A New Gun Violence Report That Should Be Required Reading.

Our friends at The Urban Institute have just released a new report, ‘We Carry Guns to Stay Safe,’ which they say represents ‘perspectives on guns and gun violence from young adults living in Chicago’s West and South Sides.’ You can download the report from the Institute’s website, or from my website right here.  The report is a sobering account of the reasons behind the decision by many inner-city youths to carry guns in a city where gun violence in certain neighborhoods exceeds gun violence just about anywhere else.

urban             In 2017, Chicago experienced more homicides than New York City and Los Angeles combined; the Windy City’s population was 2.7 million; the total population of New York and LA  was five times as great. But the fatal violence doesn’t occur in equal amounts throughout ChiTown; neighborhoods on the West Side like West Garfield Park or Englewood on the South Side have a killing rate above 80 per 100K. That’s higher than the killing rate of any country in the entire world.

To understand the degree to which this problem appears to be simply uncontrollable, the research team at The Urban Institute interviewed 345 residents of these killing zones, of which almost all were African-Americans between the ages of 18 and 26, and slightly more than half were males. The research teams strikes a somewhat defensive tone in discussing their methodology because they seem to believe that the manner in which they recruited respondents may have biased the selection and therefore skewed the results. Let me break it to Jocelyn Fontaine and her colleagues: to the degree that they believe their findings should be taken with a small grain of salt in terms of overall validity, the value and importance of this work goes far beyond what has previously been produced in the entire field of gun violence research. In other words, this report should be required reading for anyone and everyone concerned about how and why 125,000+ Americans get injured every year with guns. Period.

Why am I willing to describe this effort in such grandiose terms? The best way to answer that question is to let the researchers explain why they did what they did: “The purpose of this research was to learn from young adults firsthand whether and why they decide to carry guns, how they acquire firearms, how they experience gun violence, and what they view as the best strategies to reduce gun carrying and promote safety in their communities.” So, for the very first time, we learn about gun violence from the individuals most at risk for committing gun violence which, if nothing else, should serve as a reality jolt for all the public policy aficionados promoting this gun-control law and that gun-control law without ever speaking to the people whose behavior, it is hoped, will be positively influenced by new regulations and laws.

I’m not going to go through all the report’s findings because I don’t want to save anyone the ‘trouble’ of reading the report. But one point deserve special mention: Of the one-third who said they carried a gun, albeit illegally in most cases, more than 90% claimed the gun was for self-protection.  Now it turns out that study after study confirms that guns increase, not decrease, the risk of injury. Yet every public opinion survey confirms that a majority of legal gun-owners Americans believe that their gun is a positive, self-protective device.  Guess what?  The illegal gun owners believe the same thing, if anything, to a much greater degree.

Advocates for gun control talk endlessly about imposing new regulations that will keep guns out of the ‘wrong hands.’  So here we have a survey in which virtually every respondent represents a pair of ‘wrong hands.’ Not only do they have no more trouble buying a gun than someone with ‘right hands,’  but the folks with the ‘wrong hands’ are becoming gun owners for the exact, same reason as the folks with the ‘right hands.’

Please read and think about this report, okay?





Meet The Bogle Family – A Very Special Bunch.

Want to meet an exceptional American family? Read Fox Butterfield’s just-released book, , and spend a few hours with the Bogle family. Actually, if you want to meet any member of the Bogle clan, you’ll have to get on the visitor’s list of one of any number of prisons scattered throughout the Midwest, the southwest and the far west, because that’s where most of the Bogle family happens currently to reside. In fact, beginning in 1923, when the progenitor of the Bogle family, Louis Bogle, was jailed for bootlegging, at least 60 members of the family have spent multiple sentences in prison, costing the United States taxpayers, according to Butterfield’s estimate, somewhere between $250 and $430 million bucks. And that’s just the penal cost, never mind the costs incurred by the victim of all their crimes.

bogleThree of the Bogles’ went to jail for murder, at least a dozen were convicted of robbery and/or burglary, a few kidnapping charges here and there, God knows how many assaults and, of course, most of the Bogle bunch have served time for drugs. We’re not talking about jaywalking, a traffic ticket or perhaps a tax lien. Butterfield spent ten years (ten years) researching this work, combing judicial archives, interviewing everyone he could find, even up to and including a man, Jeremy Vanwagner, now 40 years old, who had a cellmate named Bobby Bogle and discovered that Bobby was, in fact, his father because the latter recalled that he once had sex with a woman who sported an interesting tattoo on her rear end and Jeremy, outing together the time, the place and the tattoo, realized he was sharing a prison cell with his old man.

