Did The NRA Win The Election For Trump? Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha.

The boys from Fairfax didn’t wait one second to announce that the $30 million they ponied up for Trump television ads was money well spent; Wayne-o called his members the “special forces that swung this election” and then asked for a few bucks. Chris-o got on the NRA-ILA website and intoned that the election showed that ‘gun rights are not for sale.’ But gun-nut hyperbole notwithstanding, does Trump owe his victory to the NRA?

trump5            In the four ‘firewall’ states (PA, MI, OH, FL) the GOP vote increased 9% – a not-inconsiderable jump. On the other hand, in those same four states, Clinton’s vote in those states showed a deficit of 4%.  Overall, Trump’s gain was greater than HRC’s loss, but had she improved on Obama’s 2012 performance by a measly 2%, the aggregate vote for those four, crucial states would have gone her way.

That’s all fine and well except for the fact that statewide totals varied significantly from state to state.  Trump won PA by 67,000+ votes out of almost 6 million, he grabbed MI by 11,000 out of 5 mill, the gap was wider in Florida (110,000) and in Ohio, wider still (450,000). So let’s get down to county-level votes and see whether the gun vote shows up or it don’t.

Hillary carried 7 Pennsylvania counties clustered around Philadelphia, which delivered 1,725, 927 votes, or 59% of her statewide vote.  Trump won the rural counties which is where there are lots of guns.  Except he won Pennsylvania because he also won urban Erie County, which voted nearly 60% for Obama in 2012.  In Erie he pulled 11,000 more votes in 2016 than Romney pulled in 2012, but he won by less than 3,000 votes. If Hillary had received the same number of Erie votes in 2016 that came out for Obama in 2012, she would have won the Keystone State.

In Michigan Trump won by two-tenths of one percent.  But in 2012 Barack won 20 of the state’s 83 counties, this year HRC prevailed in only 8, including the bloc around Detroit, so the Motor City vote didn’t hold.  Hillary’s vote represented a net loss of more than 75,000 votes – and that took care of that. She didn’t lose votes in Wayne because people didn’t come out; she lost votes because upwards of 60,000 people have moved out of Wayne County in just the last five years.

Michigan happens to be a big gun state, but not in places where Democrats ever go looking for votes.  Other than Marquette, the northern peninsula is politically deep red, there are more hunting rifles sitting in wall racks than people sitting underneath those racks in their La-Z-Boy chairs.  But where Hillary really took a whack was Genesee County, just northwest of Detroit, where 26,000 Democratic votes from 2012 failed to show up in 2016, even though the county still voted blue. What’s the county seat? Flint.  How could anyone take the trouble to vote in Flint?

The Ohio results were more dramatic but just the same.  Trump gained 178,205 votes, mostly in rural counties, maybe gun owners, maybe not.  But the blue team lost 380,259 statewide votes between the two elections – goodbye Buckeye, goodbye. As for the Gunshine State, here we probably do see Advantage NRA, if only because both slates increased statewide totals from 2012 to 2016, but for every new vote that went for HRC, two new votes showed up for Trump.  But if Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania had gone blue, she would have been over the top without the Florida vote.

What made at least three of these four states swing from blue to red was not the power or the voice of the NRA; it was the failure of the Democratic Party to address issues like loss of jobs and economic status in those and other states. The NRA didn’t lead the Trump campaign; it latched onto a campaign that had its own dynamic, its own message and its own success.


An Important Gun-Violence Film And Discussion On November 19.

Temple Sinai Proudly Presents the 2016 Zwerdling Memorial Program for Social Justice

 GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION: Problems, prospects and the public – Saturday, November 19






Program Schedule

3:00 PM          A keynote address by Congressman-Elect Jamie Raskin (D-MD 8th District)

3:30 PM          Screening of 91%, a new documentary about the 91% of Americans who support universal background checks, followed by a discussion with film director, John Richie

4:45 PM          Break

5:00 PM          A panel of experts on gun violence prevention, who will discuss the cultural, legal, political, and social challenges to achieve it, including chances for legislative action in the 115th Congress and on the state level

6:30 PM          Havdalah Service, Dinner and Concluding Remarks

 Featured Panelists

 Daniel W. Webster, ScD, MPH

Professor of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Director, Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research

Kathleen Krepps

Chapter Spokesperson – D.C., Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America

Kate Ranta

Domestic gun violence survivor and activist with The Everytown Survivor Network

 Mike Weisser

Gun store owner; Life Member, National Rifle Association; leading NRA critic and featured Huffington  Post blogger, “Mike the Gun Guy.”

