At the Gun Show

At the Gun Show

This past weekend I went to the gun show. This is the big annual show at the Kentucky Fairgrounds that brings in hundreds of dealers. In that one building there was probably over a quarter million firearms of various types and sizes. Gone are the days of the late 90s where certain types of guns were hard to come by. Today’s gun market is wide-open.

It’s interesting how much the gun debate has changed in the last 7 or 8 years. There have been four major events on the gun debate landscape since the Assault Weapons Ban was allowed to expire in 2004. Fatal shootings bookend the period from 2004 to present. The first was the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007. The second was the swearing-in of President Obama whose record as a state legislator made fears of an anti-gun presidency feel justified and sent the ammunition market into a boom. Third was the Heller case in 2008 which made it legal for citizens to own guns in the District of Columbia. The last event was the Gabriel Giffords shooting in 2011.

The Virginia Tech shooting put ease of access to guns on the radar. The shooter was clearly mentally unstable and people wondered how he got his hands on guns so easily. An interesting sidebar conversation was the call from some to begin allowing concealed carry for students on college campus as a way of preventing a future attack.

 President Obama’s administration has thus far not gone after guns as many of us feared. Whether it means our concern was unnecessary or maybe the weak economy has re-ordered his priorities, this is a welcome situation. The Heller case was certainly a victory for gun owners but with over three years having passed it is clear that it was an incremental win, however an important one. The Giffords shooting sparked a discussion surrounding magazine capacity and took an ugly turn when partisans tried to use it to link political rhetoric with random violence.

Taken as a whole it has been a quiet eight years if you are a gun owner. We now enjoy more rights than we have held in decades. The most significant change in gun law has been the move towards ease of carry. Thirty nine states now allow some form of concealed carry. In my own state I can keep my gun fully loaded in the glove box without even having a permit. This is a development none of us could have imagined 20 years ago. As a longtime gun owner I am amazed at the ease at which guns are carried in most states.

According to the NY Times:

The number supporting stricter laws has been gradually declining over the last 20 years. When Gallup first asked the question in 1990, 78 percent favored stricter laws. That was down to 60 percent in 1999, 54 percent in 2004 and 44 percent in 2009 and 2010.

The 1999 Columbine shootings and 2007 Virginia Tech shootings appear to have had little, if any, effect on these views. Perhaps one reason for that is skepticism about the effectiveness of stricter laws. In a New York Times/CBS News poll conducted shortly after the Virginia Tech shootings, just 30 percent said they thought that stricter gun control laws would have done a lot to prevent the violence there. Instead, 66 percent said such laws would have had little effect (21 percent) or no effect at all (45 percent).

A lot of this is the product of gun legislation that targets the wrong problem. Gun laws that go after certain types of guns are simply not effective and the public knows this. It seems that the murder rate is the most accurate predictor of support for gun control. From Gallup :

The higher public support for banning guns and strengthening gun laws seen from about 1988 through 1993 — the year the Brady Bill was passed in Congress — corresponds with the relatively high U.S. murder rate recorded during those years. According to the FBI, there were more than 8 murders per 100,000 inhabitants in the United States in each year from 1988 through 1994, peaking at 9.8 murders in 1991.

The current environment strikes me as a good opportunity to tackle gun control from the Right. The last such major effort was Project Exile which rolled out in Richmond, VA in 1997. I think now is the time to tackle gun trafficking which is the primary source of inner city gun crime in the United States. Democracy Journal had a fantastic piece about this several years ago that made this case:

Nearly 40 percent of all crime guns recovered in New Jersey and New York came from Virginia, Georgia, Florida, and the Carolinas. Nine out of 10 crime guns changed hands between the first purchase (which was likely legal) to the last purchase (which was certainly illegal). What we need, then, is a new national strategy to reduce gun violence: Don’t restrict gun rights, but instead deepen the sense of gun ownership.

The first step is to make gun trafficking a federal crime, not a term of art. There is only one statute on the federal books that deals even indirectly with gun trafficking–a vague, loophole-ridden law that allows only federally licensed gun stores “to engage in the business” of dealing in firearms. Since federal law allows any individual to sell his or her own firearms to anyone else, the “engaged in the business” bar is virtually insurmountable. And since any individual may also sell firearms without performing a background check, asking for identification, or keeping any sort of record, the requirement that individuals not knowingly sell to criminals is merely a suggestion. That is why federal prosecutors in 29 states filed five or fewer cases related to trafficking behavior over a recent three-year period.

