Why Do People Believe In Armed, Self-Defense?

              There’s a guy out in Gun-nut Nation named Chris Bird, who is regarded as one of the patron saints of the concealed-carry movement, and I have just finished reading his book, The Concealed Handgun Manual, which is considered a must-read book by all the noisemakers who believe that we are a safer country because we have access to guns. And since Chris may think that some of the things I’m going to say about his book aren’t all that positive or nice, I’ll give the book a plug because you can buy it right here.

              As a matter of fact, I strongly urge my friends in Gun-control Nation to read this book, because if there’s one thing that strikes me about activists who want to see us reduce the violence and injuries caused by guns, it’s the degree to which they seem to have little, if any awareness of what is said or believed by the other side. Ask the average gun-control true-believer to explain the difference between an ‘internet’ sale and a ‘personal, sale of a gun and you’ll get the deer-in-the-headlights look. Then ask the same person to explain the difference between an assault rifle and a semi-auto long gun and you’ll probably get much the same look.

              I wouldn’t recommend Bird’s book were it not for the fact that the issue of concealed-carry basically defines the entire gun debate. Why? Because everyone (except me) seems to believe that the 2nd Amendment gives Americans the ‘right’ to own a gun. But where the break occurs between the two sides is explaining why someone should or shouldn’t own a gun. And the gun industry has been selling its products for the last thirty or so years by telling customers that a gun is an essential ‘tool’ for self-defense, even though there is absolutely no valid research which shows this argument to be true.

              So what we get down to here is a mind-set in the heads of many Americans who as a group form the market for continued gun sales. And Chris Bird happens to write books which appeal directly to that mind-set, whether there’s any reality behind it or not. If my friends in Gun-control are really serious about coming up with ‘reasonable’ gun restrictions which will appeal to ‘reasonable’ people on the other side, reading Bird’s book might give them some insights into why those gun owners believe they should own guns. 

              Bird begins the book with a lecture on ‘situational awareness,’ a self-defense concept first developed by Jeff Cooper (whose widow passed away yesterday at the age of 99) back in the 1970’s, which is when, thanks to Glock, the idea of owning and carrying a small, concealable, hi-powered and hi-capacity handgun first took hold. The argument made by Bird is both simple-stupid, namely, that all of us are at all times possible targets of predators who can only be repulsed with personal armed force because the cops never arrive on time.

              The book then goes through a whole series of episodes where armed citizens saved themselves from a criminal attack; it then covers how to choose a handgun, how to practice with your gun, and how to ‘win a gunfight’ with references all the way back to the OK Corral. If you’re a bone-fide member of Gun-control Nation and read this book, you’ll quickly decide that it represents nothing more than a marketing scam designed to mislead delusional people into believing they really need to own a gun.

I disagree. I know many of the folks who take seriously what Bird has to say, and their views might run counter to the prevailing liberal orthodoxy on gun violence, but there’s no reason to believe that what they think about armed, self-defense should simply be considered the product of deranged minds. These folks choose to be gun owners with the same degree of diligence that many of my friends believe that gluten-free foods will prevent chronic fatigue syndrome or worse.

Want to reduce gun violence? At least try to understand what the other side thinks.

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The Assault Rifle Ban In Florida Heats Up.

              Things are heating up in Florida and I’m not talking about the temperature which today hit 94 degrees in Palm Beach. I’m talking about the attempt by Florida’s Attorney General to behave as if she’s on the payroll of the NRA. And since Granny Hammer, the NRA’s Florida lobbyist, is right now laying low until the sh*tstorm about Wayne-o’s profligate spending goes away, at least Gun-nut Nation has AG Ashley Moody to carry on the good fight.

              And the good fight involves an attempt by the relatives of several Parkland victims to put a citizen’s initiative on the 2020 ballot that would amend the State Constitution and ban assault rifles in the Gunshine State. The backers of this initiative have collected enough signatures to get their petition approved by the Florida Supreme Court, which would then allow them to collect another pile of signatures required to put the amendment up for a statewide vote.

