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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.

Massad Ayoob


Saturday, November 24th, 2012

Where I spent most of my life, Thanksgiving was traditionally the opening day of deer season, and if the family had gathered in the country, it was not uncommon for some plinking in the back yard to follow the turkey and stuffing and all the rest.  When I was a kid, the Thanksgiving posters at school and in the rest of the community depicted a Pilgrim holding a blunderbuss.  (Where did folks think the traditional turkey came from, anyway?)

An image of a founder of American society holding a firearm is no longer politically correct in “zero tolerance gun-free school zones,” but we who appreciate the backwoods home lifestyle still have guns as part of our tradition.  It was so, at least, in the rural area where I spent the weekend too many people associate with “turkey day” instead of “a giving of thanks.”

Thursday, the Evil Princess and I spent part of the day feasting with friends at a local church, our firearms discreetly concealed under our sport jackets.  The rest of the afternoon was spent at another gathering, where open carry was welcome.  She had worn an engraved, ivory handled Smith & Wesson, and I was packing a Kimber .45 with pewter grips in a sharkskin holster. (You’re supposed to dress up some for holidays, aren’t you?)

Friday, she and I were part of the crew for a “Wounded Warriors Match” held by the Gateway Rifle & Pistol Club’s First Coast IDPA (International Defensive Pistol Association) seminar.  It was awesome to see how those young men, now re-acclimating to the society they shed blood to defend, appreciatively to an event that sharpened their skills for protecting their families from threats “self-defense domestic” instead of “national defense foreign.”  The event had been approved by the Wounded Warriors Project, though not with their logo in sight except on the shirts of member soldiers who attended.  There has been an issue on that, with WWP happily taking money from gun clubs doing charity projects for injured military personnel, but not wanting their name associated with the firearms industry.  Two respected Internet gun forums, The High Road  and The Firing Line , have discussed them in depth from both sides.

Take a look at those, if you’re not familiar with the controversy, and take particular care to read the links.  I’ll be very much interested in you folks’ take on the matter.

Saturday the EP and I shot the ProArms Invitational Thanksgiving match under cloudless skies in high 60s weather, with a great bunch of folks.  Her coming in High Female and me coming in Most Accurate were a bonus to a great day with great people.

But, heck, that’s just two folks getting Trigger Time during Turkey Day festivities over particularly long weekend.

Tell the rest of us about your Thanksgiving holiday, as citizens of the World of the Gun.

It was an honor to present the first place Wounded Warrior trophy to Allen Personette, left. The shoot was hosted by the First Coast IDPA club at Gateway Rifle & Pistol Club, with Glock pistols (and ammo) provided by Joel Hodges of Glock, and coordinated by Dr. Ed Sevetz.


  1. shotgunner Says:

    What? Wounder Warriors Project AND guns at the same event!??!?!

  2. john Armstrong Says:

    I have been following the WWP story and working at a non-profit we have to make these same kinds of decisions. The issue is WWP wants to take the middle road. There are all kinds of donors with all kinds of biases and will give as long as you fit their giving criteria. I am guessing they are trying to not alienate the gun haters, yet will still take money from the gun lovers. They need to make a statement for the gun haters to be accepted and get money from them. Yet, they probably think still taking money and doing their best to not alienate the gun lovers is also just as good. At the non profit where I work, we also work hard to straddle the fence and not alienate the folks keeping the mission afloat. At the same time, saying no to Tom Gresham was pretty stupid, but then again we don’t know how much money comes from the gun haters.

    There is more than one group out there doing this kind of great work, so we have more than one choice where to send our money. Most gun folks tend to be pretty principled in their thinking and the other charity’s doing this kind of thing could probably thrive thru this.

  3. Andy Says:

    I will read the links later- but for right now the first impression I get from an organization not wanting its name to be “associated with the firearms industry,” is that they’re anti-gun. There are sources I’ve read a bit of- outside of THR and TFL- that basically point to this likelihood as well.

    On another topic- PEWTER grips? Who makes them? Obviously they must be good or else you wouldn’t be using them- but I’m just having a hard time picturing what the texture/usefulness of that would be (compared to checkered wood or rubber grips)…

  4. Vince Says:


    After looking in to the issue I have decided that I will not support the Wounded Warrior Organization despite their good works.

