Wednesday, September 09, 2015

S&W 39-2 first American d/a auto adopted by Seals and Air Force in Nickel finish

Smith & Wesson 39-2 auto pistol was the first ever American double-action handgun adopted by elements of the U.S. Military.  Used selectively by the Air Force and Navy Seals both in the 70s / 80s.

Shoots well, 10 rounds of 9mm Luger + One in the chamber.  Carry with one in the chamber and hammer down safely.  Clip removal activates safety.  Easy take-down, slim one column design, easy to hold and a natural aimer.  

The "dash-2" indicates a more robust extractor.  Some versions feature an all steel frame as well as slide.  Very rare.

One of the most attractive pistols ever made, the the first of the breed for a LONG line of related S&W offspring versions......

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Saturday, April 04, 2015

ccw PERFECT, S & W M&P Shield review!

Very happy to see the Smith & Wesson Shield hit the mainstream gun-pretending media well; it's better than reviewed!

Want a CCW handgun with 8 + 1 rounds, 19 oz, and LESS than an inch wide with no spurs or hard points in the same package?......   pebble front and backstraps, safety trigger (that is big enough for gloved fat fingers).....   this is it..... 3.1 inch barrel.....within 15 ft, you are fully protected.......great looking, slick, and UTTERLY RELIABLE.  Perfect backup, and 9mm is no baby round, when on target.... and this baby is reliable!    


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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Everybody's Fall "To Do" List

Everybody’s Fall "To Do" List

Steven R. Berryman
[from The Tentacle -  September 23rd 2013]

In no particular order, here is a Fall checklist of “things to do” and/or be aware of in the October 1st time frame. In this period of acorn gathering and inventory for Winter, one cannot be too organized.

Obamacare begins to kick-in.

Healthcare markets begin to offer you a “virtual marketplace,” where those without insurance can shop for and select their policy. This is a great idea for those without insurance, as the government and the Internal Revenue Service will fine you if you remain uncovered. This amount increases each year.

Poor people especially are encouraged to take advantage of this, especially as fines to them are waived, and, really, they’re just giving the stuff away.

Oh, and about that “if you like your plan you can keep it” stuff, many companies with 50+ employees will drop your plan and choose to pay a minor per-employee fine instead.

[Exemptions and waivers from the most insidious impact of the new national healthcare laws are already enjoyed by your Congress, congressional staff, the military, McDonald’s, Walmart, and many other savvy “players.”]

Pipes may freeze

This is at least as important as the above.

Don’t forget to walk outside at least long enough to see if you have turned off your outside water for the season – so the pipes don’t freeze. And then go downstairs to bleed the water line so there is no residual standing water. Frozen pipes do burst.

No, this has nothing at all to do with Maryland’s “Rain Tax.”

Buy your last guns

By October 1st – at least for Marylanders lucky enough to live under Gov. Martin O’Malley’s watch – you will have many fundamental firearms rights reduced and trampled. Buy your last handgun before mandated testing and fees and waiting periods (some just because Maryland State Police can’t keep pace with more stringent background checks) begin under law.

You will be in far better shape going forward if you do. Owners of handguns are “grandfathered” past some requirements if they are already in the club…

Owners of AR-15 style (the semi-autos NOT used in the Naval Yard shootings) long-guns, should be sure to buy one or have it legally transferred before it’s too late. Again, you will be able to own, but not purchase after October 1, 2013.

How else can we be prepared to “take it back” should the constitutional need arise?

Check your roof gutters for blockages

Yes, leaves have been falling, and birds have been nesting around your roof gutters and drains. Get on a ladder – or find some illegal immigrants-supported lawn service – to check this out for you. Ice damming along your roof can cause expansion and splitting of your open roof gutters, potentially leaking inside your home during the worst possible of timeframes.

In this case you would need to hire a drywall company possibly comprised of more illegal workers (who are NOT entitled to Obamacare so far, by the way...unless they are poor?).

Double-check what your government is up to

This is the time of year that defense contractors typically encourage “wars of choice” and other folly, especially in the Middle-East. You already know about the Arab Spring – Egypt, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc – now beware of Syria.