The 60 Bogle men and women who ended up doing time were all related, in some way or another, to Louis Bogle, whose five children were each responsible for creating families which then spawned the criminality that characterized the Bogle clan as a whole. And what Butterfield found in interviewing members of each family, along with talking to assorted welfare, penal and other social service professionals was not just that these families existed in poverty, but these families also existed in a state of violence, chaos and rootlessness which affected every family member from pre-adolescent ages on. Almost without exception, every Bogle child was viewed as a school ‘problem’ in their early grades, assuming that they attended school at all. With one or two exceptions, none of them learned trades, none held steady jobs; there were simply no positive role models within the Bogle clan. In fact, many of the parents often took young children with them when they were committing a burglary, drug deal or other crime.

The author has immersed himself in the relevant research literature about domestic violence where the inter-generational element looms large. But those studies are just numbers; Butterfield’s narrative brings the cold data to life. And if nothing else, you are made aware of the extent to which violent criminality is not an aberration within this family environment. If anything, it is considered a validating form of behavior to demonstrate an understanding and acceptance of the family’s social norms.

Given my specific interests, however, one thing struck me as somewhat odd. You would think that a family whose entire identity and existence revolved around violent crime would also be a family where guns were frequently used, as well as found. This happens not to be the case at all. None of the homicides involved guns, the assaults were the usual mélange of barroom brawls, domestic abuse, or grabbing a handy 2 X 4 and whacking someone over the head. How is it that the propensity for violence in this family doesn’t involve guns? After all, they live in Texas where everyone has a gun.

Any chance that people who use a gun to hurt someone else are exhibiting a behavior learned from someone else in the home? After all, kids learned how to use guns for hunting from good old Pa or Gramps, right?

Stopping Kavanaugh And Stopping Gun Violence Isn’t The Same Thing.

This may come as a rather rude shock to many of my Gun-control Nation friends, but I am increasingly convinced that the best thing which could have ever happened to the folks who want to see an end to gun violence was the election of Sleazy Don Trump. The reason I say that is because the pro-gun noisemakers had a field day when they were behaving like attack dogs against the so-called Obama regime. But now the Red Team offense is being forced to play defense and things are no longer what they seemed.

kavanaugh1             To begin with, gun sales are in the toilet, there’s simply no other way to describe what’s going on.  Want to buy a new, brand-name AR? It used to set you back $700 and change to get one from DPMS, now the asking piece is down around $400 bucks.  One of the guns which the kids love to carry around in the street, the Kel-Tec 9, is running around two Franklins; it used to cost three.

Here are some interesting numbers:  1,186,000 – 903,000 – 839,000.  Those are the FBI-NICS handgun and long gun background checks for August 2016, 2017 and this past month.  That’s a month-to-month drop of 30 percent. We used to have a joke in the gun business that if you wanted to make a million, start with two million.  Guess what?  It’s all of a sudden not such a joke.

And last but not least, we have the boys in Fairfax, who all of a sudden find their membership dues dwindling away, with a decline from $163 million in 2016 to $128 million last year. And since annual dues are now $40 and a certain percentage of members paid a one-time Life Member fee at some point in the past, there is simply no way that America’s ‘first civil rights organization’ has 5 million members, or even 4 million dues-paying souls.

