-nut Nation was given a gift by a Federal judge in West Virginia, who ruled that a law prohibiting persons under 21 from buying a handgun was a violation of 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’ In California, the state Court of Appeals said that a law giving personal information about individuals who bought guns could be shared with qualified gun researchers.

              No doubt, both decisions will be appealed but I’m not convinced that either of the laws that are the subjects of these rulings have any real relevance or value to the one gun issue which remains to be solved, and the issue is: what do we do to reduce gun violence which results in more than 100,000 deaths and serious injuries every year?

              The last year for which we have any data – 2021 – gives us 26,000 suicides and 21,000 homicides involving guns (I’m slightly rounding off.) We don’t have a number for aggravated assaults, i.e., non-fatal, intentional gun injuries, but this number was probably somewhere around another 70,000, give or take a thousand here or a thousand there.

              So, altogether we probably had 115,000 injuries and deaths from guns, and we only have any data on the shooters who were suicide victims, which means we don’t really know anything about how and why the other 80% of the gun-violence events occurred. It’s all fine and well to talk about the socio-economic-ethnic status of the victims of gun violence, but to refer to such information as an epidemiology of the problem is to use nomenclature which is simply not true.

              Garen Wintemute, the leading gun researcher in California who says that the ability to use personal information about gun owner represents “an important victory for science,” describes gun violence from an epidemiological perspective in published research, but what he tells us about the types of individuals who do the shooting, as opposed to the individuals who get shot, hardly qualifies his work as an exercise in epidemiological research.

              The problem is that all those intentional fatal and non-fatal injuries where someone shoots someone else happen not only to be instances of violence but are also crimes. So, first you have to catch the shooter, which happens in about half the murders and maybe one-quarter of the aggravated assaults, but then you are dealing with incarcerated individuals who aren’t about to talk to anyone except a legal representative if they talk to anyone at all.

              How do you craft laws to prevent certain behaviors when you don’t know anything about the background, the motives or the circumstances surrounding a particular type of behavior which results in the commission of a violent crime?

              We do know one thing about individuals who commit aggravated assault with a gun, which is that every one of those shootings would have resulted in a murder if the shooter knew how to shoot straight. People who want to use a gun violently don’t aim at their victim’s knee. In fact, the reason that most shootings occur with the use of hi-capacity handguns and rifles is because the shooters usually just blast away, or what the cops refer to as ‘spray and pray.’

              I have never understood why so much ink is spilled on arguing about whether a ‘mass shooting’ should be defined just by the number of people killed or should be defined by the number of individuals both wounded and killed. As far as I’m concerned, a mass shooting should be defined by the number of shots that were fired at the scene. At least such an approach would give us some idea about what was going on in the head of the shooter when he yanked out his gun.

              If my research friends in Gun-control Nation would tell the powers that be about the need to access data not just on the victims of gun violence but the perpetrators as well, perhaps we might be able to figure out some new regulations that would finally bring the awful rate of gun violence down to where it should really be.

              Last month I was involved in a collision with another vehicle, the cop showed up and interviewed for the accident report. How come we can create such data for cars but not for guns?

How Many Americans Really Own Guns?


              Everyone knows and trusts the RAND Corporation to conduct serious and valid research on issues of paramount concern, which it has been doing now since 1948. In particular, their work is often cited by government agencies both to define challenges, as well as to help set priorities to meet specific needs.

              The company’s motto is ‘objective analysis, effective solutions,’ which together guide the organization’s research resulting last year in more than 800 reports and journal articles – whew!

              One of the areas where RAND has been creating a presence and doing research is gun violence, covered by RAND in a specific research initiative, Gun Policy in America, which attempts to examine the role and value of different laws and programs on current gun violence trends.

              I happen to have just finished looking at a database published by RAND in 2020 which gives an estimate for the number of gun-owning households in each state. This is a fundamental issue in the whole question of gun violence because it is taken as a given that our excessive rate of gun violence is somehow connected to a civilian arsenal which numbers somewhere between 300 million up to above 400 million guns.

              The data on ownership covers the years 1980 through 2016 and shows an overall national gun-owning average in 2016 of 32%, down from 45% in 1980. Of course, given that the national population has increased from 226 million to 327 million over those 36 years, if these estimates are correct, it means that there are at least 3 million more households with guns at the latter date.

