What’s Wrong With Armed, Self-Defense?

              When I got into the gun business back in the 1960’s, if you wanted to buy a handgun, you bought a Smith & Wesson, a Ruger or a Colt. If you wanted a shotgun, you chose from Remington, Winchester, Mossberg or maybe Ithaca Arms. And if you needed a rifle to go out after a white tail, it was a Remington 700, a Winchester Model 70, a Savage, a Marlin or maybe you went high end with a Browning or a Weatherby just for kicks.

              That was then, this is now. And thanks to the invasion of polymer into gun manufacturing, which completely obliterated the distinctive finish and design of each brand, the only thing which determines what gun goes across the counter in the dealer’s shop is price. If you walked around a gun factory in the olden days, you saw a whole bunch of craft shops operating under one roof. Now what you see is one guy sitting in front of a computer, locking a trigger, hammer and barrel assembly into a frame, then carrying the gun from the finishing room into the range where someone shoots it two or three times and it’s good to go.

              Yesterday I received the monthly sales sheet from one of the national gun wholesalers, and I didn’t recognize the name of one company producing a gun being sold to retailers by this distributor at a ‘bargain’ price.  Ever hear of a gun company called TriStar? How about an outfit called Canik? Maybe instead of a name-brand assault rifle like Bushmaster you’d rather buy an AR receiver from Aero Precision, Anderson Manufacturing or a company called Spike’s.

              In all the hue and cry coming from Gun-control Nation, I have never understood why guns are the only consumer products which somehow escape being regulated both in terms of safety and use. Oh no, you say – we can’t regulate the gun industry thanks to the PLCAA law the gun industry received as a gift from George W. Bush in 2005. But as David Kopel has pointed out (and Kopel is no friend of the gun grabbers), PLCCA does not shield the gun industry from any liability if someone uses a gun in a ‘lawful’ way and injures someone else. In other words, after I pull out my Glock and shoot you in the head, I still have done nothing wrong if I can just convince the cops that I was protecting myself from a threat.

              This idea that we should all be carrying guns to protect ourselves has a long and storied history in the United States, going back to when we were still a bunch of colonies operating under British Common Law. But Common Law doesn’t recognize the use of violence to prevent violence unless you happen to be wearing a Crown on your head. And the idea that ‘stand your ground’ laws reflect how White men stole land away from indigenous tribes is total nonsense because White men stole millions of square miles from indigenous peoples in Australia and South Africa and neither country has ever promulgated a ‘stand your ground’ law.

              I am still waiting for the very first attempt by all my public-health researcher friends to explain how and why a majority of Americans believe that keeping a gun around is the best way to defend themselves from crime. As of last year, Gallup says that 37% of American homes contain a gun.  Meanwhile, a majority of Americans also told Gallup they believed the country would be a safer place if more people were walking around with guns. Think the NRA is the reason why even many non-gun owners believe in armed, self-defense? It’s the other way around.

              This country has a unique love affair with small arms, and I’m in the process of writing a book that will attempt to explain it but don’t hold your breath. I don’t even really understand why I’m a gun nut, so how could I possibly figure out anyone else?

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8 thoughts on “What’s Wrong With Armed, Self-Defense?

  1. You’re a gun nut because they are interesting. Firearms do have a power which makes firing them exciting. There is also history involved with firearms: even the new polymer pistols. 200 years from now, if people are still around, someone will point to it and say the technology made it easy for people to access firearms.

  2. People in many countries are today socialized by TV, movies and now violent video games to think firearms have valuable uses but people in other countries don’t have the access to firearms we do so cannot do their virtuous violence as easily as we can. Fiske’s book which I have only read part of may hold some answers (that is the book in the image above). But what I just said does not account for the older times in this country. but people still were influenced by what they saw and heard from others.

  3. ” In all the hue and cry coming from Gun-control Nation, I have never understood why guns are the only consumer products which somehow escape being regulated both in terms of safety and use. Oh no, you say – we can’t regulate the gun industry thanks to the PLCAA law the gun industry received as a gift from George W. Bush in 2005.”

