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By Matthew Howe

If you haven’t seen the 1980 Robert Zemeckis, Kurt Russell film Used Cars, put it in your queue. It’s a raw, vulgar, and hilarious snobs vs. slobs story of dueling used car dealerships. Our heroes are the lovable rogues working at the downscale lot, humorous misfits who will tell any lie, use any trick to offload the junkers in their inventory. Rupert Neate and Mae Ryan at The Guardian are like those car salesmen. Only they’re not quite so lovable. They do lie, however, just as big and boldly as Kurt Russell’s Rudy Russo ever did . . .

From a recent TTAG-highlighted story in The Guardian about the Las Vegas SHOT Show:

People are buying guns as part of the American dream of freedom and liberty,” said Brauer, who is based at the Hull College of Business at Augusta University. “And also, the hope and the dream of being able to use guns in self-defense.

The “hope and dream” of being able to use a gun in self defense? This is clearly a fellow who hasn’t read much Massad Ayoob. Typical projection, where the gun-control advocate assumes that gun owners are all just itching for the chance to plug someone. Preferably someone of color. Because in their minds, we’re all trigger-happy racists.

As anyone who’s actually familiar with America’s gun owners’s knows, that’s bunk, of course. The correct sentiment would be “in case they need one for self-defense.” It’s a cliche, but no one buys a fire extinguisher for their kitchen dreaming of the day they’ll heroically snuff out a grease fire. You have it there in case of emergency, and hope you’ll never need it.

The same goes for a gun, whether it’s carried or kept at home.

But the shill doesn’t stop there. The Guardian continues:

People very rarely get to live out that dream, with FBI data showing that gun owners are 78 times more likely to kill themselves than they are to carry out a “justifiable homicide”, which the agency describes as “the killing of a felon, during the commission of a felony, by a private citizen”.

That sentence is a con-artist’s dream as it’s both factually correct while also perfectly illustrating the unabashed dishonesty of the gun control movement. It’s a spurious correlation that sounds terrible, but is actually meaningless. It’s the big letters painted on a used car’s windshield which read RUNS QUIET!…a car with no engine.

Research has shown, over and over again, that in more than 90% of defensive gun uses, a shot isn’t even fired much less anyone struck or killed. (And using the author’s logic, the effectiveness of the police would only be measured by how many criminals they send to the morgue.)

Defensive gun uses encompass many types of events. Events where merely brandishing a gun is enough to send a criminal packing, events in which a shot is fired but no one is hurt, events where a suspect is wounded (then often arrested at a local hospital) and, finally — the smallest subset — those where the bad guy is actually killed by an armed citizen.

The authors purposefully ignore the vast majority of defensive gun uses and choose only the smallest subset of events for their comparison. They do this knowingly and willfully because if they compared suicides (which number around 20,000 per year) to even the smallest estimate of total defensive gun use events, (which comes from fellow used car salesman and public health researcher David Hemenway) they’d still find that guns are used 2.5 times more often for self-defense than for suicide.

If they used total defensive gun use figures from a source less committed to the disarmament of the American citizen, such as those by Gary Kleck, they’d discover that there are 37 to 100 times as many defensive gun uses than gun suicides.

But the entire notion is false because defensive gun uses and suicides are completely different animals. You simply can’t make a meaningful comparison between the two, especially since there is no data showing that gun ownership has a significant effect on the overall suicide rate.

So yes, they lie. The brakes are supposed to make that sound! That’s not rust, it’s undercoat! The  original owner was a little old lady who only drove it to church on Sundays! Every single day, in each article they write, and they know they’re doing it. They lie because their goal is not improved public safety, it’s civilian disarmament and whatever tall tale they need to tell to seal the deal is a means to that end.

This is why there can be no compromise. Because, like trying to get a square deal from a dishonest used car salesman, you can’t negotiate with someone who won’t tell you the truth.