              To arrive at the national; and state-level estimates of gun ownership, the research group tracked 4 data trends: (1). Firearm suicides; (2). Hunting licenses; (3). subscriptions to Guns and Ammo magazine; and (4). background checks. This is a rather interesting collection of data used to count households with guns, since background checks in most states didn’t start to begin until 1998 or 1999. As for Guns and Ammo magazine, although its monthly printing runs some 10 million, at least half that total goes to newsstands and other retail outlets whose locations aren’t known.

              All that being said, however, I have a much more fundamental problem with the attempt by RAND to correlate gun ownership with gun violence on a state-by-state basis and my problem is simply this: the data being used to calculate or estimate household gun ownership is counting different categories of legally owned guns. Individuals who are not legally allowed to own guns aren’t in the habit of buying hunting licenses, nor are they going to undergo background checks.

              On the other hand, the behavior which constitutes 80% of all gun violence events (homicides and aggravated assaults) is overwhelmingly committed by individuals who are not using legally acquired or legally owned guns. How can you make any kind of correlation between the number of legal gun owners on the one hand, and the number of gun assaults committed by individuals who are not legally entitled to own guns?

              You can make such a correlation all the time, and such correlations have been floating around gun violence research circles for years. But there is no valid reason to assume that such correlations explain anything about gun violence at all.

              I am still waiting for anyone from RAND or anywhere else to try and figure out how many guns are in households where guns, legally speaking, don’t belong. I would also be happy to see one gun violence researcher who even admits that maybe, just maybe, we need to figure out the reasons for gun violence from the perspective of crime, as opposed to the seemingly endless wringing of hands about how all those shootings occur because the poor kids in the inner city have nothing better to do with their time.

              Don’t get me wrong. Like Hobbes, I believe that human lives are nasty, brutish, and short, particularly when those lives have to be lived on a shoestring budget or less. But this doesn’t take away from the fact that gun violence as a response to social dislocation and gun violence as a crime are two differing explanations where the gap seems to be getting wider all the time.

              Is it therefore any surprise that the amount of gun violence also keeps growing all the time?

Do We Need To Worry About Concealed-Carry of Guns?


              Since it appears that guns will be an important issue in 2024, it seems to me that what my friends in Gun-control Nation should do is make sure they have all their facts straight about gun violence and gun control.

              In that regard, liberals often depend on reportage in The New Yorker Magazine, which has given us some very important and incisive perspectives on political issues (civil rights, Viet Nam, détente) over the years.

              One of the magazine’s noted reporters in this regard, Amy Davidson Sorkin, has just published a comment about guns in the May 29th Talk of the Town section, and I hate to say it, but when it comes to framing a proper argument about guns, gun violence and what to do about both, she just doesn’t get it at all.

              After correcting Donald Trump for his hideously-stupid comments that he made about guns during the CNN Town Hall (but that was par for the course since everything he said was hideously stupid) Sorkin then goes on to say that we are approaching “a particularly critical moment in the story of guns in America,” based on the easing of judicial restraints on owning and walking around with concealed guns, as well as allowing gun owners to carry concealed weapons without any specific licensing process at all.

              The notion that our high rate of gun violence is caused by the number of guns in civilian hands forms a bedrock belief of the gun-control community alongside the other fundamental assumption that guns carried around by civilians who legally own those guns is also a primary explanation for the 100,000+ fatal and non-fatal assaults caused by the misuse of those guns.

              The problem with the more guns equals more gun violence argument, however, is that most of those 400 million privately-owned guns are never used to commit any kind of violent assaults at all. The weapon of ‘choice’ for most shootings is a bottom-loading, semi-automatic pistol holding military-style ammunition, and while such guns are now added to the civilian arsenal at the rate of 3 to 4 million a year, they were basically unknown in this country until the 1980’s, when European companies like Glock and Sig began to ship their guns over here.

The other problem with the argument about the alleged impact of loosening gun-control regulations, is that there has yet to be one single study which attempts to determine exactly how many of those 100,000+ gun-violence events which have become a routine part of the American behavioral landscape are committed by individuals with legal versus illegal access to guns. Until we make at least some effort to figure out the actual connection between the legal status of guns which are used to commit all that carnage every year, what’s the point of even arguing about whether we should or should not be making it more or less legally difficult to walk around the neighborhood with a gun?