At the gun show last weekend I sold a gun and bought another. The sale of my gun to a private dealer took exactly one minute, was a cash transaction and no paperwork was exchanged. I don’t know the buyer’s name and he doesn’t know mine. More than likely he resold the gun before the day was over. As much as I love the convenience, I have to admit this gives me pause. It is not uncommon for buyers to purchase numerous guns in this manner and take them north to sell in cities at an inflated rate.

The gun I bought was from a licensed dealer and therefore I had to fill out paperwork and submit to a background check. It was a painless process that only took five minutes of my time and now that gun is documented.If I were so inclined, the chances of it ending up in the hands of a gang member in New Jersey just got reduced significantly. For this reason I am in favor of closing the so-called ‘gun show loophole ‘. As much as I believe in 2nd Amendment rights, this presents too large of a problem. We close this and we will not only see fewer guns in the hands of criminals but also a solidification of the positive pro-gun climate we have today. For me it’s win-win.

And that’s a snapshot of gun ownership today. The U.S. has close to 400 million guns within its borders. I don’t believe they are going anywhere. The question is really just about what level of oversight we are willing to tolerate.

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112 thoughts on “At the Gun Show

    • I think Kenneth was referring more to the general ‘buy guns NOW before the Neeegro takes your rights away!’ hysteria.

      There was lots of fear. Irrational, racist, ignorant, self-serving, delusional, paranoid, etc.

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      • Yeah, and I can see that there definitely was irrational hysteria in some quarters. I’m just saying that I can see Mike being somewhat concerned about Obama’s record as a state legislator, as he says, a lot quicker than see him being swept up in any of that hysteria.

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        • Oh, true ‘dat. (this to Rufus, if the threading is still busted, re: “I’m just saying that I can see Mike being somewhat concerned about Obama’s record as a state legislator, as he says, a lot quicker than see him being swept up in any of that hysteria.”)

          Obama is certainly no Russ Feingold when it comes to his record on gun control.

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          • Patrick and Rufus: I agree about Mike. But I would bet that the majority of people who engaged in that hysteria – which emptied Walmart shelves of guns and ammo – would say that they were being entirely rational in feeding into that frenzy. Better safe than sorry, right?

            Part of my worry and wonder about it is what constituted the motivation to buy more guns at the slightest indication that restrictions were on the way? To defend themselves from oppressive Kenyan Socialism? To go on the offensive against incipient KS? To just get their hands on a preferred gun before it would no longer be legally available? And the ammo frenzy?!  I just don’t get motivation in any event. Or at least, if I do understand it, then I still don’t understand it.

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            • This is a great point.  If someone told you that tomorrow, all guns and ammo would be illegal, how would you react?  I mean, if you planned on buying one or two more guns over the course of your lifetime, why would you suddenly rush out and buy 10?  Especially knowing that whatever Obama did would be undoable if there was enough motivation to do so.

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              • if you planned on buying one or two more guns over the course of your lifetime, why would you suddenly rush out and buy 10?

                So you can make enough different caches that the feds can’t find them all.

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                • My situation was sloppy.  Or sloppily expressed.  It is not that all guns/ammo become illegal, but that it is illegal to buy/sell them.  What you have remains your own.  I assume this would be the case with any new gun restrictions passed, no?  Would you have to turn in a gun that you acquired legally but became illegal to buy or sell?

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                  • Bsk,

                    re: illegal guns.

                    It’s my impression that many guns are illegal to own.

                    Quoth a friend of mine (da one who got shot at down south, fer what it’s worth), “Granpa, why is there an AK47 in your basement?” Pa’s response: “Huntin’ deer”)

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                    • But were those guns ever legal?

                      Could a gun that is currently legal to buy, sell, and own become illegal to buy, sell, or own?  If so, what would be the obligations on people currently in possession of them, private citizens (as opposed to licensed sellers) in particular?

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                        • Just trying to understand!  As I said up above, guns are a topic I am not particularly familiar with or well versed in.  I appreciate your patience.

