Gun Craftsmanship Still Goes On.

In 2000 I went down to the NRA annual meeting in Charlotte and was actually in the room when Charlton Heston raised a flintlock over his head and yelled out ‘from my cold, dead hands.’ Now maybe he wasn’t coming down from Mt. Sinai with the Ten Commandments, although his screen version of Moses was even more impressive than his appearance at Charlotte, but he got a response from the gun-nuts (including me) in the audience nonetheless.

The gun company I managed back in the 1980’s made a b-b gun that looked like a flintlock, we ran ads in Boys Life magazine and sold the gun through the mail for ten bucks. Too bad that Heston didn’t use when of our guns when he got up on the NRA stage. So imagine how I felt when I learned at some later date that the rifle that Heston hiked over his head was actually a fake. Or what we politely call a ‘replica’ gun.

On the other hand, the working version of what Heston held was, in fact, a very accurate and lethal gun.  The first version was made in France, but the Continental Army that whipped the British were carrying these weapons and continued to use them until several decades before the Civil War.  The problem with flintlocks wasn’t that they were difficult to load or  shoot, it was that the powder tended to foul the grooves in the barrel, which meant that most flintlocks were smooth bore and therefore didn’t aim all that well.

There’s a retired engineer in Minnesota, Brent Gurtek, who manufactures flintlocks, which makes him part of a craft tradition in the United States which now goes back at least three hundred and fifty years. Invented in France, it was sometime around the 1650’s when these guns first appeared over here.  Like all mechanical tools which predated the Industrial Revolution, the guns were hand-made and hand-fitted with, unfortunately, great variations in quality and performance, which was the reason that George Washington made the Continental Congress appropriate money for a government arms factory in Springfield, MA, several years before the end of the Revolutionary War.

The guns made by our friend Brent Gurtek, on the other hand, are clearly best of breed. You can see a pic and description of one of his guns on the Guns America website but its been sold. And if you want to buy from directly from Brent, figure that delivery will take up to a year. That’s what happens when you are a craftsman first and a businessman second. It’s the quality, not the quantity which counts.

My point in talking about Brent, however, is not to give him a boost.  Rather, thinking about his work leads me to a brief discussion about how the manufacturing of guns has changed. When I first got into the gun business, guns were made out of carbon steel, then fitted, polished and finished by hand. The grips and stocks were wood, cut  by hand. If you went into a gun factory, what you saw were a series of craft shops operating under one roof. Guns weren’t rolling down an assembly line, they were hand-carried in small baskets from point to point.

Go into a gun shop today and the guns all look exactly alike. You can’t tell a Glock from a Sig or a Ruger, because that’s what happens when the frame is made out of polymer and a trigger and hammer assembly is dropped in. Guns have become mass commodities rather than hand-crafted products, and I have to believe that the shift to a manufacturing process which completely eliminates any brand distinctiveness, cheapens the whole culture of ownership and reduces how much time and effort people put into caring for their guns.

When people stop thinking about an object in terms of its intrinsic value, somehow, don’t ask me how, they just don’t care what happens to the product, and when you don’t care what happens to a gun it has a funny way of ending up where it shouldn‘t end up.

Which won’t happen with any of Brent Gurtek’s guns.

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What Causes Gun Violence? It’s The Guns.

              More than a quarter-century ago, two brilliant researchers, Fred Rivard and Art Kellerman, published research which definitively linked gun access to increased risk of suicide and homicide. Frankly, the entire corpus of gun-control research hasn’t really gone beyond what they said, because nothing more needs to be said. Either there’s a gun around or there isn’t, and if there is, to quote Walter Mosley,“it will go off, sooner or later.”

              This research resulted in the elimination of gun-research funds from the CDC budget, with Gun-nut Nation convincing a majority of Congress from the dumb states that this kind of research was being conducted not for science, but for partisan (read: liberal) political ends.

              Now that the House has flipped blue, Gun-control Nation and their medical, public-health allies are beating the drums for a resumption of CDC-funded research. Of course when and if such legislation comes up for a vote, you can bet the other side will argue that studies showing that guns are a risk to health are nothing more than politically-motivated research. The funny thing is, however, that public health research done since CDC funding ended is not only political in terms of topics and goals, but happens to be research that protects the ownership of guns.

