About mikethegunguy

Author of 7 gun books and more than 1,000 gun columns on my website and Huffington Post. Lifetime Patriot Legacy NRA member. Gun retailer, wholesaler, importer and safety trainer.

A New And Different Book On The 2nd Amendment.

I hereby issue an invitation to Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, a radical activist and author who has just published a book about guns: Loaded – A Disarming History of the 2nd Amendment – to attend my gun safety course that is required in my state – Massachusetts – before someone can apply for a license to own or carry a gun. The reason I want Ms. Dunbar-Ortiz to visit my gun class is I think she might gain some fundamental correctives about why some but not all Americans are so invested in the ownership and use of guns.

loaded             The author’s thesis is that today’s gun culture grows out of an amalgam of racist ideologies and practices which justified gun ownership as a necessary adjunct to the settlement and exploitation of the wilderness with the consequent destruction of Native American communities, followed by the subjugation of the few surviving indigenous peoples as well as African-American slaves. Since this process could only be accomplished by armed force, the 2nd Amendment was inserted into the Constitution to give legal sanction for the emergence of a nation state ruled by white men. I think that’s what she’s trying to say.

The reason I would like Ms. Dunbar-Ortiz to come to my class is because she will spend some time with some folks who may decide to purchase and own a gun after they finish my safety course, which means going to the local police department, getting photographed and fingerprinted and having their backgrounds checked. Is there the slightest possibility that a single person in this class gives one rat’s damn about how the Wampanoag Indians got chased out of the Bay Colony in 1676 by a bunch of white men who wanted more land? That may sound like a pretty heartless thing to say, but such thoughts are the furthest from anyone’s mind.

Ms. Dunbar-Ortiz would like us to believe that current-day gun ‘culture’ isn’t just a figment of the gun industry’s fertile imagination to create the idea that guns are necessary to protect us from real or imagined harm.  In that respect she critiques the study by Pamela Haag (The Gunning of America) of how Winchester marketed its products noting that this work too narrowly construes the importance of the 2nd Amendment in justifying the conquest of Native American lands long before the Winchester Repeating Rifle helped ‘win’ the West. What Dunbar-Ortiz ignores is the fact that the tool which wiped out Native American society wasn’t the gun, it was the plow. Hence, the decision by Winchester to concoct a marketing scheme.

I am sure the students in my gun safety classes would respond politely to Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s attempt to make the 2nd Amendment the deus ex machina for everything and anything having to do with guns. I also suspect they wouldn’t really understand anything she says. Because the truth is that folks who decide they need a gun to defend themselves aren’t going to spend one second thinking about whether the gun they buy and the Constitutional statute which protects that purchase has any historical or cultural meaning at all. They are going to buy a gun because they believe in some fashion or another that having a gun will protect them from crime.

I support gun ownership but I don’t support the idea that anyone should walk around armed just because they think it’s the thing to do. They need lots of training and they need to meet a government-mandated proficiency standard before they can walk around carrying a gun. And none of those requirements in any way limit or threaten so-called 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’

I only wish that someone as experienced and knowledgeable as Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz had written about the 2nd Amendment in a manner that would make her book accurate and relevant when it comes to the issues of safe gun use that gun-control advocates deal with every day.

As for the final sentence of her book about ‘you’ll never have justice on stolen land.’ How profound.

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Contributing Editor Josh Montgomery – 5 BEST AIR RIFLE SCOPES – WHICH ONE SHOULD YOU GET?

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Mike the Gun Guy Magazine welcomes Josh Montgomery, founder and writer for Minute Man Review, a really great 2nd Amendment and gun blog which contains a diversified list of articles, all written in a solid and informative style.

I like the idea of not just posting whole columns, but linking to work that our Contributing Editors published somewhere else.  Here’s the link to Josh’s fine piece.

Contributing Editor Ashley Johnson: The 10 Commandments of Gun Safety

Firearms are savage, and need all the care in the world. Being a slouch is no option while holding one in your hands, because the trigger can’t be trusted. As fascinating a firearm might look, it isn’t meant to tote around like a toy and must be stacked really safely. Even if you’ve a knack for guns, you shouldn’t feel too comfortable while handling them, because a moment of negligence or slacking off can cost you dearly.

