You’re Not Clever, Just Ignorant

I am tired of seeing posts/memes/cartoons portraying gun owners as ignorant racist rednecks who support the killing of children. This installment is aimed directly at those who post such garbage. I am sick of the condescension of people who call for “responsible gun ownership” but don’t even own guns. You think if gun ownership isn’t done by your idea of what the rules ought to be, it’s irresponsible. You could at least be honest about what you want, but few of you have the guts. I’ve pretty much adopted a policy of just scrolling by after taking into account the source, and I’ll probably continue to do the same. But I’m going to lay some facts on you anti-gun folks so you won’t have any excuse the next time you decide to post some leftist crap about us.

I was thinking about this recently during a pistol match. The folks in my squad included me (an archaeologist with 3 degrees), a civil engineer, a data architect, a chemical worker, a federal law enforcement officer, and other professionals. In the larger qroup of shooters at these matches you will find blue collar workers, construction contractors, environmental scientists, engineers, lawyers, and a wide variety of other professionals. In my shooting career, I have competed with men and women of various ancestry and background. I’ve never seen anyone treated any different based on the color of their skin or any other factor, for that matter. Some of us are members of the NRA and others are not. We’re all equal at the line.

When we get together, sure, we talk a lot about guns and shooting. Sometimes we talk about politics. But we also talk about our families, our jobs, how life is going, and lots of other topics. I have never once heard anyone talk about how anxious they are to shoot anyone else. In fact, we often discuss the weight of the responsibility of protecting our loved ones. We know our choices may not be the same as yours, which is fine. But we are sick of you telling us how evil we are for making the considered decision to take our safety and that of our family and friends as a personal responsibility.  If you are willing to stand by and watch something horrible happen to an innocent person, possibly someone you love, while you wait for the police or wish you could do something, that’s on you. I’m not wired in such a way. The next-to-last thing I ever want to do is point a firearm at another human being, much less shoot anyone. But the absolute last thing I want to do is have to live with someone in my life suffering serious injury or death because I didn’t have a firearm.

I know there are exceptions. I’m sure there are a few shooters who match all your stereotypes exactly. There are people out there who don’t behave in a responsible manner in any aspect of their lives, much less with a firearm. There are idiots, criminals, racists, and generally horrible people who own firearms. But they are clearly, statistically, demonstrably the exception. And I know you have every right to post whatever you want on your page. But here’s what you need to know: when you post these clever lines about how evil and stupid gun owners are, you are wrong and showing your ignorance. It is frustrating because I know many of you are highly intelligent. Why do you continue to be willfully ignorant when it comes to gun-related issues? Why do you continue to parrot the bald-faced lies fed to you by the media?  I don’t get it.

Please continue to post your ignorant, narrow-minded, mainstream media-provided nonsense if you like. Or, if you would really like to know about gun owners, why not talk to one? I’m always willing to discuss why I have made the choices I have and why I believe the way I do about the issue. But if all you’ve got is tired old fertilizer you learned on the news or Huffington Post, don’t bother. I don’t have time to talk to bleating sheep.

Feel free to comment if you like, but I’m not looking to start a debate. This is my opinion, which is based on research and experience, not my feelings or anything I’ve been told to think. I don’t care if you don’t like it. You are not going to change it.

Grow Up!

A story broke this week which has really gotten to me. It has no direct affect on my life, but it is really aggravating and indicative of a societal problem.

Here’s the story. Leyla Pirnie is a graduate student at Harvard. She is from Alabama and completed undergraduate studies in International Relations and Political Science. She was born to American parents in Turkey and is 24 years old. She is also a legal gun owner.

After a recent weekend away, Ms. Pirnie returned to her apartment to be confronted by her roommates. While she was away, her roommates took it upon themselves to search her room, including her closet, her dresser, and under her bed. When she asked the other women why they had done this, they told her they, “saw that you had a MAGA hat and come on, you’re from Alabama… so we just kind of assumed that you had something“. By something, they meant a firearm, which they found. When she asked why they felt it necessary to go prowling through her personal possessions rather than just ask her, one of them told her, “fear took over her body and she felt compelled to search my room until she found proof”.

As if this weren’t bad enough, and surely, it is, the roommates reported their find to David Lewis, their landlord. Mr. Lewis proceeded to contact the Somerville (Massachusetts) Police Department and request they come to the apartment to inspect the firearms to make sure they were legal. All was found to be in order. Regardless, Mr. Lewis informed Ms. Pirnie that she would have to remove the firearms from the premises, or her roommates would leave.  If they left, she would have been responsible for the entire $6,000 per month rent (That must be one hell of an apartment!). She refused to dispose of her legally owned personal property and had to move.

At this point, let me summarize. Six women with no personal relationship with Ms. Pirnie other than sharing an apartment with her, entered her private room without permission, rummaged through her personal property, reported what they found to their landlord, who summoned the police to inspect said property. All without the owner’s knowledge. If you are OK with this scenario, please stop reading here and click over to Huffington Post or Mother Jones and go in peace. If your blood pressure just spiked, proceed.

