Safe At Home


If you’re a gun owner, there will come a time when you’ll hear someone tell you that “You don’t need a pistol or an ‘assault rifle,’ just get yourself a shotgun for home defense.” Chances are the person offering that advice won’t be the current Vice President of the United States, but nevertheless, a shotgun or a rifle brings two things to the table that a defensive handgun just can’t.

1. Firepower. A 12 gauge shotgun firing 00 buckshot throws twelve .33 caliber lead pellets at one time into its unfortunate target. Ouch. A 55 grain .223 bullet weighs significantly less than a buckshot load, but it’s traveling at a tremendous speed that allows it to impart a lot of force on-target, far more than common handgun calibers. In short, when it comes to firepower, pistols are pistols, and long guns are long guns.

Liberty University Allows Concealed Carry in Residence Halls


shutterstock_324614162Liberty University — the Lynchburg, Virginia school where Ted Cruz launched his campaign for president — announced that they are repealing a rule that prohibits firearms in residence halls. This isn’t a ground breaking change, as Liberty has previously allowed concealed carry on campus:

Liberty has allowed students, faculty and staff — who have the proper state permits — to carry concealed guns on campus since 2011, Falwell said, a measure taken in response to the 2007 massacre at nearby Virginia Tech. He obtained a permit himself in 2013. Under Virginia law, residents may obtain a concealed-carry permit if they are 21 or older. About 950 people at Liberty now have concealed-carry permits, Falwell said. He said hundreds more in recent days have signed up for a training course to get a permit.

University President Jerry Falwell, Jr. has long been an advocate of the Second Amendment and holds — and uses — a concealed carry permit himself. He’s one of the more forward-thinking university administrators on this subject, ensuring that those in his charge have the resources to defend themselves.

The Libertarian Podcast with Richard Epstein: “Responding to the ISIS Threat”


This week on The Libertarian podcast, Professor Epstein considers the public policy questions stemming from the San Bernardino attack: do gun control efforts have a new currency after yet another mass shooting? Does the US need to seriously constrict immigration? Did the USA Freedom Act’s restrictions on the collection of metadata leave the country needlessly vulnerable? Find out Richard’s take on those questions and more below or by subscribing to The Libertarian via iTunes.

Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review give Obama credit for finally admitting that Ft. Hood and Chattanooga were terrorist attacks and for saying Muslims have a responsibility to denounce radical ideology.  They also sigh as Obama offers the same ineffective prescription for defeating ISIS and says we’ll win because we’re on the right side of history.  And they groan as the father of terrorist Syed Farook says his son told him he agreed with the ISIS ideology of establishing a global caliphate.

Choosing Your First Defensive Firearm


woman-at-gun-rangeIf you’ve decided to take responsibility for your own self-protection and become your own first responder, you’re in good company. This year, on Black Friday, Americans bought enough guns to outfit the entire Marine Corps (and a few extra Army Divisions as well).

The fact is, though, that going into a gun store to purchase a firearm can be an intimidating event. It’s like buying a new big screen TV for your home or upgrading the stereo in your car: There are a lot of technical terms and a lot of choices to make, sometimes with no clear distinction between one product and another. Guns, for the most part, are a consumer item, just like a blender or a microwave or a television, so what you plan on doing with your gun is going to affect what kind of gun you’re going to buy. For the purposes of this post, I’m going to assume you’re looking for something that is first and foremost to help keep yourself and your family safe inside your home, and then possibly to carry outside the home as well.

If that’s your situation, I would recommend starting with a modern, compact polymer service pistol in 9mm, such as the Glock 19, the Smith & Wesson M&P9c, the Sig Sauer P320 Carry, Ruger SR9-C, or the FNS-9 Compact. All of these guns are very reliable, very safe to handle, and very easy to use. Also, most of these have a wide variety of accessories available so your gun can grow in capabilities as you do.

NYT Front-page Editorial: “End the Gun Epidemic in America”


For the first time since 1920, the New York Times has posted an editorial on its front page. Back then, it was to inveigh against the presidential nomination of Warren G. Harding to replace Woodrow Wilson. (Harding went on to win the general election with more than 60 percent of the popular vote.)

