I’ve decided to make this a category of its own, since I’ve done several posts on the topic before; one very recently. Every time there is a breakdown in civil order or a heinous crime is committed a few people wake up to the fact that they are responsible for their own protection. Some of them decide that purchasing a firearm is a good idea, and often only then do they learn the state of gun laws in their particular jurisdiction.

Earlier this week a pair of…

Words escape me. “Goblins” is too trite. “Inhuman excrement” is the closest I can come. A pair of soulless inhuman turds broke into the home of a family in Connecticut, raped and murdered the mother, raped both the 17 and 11 year-old daughters repeatedly, beat the father brutally with a baseball bat, and set the girl’s bedrooms on fire with them tied to their beds to cover their escape. The mother was strangled. The daughters died of smoke inhalation. The father was rescued by responding officers before he, too, could succumb. Thankfully, the vicious bastards did not succeed in escaping. Unsurprisingly, these slime had long rap sheets and were both out on parole, having served only part of longer sentences.

The reaction of the community is unsurprising. Shock, fear, and the sudden realization that yes, it can happen here – and that the police generally come in to take a report after the fact. They don’t prevent things like this from happening.

I don’t know how I missed the story before today, but on the evening news I was somewhat surprised to see that at least two networks saw fit to mention that gun sales in the area had spiked. A little Googling brought me a story from the Hartford Courant: After Killings, Fear Drives Alarm Sales. That’s not all they drove:

While home security systems may be in demand, it appears that much less interest has been shown in guns as security-related purchases.

But wait!

“The middle-class and upper-class Simpsons aren’t looking to shoot anybody,” said Roger Picerno, proprietor of Guns and Safes Unlimited in Milford.

Most people are more likely to install locks and alarms, he said.

But Scott Hoffman of Hoffman’s Gun Center in Newington said his Berlin Turnpike store has received “seven or eight times” the normal number of inquiries about gun permitting, gun safety classes and weaponry, including more than a dozen calls on Thursday, he said. Sales are up, he said, but he would not provide any data.

“Much less interest”? Based on what? This is not what the network news reported.

An unusually high proportion of this week’s calls came from women, Hoffman said.

“On an ongoing basis, I get people coming in who have been robbed, raped, mugged, whatever,” said Hoffman. “And they come into the store days later wanting something to protect themselves.”

Here’s the kicker:

Many leave with pepper spray instead of firearms after learning that legally acquiring a weapon typically takes weeks or months. Obtaining a pistol permit – required for handguns – typically takes 90 days or longer, gun dealers said. Some shotguns can be obtained in about two weeks.

So, gun sales didn’t spike – because of permitting, restrictions and waiting periods? I wonder what sales are going to look like in 14-90 days.

Remember my post from July 4? I excerpted a bit from a post at Seraphic Secret, an exchange between the author and a young woman who was the victim of a stalker:

“I can’t believe I’m here. I’ve been against guns and violence my whole life.”
“Did Ned threaten you, physically, I mean?”
“Said I belong to him and no one else. That’s about it. But I know what he means.”
“What did the police say?”
“The last cop, as he was leaving, whispered for me to get a gun.”

I tell her that owning a gun isn’t sufficient. She has to take safety classes, self-defense classes. She has to know what she’s doing. I grab NRA brochures from the counter, make her promise that she’ll sign up as soon as she gets her gun in ten days.

“Ten days?” she cries.

“First you have to take a test, here in the store, a written test. They’ll give you a booklet to study from. Then you get a certificate making you eligible to buy a weapon in California. After you purchase the gun there’s a ten-day waiting period until you take possession.”

“But why?”
“Background check. To make sure you’re not a felon, a psychopath, an illegal immigrant, a terrorist, a drug addict; it’s the law.”

Apparently in Connecticut, it’s ninety days for a handgun, and two weeks for a long gun.

Because a lot of people up there have been “against guns and violence” their whole lives, and the “middle and upper-class Simpsons aren’t looking to shoot anyone.” Or at least they weren’t.

