When It Comes To Reducing Gun Violence, Here’s The Real Deal.

There’s a small group of gun-control activists in Florida, who in the space of just several months, have done more to advance the cause of reducing gun violence than all the national, gun-control organizations put together.  I am referring to an advocacy group in Florida that has a website but also something much more important than a web presence – a public partnership with another advocacy group, Americans for Gun Safety Now, (which has both a website and a Facebook page) representing not just a bunch of tree-hugging, anti-gun liberals, but a cross-section of major Republican Party donors and other conservative-minded folks.

BAWN-AFGSN             Let’s get serious, okay? Remember the last time that Jack Nicklaus, the Jack Nicklaus, attached his name to anything remotely connected to liberal politics at all?  If you do, then it wasn’t this Jack Nicklaus who publicly supported Trump in 2016 and campaigned for Romney in 2012. The AGSN group was founded by a major Republican supporter, Al Hoffman, who was not only the Ambassador to Portugal, but also was the former RNC Finance Chair. In other words, when Al picks up the phone and contacts any Republican anywhere in the United States – they listen, okay?

The alliance between these two groups is the most momentous event in the entire history of gun-control advocacy because what has otherwise characterized the debate between Gun-control Nation and Gun-nut Nation is that the latter group can always depend on GOP politicians and GOP-leaning citizens to support their point of view. There’s a reason why our friends in Fairfax, VA are major sponsors of the CPAC meeting every year but don’t show up at the annual meeting of the ADA.

What both created and brought these strange bedfellows together was, of course, the massacre at Parkland, which happens to be a community largely built by Al Hoffman’s real estate development company, but he’s hardly the only big bucks behind the AFGSN group. I noticed that the lineup includes Norman Braman, who just happens to own more than 20 car dealerships in Florida and was a major backer of Marco Rubio’s Presidential bid in 2016. Here’s the bottom line: You don’t get a couple of heavyweights like Al Hoffman and Norm Braman to come out for a liberal issue like gun control every day of the week, or any day of the week, for that matter.

This unlikely collaboration revolves around an unlikely issue, an attempt to put a state constitutional amendment banning assault rifles before Florida voters in 2020, which just happens to be the next time these same voters will be pulling a lever for either the 45th or 46th President of the United States. Until Parkland, Florida was always considered the ‘gunshine state,’ with a strong and organized pro-gun movement run by Granny Marion Hammer, former President and now state lobbyist for the NRA.  She recently sued a Miami resident, Brian Fitzgerald, for cyberstalking, because he sent her several nasty and profane emails after Parkland, a lawsuit which is more embarrassing than real. If our NRA friends think that the old lady is a match for Hoffman, Braman and Nicklaus, they better think again.

When all is said and done, Gun-nut Nation can scream and yell all they want about how gun-control laws rob gun owners of their civil rights, their Constitutional rights, whatever right they want to invent to hold onto their guns. But the bottom line is that when Marion Hammer and other gun-nut zealots refer to advocates for gun control as ‘traitors,’ it’s a strategy that the NRA needs to carefully consider before running it up the flagpole against guys like Braman, Hoffman, et. al. And if Republican stalwarts in Florida now believe that gun violence needs to be contained, let’s not forget for one moment that these folks have plenty of friends in other states where mass shootings have occurred….

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What Kavanaugh Said About Assault Rifles Happens To Be True.

I hate to say this, folks, but the big flap over Brett Kavanaugh’s supposed endorsement of assault rifles and other pro-gun issues is nothing other than a big nothingburger. Understand that I’m not trying to find a back-door way to support his nomination. I’m also not trying to imply in any way that his nomination shouldn’t be opposed based on concerns that he might help the Supreme Court undo fundamental decisions that guarantee justice and equality for all.

kavanaugh1              My problem is that I keep reading and hearing things that Kavanaugh allegedly believes about guns, and then when I listen to what he actually says, it doesn’t add up.  Is he a pro-gun guy?  No kidding – gee, what a surprise. Will he tilt the Court to the right if and when another gun-control law comes up for review?  Of course he will.  On the other hand, his response to Senator Feinstein’s question about his views on assault rifles was not only well within accepted legal parameters, but followed directly from the majority Heller opinion written by Scalia in 2008.