There is no evidence Ms. Pirnie caused any sort of discomfort for her roommates. She stated she did not discuss her political views with them at all. She never had her firearms out around her roommates and owned them legally. The other women had no reason to fear Ms. Pirnie or her firearms, as they obviously didn’t even know she had them until they searched her room. For now, let’s ignore the obvious violations of Ms. Pirnie’s rights. Let’s ignore the profiling and discrimination to which she has been subjected. A discussion of those topics would require a separate post.

I keep coming back to the fact these supposedly adult, educated, women didn’t have the maturity to simply talk to her about their concerns, whether those concerns were well founded or not. Once they found her guns, they ran to the landlord, who then didn’t have the maturity to question how the roommates came by their knowledge of the presence of the firearms, but got law enforcement involved instead. If anyone had bothered to ask, they would have learned Ms. Pirnie survived a physically abusive relationship and kept firearms for protection. I guess #metoo doesn’t apply to  women who have elected to protect themselves.

Come on, people! Grow up! A grown man called in the police because a tenant owned a gun? The responding officer should have at least given Lewis a stern lecture for wasting his time. It would almost be understandable if Ms. Pirnie had threatened her roommates or behaved in some irresponsible manner. There is no evidence this happened. No, this whole thing is the result of the media’s constant attempts to instill fear of gun owners into their audience. The people involved in this story lack the emotional and intellectual maturity to see the foolishness of their reaction. They are the result of leftist efforts to criminalize thoughts and beliefs which differ from theirs. This is what happens when universities don’t allow speakers of differing opinions to appear on campus. This is what happens when there are safe spaces. If we truly want people to get along, this has to stop. People have to be allowed to grow up.


Flawed Red Flag Laws

Someone is pounding on your door.

It’s dark and you glance at your clock as you are startled awake. It’s 5 am. No one whom you want to see knocks on your door at 5 am, so you pull your gun from the nightstand drawer before going to the door. You look outside and see police officers standing there. With no idea why they’re knocking on your door at 5 am, you lay your gun aside and open the door. They tell you they have an Extreme Risk Protective Order (ERPO) against you and are there to take your guns away, guns which you own legally.

This exact exact scenario played out recently in Glen Burnie, Maryland, when Anne Arundel County police officers attempted to serve an ERPO against 61 year-old Gary J. Willis. It appears Mr. Willis was placed in this position by a family member following a disagreement, although no details were available. He answered his door at 5:17 am to find two officers there to confiscate his firearms. Although he initially put his gun down, he picked it up again as he became irate at the officers and was killed during a struggle for the gun. He made a tragic, emotional decision and it cost him his life.

Mr. Willis should have never been in this position. Neither should have the LEOs. Mr. Willis is a victim of a new gun control tactic being put in place across the nation. So called “red flag laws” are now in place in 13 states, including the usual places where the 2nd Amendment doesn’t apply and crime rates are highest. While they vary somewhat in their mechanics, they follow a general model. A concerned family member or law enforcement officer can request a court order, an ERPO in the case of Maryland, which allows for the temporary removal of firearms from the subject of the order. Supposedly, these laws are intended to prevent a person who has exhibited behavior or made statements indicating they are a threat to themselves or others. The subject of the order can petition the court to have their firearms returned to them after the fact.

What is the biggest problem with red flag laws? There is no due process for the subject of the order until after the order has been executed. In other words, the subject has no recourse until after the police have entered his home and confiscated his property. This idea should send a chill down every American’s spine. Imagine if you have an argument with a family member. Whether you make any sort of threat or not, or behave in a violent manner or not, said family member could approach the court and have your property confiscated. How long will it be before any “concerned citizen” can have an ERPO issued? How long will it be, then, before your neighbor who hates guns/gun owners sees you loading a rifle case in your vehicle and has an ERPO issued? If you don’t think that’s possible, you’re fooling yourself.

No one wants people who are truly unstable or pose a danger to themselves and others to armed. But red flag laws are not the answer. The word of one person against another should not be sufficient to allow the state to so clearly violate the constitutional rights of a citizen. This lack of due process is simply not acceptable. Red flag laws put citizens and LEOs in danger as we have just seen in Maryland. I don’t blame the officers in Mr. Willis’s death. As I said, he made a bad decision and the officers apparently responded appropriately. But it was all unnecessary. The police never should have been there in the first place, at least not with the intent of taking his property. Once again, leftist laws touted as protecting us from “gun violence” (as apposed to any other sort of violence) do nothing but violate our rights and in fact, make us less safe.


Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics: Fake News and Junk Science on Guns

As my wife and daughter started preparing to return to school, we had several conversations about school safety and what to do in the case of a shooter. My wife sat through training sessions on the school’s plan in the case of a shooter and how to stop the bleeding in case of a gunshot wound. My daughter expressed concern about what she should do if it happened. In the meantime, I’m thinking, “How on earth have we come to a place where one of their leading concerns for the year is staying safe?”. It is incredible to me that our schools have lost their status as a safe place for students and teachers. I never worried about being harmed at school, other than if I shot off my mouth to a teacher or one of our offensive lineman. It seems our students and teachers are now in danger.

But are they really? After some thought, I reminded them they are as safe at school as they are anywhere else, and probably more so. At times, it seems like the news is filled with nothing but stories about school shootings. But this is likely the exception and not the rule. This seemed intuitive to me. I’ve actually heard it said there are fewer school shootings now than at any time in modern history, but had never seen any actual statistics. In fact, recently released statistics indicated I was wrong.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights released its 2015-2016 Civil Rights Data Collection, School Climate and Safety report (CRDC), which includes data gathered via survey from every public school district in the U.S. According to the report, the CRDC:

…is a survey of all public schools and school districts in the United States. The CRDC measures student access to courses, programs, staff, and resources that impact education equity and opportunity for students. The CRDC has long provided critical information used by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights in its enforcement and monitoring activities.

In addition, the CRDC is a valuable resource for other federal agencies, policy makers, researchers, educators, school officials, parents, students, and other members of the public who seek data on student equity and opportunity.

The CRDC gathered data from 17,337 school districts, represented by 96,360 schools and 50.6 million students. The data is gathered via surveys which all public schools are required to complete. This also means the quality of the data is dependent on the individual school and the staff member tasked with completing it. Keep that in mind. The 2015-2016 survey for the first time included a question concerning the number of shootings which had taken place within the school district. Surprisingly, 235 schools reported at least one school-related shooting. That’s a big number. It’s only 0.2% of the total number of schools, but its still a big number. The problem is, it’s wrong.

What? A government study, wrong? Yes, friends, it is wrong. And not just a little wrong. It is WAY wrong. On August 27, 2018, National Public Radio (NPR) published an article by Anya Kamentez entitled The School Shootings that Weren’twhich examined the results of the CRDC. What Kamentez found were serious errors with the data. To their credit, (and my ever-lasting amazement) NPR attempted to verify the results by contacting the schools which responded as having experienced a school shooting. Of the 235 schools which indicated they had a shooting, 161 of them told Kamentez there had been no shooting. The Cleveland Metropolitan School District reported 37 shootings for the survey period, when in fact, there had been none. There had been 37 incidents of “possession of a knife or a firearm”, data which should have been on the line above the line concerning shootings. They put the number on the wrong line. Likewise, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District reported four school shootings. When contacted by NPR, no one could remember there ever having been a shooting at one of their schools.

There are many more examples given in the article and I encourage you to read it. It seems the errors were the result of poorly worded questions, a poorly structured survey, and simple mistakes. In the end, NPR was able to verify 11 school shootings. As a comparison, Everytown for Gun Safety listed 29 school shootings for the same period. However, only eight of those were the same schools verified by NPR. Eight or 11, either one is far less than the 235 reported by the government. The only large market media outlet to report on this discrepancy, other than NPR, was the Washington Post. Nothing on any of the network news outlets or cable channels. I suppose reporting a number over 21 times higher than what it should be on something so important doesn’t rate a place in the news cycle. It makes better television to saturate the airwaves with fear every time one does happen. I’m just glad I was correct in telling my girls they’re safe at school.

A similar story on mass shootings broke to zero media coverage on August 30. No politician with a ‘D’ after their name worth their salt has missed the opportunity to let us know how “mass shootings happen in the US more often than anywhere else” and “the majority of mass shootings happen here”.  Much of this is an outright lie told to further the anti-gun agenda, but some is the result of a study conducted by Dr. Adam Lankford, professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Alabama (insert jokes here). Lankford’s study, entitled Public Mass Shooters and Firearms: A Cross-National Study of 171 Countries was published in the journal Violence and Victims in 2016. The results of the study showed 31 percent of the mass shooters who killed four or more victims between 1966 and 2012 were located in the US. Lankford claimed a direct correlation between the rate of civilian gun ownership and that of mass shooters.

A quick perusal of Lankford’s article reveals three obvious problems or biases very quickly. At the end of the introduction, he claims the study is based on “quantitative analysis of all known public mass shooters who attacked anywhere on the globe from 1966 to 2012 and killed a minimum of four victims (N=292).”. In 56 years, there have only been 292 mass shooters world-wide? Really? This seems extremely low with only a small amount of thought. We’ll return to this issue later. Lankford’s bias on this topic becomes clear as the article continues. In providing context for the study, he discusses “American Exceptionalism” and “American Gun Culture”.  Under “American Exceptionalism”, Lankford states, ” Americans have historically enjoyed high levels of political freedom, but they have also struggled with high rates of violence, crime, and incarceration”, and “American individualism may be a great quality for entrepreneurship and innovation, but it may contribute to criminally deviant behaviors as well.”.

