Taking guns away from lawful owners isn’t practical

RALEIGH — When officers from the U.S. Marshal Service, the N.C. Department of Adult Correction, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, and other agencies approached a home in eastern Charlotte on April 29, their purpose was to serve warrants on a fugitive named Terry Clark Hughes Jr.

The fugitive fought back, costing four men their lives: Adult Correction officers Alden Elliot and Samuel Paloche, Deputy U.S. Marshal Thomas Weeks, and CMPD’s Joshua Ayer.

Hughes was a habitual felon. In 2011, he was convicted in Person County of breaking and entering. In 2012, he was convicted in Alamance County of speeding to elude arrest — having fled a checkpoint at more than 100 miles an hour — and possessing a firearm, which as a felon he lacked the right to do.

So, when the task force arrived at the Galway Drive house on April 29, among the charges Hughes faced was the illegal possession of guns. Alas, he still had guns. He used them to murder four men before his outrageous conduct cost him his own life.

The officers were there, in other words, to enforce a gun-control law with nearly universal acceptance. And yet, in the aftermath of this horrific incident, progressive politicians couldn’t help themselves. Rather than tailor their reactions to the facts of the case, they engaged in a robotic plug-and-play.

In his April 29 statement, for example, Joe Biden called the officers “fallen heroes.” Yes, they are.

But the president also said this: “We must do more to protect our law enforcement officers. That means funding them — so they have the resources they need to do their jobs and keep us safe. And it means taking additional action to combat the scourge of gun violence. Now. Leaders in Congress need to step up so that we ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, require safe storage of guns, and pass universal background checks and a national red flag law. Enough is enough.”

Several days later, after President Biden met with family members of the fallen heroes as well as others wounded in the firefight, he insisted lawmakers needed to “keep the weapons of war” out of the wrong hands.

The hands of habitual felon Terry Clark Hughes certainly had no business holding firearms of any kind. But it was already illegal for him to do so. That was one of the main reasons the officers were there to arrest him in the first place.

As for the funding of state and federal law enforcement, I see no evidence it played any role here. Safe storage of guns? While the North Carolina General Assembly has already legislated on this matter, it also had no relevance to the case. Nor did the absence of red flag laws (since any report to authorities by family members that he possessed a gun would already have triggered yet another warrant for his arrest) or broader background checks (since he already knew he was precluded from owning a gun and wouldn’t have tried buying firearms from anyone required to use the National Instant Criminal Background Check System).

That leaves only Biden’s stated desire to ban all assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Assuming he means semiautomatic rifles such as the AR-15 — automatic weapons are already illegal for the vast majority of Americans to own — there are tens of millions of such rifles currently in private hands across our country. Most have magazines holding more than 10 rounds.

To put the matter bluntly, there is no practical way of confiscating these weapons from their lawful owners. Let’s focus on actual criminals like Terry Clark Hughes.

John Hood is a John Locke Foundation board member. His latest books, Mountain Folk and Forest Folk, combine epic fantasy with early American history (FolkloreCycle.com).


President Joe Biden said it again. Given another term, he’ll do gun control. This time, he’s grotesquely dismissive of the high price of freedom that has been paid with the lives of those who fought and died to preserve American independence. Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Bill of Rights, famously wrote “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

President Biden told the “Smartless” podcast, according to Breitbart, that he will “make sure that we do something about gun violence in this country” should he be elected for a second term, adding, “this — the [tree of] liberty is watered with the blood of patriots, I mean, that’s a bunch of crap.”

President Biden specifically took aim at re-enacting the failed 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, that even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention admitted had no effect on crime reduction. He reiterated his disproven claims about “cannon control” and again placed himself as the pre-eminent Second Amendment authority, despite the U.S. Supreme Court clearly establishing the Second Amendment as a right of individual Americans.

It’s a mantra that would be easy to dismiss if it weren’t for all the gun control he’s already implemented by bypassing Congress and abusing his executive authority to attack the firearm industry.

Punishing Second Amendment Freedom

He targets “rogue” gun dealers, when even his own Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) officials published data showing they’re not the problem. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ Volume Three of the National Firearms Commerce and Trafficking Assessment show just 0.1 percent of all federal firearms licensees were implicated in allegedly illegal firearm trafficking between 2017 and 2021.

President Biden’s Commerce Department published a punishing Interim Final Rule through the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) and slapped on new firearm export restrictions that have the intent of hobbling U.S. firearm manufacturers and exporters. The administration grasped at straws to justify it for national security reasons but it also belies ATF data. The ATF’s National Firearm Commerce and Trafficking Assessment shows less than one percent of legally exported firearms are ever traced in connection with a crime taking place in a foreign country.

Recently, Everytown for Gun Safety’s President John Feinblatt boasted of his gun control organization’s collusion with the White House’s office of Gun Violence Prevention, staffed by his former employee Rob Wilcox, and the City of Chicago to bring a frivolous and harassing lawsuit against Glock. The handgun maker is renowned for their product’s reliability and Feinblatt and others are upset because Glock refuses to change their handgun designs because criminals illegally alter them by affixing auto-sears – what ATF calls “machinegun conversion devices (MCD) -that are illegal to import, make, possess and install on a firearm. A dozen Democrat state attorneys general are threatening to sue, as is Hawaii.

The goal is to overturn the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), the law that prohibits frivolous lawsuits against the firearm industry for the harm caused by remote third parties. To more easily understand that, “remote third parties” is legal-speak for criminals. Feinblatt, President Biden and the Congressional gun control cabal want to return to the days of the late 1990’s and early 2000’s when unscrupulous trial lawyers in shiny suits in concert with gun control groups paraded a series of failing lawsuits to drain firearm manufacturers of funds with claims that were never successful.

That wasn’t the point, though. Disgraced former New York Gov. Anderw Cuomo served as the Housing and Urban Development Secretary under President Bill Clinton and infamously threatened the firearm industry with “death by a thousand cuts.” The objective was to bring the industry to its knees and force through court-ordered settlements gun control measures rejected by Congress or ratchet up the cost of litigation and shutter the industry through bankruptcy. Nothing changed.

Look to Another American President

It’s time to reject this mentality. There was a time in this nation when Americans shrugged off the collective blame that society shoulders responsibility for the ills that plague us and focused instead on holding criminals accountable. Instead of listening to the 46th President of the United States, America should recall the words of the 40th President.

“We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker,” President Ronald Reagan said. “It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.”

President Reagan delivered those remarks to the Republican National Convention in Miami in 1968. Those words are as fitting today as they were over a half century ago.

President Biden, with the help of gun control cronies, wants to shift the blame for criminals misusing firearms to snatch that Constitutionally-protected right from every American. Together, they’re doing it through executive fiat, judicial abuse and regulatory overreach. They’ve gone so far as to create an office within The White House that is structured to do that, staffed by former gun control lobbyists.

The notion that others are to blame for an individual’s failings and crimes is as juvenile as the toddler’s “the devil made me do it” excuse. Laws are enacted to protect society. They give society the tools by which to hold individuals accountable when they don’t respect the rights of others or the consequences of their actions. When President Biden and his gun control factions talk of repealing PLCAA, enacting unconstitutional restrictions through the rulemaking process instead of working through Congress – the representatives of “We, the People,” they are abrogating their responsibility to protect the very people they’ve been entrusted to govern. They break the social contract with Americans to shift the blame for crime from the criminal to those who had no part or responsibility for that crime.