First of all, contrary to what appeared on the Giffords website, he did not say that ‘assault weapons can’t be distinguished from handguns.’  What he said was that as semi-automatic weapons they could not be distinguished from semi-automatic handguns as a “matter of law.”  And what he obviously meant by that statement is the fact that since 1934, federal gun law has made a clear distinction between semi-automatic weapons, as opposed to weapons which fire full-auto, the latter being very heavily regulated, the former much less so.

Incidentally, David Hogg is also jumping into the argument by saying that the ‘effective’ range of a handgun is 75 feet but the ‘effective’ range of an AR-15 is 1600 feet; hence, the AR is not a gun to be used for self-defense. David’s a lovely young man, he’s a big and important cog in the gun-control machine. He doesn’t know squat about guns.

I notice that every, single anti-Kavanaugh post somehow neglects to mention the words ‘matter of law.’  But that’s exactly the point. Kavanaugh is absolutely correct in following the precedent set by Scalia whose opinion gave Constitutional protection to privately-owned guns, with the exception of ‘dangerous and unusual’ weapons, by which Scalia meant guns designed for military use.

Do me a favor, okay? Please don’t send me a nasty email or accuse me of being some kind of gun-sucking troll until you read what I am now going to say. The problem with the 2008 Heller decision is that Scalia, the Court’s alleged gun nut, really didn’t know much of anything about guns. If he did, he could never have made a distinction between so-called ‘weapons in common use’ and ‘weapons of war’ because most of the handguns owned today happen to be guns that were designed and initially manufactured for military use. The most popular handgun sold today – Glock – was designed for the Austrian Army and is carried by many troops in the field, including American troops. Every, single polymer gun in the Sig catalog is designed on the same platform which was used for the U.S. Army’s new handgun. The most popular handgun of all time, the Colt 1911 45acp pistol was designed for the Army by John Browning in 1907.

The United States is the only country that makes no distinction between small arms for the military and small arms for civilian use. In fact, even the whole idea of full-auto versus semi-auto is nonsense, because the current battle rifle, the M4, can be shot in semi-auto mode.

When the Supreme Court decided to extend Constitutional protection to weapons in ‘common use,’ it created a definition that had nothing to do with history, law or anything else. It was nothing more than an ill-founded opinion by a jurist whose colleagues knew even less about guns. Sorry, but when it comes to guns, the collective stupidity of our highest court can’t be blamed on what Brett Kavanaugh said or didn’t say.

You Don’t Need An Assault Weapon To Kill Lots Of People – Any Old Gun Will Do.

Not that facts make any difference in the argument between the two sides about gun violence, but the Santa Fe shooting was somewhat different from other mass shootings in two respects. First, the shooter killed and wounded 20 people not with an assault weapon like an AR-15, but with a pump shotgun and a 38-caliber revolver, types of guns that have been around forever and don’t usually figure in any discussion about banning this type or that type of gun to prevent mass shooting events. Second, not only was there an armed citizen on the premises, but he happened to be a full-time cop who was seriously wounded during the assault.

santa fe             After nearly 30 minutes, during which time the 17-year old shooter exchanged gun fire with two other cops, the terrible slaughter came to an end. It didn’t end because the shooter committed suicide, which often is the way these things go down. It didn’t end because an ‘armed citizen’ or law-enforcement officer wounded or killed the man who killed 10 people and wounded 10 more. It ended because the kid gave himself up.

As I said above, facts often don’t matter in the gun-violence debate.  Gun-nut Nation will continue to rant about how and why guns are essential to protect our God-given ‘rights.’ One pro-gun idiot even showed up at the high school wearing a MAGA hat and a pistol on his hip, claiming that he was just there to “offer support.” He got himself interviewed and then drove away. No doubt this jerk will probably be invited to attend next year’s NRA meeting to receive some kind of ‘armed citizen’ award.

We can safely ignore or dismiss such stupidities because when the gun-control community talks about gun violence, after all, we rely on evidence-based facts. An example of this concern for shaping the gun-violence narrative on hard data, as opposed to fanciful nonsense promoted by Donald Trump and Fox News, is a new initiative on the part of researchers and activists called ‘A Call For Action To Prevent Gun Violence In The United States Of America,’ which has now been signed onto by more than 200 mental health groups and 2,300 individual experts in the weeks since the Parkland massacre at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High. Members of this group have attended conferences, testified at public hearings and published an 8-Point Plan. I can just imagine the thousands of emails which zinged back and forth in the process of devising this plan.

