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Massad Ayoob on Guns

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Archive for the ‘Current Events’ Category

Massad Ayoob


Friday, May 19th, 2017

I’m sure a lot of the public who saw the acquittal this week of Betty Jo Shelby, the Tulsa police officer charged with Manslaughter in the shooting death of Terence Crutcher, said to themselves “Gosh, Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.”

Well, at the moment, I am in Kansas, teaching a MAG-40 armed citizens rules of engagement class at the superb Thunderbird Firearms Academy in Wichita.  One of the students came in this morning and said, “It looks as if the defense lawyers in that Tulsa case did exactly what you told us our lawyers should do if we were ever charged after a self-defense shooting.”

No kiddin’.  I can’t blame those folks who were puzzled by the acquittal in “the shooting of an unarmed black man.” They live in a world where the media doesn’t bother to tell anyone the difference between murder, manslaughter, and justifiable homicide.

Officer Shelby had observed erratic behavior from a large man who appeared to her to the under the influence of PCP.  This would later be supported by evidence: Crutcher had PCP within his body, and a quantity of it in his car.  After repeatedly ignoring lawful commands, he suddenly reached to the open window of his car, as if for a weapon.  It was enough to cause the male officer present to fire his TASER at Crutcher, and enough to cause Shelby to fire the single pistol shot that killed him.

The public was told that, in this video-taped encounter, Crutcher had his hands up.  At one point he did, but when he was shot, he was reaching as if for a weapon inside the car, with no earthly reason to do so unless he was trying to access a weapon to kill a cop.  The public was told that the window was closed, but by the opening of trial, even the prosecution had to admit that no, it was open.

Talking heads who followed the trial wailed that the defense was foolish to put the defendant on the witness stand, because that just isn’t done.  BS.  In a defensive shooting, what it comes down to is why did she shoot him?  There was only one person who could answer that – and she did.

The defense called material witnesses who confirmed that in police training, Officer Shelby had learned how quickly someone could snatch up a gun and kill a cop with it.  It is supposed to be a jury of one’s peers.  A peer would know what the defendant knew.  Now the jury knew it, too.

The public was told that corrupt investigators had whitewashed Shelby.  That allegation is very decisively refuted, here:

There turned out to be no gun in Crutcher’s car, but in such cases, the law has never demanded that there be one.  All the law demands is that, within the totality of the circumstances, the defendant reasonably perceived that she and her brother officer were in danger of death or great bodily harm (i.e., crippling injury).  In shorthand, “You don’t have to be right, you have to be reasonable.” The defense team got that across to the jury.

Congratulations to Attorney Shannon MacMurray and the rest of Betty Shelby’s defense team. From everything I’ve seen about the case, they did Justice.

Massad Ayoob


Monday, May 1st, 2017

Official count of attendees has been announced, and it went over 81,000.  That’s 81,000 people who came to Atlanta on their own dime, against a few buses full of protesters, many of them doubtless paid to be there.  None of whom were at the Convention Center, though it seemed they got about as much publicity as the 81,000 law abiding gun owners.  Sigh…

Overall mood of the conference?  Solidarity, a definite post-November 2016 victory dance…and enough complacency to worry about.  We won a battle, not the culture war that the other side wages on the gun debate.

Sales are down, but in perspective, the general consensus of the industry is that it isn’t a slump, but a return to normalcy.  We’ve had a reprieve from a Presidential candidate who demonized guns and their owners. The mad rush to stock up on gun and ammo prior to the election was caused not a panic, but a perfectly logical rush to buy legal firearms before they were banned by malum prohibitum feel-good fiats by what would have been the most anti-gun (and anti-gun owner) President in history had she not been defeated.

Atlanta proved to be a very welcoming city.  I drove there, but was told that at the airport, there were “Welcome NRA” signs.  If you live in California or Maryland or New Jersey, remember that Georgia accepts refugees.

Some had been worried about “antifas,” the violent self-proclaimed “anti-fascists” who have physically attacked Republicans, Trump supporters, etc. elsewhere.  The antifas were notable by their absence.  I’m told one of their mottos is “Put Your Fist In A Fascist’s Face,” their definition of “fascist” being anyone they disagree with.  How ironic that they don’t understand their behavior is the very exemplar of fascism.

Perhaps they thought if they tried to “Put a Fist in the Face” of an NRA member, they might get a response of “Blast a Bullet Into a Brainless Bully’s Butt.”