This isn’t how Americans want to be governed. Weaponizing government – including the courts to cast the blame for criminal misbehavior on an industry or the rest of society – is anything but accountability. It gives the criminal a free pass. It punishes the innocent and negates rights that belong to law-abiding Americans.

This isn’t what the Founding Fathers envisioned. Americans must not tolerate a chief executive who crassly dismisses the hard-fought liberties that have been secured by patriots with their lives. Americans must not surrender their liberties to carry the collective blame when individuals break the law. Stripping Americans of their Second Amendment rights doesn’t make the country safer. It emboldens criminals and makes citizens wards of an Orwellian government.

Newsom’s gun control constitutional amendment gets nowhere, to the surprise of no one

Gov. Gavin Newsom made headlines last summer for proposing a 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution enshrining a handful of gun control measures into the supreme law of the land.

There was some ginned up fanfare, with state Sen. Aisha Wahab praising Newsom as “a man of action” in the press release announcing the amendment.

It was all a bit much for what everyone understood at the time to be Newsom’s latest attempt at positioning himself for the White House.

Alas, the California Legislature, dominated by the Democratic Party, approved a resolution calling for a constitutional convention on gun safety. Thirty-three states must make similar calls for such a convention to happen, but even then there’s an asterisk (more on that later).

Almost a year later, reports Bay Area News Group’s John Woolfolk, no other blue state has taken up Newsom on his proposal.

As Woolfolk notes, there are 18 other states with state legislatures controlled by the Democrats. But none have shown signs of following suit.

This is certainly not a surprise. Most states in the country have little interest in the sort of gun control measures pitched by Newsom.

Constitutional attorney Cody J. Wisniewski explained in these pages back in June: “Given only 10 states and Washington D.C. have any form of ban on so-called ‘assault weapons’ or any form of waiting period, while 27 states have enacted some iteration of free/constitutional/permitless carry, it is clear that there isn’t currently much appetite for Newsom’s particular brand of gun control across the country.”

Then there’s the problem with the fact that the California Legislature called for a constitutional convention limited to matters of gun safety.
“But constitutional scholars say it’s unclear that’s legally possible,” Woolfolk reports. If a constitutional convention did indeed get assembled, states could use the circumstance to propose whatever they want.

Oregon Sen. Floyd Prozanski told Woolfolk that’s among the reasons his state doesn’t seem likely to go down the path pitched by Newsom. “The last thing I’d want is to open up something where we can’t put the lid back on the can,” he said.

And so that’s where Newsom’s much-touted constitutional amendment and foray into national politics and national influence-peddling stands: nowhere.

Needless to say, this isn’t any surprise to this editorial board. On June 13, 2023, we said of the proposal: “This editorial board isn’t impressed by Newsom’s proposal and we’re confident most of the rest of the country won’t be, either.”

Firearms bans threaten our personal safety

A week before my mom passed away, she taught me how to shoot a firearm. As a long-time firearms instructor, she trained thousands of Coloradans and passed on to me the vital importance of gun safety and self-defense. I followed in my mom’s footsteps and opened Elite Firearms & Training. Every day, I work to carry on her legacy, equipping men and women to protect— from harm.

After a decade of serving as a firearms instructor, I am confounded by efforts in my home state of Colorado to ban the sale of majority of semi-automatic firearms, including many popular handguns and shotguns used for self-defense. This isn’t a fight to keep your AR-15s. Legislators want to pass a “assault weapons” ban bill that will ban the smallest of guns like the Beretta 21a, a .22lr, 7 round handgun that’s smaller than my hand to a more common handgun used for concealed carry like the Springfield Hellcat RDP 9mm.

The current bill defines “assault weapons” generally to include many commonly carried pistols and shotguns that are used for self-defense. Clearly, the drafters of this bill do not understand how firearms operate and are making it as broadly encompassing as possible by including largely cosmetic features that are in common use.

Within the bill, it says that if the firearm has a detachable magazine and a foregrip, threaded barrel, barrel shroud, adjustable stock, pistol grip, and many other ridiculous characteristics, the firearm will be banned. None of these features increase lethality. This legislation undermines our basic rights as Americans, threatening our safety and well-being.

While lawmakers at the State Capitol exploit tragedy to advance their political agenda, they fail to mention the simple and undeniable truth that gun bans fail to reduce crime or keep people safe. Following the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms use Protection Act of 1994, in which certain semi-automatic firearms and magazines were banned, the nonpartisan National Institute of Justice concluded that the moratorium, “failed to reduce the average number of victims per gun murder or multiple gunshot wounds.”

Even worse, we’ve seen that violence is often incentivized by the same gun restrictions that Colorado legislators are attempting to pass. According to researchers, five out of six mass shooters choose “Gun Free Zones” to unleash their terror. Colorado’s homicide by firearm rate has surpassed the national rate for the first time in over forty years, while states who have passed constitutional carry are seeing a decrease. This comes after Colorado lawmakers have already enacted gun control measures such as universal and expanded background checks, magazine capacity limits, safe storage, red flag laws, etc. and the state has even created their own Office of Gun Violence Prevention.

The same trend of higher crime with more restrictive gun laws have been proven repeatedly in other states and politicians refuse to recognize that the firearm violence occurring is overwhelmingly not from legal firearm owners.

Beyond the definitive data and research that proves the ineffectiveness of gun bans, is the troubling truth that legislative action to halt the production or possession of semi-automatic firearms ultimately threaten the safety of law-abiding citizens, and more specifically, women like me.

According to a Harvard study, the United States added 8 million new gun owners between 2019 and 2021 with nearly half (48%) of those new gun owners being women (3.84 million). Violent crime continues to ravage our communities, and women are literally taking up arms and fighting back.

These brazen and alarming attempts to disarm — and endanger — citizens in Colorado should be national news. We know that lawmakers across the country use these outrageous bills as blueprints, changing the state names, and implementing them within their respective jurisdiction because they don’t have the votes to do it nationally.

Last year, it was Washington state that passed sweeping legislation to disarm citizens and destroy gun stores. Today, it’s Colorado. We cannot sit on our hands as our rights and safety are eroded. It’s time to fight back.

Almost 50% of Colorado’s population own firearms, so we’re not outnumbered. However, we will be ignored if we don’t speak up. Additionally, elections have consequences and gun owners must elect men and women who will safeguard our rights and freedoms. It’s critical that we bring balance — and common sense — back to the state.

The pro-gun argument isn’t rhetoric — these are proven facts — and I invite anyone who is in favor of Colorado’s “assault weapons” ban to come spend a day with me on the range so I can show you how this ban will only harm law-abiding citizens.

Ava Flanell is a firearms instructor and resident of Colorado Springs.

If there’s any question, he’s referring to a ‘gas pipe’ shotgun. And the price of the materials has increased significantly.