                          If I had to guess, I would have assumed that guns have become increasingly harder to possess, on the whole.  Based on my gun-to-the-head opinion stated above, I suppose that is generally a good thing.  Still, I’m shocked about the “gun show loophole”.  That does indeed seem like something that should be illegal.

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                    • , your grandpa may have been hunting this buck. And by buck I don’t mean black person, ever.

                      While you’re there in the land of Pitt, you could look up this gun maker. Maybe they’ll give you a test shoot because you’ll tell them you’re going to write a front page piece for the famous LoOG. :)

                      I’ve done plenty of competition handgun shoots. I can get off an accurate shot in a quarter of a second from my holster (a bit longer if concealed). I’ve lost count of the times I’ve done the Lethal Weapon happy face at the gun range. It all comes down to practice practice practice (and it helps to have a decent accurate weapon).

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                      • all of which will do you jack-all good against an ambush.

                        Yeah, sure, some criminals are stupid. They aren’t all stupid.

                        And it’s not the accuracy on a range that’s at issue. It’s the “will you freeze under fire” and “how accurate are you under fire.”

                        The guy I know who’s fired a gun at a person (not at war) can’t aim worth a tuppence. They thought he was doing trick shots, and ran off… (aimed for the heart — clipped the guy’s shoulder)

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                      • WS, you’re absolutely correct.

                        I’m willing to bet any confrontation with a bad guy will be direct, quick, and close in. In any situation like that it may very well be over before you can react. If not, you have a chance to “stop the violence.” That’s all a hand gun gives the citizen a chance to survive, an opportunity to allow the good guy or gal to ‘stop the violence’ and as a cop told me, ‘to fight to get to the shotgun.’

                        Interestingly, my cc instructor, who worked several decades for the State of Ohio with gangs in Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus told me that in recent years urban utes intent on robbery and/or mayhem of any sort will walk into a place and if they see an old dude with his shirt out, they shoot him immediately. Fortunately these actors rarely, if ever, practice, have a tendency to ‘freeze’ when they see a gun, and literally shit their pants when confronted with the ‘gauge.’ Who knows, maybe the old guys can win one…gotta try, cops can’t make it fast enough.

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                • won’t help you much if the Geocachers find ’em.

                  “You found a gun. Inna Box. And you put a NIRVANA Cd in there, and Took The Damn Gun??!?”

                  [Morals of this story: 1) city parks are probably not the best place to cache weapons. 2) geocachers can’t find shit, and can’t distinguish between “probably a geocache” and “probably something I shouldn’t touch”]

                   

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            • People buy ammo like people buy earthquake preparedness supplies: because it makes them feel better.

              Not to say that there aren’t actual good rational reasons to buy either ammo or earthquake preparedness supplies, but when the frenzy-buying activity occurs, it’s largely a security blanket response.  Psychologically speaking, anyway.

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    • …and?

      btw, it’s Hawaiian-Kenyan Marxist!

      btw, for first time gun owners, you can pick up a decent commie-pistol, a Tokarov 7.62X25, for about $200. I just shot my buddy’s at my gun range, and it’s very powerful, and accurate. Nice gun to carry in the car to protect you from ‘road rage’!

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    • Wow, that’s strange.  There was another comment from Rufus here, which included a statement along the lines of “my sense is that gun owners are highly regulated”, which I was replying to.  It seems to have vanished.

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  1. Sorry! I wanted to go back and reread the post before commenting because I wasn’t sure at all that I’d read Mike the right way in my original comment. What I meant by that particular part of it was that I’ve got family members and friends who are legal gun carriers and I was surprised to hear them talk about being pulled over by the police on the highway somewhat often in order to check that they were following the laws to do with carrying the right way, because they’re registered gun owners. Maybe Mike can explain more, and maybe it’s just a Virginia thing, but my understanding is that, if you’re a registered gun owner, there are a number of rules you have to be in line with. He’s talking about closing a loophole, but that doesn’t mean they’re unregulated.

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      • I went to a 4 day gun training thing at Frontsight and the laws in Nevada are pretty strange. If you have a concealed carry permit, the gun must be /concealed/ at all times. If you’re wearing a jacket that doesn’t conceal properly you could get in trouble. Also you can’t have a gun in a casino so you have to plan your routes accordingly.

        Gun laws in this country are like liquor laws in Kentucky, they vary insanely from invisible border to invisible border. A Utah concealed carry permit is fairly restrictive and has good reciprocity. You have to show proof of having attended and passed a rigorous handgun training program.