Matthew Howe is a writer/film industry professional living behind the brass curtain in New York. He’s the author of the forthcoming novel Waypoint. You can visit him at or on Twitter @mindofmatthowe and @BlackRifleKitty

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    • For what it’s worth, I just wrote to the guy in the video – my text below. I’ll update if he replies.

      Hi Rupert,

      I saw one of your pieces on SHOT Show (your conversation with Smith & Wesson) on the Guardian website.

      I’m sure it’s not beyond you to appreciate that trade shows (eg. businesses) depend on the financial support of their exhibitors (eg. customers), and therefore are quite likely to get upset when one of their major exhibitors complains about press hassle.

      A bit like an employee at Primark might ask you to leave the store if you were hanging around heckling the customers for their bad fashion sense. (Not the best analogy in the world, but not a million miles out either – take it or leave it.)

      As to the S&W representative to whom you spoke, I felt he was reasonably polite and helpful towards you – whilst obviously focused on sales/marketing – until you blind-sided him, and he decided the conversation was not worth continuing.

      It’s also possible he simply dismissed your question as inaccurate and irrelevant.

      The rifle he was showing you, at your request, was the M&P 15-22, which although similar looking, was not in fact the weapon used in the San Bernardino killings. He stated several times that it was a rifle chambered in “twenty-two”, or .22lr, which is a very different cartridge to the .223 reportedly used at San Bernardino.

      .223 is a (relatively) high power cartridge, comparable to a number of military cartridges such as 5.56x45mm or 7.62x39mm

      By contrast, .22lr is a (relatively) low power cartridge, not used routinely in any military or police context but instead used mainly for sport target practice, hunting or pest control against small animals, and other fairly innocuous activities.

      So, as I say, it’s possible that he thought you were blind-siding him with a sensationalist challenge based on a poorly informed starting position – and that he doesn’t believe in feeding trolls….. and that in fact your approach is more to blame for the failure to have an intelligent debate on gun control, with a gun sales rep, at a gun show…

      I have little hope that this message will achieve much, really. While I’d be delighted to be proven wrong, I assume that you’re dogmatically anti-guns and anti- the firearms industry as a whole. I assume that you don’t consider the “gun control debate” to have two legitimate sides to it, any more than the “flat earth debate” does.

      To lay my cards on the table – if I’ve not been clear enough so far – I don’t feel this particular piece of journalism proved anything beyond the fact you arrived with an agenda and a crude plan to make everything fit your narrative. I think lazy and blatantly partisan journalism like this harms the gun control argument as much as it does the pro-gun crowd, by polarising the issue even more thanks already the case. And frankly, I’m always annoyed when people go “ha!” and think they’ve scored a point… when in fact their basic data is wrong to start with.

      Yours aye,


        • I can state with almost 100% assurance, he won’t.

          Snide little pricks who think they are clever never do.

  1. Here’s a fun question… If gun owners are, as the antis claim, violent murderous psychopaths… How are there any antis left to claim anything?

    • You forgot that we are all timebombs just waiting to be convinced and seduced by our fully automatic semi weapons of war capable of firing 30 bullet magazines every second. Made worse by a barrel shroud and a shoulder thingy that goes up.

      • Ghost guns. You forgot the ghost guns. And to the antis magazines are something displayed on a news stand: a true anti would have called them high capacity clips.

      • That’s every HALF-second (gotta be accurate, you know–the guy said it twice, so it must be right).

  2. Bingo. And there would not be many anti-gun protests if the protesters were legitimately scared of being shot. It’s funny what you realize when use your head.

    • Yeah, how many videos have we seen, usually recently of OC advocates, of wild people screaming at the top of their lungs 2 inches from the nose of an armed person, about how much they fear armed people? And they apparently expect us to be dumb enough to believe that. What they seek is control over other people’s actions, for the sake of that control, only.

  3. They always sell short the value of deterrence. In countries that have disarmed their citizens, crime goes up. It becomes open season when it’s almost guaranteed there will be no resistance.