Armies of Chaos
by L. Neil Smith

Before anyone proposes more gun control, he or she should know about a simple, deadly weapon 4 times as powerful as Dirty Harry’s legendary .44 Magnum — and at least twice as concealable — that can’t be controlled.

This simple, deadly weapon can be made by anyone—even a child—with unpowered hand tools in an hour’s time using $5 worth of materials, most of which are available around the house anyway. In traditional form it’s reusable an unlimited number of times, and modern plastics have rendered its disposable version electronically undetectable. You can clear a room with such a weapon (more of a hand-held directional grenade than a gun—sort of a recyclable Claymore mine) and it’s just one of hundreds of similar time-proven designs.

Complete instructions for building this simple, deadly weapon could be given in half the space I’m using here and not require a single illustration. Or it could be done as a line-drawing and not require a word. Either way, the results would Xerox splendidly and reduce, for effortless distribution, to the size of a 3X5 card.

No, I’m not making this up.

Self-styled liberal academics and politicians generally suffer an ancient Greek prejudice against the manual trades and often fail to comprehend what it means, with respect to banning weapons, that we’re a nation of basement lathe-operators. Americans unknowingly tend to follow Mohammed’s precept that, whatever a person’s station in life, he or she should also do something manual, if only to stay grounded in reality. And if there’s any lingering doubt about the ease of basic weaponscraft, ask the Israelis who, early in their nation’s history, turned out submachineguns little more complicated than what I’m discussing here, in automotive garages lacking even a lathe.

Civilized restraint precludes my describing the weapon in any greater detail here. Many gun enthusiasts will know by now exactly what I refer to, anyway. It’s in everyday use in much of the Third World, especially where governments foolishly believe that they’ve outlawed weapons. But that, of course, is impossible—unless the same governments want to try repealing the last 1000 years of civil engineering.

Now suppose somebody went ahead and wrote out those easy-to-follow instructions, made that line drawing, or simply Xeroxed it from any of 100 sources already in print. Suppose the plans for a reusable, undetectable weapon 4 times as powerful as a .44 Magnum and twice as concealable began circulating on every junior high school campus in America. Or suppose they were simply sent to the media who can never resist giving viewers step-by-step directions for committing a crime—even as they bemoan the terribleness of it all.

So what, you say. So this: within hours, every self-styled liberal academic and politician extant would begin to weep, wail, and whimper (the only thing they’re really good at) and before the media-amplified screaming was over—but after the legislature had met—we’d find that the rights protected by the First Amendment (not created or granted, mind you, only recognized and guaranteed) are no more secure than those supposedly protected by the Second. Free expression would be trampled under without another thought or a moment’s hesitation by the same jackals, vultures, and hyenas currently leading the stampede to outlaw weapons—using exactly the same excuses.

When Xerox machines are outlawed, only outlaws will have Xerox machines.

Human rights are indivisible because there’s really only one—the right to remain unmolested by the government or by anybody else. Those who threaten one right threaten them all—and aren’t really “liberals” by any definition of the word. Suppressing the human right to own and carry weapons is a step toward suppressing the human right to read, write, and think. Ask Canadians, for whom censorship is a fact of daily life, and for whom certain “assault” books (many of them published by Paladin Press) are on the “hafta smuggle it in” list.

The same thing can and will happen here. Haven’t we had ample warning in the way self-styled liberals, assisted by the corrupt media, suppress their opposition on these and other issues? Or in their willingness to present lies as truth while the truth is called a lie? Or in the fact that elected officials who advocate gun control—which is a felony—are still at large instead of behind bars where they belong? The very existence of a gun control lobby gives the lie to any claim they make to liberalism. The word “liberal” itself is false advertising, and the question arises, why do we go on applying it when the word “fascist” is so much more appropriate?

A popular bumper sticker proclaims that “GUN CONTROL IS PEOPLE CONTROL”. More to the point, and far more sinister, gun control is MIND control. The relationship only begins with ludicrous attempts by self-styled liberals to convince a population protected by the Second Amendment that the Bill of Rights doesn’t mean what it says. Weapons consist of more than machined steel or wood, cast aluminum or plastic. As John M. Browning or Sam Colt would tell you, their second-most vital component is an idea. (The first, for better or worse, is the will to use them.) Without that idea behind it, all the steel, wood, aluminum, and plastic in the world doesn’t make a weapon.

Those who would outlaw weapons must first outlaw the knowledge of weapons. And those who would outlaw the knowledge of weapons must outlaw knowledge itself.

Similarly, civilization consists of more than just impressive public buildings and a battery of arbitrary rules. Its continued existence depends absolutely on the day-to-day good will of each and every individual. History (especially recent Soviet history) proves that this good will depends on how well individual rights are respected. Alienate the individual, lose his good will, and you lose civilization itself.

Think I exaggerate? Take another look at Beirut, Los Angeles, or the World Trade Center.

Every day we learn again how dependent we’ve been all along on individual self-restraint. Self-styled liberals label this lesson “terrorism” because it makes them feel better and helps them to forget until tomorrow. But it doesn’t matter what they call it. In sufficient numbers, disaffected individuals become armies of chaos, reducing whole civilizations to archaeological rubble. And, as with most violence in our culture, it is self-styled liberals who will make it happen here.

Biden Is Destroying the Firearm’s Industry

The Biden administration is driving gun dealers out of business and radically transforming the firearms industry. Unfortunately, President Biden is only getting started, and four more years of these policies will have truly detrimental impacts on the ability of people to buy guns for self-defense.

Biden sold his  “zero tolerance” policy as going after “rogue gun dealers” who “knowingly” sell guns to violent criminals. Of course, no one wants dealers secretly selling guns to criminals out of the back of their stores. But Biden’s zero-tolerance policy isn’t about that. Instead, it makes trivial and inconsequential paperwork errors into grounds for losing one’s license and going out of business.

Tom Harris of the Sporting Arms Co. in Lewisville, Texas, is a disabled father of five who made two small paperwork mistakes fifteen and sixteen years ago. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATF) during the Obama administration cleared Harris, who has made a single paperwork mistake since then. But now, the Biden administration is reopening closed cases, including Harris’s. Harris had to create a crowdfunding page to cover his legal costs.

By the middle of last year, Biden’s zero-tolerance for paperwork typos had put nearly two thousand dealers out of business.

It’s not the only policy that is making life difficult for gun sellers. A gun dealer must comply with new, costly reporting requirements if he has sold at least 25 guns that were traced to crimes committed over a year. The guns traced were purchased within the past three years.  This doesn’t even require that the guns were used in a crime, only that the BAFT traced them.

However, identifying gun stores based on the number of guns traced is problematic. It is one thing for a store that sold 50 guns to have 25 guns traced. It is entirely different for a store that sold ten thousand guns to have 25 tracks. Identifying stores based on the percentage of crime guns, not the total number of traced guns, makes much more sense.

 The Biden administration has publicly released the list of these stores, presumably to give negative publicity. Unsurprisingly, the 1,300 outlets targeted in 2023 by the BATF include the largest firearms dealers – Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, Scheels, Rural King, and Sportsman’s Warehouse. Large gun stores in higher-crime areas are more prone to fall victim to the new policy through no fault of their own.

