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Massad Ayoob on Guns

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Archive for December, 2012

Massad Ayoob


Saturday, December 29th, 2012

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably had a conversation with someone in the last few days who asked, “Why do ordinary law-abiding people need those semiautomatic firearms with magazines that can hold more than ten cartridges?”  There are lots of sound answers.

For one thing, defensive firearms are meant to be “equalizers,” force multipliers that can allow one good person to defend against multiple evil people.  To allow one good person to defend against a single evil person so much stronger and/or bigger and/or more violent than he or she, that the attacker’s potentially lethal assault can be stopped.  History shows that it often takes many gunshots to stop even a single determined aggressor. Most police officers have seen the famous autopsy photo in the cops-only text book “Street Survival” of the armed robber who soaked up 33 police 9mm bullets before he stopped trying to kill the officers.  Consider Lance Thomas, the Los Angeles area watch shop owner who was in many shootouts with multiple gang bangers who tried to rob and murder him.  He shot several of them, and discovered that it took so many hits to stop them that he placed multiple loaded handguns every few feet along his workbench.  That’s not possible in a home, or when lawfully carrying concealed on the street: a semiautomatic pistol with a substantial cartridge capacity makes much more sense for that defensive application.

Semiautomatic rifles? Consider this heart-breaking, fatal home invasion in Florida and ask yourself if it might have turned out differently had the homeowners been able to access and competently deploy something like, oh, a Bushmaster AR15 with 30 round magazine.  I teach every year in Southern Arizona, and each year I see more Americans along the border with AR15s and similar rifles in their ranch vehicles and even their regular cars.  There have been cases where innocent ranchers and working cops alike have been jeopardized by multiple, heavily armed drug smugglers and human traffickers in desert fights far from police response and backup.  A semiautomatic rifle with a substantial magazine capacity can be reassuring in such situations, as seen here:

In the last twenty years, we have seen epic mob violence in American streets. During the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles, Korean storekeepers armed with AR15s kept their stores and livelihoods – and lives – from the torches of inflamed crowds because the mob feared their force multipliers. Read this, for a survivor’s account:  There have been bands of roving, violent predators as lately as this year during the Sandy storm. And the “flash mob violence” phenomenon of recent years has left many urban dwellers picturing themselves as the lone victim of a feral human wolfpack.

And, if you will, one more stark and simple thing:  Americans have historically modeled their choices of home protection and personal defense handguns on what the cops carried.  When the police carried .38 revolvers as a rule, the .38 caliber revolver was the single most popular choice among armed citizens.  In the 1980s and into the 1990s, cops switched en masse to semiautomatic pistols.  So did the gun-buying public.  Today, the most popular handgun among police seems to be the 16-shot, .40 caliber Glock semiautomatic.  Not surprisingly, the general public has gone to pistols bracketing that caliber in power (9mm, .40, .45) with similar enthusiasm. The American police establishment has also largely switched from the 12 gauge shotgun which was also the traditional American home defense weapon, to the AR15 patrol rifle with 30-round magazine…and, not surprisingly, the law-abiding citizenry has followed suit there, too.

The reasoning is strikingly clear. The cops are the experts on the current criminal trends. If they have determined that a “high capacity” semiautomatic pistol and a .223 semiautomatic rifle with 30-round magazines are the best firearms for them to use to protect people like me and my family, they are obviously the best things for us to use to protect ourselves and our families .

Massad Ayoob


Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

Media hysteria did not abate much over the holiday, and is still in full sway.

Here is a voice of reason from the left:

Now comes a claim from Israel that their school security program is nothing like what NRA is talking about:

For Heaven’s sake: They say they have armed security in their schools, and NRA is demanding armed security in ours.  The difference there is exactly…what?

Dr. David Schiller’s interview with Jews for Preservation of Firearms Ownership, , makes it clear that the armed schoolteachers in the Israeli program were trained by their civil guard, the mishmar esrachi. This is directly on point to what I’m recommending: no one is saying “give guns to untrained people and make them pretend they’re cops.”  A proper armed teacher program as I see it would be analogous to our country’s fabulously successful FFDO program, the armed pilots who take their own time off to go through the training to become Federal Flight Deck Officers, equipped with loaded HK .40 caliber pistols.

Israel has armed security in their schools?  Damn right.  And if our schools train staff members who volunteer for such a program, they will be armed for security and will therefore BE – Duh! – “armed security.”

Edited 12/28/12 to add: Fox News has just released confirmation that there are, indeed, still armed teachers in Israeli schools: .

Massad Ayoob


Monday, December 24th, 2012

Recent events have reminded me as a son, a father, and a grandfather, to cherish the traditions of family and friendship and love.  God knows, recent tragedy has reminded us all of that…


Thoughts and prayers go to those whose loved ones cannot be with them on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.


Spend as much time as you can with your loved ones.  We in the firearms world, caught up – more, of late, than ever – in one of the most contentious debates in our nation, must balance civil rights, logic, and above all the critical need to keep the innocent safe from evil. History shows us that those who know what they’re fighting for are the most effective advocates.  Let’s take this time to remind ourselves of the most important people in our lives. They are our raisons d’etre. It is they for whom we fight.


Christmas is a time to reflect upon our values. A time to think about doing The Right Thing, even in the face of the most terrible threats.  Christmas is a tradition, and nothing gets to be a tradition until it proves itself to be solid enough a foundation to uphold the future.


