All About Guns



Got your hunting gear together already? Great, because now you’ve
got plenty of time to study your voter’s pamphlet, get an absentee ballot
if necessary, and make sure you vote on or before Nov. 8.

Traditionally, I’ll be in the midst of an elk season one month from now, and I’ve got all of my hunting gear together, the truck is gassed up, my rifle is clean, got gas for the camp stove, which means I’ve got plenty of time to fill out a ballot and vote.

Around the rest of the country, many of you may be just getting into whitetail deer seasons, or waterfowl and upland bird hunting is heating up. So, since this is a reminder, there’s no excuse for not voting. If you’re going to be in the field, now’s the time to get an absentee ballot, fill it out, and stick it in the mail or a drop box.

It’s pretty easy to get an absentee ballot. Contact your local city or county election office and get the details on applying.

So, consider yourselves reminded. There is no excuse for not voting, especially this year, when much is at stake, including Second Amendment rights.

That said, this column’s readers seem to like numbers, and this week we’ve got a bunch of them.

Self-Defense Incidents

major report in Reason last month revealed what it called “the largest and most comprehensive survey of American gun owners ever conducted.”

This report “suggests” people use firearms in self-defense “about 1.7 million times a year,” and that AR-15-style rifles and magazines holding more than 10 rounds “are in common use for lawful purposes.” The study “was based on a representative sample of about 54,000 adults, 16,708 of whom were gun owners.”

A major survey reported last month estimates armed citizens
use firearms for self-defense about 1.7 million times annually.

The survey was commissioned by William English, a political economist at Georgetown University, as part of a book project, Reason said.

The research estimated there are some 415 million firearms in private ownership, including an estimated 171 million handguns, 146 million rifles and 98 million shotguns. Pretty impressive, huh?

Well, check this out: “The survey suggests that up to 44 million AR-15-style rifles and up to 542 million magazines with capacities exceeding 10 rounds are already in circulation,” the Reason report revealed.

Speaking specifically of “assault rifles,” Reason said the survey found that two-thirds of survey respondents who acknowledged owning a semi-auto long gun used them for “recreational target shooting.” Fifty percent “mentioned hunting,” refuting claims by the White House and Capitol Hill anti-gunners that nobody hunts with an AR-15. And one-third “mentioned competitive shooting.” This might include high-power matches, 3-gun competitions or some other rifle discipline.

A whopping 62% said their rifles are also used for home defense, and 35% “cited defense outside the home.”

No question about it, we own a lot of hardware, so if Congress were to somehow pass legislation banning so-called “assault rifles” and “high capacity magazines,” they’ll have a heck of a time enforcing it.

Keep this in perspective: Long before anybody tried to collect any of those firearms, there would be a herd of attorneys lining up to file so many civil rights lawsuits, it would jam the federal courts for years.

Homicides Up in ‘21

Just as this column was being written, a publication called Grid published a report stating “provisional data” from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimating 48,000 deaths from “gun-related suicides, homicides, accidents and other incidents” in 2021.

It’s an 8% increase over the firearm-related fatalities in 2020, which was a fairly violent year with urban unrest and outright riots. According to the Grid article, “The death rate per 100,000 residents climbed to 14.8 last year, eclipsing decades-old rates of high gun violence, according to the CDC.”

By now, the FBI has released its Uniform Crime Report for 2021, which was to have been available just a few days ago. Insider will have some interesting data to share shortly, once we’ve had a chance to digest the report.

One thing the Grid story acknowledged is “Suicides are still the most common gun death in the United States.” In 2012, the ration was 62% of gun-related deaths were suicides and 35% were homicides, with a handful of deaths being presumably accidents or justifiable shootings. By last year, the ratio had narrowed, with 55% being suicides and 43% homicides.

Source of the data, according to the Grid article, is ‘CDC Wonder,’ a collection of online databases.

Gun sales may change dramatically now that three credit card firms have
adopted a new merchandising code to isolate and identify gun and ammunition purchases.

Cash and Carry

When news broke recently about a decision by Visa, MasterCard and American Express to create a new “merchant category code” (MCC) to help isolate and identify gun-related charges, the firearms community was justifiably peeved.

These financial institutions were under pressure from the gun prohibition lobby and a pair of anti-gun politicians, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-PA), to institute this scrutiny. Warren and Dean issued a press release touting their effort. They refer to “suspicious activities including straw purchases and unlawful bulk purchases” as a reason for credit card transactions to be weaponized against gun owners.

When this story first broke, a phone call from an old colleague offered an interesting suggestion: Cash-only gun purchases. If you don’t have enough cash to pay for a particular firearm, maybe put some money down and come back with more greenbacks when available to settle the balance. No credit card record, no foul.

This started with an early-September decision by the Geneva-based International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to create the new MCC for firearms retailers. While on the surface, proponents describe this scheme as an effort to prevent mass shootings by monitoring credit card activity, but some critics in the gun rights movement think this could be a backdoor registration scheme.

Jim Shepherd, a colleague and editor of The Outdoor Wire, called it “a calculated move to circumvent regulations preventing federal tracking of gun sales.”

Rep. Karen Bass, an anti-gun California Democrat, lost two handguns from
her Los Angeles home to burglars. (Official image from Bass’ congressional website.)

Call it Karma, Karen

U.S. Representative Karen Bass (D-CA), who has been representing California’s 37th District and is now running for the office of Los Angeles mayor, is an anti-gunner based on the “F” grade she recently received from the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

So, when Bass reported a burglary at her Los Angeles home, she wound up with egg on her face because two guns were part of the loot taken. Bass claimed the guns were safely stored.

According to various published reports, the perps took nothing else, even though they could have taken cash, electronics and “other valuables.”

Bass told reporters the guns had been purchased years ago. According to a Fox News affiliate in Los Angeles, Bass said the guns had been for personal protection, a right her voting record suggests she wasn’t concerned about for her constituents.

Don’t Rob Cops

Here’s a bit of advice to would-be robbers: Don’t try ripping off undercover cops because it will not end well.

This is a lesson learned the hard way by a 19-year-old suspect in a drug deal gone really bad in Prince William County, Va., according to The Washington Post. The newspaper said a man identified as Jaiden M. Carter was one of three people involved in the caper, which an attorney for the Carter family quickly declared was “another example of unnecessary police brutality.”

Carter and another man, identified as Jalil M. Turner, were allegedly involved in a drug buy, but instead tried to rob the undercover cops of their buy money. They allegedly took the money and “additional property,” before returning to their own car. About that time, backup officers arrived and “converged on the car.” There was “an exchange of gunfire,” the newspaper reported. Carter was fatally wounded.

The Post quoted a statement from police, which said two handguns were recovered at the crime scene and one of the guns had been “illegally modified to be fully automatic with an extended magazine.”

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