Still, the gun shop owner gives excellent advice, and the paper reported it:

Hoffman, who wore a pistol in his belt during an interview Thursday and said he keeps pistols and a shotgun at home, said guns don’t guarantee safety.

“You could have 100 guns in your house strategically placed and not be able to save yourself,” he said.

Absolutely correct. Even carrying one on your hip is no guarantee that you can successfully defend yourself.

But it gives you a chance. I mentioned earlier that I’ve ordered a copy of Armed America: Portraits of Gun Owners in Their Homes. Each portrait is accompanied by a statement from the subject(s). This one seems most apropos:

“…one time out of a 101 where having a gun would have meant saving your own child – you would sell your soul, or trade everything you have to do that.”

For at least the chance

Looking for a New Pistol?.

Interested in contributing to a good cause? Check out this raffle:

LTW (, short for Actions Speak Louder Than Words, is a consortium of custom shops from around the country who specialize in the 1911 pistol. We collaborate 2-3 times a year on a custom gun, raffle it off, and donate the proceeds to a selected charity. We are proud to announce that our first project for 2007 will be for the benefit of!

And what are they raffling off for $10 a ticket? Well, here’s just the pistol, a very customized Springfield 1911:

The enhancements include, in order of progression through the LTW shops:

Legacy Custom Products has expertly fitted the BarSto barrel and optimized the slide to frame relationship. He has also done one of his signature magwell treatments wherein a special mainspring housing of his own manufacture is utilized, enabling him to open the magwell out towards the rear without creating a knife-edge from the magazine chute’s rear wall. This magwell treatment does not add any parts, weight, or bulk to the pistol but seriously augments the user’s ability to get a fresh magazine in place, fast.

Rogers Precision: Chuck’s reputation and abilities for building hard-core working guns that look great is being taken full advantage of here. His “Golfball” treatment of the frontstrap and on the mainspring housing on the back, are likely the ideal gripping pattern for a true, in-the-fray pistol. This pattern gives a very positive grip when a firing grasp is exerted, and yet doesn’t “lock in” the user to the point that he can’t shift the pistol slightly if need be. Moreover, the pattern is “open” and does not tend to fill with dirt and debris–one might even say it is self cleaning. Chuck has also machined sand cuts into the frame/slide sliding interfaces, allowing the pistol to run longer in sandy or muddy conditions. Sand cuts are nothing new in the world of small arms, some of the most-issued military weapons in the world have them, the FAL rifle and Sterling submachinegun to name a few. Chuck has also added a recessed lanyard point to the butt– one that does not protrude but is there and ready whenever needed.

Don Williams brings to bear his considerable talents in fine-tuning the internals of this pistol for maximum safety, reliability, and precision. Hammer, sear, disconnect, mag release, trigger (triggers, actually; one long and one short)….. none will escape his expert attention. In addition, Don is fitting two spare extractors with and to a super-tough EGW oversized firing pin stop.

Ned Christiansen will be fitting the sights, which will start out as Yost-Bonitz Professional Grade sights. The YoBo PG rear sight is made with a front face that is vertical, providing a surface with which the user can perform one-handed manipulations such as chambering a round, by hooking the sight on something. Ned will modify these in “Shield Driver” fashion, where the front face of the rear sight is made even deeper, and is serrated, creating a hard-to-miss surface for racking the slide, on, say, the side of a ballistic shield. Ned will also fit and TIG weld in place the plunger tube, match the slide rear surface to the frame and texture it along with all three extractors, and ensure that the VZ grips are a great match to the pistol’s final lines. Ned will also be fitting the pistol with a light rail.

The shop of Yost-Bonitz Custom will be responsible for etching the LTW and logos. They will also fit the (Wilson Combat) safeties (one ambidextrous and one single-sided), and do a precise dehorning of the pistol. Yost-Bonitz is the nerve center of LTW and is also handling some of the administrative duties related to the raffle, and YoBo’s Steve Bailey’s itchy shutter-button finger will be putting this pistol and its accoutrements on film.