    I view them as trying to play two sides of the same coin and while happy to take money from gun folks, they don’t want others to know they are taking that money. I think we, gun folks, need to stand firm and be recognized for the good we do and not hide in the shadows. It’s a good thing there are other organizations that are also dedicated to helping our warriors, wounded and unwounded, that are not ashamed to take our money and give credit where credit is due.

    Happy Belated Thanksgiving to you and the Evil Princess Mas.

  5. Lorenzo Says:

    “”When I was a kid, the Thanksgiving posters at school and in the rest of the community depicted a Pilgrim holding a blunderbuss. (Where did folks think the traditional turkey came from, anyway?)””

    You mean there was no Pilgrim equivalent of Stop&Shop? Those same poster were plastered all over the walls in my schools during my Bronx upbringing, and even then I knew where the traditional turkey came from.

  6. Mas Says:

    Andy, I bought the pewter grips years ago at a Colt Collectors’ Association booth at a gun show, had my initials engraved on them at a local jewelry store. They give the effect of smooth silver. Not quite the same grasp as checkered walnut or neoprene, and a bit more for “show” than for “go.”

  7. George Says:

    Mas, Tom Gresham had WWP’s CEO on GunTalk last week to explain his position. It did not go well.

  8. Gary Slider Says:

    America has broken into tribes. They are at war with each other in a war of words. Those in the middle who don’t want to get caught up in that war try to steer a middle road. It is impossible to do. Look no further than Starbucks and their stand on open carry and the fight it brought them. Look at Chick-fil-A and the battle that erupted when their top guy took a stand on his beliefs.

    The gun guys/gals are even broken into different sub tribes. We have Open Carry, Concealed Carry, Black Guns, Hunters, etc etc. If they do anything that a group doesn’t like then that group will not assist them in their cause to help others that have nothing to do with their tribal beliefs.

    Wounded Warriors is caught in the middle. They don’t want to alienate any group but by trying to do that they do. Just like many other causes have tried to steer the same middle path and have failed. They only way they can come close to not alienating anyone is to just be quiet on all subjects except their cause and that is impossible to do as the Tribes today inject themselves into their tribe and start the battle.

    Today everyone has to be on one side or the other in any battle of ideas. No one can straddle the fence anymore as many organizations and businesses try to do. They don’t want to straddle the fence but that is the only place they can stay and be out of the battles between the different tribes. If they join one tribe in any battle of ideas they alienate other tribes. They can’t win.

    All those organizations and businesses are caught in the crossfire. In my view they are the unarmed caught in the line of fire in a battle between two tribes. All they want to do is get home safely to the family tonight. We all know that many do get home but after being caught in the battle their future is forever changed.

  9. Gary Griffiths Says:

    Sounds like Mas is proud of his Barbecue Gun! As for the Wounded Warrior Project, I won’t be donating to that organization because of their stand on association with guns and knives, and because it appears they have become a “professional fundraising organization” with almost half of their income going to advertising and lavish salaries for the founder and members of his family. I didn’t see any links that Mas refers to, but here is an excellent one laying out the whole story:

  10. Heather from AK Says:

    Not liking the way WWP has handled things.

    On the Turkey-front, I was, of course, carrying while cooking and hosting Thursday. Saturday was an RSO shoot at the local range and I celebrated with an uzi, thanks to a very generous marine.

  11. Marc-Wi Says:

    Whoa! Only 15% going to helping vets? ( From 2nd link ) Eighty five is pretty high overhead. Time to follow the money.

  12. Stu Strickler Says:

    Thanks for all you and the Evil Pricess do for firearm rights, Mas. After spending 30 years in the US Army I can appreciate the Wounded Warriors and what they have given to and for their country!

  13. Jess Jessup Says:

    Shooting activities: My son came home from another part of the state and brought a friend new to firearms. Part of the holiday get together was a safe shooting event at a friend’s home range. The friend and I are both instructors. The newbie was started on a .22 semi-auto, moved to a 3 in barreled revolver shooting 38 Spcl., then to a Glock 17. For fun she shot an M1 Carbine, and an M1 Garand and finished with an Ar15 with a .22 conversion. The only downer was the 30 degree drop in temp from Thursday to Friday.

    Wounded Warriors needs to clarify their position and be upfront about their policies. Hypocrisy is unacceptable and there are other groups helping vets.

