Home

Do More Concealed Guns Mean More Gun Violence?

3 Comments

            Back in June, there was a big ta-ra-rum when the Supreme Court decided that New York’s law covering the process for being able to carry a gun outside the home was a violation of 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’ New York was one of the last seven states which gave law enforcement agencies a ‘may issue’ control over concealed-carry (CCW) licenses, with the other 43 states having moved to a ‘shall issue’ procedure, meaning that if you can pass a background check, you can wander around the neighborhood with a concealed gun.

            I knew that the moment the Court told New York to change its CCW law, that I would receive a daily appeal from the various gun-control organizations beseeching me to send them more funds so they could fight against this alarming expansion of armed-camp America, which is exactly what all the gun-control groups did.

            Incidentally, I give both Brady and Everytown a hundred bucks every month, I’ve been doing it for years. I figure if I’m going to donate a chunk every year to my NRA Endowment fund, the least I can do is give some bucks to the other side too.

            I also assumed after the Court’s decision that sooner or later one of the gun-control research groups would publish an ‘evidence-based’ article that would find some kind of connection between the shift from ‘may issue’ to ‘shall issue’ CCW laws and an increase in gun violence because Gun-control Nation has been making this argument ever since CCW laws began to shift from ‘may’ to ‘shall.’

            And now, thanks to  research conducted by the Johns Hopkins gun research group, this argument appears to be validated by a new study which compares gun violence rates before and after ‘shall issue’ laws went into effect. Unfortunately, I have to work off of the abstract of the article because I have now sent $39 not once but twice to the American Journal of Epidemiology and after the website processes my payment and pulls the money out of my bank account, I get back squat.

            Anyway, what the researchers claim to have found is that “Shall-Issue CCW law adoption was associated with a 9.5% increase in rates of assaults with firearms during the first 10-years post-law adoption and associated with an 8.8% increase in rates of homicides by other means.” If I ever get the website to work, I’ll read the details and perhaps amend what I am going to say now which is how do we know how many of those increased gun assaults were committed by individuals who had the legal right to walk around with a gun?

            We don’t. And I’m sorry but regression analysis may be a good tool for comparing the movement of one trend to another trend, but it’s simply not a scientific or evidence-based method for explaining cause and effect.

            The problem with virtually all the research on gun violence done by the Hopkins public health group and other research groups is that they use all kinds of data from the CDC which gives fairly good estimates on the demographics of the victims of gun violence but tells us next to nothing about how and why the perpetrators do what they did.

            You can’t interview the perpetrators of self-inflicted gun assaults – they’re dead. And you can’t interview the perpetrators of homicides or aggravated assaults because first of all, you can’t find half of them, and the ones you can find are locked behind bars and can’t or won’t talk.

            Here’s what we know about the men (and it’s almost always men) who use a gun to try and kill someone else: they usually begin demonstrating violent and anti-social behavior in their teens. We have known this since my late, dear friend Marvin Wolfgang followed the lives of violent criminals and published his definitive research fifty years ago.

            Now that the CDC has lifted the moratorium on gun research, I would like to see them spend some of my tax money on trying to figure out how to identify, isolate and treat what Wolfgang referred to as ‘serial delinquents’ before their delinquent behavior results in putting their hands on a gun.

            What is the CDC doing with my tax money right now? They are paying a researcher who has absolutely no gun experience to go around to 4-H clubs and talk to the little, White kiddies about how they should use their 22-caliber, single-shot, bolt-action rifles in a safe way. That research is going to give us any insight at all to help prevent adolescents and young, male adults from walking down the street with a Beretta, a Sig, or a Glock?

            Of course, if we were to focus our attention on the individuals who commit more than 100,000 aggravated assaults and homicides every year with a gun, we would end up where polite, well-meaning liberals never want to end up, which would be having to talk about race. And that’s an issue which Gun-control Nation avoids like the plague.

            This country still bears the stain and the shame of having brought millions of human beings over here, declaring them to be chattel property and then declaring them to be human beings in 1865. That’s only 150 years ago, so why should I be surprised if we still haven’t figured out how to address racial issues in a proper, objective, and honest way?

            The truth is that legal gun owners, in the main, happen to be about the most law-abiding people you’ll ever want to meet. And the individuals who commit gun violence against other individuals are for the most part people who couldn’t care less about what the gun laws say.