Final finish for the pistol is still TBD but a few different hard-knocks-proof options are being considered.

My chances are probably better than they are of winning the Powerball so I could afford to have something similar built. The drawing will be at the February, 2008 SHOT show. Winner need not be present to win.

Quote of the Weekend.

I think much of the greatness went away when we were all encouraged to turn inward and question America in general.

The days of swagger, of press on regardless, the “let’s give THIS a try!”, the “sure! We can do that!” have been left behind in favor of how awful we are, how badly we treat the rest of the world, how this and how that. How all of our manufactured goods are crap (we keep telling ourselves). Our children are now taught how bad we are and how much we pollute, how evil our founders were, etc.

We are, in short, buried in an era of angst, nannyism, and self-loathing. I put much of that right at the feet of my own generation, the boomers. We went from being a nation of John Waynes and Robert Mitchum strength and bravado to one of Alan Alda wussiness and Rosie O’Donnell nation-hating. – the friendly grizzly

Can I get an “Amen!”?

That Reminds Me….

Dr. Sanity recently penned a piece The Cost of Freedom that reminded me of something I wrote last year, The United Federation of Planets. The two pieces are not really parallel, but much of what she says echoes the theme of my piece. For example:

If we continue on the path of appeasement we will be defeated by the enemy’s unrepentant ruthlessness and their endless love of death. Thomas Sowell once remarked that, “If the battle for civilization comes down to the wimps versus the barbarians, the barbarians are going to win”, and he is most certainly correct.

The cost of this war will ultimately be more than all the lives lost; it will also be for the humanity and civilization we must temporarily abandon to win.

When we are finally cornered and must allow our own barbarism to surface to combat theirs head to head, then we must be prepared to live with the consequences, including the agonizing guilt that will ensue–or everything we hold dear, everything we aspire to become, will forever perish from this earth. – (Dr. Sanity)

(My emphasis.) An excerpt from United Federation, (much, much longer, naturally):

We like to pride ourselves that American society is different, superior, more “true” than all other preceding societies. After all, what other polity has accomplished what we’ve accomplished in the mere two centuries we’ve existed on the planet? We enjoy an unprecedented standard of living (even our poor people are fat!) Americans invented powered flight. We broke the sound barrier. We went to the moon! And who has a higher moral hill to stand atop? Twice in the last century we’ve ended Europe’s bloody wars. We stopped the expansion of fascist, imperialist, and communist forces, defeated their sponsor governments utterly, and have more than once reconstructed former enemy nations into peaceful, productive democracies. As then-Secretary of State Colin Powell stated so eloquently:

We have gone forth from our shores repeatedly over the last hundred years and we’ve done this as recently as the last year in Afghanistan and put wonderful young men and women at risk, many of whom have lost their lives, and we have asked for nothing except enough ground to bury them in, and otherwise we have returned home… to live our own lives in peace.

But to do that, we’ve sometimes put aside some of our beliefs in the face of hard reality, only to take them up again once the crisis was over.

All societies change, and what changes first is their commonly held beliefs. Robert Heinlein wrote once:

Roman matrons used to say to their sons: “Come back with your shield, or on it.” Later on this custom declined. So did Rome.

Ours is not immune. In 2004 I wrote “While Evils are Sufferable” wherein I said:

The “Right,” in the overwhelming majority, believes that America, the United States of, is the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave. We’re the Sword of Justice, defenders of the oppressed from the Halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli, from sea to shining sea (so long as it’s in our National Interest to be.) As long as this belief represents the dominant paradigm, that is the way our nation will act, in the main. We are human, of course. We’re not perfect. We will make mistakes, but as I wrote in That Sumbitch Ain’t Been BORN!, those mistakes are just that. They are not evidence of our evil Imperialist nature, just mistakes. The “Left,” quite simply, thinks we’ve left the tracks if we were ever on them to begin with. To them, we’re oppressive, racist, imperialistic warmongers out to take what isn’t ours and distribute it unfairly among the white males. After all, they have centuries of European exploitive colonization to point to, don’t they? The Greens think we need to give up industry so that we can “save the planet.” They don’t hate America, they hate humanity. Of course, the Anarchists see both sides as delusional and dangerous. They believe that the Free Market is the answer to it all, and that we need to give up this nationalistic fantasy crap and start dealing with objective reality.

