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?

Want to Live in New York City and Own a Gun?

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              Last week it appeared likely that Congress would actually pass a new gun-control law for the first time since 1994. We’ve only had some 2.5 million Americans killed and injured by intentional shootings since the 1994 law was passed, so no big deal. But the real problem if the new law makes it to Joe’s desk is how my friends in Gun-control Nation will deal with the fact that they have been using the lack of new gun laws to raise money and now maybe the well will run dry.

              But not to worry. Thanks to an expected ruling from the Supreme Court on New York’s gun law, my friends in gun-control land will be able to make a big deal out of what is expected to be the Court’s overturning of the licensing procedure for walking around with a gun in New York which has been on the books since 1911 (the infamous Sullivan Law) and will make it more difficult for the other few, remaining states whose process for granting concealed-carry permits copies the New York law.

              As late as the mid-1970’s, there were only a handful of states which allowed residents to carry a concealed weapon, regardless of whether or not people applying for such a license could prove any kind of real need. Now we have gone to the other extreme and most states allow people to walk around with a gun as long as they can pass the background check which is required when they buy that gun.

              At present there are 25 states which have what Gun-nut Nation calls ‘Constitutional carry,’ which means that if you can legally buy a gun, you can also carry it around on your person, no questions asked. Another 18 states require some kind of concealed-carry licensing process but do not allow the cops to decide who can and cannot carry a gun. These states are referred to as ‘shall issue’ states.

              Finally, there are still seven Communist states (I happen to live in one such state) that still give police the final authority to decide whether someone can carry a concealed gun outside the home. These are known as the ‘may issue’ states, of which New York has always been the toughest state of all to convince the cops that you need to stick the ol’ shootin’ iron in your pocket when you leave your abode.

              So yesterday, the Fake News decided to inform its readers exactly what this New York law is all about, and here’s what they said in The Washington Post: “New York’s law requires a gun owner to obtain a license to carry a handgun. To get the license, they must demonstrate to local authorities a specific need for carrying the gun.”

              What the story doesn’t say is that the New York law which covers what a resident needs to do even just to buy and own a gun is almost as restrictive as the law which covers carrying the gun around town. And since I lived in New York City and went through the whole, stupid process that eventually allowed me to own a gun, here’s what the process involves.

              First, you have to go online and register an account with the NYPD.  Then you fill out an online application and upload some forms. Then you upload some more forms. These forms include a birth certificate, some kind of ID, some form which proves where you live, etc.

              You will then receive a message giving you an appointment to come down to the licensing division to be fingerprinted and to pay applicable fees. You must be ready to pay $340 for the license plus another $88.25 for the prints. You also must bring the original copies of all the forms you uploaded to the NYPD.

              Ready?  The cops have six months to decide whether to give you a license to own a gun and keep it in your apartment or home. Not to carry the gun around town. That’s a whole different procedure which is much more complicated and takes more time to complete.

              Now that you finally get your license to own a gun, you still need to apply for a permit to actually buy a gun. This involves sending in a request to the license division listing the type of gun, the caliber, and the manufacturer. After this application is approved, you are sent a purchase order which you then take to the dealer and exchange it when you buy the gun. But you’re still not done because you then have to bring the gun down to the licensing division and have it inspected by a cop to make sure it’s the gun model that was approved for your purchase order.

              Now you are finally ready to keep a gun in your residence. Great.

              Note that New York City does not require that a gun owner take any kind of test to demonstrate either proficiency with the gun or a knowledge of laws relevant to owning a gun. In other words, the NYPD couldn’t care less if you actually have any degree of ability to use a gun, as long as you have paid all the requisite fees to get a license to on a gun.

              Now if you want to explain to me how and why this process does anything to keep guns out of the ‘wrong’ hands, when I can go to a gun show in Vermont or Virginia, walk around, and ask this guy or that guy if the gun he’s carrying is for sale, then bring the gun back to New York City and either keep the gun or sell it to someone else, I’m all ears.

              And this is what Gun-control Nation believes is a law which will be overturned by the SCOTUS and make us all less safe?

Who’s Afraid of the NRA? Nobody, That’s Who.

