Want To Own a Gun? Join The Holton Militia

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              Want to live in what may be the safest community in the United States? Try a place called Holton, which is in Michigan, located about 10 miles from Lake Michigan, and has some 2,500 people living in 900 or so habitable dwellings, and 98% of these residents are white.

              You can buy a nice, three-bedroom house in Holton for $150,000 and for entertainment you can go to the high school and watch the Red Devils play volleyball which they won the state title in 1994.olton

              What else can you do in Holton? Not a goddamn thing. But the good news is that you don’t have to worry about crime because Holton’s crime rate is just a bout half the rate of crime throughout the United States.  That’s safe, okay?

              Be that as it may, things will be a lot safer now in Holton since the town just decided to form a citizen’s militia for the purpose of protecting everyone, or at least protecting everyone’s 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’

              The good people of Holton were forced to take this brave, new step in community safety because that crazy, liberal Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, just signed legislation which Michigan residents take guns away from other people just because the gun grabbers don’t like the fact that a neighbor might actually own a gun.

              The laws signed by Whitmer are referred to as ‘red flag’ laws, the name representing what is commonly considered a signal of danger, i.e., the display of a red flag.

              As far as I know, there are now 21 states plus D.C. which have some kind of ‘red flag’ law, which is more formally known as an ERPO law, meaning Extreme Risk Protection Order, which does exactly what these words mean.

              These laws allow anyone to go into court and petition to have guns removed from the home of someone who appears to be acting in a nutty or violent kind of way, with such behavior being much more of a threat if that crazy person happens to be in possession of a gun.

              ERPO laws, which first appeared in Connecticut in 1999, differ somewhat from state to state, but basically the law is only imposed after a judge is satisfied that an ERPO can only be imposed when solid proof has been presented which clearly demonstrates the need to remove someone’s guns.

              The ERPO process involves multiple hearings, opportunities for appeal and the intervention of police authorities if a gun or guns must be removed. In other words, these laws can only be applied consistent with Constitutional protections for gun ‘rights.’  Which is a nice-sounding statement but doesn’t satisfy America’s gun nuts.

              When the NRA refers to its members as law-abiding gun owners, the organization is describing people who have not yet committed a crime. But committing a crime is one thing, predicting that a crime might be committed is something else. And that’s where Gun-nut Nation draws the line regarding red flag laws.

              Actually, where Gun-nut Nation draws the line is not on ERPO laws per se, but on any more gun laws of any kind. Right now, roughly 60% of all Americans believe that gun laws could be stricter, 40% say the laws are either too strict or don’t need to be changed.

              What’s the percentage of American with a gun in the house? Try 40%, okay? In a town like Holton, however, probably just about everyone in the town owns guns.

              Which is why, on November 14, Holton passed a resolution declaring the town to be a 2nd-Amendment sanctuary and appended a declaration which created a 2nd-Amendment ‘militia,’ except nobody knows what the militia is supposed to do. You can sign up to join the militia if you can pass a background check which is required even in 2nd-Amendment sanctuaries before you can buy a gun.

              Once you have signed up to be a member of the Holton militia, you have effectively done everything that militia members are required to do. This is because, according to the Town Manager, there is no actual plan to form a group of any kind that will perform militia-like activities such as practicing marksmanship or marching around.

              In other words, the Holton militia exists on paper and in people’s minds. Which the more I think about it, is why every city and town in America should require its gun-owning residents to belong to a group like the Holton militia or else they can’t own any guns.

Just What We Need – Another Gun Argument.

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              Here we go again. Something scary happens, people get worried about their security and safety, and everyone rushes out to buy a gun.

              And the moment gun sales go up, both sides in the gun debate begin telling all their followers either that this proves how much Americans rely on guns or self-defense (the Gun-nut Nation line) or how much guns contribute to violence and crime (the Gun-control Nation line.)

              Both arguments may be effective when it comes to raising money for advocacy, political campaigns, and every other messaging campaign which both sides promote all the time, except there’s one, little problem: neither argument really addresses the only issue which really needs to be addressed.

              And the issue is that the United States experiences an annual toll of fatal injuries caused by guns which is 7 to 20 times higher than what occurs in any other advanced (OECD) nation-state.

              What can we do to stem the tide? Gun-control Nation says we need stricter gun laws, Gun-nut Nation says we need more guns.

              The argument that gun violence can be reduced by stricter licensing requirements for gun ownership (stricter licensing was just invalidated in Maryland and Oregon) rests on the assumption that there’s some connection between people who use guns to shoot other people and people who will obey laws.

              There has yet to be one, single study ever conducted anywhere which tells us how many of the 100,000+ fatal and non-fatal injuries committed by someone shooting someone else every year are committed by people who own legally licensed guns.

