What Are You Doing on September 25th?

Even if you have something else to do, you might think of coming to DC next week to participate in a national demonstration aimed at getting Congress to pass some rather obvious laws that will reduce gun violence. The laws are such draconian measures as expanding background checks, banning assault rifles, you know, all those terrible infringements on our beloved 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’ Except the only ‘right’ protected by the 2nd Amendment in its current (2008) iteration is to keep a handgun in your home.

That being said, I guarantee you that in the morning’s Judiciary Committee hearing on banning assault rifles, virtually every member of the NRA – oops! – I mean the GOP, will make an impassioned plea to forestall any and all attempts to regulate anything having to do with guns. And what they will all say, because they’ve all said it so many times that they know the script by heart, is that they simply cannot allow a bunch liberal, do-goods from around the country to pressure them into backing down from their sacred duty to protect Constitutional guarantees.

And these do-gooders, incidentally, will represent various organizations from all over the place, and they will get together on the West Lawn of the Capitol Building at 1 P.M. This is hardly the first time that folks have come together in DC to ask Congress to do something, anything about gun violence and it won’t be the last. The simple fact is that most GOP politicians still feel they can respond to gun violence by voicing their thoughts and prayers whenever a particularly nasty shooting takes place. As my grandfather used to say, they’re basically a bunch of “dem fools.”

Incidentally, one of the largest contingents is coming to DC from the Windy City led by Father Pfleger and his Saint Sabina group. The buses they are renting for this trip don’t come cheap, and if you want to help them out you can make a donation right here. You know the old line: Money Talks, Bulls**t Walks.” We’ll hear enough bulls**t from the minority members of the House Judiciary Committee next week, okay?

Let’s get it on, folks. Let’s keep Congress on their toes. Let’s show up in DC next week and get this thing done!

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Why Do We Enact Gun-Control Laws?

              Tuesday night C-Span carried the debate and vote of the House Judiciary Committee about the ‘red flag’ law. The statute was sent to the full House where it will pass and then no doubt languish until sometime next year when the GOP begins to read the tea leaves seriously and decides what legislation will and will not help or hurt them in the 2020 race.

              There’s a chance that three gun bills will be waiting Senate action during the current Congressional session: comprehensive background checks, red-flag laws and another assault-weapons ban. If there’s a blue sweep come next November, we might even seen these bills consolidated into one, major piece of legislation, which would mark the fifth time the Federal Government enacted a gun-control law, the previous laws having been passed in 1934, 1938, 1968 and 1994. The initial assault weapons ban was also enacted in 1994, but it was stuck onto the Omnibus Crime Bill which was also passed that year.

              The four statutes which got the Federal Government into gun-control big time, defined certain guns as being too dangerous for ordinary purchase and sale (1934), defined the role and responsibilities of federally-licensed gun dealers (1938), created the definition of ‘law-abiding’ individuals who could purchase or possess guns (1968), and brought the FBI into the mix to make sure that people who claimed to be law-abiding gun owners were, in fact, what they claimed to be.

              These laws approached the issue of gun control from four different perspectives, but they all shared one common thread; namely, they were enacted to help law enforcement agencies deal with the issue of crime. Here’s the preamble to the 1968 law: “The Congress hereby declares that the purpose of this title is to provide support to Federal, State and local law enforcement officials in their fight against crime and violence….” The other Federal gun laws basically say the same thing. In other words, these laws may have been enacted to regulate the ownership and commerce of guns, but their real purpose was to help fight crime.

              Every other advanced nation-state also enacted gun-control laws, for the most part either before or after World War II. Most of these laws were patterned after our initial law, the National Firearms Act of 1934, but these laws were all different from our gun-control laws in one, crucial respect, namely, they prohibited the purchase of handguns except under the most stringent and restrictive terms.

              Why do we suffer from a level of gun violence that is seven to twenty times’ higher than any other advanced nation-state? Not because we have so many more guns floating around, but because we make it very easy for folks to get access to handguns, which happen to be the guns that kill and injure just about all those 125,000+ Americans every year. Oh, I forgot. Some of them aren’t real Americans. They snuck in here, got on welfare and deserve to get shot.

              The reason that countries like France, Italy and Germany banned handguns had nothing to do with crime. The gun-control laws passed in these and other countries were based on government fear of armed, rebellion from the Left – Socialist and Communist labor unions to be precise. The United States Federal Government also once had to deal with a serious, armed rebellion, but this was a rebellion not about class oppression or workers versus owners. It was a disagreement about race.