The new detailed reporting requirements might create costs that cause some stores to stop selling guns. If that isn’t enough, Biden may hope that publicly demonizing stores will cause them to stop selling guns.

At the same time that Biden is driving gun dealers out of business, he is proposing other regulations that will force everyone who transfers or sells guns to be a licensed firearms dealer. The BATF released a 150-page proposal last year that would require you to have a licensed dealer if you sell a friend a gun once and then even discuss the sale of a second gun. Or if you sell one gun and keep any record of what it was bought and sold for. Or, for that matter, if you rent a space at a gun show without selling any firearms (anyone who has been to a gun show knows that most tables aren’t selling guns).

Leaked information reports the BATF’s proposal has ballooned to 1,300 pages and effectively bans private gun sales. One can only imagine how much more complicated these rules will be.

These rules will only make Americans less able to afford protection, as guns will become increasingly expensive amidst so many regulatory obstacles. The rich won’t have a problem buying firearms, but many low-income people who are the most likely victims of violent crime will be left vulnerable.

On top of all that, Biden has re-imposed Obama’s policy of pressuring Banks from doing business with “high-risk” industries, reviving what was called “Operation Choke Point.”

It’s clear that Biden is working hard to stop Americans from owning guns, and that he is destroying many law-abiding businesses.

Rantz: Seattle English students told it’s ‘white supremacy’ to love reading, writing

Students in a Seattle English class were told that their love of reading and writing is a characteristic of “white supremacy,” in the latest Seattle Public Schools high school controversy. The lesson plan has one local father speaking out, calling it “educational malpractice.”

As part of the Black Lives Matter at School Week, World Literature and Composition students at Lincoln High School were given a handout with definitions of the “9 characteristics of white supremacy,” according to the father of a student. Given the subject matter of the class, the father found it odd this particular lesson was brought up.

The Seattle high schoolers were told that “Worship of the Written Word” is white supremacy because it is “an erasure of the wide range of ways we communicate with each other.” By this definition, the very subject of World Literature and Composition is racist. It also chides the idea that we hyper-value written communication because it’s a form of “honoring only what is written and even then only what is written to a narrow standard, full of misinformation and lies.” The worksheet does not provide any context for what it actually means.

“I feel bad for any students who actually internalize stuff like this as it is setting them up for failure,” the father explained to the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.

Everything is ‘white supremacy’ at Seattle Public Schools

The father asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution against his child by Seattle Public Schools. He said the other pieces of the worksheet were equally disturbing.

Continue reading “”

The legal right to Self-Defense

In its natural form and going back to the beginning of time, we have felt that we have the right to self-defense. This statement is true but if you are not aware of the specifics to a self-defense claim, you might find yourself in legal trouble. It is expected that a person has the right to self-defense and the defense of another.

You would think that such a natural act as defending yourself or another would be the same no matter where you go in the United States or worldwide, but self-defense laws vary from state to state. Some states have Castle Doctrines and Stand your Ground laws and others do not. It is important to know what actions you might need to take to re-enforce your self-defense claim.

Self-defense is the act of using force to protect yourself or a third party from imminent harm or bodily injury. So, does this mean if someone is throwing a punch at me, which could cause injury, I can draw my firearm and shoot them?

The level of force that you take will be considered during the evaluation of the incident. The level of force needs to be appropriate to the force being inflected on you. This is where the courts will apply the reasonable person rule. Depending on the force directed at you, was your responding force reasonable to defend yourself from such force?

Self-defense laws can be more complicated than they first appear. Another aspect of self-defense is whether the action taken by the assailant is imminent. Are you reacting to something that you fear might happen, or that could possibly happen, or is it immediate and occurring at that moment where if you did not react, you or a third party will be injured.

Let’s look at another aspect of a self-defense claim. Did you provoke the situation? Yes, we all at times lose our cool and say things or provoke others to react to our actions. This doesn’t rid you of a self-defense claim if the incident were to escalate, but there are other actions that you need to take in an attempt to remove yourself from the incident before you can legally claim self-defense. In other words, I can’t pick a fight and when the other party responds, I react with force and then claim self-defense. If I initiate the scenario and it turns ugly, then I need to take appropriate actions showing that I attempted to calm the situation or remove myself from the quarrel.

I’m constantly given scenarios by students of mine and asked how they should respond to such scenarios. That’s a difficult task because each individual has to articulate their reason for the fear of imminent harm. As a 10-year military veteran and 20-year retired police officer who served 7 years on SWAT, it’s a little harder for me to claim fear for my life than it is for a 120-pound female that has never had any tactical training. That “reasonable person” concept is going to look at every aspect of your life and experiences when determining whether your response was reasonable.

There are many variables to consider during a possible life-threatening event. Cooler heads prevail. Consciously tell yourself to stay calm and consider everything that is occurring around you. Panic leads to tunnel vision and the possibility of miss-reading the entire event.

In the state of Arizona, we do not have a duty to retreat, and we do have a stand your ground law. By law you do not have to take appropriate actions to remove yourself from the dangerous environment. I look at these laws as a re-enforcement of my self-defense claim, if necessary, but I don’t use it as a “why I stayed claim.” I would rather do everything I could to not act in self-defense.

You can serious injure someone or even take their life and be justified in doing so, but you still have to live with that fact. That statement is by no means advising you to not defend yourself, it is persuading you to do everything you can to not have to.


Never Stop Training!
Oz Johnson/Lead Instructor, NRA Certified
Karin Johnson/Operations Manager

Government should not be the information police

The late Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson made an astute pronouncement regarding the role of government in managing the citizenry. He wrote, “It is not the function of our government to keep the citizen from error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error.” This kind of thinking has served the United States well for almost two and a half centuries.

Justice Jackson would have been shocked and saddened to see the results of a recent Pew Research Center poll which assessed public perception of the role of government in controlling false information. The poll reveals that almost half of Americans (48 percent) support the government taking action to restrict false information in the public sphere. Worse yet, those Americans are willing to yield to government information control even “if it means losing some freedom to access and publish content.”

Justice Jackson was a bright and independent thinker in his time. He was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1942 by President Franklin Roosevelt. He is the last justice to serve on the Supreme Court who did not have a law degree. He was appointed by President Truman to serve as the United States’ chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals — and won praise for his management of such uncharted legal territory. Given his experience prosecuting Nazis, Jackson knew well the dangers of information flow being determined or restricted by dictatorial regimes.

Jackson’s quote about the government playing no role in keeping citizens from error is consistent with the thinking of the nation’s constitutional framers. The nation’s founders particularly feared letting monarchs unilaterally determine what information and ideas were approved for citizen consumption. Thus, the founders created a republic that limited such government authority. Those respondents in the Pew poll who entrust the government to decide what is “false” are abandoning fundamental philosophies on which the First Amendment was created. Nobody should assume the government sufficiently knows what information is, indeed, “false,” or much less, needs to be restricted. Further, the government itself can be and has often been the disseminator of false information.

The First Amendment was put in place with the confidence that free citizens debating robustly could eventually sort out the accurate from the false. Founding father Thomas Jefferson said a free people can “tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.” A free press and citizens speaking freely can combat societal misinformation more effectively than politicians or government bureaucrats. The First Amendment was created in the first place precisely to let citizens referee the information landscape and question “information” from the authorities.