              But Gun-control Nation knows that we need to make laws covering gun purchasing and gun ownership even stricter and more comprehensive, right?

              For that matter, there’s also never been a valid study which tells us how many times a serious crime was prevented because someone who was about to be attacked let the attacker know that he or she was carrying a gun.

              Yea, yea, there’s all kinds of anecdotes and media stories about how this man or this woman defended themselves or their families by pulling out a gun and aiming it or actually shooting a street thug. Meanwhile, the NRA publishes a monthly report about such events and at most the count never gets above 15 or so ‘armed citizen’ accounts.

              Want to compare that number to the 300 illegal shootings which occur every day?

              On the other hand, none of those illegal or inappropriate shootings are done with some old, rusted piece of shit gun which was found in Grandpa’s basement after he was carted off to the nursing home and the kids then brought the gun into my shop for five or ten bucks.

But the guy who buys that gun from me ‘for parts’ jumps through the exact, same legal hoops which another guy jumps through when he comes into my gun shop and buys a Glock and three extra high-capacity magazines or an AR-15.

We don’t have a ‘gun problem’ in the United States. We have a problem with two sides in the gun debate, both sides well-financed, active, and loud, who don’t know what they’re talking about.

Want to reduce or eliminate gun violence? Get rid of the guns used to cause the violence which, by the way, don’t happen to be a majority of all those 300 or 400 million guns that Americans allegedly happen to own.

And the reason I say ‘allegedly’ is because when someone conducts a survey on how many homes contain guns and they get someone on the phone who says ‘yes,’ there are guns in my home, does the survey-taker ever ask that person when was the last time he or she actually put their hands on one of those guns?

I can’t count the number of times that someone would come into my shop and ask me whether they needed to report a ‘lost’ gun. Was the gun stolen? No – the gun was sitting under some pile of junk in the basement or out in the garage.

Want to reduce gun violence? It’s very simple – know what you’re talking about before shooting off your mouth – pardon my pun.

Why Can’t Guns Be Fun?


              Just a few short years ago, my friends in Gun-control Nation (now being referred to as ‘gun harms’) were gleefully celebrating what was going to be the demise of the NRA, largely because of the outstanding reportage by Mike Spies, along with the fact that the nation’s ‘first civil rights organization’ was going bankrupt and broke.

              Yesterday, I received an email from the NRA inviting me to register early for next year’s annual shindig, which will take place in Dallas on May 16-19, 2024.

              The show will feature 14 acres of guns and gear and if you can’t walk that far, you can always rent an electric cart. There will also be a banquet and auction to benefit the NRA’s lobbying effort, more than 50 free seminars and workshops for everything from Gun-A to Gun-Z, a national prayer breakfast and the usual appearance of anyone and everyone running for President on the GOP slate, although the November batting order may already be decided by May.

              I wonder if the Fulton County sheriff or the Federal Bureau of Prisons will let Trump out of jail so he can attend this event? You may recall that when he ran for President in 2016, the NRA endorsed him more than six months before the election, something they hadn’t even done when Ronald Reagan showed up at the annual meeting in Philadelphia during the 1980 Presidential campaign.

              I attended the 1980 NRA show and have been to probably another 20 national shows over the last forty-plus years. And the reason I go to the show is the same reason that just about everyone else goes to the show, i.e., it’s a good and fun time.

              I guarantee you that the day the show opens up, one or more of the liberal, anti-gun media publications like The (failing) New York Times or the Washington Post will run an article which will somehow or other tie the show to some nasty shootings that will have just taken place.

              How do I know there will be some shootings somewhere in the United States the same week that all those gun nuts will show up in Dallas to play with all those guns? Because there’s a shooting or multiple shootings all the time somewhere in the United States.

              As my dear, late friend Cathy Kristoffel wrote a few years back, gun violence isn’t just an epidemic in the United States, it’s an endemic condition as well. And to show you just how endemic getting shot has become, since Dr. Kristoffel published her article in 2007, more than 600,000 Americans have been killed with guns and probably at least another million have been seriously injured, give or take another hundred thousand or more.

              But what’s the big deal? After all, if 40% of all households contain at least one gun, and there are 130 million households which together probably count 250 million adults and grown kids, what are we talking about here? A percentage of gun injuries somewhere around seven-tenths of one percent?

              The picture above is a couple of guys at last year’s NRA show. They’re having as much fun as the people who go down to New Orleans every year and get drunk as hell at the annual Shriner’s meet. My college girlfriend’s father was a Shriner. He never missed the show because he could spend three days drinking and having a good time with other Shriners whom he had been meeting at the show for the past twenty-five years.