    Just the opposite really. Gun companies are liable if they cause injury and death if you are using them as intended. See the suit against the Remington 700 and their trigger issues. SIG Saur was recently sued when an officer was injured when is P320 went off when the gun was still holstered. And as a (former?) gun shop owner, I’m sure you’ve seen the constant influx of recall notices. Hell there was a joke a few years back that all new Rugers came with a flat rate shipping box so you could send them back to the factory for recall upgrades.

    SIG and Remington have their injuries in those suits, but for all the recalls of Rugers, I’m unaware of any injuries, and I’ve actually read a ton of articles where people were unable to replicate the malfunction.

    That being said I would argue that the Gun Industry does have an exclusivity, and that is being attacked for misuse of their products.

    When Teddy Kennedy was directly involved in the wrongful death of Ms. Mary Joe Kopechne, while mostly his involvement was swept under the rug, Nobody mentioned that Chevis Regal or Oldsmobile should bare some responsibility to the young woman’s death in a submerged automobile.

    Lawsuits against cigarettes aren’t even close, as to properly use a Lucky Strike one must place the butt in their mouth and set the other end on fire and inhale the resulting smoke, and while not all smokers will die of cancer, the risks are VERY high, and the risks of other life-threatening chronic conditions is near certain.

    Meanwhile Bushmaster was sued because their rifle was used to murder people in the Beltway serial killings in 2002. Despite the fact that
    1) Murder is illegal, and one of the killers was actually executed for this.
    2) Both killers were prohibited from possessing firearms of any kind.
    3) the rifle was stolen property (arguments could be made about the store’s security, but what does this have to do with Bushmaster?)

    Yet Bushmaster was sued, and much to the glee of gun-grabber nation ended up settling out of court because of the cost-prohibitive nature of lawsuits.

    I will further note of all the suits filed by the Brady Campaign, from the Clinton Administration to the most recent case against Lucky Gunner, no a single case was won. Several were settled, several were dismissed, but not once did a judge rule that gun makers have any culpability in criminal use of their products.

    Any more than Scotch and Automobiles have culpability on drunk driving.

    • Still going forward last I heard, and that one IMHO is bad in its intention, and foolish given the circumstance (The killer didn’t BUY the rifle, he murdered his mother and STOLE it, so to claim marketing was a factor is going to be tough) Its not a lawsuit about the RIFLE, it’s about the ADVERTISEMENTS for the rifle.

      As I mentioned above, I think the suit isn’t a winner, but I see nothing wrong with holding gun companies liable for advertisements that glorify illegal activities. I also don’t see it as much of an issue, when people get upset by gun marketing it’s more of a Rorschach test than actual directed marketing IMHO.

      • Do they advertise illegal acts? I’ve seen some awful ads but thought it was always kept short of that. Admittedly some ads certainly make me roll my eyes.

        I thought the “Man Card’ ad was abysmal and wondered at the time if such advertising might lead to a negligent entrustment suit when someone’s “man card” drives him to um…ejaculate bullets. It could still be a stretch but to advertise black rifles as penis substitutes or for handling the zombie apocalypse, at a time of serious tension about illegal immigrants, does worry me. Of course the standard for sketchy advertisements that encourage illegal conduct still belongs to the auto industry: closed course, professional driver, don’t try this at home. Yeah, sure. You betcha.

        I’ve no problem at all that people admire and can buy military style rifles or actual military rifles. We’ve always been able to buy them and in fact the CMP has encouraged it with M1 and 1911 buys. Its just that any guns are serious business and these weapons especially so: they carry the honor of the armed forces with them and the gun buying public should respect that heritage. The gun companies should be a little more circumspect. Sales are not everything. Especially if such advertising ends up with people sending more checks to Brady and Moms.

  4. God Bless America.

    In 2014, a New York woman sued Showtime Networks, CBS Outdoor Americas, the City of New York, and two transit authorities for an injury she sustained in a fall triggered by a scary poster. The woman claimed she was on a staircase in Grand Central Terminal when she spotted an ad for the TV show “Dexter.” The ad featured a photo of Michael C. Hall, who plays a serial killer on the show, with his face covered by cellophane.

    The woman alleged that the image was a “shockvertisement” that was so disturbing it caused her to fall down the stairs. She claimed the defendants were liable for injuries she sustained to her right foot and ankle.

    I love this country…

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