            I am shortly going to launch a website which will provide a basic informational roadmap to anyone who is thinking about buying or carrying a self-defense gun. The website will also let visitors get their hands on a little manual that will show them how a daily, 15-minute exercise without a gun can help them develop and maintain the muscle memory they need in order to use a self-defense gun in a proper and effective way.

            The reason I am putting up this website is that it’s time for both sides in the gun debate to acknowledge a very basic fact, which is that neither side currently approaches gun violence in a positive or constructive way.

            Gun-nut Nation believes that its members should be able to walk around with a gun designed only for the purpose of ending human life without being required to spend even five minutes learning how such a lethal product even works. Gun-control Nation, on the other hand, believes that we can end gun violence by somehow making guns ‘safe’ and passing more laws to that effect.

            I have been in the gun business one way or another for more than sixty years and what I have known and experienced in the gun business can be summed up like this: Other than sworn officers, nobody needs a gun for anything at all. Anyone who thinks otherwise, to quote Grandpa, is just a ‘meshugana chaya’ (read: damn fool.)

            But precisely because the only individuals who feel they need a gun happen to be individuals who shouldn’t ever be able to get their hands on a gun, we better stop worrying about everyone walking around with a gun because they think that might just wind up at the OK Corral or Miss Kitty’s Long Branch Saloon.

If Congress Wants to Investigate the Gun Business, They Need to Get the Facts Straight.

2 Comments

            It doesn’t really bother me when gun nuts or gun-control advocates mis-state laws that we use to regulate guns. After all, these people either like guns or don’t like guns, no matter what the laws say.

            But when members of the United States Congress make public statements about gun laws or any laws, statements which happen to be wrong, or don’t mean what these public figures believe they mean, then we have a problem which needs to be fixed.

            I’m not talking about idiots like Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert or Matt Gaetz. They’ll say anything no matter how stupid they sound. I’m talking about a letter that eighteen Democratic members of Congress just sent to the guy who runs an outfit called Credova Financial, a company which partners with gun dealers and provides buy now, pay later (BNPL) plans for the purchase of guns.

            To quote the letter, “BNPL is a point-of-sale loan product allowing consumers to purchase and immediately take possession of an item after agreeing to pay the purchase price over a fixed period of time.” Such financing plans evidently find favor with younger buyers who either don’t yet have a credit history or are trying to avoid any credit card debt.

            Many BNPL companies explicitly prohibit their programs being used for the purchase of guns, but Credova has gone in the opposite direction and has basically built its entire funding operation by partnering with gun dealers who sell guns either in retail shops or online.

            One of the companies which partners with Credova is Daniel Defense, which manufactures assault rifles, including the gun that was used in the Uvalde massacre, as well as the gun that was used in the July 4th mass assault in Highland Park, IL.

            The letter from the Congressional group to Credova asked the company to answer 15 questions about its business practices, of which the first 6 questions asked what procedures did the company followed to keep guns from being bought or being used by customers who then either might traffic the gun to someone else, or might use the gun to commit an assault or another kind of crime.

            Nowhere in this letter is it mentioned that every, single gun whose purchase is funded by Credova is only transferred to the consumer by a federally licensed gun dealer who is required under law not only to conduct a background check administered by the FBI but is also – ready? – responsible for halting the transfer if the dealer believes that the individual buying the gun may use it in a criminal or harmful way. 

            Here’s the relevant statement from the instructions that go with the form which is used to transact the background check: “WARNING: Any seller who transfers a firearm to any person they know or have reasonable cause to believe is prohibited from receiving or possessing a firearm violates the law, even if the seller has complied with the background check.” requirements of the Brady law.”

            Has the ATF ever published guidelines to help gun dealers figure out whether someone who walks into the gun shop should or should not be legally entitled to ‘possess’ a gun? As the Spanish would say, ‘ni palabra ni pÍo,’ which translated figuratively means not one bit.

            But the point is that asking Credova to monitor the behavior of someone who uses their BNPL plan is like asking Visa to check how long it takes me to wolf down a bag of their potato chips.

            Incidentally, talking about Visa, the letter to Cordova also states data from a market research company, IBIS, which says that online gun sales will reach $2.6 billion by 2026, a number which is about as believable as the number of Martians now living at Area 51. But I’ll deal with that issue in a separate column later this week.

            Let me make one thing very clear. I’m not a fan of assault rifles and I certainly have no reason to promote either Credova’s financing of gun sales or the business activities of Daniel Defense.

