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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Thanks Gail.]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Celebrate The 4th – Shoot Someone With A Gun!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gun Violence | TeeTee Press

How Do We Know That Gun Violence Is Up?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

              You can’t.

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

Get Ready. The NRA Show Is Almost Here!

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Guess what came in my email this morning? My invitation to the NRA Annual Meeting, which is happening Labor Day weekend in Houston.  More than 14 acres of guns and gear, 65,000 square feet of exhibit space chock full of all my favorite adult toys, plenty of food, plenty of t-shirts to buy, plenty, plenty, and plenty.

Since I am a Life Benefactor Member, I’ll even be able to relax in a private lounge, meet some of the celebrities and politicos who will no doubt show up, and maybe get a chance to congratulate Wayne-o for staying on as Executive V.P.  Will Marjorie Taylor Greene come by to say hello?  Where else would she be that weekend?

I have been going to the NRA get-together since 1980, and from time to time I even bump into a few folks who have been coming to the shindig even before I first began showing up. Going to NRA is kind of like making the pilgrimage to Mecca – you do it because you have to do it. You don’t ask whether or not you should make the trip.

For all the talk over the past year about how the NRA was in a state of collapse, how they couldn’t even pay their legal fees, how the members were leaving in droves, I have a funny feeling that the Houston show will be just like every other NRA show – lots of guns, lots of people playing with guns, lots of reminders that gun owners are the good guys and the good girls.

This may come as something of a shock to my friends in Gun-control Nation, but the last thing anyone thinks about while they’re walking around the beautiful displays of products from Smith & Wesson, Sig, Beretta, Kahr, Taurus, Colt, et. al., is that these companies make and sell products that are used to kill and injure 125,000 men, women, and children every year. You would never guess from the festive atmosphere at the annual meeting that these products caused more intentional deaths in 2020 than in any year since 1995.

Hey – just wait one goddamn minute! It’s not the guns that cause those deaths. It’s the people, the bad guys, who use those guns in ways they shouldn’t be used. If a gun is used ‘responsibly’ and ‘safely,’ two favorite words of my friends in Gun-control Nation, nobody would get hurt from guns at all. Or at least almost nobody except for the occasional dope who tries to clean his gun before he checks to see if it’s loaded or not.

There’s only one little problem with this fanciful scenario which is repeated by every Gun-nut Nation zealot whenever they try to ‘explain’ why there’s no difference between a gun and any other consumer product like a bicycle or a droid – you’ll hear this spiel again and again at the NRA show.

The whole point of using a gun ‘responsibly’ is to use it to inflict a serious, often fatal injury on someone else. What do you think the gun was designed to do? Do you think that Gaston Glock wanted to design a product that could be hung up on the wall behind the stove and used for making scrambled eggs?

Last week a friend who works for the Brady Campaign told me that he is planning a public meeting in my state that will be held in mid-September, right when I get back from the NRA show. The program will feature several speakers, including a survivor of gun violence and a police officer who will talk about safe storage of guns.

Isn’t that just wonderful how everyone on both sides of the gun argument now agrees that all we need to do to get rid of all those unfortunate shooting events is to make sure that guns are used in a safe and responsible way?

Which only goes to prove that you don’t have to go to the NRA show to have a completely unreal view about guns.

Do Cops Need Armed Civilians To Protect Them?

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              A really terrible event occurred this past week in Arvada, CO, a suburb of Denver, where a private citizen shot and killed a guy who had gunned down a cop and then himself was shot and killed by the police. The cop-killer had already shot to death one officer and had just yanked an AR-15 out of his truck when a legally-armed bystander put an end to his rampage by shooting him dead.

              Unfortunately, the good Samaritan in this case, a 40-year-old named John Hurley, picked up the bad guy’s rifle and another cop arriving on the scene mistook him to be the guy who shot the cop and shot Hurley dead. Here’s the official statement from the Arvada P.D.: Arvada PD views Mr. Hurley’s actions as heroic; it is clear that he intervened in an active shooting that unfolded quickly in a busy commercial area in the middle of the day, and that he did so without hesitation. Mr. Hurley’s actions certainly saved others from serious injury or death.”