              Minus the booze, this is exactly what happens at the NRA meeting every year. The picture above was from last year’s show. You think those two guys had a problem coming halfway across the country to spend a couple of days meeting and greeting all their buddies and playing with all the guns?

              My friends in Gun-nut Nation always get pissed off when I write about guns as just being a hobby which can be a lot of fun.

              They write: “We own guns because we believe in freedom!” Or better yet they tell me: “I’m a gun owner because I need to protect myself and my family from danger. Call the cops and then wait the 30 minutes or so until they show up!”

              Meanwhile, you should see how many visitors to the show happen to be police who put on their uniforms and get in for free. The truth is that most of those super patriots who proclaim their devotion to the 2nd Amendment buy a gun, wear it once or twice and then leave the goddamn thing home.

              If my friends in Gun-control Nation can learn anything from the fact that the NRA is alive and well, they might learn they could build a much stronger movement against gun violence by renting some big convention hall in some ‘sanctuary’ city and holding their own get-together every year.

              What’s so bad about having fun?

Why Do More Kids Die from Guns Than from Cars?


              Every year the numbers come out and every year the numbers show that more young people are killed with guns than with cars. And every year when these numbers come out, we get the same experts telling us that we made cars safer, so we should be able to make guns safer as well.

              How will we make guns safer? Well, we can start by always locking the gun up or locking it away.

              This brilliant idea would be like making sure that you never have a car accident by leaving your car in the driveway and always taking the bus.

              Know the percentage of gun deaths suffered by kids under fourteen?  Try 1.1%. Fourteen happens to be the age when every state issues hunting licenses, so when it comes to guns, anyone fourteen and above is presumed to know how to keep from shooting themselves or shooting someone else.

              Another clever idea being promoted by ‘let’s do with guns what we do with cars’ is licensing gun ownership the way we require a license in order to drive a car. The state which has the most rigorous licensing system happens to be the state where I live – Massachusetts – which implemented a very comprehensive licensing system for gun purchases back in 1999 and is often cited as a case in point when the idea that licensing makes guns safer rears its head.

              In fact, Massachusetts does have the lowest or next-to-lowest gun violence rate of all 50 states. Except there’s only one little wrinkle with that number, namely, that gun violence in Massachusetts was even lower before the current law was passed in 1999.

              That’s right.  In 1998, Massachusetts had a gun violence rate of 2.88.  In 2021 the rate was 3.35.  That’s only an increase of 16% since the present-day licensing procedure in Massachusetts went into effect.

              What the hell. What’s the big deal about 50 more lost lives, right?

              The point is that you can’t make a consumer product ‘safe’ when the whole purpose of that product, both its design and function, is to be used in an unsafe way. And if we use the word ‘unsafe’ to mean injuring or killing a human being, then the guns which are used to cause most of the 100,000 homicides and aggravated assaults committed every year with guns cannot be discussed in terms of safety. It just doesn’t work.

              To go back to the issue of car safety again, the whole purpose of a car is to get you from here to there. If an accident occurs along the way, then either the car isn’t working properly, or the driver screwed up. So you figure out which was which and either change the car’s design or teach the driver how to drive.

              But if I walk into a room where a bunch of people are sitting around, pull out my Glock 17 pistol, I could kill or injure 20 men and women in 30 seconds or less and the gun will be functioning exactly the way it was designed to be used.

              You don’t use a gun designed for tactical purposes to shoot a bird out of a tree or pop Bambi in the ass. We are the only country in the entire world which allows residents to buy and carry around guns which have no purpose other than to end human life. If ending human life by using a gun is what we call ‘gun violence,’ gee, what a surprise that we experience an endemic epidemic of gun violence every year.

              Want to get rid of gun violence? It’s very simple. Just get rid of the guns which are designed to be used to commit violence, a word defined by the World Health Organization as the intentional attempt too injure yourself or someone else.

              And by the way, before you start unctuously lecturing me on the 2nd Amendment, there is absolutely nothing in that 26-word text which prevents government from deciding exactly what kinds of guns Americans can own, as long as they can own at least one gun. If you don’t believe me, just go back and read up on the case in Connecticut where both state and federal courts decided that the AR-15 was too dangerous to be sold.

              And since I helped the law firm which represented the Sandy Hook parents write the section of that lawsuit which explained why the design of the AR-15 made the product unsafe, I know what I’m talking about.

What About Gun Violence After Maine?


              One of these days, my dear friends in Gun-control Nation will wake up and actually begin agitating for the only thing which will eliminate or at least reduce the violence caused by guns. And that strategy happens to be the universal registration of all guns. And by the way, although Gun-nut Nation will immediately yell and scream about how universal gun registration is a ‘violation’ of their beloved 2nd Amendment, that happens not to be true.