              Between 2007 and 2022, the Violence Policy Center (VPC) found open-source references which counted 2,240 individuals killed by persons with concealed-carry access to guns, of whom 1,271 were suicides. In other words, of the slightly more than 200,000 intentional fatal gun assaults which took place over those 14 years, roughly .005% (one-half of one percent) were committed by the types of individuals whose legal access to a concealed weapon makes Amy Sorkin and her gun-control colleagues convinced that gun-carrying Armageddon is near at hand.

              Granted, the data collected by the VPC is hardly comprehensive or exact. But even if we were to double, or triple, or quadruple the shootings committed by individuals who are legally armed, how do you begin to compare that problem to the hundreds of thousands of gun assaults committed by individuals who cannot qualify to be owners of guns?

              This excerpt from Billy Bathgate, is how the novel’s author, E. L. Doctorow, describes the feelings of a teenage boy who just got his hands on his first, real gun:

The gun means nothing until it’s really yours. And then what happens, you understand that if you don’t make it yours you are dead, you have created the circumstance, but has its own free-standing rage, available to anyone, and this is what you take into yourself, like an anger that they’ve done this to you, the people who are staring at your gun, that it’s their intolerable crime to be the people you are waving this gun at. And at that moment you are no longer a punk, you have found the anger that was really in you all the time.

              The kid in Doctorow’s novel who is thinking about how that newly acquired gun will transform him from being a punk to being a big, tough man represents what gun violence in the United States is really all about. And if Amy Davidson Sorkin wants to help us figure out how to deal with the real-life kids whose access to guns will ultimately result in hundreds of thousands getting wounded and killed every year, maybe she should spend a little more time thinking about how to prevent those kids from getting their hands on illegal guns, and a little less time worrying about how legal gun owners behave with their guns.

Can Gun Responsibility Replace Gun Control?


              Every time there’s a shooting which makes national news, the pro-gun movement gets religion and offers ‘thoughts and prayers,’ while the anti-gun movement comes up with yet another euphemism which they believe will make some gun owners think that they, the anti-gun people, aren’t against guns.

              In the olden days, which was back when the NRA’s national headquarters was located in downtown D.C. within walking distance of the FBI, nobody had any problem with using the term ‘gun control.’ This was because in those olden days nobody talked about guns.

              The government passed two gun laws during the 1930’s which basically made it a long, drawn-out process if you wanted to buy a machine gun. These laws also required gun dealers to register with the government and keep records on who bought guns. But nobody ever came around to look at those records, so nobody cared about guns.

              This all changed after JFK was shot in 1963. It took five years for the government to pass another gun law, but when they did enact a law in 1968, the legal landscape involving guns fundamentally changed.

              First and foremost, we now had a national police force, the ATF, whose agents went around to every federally licensed gun dealer to make sure they were following the rules. This law also required that every interstate movement of any kind of gun had to go from one licensed dealer to another licensed dealer, which meant that the entire commerce of guns in the United States was now under government control.

              It was during the debate over this 1968 law that the term ‘gun control’ first reared its ugly head. All of a sudden, if you supported the idea that the gun industry needed to be regulated far beyond the regulations imposed on other consumer goods, you supported gun ‘control.’ If you didn’t understand how or why the government needed to treat guns differently than the way they treated the sale of cigarettes or cars, you were against gun ‘control.’

              The pro-gun movement began to demonize ‘gun control’ after 1977, when the NRA became much more focused on direct, political action to promote 2nd-Amendment ‘rights,’ and shifted from an organization primarily concerned with guns for hunting and sport to guns for self-defense. In that respect, the NRA’s strategy was simply a recognition of the degree to which the organization would have eventually disappeared had it continued to promote a hunting culture which was also on the way out.

              Even though the government passed two gun bills in 1994 (assault weapons ban and Brady), these legislative initiatives did not coincide with any growth of a mass, anti-gun movement, the latter only coming about in 2013 following the massacre at Sandy Hook. The driving force in this respect was a decision by Mike Bloomberg whose personal financial resources matched or succeeded the NRA’s coffers, to develop a national, grass roots, anti-gun movement which in turn led to the appearance of Shannon Watts and her MOMS.

