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An Important Reference Work On Gun Violence.

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              I have just finished reading and studying a collection of articles which together constitutes the most important reference work on gun violence which currently exists. The book, Pediatric Firearm Injuries and Fatalities, is a collection of 15 articles edited by Eric Fleegler and Lois Lee, both of whom are pediatric-ER doctors at Boston’s Children’s Hospital, so they’ve seen plenty of gun injuries over the years. You can buy the book here.

              The collection is described as a ‘Clinician’s Guide to Policies and Approaches to Firearm Violence.’ Each contribution is a summary of research on a particular aspect of gun violence, along with copious footnotes and ‘Take Home Points,’ the latter lists some basic strategies that clinicians can use for responding to injuries caused by guns.

              Let’s be clear. This isn’t a collection of original, evidence-based articles. It’s a collection of articles which summarize all of the research which has been done to date on specific aspects of gun violence, in particular gun violence which impacts kids. And don’t make the mistake of thinking that by limiting the contents to pediatrics, that you won’t get an overview of gun-violence issues as a whole. Because pediatrics happens to include everyone up to age twenty-four, and by that age you are looking at a majority of the gun-violence events which occur every year.

              This encyclopedic work is divided into two sections: risks and interventions. The risks are homicides and assaults, accidents, suicides, international comparisons, and school shootings. The interventions cover counseling patients before and after shootings, community-based programs, safety design for guns and legislative advocacies.

              Together, these articles cover just about every aspect of what clinicians need to know in order to develop effective responses to gun violence. Together, the articles cite more than 700 references to evidence-based research which means that this work is not ground in opinion but in facts, a welcome change from the way most gun discussions are framed.

              That being said, as usual I have several issues with specific content in this valuable collection which need to be raised. First and foremost is the degree to which public health gun research continues to focus the research on every issue except what I consider to be the most important issue, namely, how, and why gun violence actually takes place.

              The articles which define gun risk are overwhelmingly based on CDC data which tells us all about the victims of gun violence but nothing about the perpetrators of same. I don’t understand how public health researchers can refer to the ‘epidemiology’ of this particular health threat when little, if any time is spent trying to figure out how and why a certain population uses a gun in what the gun industry would call an ‘inappropriate’ way. After all, shooting someone isn’t the usual way that a dispute between two people is resolved.

              Because we know very little about who actually shoots guns inappropriately, how can we really create effective public policies and clinical procedures for reducing such behaviors? I don’t think, in fact, that we should assume that evidence-based research on gun violence can guide our policy strategies when the evidence tells us little, if anything about the people whose behavior we are trying to change. I should add, by the way, that in 4 of the 5 states which implemented comprehensive background checks after Sandy Hook, gun violence rates went up, not down.

              Finally, I have a big problem with the degree to which the entire gun-control community – physicians, researchers, advocates – invariably propose linking up to every relevant ‘stakeholder’ in the gun violence debate with the exception of the most important stakeholders of all – the companies who manufacture the guns.

              If you believe that companies like Glock or Smith & Wesson aren’t concerned about gun violence and gun safety, this only demonstrates that you haven’t gone into a gun shop and purchased a new gun. Because every gun shipped from a factory to a retailer must have a warning which says that the gun, if misused, could result in injury or death. And the warning is printed in big, red letters, okay?

              I’m not saying the gun industry isn’t culpable for many of the injuries and trauma caused by the products they make and sell. What I am saying is that I don’t understand how you can regulate any industry without bringing the representatives of that industry into the discussion as well.

              Those caveats aside, Fleegler and Lee have published a volume which everyone needs to read.  Got something better to do in the Age of Covid-19?

Does Gun Violence Increase Because We Keep Buying Guns?

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              Once again, our friends at the ‘non-partisan’ gun magazine, The Trace, have promoted an argument about the relationship of gun ownership to gun violence which has no basis in fact. The argument has now been floating around for at least 20 years and is accepted as the non-plus-ultra explanation for gun violence in the United States. Unfortunately, the explanation doesn’t work,

              Why do we believe that our high level of fatal violence is because we have so many guns? Because our friend David Hemenway has been pushing this idea for years. And how does he explain the link between gun ownership and fatal violence? By doing a regression analysis using guns as the independent variable and then comparing the United States to other countries with similar demographics but much fewer personally owned guns.