            But if my friends in Gun-control Nation want to support meaningful initiatives to reduce gun violence, they need to get their facts and their arguments straight.

            They certainly didn’t do it this time around.

Want To Walk Around with a Gun? In Some States Maybe You Can, and Maybe You Still Can’t.

2 Comments

            I have been inundated by fundraising requests from gun-control groups like Brady and Giffords ever since the SCOTUS issued its opinion in NYSRPA v, Bruen which basically shot down (pardon the pun) used by New York State and six other states for deciding who can, and who can’t walk around with a concealed gun.

Until this opinion was published in May, New York State was one of seven states which still required an applicant for a concealed-carry license (CCW) to show that he needed to be armed because otherwise he wouldn’t be able to defend himself, in other words, proving that he had a specific reason for needing to carry a gun.

In effect, the SCOTUS decided that the ‘right’ to own a gun didn’t just cover keeping a handgun in the home, which is what had been the issue when SCOTUS defined the 2nd Amendment in 2008. With the Bruen ruling, anyone who can pass muster to own a gun can also get permission to walk around with the gun outside his home.

Thanks to our friend Jennifer Mascia’s article in The Trace, we now know how this case will shift those ‘may issue’ states to ‘shall issue’ states, i.e., removing the ability of the cops to apply discretionary judgements to the issuance of CCW.

No wonder that Brady, Everytown and all the other groups in Gun-control Nation are up in arms (again, pardon the pun.) The only other legal barrier whose disappearance will result in untold mayhem are the laws which prevent gun owners from freely moving across state lines with their concealed guns, but not to worry – I’m sure the gun ‘rights’ gang is getting ready to attack that law as well.

I happen to live in one of those seven states, which used to be a ‘may issue’ state.  I live in Massachusetts and to the joy of the local gun nuts, on August 1st the State Legislature amended the CCW process, striking the word ‘may’ with the word ‘shall’ as it applies to decisions by the cops on who can and who still can’t walk around the Commonwealth with a gun. The new language also deletes the phrase ‘a reasonable exercise of discretion’ from the issuance instructions now followed by the police.

So now Massachusetts has joined the ranks of the ‘shall issue’ CCW states. Except there’s only one little problem for my friends in Massachusetts gun-nut land, which is that the new procedures do not (as in no, or zero or however else you want to define it) take discretionary authority for CCW issuance away from the cops at all.

The new CCW procedure still requires that an applicant submit to an in-person interview with the ‘licensing authority’ which is the police chief in whichever city or town the person seeking CCW permission happens to live. The new law gives the licensing authority the ability to withhold a CCW license if the applicant demonstrates – ready? – that he might be a danger to himself or someone else.

How does the new ‘shall issue’ procedure in Massachusetts define the word ‘danger?’ It doesn’t. That’s left up to the cops.

What the SCOTUS did not do in the Bruen ruling, and what even this bunch of alt-right SCOTUS justices would never do, is issue a ruling on any law that would challenge what we refer to as the ‘compelling interest’ of the community to decide that certain basic features of modern life are too important to be left to each and every town resident to decide himself.

One of those issues, for example, is the ability of everyone in the community to be able to read and write. So, we have public schools supported by taxes and if you don’t want your kid to sit in a classroom and have his head filled up with crazy ‘woke’ ideas, that’s fine. But you still have to pay taxes and you still have to find some other way to prepare your kid to pass those statewide proficiency exams.

Ditto with another compelling interest known as community safety. Which is why we pay the salary of the police which, by the way, didn’t happen throughout New York State until 1917. And guess who pays the costs for that compelling interest? The same taxpayers who pay for public schools.

Jennifer Mascia notes that following Bruen, hundreds of Massachusetts residents were going to have CCW restrictions lifted from their gun licenses. Except that what Jennifer couldn’t know is that virtually every one of those restricted licenses were issued to Boston residents for the simple reason that cops in large cities have never felt comfortable granting CCW to any city residents in Boston, New York, Chicago or anywhere else.

The real question, however, is whether or not states which move from ‘may issue’ to ‘shall issue’ CCW will see an increase in violent crime. But the issue isn’t whether or not there will be any increase in violence per se; the issue is whether or not a change in violent crime rates is connected to whether more or fewer state residents are walking around with legal guns.

Our friend John Lott has built an entire career out of the idea that when a jurisdiction issues more CCW licenses, violent crime rates go down, an argument which gets him plaudits from pro-gun groups and angry denunciations from the other side.