              Huh? Am I saying that noted scholars like the folks at Harvard and Hopkins want to keep America awash in guns?  That’s exactly what I’m saying, and if my friends at the NRA home office in Fairfax would come back to their senses, they’ll realize that the best friend they have is a former New York City mayor whom Gun-nut Nation believes to be the devil incarnate when it comes to guns. Before you think that I’ve lost my sense, please read on.

              Here’s the policy statement from the Everytown website: “Support for the Second Amendment goes hand-in-hand with keeping guns away from criminals and other dangerous people.” As if the 2nd Amendment says anything about whether Americans have the ‘right’ to own a small, concealable handgun which holds 18 rounds of military-grade ammunition and happened to be the gun used by Seung-Hui Cho to kill 33 people on the Virginia Tech campus in 2007.

              The reason we are the only advanced country which suffers from gun violence is not because we only do background checks at the initial point of sale; it’s not because we have 350 million guns floating around; it’s not because we don’t have PTP licensing; it’s not for any of the reasons that my friends in public health research have decided requires yet another study to figure out how to reduce violence caused by guns.

              The reason is because we let the gun industry determine which guns are safe enough to be sold, while the regulators try to figure out ways to keep the most lethal consumer products imaginable out of the ‘wrong hands.’ And this naïve and foolish view, which pervades virtually every aspect of gun research, flows over into the medical community as well. Doctors are advised to show more ‘respect’ for gun culture, counseling their patients not to get rid of their guns, but to store them in a safe way. Note that the studies by Kellerman and Rivara don’t distinguish between stored and unstored guns.

              I would like to end this column on a hopeful note. I am not trying in any way to denigrate the work of my many public health friends who conduct research on gun injuries and, it goes without saying, would like to see such injuries eliminated or at least reduced. But as long as this research community continues to avoid figuring out why some people deal with their fears by buying guns, telling these folks that guns represent a ‘risk’ is to tell them nothing at all. Either we get rid of the guns that are responsible for gun violence or we don’t. And until/unless  we get rid of those kinds of guns, there will be plenty of gun violence to serve as topics for gun research.   

Greg Gibson: Survivor Apocalypse – Part I

I – Lord of the Flies

I’m holed up in my shack in a distant corner of the north woods. It’s cold, and quiet, and very still. I have dried and canned foods, jugs of drinking water, solar powered LED lights, and plenty of sweet, dry, apple wood to burn. I’ve set myself the task of composing a “Survivor Apocalypse Manifesto.”  But I am not a survivalist. I’m a survivor of gun violence.

For years I’ve sought new ways of talking and thinking about the problem of gun violence in America, some way to break through the indifference of the American people. I see myself as an anti-Ted Kaczynski, an un-Unabomber engaged in the creation of a subtly explosive document which, by its eloquence, charm, and irrefutable logic, will put an end to gun violence as we know it, much as Jerry Rubin and Ed Sanders levitated and exorcised the Pentagon in 1967. But it’s not going to be that easy this time around, for the simple reason that most non-survivors don’t give a hoot about the problem of gun violence in America. As they’ve demonstrated ad nauseam, the pink-faced white men in power don’t care, and that vast majority of citizens who tell pollsters they favor stronger gun laws don’t care either. If they did, they’d already have voted the pink-faced politicians who don’t care out of office.

Who, then, is left to deal with the eradication of gun violence? The survivors of gun violence, that’s who. And the many more people who are in imminent danger of being personally affected by gun violence. Which includes everyone. Too bad for you if you don’t see the truth in this. The purpose of the “Survivor Apocalypse Manifesto” should therefore be clear.

First, however, I must deal with a fact of woodland life. In the fall, a particular species of fly crawls into every cranny of a place like this to sleep through the winter. When I opened the door this afternoon, for the first time since October, the floor was covered with them, right where they’d dropped when the temperature fell low enough to knock them out. I swept them up and threw them away. Then I lit a fire in the wood stove. To my horror the warmth brought more flies back to life. Many more, crawling out of whatever fly holes they’d been sleeping in. Thousands of them, big and fat. They’re called “cluster flies” because they cluster, and right now they’re clustering on the windowpanes, marring my view of the highlands. It’s disgusting. I’m sorry to say that composition of the “Survivor Apocalypse Manifesto” will be postponed owing to the necessity of initiating a cluster fly holocaust.