              There happen to be two, actually three fundamental problems with David’s approach. First and most important is his definition of the word ‘gun.’ Because the fact that there are more than 300 million guns sitting around in basements, garages, underneath the living room couch and inside a toolbox out in the truck, doesn’t tell us how many of these guns are actually used in assaults.

              I looked at more than 9,000 ‘crime’ guns collected by police departments, and the types of guns which probably account for at least 75% of the civilian gun arsenal don’t show up on this list at all. Along with another 20 million or so gun owners, I own a Remington 700 bolt-action rifle. When was the last time a gun of this type was involved in a gun assault? As my grandfather would say: ‘shabbos noch schvee,’ (read: never.)

              The second problem with David’s approach is the assumption that there’s any connection between the number of guns owned by law-abiding citizens and the number of times that guns are used to commit crimes. And here is another issue I have with all the so-called gun experts who conduct public health researcher and or write for The Trace. Every time they talk about gun ‘violence’ they only refer to homicides and suicides, with the latter events being twice as great as the number of murders committed with guns.

              In fact, the only difference between fatal and non-fatal gun assaults is that in the latter category, the shooter didn’t shoot straight. Otherwise, everything that leads up to a confrontation that ends up as a fatal or non-fatal gun assault is exactly the same. More than 80% of all the gun injuries which occur in the United States every year are crimes. How come this issue is glossed over again and again?

              I’ll tell you why. Because if there were any degree of honest discussion about gun violence, (and this is the third problem with the more guns = more violence approach) it would have to be admitted that gun violence is a problem experienced in what we politely refer to as the ‘underserved’ population. And since this population is overwhelmingly minority – Hispanic and Black – to single out those two groups would be to inject the racial issue into the gun debate.

              After the last four years of being verbally abused by Trump, I don’t blame anyone for wanting to avoid discussions about social or political events which turn on the issue of race. On the other hand, why let facts get in the way of a good headline that will help gun-control organizations raise some more cash? And by the way, before yet another reader accuses me of being a shill for the NRA, I just renewed my monthly contribution to Moms Demand Action, okay?

              Last but not least, the whole issue of how guns move from ‘good’ to ‘bad’ hands is also a mess. According to the ATF, the average time between when a gun is purchased and when it is used in a crime (‘time-to-crime) is more than 9 years. So even though the number of handguns sold this year has doubled over the number of purchases in 2019, who says that this is the reason why gun violence has been going up? 

              There are all kinds of reasons why we are suffering from an increase in gun violence regardless of how many new guns have been purchased by law-abiding gun owners in the past year. God forbid our friends in gun journalism and public health research would stop trying to scare us with headlines and conduct some serious research.

Just Like Covid-19, Stand Your Ground Laws Continue To Spread.

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              Just in time for Christmas and no doubt in an effort to spread holiday cheer, the Ohio State Legislature has sent a bill to Governor Mike DeWine’s desk that would extend the state’s Stand Your Ground (SYG) doctrine to just about any place, any reason, or any time.

              The state’s current SYG law only allows someone to refuse to back asway from a confrontation if the incident takes place within an individual’s home or on the property around the home – the so-called ‘castle doctrine’ being the basis upon which a SYG explanation can be used.

              The new law expands SYG to just about any place where someone might gets into an argument with someone else. In other words, you could be walking down a public street minding your own business and bump into someone else by mistake. So, you say ‘I’m sorry’ but the guy you bumped into is in a lousy mood and he turns around and shoves you back.

              At the same time, he shoves you, he also says something like, ‘I’d like to kick your ass,’ and maybe comes towards you again. At which point under the new Ohio law you can pull out the ol’ trusty shootin’ iron and blast away.

              The spread of SYG laws into nearly 30 states is one of the concerns that my friends in Gun-control Nation raise again and again when they talk about the mis-use of guns. Or I should say, by the use of guns if we’re talking about most gun assaults. Such events usually to pistols manufactured by companies like Glock, S&W, Ruger, Beretta, Colt and Sig.