        As an experiment in “an armed society is a polite society” at Frontsight I purposely placed a fifty dollar bill under a rock but in plain sight where hundreds of people walked daily. No one ever touched it. The newcomers locked their cars, but after the first afternoon everyone left their cars open. Admittedly Frontsight does a criminal background check on every customer, but when everyone is armed to the teeth and have hundreds of rounds of ammo, a person would be fairly stupid to go digging through someone else’s car without permission. IMHO.

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  2. Mike-
    Given your concern about the “gun show loophole” and the potential for guns sold in this manner ending up being used in crimes, why were you so comfortable engaging in such a deal?

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    • BSK – good question! Two reasons:

      1) The problem with the loophole is more with buyers coming to shows and loading up on guns. The dealers are less of a concern.

      2) I sold a cowboy-style pistol chambered in .22LR. My gut tells me that it’s not going to be in-demand among the gang community.

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      • I suppose the first issue is only relevant because of the second, no? If you were selling a more common gun, was there anything to indicate that the buyer was not there to buy more than just the one?

        This is all very foreign to me, so pardon my ignorance. Theoretically, the only thing that stops a gang banger from buying 500 Glocks at the Kentucky gun show is the seller? Does he break any laws in transporting and distributing (free of charge) those guns to his buddies back in Big City, Kentucky? What if he sells them? What about both scenarios in a city outside the state?

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        • The problem with US trafficking on the east coast is guns going from southern states with liberal gun laws up to northern cities with very strict laws. In those places you cannot legally sell a gun without some serious documentation. I’ve heard stories of folks going to gun shows in GA, loading up on easy-to-purchase guns and then selling out of their trunk on a street in Philadelphia.

          If you will re-read my quote above from Democracy Journal it says in part:

          “Nine out of 10 crime guns changed hands between the first purchase (which was likely legal) to the last purchase (which was certainly illegal).”

           

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          • I gathered that, which is why I asked about the difference between sales and simply distributing them free of charge.  Are there any laws about crossing state lines?  Do any laws stop you from buying a gun in GA, driving it to New York, and giving it away?

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            • BSK,

              Gun law for NJ:

              “It is unlawful to sell, give, transfer, assign, or otherwise dispose of, or receive, purchase, or otherwise acquire a handgun unless the purchaser, assignee, donee, receiver, or holder is licensed as a dealer under New Jersey law or has first secured a Permit to Purchase a handgun.

              The permit must be in the form prescribed by the Superintendent of State Police and shall be issued to the applicant in quadruplicate.

              The applicant prior to the time he receives the handgun from the seller shall deliver to the seller the permit in quadruplicate and the seller shall complete all of the information required on the form.

              Only one handgun shall be purchased or delivered for each permit.

              A permit is required for private or dealer purchases.”

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              • Thank you.  I assume, then, that such gun show deals are illegal in NJ?

                I’m pretty liberal with some libertarian tendencies (or maybe I’m libertarian with some liberal tendencies?)…. whatever.

                I’m not a big gun person.  Didn’t grow up with them, didn’t fire one until last year, never hunted… just not part of my personal context.  I’ve generally been somewhat agnostic about gun control laws… there were simply issues I cared more about than guns.  Forced to take a stand, I suppose I would say that some basic regulation was a good thing, including licenses for both buyers and sellers that were predicated on demonstrating some basic safety standards (for buyers, some basic handling requirements; for sellers, record keeping and such), but otherwise, folks should be able to do what they will.  The “gun show loophole” and other unregulated sales seem a bad idea, and restrictions on such practices hardly seem different from the regulation of liquor sales, automobiles, and lemonade.

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            • distributing anything free of charge is generally tax evasion. Gotta pay the guvmint their sales tax, or ELSE.

              That said, a friend of mine helped the secret service go after some gunrunners (they were running guns south of the border). Because it was quite simply easier to convict them under the Department of Treasury regs on money.

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  3. Without taking a stand either way on the issue of gun regulation, I find myself surprised at how things have changed.  Had I made a wager 20 years ago, I would have bet that there would be more restrictions on gun ownership today, not less, despite the significant political influence of the NRA.  At best I would have bet on something nearer the status quo, not more and more states moving to allow concealed carry, and 20 years ago who would have bet on the Supreme Court taking up an issue it had carefully avoided for so long?