Although we won’t really know how this will play out until November 6th, what may be giving the real impetus to the decline in the fortunes of Gun-nut Nation may be the degree to which the narrative promoting a lessening of interest in guns and shooting is clearly strengthened by the opposition to Sleazy Don Trump.  No matter what my gun-grabbing friends may believe, Brett Kavanaugh’s comments about assault rifles during his confirmation hearing was straight out of the standard, Republican playbook on how and why assault rifles are nothing other than a legal type of gun.

And before everyone in Gun-control Nation goes ape over adding another pro-gun conservative to the Supreme Court, let’s not forget that it was a conservative Supreme Court which refused to overturn the AR ban enacted by Highland Park. And the Highland Park law wasn’t one of those grandfather deals like the 1994 assault weapons ban; the law said that either you got rid of your AR or you got out of town. And by the way, the SCOTUS upheld the Highland Park ban by a vote of 6 – 2, not some kind of 5 – 4 ‘thank you Justice Kennedy’ swing vote.

Don’t get me wrong, okay? I’m no friend of the Federalist Society and if Kavanaugh turns out to be a drunk, a liar, a serial abuser or all three, he can do us all a favor, pack up and disappear.  Or better yet, his Republican sponsors can tell him to go take a hike in Rock Creek Park.

But let’s make one thing very clear. You could have nine Supreme Court justices with the temperament and political savvy of my personal hero – Ruthie B. Ginsburg – and such an alignment wouldn’t change the reality of gun violence one, tiny bit. We didn’t get to the point where 125,000+ gun injuries each year have become the norm because the Supreme Court is tilted this way or that. And my gun-control friends shouldn’t lull themselves into thinking that opposing Kavanaugh (or opposing Sleazy Don, for that matter) represents a victory for what is referred to as ‘gun sense.’  Because at the end of the day, the guns are still out there….

Coming Soon.

From My Cold Dead Hands 978-1-53614-574-8

A New Book On Gun Violence.

From My Cold Dead Hands 978-1-53614-574-8

This new book will be released shortly and will be available both in print and e-book editions.  The 60,000-word text is an attempt to provide both sides of the gun debate with what I believe is lacking in the argument over gun violence, namely, an understanding of the industry which produces the instruments of gun violence – the guns themselves.

Although I have no issue with regulating any industry whose products may cause threats to health, be it physical, financial or psychological health, in the case of the gun industry I find that most of what both sides claim to be the path to proper regulation is based on nothing more than what they hope to achieve, rather than what their regulatory strategies, if enacted, will bring about.

On the pro-gun side, there is simply no connection between letting everyone walk around with a gun and protecting society from crime. Of course one can always produce examples of how some likely crime was thwarted because a guy or a gal pulled out a gun in the nick of time. So what?  All this proves is that, at one moment, the existence of a gun might have made the difference in the outcome of a particular criminal event.

On the gun-control side, the evidence that keeping guns out of the ‘wrong hands’ will make a difference is equally scant. You can run all the regression analyses you want to using this data and that. What you’ll get is a very tidy way to describe the behavior of two trends over time, and anyone who then claims that description should be accepted as causality at least should hedge their academic bets.

I hate to sound like Sarah Palin who still believes that her experience managing the family budget gave her everything she needed to figure out what to do about the federal debt, but I started writing about gun violence because many, if not most of what I experienced in more than  50 years in the gun business, simply did not square with what I kept hearing and reading from advocates on both sides of the debate.

The truth is, or at least the truth as I see it, is that the lack of knowledge about the industry that one side attacks while the other side defends, is borne out first and foremost by a basic failure on both sides to divulge what they really believe and think about guns. If I had a nickel for every time that a gun-control advocate like Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton said they ‘supported’ the 2nd Amendment, when in fact, the last thing they ever wanted to support was the ‘right’ to ‘keep and bear arms,’ I wouldn’t still be working for a living. For that matter, the idea that we should allow every ‘law-abiding’ citizen to walk around with a gun because an armed citizen is simply exercising his ‘civil rights,’ is equally absurd.