I just get that strange sinking feeling (supported by troop movements, moving Navy fleets around in the Med, and information from prestigious British tabloids) that despite all the fine international humanitarian work by Russian President Vlad of Putin, we still want to bomb something (anything?)....well, maybe at least 100 Tomahawk cruise missiles worth.

Air-launched, sub-launched, ship-launched, drone-launched. We have this great combo-deal going now…

And make sure to check the weather-strips around your doors and windows.

This could save you hundreds in gas and electricity bills over time.

...Well, you get it. Lots going on, and if you don’t make a list, and stick to it, some of this may get by you.

And if so, you’ll be sorry!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Important Random Gun Trivia

Steven R. Berryman
[from The Tentacle of July 22nd 2013]

In keeping with the lazy informal mode of the sizzling summer, here is an assortment of blurbs relating to firearms, keepin’ it short and tight to match the attention span of the season!

What’s the best home defense weapon?

Buy a slide-action 12-gauge shotgun with an 18” barrel. Load it with alternating rounds of 3” magnum loads of 00 buckshot and then bird shot. DO NOT do what Vice President Joe Biden suggests and shoot off warning rounds from the balcony (or deck).....because this will get you arrested, and any real burglar will have already freaked when you racked the slide a minute earlier.

The pellets of this recommended ammo will not over penetrate walls too much, yet spreads into a pattern so large that you don’t have to aim real good....know what I mean?

What handgun ammo has the statistically best odds of stopping an assailant in one shot?

A landmark study by Evan Marshall took in very broad real law enforcement data on “one shot stops” from a very large database. Evaluations were that a .357 Magnum round – almost always used in revolvers – in 125 grain (weight) is best. It beat out even the .44 Magnum, .45 Auto, and many other venerable contenders. This, because the kinetic energy of this round at ~1,300 feet per second penetrates just right, and transfers energy most efficiently. Use of a “hollow-point” intensifies the effect, by mushrooming out to a larger diameter; but it tends to bunch up in impacting winter outerwear a bit.

Should I buy an automatic pistol, or a double-action automatic pistol, or a revolver?

Revolvers carry less ammo, but are more reliable, and have great ammo available. Best for those that don’t shoot often or may have to shoot in a panic situation without much practice. Automatic, like the famous Colt .45, carried in World War II are widely available and carry a big punch. After the slide is racked, which loads a round from a removable magazine, the hammer is also cocked. Not safe to carry in this “cocked and locked” condition, no matter what they say! Double-action is better, as you may lower the hammer back down after racking slide. Then you may shoot and fully cycle the hammer by squeezing the trigger a full length. This action resembles shooting a revolver that has not been cocked. Cornfuzed yet?

Did Dirty Harry (as portrayed by Clint Eastwood) use a .44 Magnum Smith and Wesson revolver?

Well, yes and no. In the movie version, this weapon in a blued version was used in both 6” and 8” barrel versions, depending on the needs of a given scene. But as explained in the novel version, Inspector Callahan (Harry) loaded it with .44 Special rounds instead of Magnum rounds – which carry more powder. The .44 Special rounds – or cowboy loads – don’t over-penetrate, transfer energy to the target better, and “Harry” learned through trial and error that it’s much easier to get that second shot off with less barrel rise after discharge. Of course, it’s only a story.

What are the three most important rules of safe firearms handling?

· Always handle the firearm as if it were loaded, even when you know that it is not!

· Never point a firearm at anything that you don’t intend to shoot.

· Do not put your finger inside the trigger guard till you intend to shoot.

How should I safely store my firearms? [Except for a quick action safe used for primary home defense.]

· Unload firearm, and lock the ammo in a different, hidden location.

· Use a gun safe, and make the location secret and/or hard to get to.

· Use trigger locks even inside the gun safe as a second line of defense.

· *Safely dispose of anyone that has learned of your secret locations!

Only kidding.

True or False:

Guns only serve gun owners. False.

Non-gun owners are essentially allowed to freeload on the backs of gun guys. This is because the crooks and burglars never know who is packing a pistol, or who has that home defense shotgun ready to rack and rock. About half of Americans are gun owners, and thieves are chicken, by definition.

True or False:

Gun laws restricting firearms don’t work. True!

Criminals, by definition, don’t obey laws, they defy them. A crook will get a gun if he wants one. Law enforcement rarely enforces “straw purchase” laws, anyway; this is a true statistic. Burglaries are a chief source of guns in the wrong hands.

