News and Notes – Vol. 1

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This pic is what opens up on your computer monitor when you receive an email from the EZ2C company which sells targets.  It’s an outfit in Pennsylvania, they sell their targets at local gun shows each weekend and online.

Paper targets.  Know how much paper targets cost?  You gotta sell lot of targets.

But give these guys credit.  They know their customers.

And you think that people own guns for self-defense?

How Much Dough Does The NRA Give To Its Political Friends? Not What You Think.

Now that the faithful are gathering in Dallas for their annual toy show, mainstream media will start revving up their usual scare stories about the NRA’s ‘power’ and ‘influence,’ with the usual stories about the gazillions of dollars that the gun lobby’s Congressional toadies receive for their campaigns. The only problem with these stories, which give gun-control organizations a hook they can use to pull in some more dough, is that the cash machine in Fairfax really isn’t any kind of fundraising juggernaut. In fact, when you look at the numbers, it turns out that NRA financial support for pro-gun Senators and Congressmen adds up to very little at all.

NRA show             Let’s look at the 2016 election cycle data published by Open Secrets, which gives pretty reliable numbers for what the NRA and every other politically-active organization spends on candidates running for the Senate and the House.  In 2016 the NRA paid out $834,115 to 278 lucky recipients, which works out to $3,000 apiece.  Some got more, others got less, but the bottom line is that promising the NRA that you will vote their way means you’ll get, on average, three grand for your Congressional campaign. Total spending for Congressional races in 2016 ran slightly above $4 billion, with individual Senate races costing $1.5 million and each House race running 500 grand. Bottom line:  if you want to run for a House seat, after your campaign cashes that big, fat NRA check, you still have to raise another $497,000 from somewhere else.

There are some public servants who are so craven to the 2nd Amendment that they receive considerably more dough from the Fairfax boys; take for example, Senator Roy Blunt.  Our boy Roy has pulled in $1,488,706 from the NRA over the course of his Congressional career, and that’s not chopped liver even in my book. But since Blunt is one of the Senate guys who will always do whatever he can to stop any meaningful gun-law reform (or any gun controls of any kind, for that matter) he’s worth every NRA dime, right?  But if you go back and look at how much money Blunt has raised since he began his Congressional career in 1996, the total runs to more than $53 million. In other words, the NRA’s dollars represent less than 3 percent.

Want a few other examples of what NRA donations mean to their Congressional friends? Barbara Comstock (R-VA) raised $2,785,000 to hold onto her House seat in 2016; she got $10,400 in ‘blood money,’ which is 3/10ths of one percent. Dickie Burr, the red Senator from North Carolina, was the recipient of $8,900 dollars’ worth of NRA largesse, which represented one-sixteenth of one percent of the nearly 13 million that he raised. On the other hand, the $9,900 that Frank Guinta received from America’s first civil rights organization actually amounted to a whole, big six-tenths of one percent of the money he raised to defend his Congressional seat. By the way, he lost.

When our friend Shannon Watts first became a thorn in the gun industry’s side, the pro-gun trolls made a big deal about how she worked for Monsanto and helped the chemical company poison the earth. I don’t notice any of those hapless morons being in the slightest bit concerned when that same company gave Roy Blunt $117,900 over the last five years. Now that’s serious money – not the chicken-feed dispensed by the NRA.

Like it or not, there happen to be a lot of Americans who believe they should have the ‘right’ to own a gun, even if many of them don’t own guns. And politicians representing that constituency are going to vote for 2nd-Amendment ‘rights,’ NRA dollars or not. What our friends in the gun-control movement need to figure out is why so many people believe the nonsense which says that a gun is more of a benefit than a risk, a more challenging task than just complaining about the ‘powerful’ NRA.

 

 

 

 

Does Either Side In The Gun Violence Debate Know Anything About Guns?

Nothing has been as joyfully received by Gun-nut Nation than the surge of gun-control activism following the Parkland massacre event. Because there’s nothing like a healthy and noisy opposition to get people interested again in buying guns. I’m willing to bet that gun sales, which have been in the toilet since Draft Dodger Don took the oath, will probably start moving back up. And DDD has now agreed to show up at the NRA, which will provoke more outrage from the other side, leading to more interest in guns.