              You can read the Constitutional amendment right here, and then take a look at Moody’s attempt to block the amendment right here. Her statement that any semi-automatic rifle with more than a ten-round capacity is just another standard sporting gun, is right out of the playbook that the gun industry has been using for years.

              I have owned and hunted with semi-automatic rifles and shotguns made by Remington, Browning, Winchester, Benelli and a few more, and none of them took a magazine which held more than ten rounds. You don’t go out into the woods to shoot Bambi by spraying ammo all over the place. When the hi-flyers come over on their way to Florida, you’re lucky if you get off two shots before the birds disappear out of sight.

              What makes an assault rifle so dangerous and lethal is the fact that the magazine attaches from beneath the gun, which means that no matter how large it is or how many rounds it holds, it can’t prevent a shooter from aiming the gun. The venerable M-1 Garand rifle, which George Patton called “the greatest battle implement ever devised,” was a top-loading semi-auto that only held 8 rounds. When the military decided to go to a full-auto gun, Gene Stoner designed the first M-16 to take a bottom-loading magazine thus increasing the firepower of the gun. And before you start screaming at me about how the gun-grabbers don’t know the difference between a full-auto military gun and a semi-auto sporting gun, the current battle gun known as the M-4 shoots in semi-automatic mode.

Believe it or not, I happen to find shooting an assault rifle to be a lot of fun. You set up a  bunch of bottles down range, you bang away 30 rounds without stopping to reload. It reminds me of the old-time shooting gallery at the circus or the county fair. So I understand that gun nuts will be plenty pissed off if they have to give up this beloved toy. But no matter how you slice it or dice it, a bottom-loading rifle that can take a magazine which holds thirty, forty or even fifty rounds is a killing machine. 

Yesterday a young man cut a hole in a fence, walked into a garlic festival in Gilroy, CA, and used an AK-47 to shoot 15 people, of whom ‘only’ 3 died. He was nineteen, he bought the gun legally a few weeks previously, and other than some suggestive internet rants the day of the shooting, nobody has yet come forward who claims prior knowledge of the event.

So the battle is now joined between the gun industry and their self-appointed public relations director Ashley Moody on the one hand, and the gun-control ‘nuts’ in Florida on the other. The truth is that Gun-nut Nation is terrified that a state like Florida might actually decide that certain guns are simply too lethal to be sold. After all, we’re not talking about a Communist state like Massachusetts or New York. We’re talking about a state which understands that the most sacred duty of every citizen is to protect hearth and home with a gun.

Maybe The NRA Isn’t So Crazy After All.

Along with fundraising appeals from Kamala, Bernie and the Wilderness Fund, yesterday’s mail also included a lovely letter from Wayne-o asking me to join a very exclusive NRA club – the Golden Eagles.  In fact, I have been pre-selected for membership by the NRA Honors Committee, and all I have to do is send back my acceptance form and I’m in. It’s really a great honor and I can’t turn them down.

Oh, I forgot. I also have to send a check or credit card payment for $250.

Now considering the fact that yesterday I walked into Dick’s and Titleist has the nerve to want almost $500 for a new driver which won’t get my tee shot any further down the fairway than the driver I have been using for the last ten years, I can hardly be upset that the boys from Fairfax want half that much to induct me into the Golden Eagles club.

But what I found most interesting about this appeal was how it seems to me that the Fairfax bunch may have actually decided to go back to being what they have always been before a combination of phony Trump flattery, candy-ass video personalities and cockamamie marketing schemes got them to briefly lose their minds.

Let’s start with Trump. No other Presidential candidate had ever made gun ‘rights’ the centerpiece of a national campaign. Schmuck-o Trump never made a speech without reminding everyone that he was infatuated with guns. Now the fact that he never even owned a gun or used a gun – so what?

As for NRA-TV, it was one thing to have bores like Grant Stinchfield droning on and on about the Socialist threat to gun ‘rights,’ but spicing up the video airwaves with Colion Noir prancing around or Dana Loesch giving us the tough, ‘f-me’ look? If that was the best idea cooked up by Ackerman-McQueen to promote gun sales, the agency should have been canned long before they got into a fight with the NRA Home Office over who was going to pay Wayne-o’s clothing bills.