              After all, we have had universal registration of all guns purchased from federally licensed gun dealers since 1968. And this process has been extended to gun transfers between private gun owners in a number of states.

              But registration isn’t a background check. I happen to have about 60 guns sitting around my house and the public safety agency in my state has about half of them on file. And my state – Massachusetts – happens to be one of those Communist states which requires all gun transfers to be registered and approved.

              Of course, were such a universal registration strategy to be promoted by the gun-control gang, we would immediately hear all the ‘slippery-slope’ bullshit from the other side. So what? Since when should any effective public policy rest on whether the people who have absolutely no idea what they are talking about rant and rave? Have we stopped vaccinating school children because RFK Jr. turns out to be a complete jerk?

              This week we had another horrendous slaughter of innocent human beings in Maine. This carnage didn’t occur in Texas, or Illinois, or some other state where gun violence has become an ordinary and normal thing. It took place in Maine, where the gun violence rate is so low that the CDC doesn’t even bother to figure it out.

              And by the way, because we don’t have gun registration in Maine, there was absolutely no way that the cops could have gone out and taken the guns away from the alleged shooter, even if he had been locked up in a loony bin for several years, not just for a couple of weeks.

              To show you how fucked up the situation is on the gun-control side, a few years ago the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on funding gun research, and the panel testifying in front of the Committee consisted of three pro-gun control experts from Johns Hopkins (Daniel Webster,) the American College of Surgeons (Ronald Stewart,) the RAND gun group (Andrew Morrall) and for the other side, the hated John Lott.

              At some point during the hearing an alt-right member of Congress from Maryland asked the panel whether they believed that universal gun registration would reduce gun violence. It was, of course, a ‘gotcha question’ because the alt-right shithead figured that Webster, Stewart and Morrall would come out in favor of universal registration and the pro-gun bunch could take that one right to the bank.

              Lott answered first and of course denied any connection between universal gun registration and reducing gun violence, touting instead his patented argument about how carrying a gun reduces the threat from guns.

              To my utter shock, the other three panelists agreed with Lott and said that universal registration wouldn’t do anything to reduce gun violence rates. These three guys lied to Congress. They all know that other advanced countries do not have our gun violence problem precisely because guns are registered and therefore don’t as quickly or easily fall into the ‘wrong hands.’

              And by the way, the hearing was televised on C-Span, so these three gun-control experts had an opportunity to explain to the entire American public why gun registration actually works.

              And now that we are past the ‘thoughts and prayers’ in Maine, particularly the prayers coming from Lauren Boebert who spelled Lewiston and Lewistown on her X page, our friends in Gun-control Nation can go back to promoting the idea that we need to toughen up the requirements for buying an assault rifle, or even God forbid, ban the damn things again.

              Know who held the record for the most people shot and killed in one place at one time? It was held by a student at Virginia Tech University who killed 32 people in 2007, which was the largest number of fatal victims until Omar Mateen killed 50 at the Pulse nightclub in 2016.

              Know what kind of a weapon Seung-Hui Cho used in his rampage? A Glock handgun. That’s what he used.

              As Grandpa would say, ‘shain zeit’ (read: enough is enough.)

              Know what’s the worst thing that would happen if Gun-control Nation stopped fucking around with such nonsense as an assault-rifle ban? The United States might actually begin thinking about eliminating private ownership of all guns designed solely for the purpose of ending human life.

              Would that be, as Grandpa would say, such a ‘gefailach?’ (read: big deal?)

Can We Reduce Gun Violence and Not Talk About Guns?


              Our good friend Khalil has just sent me a report issued by the New Mexico Department of Health which evaluates the demographics of individuals recently presenting in state hospitals for injuries committed with the use of guns. You can download the report here.

              The very detailed report was put together because New Mexico appears to be a state which has experienced an alarming increase in intentional gun injuries, and it is presumed that getting a better understanding for who is shot by a gun will make a public health response to the problem more effective in the days to come.

              The report follows guidelines that were developed for another Health Department report which sets out a statewide strategic plan for preventing gun injuries which was published in 2021 and can be downloaded here.

              The report on who gets shot by guns in New Mexico finds that white residents of the state have not seen any significant increase as gun violence victimization over the last several years. But there had been a significant increase in gun injuries among Hispanics, Native Americans, and blacks since 2017, although the jump in all three racial groups was much higher from, 2017 to 2018 than during the Pandemic years.

              Th really bad news about gun violence demographics concerns the state resident population which are classified as black. Since 2019, blacks have represented more than 40% of all gun violence victims, but as a proportion of the overall state population, blacks represent between 2% and 5%.