  14. Jaji Says:

    Unlike last year when we spent an afternoon happily punching paper (with my NYC-bred fiancee!) this year we did not have a chance to go shooting over Thanksgiving weekend.

    However, I was pleasantly surprised to hear said fiancee say this past week “I think it’s time for me to get my pistol permit”. We did get to spend some time over the weekend discussing the matter, which while not as much fun as shooting was still good to do.

    Thanks for the info on WWP; I honestly had no idea that this discussion/debate was happening and will look into it further.

  15. Elm Creek Smith Says:

    The whole family gathered at my younger sister’s house on Thanksgiving Day, and, while there was no plinking in the backyard, there were plenty of guns.

    Since the weather turned out warmer than I expected, I shed my sport coat and open carried my “old school” 3 inch Smith & Wesson Model 13 with factory grips and Tyler T-Grip in an equally “old school” black basketweave Bucheimer “Concealer.” No one said a thing about it except one of my nephews who commented that I was the first person he’d seen carrying openly (legal in Oklahoma for handgun licensees since November 1st).

    She who must be obeyed had her 4 inch Smith & Wesson Model 681 with Crimson Trace Grips tucked securely in her gun purse. (It became hers the day I added the laser grips.) My mother raved about the quality of the purse’s leather and had no idea there was a full-sized fighting handgun secured inside.

    My younger daughter’s 9mm KelTec P11 was not in evidence, but I know she was wearing it…somewhere. (I have offered to upgrade her carry armament, but she’s perfectly happy with it.)

    My brother carried his .45 Kimber Pro-Carry with factory night sights and Crimson Trace grips (He’s a belt-and-suspenders kinda guy.) in a Kramer horsehide crossdraw. I don’t know that anyone noticed it under his Hawai’ian shirt.

    My younger sister’s husband briefly brought out his recently engraved stainless SIG Sauer P220 with Hogue checkered tulipwood grips and factory installed night sights. One of these days he’s going to get a decent holster for it, but that’s a subject for another time.

    We all had too much to eat, and, if possible, too much football to watch. It was a typical Thanksgiving, and we have much for which to be thankful.


  16. Johnm Says:

    The Wounded Warrior Project’s stance in the whole kerfuffle brings to mind a sleazy politician who panders to both sides for the purpose of self-enrichment or benefit. Principles matter, and there are plenty of other apolitical groups (HAVA comes to mind) that don’t judge me and my kind to be “undesirable”. I will continue to give to veteran’s charities, just not to WWP.

    Looking at WWP’s financials, they appear to have a lot of fat in terms of overhead and salaries. I prefer to think small, local, and streamlined when choosing where to donate.

  17. Peter DiVergilio Says:

    I come away from the WWP discussion every bit as confused and conlicted as when I entered it. I believe in their mission, and they seem to be sincere and effective at it, but I am tired of “Politically Correct” stances that paint an unrealistic picture of the World in which we have to live. The Jury is still out, until more information comes my way.

  18. Tom606 Says:

    Pewter stocks? Spring for the extra dough and get real silver. It can come in handy if one needs to pistol whip a vampire or werewolf. Not much good on zombies though, unless you can smash in their heads.

    If the Wounded Warrior Project folks can’t proudly state what they really believe in and deal with the consequences, then what did they fight for?

  19. MTH Says:

    We filled pop bottles with vinegar and baking soda, then leaned them against a branch on the ground. We showed my 8 year old daughter and my brother’s 7 year old son how to shoot them and make them explode. This was after i had my daughter recite Jeff Cooper’s four rules of gun safety.

  20. Drake Says:

    The day after Thanksgiving, my dad and I practiced with our “practical” guns and finally took my AR-15 for a real test drive. Following the firearm practice, I taught my little cousins how to shoot a BB gun.

    It was a good day. 😀

  21. Bill Says:

    I sent a letter to the WWP asking for clarification and pointing out that with the response that they had given to Tom Gresham I had serious doubts that I would contribute again. I received a form letter which made it very clear that they had not bothered to read my letter, and also requesting a donation!

    Soldiers Angels does much the same kind of work, with much less overhead.

    WWP will not get another dime from me, and I will explain to my gun clubs, friends, and fellow shooters why if asked.

    Stupid on their part, but unforgivable on ours if we continue to support them.

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