Only the most sinister people in a culture support the promulgation of false information, but that’s not the root concern here. The issue is how a society sorts out the false from the sensible and who gets to umpire.

Government leaders, no matter how noble, are still self-interested to a large degree and surely don’t have a corner on common sense or reality. The accuracy or falsehood of information is not always clear cut, as Americans surely know in these confusing times. The picture of reality is quite hazy on national matters today ranging from Afghanistan to COVID protocols to rising crime rates, and so on.

World War II challenged the United States in more severe ways than anything being faced today. As a recent Library of Congress study reported, the Office of War Information at that time became aware of the massive rumors and misinformation floating around the nation. The OWI acknowledged that its own lack of transparency was a cause of speculation and rumors. OWI organizers responded with more robust openness, writing at the time, “Rumors can be converted to positive value if they are studied as a guide to information gaps which need to be filled — not by rumor denials but by intensive information programs.”

Americans of any political leaning should be concerned hearing White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki proudly proclaim the administration’s efforts to “flag” for Facebook any pandemic messages counter to White House approved content, as she did earlier this summer. Worse yet, this effort is conducted in collaboration with social media outlets. Instead of flagging as disinformation material the White House doesn’t like, the administration should simply use its huge megaphone to inject its own perspective into the public dialogue. If that rhetoric is sufficiently convincing, the White House will have nothing to worry about.

Censorship of unwanted content only works when accompanied by the hammer of authoritarianism. Free societies address questionable content with debate and more information, but apparently 48 percent of Americans still need to grasp that notion.


Tom Slater
30th December 2023

What does it mean to be radical, left-wing, progressive? Well, in 2023, it meant making excuses for a genocidal anti-Semitism, refusing to believe evidence of mass rape and naysaying about the terroristic murder of infants. This was the year the ‘right side of history’ brigade exploded their phoney moral superiority for good.

When Hamas sent men on paragliders, motorbikes and in jeeps into southern Israel on 7 October – murdering, raping, mutilating and kidnapping as many Jews as they could find – I thought those on the anti-Israel left would be forced to reassess. Forced to rethink their years of Hamas apologism – their thinly veiled support for these Jew-hating maniacs, who they have long whitewashed as a ‘legitimate resistance movement’ in Palestine.

After all, that dark day these supposed leftists were – or rather should have been – confronted by the barbaric consequences of their own luxury beliefs. They were shown, beyond doubt, that Hamas’s genocidal founding charter was not just talk – that Hamas was not in fact ‘dedicated towards the good of the Palestinian people and long-term peace and social justice in the whole region’, as one Jeremy Corbyn once put it.

But they didn’t reassess. Many leftists openly celebrated the pogrom, hailing it as a ‘day of celebration’. The Socialist Worker called on its nine readers to ‘rejoice’. Many initially giddy tweets were deleted, as the more savvy left-wingers settled in to blaming Israel for being attacked and refusing to believe women were raped. It was victim-blaming on a geopolitical scale; atrocity denial for the Twitterring, TikToking age.

These supposed anti-racists happily provided cover for the world’s oldest bigotry. Many openly engaged in it themselves. Meanwhile, these supposed anti-fascists turned a blind eye as ‘pro-Palestine’ protests turned our streets into an open sewer of Jew hatred. Genocidal slogans were chanted. Swastikas were brandished. Hate crime soared. And they just didn’t care.

The unholy alliance between radical leftists and radical Islamists isn’t new, of course. Over recent decades, the left has come to confuse anti-imperialism with anti-Westernism. Failed Western revolutionaries began to outsource radical agency to Islamists – turning these Jew-hating, misogynistic, gay-bashing theocrats into ‘freedom fighters’, locked in some grand conflict between the West and the rebellious global Other.

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Gun deaths rise along with gun control grade

Gun control advocates should have reason to celebrate. The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence upgraded Colorado’s grade on the “annual gun law scorecard” from a C+ in 2021, to a B in 2022 and an A- this year.

As reported in Gazette sister publication Colorado Politics, Colorado earned its A- for imposing waiting periods, banning “ghost” guns, enacting legislation on victims’ legal access, increasing the minimum age to purchase firearms and investing $1 million in community violence intervention.

The grade would deserve accolades — if it correlated with a decrease in gun violence. It does not. The year Colorado moved from a C to a B was the year Colorado’s rate of gun deaths reached a 40-year high. It is also the year Colorado set a record for the most people injured in mass shootings in a single year.

Since the Columbine High School massacre of 1999, Colorado has understandably pursued more gun regulation. The state enacted background checks at gun shows in 2000. It later passed a 15-round limit on bullet magazines. In 2013, Colorado required universal background checks.

From there, the state passed a red flag law in 2019. The next year, it enacted mandatory reporting for lost or stolen firearms and a safe firearm storage law.

Despite a 23-year gun-control effort, gun sales and gun crimes have risen.

Colorado’s gun sales in 2022 were 26% higher than in 2019. Early indicators suggest this year’s Colorado holiday gun sales will set a record.

An A- for gun control — after a significant rise in gun crimes — amounts to accolades for policies that don’t work.

It frustrates Colorado’s political leaders. Gov. Jared Polis and state’s Attorney Gen. Phil Weiser want to spend $600,000 to hire outside lawyers. They would lend the attorneys to the federal government to prosecute gun crimes.

If federal enforcement saves lives, this proposal could pay off. Properly written and enforced, gun regulations should allow guns in the hands of stable, sober, law-abiding adults.

It should keep guns from substance abusers, criminals, domestic abusers, severe mental illness patients, and others given due process and deemed likely to misuse them.

If Colorado subsidizes enforcement of federal gun laws, Polis and Weiser should take similar action regarding federal drug laws.

Colorado has undermined federal drug laws and enforcement for years, even as fentanyl became the number 1 killer of young adults. We legalized recreational pot in 2012. More recently, our state decriminalized fentanyl, heroin, crack cocaine and other deadly street drugs.

Likewise, Colorado has consistently undermined federal immigration laws. The combined chaos of immigration, rising crime, drug deaths, homelessness and needles in parks probably led to escalating gun ownership in Colorado and the rest of the country.

“There are many communities with sustained levels of crime that have not abated,” said National Shooting Sports Foundation spokesperson Mark Oliva, as quoted in Gazette sister publication The National Examiner.

“Those concerns, along with the punishing anti-gun measures by the Biden administration and threats of more gun control promised by the Biden-Harris reelection campaign, cannot be discounted as contributing factors (to rising gun sales).

“Americans have demonstrated month after month and year after year, (that) Second Amendment rights matter, and they are investing their hard-earned dollars to exercise their right to lawfully possess firearms before the right can be further infringed (upon).”

Reducing gun violence means more and better mental health care. It means restoring harsh penalties for crimes. It means controlling the border. It means enforcing drug laws and offering help for addiction. It means more looking out for those who suffer.

Sadly, it seems we don’t save lives by simply churning out gun laws — even if handed a medal for doing so.

The Gazette Editorial Board

When even lefties don’t think much of your plan…….