              Back in the 1980’s, when the gun industry realized that hunting was on the wane and they needed some other reason for people to buy and own guns, they began running TV ads that asked how long someone had to wait for help if the choice was between calling the cops versus using their own gun. One of the ads shows a guy being beaten up by some street ‘thug’ with a headline that reads: Why Can’t a Policeman Be There When You Need Him?”

              Of course, when it comes to the current debate over defunding the police, the same alt-right dopes who loudly proclaim that they have a ‘right’ to use a gun for self-defense happen to be the same alt-right dopes who believe that the cops need more, not less resources in order to deal with all those street ‘thugs.’ And who was the alt-right dope who began promoting this nonsense back in 2016?  The same alt-right dope who is on his way to Texas to celebrate the ‘completion’ of his wall.

              The problem with ‘citizen-protectors’ as they are venerated in the alt-right media and ads for buying guns, is that they are citizens by dint of their birth, but you don’t get to be a ‘protector’ just because you walk around with a gun. Talking about concealed-carry, the Governor of Louisiana just vetoed a bill that would have allowed state residents to walk around with a gun, even if they haven’t had any training to determine their fitness to be armed.

              The bill’s sponsor, a Republican named Jay Morris, said his law is for “law-abiding and freedom-loving citizens.” I can understanding the law-abiding part but freedom-loving? Since when does giving someone the legal authority to decide for themselves whether they should yank out the ol’ shootin’ iron because the guy across the street looks a little weird constitute a ‘freedom’ test? As Grandpa would say, “gay macht,” which means go stick it in your hat.

              I have been listening to these idiots in Gun-nut Nation tell me how nobody can prevent them from carrying a gun around because self-defense is a God-given ‘right.’ The last time I looked, and maybe I don’t know how to read English, I didn’t see the words ‘self-defense’ mentioned anywhere in the Constitution. In fact, even the sacred 2nd Amendment doesn’t say one word about defending yourself with a gun. The fact that my late friend Tony Scalia told everyone else on the Supreme Court that keeping a musket in your cabin because you had to show up for practice with the militia was no different from keeping a Glock in your pocket when you walked down to the mini-mart, oh well, oh well.

              The whole idea that a gun will keep you safe assumes that sooner or later you’ll find yourself in a position where you won’t feel safe. But the unfortunate guy who ran out in the street and shot the cop-killer wasn’t being threatened by the guy he shot. Let’s not forget that.

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

Who Says I Can’t Protect Myself With An F-15?

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              Now that Joe is moving his attention into what has always been sacred GOP territory, i.e., crime control, he’s also taking on the so-called gun lobby over the issue of how the ATF tries to regulate guns. And here’s the key sentence from yesterday’s speech: “The point is that there has always been the ability to limit — rationally limit the type of weapon that can be owned and who can own it.”

              Wait until Gun-nut Nation figures out how to respond to that one. Here’s the President of the United States saying that we can pass laws to regulate not only who can own guns, but what kind of guns they can own. That’s not just a violation of the 2nd Amendment, it’s an infringement on our God-given ‘rights’ to defend ourselves or whatever else we want to do with an adult toy that we refer to as a ‘gun.’

              And who is going to make sure that these beloved 2nd-Amendment ‘rights’ are no longer so beloved or even allowed to be thought of as ‘right?’ The ATF.

              And what is the ATF going to do to make sure that the 2nd Amendment will sooner or later completely disappear?

              They will go after all those ‘rogue’ gun dealers who are, to quote Joe, the “merchants of death” who are “breaking the law for profit.”

              To back up Joe’s decision to send the ATF out to all those gun dealers who are ‘willfully’ selling all those guns to all those guys who use those guns to commit crimes, Joe cited an ATF  study published in 2000 which found that 90 percent of illegal guns picked up at crime scenes were sold by 5 percent of gun dealers.