This time, the Gray Lady inveighs against guns. We reprint it here in full and ask Ricochet members to respond to it.

Denying Guns to Terror Suspects: What Do You Think?


Watch List

Over on National Review, there’s a debate among conservatives about the wisdom of banning gun sales to people on the government’s terrorist watch list. Jonah Goldberg supports the ban, while Charles C. W. Cooke opposes it. Cooke points out that the list is more than a bit arbitrary and ambiguous: arbitrary because names are added on mere suspicion rather than solid evidence, ambiguous because different people often share the same name. Goldberg counters that people on the list are already banned from air travel as a reasonable precaution and the gun ban is a reasonable extension of that precaution.

Complicating the issue is a president who cannot be trusted. President Obama’s word means nothing: he has misrepresented everything from Obamacare (“If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor.”) to Benghazi (“[E]xtremists and terrorists used [the Mohammed video] as an excuse to attack a variety of our embassies, including the one, the consulate in Libya.”)

Inconvenient Truths for Gun-Grabbers


Making all the usual stipulations about early information — and for the regrettable necessity of making policy arguments while bodies are still warm (thanks, Obama) — consider that all four of the firearms used in yesterday’s massacre were purchased legally, at least two of them by murderer Syed Farook. As a California resident of some years, that means any weapons owned by him would have been subject to some of the most restrictive and cumbersome regulations in the country. Fat lot of good they did, too.

It’s hardly surprising that background checks and better weapons’ records to do little to stop spree killers: such people are generally not habitual lawbreakers and any system with a reasonable chance of identifying the mentally unbalanced is guaranteed to be both intrusive and deny many harmless people the exercise of their rights. (That these laws may play a more constructive role in stopping and investigating homicides between criminals strikes me as far more likely, but those generally aren’t the cases we’re talking about when we’re having a “national debate on gun violence.”)

My Thoughts and Prayers Are With the Victims


Yes, perhaps the phrase deserves the mockery. It’s a cliché, and rarely does a cliché have the power to comfort. To reach for it suggests that the victims weren’t even worthy of a few moments of a good speechwriter’s thought. It’s the wrong response.

But what’s the right response to a well-planned, murderous attack on a center for the developmentally disabled? What could the right response be? The French have recently taken to saying, “On ira les buter jusque dans les chiottes,” as Putin said before the second Chechen war. I won’t translate it, because it’s vulgar, and because Americans don’t need speechwriting or statecraft lessons from Vladimir Putin. But it does sound more honest, at least, than a prim, pursed-lipped recitation of the phrase “our thoughts and prayers are with the victims.”

Shooting from the Hip


shutterstock_10465210By now, you’ve likely heard of yesterday’s shooting in California. I generally don’t delve into the news on these mass shootings and I feel no particular desire to do so here. I’m sorry for the people hurt but — if it’s remote from me — I remember that it’s a big world with a lot of evil, and I don’t have to feel personally involved in all of it.

But I’ve noticed something about both the reactions by the news and by other people to attacks: when the public reaction to the attack could be aimed against your “side” on some issue — generally because the attacker fits your demographic slot in one way or another — there’s a tension and awkwardness about discussing the attack itself. When the public reaction could go against the other side, then there’s an enthusiasm for every snippet of information or wild speculation.

Consider the reactions to yesterday’s shooting and those to the one at the Planned Parenthood clinic last week. To the Left, the latter was an opportunity to slam people who are anti-abortion, as well as the famous undercover exposés that brought the subject back to public attention. In the California massacre, I expect a lot will be made of the religion of the two attackers, and that will make fodder for the debates over admitting Syrian refugees.

Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review are glad to see some coverage returning to the issue of Hillary Clinton making decisions at the State Department that regularly favored huge donors to the Clinton Foundation.  They also shake their heads at Pres. Obama after he suggests holding a summit on climate change is the best possible rebuke towards ISIS.  And Jim unloads on liberal double standards over when political speech supposedly contributes to the motives of shooters and he also rails against the notion that we have to tone down the rhetoric in the hopes that crazy people might stop wanting to kill others.