The plan’s eight points address school violence in various ways, first and foremost creating and maintaining positive school environments “that protect all students and adults from bullying, discrimination, harassment and assault.” The plan sets as a second priority “a ban on assault-style weapons, high-capacity ammunition clips, and products that modify semi-automatic firearms to enable them to function like automatic firearms.”

I didn’t notice that the kid who walked into Santa Fe High School yesterday had an assault weapon. I also don’t think he had any high-capacity ammunition mags because the two guns he used to kill and wound 20 people don’t take gun magazines of any kind. The shotgun he carried probably contained eight rounds or less, the revolver could only be shot 6 times before it would have to be reloaded again.

Now that more school students have been shot this year than the number of U.S. soldiers killed in both combat and non-combat roles, I really believe it’s high time for the gun-control movement to stop competing with Gun-nut Nation over concerns for 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’ If folks who signed onto that 8-point pledge actually believe that you can call for gun regulations but still support private ownership of guns, I suggest that such experts hold their next conference at Area 51. You never know – maybe the Martians have figured out a way to reduce gun violence on their planet because we sure don’t seem to have a clue.

 

 

What The Assault Weapons Ban Needs And Doesn’t Need.

Let’s say that Congress actually passes this assault weapons ban (AWB) and El Schmuck-o signs it into law.  And let’s say that a year after the bill becomes law the cops come into my house and find my Colt H-Bar, which I am allowed to have around because I owned it before the law was passed.  And let’s say I don’t have any paperwork to show when I bought it (which I don’t.)  How do I prove that I’m not breaking the assault weapons ban?  I can’t.

awb            Here’s Problem Number Two. Let’s say that after the law is passed I want to sell my H-Bar to someone else, which I can do because I legally own the gun and therefore can transfer it to anyone else who can legally own the gun. But the proposed AWB law as it now stands requires that all transfers of grandfathered assault guns be done in a dealer’s shop. Which means that, for all intents and purposes, a ‘universal’ background check system has just begun to creep in through the back door.

I’m not listing these problems because I personally care whether Americans can own these particular kinds of guns or for that matter whether they can own any guns at all. My task, as I see it, is not to advocate but to inform and the chips will fall where they may. Obviously, Gun-nut Nation will oppose any kind of bill which regulates anything having to do with guns. But the two issues I have just raised might also create serious opposition to this bill even among people who might otherwise be in favor of regulating assault-type guns.

One thing I wish the supporters of an AWB would eliminate from this bill and from their brains is all the nonsense about banning a gun because it has features like a pistol grip, a barrel shroud, a grenade or rocket launcher, or a folding stock. What makes an AR more lethal than other kinds of rifle designs is the bottom-loading, detachable magazine, which by taping two mags together gives the gun a capacity of 60 rounds or more.  As far as threaded barrels are concerned, if the harebrained scheme by harebrained Donald Trump, Jr., to pull silencers off the NFA list is dumped in the trash can where it belongs, owning a gun with a threaded barrel won’t create any real safety risk at all.

Some of the guns that are banned, such as the Hi-Point carbine, load ammunition through a magazine in the grip rather than underneath the frame. Guns like this simply aren’t assault rifles the way the term is defined in this bill, and if the bill begins to gather some traction, I hope the list of both banned and approved guns will be reviewed by someone other than a well-meaning ‘expert’ from the ATF.  In case you don’t remember, the ATF is the bunch whose mistaken belief that David Koresh and his Waco followers were building full-automatic weapons ultimately led to 75 deaths.  I don’t notice that Waco is ever mentioned in discussions or studies about mass shootings, by the way.

The United States is the only advanced country which regulates gun ownership not by how a gun is designed, but whether the gun’s owner can be trusted to use the weapon in a proper way. And despite Gun-nut Nation’s self-serving attempt to push some cock and bull about how any rifle that shoots in semi-auto mode is a ‘sporting’ weapon, the truth is that a rifle which allows the shooter to touch off 60 rounds in less than a minute is a lot of fun to shoot, which I guess meets the definition of a ‘sporting’ gun.

