November 22, 2013
How to shoot
a handgun accurately
By Massad Ayoob
Issue #85 • January/February, 2004
“I want you to do an article on how to shoot a handgun accurately,” Dave Duffy told me. “Make it 2,500 or 3,000 words.”
Long ago, I would have answered, “Sure, and while I’m at it, how about a history of the world in, oh, 10,000 words or so?”
Nancy Crenshaw uses strong stance and technique to make up for lack of size as she turns in an excellent one-handed high speed performance with SIG 9mm.
Today, with more than 45 years of handgunning behind me (yeah, I’m old, but I started early, too) I realize that you actually can cover this topic in a fairly short article. The reason is found in the classic statement of Ray Chapman, the first world champion of the combat pistol. “Shooting well is simple,” Ray said, “it just isn’t easy.”
I’ll buy that. It’s true that the handgun is the most difficult of firearms to shoot well. There’s less to hang on to. There’s a shorter radius between the front and rear sight than with a rifle, meaning a greater unnoticed human error factor in aiming. You don’t have that third locking point on the shoulder that you have with a long gun’s butt stock.
And few handguns have the inherent mechanical accuracy of a good rifle.
That said, though, you can get the most of your handgun’s intrinsic accuracy by simply performing marksmanship basics correctly. If the gun is aimed at the target, and the trigger is pressed and the shot released without moving the gun, then the bullet will strike the mark. That simple. We need a few building blocks to construct this perfect shot, however. Let’s build the structure brick by brick.
This student demonstrates a strong Weaver stance at an LFI class. Feet are in proper pyramidal base, upper body is forward, and he is firmly grasping his .40 caliber Walther P99.
I teach my students a five-point “pre-flight check list” to go through before they fire the shot. As with any structure, you start from the bottom up. Those points are: 1) Strong stance. 2) High hand grasp. 3) Hard grip. 4) Front sight. 5) Smooth rearward roll of the trigger.
The “power stance”
I’ve found that stance is the one thing I’m likely to have to correct first, even when teaching the experienced shooter. The edgeways stance of the duelist is necessary for skateboarding or surfing, but counter-productive to good shooting. If one heel is behind the other, the body does not have good lateral balance and will tend to sway sideways. (The miss will most commonly go toward the strong hand side.) If the feet are squared off parallel, in the old “police academy position” so often seen on TV, the body does not have good front to back balance, and the shots will tend to miss either high or low, most commonly the latter.
You want to be in a fighter’s stance, a boxer’s stance, what a karate practitioner would call a “front stance.” The lower body needs a pyramidal base, a triangle with depth. If you are right handed and firing with your strong hand only, the pelvis wants to be at about a 45 degree angle vis-à-vis the target, with your left leg to the rear. If you are shooting two-handed and are right hand dominant, the hips still want that 45-degree angle but the left leg should now be forward and the right leg back. Now you’re balanced forward and balanced back, balanced left and balanced right. It’ll be easier to hold the gun on target.
In rapid fire, the shoulders want to be forward. This will get body weight in behind the gun and help control recoil. For very precise slow fire, some shooters like to cantilever the shoulders to the rear. This may make the gun seem to hang steadier with less effort, but it will cause the gun to jump up sharply upon recoil. This not only slows down your rate of sustained fire, but subconsciously, the more the muzzle jumped at the last shot, the more likely you are to jerk the trigger on the next one. Personally, I use the power stance with the shoulders at least slightly forward even in slow fire. Master shooters have a phrase that helps them remember this principle more easily: “Nose over toes.”
High hand grip, thumb curled down for strength, index finger at distal joint on trigger for maximum leverage. This is the grasp author used to win IDPA NH State Championship in 2003 with this stock service revolver, S&W’s .45 caliber Model 625.
High hand grasp
With a double action revolver, you want the web of your hand all the way up to the rear edge of the backstrap, as shown in the accompanying photos. With a single action frontier-style revolver with the plow-handle shape grip, you still want a high hand grasp. On a semiautomatic pistol, you want the web of the hand so high that a ripple of flesh is seen to bunch up behind the backstrap of the grip at the top edge, where the grip safety would be on a 1911 style pistol.
