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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.


Monday, August 11th, 2014 by Mas | 9 Comments »

The shooting world has lost another stalwart.  A skilled shooting competitor back when he had time for it, John LeVick could have made a good living as a gunsmith if he had not devoted himself to the practice of law in Lubbock, Texas. LeVick He passed suddenly last week, altogether too soon at 59.  A mutual friend, gun collector Chuck MacDonald, eulogized John as a Renaissance man I think he nailed it.

His obituary is here.

I first took note of Brother LeVick with his posts on, where his screen name was 38/44HD45.  We found ourselves corresponding frequently on a private forum; John had significant experience in gun- and shooting-related cases.  I finally got to meet him last year at the Texas Bar Association’s annual Firearms Law Symposium.  As expected, he was as insightful in person as he was in print.

Like so many in the pro-gun movement, John LeVick was motivated by love of family, love of justice and fairness, and love of life.  True to form, he left instructions that when he passed, in lieu of flowers, contributions should be made to the Second Amendment Foundation

Vaya con Dios, John LeVick.  You are missed.


Friday, August 8th, 2014 by Mas | 36 Comments »

In legal theory, crimes are divided between malum prohibitum and malum in se.  Translated from Latin, malum in se means that the thing being described is evil in and of itself, and is probably so in every civilized society.  Malum prohibitum essentially says “It’s bad because we prohibited it.”

Case in point: you are a responsible young single mom, gainfully employed in the medical profession to support your two little kids.  Becoming the victim of a couple of crimes has caused you to arm yourself, go through training, and get a permit to carry a gun where you live, in Philadelphia.

After crossing a state line, you are pulled over in a routine traffic stop.  You do what you think is the responsible thing: you advise the police officer that you are licensed to carry a gun and do have it with you.

You are then placed under arrest, and find yourself facing a MANDATORY penalty of three years in prison and becoming a convicted felon for life, because the state you’re now in is New Jersey, and they do not reciprocate with Pennsylvania or any other state on concealed carry permits.

We gun folks know that the fifty states are a patchwork quilt with fifty different sets of laws. This young woman is not a gun person.  She apparently didn’t know that a state that would recognize her driver’s license wouldn’t recognize her carry license.  Read about it here: .

She’s not the first to make this honest mistake, and won’t be the last.  (And, before anyone questions that it was an honest mistake, why would someone who knew they were breaking the law spontaneously tell the first cop they encountered that they were doing so?)  This case is the very definition of malum prohibitum.

It’s also why I and so many others have been calling for national reciprocity for decades.


Saturday, August 2nd, 2014 by Mas | 48 Comments »

A friend and graduate from Chicago passes along this story: .

An as yet unidentified law-abiding citizen in his fifties (erroneously said to be 86 in early reports) fires two warning shots at a fleeing armed robber.  A police officer chasing the same robber breaks off the pursuit and takes cover, thinking he’s the one coming under fire.  The suspect is captured anyway, and no one’s blood is shed.

In the story linked above, a retired detective calls the armed citizen an idiot for doing what he did, pointing out that among other things the officer could have shot him.  But the investigating officers, and their department, and the prosecutor’s office take the armed citizen’s side and determine no charges will be brought.

And now comes a third side of the story, that the citizen saw the robber run out of the store, saw the officer come around the other side of the building, and believed the robber was about to ambush and murder the cop.  The citizen is said to have fired to break the ambush and save the officer.

Moral of the story: wait for all sides’ viewpoints to come in before forming an opinion on what happened.  And there may be more information yet to come regarding this particular incident.

Discussion invited.


Monday, July 28th, 2014 by Mas | 35 Comments »

A Federal judge has just overturned the Federal ban on handgun carry in the District of Columbia: .

Rockstar Second Amendment attorney Alan Gura and the Second Amendment Foundation have scored another major victory.   Here is Washington writer Emily Miller’s take: .

The DC police chief has reportedly ordered officers not to arrest gun carriers who have legitimate permits from other jurisdictions at this time, which would have the effect of legalizing carry with permits from elsewhere but not for DC residents, who have none. Some folks interpret the ruling as “Constitutional Carry” which encompasses DC residents whose handguns are registered in the District as per local law.  However, a lawyer friend of mine close to the situation offers this cautious advice:  “Obviously, I do *not* recommend carrying or possessing a firearm in D.C. until this matter is fully litigated, unless such carrying or possession would be legal under the law as it previously stood; it is likely that the decision will be promptly stayed once an appeal is filed.”

Discussion invited.


Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 by Mas | 12 Comments »

On the morning of July 20, the ranks of the shooter folk was depleted by one fine man. .

George Voltz, Denny Reichard

George Voltz (left) with Denny Reichard (right) at Sand Burr Gun Ranch in 2013

I knew George Voltz for about three decades, teaching with him annually most years. He had served his country in Korea and Vietnam.  He had raised a fine family, though I only got to know two of his sons, Wade and George, Jr. For many years, George owned a gun shop in Logansport, Indiana.  I bought my younger daughter’s first firearm, a Smith & Wesson .22 Airweight Kit Gun, from him there.

George devoted his last several decades to sharing his encyclopedic knowledge of firearms and his passion for their safe and competent use.  His wisdom can be found on many spots on the Internet gun forums such as, where he normally posted under his initials, GLV.

In person, George was patient, kind, friendly, and unflappable.  He had a dry sense of humor, an uncommonly large supply of common sense, and was one hell of a shot.

I had the good fortune to spend some time with him while teaching in Indiana this past June. Though wracked by cancer and the side effects of radiation therapy, this octogenarian still stood tall, his signature .45 at his hip.  He had, at 83, recently competed in a three-gun match…not as fast as in days of old, but showing the determination that characterized his entire life.

George passed at his son’s residence, with hospice care, and only after his death did I learn that George himself had been a volunteer hospice worker.  It was characteristic of the caring and compassion that the man exuded.  A born instructor to the end, he taught us all how to die with dignity.

In this case, it’s not a cliché to say…We Are Diminished.




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