    It might be worth noting that 20 years ago I was a self-defined progressive who felt that movement in the progressive direction was certain, if slow and uneven.  Today I’m a self-defined libertarian who feels that movement in the authoritarian direction is certain, if slow and uneven.

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  4. Kenneth,

    If you would like to email me I will be happy to share with you some more detailed info about the President’s gun control policies as a state legislator. That wasn’t the intent of the post though.

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  5. So if a liberal type said the exact same things in almost any situation, there would be at least one person to chime in about “gun grabbing” and “losing our rights” and “AHHH they are coming to get us.” Talking about guns seems as hard as discussing abortion even about something like closing the gun show loophole.

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    • Greg – you are correct and that is why I would like to see the legislation come from the Right. Fair or not, it would automatically make any proposal more palatable to gun owners. It’s also why I wanted to write the post, because I think conservatives have a responsibility to tackle the flaws in those institutions we are most associated with.

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      • But Mike, certainly you understand that no such legislation will ever come from the Right, right? You are watching the primaries aren’t you? The Republicans do not have the independent streak to fight the NRA. The legislation will only come from the Democratic party, they believe in gun control, the Republican party doesn’t, and that’s OK. You might get some Rs crossing the aisle and voting with the Ds on closing that loophole, but with Snowe out I don’t really see that happening either.

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      • The fear is that forcing all gun purchases to go through NCIS would lead to a defacto gun registry, which could then be used in an effort to confiscate firearms (& gun registries have been used by at least CA to do exactly that).  The fact that guns can be legally transferred without the governments knowledge ensures that the government could never hope to find them all.

        There is also the aspect that a person should not have to get permission from the government to exercise a right.

         

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        • This kind of thinking wouldn’t fly for any other right.  Requirements for full disclosure of campaign donations is pretty non-controversial, for instance; so is the need to get a permit to hold a large rally.  Gun owners, in my opinion, are the most coddled group in American politics.  Guns are intended to kill things.  The idea that you should be able to buy one without registering it–when you can’t legally do the same for a car–is flatly absurd, but it’s treated as a serious position.

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          • You can own a car without registering it, as long as it never leaves your property.  It’s only when you drive it on the road that the rules apply.

            Same with rallies.  You’re free to hold a rally on your property.  If you want to hold it in the public square, you need a permit first (which is generally a shall issue permit).

            Ergo, I should be able to own as money guns as I want on my property & it’s nobodies business but mine.  If I want to carry my gun off my property, then the public has an interest in my activities (which is why I support carry permits & hunting licenses).

            IMHO, a federal (shall issue) carry permit system would be good.  If you are caught carrying a gun without a valid carry permit, you have violated a federal law.

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  6. Close the loophole. At least for handguns. Leave buying and selling BigLongSlowGuns as free as needed. (if you have to load each cartridge individually…makes it hard to rampage).

    Speaking of rampages:

    Some kid cut up a pair of police officers pretty bad with a butter knife… Then they shot him dead.

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  7. Our problem as a society goes deeper than guns or ammo.   Something about the level of tension and angst we endure causes some of us to detonate, seemingly at random.   There’s more regulation of automobiles than guns and for all the fearmongering about how those Libruls are Just Schemin’ to Take Our Guns Away, the fact remains, our guns and ammo are only a symptom of a malaise which goes to the core of America’s fear and anguish.

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      • Look, guns and ammo are just tools, insensate, engineered to one task, putting rounds downrange into someone or something.   A purpose-built tool.  Nobody’s going out hunting with a Glock 45.   That’s meant to shoot human beings at relatively short distances.

        So who needs such a tool?   And why do so many people feel they need one?   “Personal protection” ?   Sure, I won’t argue with that rationale.  

        Now, tell me, protection from whom or what?

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          • A gun is excellent protection.   I’ve hunted people and they’ve hunted me.  No substitute will do.

            The question I ask is slightly different:   these folks have bought a tool, with the perfect right to do so, no different than a lawnmower or a washing machine, spent good money on it with the expectation they will need it to defend themselves.