Lankford’s true colors are truly revealed in his discussion of “American Gun Culture”. After acknowledging American gun ownership allowed our victory over the British in the Revolutionary War, he wrote, “Less positive may be the fact that, according to a comparative study of 178 countries, the United States ranks first in gun ownership, with approximately 270 million firearms owned by civilians and a rate of 88.8 firearms per 100 people”. I fail to see how this is “less positive”. It all becomes crystal clear when he quotes noted authority on guns, Barak Obama.

In addition, the widespread availability of firearms in America may be contributing to the nation’s public mass shooting problem. As the president of the United States recently suggested,

We have historically respected gun rights. I respect gun rights. But the idea that, for example, we couldn’t even get a background check bill in . . . so you can’t just walk up to a store and buy a semiautomatic weapon—it makes no sense . . . We kill each other in these mass shootings at rates that are exponentially higher than anyplace else. Well, what’s the difference? The difference is that these guys can stack up a bunch of ammunition in their houses. 

And there you have it. The problem here is not the quote itself, which should surprise no one. The problem is Lankford presents it as fact.

The problems with Lankford’s study go deeper than just bias, but I believe they result from them. On August 20, 2018, Dr. John R. Lott, III, of the Crime Prevention Research Center released his response. In an article entitled How a Botched Study Fooled the World About the US Share of Mass ShootingsLott attempted to replicate Lankford’s study and identified numerous methodological problems and failures in the interpretation of the data. One major concern was with Lankford’s unwillingness to share his data. He shared it with the New York Times, who published an article on the study (along with numerous other papers and news outlets), complete with graphics of their own creation. Lankford refused to provide Lott with his data. When he approached the New York Times for the data, they told him Lankford asked them not to share it. This is very suspicious and goes against scientific scholarship.

The only source of statistics on mass shootings Lankford cited was the New York City Police Department’s 2012 Active Shooter report. This report relied on news stories from English language sources on mass shootings, introducing an instant bias against international cases. Lankford claimed to follow the same procedures in attempting to gather data as NYPD. In addition, Lankford reported on the number of shooters, rather than the number of cases. Lott found some cases of mass shooting were committed by up to 10 shooters. Reporting the number of shooters rather than cases served to inflate the numbers. Lankford also reported on the raw number of shooters rather than the rate of occurrence per the population of a given country, which is a major error in methodology. I doubt it was an error – it is enough of an elementary-level flaw to suggest it was done on purpose in support of his obvious bias.

Lott’s study relied on the University of Maryland’s Global Terrorism Database, supplemented by controlled internet searches using a variety of search terms. Looking at the period from 1998 to 2012, about 1/3 of the period examined by Lankford, Lott was able to identify 1,448cases of mass shootings world-wide committed by 3,081 shooters. This number is likely too low, given the lack of reporting from third world countries and those where the media is closely controlled by the government. As it is, this is 15 times more shooters in a 15 year period than reported by Lankford for his entire study period. The 43 cases which occurred in the US accounted for 2.88 percent of the attacks and 1.43 percent of the shooters world-wide. The population of the US accounts for 4.6 percent of the global population.

Aren’t both of the studies I’ve discussed here good news? Isn’t it a good thing school shootings and mass shootings aren’t as frequent in this country as we’ve been told? I think so. The question, then, is why hasn’t the media had anything to say about either study? I believe people would like to know it’s safe to take their children to school or to attend a concert. The sad truth is it doesn’t fit the agenda. It doesn’t strengthen the case being made for gun control by leftists and their puppets in the infotainment industry. They rely on the fear they peddle to convince people it is “common sense” to give up their freedom in the name of safety. When these things do happen, they make sure to run stories on it continuously for several days to make it seem as if they are a common occurrence. Every study which seems to reinforce this idea is widely reported, whether it’s based on junk science or out-right lies. The true danger in this is the continued focus on guns and guns owners and not on the cultural and social issues which cause mass murder to occur. I agree even one such incident is too many. I believe the one positive in all of this is a renewed focus on security, situational awareness, and personal responsibility. But we shouldn’t live in a state of fear fueled by fake news and junk science. Until the press remembers they have a duty to report factual information, whether it furthers their editorial agenda or not, it will be up to us to question everything these people tell us.

Yes, You ARE Coming for Our Guns

We don’t want to take away your guns. We just want common sense gun control laws. We support the Second Amendment, but no one needs military style weapons and no one needs more than 10 rounds in a magazine.

We hear these things all the time from the gun control crowd.  It’s a constant, never-changing refrain. I think most of them actually believe they don’t want to take guns away from law-abiding citizens.  More and more are openly supporting bans and confiscation, but many still deny it.  They claim to be moderate in their views and only interested in public safety.  Logic dictates otherwise, however.