              The moment that anti-gun activity went big-time, however, the leadership of Bloomberg’s effort plus other groups (Brady, Giffords) realized that talking about guns as products which needed to be ‘controlled’ was too toxic a narrative to capture support from anyone on the other side.

              So, the phrase ‘gun control’ disappeared and was replaced by ‘gun violence prevention’ (GVP) which has now been replaced by ‘safety’ or ‘responsibility’ as ways to define the proper behavior of gun owners who don’t want to give up their guns.

              How does the anti-gun movement want ‘responsible’ gun owners to behave with their guns? The guns should always be locked up or locked away, the gun owners should spend time being trained, there should be no transfer of any gun to anyone without a background check and nobody should be walking around with a concealed weapon unless this conduct has been approved by the police.

              So, the United States will continue to have a civilian arsenal which will contain as many as 60 million guns that are also issued and used by the military and the police, but we won’t continue to suffer 100,000 – 125,000 intentional gun injuries every year because we will all behave responsibly with our guns.

              And anyone who wants to believe that nonsense should fly out and spend a weekend with the Martians who live at Area 51.  

Just What the Neighborhood Needs: A New Gun-Control Organization.

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Back in the olden days, meaning the 20th Century, the gun-control movement consisted of a couple of D.C.-based lobbying groups, chief among them the Brady Group which got the background-check gun bill and a ten-year assault rifle bill signed by Clinton in 1994.

The NRA, on the other hand, had connections to gun owners all over the country by dint of sponsoring shooting matches at various public ranges, as well as having display booths at hundreds of gun shows which were held in just about all 50 states.

The NRA’s public presence and lobbying efforts were so much a part of the sporting and shooting landscape, that Bill Clinton’s declaration about how Al Gore lost the 2000 election because the NRA beat him in his home state of Tennessee went unchallenged for the next twenty years.

The NRA’s dominance of the gun debate, however, was shattered by the massacre at Sandy Hook, as well as the appearance and growth of well-financed gun-control efforts, chief among them Mike Bloomberg’s Everytown and its alliance with Shannon Watts and her MOMS group.

Almost overnight it seemed, gun-control organizations and groups started to bloom, with Gabby Giffords promoting gun control after recovering from a near-fatal shooting in 2011, and the Brady Group building membership within individual states.

You would think that with all the increased attention on gun violence generated by these new organizational initiatives, along with a weakening of NRA activities over the past couple of years, that strategies and measures would be adopted that would show some degree of a lessening of gun violence rates.

To the contrary, the per-100K rate for intentional, fatal gun injuries in 2012 was 10.45; in 2020 it was 13.58. So, in the eight years since gun-control organizational activity and advocacy began to surge after 2012, the fatal gun violence rate has increased by 30 percent! We don’t have any official gun violence numbers for the last several years, but nobody is expecting anything but further increases given the impact of Covid-19.

And what does Gun-control Nation come up with in response to a public health threat which has become endemic to a degree not experienced in any other advanced country? It’s another gun-control organization, in this case devoted to preventing or at least reducing gun violence in other countries by bringing legal actions against American gun makers whose business practices are designed to supply “the criminal gun market in Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean, and countries in Latin America and elsewhere.”

So says the website of Global Action on Gun Violence, the brainchild of Jonathan Lowy, who was Counsel for Brady for 25 years, during which time he claims to have litigated and won more than $100 million in verdicts and settlements for gun violence victims, along with all kinds of other legal victories creating ‘groundbreaking precedent’ to hold gun makers responsible for causing gun violence.

Back in 2021, Lowy evidently helped the Mexican government to develop and file a lawsuit against 6 major gun manufacturers, including Smith & Wesson, Beretta, and Glock, which was initially dismissed because of PLCCA, but apparently is now going to be reviewed by the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals. The suit alleges that these gun makers knowingly sold guns to dealers and distributors for the purpose of moving guns into the hands of Mexican criminals and therefore violating various Mexican laws covering illegal ownership and use of guns.

Before I get into the details of this lawsuit, it should be mentioned that the export market for American gun makers and dealers represents somewhere between 3% and 6% of the guns manufactured in the U.S. every year.  In 2019, the most recent year for this data (from the ATF), the gun industry manufactured 7,011,945 guns and exported 317,482 guns. In other words, gun exports represented 4.5% of all domestic gun production that year. Big deal.