True or False:

If I don’t purchase a firearm in Maryland by October 1, 2013, I will:

· Be forced to visit State Police for permission;

· Be forced to pass a firearms training class at my own expense;

· Be fingerprinted like a criminal;

· Not be able to purchase magazines over 10-ten rounds capacity; and

· Not be able to purchase 54 specifically and generically named rifles.


Lastly, if I already own a banned firearm, can I keep it, shoot it, hunt with it, and lawfully pass it down to my kids?

Thank God, YES

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Clutching Your Guns in Maryland - Activist Edition!

Clutching Your Guns in Maryland – Activist Edition!

Steven R. Berryman
[from The Tentacle - May 27th 2013]

Between now and October 1st is your last best chance to acquire firearms and ammunition before “the O’Malley Gun Ban” becomes fully implemented. Although the federal attempt to do much the same to all of these United States stalled in Congress, Marylanders will be treated to their own special tyranny.

This takes me back to my firearms roots; memories flash as I worry for future generations that may be treated oppressively as in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

Respect for firearms and our God-given Constitutional protections, as afforded by our Founding Fathers in their eternal wisdom, has been a pet subject of mine for some 37 years, as I became a proud gun owner with eyes wide open at the earliest legal age.

At 18 I bought a .22 Magnum bolt-action rifle from a friend for plinking – legally without any paperwork needed. Purchased a 7mm Magnum Mark X shortly thereafter from Best Products with all of the proper gun transfer forms for a new purchase, and a lever action Model 1894 .44 Magnum rifle to boot.

On my 21st birthday I acquired a Smith & Wesson Model 39-2 9mm automatic pistol – nickel plated – from Herman’s Sporting goods in Rockville. And so it began.

Today I have purchased and sold many a classic firearms treasure. Some I have documented on the earliest pages of my gun blog

Blogging came to me quite naturally well before 9/11, but really took on a life of its own then. Clearly firearms and the Second Amendment needed active protection in a “use it or lose it” fashion; so I actively obliged!

Before long the National Rifle Association’s Chris Cox asked me to write a local article for their NRA-ILA (Institute for Legislation Action) monthly publication. My picture was included along with that of featured Senator Richard Shelby (R) of Alabama.

Yet I digress...

I urge every capable Marylander who has ever had an urge to purchase a firearm to do so shortly – certainly before October 1st to avoid the nightmare. At that time, handguns will be next to impossible to obtain legally.

You would suffer a months’ long backlog of processing, fees, forced fingerprinting at a State Police barracks, mandatory hands-on training at your expense at a certified facility – not even close to being available at the present, and shortages of the guns themselves due to demand.

As long as you have placed your orders prior to the exaction date of the new Maryland legislation, you will be okay to lawfully possess a handgun ahead of the new restrictions.

Collect ammunition in the calibers you intend to use (consider .22, .40, .223, .308, and various 12-gauge shotgun shells) any time in the future, even before you obtain the rifle, shotgun, or pistol itself. This will be hard, as shelves are bare and product is rationed to retailers because of Department of Homeland Security contracts written in order to deny you an ability to stockpile. In any type of civil insurrection, ammunition would be an ideal item to barter with.

As we now know from the recent Internal Revenue Service investigation and other scandals in our government, what happens behind the screen of power – which is proven to be anything but transparent – will not be explained to you. When it is, it will be a distortion. We must judge by what we observe, as opposed to what we are told, and deduce our actions from that perspective.

Steps are being taken to disarm the American people. Government fears the people and seeks to control them more with each passing opportunity. Checks and balances and oversight by Congress have failed and have been corrupted.

Something is going to happen. Something the government projects and anticipates, but will not explain. A breakdown of society? A financial disaster causing a run on banks and grocery stores as individual states become insolvent and seek aid that is not available. U.S. currency devalued and refused as the worlds “reserve currency?” Inflation causing massive food shortages? Continued moral disintegration and flight from religion that binds honest men?

Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins has shared on several occasions that local law enforcement cannot protect the people all by itself. Law enforcement has become reactive and is losing an ability to be protective by the day. The people must become more self-sufficient as budgets are cut and meager resources are spread thin. Currently our Sheriff’s Department is already covering for Maryland State Police shortages in certain areas.