No wonder Kacsynski went nuts.

But there’s always something, isn’t there? Some impediment, some fly in the ointment. What does it mean, “well-regulated militia?” What is the definition of an assault rifle? Why don’t we just enforce the laws already on the books? This is not the time for such talk. This is the time for thoughts and prayers.

II – History

In 1978 my sister Wendy died, as we say, by her own hand, which had a revolver in it, which was pointed at her heart when she squeezed the trigger. (Women tend to go for the heart; men the head.) She purchased her gun at a pawn shop the day before her death – an unfortunate impulse shopping decision that would be just as easy today, in many states, as it was in Nashua, New Hampshire in 1978. Most people who survive a suicide attempt never try again. If she’d decided instead to hang herself she would have had only a 60% chance of success. Poison, 40%. Cutting, 2%. With a gun the chances of success rise to 90%. Though it’s not success, is it?

Fourteen years later, in December 1992, my eighteen-year-old son Galen was killed in a school shooting at Simon’s Rock College in western Massachusetts. He was the random victim of a disturbed fellow student who’d bought a used semi-automatic rifle at a local gun shop the afternoon of the shootings. The killer modified his gun to accept thirty-round magazines, which he’d ordered, using his mother’s credit card, along with 180 rounds of ammunition, from a mail order company in South Carolina. Purchases of the gun, the ammunition, and the aftermarket accessories were perfectly legal, and they’d be be just as legal now, in many states, as they were in 1992.

These events have given me the unusual perspective of having spent forty years closely watching nothing happen. Or, watching a lot happen, most of which involves people getting killed by guns and politicians doing nothing about it. Let us observe a moment of silence. Let us attend to the buzzing of flies.

Why Don’t Women Like Guns? Because They Don’t.

Yesterday one of the three or four emails I receive every day from the boys in Fairfax was an event invitation for any of the ladies who share my home. There happen to be two at the moment: Carolyn my wife and Phyllis the cat. The email was an invitation to join the NRA’s Women’s Wilderness Escape session being held in the New Hampshire wilderness on September 14 – 16, a new program aimed at (pardon the pun) a very important demographic for Gun-nut Nation otherwise known as women.

Over the years, the gun industry has failed every time it tries to get the female gender excited about guns. They have tried manufacturing guns which feel more comfortable in smaller, female hands; they have designed guns with finishes whose colors are something other than ugly, steel grey; they have trotted out Dana ‘home-school queen’ Loesch to warn women about arming up to protect themselves from all those street thugs. None of these stupid, huckstering appeals have worked worth a damn.

Why not? Because women, generally speaking, are much more adverse than men to any safety appeal which requires them to respond by using violence in any form. And like it or not, the purpose of a gun is to commit violence, which the World Health Organization defines as any attempt to injure yourself or someone else. So even if violence is used for self-protection, you are still behaving in a violent way, and most women are simply not going to buy the idea that some kinds of violence is bad, but other kinds are good.

What I love about this latest attempt of the boys in Fairfax to rescue the tattered remains of their once-great organization (which could easily become great again if they would just stop promoting this self-defense nonsense) is the degree to which the entire Women’s Wilderness Escape program is based on fantasy, nothing more than that.  The wilderness into which the women will be escaping is actually the shooting range where Sig tests its guns, located about 5 miles from U.S. Route 1, which has at least a Mobil mini-mart, McDonald’s, Dunks, Starbucks or Wal Mart every fifty feet. There isn’t a single stretch of real estate anywhere in the United States which is less wilderness than where these women will be ‘escaping’ for a couple of days. And by the way, in order to join this wilderness cavalcade you only need to fork over $895 bucks, which doesn’t include breakfast, dinner or sleeping out in your tent – yea right.