              For all the nonsense about how guns keep us ‘free,’ the truth is that owning and carrying a Glock has nothing to do with freedom at all. It has to do with a totally irrational belief that we are surrounded by predators who just can’t wait to invade our homes, beat us up and run off with that wide-screen TV. Since we know this to be a fact, how come the violent-crime rates in countries where nobody can protect themselves with a handgun are lower than the rate of violent crime in the United States?

Josh Montgomery: 7 Tips To Overcome Your Fear Of Guns.

Perhaps you are happy with the Second Amendment, but you’re jittery about carrying a gun, it is high time you get over the fear so that the amendment can benefit you. If you have made up your mind to overcome the anti-gun culture, then adopt the tips in this post to overcome a fear of gun.

Tip #1: Face Your Fears Head On

Just merely seeing a gun makes the guts of some people scream, and seeing someone handle it makes the matter even worse for such people. A good number of people have emotional reaction when they behold this piece of metal called gun, even when it is obvious that the gun is not loaded. So, the first step towards overcoming the fear of gun is to start handling it. You should let someone who is already handling the metal properly to assist you in learning how to hold a gun. You should practice with an unloaded gun.

#2: Proceed to Learning How to Shoot Your Gun

You should move from handling a gun to actually shooting a gun, still under the tutelage of an experienced gun user. One of the things you will learn when you start shooting proper is that it takes a lot of effort to hit a target. You will also get to know that many guns’ trigger pull is so hard that accidental firing isn’t something that comes as simple as some TV shows present it.

Tip #3: Reassess the Gun You’re Using Currently

If it appears you are not getting along with your current gun, you should make a reassessment and see if it’s time to change your gun. For instance, a friend of mine started shooting with a little semi-automatic that he termed mean, but later had to replace it with a revolver that was friendlier.

An experienced gun user can help you make a better selection. You can also rely on your local Federal Firearms License holder to help you get the right gun for you — in fact, the licensed gun guys may be willing to help you sell your current gun and choose a more suited gun for you.  

Those super-portable guns that easily fit into your purse can be hard to control, and are bad tempered. The gentler ones are the big ones, and this is because of their sturdy built. If you are a new gun user, you are likely to shoot better with a gun that is not really trim.

Tip #4:  Get a Friendly Option When You want to Carry

Bear in mind that when it comes to holsters, what you pay is what you get. So, the best bet is to experiment with inexpensive ones, rather than go for the ones that cost a fortune. Particularly for ladies, finding a comfy and friendly way to carry can be a tricky thing.

Also, there are factors such as being straighter or curvier, especially for ladies — there are different carry options for each shape. Also, the different dresses such as pants or skirts or dresses also complicate choice making. The smartest move is to locate the part of your body that a holster wouldn’t be very obtrusive — then you can go ahead and make your choice.

Tip #5: Don’t Practice in a Scary Way

Start working on your aim and a laser grip will help you accomplish this. Get the unloaded gun and point it and subsequently activate the laser, to help you see whether you are aiming well or not. Experiment with different  positions — a ready position,  then a relaxed position.

Next, leave your gun in its holster or storage and start the drill, so that you can practice the entire motion. Try getting the feel of a trigger pull with dry-firing (unloaded gun), accomplished without stress, bang, or even incurring expenses on bullets. This practice is one of the ways to overcome fear and anxiety of shooting an actual gun.

Tip #6: Don’t Get too Worked Up

Also, in order to overcome the fear of guns, you need to loosen up. Perhaps, the International Defensive Pistol Association may be a more fun way for a starter to start getting comfortable with the world of gun. Look for a gun club and get in touch with the person leading the club, so that he can assist you on becoming more familiar with your gun. Even the club members with different shooting experiences won’t hesitate to show you tactics for shooting safely and shooting straight. Well, the point is that the Second Amendment did both good and ill —- good that you can defend yourself if messed-up people pick up the gun to harass or attack you — bad that anyone can now carry gun, thereby empowering the mess-up people to carry and use the gun as they wish.

Tip #7: Watch Video Tutorials on Using and Shooting Gun

It will also be very helpful to locate valuable tutorials on how to start handing and shooting with gun. This will help you learn gun shooting techniques. These tutorials would also provide you with tips on how to overcome the fear of handling and shooting with a gun.

However, when you start to practice shooting gun on your own, especially with a loaded gun, ensure there’s an experienced gun user guiding you. If you must start on your own, do that with unloaded gun as instructed earlier, for safety and other beneficial purposes.