As if objective reality would appeal to people who voluntarily share common delusions.

Appealing or not, objective reality is again raising its ugly head, and we must wake up to it if we wish to survive.

Anyway, I found the parallels interesting. YMMV.

And Now for Something Completely Different.

It’s beyond anything I’ve experienced in over four years of blogging, anyway. I invite implore you to read the three-part story Perspectives authored by three different bloggers, told from their individual points of view. It’s the story of a rollover traffic accident in Smalltown U.S.A. from the perspective of the first cop on the scene, the first responding EMT, and the ER nurse who cares for two of the victims.

I promise you, it’s worth your time.

Quote of the Day

From the Harvard Law Bulletin, Summer 2007 edition article “Lawyers, Guns and Money”:

No gun-control strategy with any chance of surviving the political process would have a significant effect on overall gun violence or crime, (Harvard Law Professor Mark) Tushnet believes. To say so publicly would be the boldest and most honest stand that a major politician or candidate could take, he adds.

First runner up, from the same piece:

In the past 20 years, several prominent legal scholars known for liberal views, including Professor Laurence Tribe ’66, have come to believe that the Second Amendment supports the individual-rights view. In the 2000 edition of his treatise “American Constitutional Law,” Tribe broke from the 1978 and 1988 editions by endorsing that view. Other liberal professors, including Akhil Reed Amar at Yale Law School and Sanford Levinson at the University of Texas at Austin, agree.

“My conclusion came as something of a surprise to me, and an unwelcome surprise,” Tribe said in a recent New York Times interview. “I have always supported as a matter of policy very comprehensive gun control.”

Intellectual honesty will sometimes lead you places you’d rather not go.

Now, to repeat something I’ve quoted several times before. From the conclusion of a 1983 meta-study of all the available research on gun control legislation at that time, authors James Wright and Peter Rossi wrote in Under the Gun: Weapons, Crime and Violence in America:

The progressive’s indictment of American firearms policy is well known and is one that both the senior authors of this study once shared. This indictment includes the following particulars: (1) Guns are involved in an astonishing number of crimes in this country. (2) In other countries with stricter firearms laws and fewer guns in private hands, gun crime is rare. (3) Most of the firearms involved in crime are cheap Saturday Night Specials, for which no legitimate use or need exists. (4) Many families acquire such a gun because they feel the need to protect themselves; eventually they end up shooting one another. (5) If there were fewer guns around, there would obviously be less crime. (6) Most of the public also believes this and has favored stricter gun control laws for as long as anyone has asked the question. (7) Only the gun lobby prevents us from embarking on the road to a safer and more civilized society.

The more deeply we have explored the empirical implications of this indictment, the less plausible it has become. We wonder, first, given the number of firearms presently available in the United States, whether the time to “do something” about them has not long since passed. If we take the highest plausible value for the total number of gun incidents in any given year – 1,000,000 – and the lowest plausible value for the total number of firearms now in private hands – 100,000,000 – we see rather quickly that the guns now owned exceed the annual incident count by a factor of at least 100. This means that the existing stock is adequate to supply all conceivable criminal purposes for at least the entire next century, even if the worldwide manufacture of new guns were halted today and if each presently owned firearm were used criminally once and only once. Short of an outright house-to-house search and seizure mission, just how are we going to achieve some significant reduction in the number of firearms available?