              Actually, what the study really showed was that 4.2% of all retail dealers accounted for 72.5% of all guns that were traced by the ATF, whether the trace was done for a gun connected to a crime, or for any other reason. It should be noted, by the way, that less than 25% of all traces conducted by the ATF each year are for guns which were used to commit a serious crime.

              What all this data being used to spot those rogue dealers does not explain, however, is the degree to which the gun dealers who receive most of the trace requests also happen to be the gun dealers who sell most of the guns. Know the old 80-20 rule which says that 20% of retailers make 80% of all retail sales? 

In the gun business, the rule is closer to 95-5. That’s right. Most gun ‘dealers’ are retired guys who rent a small retail space because the wife got fed up one day with him just sitting around the house and said, “Why don’t you take all those friggin’ guns out of the house and open a shop?”

So, the guy goes into town, finds some empty storefront that is available for a couple of hundred bucks a month, and now he can sit there all day long, shoot the sh*t with his friends and oh, by the way, he doesn’t have to do all those chores around the house because, after all, he’s got a business to run.

Think I’m kidding? Next time you drive past Joe’s Gun Shop, park your car and walk in. I can guarantee you that 95% of the members of Gun-control Nation have never been in a gun shop, not even once.

I have yet to see a study of all those rogue gun dealers selling all those crime guns which compares the shops getting most of the trace requests to the shops which just happen to sell most of the guns. Until someone at the ATF figures that one out, the idea that we know which dealers the ATF should go after because so many guns from their shops wind up in the ‘wrong hands’ is just so much talk.

That being said, Joe’s speech was still a good speech, particularly when he told the jerks who claim they need an assault rifle to fight the government that what they really need is an F-15.

Keep it up Joe, keep it up.

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Move Over Donald. There’s A New Defender of 2nd-Amendment ‘Rights.’

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              Back in 2015, a 60-year old Black man was sitting in his living room watching TV in St. Louis when he heard noises out in his back yard. Grabbing his gun, he went out on the back porch and saw someone jump out of his car and evidently start to run towards him. The man raised the gun, pulled the trigger and a 13-year old kid was dead.

              The would-be teenage car burglar was actually trying to run around the car so that he could jump the back fence and retreat. But under Missouri’s Stand Your Ground (SYG) and Castle Doctrine (CD) laws, the shooter who had committed a felony years ago, was found guilty only of possessing an illegal gun.

              Missouri has some of the most expansive SYG and CD laws of any of the 50 states. Basically, what their laws say is that if someone comes on your property and after being warned to retreat doesn’t immediately back away, you can presume you are facing a serious threat, pull out the old shootin’ iron and bang away.

              You may recall that a year ago June, a man and his wife, Mark and Patricia McCloskey, stood on the front steps of their home in St. Louis and waved guns at a group of BLM protestors who were marching in the street. The McCloskeys both happen to be attorneys, so you would assume that they would defend their behavior by claiming their innocence under the SYG and CG laws. In fact, they claimed that they were protecting their home and themselves from a ‘mob’ that was about to storm their property and do them in.

              They were indicted for unlawful use of weapons an immediately became the poster children of the Trump campaign’s stupid attempt to make the 2nd Amendment a centerpiece of his failing re-election campaign, up to and including an appearance at the GOP convention when Trump was nominated for a second term.

              On Thursday, these two schmucks pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor which means they won’t do any jail time and can keep their licenses to practice law. Mark McCloskey is now running for Senate and here’s what his website says: ‘On June 28, 2020, and then again on July 3, 2020, Mark McCloskey and hie wife Patty, held off a violent mob through the exercise of their 2nd Amendment rights.”

As of today, contributions to the McCloskey campaign listed by the Federal Election Commission are – ready? – zero. Or as Grandpa would say – ‘gurnisht.’ Or better yet – ‘gurnisht helfen,’ which means it’s not going to work at all.

I think the Prosecutor in this case, Richard Callahan, got it right when he said, “We still have the Second Amendment rights. It’s just that the Second Amendment does not permit unreasonable conduct.”

