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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.

Archive for July, 2017

Massad Ayoob


Thursday, July 27th, 2017

I love good news.

The District of Columbia was recently found to be out of line in requiring special reasons to fear crime as suitable grounds for issuing a concealed carry permit.  Read the decision here.

Civil rights advocates will recall when the Supreme Court of the United States ruled, in Heller v. District of Columbia, that DC was out of line in prohibiting its residents from owning handguns for self-defense. Thus began a long and fascinating chain of litigation; I expect you’re all familiar with that, and I won’t bore you by recounting it here.

As I and others predicted, DC put up enough red tape to constitute a concertina wire to keep its citizens from carrying guns to protect themselves. One element of that was the District’s requirement for the applicant for a carry permit to show that they had already been violently attacked, or at least, were more likely than the average person to suffer such a thing.

The states break down into “may issue” (translation: we can give you a permit if we feel like it) and “shall issue” (we have to give you the permit or show just cause why not, just cause being that we have sound reason to believe you’re a criminal, you’re nuts, or you otherwise would be even more of a danger to society if you were armed.)

Logic cringes at the thought.  You have to have already been attacked by someone trying to unlawfully kill you, before you can have a permit to protect yourself from that? Um, duh, how do you survive that first attempt long enough to apply for the permit in hopes of warding it off the second time?

Those who know me, know that for decades I’ve pointed out the fact that the defensive firearm is a direct analog to a fire extinguisher.  Each of those items is an emergency safety/rescue tool, whose purpose is to allow the ordinary citizen who becomes the first responder to ward off death or great bodily harm until the designated public safety professionals can get there to help. The gun doesn’t make you a cop and doesn’t mean you don’t need cops.  The fire extinguisher doesn’t make you a trained firefighter and doesn’t mean you no longer need firefighters.  “Emergency safety/rescue tool…first responder…the one there on the ground when the conflagration breaks out, and the one right now positioned to be the best candidate to stop something horrible from happening.”


How would the American public react if they were told they could only have a fire extinguisher in their home or car if they had already gone through the horror of a full-blown house fire?  That’s what the Bloombergs of the world are asking for when they demand “special reason” to carry a firearm in self-defense.  Just a different type of life-threatening danger, is all.  But with one stark and important difference:  No fire ever stopped by itself because the victim picked up an extinguisher, but a HUGE number of violent attacks are broken off by the criminal as soon as he realizes he has met armed resistance, without a shot being fired.

Thanks to Alan Gura, the rock star of pro-armed-citizen litigation these days…and to the Second Amendment Foundation, which hired him to bring this case to its currently successful conclusion.

And, by the way, thanks again to all here who voted for a President who put one more pro-gun, pro-self defense Justice on the Supreme Court.

I’ve been on the Board of Trustees of the Second Amendment Foundation for many years. I’ve been proud of that.  I’ve never been prouder than now.

Massad Ayoob


Friday, July 21st, 2017

Charlton Heston knew Martin Luther King, and marched alongside him for the civil rights of African-Americans.  Sadly, the American Left was blinded to that when he became a spokesman for, and later president of, the National Rifle Association.

I recently picked up the excellent biography “Charlton Heston: Hollywood’s Last Icon” by Marc Eliot.  In his acknowledgements, Eliot writes, “Grover Norquist gave me an overview of Heston’s involvement with the NRA and a frank assessment of what he thought about the ostracism that followed.” Yes, ostracism seems to be the correct word.

Writes Eliot, “On April 10, 1989, an (NRA) advertisement appeared in Newsweek that pictured a smiling Heston.”  It was his first “outing” as a supporter of gun owners’ civil rights, via the NRA. Eliot: “The fallout was immediate and mostly negative in Hollywood, as he suspected it would be.”  Heston, who had served for two years aboard a B-25 bomber during World War II, had been extremely proud of his high position with the American Film institute.  Eliot continues, “Not long after (the Newsweek blurb appeared), he called Jean Firstenberg. Here is how she remembered that call. ‘He was still on the masthead of the AFI as (a former) president and it meant a great deal to him, but that day he said to me, ‘Jeanie, if you want to take my name off the masthead, I understand.’ How thoughtful of him, knowing there was going to be a political backlash (because of the ad) and not wanting to hurt an organization he cared so deeply about. I never took his name off the masthead.’”