The dumbest move made in Fairfax was when they tried to replace their traditional training approach (and the 100,000+ certified instructors) with an online training and insurance program which went nowhere fast. The trainers (I having been one of them) were the organization’s shock troops. Most trainers engaged in little actual training activities, but they were always the roots which held the grass together and could be counted on to show up in large and noisy numbers every time gun ‘rights’ faced any kind of threat.

Here’s where things stand now. Trump has stopped pushing the 2nd Amendment at his Nuremburg rallies; NRA-TV is temporarily shut down (although you can watch reruns which are even more boring than the original shows) and last month Wayne-o sent out a letter to all the trainers telling them that he was grateful for their continued support.  This was the very first communication I ever received from the NRA which didn’t ask me to respond by enclosing a credit card number or a check.

When the annual meeting turned into an exercise in the veritable sh*t hitting the veritable fan, I assumed the NRA would respond by ramping up the volume, becoming even more extreme and using the bad news about its management practices as proof that the anti-gun campaign had reached a new and dangerous pitch. But it’s pretty tough to accuse someone like Ollie North of being opposed to private ownership of guns.

On the other hand, North and his supporters may have done the NRA a great service because perhaps without realizing it, their attacks have forced Wayne-o and the remaining leadership to stop pretending that every anti-NRA message is somehow the handiwork of Mike Blomberg, George Soros and their Socialist pals. Nothing would make me happier than to see the NRA get back to its traditional role as a supporter of using guns the way they should be used.

Josh Montgomery: Guns as Fashion Pieces. Why Not?

Best Looking Small Guns to Fit Every Pocket

Usually, a gun is purchased to provide protection. But is there anything wrong with taking other aspects into consideration, such as the size and look? Well, as long as you have the funds to buy something more unusual and unique, it’s really not a problem. It’s your own money into play, after all.

But it’s often hard for us to find something visually pleasing and effective at the same time. It’s not impossible, though – you just need to research more. Don’t worry, because you’ll see some beautiful and well-performing models below. Who knows, you may even find your next handgun in this list.

  1. Bond BullPup9

Who wouldn’t love this small-sized, Texas-styled gun? It’s eye candy, and apart from the attention-grabbing aspect, the handgun itself is very good.

This little gun works with most ammunition, but you really need to be careful when you make the selection. If you use uncrimped ammo, the force of the pull may actually set the bullet and casing apart. This could result in the malfunction of the firearm, as the gun powder will be spread into the magazine.

But overall, the design of the gun is what makes it so special in the first place. Unlike other semi-automatic guns where the ammunition is pushed forward into the chamber, the BullPup9 has its rounds pulled from behind.

The handgun has a short barrel and a 9mm chamber. The whole gun only measures 5 inches, out of which 3.35 is only the barrel. It was quite challenging for the designers, but it will be easy to conceal and carry around for you. And rightfully so, you’ll be proud to have it on you thanks to the wonderful design.

  • Kimber Micro

If you want something even smaller than the BullPup9, you have the option to choose a Kimber Micro. It only measures 4.07 inches in length, and it is 1.06 inches wide. That’s really small and makes it easy to hide and take with you.

This little guy may not be the best choice for target shooting, but you can rest assured it will do its job when you need to defend yourself in a risky situation. The recoil is moderate while the trigger can be pulled smoothly, ensuring a nice yet secure feel when shooting.

A Kimber Micro is a great choice if you want something small and easy to conceal while being a pleasure to look at.

  • Beretta Pico

This one is certainly one of the smallest handguns to come across, if not the smallest. It only has a 2.7 inches barrel, with the whole length being 5.1 inches, and the width being 0.71 inches. But the fact that it’s so tiny is what makes it a very useful alternative if you want a defensive pistol.

Aside from its 6+1 capacity and the .380 capacity, the gun was also provided with an ambidextrous magazine release, adjustable sights, and low-recoil system. But that’s not all there is to it: it’s also beautiful thanks to its rounded profile. You’ll surely love it.