To compound the problem, Britain’s MI-6 Military Chief (their FBI) recently stated: “We cannot protect you [the people] against Muslim terror attacks.” This is all the more chilling as a London soldier was beheaded in a terrorist attack and it took the Bobbies 20 minutes to respond.

Followers of the Obama Administration’s agenda have noted that socialist tendencies now are permeating our great nation. We are becoming more like Europe every day. Our pattern of accepting illegal immigration is exactly like theirs. Sweden is under armed attack almost daily now; cars ablaze.

The future will belong to those most prepared, and most aware of where we are headed. Activism in all forms is essential to protect our greatness against a tide that would dilute our culture and make us a tad bit too global.

Wake up. You have been warned. Tell a friend.

Forward this!..............  >>>>>

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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Contrast in Firearms Town Hall Meetings

A Contrast in Firearms Town Hall Meetings
Steven R. Berryman

[from The Tentacle of April 29th 2013]

Last Thursday Frederick County Delegates Michael Hough, Kelly Schulz, Kathy Afzali, and Patrick Hogan met their constituents in a true “town hall” style meeting to cover the state of the Second Amendment in Maryland, now that Gov. Martin O’Malley’s anti-gun bill has become law.

More than a simple change in Maryland law, the collective impact on the local gun culture was actually tantamount to an all out assault on the United States Constitution’s legitimacy in our state.

One activist from the audience suggested that the Republican Delegation should attempt to reincorporate the Founders words on firearms rights and protections from the federal Constitution into the Maryland Constitution. Not much likelihood of that, I am afraid.

A packed American Legion Post #11 hall was standing room only as Marylanders vented their anger. National Rifle Association representative Shannon Alford and Delegate Hough took most of the questions from the audience for almost three solid hours.

Attendees were old and young, gun rights advocates and citizens, gun owners and non-gun owners, hunters, farmers, businessmen, moms and dads, gun shop owners, and those feeling politically disenfranchised. There were almost no dissenters at all, with the possible exception of the attached bar area.

It began with the Pledge of Allegiance, led by County Commissioner Kirby Delauter. Sheriff Chuck Jenkins sat behind me, and in the back I spotted Commissioners Blaine Young and Billy Shreve, along with State Sen. David Brinkley.

Of the anti-gun-group, State Sen. Ron Young was spotted in the bar of the American Legion, but did not enter the Town Hall event to speak or ask questions.

The tone was deadly serious, concerned and polite, but completely under control and orderly. The reading through details of the legislation was as if from a funeral. Citizens were outraged, and many openly discussed leaving the State of Maryland.

At the outset, even before the question was asked, Delegate Afzali answered the question as to why Delegate Neil Parrott reversed his decision to have a petition drive to take the measure to referendum: “It is not a right of the citizens to vote on whether The Constitution is right or wrong.”

Delegate Hough detailed the line-items and fielded direct questions. Yes, you will be able to buy 20-round magazines out of state. Yes, you will be able to give your son or daughter your “grand fathered-in” AR-15 (or variant) as long as it is purchased before October 1. Yes you must essentially register when you buy a new handgun by visiting your Maryland State Police barracks and getting finger printed like a criminal, passing a background check that allows for blocking your purchase on a single “probation before Judgment” decision (in a violent crime); and, yes, you will be paying to take an actual handgun training certification that you must pass.

Comprehensive background checks will be mandatory, in part to put a stop to “straw-purchases,” one in which somebody with a clear record could purchase surreptitiously for a criminal, but by definition, that would always still work. The truth is that of the tens of thousands of citizens denied a handgun in the history of Maryland background checking, there have been but 44 prosecutions. As in the GOPs position on Illegal immigrants, enforce the laws that are already on the books, people…

The reality is that we don’t even enforce the laws on the books, and none of the O’Malley “gun grab” bill would have prevented a Newtown Connecticut tragedy. For instance, responsible storage of guns, with consequences for leaving them too “available,” was never considered. A tax rebate for purchase of a home gun safe?

Certainly the added three months to process a handgun application (estimated) and costs, and red tape, and transfer taxes will amount to a de facto ban in the process; it has already been estimated that there are not even enough gun ranges in Maryland to cover the now-mandated trainings as qualification for purchase…even if all ranges were used all of the time for this exclusive purpose!