Getting back to the lawsuit (which you can download here) the complaint is nothing more than the same, old ‘rotten apple’ gun dealer narrative which has been floating around since the government started regulating gun dealers in the 1930’s and then made ATF responsible for inspecting and managing dealer behavior with the gun law passed in 1968.

We’ve been hearing this blah-blah-blah for years about how most gun dealers are ‘honest’ but there some rotten apples out there who are either not inspected by the ATF or are allowed to continue selling guns after an inspection finds that relevant laws aren’t being followed.

Back in 1999, the Clinton Administration made a deal with Smith & Wesson that would have required the company to police its dealers by physically visiting every gun dealer in the United States who sold just one S&W gun a year. I’ll spare you the details of this scheme, but the bottom line is that it would have put Smith & Wesson out of business.

Lowy’s lawsuit mentions this agreement, and states that it collapsed because S&W ‘reneged’ on the deal. Actually, it was the government which, after a Democrat named Clinton was replaced by a Republican named Bush, told S&W that the deal was dead. And by the way, had the agreement remained in effect, it would have immunized S&W from all tort suits, so bye-bye Lowy’s scheme to use tort litigation to regulate the gun business.

This new organizational effort to deal with gun violence does absolutely nothing except promote the careers and public presence of a couple of D.C.-based lawyers who are trying to carve out a new, little niche for themselves in the gun-control debate.

When it comes to reducing gun violence, this is the best we can do?

Best and Brightest: Shannon Watts.

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              So, this week we get a piece of news which has no doubt brought joy to the hearts of Gun-nut Nation and sorrow to the hearts of advocates on the gun-control side. I‘m talking about the announcement by Shannon Watts that she’s hanging the whole thing up.

              That’s right. The woman who founded and built the most important and worthwhile grass-roots effort to reduce gun violence has decided, at age 50, to take a break.

              Knowing the way Shannon’s been running around the country for the past ten years, frankly, I’m both surprised and awestruck that she lasted this long. And don’t quote me, okay? But we haven’t heard the last word we’re ever going to hear out of Shannon Watts.

              Where did organizational efforts aimed (pardon the pun) at reducing gun violence stand before Shannon started beating her organizational drums? There was no effort, or at least no effort which created any sustained public dialog at all.

              Maybe there was a little group talking about gun control over here, maybe another little group holding a small, monthly meeting over there. The gun-control groups based in D.C. had really done next to nothing since the last two gun laws had been passed in 1994. And neither of those laws did anything to stop or prevent the kid in Newtown from going into the family gun safe, taking out the AR-15, and then using the gun to mow down 20 first-graders and 6 adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

              Ten years later, a kid around the same age as the Sandy Hook shooter walked into the elementary school in Uvalde, TX with the same kind of gun and quickly killed 19 students and 2 teachers, along with wounding 17 more. The Sandy Hook shooter first shot and killed his mother before going on his rampage across town. The Uvalde shooter tried to kill his grandmother but somehow, she survived a bullet in her head.

              Now if I were Shannon Watts and had been devoting every day of my life to running around the United States trying to make some degree of sense and accountability out of these two events, I’d probably want to quit the whole effort as well. And by the way, when we look at gun violence numbers since 2014, only two states – Connecticut and New Jersey – have lower gun violence rates today. Since 2020, the last year for which we have this heart-sickening data, the national rate of intentional, fatal  gun injuries – homicide and suicide – has only increased by 30 percent.

              All of that being said, I hope that Shannon doesn’t walk away from her efforts of the past ten years thinking that she has failed. Au contraire – her work needs to be understood in one way and one way only, i.e., as an enormous success.

              Why do I say that? Here’s why.

              From the very beginning of her efforts, Shannon focused her messaging on Americans who legally own guns. And she went further and focused her efforts on women – mothers – who live in homes where legal guns are found.

              Why did she adopt this strategy? Because paramount in her mind was the necessity to create a dialog and a conversation about the risk of guns, particularly the dangers represented to families with children living in homes with guns.

              Did Shannon want better and stronger gun-control laws? Sure she did, but legal responses to gun violence was always a secondary concern. First and most important was changing the culture surrounding the ownership of guns.

              And you can’t evaluate that effort simply by putting up increased gun science  numbers and then shaking your head, because of the 44,286 Americans who died from intentional gun injuries in 2020, at least half were shot by shooters who used illegal guns, and most of the unfortunate victims who killed themselves with a legally-owned gun would have found some other way to end their lives if a gun hadn’t been around.