Join me, if you will, on a logical journey down the path of “common sense gun control”.  We’ll start with the assumptions which dictate the course our journey will take.  Statistics clearly indicate there is no correlation between levels of gun ownership and an increase in violent crime.  In fact, the opposite is true, a fact which has been proven over and over.  Therefore, we will assume no reduction in crime will occur based on any of the actions proposed by the gun control advocates. Based on this assumption, we will further assume they will never pay attention to this fact and will continue to advocate for more and more restrictions.  If you don’t believe they’re capable of blindly following their agenda in the face of direct contradictory evidence, look at what’s happening in London right now. Keep those tenets in mind.

Let’s pretend they get a win and manage to reinstate the magazine ban, which accomplished nothing during the Clinton administration.  Since no drop in crime will occur, they’ll keep pushing for more. Now it’s illegal to buy an AR-15 or any other scary looking rifle.  No drop in crime occurs, so on we go.  Next it’s semiautomatic handguns. Then it’s all semiautomatic guns.  Then it’s all handguns.  Still no drop in crime.  In fact, it increases.  Finally, with nothing left to regulate the sale thereof, their only option is to start banning ownership of ARs, handguns, etc.  A few sheep will actually turn theirs in, but most of us will not.  Suddenly, there will be newly minted felons in this country numbering in the scores of millions. This means law enforcement officers will have to come into the homes of private citizens, search their residence, and confiscate their personal property. And since guns are not registered, they won’t know who has them and who doesn’t, which means they’ll have to go into every single home.  Every single home in this nation. This, of course, assumes there are any law enforcement officers willing to put on their jack boots and go through with it.  As violent crime rages across this country at a rate never seen in modern times, they’ll look at each other and wonder what else the government can do to solve the problem.

If the image of police knocking on your door and searching your house even though you’ve done nothing wrong doesn’t give you chills, you’re the problem.  I don’t mean to be overly negative or to present a sky-is-falling argument. But what I’ve presented is the logical progression based on what we have seen and what we know. We’re seeing this play out now, as more and more people are openly calling for the Second Amendment to be repealed. At least they’re finally being honest about it. I know many people truly believe it is possible to regulate specific types of guns without violating the Second Amendment. They honestly think an increased level of safety can be achieved by simply regulating magazines or types of firearms.  When this proves to be false, they’ll honestly believe a little more regulation will make us safer.  Then a little more.  In the end, they will be coming for our guns.  Logic dictates it.



Placing the Blame

Any time something bad happens, human nature dictates we assess blame for the incident. Whether it’s a minor traffic accident or a major crime, someone is to blame.  Sometimes multiple people.  Placing of blame can be important as it allows for efforts to prevent similar crimes to be focused where a difference might be made. But as is always the case, the anti-gun crowd immediately jumped on their favorite inanimate object of blame, the AR-15, and their favorite group of blame, the NRA, following the recent shooting at the school in Florida. It’s a familiar pattern which never ceases to irritate.

There are many people who share the blame for the horrors which occurred at the Parkland school.  Sadly, none of them are being discussed by the media.  Instead, they’re obeying their leftist masters and continuing to push the “guns are bad, especially the AR-15” agenda which has possessed them.  In this article, I’d like to discuss where the blame should be placed.  Sadly, there is plenty to around.

The primary blame lies squarely with the shooter. I won’t use his name.  This seems pretty obvious to me, but is apparently lost on the left.  Even though the media continuously showed the shooter’s face on TV, I never heard a single reporter actually lay the blame on him.  In dozens of Facebook posts continuing to today, I’ve yet to see any discussion of his responsibility for his actions from the left. By all accounts, this guy was a ticking time bomb.  His family was scared of him. His classmates were scared of him. He threatened numerous people publicly and posted photos of cruelty to animals. Everyone seemed to know he was destined to shoot up a school. He knew damn well what he was doing every time he pulled the trigger. He’s sick, but he’s still responsible.

He is not alone in his culpability. Since 2008, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office visited his home somewhere between 23 and 45 times (depending on whom you believe), many concerning specific threats he made against others. They were called an additional 18 times.  These threats should have resulted in his arrest and involuntary evaluation by a psychiatrist.  Had this happened, he could have been included on the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and his attempts to purchase the weapons he used to murder 17 people denied.  In addition, the FBI had been notified at least twice about him, including once where he literally said he planned to become “a professional school shooter”.  But nothing was done.  Two agencies whose primary reason for existence is to protect the public, utterly and completely failed.  They failed to do the simplest of duties, but a duty which could well have stopped this crime.  People lose their minds over a kid chewing a Pop Tart into the shape of a gun, but these people let this guy go after making direct threats.  Unacceptable.