And for you budget watchers, know that $4,000,000 will need to be set aside to go to the Maryland State Police to facilitate the backlog of background checks.

Delegate Schulz noted that our delegation offered up and supported 43 proposed amendments to the legislation as compromises, and not a single one was entertained. Just like ObamaCare, it was a download! According to Delegate Hough, the final bill “was crap.”

Delegate Hogan allowed that “It could have been a lot worse.” Not much, IMHO.

Toward the end of the meeting, one in the long line of questioners asked, looking out to the middle-aged crowd, where are the younger people who need to come out and fight for gun owner’s rights in Maryland. The quick-witted Blair Pettrey, a youthful GOP up-and-comer, shouted out “I’m right here” to the delight of the crowd.

Most of the crowd of over 400 and all of the delegates and the hostess from the NRA stayed from 6:15 P.M. to about 10 P.M.

Now, contrast this with reports from The Frederick News-Post and on Facebook about last Saturday’s meeting in Urbana sponsored by the supporters of this new law, including Sens. Ron Young and Brian Frosh.

That forum was advertised as being an open microphone meeting from 10 A.M. to 12.  Published descriptions of the event were that it deteriorated into chaos after only one hour when both senators found an excuse to leave for Hagerstown.

Citizens were not being heard, and cat calls started after about 10 minutes.

It was almost a riot scenario – good thing sheriff’s deputies were present – when it appeared that the attendees, overwhelmingly the same people who attended the Thursday meeting, learned that their voices were not to be heard by the hosts after all, and that this was evidently only a one-way downloading session by senators who made excuses and then ran.

Attendance at this Saturday forum, held at the new Urbana Library, was about one hundred, with the “antis” heavily outnumbered and out gunned. Let’s just say it didn’t go their way.

Although the outcome of this legislation did not go as the GOP had hoped, at a minimum, it has awakened a sleeping giant, and there will be much more to come.

Activist Deborah Senn mentioned that she was now proud to be the newest member of the National Rifle Association.

I’ll bet she didn’t retain that fleeting status for long.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Why Our Gun Debate Is OFF Target

Why Our Gun Debate Is Off Target

America's gun owners have every right to object to sweeping controls, but until they take responsibility for their own role in accidents and violence, they're setting themselves up for more regulation.

Most American gun owners don't recognize themselves in the rhetoric of the NRA or the stereotypes of gun-control advocates. Dan Baum, author of "Gun Guys: A Road Trip," offers a very different picture of American gun culture in a discussion with WSJ Weekend Review editor Gary Rosen.
Believe it or not, what's missing from the current shout-fest over guns and gun control is the voice of gun owners.
Yes, the National Rifle Association has been screaming its head off since the tragedy at Sandy Hook, but the NRA doesn't speak for the country's 100 million gun owners. If it did, it wouldn't have just four million members. Some "gun guys" (as I like to call them) probably support the NRA without joining, but if only 4% are signing up, it's safe to say a large majority of them want nothing to do with the NRA's angry extremism.
David Kasnic for The Wall Street Journal
Marcey Parker of Kentucky competes with submachine guns around the country.
As for those on the gun-control side, they often go beyond calling for policy changes, about which reasonable people can disagree, and issue broad-brush insults that aren't acceptable in other contexts. When sportscaster Bob Costas blames "gun culture" for the murder-suicide of an NFL linebacker, gun owners say, "Wait a minute. I'm gun culture. And my guns haven't hurt anybody."

Related Video

With no background check required, buying a gun in the U.S. is easier than buying a number of other things. MarketWatch's Rex Crum reports. (Photo: Getty Images)

A lot of assumptions are made about gun owners, by the NRA and gun-control proponents alike. What nobody ever seems to do, though, is listen to them.
I recently drove 15,000 miles around the country doing just that, talking to gun guys in their homes and garages, at gun shows and ranges, at gun stores and in the woods, trying to figure out why they are so deeply attracted to firearms and why guns inspire such passion on all sides. In part, it was a voyage of self-discovery. I'm a weirdo hybrid: a lifelong gun guy who is also a lifelong liberal Democrat. I often feel like the child of a bitter divorce who has allegiance to both parents.
I obtained a concealed-carry permit and wore a gun every place I went. I'd flash it like a Masonic pin, and gun guys poured out their stories. They seemed very glad finally to be asked about their gun lives by someone who was both sympathetic and not trying to manipulate them.
Fabrizio Costantini for The Wall Street Journal
Rick Ector of Rick's Firearm Academy of Detroit. Mr. Ector teaches gun safety.