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              So, here’s the good news about the Uvalde massacre, if there can ever be any good news about an event as dreadful as what happened almost two weeks ago at the Robb Elementary School.

              For the first time in my memory, the organizations which have been in the forefront of efforts to reduce gun violence (e.g., Everytown, Brady, etc.) can’t complain that their efforts are being frustrated because of the power and influence of the NRA. If anything, what is remarkable about the debate which has broken out over Joe Biden’s call for a new gun law is the virtual absence of the NRA.

              Recall what happened after Sandy Hook, when Wayne LaPierre went on national TV a week after the slaughter in Newtown and gave a fiery, no-holds-barred speech castigating liberals, Hollywood video producers, inept parents and 2nd-Amendment enemies as the reasons for mass shootings, and called for all schools to be immediately turned into armed camps.

              This time around, America’s ‘first civil rights organization’ released a two-paragraph statement which contained the usual ‘thoughts and prayers’ bromide but then went on to thank everyone in Uvalde who tried to help out after the massacre occurred. Period. Nothing more.

              The NRA held its annual meeting in Houston, but attendance was far below the number of people who usually show up for this event, and there were probably more folks demonstrating outside the Convention Center during Trump’s speech than there were folks inside the Convention Center listening to him whining away.

              The NRA’s post-Uvalde silence has been so noticeable that GOP candidates running in this year’s election cycle have been forced to rely on advice from a variety of organizations, all of whom are saying that any talk about Uvalde is not going to work. The basic argument being made by conservative political consultants and messaging experts is to avoid talking about the 2nd Amendment or gun ‘rights’ until the media decides that gun violence is no longer a topic of interest and ramps up stories about something else.

              Which means that if Gun-control Nation wants to press for a new gun law, they won’t be able to use the NRA as their favorite stalking horse – they’ll have to fashion and promote their gun-control argument on its own terms.

              They also won’t have Donald Trump to kick around anymore, because following the primary results in Georgia, his so-called ‘victory tour’ seems to have run out of steam.

              Meanwhile, the NRA happens to be quietly celebrating two victories this week which just a few months ago seemed to be beyond their wildest dreams. During the annual meeting in Houston, Wayne LaPierre was re-elected as Executive Vice President, a move which just about everyone had been saying wouldn’t take place. But it did take place, and all those stories about Wayne-o’s million-dollar wardrobe and his over-the-top vacation jaunts have disappeared.

              More important was a decision from a New York State judge which denied an attempt by the state’s Attorney General to dissolve the NRA because the organization’s alleged financial mismanagement had not created ‘public harm.’  A lawsuit seeking relief for the siphoning of monies and what the judge referred to as the ‘greed’ of Wayne-o and others can proceed, but the group’s basic legal existence remains intact.

              Meanwhile, I continue to get my weekly email from Wayne-o reminding me to renew my Golden Eagle membership which gets me a lovely, plastic wallet card which I can show to a cop as I hand over my driver’s license because I was driving too fast. I can also buy a couple of golf shirts from the clothing catalogue which just arrived and this coming weekend I can drive 20 minutes to a gun show at Sturbridge and hang out at the NRA booth.

              Know how many public events the Brady Campaign is holding anywhere near where I live between now and Labor Day? None, as in a big, fat zero.

              I have been a member of the NRA for 66 years. It’s very simple. I like guns. I am also a registered Democrat and if the Democrats and their allies in Gun-control Nation manage somehow to pass a new gun-control law, I’ll still vote the blue team every single time.

              On the other hand, I’d also like to see the gun-control argument being made on its own terms simply because I’m against violence in any and all its forms. Aren’t you?

We Need Guns to Protect Ourselves from Evil People.


Inside and outside NRA show.

Figures it would finally happen after a mass shooting in Texas. By that I mean a debate about gun control which focuses not on control, but on guns.

But before I get to that issue, I’ll take a second and give you a link to the single most bizarre public performance of all time by any President of the United States. Here is how Donald Trump ended his NRA speech after reading off the names of the victims killed at Uvalde. Watch this.

Now back to guns.

You see, in this country we go about protecting ourselves from gun violence by trying to control the behavior of people who, left to their own devices, will walk into a public space with a military weapon and see how many people they can kill with the twenty, or thirty, or forty rounds of ammunition which the gun holds.