What’s wrong with going to a video arcade and popping off a hundred rounds in 10 seconds, complete with great graphics and realistic sounds? Oh, I forgot. Not only can you do the same thing with a real AR-15, but the gun will also protect you from ISIS or maybe even an invasion from Mars.

Want To Make A Million In The Gun Business? Start With Two Million.

On July 1, 2016, a stock called American Outdoor Brands (AOBC) hit an all-time high of $30 bucks a share.  In case you didn’t know it, AOBC is actually Smith & Wesson, whose ownership decided to diversify the company into an outdoor sporting conglomerate basically to cover up the fact that all they really make and sell are guns. The company President, Jim Dabney, announced the new name back in December 2016 with this statement: “We believe that American Outdoor Brands Corp. is a name that truly represents our broad and growing array of brands and businesses in the shooting, hunting and rugged outdoor enthusiast markets.”

sw             This strategy replaced an earlier strategy which had S&W marketing all kinds of consumer crap – blankets, clothing, watches, jewelry – that can now be found on eBay for a fraction of what the stuff originally cost. Once the geniuses who run S&W realized that the only thing which consumers would purchase that carried the company’s distinctive name were guns, forget about promoting the brand through other channels, let’s just buy some small companies with other brand names.

Except the problem is that consumer brands that don’t carry a high price-tag usually don’t market products that anyone really wants to buy. Ever hear of a brand called Bog-Pod? How’s about Hooyman or Old Timer?  These are some of the products which the company claims will help it build a “rich, diverse product and brand offering to address new opportunities in the rugged outdoor markets.”  Hey guys, stick with the guns, okay?

Actually, for a few years the boys at 2100 Roosevelt Avenue in Springfield read the handwriting on the wall correctly, marketing a cheap line of AR-15 rifles, which boosted overall revenues significantly and got the company into the expanding tactical rifle market at exactly the right time.  The company first began shipping its ‘black gun’ in 2006, by 2010 they were selling more than 100,000 units each year, the other major assault-rifle manufacturers (Bushmaster, DPMS) were producing about half that number each year.

There’s only one little problem with the success story, however, which is that what goes up in the gun business can also go right back down.  Which is exactly what happened to AR sales by the end of the Obama regime, if only because at a certain point everyone who wanted to own what is euphemistically referred to as a ‘modern sporting rifle’ had one sitting at home.

But gun makers are used to dealing with market saturation because, if nothing else, the things they manufacture don’t wear out.  If you sell someone a droid, for example, chances are that a certain number will have to be replaced within a year or so. Selling someone one droid usually means that the manufacturer will rack up another sale. Not so with guns, which is why companies like S&W knew that at some point sales of their assault rifles would go flat.

But what S&W didn’t know, what nobody in the gun industry could predict, was the firestorm which erupted after the Parkland massacre which was aimed at the whole gun industry, but obviously is a bigger threat to companies which make black guns, of whom S&W happens to be the biggest target of all.  When a global asset manager like Black Rock and a commercial bank like Bank of America announce they want to meet with gun makers to see what the industry’s response will be to what happened in Parkland, we’re not talking about the ‘arm teachers’ nonsense peddled by the White House idiot, we’re talking what counts: bucks.

What we say in the gun business is that if you want to make a million, start with two million. If you bought 50,000 shares of S&W on July 1, 2016 yesterday the joke would have come true.

Which is why S&W stock closed yesterday at under $10, the lowest price since the end of 2014.  If you owned 100,000 shares of S&W  on July 1, 2016 and held those shares today, your investment would have lost  2 million bucks.

Will Condolences And Prayers Stop Mass Shootings? Of Course.