But, the biographer continues, “Most of Hollywood took him off theirs. The only real work he was able to get was a TV film…”

In 1998, the Left became even more choleric against Heston when he was elected President of NRA.  Prominent anti-gunner Josh Sugarmann poured vitriol on Heston and noted, “Whether Mr. Heston does the talking or not, the National Rifle Association remains the same extremist organization that blocks sensible gun laws and markets guns to children.” Heston continued with the NRA, living long enough to be sandbagged as a frail old man with developing Alzheimer’s, by that caricature of journalists, Michael Moore.

Charlton Heston passed a little more than nine years ago. Impartial historians will remember him as a fighter for civil rights, with Dr. King (himself a gun owner, by the way) and with the NRA.

He paid a high price for his ethics and his commitment to civil rights.  How many here have suffered ostracism – in the neighborhood, in the family, in the workplace, or elsewhere – for the same thing?  You are invited to share your experiences here.

Massad Ayoob


Monday, July 17th, 2017

…you walk into the bathroom and realize she has opened a portal to hell in the toilet.

It turns out that it’s a device called a IllumiBowl available from  Yes, the colors are optional and changeable.

And people say, “She was so nice when I met her. Why do you call her the Evil Princess?”

Well, now you know.

I had to remind her that frightening old men is a hate crime.

(Or at least, should be…)


Photo of the Illumibowl unit.

The Illumibowl

Massad Ayoob


Friday, July 14th, 2017

Conventional wisdom has long held that after a self-defense shooting, the shooter should say nothing to police except, “I want a lawyer.”  The problem with that is, it’s exactly what genuine bad guys say to the police and is highly likely to lead to an arrest, which sets the tone for how the criminal justice system is going to handle things thereafter.

Veteran street cop Greg Ellifritz is, in my opinion, one of the sharpest of today’s trainers, and he takes a more practical approach, as I do.  See it here in his excellent blog, which I think should be regular reading for anyone serious about self-defense.

The commentary from his readers is interesting. Some is on point and some, I think, not.

Here, I’m interested in YOUR thoughts on the topic.

Massad Ayoob


Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

June, 2017 was definitely “nostalgia month” for the old guy here.  You saw how many blog entries I devoted to The Pin Shoot, the reincarnation of the iconic handgun/rifle/shotgun match Richard Davis founded more than 40 years ago. For about two dozen years, that match was the one vacation I guaranteed myself annually, and nineteen years later going back to it was like a high school reunion.  Hell, I’m still buzzed over it.

However, my “nostalgia month” had begun earlier in June, when I taught a MAG-20 (Armed Citizens Rules of Engagement) class at the great old Wilson Hill Pistol Club in Manchester, NH. Back in the ‘60s, I was nineteen years old when my friend Nolan Santy took me there to give traditional bulls-eye pistol shooting a try.  My only suitable gun at the time was a pre-WWII Colt Match Target Woodsman .22, and on the first try I managed to score a 263 out of 300 possible points…and was promptly hooked.  Earlier in my teens I had shot informal competition at the “turkey shoots” held by local sportsmen’s clubs around the Granite State where I grew up, but formal competition was a new high.  I’ve been doing it in one form or another ever since, though I had gotten into the more practical “combat shooting” games by my mid-twenties.

The club was much the same as I remembered it, which in turn is much the same as it was when Wilson Hill was founded in 1935 and has become something of an icon among traditional  shooters. For many years, the club hosted the annual NH State Gallery Pistol (.22 caliber) Championship.

Don Mara

Don Mara

I learned more than I can say from some of the great shooters there: Al Payant, Fran SanSouci, Ken Howard, Stan Dzadura, and many more.  Perhaps the one guy I learned the most from was a local hero, Don Mara, USMC.  Don won many medals as a combat Marine in Vietnam during that period, and as a shooter, he was the guy to beat for the State Championship, which he held God knows how many years.  While all the other heavy hitters were shooting expensive target pistols, Don used a $57 Ruger Mark I and kicked mucho boo-tay, proving it’s about the shooter a lot more than about the gun, the Indian more than the arrow.

I got to meet Don again in June, after almost 40 years. He retired from the Corps as a Sergeant-Major, and is still globe and anchor through and through.  And he still, at about 78, mentors new shooters.  He’s the kind of person who makes you proud to be part of the gun culture.

Under training director Al MacArthur, Wilson Hill has become a local hub of firearms safety and self-defense training. It was great to see this iconic gun club keeping up with the times without losing its sense of tradition.

Even if it did make me feel kinda old…



MAG20 Classroom Class this last June.

MAG20 Classroom Class this last June.

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