Go ahead and adopt these tips to overcome your fear of guns.

Smith&Wesson vs. Walmart. Guess Who Wins?

I Last week I promised to cut down on writing columns and already did a column this week, but a story out of Delaware caught my eye today and I just need to respond. The story, in a Delaware news website, is based on an interview with some Delaware residents who represent the gun ‘rights’ gang, and of course are extremely disappointed that Walmart has decided to stop selling handgun and assault-rifle ammunition because, after all, keeping a good supply of self-defense ammo around is just as important as making sure that your house gets clean water from the tap.

The problem for these pro-gun guys, of course, is that maybe they don’t need to get a latte at Starbucks or Panera, but there really isn’t anyone who can afford to boycott Walmart when it comes to buying the things we really need. And this creates something of a dilemma for Gun-nut Nation because the only way they can really express their anger or disappointment when a retailer says ‘no’ to guns, is to say ‘no’ right back and take their business somewhere else.

But the comment that really caught my attention was from Jeff Hague, who is identified as President of the Delaware Sportsman’s Association who said this: “It’s a shame (Walmart) made such a bad business decision based on a political issue.” And then he added this line: “I’m just glad I’m not a stockholder.”

That statement about not wanting to own Walmart stock may not be the statement which is furthest from reality in the gun debate this year, but it’s close. And to show you how desperate Gun-nut Nation has become in their efforts to craft a narrative that will bring them back to even with the other side, what Jeff Hague should do is pretend he owns Walmart stock and has decided to sell it so that he can buy stock in Smith&Wesson, just to show that he will put his money where his mouth is when it comes to guns.

Ready? Three years ago, Walmart stock was selling for roughly $70 bucks a share. Yesterday it closed at $115. Three years ago S&W shares were going for $26 a share, yesterday they closed under $6. And Jeff Hague says he’s ‘glad’ he doesn’t own Walmart stock? Does this guy live on the same planet that I live on?

See you next week.

Greg Gibson: Stop The Gun.

Our son Galen was killed in a school shooting in 1992. In the aftermath of shootings like the ones that have taken place recently in Texas and Ohio, and then in Texas again, friends still send emails and texts. They can imagine the pain such incidents evoke, and they want us to know that they’re thinking about us.

 As much as we appreciate these expressions of love and support, and as important as they’ve been to our survival, they’re somewhat off the mark by now. Mass shootings no longer re-awaken the trauma and pain that accompanied Galen’s senseless murder. The fact is, my family doesn’t follow the reports of these incidents very closely. My wife and daughter spend time with friends on social media. My son and I are addicted to what sportswriter Dan Shaughnessy once referred to as Moron Sports Talk Radio. A survival tactic, no doubt.

 When I do turn my attention to reports of mass shootings, I’ve begun to notice a formulaic aspect to way this news is delivered. Reports are likely to feature the 911 call, squad cars and SWAT teams responding, smartphone footage recorded during seconds or minutes of mortal terror, traumatized survivors weeping and hugging, and ambulances wheeling away. The perpetrator, of course, is of interest. Sometimes we even get a mug shot of the crazed young man. We desperately need to know, and we will never know, Why did he do it? If we could figure that out, we think, we might be able to prevent the next one from happening. So we read on. Mass shootings account for only about 2% of gun deaths each year, and yet they suck up a far greater percentage of our attention.

 Without our even being aware of it, we’ve entered into a sort of symbiotic relationship with the phenomenon of mass shootings. The news media commodify reports of these horrific events as “content” and we unwittingly consume this content along with the rest of the news. Not because we need more data in our tireless quest to end gun violence, but because these reports feed our news habit.

 We know that mass shootings have become creepy memes that morph and evolve on the basis of information gathered from prior shootings. Yet we continue to make that information available – in mind-boggling abundance – to the next wave of racists and madmen. I understand that there is not a conscious conspiracy between the news media and the forces of evil. But I do believe the time has come to take a hard look at the role the media play in this problem.

 It’s clear by now that cultural change will be an important factor in reducing gun violence. It’s equally clear that, as much as reporters rely on cultural activity to create content, the content they create helps shape the culture upon which they report.

 Why do we not hear more about the destructive effects of gun violence – 100 deaths each day – on families and communities, particularly among people of color? Where is the reporting on the devastation that trails in the wake of suicide with firearms by teens, vets, and law enforcement officers – which has risen by 30% since 2013? Why do we not hear more about the link between ownership of firearms and domestic violence?