              My point is that if you do a Google search for how often the phrase ‘gun violence’ appears in common, everyday parlance, you’ll find that, with the rare exception of a few days after a mass shooting like Columbine, today the term appears ten times more frequently than it appeared before Shannon and her ladies started shouting it out after Sandy Hook.

              Even Alex Jones started using the term ‘gun violence’ following Sandy Hook, even if he used it to pretend that the gun violence at Newtown never occurred.

              Want to know who was the American that raised the issue of violence in American life before Shannon starting raising the issue in 2013? It was Dr. Martin Luther King, and as far as I’m concerned someone in Congress should nominate Shannon for the Nobel Peace Prize.

              You would think that for all the money Mayor Mike has dumped into certain Congressional campaigns, that he could call up one of the beneficiaries of his political largesse and drop a hint – hint, hint.

              Thank you Shannon for what you have done.

Ladies – Don’t Want to Be Abused? Get a Gun.


              Brittany Smith is a 34-year-old Alabama resident who at the moment is doing time in the county jail of Montgomery County, A L. She also happens to be featured in a documentary movie, ‘State of Alabama versus Brittany Smith’ which can be viewed on Netflix.

              Brittany is behind bars today for violating a probation order which was part of plea deal she made in 2020 following her conviction for fatally shooting a guy, Todd Smith (no relation) who got into a fight with her and her brother Chris. The altercation took place in Brittany’s house where Todd was staying overnight.

              At some point during the evening, according to Brittany and Chris, Todd attempted to rape Brittany and also beat her severely, then started beating on Chris, at which Brittany picked up her brother’s gun and that was the end of Todd Smith.

              What made this story the subject of a movie was Brittany’s decision to mount a defense of her behavior by citing Alabama’s Stand Your Ground (SYG) law which was passed in 2006 and allows someone to use lethal force against an attacker both within the home as well as in the street.

              In order to use an SYG defense, a judge holds a hearing prior to the trial to determine whether SYG can be the grounds for a defendant to answer a charge of fatal or non-fatal assault. In Brittany Smith’s case, the judge – a woman – ruled the defendant could not invoke a SYG defense, which is why Brittany copped a plea for homicide, did some time, then was released on probation, broke the probation, and ended up back in jail.

              In the United States, women are the victims in one out of every five homicides, which happens to be the average rate for females killed throughout the have been world, according to the U.N. But while most killings where the victim is a male occur during gang-related or robbery-related events, homicides which produce a female victim are overwhelmingly the product of a domestic conflict between male and female partners which often are the culmination of long-term, continuous abuse. In fact, the WHO estimates that one-third of all women have been physically abused by a male partner at some point during their lives.

              Thanks to the #MeToo movement, women are no longer the ‘unseen’ victims in case of domestic abuse. But where women still lag far behind men in protecting themselves legally from an abusive male partner is when they react to an assault with physical force and then attempt to justify their behavior by asserting a Stand Your Ground defense.

              The whole point of the Netflix documentary is to show that while SYG is frequently and successfully used by men to defend themselves from a charge of battery or worse, women like Brittany Smith who claim a SYG defense, usually still wind up behind bars.

              When the NRA made an incredibly stupid move to become the Warner Bros. of the gun business by starting up a video-streaming channel called NRA-TV, they hired Dana Loesch away from The Blaze and made her the organization’s communicator to women, the idea being that maybe this would result in an uptick of gun sales to the fairer sex.

              So, Dana made some of the dumbest video messages ever put out anywhere, in which she proclaimed that women needed to buy and carry guns in order to protect themselves and their families from ‘street thugs.’ Term ‘street thug’ is a euphemism for what we used to call the ‘element,’ which denotes people whose skin color is such that if they move into the neighborhood, the value of your house will go straight down.  

              The NRA wasn’t about to help women deal with domestic violence because some of those guys who come home half sh*tfaced from the saloon and slap the old lady around are maybe members of the NRA. So all the NRA managed to accomplish by pissing away the cost of producing these incredibly stupid videos was to generate a response from our friends in Gun-control Nation who began promoting ‘red flag’ laws which allow women to elect the tiresome process of going into court and asking a judge to take the guns away from an abusive guy. Except the man can still do a pretty good job on the old lady’s face and bod by using his fists.