The higher the hand, the lower the bore axis. This means much better control of muzzle jump and less movement of the pistol upon recoil. Since most handguns, particularly semiautomatics, are designed to be shot this way, it means that you will find it easier to press the trigger straight back as you make each shot. If your hand is too low on the “handle,” a straight rearward pressure on the trigger will tend to pull the muzzle down, placing the shot low.
With a proper high hand grip on an auto pistol such as this Wilson Custom CQB .45, you’ll see this “ripple of flesh” behind the grip tang.
A semi-auto is designed to operate as the slide moves against the abutment of a firmly held frame. A low grasp allows the muzzle to whipsaw upward from recoil as the mechanism is automatically cycling, diverting momentum from the slide through the frame. Now the slide can run out of momentum before it has completed its work. This is why holding a pistol too low can cause it to jam.
All these problems are cured with the high hand grasp.
In the debate about shooting techniques in the saloon after all the guns have been locked away, this issue will take up about three rounds of drinks. In the old days, the “quail grip” was taught. “Imagine yourself holding a live quail. Hold it just firmly enough that it can’t fly away, but not firmly enough to hurt it.”
We aren’t talking about birdies. We’re talking about guns. Specifically, we are talking about powerful defensive handguns and hard-kicking Magnums and large calibers used for outdoor sports such as hunting. The harder we hold them, the less they kick and jump. The less they kick and jump, the more efficiently we can shoot them.
Traditional grasp of the .45 autoloader. Thumb rests on manual safety, pad of index finger is in contact with trigger.
Author prefers this grasp: thumb curled down for more gripping strength, trigger finger inserted to distal joint for more leverage.
This writer strongly recommends the “crush grip.” How hard do you hold the handgun? As hard as you can. It was once advised to intensify your grip until tremors set in, and then back off until they stopped. In the real world, under stress, there’s going to be some tremor anyway. Get used to it now. Hold the gun as tightly as you can and let it tremor.
The key is this: keep the sights straight in line. If the sights are in line, and the hand is quivering, the sights will quiver in the center of the target. When the shot breaks, the bullet will strike the center of the target. Once it has been center-punched, the target will neither know nor care that the launcher was quivering before the projectile took flight.
Any marksmanship expert will tell you that consistency of grasp is a key to consistent accuracy. As stress levels change during shooting, which is really a multi-tasking exercise that gives you a lot to think about, the consistency of grasp can change too. If you think about it, there are only two ways to grasp the pistol with uniformity.
One is to hold it with virtually no pressure at all. This will give you poor control of recoil.
The other is to hold it as hard as you can, for each shot and every shot.
The hard hold has some other benefits. If you have accustomed yourself to always hold a pistol with maximum grip strength, you are much less likely to ever have it knocked or snatched from your hand. Moreover, you now have the ultimate cure for a handgunner’s malady known as “milking.”
“Milking,” taken from the hand’s movement when milking a cow’s udder, occurs when the index finger closes on the trigger and the other fingers sympathetically close with it, changing the grasp and pulling the sights off target. Most commonly, this will pull the shot low and to the side of what you were aiming at. It is a function called “interlimb response.” When one finger closes, the other fingers want to close with it.
One reason author recommends a very firm grasp. Imagine yourself holding a pistol, and grasp it thus with fingers relaxed…
… and notice that when you “press the trigger,” the other fingers close reflexively. This is called “milking,” and is conducive to bad shots. The cure…
… is to grasp firmly with everything but the trigger finger. Now, when trigger finger is flexed…
… the other fingers can’t sympathetically close, because they’re already closed as tight as they can get.
Do this simple exercise. Relax your hand, and pretend to be holding a handgun. Now, move the index finger as if rapidly firing a handgun with a heavy trigger pull. You will see the other fingers reflexively contracting along with it. You have just seen and experienced milking in action.
Now do the same, but this time with all but the index finger closed as tightly as you can hold them. As you run the index finger, you’ll feel the tendons trying to tighten the grasp of the other fingers, but you’ll see that they actually can’t. That’s because the tight grip has already hyperflexed the fingers, and they can’t tighten any more. The milking action has now been eliminated.