            Guns aren’t exactly cheap, the better ones, anyway.   People don’t collect washing machines or lawnmowers, well, not many, anyway.   But they do collect guns.   Most people who own guns have more than one and about half of all gun owners own more than four.   That’s a whole lotta protection.   Good ammunition isn’t exactly cheap either and after a while it must be replaced and there’s all the attendant need to store and secure the weapons and ammunition and most gun owners are highly responsible people.

            While I was hunting people, I had two guns.   We had a guy whose whole job was to deal with them, an armorer, a really good man to know.    When you need to use a gun, it’s got to work.   Serious business.

            It’s more than a personal protection issue.  It’s something emotional.   It’s primal, going right back to what every warrior and hunter understands about the power of weapons.   Weapons were once given names.   Peasants weren’t allowed to own swords and suchlike.

            America’s obsession with firearms is deeply embedded into its psyche.  There’s a mythic need to believe there are malevolent forces out there, intent upon bursting into our homes, powers beyond the ability of law enforcement to deal with, threats only we can overcome.

            Seamus Heaney’s translation of the gifting of Hrunting, Beowulf’s sword:

            And another item lent by Unferth
            at that moment of need was of no small importance:
            the brehon handed him a hilted weapon,
            a rare and ancient sword named Hrunting.
            The iron blade with its ill-boding patterns
            had been tempered in blood. It had never failed
            the hand of anyone who hefted it in battle,
            anyone who had fought and faced the worst
            in the gap of danger. This was not the first time
            it had been called to perform heroic feats.

            Unferth, who should have gone to fight Grendel’s Mother gave Beowulf a dud weapon.   At the moment Beowulf most needed it, Hrunting failed.

            That’s how it goes with most people when real danger comes bursting into their lives.   They don’t have the training to use their weapons.   Often enough, the weapon itself is unsafe and like as not to jam.   Weapons don’t make you any safer, only effective training can save your life when it’s needed.    Maybe it’s Hollywood’s effect on America:  the guy who gets shot falls out of the frame and dies a nice sanitary death in the movies.    In real life, almost nobody dies from a gunshot wound immediately.   They do a lot of screaming.   They shoot back, yes they do, tell you that from personal experience.

            America is just nuts for its guns.   Somewhere between Walter Mitty and Rambo, most of ’em.

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              • There are far more efficient and effective ways of taking out people without using a flippin’ gun. Less lethal too. (paradoxically, more illegal… but taking out everyone in a 10ft radius is a good thing if more than one person is after you)

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                • Faster than the cops can get there.

                  (assuming you’re not part of a group the cops tend to not care about except as targets, in which case you might as well not call at all. No sense being murdered by trigger-happy police after you’ve already fended off the threat)

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                  • See, this is the mentality I’m talking about.   I’m not going to argue with it, you’re perfectly entitled to your guns and your opinions, both.

                    I grew up with guns in the house, out on the desert.   There was no law enforcement.   Rational decision to have them out there on the part of my father.

                    I left the service, sold my personal weapons, never felt the need for them in the States.   I don’t go looking for trouble.   I was robbed at gunpoint while driving a cab while I was a student, broad daylight in the middle of Rush Street in Chicago.   Gave the robber all the money in my pocket, fifty bucks, the rest was in the trunk, he left.   Knew the guy was serious, didn’t freak out, got out of that situation alive.

                    Down in Guatemala, I did have a weapon.   Shot a burglar in my restaurant, dead to rights with a sack full of my silverware.   Dragged him out into the street, paid the first cop I saw to make the problem go away.  It did.  I was never robbed again.

                    I still believe handguns aren’t worth the trouble unless there’s no law enforcement.   Here in the States, there’s plenty of law enforcement.   Ergo, I don’t need a weapon.

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                    • I still believe handguns aren’t worth the trouble unless there’s no law enforcement. Here in the States, there’s plenty of law enforcement.

                      Yes, there’s plenty of law enforcers here. Arguably way too many.  Many of them think the badge puts them above the rest of the population, especially people that look like I do.

                      You see the police and feel safer.  I don’t. Call it what you will.

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                    • Ecch, suit yourself.   Weighing the issue in the balances of experience, in a civilized country, a gun is just too much trouble for any perceived benefit derived from its possession.

                      I grimly smile, thinking about America’s instinctive need for that Dark Forest.  Strutting around with their guns like so many Third Worlders brandishing their AKs, they simply can’t conceive of someone they love turning that weapon on them.   That sort of incident happens a whole lot more than some Big Bad Burglar coming in the door.