              A physician who treated Brittany Smith after she stopped Todd from beating on her by blowing a hole in his chest, found that she had suffered more than 30 separate wounds to various parts of her body, including bite marks on her cheeks and choke marks around her neck.

              But the last thing my friends in Gun-control Nation are about to do is consider the idea that perhaps women should think about arming themselves against abusive or threatening men.

              I’m not necessarily saying that every law-abiding female should trot over to the local gun shop and buy a Glock or a Sig. What I am saying is that men who abuse women need to be stopped from indulging in such behavior in the most immediate and forceful way.

              Got a better idea for how to get this message across than waving a gun in the guy’s face?

Fareed Zakaria – Another Gun Expert Heard From.

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            Fareed Zakaria is one of the country’s best-known and most active spielers, i.e., someone who earns a living by talking to whomever will listen to what he says. An Ivy Leaguer (Yale and Harvard) he now does a twice-weekly show on CNN, Fareed Zakaria Public Square, which allegedly reaches 200 million homes.

            Most of Zakaria’s spieling involves politics and current affairs, so it’s no surprise that a recent show covered gun violence which, as you can imagine, is a problem which concerns Zakaria in the same way that it concerns every other liberal spieler; we must get something done!

            The show, Global Lessons on Guns, was broadcast this past Saturday, and you can listen to Zakaria’s spiel right here. If I had a nickel for every mistake and every piece of misinformation that has been crammed into some 40 minutes of spieling by Zakaria, I would have enough money to pay the greens fee at the Saratoga National Golf Course, which is a course I love to play.

            Zakaria starts off by talking about three countries from whom we could learn how to do a better job of regulating guns – Japan, Switzerland, and Australia. As for Japan, he notes that the country has very strict rules covering private gun ownership and thus only 4 deaths from gun assaults occurred last year.

            At the same time, Zakaria makes a point of saying that the United States suffers almost 40 million deaths from shootings each year, of which half are self-inflicted fatal gun injuries, i.e., suicides committed with guns. What he doesn’t say is that Japan has no appreciable suicides with guns but meanwhile the country has basically the same suicide rate as the United States.

            So, if you’re going to lump gun homicides and gun suicides together to show what a problem we have with guns, how do you explain that Japan has no guns but equals our overall suicide rate? You don’t explain the issue, you ignore it, okay?

            Now we hear about Switzerland which, according to Zakaria, has guns in many homes because most men are enrolled in the country’s national militia, and keep their militia-issued guns in their homes. But meanwhile, Switzerland has a very low gun-violence rate.

            Currently Switzerland has 120,000 active professionals and volunteers in their national militia, which represents 1.4% of the country’s population as a whole. In other words, less than 2% of the country’s civilian population has daily access to guns. The United States has 450,000 active members of the National Guard and while these weekend soldiers don’t take their military guns home, many of them own guns.

            If we let the National Guard members take their military guns home and nobody else had privately-owned guns, this would mean that 1/10th of one percent of Americans would have daily access to guns. And Zakaria believes that the situation in Switzerland is something that we need to understand in order to do a better job of regulating guns?

            The last comparison is the situation in Australia, where a 1996 mass shooting resulted in the government spending $500 million to get rid of 700,000 guns. Zakaria claims that after the buyback, gun violence in Australia went down. Maybe it didn’t, maybe it did. But once again Zakaria misses the point.

            If we were to buy back every single gun of the same types that were returned in Australia, this would result in a reduction of gun violence of -ready? – less than 2 percent. Australia’s gun buyback only covered semi-automatic rifles (and some shotguns). It did not require Australians to turn in handguns. As terrible as mass shootings committed with assault rifles (Sandy Hook, Parkland, Uvalde, San Bernardino, Highland Park, etc.) may be, the guns which are used overwhelmingly to kill and injure more than 100,000 Americans every year are handguns, particularly bottom-loading, semi-automatic pistols, which are designed only for the purpose of committing violence with a gun.

            That’s right. The WHO defines violence as a conscious attempt to injure yourself or someone else. Stick the word ‘gun’ in front of the word ‘violence’ and you have what I thought was the topic of Zakaria’s talk.