On the other hand, when the President of the United States defends this kind of behavior, when he defends protestors who march up the steps of a State Capitol Building with their AR-15’s, when he says that a bunch of American Nazis marching around with their guns includes some ‘good people,’ he’s not just defending the 2nd Amendment.

He’s just pandering to the lowest, common mentality of all – the mentality which actually believes that walking around in a public space with an assault rifle is t he best way to protect yourself from the ‘tyranny’ of the Federal state.

Of course, somehow, don’t ask me how, the ‘tyranny’ of the national state only seems to appear when Democrats are in control or look like they may end up in control. When a Republican like Donald Trump or Mark McCloskey gets into office there’s nothing to worry about because they respect our 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’

If we learned anything from the 2020 election, it’s that at least 81 million voting Americans don’t buy into such nonsense and are willing to help decide the country’s political stance on more realistic and honest terms.

I suspect this is also true of most voters who vote the Republican ticket whether they like the names on the GOP line or not.

The truth is that maybe, just maybe, all this nonsense about 2nd-Amdnement ‘rights’ may be ending up where it belongs. 

A New Gun Law That Could End America’s Love Affair With Guns.

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              Sooner or later, someone would figure out a way to get around the tort immunity enjoyed by the gun industry since 2005 when Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA).  The law basically says that no point in the supply chain – manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer – can be held responsible for the 125,000 shooting deaths and injuries which occur every year because guns are legal products and, hence, the responsibility for how they are used can only be framed around the individual behavior of who actually used the gun to assault themselves or someone else.

              The PLCAA law does not protect gun makers from civil liability if their behavior runs counter to state laws that cover false advertising, such as the Connecticut law known as ‘negligent entrustment’ which is being used to sue the gun maker – Remington – whose gun was the instrument that killed 26 adults and children at Sandy Hook.

       The New York law goes after the gun industry for creating a public nuisance in the way it markets and sells guns, and opens the industry to civil liability if it doesn’t “establish and utilize reasonable controls and procedures to prevent its qualified products from being possessed, used, marketed or sold unlawfully in New York State.”
       In other words, if Smith & Wesson ships a gun to a licensed wholesaler in Massachusetts, who then ships it to a licensed retailer in Virginia, who then sells the gun to a licensed gun owner, who then has the gun stolen by someone who takes the gun to New York, sells it on a street corner to some dope who then pops off a round which hits some kid in the head, Smith & Wesson can be sued because the company didn’t establish ‘reasonable controls’ to prevent that entire scenario from taking place.
        What are the ‘reasonable controls’ that S&W has to put in place?  The legislation doesn’t define those controls. How do we know if S&W has created such controls? Because guns from other states will stop being picked up at crime scenes in New York. 
        Between 2010 and 2015, more than three-quarters of all the crime guns picked up in New York State were originally sold to residents of some other state. Despite the so-called ‘iron pipeline’ which brings guns up I-95 from more gun-permissive Southern states, most of the New York crime guns that came into the state were initially sold in the surrounding and adjacent states. 
        If you are Smith & Wesson, how do you prevent your products from being legally sold in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, then being stolen, or lost and somehow winding up across the Hudson River and used to commit a crime in New York? You don’t and you can’t. To protect itself from the civil liability which this law could potentially impose on S&W, the company would have to cease shipping its guns to any state which might be a source for those guns being used in a criminal event. 
        Maybe S&W could stop making guns and start making handheld power tools. Better yet, what the gun company should really do to keep itself afloat is to stop manufacturing products whose design and engineering hasn’t changed in more than one hundred years, and start looking at electronic, self-defense products like the Vipertek taser pictured above, which provides all the personal security anyone could ever need without creating any kind of liability issue at all.
       Last week I drove past an Apple store and there was a line around the block. For all the talk about surging gun sales, the gun shop nearest me never has more than a couple of folks waiting around to buy a gun. 
      If the New York law that gets around PLCAA begins to spread to other states, it might be the best thing that could happen to the gun industry since smokeless powder was invented in 1884. 
     And don’t worry, all the noisemakers who argue back and forth about 2nd-Amendment ‘rights will find something else to argue about, that’s for sure.

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