Before a gun does a loss or an irreparable damage to you, it’s time for you to learn the 10 commandments to firearm safety and dodge the bullet. If you’ve a gun and want to improve the way you handle it, drop everything you’re doing and read this post NOW.

ten commandments

1. Be Wary of Gun’s Muzzle

Nothing’s certain with a gun unless it happens. As a rule of thumb, don’t ever point the muzzle at anything, which isn’t your target, even when it’s unloaded. Better yet, make it a habit of pointing the muzzle in safe directions while loading/unloading the gun. Get this rule etched in your mind, because most of the gun accidents involve an owner being lax to which direction the muzzle is pointing it, and the gun discipline in general.

2. See What’s Your Target and Beyond It

Once a bullet shoots off, it can go here, there, anywhere. It’s on the prowl to seek its target, and any semblance of control is rightly eliminated when it strikes off something which isn’t the target at first place. Plus, it isn’t just about right targeting, but also about being mindful of what surface you’re aiming your fire at. Since bullets can ricochet off certain surfaces, like trees, rocks and metal, and pose an elaborate risk to the people nearby, you should be double sure before firing.

3. Unload when not in Use

There is nothing worse than an accidental fatality. Though it is understandable that one should always be on guard with respect to safety and security, it is recommended that firearms should always be unloaded when not in use.  Whether you are camping, practicing targets or any other activity, the firearm should be unloaded completely, including the removal of any ammunition in the chamber or in the magazine. Additionally, ensure that your gun is kept well out of your loved ones’ reach even when it’s securely unloaded. Remember that safe storage is as important as safe upkeep of the firearm.

4. Always Keep Your Finger Off the Trigger

It is kind of a given fact that since the trigger holds the ultimate power of the gun, it is essential that you don’t regulate this responsibility carelessly. Unless absolutely necessary, ensure that your finger stays away from the trigger and the muzzle is always facing upwards. This guideline comes in without a rule book and should be more of an instinct than a guideline. While the movies have spoilt us for good with our thirst for enacting that perfect shootout scene, it is essential to remember that reel life is very different from the real life where there is no coming back from the fatal consequences.

5. Don’t Solely Rely on the Firearm ‘Safety’ Mechanism

Though the safety mechanism has been given to ensure that you don’t pull the trigger in a reckless manner, yet your gun cannot be solely responsible for preventing any mishap. As a firearm bearer and user, it’s your responsibility to ensure that the safety mechanism is complied with. Treat your gun like a machine that it is and not a human that understands the viability of safety and security. It’s prone to failures like any other. For instance, while travelling, carrying your gun rashly or fiddling with it can disengage it, and requires you to keep a constant check on how your firearm is behaving. Be wary of not pulling the trigger and keep your fingers away while loading/unloading the gun(gun safe).

6. Handle your Gun with Care When It Fails to Fire

There are many instances when your gun might fail you and not shoot as required. At this point, keep your ammunition at a safe distance and direct it right. Keep the muzzle away from your face, put it down carefully, engage the safety position and while keeping your fingers far away from the trigger, gently release the cartridge safely. Always remember that this is a sensitive situation and though your ammunition failed to fire on time, it holds equal chances in discharging at any point later. Thereby, it’s essential to be vigilant and stay safe.

7. Use Proper Ammunition

Every gun is different. Failure to understand this essentiality of firearms can lead to fatal consequences. Every ammunition is designed keeping in mind the specific calibre, distance and gauge. Slight lethargy with respect to handling and the nature of the gun can lead to hazardous and dangerous conclusions. Therefore, it’s advised to buy the best suited ammunition from a reputed manufacturer. Or else, you’ll be put under the liability of breach of safety and security.

8. Always Wear the Proper Protection Gear

While handling ammunition, it goes without saying that self protection is one of the key commandments that you HAVE to adhere to before delving into showing your blazing skills. With the right protective gear, especially for the eyes and ears, you protect yourself from the reactive elements, gun reactions, bullet shells and elements of the unfavorable surroundings. Moreover, with these gears, you are in the position to take snap decisions without endangering the lives of people around you.

9. Learn the Mechanical and Handling Characteristics of Ammunition You’re using

Before one starts using the firearm at hand, it’s necessary to understand the dimensions and design of the potentially lethal object. No one should be given the responsibility to handling a firearm without having an end to end idea of its working, structure, mechanical provisions and characteristics that make it unique to the user as well as the situation. With the correct and complete knowledge, the user gets the opportunity to leverage the situation to his/her advantage without jeopardizing the sensitivity of the environment, or the lives of people around him.

