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The Media Commits To Writing The Truth About Guns.

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 Back in April, the Columbia Journalism Review held a ‘summit’ meeting on gun violence. Or to be more accurate, the meeting was held to address how and why journalists write their stories about guns. The event was evidently attended by the usual suspects from the mainstream media and resulted in the publication of a series of guidelines to which all the ‘responsible’ folks who do media coverage of gun violence are rushing to subscribe.

Here are the guidelines, courtesy of The Trace, which considers itself to be one of those responsible journalistic efforts par excellence:

  • We pledge to cover gun violence like the unfolding health crisis it is.
  • We pledge to allocate the time and resources needed to cover this crisis.
  • We pledge to acknowledge and address racist coverage.
  • We pledge to cover mass shootings as part of the larger gun violence problem.
  • We pledge to focus our resources on grassroots efforts.
  • We pledge to learn the lessons of the pandemic.

Now I may be a little stupid, or perhaps it’s just that I’m a 76-year-old gun nut which makes me kind of dumb, but I always thought that journalists didn’t need to subscribe to any sort of guidelines beyond the basic guideline which requires that they tell the truth. And in order to tell the truth about any issue on which you want to exercise your journalistic training, experience, and skills, it seems to me that the first and most important prerequisite is that you know at least something about the subject you are writing about.

Do the journalists who attended the CJR’s summit on gun violence know something about violence?  I’m sure they do. Do they know something about racism? Ditto that one too. Do they know something about mass shootings? That’s an easy one – there’s at least one mass shooting every week, sometimes every day.

But what I find both interesting and somewhat aggravating (but remember, I’m just an old, White gun nut living on 15 acres of woodland in Western Massachusetts) is that none of these journalists seem to know anything about the industry whose products create something we call gun violence.  In fact, I don’t recall the last time I ever read a single story about gun violence which said anything about how and why the products that create the violence are designed, manufactured, advertised, or sold.

Give you one quick example of how completely devoid the reportage on gun violence is from any kind of reality about guns. Ever hear of a group called the NASGW? It’s the trade group owned by the 30 national gun distributors who sell at least 90% of the guns made and imported every year which end up in the hands of consumers and then, in some cases, wind up in the street.

Every year the NASGW holds a meeting where the gun makers get together with the wholesalers, the road reps, and the PR outfits. The companies that make optics, ammunition and accessories show up too. They spend two days talking about the gun market and talking about which products they are going to promote, the prices they are going to charge, and the narratives which will be used to promote those products over the next year.

Want to understand how and why certain kinds of guns end up being used to commit gun violence or what the CJR manifesto refers to as the ‘unfolding health crisis?’ You can subscribe to the CJR guidelines all you want, but if you don’t spend two days walking around the NASGW meeting, you don’t know what you’re talking about.

Several years ago, I sent an email to a dozen gun researchers and journalists asking if any of them had ever heard of the NASGW, never mind covering their annual event. How many responded in the affirmative? If you guess ‘none,’ you happen to be correct.

If and when my friends who do research or reportage on gun violence ever figure out that maybe, just maybe they need to learn at least something about the industry whose existence is the reason we experience gun violence, I’ll be happy to help them out.

Buy from Amazon: Hunters in the Wilderness (Guns in America Book 2) – Kindle edition by Weisser, Michael R.. Politics & Social Sciences Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

Why Do We Keep Buying So Many Guns?

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              Yesterday I wrote about yet another news article which represents the seemingly endless effort by my friends in Gun-control Nation to scare the bejesus out of everyone because Americans keep buying so many guns. Now the fact that the reporter overestimated the number of guns being purchased by maybe a factor of ten to one, oh well, oh well, oh well.

              Anyway, it occurs to me that whether someone believes that having a gun sitting around their home somehow reduces the risk of gun violence, even though the research shows such a belief to be absolutely untrue, is still a belief held by lots of Americans. It’s what my friends in academe would call ‘cognitive dissonance,’ and if we are ever going to come up with an effective strategy to reduce gun violence, we have to figure out why this widespread instance of cognitive dissonance actually exists.