Know how many Americans bought hunting licenses in 1958?  Try around 14 million. Know how many bought licenses last year? About the same. Meanwhile, over these sixty years, the population of the United States has grown by slightly more than 50 percent. Is it any wonder that the gun industry keeps itself in business, and also keeps the gun-control movement alive and well, by promoting guns as a real-live version of a video game?

For all the terror, grief and trauma engendered by mass shootings (and I am in no way understating the tragedies of such events,) for most of us, the United States remains a remarkably safe and secure place to live, grow up and grow old. Which is all the more reason why gun violence needs to be understood and controlled. Hopefully, my new book will serve as a small contribution in that respect.


Want To Understand Gun Violence? Understand The Guns.

If there’s one issue which breaks the gun-violence debate into two aides, it’s how we explain the connection between gun ownership and violence caused by guns. According to public health researchers like David Hemenway, et. al., the United States suffers from an extraordinarily high rate of gun violence because we have so many guns.  We are the only country with a per-capita ownership rate of nearly 100 percent, thus we have gun violence that is three to seven times higher than any other advanced nation-state. The other side, led by Gary Kleck and John Lott, argues that because we have so many guns, we have a less-than-average rate of violent crime because citizen-protectors keep us all safe and sound.

browning              I have just posted a detailed paper on the Social Science Research Network, which represents the first time that anyone has attempted to look at gun violence by understanding the behavior of the perpetrators or the suffering of the victims, but by the type of the gun-violence instrument itself, namely, the gun. This research was based on a remarkable collection of documents published by our friends at The Trace, who collected inventories 846,353 guns collected by 1,054 police agencies between 2010 and 2016.

What emerges from this research are several discoveries which, speaking bluntly, turns some of the most cherished notions held by Gun-control Nation on their heads. The first notion is the idea that the existence of any and every civilian-owned gun might be a threat to public security and health. After all, that’s the assumption which underlies the idea that more guns results in more gun violence, right?  Wrong.

I did a word search of the entire listing of 846,353 guns using these five words: Remington 700, the Ruger 77, the Winchester 70, the Marlin 1894 and the Savage 11. These five rifles(in their different variations)  probably represent 10 percent of the entire American  gun stock in circulation today, and altogether the words came up exactly five times. Of course we have to assume that the cops sometimes don’t get the names right or other times simply forget to write down the manufacturer’s name at all. But let’s be honest folks – the bottom line is that there’s simply no way that the 160 million or so hunting guns play any role in gun violence at all.

The research also turned up the fact that at least one-third of all ‘crime’ guns have been in the civilian arsenal since long before any information was developed which would allow the ATF or the local cops to conduct anything remotely considered to be a so-called gun ‘trace.’ This is because guns have a funny way of not wearing out and many of these crime guns have been floating around since long before gun makers were required to keep records covering who bought their guns. Ever hear of a 4-shot derringer called the Brownie and manufactured by Mossberg between 1922 and 1930? Of course you haven’t, but 40 of these little bangers were picked up by the Chicago cops in 2014.

I didn’t publish these findings to contradict or devalue the research on gun violence done by public health. To the contrary, their work needs to be read, shared and fully discussed. But what also needs to be considered is that creating a more effective regulatory system for reducing gun violence is simply not possible without developing and implementing policies that regulate the instruments of this violence – the guns.

What this research points up is that every category of gun violence is primarily a function of access to concealable handguns, and we make no distinction whatsoever in how we regulate access to these weapons as opposed to all other types of guns. The guy who walks into my gun shop and buys a broken, old shotgun because he has an extra Jackson in his billfold jumps through the exact, same legal hoops that someone jumps through who buys a Glock 19 with five extra, hi-cap mags.  That’s a regulatory system which is bound to fail.

Want To Reduce Gun Violence? Buy A Knife.

Yesterday I received an email from a company in California offering to send me a brand new knife which, according to the message, is the best and most reliable weapon I will ever need to protect me from all kinds of harm.  And the knife is free!  I just have to pay a small shipping charge and I get this awesome, personal-defense product as my very own.

knife              Where did the company get my email address?  From Armslist, the internet gun Craigslist, where thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of people try to sell their guns. I have been a Craigslist member since the website first started up and have actually both bought and sold several guns on the site.  Don’t worry, they were all legal sales.  But knives are different from guns – as lethal as a knife may be, most jurisdictions don’t require any kind of licensing at all.