Speaking of failed duties, plenty of blame lies with the Broward County deputy assigned to be the school resource officer.  When the shooting started, he did nothing.  He stayed outside the school, listening to kids be slaughtered, kids for which he was responsible for keeping safe, for at least four minutes.  Think about that for just a second.  Think about standing outside a school for four minutes hearing the shots. Hearing the screams. And just standing there. There are reports that four other deputies were on site, who also did nothing.  There are also reports they were told to not entire the building by headquarters unless they had their body cameras turned on.  None had a body camera. I can’t vouch for the truth of that report.  It doesn’t matter to me either way. There was at least one armed, trained, law enforcement officer on scene who did absolutely nothing to stop this crime. I’m not going to question his courage, but he failed to do his duty.  Period. There is no excuse.  This opinion is shared by the Coral Springs police officers who were the actual first law enforcement officers to enter the school.

The Broward County Sheriff’s Department apparently suffers from a lack of effective leadership. Sheriff Scott Israel has shown himself to be more politician than law enforcement professional.  He has consistently deflected any blame for the lack of action based on numerous interactions with the shooter and for the lack of action of at least one of his officers. He sat on stage during the ambush staged by CNN as a “town hall” meeting, knowing all of these deficiencies.  But when questioned by the NRA’s representative, he refused to answer, choosing instead to fall back on the anti-gun frenzy in the room. He has passed up no chance to be on camera and blame others, not once accepting any responsibility. He may be the sheriff, but he is no leader. The failures of his department are his.

It is clear where the blame should be placed.  It also lies with a society which places little value on two parent homes or respect for others. It lies with the media who put the killer’s face on a loop and care more about their editorial spin than actually solving the issue. It lies with a general lack of respect for human life.  But none of these people or factors are being discussed. No, it is the NRA’s fault.  It is gun owner’s fault.  It is the AR-15’s fault. The NRA, which is made up of about 5 million people, most just like you or me, exists to protect the inalienable rights protected by the 2nd amendment, and to promote the safe, and responsible ownership of firearms.  It does not sell guns and it does not represent the firearms industry.  The NRA provides more instruction on the safe use of firearms to children and adults than any other group in the nation.  If you take a class on how to handle a firearm or for a concealed carry permit, odds are your instructor was trained by the NRA, at least in part.  The NRA was a strong supporter of the NICS system and continues to support improvements to it.  Not one of these mass shootings was committed by an NRA member, and one, the Texas church shooting, was stopped by an NRA member with an AR-15. But we’re labeled as murderers and terrorists somehow responsible for these incidents.  We’re told we don’t care about the lives of children. This is a narrow-minded, foolish approach and does nothing to solve the problem. The media is largely to blame for this, but too many just accept what MSNBC tells them and goes with it.

The vitriol toward the AR-15 is also ridiculous and based in ignorance.  The AR is not some super high-powered cannon and is not available to the public with the ability to fire automatically.  Your granddad’s deer rifle in 30-06 is more powerful.  It is not an assault rifle, as it lacks the ability to fire in a fully automatic mode. Sorry, but that’s part of the legal definition.  The modern AR is manufactured in such as way so it is not possible to make it fire automatically.  There are somewhere around 8 million AR’s in private ownership right now and they are almost never used in the commission of crimes.  More people are killed every year with fists than with every type of rifle combined.  ARs are excellent home defense weapons with the right ammunition, they are easy to shoot, and have low recoil, making them an excellent option for shooters of smaller stature.  They make excellent hunting weapons, again with the proper ammunition.  But the left and their media wonks have told the same lies over and over and over and the sheep believe them.  I’ve had people lecture me about the evils of the AR who I am reasonably certain have never seen one in person much less fired one.  But they know all about it because of what HuffPo or CNN said about them.  It is amazing how stupid smart people can be when their emotions get in the way.

Friends, no one wants this to stop more than me.  My wife teaches high school and my daughter is a student at the same school. Their safety means more to me than anything, so I take this subject very seriously.  This is a massively complicated issue and I don’t know the answers.  I do know the one thing which could be done today is for the Feds to demand every state to provide 100 percent of their convictions to the NICS so the background check system will work as designed.  It is unimaginable to me this isnt’ done already, but 38 states provide less than 80 percent of their convictions to the system.  These are people who have had due process and have either been convicted of a crime or adjudicated as mentally unfit.  There is no excuse for a state to not provide this information.  It needs to change right now.

At the moment, there are few strong ideas being discussed.  Allowing teachers who volunteer to do so and undergo additional training to carry firearms at schools has merit, but also raises concerns. I think providing armed security in the form of off duty police, hired security guards, or vetted volunteers from the community is a no-brainer.  We have armed guards in our banks but not our schools? I don’t want my wife and daughter to feel like they’re prisoners, but they’d get used to the presence of these folks soon enough.