Thumb position is negotiable. Generations of shooters with the GI 1911 .45 learned to shoot with the thumb high, resting on the manual safety. Many competitive target shooters prefer to point the thumb straight at the target. This straight thumb position seems to align the skeleto-muscular structure of the hand in a way that allows the index finger its straightest rearward movement. With powerful guns, curling the thumb down to add grasping strength and enhance control is a valid technique. A lot of it depends on how the gun fits your hand. The controls may also be a factor. With a conventional double action auto that has a safety catch mounted on the slide (Beretta, S&W, and Ruger to name just a few), I like my thumb to be where it can not only push the lever into the “fire” position, but verify that the lever is in fact in the position it should be in.
Trigger finger contact? The old time marksmen liked the very tip of the finger, on the theory that it offered more sensitivity. With a handgun that has a very light trigger pull, there may be some validity to that. Still others use the pad of the finger, which is basically the point at which you find the whorl of the fingerprint.
Personally, I’ve learned that contacting the trigger at the crease of the distal joint, the spot old time revolver masters called “the power crease,” gives me much more leverage and therefore more control. This is particularly true on guns whose trigger pulls may be long and/or heavy: the double action handgun, the Glock, etc. A lot of this will depend on hand size and shape in relation to gun size and shape. There are many variables in the interface between human and machine.
The conventional sight picture with conventional handgun sights is the one you see in the marksmanship manuals. The front sight is centered in the notch of the rear sight. The top of the front sight is level with the top of the rear sight, and there is an equal amount of light on either side.
Human vision being what it is, you can’t focus on the sights and the target at the same time. Actually, you can’t focus on both the front and the rear sight at the same time, either. Once the target has been identified as something you need to shoot, you no longer need your primary visual focus on it. Primary focus now goes to the aiming indicator, the front sight. Think of it as a fighter pilot would: “enemy craft sighted, lock missiles on target.” The way we lock the handgun’s missiles onto the target is by focusing on its front sight.
With a slide mounted safety as on S&W Model 457 compact .45, shown, author prefers this grasp, with thumb at upward angle to guarantee release of safety catch.
Failing to properly focus on the front sight is a widespread problem among shooters. Every good shooter with iron sights (as opposed to red-dot optics or telescopic sights) whom you know can probably remember when he or she experienced “the epiphany of the front sight.” The realization, “So that’s what the coach meant when she said to watch the front sight!”
Watch the front sight hard. Apply your primary visual focus there. Look at it until you can see every little scratch in the machining on its surface. If it has a dot on it, focus on it until the dot looks like a soccer ball. Then you, too, will experience the epiphany of the front sight, and will see your shot groups tighten as if by magic.
Smoothly roll the trigger
Remember the prime directive: once the gun is aimed at the target, the trigger must be pulled in a way that does not pull the muzzle off target before the shot is fired. This means that the trigger must come straight back.
You want a smooth, even, uninterrupted pull. You can say to yourself, “press the trigger.” You can say to yourself, “sque-e-eze the trigger.” I say to myself, “roll the trigger,” because that connotes the smooth, consistent, uniform pressure I’m trying to apply. You don’t want the shot to truly surprise you, of course, because that would be an unintentional discharge. Rather, you want the exact instant of the shot to surprise you, so you don’t anticipate it and convulsively jerk the shot off target.
Experts agree that the best way to get the trigger pull down, once you know what it’s supposed to be, is to practice it. Dry-fire, or “clicking” the empty gun, is the best practice. The position of the sights when the gun goes “click” will tell you whether the shot would have been on target or not. The more thousands of these repetitions you perform, the more the proper trigger pull will be hard-wired into your mind and body to the point where you can do it perfectly in an emergency without consciously thinking about the details.
Accuracy tends to degrade with speed. Author fired the chest shots in hyperspeed mode, the eight shots in one hole in the neck at a more deliberate pace. Pistol is SIG P220 .45.
The best way to learn it is with what I dubbed the “exemplar drill.” Find an accomplished pistol shooter to assist you. Take a strong stance and firm grasp, and hold the gun on target. Let your index finger barely touch the trigger, and let that finger go limp. Ask the seasoned shooter to place his gun hand over yours, and his trigger finger over yours, and let his finger press yours straight back against the trigger. After several repetitions, you’ll be feeling what he feels when he makes the perfect shot. This is the easiest way to learn what a good trigger pull feels like.
Now progress to the two of you pulling the trigger together at the same pace. After some of that, you’re ready for the third stage. Now it’s your finger pulling the trigger, his lightly touching yours to monitor its progress. Once you’ve got that down, let the coach sit back and watch as you “fly solo,” making corrections as necessary.