What struck me about the knife giveaway, however, was the ad which then appeared on my computer monitor after I placed my order for the ‘fight fast’ knife.  Because for the paltry price of just $129, which is a lot less than what I would pay for the latest Michael Jordan Retro 13 sneaker, I can get an Extreme Survival Package, an essential set of tools to keep me and my family alive when “the real horror and chaos of an actual meltdown sinks in, you’ll suddenly realize you’ve been thrown back into the stone age.”

What this survival package allows you to do is “cross even rugged terrain with total confidence,” then “construct a temporary hide site,” also “keep your team protected from infiltrators,” and most important, get “alerted in advance” if someone has “infiltrated your territory.”  And all of this for the ridiculously low price of $129!!

Let me just interject a point of reality here, which is that I have always wanted to get the franchise for renting those electric chairs which people ride around in at the NRA show. Because most of the folks who rent those automated walking-machines don’t have some kind of physical infirmity with their legs – they are simply too fat to walk anywhere under their own steam. No matter how many pounds you need to lose, if you want to feel really thin, just go to a gun show and wander around, looking at the people, not just the guns. And these are the folks that the ‘fight fast’ knife company believes need to negotiate ‘rugged’ terrain?

Back in the 1980’s, when the gun industry first realized that most sporting hunters were either dead or now living in suburbs or simply too old to hunt, they cocked up the idea that a gun was still an essential piece of equipment because, sooner or later, everyone would meet up with a bad guy who would attack hem unless they were armed.  The latest version of that nonsense comes from idiot Dana Loesch (no surprise) who claims that an assault-rifle ban is just another attempt to prevent women from protecting themselves in instances of domestic abuse.  God only knows how Dana actually spouts such crap with a straight face.

I am beginning to believe that the ‘armed citizen’ marketing of guns is morphing into a new message which combines the threat of criminality with the coming breakdown of civilization, an apocalypse  that can only be prevented if we take necessary measures to keep ourselves and our loved ones protected from harm.

It turns out that a healthy majority of Americans now believe, according to Pew Research, that more than 80% of American senior citizens believe that video gaming contributes to gun violence. Meanwhile, more than 40% of American adults play shooting games, and many of these games revolve around various survivalist themes.

What’s the difference between cranking up the video console to play Frostpunk and buying an essential, Fightfast survival kit?  The video game only costs ten bucks but every marketer will tell you there’s nothing more American than selling up.


Thanks to Shaun Dakin for mentioning the video survey on Pew.


Will More Laws Reduce Gun Violence? Amnesty Thinks So.

Now that everyone is convinced that the Congress will turn blue in November and some degree of political sanity will be restored, the hopes of my friends in Gun-nut Nation that a more rational method can be found to reduce gun violence are once again rising to the fore. To bolster this belief (and maybe it will come true) everyone is now producing a report of some kind which promotes the idea that we need better laws and regulations in order to reduce the violence caused by guns.

amnesty1The latest entry into the ‘more laws equals less gun violence’ sweepstakes comes from Amnesty International, an organization whose anti-violence creds are above reproach.  When it comes to pushing for a more just and humane world, the folks at Amnesty are the real deal and nothing that I am going to say should in any way be taken to raise the slightest doubts about the value of their work, okay?

Be that as it may, their just-released report, In the Line of Fire – Human Rights and the U.S. Gun Violence Crisis, should be read by everyone, but also should be read with care. And the reason for my concern has nothing to do with their basic argument, i.e., that our failure to adopt a comprehensive, regulatory system to control guns is a fundamental violation of human rights. Rather, it is the degree to which the report promotes an unstinting belief in the idea that we can legislate our way out of the gun-violence mess. Which also happens to be the approach not only of all the major gun-control advocacy organizations, but also serves as the basis for most of the public health gun research upon which these organizations depend.

