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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


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.


  1. Captain Bob Says:

    Eben Fowler Says:
    December 22nd, 2012
    To be in step with Piers’ desire for an “assault weapon” ban, I think we need to ban cars that go more than 35 miles per hour, because of course it’s a known fact that most multiple fatalities caused by cars occur when they are going faster than 35 mph. Doesn’t matter that cars aren’t intended to be used to kill, but sometimes they just do. So we MUST infringe on your right to own a car that exceeds this speed, as well as banning the ownership of cars with accessories that make the car look like it’s capable of going fast! An we need this legislation now!
    And, actaully do you NEED a car? You can use a bus or a taxi to get around, right? Shouldn’t only the city have the transportation? What do we civilians NEED with our own?

  2. Randall Says:

    “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. ”

    I disagree Mas. I’ve read some pretty whacked out, virulent and abusive comments from our side too. Some comments made me embarrassed to be on the same side. But you are right that the anti-gun people are simply reacting with emotion to something they don’t understand. We have to keep working to make them understand, in a respectful way. Calling them “evil libs”, “socialists”, etc. DOES NOT help our cause. We are in a minority and we have to win independents who don’t own guns, over to our side. So to all of you I say, think CAREFULLY before you comment on stories about guns. Think not about insulting, but about winning over undecided people.

  3. Mark Says:

    The “g” in Piers Morgan is silent.

  4. Richard Says:

    December 20, 2012

    Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Thursday that he had started discussions with leaders of the State Legislature about new gun control measures, and that he planned to propose a package of gun legislation in his State of the State address on Jan. 9.
    “There’s a big difference of opinion on these issues,” Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, said in an interview on an Albany radio station.

    The New York Assembly, controlled by Democrats, has voted for a number of proposed gun control measures in recent years, only to have the legislation falter in the Senate, which has been controlled by Republicans. (Starting next month, the Senate is to be led by a coalition of Republicans and a breakaway faction of Democrats.)

    Mr. Cuomo, speaking on WGDJ-AM, said gun control had not recently been among the most discussed topics in the capital, so he had reached out to lawmakers to gauge where they stood before he made his proposals final.

    He added that he was focusing his attention on changing state laws restricting the possession of assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. The governor described the state’s existing ban on those items as having “more holes than Swiss cheese.”

    “I don’t think legitimate sportsmen are going to say, ‘I need an assault weapon to go hunting,’ ” he said. At the same time, he noted that he owns a shotgun that he has used for hunting, and said, “There is a balance here — I understand the rights of gun owners; I understand the rights of hunters.”

    In the interview, Mr. Cuomo did not offer specifics about the measures he might propose, but, while discussing assault weapons, he said: “Confiscation could be an option. Mandatory sale to the state could be an option. Permitting could be an option — keep your gun but permit it.”

    Mr. Cuomo said it was highly unlikely that lawmakers would reach a deal on new gun laws in the coming days, dismissing as unfounded suggestions that legislators would be called back to Albany as early as this week for a special session devoted to the subject of gun control.

    “The only thing that’s going to happen in the next few days is Christmas,” Mr. Cuomo said.

  5. Dave Says:


    You make some good points and I agree with you. I sure hope Ted Nugent does make any public comments. He is a good example of one who makes “whacked out, virulent and abusive” comments. We sure do not need his “help”. On the other hand watching him take on Piers Morgan would make good black comedy theatre.

  6. Tommy Sewall Says:

    My wife and I had a discussion about pay per view college football. I didn’t want to pay the forty dollars. We agree we would pay, although not CNN, to see Morgan vs. Nugent. If you don’t like Mr. Morgan, there is also a petition to have him deported (see the Whitehouse’s web site).

  7. Brogan Says:

    Andrew Cuomo better take a look at what’s going on. Guns are flying off the shelves in record numbers. If the number of people they say wanted stricter gun laws were accurate the gun stores would not be sold out. He should also count how many guns were sold in NY as each sale is a potential vote. If he really does push for stricter gun laws or mandatory buy backs his political career is over!

  8. Patrick Says:

    December 26, 2012 by Robert Farago
    “A House Democrat is pushing a package of gun reforms that a recent poll indicates are popular among members of the National Rifle Association (NRA),” reports. “Representative Jim Moran (D-Va.) said the legislation — which comes as a response to last week’s massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. — will highlight what he calls a disconnect between NRA members and the group’s leaders, who are in near-blanket opposition to tougher gun laws.” There’s the latest strategy from the gun control industry: marginalize the NRA, divide American gun owners and conquer. It’s not a bad plan (for them). But where is it coming from? History is our guide. Let’s start with voting . . .