Observe all rules of safe shooting and safe gun handling, of course. Start with paper or cardboard targets in close, at three to seven yards. If your shot is off the mark by three inches at 25 yards, it might have been just the natural limits of the gun’s accuracy. It might have been the ammo. It might even have been the wind. But if you’re off by three inches at four yards, you’ll know exactly what it is. The closer you are, the easier it is to correct whatever caused the bad hit on the target. Once you’re hitting in tight groups at close range, move back incrementally. As the distance increases, so does the challenge.
The world champion was right when he said it was simple, it just wasn’t easy. The “not easy” part is taken care of in repetition. Fortunately, repetition means shooting, and shooting is fun.
Good luck. Stay safe. And enjoy.
From Self Reliance Blog: http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/ayoob85.html
November 22, 2013
I’m sure you’ve heard of the “Knockout Game” that appears to be sweeping the nation. If you’re unfamiliar, here’s how it works:
The participants of this pastime randomly select an innocent stranger, sneak up behind them, and attempt to knock them out with one punch.
That’s it. That’s the “game.” In some corners of the Earth, this activity is also known as “attempted murder.” Here, for some teenagers, it’s a hobby, like collecting baseball cards.
This has been going on for a while, but the media has been reluctant to report on it; mostly because the victims are usually white and the assailants are usually black. I say “usually,” but I’m not actually aware of a single instance where the assailant has been white and the victim black. Is the racial component relevant here? Yes, of course it is. But we live in a country of spineless white-guilt ridden wimps, so we’ll just pretend there’s nothing “racial” about black teens beating white folks to death for sport. Leave it to modern America to find ways to turn a peanut butter and jelly sandwich into a symbol of white privilege, while a rash of black-on-white beatings are categorized as “random” instances of a violent “game.”
A few people have already been killed by the Knockout Game, while plenty of others have been sent to the hospital. The victims come in any age or gender, but it’s worth noting one particularly egregious case where an elderly woman in New York ended up in the ER after being brutalized by one of these teenage cowards.
All of this inevitably leads to a conversation about what, precisely, drives a person to do this, and how to stop it in the future. I already touched on the why in a previous post. They do it, not due to a lack of “education spending” or “youth programs,” but because they choose to do it. They do it for the same reason all people commit evil acts: it makes them feel powerful. It makes them feel like they’re in control. It gives them an illusion of dominance. They do it because they enjoy it. They enjoy it because of the evil in their hearts. There is evil in their hearts because they let it in and feed it.
Why do we all act so perplexed by something that’s as old as time? We deny the existence of evil and then we’re thrown for a loop every time it pops up. That’s when we resort to our psychology textbooks and our pseudo-sociology; anything to avoid the inescapable conclusion that human beings have free will and they choose to do the things they do.
You can tell me about “environmental” factors all day, and you can sing me a sad song about their upbringing and their income bracket and whatever phantom prejudices are supposedly keeping them down, but you can not remove their responsibility from this equation. You can not mitigate it or diminish it. However hard their lives have been, a billion other people have experienced worse, and a billion other people aren’t patrolling the street searching for elderly people to sucker punch. What makes them different? Their choices. That’s all.
Now, while there’s nothing we can do to stop a man (yes, “man”; you aren’t a “kid” anymore once you graduate to felony assault) from doing evil if evil is what he wishes to do, we could take certain steps, as a society, to alleviate the situation slightly. We could, for instance, keep our families together. Dads could stop running out on their kids. Couples could get married before they have babies. Radical ideas, I realize, but nothing will get better as long as we’re unwilling to consider them.
I’ve extrapolated on those points many times, so, for right now, I’d like to lay out a more immediate three step plan for dealing with the Knockout Game. These are rational suggestions; suggestions that are absolutely guaranteed to slow down this “trend”:
In the old days, they used to banish prisoners to deserts and island colonies. They permanently removed the criminals from society. We can’t employ the same strategy anymore — I don’t think Australia would appreciate it — but we can keep in mind the fact that prisons are designed to protect our loved ones from predators. I’m all for rehabilitation, but that is not the primary function of a prison. Its primary function is to take dangerous people and neutralize the threat they pose to the rest of us. Everything else is secondary. Forgiveness is essential, but just because we forgive someone doesn’t mean we unleash them into our neighborhoods. You might forgive a pedophile for being a pedophile, but would you let him babysit your kids?