Moderator: Lynn Sweet

Washington D.C. Bureau Chief, Chicago Sun-Times


Space is limited. RSVP at www.zwerdlingshabbaton2016.eventbrite.com by Friday, November 18 at 9 AM.

There is no charge to attend the program only; program and dinner is $20/person.Temple Sinai’s Gun Violence Prevention Group (TSGVPG) formed the summer of 2016. It seeks through educational programs, research and advocacy to educate and engage the Temple Sinai community on the vital issues of gun violence and its prevention in America today. For more information, please email steve.klitzman@gmail.com

 This program is supported by the Zwerdling Memorial Program for Social Justice which was established by the Zwerdling Family in memory of Joseph and Abraham and Thelma Zwerdling, and their legacy of pursuit of social justice. 


What’s Gun-Sense Nation Going To Do Under The Trump Regime? Not Back Down, That’s For Sure.

Now that the dust has settled and the smoke cleared, Gun-sense Nation has to figure out how to move forward during the presidency of Donald Trump. Back when nobody realized how much Nate Silver’s predictions were nothing more than hot air on toast, there was almost a giddy-like atmosphere among gun violence prevention (GVP) advocates imagining an unthinkable political alignment of Hillary in the White House and a Chuck Schumer-led Senate on Capitol Hill.  Expanded background checks, banning assault rifles, scrapping PLCAA, anything was possible. No wonder Smith & Wesson lost nearly $300 million in market value over the last three days.  Who needs to buy another gun now that the gun-grabbers have been banished for good?

gun control          Except they haven’t been banished at all.  Just because the 2nd Amendment gives Americans the Constitutional right to own a gun, doesn’t mean there’s any Constitutional requirement to buy a gun.  So it’s back to the drawing board, this time with a sharpened understanding that social change, serious social change, profoundly serious social change is never a process that takes place overnight. The task is long, arduous and rife with unanticipated twists and turns of all kinds.  So if you came into this process because someone promised you a rose garden, you should have stayed home.

After all, what are we talking about when we use the term ‘gun violence?’  Most people define it by the number of victims killed (35,000+) or injured (75,000+) each year with guns. But it’s much more than that.  Guns, owning guns and using guns represents a national culture in this country, one of the most powerful and deep-rooted cultural traditions that this country ever had.  And I’m not just thinking about Kit Carson and Daniel Boone using their Kentucky long rifles to open the frontier, or General Patton saying that the M-1 Garand was the “greatest battle implement of all time,” or Clint sticking his 44-magum in the bad guy’s face and saying, “Go ahead, make my day.” No other country celebrates Christmas by sticking a b-b gun under the Yule tree, no other country spends upwards of $6 billion each year on video games that let someone shoot someone else with a Glock. And of course this is the only country in the entire world which gives just about all its citizens free access to real guns.

And that’s exactly the point.  Because there would be no gun violence, not a single death or injury, if there were no guns.  So we can argue amongst ourselves about which regulation or which law will reduce gun violence a bit here or there. And I’m not trying to say or imply that new regulations are no better than no regulations at all.  What I am saying is that really reducing gun violence will require a massive cultural change, and it’s not the kind of cultural change which GVP advocates blithely refer to when, for example, they throw up the ‘success’ of something like MADD.

Because nobody in their right mind would ever argue that getting into a car drunk is a good thing.  But plenty of Americans, probably a majority of Americans, now believe that owning a gun makes you safe.  So changing this culture is not just changing how we think about guns, it’s changing how we think about why we need to have guns, and you don’t change culture by citing this statistic or that.

A solid piece of new research shows that 10 million gun owners have entered the gun market over the last twenty years. These people, and the folks who may be thinking about coming into the gun market perhaps represent a population whose views on gun culture are not yet firmly fixed. Gun-sense Nation needs to reach this audience and help create an alternate culture in which guns are neither necessary or even relevant to the real issues faced by people in their daily lives. And this task lies ahead.

Hello Donald Trump, Good-bye Smith & Wesson.