This program gives the gun maker Sig an opportunity to do some test-marketing of one of their new entrants into the assault-rifle category, a 9mm short-barreled rifle known as the MPX. I’ll spare you all the technical details except to say that the gun has less recoil than the usual .223 round, it’s smaller and lighter than the standard AR-15, all of which makes it ‘perfect for the beginner woman shooter’ to get into guns.

Maybe I’m too old or too dumb to figure it out, but I simply don’t understand why the gun industry continues to search for  messaging that will make women realize a gun isn’t just a man’s best friend. After all, most male gun owners happen to be married, which means that 20 to 30-million females are already living in homes that contain guns. How come it’s still always the male half of the domestic arrangement who goes out to buy another gun?

One of these days the NRA will wake up to the fact that even though a majority of Americans believe that a gun is a very useful way to defend yourself from harm, a majority of Americans also don’t happen to own guns. And the reason why gun makers just can’t find a way to expand their market is because the female gender is not only present in most households, but also determines how household money will be spent.

Want to sell products to women?  See how much LVMH wants for Sephora or Estee Lauder wants for Clinique.

Enough With Being “Reasonable’ About Guns.

              Back in 2016, you may recall that our friends in Fairfax (a.k.a. the NRA) not only endorsed Sleazy Don for President at an unprecedented (for them) early date, but combined this decision with an attack narrative that went far beyond anything they had previously said or done. Remember Dana ‘home-school-queen’ Loesch warning ‘every lying member of the media’ that their ‘time has come?’ Recall how Wayne-o showed up at C-PAC and told the adoring audience that the media ‘wants to make us less free?’

              The problem with lumping their PR strategy together with what Trump was whining about on the campaign trail, is that it never occurred to the leadership of America’s ‘first civil rights organization’ that maybe, just maybe, the whole thing would hit a dead end. And the dead end occurred back in November, when the Democrats handed Trump and the GOP a startling and staggering loss. Despite claims by Sleazebag Don and fathead Limbaugh that the election was a ‘victory’ for the red team, in fact, neither Party has ever gained as many House seats in any election since 1938.

              More important than the size of the victory is the fact that the blue team now has a national leader who cleaned Sleazy Don’s clock this week by responding to his taunts about the ‘radicals’ running the Democratic Party by telling him that as for the State of the Union, he could stay away.  The best example of the collapse of America’s great deal-maker was his comment that he might look for an alternate site for delivering the speech. Why not the Trump International Hotel?  He could walk over from the White House in ten minutes or less.

              So the bottom line is that the world has changed both for our friends in the gun-control movement as well as for our friends who run the NRA.  Between trying to pick up the pieces of their dopey Carry Guard insurance program, defending themselves against allegations of all kinds of nefarious election activities and looking to put together a new list of corporate partners offering discounts to the NRA faithful, there’s not a lot of time left over to promote the agenda of Sleazebag Don. So they have fallen back on what they do best, namely, posturing themselves as being stalwart defenders of our beloved 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’ And the most effective way to get that message across is to claim that all those groups advocating ‘reasonable’ gun laws are nothing more than fronts for the continued efforts of Mike Bloomberg to get rid of guns.

              If you were the mayor of a city where shootings were a routine part of life, how could you not want to get rid of guns? Frankly, I never understood why anyone would be either surprised or upset by the fact that a guy like Bloomberg would be against guns. Now maybe if he had been responsible for public safety in a quiet little town somewhere in the Midwest, it would be difficult to imagine him leading an anti-gun crusade. But his views on gun violence happen to align a lot more consistently with his background and experiences than the positions on gun violence taken by that stupid, vulgar, POS-landlord who happens to be sitting in the White House right now.

              Just as Gun-nut Nation was probably unprepared for the strength and depth of November’s blue wave, I also suspect that the outcome of the 2018 election came as something of a shock to my friends in the gun violence prevention movement, a.k.a. the GVP. Which brings me to the real reason for what I want to say today.

              Given the new political realities in DC, I think it’s time for my GVP friends to drop all this nonsense about supporting ‘reasonable’ gun laws and tell it like it is. Either you end gun violence by ending open access to the guns which cause the violence (read: handguns) or you don’t. If Nancy’s willing to tell Sleazebag Don to stick it you know where, why can’t my friends in the gun-control movement say the same thing to the NRA?