So why don’t we start using prisons for their intended purpose? These genius thugs are posting video of themselves playing their “game” online; it shouldn’t be that hard to track them down. When we do, they ought to be looking at significant time in a cage. I’m talking about ten years or longer. Whether their victim lands in a hospital or a morgue, I fail to see why it should matter all that much in terms of sentencing. The purpose of the game is to inflict as much damage as possible on the innocent passerby. Should they get credit if they accidentally fail to seriously hurt their prey?
The emotional detachment and moral depravity it requires to participate in something like this should not be taken lightly. I was always taught that, contrary to popular belief, you don’t always get a second chance in life. We all have one chance to not be vicious animals who prowl around the community looking to beat pedestrians unconscious. If you squander that chance, you don’t get another one. At least not during this decade. Sending a violent criminal to jail for a year or two is just about the most self defeating strategy I’ve ever encountered. There’s no sense in shipping a budding hooligan off to network with hardened criminals for 16 months, only to release him back into the community once he’s officially transitioned from delinquent to full-on gangbanger. Maybe prison could be a deterrent if the courts stopped playing pattycake with these goons and started doling out hard time for hard crimes.
Put them there and keep them there. Keep them there for a good long while. Need room to accommodate these extended stays? No problem. Release all of the non-violent criminals you want. I’d be more than happy if we stopped imprisoning people for growing plants or using unhealthy substances. Besides, it accomplishes precisely nothing to throw drug addicts in a cell for being drug addicts. All you’ve done is take vulnerable, desperate, non-violent people and put them around manipulative sociopaths. Not a good mix. Clear them out and make room for the actual dangerous crooks.
Boredom is a new epidemic. So is teenagedom. In the past, nobody had time to be either of these things. People worked. Work can cure a teenager of his boredom, and his teenage-ness. It boggles my mind that any “kid” is able to reach the ripe old age of 17 having never worked a day in his/her life. My parents wouldn’t have allowed such a thing.
Do we think anything good is going to happen when we take a bunch of confused, hormonal, aggressive, energetic teenagers and give them massive amounts of free time? Doing nothing — this is another concept I was never allowed to get too familiar with when I was growing up. Maybe it’s time to stop “protecting” our kids from sweaty brows and calloused hands. Maybe work could actually be protection from far more detrimental things — like criminal records and drug addictions. We don’t have sweat shops in this country anymore. Most of the mines are closing down. In other words, repeal child labor laws and what will be the result? Thirteen year olds working cash registers and pushing lawnmowers? They’ll survive. It’ll be good for them. It’ll keep them busy. It’ll let them contribute financially to their households — a concept that seems quite scandalous these days, but only because we’re often scandalized by sensible things.
They say you can’t solve a problem by “adding more guns” to the situation. That’s true, which is why Obama’s foreign policy has been such an abysmal failure. But I, much like any other Second Amendment advocate, do not suggest simply throwing a pile of guns at the problem. I suggest you consider adding one gun to a holster, and then adding that holster to your hip. At a certain point we — the pool of potential victims — must refuse to fulfill that destiny. Forget the prisons, the schools, family dynamics, the cultural ills; when a predator picks you out of the crowd, none of that matters. It’s too late for the system, or parents, or the government to help you. In that moment, you’ve either got the tools to defend yourself, or you don’t. These cowards hedge their bets and put all their coins on you being unarmed. It’s a glorious occasion every time they lose that gamble.
God gives you life. He doesn’t give it to you so that you can let some adolescent punk take it away. Guard it. It is a precious thing; it the most precious thing you’ve ever been given (aside from your children’s lives, if you have any).
Let’s be real here. My first two suggestions won’t happen. But number three can happen. Defend yourself.
From Matt Walsh: http://themattwalshblog.com/
September 20, 2013
I remember when a fast food chicken sandwich restaurant became, out of nowhere, a hotly contested battle ground in the gay marriage debate. Everything was fine, everything was normal, everybody was eating chicken, until suddenly liberal activist organizations were encouraging gay men have heated make out sessions at their local Chick-fil-A, and Christians were countering with a Bible in one hand and waffle fries in the other. Boycotts, rallies, Appreciation Days, demonstrations, fundraisers — it was war. Personally, I have plenty of opinions on the topic of gay marriage, but on the topic of Chick-fil-A all I ever cared about was their chicken.