              When gun deaths in New Mexico are broken down by circumstance, the data is roughly equal to the national numbers for the same events. Overall, gun suicides are roughly twice as frequent as gun homicides, with white suicide victims much more frequent than the number of suicides committed by blacks. Incidentally the suicide rate among blacks has always been much lower than the white suicide rate, which is somewhat difficult to understand, since blacks show a much more significant incidence than whites of the social factors which are associated with suicide, such as loss of income, family dispersal, etc.

              Has there ever been one, single study which has attempted to sort this problem out and perhaps come up with some ways in which the evident black resistance to suicide could be developed among whites? Nope, not one study at all. Not one. So much for the alleged compassion of public health for the underclass.

              Turning to the report on a strategic plan for preventing gun violence, here’s the plan:

  1. Identify at least two venues where stakeholders can regularly share information and resources regarding prevention of firearm injuries and deaths.
  2. Increase access to and use of firearm injury data in New Mexico by developing and implementing a firearm injury reporting system that uses standardized data elements and definitions.
  3.  Increase the evidence base for firearm injury prevention by conducting at least two public health practice studies or evaluations of firearm injury prevention strategies.
  4. Identify at least two mechanisms for dissemination of firearm injury data and prevention information to stakeholders and the general population.
  5. Participate in at least two activities to increase access to mental health and behavioral health services in New Mexico.

Ready?  Nowhere in either document is there a single mention or even hint that there wouldn’t be any gun violence in New Mexico or any other state if we just made the licensing of the guns used in gun violence a more comprehensive and detailed affair. Forty percent of the guns in New Mexico which are used to commit gun injuries are the types of guns which are designed solely for the purpose of being used to commit an intentional injury with a gun.

Should it come as a surprise that we have a gun-violence rate 7 to 20 times higher than any other advanced country, when no other country allows residents to own bottom-loading, hi-capacity handguns using military-grade ammunition, manufactured by companies like Glock, Sig, Kahr, Smith & Wesson, et. al?

Put such guns on the same restricted list which we use for full-auto guns and guess what happens to gun violence? The last time that someone was intentionally killed by getting shot with a full-auto gun was 1947 or 1948.

Here’s a Gun Buyback That Works!


              Our good friend Michael Hirsh is a pediatric trauma surgeon at Memorial Hospital which aserves as the Massachusetts state medical school.  The hospital is located in Worcester, where Mike also happens to be the city’s chief medical officer.

              Mike also happens to be the one physician in the entire United States who is actually doing something tangible to reduce gun violence.  I mean doing, not talking. Doctors have been talking about reducing gun violence since Art Kellerman and Fred Rivara published two articles in 1992-93 which found that access to guns created medical risk.

              Mike has been running voluntary gun buybacks in Worcester and surrounding communities for 22 years, having done a buyback several years earlier in Allegheny County prior to joining the U/Mass Chan Medical School staff. Mike’s awareness about gun violence started when he was a resident at Columbia University’s teaching hospital and one of his close friends, another resident named John Wood, was gunned down when he left the hospital and walked across the street to buy some snacks to take home to his pregnant wife.

              So, here’s Mike sitting in the ER at Columbia, gets the call to run down to the trauma section because a shooting victim is being brought in, and his best friend is lying on the gurney as it’s pushed by. Got a better gun violence story?

              I have been pestering Mike to write some kind of clinical analysis of the buyback program and he’s finally done it – in spades!  I am referring to a brief article published in The American Journal of Medicine which you can download right here.

              This article should be required reading by anyone and everyone involved in efforts to reduce gun violence because it reflects what has been not just a theory for what needs to be done, but also what Mike Hirsh and his colleagues have been practicing for the past two decades.

              First and most important, the Worcester gun buyback is an annual event, which enlists the energies and commitments of law enforcement, public health, government agencies and community groups. Representatives of these four constituencies have an opportunity to communicate with each other, share ideas and experiences and strengthen what has become a community-wide effort to deal with guns.

              Second, and just as important, faculty, residents and students from the medical school are stationed at buyback locations and get an opportunity to talk to community residents about gun violence and, more important, about the risk represented by guns. The medical staff both teach buyback participants about guns and gun violence but also get an opportunity to learn from the folks who bring one gun or multiple guns to hand in.

              Finally, through much practical experience in talking to gun owners, Mike Hirsh has developed a questionnaire which can be used in clinical settings both to engage in a discussion about gun violence, and also to make clinicians feel more comfortable in talking to patients about guns.

              Note that the questions which might be asked do not only include the usual issues like whether guns are safely stored and whether there are children and other vulnerable individuals living in the home, but there is also a question about what kinds of guns are in the home.