Professor Tushnet just restated those two paragraphs with a simple observation: There is no politically acceptable legislation that can be passed that will have any significant effect on gun violence or crime in this country. This is why our opponents try everything to avoid having to submit to the political process. This is why their referendums almost always fail, and badly. This is why they have taken to the courts to achieve their ends, still unsuccessfully as exhibited by these quotes from several decisions dismissing such suits:

“In the view of this Court, the City’s complaint is an improper attempt to have this Court substitute its judgment for that of the legislature, which this Court is neither inclined nor empowered to do.”

“In substance, the City and its Mayor opt to engage in efforts at arbitrary social reform by invoking the process of the Judicial Branch of Government, where apparently the City perceives, but fails to allege, irreversible failures in the appropriate Legislative Branch(s) of Government…. The City should not be permitted to invoke the jurisdiction of this Court to overlay or supplement existing civil and criminal ‘gun’ statutes and processes (either state and federal) by means of a series of judicial fiats which, when taken together, would only create a body of ‘judge made gun laws’.” – Special Judge James J. Richards, Lake Superior Court, County of Lake, City of Gary v. Smith & Wesson, Cause No. 45D05-005-CT-243, slip op. 7 (Ind. Super. Ct. Jan. 12, 2001).

“The County’s request that the trial court use its injunctive powers to mandate redesign of firearms and declare that the appellees’ business methods create a public nuisance, is an attempt to regulate firearms and ammunition through the medium of the judiciary…. The County’s frustration cannot be alleviated through litigation as the judiciary is not empowered to ‘enact’ regulatory measures in the guise of injunctive relief. The power to legislate belongs not to the judicial branch of government but to the legislative branch.” – Judge J.J. Fletcher, District Court of Appeal of Florida, Third District, Penelas v. Arms Technology, Inc., 778 So.2d 1042, 1045

“Although this public nuisance lawsuit is brought by the Attorney General on behalf of the State of New York – while the Hamilton action was one initiated by private parties for negligent marketing – both were brought against handgun manufacturers and sellers. Plaintiffs attempt here to widen the range of common-law public nuisance claims in order to reach the legal handgun industry will not itself, if successful, engender a limitless number of public nuisance lawsuits by individuals against these particular defendants, as was a stated concern in Hamilton (96 NY2d at 233). However, giving a green light to a common-law public nuisance cause of action today will, in our judgment, likely open the courthouse doors to a flood of limitless, similar theories of public nuisance, not only against these defendants, but also against a wide and varied array of other commercial and manufacturing enterprises and activities.

“All a creative mind would need to do is construct a scenario describing a known or perceived harm of a sort that can somehow be said to relate back to the way a company or an industry makes, markets and/or sells its non-defective, lawful product or service, and a public nuisance claim would be conceived and a lawsuit born. A variety of such lawsuits would leave the starting gate to be welcomed into the legal arena to run their cumbersome course, their vast cost and tenuous reasoning notwithstanding. Indeed, such lawsuits employed to address a host of societal problems would be invited into the courthouse whether the problems they target are real or perceived; whether the problems are in some way caused by, or perhaps merely preceded by, the defendants completely lawful business practices; regardless of the remoteness of their actual cause or of their foreseeability; and regardless of the existence, remoteness, nature and extent of any intervening causes between defendants lawful commercial conduct and the alleged harm.” – from the appeals court decision upholding the dismissal of New York v. Sturm Ruger et. al.

“Knives are sharp, bowling balls are heavy, bullets cause puncture wounds in flesh. The law has long recognized that obvious dangers are an excluded class. Were we to decide otherwise, we would open a Pandora’s box.”

“The city could sue the manufacturers of matches for arson, or automobile manufacturers for traffic accidents, or breweries for drunken driving. Guns are dangerous. When someone pulls the trigger, whether intentionally or by accident, a properly functioning gun is going to discharge, and someone may be killed. The risks of guns are open and obvious.