NRA show             Yesterday our friends at The Trace sent out their daily newsletter with a story about a pro-gun rally in Minnesota which may have drawn as many as 2,000 hardy souls, along with another rally of red-blooded patriots which ‘packed’ the Pennsylvania State House to celebrate the annual rally to ‘Protect Your Right to Keep and Bear Arms.’ These two events probably brought 5,000 freedom-loving Americans together to celebrate their ‘God-given gun rights’ but I doubt if these events would have drawn a fraction of those numbers were it not for the Parkland kids.

What I find most interesting in the increased attention being paid to gun violence is the degree to which both sides find it convenient to wrap their strategies and beliefs around ideas which have absolutely no basis in truth. Gun Nuts are an easy target in this respect, because some of them, particularly the ones who troll my Facebook page, really believe that owning a gun is a God-given ‘right.’ Now the fact that our legal system is based on a secular document drawn up by a bunch of lawyers who spent a hot summer in Philadelphia, doesn’t mean that what these proponents of gun ‘rights’ either say or believe should ever be tested against what happens to be true.

But when it comes to arguing about guns, don’t make the mistake of thinking that stupidity only comes from the pro-gun crowd. Because there’s plenty of stupidity and dumbness on the gun violence prevention (GVP) side as well, a recent column on the Vox website easily making the grade. The Vox piece cites an article which recently appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine in which the first sentence says, “Despite the high rates of unintentional firearm injuries…” and then cites three articles which don’t say anything about whether gun accident rates are high or not. The articles just say that gun injuries occur in homes which contain guns. Wow! What a remarkable finding; i.e., you need to own a gun in order to get injured when it goes off.

The NEJM article which found a reduction in gun accidents during NRA shows went all through the GVP media mélange like a horse let out to eat in a field where the grass was just cut. I mean, it tore through the GVP world and now is tearing through it again because the NRA show is coming right up.

The authors claim they used a “beneficiary-level multivariable linear regression of firearm injury,” which is short-hand for telling all you boobs out there that this is really an evidence-based piece of work.  It is so evidence-based that the authors didn’t even stop to ask why the NRA show happens to be scheduled every year at roughly the same time, and how this scheduling might play a role in how and when gun accidents occur.

The NRA show, which is usually but not always located in a Southern state, and draws most of its attendees from the South, just happens to be scheduled when hunting seasons in all Southern states have come to an end and just before folks start thinking about the beach. Guns don’t compete with the beach. And hunting accidents always go down just before and after hunting season comes to an end.

For all their hifalutin jargon, these public health researchers concocted a study examining a certain type of behavior about which they know nothing, not the slightest bit. But that didn’t stop Vox from taking this nonsense and making it a ‘must read’ for the gun-control side.  After all, why let facts get in the way of opinions, right?

Greg Gibson: The Delusion About Gun Violence.

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 The impressive wound ballistics of the AR-15 are not accidental. The thing was designed to do what it does. A .223 round impacts with such velocity that it generates an explosive shock wave inside the target. Also, the bullet will tumble, enhancing its destructive properties. Don’t let anyone fool you. We may not be able to settle on a decisive characterization of an “assault rifle,” but an AR chambered for a .223 round will make a mess of a human body – exactly as it was designed to do. And it will do so thirty, fifty, or many more rounds in short order, depending on how fast the lunatic on the other end can pull the trigger and swap out his mags. The industry’s characterization of this type of weapon as a “modern sporting rifle” is an obscenity.

Fortunately for the college at which he went berserk, my son’s killer was financially constrained. Furthermore, he was a novice, having never fired a gun before he went on his campus shooting spree. He settled on a used SKS, a cheap carbine that fired the lower-velocity 7.62 x 39 mm round. He purchased a pistol grip and plastic folding stock to replace the original wooden one, a conversion kit to allow the SKS to accept 30-round magazines, six of those magazines, and 180 rounds of ammunition. The aforementioned financial constraints led him to purchase inexpensive full metal jacket bullets. Because they are jacketed the projectiles tend to go through a body rather than disintegrating as a hollow point bullet might, or tumbling and generating a shock wave as the .223 round does. The killer’s chest shot shattered my son’s sternum, passed into his chest cavity, severed blood vessels, passed through a lung, severed the trachea, passed through the 7th rib and exited the back. He died on his college library floor, bullets zinging past, friends and classmates freaking out watching one of their own strangle and bleed to death. After he’d killed two people and wounded four, the wannabe psycho killer’s gun jammed – the magazine wasn’t seating properly – and he didn’t know how to clear it.  This saved many lives.

