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Data Study: Ammo Sales Continue to Soar in Wake of Coronavirus Panic

March 20, 2020 gives us some numbers on increased ammunition sales. RM

“The table lists states by sales volume with Texas having the largest sales volume and South Dakota the least. It also shows the top three ammo calibers for each state listed so that you can see which calibers have sold the most in each state, and their corresponding sales increase since February 23rd.

Source: Data Study: Ammo Sales Continue to Soar in Wake of Coronavirus Panic

No Cops to Save You, but Too Bad You Couldn’t Get a Gun to Protect Yourself

March 20, 2020

You might not have wanted a gun before, but now you do. You’ve seen the empty shelves in grocery stores. You read in the news that some police departments are taking longer to respond because of the outbreak of the Wuhan virus. Some police departments are conserving their resources and only responding to critical incidents in progress. The whole situation sounds unbelievable until you read that unarmed shoppers in California were robbed of their groceries. That is why many people decided they suddenly needed a gun for self-protection. Some gun stores reported a five-fold increase in sales. The Federal National Instant Background Check system reported processing three times the number of applications compared to a year ago.. if you could get a gun at all. Many citizens who wanted to buy a gun ran into our bizarre gun-control scheme and were disarmed. That wasn’t all they learned.

These gun buyers discovered that buying a gun legally wasn’t as easy as they thought. After you’ve passed your state and federal background checks, then the gun buyer must wait an additional ten days if you’re a resident of California. You’ll wait an additional 14 days if you live in Hawaii. In theory, there is only a six month wait to get a permit to purchase a gun in New Jersey, but New Jersey stopped processing applications. There, the good guys are disarmed by gun-control.

Lots of new gun buyers found out that the mainstream media lied to them. They discovered that you can’t buy a gun online. They found out that democrat politicians lied when they said it is easier to buy a gun than to buy a book. These new gun buyers crashed head-first into the 23 thousand firearms regulations we have in the US. That system isn’t easy for anyone.

In theory, these regulations prevent a known criminal from getting a gun. In practice, the bad guys get their guns the same way they get their drugs; the criminals get their guns illegally. These thousands of regulations disarmed the honest citizen who wants to obey the law.

How does disarming the honest citizens make us safer?
Millions of new gun owners and their families are now asking themselves that very question.

The practice and theory of gun-control are wildly different. Gun control laws are not designed to do what the politicians say they do. Gun-control laws are designed to put a politician in front of a camera while he reads a glowing press release. The politician slaps a wonderful sounding title on more regulations that don’t stop crime any better than the last ink-on-paper did. The news media nods with approval and refuses to ask for evidence that this charade really works. The media stays silent because their job depends on being invited to the next press release.

When this political-theater is presented to us in the news, most of us didn’t ask how gun-control was supposed to keep us safe. For millions of us, that changed last week. Today, more of us are asking that question as the recent wave of want-to-be gun owners were disarmed.

Gun-control has never stopped crime. Gun prohibition was designed to stop you from protecting yourself while pretending to make you safe. Now that you’re threatened, you are supposed to go pay a politician for an exemption, or pay so the police will protect you after you were denied the tools of self-defense.

That scheme is tried and true. It is as old as politicians and prohibition. Many citizens didn’t believe that gun-control worked that way until they saw it with their own eyes.

Now they know.. and so do you.

I gave you 600 words. Please share them with a friend. RM

After the Virus Scare, How Do I Own a Gun?

March 18, 2020

Long lines outside a gun store in Culver City, CA. Photo from

The Wuhan virus inspired lots of new people to buy guns. That is both unusual and common. Many people didn’t expect to be gun owners until they suddenly found out they needed a firearm. The good news is that we’ve lived with firearms for hundreds of years. We’ve learned how to live with them safely and and use them reliably. That body of best-practice is called the gun culture. The first thing a new gun owner needs to learn is that you can learn from others. Yes, a firearm can be dangerous if you mishandle it. Welcome to the gun culture, and the more you learn the safer you’ll be.

