Some Day Doctors Will Figure Out that Guns Can’t Be Made ‘Safe.’

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              The Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine (SAHM) has been around for more than 50 years and promotes adolescent health primarily in the United States but is also active overseas. They publish a journal, hold an annual meeting, and promote issues that are specifically tied to the problems encountered by medical practitioners in the adolescent medicine field.

              For obvious reasons, SAHM focuses efforts on gun violence, which if we define adolescence as covering ages 11 through 21, resulted in 21% of all the Americans shot to death in 2020, which is exactly the average percentage of intentional gun deaths for this age group racked up every year over the last ten years.

              Considering the fact that the adolescent age spread represents 10% of the entire age spread for intentional shooting deaths published by the CDC, it’s obvious that gun violence needs to be seen as a fundamental health threat during the adolescent years.

              But the link between adolescence and gun violence is not just a function of how many adolescents are shot with guns. In fact, what the research by Al Lizotte and others clearly indicates is that adolescence is also the time when young men first get interested in guns and it is this adolescent urge to gain access to guns which becomes the primary factor in our national gun carnage which cannot otherwise be explained in any reasonable terms.

              Last June, SAHM published a statement about mass shootings, directly following the massacres in Uvalde, TX and Buffalo, NY. This document followed a previous organizational declaration about gun violence published in 2019 which can be downloaded right here. Both statements rely on organizational statements published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which has been calling for increased medical attention to gun violence prevention over the previous thirty years.

              What is the basic argument made by these two medical organizations to mitigate the awful scourge of gun violence which, in particular, hits hardest amongst adolescents and kids? Here’s the critical statement from SAHM: “Deliver a UNIVERSAL firearm safety message to all patients and parents, emphasizing that youth living in homes without firearms have the lowest risk for morbidity and mortality due to firearm violence.”

              A ‘firearm safety’ message? What in God’s name are they talking about? Do the physicians who wrote this missive actually believe that guns can be made ‘safe?’ If they do, then we are looking at a group of medical experts who don’t have the faintest idea about anything having to do with the design and use of guns. Or to put it more directly, the design and use of guns which account for most, if nearly all the fatal and non-fatal gun injuries suffered each year by adolescents and everyone else.

Incidentally, the AAP says exactly the same thing on their website: “Like counseling on seat belt use or pool safety, counseling parents on firearm ownership and safe storage practices is important and helps mitigate the risk of death and injury to children.”

Now, here comes the real doozy. Ready? “In controlled studies, individuals who received physician counseling were more likely to report the adoption of 1 or more safe gun-storage practices.”

I don’t care if the patients who received all this safety counseling adopted 5 or 50 safe-storage practices. There has never been one single study which links ‘more safe gun-storage practices’ to any change in gun violence what…so…ever. Not…one.  I’ll repeat: not one. The AAP even published an article which claims to be a cluster-randomized, controlled trial of firearm storage practices which found an increase in safe storage “as a result of a brief office-based, violence-prevention approach.”

My internist, God bless him, has been telling me to lose 20 pounds foe the past 25 years. He enumerates all the medical complications which might occur because I just can’t seem to stay on a diet that doesn’t include a daily helping of potato chips. If I were to take a test about healthy eating after being counseled in his office, I guarantee you I would score 100% every time.


When medicine community says the above directly and clearly, they will have finally come to grips with the problem of gun violence.

If not, not.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If not, we won’t.

Want More Gun Safety? Forget Eddie Eagle. It’s Pure PR And Junk.

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              I would like to go to the NRA annual meeting this year, if only to meet and greet many old friends. But the show’s being held in Texas, and I’m not crazy about going to a state which has once again become one of the ‘hot spots’ for Covid-19.

              If I did go, however, because I am a Benefactor Life Member, I can sit in a private lounge, have a free coffee and a snack.  I’ll also be reminded by one of the NRA staff members to increase the size of my endowment but that comes as no big surprise.

              Some of my readers may be a little put off by the fact that I am an NRA member, and have been a member of America’s ’first civil rights organization’ (not really true) since 1954. But I’m also a member of AARP, The Wilderness Fund, the National Parks Conservancy and Triple-A. To be honest, it’s a matter of habit and I’m too old to change.