    In the post-Civil War South, various state governments placed “common sense” conditions on voting. A literacy test, for example. What’s wrong with that? Surely any right thinking person agrees that a person who votes should be able to read and write? A literacy test exclude voters who can’t understand the political system. OK, sure, the literacy test included clauses designed to exempt whites, but the idea was sound, right?

    By the same token, why not require that voters pay a tax, to ensure that they’re economic “stake holders”? I mean, should someone who can’t pay a nominal tax get to decide how taxpayers’ money is spent? Obviously not!

    Equally obvious: these laws disenfranchised African Americans. The literacy tests and poll taxes throughout the South infringed upon their right to vote. Oh wait. African Americans didn’t have a right to vote. Not until the 14th Amendment, affirmed by the Supreme Court’s Brown vs. the Board of Education decision. In 1954.

    On the other hand, all Americans have a Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. Have done since 1789. And guess what? As the Supreme Court’s recent McDonald decision pointed out (numerous times), American gun control laws were the firearms equivalent of the literacy test and poll tax: specifically created and designed by southerners to subjugate African Americans.

    Modern gun control laws continue this racist legacy through various tests (e.g., concealed carry applications), taxes and restrictions on firearms ownership. Truth be told, the vast majority of the cities and states that violate the Second Amendment’s prohibition against laws that infringe upon Americans’ right to keep and bear arms have high concentration of minority citizens.

    You want to see gun control in action? Go to New York City. Los Angeles. Chicago. Boston. And New Haven, Connecticut. The Nutmeg State’s second largest city (New England’s sixth) is 35.4 percent African American.

    New Haven is 31 miles from Newtown, Connecticut. But that’s as the crow flies. More to the point, Newtown Connecticut is just off of Interstate 684. It’s a direct shot to Stamford Connecticut, where 13.2 percent of the population is black. In Newtown, 1.75 percent of their population is African American.

    At this point, I feel obliged to say that no child deserves to be shot. The blame for the unconscionable slaughter of 20 children at Newton Elementary School lies squarely on the shoulders of Adam Lanza and, to some extent, those who enabled him. Or failed to take sufficient action to institutionalize him. IF they had reason to believe he was a danger to himself or society.

    But it’s also true that the gun control laws that make it difficult if not impossible for an ordinary citizen in Connecticut to exercise their Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms, the laws that (at least theoretically) left Sandy Hook Elementary School teachers and staff defenseless against a murderous madman, are rooted in racism.

    Connecticut, the Constitution State, a state with a long and noble history of firearms manufacture, passed 2A-subverting gun control legislation to disarm their African American population. It may not be quite that obvious, but it’s true. Connecticut’s gun control laws were designed to protect the white public from black criminals.

    How’d that work out? It depends on where you live.

    If you live in one of the Connecticut’s minority communities, not so well. According to stats compiled by, your chances of being a crime victim in New Haven are one in 74. That’s 13.53 crimes per 1000 residents, with 1753 violent crimes last year.

    If you live in Newtown, the chance of being a victim of crime is one in 2141. That’s .47 crimes per 1000 residents, with 13 violent crimes last year.

    Make no mistake: there is a direct connection between violent crime and gun ownership, or lack thereof. You can argue against it all you like, but John Lott’s More Guns, Less Crime is the definitive study on the subject. Its findings couldn’t be more clear: crime is lower where guns are more prevalent.

    The hidden truth: states without significant firearms ownership have crime rates that are relatively the same as crime rates as those of states with high gun ownership rates—outside urban areas. The people who suffer most from gun control live in the cities, away from the white population.

    In short, gun control was, is and always will be a racist policy. It is, in fact, a form of segregation.

    The spree killing-related gun control legislation coming down the pike in Connecticut is only possible because of the state’s racist legacy of gun control. While the death of 20 children is horrific beyond imagination, it should be seen in the context of the suffering of Connecticut’s minority communities, who are personally defenseless against the criminals in their midst.

    In states which haven’t violated the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, where the government respects the individual’s right to keep and bear arms, assault weapons and “high capacity” magazine bans are politically impossible.

    Strangely (or not), the same Southern states whose racism gave birth to gun control are now bastions of gun rights. They’ve moved on. It’s time for northern liberal-minded states to do the same. Until and unless they do so, they are perpetuating racism in its most virulent and dangerous form. And it will continue to haunt them.

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