Millions of people cried out, “We must win Chick-fil-A to our side!”
And I courageously stood and shouted, “Can I get a number one with a Diet Coke?”
I didn’t think political discourse could get any more absurd than the Gays vs. Chicken War of 2012, but that was before the CEO of Starbucks said the word “gun” and the whole world exploded.
If you missed the “controversy,” it all started when Starbucks announced a few months ago that the guns policy in its stores would follow local laws and ordinances. If you live in a state where open carry is allowed, you can open carry in your local Starbucks. If you don’t, then you can’t. Simple. Sensible. Neutral. Cool, let’s all move on with our lives, right? Nope. Sorry, this is America and we’re bored, so we’re going to turn this thing into a crisis just for the hell of it. Some gun rights activists and gun owners (note, I said “some”) responded by marching into their neighborhood Starbucks toting ARs, AKs, and shotguns. They gathered in large groups, all packing heat as openly and visibly as possible, and took pictures to post on Twitter and Facebook. They wanted to “prove a point,” they claimed. But nobody understood the point they were trying to make, and I’m not sure they did, either.
I received several emails from people proud to show me photos of their “demonstration.” Invariably, it was an image of some guy flashing his holstered firearm in the middle of the store, while a lady in the background looks on with an expression of concern and befuddlement. My response was always the same: the store let you carry that inside, why are you punishing them for it? Yes, perhaps other patrons shouldn’t be worried just because half of the people in the store are armed to the teeth, but they will be worried. And you know it. So your act of “appreciation” is to hurt the business you claim to appreciate by abusing the thing you appreciate them for? I’m confused. And befuddled. Actually, I guess I can relate to that woman in the photo.
This is like if I permit you to wear shoes in my house, so you, rejoicing my leniency, celebrate by jumping into a mud puddle, stomping on my carpet and putting your feet up on my coffee table. Congratulations, I’ve just amended my shoe policy, and it’s all your fault.
I love gun rights, I’m a humongous Second Amendment advocate, and I have consistently and passionately used whatever little voice I have to advocate for the rights of gun owners, but this — this is not activism. This is a disservice to the gun rights movement. Responsible gun owners don’t parade around coffee shops with their shotguns just so they can post a photo of it on social media. Responsible gun owners aren’t impressed with themselves; they see the gun as a tool — not a toy, not a fashion accessory, not a “point,” not an excuse to cause a scene — and they carry that tool with a sense of maturity and discipline. I live in Kentucky. People open carry here all of the time. It doesn’t bother me in the slightest and I would fight tooth and nail against any politician who would try to abridge that right. But carting a bunch of firearms into a Starbucks just to prove you can? Come on. There are real battles to be fought, but they don’t involve mocha lattes and overpriced frappucinos.
Starbucks had a reasonable and neutral gun policy, but a select group of attention seekers wanted to force the company to choose a side. Starbucks, for some reason, has to be “pro-” or “anti-.” So a few days ago the CEO issued a statement ASKING his customers to refrain from bringing guns into his stores. He said people with guns will not be kicked out, and they will not be denied service, but he would like everyone to voluntarily respect the rule. Of course this announcement of a voluntary business policy was greeted with accusations of “discrimination,” and cries of “rights” being violated.
I don’t even like Starbucks; I know auto parts shops that have better complimentary cups of Joe. I’m also aware that the corporation has some left-leaning tendencies and, stereotypically, attracts a more liberal clientele. But I’m not going to act like they’ve done something wrong here just because I’m “supposed” to be on the other “side.” There doesn’t need to be a side. The gun rights fight doesn’t belong in a Starbucks due to the fact that, frankly,YOU DON’T HAVE GUN RIGHTS IN A STARBUCKS. Do you know why? Because it’s a private establishment and they can make whatever rules they like. They decided that it doesn’t particularly help their business to have customers in their stores, drinking coffee with a rifle propped up against the table, so they changed their rules accordingly. They have the right to do that, you have the right to go elsewhere. You don’t have the right to make your own rules for their private business.