Don’t overdo New Mexico’s red flag laws like other states’

It seems odd that a measure that’s supposed to fight gun crime appears to affect the very people who are the least likely to commit such acts, that is law-abiding citizens who are concealed carry holders.

On Dec. 11, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham joined other state officials for an update on the ongoing public health orders that restrict concealed carry from parks and playgrounds and promote ostensible gun safety measures.

“Let me just state unequivocally, the public health order has been in effect three months and it’s working,” the governor said at the news conference. According to Lujan Grisham, 219 guns were seized, 2,490 arrests were made, 87 juveniles involved in gun-related crimes have been detained, 13 guns were seized from one repeat violent offender arrested and 439 guns turned in at a gun buyback event by Stat.

First, the governor couldn’t be more wrong about the approach. It’s not a health epidemic, it’s a crime epidemic. And guns are the tools used by criminals.

In fact, what the governor touts as a successful mandate is nothing more than officials just doing the job of cracking down on crime. One doesn’t need to have a public health order restricting legal firearms to seize illegal guns, make arrests, host buybacks and have “warrant roundups” for felons and firearms. One doesn’t need a public health order to punish criminal wrongdoing beyond a slap on the wrist. One doesn’t need a public health order to test the wastewater at schools for drugs.

Still, the governor talks of more, newer laws.

There’s talk about novel assault rifle legislation being pushed at the upcoming 2024 legislative session, where rifles would be limited to 10 rounds, or perhaps an assault weapons ban. Limiting rifles sounds good but rifles are rarely used in crimes or even in mass shootings, statistics show.

Then there’s red flag laws, such as New Mexico’s 2020 Extreme Risk Firearm Protection Order Act or ERPO. A total of 19 states and the District of Columbia have these laws. Lujan Grisham and other state officials want them toughened up.

The main reason is that red flag laws haven’t had a really broad impact in New Mexico since passage. Two years after the ERPO legislation was passed, only nine petitions were filed statewide. By comparison, there were 109 in Colorado in its first year, also 2020. California started out with 85 in 2016, according to that state’s Governor’s Office, but now has racked up more than 3,000 red flag actions.

Even though New Mexico’s ERPO petitions started jumping — 48 being filed since 2022 — they are a drop in the bucket compared to states like Florida, which has seen more about 10,000 red flag court seizures since 2018.

But research hasn’t really shown a correlation between lowering gun violence — the problem New Mexico is trying to solve — and using red flag laws. In fact, there’s no proof red flag laws actually work to reduce crime, though they are a promising tool for stopping mass shootings.

The New York Times reported in January that a recent six-state study of more than 6,700 ERPO cases found that nearly 10% involved threats to kill at least three people. That’s a pretty wide dragnet to land just 10%, but with mass shootings, stopping one can be considered a victory. The Times points out why such laws work so well for mass shooters. Nearly half of individuals who engaged in mass shootings (48%) leaked their plans in advance to others, including family members, friends, and colleagues, as well as strangers and law enforcement officers.

But the study also found that most individuals who perpetrated mass shootings had a prior criminal record (64.5%) and a history of violence (62.8%), including domestic violence (27.9%).

That doesn’t match up with what we were told about the reason for red flag laws. Proponents said they fill a gap where people without criminal records can’t be touched. Some law enforcement officials had found it difficult to seize guns if a gun owner was not a felon or convicted of domestic violence. But in some cases, such laws aren’t needed at all. For example, it’s already a crime to threaten to use a gun on someone.

Law-abiding citizens have long feared red flag laws were susceptible to mission creep, meaning they could devolve into a situation where anyone can just report another, perhaps for political purposes, disrupting the life of a totally innocent person. Right now, the law allows family members to contact law enforcement, who petition the court. Guns can be seized for a year. One idea being floated for the 2024 legislative session is to add to the list of who can report and petition for a person to be subjected to gun seizure, exactly the move that concerns law-abiding gun owners.

The Editorial Board stands firmly against expanding the parties that can report, though we think updates to the Extreme Risk Firearm Protection Order Act, such as making sure law enforcement officers are well trained in the law, are a good idea. This law in particular must be kept free of abuse. It’s a slippery slope that could lead to ruined lives. As eager as we are to catch bad guys, some protections are needed. Those protections already exist in the U.S. Constitution. They’re known as due process and they’re precisely the thing critics say is lacking from ERPOs.

We don’t want the optics of New Mexico ordering thousands of gun seizures per year or devolving into a state of suspicion among neighbors and residents. We need to stay focused on the kinds of crimes that actually plague our metro areas and use solutions to target those crimes, not simply follow the solutions other states have for their own problems.

Now New York demonstrates link between Second Amendment, other liberties

Last Tuesday, we criticized developments in Flagstaff, Arizona, where local officials seem to be allergic to the idea that gun shop owners, gun owners and people who champion the Second Amendment deserve to be afforded equality before the law and before the practices of the government entrusted to serve the interests of all its constituents.

Instead, leaders of Flagstaff were walking away from advertising revenue for displays at the city’s airport because of fears the courts might expect them to allow a gun shop the same opportunity to advertise as any other business.

Unfortunately a similar case has popped up closer to home — the American Civil Liberties Union will represent the National Rifle Association in a lawsuit contesting New York state’s Department of Financial Services is targeting the lobbying group with a campaign of harassment, discouraging banks and insurers from doing business with the NRA to punish the NRA for its advocacy.

“The government can’t blacklist an advocacy group because of its viewpoint, the ACLU correctly notes, according to an article in The Hill.com, a Washington, D.C.-based newspaper.

As we alluded to about a week ago, many advocates for the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms explicitly cite fears that without an armed populace, the government will trample the broader array of rights individuals are given by God.

We understand many people feel these fears are overblown, perhaps even paranoid.

But we also cannot think of any way advocates could make the case that these fears are not overblown and are in fact quite reasonable better themselves than what the governments of Flagstaff and now New York state are doing.

In Flagstaff and throughout New York state, people who presumably wish the broader public to believe that the debate over the right to own firearms is about public safety and not about liberty are conspiring to deny their skeptics the right to advertise in a forum available to other constituents and to orchestrate punishment for exercising First Amendment rights in tandem with the banking and insurance sectors.

As much as some people may wish we could cordon off the Second Amendment from the more comprehensive need to preserve individual right, it is the very actions of those people who demonstrate that the violation of the Second Amendment will require violations of nearly all of our cherished, God-given liberties enshrined in the Bill of Rights.

Good guys with guns save lives. Don’t believe the hype.

Gun control advocates keep claiming that good guys with guns are not effective at stopping mass shootings. But it looks that way only if we rely on the news media and the government for crime data.

Records of media reports that I have compiled since the beginning of 2021 show police have noted in 33 cases in which a concealed handgun permit holder stopped what appeared to be a mass murder in the making. But few of these heroic cases have gotten national news attention.

Police are very important in stopping crime, but they have a limited ability to stop attacks.

“A deputy in uniform has an extremely difficult job in stopping these attacks,” noted Kurt Hoffman, a Sarasota County, Fla sheriff. He said that mass shooters can “wait for a deputy to leave the area or pick an undefended location” as an advantage over police. Even with a visible police or security presence, he said, “Those in uniform who can be readily identified as guards may as well be holding up neon signs saying, ‘Shoot me first.’”