  • Colt Mustang XSP

The Colt Mustang is yet another .380 that will be easy to conceal. The bullets it uses are enough to cause harm, and the coolest thing is that it can be hidden very easily. You’ll surprise your attacker when they think they have the upper hand.

Colt has come back into business with two new models that contain some components from the old Colt Mustang. The Colt Mustang Pockelite is one such model – in addition to the .380, it has a length of 5.5 inches, with a .757-inch slide width and a capacity of 6+1.

Do you think that’s all that makes this gun such a gem? Because it’s not. The design will make you fall in love with the weapon on spot. Basically, it has a Commander-style hammer, while the frame is of aluminum alloy, which has an electroless nickel finish. Likewise, the slide has a brushed gloss that adds to its charm.

  • Ruger LCP II

What you’ll love about this LCP is that you will find it in most gun shops. It’s quite popular, so it’s not really a surprise that you’re very likely to stumble upon it.

The appearance will please your eyes. It’s black, but the compact design adds a lot of detail to it. The curves and iron sights make it breathtaking, and you’ll most likely be very proud to pull this pistol out of your pocket when you need to use it. It is also quite small, so don’t worry about it taking too much space.

The pistol is 5.17 inches with 2.75 inches being just the barrel. Additionally, it has a caliber of .380 ACP, whereas the capacity is 6+1. It’s very practical and comes at a good price for the reliability it’s able to provide – so, you should consider it when looking for a concealed gun.

  • Walther PPK

If you want to feel like a new James Bond, it’s not difficult, not as long as this gun is in your possession. The luxurious design lets you stand tall in front of potential attackers and shoot with style when deemed necessary. Of course, the gun itself is not exactly new. In fact, the first time it has been seen was in 1930. Nevertheless, it has been redone recently.

Its controls are meant for right-handed people. It has a .380 caliber, with a 6+1 magazine. It is small and easy to conceal, and that’s a very important aspect when it comes to pistols for self-defense.

The design is easy to recognize and distinguish from that of other small guns. It has a stainless-steel frame that catches the eye of every gun lover.

Final Thoughts

There’s nothing wrong with caring about the look of your self-defense pistol. You need to find the best one to suit your tastes – and that means a small gun that fits in your pocket, works smoothly and looks the part.

How Do We Get Guns Off The Street?

              One of the strategies most favored by gun-control advocates to reduce gun violence involves personal interventions with people who are most at-risk for using guns in ways they are not supposed to be used.  These at-risk individuals tend to be men between the ages of 16 and 30, many are minorities and most of them live in poor, inner-city neighborhoods.

              The strategy usually involves identifying the at-risk kids or young adults, mentoring them on the risks and dangers of carrying guns, and in some cases involving the target population in programs and activities that will help them get jobs or learn skills because otherwise they will just continue to ‘hang out’ and sooner or later gun violence will again rear its ugly head.

              Probably the best-known of these programs is Cure Violence which approaches the issue of gun violence as a contagious disease, and seeks to limit the contagion by first figuring out where the pathogen can be found, then sending troops to those specific locations to wait, watch and then intervene at the beginnings of conflict between two small groups which starts with a few ‘fuck-you’s,’ then escalates into violence, ultimately resulting in the gun or guns coming out and – bang!

              The street-level intervention model sometimes works well and sometimes doesn’t work so well. Evaluations of the program tend to be positive except that in just about every case, the work is limited to a specific, geographic area (usually a particular neighborhood identified by the cops as being extremely ‘hot’) where the decline in violence may or may not change the violence rate for the city as a whole. It is also difficult to assess whether a successful social service type of intervention can be achieved without increased attention to that area paid by the cops. Right now, New York City runs Cure Violence programs in multiple neighborhoods and as everyone knows, gun violence in the Big Apple, has almost completely disappeared. But how much of this decline is due to Cure Violence as opposed to the stepped-up anti-gun efforts by the NYPD?

              Philadelphia has just announced the adoption of an interesting twist to the Cure Violence approach, in this case a program out of Boston known as LIPSTICK – Ladies Involved in Putting a Stop to Inner-City Killing. This programs counsels women to refuse requests from husbands or boy friends to buy a ‘straw-sale’ gun and then hand it over to the man who is legally unable to purchase a gun for himself.