10. Don’t Alter or Modify Your Gun and Have it Serviced Regularly

Your gun has been designed in a specific manner. With special designs and layout, it’s mandatory for you to blend your usage with the design of the ammunition at hand. Like any other mechanical substance, your gun is subject to wear and tear, and it’s your duty to focus on its upkeep. Ensure that the barrel, trigger and the outer body stay clear of any obstruction, giving you an easy access during any emergency. In case of a long time storage or an exposure to unfavourable weather, ensure that your gun undergoes an end-to-end cleanup.

You may be well into basics, but still, situational errors are a thing and we request you to make quick amends to how you’re dealing with gun if you’ve been doing it all wrong so far. In this guide, we’ve covered almost the entire cache of safekeeping your guns. If you’ve anything to include, write it down to us in the comments below.

 

 

 

Want To Know What Happened In Vegas? We Still Don’t Know.

After the Sandy Hook massacre, initial media statements were confused and often contradictory to the point that online conspiracy hawkers like Alex Jones had a field day ‘proving’ that the assault never took place. Now that more than three months have passed since the Las Vegas shooting and the unanswered questions continue to pile up, I’m surprised that we haven’t yet seen a new wave of conspiracy explanations to explain how and why the ‘real’ events on October 1st actually occurred.

LV2             Last week the FBI unsealed 448 pages of documents covering more than 20 searches conducted to figure out a possible motive for what Steve Paddock did. Given the fact that the hotel space he occupied was a crime scene and that he lived in one residence located in the town of Mesquite, why were so many warrants drawn up by the FBI? Because nowadays if you want to figure out anything about anyone, start by looking through the computer and/or the droid, then check out every online shopping and messaging account. And if you want to see if someone posted on Facebook, or Instagram, or bought something from Amazon, each of these venues requires a separate search.

What the newly-released documents in this case don’t tell us is anything beyond what we already knew. Paddock didn’t have a Facebook page; his emails were often sent to himself; he purchased a few items from Amazon, and that’s about it.  Between his house and the hotel room at Mandalay Bay he evidently owned more than 30 weapons, along with a large stash of ammunition, various tools, body armor and other crap. He also banked online like everyone else.

What law enforcement now knows about Paddock’s behavior and motives is more or less what they knew before they went through all this legal rigmarole to gain access to the shooter’s private life.  Or to put it differently, I read through the entire 488 pages released by the District Court, and I didn’t learn anything beyond what I knew within one day after the Las Vegas shooting took place – the guy took a bunch of legally-owned guns into a hotel room and began blasting away.

But leave it to our friends in law enforcement to use this documentary pile to develop some totally-unverified theories about what Paddock did and why, and then leave it to the media to take those theories and embellish them further. Then leave it to journalists who concentrate on gun news to embellish this ‘fake news’ a little more.

Today’s daily newsletter from our friends at The Trace contains this interesting comment about the Las Vegas document release:

According to investigators, the perpetrator intentionally sought to thwart their efforts, in part by buying many of his dozens of firearms online.  Private dealers who peddle guns over the internet are not required to run background checks on buyers, nor maintain the paper trail that ATF agents follow when linking crime weapons to licensed sellers.

 

This comment links to a story in a Las Vegas paper which claims the guns came from “internet retailers,” a statement linked back to an FBI ‘spokesman’ who said that Paddock’s ‘methodical planning’ was making it more difficult for law enforcement to figure everything out.

So The Trace refers to ‘private dealers’ but the media story says that Paddock purchased his weapons from ‘online retailers,’ which if that’s the case, none of those gun purchases would have been hidden from view. It may still come as a shock to some of my friends in the gun violence prevention (GVP) community, but buying guns on the internet and keeping such transfers immune from a background check may or may not have any connection at all.

Back on October 5th and again on October 12th and a third time on October 26th I wrote columns arguing that we didn’t know much, if anything, about what happened on October 1st. Don’t hold your breath.