              At some point Wayne-o will come into the lounge, say hello to all the Benefactor members and even sit down with several of them for a brief chat. If I get a couple of minutes alone with the Executive Vice President, I’m not going to talk to him about that stupid bankruptcy petition that never should have been filed and was thrown out of court. I’m not going to thanks him for protecting my 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’

              I’m going to tell him that the NRA needs to get rid of the Eddie Eagle program. Why? Because the program is useless, stupid, and dumb. If the NRA wants to convince people that it’s really concerned about the 125,000 (or more) fatal and non-fatal gun injuries that Americans suffer every year, they won’t do it by promoting Eddie Eagle, that’s for sure.

              The Eddie Eagle program was started by the NRA’s Florida lobbyist, Granny Hammer, in 1988.  In 2015, the program’s messaging was revised by the NRA’s then-advertising agency, Ackerman-McQueen. That’s the bunch that the NRA fired in 2019 when it turned out they were cooking the books on the number of people who were tuning into NRA-TV.

              Now here’s the real kicker. The program is designed to be used in schools so that children can be taught how to behave safely around guns. Its messaging is allegedly to be understood by kids in Grade 1 to 3. In other words, kids between the ages of 6 and 9.

              How many kids of those ages were accidentally killed by guns in 2019?  The CDC says it may have been 8, but it could have been a few more or a few less. Now I know that every life is precious but if you’re going to develop a teaching program to get kids to better understand the risk of guns, what have you really accomplished when your audience accounts for 7% of all the children in America whose lives are cut tragically short because they or one of their friends did something stupid with a gun?

              If the NRA wants to become believable in their claims to be so concerned about how pre-adults handle guns, why don’t they develop a program whose audience are the kids in middle school, i.e., 12 to 14 years of age? Because that’s when kids start getting interested in guns, and it’s those kids who wind up being the victims and perpetrators of most gun violence between the ages of 16 and 34. 

              In 2019, 38,850 Americans died from gun violence, which is the intentional use of a gun to harm yourself or someone else. Of that number, 14,934 were victims of gun violence who were shot by someone else. Know how many of those victims were 16 to 34 years old? Try 8,958, i.e., 60 percent.

              And the NRA is trying to make you believe that the Eddie Eagle program really works?

Should We Get Rid Of PLCAA? Why Bother?

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              If there is one thing that all my friends in Gun-control Nation seem to agree on, it’s the idea that we have to get rid of PLCAA, a 2005 law which protects the gun industry against class-action (tort) suits. But even though it sounds like a good idea because, after all, no sane, rational individual would ever want gun makers to escape responsibility for the 125,000 victims of gun violence every year, I’m not so sure that getting rid of PLCAA would change anything at all.

              The law was the gun-industry’s counter-offensive to an attempt by the Clinton Administration to make the gun industry accept a plan (put together by then-HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo) which would have required gun makers to adopt a self-regulating program that basically would have ended the retail sale of guns in the United States. And because the plan required the gun industry to adopt and enforce the plan themselves, no amount of kvetching about the ‘loss’ of 2nd-Amendment ‘rights’ would have done any good at all.

              Basically, the Clinton-Cuomo plan would have required every gun manufacturer to hire hundreds of people who would go around, visit every, single retail store that sold one of its guns once a year, conduct a full safety inspection of the premises, deliver a seminar on gun safety, and file a report on each visit which would then be forwarded to the government for review.

              In fact, because Smith & Wesson was owned by a British investment group which didn’t know a gun from a hole in the wall, the owners decided to adopt the plan, in return for which the Clinton Administration promised that S&W would be shielded from class-action suits. The resultant boycott by gun wholesalers and retailers almost shuttered the company’s doors except that some Palm Beach County votes were thrown out, Bush beat Gore, and that was the end of that.

              In fact, a class-action suit against the gun industry brought by the NAACP had been floating around Federal Judge Jack Weinstein’s courtroom for a couple of years, the real ‘civil rights’ organization (as opposed to the NRA’s nonsense) charging gun makers with consciously flooding inner-city, high-crime neighborhoods with their products, thus provoking too many deaths and injuries from guns.