            But in fact, the real topic of Zakaria’s show is whatever he believes his audience wants to see and hear. So-called journalist-commentators like Zakaria don’t ‘investigate’ anything. The content of their shows is nothing more than some well-worn cliches that avoid any controversial arguments at all.

            What does Zakaria believe we should do about gun violence? He gives us some stupid cross-national comparisons and then promotes the standard grab-bag of gun-control laws – background checks, red flags, safe storage – which have had absolutely no impact on gun violence at all.

            Does Zakaria even mention the fact that we are the only country in the entire world where someone can walk into a gun shop and walk out ten minutes later with a Glock which holds 17 rounds of military-grade ammunition, along with a few extra hi-capacity magazines so that the gun can be fired more than 60 times in one minute or less?

            So much for another expert shooting his mouth off about guns.

Thinking about buying a self-defense gun? Home | Shooting And Firearm (myselfdefensegun.com).

How Come People Who Want Gun Control Don’t Know How to Talk to People Who Own Guns?


            Carolyn Maloney is a House member who chairs the House Oversight Committee and is today chairing the hearing on banning assault rifles prior to a House vote on a bill thar will die in the Senate. Since 2013, she has been pushing a bill to criminalize gun trafficking, parts of which were incorporated into the gun-control bill just signed by Joe.

            Maloney didn’t do groups and individuals who are concerned about gun violence and mass shootings any favors in the way she led this hearing. The witnesses were from two companies that manufacture assault rifles – Daniel Defense and Sturm Ruger – versus Ryan Busse from Giffords and a staffer from the Brady Campaign.

            The fifth panelist was a young, African-American woman from the Gun Owners of America (GOA) nut-job gang, who claimed that Black women were the fastest-growing demographic of gun owners, a statement for which there is absolutely not a shred of real data but so what?  Who needs facts to back up an argument about guns, right?

            The other side, of course, has its own interesting deployment of data to bolster its point of view. In particular, there’s this whole thing about all the so-called ‘new’ gun buyers who have armed themselves over the last couple of years. The numbers come from both the gun industry and from public health research.

            There’s only one little problem, however, with this argument about how the Pandemic has increased the number of Americans who own guns. Has anyone bothered to figure out how many gun owners died from Covid-19 who otherwise might be alive if China hadn’t sent us the ‘kung flu?’ And let’s not forget to mention that this virus is particularly virulent among older people, who just happen to be the demographic most likely to own guns.

            Anyway, back to the hearing.

            So, the Democrats on the panel tossed easy questions to the panelists from Gifford and Brady, the POS/GOP members tossed softballs to the guys from the two companies that manufacture the AR-15. Nobody on either side said anything that hasn’t been said before – the gun-control people want to ban assault rifles; the pro-gun advocates want to toss all the potential bad people with a gun into jail.

            What struck me as I watched the proceedings, however, was the degree to which none of the House members nor the panelists tried to say anything that might be of interest to the other side. These two groups – gun ‘rights’ versus gun control – never (read: never) ask themselves to come up with an argument that might resonate with even one person who doesn’t agree with what they are always going to say.

            I’m not expecting to hear a rational or defensible argument from the pro-gun side, because there is no rational or reasonable argument to be made for keeping an AR-15 or a hi-capacity, semi-automatic pistol like a Glock or a Sig around the house.

The reason I have those kinds of guns around my house is very simple: I like guns. Maybe it’s a case of arrested mental development, maybe I want to believe that I can be a real, tough guy if I walk around with a gun. Maybe I’m just full of shit.

Anyway, it really doesn’t matter what I think as long as I have the GOA protecting my 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’

Several years ago, an old man came into my gun shop and bought a gun. He had trouble filling out the background-check form and started cursing ‘that goddamn Kennedy,’ even though Ted Kennedy never promoted gun-control measures in his public remarks.

Finally, I got pissed off at the guy and said: “Hey Mister, if you had two brothers who were shot to death by men who used legally purchased guns, wouldn’t you be in favor of more gun control?”

The guy stopped filling out the form, looked down, then looked at me and replied, “You know, nobody ever said that to me before.”

I am still waiting for one of the gun-control groups to come up with a meaningful way to explain gun risk to gun owners without lecturing them on being ‘responsible’ with their guns. I am also still waiting for the public health researchers to discuss the same thing.

How come it’s so hard to figure out something to say to gun owners that they haven’t already heard?

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