When such a thing happens to your son or daughter you don’t experience it as a chapter from a wound ballistics textbook. It is the most painful, calamitous, life-changing event imaginable.

If you manage to not kill yourself or someone else, as I just barely managed not to do, and if you don’t go so crazy as to become completely dysfunctional, you might fall prey to the very reasonable delusion that, once people hear your story, once they learn how horrific and widely damaging gun murder is, they’ll be inspired to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else ever again.

This same delusion caused those Parkland teens to speak out as they have. The worst thing imaginable had just happened to them. Surely, once they let the world know about it, the world would rise as one and cry, “Enough!”

I love their ferocity and energy, but I worry about how those kids will be feeling years down the road, when the journalists have moved on to other stories, and they are left with only the horrific images of what happened, set against the backdrop of America’s vast, self-absorbed, indifference.

This is an excerpt from a longer piece entitled “Survivor Apocalypse.”

 

Do We Really Know The Numbers On Gun Violence?

When our friends at the Gun Violence Archive (GVA) first started up, they were immediately attacked by Gun-nut Nation for all sorts of misdeeds, including the usual nonsense about undercounting all those instances when red-blooded Americans use a gun to stop a crime. But I notice increasingly that mainstream media sources now routinely reference the GVA and a pat on the back from Newsweek and The Washington Post, usually means you must be doing something right.

GVA             The problem that GVA has to deal with, of course, is that they generate all their data from what we refer to as ‘open sources,’ namely media and related coverage which appears online. The good news about such coverage is that it’s easy to do a search for online content, I have been using Google Alerts with keywords like ‘shootings’ and ‘gun violence’ for years. The bad news is that these sources can’t possibly cover all relevant events that would let us know the number of people who get shot every day

What we usually rely on for gun-violence numbers is the data produced by the CDC. After all, we assume that since medicine is a scientific exercise, at least since Louis Pasteur figured out that something called a microbe spreads disease, we also assume that medical science develops its practices using evidence-based facts. And what could be more of a fact than a dead body lying in the street?

Except there’s only one little problem.  When we take a look at the data on gun violence collected and published by the CDC, particularly when we go below the summary data which tells us how many people are shot and killed in the United States every year, all of a sudden we discover that the numbers not only aren’t so exact, but don’t even add up. Now you would think that something like gun violence, which allegedly costs us more than $200 billion a year in medical costs, lost wages and other various and sundry sums, would at least provoke some degree of concern about whether we actually are using valid numbers or not. Let me break it to you gently – we’re not.

In 2015 the CDC says that 35,476 people lost their lives because a gun went off and they didn’t duck; of this number, which is routinely reported by every gun violence prevention (GVP) group, homicides accounted for 12,979, suicides amounted to 22,018, another 484 were shot either by cops or armed citizens legal defending themselves, and 282 died but nobody’s sure how those deaths actually came about.

We know that the number of gun deaths that were ostensibly justified is probably undercounted by at least half. And let’s not forget the 489 unlucky folks who accidentally killed themselves or someone else with a gun, a number which is also probably well below the annual toll. But neither of those categories, even if doubled, would change the overall gun-death number by much. Let’s face it, gun violence in America is overwhelmingly a function of intentional injuries committed by the shooter against himself or someone else.

I have spent the last week comparing gun-death homicides furnished by the CDC to the numbers found in the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) which also happens to be an agency within the CDC, but draws its data from a wider pool of sources and is considered by scholars to be more reliable when it comes to counting bodies that wind up in the morgue. When we compare numbers, however, we discover that the numbers being used by the GVP community are perhaps 20% higher than the number published by the NVDRS.

The next time someone says that you can’t trust an online, open-source aggregator like the Gun Violence Archive, you might want to reply that the numbers we get from all those medical scientists might not be any more reliable, and in terms of accuracy, might even be worse. I’m as enamored of science as anyone else, but sometimes I wonder whether the science of gun-violence research actually exists.

Welcome Back Pat The Tactical Guru.

The Tactical Guru

Be A Man. Be Tactical

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5.11 is the apparel brand that is there for you wherever your outdoor adventures may take you.

