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Massad Ayoob on Guns

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.


Sunday, October 19th, 2014 by Mas | 14 Comments »

In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School atrocity of December 2012, anti-gun politicians fell over themselves ramrodding poorly crafted legislation into law, in the vain hope that Kool-Aid flavored Band-Aids would somehow cure a societal cancer.  Second only to Governor Cuomo in New York in this respect, was Governor Hickenlooper in Colorado.

When was the last time you saw the majority of sheriffs in their state sue their own Governor over poorly crafted, unenforceable law?  Well, the Colorado fiasco comes most readily to mind. Having had some small part in that litigation, as an expert witness retained to speak for the sheriffs’ side of the case, I have no argument at all with the following cogent analysis by Larry Keane of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.  Thanks to Jim Shepherd at The Shooting Wire for sending it along: .


Thursday, October 16th, 2014 by Mas | 10 Comments »

In recent blog entries here, I touched on the two days of the Gun Rights Policy Conference in Chicago last month.

It’s official: you can now listen to the entire presentation yourself, with audio links here courtesy of the Second Amendment Foundation: .

There’s LOTS of good stuff here.  I was proud to have had a small part of it, on the Gun-Free Zones panel.  As usual at GRPCs, I gained far more knowledge than I dispensed.

Next year’s GRPC will be in Phoenix, Arizona the last full weekend of September 2015. Being someplace where you can carry while attending makes it … better.


Friday, October 10th, 2014 by Mas | 40 Comments »

            I recently passed through Waco, Texas and had a chance to kick one more item off the bucket list: a visit to the Texas Ranger Museum there.

            As a little boy in the 1950s one of my favorite TV shows was “Tales of the Texas Rangers.” I can’t remember a single plot-line now, but I do recall the strong emphasis on old-fashioned ideals of justice…and I thought it was pretty cool that each Ranger carried a pair of fancy Smith & Wessons.

            Live and learn: I hadn’t known until the visit that some two dozen Texas Rangers died at the Alamo in 1836. TX_Ranger_01

            I expect the many horsemen and horsewomen among the Backwoods Home readership would have spent more time than I did on the fabulous display of saddles.  In my case, the only bronco I ever owned was a Ford product.  As you might imagine, I spent more time among the impressive gun collection.

            These brave men started out with single-shot muzzle-loaders for both their rifles and handguns, which shows how far back the organization goes. They were the first to use revolvers, the Patterson Colt of 1836. Its rapid fire capability proved to be a force multiplier, and Ranger Samuel Walker convinced Samuel Colt to make a larger and more powerful one, the legendary Walker Colt .44.  In the latter 1800s, they all but standardized on the Colt Single Action Army revolver and the lever-action Winchester rifle, and when the more powerful box magazine 1895 model came out, they flocked to them so fast that they are prevalent in pictures of Rangers during that period.

TX_Ranger_02The Texas Rangers may also have been the first law enforcement agency to (unofficially) adopt the Colt 1911 semiautomatic pistol as soon as it came out, and it remains hugely popular among the Rangers even today.

         Even before that, they were buying semiautomatic rifles as soon as they were TX_Ranger_03introduced, the Winchester 1907 and the Remington Model 8 which dates back to 1906.  While today’s Rangers are issued .357 SIGs and 5.56mm autoloading rifles, they still follow the tradition of carrying privately-owned, department approved handguns, and the 1911 remains a trademark of the Rangers.

            TX_Ranger_04More than perhaps any other agency, the culture of the Rangers encouraged fancy, personalized weapons. Perhaps it was an extension of their historical emphasis on individuality as a means of encouraging superior performance.TX_Ranger_05



Monday, October 6th, 2014 by Mas | 56 Comments »

I was in a conversation recently which turned in the direction of serpents, and not the two-legged kind.  I’ve never had to shoot a human being, but have found it necessary on occasion to dispatch poisonous snakes. Each time that happened, I was VERY glad to have a pistol on my person.

What’s the collective experience out there?  I’m no herpetologist, but I keep hearing from folks who live in rattlesnake country that today’s rattlers have learned to keep silent and not give warning before they strike.  True?

Please share experiences here.


Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 by Mas | 32 Comments »

I promised all y’all an update on the situation with Jews for Preservation of Firearms Ownership, now under the umbrella of the Second Amendment Foundation.  The transfer required a three-person board of directors to be named.  As of now, that board consists of Alan Gottlieb, Miko Tempski, and Ohad Lowy. Gottlieb is the founder of SAF, Tempski is general counsel for the same group, and Lowy is a practicing lawyer in the US who was born in Israel.

Two of the three are Jewish, and I for one think that’s important.  The “J” had been missing from JPFO for a while.  Until the takeover, there hadn’t been a Jewish hand at the tiller of JPFO since Charles Heller left his position as executive director a couple of years ago.  The board that continued the mission in the interim was made up entirely of righteous Gentiles. (The capital R term Righteous Gentiles is reserved for those who worked to rescue Jews during the Holocaust. These three good men were born too late to do that.  But they went to considerable personal expense and effort to keep the late JPFO founder Aaron Zelman’s brainchild alive and on course, and that sounds pretty damn righteous to me.)

I think the strongest moral imperative of JPFO grew from the lesson of the Holocaust, that gun registration led to gun confiscation and the creation of helpless victims of government-instituted genocide.  A Second Amendment Sisters run by men, or a Pink Pistols run by straights, would simply lack credibility in its core message.  It was important to re-solidify JPFO’s Jewish identity.

Non-Jews, of course, remain welcome. They have long constituted a majority of JPFO membership.  Hell, I remember when Aaron Zelman and I used to joke about me being the token Arab member.

I’m happy to report that Rabbi Dovid Bendory remains with JPFO, and that the dynamic Charles Heller is back, as director of media relations for JPFO.  Search is underway for a new executive director.

The announcement of JPFO coming under the SAF umbrella was met with enthusiastic applause from the hundreds of gun owners’ civil rights activists attending the Gun Rights Policy Conference in Chicago this past weekend.  Ditto SAF’s tribute to Aaron Zelman.  Some folks had called for mass resignation from JPFO, and SAF received a flurry of nasty-grams, but as of last week only ONE actual dues-paying member had resigned and requested a refund. (I’m told the dues refund was sent.)  In fact, there has been a small spike in membership renewals and new member sign-ups.

Right now, the entire gun rights community is focused on the critical mid-term elections. SAF’s sister organization, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, headquartered in Washington State, is also working overtime to fight the egregious I-594 initiative there. There are also transferred records to be sorted out, and other such mundane administrative matters. For those reasons, I don’t expect the “new” JPFO ball to really get rolling until after the first of next year.

I’ve personally told the two new JPFO directors who were in attendance in Chicago that I’d like to see Zelman’s ground-breaking books on the desks of every Senator, Congressman, and legislative aide on Capitol Hill.  The JPFO message needs to be more widely broadcast, and I have every reason to believe we’ll see exactly that in the coming year.  SAF is well positioned to make it happen.



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