September 23rd, 2010


Concealed or Not: Baum on Guns

Interesting article on guns this month in Harper's though I don't think you can get the article online if you're not a subscriber. It is written by a fellow (Dan Baum) who got into guns as a fat kid who couldn't run too fast, but he could lay on the ground and shoot a rifle pretty darn good. He grew up to be a liberal, but kept his gun hobby, and recently decided to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon. I don't know why, but the laws governing concealed carrying are called "shall-issue" laws.

Baum reports on the concealed permitting class he took in Boulder, CO, and on his experience of the gun-toting culture. I don't think they knew he was a liberal infiltrator who has voted consistently for laws restricting the distribution and use of guns. He gives a pretty good survey of the politics and economics of guns. He also gives some info on who's shooting who, and it seems that armed citizens are shooting a few bad guys, but that shootings overall are on the decrease. I wonder how long that will last. Anyway, institutionally apparently the police are against citizens carrying, but individually Baum found that street cops like the idea of potential backup from citizens.

According to Baum small concealable personal handguns are the one bright spot in the gun market--that and the accessories that allow you to carry concealed. Use of guns by women hasn't increased like they'd hoped it would, and where it has increased slightly is in hunting rifles. Tiny handguns designed for women have not taken off. Apparently there was a huge rush on ammo after Obama was elected, but that fear-driven buying binge has tapered down.

The new frontier for gun advocates, since they've been so successful in gaining "shall-issue" laws in the US, is open carry. Apparently it's already legal to openly carry a firearm in most states, but the goal is to do it enough that people habituate to it, and it is no longer so uncomfortable. Baum tried it and felt like a dick, so he went back to concealing.