So Tuesday night around 9 PM we all learned that America’s pro-gun Presidential candidate was going to be the 45th President of the United States, and the gun industry responded to this signal event on Wednesday by embarking on financial collapse.  Ruger, the largest sporting-arms manufacturer, saw its stock shares drop 14.4%, giving back a steady, 60-day climb; Smith & Wesson’s stock collapsed 15% and ended up where it was back in mid-June.
trump5           Now you would think that the gun industry would be exultant, given the prospects of what otherwise might have been.  After all, had the election turned out the way it was supposed to turn out (thank you, Nate Silver, for not having the slightest idea what you were talking about) gun makers like Ruger, Smith, Glock and Sig would have been facing Armageddon with a White House occupant who appeared determined to finish now what her husband had been unable to do during his Presidential term.

Hillary’s loudest gun spiel, after all, consisted of going after gun makers over the liability issue and reversing the liability protections that the industry received under George Bush in 2005. The law, Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (a.k.a. PLCCA), basically shields gun makers from class-action suits (torts) brought by defendants who have suffered injuries from guns; i.e., they got shot. A gun maker can still be sued if a particular gun malfunctions and someone gets hurt; but if a gun functions mechanically the way it’s supposed to function, then there’s no liability at all.  I mean, the whole point of a gun is that you point it at someone, pull the trigger and it goes – bang – right?

It was Clinton who came up with the idea of ‘rewarding’ gun companies by swapping an immunity from litigation with a new business model that, in the long run, would have put them out of business anyway. Basically, the gun makers would have agreed to rigorously monitor the selling and distribution practices of their thirty-odd national wholesale customers, as well as the thousands of retail dealers; in other words gun makers would be responsible for the business behavior of anyone and everyone who possessed a Federal Firearms License (FFL) and sold even a single one of their guns.

Back in the 1980’s when European handguns began appearing in the American market and threatening the dominance that American gun makers had always enjoyed, Smith & Wesson did a marketing survey and learned, to their surprise, that at the retail level, the market was both very wide and very thin.  In most areas there were a couple of retailers who sold 100 Smiths ever year, but most dealers moved between 5 and 10 new guns.  Many retailers worked part-time, others sold the guns on their back porch.  Asking a factory in Springfield, MA, to make sure that some guy in Podunk, WV was following some ‘best practices’ manual was like going to the other side of the moon.

When Hillary began talking about scrapping PLCCA, this was just another way of saying that the gun industry needed to dry up and blow away.  So you would think that her defeat, at least to gun makers, would release paroxysms of joy. But the truth is that what got those shares of Smith & Wesson and Ruger up to where they were before yesterday wasn’t all these new gun-buyers flooding into the market to buy all those guns whose annual production numbers have doubled since 2009; it was gun owners’ fear that all their toys would be taken away.

Know how many new gun owners have appeared in the last twenty years? About 10 million.  Know how many guns have been manufactured or imported over that same span?  About 190 million, give or take a few.  And when were sales strongest?  When a gun-grabber like Clinton or Obama was around. So now we have a stalwart 2nd-Amendment protector moving into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but the 2nd Amendment doesn’t protect the manufacture of guns.




Did The Gun Vote Swing This Election? I Don’t Think So.

As an unrepentant, yellow-dog Democrat, I wasn’t enamored of the election results from last night.  But the first thing that caught my eyes as the returns started to roll in was the drop-off in vote totals from four years’ before.  Trump is going to end up with about the same number of votes as Romney got in 2012; Hillary’s total will probably be somewhere around 3.5 million less than what Barack pulled that same year. Trump will end up getting something less than 59 million votes this year; he won because lots of Democratic voters didn’t show up, not because he was so strong at the polls.

trump4The decline in both red and blue vote totals at the statewide levels was also evident in the two really surprise states, namely, Wisconsin and Michigan which, had they gone for Hillary, she still would not have awakened this morning with a larger Secret Service detail guarding her house, but the results in those two states probably would have been reflected in the count from Pennsylvania and other states as well.  Trump’s totals from Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania will end up somewhere south of 7 million; Hillary won’t be far behind. Trump will end up pulling about 300,000 more in PA than came out and voted red in 2012, but in Michigan and Wisconsin the 2012-2016 totals will be the same.

Where I am going with these numbers is to try and judge the impact of the ‘gun vote’ on the outcome as a whole.  Because from the very beginning of this campaign, gun and gun violence played a central role in how these two candidates presented themselves both to those who ended up voting as well as to the substantial numbers who didn’t bother to vote. Hillary kick started her primary battle against Bernie in a take-no-prisoners statement after the shooting at Umpqua CC.  And Trump never stopped reminding his audiences that he was the NRA’s official candidate almost before his campaign began.