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                    • I grimly smile, thinking about America’s instinctive need for that Dark Forest. Strutting around with their guns like so many Third Worlders brandishing their AKs, they simply can’t conceive of someone they love turning that weapon on them. That sort of incident happens a whole lot more than some Big Bad Burglar coming in the door.

                      I can conceive of it just fine. It’s just that I think the proper concern is why people get to that point, rather than the weapon of choice when they do.

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              • I dunno about you, but most gun-owners are pretty polite. you go walking around the bad part of town (even if you’re white as a ghost), people politely point their gun at you and tell you to keep walking. You keep your head down, and everything’s just fine. Even after midnight.

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  8. As with most issues, I’d like to see a liberal gun-rights realignment that pushes for safety and liberty in equal measure. Here in New England the gun owners seem to fall into three broad categories: 2nd amendment survivalists, hunters/conservationists, collectors/historians. I’m friends with many of the latter two and they’re all liberals on other issues: the hunters tend to be staunchly pro-environment and concerned with shrinking populations, sustainability of nature preserves, pollution, etc; and the collectors tend to be stuffy intellectuals. Of course, they’re all NRA members but they absolutely can’t stand LaPierre and pass around ridiculous “Armed Citizen” articles as a joke. I don’t know how substantial this group of owners is nationally, but it seems like the kind of alliance one would want to make for deregulation in blue states. Get a bunch of history buffs and organic farmers to promote sensible gun rights and who would challenge them?

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    • Dude. Yes. And then have them show up next door. Folks from out near Pittsburgh showing up in West Virginia get a lot different reception than some foolz from New England.

      Gotta love them hunters (even the poachers nearby me tend to be pretty decent folk).

      [TSA routinely arrests hunters around where I’m at. Seems the guvmint doesn’t take too kind to “lost hunters” gettin on airport land. You ever been to Pittsburgh’s airport, you’ll understand.]

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  9. Trust me Kimsie, no one wants to be on the receiving end of my weapon. Yes people who haven’t been trained extensively freeze all the time, even some who have. I’ve been trained extensively, the Frontsight gig was with 2 spooks and a TSA agent, we were evaluating whether their training would be useful. I was the token civilian. They have a reasonable product but also teach some bad habits. Great for home defense experience. For some law enforcement it would be a huge improvement. They even have a practice house-clearing with live fire and static life-sized picture targets.

    Nothing gets the blood pumping like doing a /real/ house-clearing exercise with marker rounds and bad guys happy to “mark you up”. Getting shot at certainly effects your aim and you’ll tend to lose all ammo discipline. If you’re worth a damn you’ll get through it, muscle memory does the rest.

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  10. Kimmi seems to be of the opinion that because owning a gun might be a useless thing if the bad guy is determined enough, there is no point in owning one.  To which I say, then why do cops carry them?

    Also, Cato just did a study that looked at how often guns are used by civilians to protect themselves or others successfully, and it’s quite often.

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  11. Mike: I’m just now finally getting a chance to read this post, but wanted to say that I quite enjoyed it.  I’ve gone back and forth on the gun show “loophole” (IIRC, “loophole” is a bit of a misnomer) issue several times, though for the better part of the last decade I’ve been pretty strongly in favor of keeping it open.  It’s been awhile since I thought about it seriously, though, and I’ve forgotten far more about the issue than I remember; your post gives me a bit of pause.

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  12. Mike,

    (Generally ignoring all the commentary–tl/dr)

    I’m against nearly all firearms regulations for a variety of reasons, but what I have a hard time understanding is why people thing more regulations will do any good.  Two examples:  We’ve seen massive increases in laws regarding illegal drugs & we went through alcohol prohibition.  The only thing those laws accomplished is funding the criminal class, political class (wait…that’s redundant), and the imposition of massive restrictions on people’s freedom.  Hell, I can’t buy a Sudafed anymore without going behind the counter and putting my name on a log!  So why do you think “closing the gun show loophole”, really a misnomer, is going to work?  Clever crooks find ways around laws.  Is making it nominally harder for crooks to achieve their goals worth the expense and additional restrictions of the rest of us law abiding folks?  I don’t think so.

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