With all due respect, I don’t agree that new gun-control laws will necessarily change the situation at all. And the reason I don’t agree is that I have yet to read a single piece of research on gun violence which shows that after a new gun regulation is passed in a particular jurisdiction, that gun violence in that jurisdiction actually went down. Note the use of the word ‘actually.’  What this means is that one can make a definitive cause-and-effect connection between an event – a new gun regulation, and a trend – the gun-violence rate, over time.

I know all the studies which purport to prove that states with more restrictive gun laws experience less violence caused by guns. I also know all the studies which again purport to prove that when a state passes a permit process that allegedly slows down how quick it is to buy a gun, that impulsive gun suicides also go down.

These studies prove nothing of the sort.  They are counter-factual regression analyses using synthetic controls, which basically estimate that if a certain state had not passed a certain law, then the rate of gun violence affected by that law would have remained the same as the rate of gun violence in states that didn’t pass the same law. Know what happened in Colorado after the state passed a comprehensive background check in 2014?  The gun homicide rate didn’t go down, it went up – to the tune of 50 percent!

Before you accuse me of selling out to the pro-gun side, or trying to promote John Lott, or any of the other angry comments I invariably receive whenever I tell Gun-control Nation that maybe, just maybe, they don’t know all that much about guns, let me make myself very clear. I am not opposed to regulating or correcting any dangerous human behavior by passing and enforcing  proper laws. But I am opposed and won’t back down from the idea that you can’t say that a certain law will work just because you want it to work. Gun violence isn’t going away because all those law-abiding gun owners will obey another law.  After all, if you don’t own a gun, when was the last time you passed a background check?

Does Gun Violence Include Defending Yourself With A Gun?

Want to know the basic issue dividing Gun-nut Nation and Gun-control Nation?  It’s whether or not guns are good things or and things to have around the house. The whole argument gets down to that.  Period.

VPC logo            In 1992 and 1993, Art Kellerman and Fred Ricard published two articles which claimed that higher rates of gun homicide and gun suicide were found in homes with guns. Then Gary Kleck published an article in which he claimed that armed citizens prevented upwards of 2.5 million crimes each year. And these three pieces of research, alternately applauded and damned by pro-gun and anti-gun activists, still continue to set the parameters for what the argument about guns is all about.

The latest contribution to the debate is a brief report just issued by our friends at the Violence Policy Center, which says that “for every justifiable homicide in the United States involving a gun, guns were used in 334 criminal homicides.”  In other words, the positive social utility of gun ownership is clearly outweighed a ton by the negative social utility of guns. The data behind this proposition comes from the usual suspects – the CDC and the FBI.

I would be a little careful about using FBI data on justifiable homicides, if only because their numbers on the other category of justifiable shootings which is called ‘legal intervention,’ and that means civilians being shot by cops, may be off by as much as half.  At least this is what is claimed by the Washington Post which has been tracking police gun-violence for several years. But anyway, back to the VPC report.

I would be the last person to promote the idea that armed citizens should be considered as a protective shield against violence or crime. That someone could maybe hit an unmoving, paper target and then walk around ready to take on society’s enemies with a real gun is nothing more than a stupid, childish fantasy except it’s being played out in real-life terms. Want to pretend you’re ready to blow away all the bad guys?  Go to a video arcade and play one of the shooting machines.

Unfortunately, the VPC report comparing what one might call offensive gun use (OGU) to what has often been called defensive gun use (DGU) is based on a comparison which doesn’t conform to what the two sides say about how personal-defense guns are used. The DGU supporters basically argue that just about all the successful events where a gun prevents a crime don’t actually involve anyone getting shot at all. Gary Kleck’s famous (or infamous) DGU study found that a gun was discharged in a DGU event less than 15% of the time.