In Memoriam – Dr. Martin Luther King

On April 30, 1967, I found myself at a big anti-war demonstration in New York’s Central Park. As the event wound down a bunch of us left the park, walked over to Broadway, then all the way uptown to a neighborhood known as Morningside Heights where we then squeezed ourselves into a monumental edifice known then and now as Riverside Church. We were there to listen to a speech delivered by Martin Luther King which as he began his address we realized that he was going to say something remarkable, vibrant and new.

king This speech marked a momentous turning-point in the growing public resistance to the Viet Nam War. The fighting in Southeast Asia had already produced nearly 20,000 casualties but the worst still lay ahead, particularly in 1968 after Tet; a majority of the public and certainly the media still supported the idea that a gradual troop withdrawal might succeed; Gene McCarthy’s anti-war Presidential campaign was six months’ away; Lyndon Johnson had not yet announced that he wouldn’t seek another term.

When King said he was going to break publicly with Johnson and the Democratic Party over Viet Nam, many people, including other civil rights leaders, denounced his decision as an unfortunate and untimely challenge against the ally whose ability to push civil rights legislation through Congress had resulted in dramatic legal changes to the status of African-Americans and their relationship to whites. Nevertheless, King felt he had no choice but to move from the politics of racial equality to the politics of peace, because what made racial inequality so objectionable was the degree to which legal barriers to African-American racial equality resulted in even greater barriers against economic equality as well. As he said in his remarks, “it is estimated that we spend $500,000 to kill each enemy soldier, while we spend fifty-three dollars for each person classified as poor.”

I sometimes wonder what might have happened had King not been gunned down a year later and instead been able to unite the civil rights and anti-war movements into a successful political effort for serious social and economic change. But there’s no value in thinking about what might have been; what we need to do is think about what is, and how Dr. King’s words can help us understand what we now need to do. And here is what King said which brings his views from fifty years ago into focus today: “I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without first having spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government.”

In the current climate it’s simple and easy to point an accusatory finger at our government; after all we have a President who promotes and endorses violence every chance he gets. And a day doesn’t go by without him bragging about how he’s going to increase military spending while gutting every social program he can.

But when Barack Obama took office in 2009 we had troops stationed in more than 1,000 locations outside the United States. When he left office in 2016 that number hadn’t changed. In his first year alone he approved more drone strikes than his predecessor allowed in his entire eight years. Meanwhile, every time there was a mass shooting he went on television and cried and cried and cried.

My public health friends who do research on gun violence never forget to remind us that the reason we suffer more than 120,000 gun injuries each year is because we own so many guns. But if you think there’s no connection between the existence of 300 million privately-owned firearms and what we lavish on our military, think again. In 2015 the world spent $1.6 trillion on military goods and services, of which we spent nearly 40% of that figure all by ourselves.

Want to reduce gun violence? Take seriously what Dr. King preached in 1967 and ask where the real cause of this violence lies.

GVPedia – Good To Go!

Every once in a while, someone comes along with a really bright idea for doing something positive or useful about reducing gun violence. Not that joining an advocacy group or sending an email to your local Congressman isn’t a positive idea, but it’s not very new. On the other hand, there’s a young man sitting, of all places in Oklahoma, who has done something positive and new to reduce gun violence, which is funny given the Oklahoma is probably the most gun-rich state of all.

GVPedia             I’m talking about Devin Hughes and a new website, GVPedia, which had a soft launch last month and now is good to go. The site is basically a reference library containing publications which inform about gun violence, and to his credit, the collection of more than 700 articles includes work on both sides of the gun debate – I suspect this is the only online venue which allows a visitor to access articles written by David Hemenway and John Lott. But if you want to create a credible knowledge source about any topic, then you need to include all points of view.

The website bibliography can be searched either by topic or the usual a to z. There is also a small but growing collection of ‘white papers’ designed to give members of the gun violence prevention (GVP) community some basic information and talking-points if/when they find themselves in a public or private discussion about guns. I understand that plans are afoot to make the site more dynamic, including sponsoring gun-violence research, developing infographics that could be used for online debates – all of these activities and others being directed by Jen Pauliukonis, whose GVP creds are far beyond reproach.

So that’s the good news, and I want to congratulate Devin, his Board members and his major financial supporter (who wishes to remain anonymous but it’s not Mayor Mike) for moving this whole effort forward and getting it online. But that was the easy part, now the heavy lifting begins.