How do I talk about gun ownership with my family and colleagues?

Our discussion needs to start with people. You might plan to use a gun to protect your family, protect your business, or protect yourself as you travel in public. In each case, I hope you included your family and co-workers in your safety plans. Yes, you want to keep your kids safe, but no, you don’t want your children showing their playmates where you put your new gun. You want your colleagues at work to be able to help you in an emergency. That takes instruction, planning, and practice.

At home, you must child-proof your guns and gun-proof your children. That is important because yours isn’t the only home with new firearms. Your children have to know what to do when they see a gun. Please go a step further, so your children are a role model who can guide other children in what to do when they see an unsecured firearm. Your education program may be the Eddie Eagle program for youngsters, or enroling your teenagers in a firearms safety class. That safety class is also a great place for adults to enter the gun culture.

Now that I brought the gun home, how do I store it?

Welcome to one of the great compromises in the firearms culture. The perfect solution means that your firearm is both secure from unauthorized users while ready for immediate use. We’re still looking for that perfect solution. Keeping your unloaded firearm in the factory cardboard box under your bed isn’t a great idea. An unloaded firearm kept separate from your ammunition isn’t very useful. A loaded firearm in your bedroom closet isn’t secure. Many of us put our loaded handguns into small locked boxes like this one. The rest of the time, we keep the loaded firearm on our body in a holster. It is an imperfect solution.

How do I use a gun to protect my family?

That is the key question for many of us. Who do you want to protect? Where do you want to protect them, and how does your firearm fit with your other layers of protection? The answer depends on your particular situation. The best solution is the one that avoids armed conflict. That is why you need a plan. Many firearms instructors will come to your home or office and help build your personal protection plans. Talk to the instructor about applying for your concealed carry permit. You must learn the gun laws in your state before you travel with your firearm.

For a start, you’ll want to lock your doors and windows. You won’t open your door to strangers at night. You also need some range time with an instructor to learn how to manipulate your firearm. Ask the local gun store, the local shooting range, and search the web to find an instructor near you. You also need to find a place to practice with your firearm. The other adults and teenagers in your family need to practice too.

When should I use a gun to defend my family?

That topic is formally called the legal use of lethal force. The particular answers vary from state to state. The broad answer is that you use a firearm when you’ve run out of better options and have to use it. You may use lethal force to defend an innocent person when they face an immediate, lethal, and unavoidable threat. Your response also has to be proportional to the threat. That is why you can shoot an armed intruder who kicks down your door at night, but you can’t shoot your neighbor’s three year old who grabs a steak knife off the kitchen table and waves it around.

Retreat if you can so so safely. Don’t use deadly force to protect property. Most criminals run away to find easier victims when they see you’re armed. Don’t trade shots with criminals. Shoot until the threat stops, and then call the police.

Because of the way our brain works in an emergency, you can only use the plans you’ve rehearsed ahead of time.

What else do I need to know?

A few bullet points don’t make you a competent and informed gun owner. I’ve given you the crudest map so you can orient yourself in a new world of armed defense. The key point is that other people have learned to live with a gun and you can learn from them. Most gun owners want you to be a responsible and informed firearms owner. The more you learn the safer you’ll be, and there is so much to learn.

I gave you 900 words. Please share them with the new gun owners who needs them. RM

Rob Morse writes about gun rights at Ammoland, at Clash Daily, and here on his SlowFacts blog. He hosts the Self Defense Gun Stories Podcast and co-hosts the Polite Society Podcast. Rob was an NRA pistol instructor and combat handgun competitor. He has taken over 400 hours of instruction on self-defense, the legal use of force, and emergency medicine/trauma care.


Are Bureaucrats Shutting Down Schools for Their Benefit, or for Yours?

March 16, 2020

Local schools are closed due to the Wuhan virus. Is that a good idea, or a bad one? The lockdown is bad news if you’re a young, ordinary family with two working parents of school-age children. The shutdown is great news if that family also has grandma living with them. The results depend on your situation, but the decision was never made for your benefit.

