2013 January 29 Tuesday
Liberal Explains Why He Owns Guns

Novelist Justin Cronin owns a half dozen pistols. He's shopping for bigger weapons.

I AM a New England liberal, born and bred. I have lived most of my life in the Northeast — Boston, New York and Philadelphia — and my politics are devoutly Democratic. In three decades, I have voted for a Republican exactly once, holding my nose, in a mayoral election in which the Democratic candidate seemed mentally unbalanced.

I am also a Texas resident and a gun owner.

His thinking: He can't count on the police to be there when he or his family find themselves suddenly and unexpectedly in danger. That's the biggest argument for gun ownership. I'm thinking seriously that I've got to take the plunge. The latest DC liberal attempt at more gun control has me thinking if I wait too long ownership won't be possible. One thing I've noticed: a lot of sold out guns on gun store web sites. In liberal affluent Connecticut gun sales were up 71% in December 2012 from a year previous. Some guns are back-ordered 6 months.

The New York Times also recently ran a piece by a presumably liberal prepper who is afraid society could collapse.

MY OWN ATTEMPTS at prepping started at a point between the fall of Lehman Brothers and the corresponding rise of quantitative easing, when it occurred to me — as, of course, it did to many — that the financial system was appallingly unstable and that the realm of the possible now included a disruptive reduction in the value of our money.

I detect a growing liberal unease with the potential for quite substantial societal decay. This is an interesting development with important implications.

Fears of gun regulations might be serving a constructive purpose of making the citizenry much better armed. If we eventually go thru an Argentina-style financial panic and economic meltdown much more severe than 2008-2009 then an armed citizenry will help to maintain order.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2013 January 29 09:16 PM 

Black Death said at January 30, 2013 9:35 AM:

I don't know if anyone still remembers Carl Rowan, an old-style liberal warhorse, civil rights activist and big-time supporter of the Democratic party and all its favorite causes, including, of course, gun control. From Wiki:

Rowan gained public notoriety on June 14, 1988, when he shot an unarmed teenage trespasser, Neil Smith, who was on his property illegally. "The interloper was a near-naked teenager who had been skinny-dipping with friends in Rowan's pool, and the columnist's weapon was an unregistered, and thus illegal, .22 caliber pistol." [5]

From People Magazine: "When Rowan heard the police arrive, he stepped outside to let them in. It was then, he says, that he was confronted by "a tall man who was smoking something that I absolutely was sure was marijuana." Rowan says he repeatedly warned the intruder that he was armed and would shoot. "My first words were: 'Freeze! Stay where you are!' " says Rowan. "Then I said, 'I have a gun.' " Rowan says the man kept coming and that he finally felt forced to shoot in self-defense. He says he aimed at the intruder's feet but hit him in the wrist when the man lunged forward.

The intruder, Chevy Chase, Md., teenager Benjamin Smith, 18, tells a different story. "I was in my underwear," he told a radio interviewer. "I just climbed out of the pool. It was pretty innocent. I never spoke with him. He just shot me and closed the door and went back hiding in his house. I mean, I guess I was trespassing. But that's no reason to shoot a person, is it? For swimming in their pool?" "[6]

Rowan was charged for firing a gun that he did not legally own. Rowan was arrested and tried. During the trial, he argued that he had the right to use whatever means necessary to protect himself and his family. He also said the pistol he used was exempt from the District's handgun prohibition law because it belonged to his older son, a former FBI agent. He was called out for hypocrisy, since Rowan was a strict gun control advocate. In a 1981 column, he advocated "a law that says anyone found in possession of a handgun except a legitimate officer of the law goes to jail—period." In 1985, he called for "A complete and universal federal ban on the sale, manufacture, importation and possession of handguns (except for authorized police and military personnel).[7]] Private gun ownership had been illegal in the District of Columbia since 1976[8] and the facts of the case were the talk of the town for many days.

Rowan was tried but the jury was deadlocked; the judge declared a mistrial and he was never retried. In his autobiography, Rowan said he still favors gun control, but admits being vulnerable to a charge of hypocrisy.


Really, you can't make this stuff up.