When the VPC defines a DGU as an event when a gun is discharged and then compares such events to all the gun homicides committed each year, of course the difference in numbers is enormous to the point that there’s really no comparison at all. But if there ever was an orange to apples comparison in the gun world, this is it. The whole point of using non-shooting DGU numbers to promote the positive social utility of guns, is that you don’t have to rely on any real data at all. And this is where things get difficult for our friends in Gun-control Nation, because the folks at the VPC and other advocacy organizations would like to believe that people can be persuaded to support reasonable gun-control policies because, after all, arguments are won and lost based on facts.

In the case of guns, the facts really have no bearing on the debate. How else do you explain that a majority of Americans really believe that access to a gun keeps you and your family safe? Until and unless the VPC and like-minded groups explain this remarkable instance of cognitive dissonance, all the reports and all the data won’t make much difference at all.


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….

If Gun Control Is The Issue, The Democrats Have The Real Deal.

Now that the alt-left media has decided that Andy can’t run for President because he’s too much of a ‘centrist’ when we all know that Trump can only be beaten by someone who is truly a member of the Progressive Left, I’m going to challenge this nonsense and tell my friends in Gun-control Nation that if they really want a serious attempt at reducing gun violence, they should start a Presidential boom-let for Cuomo before it’s too late.

cuomo              Here’s what the Cuomo nay-sayers at Vox had to say about Andy’s Presidential chances today: “Had Cuomo simply done the normal thing and supported Democratic state Senate candidates and gotten the chance he feared to sign ambitious progressive bills, he’d be perfectly positioned for the circumstances of 2020. Instead, as it stands, he’s left relying on a powerful state party machine and the loyalty of less attentive voters [my italics] to secure what should have been a total cakewalk of a renomination.”

Know who these scions of left-wing political correctness are referring to when they say that Cuomo’s support comes from ‘less attentive’ voters?  They are referring to minorities, in particular Black voters who, according to Vox, always go for the Establishment candidate whether that individual really supports their goals or not. Why didn’t those closet racists at Vox just come out and use the line from Limbaugh-Hannity about ‘low-information’ voters?  Either way, they should be ashamed of themselves for pandering to such lies.

Regarding Andy’s stance on guns, there is not a single Democrat in or out of the Presidential possibilities who has a fraction of his creds.  Hillary may have been all in favor of gun control in 2016, but in 2008 she ran around blue-collar communities telling primary voters that she choked up in tears remembering the wonderful hunting trips she took with dear, old Dad. As for Bernie, he knew full well what would happen to him if he came out with a strong push against guns – in a general election he would have lost his home state.

On the other hand, memories may be short but it was Andy who wrote and brokered the deal between the Clinton Administration and Smith & Wesson which, in return for S&W agreeing to police its own dealer network, the government agreed to immunize the company against tort suits – a position ultimately put into force by the 2005 PLCCA law which immunized gun makers from torts, in exchange for which all they had to do was stick a lock in every gun that they shipped.

Know what would have happened if S&W had agreed to Andy’s plan?  It would have put the company out of business, period, kaput, which is why the gun industry backed a boycott against S&W that only ended when the company was sold and the new owners, along with the Bush Administration, decided to disregard the deal and let well enough alone. Basically, what Andy wanted was a complete monitoring of every S&W dealer by the factory, up to and including on-site visits insuring that safety rules and storage regulations were being followed, along with greater counter-top scrutiny to eliminate straw sales. Had this plan been forced on every gun maker, I don’t think that 10% of the retail dealers could have met its requirements and gun retailing as we know it would have disappeared.

Some of these requirements can be found in the New York SAFE law, which Andy pushed through the state legislature after Sandy Hook. And right now, some of the provisions of that law (registration of assault weapons, hi-cap magazine ban, comprehensive background checks) are a template for how gun-control activists want to strengthen gun laws in other states.

I don’t know Andy’s position on other issues, but on gun control he’s the real, unvarnished deal. If my friends in Gun-control Nation are looking for someone in 2020 to challenge Sleazy Don’s crazy idea that his supporters are so loyal they would vote for him even if he gunned someone down in the street, they won’t find a better choice than the guy who will be sitting in the New York State Governor’s Mansion on November 7th, 2018.