 In my experience, people who are affected on a daily basis by gun violence – people of color who live in specific, socially isolated areas in almost any big city – hardly ever ask why? They’re more interested in how. Ruth Rollins, one of the founding members of Boston’s Operation LIPSTICK told me that when someone is killed in her neighborhood the first thing people want to know is where the gun came from? How did it get into the shooter’s hands? She said, “If you stop that gun you stop a shooting.”

 We need to dispense with the 911 tapes, the second-by-second descriptions of the carnage, the postmortem psychological profiling, and the gnashing of teeth over warning signs disregarded.

 Let’s talk instead about what kind of gun did what kind of damage. We need solid reporting on how the shooter got his hands on the weapons he used, and where they came from. It’s as true in your town as it is on the streets of Roxbury, Massachusetts or El Paso, Texas.

 You stop that gun and you stop a shooting.

Walmart Versus Shannon Watts: Guess Who Wins?

The announcement by Walmart that their stores will no longer sell handgun or assault-rifle ammunition is, if nothing else, a testimony to the hard work and energy of our friend Shannon Watts which has been on display now for the past six years. Shannon began a national gun-control campaign shortly after Sandy Hook focusing on women, particularly women with children, and using public spaces where most women could be found, namely, at the entrance to retail stores, Walmart being at the top of her list.

I remember seeing a group of red-shirted women from MOMS marching in front of the entrance to a Walmart store in 2015.  I had often seen other public advocacy efforts in front of this store, usually people asking shoppers to sign a petition to get someone on the ballot of the upcoming election in the nearby town. But I had never previously encountered anyone marching in front of any public space with messaging that had to do with guns.

Of course right now Shannon’s Walmart strategy has had plenty of help, unfortunately help of the wrong kind. Because until recently, mass shootings were still infrequent enough that if you gave it a couple of days, like any other natural disaster, the media would stop talking about it and public concerns about gun violence would subside. But lately, it seems like once every week a bunch of people get mowed down in a public space.

We’re not talking about an ‘epidemic’ of mass shootings, which means an event which creates a lot of injuries but occurs only from time to time. We are talking about something which, to quote our friend Katherine Christoffel, has become ‘endemic,’ i.e., it’s happening all the time.

The significance of Walmart’s announcement lies in the fact that retail chains tend to watch each other in the same way that drugstore chains are usually clustered where they can keep an eye on what each chain is promoting in a particular week. If overall revenues for Walmart don’t take a hit from this announcement, which I suspect they won’t, it would come as no surprise if other discount chains follow suit. And nobody, but nobody cared when the NRA whined about Walmart’s ‘shameful’ decision.

On the other hand, my friends in Gun-control Nation need to understand that the importance of Walmart’s announcement is much more a symbolic gesture rather than representing anything real. Not that symbols aren’t important – all advocacy relies on symbolic messaging to get their arguments across. But let’s not kid themselves into thinking that a decision by Walmart to pull out of the gun business will have any real impact on injuries from guns.

My gun shop is located less than a mile from a Walmart. The store was never a competitive element when it came to gun sales, because Walmart doesn’t sell handguns and never sold used guns of any kind. And generally speaking, what creates foot traffic in every gun retailing establishment are handguns and used guns of all sorts.

Where Walmart did hurt me was in ammunition sales because there was simply no way I could compete with a big-box’s pricing structure for a commodity as common as ammunition, particularly calibers bought in bulk, like 22LR for target shooting and shotgun shells. But these calibers don’t represent the type of ammo which trauma surgeons have to dig out of people’s chests or heads. I can guarantee you that if I were still doing retail ammunition sales, that within 30 minutes after Walmart’s announcement, my gun wholesaler would have contacted me with a ‘great deal’ on 9mm and 40 S&W rounds.

The real importance of the Walmart announcement is that it places the issue squarely where it belongs – on products that have nothing to do with sporting or hunting guns. In this respect, Shannon has won a major victory that pushes the gun business back to where it really belongs.

Khalil Spencer: It’s Not About Assault Rifles, It’s About Assaults On Decency.

Along with the current discussion about gun control, assault rifle bans, and domestic terrorism, Uncle Sam is working on reinvigorating the nuclear weapons program in New Mexico and South Carolina. Given that a few of us in Northern New Mexico are affiliated with certain large Federal installations involved with making things that can create very large holes in the ground, I see a lot of chatter about both topics. This leaves me uneasy.