I’m Not So Sure The Court Will Expand 2nd-Amendment ‘Rights.’

              Why do I get the feeling that some of my gun violence prevention (GVP) advocacy friends can’t wait for the Supreme Court to expand 2nd-Amendment ‘rights’ beyond the boundaries set by the Heller decision in 2008? You may recall that Scalia’s opinion in that case ratified the idea that Americans who wanted to keep a handgun in their home would now be exercising a Constitutional ‘right.’ Period. Did this decision create Constitutional protection for walking around the neighborhood with a concealed gun? No. Did it create Constitutional protection for walking around the neighborhood with an openly-carried gun? No. Did it prevent localities from making all kinds of rules and regulations that had to be met before you could keep a handgun in your home? No. The decision simply said that as long as sooner or later you could be given permission to keep a handgun in your home, you were not being deprived of your 2nd-Amendment ‘right’ to ‘keep and bear arms.’

              The case which has the GVP advocacy folks worked up into a tizzy doesn’t actually question the constitutionality of New York City’s onerous gun-licensing process at all; a process known as the Sullivan Law which has been in effect since 1912 and is, simply put, the most restrictive licensing system ever devised anywhere on the planet. The case in question deals only with a regulation which is not, in fact, part of the licensing process itself, but only comes into effect after a gun owner spends a lot of money and a lot of time getting licensed to own a gun. The regulation in question forbids any resident of New York City to carry his licensed gun outside the five counties which comprise the city’s geographic limits. If, for example, you want to take your licensed gun to any location outie the city, the moment you drive from da city into Joisey or Rockland or some other place, you’re violating the NYC licensing law.

              The case in question basically argues that by requiring a city resident to keep his licensed gun within the city limits is to deprive that resident of his 2nd-Amendment ‘right’ to keep a gun in his home if he happens to have another home. And what is now going on within the GVP world is the great fear that if this regulation is struck down, it opens the way for all those crazy gun owners to go anywhere and everywhere they want with their guns.

              Which happens not to be true. What?  Hey Mike, are you saying that maybe, just maybe the GVP noise machine is making a big deal out of something that may turn out to mean little, if anything at all? That’s exactly what I am saying, and here’s the reason why.

              Let’s say I have an apartment in Manhattan and a house out at the beach, maybe in one of the Hampton high-crime towns like Southampton or Quogue. The moment I drive my car out of the city and cross the border between Queens and Nassau Counties, I’m actually not just violating one law, I’m, violating two. Because I can’t have a gun in my beach house without getting a gun license from the Suffolk County where the beach house is located, unless the address of my other home is in a jurisdiction which has no gun licensing at all.

              Could the Court rule that no jurisdiction has the authority to determine whether guns represent a threat to public safety and therefore strike down every gun-licensing law in every state? They can rule whatever they want to rule, but on this one I wouldn’t take the short odds. The whole point of the Heller decision was to protect private ownership of handguns but also to protect the government’s authority to uphold the ‘compelling interest’ of keeping communities safe. And even a court with a nut-job like Clarence Thomas wouldn’t uphold the notion that when it comes to public safety, armed citizens should be our first line of defense.

Josh Montgomery: Top Elements to Consider When Looking for a Good Pistol.


So, it’s your first time buying a gun, but you don’t know what to look for and you feel overwhelmed. That’s normal, but choosing a handgun is actually not that hard if you consider some key factors. There are a lot of things to take into consideration, each of them contributing to the functionality of the gun itself, as well as how you will use it.

Guns are not toys, and this means that you can’t just easily pick one and start playing with it. They need to be carefully chosen and handled, so safety is ensured. So, if you don’t know what to look for in a good pistol, here are some tips to help you throughout the choosing process.

  1. Quality

Quality is one of the most important aspects when choosing any type of item. You want something that works properly and doesn’t pose any type of danger.

When it comes to handguns, the price rule could apply, depending on the model. That being said, it’s a case of “you get what you pay for”. If you buy a very cheap one, you might end up having issues with it later on, which is not something to long for. After all, it’s an object that’s meant to offer you protection, not cause you trouble. Also, why spend money on an unreliable firearm that doesn’t help you feel safe when you could spend more and end up with a high-quality one?