There’s a good reason that air marshals don’t wear uniforms on planes. By being inconspicuous, they prevent attackers from having a tactical advantage.

My research also revealed that recent cases such as the Lewiston, Maine, and the  Nashville Covenant School attacks occurred in gun-free zones where patrons are either discouraged from carrying guns or face fines and imprisonment for having them. Very few in the media have covered that fact.

The Nashville police chief, who got a look at the murderer’s entire manifesto, noted that the murderer originally targeted another location but decided against that “because of a threat assessment by the suspect of too much security.” The Buffalo mass murderer last year wrote in his manifesto that “areas where [concealed carry weapons] are outlawed or prohibited may be good areas of attack.”

My research shows it’s hard to ignore the enormous amount of mass public shootings that occur in places where guns are banned.

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California-Style Gun Control: Does Not Work as Advertised

California has a well-earned reputation as one of the most anti-gun jurisdictions in the United States, with its state and local codes crammed with virtually every cockamamie scheme to suppress firearm ownership conceived within the last 50 years. The state’s current governor, Gavin Newsom, is not only determined to cement this reputation statewide, he’s trying to bring California-style gun control to the country at large by promoting an ill-conceived amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would impose draconian gun control coast to coast. But actual data shows California holds another dubious distinction that puts a lie to the efficacy of its highly-touted “gun safety laws”:

…it is the state with the highest number of mass murders committed with firearms.

Yet highly-publicized mass shootings play an outsized role in influencing gun control policy in the U.S. because they create the (grossly distorted and exaggerated) impression that ordinary, law-abiding people are at a high risk of being killed with a firearm at the places where they learn, work, and play. They also receive breathless media coverage that seeks to exploit the public’s grief, fear, and outrage over these events to give impetus to hastily-pushed gun control, before details inevitably emerge that show these measures would have been useless in stopping the crime. Where this manipulation prevails, however, it results in overreaching policies that intrude on Second Amendment rights with virtually no effect on either “mass shootings” or the more anonymous forms of firearm-related deaths.

California is a case in point, as revealed by data compiled on the website Statista.com.

The Statista survey looked at data between 1982 and October 2023 concerning episodes of a single attack with a firearm in a public place that resulted in four or more fatalities between 1982 and 2012 or in three fatalities from 2013 onward (definitions that track a database compiled by MotherJones.com).

Those figures show that California had by far the most such incidents during the survey period, at 26.

This is as much as the combined amount of the next two states with the highest totals, Florida and Texas. It is also more than the combined total of the 20 states with the lowest frequency of such events (excluding states with no such incidents at all).

It is true that California is the most populous (38.9 million) of the U.S. states, so it is not necessarily the deadliest state for mass shootings per capita. But the strongly pro-gun states of Florida (22.6 million) and Texas (30+ million) have a combined population that exceeds that of California by some 13.7 million people. Thus, whatever California thinks it is doing with regard to countering mass public murder committed with firearms, it is working no better at a population level than what is occurring in two of the most gun-friendly states of the Union.

None of this is to diminish the fact that any firearm-related murder is a terrible event, no matter where or how it is committed.

But along with gun control, Gavin Newsom also likes to promote what he insists is a “science-based” approach to “public health.” In that vein, any honest assessment of California’s notoriously strict gun control regime has to acknowledge that the numbers don’t add up to success when it comes to preventing “mass shootings.”


So, looking at the actions of pro-Hamas demonstrators on university campuses and in the streets of major blue-tinged cities over the last few weeks, we really don’t have to ask as Dorothy Thompson did, in mid-1941 – who goes Nazi? College students suckled on the sour teat of DIE-addled academicians with delusions of intellectual grandeur, for a certainty, and recent immigrants who have brought their unfortunate old habits of hate with them.

Still, when it comes to that first group, it has been amazing and disheartening to observe that sheltered twentysomethings driven to hair-trigger meltdown by the alleged presence of misogyny, the faintest hint of racism, and microaggressions so tiny as to be invisible to the naked eye have enthusiastically aligned themselves with genocidal Jew haters from Gaza. Students and academics didn’t even pause for a split second, before cheering on indiscriminate random slaughter, torture, repeated rape so violent that it left pelvic bones broken, burning families alive in their own homes, looting and hostage-taking.

While those educated in the most prestigious universities and colleges in our fair nation may not grasp the obvious double-standard, a fair number of the rest of us see it all very plainly. Indiscriminate and brutal slaughter of civilians by armed bullies is bad, m’kay? The Geneva Convention, that much-violated set of rules governing the conduct of war operations, frowns on it, for all that only a few nations conducting warfare lately have ever observed them. I am also certain that I am not the only one of the post-WWII generation who had those few brave individuals who sheltered European Jews, or helped them escape from the Nazis’ “Final Solution” held up to me as the epitome of moral courage in a dark time.

So, it emerges that has been considerable blow-back to the poisonous Jew-hate on display after the October 7th Pogrom – students and individual bigots being doxed, fired, or having offers of post-graduate employment rescinded, counter-protests in front of their houses, anonymous death threats (so alleged), and the threat of an internet mob harassing them. My heart bleeds for them… well, no, it doesn’t. Not a bit of it – all this has been established as the accepted treatment for conservatives, or the unwary innocent caught by the progressive cancel culture mob. Let it all unfold in the manner established by the progressive mob.

Larry Correia
(slightly edited as I don’t see profane language as being a necessity).

For all the people on social media crying about Israelis blowing up innocents this week, yep, that sucks, but why do terrorists hide behind civilians?
You. That’s it. You make it an effective tactic for them.

I see people saying that anything that harms innocents should be a war crime. Congratulations. You just ensured that’s the tactic every evil bastard out there will use from now on. Hiding under a church or school or hospital becomes a get out of jail free card.

Go do terrorist stuff. Then hide behind your kids. Kids die. Wait for the world to freak out and pressure the people you murdered to give up and leave you alone. Do more terrorist stuff to them again tomorrow.

Your naivete about the nature of evil ensures that hiding behind civilians is a winning tactic for them. You get sad for their human shields, governments then cave, the evil doers get to live to rape and murder again tomorrow.

There is nothing nice or kind or merciful about war. It’s miserable. Innocent people suffer and die. And it’s been part of human nature forever and will never ever stop, regardless of how hard you virtue signal your angst on Twitter.

Letting aggressor barbarians hit you but get away just ensures that they’ll do the same tomorrow. Every nation in history has understood this.
It isn’t about being mean. It is about being punitive. There aren’t diplomatic solutions with barbarians who are willing to go house to house, raping people to death. That ship has sailed.

The people who got hit are going to respond. We would. In fact, we did. Did we do it smartly? Nope. We did a lot of pointless things for the next 20 years, but on 9-11 we didn’t care what any other country had to say, and anybody who talked to us about “proportional response” got told where to go and how to get there. This is the same thing, but approximately 30 times worse adjusted for relative population size. So they’re going to do what they’re going to do, in the hope that they can stop it from happening again.