Now the fact that the NRA ran television spots in gun-rich states like Georgia, Texas and Tennessee probably didn’t affect the results in those states at all.  A majority of residents in these states, wishful thinking to the contrary, will always vote for the GOP, and they don’t need the NRA to remind them that no matter who sits atop the national Democratic ticket, that individual represents a ‘threat’ to their guns.

But it’s in states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania where the value of the gun issue needs to be understood.  Because all three states have large, urban populations who are generally resistant to any appeal about guns, but they also have many rural residents, almost all of whom are gun owners and, in theory, might come out in force to protect their 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’

The NRA is already taking credit for getting their man into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but the overall and most statewide numbers belie their claim. What cooked the Clinton goose was not the turnout for Trump; it was the fact that she was unable to retain the voting strength that the Bomber demonstrated in 2008 and 2012.

Which brings me, of course, to the obvious question: given the fact that all three branches of the federal government are now or will shortly be red, what will be the future for GVP?  First of all, three states passed significant ballot initiatives: banning hi-cap mags in California, extending background checks to private sales in Nevada and temporarily blocking hi-risk individuals from access to firearms in Washington State.

There are now 19 states that require background checks beyond the initial point of sale.  There were six states that granted unrestricted concealed-carry licenses in the mid-80s; it took the NRA twenty-five years to extend shall-issue to just about all 50 states. So the issue is not where GVP stands today; it’s where it was ten years ago and where it will be ten years from now.  Remember – if reducing gun violence was so easy, there wouldn’t have been anything that needed to be reduced.

The NRA Endorsed Trump But Are They Working For Him?

Ever since the NRA decided to endorse Trump back in April and pour an unprecedented amount of money into television advertising for his campaign, the question as to what effect this will have on the November 8th outcome is up for grabs.  Because when it comes to embracing gun rights as a cornerstone of the GOP’s 2016 effort, there has never been another Presidential candidate who has paid so much attention to guns.

trump4           In 2008 McCain left the gun issue to his Daffy Duck running mate who more than once indicated that she didn’t know one end of a gun from another; in the 2012 election cycle Romney may have actually held a shotgun once or maybe not at all.  But Trump injected the most extreme, pro-gun nonsense into his campaign from the very start, announcing his support for national concealed-carry back in June, 2015.  And of course like most stupid and dangerous things he has said over the past several years, he has never explained what he meant when he assigned a ‘stop Hillary’ task to the supporters of 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’

Last week I received an email from the NRA Political Victory Fund whose link took me to a website where I could sign up to get involved in the Trump campaign. My state listed two campaign coordinators, but that was no surprise, because I happen to live in a state – Massachusetts – which is not considered a ‘gun-rich’ state.  But then I looked at the list of election coordinators in North Carolina, a swing state that is heavily into guns, and the NRA has a whole, big three coordinators listed for the Tarheel State and in Florida, the Gunshine State, the website listed – none!  That’s right, a state that Trump must win on Tuesday doesn’t have a single person who, according to the NRA, is helping to get out the vote.

No maybe the NRA knows something I don’t; maybe their television ads are so powerful, so compelling, so dynamic that they don’t need to run a GOTV campaign at all.  On the other hand, you can’t tell me that a 30-second television ad which will probably play while you’re taking a leak or grabbing a snack before the next episode of The Walking Dead or Scorpion has anywhere near the impact of a telephone conversation or a discussion with someone standing at your front door. I can understand why the NRA doesn’t have a campaign coordinator working in North Dakota. Hell, even the cows in North Dakota will vote for Trump and Pence.  But Florida – nobody in Florida?

Meanwhile, want to knock on a few doors for Hillary?  If you live in Miami, here are three locations within easy driving distance where you can go to get involved. If you’re a resident of Raleigh, NC, you can pick up your canvassing materials in Danville, Greenville or Rocky Mount.  Let me tell you something about Rocky Mount. I guarantee there isn’t a single resident in that town who doesn’t own a gun and it’s Hillary, not Trump who’s got feet there on the ground.