              These guns are designed to be used by one person to shoot another person, okay?

              Our friends in Gun-control Nation have always been concerned about SYG laws because of the alleged connection between such laws and gun violence, an idea which happens to be based on more of an assumption than any statistical proof. Earlier this year, the RAND Corporation looked at all the studies which evaluate the impact of SYG on gun violence rates and concluded that there is a ‘moderate’ possibility that SYG may increase homicides, which hardly makes the connection an established fact.

              The gun industry on the other hand, and the various organizational/political components comprising Gun-nut Nation, have always strongly supported SYG, for the same reason that they support carrying guns outside the home, i.e., the more we stand up to the bad guys, the safer we all will be.

              Is there any proof behind this self-serving argument from Gun-nut Nation about the value of SYG laws? We don’t need no stinkin’ proof. We know that walking around with a gun will protect you as well as walking into a crowded space today without a mask.

              What I find interesting about SYG laws, however, is the fact that they don’t exist in England and aren’t part of our legal heritage known as the Common Law. This is the major point of our friend Caroline Light’s book Stand Your Ground, which shows that such laws first appeared not in Great Britain but over here. To this day we are the only country whose legal heritage comes from the Common Law but whose legal system also includes SYG.

              Unfortunately, in the debate about this unique legal formulation, both pro-SYG and anti-SYG advocates miss one vital point. It’s not a question of whether or not an SYG law makes a law-abiding individual more prone to carry or use a gun. The real question, unanswered by both sides in the debate, is whether we have a unique culture which promotes SYG behavior, legal or not.

All the way back in 1957, the brilliant criminologist Marvin Wolfgang discovered that “the victim is often a major contributor to the criminal act.” In what type of crime did Wolfgang find this behavior to be most apparent? In homicide, what else.

              Why can’t the two sides in the gun debate drop their professed dislike for each other and start discussing the issue of culture and how people behave, regardless of what the laws tell them they can and cannot do?

Gun Violence And The 2nd Amendment Aren’t Connected At All.

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              Now that our friends in Gun-control Nation have helped Joe Biden become the 46th President of the United States, it’s time to get back to figuring out how to reduce the deaths and injuries caused by the misuse of guns.

              Of course, the moment that groups like Everytown and Brady start making noise about gun violence, the other side will ramp up its campaign to defend 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’ And first and foremost, in the arsenal of pro-gun narratives will be the phrase, ‘the right to bear arms.’

              Once Gun-control Nation begins reminding everyone that the 2nd Amendment and the ‘right to bear arms’ is just as important as anything else in the Bill of Rights, the gun-control organizations and public health researchers will fall all over themselves pledging total and unquestioned fealty to gun ‘rights,’ as long as some way can be found to reduce the deaths and injuries caused by all those guns.

              There’s only one little problem, however, which is that for all the attempts to explain how and why the 2nd Amendment came to give Constitutional protection to personally owned guns, the discussion invariably talks about the legal and historic meanings and precedents of the words ‘keep’ and ‘bear,’ while the word ‘arms’ gets no attention at all.

              My late friend Antonin Scalia’s 2008 Heller opinion which redefined 2nd-Amendment ‘rights,’ runs toughly 20,000 words. Know how many words are devoted to the issue of ‘arms?’ Try less than two hundred. And what Scalia says is that the 2nd Amendment refers to handguns that are traditionally found in the home, not the guns designed for the military, i.e., ‘weapons of war.’

              What Scalia doesn’t say, nor is it ever mentioned by anyone who has contributed verbal or written hot air to the gun debate on either side, is that the guns whose use is responsible for at least 80% of all gun violence, maybe more, happen to be weapons of war. Try Glock, try Beretta, try Sig, try Colt, – these are all guns that were designed for military use and are carried by troops everywhere.

              Now the fact that we are the only country which lets civilians have free access to those weapons of war doesn’t mean that such guns should be covered by Constitutional protection just because they happen to be in the home. You can also buy and keep a full-auto machine gun in your home, except you need to go through a much more intensive and expensive licensing process, which is why the last time someone was murdered with a full-auto gun was 1947 or so.