Other ideas currently being discussed are designed to further the agenda, not solve the problem. The left is talking about age limits, adding the no-fly list to the NICS, banning bump stocks, and even a full-fledged ban on all semi-automatic weapons.  These things will not help.  They’ll punish law-abiding citizens and have zero effect on crime, but that doesn’t matter to the anti-gun people. The part I find most disturbing is the waste of time and intellectual energy. Instead of fighting these battles over and over again, why can’t we get past it and talk about the real issues?  How do we deal with the litany of societal ills which have brought us to this point? I don’t know, but I know banning ARs and attacking the NRA isn’t going to get it done.

The Well is Bottomless

How often have you been watching the news or just out in the world and said to yourself, “well, now I’ve seen the most stupid thing possible. It is not possible for anything more stupid than that to occur.”? I’ve said it to myself many times, but I know it isn’t true. The human capacity for being stupid appears to be infinite. The well of stupidity is apparently bottomless. This was made abundantly clear by a recent event here in Tennessee.  Keep reading and you’ll see what I mean.

Last Friday evening (February 2), Andrew Ward, a Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency officer, met his wife at the Outback Steakhouse in Cleveland, Tennessee, for his dinner break. They were seated and were enjoying a pleasant evening. A short time later, the manager of the restaurant approached Ward and asked him to return his weapon to his vehicle. He replied he could not do that, since he was in uniform and required to carry his service weapon. The manager walked away and made a phone call, before returning to the Ward’s table to let him know Outback was a gun-free establishment and they would have to leave, which they did.  The cause of all this was another patron, sitting at another table with her husband, who claimed she feared she would be shot.  She went so far as to demand the manager escort her to her car so she wasn’t shot in the parking lot.

Let’s look at this more closely;  peel back the layers of stupidity, if you will.  First of all, let’s examine the management of this particular establishment.  When confronted with an obviously baseless complaint, the manager wasn’t smart enough to solve this issue.  He/she chose to harass a uniformed officer rather than offer to seat the complainer elsewhere or apologize, explain Outback’s actual policy, hand her a gift card, and ask her to leave. No, this manager decided the uniformed officer was breaking the restaurant’s gun-free policy (we’ll leave this particular layer of stupid alone for now).  Then, our misguided manager had to call someone else, presumably his/her superior, who was apparently as stupid as their underling, since the result was the officer being asked to leave.  Two good, thick, layers of stupid, right there.

Now we come to the core of the stupidity in this story, the patron who felt the presence of an armed, uniformed, officer virtually guaranteed she would be shot. Really? Did she really think a sworn officer, in uniform having dinner with his wife, was going to shoot her? Maybe she thought the gun was going to hop out of its holster, drag itself over to her table, and open fire.  According to the MSM, it might be possible! If we assume she actually was that frightened, why didn’t she leave immediately?  Also, she apparently thought the manager was willing to take a bullet for her, since she asked him/her to escort her back to her car.  Her husband must be a real winner.

Being the cynical sort, I think her whole story is a load of crap. I think this woman is some sort of anti-gun or anti-police activist trying to make a point.  She was probably elated when Ward walked in the door because it presented her with the opportunity to make a point. I’d love to know this woman’s identity. I’d bet a paycheck her social media feed is full of nonsense from Mom’s Demand Action and MSNBC. She probably has a photo of Shannon Watts on her wall. No reasonable person would believe she was as scared as she claimed, especially of a uniformed officer. No, this was an opportunity to make a scene and try to make a point. It’s just sad she chose a place to do it managed by someone just as stupid as she, creating a perfect storm of stupidity.

I feel bad for Officer Ward and his wife.  They were just trying to enjoy an evening meal together. He did absolutely nothing to deserve this.  Thankfully, someone at Outback figured out how badly they had screwed up and issued an apology and a gift card. He has been gracious about the entire episode and hasn’t pursued it any further.  In fact, his original post about the incident has been removed. As for the patron, she just has to live with herself since there will be no recourse against her. She’d never step foot in my restaurant again, but that’s just me. I’m sure she feels really good about herself, but she can’t be a happy person. Not really. And I can only imagine the hell her husband must endure. People like her should remind us the well is truly bottomless.

Bump the Bump Fire Bill!

We knew it was coming. It was inevitable. The same old calls for additional gun control would be made. I get it. I hope to never turn on the news and see another story like Las Vegas. I understand the urge to “do something”. But that something needs to actually accomplish the goal, not serve as a means to another end. Doing “something” should include knowledge, thought, logic, and an understanding of how it will affect the citizens of this country. Once it became known the Las Vegas shooter had used “assault rifles” modified by something called a “bump fire stock”, the focus shifted and the knees began to jerk. Now, the usual suspects are yelling for them to be outlawed. Unfortunately, the usual suspects have allies on the other side of the aisle this time.