              This issue has actually been studied in quite some detail by my friends in criminology, but their research rarely, if ever, gets mentioned in the current debate about gun control. This is because Gun-control Nation relies overwhelmingly on research conducted by our friends in the field of public health. And everyone knows that all the criminologists want to do about gun violence is to lock ‘em up and throw away the key, whereas public health is all about those ‘underlying’ causes of threats to health – poverty, family dysfunction – which can only be resolved with a more compassionate, enlightened approach.

              I happen to believe that we should not only look at research by criminologists about gun violence but make a point of spending as much time discussing that kind of research as we spend discussing the research conducted by our friends in public health. I say this for one, simple reason, namely, that even including suicides, at least 90% of all gun violence happens to be a crime.

              Now you may not like the fact that when some jerk walks up to someone, pulls a gun out of his pocket and shoots the other guy in the head, that he happens to have committed a very serious crime for which we have always believed that some kind of punishment must be meted out. Okay, okay, the shooter comes from a violent family, he’s got no job, he’s what my father would call a ‘poor, unfortunate.’

              But he just killed or injured someone else. And because he did it with the gun, the odds that he killed his victim are far greater than if he had attempted to injure that other person in any other way.  And in case you didn’t know it, the guns that are used in just about every assault are designed only for the purpose of killing or injuring yourself or someone else.

              I have just read four pieces of criminological research on why people believe they need a gun to protect themselves, which is what everyone says is the reason for the spike in gun sales since the appearance of Covid-19. You can download these articles from my website here, here, here and here,

              It turns out that people who buy or own guns often suffer from less fear than people who don’t. Maybe this has to do with other psychological factors which cause some people to become gun owners, maybe it’s access to a gun which reduces their fears. The research isn’t definitive either way.

              But what the research does seem to indicate is that much of the fear which may be driving the current spike in gun sales comes “when politicians pro[1]pose restrictive immigration policies, they employ menacing portrayals of immigrants, which are widely reproduced in the media.” Sound familiar? It should.

              The good news is that the biggest noisemaker in this respect has just been told that he won’t be coming back on Facebook any time soon.

On the other hand, when Trump first started his race-mongering about immigrants, gun sales actually went down. But let’s not forget that Covid-19 wasn’t a home-grown virus. It was, after all, the ‘Chinese flu.’

Amazon.com: Confessions of a Gun Nut: Chasing Guns for Sixty Years (Guns in America Book 8) eBook: Weisser, Michael: Books

A New Gun Group To Protect Gun ‘Rights.’

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              Last year I began giving out an award for the dumbest gun law proposed in any state. The winner was Matt Gaetz, who proposed a law requiring owners of commercial spaces which didn’t allow guns to compensate any customer who was gunned down because a bad guy walked into the space with a gun, but no good guy was allowed to carry a gun.

              I am now starting a new contest, which will give an award to whomever comes up with the dumbest idea for creating an organization that will promote gun ‘rights,’ something that I see happening more frequently, given the apparent demise of the NRA.

              And the award this year goes toThe Center for Gun Rights and Responsibility (CGRR) founded by Dan Gross and Rob Pincus, an effort kicked off at a rally in front of the Capitol in 2019, attended it was said by ‘thousands’ of folks, even though the video of the event showed many less people milling about.

              What does the CGRR want to accomplish?  You can read all about the group in an op-ed published last month by Gross in (where else?) The New York Times, where Gross, the ex-head of the Brady Campaign, explains why what he and Pincus want to accomplish will work because it will “end the culture war” on guns.

              Pincus, you should know, considers himself to be a champion of not only the ‘right’ to own a gun, but the ‘right’ to carry the gun around. He cloaks himself in the unquestioned mantle of being a gun ‘educator,’ because who would ever question the value of ‘education,’ right? 

              Pincus earns his living by selling what he refers to as ‘gun safety’ videos which allegedly educate gun owners how to walk around with a gun but only to use it in a ‘safe’ way. So-called gun trainers like Pincus have been inventing totally worthless courses on armed, self-defense since Jeff Cooper first published Principles of Personal Defense back in 1972. Here are the first two sentences of that book: “Some people prey upon other people. Whether we like it or not, this is one of the facts of life.”

              To Coop’s credit, he makes it clear right at the outset that people who don’t want to protect themselves with armed response have no reason to read his book. And most of the folks who have bought and read this book (like me) don’t necessarily always go walking around with a gun.