The school shut down for a reason. Children are one of the least likely age groups to be seriously affected by the Wuhan virus, but that hardly matters. If Little Johnny is going to school every day and gets seriously sick, then the school will be sued for not shutting down. It is cheaper for the bureaucrats to send Little Johnny home than pay legal bills. It is much more expensive for you to be off work, but the school bureaucrats don’t have to pay for that. You pay because the school year is longer, and you also pay because you have to juggle work hours and parenting hours more tightly.

We see different incentives when a manager isolates an old folks home. People with a compromised immune system or lung disease are at serious risk of prolonged illness or death from the virus. Isolating those patients today means that fewer of them will be infected tomorrow. The staff at the old folks home won’t be overtaxed so they can provide adequate care. That saves lives.

The mayor shut down the hotels and casinos in his city for a different reason. Isolation blunts the rate of infection. Isolation buys us time to develop vaccines and for more people in good health to develop immunity to the virus through the slow process of infection and recovery. Isolation spreads the illness through time so hospitals are not overwhelmed by patients in acute respiratory collapse. The mayor really wants to avoid that at all costs.

Once the hospital runs out of treatment beds, then the local hospital will start selecting which patients to treat and which patients to simply monitor as the illness runs its course. Lots of voters will be angry at the hospital and at the mayor if grandma dies because there wasn’t a bed for her. Grandma might die of the virus anyway, but the mayor won’t be blamed as long as the hospital had a room and grandma was fully treated. The mayor wants to avoid the pages of bad press that results if the hospital starts triaging patients. The mayor can put you out of work by shutting down your job, but that choice probably won’t cost him the next election.

Families, bureaucrats, and politicians face different incentives. Their incentives have little to do with the seriousness of the particular public health risks we face. When faced with a complex situation, politicians often make self-serving decisions due to the incentives they face. They wrap their selfish decision in the cloak of the public good.

This virus also exposes some of the organizational weaknesses in our healthcare system. We pay for empty hospital beds and for unused supplies with higher medical bills. We dislike the higher costs, but we really like the extra capacity and capability during an epidemic. We get what we pay for.. sometimes.

We would usually share resources between hospitals and between communities, but in the case of the Wuhan virus, many facilities are husbanding their supplies since they don’t know how hard they will be hit. In contrast, it is common to loan people and equipment after a fire, but we like to wait for the smoke to clear. We want to see if our local community is out of danger. With the Wuhan virus, that takes time, and hospitals don’t know if they have resources to spare.

If you want to help your community, then see if the local blood bank needs donations. In the meantime, wash your hands.

I gave you 600 reasoned words. Please rate, share, and comment. RM


Can Government Officials Be Trusted With Our Children’s Lives

March 13, 2020

I’m watching the news media and the government go nuts over the flu. That increased my level of skepticism about our public institutions. That was my frame of mind when Bill Frady asked me, “Didn’t we learn what to do from the first school attacks? Why was there ever a second school shooting in the USA?” Bill asked the right question under the right circumstances, and I think Bill is right. We should have learned from the first attack, but we didn’t. We know how to stop mass public violence, but, too often, we chose not to. Fortunately, recent news helps us figure out what happened. Attacks in public are rare and hard to understand. We pay for preparation every day, but the reward may never come. We make excuses when we fail, and we don’t get credit when we succeed. All of that plays a part. Government has trouble filling a pothole. Sometimes it needs our help to do the right thing.

School attack in California

Practice is a better teacher than theory-

Some problems are easy to solve. You know how to feed yourself and you solve that problem several times a day. You learned what a solution looks like when you were a child. You practiced taking care of yourself as a teenager. In contrast, we don’t have that familiarity with rare events like a school or church attack. We didn’t grow up with school and church security. Most of us don’t know how to think about the problem of mass violence, let alone know what to do to solve it in our local schools, churches, or shopping malls. We don’t have a mental model for violence the way we have a model for feeding ourselves at lunch.