Will it work? Beats me. This is complicated and anybody who pretends it isn’t is trying to sell you something. But what I do know is that if you reward the enemy and give them what they want for hiding behind human shields, that just ensures they are going to do it more. Because when you’re evil, life is cheap, even your own kid’s lives, and everybody is expendable to get what you want.
So when Hamas hides under a school, they’re doing it for you.

Victor Davis Hanson

Israel vs. a Death Cult

Here are three critical considerations that must be understood about the current Israel-Hamas conflict. It is a sort of half-war. It consists of a military trying to defeat an organized clique of passive-aggressive, media-obsessed tribal murderers.

It is not really a war. This ‘war’ did not begin with a military assault. It is nothing like the Six-Day and Yom Kippur Wars, or indeed most other conflicts. It broke out with a surprise assault by between 1,500 and 2,500 gunmen of the Hamas death squads.

During peace and on a holiday, they entered Israel in a long-planned hit operation to murder civilians and take captives, focusing specifically on butchering the most vulnerable—the elderly, women, children, and infants—and in the most grotesque fashion imaginable.

Their desire was to be as savagely pre-civilizational as possible—the more macabre the manner of murder, the more fertile their sophistry that they were reduced to such repulsive blood lust by their worse “oppressors”. It would be as though gruesome Mafia hitmen had claimed they were forced to become animal-like due to even worse systemic anti-Italian bias. Even the Mexican cartels do not claim they are led to behead because of the injustice of the Mexican government.

By preplanned design, women were raped, and children and infants were burned alive, bound and executed, and (yes) beheaded. The dead were often mutilated. Some 1,400 Israelis were butchered, the vast majority civilians. Some 3,500-4,500 were wounded.

Hamas never planned to stage a preemptive war against the Israeli military. Its only agenda was to send killers to unprotected villages to murder the unarmed as they slept—in the manner of Nazi Einsatzgruppen and other mobile death squads on the Eastern Front. Almost immediately they counted on using hostages, human shields, and the media to avoid any accounting from the IDF.

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Second Amendment matters in a time of crisis
The importance of good guys with guns

Hamas attacked as Israelis were wrapping up the seven-day Jewish festival of Sukkot on Oct. 7. As many as 1,200 Israelis and some Americans were murdered, thousands wounded, and hundreds more taken hostage. Hamas terrorists went into civilian areas and attacked defenseless people who were walking down the street or shopping in stores.

A Sept. 20 Jerusalem Post headline prophetically warned: “Israelis should carry guns on Yom Kippur, police say.” But as of 2022, only 148,000 Israelis carried permitted guns in public for protection — just 3% of the adult Jewish population. Twenty years earlier, more than 10% of adult Jews in Israel had permits.

Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid called the recent police statement dangerous. He echoed sentiments common among Democrats in the United States: “Calling the citizens of Israel to come with weapons to the synagogue on Yom Kippur is not a security policy. It is dangerous populism.”

Concealed carry is much more widespread in the United States than in Israel. In 2022, 8.5% of American adults had permits. Outside of the restrictive states of California and New York, about 10.2% of adults had permits. And these numbers don’t even account for the fact that there are now 27 constitutional carry states where it isn’t necessary to have a permit to carry.

California, with one of the lowest concealed handgun permit rates and the strictest gun control laws in the country, shouldn’t hold itself out as a model for the rest of the country to follow. The periods after 2000, 2010 and 2020 show a consistent pattern: California’s per capita rate of public shootings is always much greater than in the rest of the country.

On Sunday Oct. 8, the day after the attack, Israel radically changed its policy on who could carry guns publicly. “Today, I directed the Firearms Licensing Division to go on an emergency operation in order to allow as many citizens as possible to arm themselves. The plan will take effect within 24 hours,” Israeli Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir posted on X.

In response to terrorist attacks for decades, Israel put more police and military to protect people, but they found that no matter how much money they spent, they couldn’t cover all the possible targets.

Before Israel began letting civilians carry handguns in the 1970s, terrorists committed attacks in Israel almost entirely with machine guns. Afterward, terrorists usually used bombs.

The reason was simple: Armed citizens can quickly immobilize a gun-wielding attacker, but no one can respond to a bomber once the bomb explodes. Still, armed citizens have occasionally succeeded in preventing bombings.

Like their Israeli counterparts, American police recognize their own limitations.

“A deputy in uniform has an extremely difficult job in stopping these attacks,” said Sarasota County, Florida, Sheriff Kurt Hoffman. “These terrorists have huge strategic advantages in determining the time and place of attacks. They can wait for a deputy to leave the area or pick an undefended location. Even when police or deputies are in the right place at the right time, those in uniform who can readily identify as guards may as well be holding up neon signs saying, ‘Shoot me first.’ My deputies know that we cannot be everywhere.”

Police1, the largest private organization for law enforcement officers, surveyed its 749,000 members and found that 86% of them believed that casualties from mass public school shootings could be reduced or “avoided altogether” if citizens had carried permitted concealed handguns in public places. An incredible 94% of mass public shootings occur in places where civilians are banned from having guns.

And 77% of Police1 members supported “arming teachers and/or school administrators who volunteer to carry at their school.” No other policy to protect children and school staff received such widespread support.

When a life-threatening crisis strikes, there might not be time for police to arrive. Amid such a massive assault by Hamas, it was simply impossible for the Israeli police and military to protect all civilians.

Unfortunately, some lessons are learned the hard way. If only more Israelis had been armed at the time of the attack, more of them would be alive today.

Victor Davis Hanson

A 50th Anniversary War?

Why did Hamas stage a long-planned, carefully executed and multifaceted attack on Israeli towns, soldiers, and civilians—one designed to instill terror by executing noncombatants, taking hostages, and desecrating the bodies of the dead?

And how were the killers able to enter Israeli proper in enough numbers to kill what could be hundreds and perhaps eventually wound what could be thousands?

a) Ostensibly, radical Palestinians wanted to stop any rumored rapprochement between the Gulf monarchies—the traditional source of much of their cash—and Israel, by forcing the issue of Arab solidarity in times of “war”, especially through waging a gruesome attack aimed at civilians and encompassing executions and hostage taking. Iran likely was the driving force to prompt the war—given its greatest fear is a Sunni Arab-Israeli rapprochement.

b) Arab forces have had only success against Israel through surprise attacks during Israeli holidays, as in the Yom Kippur War (i.e., was it any accident that the present attack began 50-years almost to the day after the October 6, 1973 beginning of the Yom Kippur War?). And so they struck again this Saturday during Simchat Torah, coming at the end of a weeklong Jewish celebration of Sukkot—in hopes that others will join in as happened in 1973. (So much for the Arab warnings not for Westerners to conduct war during Ramadan).

c) Hamas may have reckoned that recent Israeli turmoil and mass leftist street protests over proposed reforms of the Israeli Supreme Court had led to permanent internal divisions and thus a climate of domestic distraction if not an erosion of deterrence.

But, more importantly, in a larger sense the Biden administration has contributed both to the notion that Hamas was a legitimate Middle East player, and to the perception that the U.S. was backing away from its traditional support for Israel—to the delight of Hamas—based on the following inexplicable policies:

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