Meanwhile, neither side has yet to produce one, single piece of serious research which shows that the more guns equals less crime argument, or the more guns equals more crime argument to be true or even connected to one another at all.

But since when did the argument about the role of guns in American society need to rely on facts?  We don’t need no stinkin’ facts – we got guns.

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

2 Comments

            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?

What Does the New Assault Rifle Law Really Say?

2 Comments

            So, once again the country will be treated to yet another Congressional debate about guns, with one side saying we already have too many goddamn gun laws, and the other side saying that we can reduce gun violence by passing yet another law.

            The law being debated would ban certain types of new guns from coming into the market because these types of guns, known as assault rifles, are being used in shootings where twenty people or more get killed in the same place and at the same time. And when these people happen to be a bunch of little kids and the place where they are killed happens to be their elementary school, as Grandpa would say, that’s ‘nisht gut’ (read: no good.)

            Now, it turns out that if we were to take the total number of people killed with these assault rifles each year and deduct that number from the total number of people killed every year who get shot by guns, it wouldn’t reduce the overall fatal toll of gun violence by even one percent.

            But you got to start somewhere, right? And since we can’t seem to figure out how to stop forty thousand or so people from picking up a gun and using it to kill themselves or someone else every year, if we get rid of assault rifles, at least these really bad, mass shootings may disappear. Maybe they’ll disappear. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t.

            You can read a text of the House or Senate bills, which basically say the same thing, but I’ll save you the trouble and summarize them as follows. Once this law goes into effect, nobody in the United States will be able to buy a new rifle or handgun which shoots in semi-auto mode and loads with a detachable magazine that holds more than 10 rounds.

            There are a few more bits and pieces to the law, but what I said in the previous sentence is what this ban is all about. If you happen to own a gun like this now, you can keep owning it or you can sell it to someone else. Or maybe you can sell it to someone else. The devil is always in the details., and the Senate version of the bill has an interesting, little devil lurking within, namely, a paragraph which only allows the current owner of an assault rifle to dell the gun to someone else by taking the gun to a federally licensed dealer and having the dealer run a background check on the prospective new owner of the gun.

            The House bill also has an interesting little devil that so far has avoided any public mention, which is a provision that requires everyone who currently owns an assault rifle to store the gun in a way which would prevent anyone not legally allowed to access such a weapon to get their hands on it.

            The NRA has posted a review of the proposed ban which quotes the usual suspects from both sides of the gun debate who say that the law, once enacted, would have little impact on gun violence in the United States. But none of these experts have obviously bothered to read the text of these bills. Because if they did, they would have to see that by requiring universal background checks to transfer previously owned guns (the Senate version) or requiring safe storage of such guns (the House version) would move the gun-control needle strongly in the direction that gun-control activists would like the needle to move.

            And by the way, I don’t notice any of the pro-gun loudmouths in the House or the Senate taking notice of these provision as well. Jim Jordan, the GOP member from Ohio, one of the staunchest promoters of the idea that the 2020 election was ‘rigged,’ came out with a statement about the gun ban, calling it a ‘direct’ attack on the 2nd Amendment and would do nothing to reduce gun violence. Thank you, Congressman Jordan, for your insightful remarks.

            I would be very surprised if either version of this bill makes it to Joe’s desk because when it comes to anything having to do with guns, the moment someone mentions the word ‘ban,’ every member of Congress begins looking for cover, particularly those members who come from purple zones.

            On the other hand, if the bill does get to the Oval Office with either of those two provisions for background checks or safe storage in the bill, even though these procedures would only apply to assault guns, it would still mark a major step forward for our friends in gun-control – oops! – I mean gun ‘sense’ land.

            Maybe if we’re lucky, before voting, maybe nobody in either chamber will actually take the time to read the bill.  

It’s Time to Figure Out Gun Violence.

Leave a comment

            The Sandy Hook massacre, which occurred on December 12, 2012, brought about the emergence of a national, grass-roots movement to reduce gun violence. Gun-control groups and activities sprang up in state after state, national organizations like Everytown and MOMS got to work on a full-time basis, and the strength and impact of the pro-gun lobby (read: NRA) was challenged and on occasion overcome for the very first time.