              The United States is the only country in the entire world which allows residents to own and have access to guns which are designed for the sole purpose of being used to commit a violent act.  The World Health Organization defines violence as a conscious attempt to hurt yourself or someone else, and the WHO makes no distinction between ‘good’ or ‘bad’ violence. Using a handgun made by Glock, Sig, Ruger, Smith & Wesson et. al., is to commit violence, and it doesn’t matter how or why that handgun is being used.

              If the issue of gun violence was defined from the perspective of risk and how much risk is created depending on the design of the gun, this country wouldn’t suffer 125,000+ fatal and serious, non-fatal gun injuries every year.

              This approach is embodied in the work being done by Mike Hirsh and his colleagues who conduct a yearly gun buyback, and it’s an approach which the movement to reduce gun violence needs to better understand.

Same Old Public Health Discussion About Gun Violence.


              Yet another article has just appeared which tells us for the umpteenth time that guns represent a threat to public health.  This particular article focuses on gun deaths in the pediatric and adolescent population and finds that gun violence continues to increase even in the wake of a disappearance of Covid-19.

              So, what else is new? Pardon me if I sound a bit cynical or just plain worn out from reading the same thing again and again and again. But what makes me really unable to find any real value in this research is, that typical of virtually all the work on gun violence published by the public health and medicine crowd, the single, most important issue for understanding gun violence is left completely unsaid.

              For all the talk by yet another group of experts based on discussions by even a larger group of experts, there is not one, single word in either this article or the reports and data on which it is based which mentions any attempt or even awareness of approaching gun violence from a perspective which cannot be ignored, namely, an analysis of what we mean when we use the word ‘gun.’

              Oops! The authors of this article wouldn’t feel comfortable using the word ‘gun’ because it’s just not educated or sophisticated enough to fit into the nomenclature of this highly educated group.  They prefer to use the term ‘firearm,’ as if this has some kind of scientific validity which the word ‘gun’ doesn’t have.

              Over the past 40 or so years since I opened my first retail gun shop in 1979, I have sold probably in excess of 12,000 guns to buyers who walked into my gun shops which were located first in South Carolina, then New York, then Massachusetts. Many of these buyers purchased more than one gun, so maybe I had direct contact with 8,000 different individuals to whom I sold at least one gun.

              I do not recall one, single person who ever walked into one of my shops and told me that he or she was looking to purchase a ‘firearm.’ Not one. And while you might think that I’m just making a silly and incidental point, to the contrary, the same ‘experts’ who feel comfortable using the term ‘firearm’ are also the same ‘experts’ who will always tell you they can’t seem to get all those gun owners to understand what they are trying to say.

              Aside from nomenclature, I also have an issue with the authors of this article who are conducting research on the health threats represented by guns but have decided that the threat can be fully understood with reference to less than 30% of all gun injuries. This selective vision occurs because the CDC has given up trying to figure out how many non-fatal gun injuries occur every year.

              The only difference, let me repeat that with emphasis, okay? The only difference between a fatal and non-fatal gun wound is that in the latter case, the shooter didn’t shoot straight. There is no other difference whatsoever in terms of who does the shooting, why they do the shooting, how and why they got their hands on a gun in the first place, or anything else related to this event.

              If the public health and medical researchers who claim to be studying guns – oops! – I mean firearm violence want to continue indulging the CDC in its annual publication of data which is so incomplete that it shouldn’t be published at all, the least these researchers could do is maybe just stick a little footnote at the end of their text advising the reader about this massive data gap.

              Anyway, getting back to the gun issue. This article draws heavily from a series of meetings by a panel of ‘experts’ convened by the NORC organization in Chicago with the idea of creating a ‘nonpartisan firearms database’ which will enable researchers “to consider the lack of basic firearms data and how to overcome this severe factual deficit so that all sides in the debate can find common ground.”

          First of all, the phrase ‘common ground’ is code used by public health gun researchers to pretend that no matter what they decide needs to be done, that all those crazy gun owners out there won’t feel their so-called 2nd-Amendment ‘rights’ are being taken away. Like there’s a single gun owner in the United States who could be talked into believing that a panel which includes faculty from a public health program funded by Mike Bloomberg can be trusted to worry about whether they can keep their guns. Yea, right.

              But what is even more relevant to my concern about the work of this expert panel is the fact that in no less than five detailed reports, again there is not one, single mention of figuring out what to do about gun violence based on the types of guns which are used to commit that type of violence.

              Several years ago, The Trace gun magazine published a database consisting of some 9,000 guns picked up by various police agencies in 2014. The data gave the gun’s manufacturer, its caliber and the violation, crime, or reason that the gun was now in police custody. As far as I know, I am the only person who took the trouble to analyze this data and produce an article which can be downloaded here: Understanding Guns and Gun Violence by Michael Weisser :: SSRN.