The day after a 29-year old security guard named Omar Mateen walked into The Pulse nightclub in Orlando on June 12, 2016 and began blasting away with his trusty Sig assault rifle, killing 49 people and wounding another 58, then-candidate Donald Trump immediately started yapping about how the shooting wouldn’t have happened if someone in the nightclub had been carrying a gun. Of course his real campaign manager, a.k.a. Chris Cox of the NRA, had to  remind him that the boys in Fairfax didn’t actually endorse mixing alcohol with guns. But that didn’t stop Trump from continuing to promote the necessity of arming civilians for the remainder of his campaign.

prayer            Now that candidate Trump has transmogrified into President Trump, the narrative has all of a sudden changed. When word reached the White House that a shooting rampage in a Florida high school was going to end up costing an untold number of lives, Trumpo’s first tweet was: “My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting. No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school.” An hour later, when the death toll had reached 17, and it may go higher, America’s guardian of the 2nd Amendment couldn’t resist another burp, this one saying, “Just spoke to Governor Rick Scott. We are working closely with law enforcement on the terrible Florida school shooting.”

In case you’re wondering, Trump the Shlump was demonstrating his leadership by talking to the same Rick Scott who signed 5 gun laws in one day on June 23, 2014, one of which which made it easier for residents of the Gunshine State to get concealed-carry licenses, another making it easier for defendants to justify violent behavior under the state’s Stand Your Ground law, all of which made him, according to the NRA, the Governor who “has now signed more pro-gun bills into law — in one term — than any other Governor in Florida history.”

As for the boyfriend of Stormy Daniels ‘working closely with law enforcement,’ I wonder if he was referring to Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, who would have been the chief law-enforcement officer on the scene. You may recall that just two weeks before we had to start putting up with this schmuck of a President, the exact date was January 6 2017, a guy named Esteban Santiago-Ruiz got off a flight from Alaska, collected his luggage, then pulled out a 9mm pistol and quickly shot 5 people dead. When a few Florida lawmakers then talked up a law allowing guns to be carried in certain areas within airports, Sheriff Israel spoke out against the measure, claiming that letting civilians walk around with guns would just make it more difficult for police officers to tell the good guys from the bad.

Incidentally, the day of the airport shooting, although not yet President, the New York landlord was obviously practicing for how he would respond to mass shootings from inside the Oval Office, because he tweeted that he had ‘spoken’ with Governor Scott and was ‘monitoring’ the situation. Oh yea, don’t forget the thoughts and prayers.

What I find interesting about this charade of concern is that Obama also responded to rampage shootings by first always mentioning how the victims were in his thoughts and prayers. But he would then call for some kind of ‘action’ in response to the shooting, which of course meant a new law regulating guns. The moment he switched from ‘thoughts and prayers’ to ‘regulations and laws,’ the various Gun-nut Nation mouthpieces accused him of ‘politicizing’ the event.

Remember when Wayne-o reminded us after Sandy Hook that it’s the bad guys we need to worry about, not the guns? Sooner or later I figured they would have to come up with a new slogan to keep the discussion away from whether we should be doing something about the guns. Who can argue with condolences and prayers? Perfect, just perfect.

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.

 

It’s About Time: Maura Healey Takes Aim At Assault Weapons And Scores A Bullseye.

It took more than twenty years, but finally a public figure with brains, leadership and guts has demolished the NRA’s most sacred cow in one fell swoop.  I am referring to yesterday’s announcement by Maura Healey, the Massachusetts Attorney General, that assault rifle are no longer welcome in the Bay State.  If you own an assault rifle you can keep it (thank goodness because I own three,) but if you want to buy one from a dealer, or if a gun dealer wants to buy one from a wholesaler or manufacturer, that’s not going to happen any more.

AR2           The Enforcement Notice issued by Healey’s office restates the definition and description of ‘assault weapon’ incorporated into the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban law, but then prohibits guns from being sold in Massachusetts which meets either a ‘similarity test’ or an ‘interchangeability test’ which basically means an AR without a flash hider, a folding or telescoping stock, or a pistol grip; in other words, if it looks and acts like an AR, it is an AR, extra doo-dads or not. What the AG has done is fashion a legal directive based on the ‘I know it when I see it’ reasoning used by Associate Justice Potter Stewart for deciding pornography cases that came before the Supreme Court.

To understand the gist of Healey’s approach, however, you have to consider the history surrounding the original Assault Weapons Ban.  Because recall that the 1994 law expired after ten years, but states that wanted to maintain it could opt out of the expiration, of which Massachusetts was one of seven states which continued the ban. But the 1994 law didn’t ban assault rifles; it banned assault rifles that contained certain design features, such as pistol grips, bayonet lugs, flash hiders and so forth, none of which in any way reduced the lethality of these guns.