Guns and bombs are necessary evils albeit fascinating creations when not employed for their intended purpose. That’s why people enjoy shooting sports, especially with military design rifles, for example, as described here and here. But lethal weapons are solutions of last resort to real problems. Whether someone is kicking down your door or your frontier at o-dark thirty, you need a way to defend yourself. The problem is, when things get to the point of a shooting war, whether in the kitchen or the Ardennes, the less destructive solutions have failed or have been ignored. Cleaning up the blood and lost treasure gets more complicated as weapons become more advanced. During the American Revolution, a few thousand soldiers faced each other and opened fire when they could see the whites of each others eyes. The American Civil War, which bled America white, was the harbinger of WW I with trench warfare and the introduction of modern weapons. Nowadays, advanced heavy weapons and highly lethal infantry weapons (not to mention, nukes) can blow somewhat larger holes in the other side’s strategic interests. High capacity semiauto weapons can drench the neighborhood with a rainsquall of full metal jacket (or jacketed hollow point, I suppose). Or as Bruce Cockburn once sang, “who put that bullet hole in Peggy’s kitchen wall?”. Nowadays, it would be more than one hole. I think Bruce thought up that song when people generally shot at each other with revolvers.

Things won’t get better if we concentrate on more guns and bombs as solutions. There are more of us in the U.S. (and of course on the planet) and here at home, resources are becoming more unequal, leading to rising stress. Our civilization’s reliance on dinosaur juice, methane, and coal to power our cars, homes, and other stuff is on track to double atmospheric CO2 concentrations over Holocene levels by mid-century. This will, by most reputable accounts, lead to global energy retention via the Tyndall effect resulting in heating on the order of 1.5-4 degrees C and the associated climate adjustments that likely are associated with warming (sea level rise, changes in regional precipitation, changes in average temperatures, more extreme weather due to changes in the jet streams, etc). As an aside, note the uncertainties here. We can predict the big picture, but not the details, hence the constant bickering.

If you think forced migration due to climate and political problems is bad now, I suggest a friendly trip in the time machine to see what things will look like in a few decades. For those who are skeptical of forward climate models, we have plenty of historical geochemical records suggesting significant change is likely in the century to come. Even on the regional scale, we see the results on societies of past climate change in the abandoned settlements of the American Southwest and Greenland. I wrote something for the Albuquerque Journal about that here. Far fewer humans lived back then, so there were places to resettle. Where do people resettle in a few years, as their wells run dry and crops wither, now that we live in a No Vacancy world?

Our ability since the Industrial Revolution to change atmospheric chemistry and thus the atmosphere’s ability to retain the sun’s heat, in a nutshell, is why humans can profoundly – at least with respect to our own existence – impact climate.

me, in the Albuquerque Journal


My guess is we will probably deal with climate change using guns and bombs, since that seems to be the historical tradition. Yes, I am increasingly pessimistic. With the world order drifting towards authoritarianism, nationalism, xenophobia, and ethnic/racial extremism and increasingly, with people showing up unannounced at each other’s national doorsteps, I think the stresses will overcome reason. Plus, its been 74 years since we had a world war. Few living today remember what a world war looks like and frankly, I worry that today’s leaders can only see war as an abstraction. Reagan and Gorbachev knew WW II. Putin and Trump do not. My parent’s generation, now pretty much gone, saw it in its smoke, blood, and destruction filled reality.

The bottom line is if we continue to fixate on using Maslow’s Handgun to stave off change rather than hunkering down to fix what is broken, we will kick the underlying problems down the road until a crisis overcomes us and we solve the problems with…guns and bombs. Its the way Homo sapiens has always done it before. Why change now? Because the guns and bombs are too lethal to use? That’s the underlying idea behind deterrence, but it assumes rational actors acting in their best interest. Hmmm. Does anyone see a potential problem with that assumption? Orwell did:

The passage in the Declaration of Independence that starts, “We hold these truths to be self-evident,” with its references to equality, liberty, and happiness, is literally impossible to translate into Newspeak. “The nearest one could come to doing so,” Orwell wrote, “would be to swallow the whole passage up in the single word crimethink.”

Tom Stern, discussing Orwell’s idea of Newspeak.


As Kurt Vonnegut, who himself rode out the WW II Dresden firebombing, ironically enough in a slaughterhouse, would say, “So it goes“. Unless we choose otherwise.

Hello Again.