              Ultimately, Judge Weinstein was forced to terminate the suit because the NAACP couldn’t demonstrate ‘standing’ in the case. And while Weinstein later said he believed the plaintiffs had a strong case, I’m not so sure that the guns which wind up being used to commit injuries in what we now refer to as the ‘underserved’ neighborhoods are being shipped into those neighborhoods when they leave the UPS truck pulls away from the factory loading dock.

              The reason that Gun-control Nation wants to get rid of PLCAA is because most gun-control advocates believe that by promoting the idea that a gun can protect its owner from being harmed, that the gun manufacturers are consciously and deliberately trying to deceive consumers into believing that guns aren’t as dangerous as many of us would like to believe.

              Unfortunately, the idea that the gun industry plays down the intrinsic dangerousness of its products is a myth which happens not to be true. In fact, gun makers are required to alert consumers to the potential danger, up to and including fatal danger, if their products are mis-used.

              The picture above is the front page of the safety manual which goes with every gun manufactured and sold by Smith & Wesson. The very first sentence of text says: “Read these instructions and warnings carefully. Failure to read these instructions and to follow these warnings may result in serious injury or death to you and others and damage to property.”

              If you believe for one second that the guys walking around with a gun because they want to use that gun to injure someone else don’t know how dangerous and lethal that happens to be? 

              Where do you live? In Fantasyland?

Want To Make Your Guns Safe? You Can’t.


Guess which civic-minded organization has become enamored of gun safety? It’s America’s ‘oldest civil rights organization,’ a.k.a., the NRA.   I just received an email from their training division which says: “Whether you’re a new gun owner looking for a concealed carry course or an experienced marksman who wants to take their training to the next level, NRA Certified Instructors have a course for you.”

And here are the courses now being offered:

  • Pistol Training.
  • Rifle Training.
  • Shotgun Training.
  • Self-Defense Training.
  • Home Firearm Safety.

Here’s how the NRA describes the home safety course: “Non-shooting course and teaches students the basic knowledge, skills, and to explain the attitude necessary for the safe handling and storage of firearms and ammunition in the home.” It’s a four-hour course, no shooting involved, you can even take the course online in the ‘privacy’ of your home.

In the privacy of your home. That’s a good one. This is the same ‘privacy’ that you need to own a gun in order to protect it. This is the same ‘privacy’ which is being threatened by those gangs that are roving around Lindsey Graham’s home in Seneca, SC. Which is why ol’ Lindsey needs to keep an AR-15 in the privacy of his home.

But not to worry. Go out today, buy yourself a nice, new AR-15 and then sign up for the NRA course which teaches you how to keep and use that gun safely in the ‘privacy’ of your home. Nothing like privacy when it comes to owning a gun.

Want the best news of all about this NRA safety course?  It’s not only designed and delivered by America’s ‘first civil rights organization,’ it’s also a strategy and an approach to good health. Virtually every medical organization also recommends that you follow the same gun-safety rules and practices promoted by the NRA if you want to keep a gun in your home.

And not only do the medical groups believe that you can learn how to practice gun safety in the privacy of your home, they’ll even give you a nice, simple, easy-to-read brochure which explains how to own, store, and use guns in a safe way. 

Here’s the gun safety brochure that was developed by the Massachusetts Medical Society. Anyone can read through this pamphlet in a couple of days. But if you want to save yourself the trouble, in April the NRA’s gun-safety course is being offered more than 80 times just in Massachusetts alone. What could be safer than that?

I’ll tell you what could be safer. Don’t bring the gun into your house. Or if you have one of those guns in your home right now, just take it down to the little gun shop on the corner and sell it back. That’s the only way to be safe around guns. Get rid of the guns.

Now I’m not about to take any of the 60-odd guns I have lying around and sell them to Joe the Gun-shop Owner.  I’m a gun nut and I like my guns. But I’m not going to kid myself into thinking that those guns can be made to be ‘safe.’ They can’t. That’s not what guns are all about.