Indeed, the only “rights” at stake here are the rights of private business and private property. I wish more than a few people in this country actually gave a damn about those types of rights. They aren’t as sexy or as flashy, but they are necessary. In fact, none of your other rights mean anything if you don’t possess the basic entitlement to govern your own businesses and set the rules on your own property. I’ve seen folks on the internet declare their intention to open carry inside a Starbucks regardless of the rules. Again, these are not activists. The gun rights movement should not embrace them. People who believe in liberty, believe in liberty it in all of its forms. They wouldn’t set their Second Amendment rights against another’s private property rights. They understand that our rights are in harmony, not in competition. In other words, the issue over at Starbucks isn’t gun rights vs. property rights, it’s just anti-property rights vs. pro-property rights. Gun rights have nothing to do with the situation.
Here’s how this works. A business owner comes to the marketplace and says: “Hey everyone. I’ve got this business I started. We make coffee, it tastes like you’re licking the pavement on a hot day, it’s fantastic. Anyway, here are the prices, and here are the rules, and here are our hours of operation, and if this all seems attractive to you, please come on in and let’s do business. Otherwise, you’re free to get your black tar coffee elsewhere.”
Now, we don’t get to counter with our own rules, and our own prices, and our own hours of operation. We don’t get to say, “you close at 9 but I feel like coming at 10,” anymore than we can say, “you don’t want guns in your store but I’m bringing one anyway.” We can go with their program, or we can go somewhere else. That’s it. End of discussion. We can impact the prices and the rules within the context of the free marketplace, but we don’t get to claim joint ownership of the enterprise and then complain that our rights are violated because we disagree with how they choose to do business. People who still choose to bring their weapons into Starbucks are choosing to undermine private property rights. They’re just as bad as the gun grabbers in DC, and perhaps even more hypocritical.
As a secondary concern, I’m really getting quite sick of this new American pastime where we troll business owners and force them to “have a position” on the divisive issues of the day, then promptly punish them no matter what they say. Some businesses choose to wade into ideological waters, but many are pushed into it. It’s ridiculous. Why can’t coffee and chicken be apolitical? Why does everything have to be a controversy?
Am I only supposed to do business with people who share my ideology?
What’s next? Are we going to demand that the guy who owns Radio Shack publicly endorse a side in the euthanasia debate? Then, if he’s against it, we can stick it to him by staging assisted suicides in the store, right next to the cell phone chargers. Hey, next time you stop to buy a drink from a little kid’s lemonade stand, insist that the child explain his views on campaign finance reform. Then, if he says the wrong thing, dump the lemonade on his head and stage demonstrations outside of his mom’s house until they’re forced to move out of the neighborhood.
This “controversy” is another example of the media presenting a distraction to the public, telling them “the sides” and sitting back while millions of Americans fall in line and react exactly how they were told they should. Of course plenty of “conservative” talk radio hosts jumped on this Starbucks Outrage Bandwagon because it’s easy and it will get the phones ringing. I tried to present a more nuanced and objective perspective and now I’ve got listeners emailing accusing me of being a “liberal” and a “traitor.”
Welcome to America. Now get in your preassigned box and toe the line. Don’t worry about thinking for yourself, we’ll do that for you.
**UPDATE: Many people have commented or emailed to challenge the consistency of my private property stance. They asked whether I’ve spoken out about the Christian business owners who have been persecuted and, in some cases, actually prosecuted for holding a Biblical view of marriage and sexuality. For the record, I’ve been all over this issue. I wrote about it recently, you can find it here: http://themattwalshblog.com/2013/08/16/youre-an-inbred-white-trash-hick-and-i-say-that-because-i-value-tolerance/
We have an Orwellian “Fairness Ordinance” here in Lexington, KY, that has led to a Christian businessman being charged with a “human rights” violation for declining to produce t-shirts advertising a gay rights parade. I’ve been one of the loudest voices against this particular unconstitutional atrocity, and many like it. You may disagree with me (a lot of people do) but I’m not inconsistent. Thanks for reading.
From Matt: http://themattwalshblog.com/2013/09/19/im-a-liberal-because-i-think-starbucks-has-private-property-rights/
August 12, 2013
GUNS IN AMERICA – A STATISTICAL PERSPECTIVE
Gun Ownership vs. Crime Statistics shed some sanity upon the issue – S.L.
Every year, guns are used over 80x more often to protect a life than to take one.