              Several years ago I asked a LIPSTICK staff member whether they also counsel clients to contact the cops if or when they learned that their husband or boy friend possessed an illegal gun. She basically told me that such an idea was an invasion of the couple’s privacy and that it was something that LIPSTICK would never tell its clients to do.

              Guess what? The same refusal to alert the cops when a kid on the street has a gun but walks away from a confrontation because of the intervention of a peacemaker is SOP for Cure Violence and other, street-level programs aimed (pardon the pun) at keeping things under control. To alert authorities to the presence of a gun would probably result in the street peacemaker losing his creds or worse, might provoke a retaliatory attack.

              There is no greater risk to community health than a teenager walking around the neighborhood toting a gun. And maybe if an adult is carrying an illegal gun it’s not quite as much of a risk, but let’s not waste time trying to decide which is worse.

              I am hoping that my friends in Gun-control Nation will stop trying to convince gun owners of their fervent support of the 2nd Amendment and start telling gun owners and everyone else that certain types of guns are too lethal to be in anyone’s hands. And you don’t get that message across to a fifteen-year old by letting him walk away with a gun.  

Bleeding Out – An Important Book.

              Want to read the latest attempt by a liberal social scientist to tell us what we need to do about gun violence? Try Thomas Abt’s Bleeding Out, the sub-title proclaiming this book to be a “bold new plan for peace in the streets.” And what Abt believes we can accomplish if we follow his bold plan is an annual 10% drop in homicide every year in cities with high homicide rates. If the 20 cities with populations of 50,000 or more which register the highest rates of fatal violence all initiated Abt’s plan this year, the result would save 12,132 lives over the next eight years.

              The author’s focus isn’t on gun violence per se, but he realizes that no significant reduction in urban violence will ever occur without doing something about guns. With reference to the usual suspects (Hemenway, et. al.) he makes the argument that we suffer from such a high rate of fatal violence because we have too many guns. But there’s nothing wrong with the existence of guns per se, it’s when the guns get into the wrong hands of young men who use them in a violent way.

              Abt believes there are three categories of wrong-handed gun owners (‘owning’ as in access to a gun, not necessarily legally owned) whose behavior needs to be regulated in order for his bold plan to work. These categories are:

  1. Would-be shooters – individuals who view using a gun as a way to be accepted within their social milieu.
  2. Legacy shooters – individuals who grew up in families that are “entrenched in criminal violence.”
  3. Wounded shooters – individuals who were subject to extreme trauma (beatings, molestations) during childhood.

Abt’s grand plan for dealing with these individuals relies on a mixture of effective policing, even-handed justice, community-level outreach and behavior modification. Sounds interesting, it’s certainly a new and different approach, but I happen to disagree.

Want to know why most kids in the inner-city carry guns? They carry them for the exact, same reason that the middle-class guy in my town walks into my shop to buy a gun – for self-protection. The difference, of course, is that the guy who comes into my shop, plunks down six hundred bucks and walks out with a Glock, has about as much chance of ever needing to use that gun to protect himself as I have a chance to lose the next 20 pounds that my internist has been hocking me to lose for the last ten years.

Having created a portrait of inner-city gun users which may or may not have any connection to reality, Abt then shifts his focus back to where he believes the primary responsibility for reducing gun violence should rest, namely, reducing the demand for guns amongst the at-risk kids and young adults. The whole point of Abt’s approach to gun violence is to move the discussion away from various supply-side schemes to reduce the flow of guns, substituting instead his grand plan that will, he claims, wean people away from their desire to carry and use guns.

Like every other liberal-mined scholar who wants to reduce gun violence, Abt makes a point of explicitly stating that none of his policies would in any way prevent law-abiding citizens from safely owning guns. What we have is yet another attempt to somehow get rid of the results of guns but allow the guns themselves to remain. This country has gun violence for one reason: we allow private ownership of what Antonin Scalia calls ‘weapons of war,’ which just happen to be the handguns made by Glock, Sig, Smith & Wesson, etc., all initially designed and used as military guns.