              But for those who do view human relations in terms of predators and prey, they will find plenty of fun and games in the videos sold by Rob Pincus and other scam trainers just like him. There’s a reason why more than 125,000 people get The United States Concealed Carry Association’s magazine every month.

              Is it just coincidence that Dan Gross and Rob Pincus began ramping up their new approach to ending the gun culture war when the NRA began to fold its tent? I doubt it. If anyone believes there’s a whole bunch of Gun-nut Nation members just waiting to find ‘common ground’ with the tree-huggers on the other side of the gun debate, they are either delusional, totally unaware of how gun owners think about gun control, or both. Probably both.

              I conducted a survey of more than 1,500-gun owners and non-gun owners to determine what types of gun laws were considered effective on both sides to reduce gun violence. More than 60% of all respondents supported CAP laws, more than 70% supported universal background checks.

              Guess what? More than 50% of all respondents favored national concealed-carry and the same percentage supported eliminating gun-free zones. Since roughly 40% of American households contain guns, even some people who don’t own guns support gun laws that are the priorities of the gun ‘rights’ crowd. You can download an analysis of this survey right here.

              Woodrow Wilson’s VP, Thomas Marshall, said “What this country needs is a good, five-cent cigar.” Let’s add to that statement what Dan Gross and Rob Pincus are saying about the gun ‘culture war.’

Read it for free on Amazon: The Deadliest Pathogen: Guns and Homicide (Guns in America Book 10) – Kindle edition by Weisser, Michael. Politics & Social Sciences Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com..

Kimberly Ellis – ‘Pushed, A Short Story.’

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It was early in the evening and she was just doing some much-needed house chores, when the doorbell rang. But being she had no roommates; it was a lot easier to keep track of what went where. She hurried from the other end of the house to answer the door when she HEARD who it was.

“Rachel? Open the goddamned door already!” the man at the door yelled. She shuddered at just the sound of HIS voice. Just the sound. But it wasn’t only his words that caused pain, it was him. She knew this. “Jesus Christ, Charlie! Hold on a minute will yah?!?” she said in quite an aggravated tone.

“Who the hell you got in there this time huh Rachel?” … “Jake? or maybe Alex? You are such a WHORE, Rachel, do you know this? I knew I never should have trusted you… you fuckin bitch”

Charlie then started kicking at the door, pounding it harder and harder, yelling some more obvious obscenities. She could hear the threats he launched, the threats he always followed through on. The threats that she knew had to come to an end.

“Shut up! Shut up! Just shut UP, will you!?” she screamed as she dropped to the floor on all fours and crawled into the nearest closet and shut the door.

Rocking back and forth with her head between her knees, she tightly cupped her hands over her ears, trying to forget everything he ever said. And everything that ever happened. Just trying to forget it all. EVERYTHING. But something had clicked in her head, and this time it was different. This time she had to do something. Something drastic.

Completely outraged and blinded by hysterical tears she kept mumbling. “Can’t take it anymore, can’t take it, must do something to stop it. Just STOP it all now. Stop him.” Gritting her teeth, she repetitively chanted these words in a complete and total rage. Always feeling helpless and incredibly angered at the same painful words she’s been hearing for the past six months. She knew it was a bad idea to get involved with him, his temper, and just the way he “handled” her in public. Handled. She knew she didn’t deserve this and she tried to stop it, she talked to him, she pleaded, she yelled, she SCREAMED for God’s sake. Nothing worked. But a bullet? Hey, it works on television, right? This was her philosophy. One sided thought it might have seemed it was the only alternative she could think of besides TAKING it from him… again and again and again. She despised guns or any other type of weapons, but she wasn’t about to let him batter her and degrade her as a person or as a woman ANYMORE or ever again for that matter. Ever.