              Not only did Scalia totally misunderstand and mis-state this issue, but the other side, the Gun-control Nation side, gets it wrong too. Why do we have so much gun violence? Because according to our friend David Hemenway, we own so many guns, perhaps as many as 300 million, perhaps even more.

              But if David would take the trouble to do a slight amount of research into what kind of guns actually are used in fatal and non-fatal assaults, he would quickly realize that most of the guns sitting in the American civilian arsenal have nothing to do with gun violence at all. I own a Remington 700 bolt-action rifle chambered in .270 Winchester caliber, the Remington factory has probably produced and sold more than 20 million of these guns over the years.

              How many Remington 700 rifles mow someone down in the street? None. Ditto the fabled Winchester Model 70 rifle or the Browning Auto-5 shotgun which has taken millions of high-flyers out of the sky. The only person who ever got injured with a semi-auto shotgun was the guy that Dick Cheney shot by accident, okay?

              If my friends in Gun-control Nation would stop obsessing about the 2nd Amendment and learn a few quick facts about how guns are designed and used, maybe just maybe they could sit down and come up with a strategy that would have a real impact on how many Americans are killed and injured each year with guns.

Another Plan To End Gun Violence That Won’t Work At All.

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              Back on October 13, 2020 S&W received a court order from Jersey’s AG, Gurbir Grewal, which requires the company to produce “true, accurate, and complete copies of all advertisements for your merchandise that are or were available to New Jersey concerning home safety, concealed carry, personal protection, personal defense, personal safety, or home defense benefits of a firearm, including a Smith & Wesson firearm.”

              Smith & Wesson has been in the business of making guns since 1852. The picture above is an ad for the Smith & Wesson Model 3 revolver, which was manufactured between 1870 and 1915. Want to tell me how digging up this advertisement does anything to advance the debate about guns and gun violence right now?

              There happen to be exactly four states – Hawaii, Rhode Island, New York, Massachusetts – which have a lower rate of gun violence than New Jersey. I’m not saying there isn’t room for improvement, we can always do better in any area of public health. But Jersey recorded a rate for automobile fatalities that was twice as high as the death rate from guns. Do you see the AG showing up and demanding advertisements covering the personal benefits of owning a car from General Motors or Ford?

              Then there’s another issue about gun violence in New Jersey, and that has to do with what my public health friends refer to as the epidemiology of where this violence occurs. In 2018, according to the CDC-Wonder database, one-third of all fatal shootings in New Jersey took place in two counties which together hold 14% of the state’s total population. If the gun-violence in these two counties was no higher than the rate in the state’s other 13 counties, New Jersey would be far and away the safest state in the United States.

              I’m talking about Essex and Camden Counties. Ever take a ride through Newark’s Springfield-Belmont neighborhood? They only had 7 murders there last year. But if you really want to get a taste of gun violence in New Jersey, the city of Camden ranked third in the entire United States after East St. Louis and Chester, PA. East St. Louis always ranks first.

              This extraordinary level of human carnage in just two cities, and actually only within certain neighborhoods within those cities, has absolutely no connection to how Smith & Wesson advertises or sells its guns at all. And if the New Jersey AG wants to make neighborhoods in Newark or Camden safer places to live, it’s not going to happen no matter how many advertisements he forces S&W to produce.

              Every, single handgun that’s shipped from S&W in Springfield to a gun dealer in New Jersey can’t leave the retailer’s shop unless the purchaser is first granted a permit which allows him to buy one gun – not two, not three, one. Now the idea that someone goes to the trouble of first getting a state gun license and then getting a permit to purchase a handgun and then takes the gun out of the store after passing a background check so that he can walk down the street and gun someone down…. I mean, c’mon. Gimme a break.

              If the New Jersey AG wants to do something really serious about gun violence, he needs to sit down with the state’s Congressional delegation and ask them to promote a national gun-control plan, such as moving handguns onto the NFA list, or creating a national registry, or some other method t0 prevent guns from moving illegally into New Jersey from other, less-regulated states.