Reliable, durable, and trusted. The company started in 1992 with the production of their original 5.11 pants.

The FBI claimed these to be part of their official training uniform. Since then, the company has formed a lasting bond with law enforcement, first responders, and the military. These pants have also become a staple for those who lead a tactical lifestyle.

Why Buy 5.11?pat1

Besides the fact that this gear has a reputation as the premier name in tactical gear, why would you buy it? Their clothes work in many environments and will help you handle whatever comes your way.

Their apparel lines range from fitness, law enforcement, military, EMS and fire. They also have an industrial category of clothing.

They also care about basic human rights. 5.11 goes the extra mile to guarantee that where they source their material and labor from is high-quality and ethical. In this process, they use a third-party agency to audit and report on the environment in which their clothes are produced.

They set strict guidelines that will mitigate any child labor practices or human trafficking. That’s not something you’ll typically see with apparel brands.

The Best 5.11 Backpackpat3s

There’s a small chance that you’re reading this and wondering why you would even need a tactical backpack. But if you are, we’ve got a few for you. To start, if you’re not in the military or a first responder, there’s still plenty of reasons why it might be a good fit for you.

Most backpacks are durable and reliable. If you’re an outdoorsman or woman, it’s a great option for organizing your essential gear. Or if you have any sort of job that requires a lot of gear, a tactical backpack might be a great option. These bags are helpful if you want to avoid extra luggage fees or need to pack succinctly.

Now that you have a better idea of why tactical backpacks are useful, let’s talk about what to look for. As far as material goes, it’s best to find one that’s made with a durable nylon, like Cordura or Kodra.

The material may affect the weight since the heavier duty nylons tend to of course be – heavier. Chances are though, most people will sacrifice a little weight savings for a bag that won’t rip.

The next thing to consider is the size of the bag. 5.11 makes a variety of sized bags, from lighter “daypacks” to full-on multi-day backpacking bags, such as the Ignitor.

They put a lot of thought into how their packs will feel and how comfortable they will be. Bigger packs usually include hip straps and chest straps to keep the weight evenly dispersed.

Most of their packs include countless options for customization with a MOLLE strap system. This allows you to add external pouches on the pack for more storage options.

How Much Should I Expect to Spend on a Tactical Backpack?

This, of course, like any other consumer product, is going to vary. In the case of 5.11’s packs, the most modest one, the cross-strap Rush Moab 6, starts at $60.

Their most expensive pack, the 84 ALS EMS backpack, is filled with pockets and accessory options. This bag is priced at $230.

How Do I Clean My Tactical Backpack?

Once you’ve used your bag in the field, you might be wondering what the best way to clean it is without compromising the product’s integrity. Like most tactical bags, it’s best to hand wash it with cold, soapy water, rinse, and let it air dry.

What to Look for in a 5.11 Backpack

  • Backpack weight
  • Carrying capacity
  • Materials
  • Comfort of the backpack
  • Price

 

 Check out our selection of the best 5.11 Tactical backpacks here.

The Best 5.11 Shirts.

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The next item to note is 5.11’s shirts. They have a pretty diverse range of them that suit needs from tactical to casual. What makes a shirt tactical? We’re glad you asked.

They make shirts for working professionals that need their entire outfit to have the proper functionality, right down to the T-shirt.

The professional long sleeve shirt is made of a moisture-wicking cotton. This shirt is complete with a tapered fit, a bit of extra length and pen pockets on the left sleeve.

To contrast this shirt, there are 13 different button-down shirts that are designed for concealed firearms. These come with pen slots in the chest pocket, but the main feature is the loose fit around the stomach and waist for quick access to your concealed carry.

In contrast, they also make a tight fitted holster shirt, that wears like an undershirt. This shirt is designed with mesh pockets near the outside of your chest that should fit a pistol on one side and an extra magazine on the other. Ideally, you would wear a looser fitting shirt over this one.

They also have a line of uniform style blouses and shirts, including a MultiCam blouse. If you need something to relax in, they also have a huge T-shirt line with dozens of patterns.

You’ll want to narrow down the size and fit of the shirt. Most of their tops come in one of four fits – compression, fitted, regular, and classic. The regular fit will fit like a loose T-shirt and the classic fit is more on the baggy side.

What Materials Should I Look for?