Massad Ayoob


Saturday, April 29th, 2017

I noticed the “collector’s corner” here was much smaller than it has been at past NRA Annual Meetings.  That’s just sad…

Almost a mile from the annual meeting, Shannon Watts held her annual anti-NRA protest, claiming some 300 attendees.  Those there way it was way less, and I can tell you for a fact that a lot of the folks there were NRA people.  Some came for a lark, some to see if Ms. Watts and her guest speakers had anything of substance for a change this year (she didn’t), or both.  Some pro-gun stalwarts with cat-ate-the-canary grins can be seen on Facebook, posing with their Moms Demand Action tee shirts.  It’s an inside joke: the Demanding Moms were so desperate to make their ranks look more substantial than they were, they handed out the free shirts to passers-by, hence the inside joke the gun people are celebrating in those pictures.

Looked kinda like this.


Massad Ayoob


Friday, April 28th, 2017

Spent the first day of the meeting at the annual Firearms Law Seminar, conducted off-site at the downtown Westin in Atlanta.  Emceed by Carol Bamberry, a formidable pro-gun litigator who made the thing work like a Swiss watch, I found it every bit as instructive as it was intended to be. List of topics and speakers can be found here: .

The Evil Princess went over to the anti-Trump, anti-gun “Die-In” and found it, well, dead.  Our friend Miggy Gonzalez got the same impression, here: .

Pickings are reportedly kind of thin this year insofar as new product introductions.  Springfield Armory’s recent suspense-filled intro turned out to be their first traditional double action semiautomatic pistol, a 9mm single-stack called the XDE.  The safety/decock lever works the same way as the one on a Variant 1 HK USP or a current style Taurus PT-92.  Looking forward to giving it a live fire test drive.

I didn’t make it to the Trump appearance, since I was one of the speakers at the Legal Seminar at the same time, but those who did tell me they found him personable, upbeat, and humorous. He declared his continued support for Second Amendment issues, but at least one activist said he was disappointed the President didn’t create an executive order to eliminate gun-free zones like “he said he would.”

More tomorrow.

Massad Ayoob


Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

The Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta will be the site of NRAAM, the National Rifle Association Annual Meeting (and Exhibit), April 27-30.  You don’t have to be there every day, and since the dates encompass the weekend, feel free to bring your kids. If you’re an NRA member, it’s free!

There will be inspirational speakers.  There will be almost every gun, ammo, and accessory manufacturer there with their latest wares.  Unlike the SHOT Show, which is an industry trade show open only who those who work in said industry and are at SHOT to sell product and take orders, at NRAAM the companies send their engineers and new product people. They love to mingle with end-user shooter folk and talk guns.  It’s a much friendlier and more relaxed atmosphere. That’s one reason I try to go every year. Something else you see at NRAAM much more than at SHOT: some of the all-time world’s greatest gun collections on display, with the collectors themselves there where you can pick their brains.

For me, the highlight of the event is the annual Firearms Law Seminar, which will be all day Friday the 28th. I don’t say that just because I’m one of the speakers again this year.  I’ll only be at the podium for 45 minutes or an hour late morning, but I’ll be there from 8 AM to closing to soak up all I can from the heavy hitters who comprise the rest of the speakers’ list.

Program is here.  Overview is here. You can scroll down the biographies of the speakers here.

When living legends of the gun owners’ civil rights movement like Stephen Halbrook are going to be talking, any serious advocate for the Second Amendment advocate knows it’s smart to be there to listen!

Unlike the NRA Annual Meeting itself, they charge for the legal seminar. (What can I say? There are lawyers involved…) Ticket info is here.  Attorneys get CLE (Continuing Legal Education) credit.

However, there’s going to be another HU-U-UGE highlight this year: President Trump is going to address in person the NRA members who worked so hard to get him elected over Hillary Clinton.

Sadly, he is scheduled to speak the same day as the legal seminar. One effect of this is, since it will drain many attendees from the legal seminar, those doing the legal seminar might just be in a mood to dicker about the entry/tuition fee. If you are interested, you’ll have to bypass website registration and email seminar coordinator Sarah Gervase at

If the legal stuff isn’t up your alley, I still hope to see you at NRAAM. Over the weekend, I’ll be hanging out at the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network booth noon to 2:00 PM each day.

And if you can’t make it, we’ll be reporting on it here.

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