              I’m still waiting for our friends at Giffords or Brady or any of the other gun-control organizations to admit or even understand that we have gun violence because we allow free access to handguns that were designed for one purpose and one purpose only, which is to end human life.

              Until and unless my friends in gun-control nation stop fooling around with half-assed measures like suing Smith & Wesson for misleading ads, there won’t be the slightest change in how many Americans are killed and wounded each year with guns.

Want To Reduce Gun Violence? Try The ‘Non-Partisan’ Approach.

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              There’s a bunch of ER doctors out there who are promoting themselves as a group of gun experts who want to teach other doctors how to counsel patients about gun risks. The group says it has developed a ‘non-partisan’ approach to gun violence, shorthand for a narrative that will appeal to both sides.

               The head of this group, Chris Barsotti, claims to be a gun owner. In fact, the one gun he owns is an old hunting rifle that belonged to his father; a gun he has never shot. How do I know this? Because I gave him the ammunition for the gun.

              The other group leader, Megan Ranney, explained to me that the reason she never speaks out against the hundreds of thousands of dollars that the American College of Emergency Physicians donates every year to the political campaigns of pro-NRA Members of Congress is because “change takes time.”

              These self-righteous and arrogant promoters of themselves and a few other ER docs are going to hold a virtual seminar next month to explain how doctors and other caregivers should talk to gun owners about their guns. They claim to be developing a ‘preferred terminology’ so that clinicians can prevent firearm injuries and deaths.

              Let’s go back to the beginning, which is 1992 and 1993.  This is when two medical researchers, Fred Rivara and Art Kellerman, published evidence-based research which clearly and indisputably found that access to guns increases risks to health.

I read these articles when they first appeared in print and frankly, didn’t understand why this research needed to be done at all. Was there anyone out there who didn’t understand that if you pick up a loaded gun, particularly a handgun, and point it at yourself or someone else, that such an action wouldn’t increase risk? Isn’t that exactly what my Glock M-17 pistol is designed to do? Duhhh….

              How do you take a product like my Glock and reduce the risk inherent in its design and function without getting rid of the gun? You come up with some stupid or silly workaround like ‘safe’ guns or safe storage of guns or some other nonsense like that. And then you peddle that crap to a largely unsuspecting and ignorant audience and pretend that you have come up with a ‘consensus’ approach to reducing gun risk.

              There’s only one little problem, a problem which happens to make this approach not only wrong from a product design point of view, but also happens to be a violation of the Hippocratic Oath.

The Hippocratic Oath requires all physicians, even these ER docs, to use evidence-based research that will define medical risks, and then use the research to come up with a plan to reduce the risk.

              If you take the trouble to read the articles by Kellerman and Rivara cited above, you’ll notice that in neither category of gun risk – suicide, homicide – did the researchers find that gun risk was mitigated by adopting some kind of expedient like safe storage which would reduce the risk but still let a gun owner have access to his guns.

Not only do these ER docs intend to hold a seminar to explain a ‘consensus’ approach to gun risk which has no basis in evidence-based research, but the seminar also features an appearance by a guy named Rob Pincus, described as an “educator with 20 years of experience in the gun industry.”

Pincus’ educational activity consists of peddling a bunch of books and CD-ROMS on his website which promise to show the average gun owner how to protect himself, his family and his home with a gun. Want to reduce gun risk? Go out tomorrow, buy yourself a Glock or a Sig, then sit on your rear end and watch a video and you’re good to go.

The physicians who are promoting this nonsense should be ashamed of themselves. I can’t say it any other way.

If any of them would like to reply to this column and explain why they believe they are doing what needs to be done to reduce gun violence, I’ll give them all the space they want. 

Don’t hold your breath, folks.

Attacking John Lott Won’t Reduce Gun Violence.

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              This past week, nine members of the Democratic Senate caucus sent a letter to the Attorney General requesting information “on the completed and potential conversions to civil service positions at the Department and its components.” You can read the entire letter here.

              The letter was sent by Dianne Feinstein and was co-signed by the usual gaggle of Senators who always co-sponsor Dianne’s annual attempt to get rid of assault rifles, a move that I suspect may actually get some traction in the upcoming Senate term.