              What I learned from this data, among other things, was the following:

  1. A large majority of the guns were types which never appear in reports about intentional gun injuries, i.e., hunting rifles, rear-loading shotguns, antique handguns.
  2. A substantial number of these 9,000 guns were at least 30 years old, which means that even if we were to impose a ban on sale of the types of guns which are used in gun assaults, we would still need to find a way to collect all the killer guns that are out there.

If the experts who conduct gun research would actually learn something about the guns which create the problem they are studying, perhaps they might begin to develop valid and effective strategies to respond to what the late Katherine Christoffel calls the ‘endemic’ problem of gun violence, or firearm violence, or whatever they want to call it.

As long as the researchers who are attempting to find a solution to gun violence continue to avoid discussing or understanding how and why certain individuals gain access to certain types of guns which are designed solely for the purpose of killing human beings, we will continue to get articles which earn a publishing credit for the authors but otherwise tell us what we already know and have known for many years.

Are Some Guns Too Dangerous to Be Sold?


              What makes a gun nut a gun nut? He (and occasionally she) likes to play with his toys. Which are what guns are to gun nuts – toys.

              Forget all this crap about how people own guns for self-defense. Forget this nonsense about guns being an essential protection against the ‘tyranny’ of the state. That’s nothing but the gun industry trying to sell guns, okay?

              I started playing with toy guns when I was six or seven years old. My first gun was a plastic, silver Roy Rogers revolver, complete with holster and cowboy hat. I could outdraw and outshoot anyone with that gun.

              If I had been born after, instead of before the end of World War II, I could have graduated from toy guns to gun video games when I was twelve or thirteen. Either way, I started buying real guns when I was 21 or 22 and I haven’t stopped buying guns since.

              Right now, my personal collection is a little light. I live in a very small house and ‘the wife’ doesn’t want the ‘damn things’ around (that’s how the wife refers to guns) so I only have 20 or so guns stashed in a closet, under the couch pillows or in the trunk of the car.

              Several years ago, the so-called gun experts at Harvard’s School of Public Health published a study which claimed that 3% of American adults owned half the privately-owned guns, with these ‘super owners’ having, on average, some 17 guns lying around.

              This study provoked hysteria among all the gun-grabbing groups, even though there was absolutely no connection between how many guns were individually owned and whether any of these super gun nuts had ever committed any kind of illegal or improper behavior with any of their guns.

              The reason that gun nuts are gun nuts is because you can do all kinds of fun things with your guns – change the grips, add an accessory to the stock, stick a light or a laser onto the gun, or take the gun down and change an internal part.

              The one thing you don’t want to do is actually go out and shoot the gun because that usually requires a shlep to the range, standing around waiting for empty slot, making sure the gun is unloaded until you’re ready to fire, all of this and all of that. Better to sit on the couch at home, watch a movie like ‘Burn After Reading’ or ‘Fargo’ for the umpteenth time, and play with the guns.

              The latest attempt to keep gun nuts from playing with their guns is a case being heard in a Brooklyn courtroom (thank you Paula) where an outfit called Rare Breed Triggers is fighting a decision by a couple of ATF bureaucrats who claim that the part they are selling, called a ‘forced reset trigger,’ turns a semi-auto assault rifle into a full-auto gun.

              The company says its trigger may make the gun shoot quicker, but the shooting requires a separate trigger pull every time the gun is shot off. The bureaucrats are paid to say ‘no,’ which is what they are saying to the judge.

              In fact, technically speaking, an AR-15 with this doohickey inside is still a semi-auto gun, but the ATF is claiming that the rate of fire is still too dangerous and therefore the company is selling a product which needs to be regulated and controlled like a full-auto gun.

              I don’t really care how this case works itself out, but I do believe that the case may possibly move the philosophy which defines how we regulate guns in the direction which Gun-control Nation would like it to go.

              The United States is the only country in the entire world which regulates the private ownership of guns based on defining the proper behavior of individuals who want to own guns. In every other country which regulates the commercial gun market, the primary criteria for determining the degree of regulation is based on the dangerousness of the gun.

              If the gun is considered too dangerous for sale to the general public, the gun is not allowed to be sold. Incidentally, this was the criteria which was used to make Remington fork over $73 million to the parents of kids killed at Sandy Hook. This lawsuit, however, was brought using a state law, because under federal law, the case would have been thrown out.

              On the other hand, allowing the feds to come into court and argue that a particular type of gun is too dangerous to be sold could perhaps set a precedent that would ultimately stand American gun-control on its head.

              Would it be so terrible to talk about guns in terms of how they should be used even if they are being held in law-abiding, responsible hands?