The details and functionality of these shirts are planned down to the buttons. Melamine buttons on some of the tactical shirts won’t burn, crack, or melt.
Many of the shirts are also made with a material that resists the transmission of bloodborne pathogens as well as other stains.

It’s a good idea to check the tags if you do order a shirt or garment. The variety of clothing materials means that there is a variety of suggested ways to wash them.

How Do I Prevent My Shirt from Wrinkling?

For their tactile fabric, it’s suggested to wash it in cold water with a little bit of detergent and tumble dry on low. Like most high-quality shirts, it’s a good idea to iron the wrinkles out and use a wrinkle-resistant spray.

What to Look for in a 5.11 Shirt

  • Find the right style for you
  • Concealed pockets
  • Comfort
  • Price

 Check out 5.11 Tactical’s shirts here.

The Best 5.11 Tactical Pants

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Whoa, tactical pants, too? Yep. And they’re a step up from the baggy, cargo pants that we used to wear in the early 2000s. Style is, of course, important to 5.11, but form and function come first.

The nice thing about 5.11’s pants is that there’s a wide price range. The more modest priced pants start at $40. You’ll pay more than that for a pair of Levi’s, so that’s not a bad starting price at all. This $40 pair, called the Fast-Tac Urban Pant, comes with a water-resistant finish and much more.

Between the price range, one of their more popular pants, the Stryke, is $75. The Stryke is a tactical pant, through and through. It’s made of a rip resistant, Teflon fabric, 12 pockets, articulated knees and the front pockets are great for everyday items. The higher priced Urban Pant comes with more features.

If you need a tough pair of pants or khakis that aren’t going to rip at the knees or stain easy, go with the Urban Pant or the Defender-Flex jeans. They won’t break the bank and will last a long time.

If you need something with more options, more pockets, a tougher material and finish, then go with something like the Stryke or the Traverse. As the price goes up, so will the breathability, the material, and the strength of them.

All their pants are engineered to be tough, reliable, and made for the tactical lifestyle. Their pants, like the rest of the gear, are made to suit a wide range of customers, from police officers to construction workers.

What to Look for When Buying Tactical Pants:

  • Breathability
  • How fast they dry
  • Storage capacity
  • Material
  • Price

 Check out our selection of the best 5.11 Tactical pants here.

The Best 5.11 Tactical Boots

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It’s going to look a bit silly if you’re wearing tactical pants, shirts, and backpacks, but have a pair of Converse or a slippery-soled dress shoe on. That’s why 5.11 has the best gear to dress you from head to toe.

Whether you’re a U.S. soldier looking for lighter boots, or you’re an outdoorsman or woman that needs a low-top hiking shoe, there are many options.

This brand covers every option in their boot selection. There are low-top, black, leather boots, high-top boots, and nearly everything in between.

If you’re a police officer, firefighter, security guard or outdoorsman there’s a good chance you’ll find one of their boots of use. Be sure to check if the shoe is going to vent the way you want it to or that it will be moisture resistant.

All boots are made with traction and agility in mind. To give you an idea of their lighter side, 5.11 starts with the Ranger shoe. It’s geared towards all-day use and comfort and looks more like a hiking shoe.

On the flip side, the Apex boot has a Vibram MegaGrip sole, reaches up to your low shin and is made of a waterproof, polishable leather. It’s the boot that you want if you’re stranded in a flood or hiking in the wetlands.

How Do I Clean My Tactical Boots?

If you go with a pair of their boots, you’re going to want to take proper care of them. They aren’t cheap and the best way to get a long life out of them is to give them the proper care. The instructions for suede boots are to use a rubber eraser on the material to take off dirt and smudges and brush away with a boot brush.

If they get muddy, wait for them to dry. It makes a lot easier for the dirt to break away from suede. Make sure to brush them in the same direction every time and don’t use a wire brush. The boots are silicone sprayed for water resistance.

How Do I Break in My Tactical Boots?

Let’s talk briefly about breaking a new pair of boots like this in. Most heavy-duty boots like this have a reputation for being a bit of a pain when you first tie them up. But there are a few ways to make this process more comfortable.

First off, if you order them online, consult their sizing chart. Boots are meant to fit right. They shouldn’t be a little too small or a little too big. That’s a recipe for aches and pains down the road.