“We hold that the trial court properly dismissed the city’s complaint. The city’s claims are too remote and seek derivatively what should be claimed only by citizens directly injured by firearms. The city cannot recover municipal costs. We overrule its assignment of error and affirm the judgment of the trial court.” – Judge Ralph Winkler, Ohio 1st District Court of Appeals in the decision upholding dismissal of Cincinnati’s lawsuit.

What we have is a stalemate in which one side (with the singular exception of the Violence Policy Center) will not admit to its endgame, which is obvious to those of us on the opposing side who are paying attention. Constantly we are told that “the number of guns” is the problem. Not culture, not revolving-door prisons, not poverty, not “the War on (some) Drugs,” not anything but “the number of guns.” As Say Uncle has pithily stated, “Gun control is what you do about crime instead of something.” Yet we are also constantly told that our opponents don’t want to ban anything. Well, except for “Saturday Night Specials.” Or “Pocket Rockets.” Or “.50 Caliber Sniper Rifles.”

But nothing short of a real ban, and its accompanying confiscation, can actually reduce “the number of guns.”

In the hands of the law-abiding.

And that’s not politically achievable. Nor does it seem to be achievable through the courts. (And, as we’ve seen with England, it wouldn’t help anyway – but then it’s not my philosophy, it’s theirs.) So short of that their tactics have become: “We don’t want to ban guns, we just want to make possessing them so legally and financially burdensome that people will voluntarily give them up.” Do that long enough and what wasn’t politically achievable eventually becomes possible, because the people who used to know better – we gun owners, the “gun lobby” – become overwhelmed by those who have never so much as seen a firearm other than in the hands of a government employee or a criminal thug.

After all, it worked in England!

Not on my watch.

Thirty-Eight Years Ago Today.

“One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

At 02:56 GMT, July 21, 1969 astronaut Neil Armstrong spoke those words and placed the first footprint in the lunar dust of the Sea of Tranquility some six hours after touching down the Lunar Module Eagle on the surface. Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin departed barely fifteen hours later with about 45 pounds of lunar samples, leaving this plaque attached to one leg of the descent stage of the LM:

Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins were followed by five successful and one unsuccessful missions. On December 14, 1972 as Eugene Cernan climbed back aboard Challenger for the last time, leaving the last human footprint in the lunar dust, he said:

As I take man’s last step from the surface, back home for some time to come — but we believe not too long into the future — I’d like to just say what I believe history will record — that America’s challenge of today has forged man’s destiny of tomorrow. And, as we leave the Moon at Taurus-Littrow, we leave as we came and, God willing, as we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind. Godspeed the crew of Apollo 17.

It’s been too long.

Armed America2

I’ve got two books coming in the mail with quite similar titles. The first is Clayton Cramer’s rebuttal to Michael Bellesiles’ discredited text, the second is a coffee-table book of portraits. Clayton’s book is entitled Armed America: The Remarkable Story of How and Why Guns Became as American as Apple Pie, the second is entitled Armed America: Portraits of Gun Owners in Their Homes.

As Clayton is a well-known supporter of the Second Amendment, I expect no surprises from his book other those resulting from his typical exhaustive scholarship. The second book I’ve known about for a while now, as the author/photographer has been working on it for over two years and links to his book web site and photos like this one have been common at places like I stumbled across his YouTube promotional video earlier today. I hadn’t realized the book was finished.

During the time when he was posting his photos, I wondered what the end result would be, and what it would engender in the public (if anything). It would appear that the result is not negative in the least. At the moment there are 14 comments about the book at, and a few reviews from such diverse people as Jim Petzal of Field and Stream:

…when I opened a package the other day and saw a book inside called America Armed: Portraits of Gun Owners in their Homes, what came to mind was the acronym BOHICA—Bend over; here it comes again.