After I ran yesterday’s column saying that I was closing down this site, I received a great number of emails from readers who wished me all the best but also stated that they were less than happy that MiketheGunGuy was coming to an end. I was actually quite overwhelmed by the response.

So I have decided to keep the blog alive but will contribute only an occasional column because I don’t want my writing to interfere with the promise I made to Katy Palfrey and the Conservation Centers to help them move ahead. In fact, I will probably post some columns about that remarkable effort as well.

Once again I want to ask everyone to consider contributing their thoughts to this blog. I make no editorial requirements of any kind (topic, content, length) as long as you refrain from profanity and personal insults of any kind. And I’m not even concerned about whether you send me a post about something other than guns.

Again, I want to thank everyone who sent me a note asking that I remain active in this space. It’s nice to know that I have built an audience which enjoys what I say, in agreement or not.

It’s Been Fun.

This column will be my 1,412th piece published on this website since May 2, 2013. It will also be the last. Don’t worry – I’m feeling fine and will be around, but it’s time I move onto other things.

Last month I agreed to help a group called Conservation Centers for Animal Survival organize a national fundraising campaign and I simply do not have the time to engage in that important activity and continue to operate this blog.

I hope my efforts here have created some food for thought and I will certainly continue to stay involved in the gun debate.

I want to thank my many Contributing Editors for the articles they wrote, as well as the many readers who took the time to send comments about site content which either excited them or pissed them off. I enjoyed what everyone had to say.

Best wishes and thanks again for your interest in my little endeavor.

Why Do We Believe That A Gun Keeps Us Safe?

              Our friends at UC-Davis have just published an article on the connection between increased gun sales and gun-injury rates. The good news about the article is that it is open source, which means you can download it here and read it for free. So I commend Garen Wintemute and his colleagues for giving everyone in Gun-control Nation an opportunity to share their research findings for free.

              That’s the good news. After I summarize their research and what they learned, I’m going to mention the bad news. And the bad news is what Wintemute and his research team didn’t bother to learn. But first, here’s see what they learned.

              The research covers a ‘spike’ in handgun sales in California in California following the 2012 re-election of The Bomber and the Sandy Hook massacre, two events that occurred within a space of five weeks. The authors define a ‘spike’ as a “sharp and short-lived increase in firearm sales.”  From this, the authors then attempt to test the following hypothesis, namely, that “the sudden and unanticipated influx of firearms in a concentrated area such as a city could result in increases in firearm harm.” The research covered injury data from 499 California cities along with a complete run of handgun sales which are recorded individually and kept by the California DOJ.)

              Here’s where I have to raise a small, red flag. The authors claim that they measured the spike in gun sales from the date of Obama’s election until six weeks post-Sandy Hook. But what this analysis fails to consider is whether the spike was only a response to those two events rather than reflecting the release of pent-up demand which developed prior to Obama’s second win.

              I spent the entire Summer and Fall of 2012 sitting by myself in my gun shop because I didn’t know one, single gun nut who thought that Romney wasn’t going to be inaugurated President in 2013. Even Romney believed this fantasy and so did everyone else. Which is why gun sales collapsed during the run-up to that election, because everyone knows that when the White House is occupied by a Republican, the gun business goes into the toilet, prices collapse and why not wait a few months before buying your next gun? After all, it’s not as if anyone needs to buy another gun.

              If the UC-Davis researchers wanted to get a clear picture of the post-election spike, what they should have done was to factor in the trend of gun sales before the cataclysmic event took place. Gun sales always pick up in November and over the next three to four months, but the comparison should be judged not just by looking forward in time, but also by looking back.

              Did the researchers find an ‘association’ between the gun spike in November-December and an increase in gun injuries over the following year? Of course they did, although the percentage of gun injuries (4%) was substantially less than the percentage increase of handguns that were floating around. Again, I am somewhat leery of how the research team computed what they refer to as ‘excess handguns’ (meaning more guns being sold than were usually the case) because of the issue of pent-up demand.

Okay, now here comes the bad news.

We have all kinds of evidence that gun sales spike after mass shootings or other events that might portend new regulations reducing the availability of guns. Much of this research is referenced by the UC-Davis team. But to me, the question that really matters and that nobody in the public health research domain seems interested in understanding is this: Why do some people actually believe that a gun will protect them from the kind of harm represented by what took place at Sandy Hook?

If public health researchers like Wintemute and his colleagues would sit down and try to figure that one out, maybe just maybe we could hold a reasonable discussion with gun owners about the risk of owning those guns.

Is that too much to ask?