The fondness for firearms is complex. At their simplest, guns are beautifully made things, richly satisfying to handle. The one with which I hunt was made in 1900, for the Spanish-American War. At a gun store in Minnesota, a big man put his credit card on the counter to buy a Glock, and as he waited for his receipt he turned to me with a sigh of satisfaction. "Tell me another thing I can buy for $400 that my grandchildren will be using," he said. (This, by the way, is one of the problems with gun bans; unless we're willing to go house to house rounding them up, the country's 300 million privately owned guns are going to last forever.)
Then there's the Zen pleasure of marksmanship. One competitor at a match in Kentucky called it "a martial art," but even less serious shooting is a hoot. At a machine-gun shoot in the Arizona desert—yes, machine guns are legal with the right permit—I rented a Thompson submachine gun and fired it into an arroyo strewed with junked cars and sticks of dynamite. Choose the most antigun peacenik you know, let her shoot a Tommy gun at a stick of dynamite, then ask if it was fun.
During a break in the shooting, I got a lesson in how guns connect us to our past. Men lovingly discussed the industrial-era designs of their 1896 Argentine Maxims and 1916 Vickers. As much as they were gun guys, they were history buffs and patent freaks.
Gun guys also talked of the welcome discipline that living with guns imposed on their lives, of their patriotic pride in the unique trust that America places in its people. They also get a charge from their proximity to the grim reaper. They stand apart from those who fear firearms, saying, essentially, "I am master of this death-dealing device, and you are not. I am prepared for the kind of situation you can't even bring yourself to think about." To live intimately with such lethal devices, to be able to handle them safely, is a powerful self-esteem builder.
Although I did my best to avoid gun politics, the subject came up constantly. What came through loudest of all was that gun guys feel insulted. The caustic and routine dismissal of "gun culture" is only part of it. Gun guys look at the most strident advocates of gun control and say, "You know nothing about what it means to handle guns, but you presume to make judgments about my ability to do so."
From Arizona to Michigan, I found America full of working people who won't listen to Democrats about anything because of the party's identification with gun control. A parks-and-recreation worker in Wisconsin told me he was offended by the Democrats' view "that guns are for the unwashed, the yokels." It's hard to think of a better organizing tool for the right than the left's tribal antipathy to guns.