A Culture of Good Marksmanship Makes for a Good Police Force


The news of the death of Laquan Macdonald last year is shining a spotlight on the training and ethics of the Chicago police force. This is a situation that we’ve seen far too often, but my question is, why is it that the police forces of cities like Chicago seem to have problems with basic marksmanship? Is it because there’s no history and culture of civilian marksmanship to flatten the learning curve when it comes to gun safety?

Gift Ideas for the Gun Nut in Your Life


2360-000-110_MediumLet’s face it: If you’re a shooting sports enthusiast gun nut, you’re not easy to buy gifts for: Try explaining to your wife that yes, those magazines for an AK are wonderful, but you own an AR, not an AK. She’ll say “It’s just one letter, what’s the big deal?” and then go on about how she doesn’t actually own six pairs of black pumps, she owns one pair that’s black, one’s that ebony, one that’s jet, one that’s deep charcoal, one that’s…

Where was I? Oh yeah; gun gift ideas.

I’ve had a fair amount of experience with this sort of thing because of my previous career as an advertising photographer. I learned to drop subtle (and not-so-subtle) hints to my family about what specific items I wanted for Christmas, because If I didn’t drop hints, they’d end up buying me 20 rolls of 24-exposure VR-G 100, and photographers can always use more film, right?

What Can Men Do Against Such Reckless Hate?


In the comments of my article on lessons from the Paris attacks, Mike Silver commented,

“You need professionals to fight off jihadis. A bunch of kids carrying guns would be a formula for a Bastille Day celebration. Half of them high on the music or high otherwise. I really don’t see the applicability of a Second Amendment argument in this case. It’s an audience out for a good time, not capable of defending themselves with or without guns. It’s they who need protection, and apparently none existed.”

Lies, Damn Lies, and School Shooting Statistics


gunsafetyWe are closing in on the third anniversary of the most horrific gun-related crime in modern memory — the 2012 mass murder of children and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Let me ask you a question: How many school shootings do you think have there been since that awful early December morning?

A dozen? Two dozen?

Three Cheers for the Man in the Red Shirt


Before you do anything else, read Kevin Creighton’s post about the personal lessons one should take from the Paris Attacks; Kevin knows what he’s talking about and please defer to his expertise should anything I say conflict with it. That said, people are often warned not to “try to be a hero” in a terrorist attack or shooting spree. There is some wisdom in this, depending on precisely what one has in mind by “hero.” As Kevin says, one’s first duty isn’t to engage the killer, but to remove oneself — and those under one’s protection — from danger as quickly and safely as possible, though “further action is up to you and the circumstances you’re in.” In other words, focus on saving lives and don’t be an idiot. Sometimes, as we saw on the French train earlier this year, that means stopping the killer directly, though not everyone will be in a position to do so.

Though we’re still in the early days of this — which means that some stories may not entirely check out — it appears some people, having removed themselves from imminent danger, made the evaluation Kevin suggests and decided to return to save others. Via the New York Times, here’s an amazing account both of what happened in the Bataclan theater:

Lessons from Paris


shutterstock_207060784“Si vis pacem, para bellum.”Vegetius

As the world recoils in horror from the atrocities carried out on the streets of Paris Friday night, we’re beginning to realize that this is a calamity we’ve seen before: The attacks on the theater, nightclub, soccer stadium, and shopping mall are almost exact copies of earlier attacks in Mumbai and Nairobi, and we’ve seen smaller versions of these kind of attacks on American soil at Fort Hood and in Garland, TX; Ottawa, Canada; and during the Boston Marathon. There is no such thing as “rules of engagement” for radical Islamic militants: In this global war on terror, we are all behind enemy lines. We have met the enemy, and they are among us.

There are two possible responses to the dispersed threat of Islamic terrorism: Increased surveillance and security in the hopes that you’ll catch terrorists in the same net you use to corral regular citizens, or an empowered, aware citizenry that can stop an attack dead in its tracks. I prefer the second option myself, not only because it works, but it errs on the side of freedom, and that’s always a good thing.