We know how to protect our communities, but the solutions are outside our everyday experience. We have to study before we can distinguish the bad proposals from the good ones. The solution is harder to recognize because it may be an assembly of many small factors rather than one quick fix that solves everything.

As a case in point, the school board in Santa Fe, Texas recently allowed selected, trained, volunteer school staff to go armed on campus. The school board reached that decision almost two years after a school in their district was attacked, seven years after the attack at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Connecticut, and almost 21 years after the attack at the high school in Columbine, Colorado. We have to become comfortable with a new idea before we’ll adopt it, and that takes time.

It is psychologically hard to face violence-

Doctor William April studies violent criminals. He says, “To properly plan for violence, you must first admit and accept that the world is not as it ought to be.” We don’t like to think about unpleasant events. You know how it felt to set up a retirement plan, get life insurance, get flood insurance, and write a will. If you don’t know how that feels, then you made my point for me, and please take care of yourself and your future.

We put off those tasks because they remind us of unpleasant possibilities, and because we can. We ignored the problem yesterday, and we saw the sun come up today.. if we’re lucky.

Many of us are distressed by reality. Thinking about evil is depressing. If getting insurance made you uncomfortable, then hold onto your emotions when you think about stopping the murder of children. Thinking about the worst possible events can be emotionally painful. To make matters worse, we ignore our small successes.

I’ve seen churches easily respond to an accident in the parking lot because they had prepared to face larger emergencies. The church volunteers and the church governing board deserve praise for their rapid response and the increased level of care they were able to provide. They seldom get the credit they deserve.

It is hard to deal with rare events-

It is hard to work for something that has a payoff in the distant future. That is a truth, and if you doubt me then look at how hard it is for most of us to lose a few pounds. We know what we should do to lose weight, but the reward of better health and a longer life comes years from now, while the cost of shedding weight is paid at every meal and at every workout session. Likewise, the emotional and physical costs to protect our kids are paid every day. The reward of preventing or minimizing an attack will only come at in some undefined moment in the future.

A plastic sign

The pain is real. The thought that there is evil in the world is uncomfortable, and some people experience that discomfort every time they see a sign that says ‘school staff may be armed.’ They are willing to trade dead kids in the future in order to avoid the discomfort of recognizing evil today. Some people are angry at those of us who recognize evil.

Most of us have pleasant memories of going to school. These angry people are saying, ‘Don’t put those ugly walls around my happy place. Won’t the problem simply go away if we close our eyes and wish real hard?’ In a perverse inversion of incentives, they will have a lot of company and sympathy if their undefended school is attacked.

We find it hard to blame people who refused to prepare-

I have friends who ride out floods, hurricanes, and fires with ease because they planned ahead. Likewise, some friends study self-defense and trauma care. In contrast, we donate time and money to help the victims who didn’t prepare. Of course our heart goes out to the victims of mass murder since they didn’t deserve such an attack. I think we also owe a debt of gratitude to those who put plans in place today so they could ride out those storms. Give thanks to the people who prevent and minimize the damage caused by an attack on our schools and churches. We owe them that.

Government is only as smart as we are-

Preventing mass public violence is controversial. Our bureaucratic system isn’t designed to make unpopular decisions. That means politicians can only go where we lead them. A politician may make the correct decision, but be criticized by people who have not studied the problem as much as he has, or as much as you have. You have to speak up, or someone else will.

There are lots of easy answers out there but few of them help. Politicians are often rewarded for doing the wrong thing. A popular but ineffective solution may solve the political problem today, but worsen the long-term security problem. We’ve seen some communities proudly leave their children undefended even after an attack in their community.

In contrast, other communities faced the reality of evil and learned to prevent and minimize violent attacks on their kids. Some of those preparations, like armed volunteer staff, cost almost nothing. At the other end of the spectrum, better mental health programs are expensive but provide payback for years, if not for generations. We need both.