But I was wrong. This coffee-table book is the child of Krause Publications, which puts out (via its imprint F+W Publications) the Gun Digest. So it seemed highly unlikely that they would be doing a hatchet job on us. And they didn’t. What we have here folks, between two covers, is that greatest of rarities, a fair picture of who owns guns.

and The New Homemaker:

Avery, Miles, Gregg and Theresa from Arizona chose to pose with their dog Ginny, two AR-15s, an M1 Garand and supressed Ruger 10-22’s for the boys. In their kitchen. Barefoot. Says Gregg: “…one time out of a 101 where having a gun would have meant saving your own child – you would sell your soul, or trade everything you have to do that.”

There are some telling quotes from the reviews as well. “A. Justice” writes one of the more predictable:

I hope this book brings insight and provokes discussion on both sides of the subject because like it or not, we are all americans and have an obligation to look out for each other as well as ourselves.

Your government is not capable of protecting you every moment of your life nor is it obligated to do so. Those of us who are responsibly armed may have an opportunity to help, but the only one who can ensure your own safety is you, and that goes far beyond just owning a firearm.

As I said, this book captures a glimpse of a private part of the daily lives of many americans that has become far too controversial and vilified by many who dont understand their own rights and responsibilities as citizens of this once great country.

But this one surprised me as much as the book surprised him/her. “Spleen” wrote:

I am embarrassed that I started out with such a small-minded view of gun ownership. I thought I was against guns and seeing pictures of them was viscerally disturbing them to me. However, reading what people actually had to say about their gun ownership did make me open my mind on the issue.

I appreciate that the book portrays first and foremost the people and does not slant or objectify them (there is no political agenda) which leaves me able to digest the contents for myself.

William D. Nelsch wrote:

It reached me on so many different levels: the ‘familial’ based on one of our LUG family creating a masterpiece; the photographic, based on the technique in achieving the images – bounce flash, rear fill flash, and the inadvertent (?) self portrait on page 127; the contextual notion that the Second Amendment (I am a left wing Democrat, christian more of an Episcobuddhist, anti-war, anti-violence, etc. ) must be always enforced, and in light of the recent idiocy in the WH seems ever more important; and finally the sub-context of all of the animals is just delightful.

This is so much different, and better, than what I had expected after reviewing the online images. Seeing the images in print form allows for so much more detail; the messiness/neatness of the subject environs; the additional items, or lack thereof, in their living areas adds so much more to the meaning of each photo. I can’t help but wonder how much of the shoot was staged vs. their actual environment. And the captures of the animals are priceless. This was no easy task.

I was also struck by the verbosity or lack thereof of the subjects when commenting on their gun ownership and what stuck me most was the argument that the Second Amendment, like all of the Amendments, must be upheld against the moneyed interest purchasing politicians attempting to take away ANY freedoms. This is akin to the NRA, ACLU and Sierra club all agreeing on the same thing.

I don’t like guns. I was going to say I don’t have any guns but that isn’t exactly true – I have an old flintlock from the Spanish American war that belonged to a relative of mine standing in the corner of my living room. Why? It just looks neat. This book doesn’t necessarily change my need to have or not have guns but it does cause me to rethink any notion of banning guns.

Mouth. Hangs. Agape.

What has Kyle Cassidy wrought here?

Another comment, this one from James M. Safley:

This is an important book. It makes no editorial statement, proffers no venomous rhetoric. It simply puts a human face on the typically abstract and much maligned “gun owner.” They are our neighbors, our friends, our coworkers. We normally would not fear these people, so why should we fear them with guns?

Or this one by Jennifer A. Summerfield:

As someone who has always regarded guns with apprehension and never considered firing one, let alone owning one, “Armed America” has forced me to reconsider my stance. There is such a broad cross-section of the American population represented that each page seems to bring a different revelation. The fact that the subjects are allowed to speak for themselves, their words printed below their image, allows you to draw your own conclusions, without the photographer’s own views, (which remain a mystery,) getting in the way.

It’s a fascinating document of American culture… both past and present… and in turning each page, you feel you’re on a journey with the photographer, rediscovering this vast, complex country.

If it can do that, I had to buy a copy. You might want to consider buying one too.