What makes the AR design so exceptionally lethal, what makes the AR a weapon of war, is that the manner in which the stock lines up against the bolt and the receiver, the manner in which high-capacity magazines can be dismounted and remounted within the gun and the manner in which the gun can then be charged after receiving a new, fully-loaded magazine allows the operator to get off as many as 60 shots of deadly military ammunition in one minute or less.

Why do I call the AR a weapon of war?  Because the AR used by battle-zone troops today can be shot in the same semi-auto mode that makes the gun legal for civilian sales.  Yes, the military gun also allows for three-shot bursts, and it is the selective-fire feature of the military rifle, the M4, which is touted again and again by Gun-nut Nation as the essential reason why the AR is nothing other than a ‘modern sporting rifle,’ which is no more lethal or dangerous than any other semi-automatic rifle lugged by a hunter or sportsman into the woods. So does this mean that if a trooper on the battlefield decides to set his rifle in semi-auto mode, that he’s now carrying a ‘sporting’ gun?

This totally fabricated crap about how the AR isn’t lethal has set the tone for Gun-nut Nation’s approach to all guns.  The issue of gun lethality, not just for the AR, but for all small arms, has been pushed aside in favor of an argument which tries to create the fiction that guns are only dangerous if they get into the ‘wrong’ hands.  When guns are carried by law-abiding, armed citizens, they represent an important, indeed indispensable tool for insuring safety and security of all.

Maura Healey’s announcement is a resounding shot across the bow because it sweeps away the rhetorical nonsense cynically foisted on the public to disguise the fact that some guns are simply too dangerous to be put in anyone’s hands. Which is why the AR is not a sporting rifle, because no sporting gun requires a magazine that holds 30 rounds.

With Friends Like Slate’s Rachel Larimore, Gun Violence Prevention Doesn’t Need Enemies.

When you have friends like Rachel Larimore and you are trying to do something about gun violence, you don’t need enemies.  Because Ms. Larimore has posted a column about guns in, of all places, Slate, which is so woefully misinformed and so heavily biased in favor of Gun-nut Nation’s arguments that if Glenn Kessler wanted to award ten Pinocchio’s for misinformation instead of the usual three that he just gave Chris Murphy, he could start right here.

slate          Larimore’s argument seems to be that if the gun-control community wants to have what she calls a ‘healthy conversation,’ about gun violence, then they need to get the facts straight.  And since “the mainstream media lobbies hard for gun control, it’s impossible to start a dialogue when you don’t know what the hell you are talking about.” Notice, by the way, Ms. Larimore’s assumption that a ‘dialogue’ with Gun-nut Nation rests on the ability of the gun-control folks to play it straight with the facts – I’ll return to that point further on.

So what are some of the facts about guns that these well-meaning but basically ignorant Gun Violence Prevention boobs don’t understand?  Well, first and foremost is confusing assault ‘weapons’ with assault ‘rifles,’ the latter being only used by the military, whereas the former is a civilian gun which happens to look something like the military one. And which mainstream journalist does Larimore quote to prove her point?  None other than Rachel Maddow, who talked on her show about how the Sig MCX was too lethal to be put into civilian hands.

Now maybe I know a bit more about guns than either Ms. Maddow or Ms. Larimore, but I can say without fear of contradiction that what Rachel said regarding the lethality of the MCX was exactly right on.  Here’s how Rachel described the MCX: “Less muzzle flip. Faster follow-on shots. Less recoil impulse into the shoulder.”  Which is exactly why this type of gun is much more lethal than what Gun-nut Nation calls a ‘modern sporting rifle,’ and is exactly why Larimore’s attempt to disparage the information presented by Maddow is simply dead wrong.  She then goes on to make sure her readers understand that the difference between ‘assault weapons’ and other semi-automatic are ‘cosmetic’ and don’t ‘increase the gun’s lethality.’  And where did Larimore get this nugget of information?  Where else – from Gun-nut Nation who, if you read through this entire polemic posing as an op-ed piece, aren’t questioned about anything they say at all.