She wiped the mass of ocean from her face and as she was pulling herself up off the floor, she opened the closet door and let herself out. As hard as she tried not too, she could still hear him shouting things at her behind the steel door, the steel door in which she was very thankful for right about then. She stood still for a moment and tried to get control of herself, then she moved quickly, walking into the same closet that she had just stepped out of, her eyes searched the closet rapidly. Then, after removing some boxes, she lifted the carpeting up off the closet floor and pulled it back, putting her foot over it, holding it down. “Oh Charles, would you please hush!” she whispered with a quite amused tone as she lifted the latch of the metal box that lays between the floor boards. “I’ll be there in a minute; I have to take care of something first!” More like ‘someone’ she thought to herself, cackling obnoxiously, knowing he couldn’t hear a damn word she was saying.

She then reached for the case that lays in the box, unzipped it and pulled out the loaded gun her father gave her for protection. And even though guns were totally against everything she ever believed in; she took his advice. She never wanted to use it and she never thought she would have to use it and apparently neither did her father because it occurred to her that she was never actually taught how to use the weapon. But then she realized it didn’t matter and that she really didn’t care either. Just as long as it took care of him once and for all. “Have to” she thought out loud. “Have to end this” she whispered, chanting once again. She then moved towards the front room and stood in front of the door, holding the gun straight in front of her, a ’38 special. She then unlocked the door and backing up a few feet, she INVITED him in. “Charles, dear? Would you like to come in?” she said sarcastically while laughing loudly, hoping the ‘bastard’ would hear her. Her shoes dug into the carpet, she stood straight, with her entire body in line. Solid.

Time To Get Rid Of Killer Guns

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              Over the years, I have come to believe that from time to time, The New Yorker Magazine publishes an article which has a fundamental impact on the way we discuss political issues and events. I am thinking, for example, about ‘Fire in the Lake,’ the 1972 article by Frances Fitzgerald, which set the national discussion about Viet Nam onto a proper track.

              I was hoping that the recent article by Ian Frazier, ‘Fighting America’s Gun Plague,’ might do the same thing. After all, the article appeared at the same time that a serious Congressional debate about gun violence is about to take place.

              Unfortunately, Frazier’s article doesn’t move the discussion about gun violence forward at all. What it does is promote the same, basically useless bromides for dealing with gun violence that the gun-control community has been promoting for the past 20 years.

              The USA doesn’t suffer 125,000 intentional gun deaths and gun injuries every year because guns aren’t safely stored. We don’t have a fatal violence rate that is 7 to 20 times higher than any other advanced country because we don’t require that personal transfers of guns be FBBI-approved. We don’t have a gun-homicide rate which is the 3rd-highest cause of deaths for people between the ages of 25 and 34.

              Most of all, we don’t have gun violence because we own 275 million guns, or 300 million guns, or 375 million guns, or whatever the real number is.

              We have gun violence for one, simple reason – ready?  We are the only country in the entire world which allows guns that are designed and used only for killing human beings to be commercially and legally sold.

              This many come as a great shock to my many friends who are active in the various efforts to reduce the violence caused by guns, but anyone who believes that a Glock 17 handgun or an AR-15 rifle can be made ‘safe’ just by talking about gun ‘safety,’ doesn’t know anything about guns. But what does Ian Frazier and his group of activists at New Yorkers Against Gun Violence (NYAGV) believe? That we can reduce gun violence by lobbying for ‘gun-safety’ laws.

              New York State now has a very strong gun-safety law. It requires that “all guns in homes with children be under lock and key.”  The law, known as Nicholas’s Law, was passed in 2015 and the NYAGV group takes well-deserved credit for getting this measure onto the books. Frazier’s article about gun violence is basically a paean to the work being done by the NYAGV.

              There’s only one little problem, however, when we sit down and try to figure out whether Nicholas’s Law has made guns more ‘safe.’ New York State registered 849-gun deaths in 2015, the number dropped to 772 in 2017 and went back up to 821 the following year. Know how many of these deaths each year were accidental? Since 2010, the number of accidental gun deaths in New York State has never been higher than – ten!

              Do me a favor and please don’t respond to the previous paragraph by telling me that ‘every life’ is important. That’s not the point. The point is that The New Yorker Magazine says that Ian Frazier’s article is all about how we should ‘fight’ America’s gun plague.

              So, tell me. If the “Chinese virus” was only killing 10 people in the United States every year, would we be calling it a pandemic or a plague?  No, we wouldn’t be paying attention to it at all.

              I have been saying what follows again and again for the last nine years since I started writing about gun violence before the massacre at Sandy Hook. So, I’m going to say it again.