Generally, a good quality gun is around $500. If you think that a gun would make you feel much safer in your household, then you should really consider spending money wisely. Trying to protect your life with something cheap that barely works may only end badly on your behalf.

  1. Purpose

This aspect should be self-explanatory, as you must have a good reason for purchasing a handgun in the first place. Is it for self-defense, or because you want shooting to become a hobby? Regardless of your answer, this could help you choose the right type of gun only based on what you want to use it for. Therefore, make sure you have a clear picture of it in your head.

  1. Smooth Trigger

The trigger of the gun is really important, mostly because it needs to offer you control and accuracy when you shoot. Having said that, it’s relevant to have a trigger that’s smooth enough to make you feel in control.

Therefore, a smooth trigger can only help you shoot better in case of an emergency, not being in your way or making you feel unsure.

  1. Caliber

Each gun has a certain caliber, and it all comes down to what you’ll be using the gun for. As such, don’t expect a handgun to have the same caliber a hunting gun would have. For instance, if you only want a handgun that fits your pocket and will be used for safety only, you will look for a .380. Conversely, if you want something to accompany you when hunting, you should look for something bigger, like a .45ACP caliber gun. As you can see, it all comes down to the purpose of the weapon.

  1. Thumb Safety

Safety is an important factor when you’re looking for such a dangerous item, which is why you shouldn’t overlook the thumb safety either. It may feel way more comfortable to have a handgun with a mutual thumb safety as opposed to a trigger one. This all depends on the person, though, so it’s not a rule.

Therefore, regardless of the features that your weapon comes with, you should always remember to pay attention to the safety features. It contributes to the way you use the gun while reassuring you that you and those nearby will be safe in any situation.

  1. Grip Size

The grip is one of the most important factors too because you can’t just go with the first handgun you set your eyes on. It needs to have a grip of the perfect size, so you can operate it properly.

The only way to choose the perfect grip is when you actually pick up the pistol. It would be hard to know any other way. It’s one of those things that you are only able to discover once you experience them.

Basically, if the gun fits in your hand just right, then the grip is perfect. You should also know that there are handguns with replaceable backstraps and grips, thus allowing you to somehow adjust the grip. If you happen to have larger hands, it might be harder dealing with smaller weapons, as you will have a more difficult time finding one that fits.

  1. New or Second-Hand?

Would you rather buy a new gun, or save some money by buying a used one? This comes down to your personal decision, but it also depends on your buying habits and overall budget. There may be problems with it too, such as possibly buying a gun that doesn’t perform very well. For that reason, you should always take a good look at the seller, price and the gun itself before buying.

  1. Cleaning Ability

A pistol needs some cleaning every now and then, so you shouldn’t overlook this fact. It is important to choose a model that will be relatively easy to clean. You will also need a cleaning kit and some supplies that go along with your weapon. So, if you want it to function properly for a long time, you need to make sure it’s clean too.

Final Thoughts

Don’t go out there and purchase a gun like it’s a child’s toy. As you can see, there are many things to take into consideration, some of which were described above. Make sure you take a good look at any pistol before you buy and see if it could serve you for the right purpose before you spend your cash.

As such, whether you will choose a sub 1K pistol or not, you will be able to know if it’s the one that works the best for you.

Want To Contribute To This Blog?

Last year I began posting content on this website written by people other than myself. To date, readers have been able to enjoy columns by 14 men and women who can all be seen on the Contributing Editors page. I wanted these contributions to reflect my commitment to listening to voices on both sides of the gun debate because until and unless we learn how to communicate across the great divide between pro-gun and gun violence prevention (GVP) communities, we won’t get anywhere at all.

I believe that my website is the only online venue which gives visitors an opportunity not only to read commentary which agrees with what they believe, but to also access commentary which disagrees with their beliefs. Which is exactly the point.

For all the talk within the GVP about how they are committed to ‘reasonable’ solutions to gun violence, I have never seen a GVP venue which hosts a single, ongoing discussion between the two sides about what the word ‘reasonable’ really means. Or what it should mean. Every time that GVP advocates jump for joy when a survey shows that a majority of gun owners support comprehensive background checks, I wonder how the GVP would react if they knew that these same gun owners also support eliminating gun-free zones.