            There’s only one little problem, however, with this positive turn of events, namely, both the number and rate of fatal shootings keeps going up. Here’s how it looks:

YearDeathsRate
20133284910.14
20143285810.04
20153547610.80
20163786311.48
20173894911.72
20183892911.61
20193885011.56
20204428613.28
TOTAL30006011.59
     

            Let me put it this way. If I hired someone to run my company and these were how the numbers looked after eight years, my manager would have to make a pretty good argument to convince me to keep him around.

            Now I don’t own any of the gun-control organizations, but I give several of them more than a thousand bucks each year and I’ve been giving them this money for a number of years. Am I getting any kind of decent return for my bucks? I’m not sure.

            Yesterday I received a letter from Brady, which I one of the gun-control groups I support. They asked me to make a donation to a program called Not Above the Law, which will “hold negligent gun dealers accountable” for the flow of ‘crime guns.’

            The Brady letter states that 90% of all crime guns come from 5% of the federally licensed gun dealers, and Brady’s Gun Store Transparency Project shows which dealers are following all the required laws and which dealers are not. By collaborating with ‘activists, residents and violence interrupters,’ Brady will “promote comprehensive solutions that will save lives.”

            Fine. Good. Just what we need. Comprehensive solutions to gun violence.

            Earlier in this column I said that when it comes to gun violence, there’s one little problem. Actually, there’s another little problem too. And the second little problem is that we have absolutely no idea how guns which can only be sold for the first time to someone who passes a background check then end up being used to commit a violent crime.

            Brady claims that 5% of the gun dealers are somehow furnishing most, or nearly all the crime guns. But is just so happens that somewhere between 5% and 10% of all licensed dealers happen to sell somewhere between 80% and 90% of all guns thar are first shipped by gun factories to wholesalers, who then ship the newly manufactured guns to retailers who then sell every, single one of these guns to customers who first pass a background check.

            The gun business happens to be the last retail consumer niche where consumer demand is not met by chain or big-box stores. For reasons of licensing, as well as safety concerns, the gun business is still a two-tier business, i.e., factory to wholesale to retail.

            This is particularly true when it comes to handguns and you’ll find that many sporting goods chains, like Dick’s and Wal Mart stock plenty of long guns, but won’t touch the little ones. And it’s the little guns which are the crime guns.

            Are there gun dealers who flout the laws? Of course. There are also Wall Street guys who don’t follow the rules laid down by the SEC. But believe it or not, a gun dealer who has a good-sized store and sells, say, 30 or 40 guns a week, is going to be a lot more careful than the guy who sells maybe one gun every third day. Meanwhile, it’s the big store whose guns show up at crime scenes for the simple reason that the owner of that store has no control over what happens to the guns he sells after those guns leave his shop.

            I am prepared to send Brady a big check if they would stop fooling around with this transparency nonsense and fund a research project that would explain how legally purchased guns wind up being used in violent crimes.

            If Brady’s interested in supporting this research, they can tell me how much the research would cost, and I’ll set up a GoFundMe so that we can all get involved.

Does The SCOTUS Decision on Concealed-Carry Mean More Gun Violence?

Leave a comment

              Know how I learned about the Court’s decision to throw out the New York gun law? Because I got an email from one of the gun-control organizations saying something about how the decision would result in more gun violence, less community safety and oh, by the way, send us some dough.

              Was it a coincidence that the Court’s decision was announced at the exact, same time that the Senate got 65 votes to override a possible filibuster by Rand Paul, or Ted Cruz, or one of those other Republican jerkoffs and will now proceed to a vote on the gun bill?

              Either way, I’m going to (as usual) give my Gun-control Nation friends a minority view of yusterday’s ruling because I happen to think that: a) the law deserved to be thrown out, and b) Gun-control Nation is making a mountain out of a molehill and maybe it’s time to stop farting around with such nonsense and do some serious work.

              You should download and read the decision right here, but I’ll save you the trouble as long as you’re willing to trust that what I am going to say is based on an honest reading of what the Court said.

              First of all, if the Court’s decision does not (read: not) obviate New York’s authority to determine whether a law-abiding state resident can purchase and/or own a gun. It simply says that the 2nd Amendment does not distinguish between keeping a gun inside the home versus walking around with a gun outside the home. Since the former is justified for self-defense, the latter should be justified on the same basis as well.

              The Court further notes that this approach, which is referred to as ‘shall issue’ and removes the arbitrary authority of licensing authorities to grant concealed-carry of guns outside the home, is only practiced in 6 states, with New York and California leading the pack. In many of the other 44 states, the process for licensing residents to buy or own a gun is the same regardless of whether the gun is kept inside the home or carried around outside the home.