Just What the Neighborhood Needs: A New Gun-Control Organization.


              I have been a member of the National Rifle Association since 1955 when I started shooting every week with a kids’ rifle team sponsored by the NRA. Incidentally, just to give you a little perspective, the team met each week in the rifle range of my brother’s junior high school, McFarland Junior High, which was located in the Petworth neighborhood of – ready? – Washington, D.C.

              Back in those days, the NRA spent little time or money advocating 2nd-Amendment ‘rights’ because nobody was challenging the 2nd Amendment or even thinking about what the words actually meant.

              It wasn’t until after Kennedy was shot and a bill was introduced in Congress to create a big government regulatory infrastructure that the gun ‘issue’ reared its ugly head, and the eventual result was the passage of GCA68 which created an end-to-end gun-control system administered by the ATF.

              There wouldn’t have been a need for GCA68, nor would there have been what has since then become an endless and continuous gun debate, had the first federal gun-control law promulgated in 1934 contained one important provision requested by then Attorney General Homer Cummings, which was to define handguns as being as dangerous as fully automatic weapons and placing such guns on a restricted, heavily controlled list.

              A rigorous licensing process for owning handguns was actually implemented by every other country which has enacted gun-control laws, which is why no other advanced country has the degree of gun violence which has become endemic to the United States over the past fifty years.

              What has also become endemic to American society alongside an endless cycle of gun violence is the existence and activity of national, gun-control advocacy organizations which compete for attention both in federal and state governments with the NRA.

              The most active group, Everytown, started up in 2013, and got a big boost when it combined forces with another group, Moms Demand Action, founded by a great lady, Shannon Watts, shortly after the horrific slaughter at Sandy Hook Elementary School at the end of 2012.

              The Brady Campaign started up in 1989, using the mail list of another gun-control organizations, Handgun Control, Inc., which had been more or less moribund from when it was founded in 1980. There’s also the group started and run by Gabby Giffords, which basically piggybacks on other organizations in lobbying the feds and the states for more gun-control laws.

              Now we have a new group, Research Society for the Prevention of Firearm-Related Harms, which appears to be an amalgam of various academic research efforts funded by the usual, philanthropic gun-control suspects like the Joyce and Arnold Foundations along with input from the government via CDC and NIJ

              This group held what they refer to as an ‘historic’ conference last year and are planning another conference in November of this year. The 2022 conference evidently generated 600 registration requests (although I can’t find an actual attendance number) and the conference showcased at least 100 different presentations developed by academic specialists from colleges and universities in every region, if not just about every state in the United States. 

              I am very impressed by the breadth and depth of the program, and if this conference reflects how the gun violence research field has grown in the brief of time since the government once again renewed financial support for such efforts, there is no question that gun violence has now taken its deserved space as an issue of significance in terms of academic research.

              Unfortunately, what this conference and the formation of this new gun-control organization also reflects is the degree to which the study of gun violence and the actual commission of gun violence exist in totally disconnected and completely unrelated spheres.

In 2001, the national gun homicide rate (per 100,000 American population) was 3.93.  In 2021, the last year for which we have CDC injury data, the rate was 6.62 – almost double the 2001 rate. One might suppose that the 2021 number needs to be seen in a different context because that was the first, big Covid-19 year.

So, let’s go back to 2019, which was when the virus had not yet invaded the United States. That year, the gun-violence rate was 4.57, only an increase of slightly less than 20% above the 2001 rate. From 2001 through 2021, there were only 4 years where the gun homicide rate was less than what occurred in 2001.

And by the way, it should be noted that the CDC has given up even trying to figure out the rate for non-fatal, violent gun injuries, but the only difference between fatal and non-fatal shootings is that in the latter category, the shooter didn’t shoot straight. How anyone can use the current CDC data on shootings to discuss gun violence is beyond me.

Now let’s look at some other data, namely, what Americans think and believe about guns. Back in the 1960’s, a majority of Americans (60% as polled by Gallup) believed that privately-owned handguns should be banned. The last time this poll was conducted in 2020, the pro-ban percentage was down to 25%, the lowest it has ever been.

So, here we have an academic meeting bringing together gun researchers from throughout the United States who spend several days talking about the risks and dangers of guns. Meanwhile, not one presentation discussed the fact that what these experts are saying to one another is totally and completely rejected by American society at large.

The truth is that the community of gun-violence researchers in this country exists to talk to themselves. Which wouldn’t be such a problem if we didn’t have gun violence numbers placing us up there with such ‘advanced’ countries as Paraguay, Guyana and the Dominican Republic.

Any chance that the upcoming conference will spend a bit of time trying to figure out how to get the results of their research into the heads of an American public which doesn’t see any risk from the ownership of guns?

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