Rhadamanthus said at January 30, 2013 11:35 AM:

You should get a nice pistol. If you can, borrow a pistol from a friend or rent one, then take a few days' training with it; I think you'll enjoy that experience in several ways--shooting is fun, the society of the class will be interesting and likely pleasant, you will gain the joy of possessing new skills, and you will be even more qualified afterward to scorn ignoramuses who say foolish things about guns. Your training will improve your ability to choose a pistol to purchase, since you will be able to go to a range that rents different pistols and try them out to find which of them suit you better, exercising your newly acquired skills and recognizing from your disciplined experience in training whether you can control a given pistol comfortably.

If you must buy a pistol "cold" to even get started, choose a popular model (so you can get accessories and parts) in a very popular caliber (to minimize troubles finding ammunition), make sure you can grip it comfortably (there's no shame in having smaller hands, but if you do you may not like the bulky grips of many automatics with double-stack magazines), and (unless you opt for a revolver to save money) make sure you can and do buy several extra magazines. (For some reason there are some very nice pistols like the Walther PPS for which additional magazines are almost unobtainable-- be careful, you will need extra magazines for training (really), for home defense, and as spares since magazines may get damaged or lost.)

Because it's harder to carry concealed I do not recommend it as an "only gun," but though heavy by modern standards and a bit bulky, the M1911 (the classic US military .45) is effective and comfortable for almost all shooters (grip suits even smaller hands, recoil is moderate, power is very good) and spare magazines are easy to obtain. The US is awash with moderately-priced clones. If you really like the M1911, please consider a "lightweight commander" style 1911 with an aluminum frame and slightly shorter barrel/slide: easier to carry and just as effective for defensive purposes.

For an "only gun" I recommend a polymer-framed compact (barrel length under 4.25 inches) pistol. The Glock is the grandaddy of this type but there are a number of fine offerings from other makers now. Get at least four magazines. (Do not get a snubby .357 Mag. revolver as a first gun!)

NB: If at all possible, rent or borrow and shoot any particular pistol (revolver) model before you buy one, because that is about the only way to find out if the grip will "rub you the wrong way.". Really, this is an important consideration. Every model of pistol and every shooter's hand is a bit different. Under recoil, certain parts of the grip will impact certain areas of your hand or prominences like knuckles. Modern grips often have aggressive texturing to make them less slippery, which acts like a file to abrade any of your skin which it hits or rubs when your hand and the grip both flex and move during recoil. When you grasp a pistol you have not fired, you can't be sure that your hand is in the position which you will "settle into" to control the pistol in real shooting. That makes it hard to judge whether that pistol will "bite you." You don't want a pistol which is painful to shoot, in part because it will make you flinch and that will kill your accuracy for no good reason. Think of a pistol like, say, skis: fit is important for comfort and performance, even though you may be able to grit your teeth and thrash through a situation with whatever gear is available.

Rhadamanthus said at January 30, 2013 3:01 PM:

I read that newspaper column and I want to offer two notes. (1) It is very misleading to say anything like "a gun in a home is more likely to harm a resident than an intruder." Most of the "studies" cited for that proposition (like charlatan A. Kellerman's "43 times as likely") are clumsy propaganda, and even the "calm follow up study" by Dahlberg, Ikeda, and Kresnow (2004) which claimed people who lived in homes with guns were 1.9 (i.e. less than two) times as likely to die of homicide (not by their own guns) EXPLICITLY INTENTIONALLY DISREGARDED the character of the people. Criminals are hundreds of times more likely to die by homicide than normal people and somewhat more likely to own guns, so the count of criminals killing each other completely dominates naive (often deliberately naive) statistical analyses of "guns in home vs. homicide." According to DOJ BJS armed self defenders are less likely to be killed or injured than unarmed self-defenders and both are less likely to be killed or injured than victims who do not resist assailants at all! (2) During the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles twenty years ago, liberal LA Times journalist Jonathan L. Gold published his gratitude to his armed neighbors who kept rioters from burning down his apartment building. He wrote that he had never before been happy to see "drug dealers with Uzi's" but welcomed them standing guard that night and the next. Some of that was hyperbole, of course... his neighbors may have been drug dealers but they had pistols, rifles, and shotguns rather than submachineguns. Anyway, in the morbid humor department few things can beat my memories of left-wing Silverlake and Westwood liberals lining up at gunstores and then throwing tantrums over California's 15-day waiting period. Surely, they whined, it shouldn't apply to THEM.