I know three couples my age, which means we were liberals back in the 1960’s before there was anything as insulting and demeaning as Fox News, who will be spending the next several days canvassing in Nevada, New Hampshire and PA.  None of them feel confident about Hillary’ slight lead, none of them feel that they can afford to stay home in the run-up to this election, none of them want to see an angry and vindictive Trump administration defining the politics of the next four years.

And I have to believe that if I know three couples like this, that there are many more folks who feel the same way.  So if the NRA wants to believe that their bombast and anti-Hillary bullshit are uniting the faithful that’s fine, but what they may have done instead is awakened lots of folks to the dangers of Trump, which couldn’t be money better spent.

With Your Help A New Approach To Sustaining Animals Will Really Pay Off.

I was born and raised in Washington, D.C. and lived right down the street from the National Zoo. So the zoo was kind of my backyard, so to speak, and I spent afternoons there looking at the various inhabitants, including the original Smokey the Bear, the bald eagles and many other animal species as well.  One of my favorites was a small group of North American bison who stood together seemingly without ever moving and attracted lots of flies.  I knew that if I wanted to see a buffalo in the wild, I would have to journey out west to the Great Plains.

cheetah           Which, in fact, I did in 1968 when I watched the buffalo roundup in Wind Cave National Park. The park, along with Custer State Park, lies just to the east of South Dakota’s Black Hills and the herd, which numbered about one thousand head, was a tiny remnant of the enormous buffalo herd which had survived the depredations of commercial hunting before and after the Transcontinental Railroad was completed in 1869.  Buffalo meat can now be found on restaurant menus here, there and all over and today’s herd probably numbers around 200,000, enough to insure the survival of this breed. But when Europeans first came to America, buffalo could be found all over the continent and probably wandered freely through the area that is now the National Zoo.  By 1800, however, they had disappeared east of the Mississippi, having fallen prey not only to hunters, but to fences and land cleared and planted for farms.

The balance between human and natural habitats is precarious to say the least and always results in loss of the latter due to expansion of the former.  Our original conservation movement was founded by Theodore Roosevelt and George Bird Grinnell, who witnessed first-hand the disappearance of species as American settlers penetrated the frontier and moved across the West.  But regulating hunting seasons can only protect animals that are the targets of a hunt.  What about all the other wild creatures whose habitats are threatened by the ever-increasing encroachments of Man?

A genuinely different and effective response to this problem has now exists with the work of an organization, Conservation Centers for Species Survival (C2S2), which unites the formidable talents and resources of such outstanding programs as the Smithsonian National Zoo, my old playground, the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Texas, Omaha’s Doorly Zoo  and several other major wildlife centers, to take advantage of decades of wildlife management experience and develop programs in biodiversity, population optimization and habitat management that can both expand existing species populations, as well as threatened species both within their natural environment as well as in man-made habitats such as nature reserves and zoos.

What I find most intriguing about the C2S2 effort is its emphasis on collaborations, consortium-types of planning and, most of all, public-private partnerships. I like this last approach because when it comes to conservation over the years the public and private sectors have often been at odds. Conservationists are often seen as anti-progress, private development is viewed as having little concern for the natural environment if it gets in the way of economic growth.  Does anyone need to be reminded of Sarah Palin leading the chant: Drill baby, drill?

The one question which remains to be answered is: why should we be concerned about the survival and sustenance of wild animals at all? I’ll tell you why. Because wild creatures teach us things about ourselves.  We have figured out how to go to the Moon, but we still haven’t figured out how to stop killing each other over the most unintended, little slight.  That makes us somehow a higher life form than a wild creature which never attacks its own species even in the search for food?

Take a look at the C2S2 website and remember that after tomorrow you’ll be done with Hillary’s campaign and you can donate some money to this wonderful group. It’s a good thing to do.

Does Gun Violence Affect Urban Economic Trends? The Urban Institute Says ‘Yes.’

Over the years, the Urban Institute has published some significant research on gun violence, I’m thinking, for example, of the study they published in 2014 which examined the medical costs of gun injuries.  And now they have come out with a new report which attempts to analyze the cost of gun violence with reference to business and employment trends in three cities – Minneapolis, Oakland and Washington, D.C.

urban            Trying to figure out the effects of gun violence by counting the number of people killed or injured with guns is easy; understanding how gun violence affects neighborhood quality of life is a much more difficult task, primarily because socio-economic changes in any community are influenced by so many variables that it’s always risky to assign primary cause to one issue like gun violence or anything else. And the authors of this study are aware of this problem and also note the degree to which studies about the impact of gun violence on the quality of life in any community are few and far between.