Of course, there are degrees of risk from different kinds of guns. My Glock 17 and my Ruger Mini-14 are a lot more dangerous to have around than Grandpa’s old shotgun that we found in the basement after he died, and Grammy was carted off to the lovely rest home. That old Sears-Roebuck shotgun probably doesn’t even work, so it’s a pretty safe gun.

But my pistol and my assault rifle weren’t designed to be safe. They also weren’t designed to protect me from all those ANTIFA and BLM gangsters prowling around outside my home. These guns were designed to do one thing and one thing only – to inflict fatal injuries on human beings every time they are used.

What physicians and everyone else who are concerned about 125,000 fatal and non-fatal gun injuries that we suffer every year should be saying is this: Get rid of the guns.

You can say it today by joining the more than the more than 3,300 folks who have signed our petition right here: https://www.change.org/Ban_Assault_Rifles_Now

Is Covid-19 Driving Gun Sales?

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              So the background check numbers are out for April and once again the media gets it all wrong. Here’s the statement from CNN: “The FBI conducted nearly 3 million background checks associated with the sale, transfer or permitting of firearms in April, making it the fourth highest month for background checks since the bureau began keeping statistics in 1998.” By tomorrow. I’ll get emails from the various gun-control organizations quoting the CNN story and asking me to send them some dough. Fine.

              In fact, 45% of the calls received by the FBI NICS call center in April had nothing to do with gun sales at all. They were calls being made to check license applications, concealed-carry applications, guns taken out of pawn, or guns transferred between two gun nuts in a private sale. That’s right, almost 3,000 NICS checks were for transfers between Tweedledee and Tweedledum.

Now you might think that 3,000 private sale background checks are nothing compared to the almost 1,600,000 checks done by dealers for guns they sold. But in 1998, the FBI didn’t bother to count NICS checks for private sales and of the 24 categories for background checks for which the FBI now issues their monthly report, there were only 5 categories of types of checks reported in 1998. You want to compare apples to oranges; you go right ahead. But the monthly FBI-NICS report issued last week has only contained the same categories since August 2016. Oh well, oh well.

Of course CNN being a responsible media outlet which always checks its facts, made sure to get statements about this avalanche of guns sales from both sides of the debate. A lady at the NRA who has not been laid off, said that the reason for all those guns being purchased is that “Americans are fearful and seeking security in the time of the COVID pandemic.” One of our gun-control friends, Igor Volsky, was then asked to chime in and he noted that the Trump administration “has repeatedly worked to expand access to guns during a national pandemic and has encouraged folks to take up arms and intimidate their governors into reopening the government.”

Last week I wrote a column in which I compared the current gun frenzy to what happened after the World Trade towers came down. I said that by the end of November, 2001 just three months short of 9-11, the spike in gun sales had come to an end. Guess what? This time around the number of Americans rushing out to protect themselves from the ‘Chinese virus’ (I love that phrase) may already be winding down. Background checks for gun transfers in March were 2,286,207; for April they were 1,596,519.  That’s only a drop of 30 percent. No big deal.

Remember I said that the FBI-NICS background check data has only contained the same categories for checks being done today since August, 2016. Know when Americans bought just as many guns in one month as they bought last month? Try November, 2016. The following month, December, they bought even more. Know what happened back then/ No virus, no ISIS invasion, no Korean or Iranian atom bomb. There was something called a Presidential election which a certain, notorious gun-grabber was supposed to win. And the reason why so many guns were sold not before but directly after the November vote is because many guns are sold on the installment plan – put down half now and the balance in 30 days.

I think we have a lot more to be concerned about than whether some gun guys use the COVID pandemic as an excuse to stock up on another gun. The worst that will happen is that ‘The Wife’ will find out that he snuck another gun into the house, which means it can always be sold back to the store if the washer-dryer goes on the fritz.

We have an election coming up on November 3rd. Let’s stop screwing around with the side-show, okay?

Do Safe-Storage Laws Protect Our Kids?