Source: 2010 CDC Report
270 Million = Approximate # of Civilian firearms in America
200,000 TIMES A YEAR = WOMEN USE A GUN TO DEFEND AGAINST SEXUAL ABUSE
Source: Kleck and Gertz, “Armed Resistance to Crime,” at 185
3 out of 5 POLLED FELONS SAY THEY WON’T MESS WITH AN ARMED VICTIM
Source: U.S., Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, “The Armed Criminal in America: A Survey of Incarcerated Felons,” Research Report (July 1985): 27.
GUN OWNERSHIP vs CRIME – AN INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVE:
Highest Gun Ownership Rate per 100 residents:
#1 – USA: 88.8%
#2 – YEMEN: 54.8%
#3 – SWITZERLAND: 45.7%
#4 – FINLAND: 45.3%
Highest Intentional Homicide Rate per 100,000 residents:
#1 – HONDURAS: 91.6
#2 – EL SALVADOR: 69.2
#3 – CÔTE D’IVOIRE: 56.9
#4 – JAMAICA: 52.2
(USA is #103 at 4.8 homicides per 100,000 residents.)
Source: “Homicide Statistics 2012″, UNODC.
A recent study published in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy concluded that there is a negative correlation between gun ownership and violent crime in countries internationally (more guns = less crime).
Nations with strict gun control laws have substantially higher murder rates than those who do not in general. In fact, the 9 European nations with the lowest gun ownership rate have a combined murder rate THREE TIMES that of the 9 European nations with the highest gun ownership rate!
UNITED KINGDOM CASE STUDY – “Most violent country in EU” Source: Telegraph – UK is violent crime capital of Europe 2 July 2009
No guns: POSSESSION OF HANDGUNS IS ILLEGAL IN THE UK
Crime: 2,034 VIOLENT CRIMES PER 100,000 PEOPLE IN UK (vs 466 violent crimes per 100,000 people in the USA)
In the decade following the Labor party’s election and banning of handguns in 1997, the number of recorded violent attacks soared by 77% to 1.2 million in ’07- or more than 2 attacks every minute!
Kitchen knives are being used in as many as half of all stabbings in the United Kingdom and has prompted a group of doctors to call for a ban on long pointed kitchen knives.
CONCEALED CARRY IN AMERICA
An analysis of the FBI crime statistics found that states that adopted concealed carry laws REDUCED:
Aggravated Assaults: 7%
Source: Wall Street Journal, August 28, 1996: More Guns, Less Violent Crime
With just one exception, every public mass shooting in the USA since 1950 has taken place where citizens are banned from carrying guns. Despite strict gun regulations, Europe has had 3 of the worst 6 school shootings.
Source: USA Today, December 25, 2012 – Opposing view: Guns in schools can save lives
POLICE vs. ARMED CITIZEN
794,300 total police officers Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics vs. 80,000,000 gun owning citizens Source: National Rifle Association
Police = 11% error rate vs. Armed Citizen = 2% error rate Source: Newsweek Magazine: Nov 14, 1993
14.3 average deaths of a shooting rampage stopped by police vs. 2.3 average deaths of a shooting rampage stopped by an Armed Citizen Source: The Examiner August 6, 2012 – Auditing Shooting Rampage Statistics
Police = 606 criminals killed each year vs. Armed Citizen = 1,527 criminals killed each year Source: Kleck, Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America, (1991):111-116, 148.
89% Drop IN BURGLARIES AFTER MANDATORY GUN LAW
In 1982, Kennesaw, Georgia passed a law requiring heads of households to keep at least one firearm in the house. The residential burglary rate subsequently dropped 89% in Kennesaw, compared to just 10.4% drop in Georgia as a whole. Source: Gary Kleck, “Crime Control Through the Private Use of Armed Force,” Social Problems 35 (February 1988)
Today, the violent crime rate in Kennesaw is still 85% lower than Georgia’s or the national average. Source: City Rating
Related: The only gun infographic you’ll ever need.
Gun Rhetoric vs. Gun Facts at Factcheck.org
The Democrats and their willing sycophants in the Left-Leaning Mainstream Media will not engage in a debate on guns concerning the truths about safety and crime statistics mentioned above. This is because:
GUN CONTROL IS NOT ABOUT GUNS.
GUN CONTROL IS ABOUT CONTROL.
Seek firearms training, carry concealed, stay safe and spread the word . . .
- STORMBRINGER SENDS