              Until we get rid of guns that are only designed to do one thing – end human life – we won’t get rid of gun violence, no matter how many trips a bunch of school kids make to Albany or to Washington, D.C.

              Want to understand what needs to be done? You can read it right here: Home | Mysite 1 (bantheseguns.org).

              Want to get things started? Try https://www.change.org/bankillerhandgunsnow or https://www.change.org/Ban_Assault_Rifles_Now.

            And yes, as soon as my 501c3 application is approved, there will also be an organization you can join.

Do We Reduce Gun Violence By Making Sure The Data Is Correct? I Don’t Think So.

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              So, it turns out that the kid who shot and killed 8 people at the FedEx depot in Indianapolis used two assault rifles that he legally purchased last year after the cops took away his shotgun after his mother complained that he was mentally ill.

              Hey – wait just a darn minute! I thought that Indiana had a ‘red flag’ law, which is a statute that allows the cops to disarm someone after a judge decides that the individual in question might otherwise be a danger to himself or someone else.

              In fact, Indiana does have a ‘red flag’ law, known as the Jake Laird law, which was passed in 2005.  The law allows the cops to disarm someone who they consider to be too dangerous to have access to guns, and then a court hearing must occur within two weeks to determine whether the guns stay in the police station or are returned.

              The guy who loses his guns can petition the Court to get them back after six months. The Court will then hold another hearing to determine whether or not the former gun owner is or is no longer a ‘danger’ to the community or to himself. If the guns don’t go back to the owner after five years, the Court can tell the cops to destroy the guns.

              Incidentally, the law was named after an Indianapolis cop who responded to a call that someone was walking down the street shooting an assault rifle. The shooter had already killed his mother and he then killed Tim Laird when the officer appeared on the scene. The shooter’s guns had been taken away the previous year after he threatened a cop but were returned to him several months before the fatal killings took place. Now let’s get back to last week.

              When the Indianapolis Police Chief, Randal Taylor, was asked about the FedEx shooter losing his shotgun but then going out and buying two assault rifles, he made a comment which I’m sure he would love to forget.  Referring to the fact that the cops didn’t return the kid’s shotgun he said, “I don’t know how we held on to it, but it’s good that we did.”

              The reason that Chief Taylor didn’t know that the kid’s shotgun was still sitting in the evidence locker at his Department is because after the gun was no longer in the possession of the shooter, no red flag hearing was ever held. And because there was never a hearing, the kid was able to go out and buy two more guns. God only knows how Chief Taylor could ever imagine that swapping a shotgun for two assault rifles was a good thing.

              But here’s the point of this sad tale. You can pass all the laws you want, but don’t ask me why, don’t ask me how, laws have a funny way of sometimes not being carried out. Recall back in 2015 that another young guy walked into a church in Charleston and killed 9 people who were attending a Bible class. In this case, the cops forgot to notify the FBI that the shooter should have been disqualified from buying the gun he used to commit his rampage because he took a plea on a drug charge.

              This communication failure between the local police and the FBI-NICS, or maybe the lack of information-sharing was between the court and the local cops, has come to be known as the ‘Charleston loophole.’ Except there was no loophole at all. Someone simply forgot to do what the law said they were supposed to do.

              Cops are paid for making arrests and closing as many cases as they can. They aren’t paid to sit around and update this or that database. As long as we continue to believe that we can reduce gun violence by making sure that all the information we have on gun owners is complete, like we say in IT, ‘garbage in, garbage out.’

Please don’t forget: https://www.change.org/bankillerhandgunsnow.

Want To End Gun Violence? Try Drinking A Little Less.

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              I don’t know what’s worse about the media’s reaction to shooting rampages, like the rampage that took place last week at FedEx, or the shootings that took place the previous week, or the week before that, or the week before that. At a certain point I tend to lose track of these events, but the media’s reaction is always the same.

              First, they play some dumb-ass, pro-gun politician like Cruz or McConnell making the usual ‘thoughts and prayers,’ comment or reminding us that nutty people shouldn’t be allowed to own guns. This is balanced it out with a comment from some anti-gun person about the ‘fact’ that America has too many guns.