Before October 1, very few people had ever heard of a bump fire stock, much less knew what it does. This is probably because few people own them and one had never been used in commission of a crime until that day. I was aware of them, but I’m a gun guy. For those of you who might be unfamiliar with them, a bump fire stock is an accessory which replaces the regular stock and pistol grip on a semi-automatic rifle, such as an AR-15 or AK-47. The stock simply facilitates the bump fire technique, where the shooter pushes the rifle with the support hand while pulling with the shooting hand. After the first shot, the shooter leaves the finger lightly on the trigger, and uses the recoil impulse to “bump” the trigger, firing the gun again. This allows for a semi-automatic rifle to be fired more rapidly than normal. If used properly, a rate of fire similar to that of an automatic rifle can be achieved.

The NRA took the lead by calling for the BATFE to review the status of bump fire stocks and similar devices. This same agency approved the sale of them only a few years ago. It is the purview of the BATFE to classify items like bump fire stocks in terms of the National Firearms Act and the Gun Control Act. Their determination in 2010 was that bump fire stocks were accessories, not firearms as defined by either act. Therefore, they are legal for purchase without a background check or paying a tax. The wisdom of this decision is certainly debatable. In my opinion, they are good for little but burning through ammunition more quickly than usual. I have no problem with burning through ammunition quickly, but I’m not looking for a contrivance to make it easier!

Rather than allow the BATFE to review their decision, members of Congress have decided to introduce legislation to ban bump fire stocks and similar devices. In the House, Representatives Carlos Curbelo (R) of Florida and Seth Moulton (D) of Massachusetts introduced the so-called “Bump Fire Bill” (HR 3999), while (not surprisingly) Senator Diane I-don’t-know-a-damn-thing-about-guns-but-I-want-them-banned Feinstein introduced the companion “Automatic Gunfire Prevention Act” (S.1916) in the Senate. The important language in each bill is nearly identical, although the Senate bill does actually mention bump fire devices while the House version does not. Here is the meat of the House bill:

“…to manufacture, possess, or transfer any part or combination of parts that is designed and functions to increase the rate of fire of a semiautomatic rifle but does not convert the semiautomatic rifle into a machinegun…”

Seems innocuous enough, until you start asking yourself, “what does it mean?”. How legislation effects us lowly worker bees is largely dependent on how the law is interpreted. I submit to you this bill is open to some very dangerous interpretations.  Let’s look at it more closely.

“…to manufacture, possess, or transfer…”  I’ll start here. The key word in this sentence is “possess”.  If these bills pass, it will be illegal for you to possess one of these items. The Senate version allows for the newly created criminals to turn them in within 180 days. What if someone decides not to hand theirs over? Are the police going to be allowed to go into the homes of people suspected of being in possession of such a device and search for it? I doubt it. So, exactly how will this be enforceable? What is the point of an unenforceable law? What will lawmakers do when no one gives up their legally-purchased property? Not much, would be my guess.

“…any part or combination of parts that is designed and functions to increase the rate of fire of a semiautomatic rifle…”  Now we come to one of the real problems with this bill. This is where it becomes obvious the authors know nothing about what they’re trying to legislate.  First of all, notice the term “bump fire” appears nowhere in this bill. The Senate version does actually use it, but not the House version. Bump Fire Bill.  Right. I understand the language is intentionally vague, and vague laws are dangerous.

Time for a quiz. What is the rate of fire of a semiautomatic rifle? Anybody? You don’t know because it varies depending on the rifle, its state of repair, the ammunition, the caliber, the shooter, the weather, etc.  There is no industry standard for semiautomatic rate of fire. It is a statistic which does not exist. How, then, do we define an increase in the rate of fire? If you put an aftermarket trigger in your rifle, you will probably be able to shoot it faster. I installed the excellent Apex trigger in my competition pistol, which is semiautomatic. I assure you, it increased the rate of fire of my pistol! Will it and similar aftermarket parts become illegal? To make my point crystal clear, take a few minutes and watch these videos of world-record shooter Jerry Miculek shooting an AR15 against a bump fire-equipped AR, a Tavor, and a .50 caliber Barrett. All are semiautomatic, even though you wouldn’t know it from these videos. Will Jerry’s trigger finger be illegal?

This bill was obviously written in haste (we have to do SOMETHING!) with very little thought. It was written by people with no technical knowledge and little understanding of the issues at hand, leaving far too much room for interpretation. I suspect, however, the Senate version is exactly what Feinstein wants. I have no doubt she sees this as an opening. If this were to pass, it would not be long before someone decided aftermarket triggers, which make it easier to shoot accurately by lightening the pull weight, “increased the rate of fire” and made them illegal. Then it would be compensators. They help manage recoil, which “increases the rate of fire”. Then someone would come up with an arbitrary rate of fire and any semiautomatic rifle capable of firing faster than that would be banned. It is indeed a slippery slope, the kind of thing for which the gun ban crowd has been waiting. Let’s not make it this easy for them. I doubt either of these will make it out of committee. Neither should. I urge you to contact your elected officials and tell them to bump the bump fire bills.