On the other hand, the pro-gun movement has certainly never demonstrated any interest in hearing from the gun-control crowd. At best, the 2nd-Amendment gang usually dismisses all talk about gun controls of any kind as nothing more than a Bloomberg-Soros hoax. At worst, I won’t bother to mention the worst, okay?

I am not only very pleased that 14 writers have contributed to my blog – the purpose of this column is to reach out and solicit more commentary from people on both sides. I do not make editorial judgements of any kind, the writer can discuss any subject he/she likes, there is no limit as to length and I ask only that the content does not contain any profanity or personal attacks. Otherwise, what you send to me is what you will see posted on this blog.

By the way, of the 14 contributing editors whose work has been published here so far, I would consider 8 of them to be from the pro-gun side and 6have views are aligned with the GVP. That’s an interesting breakdown, insofar as the majority of my readers tend to be more pro-GVP than not.

Anyway, please feel free to become a Contributing Editor on Mikethegunguy.com.

How Much Does Gun Violence Cost?

              Our friends at the Giffords Law Center have just published a disquieting study which claims that gun violence in Missouri costs $1.9 billion a year, and that’s a conservative estimate, to say the least. The estimate is based on taking the average number of homicides, suicides, accidental shootings and gun assaults, and then multiplying these numbers using a gun-violence costs analysis developed by researchers who helped Mother Jones produce a study in 2015 which set the national cost of gun violence at $229 billion every year.

              If we were to take the Missouri numbers, which average out to roughly $1 million for every fatal and non-fatal gun injury, the national cost would now be somewhere around $140 billion. Which means that the Mother Jones figure was too high or the Missouri costs o gun-violence calculated by the Giffords Center is too low.

              On the other hand, by taking the Missouri figures and assuming they are representative for the country as a whole might also be an exercise in fake news or at least fake statistics, because we can’t assume that the breakdown between various gun-violence categories (homicide, suicide, etc.) in Missouri is similar to how gun injuries occur in other states. Either way, it’s a lot of dough. The only problem with these numbers, however, is they may not really tell us anything about the financial costs of gun violence owing to the methodology utilized to estimate those costs.

              Most of the costs calculated in the Giffords study to represent the financial toll of gun violence are actually estimates of what the victim would not have lost had he or she not been shot by a gun. In other words, we are asked to believe that from the moment someone is injured they would have made choices about work, family, lifestyles and other social factors which they can no longer make. The estimates for lost income, for example, make assumptions about how much someone’s income will change over the course of their lives from what their income was at the moment the injury occurred. But in the case of gunshot victims, probably at least half of the 85,000 young men assaulted each year with a gun have never actually held a job. How do you reasonably estimate what the lifetime earnings of these victims might be?

              Philip Cook and Jens Ludwig have been looking at the issue of gun-violence costs much longer than anyone else, and they published a good book on this subject in 2000 which, sad to say, is now out of print. The good news is you can still get the book on Amazon in a used edition for a couple of bucks. Where Cook and Ludwig construct a refreshingly and unique definition of costs, is by calculating what people would be willing to pay to avoid gun violence, either 9through higher taxes for better protective services or by simply moving to a neighborhood which is safer than here they currently live.

              The Giffords report actually implies something of the same awareness between safe and unsafe because it notes that more than 60% of all gun violence in Missouri occurs in just two cities, St. Louis and Kansas City, which together count for less than 15% of the population of the ‘Show-Me” state as a whole. And within those two cities, of course, most of the gun violence is confined to specific neighborhoods, the polite term now used is neighborhoods which are ‘underserved.’

              It seems to me that if the state of Missouri is losing $1.9 billion a year because of gun violence, what could the state do with that money if it wasn’t flushed down the gun-violence drain? Could they build some health stations to provide inner-city neighborhoods with better medical care? Could they strengthen technical and vocational education so that young people could qualify for solid, high-paying jobs?

              Let’s not just sit around and bemoan the cost of gun violence. Instead, let’s calculate the value of getting rid of the guns.