              I’m not surprised when some right-wing jackass pretends to be all caught up in a religious response to gun violence – that’s what the script has always been. But when someone who claims to be a ‘scholar’ gives us an explanation that is no more valid as to why some kid pulls up in a FedEx parking lot, climbs out of his car with not one but two legally purchased assault rifles and starts banging away, there’s really something wrong.

              I’m referring to an interview on CNN with Adam Lankford, who made a big splash a few years ago when The New York Times picked up on his research which found a connection between the number of mass shootings and the number of guns we have floating around. Lankford never produced any data to validate his argument about the number of mass shootings which take place in the United States or anywhere else, but why would anyone need to rely on evidence-based research in order to become a gun-violence expert on media today?

              Data or no data, facts or fiction, Lankford’s at it again. His interview on CNN starts off with the biggest piece of gun-control nonsense of all, namely, that we have so many more mass shootings than any other country because we own so many more guns. He claims that we have 5% of the world’s population and 40% of the civilian-owned guns, and firearm access “seems to be a critical factor” in explaining why we have many more mass shootings than any other place.

              My retail gun shop normally carried an inventory of about 200 guns, of which maybe half were new, and half were used. I sold about 40 guns a month, which was a pretty good turn. With each gun I also tried to sell a box of ammunition or some other accessory item because the mark-up on guns was never more than 20%, the markup on ammo and accessories was 40% or more. 

              Of those 200 new and used guns, the best-sellers were the small, semi-automatic pistols made by Glock, Sig, Beretta, S&W, Springfield Armory, and Kahr. The assault rifles made by Bushmaster, S&W and Panther Arms also sold pretty well. But my shop was located in an area where folks hunted deer in the Fall, turkeys in the early Spring, and birds year-round. So, most of what I sold, and what just about every gun shop sells, were hunting guns – shotguns, bolt-action rifles, long-barreled revolvers – which never (read: hardly ever) figure in gun violence at all.

              We don’t suffer more than 125,000 deaths and injuries from guns every year because we have ‘too many’ guns. Gun violence is a public health issue because we are the only country in the entire world which gives its residents free access to the types of guns that are designed only for the purpose of being used to end the life of the gun owner or of someone else.

              How many assault rifles are floating around out there?  Maybe 20 million. How many small, semi-automatic handguns have been sold over the last 30 years? Somewhere around 40 million – you can count up an exact number right here.

              Sixty million guns isn’t three hundred million. If we bought back all those guns at $700 a clip, the whole big deal would amount to less than one-fifth of what we spend on booze each year.

              Want to cut down your drinking by 20 percent for one year and end gun violence once and for all?

Want To End Gun Violence? There’s One Thing We Still Don’t Know.

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              So now a terrible shooting rampage in the Indianapolis FedEx facility may actually be the camel’s straw that gets one of Joe’s gun-control bills through the Senate and onto his desk. Which is all fine and well, but I hate to be a spoilsport and remind my friends in Gun-control Nation that none of those measures passed earlier this year by the House will really do very much to reduce gun violence in the United States.

              Yesterday the State Senate in Alabama passed a measure called the Alabama Second Amendment Preservation Act. The law makes it a crime for any gun law from the Biden Administration to be enforced anywhere in the state. This effort is nothing more than an attempt by the state GOP to buy loyalty from local voters in the wake of Orange Head’s demise. But it also is a reminder of what gun-control laws represent.

              What such laws mean to supporters of Brady, Everytown and the other gun-control groups are nothing more than ‘reasonable’ measures aimed (pardon the pun) at gun owners to behave in a ‘responsible’ way. What these laws mean to most gun owners is just another bothersome thing they have to put up with in order to play around with their guns.

              Know all those surveys which purportedly show that most gun owners support comprehensive background checks? Those surveys are nonsense because they never ask gun owners to state what they believe would be effective measures to reduce gun violence. If they did, the same ‘responsible’ gun owners who have no problem with only transferring a gun following a background check would overwhelmingly support a national, concealed-carry law as a better way to reduce gun violence and crime.

              In 1959, the Gallup Organization did a national poll which asked respondents whether they would support a ban on the ownership of handguns. Not stricter licensing, mind you, but an absolute ban. The result was that 60% claimed they would support such a ban.