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A group of medical researchers have just published a JAMA article about the effectiveness of child-access prevention (CAP) laws, which are also referred to as safe-storage laws. You can download the article right here. Or you can go to JAMA and read it there.  Either way, this is an important article for two reasons:

  1. CAP laws have become a priority with all gun-control organizations and now exist in 27 states.
  2. For the first time, we have a major piece of gun-violence research which clarifies the definition of ‘child.’

Most gun studies define children as being 0 to 20 years old.  The articles cited in the above link to Giffords use 17 and 20 as the maximum age for their studies. But virtually all 50 states grant hunting licenses to anyone above the age of 15, so to refer to them as ‘children’ is nothing more than an attempt to make the problem of gun injury worse than it is, since most gun injuries, intentional or unintentional, occur after the age of 14. To the credit of the researchers who wrote this JAMA piece, they use the age of 14 as their cut-off point.

Here’s the headline: “more-stringent CAP laws were associated with statistically significant relative reductions in pediatric firearm fatalities. Negligence laws, but not recklessness laws, were associated with reductions in firearm fatalities.” Fine – all well and good. But as usual, the devil’s in the details and I noticed one detail which remains unexplained.

This study looked at changes in gun injuries to children beginning in 1991 and ending in 2016, with the before-and-after comparison being set at 1997 when injury rates began to decline in both CAP and non-CAP states. Over the next eleven years – from 1998 through 2008, the decline was greater in the non-CAP states. Only after 2008 do injury rates in CAP states continue to level off (although they do not continue any downward trend) whereas injury rates in non-CAP states show an increase over the last few years.

The research team carefully explains a number of factors that might influence the results, such as an awareness of CAP laws, misclassification of data, etc. But what they don’t discuss is possible explanations for the decline of child gun injuries in non-CAP jurisdictions. A decline which, until 2008, was almost the same in both CAP and non-CAP states.

If you want to understand the effects of any law designed to require a certain type of behavior, at the very least you need to compare the effects of that law to whether or not the same behavior changed in places where the law didn’t exist. But there is also a bigger issue involved with this research.

The researchers make a distinction between laws which deal with access of children to guns in terms of ‘negligence’ (not locking the gun up or away) to ‘recklessness,’ which basically means that someone took a gun out of safe storage and used it in a stupid or careless way.

I happen to live in the state – Massachusetts – which has the most stringent CAP law of all states with such laws. The law states that unless the gun is under ‘direct control’ by a qualified (licensed) individual, it must either be fitted with a ‘tamper-proof device’ or be locked away at all times. No exceptions of any kind.

Guess what happens? The guy is fooling around with his gun in the living room; his son is playing a board game with a friend on the floor. Phone rings in the kitchen, guy jumps up to answer the phone but leaves the gun behind. Kid picks up the gun, points it at his friend – boom!  This act of utter recklessness, which cost an 8-year old his leg (but at least he’s still alive) was committed by a long-time veteran cop who had served his town with distinction for more than 20 years.

I want to commend the authors of this piece for bringing some important clarity to the CAP debate. I also want to remind them and everyone else that we don’t require seat belts for guns.

Safe Storage Isn’t Safe At All.


              It is now more than a quarter-century since Art Kellerman, Fred Rivara and other scholars published a seminal work on suicide risk and access to guns. This article not only brought public attention to gun risk, but was probably the single, most important event leading to the 1996 elimination of gun research funding by the CDC.

              Just this week, another research effort linking guns to suicide has appeared, giving us an opportunity to compare research findings on the same issue over the last 25 years. And I’m going to give you my conclusion up front, which is that public health research on gun risk has created a medical consensus on how to deal with gun violence that moves us further away from where we should be.

              The whole purpose of public health research is to identify a risk to community health, figure out the proper response to that risk, then give physicians the proper tools to (note the next word in caps) eliminate the risk. Sorry, but the Hippocratic Oath doesn’t mention reducing disease; it says: “I will prevent disease whenever I can.”

              The authors of this new paper, obviously cognizant of the role of medicine in the prevention of disease, inject that issue into their work with the following conclusion: “In the overall model, 6% to 32% of deaths were estimated to be preventable depending on the probability of motivating safer storage.”