Everybody keeps telling me it would be next to impossible to forge a national political consensus around the idea that some types of guns are simply too lethal to be owned. Think it would be easier to get hundreds of relevant organizations in 20 large cities to do something which has never been done in even one urban site?

By the way, I liked the book.

Attacking John Lott Doesn’t Explain Gun Violence.

              If there is one person more disliked than anyone by Gun-control Nation, that person has to be John Lott. His book, More Guns, Less Crime, is considered the single, most important reason behind Gun-nut Nation’s embrace of armed, self-defense, and his ongoing effort to eliminate gun-free zones provokes anger and negative reactions throughout gun-control land.is book, More Guns

              In fact, at least one noted gun-control researcher, Stanford’s John Donohue, has basically created an entire academic career based on articles critical of Lott. Not far behind Donahue is the chief of gun research at Harvard, David Hemenway, who has likewise published multiple denunciations of Lott’s work.

              I happen to believe that the attacks on Lott’s work reflect the failure of liberal social science to explain what is really the only issue in the entire gun debate which needs to be understood, namely, how is it that less than ten percent of the individuals who each year commit a serious act of violence against someone else commit this violence by using a gun? John Lott’s basic thesis, that criminals switch from face-to-face crimes (assault) to anonymous crimes (burglary) is an attempt to explain the behavior which lies behind at least three-quarters of all gun injuries. Have either Donahue or Hemenway ever attempted any explanation of this problem? They have not.

              I have two criticisms of Lott’s work. First, the idea that criminals switch from one type of crime to another type of crime assumes that one type (assault) is really no different from another type (burglary), and that criminals switch their modus operandi depending on how they perceive degrees of risk from different types of criminal behavior. This assumption flies in the face of everything we know about criminal behavior and to argue, a la Lott, that the issuance of concealed-carry licenses (CCW) creates a ‘substitution effect’ for burglary versus assault, is to misread the nature of how and why these very different types of crimes occur.

              Second, and more important is the fact that most of the perpetrators and victims of gun violence are individuals who share similar socio-economic circumstances and demographic profiles. Both groups are overwhelmingly minority males living in under-served neighborhoods who rarely, if ever qualify for concealed-carry licenses, an argument Lott has made in other works. If the average inner-city resident is more frequently armed than years ago, this simply cannot be explained with reference to the spread of CCW over the past forty years.

              For all the sturm und drang whipped up by Donohue, Hemenway and others about the pernicious impact of Lott’s research, I have yet to see one, single response to his work which even hints at the issues I have raised above. It really doesn’t take a rocket scientist to sit down, pull some numbers together and create a regression analysis model that will yield a result which aligns with your particular point of view. Want to argue, as Hemenway argues, that we have high rates of fatal gun injuries because we own so many guns? Use the number of guns as your independent variable to control against fatal gun injuries and the United States will wind up on top every, single time. Now the fact that we have absolutely no idea how many of those 300 million guns are in the hands of people who might use those guns to commit a violent crime, oh well, oh well, oh well.

              I think my friends in public health gun research need to stop confusing research with hot air. God knows we have enough of the latter on both sides of the gun debate; it’s the former where most of the necessary work remains totally undone. Gun injuries are the only injury tracked by the CDC where the person who is injured and the person who commits the injury are two different people at least seventy-five percent of the time. I’m still waiting for anyone in the public health research community to ask why this fundamental fact escapes their research.

Now That The NRA Is Dead, Who’s Going To Be The Enemy?

              Maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s that time of year, all I know is that there seems to be a definite lack of interest and activity within the ranks of the gun-control gang. Judging from the frequency of posts on various Facebook pages and the number of emails that I usually receive from Gun-control Nation every day, I don’t recall such a period of calm in the ranks of my gun-control friends at least from before Parkland, or maybe before Trump embraced the NRA at the start of his 2016 campaign.

              According to Google Search Trends, the highest number of searches for the words ‘gun control’ since July, 2018 was the week of November 4 – 11, 2018 which was the week of the mid-term elections when guns played a significant role in how some Congressional races turned out. Last week, this same search term received almost 90 percent fewer hits. The exact same trend shows up when we change the search to the ‘gun violence’ term. When we look at the trend over the past five years, again we don’t find any weekly period where the search numbers are as low as they are right now.