              If the finding of this survey had been transformed into law, we wouldn’t have gun violence at all. The reason our gun-violence rate is 7 to 20 times higher than any other OECD country is because we are the only country which gives residents access to what I call ‘killer guns.’ You can see how I define a ‘killer gun’ right here.

              In 1995, our friend Gary Kleck published research which stated that individuals who used or brandished guns were responsible for preventing millions of crimes every year. His thesis that more guns meant less crime was then taken up in the research of our friend John Lott. 

              These research efforts have been critiqued and discounted by the most respected gun-control researchers like our friends David Hemenway and Phil Cook. But their arguments have never gained any traction at all among the majority of Americans who believe that a gun is more of a benefit than a risk. By 1993, before either Kleck or Lott had published anything at all, the support for a national ban on handguns had fallen to 39%.

              The last time Gallup asked the handgun ban question in 2020, the percentage of handgun banners has now fallen to 25%.  And even with the terrible rampage shootings committed with assault rifles since the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012, only 47% of Gallup respondents want to see assault rifles outlawed.

              Want to blame the continued existence of a strong gun culture on the NRA? Go right ahead. Want to blame it on research published by Gary Kleck and John Lott. Ditto. You happen to be wrong on both counts.

              At best, the NRA membership maybe counts 6% or 7% of the people whose households contain a gun. And the last thing that any gun nut is going to do when he flips on his computer and goes to buy some crap on Amazon is to order John Lott’s book.

              Has any gun-control scholar ever attempted to figure out how and why so many Americans believe they need to protect themselves with a gun? Nope. Not one.

              Please add your name:  https://www.change.org/bankillerhandgunsnow and https://www.change.org/Ban_Assault_Rifles_Now.

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

Why Don’t We Just Get Rid Of The Guns That Are Used To Commit Gun Violence?

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              Yesterday’s column raises concerns about the failure of my friends in Gun-research Nation to discuss the issue of banning the guns which cause gun violence, i.e., assault rifles and what I call ‘killer pistols.’ In case you didn’t know it, both types of guns are designed only to kill or injure yourself or someone else. You can get a clear explanation of why such guns are too lethal for commercial sale and private ownership right here.

              Until and unless we bite the bullet (pardon the pun) and get rid of those guns, we will argue with the other side over various half-baked measures that won’t accomplish much at all. Sorry, but universal background checks won’t change matters much unless the data from those checks is tied into a national registration system. Sorry, CAP laws may keep kids from shooting themselves or a playmate, but such shootings account for less than 5% of all gun violence events.

              As for the development of so-called ‘safe’ guns which can only be fired if the user is validated through some kind of electronic gizmo attached to the gun, it will take some intrepid gun nut with a basic understanding of gun design about two hours to figure out how to put the ‘safe’ gun back to being unsafe. And then up goes the video on YouTube, okay?

              By remaining silent on banning guns that have no sporting use at all, we let the other side completely control this discussion, even if what they say has no relationship to the facts at all. For example, Gun-nut Nation says that government can’t ban a semi-automatic gun because the 2nd Amendment protects gun ‘rights.’

              The 2nd Amendment has nothing to do with ‘rights.’ It’s an amendment, not a ‘right.’ How do we define ‘rights?’ We pass laws, and what are right and wrong behaviors involving guns, has been defined in four federal guns laws, each and every law upheld by liberal and conservative judges and courts.

              If we are ever going to pass another meaningful law to reduce gun violence, the law has to address the reason we have gun violence. In other words, we must do what other countries do and restrict gun ownership to sporting and hunting guns. 

              But we don’t do that. And worse, the people we depend on to define effective gun reforms go out of their way to avoid discussing this issue at all. The result? A majority of Americans, which happens to include people who don’t own guns, are opposed to any gun ban at all.

              I have been running a survey about banning assault rifles and have collected 957 responses, of whom 70% (680) say they own an AR-15 or another type of assault rifle. A majority of the owners, say they shoot the guns rarely, if at all. Only one-third of the owners of assault rifles say they have the gun for self-defense, but only 2% of the entire respondent population say that an AR-15 is too dangerous to own! You can download the complete survey right here.

