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Who Says Liberals Are Against Armed, Self-Defense?

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I love how FOX NEWS runs a piece which is not only completely based on nothing but wrong opinions but then refers to itself as ‘news.’  In this instance, one of many, FOX ran a story on Joe Biden which was a collection of comments he made about guns, and as you can imagine, the comments all demonstrate that when it comes to the beloved 2nd Amendment, Joe is either a demented fool, or a gun-grabber, or both.

              The story was obviously put together to appeal to the FOX audience, which is patently conservative and therefore pro-gun. And when the White House tenant is a Democrat, this obviously means that privately-owned guns are likely to be regulated more than they are regulated now, or maybe just gotten rid of entirely.

              Except to show you how full of sh*t FOX happens to be, or better yet, how full of sh*t the whole pro-gun advocacy world happens to be, what FOX didn’t bother to mention is that Joe Biden happens to be the only national politician of either party who admits to using a gun for the reason that the pro-gun movement believes a gun should primarily be used, which is for self-defense.

              That’s right. Joe Biden is on record as recommending that keeping and using a loaded shotgun in the home is a proper way to keep your home safe. And Joe goes further and admits, in a 2013 interview, that he has taught his wife, Jill, how to use a shotgun to keep a bad guy from doing her any harm.

              Here is the direct quote from the February 20, 2013, issue of Parents Magazine: “If you want to protect yourself, get a double-barreled shotgun, have the shells, a 12-guage shotgun, and I promise you, as I told my wife – we live in an area that’s wooded and somewhat secluded – I said ‘Jill, if there’s ever a problem, just walk out on the balcony here, walk out, put that double-barreled shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house.’”

              Note that Joe didn’t tell his wife to first pick up the phone and call the Secret Service boys. Note that Joe didn’t tell Jill to run downstairs and lock herself in a basement room. What he told her to do is exactly what the NRA and every other gun-nut group has been telling Americans to do for the last umpteen years – rack up the ol’ shotgun and blast away.

              Now you would think the moment that Parents mag hit the newsstands, that the guys who run Mossberg and Remington and all the other companies making shotguns would have been getting online outside Joe’s office (he was Vice President at the time) to present him with a new shotgun for Jill to keep in their home.

              Can you think of a better photo op for the gun industry, particularly at a time when the President was a notorious gun-grabber who would do anything to take everyone’s guns away? I can’t, that’s for goddamn sure.

              To the contrary.  The guys who run the gun industry are so friggin’ stupid that they all got hysterical about Joe’s support of armed, self-defense, and went out of their way to tell their bunch that what Joe said was not only wrong, but illegal as well. One of the dumb asses, his name escapes me now, even went so far as to say that it’s a crime in Delaware to shoot a shotgun off into the sky because a pellet might come down and hit someone in the head.

              Now the fact that Delaware happens to be a state which sits directly in the middle of the North-South path of about a gazllion ducks which fly back and forth between Canada and Florida every year, and the fact that there must be at least ten thousand guys with shotguns who blast away at the birds as the flocks fly overhead, and the fact that there’s absolutely no law in Delaware or anywhere else which prevents a hunter from pointing his shotgun in the air and popping off a few rounds, oh well, oh well.

              The  bottom line is that when it comes to talking about guns and gun violence in American society today, if you’re a Democrat it’s something to be worried about, if you’re a Republican you just have to remember to mention your ‘thoughts and prayers.’

              And if you think the two sides in the gun debate are going to come together and figure out some kind of ‘consensus’ approach to a problem which results in more than 125,000 deaths and serious injuries every year, think again.

Do You Need a Self-Defense Gun?

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              Sometime in the next month, I am going to announce the launch of a new organization called SAFE, which stands for Security and Firearms Education. It will be an organization that will produce and disseminate informational resources to help individuals understand the laws, context, and proficiency training required to use a gun effectively and safely for armed, self-defense.

              You might wonder how come someone who has been an outspoken advocate of gun control for the last decade would be willing to switch sides, so to speak, and now start promoting the ownership and use of self-defense guns? That’s a good question, and here’s my response.

              I published my first comments about gun violence in May 2013. Since that time, more than 150,000 Americans have been shot to death by other Americans, and probably another 750,000 or more Americans have been shot but survived their wounds. In other words, the number of victims who were injured or killed by someone else using a gun is now approaching one million over the ten years since I started writing about guns.

              What has been the response of the advocates and researchers who are shocked and saddened by this state of affairs? The answer to this uniquely American type of behavior is to mandate more gun-control regulations against legal gun owners whose legal status is based on the belief that they can be trusted not to commit violent behavior with their guns.

              Are there times that legal gun owners do things with their guns that they shouldn’t do with their guns? Of course. Since when have human beings ever been error-free?

              But the last time I looked at the Violence Policy Center’s report on concealed killers, the number of fatal assaults by private citizens who were legally allowed to carry a concealed weapon averages about 150 fatal assaults per year, a number which also includes some suicides, by the way. Want to compare that number to the 20,000 or so gun homicides committed each year, almost all of which are the work of individuals who cannot legally own guns?

              Don’t get me wrong. I don’t buy the argument that if everyone were walking around with a gun, that violent crime would go down. By the same token, I don’t buy the argument that individuals walking around with guns are committing all those fatal and non-fatal gun assaults.

              Back in June, when the Supreme Court struck down New York’s law which requires that concealed-carry applicants show valid cause for needing to walk around with a gun, the various GVP groups all knew ‘for a fact’ that New York was heading for an Armageddon of gun violence, no matter what.

              I am still waiting for the first piece of evidence-based research which definitively shows a connection between the issuance of concealed-carry licenses and a substantive, verifiable increase in violent crime. Sorry, but just finding a coincidence between when a law is changed and how people behave isn’t cause and effect.

              I have sold thousands of guns to people who walked into my gun shop and said they wanted to buy a gun for armed, self-defense. Most of these customers were kids who had been playing video shooting games as they grew up and now were old enough to have the real thing.

              At some point I sent emails and asked several hundred of these customers how often they were walking around with their self-defense gun. Less than 10 percent of the people who responded to my email said they were carrying their gun on a regular basis – the rest were walking around with a concealed weapon occasionally or not at all.

              Here’s what happens when you begin carrying a self-defense gun. You discover that there are places you can’t bring the gun, like shopping malls or restaurants that serve booze. You also discover that the gun is heavy, it’s bulky, so you won’t carry it during the warm months because it looks kind of stupid to be wearing an overcoat at the beach.

              For all the complaints from the gun-control folks about how issuing concealed-carry licenses increases risk, has there ever been one study which seeks to figure out how many of those newly licensed gunslingers are actually walking around with their cherished guns? Nope, not one.

              Why do most people buy Apple phones or droids? Not because they actually need to use the device, but because everyone else has one and looking at some video or sending a text is fun.

              Think it’s any different with people who buy self-defense guns? It’s not.

              But an iPhone 13 is one thing, a Glock is something else. So, to help those new owners understand the lethality and risk of the self-defense gun they just bought, I will shortly be putting up a website which tells them what they need to consider if they want to engage in armed, self-defense.

The website will have three content pages, one which explains the legal issues surrounding armed, self-defense, along with another page telling owners of self-defense guns how to determine whether the guy coming towards them is really a threat, and another page describing a 10-minute, daily exercise to develop and maintain necessary muscle memory which doesn’t require using a gun.

I may also add a page specifically geared towards women who want to defend themselves or others with a gun.

Everyone knows that guns represent a risk. If their lethality didn’t create risk nobody would consider using them for self-defense. But you’re not going to convince anyone to restrain from buying or using a self-defense gun by publishing some data-laden article in a public health journal which shows some kind of ‘correlation’ between access to guns and 100,000+ fatal and non-fatal gun assaults every year.

Every time I turn on my car’s engine and back out of the driveway, I’m taking a risk. Every time I gobble down a handful of those Lay’s potato chips, I’m taking a risk.     Every time I plunk down some dough to buy shares in the latest ‘hot’ social media company, I’m taking a risk.

How come we are so benign about certain risks and so hostile to other risks? How many Americans still believe that getting vaccinated against Covid-19 guarantees that, sooner or later, you’ll come down with the disease?

If nothing else, my new website is an attempt to inject a little bit of reality into the gun debate.

Let’s Talk About Guns.

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            I started writing about guns and gun violence in the Summer of 2012, six months prior to the massacre at Sandy Hook. I was motivated to write after I learned that the NRA, of which I had been a member since 1955 (I am still an Endowment Life Member) was promoting a law in Florida and elsewhere that passed but eventually was overturned, which would have criminalized physicians who counseled patients about the health risks represented by guns.

            I thought this law was stupid and offensive to the extreme. How could any rational human being deny that a consumer product designed for the specific purpose of fatally injuring human beings didn’t represent a medical risk?

            For that reason, my writing about guns and gun violence has focused primarily on how physicians and public health researchers create and disseminate narratives about the risks represented by guns. I write from this perspective because I hope my more than 50 years’ experience in the gun business will help health professionals and researchers understand an industry which has little if any direct connection or relevance to their lives.

            Unfortunately, I don’t think my attempts to communicate with gun-control researchers and physicians have made much of an impact on the way they think and talk about guns.

            First of all, despite how medicine and public health rely on evidence-based knowledge to develop approaches to medical threats, the research which is used to justify gun-control narratives is often superficial or just plain wrong, simply because the researchers don’t know anything about guns or the industry which produces and sells the guns.   

            Several years ago, I sent an email to several dozen leading gun researchers asking if they had any knowledge about an organization called the National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers (NASGW), Every year the NASGW holds a meeting attended by the 30 national gun wholesalers, the major gun and ammunition manufacturers and the national marketing groups which do the advertising and sales to move guns into the retail supply chain.

            Not a single gun researcher had ever attended an NASGW show, nor had a single person to whom I sent this email query even heard of the NASGW, which they could join for a whole, big hundred bucks a year.

            How can you justify doing research to regulate an industry more effectively when you have absolutely no idea how that industry functions or designs and sells the products which the industry makes?

            The bigger problem with the researchers and physicians who claim to be so worried about gun violence is that when it comes to promoting their ideas and strategies for dealing with gun violence, they spend all their time communicating with groups and individuals who already agree with what they believe.

            Maybe I’m wrong and I’m happy if anyone wants to correct me on this point, but I don’t know one, single public health or medical professional who ever goes out to speak with groups that represent people who own guns. Sorry, but I’m not terribly impressed when one of my gun-control colleagues tells me how he or she gave a talk to some group which is holding a gun buyback or running a memorial gun-violence parade. If you believe that owning a gun may create an unacceptable risk, shouldn’t you be expressing such ideas to people who own guns?

            When the gun-control researchers and physicians do go out and communicate with other like-minded folks, the narrative they employ is referred to as ‘safe behavior’ which they claim represents a ‘consensus’ between the two sides.

            The World Health Organization (which we rejoined after Trump took all the ‘declassified’ documents back home) defines ‘violence’ as the conscious attempt to injure yourself or someone else. Note that the WHO doesn’t make any distinction between ‘good’ violence and ‘bad’ violence. It simply says that violence of any kind creates a threat to health.

            The gun industry can promote the idea all it wants about how guns save rather than end lives, but the bottom line is that the guns promoted as products which can commit ‘good’ violence, i.e., violence to protect ourselves or others, aren’t designed to be used in a ‘safe’ way. The semi-automatic pistols made by companies like Glock, Sig, Kahr, Springfield, Smith & Wesson, et.al., were designed to be used to injure human beings – which is exactly how they are used more than 100,000 times every year.

            Do my friends in public health or medicine ever point this out? No, they don’t. Instead, they busily go around talking about how they are developing a ‘consensus’ approach to using guns which combines the best ideas for gun safety from both sides and will satisfy everyone while reducing gun violence at the same time.

            This is pure, unadulterated crap and the physicians or public health researchers who promote such nonsense should be ashamed of themselves.

            The bottom line is that someone who is thinking about buying a self-defense gun isn’t going to be convinced otherwise because a physician pulls out some public health research which shows that access to a gun increases risk. Such research was published back in 1993 and its impact on gun sales has been squat. In fact, it’s precisely since this research was published that guns used for armed, self-defense are the types of guns which mostly sell today.

            When it comes to gun violence, of which I have published more than 2,000 comments on my own website and on Huffington Post, my agenda is very simple – to inject a degree of reality into the discussion about guns, how they are used and how they should not be used. In that respect, I have just put up a new website which speaks directly to men and women who are thinking about buying, owning, and carrying a self-defense gun.

            Here it is: Home | Shooting And Firearm (myselfdefensegun.com).

The website contains specific, industry-based information about how to decide whether to purchase a self-defense gun, as well as how to determine which kind of gun to buy, how to train with the gun and how to store it properly when it is not being used. It includes a simple (free) manual whose exercises allow someone to train and maintain necessary muscle memory without actually using a gun.

Please feel free to tell me and other readers what you think.

How Come Only Good Guys Are Allowed To Carry Guns?

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              Yesterday I wrote a column about the Supreme Court’s decision to rule on whether New York’s Sullivan Law did or did not abridge Constitutional protections covering the civilian ownership of guns. In particular, the Sullivan Law vests very wide discretionary authority with the police to determine whether a law-abiding citizen can walk around with a concealed gun. And such arbitrary decision-making authority could deprive someone of their Constitutional

              I received a number of comments from readers who felt that I was showing a lack of concern for the degree to which concealed-carry (CCW) is a factor in the high rate of gun violence from which this country, and this country alone, suffers year after year. So, the purpose of today’s rant is to explain where I stand on the issue of armed, self-defense.

              First and most important, the term ‘self-defense’ is about as meaningless as the description of any type of behavior that could ever be put into words. If nothing else, it presumes that the individual who committed an act of self-defense was really defending himself against someone else.

              But to one person, an act of self-defense could be an act of self-offense to someone else, and who’s to say which is which? We do know, thanks to the research of Marvin Wolfgang and others going back more than fifty years, that in at least half of all homicides, it was behavior precipitated by the victim which led to the fatal event. Which makes it rather difficult to create a neat division of behavior between the individual who attacked someone else rather than the individual who reacted to an attack or the threat of an attack.

              In the ‘olden’ days, before the gun industry started promoting armed, self-defense as a type of behavior that was both legally and socially as virtuous as being next to God, it was usually assumed that someone walking around with a gun was up to no good. Guns weren’t considered to be things that law-abiding people needed to use or own unless they happened to live somewhere out on the frontier. But since, according to the Census, the frontier disappeared in 1890, the appearance and use of guns for anything other than hunting was simply not what self-defense and protection from the ‘bad guys’ was all about.

              Then along came Clint Eastwood who released a movie – Dirty Harry – in 1971, which took the whole gunslinging genre from the Wild West and re-set it as a social and cultural theme in city streets. And what Eastwood created was the idea that if you really want to be a ‘good guy,’ you have to walk around with a gun. And you have to use that gun against the bad guys as often as you can.

              We are the only country in the entire world which not only allows its residents to own guns whose design, function and sole purpose is to end human life, but we make a positive cultural motif out of the idea that a so-called ‘legal’ gun owner should first and foremost always use his gun to set things right?

              Why do we even bother doing research on the reasons for more than 125,000 fatal and non-fatal gun injuries every year when gun companies from all over the world being their products to sell in this country because these same products can’t be old in the places where they are made? We introduce several million man (and woman)-killing products into this country ever year and then you’re surprised when people get shot?

              And by the way, don’t give m any of that nonsense about how all we have to do is make sure that criminals and people who don’t obey the law can’t get their hands on guns. You think the guy coming towards you waving a Glock as you pull some cash out of the money machine won’t tell the cops that he was acting in self-defense? Of course, he will, and maybe he’ll even get off. We have the lawyers defending Kyle Rittenhouse for that one, to be sure.

              Next year, the Supreme Court will hand down a decision on whether we can exercise armed self-defense outside if our homes. If the Court says ‘yes,’ the gun industry will deliver some new, self-defense gun models which I’m sure are already being designed. If the Court says ‘no,’ we’ll see some more public health research on laws that could be enacted to bring gun-violence rates down.

               Do I sound just a little tired of listening to the same old, same old for the last thirty years?

A New Gun Law That Could End America’s Love Affair With Guns.

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              Sooner or later, someone would figure out a way to get around the tort immunity enjoyed by the gun industry since 2005 when Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA).  The law basically says that no point in the supply chain – manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer – can be held responsible for the 125,000 shooting deaths and injuries which occur every year because guns are legal products and, hence, the responsibility for how they are used can only be framed around the individual behavior of who actually used the gun to assault themselves or someone else.

              The PLCAA law does not protect gun makers from civil liability if their behavior runs counter to state laws that cover false advertising, such as the Connecticut law known as ‘negligent entrustment’ which is being used to sue the gun maker – Remington – whose gun was the instrument that killed 26 adults and children at Sandy Hook.

       The New York law goes after the gun industry for creating a public nuisance in the way it markets and sells guns, and opens the industry to civil liability if it doesn’t “establish and utilize reasonable controls and procedures to prevent its qualified products from being possessed, used, marketed or sold unlawfully in New York State.”
       In other words, if Smith & Wesson ships a gun to a licensed wholesaler in Massachusetts, who then ships it to a licensed retailer in Virginia, who then sells the gun to a licensed gun owner, who then has the gun stolen by someone who takes the gun to New York, sells it on a street corner to some dope who then pops off a round which hits some kid in the head, Smith & Wesson can be sued because the company didn’t establish ‘reasonable controls’ to prevent that entire scenario from taking place.
        What are the ‘reasonable controls’ that S&W has to put in place?  The legislation doesn’t define those controls. How do we know if S&W has created such controls? Because guns from other states will stop being picked up at crime scenes in New York. 
        Between 2010 and 2015, more than three-quarters of all the crime guns picked up in New York State were originally sold to residents of some other state. Despite the so-called ‘iron pipeline’ which brings guns up I-95 from more gun-permissive Southern states, most of the New York crime guns that came into the state were initially sold in the surrounding and adjacent states. 
        If you are Smith & Wesson, how do you prevent your products from being legally sold in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, then being stolen, or lost and somehow winding up across the Hudson River and used to commit a crime in New York? You don’t and you can’t. To protect itself from the civil liability which this law could potentially impose on S&W, the company would have to cease shipping its guns to any state which might be a source for those guns being used in a criminal event. 
        Maybe S&W could stop making guns and start making handheld power tools. Better yet, what the gun company should really do to keep itself afloat is to stop manufacturing products whose design and engineering hasn’t changed in more than one hundred years, and start looking at electronic, self-defense products like the Vipertek taser pictured above, which provides all the personal security anyone could ever need without creating any kind of liability issue at all.
       Last week I drove past an Apple store and there was a line around the block. For all the talk about surging gun sales, the gun shop nearest me never has more than a couple of folks waiting around to buy a gun. 
      If the New York law that gets around PLCAA begins to spread to other states, it might be the best thing that could happen to the gun industry since smokeless powder was invented in 1884. 
     And don’t worry, all the noisemakers who argue back and forth about 2nd-Amendment ‘rights will find something else to argue about, that’s for sure.

Catalog | TeeTee Press

Is America’s Love Affair With Guns Coming To An End?

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              Sometime early next week I am going to publish the first chapter of a new book entitled Boom to Bust – The NRA Faces an Uncertain Future. It’s going to come out first in serialized form on the new Kindle-Vella platform which is due to go live perhaps as early as today. I’m going to do a chapter each week and when the entire book is available, I’ll move it as well to a print edition for those who (like me) want to hold books in their hands.

              I started thinking about this book when the NRA found itself in turmoil after Ollie North was dumped as the organization’s President back in 2019. When he was first named President the previous year, I thought the NRA was just hitting a new stride. Between North’s fundraising prowess and Trump’s constant blathering about 2nd-Amendment ‘rights,’ you would have thought that the NRA and Gun-nut Nation in general were going to hit a new high.

              Except it didn’t turn out that way. Not at all. North lasted just one year as NRA President – he was deposed as part of a nasty fight between the organization and its long-time PR firm, Ackerman-McQueen. Wayne LaPierre is facing his own set of nasty allegations about spending all kinds of money on personal expenses which have nothing to with his work for the NRA. And worst of all, America’s ‘first civil rights organization’ is trying to escape from New York State where the Governor just happens to be the single, most anti-gun Governor in all of the 50 states.

              Worst of all, the gun-rights group is broke. Which means that all the money they used to hand out to compliant members of the GOP Senate and House caucuses isn’t there anymore. In 2019, the group spent $3.2 million on lobbying. In 2020 that amount fell to just over $2 million bucks. No money, no honey.

              My book is going to cover all these issues, as well as some of the other messy things that have involved the NRA over the past couple of years, in particular the crazy attempt to form a subsidiary organization in Russia, of all places, which happens to be a country where almost nobody owns a gun.

              All of that said and done, however, there’s another, much more important reason why I am writing this book. Because notwithstanding all the strurm und drang over the spike of gun sales during the Pandemic, a spike which, by the way, seems to have run its course, what I will talk about is my sense that maybe, just maybe the love affair between America and guns is coming to an end.

              To begin with, guns are a very old technology. Other than substituting polymer for carbon steel, the way guns work hasn’t changed one bit in more than a hundred years. And if there’s one thing which is different about the under-30 population, it’s the fact that they are all enamored of technology, particularly in a handheld device.

              Next time you’re in a shopping mall, take a look at the size of the crowd in the Apple store. You will never (read: never) see multitudes like that in any store which sells guns. And even though the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says that the percentage of Americans who hold hunting licenses has increased from 7% to 10% between 1960 and 2020, these folks sure aren’t buying any guns. The number of shotguns made in the United States in 2018, was exactly the same number manufactured in 1986.

              Know what self-defense weapon has seen a remarkable surge in sales since the “Chinese flu” arrived.  Try stun guns, a.k.a., tasers, with manufacturers reporting recent sales increases of 300%!  And you don’t need to pass a background check or get a gun license in order to buy, own and carry one of these little devices around. It goes without saying that you can buy a taser online.

              The price of Axon stock, a company that manufactures stun guns, has moved up 70% since August 1st of last year. Over the same  9 months, the price of Smith&Wesson stock hasn’t budged one inch. Okay?

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.

How About Another Gun To Protect Yourself From Covid-19?

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              Now that every red-blooded American has bought that extra gun that will help them to defend themselves, their families and their President from COVID-19, I’d like to use this column to talk about guns and self-defense, because as usual, whenever this argument breaks out between Gun-nut Nation and Gun-control Nation, both sides get it more wrong than right.

              The gun nut gang talks about self-defense and gun ownership as if one automatically presumes the other.  This is basically the argument made by the NRA when they sued Andy last week for shutting down gun shops in New York State. It was also the argument made by my late friend Tony Scalia when he decided that the 2nd Amendment gave Constitutional protection to privately-owned guns because, as he said, keeping a gun in the home was a ‘traditional’ way to defend yourself from an attack. Of course he also mentioned, by the way, that the government could regulate how and when guns could be kept anywhere at all, which just happens to have been the basis upon which Andy told Gun-nut Nation to stick their beloved 2nd-Amendment ‘rights’ up their beloved rear ends.

              On the other hand, when the gun-control gang made a big hue and cry over Schmuck-o’s exemption of gun shops from the advisory issued by Homeland Security about which types of individuals and businesses needed to remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic, they also pushed an argument that happens to ignore certain salient facts. Chief among those facts is the idea that without access to guns, ammunition and shooting range facilities, not one single cop in the United States could do his or her job.

              More than half the sworn officers in the United States (the term ‘sworn officer’ means someone who has legal authority to effect an arrest) happen to work in agencies which number 50 sworn officers or less. They carry their own guns, they buy their ammunition at a local gun shop, then submit a receipt and get reimbursed. They have to show some proof that they have actually practiced, on occasion, using their gun. Unless some way could be figured out to let the cops enter Mike’s Gun Shop through the back door, closing down gun shops in many states would be tantamount to telling the cops that they can’t do their jobs.

              Of course, we can assume that Schmuck-o probably exempted the gun business from the advisory because he wanted to toady up to the NRA. Fine. So, what else is new? But I suspect there isn’t one, single member of Gun-control Nation who knows anything at all about how cops get their ammunition and their guns. That being said, either we have an informed discussion about how to exempt first-responders from social distancing rules which should apply to you and me, or we don’t.

              I also happen not to believe that the increase in gun sales has much, if anything to do with how much violence is caused by guns. Over the last three years of Schmuck-o’s first (and hopefully last) Presidential term, the gun business has been in the toilet, with annual sales dropping off more than 20 percent since the end of the Obama regime. Meanwhile over the same three years, the number of deaths attributed to guns has gone up by as much as 15 percent.  Hey!  I thought it was supposed to be the other way around. After all, more guns mean more gun violence, right?

              I’m not expecting my Gun-nut Nation friends to engage in an informed discussion about gun violence. After all, they don’t believe gun violence is a problem as long as we keep guns out of the hands of all those street thugs. But I hold my friends in Gun-control Nation to higher standards of discussion and thought.  In that respect, perhaps I’m making another assumption which has no basis in truth or fact.

              So, to quote my beloved grandfather in the midst of this plague year, “det’s det.”

Want To Protect Yourself In The Jungle? Carry A Gun.

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Yesterday I got my Shooting Times which contained the single, dumbest ad for a gun that I have ever seen in that magazine which I have been reading now for more than forty years. The ad promotes a new self-defense pistol made by Springfield Armory, a 9mm thing called the Hellcat.  The pic is above.

The text of the ad begins with: “It’s a jungle out there.”  Now take a look at the jungle surrounding the kid who happens to be walking away from his broken-down car.  That’s some jungle. It looks much more like a road running through Nebraska or North Dakota.  But of course, the kid better keep that little pistol in his pocket because you never know whether a lion or tiger will jump out of the grass and eat him alive. Or maybe try to steal his car.

 Incidentally, in his left hand, he’s carrying his trusty water bottle. You don’t expect him to go trekking off through the jungle without being able to keep himself hydrated, right? That would never do. It’s a jungle out there.

The jungle is so dangerous that the FBI has just reported that violent crime in 2019 has declined 3% from the previous year.  In 1994, the violent crime rate was 708.94.  In 2018, it was 368.9.  That’s quite a jungle out there.

Leaving aside the fact that the attempt by the gun industry to talk about crime rates in totally unreal terms is both stupid and wrong, the ad actually has an even more bizarre theme; namely, the idea that a country road can be used to somehow symbolize a jungle environment.

Want to see what most Americans consider to be the ‘jungle?’ Try this one:

A black and white photo of a store

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Now that’s a jungle, okay? But even the gun business has now become politically correct. You can’t talk about the urban jungle the way we used to talk about the urban jungle because then you have to say or at least hint at the issue of race. And that’s a no-no except when Donald Trump stands up at a campaign rally and shouts, “Where’s my Negro?”

You would think that if the gun business wanted to be taken seriously, they would do an ad showing some Black guy walking down an inner-city street. But that wouldn’t work, not only in terms of how racist the ad would be, but because in most cities the cops don’t give concealed-carry permits to Black residents anyway.  So, what’s the point?

The point is that this Springfield Arsenal ad is so far away from any kind of reality that it should be used by my Gun-control Nation friends to point out the degree to which the manufacture and sales of self-defense weapons has nothing to do with protecting yourself at all. The messaging is about as reality-based as the Growing Up Gotti TV show had anything to do with how those snot-nosed kids were being raised.

On the other hand, from the point of view of reducing gun violence, maybe the Hellcat ad is a blessing in disguise. Because if the owners of Springfield Arsenal have to go to such ridiculous lengths to justify the development of their products, then maybe the entire argument about the need for self-defense is beginning to finally become undone.

Back in 2010, the percentage of Americans favoring stricter gun control as opposed to not changing the laws was roughly the same, with both sides running around 45 percent. As year, for every American who thinks that we have enough gun control, there are two Americans who believe that gun laws should be tightened up. If this trend continues and if the blue team wins back the White House in November, what else can the gun business do except run crazy ads making people believe that crime is a bigger threat than COVID-19?

I’m not going to the gun show this weekend because being around lots of older adults may represent a serious health risk.  Stay safe everyone!

Want To Learn Armed Self-Defense? Move To Monsey, N.,Y.

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              If I had to choose one news story about gun violence which ranks as the craziest, most bizarre example of the American experience with guns, it would be an article I read yesterday detailing a class held in armed, self-defense last week in Monsey, NY. The class was attended by 150 residents of Monsey and other towns, all of whom happen to be extremely religious,  ultra-orthodox Jews. The class gave attendees an opportunity to fool around with various self-defense guns like an AR-15 and some handguns, and it was conducted by a guy who runs a security and self-defense so-called training program which, of course, is staffed by ‘elite’ members of Israel’s Defense Forces, a.k.a., the vaunted IDF.

              What brought the crowd out for the evening’s entertainment was the recent machete attack at a rabbi’s home in Monsey, along with a shooting that left three dead at a kosher supermarket in New Jersey, as well as several individual attacks. Of course before anyone knew anything, Governor Cuomo called the Monsey assault a case of “domestic terrorism,” which has become the standard description of every violent event requiring a response from some politician who wants to make sure he’s staying ‘in touch.’

              I don’t mean to make light of any kind of behavior that creates fear of physical or emotional violence. Of all the threats to the human community, the only threat we still do not understand how to solve is the threat of violence. We may not have the political will or the political alignment to solve the threat of global warming, but we know what to do. Ditto other threats to the human community like famine or disease. But when it comes to the threat posed by violence, what I know is that you can’t go out, buy an assault rifle and think that now you are ready to protect yourself from a violent event, or that this purchase will do anything to reduce violence overall. What you have basically done by plunking down your thousand bucks for that black gun is to ratchet up the possibility that more violence will occur.

              Not only doesn’t violence prevent violence, but before we even get to that issue we first have to make sure that when we use a word like ‘violence,’ we all can agree on what we are talking about. So, for example, the Anti-Defamation League publishes an annual report on anti-Semitic attacks which claims there has been a disturbingly-high number of such events over the last several years. But if you read the fine print, you discover that while incidents of vandalism and harassment have increased, the number of physical attacks have gone down. So what should members of the Jewish community do? Walk around with an assault rifle handy in case someone tries to paint a swastika on the synagogue wall?

I notice, by the way, that the promoters of armed self-defense at the Monsey meeting forgot to mention that bringing a gun into a synagogue during Shabbos (Sabbath) religious services happens to be a violation of Jewish law. You can’t carry metal objects in your pockets during Shabbos; you can’t wear any kind of ornamental items like a holster on your pants.  Maybe the alleged security experts from Israel can provide the Orthodox residents of Monsey with the name of a Shabbos goy (a gentile to perform prohibited tasks during the Sabbath) who can walk around the synagogue with a gun.

Forgive me for sounding just a little bit less than enthusiastic about the spread of armed, self-defense into the Orthodox Jewish community. And if anyone wants to tell me that by being disarmed,  these Jews are just inviting another nut to show up and slaughter some more innocent folks, do me a favor and in the words of my late friend Jimmy Breslin, go lay brick.

What did Solomon say in Ecclesiastes?  “A time to kill and a time to heal.” He didn’t say that after someone is killed, you should go out and by an AR-15.

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