That said, the stiffness of the boot at first may still cause a few blisters, even if they are a perfect fit. This is natural. It’s not a bad idea to wear your new pair for a few hours at a time and then swap them out with your old pair to get fully accustomed to the new ones.

Something else that might help is wearing two pairs of socks to reduce friction over sore areas. It’s going to take a solid week or two, depending on how often you wear them to get a full break-in.

Be patient, it’s part of the process and when they are broken in, it’ll be worth it.

What to Look for in Tactical Boots:

  • Moisture resistance
  • Ventilation
  • Comfort
  • Material
  • Price

 Check out our selection of the best 5.11 Tactical boots here.

5.11 is one of the best apparel brands for those who want though, tactical gear. The only thing tougher than their apparel will be the decision between which items to buy!

 

 

What Do Gun Owners Think About An Assault Weapons Ban?

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In light of all the post-Parkland talk about an assault weapons ban, I thought I would ask the one group that would be most directly impacted by such a measure – gun owners – to share their thoughts on such a ban. So I put a little survey up and have so far collected roughly 400 responses, the survey runs another week, but I thought I would publish the early results now.

Actually, I first began with two surveys, one for gun owners and one for non-gun owners, but I deleted the non-gun owner survey because too many of the gun owners felt it incumbent upon themselves to answer both surveys, which skewed the results of the latter survey to a degree that I can’t trust the results.  I’ll deal below with the reasons why many gun owners who answered the survey behaved in such a childish fashion, for the moment let’s just put it down to a generalized case of arrested mental development which, unfortunately, tends to infect a small segment of the gun-owning community, particularly those members of the community who have anointed themselves as the public defenders of 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’

Anyway, back to the survey.  To make sure that the survey was getting a representative response (I pay Facebook to run ads for my survey) I ask respondents to identify the region in which they live.  Here was the result:

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The survey is representative for gun owners nationally, particularly because from other surveys I have conducted, the region of residence tends to be the one demographic that influences attitudes about guns more than anything else.

So how do gun owners feel about an assault weapons ban?  They are against it – gee, big surprise.  And they are against a ban whether or not currently-owned assault weapons have to be surrendered or not – against either option to the tune of 95 percent.

I also asked survey respondents whether they actually owned an assault rifle and 70% said they did, but this numeric reflects the fact that the survey specifically referred to an assault weapons ban, which means that AR-owners would answer the survey in greater numbers than what they represent within the gun-owning population as  whole. On the other hand, nearly two-thirds of the respondents who identified themselves as owning assault riles said they used the rifle for hunting and sport shooting, with roughly 36% saying that they bought the gun for self-defense.  This is an interesting finding, given the degree to which the gun industry has been promoting black guns as the latest and greatest ‘tool’ for personal defense.

Overwhelmingly, to the tune of 90% or slightly higher, gun owners did not think that assault rifles are too dangerous for civilian ownership, nor did they want magazine capacity to be limited to 10 rounds. And last, roughly nine out of ten respondents said they would not comply with a gun ban, so much for the NRA‘s endless paeans to ‘law-abiding’ gun owners.

What this survey indicates, and I will publish final results next week, is that gun owners have little enthusiasm for regulating assault rifles, but this should come as no surprise. I have never been comfortable with national polls (e.g., Pew, Gallup) which show strong support among gun owners for additional gun regulations, such as expanding background checks or otherwise inhibiting the flow and availability of guns.

On the other hand, let’s recognize that within the gun-owning population, as within any broad-based group, we will always find a hard core who are particularly eager to jump on social media to express the most stupid and infantile beliefs simply because: a) they have nothing better to do; and, b) it’s fun.

What makes an assault rifle attractive to most of its owners is the degree to which you can pretend you are mowing down all the bad guys. Take an AR onto the range and you instantly become that kid you once were before adult life intervened. And if someone threatens to make it difficult for you to recreate those happy days, why not do what children always do when someone threatens to take away their toys?

Throw a tantrum. Why not?  Yelling a few curse words is almost as much fun as shooting a gun.

 

 

 

Why Should I Give Up My Smith & Wesson When The Rest Of The World Buys Guns From Them Too?