Americans who report having a gun in the home
Source: Gallup
[image] Benjamin Rasmussen for The Wall Street Journal
Dan Baum, the author, with his antique German-made Mauser pistol in Boulder, Colo.
But my fellow gun guys have plenty to answer for, too. We don't live in a vacuum. Our guns affect everybody, and the non-gun-owning public has a right to expect things to improve. More than ever, after the transformative horror of Sandy Hook, the old defensive crouch is inadequate. If gun culture is to survive, gun guys need to get in the game. If we want to hold on to our guns, we need to be part of the solution.
Lacking a national church, Americans have few ways of expressing public morality except by saying, "There oughta be a law." So both sides of our "gun debate" can think no further than what government might do. Gun controllers call for more restrictive laws, gun guys gnash their teeth over same. Meanwhile, the single step that I believe would save the most lives wouldn't involve government at all.
As individuals, the majority of gun guys are achingly responsible with their guns. As a community, though, they are lethal—so focused on criminals and government as the villains that they have failed to examine how they themselves might help to reduce the number of gun fatalities.
The wrongest of wrong hands for guns aren't necessarily those of criminals but of curious children and depressed teenagers. Accidental child death is one of the few gun statistics that has grown worse since 1999. Teenage gun suicide is a lot lower than it was in 1999, but it's still heartbreakingly high. Almost half the teenagers who kill themselves do it with a gun, and, unlike those who try it with pills, car exhaust, razorblades, or a rope, they almost always succeed.
Where are those children and teenagers getting the guns? Not from gun stores, thanks to age minimums. Not from gun shows, either, unless they're getting an adult to buy them. And not from some murky "illegal gun market." They're getting them, by and large, from adults who leave them around, where immature hands can find them.
The same goes for career criminals. In the mid-1980s, the sociologists James Wright and Peter Rossi asked some 2,000 violent felons in prison about their gun lives. Almost half the guns that the felons described were stolen. Add to that the ones they thought were "probably" stolen, and the figure jumped to 70%. Most were stolen from households. An estimated half-million guns a year go missing in the U.S. and end up in criminal hands.
And then there are the tens of thousands of shootings every year by people who aren't criminals until they pick up a gun. Tempers flare, a gun is at hand, and tragedy ensues.
To the legislatures of 27 states and the District of Columbia, the solution to both problems seems obvious: Require guns to be locked up, trigger-locked, stored separately from their ammunition, or some combination of the three. A lot of gun guys hate these laws. They argue that a gun separated from its ammunition, disabled or locked away is useless in an emergency.
Not true. I keep my handgun loaded in the bedroom, in a metal safe the size of a toaster that pops open the second I punch in a three-digit code. I bought it on eBay EBAY +0.63%for $25. The gun is secure but instantly available—to me only. Many gun guys use such safes. They just don't want to be told to use them.
Neither do they want to be ordered to report a stolen gun to the police. Lots of gun guys consider it tyranny to have to tell the police anything about their guns, and they have kept most jurisdictions from passing stolen-gun laws. Only seven states and the District of Columbia make reporting a stolen gun mandatory.
But if we gun guys are the paragons of civic virtue that we claim to be, why do we have to be ordered to lock up our guns or report a gun theft? Wouldn't a responsible citizen do that anyway?
We gun guys are operating under a double standard. We want to be left alone to buy, use and carry guns because, we say, we understand firearms better than any bureaucrat. But at the same time, enough of us behave so carelessly that thousands of people are needlessly killed, injured or victimized every year by guns left lying around.
Is a gun guy who keeps his guns properly secured responsible for some knucklehead who doesn't? If the NRA is consistent in its logic, the answer is yes. Solidarity is a constant theme of the NRA, which exhorts its members to lobby and vote in support of the wider community of gun owners.
But that is where the NRA's vision of service to the community ends. For the NRA to suggest that law-abiding gun owners are responsible in any way for gun violence would shatter the notion that only criminals are to blame. So while the NRA trains people in gun safety and publishes books about gun care, it avoids drawing a connection between the carelessness of law-abiding gun owners and America's still-high rate of needless gun death.
What could the NRA and the community of responsible gun owners do to reduce gun deaths without government intervention? They could make unsafe gun behavior socially unacceptable, just as it has become unthinkable, among most Americans, to smoke inside another person's house or to make lascivious comments about underage girls.
Some are trying. Robert Farago, who writes a popular gun blog called The Truth About Guns, runs a regular feature called "Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day"—often a YouTube video of young men acting stupidly or a news item about a needless tragedy. After Arizona instituted "constitutional carry"—allowing any adult to carry a concealed gun with no training or permit—a group called organized to urge citizens to get trained and to help them find trainers.
But these are lonely voices. The big dog, the NRA, has for decades run a monthly feature in its magazines called "The Armed Citizen," about people successfully defending themselves with firearms. Were it to call its members to a higher standard of responsibility with a complementary column called, say, "The Armed Bonehead," it would reach millions more people than either Mr. Farago or TrainMeAZ.
Imagine how gun culture could change if gun guys refused to hang out with those who left guns lying around their houses. "Sorry, dude. I'm not shooting with you until you clean up your act." Or if gun guys refused to shop at stores that sold home-defense guns without insisting that buyers also take safes to keep them in. Little by little, shooters and gun stores would get the message, and the problem of unsecured guns—the main source of gun tragedy—would wither away.
Gun guys are right to object to government officials who propose sweeping gun controls without understanding guns. But until they take responsibility for the gun violence that so frightens their fellow citizens, they're setting themselves up for more regulation. Taking collective responsibility for social problems is not the same thing as knuckling under to a tyrannical government. In fact, it's the opposite.
—Mr. Baum is the author of "Gun Guys: A Road Trip," which will be published by Knopf on March 5.
A version of this article appeared February 16, 2013, on page C1 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: OFFTARGET.
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