              This letter, however, had nothing to do with assault rifles. Rather, it was an attempt to undo an appointment to the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, in this case the appointment of none other than the infamous and notorious John Lott.

              What makes John Lott such a lightning-rod for the anger and advocacy of the Gun Violence Prevention crowd, a.k.a., GVP? To quote from Feinstein’s letter, Lott is a “pro-gun advocate who claims that widespread gun ownership can reduce crime.” In other words, he’s the mastermind behind all those guns being bought during the Covid-19 year, he’s the reason why companies like Smith & Wesson can’t ship enough products to satisfy demand, he’s the pied piper of Gun-nut Nation leading the armed forces of liberty and justice forward in the MAGA crusade.

              Am I being somewhat too self-righteous in my description of how the GVP describes Lott?  I don’t think so. If anything, I’m actually being somewhat charitable in what I believe is nothing more than a cynical and mis-informed campaign conducted by gun-control advocates and researchers every time that Lott’s name appears.

              Here’s what our friends at The Trace have to say about Lott’s research: “Respected academics have repeatedly discredited Lott’s work.” Who are some of these ‘respected’ academics? One of them is John Donohue, who co-authored a paper claiming that the decline of violent crime in the 1990’s was due to the ability of inner-city women to abort unwanted kids. Another ‘respected’ academic is Daniel Webster, who along with the head of gun research at RAND, stated (under oath) at a Congressional hearing that he didn’t support national gun registration, even though he has supported this idea both verbally and in print.

              I’m not saying that John Lott’s research is flawless, I’m not saying that he isn’t promoting a pro-gun agenda. What I am saying is that the continued attempts to defame him personally and professionally is nothing more than a McCarthyite tactic indulged in by GVP advocates and researchers who have been unwilling to confront the fundamental issue which John Lott has raised.

              And that issue happens to be the degree to which, contrary research notwithstanding, a growing majority of Americans believe that their lives will be safer and more secure if they have access to a gun. In 1986, there were 8 states which issued licenses to carry firearms (CCW) without any ‘show cause’ requirement. By 1998, the number had increased to 30 such states.

              John Lott’s book, More Guns, Less Crime, which is what Feinstein’s letter incorrectly describes, (since Lott argues for a shift from violent to non-violent crime as opposed to a ‘reduction’ in crime) was published in 1998. One of the earliest reviews by David Hemenway, another ‘respected academic,’ faults the book for a statistical approach that yields “invalid results.”

              Neither Hemenway nor any other GVP researcher has yet to publish a single study which attempts to determine why more than one out of three legal gun owners also now holds a license to carry that gun.

I have given up trying to explain to David and his colleagues at the Harvard University School of Public Health that demonizing John Lott won’t do anything to reduce gun violence in the United States.  As long as John Lott continues to be the focus of the GVP debate, well-intentioned GVP researchers and GVP advocates will be talking to themselves.

Shouldn’t we instead be communicating correctly and cogently about gun risks to the folks who own all those guns?

Back To Business As Usual.

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How do I know that things are back to normal? Because my friends in Gun-control Nation have launched an all-out assault on my good buddy John Lott. The campaign was kicked off by a writer for Media Matters about how John was doing some kind of gig for the Department of Justice and how come taxpayer money is being spent to support this ‘discredited fraud?’

I happen to believe, and I have published a long, academic paper to this effect which you can download here, that John’s work is not only a valid and important piece of academic research, but happens to raise issues that my friends in Gun-control Nation have made absolutely no attempt to figure out at all.

In particular, John’s argument directly addresses why a solid majority of Americans believe that access to a gun is more of a benefit than a risk. And until the gun-control movement tries to figure out why gun owners believe they are safer with their guns than without, how do you ever come up with a valid narrative to convince these gun owners that more, not less gun control should be the order of the day?  You don’t and you can’t.

I happen to like John’s research for two reasons. First, his book, More Guns, Less Crime, is published by The University of Chicago Press. I also happen to be a Chicago Press author, and this premier academic publishing house isn’t in the habit of publishing junk. Much of the so-called academic criticisms of John’s work are the product of individuals who have absolutely no academic credentials or training at all. They use John as a whipping-boy to generate more financial support for organizations that promote gun control. Good for them.