Last week the BBC ran an article in which the author tried to figure what would happen if we got rid of all the guns.  The article is entitled, ‘What If All Guns Disappeared?’  The author, a freelancer named Rachel Nuwer, has actually written some decent stuff on big-game hunting in Africa, including a piece on the decision by D.D.D. Trump to life the ban on hunting of certain trophy species, probably so that his idiot son can bring back a tusk or a mane to decorate the den.

AKNuwer’s article on getting rid of guns is, of course, music to gun violence prevention (GVP) ears. The only problem with her approach is that she focuses most of her argument on the situation in the United States, which is not really where the issue of gun violence rests.  Now how can I say that when study after study tells us that gun homicides in America are 2 to 7 times higher than in any other developed country? I say that because even our outrageously-high homicide rate connected to guns is a fraction of what goes on throughout the globe.

The best figures we have indicate that gun homicides outside the U.S. but including the Russian republics, Africa, the South American drug countries and various other non-OECD zones probably total 250,000 victims every year. Our annual gun homicide number is somewhere around 13,000, and with a rate per 100,000 of 4.2, we rank far below most of the other non-OECD countries whose numbers can be trusted at all.

What is missing in Nuwer’s article is a much more compelling fact, namely, that virtually all of the gun violence which occurs in places like Angola (gun killing rate of 19,) Central African Republic (rate is 29.3,) Malawi (36.0) and other unfortunate spots is a function of what happens here. And by ‘here’ I don’t mean how many Americans die each year from gunshot wounds. By ‘here’ I mean the fact that we, along with a few ‘civilized’ European nation-states supply these killing zones with all their guns.

We started mass-producing guns at the Springfield Arsenal in 1799. But by 1854, Samuel Colt had established his own gun factory and sold small arms to both sides in the Crimean War. He quickly found himself competing with British gun factories, which by the turn of the nineteenth century were shipping guns to various colonial areas to the tune of more than 50,000 per year.

This movement of small arms from industrialized countries to lesser-developed zones if anything has increased because we have technologies (e.g., polymers, metal-injection manufacturing) which reduce the cost of gun manufacturing to a fraction of what gun making used to cost. These technologies aren’t so readily found in lesser-developed zones, but the demand for products made with such cost-saving technologies is sky-high. Know why you see all those ISIS fighters brandishing their AK-47s? Because it costs next to nothing to stamp out the parts which can then easily be assembled by hand.

Know how many handguns and long guns we exported between 2008 and 2015?  Try 2.4 million and you’re just a tad below the total number which left the USA and shipped overseas. Of course that represents a tiny fraction of the dough earned by American companies that supply at least 36% of the arms and munitions we sold throughout the globe.

And you think we are going to convince our own gun-owning citizens that they should give up their guns?

 

 

Take A Survey On Assault Weapons.

 

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This is a completely anonymous survey which gives gun owners an opportunity to report how they feel about the ownership of assault weapons and current plans to regulate such weapons more strictly.  The survey can be completed in 2 minutes or less and we will post results on a weekly basis.

 

If you are a gun owner, take this survey.

Remember, this survey is completely anonymous. Even Survey Monkey doesn’t know who you are.

The World Changes – Even The Gun World.

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This is the South Congregational Church in Springfield, MA. The congregation first started meeting in 1842 and constructed this lovely building in 1875. The person who gave the largest amount of money to pay the costs of this now-historic structure was Daniel Baird Wesson, who happened to live across the street.

D.B. Wesson also happened to own a gun company named Smith & Wesson. From the front of the church you can see the eastern side of the S&W factory, which is located one block from the church on Stockbridge Street.  Here is what the factory building looks like viewed from the entrance to the South Congregational Church.

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The Smith & Wesson factory on Stockbridge Street no longer makes guns; the plant moved out to its present location on Roosevelt Avenue in East Springfield in 1968. The Stockbridge factory is now an apartment complex which looks like this:

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If Daniel Baird Wesson was still alive and walked out of his mansion on Maple Street and looked across the street at the church whose construction he endowed, he would see this sign on the front steps:

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This is a banner that members of the congregation displayed outside of the current Smith & Wesson factory on March 24, but were not allowed to leave behind at the factory gate. So they have turned it into a display in front of the church, where I happened to see it the other day.

The Stockbridge Street factory is gone, so is D.B. Wesson’s mansion, but the issue of gun violence remains. And as long as there are people willing to address the issue the way it is being addressed outside of the South Congregational Church, there is a chance that gun violence will be reduced.