              What’s interesting about these numbers is that they don’t align at all with the actual gun violence trends. According to our friends at the Gun Violence Archive (GVA), the number of total shooting incidents has risen steadily from 2014 until the mid-point of this year.  In fact, if we assume that by dividing the numbers for a previous total year in half would give us more or less a valid comparison to shootings so far in 2019, there would have been roughly 26,000 events by mid-2015; right now for 2019 we stand at more than 30,000 reports. Of course the GVA is in no position to estimate total gun violence accurately because open-source data rarely covers non-fatal shootings or fatal shootings where someone picks up a gun and points it at himself. Nevertheless, assuming that GVA tracks its data using the same sources every year, their numbers make it quite clear that the overall gun violence trend is up, not down.

              How do we explain this apparent disconnect between the continued increase in gun violence versus what appears to be a lessening of interest in the problem by the gun-control advocates who should be the folks who are most motivated and involved? And you can’t put this down to any lack of gun violence events themselves. After all, just six weeks ago a disgruntled city employee killed 13 people (including himself) and wounded 4 others in a rampage at the municipal building in Virginia Beach.

              Here’s my theory and although I could be wrong, I suspect I’m actually right. When most gun-control activists think about gun violence, the first thing that pops into their minds is not the number of people killed or wounded with gunfire but the existence and the activities of ‘America’s first civil rights organization,’ a.k.a. the NRA. Every one of the 2020 Presidential wannabees from the blue team has explicitly mentioned the NRA in one campaign speech or another; beating up on the boys from Fairfax is a constant theme in virtually every gun-control fundraising email I receive.

              Right now, the problem for Gun-control Nation is that the boys from Fairfax seem to be doing a pretty good job of bashing themselves. There have been numerous public defections from the NRA Board, resignations of key senior staff, and our friends at The Trace claim that the number of government investigations has hit ten.

              In my first gun book (Volume 10 will shortly appear) I make the point that if the NRA didn’t exist, the gun-control movement would have to invent them. For that matter, if Mike Bloomberg and Shannon Watts didn’t exist, the NRA would have to invent them, too. To all intents and purposes, right now the NRA doesn’t exist. Can my gun-control friends come up with a new bogey-man to take the place of the NRA?

Want To Understand Gun Violence? Try Using Your Gmail Account.

Our friends at the Gun Violence Archive have been tracking gun violence since 2014, and their data is often cited by news agencies, researchers and advocacy groups. The problem with what they publish, however, and it’s not their fault by any means, is that as an open source aggregator, GVA‘s data is more a reflection of how and why the media covers gun violence than as a comprehensive picture of what is going on. 

To begin with, and again this is a problem which the GVA admits to as well, suicides, even suicides committed with guns, rarely make news. Unintentional shootings are also events which never attract any public concern unless it’s when the four-year old grabs the gun and shoots the older sister in the head. Finally, intentional shootings where the victim survives are undercounted by as much as half, again a function of media coverage which open-source aggregators are unable to overcome.

I have created my own little GVA version by simply going into my Gmail account and setting alerts for the following terms: ‘shootings,’ ‘gun violence’ and ‘guns.’ Every day those three alerts generate thirty or more links to internet-based media stories, many of which also end up being sourced by the GVA.  Much in the same way as many people start their mornings off with a cup of coffee and a newspaper or other source for news, I begin my day with coffee and those Gmail alerts.

I would estimate that over the last five years (I started reading the Gmail alerts at some point in 2014) I have read or at least scanned 30,000 media sources related to the violence caused by guns. And if anyone reading this column decides to send me a snarky email about how ‘it’s not the guns that cause the violence, it’s the people using the guns,’ do me a favor and save your time and mine, okay? I made an executive decision last week to stop replying to any email that scores higher than five on what Al Franken calls the dumbness scale, and that message earns a ten.