Enjoy a holiday of peace and of love.  Like all of the Backwoods Home team, I wish you a Merry Christmas.

Massad Ayoob


Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

Over the last ten days, since the shock of the murder of the innocent by a madman in Connecticut, it has been hard to think about Christmas. But the holiday and the tradition are upon us, and “it is better to give than to receive,” so let’s all share with others the gifts of reality and logic.

Invective has crept into the debate ignited by the Newtown horror. Examples may be found here

Reality generally triumphs over raw and empty emotion…just takes a while for it to seep in. An excellent injection of reality on the issues of “gun control” vis-à-vis mass murder comes from Larry Correia, and can be found on his blog.


You don’t need guns to kill. The homegrown terrorist McVeigh murdered more with his fertilizer bomb than did the pathetic creature who perpetrated the Newtown Massacre.  Murder can still be done with the most primitive weapons; check out this bow and arrow killer’s rampage and suicide note.


Reality shows us the hypocrisy of those who would disarm the citizenry.  As of now, at least, you can own the same 13-shot .357 SIG pistols carried by the Secret Service to protect the First Family, as seen here:



Is this level of protection to be limited to the First Family, the head of which wants to take it away from the rest of America’s families?   And of course, there was the  arrest of uber-anti-gun figure Michael Moore’s bodyguard for illegal possession of a firearm in New York.  I deplore the way New York is currently handling these things, when people licensed to possess guns and passing through that state obey Federal law and declare their unloaded firearms in checked baggage…but the point is, people like Moore who don’t want YOU to have firearms, make damn sure that THEY’re protected by firearms.

Even the anti-gun HuffPost was a little more reasonable today covering Wayne LaPierre’s comments on “Meet the Press” this morning. Note their slideshow of legislators who support the contention that armed security in schools is a solid answer to the threat of armed mass murderers there: (scroll down for the slideshow.)  And before you believe that LaPierre is a “loon” as one mainstream newspaper called him – on the front page, not the editorial page – listen to him for yourself

About all I could add would be that if this indeed took place in Washington, DC, as I’m told it did, LaPierre’s questioner was reportedly committing a crime by possessing the 30-round AR15 magazine he was waving around in the studio.


Current selection§ 7-2506.01. Persons permitted to possess ammunition.

(a) No person shall possess ammunition in the District of Columbia unless:

(1) He is a licensed dealer pursuant to subchapter IV of this unit;

(2) He is an officer, agent, or employee of the District of Columbia or the United States of America, on duty and acting within the scope of his duties when possessing such ammunition;

(3) He is the holder of the valid registration certificate for a firearm of the same gauge or caliber as the ammunition he possesses; except, that no such person shall possess restricted pistol bullets; or

(4) He holds an ammunition collector’s certificate on September 24, 1976.

(b) No person in the District shall possess, sell, or transfer any large capacity ammunition feeding device regardless of whether the device is attached to a firearm. For the purposes of this subsection, the term “large capacity ammunition feeding device” means a magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device that has a capacity of, or that can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than 10 rounds of ammunition. The term “large capacity ammunition feeding device” shall not include an attached tubular device designed to accept, and capable of operating only with, .22 caliber rimfire ammunition.

If reporters who don’t mind breaking a law can get them, what hope is there of banning them more widely so psychopathic murderers ready to die in their last, sick blaze of narcissistic glory can’t get them?

Share with your friends.  Reality is a good thing, and good things are what we should give at Christmas, yes?

Massad Ayoob


Friday, December 21st, 2012

The “gun control” debate has, from its beginning, been a battle fueled by emotion and symbolism on the banning side, and by logic and common sense on the side of the responsible gun owners.  The fires of emotion flare brightly, but they burn down with time, particularly when dampened by logical public discourse.

I suspect this is why POTUS is moving so quickly on his long-promised gun banning legislation, which he has said he wants to see on his desk by sometime next month. It is why he appointed to lead a supposedly impartial fact-finding commission none other than long-time gun ban advocate Joe Biden, which is rather like appointing the leader of the Westboro Baptist Church as chair of a committee to study gay rights.

Leading the charge are “journalists” who’ve abandoned all pretense to impartiality and fact finding. CNN has become “all gun control, all the time” over the past week.  One needs only witness Morgan’s vicious personal attacks on such invited guests as Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America, here.

I thought Larry stood up to him admirably, as Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation did earlier in the week, here.

We gun folks aren’t the only ones who’ve picked up on such empty, malevolent ranting on the “ban” side versus the plain facts put forth by the “rights” side.   Peter Wehner at Commentary nails it, here.

The general consensus of cops and criminologists is that a decade of the Clinton Assault Weapons Ban proved absolutely meaningless as a “crime-stopper.” That law was in full sway when the Columbine High School massacre was perpetrated.  Wasn’t it Einstein who said that the definition of insanity was to keep doing something that didn’t work?

Some of us who actually work in the threat management/public safety field have been recommending an armed security presence, including trained volunteers among the teaching and admin staff, since the 20th Century. Had that been in place in Sandy Hook, it would likely have prevented or at least mitigated the slaughter.  The idea is now gaining traction in the wake of the Connecticut atrocity. We realize, as do the Washington Examiner and the FBI, that in 2010 more murders were documentably committed by bare hands and stompings (745) than with rifles (358) of all types.


More timely reading to share in hopes of informing the public: .

And this morning, Wayne Lapierre and his NRA team absolutely served up a healthy dose of reality at their press conference, available in transcript  here.

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