Reservoir Sheepdogs


Tarantino“An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.” — Robert A. Heinlein

Concealed carry is booming in the United States. Carry permits are being issued in record numbers across the country and guns sales are booming once again. Yes, carrying a gun is a civil right, but it’s one that comes with the responsibility that you will add to the security of our society. One of the things you quickly learn when you carry a gun is that you give up your “right” to be angry: You do not escalate an argument, and you take every precaution to not be in places where you might need your gun. Those of us who carry concealed understand that our role in society is to be neither predator nor prey, but to watch over the flock and keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.

This lesson of self-restraint and civic responsibility is completely lost on the anti gun-rights crowd. To them, there is no such thing as self-restraint while carrying a gun, because there is no such thing as self-restraint. People who tend to shoot off their mouths are the same ones who shoot off guns. Renowned self-defense expert Marc MacYoung (a man who has experience on both sides of the criminal justice system), recently said, “It’s been my experience that most of those who claim to be morally opposed to physical violence are, in fact, enamored of emotional and verbal violence. Their position isn’t a moral one. It’s better explained as they do not want physical repercussions for their non-physical violence.” His words ring true. It’s not violence that the anti-gunners fear, they fear having to pay for the consequences of their actions.

Fighting Back, with Some Help


Melissa Schuster (r) with her sister, Mary Callison.

In late August, 26-year-old Melissa Schuster was in the driveway of her childhood home in the Chicago suburb of Willowbrook, IL. While she was loading her car, another car with Indiana license plates drove down her street, backed into her driveway and drove away. Then, the car returned and the driver asked for money for gas to get back to Indiana. Melissa said sorry, but no. She went inside her house and locked the door. The man knocked the door, asked again for money, then forced his way inside.

What to Do After You Get Your Concealed Carry Permit


shutterstock_166788203You’d be surprised how many people take a concealed carry permit class and then rarely, if ever, carry a pistol on regular basis. After all, it’s not a “Concealed Leave-In-It-Your-House Permit,” is it? The problem is that, for most of us, carrying a pound or more of metal on your hip is not a natural act, and making concealed carry a part of everyday life is an uphill climb. Some suggestions to make the transition to the concealed carry lifestyle are:

  1. Shoot a practical pistol match. Aside from the fact that they are chock-full of good people and a lot of fun to shoot, you’ll be walking around with an (unloaded) gun on your hip and getting used to how it feels to have one with you all the time. Plus, there is no better way to find out how you’ll handle the major stress of having to use a gun in defense of your life than learning how you use a gun during the minor stress of shooting a match.
  2. Carry your gun around the house. Actually, this is a good idea before and after you get your permit. Most states (consult with a lawyer on this to be sure) allow for concealed carry on the premises of your abode, and the safest place to store a gun outside the home (on your person) is also the safest place to store a gun inside it. Plus, carrying a gun around the house gets you used to what it feels like to walk around with your sidearm on your hip in anticipation of that fabulous day when your concealed carry permit arrives in the mail.
  3. Take a firearms training class. Your concealed carry class was not a firearms training class; it was a firearms licensing class. It no more taught you how shoot quickly and accurately under stressful (very stressful) conditions than your driver’s license test taught you how to avoid sliding on an icy road. The NRA’s Basic Pistol and Personal Protection classes are two great ways to get started in firearms training as they provide certification that is recognized nation-wide and deliver solid, useful information on how to use your pistol to defend your life. Start with those, then look around for other trainers in your area.
    For example, there is a married couple here in southwest Florida who teach firearms training, and their “shoot n scoot” event is a unique blend of training and practical pistol match which really gets new gun owners used to the idea of carrying a gun on their hip and uses practical shooting to teach them to shoot well under stressful situations. This is important, because if, God forbid, you need to use your gun to defend your life, you won’t rise to the occasion; you’ll fall to your lowest level of mastery.

Years ago, during my first concealed carry class, my instructor told us that on average, only one in three of his students will make the decision to carry on a regular basis and the rest will just carry a gun “when they feel they need it.” We’ll talk about that latter stupidity at a later date but, for now, make the commitment to carry your defensive firearm whenever and wherever you can, because you probably won’t get to chose the time and day when you’ll need your gun the most.