FWIW, all Cronin's other ritual genuflections to anti-gun propaganda myths in that column are pretty funny too. Imagine feeling compelled to write "guns are evil, gunowners are evil, Republicans are evil because some of them are gunowners, blah, blah, blah, but I am a gunowner even though as a Democrat moving in hyper-liberal circles I feel horribly guilty about it..." and having that hailed as courageous work. The guy is obviously almost as frightened of his Democrat social peers as he is of violent criminals.

JHP said at January 30, 2013 7:24 PM:

More than a few liberals deserve to get robed/raped/killed by their colored pets when the SHTF occurs. If were to see and hear people like Ezra Klein scream for help, I'd keep walking.

Check it Out said at January 31, 2013 2:48 PM:

People should always have the right to own guns, even if we run the risk of having a lot of idiots with guns. So many armed idiots are very harmful to any society, and in our case they are a majority. That's why we should have the right to keep them weapons.

asdf said at January 31, 2013 7:22 PM:

How do you buy a gun without registering? I imagine that they will one day go and confiscate every registered gun.

Randall Parker said at January 31, 2013 8:01 PM:


Buy a used gun that predates the registration laws. Think estate sale for example. Keep an eye out for newly created widows whose husbands left them with guns.

Engineer-Poet said at January 31, 2013 9:51 PM:

Or get CNC programming files to make a number of different designs.  Rod and bar stock are not controllable items.  I can see extrusion printing of parts like stocks and grips.

The problem quickly becomes ammunition, not the devices to fire it.

CamelCaseRob said at February 1, 2013 8:27 AM:

The problem isn't getting guns or ammunition, it's being able to USE them without going to jail. People seem to think they've won something by burying their guns in the backyard or hiding them inside a wall. No, the government has won because you realistically don't have the use of them.

Check it Out said at February 1, 2013 2:39 PM:

"How do you buy a gun without registering?"

Mexico of course. Practically every private gun in Mexico is not registered. The only ones registered are those used by police and army.

Engineer-Poet said at February 1, 2013 3:50 PM:

If you're counter-attacking gun-grabbers at checkpoints and as they search neighborhoods, and taking out hostile public officials, you're way beyond worrying about going to jail.

Randall Parker said at February 2, 2013 2:09 PM:


I realize some tips are banned. But is pretty easy to buy ammo, no?

How long does ammo last?


Your comment inspires me to write a new post. I'm asking questions about jurisdictions and what we can do to protect ourselves.

Engineer-Poet said at February 2, 2013 3:25 PM:

I have some ammo that is at least 20 years old and still seems to be good.

Rhadamanthus said at February 3, 2013 1:19 AM:

Modern ammo lasts for many decades if stored in a cool dry place. The primers fail first due to moisture so both premium and milspec ammo have lacquer-sealed primers to ensure long life. Keep your extra ammo (inside any small boxes it came in to keep cartridges from dinging each other) in military ammo cans (".50 cal" boxes are most convenient) or similar airtight containers inside your house (not out in the un-airconditioned garage). Don't worry, rifle and pistol ammo poses no fire hazard and no explosive hazard in case of a house fire. Some military surplus ammo comes ready to store in "battle packs" of thick flexible plastic (usually several to a wooden crate) or even in big tins (spam cans), though I doubt you can find any at an affordable price right now. If you buy milsurp ammo watch out for "corrosive primers," which work fine but force you to clean your gun promptly with an aqueous solution followed by drying and oiling lest your barrel rust. Avoid cartridges with visible corrosion or pitting as well as those contaminated with oil or grease. Brush off dusty cartridges (dust or grit may wander into cartridges at the range), preferably with a brush (not a paper towel) before storing them-- vacuuming them first can help a lot. Do not "tumble" loaded cartridges to shine them up-- the vibration will damage the powder and may make the cartridges unsafe to fire.

Wash and dry your hands before handling loose cartridges (e.g. while repacking them) so you won't put corrosive fingerprints on them.

Wash and dry your hands with tepid water after handling cartridges BEFORE eating, drinking, or smoking to remove stray lead particles from your hands.

Disposable nitrile gloves are an alternative to handwashing.

Do not attempt to buy a gun in Mexico.

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