How long should we wait to face our problems? I’ve seen churches build a security team in a week, with help. We can pay now, or we can pay later. That is up to us since we are the conscience of our body politic. Our politicians can’t solve a problem until we recognize the solution. It is up to us to remind our politicians and bureaucrats to do the right thing.

Have you told your politician what to do to make our society safer?

I gave you twelve hundred words. Please share them with a friend. RM


Gun Control Costs Lives in Ohio

March 9, 2020

Ohio State Flag

In Ohio, about one out of 18 citizens have a permit to carry a concealed firearm in public. That says quite a lot since a noticeable number of Ohio citizens are not eligible for a permit. Those statistics also hide a terrible truth. The concealed carry laws in Ohio disarmed over a million eligible adults. The results are exactly what you’d expect after we denied the right of armed defense to law abiding citizens.

Because of Ohio laws, thousands of additional victims, including hundreds of rape victims, were disarmed when they were attacked. Is it worth it?

5.4% of the Ohio population has their permit to carry a concealed firearm in public. About two thirds of us are eligible to vote, so a conservative estimate is that six-out-of-ten citizens could get a carry permit if they wanted one. The people who don’t have a permit might be too young, or they might be so old that they don’t want to carry any longer and let their permit expire. Some citizens have a disqualifying legal offense. Considering all that, one-out-of-18 citizens in Ohio with a permit doesn’t seem so bad.. until we look at the rest of the United States.

About 20 million US citizens have their carry permits. That puts the national average at about one-in-15 people. Those national statistics don’t count the 17 million eligible adults living in constitutional carry states where government permission is not required to carry concealed in public. Critics argue that constitutional carry, also called permitless carry, is dangerous. Contrary to our imagination, the amount of firearms training goes up in states that removed the minimum requirements to carry a firearm. Inadvertently, the requirements for a state permit formed a floor. Civilian gun owners wanted more training to feel competent once that minimal requirement was removed. We don’t know how many people carry concealed in constitutional carry states, but we have some estimates.

The carry rate varies from state to state. Some states, like Hawaii, don’t grant permits for ordinary citizens to carry in public, yet the violent crime rate in Hawaii is higher than the national average. New Jersey doesn’t let ordinary citizens carry, yet New Jersey has five cities in the 100 most dangerous cities in the US. Gun prohibition doesn’t bring peace.

In contrast, Alabama has the highest carry rate of any state with about a third of eligible adults having their permit. Even that isn’t the highest carry rate we can find. About half the eligible adults in some Pennsylvania counties have their permits. Constitutional carry rates should fall somewhere in between.

Why does that matter to the citizens of Ohio? We all want to be safer. The Ohio permit requires 8 hours of training and costs about $120. That doesn’t seem like a lot, but the results are dramatic.

The costs we impose on honest citizens to carry in public reduced the number of people who got their permit. More law-abiding adults went disarmed. Compared to the states with high carry rates like Alabama, Ohio disarmed over 1.1 million honest adults. To put that number in perspective, the gun-control laws in Ohio disarmed the eligible adults in Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Toledo combined. What do you think would happen if we disarmed the honest adults in those cities?

The good news is that the overall rate of violent crime in Ohio is lower than the USA average. The bad news is that the rate of crime in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati is several times the national average. Even if every city in Ohio were exactly average when it comes to crime, our 1.1 million disarmed citizens became disarmed victims over four thousand times a year, including over 300 disarmed rape victims.

Those disarmed victims were the price we paid for gun control in Ohio. We can also examine Ohio’s murder rate and see what happens to those million honest citizens who were disarmed.

Ohio’s gun-control laws take the tools of self-defense away from 57 murder victims every year.
That is the cost of gun control in Ohio.

We can do better. The cost of a permit in Pennsylvania is about $19. Alabama charges slightly more, but recent legislation eliminated the fees for a permit in Alabama.

In Ohio, we disarmed 57 citizens who are no longer alive to tell us that gun-control disarms the victims. When it comes to saving innocent lives, being average isn’t good enough.