The reason I read these alerts is because I have always felt uncomfortable whenever my gun-research friends in public health describe what they are doing as creating an ‘epidemiology’ of gun violence. The CDC defines epidemiology as the “study of distribution and determinants of health-related states among specified populations and the application of that study to the control of health problems.” But gun violence is a very special problem because with the exception of gun-suicide and accidental shooting, every other gun injury is caused by someone other than the person who gets hurt. So the fact that our data on gun injuries gives us detailed information about the person who got shot, doesn’t tell us very much about the individual who pulled the trigger and committed the crime. And make no mistake about it, more than 75% of all gun injuries happen to be crimes.

Thanks to  FBI-UCR data, we know where and how these crimes occur, and we also know whether the shooter and the victim had some degree of contact before the event. So we know the what, the who and the where of gun violence, but we don’t know the why. More than one and one-half million violent assaults take place every year but guns are involved in less than one hundred thousand of these events. How come more than 90 percent of the people who want to really hurt someone else do it without using a gun? The answer to that question is what epidemiological research should provide.

My public health researcher friends might consider spending a little less time gathering data and a little more time actually reading descriptions of how people get shot. After all, when it comes to something as complicated as violence, the devil has to be found in the details, right?

When It Comes Gun Violence, Guns Aren’t Cars.

              Way back in February, a ‘summit meeting’ was held in Chicago, bringing together 44 medical associations whose representatives spent a weekend patting each other on the back for how engaged they have all become over the issue of gun violence. If I am sounding somewhat skeptical of this so-called ‘historic’ event, it’s because nearly a half-year has gone by and I am still waiting for any of these groups to actually do something tangible to reduce gun violence.

              If anything, many of these physician-led organizations actually spend time, money and effort to increase gun violence by donating millions of dollars to members of Congress who then go out and vote down each and every effort to pass the most benign and least-restrictive gun laws. In the last three election cycles alone, the American College of Emergency Physicians gave GOP Congressional candidates nearly two million bucks, and this bunch has the nerve to show up at Chicago to help lead the medical effort to respond to injuries caused by guns? Yea, yea, I know. These GOP officeholders may be voting the wrong way on guns, but they deserve financial support from the medical community because they vote the right way on so many other issues, like getting rid of Obama-care, gutting Medicaid, positive things like that.

              I shouldn’t be surprised at how the physicians who met in Chicago and then published a detailed pronouncement on gun violence could be so willing to ignore the egregious behavior of the professional associations to which they belong. Because if you take the trouble to read the high-sounding document which came out of the meeting, you quickly become aware of the fact that the selfsame blindness about political contributions which is endemic to the medical profession infects their views on how physicians should respond programmatically to the issue of gun violence as well. And the blindness appears right at the beginning of this Magna Carta which says that physicians should adopt a public health model “that has been so effective in improving outcomes in traffic-related injury.”

              Ever since I organized the first medical conference on gun violence which awarded CME credits, I have been listening to this nonsense about how we can reduce gun violence by using the public-health template which was developed to reduce injuries on our highways, byways and streets. And the reason that the public health approach to gun violence is nonsense is very simple, namely, that cars are designed to move people from here to there without causing an injury; guns are designed to cause injuries – that’s what guns do. When I hit the brake and my car doesn’t slow down, obviously there’s some kind of defect which needs to be fixed. When I pull out my Glock and shoot me or someone else in the head, my Glock is working exactly the way it was designed to work.

              I have read virtually every single pronouncement by every single medical organization, public health researcher, journalist, advocate and everyone else, and I have yet to see any of them, even one of them mention this obvious and basic fact. So let me state it as simply as I can, okay? Guns aren’t ‘safe.’ That’s not how they work. That’s not what they are designed to do. I have owned guns for more than 60 years. I have sold more than 11,000 guns in my gun shop. I know a little bit more about guns than any of these self-professed medical experts, most of whom have never even put their hands on a gun.

              The physicians who attended the Chicago ‘summit meeting’ will immediately respond by reminding me that there’s something out there called the 2nd Amendment which gives their patients the ‘right’ to own a gun. To which my answer is this: So what? Since when should physicians develop proper responses to medical threats based on whether or not patients have a Constitutional ‘right’ to purchase and own a product which creates that threat?