First and foremost (and I’m sure Devin and his crew have been talking about this but it needs to be said publicly nonetheless) even though GVPedia is unique to the discussion about guns, this uniqueness in and of itself doesn’t mean that the site and its associated activities will necessarily get the exposure or public presence which it deserves and needs. As much as I believe that the 1st Amendment should apply to what appears on the web, I find sometimes myself thinking that maybe getting rid of net neutrality isn’t such a bad idea. Because if nothing else, eliminating open access might (but might not) tend to curb some of the excessive digital content which continues to grow every day. I put up my first website, believe it or not, in 1995. And it was easy to build an audience because where else were the early internet surfers going to go?

I have an idea for getting GVPedia noticed, however, by a very wide audience, an idea which may or may not align with the strategies of the website’s managers, but perhaps should be taken into account.  I would run some notices on websites, blogs and Facebook pages not just favored by the GVP, but used by Gun-nut Nation to communicate amongst themselves.  For example, I belong to a bunch of private Facebook groups which promote guns; one of them is devoted to building your own AR-15 and more than 75,000 people have joined. One of the Glock private groups on Facebook enlists more than 30,000 followers – such numbers aren’t unusual on many of the better-known gun blogs.

Donald Trump started a ‘university’ so that he could peddle some drek. By opening GVPedia to researchers from both sides of the gun debate, Devin and his crew have made it very clear that the ultimate value of this effort rests on a search for truth. So why not invite everyone to join the search?

And by the way, GVPedia is a 501(c)(3). Send them a few bucks.

There’s Nothing Like A Good Story To Help Sell Guns.

Sooner or later someone in the gun business would figure out how to merge reality with fantasy and take advantage of the upsurge in left-wing political activities since the election of the nut-job known as Donald Trump.  It started with the home-school queen, Dana Loesch, who popped up in an NRA video production whining about threats posed by the Left. She goes on and on about how the Left is doing one dangerous and violent thing after another and her rant concluded with, “the only way we save our country and our freedom is to fight this violence of lies with a clenched fist of truth.”

tactical              Now notice – no mention of guns, no mention of armed, self-defense – the whole thing is about as subtle as getting whacked over the head with a two-by-four. But now a gun company, admittedly not yet a major player in the industry, has started running messaging on its Facebook page which explicitly takes Dana’s message about fighting left-wing violence to another level and making the clearest possible connection between politics and armed, self-defense; in this case, using an AR-15 assault rifle to defend everything that patriots hold dear.

The company is called Spike’s Tactical out of Florida, which sells various AR-15 models and claims they build the finest AR-15’s ‘on the planet,’ even though every other AR outfit basically says the same thing.  The good news about the AR design is that it’s kind of like a Lego set; you can buy all the individual parts and put the gun together any way you want. The bad news is that AR sales have hit rock bottom, the proof is simply the fact that the new guns cost about half of what they were selling for during the heady days of the Obama regime.

When assault rifles first hit the market as a mass product, the gun industry tried to picture them as nothing more than just another type of ‘sporting’ gun, no different from any other rifle that a hunter or sportsman would take into the field. The industry even invented a new term, the ‘modern sporting rifle,’ as if there was the slightest similarity between these guns which take 30-round magazines and the Browning or Remington semi-auto hunting rifles which held 4 or 5 rounds. This attempt to present the AR as just nothing other than a 21st-century version of the Daisy Red Ryder found under every Christmas tree began to take some serious lumps after a guy stuck his ‘sporting gun’ out of a hotel window in Vegas, killing or wounding more than 600 folks, but leave it to the fertile imaginations of the people selling guns at Spike’s Tactical to turn the idea of ‘sporting arms’ on its head and make the concept of killing people with an AR-15 a virtue instead of a vice.

The release of the ad, which shows four armed citizens protecting us from a murderous, threatening Antifa bunch, happened to appear at the same time that one of America’s most beloved patriots, Cliven (‘let me tell you about your Negro’) Bundy, had all the charges against him and his sons dropped that came out of the standoff at his ranch in 2014. And as soon as he emerged from the courtroom, ol’ Clive made it clear that he’s ready to resume his fight. His Facebook page is already selling sweat shirts and I’m sure there’s more consumer crap to come.

If I were the owner of a tactical gun company, I would release a Cliven Bundy limited edition rifle, complete with a carrying case and t-shirt because the profit is always in the add-ons, and I notice that Spike’s Tactical is already promoting a clothing company under another brand name. The point is that notwithstanding the usual liberal lament about how the gun industry increasingly pushes products toward the most extreme elements on the alt-right, the truth is that what works for the gun business best of all is messaging based on fantasy, not on fear.