              How many of the 957 respondents say they oppose an AR ban?  Try 44, which is less than 5%, and when the ban is defined as not grandfathering in existing guns, support for a ban drops to 2%. 

              Most of the respondents to this survey are gun owners, even if one-third don’t own assault guns. But that’s exactly the point. Because as long as gun owners continue to believe that a gun, particularly an assault-style gun, is something which everyone should have lying around the house, then the idea that we will see meaningful gun reform is about as real as the idea that Donald Trump will get re-elected in 2024.

              I am yet to be convinced that the scholars and advocates who want to reduce gun violence are capable of sitting down and having a frank, open and honest discussion of what they need to say to gun owners about the risk of owning guns.

              I hope I’m wrong.

What’s Wrong With Banning Guns?

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              Our friend David Hemenway has just been interviewed by The Harvard Gazette about Joe’s ideas for gun control and finds the strategies “excellent” and “good first steps to reduce the terrible problem of firearm violence in the U.S.”

            Down the road, David says, we’ll need to do more things, like universal background checks, better training, better safety standards for how guns are designed and more liability for gun owners who allow their guns to end up in the ‘wrong hands.’

              I have been listening to David and his public-health research friends talk about reducing gun violence for the past 25 or so years. They make the same arguments that David made to The Harvard Gazette again, again, and again. Sometimes they throw in a few more ideas, like requiring an individual permit for each purchase of a gun, or extending ‘red flag’ laws, or getting rid of those laws that allow someone to use a gun to defend themselves when they are threatened by someone else.

              Meanwhile, what none of these well-meaning researchers ever point out is one, simple fact about gun violence, which is that intentional fatal and non-fatal gun injuries (which happens to be how the WHO defines violence) are committed overwhelmingly by one type of gun.

              What type of gun am I talking about? Semi-automatic guns which load from underneath the frame of the gun. If the gun has a barrel of 16 inches or longer, it’s a rifle. If the barrel is shorter than 16 inches, it’s a handgun.

              The reason why this is the design of guns which are used in most shootings is because, believe it or not, that’s what these guns are designed to do. A Glock 17 which holds 16 rounds of military-grade ammunition isn’t a ‘sporting’ gun. An AR-15 which can take a magazine that holds 40 or 50 rounds isn’t what you use to go out and trek after Bambi in the woods.

              The whole point of designing a gun which accepts bottom-loading magazines is that if the magazine were stuck into the gun from above the frame, it would get in the way of the shooter when he aims the gun.

              Of course, researchers like Hemenway know that gun injuries are overwhelmingly a function of access to semi-automatic, bottom-loading guns. So why don’t they ever mention that banning such weapons would bring gun-violence rates way down? Why is it that every time one of these researchers points out that our gun-violence rate is 7 to 25 times higher than other countries, they then forget to mention that none of those other countries allow their residents to own semi-automatic, bottom-loading guns?

              Oops – I forgot!  There’s something out there called the 2nd Amendment which gives every law-abiding individual the ‘right’ to own a gun. And thanks to the essay by our friend Sandy Levinson reminding all his liberal, academic friends that the 2nd Amendment is as valid and as important as the other nine amendments in the Bill of Rights, we just avoid the idea that maybe, just maybe we should rethink the gun ban issue again.

              Actually, there has been some noise about calling for a ban on assault rifles, the reason being that those are the kinds of weapons which are used in the big, gugga-mugga shootings, like the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, the elementary school in Sandy Hook, or the Las Vegas event.

              But the mass slaughters, what our friend Louis Klarevas calls ‘gun rampages’ don’t add more than 3% to the random, daily shootings which total at least 125,000 fatal and non-fatal injuries every year. At least 28 people were shot in Chicago over this past weekend. Big deal.

              By the way, when the town of town of Highland Park enacted a ban on assault rifles which was followed by a similar ban covering all of Cook County, the conservative, pro-gun Supreme Court let both laws stand.

              One of these days (hope, hope) my academic friends who do gun research will stop quaking when someone accuses them of being against gun ‘rights’ and will do the right thing and talking honestly about getting rid of guns.

In case you haven’t yet signed: https://www.change.org/bankillerhandgunsnow and https://www.change.org/Ban_Assault_Rifles_Now.

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