Reducing a threat to health by 6 percent isn’t prevention. And worse, even this minimal outcome, which is at best an ‘estimate,’ is dependent on whether the at-risk population responds positively to the ‘probability’ of ‘motivating’ a certain public-health strategy known as ‘safe storage.’

The ‘safe storage’ strategy has become the deus ex machina for gun control embraced by virtually every gun-control initiative both within and without the medical field. The strategy has never (read: never) been tested in anything other than a variety of statistical manipulations of relevant (but not definitive) data. Not one researcher has ever created a control group versus a comparison group and then analyzed outcomes between the two groups. The definition of ‘safe storage’ doesn’t even cover how the term is utilized in relevant legal statutes and texts.

I happen to live in the state – Massachusetts – which has the strictest safe-storage law of all 50 states. In my state, a gun owner can be charged with a felony even if a gun is simply left unlocked or not locked away in the home. But MA also recognizes that a gun is safely stored if the qualified owner can reach out and touch the gun. So if I am sitting in my living room watching TV and cleaning one of my guns at the same time, the gun is safely stored.

I have yet to see a single public health study advocating safe storage which asks respondents to define safe storage as locked, locked away or sitting next to the gun’s owner when he’s awake or asleep. Which means that these studies, like the one just published, are based on a primary variable (type of storage behavior) which has no connection to reality at all.

This is why I said above that public health gun research has moved us further, rather than closer to figuring out what to do about a threat to public health that results in at least 125,000 deaths and injuries every year. Because if you go back to the Kellerman-Rivara research which found gun owners to be at higher risk for suicide, their finding wasn’t based on whether or not guns were safely stored.

Why has the public health field decided that only guns that aren’t safely stored represent a risk to health? Because they actually believe that medical counseling on gun violence must respect our Constitutional ‘right’ to own a gun.

Since when did the Hippocratic Oath require physicians to determine health risk based on  whether some law gives individuals free license to harm themselves or others? Which is what the 2nd Amendment is really all about, whether the medical community and their public health research friends want to acknowledge it or not.

Where Are All Those ‘Responsible’ Gun Owners?


New group has emerged pledging “to propel cultural change and prevent unnecessary gun deaths in the United States.” And how does this group intend to propel cultural change?  They can speak for themselves: “There is a middle ground where most Americans can agree. We’ve found that middle ground and are working to unite like-minded citizens. Behind the scenes, we are effecting real change to stem the tide of gun violence.”

Gun Safety Alliance              This effort is the handiwork, so it seems, of some of the companies which in one way or another decided to cut links to the gun industry (read: the NRA) after the massacre at Stoneman Douglas High.  This includes Delta Airlines and Hertz, who no longer offer discounts to NRA members, as well as Gucci which ponied up some big dough to support the March for our Lives demo in March, a bank that won’t underwrite Visa-Mastercard gun shop accounts, plus Dick’s and Walmart, the latter upping its age for all gun sales to twenty-one, the former pulling black guns out of some of their stores.

I happen to know one of the managers of the Hertz Rental at the Hartford Airport, and when I mentioned the company’s decision to drop its NRA discount, he stared at me in disbelief. Not that he was necessarily opposed to the decision, it’s that he had never been told this was going to happen and frankly, he couldn’t care less. So I went back to the Gun Safety Alliance website (that’s the name of this new group) and to my utter surprise discovered that not one single individual is identified with any of these companies that are now trying to ‘propel’ cultural change.

I happen to find anonymous advocacy websites offensive and I won’t donate a penny to any organization which refuses to identify the individuals whose so-called commitment to their cause doesn’t require them to give out their names. Want to reach Mike the Gun Guy? It’s mike@mikethegunguy.com.  Want to send me a letter? The gun shop is located in Ware, MA and both the address and telephone number can be accessed at any time. And believe me, I have received many nasty and threatening communications from gun-troll land (as well as from some very dedicated gun-control activists) over the years. But I simply will not subscribe to the idea that I can or should advocate anything without telling my audience who I am.