              Which brings us to the central issue about concealed-carry (CCW) which this decision says is Constitutionally-protected in the same way as the 2008 Heller decision gives Constitutional protection to handguns kept in the home. And the question is as follows: Does the lawful carrying of a handgun outside the home represent a threat to community safety, which is what the fundraising email I received yesterday from a major GVP organization claims to be the case?

              The answer to this question is found in the dissent written by Associate Justice Breyer who cites numerous studies which have found that “the United States suffers a disproportionately high rate of firearm-related deaths and injuries” which is associated with the existence of at least 300 million guns in privately-owned hands. Breyer then goes on to cite the recent increase in mass shootings as a further reason why loosening CCW restrictions creates a danger, stating the fact that “64.4% of firearm homicides and 91.8% of nonfatal firearm assaults [in 2018] were committed with a handgun.”

              There’s only one little problem with the evidence which Breyer uses to support his argument that legal CCW is responsible for our excessive gun violence or that the spread of CCW to states like New York and California will only lead to an increase in violence committed with guns. And the problem is this: Overwhelmingly, gun violence is not committed by individuals who exercise legal access to guns either in their homes or in the street, particularly gun owners who exercise CCW with their guns.

              The Violence Policy Center has compiled a list of all shootings committed by individuals since 2007 who were identified as people who practice concealed-carry. The total to date is 2,203. Know how many gun homicides have been committed since 2007? Somewhere around 200,000. So, if we couldn’t walk around with a handgun outside our homes, what would this mean in terms of the rate of gun violence?  A drop in overall numbers of one percent?

              I’m afraid that Associate Justice Alito, for whom I have no particularly positive feelings, hit the nail on the head in his concurring opinion on CCW when he said: “Our decision, as noted, does not expand the categories of people who may lawfully possess a gun.” Which is exactly what’s really at issue here, namely, do we or don’t we like guns?

              I don’t like full-calorie soft drinks. I don’t like tobacco. I don’t like the guy who just roared past me in his Beemer doing 75mph in a 30mph zone. I think that my friends in Gun-control Nation should stop pretending they have no problem with the 2nd Amendment as long as gun owners use their guns in a responsible and safe way.

              What’s wrong with building a gun-control movement around the idea that guns are simply no good?  I’m ready to donate. How about you?

What Does the New Gun Bill Say About Guns?

Leave a comment

              I may be wrong, but I believe the only consumer product which requires someone to become a federally-licensed dealer in order to sell that product is a product called a gun. In fact, getting licensed from the federal government to sell guns was the reason that the government enacted its second national gun law in 1938, the first gun law enacted in 1934 defined what kinds of guns could be bought and owned.

              The 1938 law required that anyone who wanted to sell guns in some kind of businesslike transaction had to pass a background check and had to keep some kind of record or document which contained the name and address of the customer who bought a gun. When the government then passed the 1968 gun law and designated the ATF to be the agency that would regulate the gun business, that law required the ATF to design the requisite forms that would be used to create documentary proof of purchase, sale and transfer of guns, documents which then were expanded and revised when the feds passed their last gun bill requiring background checks in 1994.

              In addition to requiring gun dealers to utilize certain forms to hold information about the movement of guns (A&D Book, Form 4473), the 1968 law also mandated that this information could be verified and validated by the ATF with a visit to each and every gun shop. What was left unchanged in the 1968 and 1994 gun laws, however, was a definition of the word ‘dealer’ which made the ATF’s mission and responsibilities rather vague.

              Was a gun dealer someone who sold one of his personally-owned guns to someone else? Was a dealer someone who had to do a background check on himself when he purchased a gun for personal use? Could a dealer stop buying or selling guns even if he wanted to renew his federal gun license?

              These questions weren’t answered in any of the federal gun bills enacted to date, and from the text of the bill which received enough votes today to prevent a filibuster and now moves forward to a Senate vote, the questions are still unanswered in the soon-to-be fifth federal gun law.

              This is not an unimportant issue, for the simple reason that nobody can manufacture and then sell any kind of gun to the public unless that gun is first shipped to a federally-licensed dealer whose license then allows him (or her) to transfer that product to a customer in a retail sale. And what we keep hearing from Gun-control Nation is that much of the behavior which produces 125,000 intentional deaths and injuries from guns each year occurs because too many federally-licensed dealers don’t operate in conformity with federal gun laws.