I gave you 700 words. Please leave a rating, a comment, and share the article with a friend. RM

Young Black Women are the Target of Crime.. and Democrat Politics

March 3, 2020

Let the victims be armed

Young minority women are disproportionately victimized by violent criminals. That explains why Connecticut Democrats want them disarmed. Here is their horrible bigotry at work.

Criminals want easy victims. Unfortunately, young women are more likely to take public transportation late at night. Minority women are more likely to live in our violent inner cities. Women are weaker than men 90 percent of the time. Those factors explain much of why young minority women are robbed, assaulted, raped and murdered so often. There is another factor as well. Young minority women were less likely to go armed.

Young, urban, minority women have the greatest need to defend themselves. They want to stay safe and they learned that the police will not be there to stop their attacks. These women learned that the police will arrive after they have fought off their attacker, after they have run to safety, and after they have called 911.. if they can, and if police bother to respond to the scene of the crime after the attacker has run away.

That explains why young urban minority women are the fastest growing segment of gun owners. Unfortunately, this minority group of young-minority-urban-women is also considered the core support group of the Democrat party. Unfortunately, today, the Democrat party is the party of gun-control. That explains why Connecticut democrats proposed a 35 percent tax on ammunition. Taxes of 100 percent and 50 percent were also proposed by Democrats.

Politicians want easy scapegoats. Democrat politicians in Connecticut need an excuse for the violence in their inner cities. It is better to blame the tools of defense than to admit that Democrat policies have failed so miserably.

If that means the Democrats also have to disarm poor black women, then so be it. Democrats want to retain their voting blocks. It is better for Democrats to disarm the victim than let the victim go armed and leave the Democrat party.

Does that strategy really make our cities safer? We know that unemployment causes violent crime. Unemployment is above the national average in Connecticut, and particularly high in Democrat controlled cities. Democrat policies have regulated and taxed jobs out of Hartford, East Hartford, New Haven and Waterbury. Democrat policies led to higher rates of addiction, and lower rates of marriage. Addicts and fatherless boys feed gangs and fuel violent crime. We’ve seen the pattern play out for decades.

This is an election year so Democrat politicians need someone to blame. Connecticut Democrats scapegoated gun owners. Gun owners are a minority of the population, and only a minority of gun owners vote for Democrats. The media never corrects the lie that gun owners cause crime.

Taxing honest gun owners doesn’t stop criminals from misusing guns. The unreported truth is that blaming gun owners and taxing ammunition means fewer minority women can afford to own a firearm for defense.

We all want people to handle guns responsibly. Honest gun owners need to train themselves in the safest ways to use their firearms. The more often gun owners practice, the lower their rate of accidents. Said another way, the most dangerous gun is the one you think you know how to handle.. but don’t. I’ve seen a similar situation with someone who hasn’t operated a piece of equipment in a few years. They need to practice until they are safe again. Practice is good, and practice with a firearm is essential.

We want our inner-cities to be safe. Unfortunately, disarming honest gun owners won’t make our Democrat controlled cities safer. We’ve studied gun owners a lot. Data tells us that gun owners who are licensed to carry their firearms in public are extraordinary. They are the most non-violent and law abiding segment of human society we can find. We need more citizens like them.

These gun owners are less likely to break the law than the police. When these civilians are finally forced to use their firearms in defense, concealed carriers are less likely to shoot the wrong person than the police. These gun owners do a wonderful job at protecting themselves and their family.. and they make an easy political scapegoat for Connecticut Democrats.

Democrat politicians should stop the racist bigotry of taxing firearms out of the hands of young urban black women. Be pro-choice, and let these women choose the best way to protect themselves and their family. For once, put safety ahead of politics.

This tax on ammunition will probably pass in Connecticut. I’m sorry if you are a gun owner who finds it hard to pay for enough ammunition to train regularly and stay safe. I can’t fix that for you, but you can fix it for yourself when you vote Connecticut Democrats out of office in November.

I gave you 700 words. Please share them with a friend. RM

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