In every other country which has a system for controlling guns, you simply can’t buy a gun which lets you walk into a public space and begin blasting away. Live in Canada and want to own an AR-15 with a thirty-round mag? Move to the United States. And Canada has a much more permissive attitude towards gun ownership than say England, or France, or Japan.

We actually began controlling guns with a 1934 law which differentiated between guns that civilians could own versus guns that were too dangerous to be just sitting around in pawn shops and hardware stores waiting to be bought and taken home. But the only guns which this law identified as too dangerous for instant sale were machine guns, the full-auto thingies that Al Capone used to wipe out another Chicago mob.

And this has remained the only way we have ever defined the risk and danger posed by how guns are designed, which is whether they can deliver 600 bullets a minute or less. And if it’s less, if someone can walk into a classroom and kill 20 kids in a minute or so, as long as the shooter has to pull the trigger for every shot, the gun is no more dangerous than a b-b gun.

Want to know why we have all these mass shootings and other advanced countries don’t? Because we are the only country which lets people buy, own and walk around with guns that were designed primarily for the military, in other words, guns whose sole purpose is to be used by soldiers to kill other soldiers.

But hold on, you say. The guns used by the Army fire the way that the guns used by the Capone gang in Chicago were used — they are machine guns, they are full-auto guns.

That’s not true. That’s not true at all, and anyone who tries to promote that nonsense either doesn’t know what he’s talking about or doesn’t know anything about guns (a not unusual combination, by the way.)

The battle rifle that our troopers carry into the field can be set to fire either in semi-auto mode or in a three-shot burst. So, if the trooper decides that he wants to shoot one round every time he pulls the trigger, is he going into battle with a sporting gun? Yea, right.

It figures, by the way, that the speech Trump gave at Houston yesterday, where there were more people outside protesting than inside listening, was written for him by someone who went back and dusted off Jeff Cooper’s Principles of Personal Defense, which starts off with a brief comment on how there are lots of ‘evil’ people out there and you always need to be ready if one of them comes at you.

The only problem with this endless attempt to sell guns by making them out to be a better way to protect yourself than running away is that it’s pretty hard to convince people that the little kids who were killed at the elementary school in Uvalde were ‘evil people.’ Even a devoted fan of false arguments like Donald Trump can’t pull that one off.

But of course, there’s always the time-worn argument about guns which was trotted out the other day by Ted Cruz, which is that for all the grief and suffering caused by gun violence, we simply can’t compromise on our beloved Constitutional principles, in this case the 2nd-Amendment guarantee of gun ‘rights.’

Maybe you don’t own a gun, but you still support the Constitution, right?

Wrong motherf*cker, wrong.

The 2nd Amendment isn’t a ‘right.’ It’s an amendment. And we define every word in the Constitution by passing laws, as in what’s ‘right’ and what’s ‘wrong.’ And walking into an elementary school where you then spend an hour in target practice because the local cops and the state police didn’t know what to do isn’t ‘right.’ It’s goddamn wrong. Period. End of that one, okay?

The NRA loves to refer to itself as America’s ‘first civil rights organization.’ Know when the first civil rights law was passed? In 1866, two years after we passed the 13th Amendment which took 4.5 pieces of chattel property and turned them into human beings. So, we had to figure out what this now meant for all these new people, which is what the 13th Amendment did.

Guess what? There’s no reason why we can’t pass a law that will define whether certain types of guns are too dangerous to be bought and sold. Want to give me a definition of ‘dangerous’ which is more exact than how a kid used an assault rifle made by Daniel Defense to kill 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School?

What has kept Gun-nut Nation going in political terms has been one, simple fact, which is that most gun crimes are committed by people who can’t legally own guns, whereas most of the people who do own guns legally happen to live in the South, particularly in Texas. So as long as you can build a nice, electoral foundation by appealing to ‘law-abiding gun owners,’ you’ll keep the gun-control wolf away from the front door.

Which is why I began this column by saying that a mass shooting in Texas is what Gun-control Nation needs to finally get the gun ‘rights’ monkey off their backs.

Here’s a new website which sums it all up: www.bantheseguns.org.