As to the research itself that underlies John’s work, it happens to be another contribution to what has been a cottage industry in academic life, seeking to explain the extraordinary decline in violent crime that began in the early 1990’s and notwithstanding a recent upsurge, continues to this day.  The rate of reported violent crime in 1991 was 716.  In 2016, it was 366.

How and why did this country become a much safer place over the last three decades? One argument is that it’s the result of locking up more bad guys for longer periods of time. Then there’s the argument about better policing of criminal ‘hot spots,’ the use of computer technologies and all that. And let’s not forget what has to be the single most stupid, racist piece of nonsense ever published in any branch of the social sciences, namely the argument linking crime decline to abortion access in the ghetto – the idea being that less children are born into desperate circumstances and hence they commit fewer crimes.

What John found was that violent crime began to drop in many jurisdictions at roughly the same time that these jurisdictions began issuing licenses to carry concealed guns. The tricky part, of course, is to make a cause-and-effect argument between any two trends. And here is where John’s work has been criticized, sometimes valid criticisms, sometimes not.

Want to blame John Lott as the reason why so many Americans own guns? Want to blame John Lott for the extraordinary spike in gun sales which accompanied the emergence and spread of Covid-19? You go right ahead. But I notice, incidentally, that handgun sales in October were 30% less than June sales, even though the virus has been expanding exponentially over the last couple of months.

I was really pleased to see how quickly and effectively the gun-control movement joined up with the Biden campaign. Brady, Everytown, Moms and everyone else did what needed to be done. Now Gun-control Nation can get back to business as usual, which means chasing around after John Lott, which is much more fun than trying to figure out why there are so many gun nuts like me.

It’s Always Fun To Play Around With A Gun.

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              Since it has now become fashionable to show your support of Donald Trump by waving a gun in the air, or maybe to show up at one of those Communist/Socialist/Anarchist demonstrations and pull the trigger a few times, I wanted to draw your attention to a recent incident in San Diego where a gun nut really showed us how much fun you can have playing around with guns.

              I am referring to an event which took place several weeks ago, where a member of a private Facebook group, Loaded Guns Pointed At B[?]enis, actually pulled the trigger of his 45-caliber pistol and shot himself right through the balls. The next day he reported that he was ‘fine’ and actually reported for work.

              You should know, incidentally, that this group has 1,800 members, and apparently they play a version of Russian Roulette by loading a gun, pointing the gun at their crotch and then see how close they can actually get to pulling the trigger all the way through without the gun actually going off. I suspect that the person who comes closest to shooting himself but actually releases the trigger just before the hammer drops, is awarded with a MAGA hat.

              Although the spent round from the pistol luckily only grazed his nuts, it did go through his mattress and his box spring before lodging in the floor. No doubt he will now charge admission for anyone who wants to come into his bedroom and view the hole in the carpet underneath his bed.

              The guy who runs this Facebook page was, of course, quite supportive in talking about the event. In particular, he made it clear that the poor schmuck who ended up in the local hospital getting his balls sewn back on really didn’t need to be criticized for what he had done. After all, according to the group leader, “he’s learned his lesson without the entire world calling him an idiot.”

              Exactly what lesson do you think this guy learned? Oh, he learned not to point a loaded gun at his nuts. He needed to learn that lesson? Is the group leader serious? No, he’s not serious. He’s as dumb as the guy who shot himself, okay?

              I’m thinking about that two dummies, the man and wife, who stood in front of their St. Louis home and waved guns at a group of BLM/Communists/Socialists/Anarchists who went marching by. They got indicted for this remarkable demonstration of stupidity, but they also got their minute of fame as a featured act at last week’s RNC.

              Come to think of it, I’m surprised that the guy who shot his balls off hasn’t yet been invited to the White House to give the President and his staff a demonstration of one of the really funny and interesting things you can do with a gun. Maybe the crowd should also include some of those bikers who wandered around Sturgis without masks and now have contracted Covid-19.