Notwithstanding these caveats, however, this new study appears to validate the general idea that there is an inverse relationship between economic activity and gun activity; as the latter goes up, the former goes down, and vice-versa, at least in the three cities covered in this review.  The authors are also aware of the limitations imposed on cause-and-effect arguments when measured through the use of regression analysis, but here again they try to be sensitive to these limitations both at the level of analysis as well as discussing the validity of their results.

I want to raise two issues with this report that in no way detract from its value or importance but nevertheless deserve to be discussed.  First, beginning the data collection in 2009 and running it through 2012 creates a significant problem because these years, particularly 2009 and 2010, marked the worst economic trough experienced by the American economy in the previous fifty years.  The fact that employment in all three cities began to expand in 2011 must reflect as much the beginnings of economic recovery from the Great Recession as from anything else.  I would have felt somewhat more confident in tying economic trends to gun violence had the report compared employment, business openings and so forth to levels in these communities prior to 2007-2008, if only because such a comparison would have at least given some perspective on whether what happened after 2010 was a real shift in economic activity or just a return to economic levels experienced prior to 2008.

The second issue that I want to raise goes beyond this report itself to the whole question of how gun violence is measured and, for that matter, defined. The authors define gun violence only with reference to gun homicides which, they admit, is the least typical form of violence caused by guns. What would have made this report more conclusive would have been a comparison of economic trends to general violent crime trends, in particular, other violent but non-fatal crimes committed with guns.

In this regard, an analysis of economic trends might have been more nuanced had the authors looked at hiring and sales figures versus armed robbery, if only because so much of the economic activity in census tracts with high crime rates tends to be street-level, retail services and sales.  These are not neighborhoods which support large numbers of skilled, white-collar jobs, and decisions to open small, retail or service establishments will bear much more heavily on quality-of-life considerations as they are experienced at the entrance to the store. In Minneapolis, for example, homicide rates remained fairly steady between 2010 and 2012, but robberies increased by 15%.

This is a good, serious and detailed report.  Support for this effort came from Everytown, you know, the Bloomberg bunch that wants to take all the guns away.  Do you believe that any small business owner who ever looked down the barrel of a gun would mind?


Ending Gun Violence Means Understanding Gun Violence And Here’s A Good Start.

So now we have the second report in as many weeks that strongly points to the connection between gun violence and gun laws; i.e., less of the latter produces more of the former.  The first report came from the Center for American Progress (CAP) which found that states with fewer legal restrictions on guns have higher rates of gun violence; now we have another report issued by New York State’s Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, which shows that states with lax gun regulations also export more crime guns to other states, hence raising gun violence rates in states which often have very strict and comprehensive controls.

gun-violence           So the bottom line is that states that do not view guns as a threat to community safety not only make their own communities less safe but also help to make communities elsewhere dangerous as well.  And if you believe that this is in any way a new discovery, let me take you back the passage of the Federal Firearms Act in 1938.  The FFA38 was actually the second gun bill passed during the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt, the first being the 1934 law that regulated sale and ownership of full-automatic weapons and sawed-off shotguns whose use became the staple of Hollywood gangster movies then and now.

The 1938 law moved the Federal government into gun regulation big-time, because it focused not on the control of these somewhat exotic and relatively unusual (and relatively expensive) machine guns, but established the regulation of standard, run-of-the-mill handguns and long guns which could be found in probably a majority of American homes. Moreover, the basic components of the 1938 law, even though much of it was revised by the Gun Control Act of 1968, created the regulatory environment which exists to the present day. To wit:

After 1938, anyone who wanted to be in the business of selling firearms, as opposed to simply collecting and transferring personal guns, had to acquire and operate the business with a federal firearms license issued by the Treasury Department.  Why the Treasury Department?  Because the license cost one buck, and anyone who paid anything to the U.S. Government paid to the U.S. Treasury.  The law also made it illegal if a felon, fugitive, or anyone ‘convicted of a crime of violence’ received a gun and, most important, required that federally-licensed gun dealers only transfer guns to individuals who were residents of the same state in which the dealer sold guns. The law was later revised to exempt long guns from the in-state purchase requirement (hence Lee Harvey Oswald was able to purchase and directly receive a rifle from a sporting-goods dealer in Chicago) but the requirement that handgun sales be limited to in-state transfers remained law from then until now.