Do We Really Care About Gun Violence?


              I have been involved, in the gun business, one way or another, since 1964.  Luckily, I didn’t usually depend on it for a living because if you want to make a million dollars in the gun business, you usually have to start with two million. But there’s nothing about the business I don’t know.

              I have published fifteen books on guns and I’m writing another book right now. I self-publish my books because nobody’s really interested in gun books anyway and I need another IRS-990 like I need a hole in my head.

              I have also published more than 1,800 blogs on this website, have been profiled in The New York Times and The New Yorker Magazine and blah, blah, blah, and blah. Big deal.

              In other words, I know a little bit about guns and because of what I know, I try to write and publish correctives to the mistakes made by advocates on both sides of the gun debate.

              The debate breaks down to an argument about the social utility of guns. One side, the gun-owning side, insists that guns protect us from crime and threats to our personal security, so having access to a lethal consumer product is a good thing. The other side says that most guns are used to kill and injure either the gun owner or someone else and access to such lethal consumer products, on balance, is not a good thing.

              The gun argument waxes and wanes but is usually driven by mass shooting events. The first event was when Charles Whitman killed 16 people from the tower at UT in 1966, which carried over to the passage of the gun-control law in 1968. The second was the Columbine massacre in 1999, which made Clinton try to push more regulations down the throats of gun makers, an effort which failed. The last, which was also the worst, was Sandy Hook in 2012, which also failed to produce any federal legislative response at all. The Sandy Hook event did, however, result in a lawsuit by a brilliant, young lawyer named Josh Koskoff, which found the gun maker liable for injuries caused by his gun.

              I’m neither surprised nor shocked by the reaction of Gun-nut Nation to these events.  After all, the job of organizations like the NRA and the NSSF is to sell guns. And if you think there’s a single gun owner who doesn’t know that his gun represents a risk, then you have never talked to a gun owner, okay?

              Which is why the pro-gun folks aren’t concerned about gun violence because they know what can happen if a gun gets into the wrong hands. And why should they be blamed for the behavior of people who shouldn’t be allowed to get their hands on guns? There’s no gun violence problem in this country according to the NRA. There’s a problem because nobody wats to enforce all those gun laws already on the books.

              As for my friends in Gun-control Nation, they finally got what they have been dreaming to get for the last twenty-five years, namely a resumption of gun research funded by the CDC. And the head of the CDC has even stated for the record that gun violence is a public health ‘threat,’ which is why the CDC and NIH recently awarded $25 million to folks who will now try to figure out how to reduce violence caused by the use of guns.

              One of the CDC grants will pay for an ER doctor who claims to be a ‘4-H certified gun trainer,’ whatever that means, to go around and talk about gun safety to kids who bring their little 22-caliber rifles to 4-H club shooting ranges. Now how these discussions will help this researcher and his friends develop a way to explain to teen-age dropouts walking around inner-city neighborhoods with Glocks in their pockets is beyond me.

              But not to worry. We’ll find this out in 2024 when the grant recipients publish an article in some ‘evidence-based’ academic journal, making sure to thank the CDC for funding their research. And that will be the end of that.

              Want to reduce gun violence in the neighborhoods where it occurs? Here’s three very simple thing that can be done today:

  1. Hold a gun buyback not once a year, or never, but every month. The point of a buyback is not how many guns are turned in. The point is to circulate the narrative about gun violence again, and again, and again.
  2. Put up signage in high-violence neighborhoods which declare the area to be a ‘gun-free’ zone. Put a large sign in red letters on every corner. Don’t we put up a sign when we want motorists to slow down?
  3. Go to a PTA meeting and demand that the kids attend a monthly program which tells them to stay away from guns. Guns start showing up in middle schools and by the time you get to high school, it’s too late because the kids who will later commit gun violence have all dropped out.                                                                                                                                                                

There is not one, single community in the United States which is impacted by gun violence that has ever implemented even one of these strategies, never mind all three. And I didn’t need the CDC to award me one, single dollar to figure it out.

The fact that efforts like these aren’t happening anywhere tells me that nobody on our side really gives one rat’s damn about gun violence. And I don’t expect the other side to ever be concerned about gun violence at all.

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