              We won’t know until a week from today whether anyone who attended Trump’s airport rally in New Hampshire will come down with the Chinese flu. We also won’t know for another week who gets sick from coming to the airport at Latrobe. What Trump is doing, and it’s a very clever strategy, is creating and promoting a virtual reality which basically says that the worst is behind us and the best is yet to come.

              So why not have the guy from San Diego visit the White House and demonstrate how you can shoot your balls off and still go back to work the next day? After all, if everyone starts walking around with a gun to protect themselves and everyone else from those marauding thugs, sooner or later a few more guys will accidentally shoot themselves with their guns.

              To quote Walter Mosley: “If you walk around with a gun, it will go off sooner or later.”  What’s so bad about that?

How Come Only Good Guys Use Guns In Self-Defense?

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I want to applaud NBC for giving space to a very committed pro-gun advocate, because if nothing else, it’s important to see just how far away from reality some of Gun-nut Nation has moved. In this case, the lack of reality is being pronounced by the Attorney General of Arkansas, a woman named Leslie Rutledge, who happens to be the first female and first Republican elected to the office of AG, a state which in 2018 had a gun-fatality rate of 19, which happens to be almost twice the national gun-fatality rate.

Attorney General Rutledge begins her rhetorical voyage into never-never land with a rather unique description of the 2nd Amendment:  “The Second Amendment ensures that Americans can protect themselves, their families and their businesses, especially when the government is unwilling or unable to do so.”

Now it’s true that the 2008 Heller decision rests on the idea of using guns for personal defense. But nowhere in our friend Tony Scalia’s opinion is there any mention of the personal-defense argument somehow being contingent on whether the government is ‘’unwilling or unable’ to provide protection. In fact, the decision states quite clearly that the government can regulate firearm ownership precisely because the government is responsible for guaranteeing what we refer to as the ‘common defense.’

I’ll talk in a minute about how two armed Americans  protected themselves and their home from all those rampaging anarchists and thugs, but let’s first look at how Ms. Rutledge makes the case for liberal attacks against 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’ First and foremost, according to the Arkansas AG, is the attempt by New York’s Attorney General to dissolve the NRA.

Why would the disappearance of the NRA be a blow against the decision by many Americans to defend themselves with guns? Because “The NRA promotes responsible and safe firearm ownership and self-defense, and it encourages favorite pastimes like hunting and recreational shooting.” And we know for a fact that liberals hate anyone who uses a gun for hunting or recreational shooting, right?

In fact (note the word ‘fact), the NRA has been the main cog in the gun industry’s public relations arsenal promoting armed, self-defense, and if the Arkansas AG really believes that a handgun which holds 15 rounds of military-grade ammunition is used to shoot a bird out of the tree, then there must be some pretty funny hunting going on in Arkansas, that’s for sure. Why shouldn’t a not-for-profit outfit be closed down when the Executive VP spends tens of thousands of donated dollars on designer clothes and the hand-picked Board of Directors doesn’t bother to ever examine the books?

The GOP sunk to the lowest possible level of political pandering when they gave that husband-and-wife team from St. Louis a program slot to tell everyone why they felt it necessary to stand in front of their home and wave guns at the BLM demonstrators who were marching past their front lawn. I’m surprised that Leslie Rutledge didn’t make a point of saying just how much she felt these two putzes should be honored for demonstrating how and guns keep us safe and free.

Don’t ask me why and don’t ask me how, but whether it’s a gang-banger from Bed-Stuy- Do-Or-Die, or a cop in Kenosha, WI, whenever anyone picks up a loaded gun, points it at someone else and pulls the trigger, it’s always a case of self-defense. And by the way, every cop is taught that a 1985 Supreme Court decision (Tennessee v. Garner) precludes the use of lethal force if someone who has been told to stand still turns around and runs away. The cop can still shoot the guy if he believes that the man fleeing the scene may be about to attack someone else. Who was sitting in his car when Jacob Blake was shot 7 times in the back? His three kids.

Oh – I forgot! The cops said that Blake was in possession of a knife.

They said.

Thank you Linda for posting that pic.

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