These ‘rogue’ dealers sell guns to individuals who can’t pass a background check, they don’t list every gun that come into their shop, they don’t manage their inventory properly and somehow guns wind up where they’re not supposed to wind up – in the ‘wrong’ hands.

The problem, however, is that if I walk into a gun shop this afternoon, buy a gun and then a day or a week later decide that I don’t particularly like the gun and sell it to someone else, even if I lose money, I have still met the legal requirements for being in the gun business, whether I know it or not. In fact, in my state if I sell more than four of my personally-owned guns in a year, even if each transfer takes place in a gun shop and a background check is performed, I am considered a gun dealer and must hold both a state and federal license to sell guns.

Under Obama, there was an effort to define un dealers by setting a minimum number of guns that said individual would sell over a calendar year. Like all the other Obama gun-control schemes, this one went nowhere fast.

A redefinition of gun dealer happens to be included in the new bill. Under current law, someone is defined as a gun dealer if he sells guns “with the principal objective of livelihood and profit.” Under the new law, the relevant phrase will read, “to predominantly earn a profit.”

What if I open a shop selling motorcycles and sell guns at a slight loss in order to bring customers to my shop to buy a bike? After all, bikers tend to be gun nuts, so wouldn’t they flock to Mike’s Biker Shop if they could also buy a gun at a cheap price?

I’m being a little silly here but just want to prove a point. And the point is that Congress has perhaps done us a great favor in funding expanded mental health programs through this gun bill. What they haven’t done is made any serious change in the regulations governing the sale and use of guns.

Oh well, oh well.

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

1 Comment

              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?

Want To Reduce Gun Violence? Let the Lawyers Do The Work.

1 Comment

Know that joke about lawyers? The one about how 10,000 lawyers under the sea is a good start? I’ll bet the joke is being told as a serious hoped-for response down at the Glock factory in Georgia because of the lawsuit filed yesterday in New York.

The lawsuit accuses Glock of marketing their guns in a way which violates a New York State law that holds companies responsible if the use of their products creates a ‘public nuisance,’ which in this particular case was the nuisance created by a guy who walked onto a New York City subway car in April and started blasting all over the place. One of the victims of that senseless act is the plaintiff in this suit.

What’s interesting to me in this legal action is that the defendants are both Glock USA, and the parent company overseas. Which means that every foreign gun manufacturer who views the American gun market as a place to sell their products may now rethink their plans. And since most of the semi-automatic pistols which are used in gun assaults are made by foreign companies like Sig, Beretta, and Glock, or are manufactured overseas by American companies like Springfield Arms, this lawsuit could have repercussions which go far beyond any challenge to Gun-nut Nation until now.

The truth is that for all the talk about a new gun law that will keep guns out of the ‘wrong’ hands, there has never been one piece of research which actually proves that any legal gun-control law makes much of a difference in terms of reducing how many people are injured or killed with guns.

Today we learn that the legal team which sued Remington after Sandy Hook has begun a process which may end up in a lawsuit against the company – Daniel Defense – that made the gun used in last week’s slaughter at the Robb Elementary School. If legal suits can find gun makers liable for how their assault rifles were used to kill and injure both adults and kids, guess what?

The same kinds of lawsuits can be used to go after companies like Glock, Sig, Beretta, S&W, Springfield, and all the other gun makers whose products are used in the more than 125,000 deaths and serious injuries which are caused each year with their guns.

When all is said and done, nothing works better to change the dynamics of any product market than a situation in which producers know that the product they are making and selling can cost them more time, trouble, and money than what the product is worth.

Remember a wonderful candy called Chunky?  Remember how many Chunky Candy Bars you could find on the candy shelf after stories began to appear which claimed that the candy made you sick?

So, maybe instead of all those lawyers at the bottom of the sea, we should dump all the assault rifles somewhere far offshore.

If the government gave everyone a thousand bucks for their AR, the total cost would be about 15 billion bucks. Right now, the federal budget is $7 trillion. So, adding another 15 billion is chump change, especially what you figure we’ll save from not having to bear the medical and emotional costs of the kids and adults shot with those guns.

And while we’re at it, we can also start dumping the Sigs, the Glocks, the Berettas and all those other handguns which are about as ‘sporting’ a gun as Leonard Mermelstein is a dog.

Leonard Mermelstein is my cat. You can see him right here: Catalog | TeeTee Press

Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: