Ben Carson Knows For A Fact That Jews Could Have Stopped The Holocaust If They Had Been Armed.

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It’s been almost twelve hours since a shooting took place on the campus of Northern Arizona University, killing one student and wounding three others, and the pro-gun noisemakers have yet to point out that the campus is a ‘gun-free’ zone.  But if it turns out that guns aren’t allowed on the campus, I guarantee you that we’ll shortly be hearing from John  Lott, Dana Loesch and the other self-appointed Ministers of Personal Protection that once again we have failed as a society to exercise the proper response to violence, namely, to let everyone walk around with a gun.

carson                Actually, I should have known that even though it’s too early for him to have made a specific statement about the incident at NAU, we could count on America’s leading expert on self-defense against gun violence, Dr. Ben Carson, to say something so stupid that it really makes me wonder if he understands just how dumb he really is.  I’m referring to a comment he made yesterday on CNN in which he mentioned that the passengers on United 93 may have prevented even worse damage by rushing the terrorists who had hijacked the plane and, in the resultant melee, forcing it down in Pennsylvania rather than allowing it to crash into some other, heavily-populated site. Of course the Flight 93 passengers didn’t have guns, but neither did the hijackers, a minor point that Carson simply ignored.  But the reason he even mentioned the 2001 tragedy was to bolster his belief that anyone who is unarmed is vulnerable, and his proof of this belief is the ‘fact’ that six million Jews were slaughtered by the Nazis because they didn’t have guns.

This has been a quasi-official line of the NRA for a number of years, and received its formal enshrinement in a book written by the NRA counsel, Stephen Halbrook, Gun Control in the Third Reich. Halbrook argues that Jews might have been able to prevent the Holocaust had they not been disarmed by the Nazi regime in 1938.  But what he fails to mention is that the Nazis made no effort to disarm anyone else after they came to power and yet the fact that 99% of the German population were entitled to own guns did not result in any attempt by civilians to rise up against the Third Reich. The Anti-Defamation League reacted to Carson’s statement with their usual polite response, calling his comments “historically inaccurate and offensive.”  It was worse than that.  They were the product of a deranged, sick mind who is stooping to the lowest common denominator of human intelligence to try and gin up a few votes.

The argument over whether this campus or that campus is a gun-free zone is not just playing out because the pro-gun gang wants everyone to walk around armed.  It’s part and parcel of an ongoing strategy to promote guns on college campuses to get young people into ownership of guns.  As usual, the campaign is being led by Grandma Marian Hammer in the Gunshine State – the place where all laws that make it easier to own guns are first beta-tested before the campaign moves on to other states.  And you can be sure that Granny Hammer is walking around today telling all her friends in the Florida Legislature that what happened in Oregon and Arizona is proof that colleges shouldn’t be gun-free zones.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  My friends in the GVP movement need to stop being so darn polite. They need to stop worrying about protecting the 2nd Amendment and they need to stop worrying about upholding gun rights.  Most of all, they need to stop being concerned about offending anyone who actually believes that a jerk and low-life like Ben Carson should be part of the national gun debate.  I’m totally in favor of gun ownership without restrictions when it comes to hunting or sport.  Otherwise, America should be completely a gun-free zone. And Ben Carson should go lay brick.

Follow The Money Said Deep Throat. And You Can Follow The NRA’s Money With This New Website.

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There’s a new website in town called NRACONGRESS.COM and it’s one you should check out.  Based on data from the Center for Responsive Politics, along with some other resources, the site gives a dollar-and-cents breakdown for every penny the NRA has delivered to current members of Congress during their tenures in DC, along with their NRA rating and recent votes on key bills.

finance                What a surprise to learn that of the 241 Congressional members who have ever received any money at all from the NRA, 234 are Republicans.  But the 114th Congress counts 301 red members, which means that 60 Republicans in the House and Senate have never received any NRA money at all.  I find this somewhat puzzling because the Republicans hold a 4-seat majority in the Senate and a 30-seat margin in the House.  If all the Democrats supported a gun-control measure, they could get it to Obama’s desk if they only picked up half of the Republicans who don’t receive any dough from the NRA.  I thought that when it comes to gun issues, money buys votes.

On the other hand, maybe there are other reasons why the NRA wins more than it loses on Capitol Hill.  For example, the last several days have witnessed one heckuva political firestorm in the House chamber with the open rebellion of the Tea Party’s ‘liberty caucus’ which resulted not only in the resignation of Speaker John Boehner, but then the quick self-elimination of his supposed successor, Kevin McCarthy, who quit even before his candidacy was put to a vote.  You would think that the most conservative members of the House Republicans would benefit from NRA largesse, but only 25 of the 40 liberty caucus members have ever received NRA support, and their totals average about half of what other House and Senate members have received from the NRA. I can’t imagine that any of these ultra-right politicians vote against the NRA; yet 40% of them, according to the NRACONGRESS website, have never received a dime.

What the list of NRA recipients seems to show, more than anything else, is that what really counts in DC when it comes to picking up cash is seniority.  For example, the Number One NRA money hog is Rep. Don Young from Alaska, who has received $104,650, the only member with a tab in excess of 100 grand.  But Young has been sitting in the House since 1973, which means he has been re-elected 21 times.  And that works out to just under $5 grand each time the election rolls around.  Hell, they’re getting him cheap.  Ken Calvert, who represents the 42nd C.D. in California has been on the take to the tune of fifty big ones, but he’s rolled through 11 electoral contests which also works out to less than five grand each time. Hal Rogers from Kentucky has been re-elected 16 times, so the $59,200 that he’s bankrolled from the NRA looks like chump-change to me.

One thing that’s clear from the website is that, with a couple of exceptions, there’s no love lost between the Democratic Party and the NRA.  And while the total amount of cash that the NRA spreads around at the Federal level is peanuts when compared to what comes in from lobbies representing lawyers, bankers and insurance agents, the pro-gun money floating around Congress is ten times as much as what is spent by the other side.

But I’m not so sure that the imbalance between NRA versus GVP money means all that much when it comes to counting votes. A quick back-and-forth between NRACONGRESS.COM and the 2014 election results shows that of the 18 ‘swing’ House races won by Republicans, only 2 of those candidates received any money from the NRA. Which means the NRA was not a real player when it came to deciding the contests that moved the House from blue to red.  Is a national fundraising effort by the GVP community to re-establish a 2016 Democratic House majority within reach?

Know What Ben? It’s Time For You To Shut Up.

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Ben Carson isn’t the first physician to run for President and, in fact, isn’t the only doctor trying to get into the White House in 2016.  He may be the only board-certified doctor, because it’s not clear whether Rand Paul is certified or not.  Carson certainly is.  All the more reason that when he says something which violates the Hippocratic Oath we should ask whether he has the credentials even to claim that he’s a bone-fide physician, never mind credentials to be the next President of the United States.

Let me make one thing clear about the Hippocratic Oath.  It’s not mandatory either to subscribe to it or to follow it.  There are some medical schools that don’t, in fact, administer the oath to new graduates, there are also various versions of the oath floating around.  But the Hippocratic Oath is a reminder that medicine is a profession whose effective practice requires attention not just to science and learning, but to compassion and ethics as well.  After all, we vest the responsibility and often the authority for making life and death decisions within the medical profession.   So it’s heartening to know that this profession expects its members to think and behave according to certain basic and well-tested rules.

hippocratic                And rule number one is: Do No Harm.  Now these words aren’t, in fact, found in the text of the oath itself.  But ask any physician to tell you what it means to subscribe to the Hippocratic Oath and he or she will state either those exact words or words to that effect. Which brings us to the recent statements made by Ben Carson following the slaughter at Umpqua Community College that produced a sickening amount of harm.

The first statement was on Ben’s Facebook page, although he scrubbed it when the responses began pouring in.  Nevertheless, here’s the exact quote:  “I never saw a body with bullet holes that was more devastating than taking the right to arm ourselves away.”  In other words, if Carson was practicing in a locality that had very strict gun-control laws like, for example, Washington, D.C., he would claim that the inability of a D.C. resident to carry around a handgun was a greater medical risk than if that same individual was brought into the ER with a bullet lodged in his head. So much for Carson’s ability to stratify gun violence risk, adopt the proper medical response and thereby reduce harm.

Just to make sure that ol’ Ben keeps his bone fides alive with the pro-gun crowd, he then went on CBS and said that if he were facing a mass shooter, the first thing he would do is put up a fight.  He would also advise other people in the vicinity to do the same thing. Of course macho man Carson has absolutely no idea of the degree to which such behavior increases risk, and if you don’t believe me, just take a look at the active shooter guidelines issued by the Department of Homeland Security: Run, hide, if all else fails, fight.

Every time Carson opens his mouth about gun violence, he says something that increases risk.  If he wants to say something stupid, that’s fine.  But when he advises people to do something that increases risk, he’s not just being dumb, he’s violating the Hippocratic Oath.  The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence has posted a petition asking Carson to apologize to the survivors and victims’ families at Roseburg because of the comments he made on Facebook and ABC.  The petition says that Carson’s remarks are “offensive and beyond the pale.”

I think it’s now time for the medical community to tell their colleague Ben Carson that he should stop putting the initials ‘M.D’ after his name. Because no doctor who takes his work seriously would make statements like that. Ben doesn’t  just offend the Umpqua survivors, he offends the profession which he claims to represent.  Shut up Ben, just shut the f***up.


What Would We Do If Ben Carson Wasn’t Protecting Our 2nd Amendment Rights?

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Uh-oh, the gun industry just suffered a minor jolt that could become a knockout punch because a Federal judge has decided that the suit against Bushmaster brought by the parents of children murdered at Sandy Hook must be heard in a state, as opposed to a federal court.  What this means is that the manufacturer, Bushmaster, will have to prove that their gun was not too dangerous to sell to the public, notwithstanding the fact that Adam Lanza was able to kill 20 kids and 6 adults in slightly more than five minutes’ time.

We don’t yet know which weapons were used to kill nine people at Umpqua Community College on October 1, but we do know that one of the guns carried into the school by Christopher Harper-Mercer was an assault rifle. The fact that the Connecticut Bushmaster suit was revived the day before another school slaughter took place is a horrifying coincidence that, if nothing else, tells us two things: 1) these mass shootings are become so frequent as to be almost routine; 2) the shooter’s access to an AR-15 in both incidents simply can’t be overlooked or ignored.

carson                I’m hoping that if the Bushmaster case is argued in open court that Ben Carson will decide to weigh in on the side of the gun. His recent rise in the polls has coincided with a shameless effort to grab every single pro-gun vote, even if it means saying things that physicians should never say.  Here’s a sample that was posted on his Facebook page although now it’s been taken down: “I never saw a body with bullet holes that was more devastating than taking the right to arm ourselves away.”  Does this jerk have any idea how stupid, pandering and medically-unethical such a comment can be?  Does he have any idea how reprehensible it is for a physician to compare the effects of any injury to a legal state of affairs?

Ben – you’re a creep. Nobody’s taking anybody’s rights away. What is going to happen when the Bushmaster suit is re-opened in state court, is that the whole issue of gun violence is finally going to be discussed by people who will be under oath and won’t be able to pretend that a marketing slogan can be used to obscure or fudge the truth.  Because here’s the truth about the gun that Adam Lanza and probably Chris Mercer used when they opened fire in classrooms on both coasts. They didn’t use a ‘modern, sporting rifle,’ if by ‘sporting’ the gun industry tries to pretend that it’s no different than the old Remington 700 or Winchester 64 that I lug into the woods. It’s a military gun, pure and simple. it’s used by military and para-military forces worldwide, and just because some of the military guns can be set on full-auto doesn’t alter the fact that many armed forces units fire it in semi-auto mode as well.

But the argument about whether a semi-automatic weapon is just as lethal as a full-auto gun misses the whole point.  And to understand the degree to which gun jerks like Carson will go to drag the argument away from the reality-lethality, here’s what he said today on Fox: “Guns don’t kill people. We need to figure out who is the dangerous person so we can intervene.”  Okay Ben, how do you propose we ‘figure out’ the identity all those dangerous persons?  Should we administer a Rorschach test to every gun buyer after they fill out a 4473? Or maybe you would prefer we use the Minnesota Multiphasic exam.

I don’t think there’s much chance that Ben Carson’s going to be the tenant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue come January 20, 2017.  But I’d give anything for him to represent the gun industry when the case against Bushmaster comes into court.  I can’t wait to hear him tell the parents of the kids gunned down at Sandy Hook that those lethal wounds weren’t as important as our 2nd Amendment rights. I just can’t wait.

What Did Adam Lanza and Chris Mercer Have In Common? Moms Who Lived Guns,

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So it turns out that the Oregon shooter, Christopher Mercer, got into gun s the old-fashioned way – he learned to enjoy the shooting sports from his mother.  And his mother, according to an article in today’s New York Times, was no shrinking violet when it came to exclaiming on the virtues and values of gun ownership, posting for example the following statement on the internet: “I keep two full mags in my Glock case and the ARs and AKs all have loaded mags. No one will be ‘dropping’ by my house uninvited without acknowledgement.”  Sweet.

lanza                Adam Lanza, the shooter at Sandy Hook, was similarly enabled and supported by his mother when it came to guns.  Momma and son visited gun shops together, they shot at the range together, they probably sat and cleaned the guns together.  Adam had access to all the guns in the house, which made it easy for him to drop a cap on the old lady before going over to the elementary school where he made his feelings really known.

What’s really scary in this tale of two massacres is that along with building warm and loving relationships with their sons over guns, both mothers were also keenly aware that neither boy would have qualified for the mental stability award of the year.  Lanza’s mother dragged him from one mental health professional to another; Mercer’s mother posted that he suffered from Asperger’s Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder, and she encouraged other parents of troubled children to contact her for advice.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not even hinting at the idea that children (or adults) who demonstrate any kind of mental disorder should, ipso facto, be considered risks to themselves or anyone else. I’m also not saying that the fact that these two boys were encouraged to use and shoot guns means, ipso facto, that they would be more disposed to commit horrendous gun assaults.  But in all of the post-Oregon chatter what we hear from a certain group of public officials who want to become the 45th president of the United States, is that the Umpqua CC massacre “proves” that no amount of gun control will make any difference because people like Adam Lanza and Christopher Mercer will always ‘fall through the cracks.’

I don’t really blame Trump, Fiorina, Bush, et. al., for saying something as stupid as that.  After all, it’s a tight race and pro-gun voters could be decisive in primary states like Iowa and South Carolina. What’s the old saying? You do what you gotta do?  And let’s not forget that the idea that we can’t do anything about mass shootings until we ‘fix’ the mental health system didn’t emerge full-blown from Trump’s Twitter account.  It was announced with unrestrained finality by Wayne LaPierre after Sandy Hook.

Truth to tell, it probably isn’t possible to do anything that would allow us to predict with any degree of accuracy who might be the next person to walk into a school, a movie theater, or some other public venue and see how many people could be mowed down before flipping to the next mag.  Which is why the whole point about ‘fixing the mental health system’ to deal with gun violence is nothing more than an argument that has been invented to avoid talking about gun violence at all.

Because the truth is that mass shootings are pretty hard to pull off if you are carrying a bolt-action hunting rifle which, loaded to full capacity, only holds five rounds.  And the idea that anyone would take an AR-15 with a 30-shot mag into the woods to look for Bambi is nothing but pure crap.  But when sport shooting and hunting are replaced with the safety afforded by the ‘armed citizen’ versus the dangers of ‘gun-free’ zones, the result is a debasement of language to the point that no substantive discussion can ever take place.  Which pretty much sums up the strategy of the pro-gun movement when it comes to gun violence.


Can Hillary Close The Gun Show Loophole? I’m Not So Sure.


One of the planks in Hillary’s new gun control program calls for “closing the gun show loophole,” an issue that has been floating around for years since Dianne Feinstein who has sponsored legislation to regulate gun shows after she entered the Senate in 1992. There’s a lot of misinformation floating around on gun shows, particularly among people who don’t go to gun shows, and this is a good time to clear some misconceptions up.  In particular, the question of whether there’s any real gun-show loophole at all.

hillary2               When most people speak about gun show loopholes what they mean is that anyone can walk into a gun show and get their hands on a gun, legal requirements met or not.  Although many FFL-licensed dealers display and sell their inventory at shows, very few states impose licensing requirements on gun show vendors, as long as individuals who rent tables and sell at shows meet existing local laws on private transfers of guns. And since most states impose very few regulations on private gun transfers, buying a gun without a background check at a gun show is no different from walking across the street and buying a gun from a neighbor or a friend.

What Hillary evidently wants to do is use some kind of executive authority to force all gun show vendors to be licensed dealers which would mean that every gun sold at a gun show would by a show vendor, would have to undergo a background check.  I can’t tell you how many guns I have bought at shows just because I bumped into someone as I was walking around who was carrying a gun that I liked and a word here, a word there, some bills out of my pocket and I own the gun.  And don’t think these kinds of transactions don’t happen in the parking lot outside the show either, because they happen all the time.

If Hillary really believes that she can end private sales at gun shows or anywhere else by using her executive power to define the word ‘dealer,’ one of her staff people should take a look at the Firearms Owners Protection Act that was passed in 1986. This law was passed to define or change sections of the GCA68 law which, because it represented the first time that the feds got into regulating gun commerce in a major way, contained passages and whole sections which nobody could really figure out.  And one of the big issues that was revised was the definition of ‘dealers,’ since the ATF after 1968 had taken the position that anyone selling a gun to anyone else was engaged in gun commerce and therefore came under their control.  Talk about a bureaucracy trying to extend its reach!

What FOPA did was to define a gun dealer as someone “whose time, attention and labor is occupied by dealing in firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the repetitive purchase and resale of an inventory of firearms.”  It also specifically excluded persons who made “occasional” sales or sold guns from “personal collections.”  From my own experience based on wandering through hundreds of gun shows over the last forty years, I can honestly confirm that the FOPA definition fits probably 75% of all the guns I have seen for sale at all those shows. Most of the big-time vendors at gun shows aren’t selling firearms at all.  They go from show to show, maybe do 40 shows a year, and they’re hawking t-shirts, memorabilia, all kinds of junk and crap but they’re not selling guns.

I’m thrilled that Hillary has injected the words ‘gun violence’ into the Presidential campaign.  I hope she ramps up the message because, if nothing else, I’d like to see the ‘stuff happens’ nonsense shoved up where it belongs. But if anyone wants to really get rid of gun violence I’ll continue to say it again and again: It’s the guns, stupid.  It’s the guns.


First But Not Last Comments About Hillary’s Gun-Control Plan

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Now that Hillary has released her gun-control plan, we have something substantive from one Presidential candidate.  The GVP community, myself included, might as well ignore the Republicans going forward because even when someone walks into a community college classroom and drops caps on nine people, they don’t consider this to be an act of ‘gun violence’ at all.  To her credit, Hillary uses the phrase again and again.  I’m going to devote some space to exploring how her plan will and I’m going to start with her recommendations for better regulation of gun dealers, since I was a retailer from 2001 until early last year.

hillary                Hillary says “we must do more to crack down on gun stores that flood our communities with illegal guns” and claims that 58% of gun stores have not been inspected within the past 5 years. Worse is that 38% of dealers inspected in 2011weren’t following the laws under which they are supposed to operate, but only half of 1% of all inspected dealers had their licenses revoked.  The root of the problem, says Hillary, is underfunding of the ATF, which she will reverse after she takes office in 2016.

I was one of those non-compliant gun dealers following an inspection  that covered years during which I sold somewhere around `12,000 guns.  When the inspection was concluded I reported all missing or stolen guns to the ATF in Atlanta – a grand total of six guns, one of which later turned up.  It wasn’t clear that any of these guns were really missing or stolen.  I just couldn’t produce the requisite paperwork (Form 4473) to show who had purchased the gun.  I probably could have found all the guns had I taken the time and trouble to conduct an online search of the state database, but I would have had to look up every, single recorded sale in order to find the five guns, and neither I nor the ATF really cared.

The absence of paperwork on these guns made me a non-compliant dealer.  And what then made me a seriously non-compliant dealer was the fact that my Acquisitions & Disposition log, the A&D book, contained thousands of incomplete notations regarding the source of many of my guns.  Of the 12,000+ gun acquisitions listed in the A&D, I had bought at least half of them from one wholesaler who happened to be located near my shop.  This is not unusual for most retailers because guns are heavy, they have to be shipped overnight air express, and if you can drive a few miles and pick the guns up directly from the wholesaler you save the cost of a lot of freight.

Except that under ATF rules, when you receive a gun from a wholesaler you have to list his federal license number alongside the description of the gun. I didn’t do this for any of the 5,000 guns that I received from this wholesaler so I was non-compliant more than 5,000 times.  To their credit, the ATF inspectors knew this egregious failure to follow the regulations didn’t constitute even the slightest reason to suspect that I was, as the saying goes, dealing ‘out the back door.’ But in the inspection report that I was given, this failure was duly noted and the numbers of non-compliant notations were no doubt rolled up into the ATF local, then regional, then national report.

Hillary used one of these reports for her comments about non-compliant dealers, and while of course there are bad apple dealers, what I’m suggesting is that numbers alone don’t’ really tell you very much.  The report states that between 2004 and 2011, there were 174,679 guns missing or stolen from federally-licensed dealers; during that same period there were probably two million guns stolen out of private homes. None of the guns I couldn’t find ended up in the wrong hands but every gun stolen from someone’s house winds up in a place it shouldn’t be. I don’t notice the word ‘theft’ mentioned in Hillary’s plan.


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