My other objection to this new organization is their belief that they can ‘unite’ like-minded citizens’ who share their desire to reduce violence caused by guns.  These happen to be code-words, no different from referring to ‘most’ gun owners as ‘responsible,’ or calling for ‘common sense’ gun safety laws.  What about the non-gun owners?  How many of them have demonstrated their responsible behavior by passing a background check? Even Pew Research admits that nearly half of all Americans want an end to gun-free zones.   I guarantee you that this number includes just about every one of those ‘like-minded’ Americans who happen to own guns.

And then there’s the safe-storage issue that always rears its ugly head when the ‘responsible’ citizenry gets together to figure out how to reduce violence from guns. In 2016 it is estimated that at least 110,000 people were killed or injured because someone else shot them with a gun. In 2014 the number was 76,000 – gee, that’s only an increase in two years of some 45 percent. Know how many of these injuries and deaths would have been prevented if every gun owner practiced safe storage?  Not one. There is not a single study which shows a differential in gun homicide or aggravated assault because people ‘safely stored’ their guns.

Want to propel a cultural change that will reduce gun violence?  It’s very simple. Just find a way to reverse the culture of a majority of Americans who believe that owning a gun is more of a benefit than a risk.  And when you figure that one out, please remember to sign your name.

cold and dead

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A Gun Safety Device Which Really Works.

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Now that school shootings appear to be happening on a day-to-day basis, we seem to be a lot more concerned about figuring out our real estate tax bill than about keeping our schoolchildren safe, but there is a new company out there which has come out with what appears to be a gun-safety device which really works.  The company is called Simtek, it’s the brainchild of an engineer named Brady Simpson, and they are launching a product, Duo, which is designed to prevent shootings by telling a gun owner if and when someone else gets their hands on one of his guns.

duo             Basically the device is a sensor that detects the movement of any piece of equipment in the space where the sensor is deployed – a file cabinet, desk drawer, gun safe – and then sends an instant text alert to the individual who now knows that a secure space has been breached. Motion detectors are hardly a new technology, but combining the detector with a digital messaging system represents a significant step forward in terms of alerting someone to the possibility that a gun might be grabbed by the wrong hands.

When I say ‘wrong hands,’ I’m talking about the hands connected to the bodies of kids. Anyone who believes that a gun in the home doesn’t represent a risk if there are children in the home doesn’t know anything about guns or kids. With all due respect to the gun industry which has been promoting safety programs aimed at children for God knows how long, telling kids not to touch a gun is an absolute guarantee that the kids will, if anything, get more interested in picking up the gun.

Not only are children unable to understand the notion of risk, they are also naturally inquisitive and instinctively try to discover anything and everything hidden around the house. Want to read an eye-opening study about how kids behave around guns? Try this study, which found that four out of ten gun-owning adults believed their guns were successfully hidden away and didn’t know that the kids had found the location of the guns. And the idea that children can be taught to ‘respect’ a gun is about as stupid and self-deceiving as the idea that I can eat every potato chip in sight and still lose weight.

The company has posted a clever video on Youtube which shows a young child finding the combination to a gun safe and then opening the door but Dad got the alert and arrives in the nick of time. Obviously what Simtek is trying to promote is the idea that the Duo device will provide an extra level of protection even for those gun-owning parents who have already taken precautions to keep the kids away from guns. But the truth is that for every family that locks up or locks away their guns, there’s at least one other home where guns are lying around unsecured.

What I really like about this product is its portability; in other words, if the gun is going to be transported from one place to another in a suitcase, an attache case or some other carry-all device, you can easily stick the Duo inside the same case and then get an alert if someone opens the rucksack or handbag and now has access to the gun. There have been recent media stories linking the increase in concealed-carry to a significant uptick in the number of stolen guns. These thefts don’t take place inside the home; they occur when the gun is taken away from the residence by the lawful owner who then forgets and leaves it lying around.

The good news is that Simtek has tested and certified their Duo device. The not-so-good news is they need to raise a little more dough to get the product into production and out the factory door. Pre-order a device (it’s not very expensive) and give this new company a quick start. Duo is a smart idea.

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