Now you would think that if Larimore were truly interested in writing an honest piece of journalism about the lack of a dialogue about guns, that maybe, just maybe she’d dig up at least one little example of false information from the other side.  How about the idea that walking around with a gun protects you from crime?  Gun-nut Nation has been promoting that one for more than twenty years, and even if a majority of Americans believe it to be true, it happens to be a big, fat lie.

Let’s get back to her assumption that there could be a meaningful dialogue about guns if only the mainstream media and others pushing gun control based their arguments on facts.  You mean the only reason that a couple of weak-kneed, little gun regulations didn’t get through the Senate yesterday was because the folks who are interested in reducing gun violence don’t come to the table anxious to tell the truth?

Let me break it to you gently, Ms. Larimore.  There are certainly many gun-violence issues that we still don’t understand, and more research needs to be done.  But to say that the only thing preventing a discourse about guns is the inability of the Gun Violence Community to come to the table armed with facts is to assume that Gun-nut Nation has any interest in facts about guns.  They don’t; and if you think they do then Slate has no business referring to you as a journalist at all.

Gun Sales Going Through The Roof Now That Obama And Hillary Want To Ban Assault Rifles? Don’t Count On it.

Right after Obama and the Hillary (or maybe it was the other way around) came out with strong calls for more gun control, followed by the New York Times editorial calling for a ban on assault rifles, there was an immediate spate of stories about how gun sales were once again going through the roof.  And the ‘proof’ of this sales explosion was, of course, an increase in NICS background checks which showed a one-day surge on Black Friday that eclipsed previous Black Friday numbers by upwards of five percent.

ARnew               Every time there’s a mass slaughter or a gun-grabbing threat or anything else which the NRA can use to prove that the 2nd Amendment is in jeopardy, every gun nut in America rushes out to add to his stockpile.  Which means more guns in circulation, more guns ending up in ‘the street,’ more gun violence, yadda, yadda and yadda.

But before we get too concerned, perhaps we should take a deep breath and ask ourselves whether what we are saying aligns with the facts.  Or better yet, when the media says it, do we simply accept what they say if it’s bad news about guns, or do we actually take the time to do a little data-mining for ourselves.  In that regard I want to share a bit of data mining on NICS checks to see whether and to what degree the American private gun arsenal continues to expand.

Here are the real numbers.  NICS checks for November, 2014 were 1.797,163.  For the same month this year, the NICS total was 2,236,457, a month-to-month increase of almost 25 percent.  Wow! The gun nuts are going crazy.  In fact, I have to admit that I even bought a gun in November – a lovely Ruger in .222 caliber.  Which tells you that I’m a real gun nut because I refer to a rifle as ’lovely.’  Anyway, there’s lonely one little problem with those numbers – the increase had little to do with gun sales.

Ready?  NICS background checks for gun transfers in 2014 totaled 1,256,129.  In 2015 the total increased to 1,354,845, i.e., a whopping 7 percent!  So where did that 25% increase in NICS checks come from?  It came from a doubling in the number of checks conducted to validate gun licenses, usually concealed-carry licenses which in some states requires a separate background check before a CCW license can be issued, or a re-check of the individual’s legal qualifications at some point after the license has been issued.  In other words, what kept NICS so busy in November wasn’t what the pro-gun gang wants; i.e., more guns, it was what the GVP community wants; i.e., more background checks.  Hello. Hello-o.

I’ll let you in on a little secret.  The way I check the health of the gun market is not by looking at NICS data but looking at the market cost of guns.  Because gun prices tend to be very elastic.  The worst thing for a gun maker Is having unsold inventory sitting in the warehouse, ditto the wholesaler, ditto the retailer although in the case of the retailer, what he does when sales slow is to stop ordering guns. And the way I check prices is to go to the largest online retail seller, Bud’s Gun Shop, and take a quick look at what’s selling and what’s not.

Know what’s not selling?  Assault rifles.  Right after Sandy Hook you couldn’t buy a decent AR for under a thousand bucks.  You can buy one today from Bud for less than $700, and although his listed prices for the premium guns are over a thou, next to every price there’s the tell-tale ‘Make Offer’ which means the real (lower) price is between him and you. Now you would think that after San Bernardino the price of assault rifles would be going through the roof.  In fact, the prices seem to be heading for the basement.  And that’s a very interesting turn of affairs. It really is.