Why has the government always required that handgun ownership be more rigorously regulated than long guns?  Because the basic purpose of federal gun regulations is to “provide support to Federal, State and local law enforcement officials in their fight against crime and violence.” So says the Gun Control Act of 1968, a law which, incidentally, was supported by the NRA.

Note that neither the 1938 gun law nor the law passed thirty years later or, for that matter, the third big law passed in 1994 attempted to regulate guns per se; all three laws were attempts to break the connection between guns, crime and violence by defining which individuals could acquire guns. But none of these laws defined gun violence for what it really is.

Gun violence is a pathogen and most pathogens spread through human contact, which is certainly the case with the pathogen caused by guns.  We still don’t know exactly how, when or why this human contact takes place, but the reports issued by CAP and New York’s AG provide a good start. They also provide valid methodological templates to be used for further research. In sum, these reports deserve to be read, discussed and their value applauded and understood.



Will Gun Owners Start A Rebellion To Defend Their 2nd-Amendment Rights? Don’t Hold Your Breath.

Notwithstanding  Donald Trump’s jeremiad against the ‘corrupt media,’ I still believe The New York Times adheres to its masthead slogan “All the News That’s Fit to Print.” But perhaps the paper slipped in a story last week about Trump supporters calling for a revolution if Hillary wins. The most aggressive statements about a looming Trumpian apocalypse came from several people who identified themselves as gun owners and predicted armed insurrection if Hillary won the election and then attempted to take away their guns.

times-logo           You would think that two experienced reporters, when confronted with serious threats of armed revolt, (which happens to be a Federal felony) would at least attempt to figure out whether there was even remotely connected to reality before telling their readers that such views represented a ‘dark fear’ about the country heading for a violent political end. But these predictions about armed rebellion were presented without even the slightest effort to determine whether there was anything lurking behind such comments that could possibly translate into an insurrectionary event.

I have sold guns to more than 9,000 gun owners and can count on the fingers of one hand the few who will pull a Clinton-Kaine lever on November 8th.  Know why gun owners are going to vote for Trump?  Not because he’s telling them to ‘take care of Hillary’ if she messes with their 2nd-Amendment rights, not because their guns will protect them from the corruption of the elite, and certainly not because he says we will be a safer country if everyone walks around with a gun. Gun owners are going to vote for Trump for one simple reason: they have always voted for the Republican candidate, no matter what he says. And if they are then asked why they are voting for that candidate, they’ll repeat whatever the candidate said about why they should vote for him.

Want to take a guess as to how many gun owners came into my gun shop during the 2012 election and told me they were voting for Romney because he was on the side of the ‘givers’ and Obama was on the side of the ‘takers?’  Just about every single one.  And the few who didn’t tell me that the country had too many ‘takers’ didn’t say they wanted to make America ‘great’ again, they said they ‘believed’ in America, which just happened to be the Romney campaign slogan since everyone knew that someone born in Kenya couldn’t possibly believe in the U.S.A.

Last week Wayne-o sent an ‘urgent message’ to the NRA membership, warning them of Hillary’s plan to ‘forcibly’ take away their guns which could only be prevented if everyone joined with him, ‘arm in arm, shoulder to shoulder,’ to fight and ‘make America great again.’

Wayne’s exhortation to man the barricades was immediately dismissed by mainstream journalists as an example of an ‘alternate universe,’ but what gun owners hear and then repeat to inquiring reporters is one thing; whether they are willing to put up anything beyond their mouths is something else again. In 2013 a radio shock-jock radio named Adam Kokesh announced that he and a hardy band of supporters were determined to march from Virginia into Washington, D.C. They would carry loaded guns into the Nation’s Capital to initiate what he called the ‘Final American Revolution’ that would dissolve the Federal government and, I guess, install him as King. The revolution, of course, was cancelled when Kokesh realized that all he’d get for his trouble was a quick trip from the bridge in Virginia to a jail in D.C.

Being a law-abiding citizen happens to be a requirement for the legal ownership of a gun.  And NRA members and gun owners in general tend to be a very law-abiding bunch. The good news is that predicting that someone else will engage in armed rebellion happens to be protected by the same Bill of Rights which protects their ownership of guns.  And they’re not about to do anything that might really cause them to lose those guns.