  4. I figured it out, suicide is in fact a felony (or at least is use to be in most states) so when a person commits suicide they are killing of a felon (themselves), during the commission of a felony (suicide). there you have it +20,000 defensive gun uses a year. My logic is undeniable

  5. “We’re here at SHOT, where they celebrate how much money the gun industry made last year.”

    What? You’re an idiot. They won’t let you in for two reasons.
    1. You’re a dumbass who is going to sit there and cry about how horrible firearms are.
    2. British. Enough said.

  6. Christ that kid was an obnoxious dullard, wasn’t he?

    I suspect that he thinks that by going to SHOT he’s entering the belly of the big bad gun industry beast, where all the evil is cooked up. He even calls it a “celebration”. A Black Mass, of sorts.

    It completely fails to connect with him that he’s in fact been graciously invited to a private, professional event. SHOT is closed to the public. Most people there are doing their job in some manner. It’s a workspace, and you treat other people’s workspace with respect and restraint. Or is that really too much to ask?

    • [SHOT show is] a workspace, and you treat other people’s workspace with respect and restraint.

      Ha! Gun-grabbers do not treat your rights with respect and restraint … why would they treat anyone’s workspace with respect and restraint?!?!?

  7. “The “hope and dream” of being able to use a gun in self defense? …As anyone who’s actually familiar with America’s gun owners’s knows, that’s bunk, of course. ”

    No, it’s not. Not complete bunk, at least. I know many responsible gun owners who carry a gun as the last line of self-defense. But I have met some who are constantly playing the “wish a motherf$%ker would” game in their head. People who DO see a gun as empowering them in ways they wouldn’t act otherwise. And all we need to know that they exist is the cases out there were it went wrong. Michael Dunn, anyone?

    Know your enemy and know yourself.

    • I have met some who are constantly playing the “wish a motherf$%ker would” game in their head.

      Yeah, me too. But they’re all cops.

    • There are a lot of those “wish a MF would” game players out there. There are some few and far between days where I’m a player of the “this is not the day to be a MF” game, but I tend to take a step back, realize that I carry a capacity to do great harm, and readjust my attitude. Carrying a gun is a great way to adjust your bad attitude into a positive one and see how much further you get in life.

      Nobody wants to deal with the guy who’s being an asshole and carrying a gun. That’s why I try my damnedest not to be that guy.

  8. They are liars, but they are great salesmen. Millions upon millions of social liberals are buying their products daily.

  9. I’m fond of saying to anti-gun cultists who push these sorts of lies and deceptions:

    “Are you saying that if someone attacks you, sees your firearm and runs away, you HAVEN’T defended yourself?

    If so, how do you feel about the martial arts? Have you not defended yourself with a martial art UNLESS you’ve choked, beaten or kicked somebody TO DEATH?

    And what about chemical sprays? What do you advise women to carry, Sarin?”

    Needless to say, this causes a great deal of stammering, hemmming and hawing… and the occasional racial slur if they don’t like a gun owning Black man daring to contradict them.

    • … and the occasional racial slur if they don’t like a gun owning Black man daring to contradict them.

      Actually, the motivation for the slur is that they don’t like anyone contradicting them on anything. Gun-grabbers consider themselves to be better than everyone else and they cannot tolerate someone challenging their awesomeness.

      • Oh, but the reactions can be VERY… specific and rhyme with “trigger”.

        They want compliance from White people. They want SUBMISSION from Black people.

        They no longer even maintain the pretense of “liberalism”. They’re both racist and anti-Semitic. They want to disarm the “other”. If they pull a “Zimmerman” and somehow mistake you for White, they’ll even try to appeal to your [assumed] “shared” fear and hatred of Blacks and Jews.

        I once had an elderly cleaner in a Lakewood, Ohio MacDonald’s berate me for wearing an an NRA ballcap. He went on to declare that the NRA should be “banned”. When I noted that the last time groups started getting “banned”, we somehow misplaced 6,000,000 Jews, he replied that he “wasn’t so sure that was such a BAD thing.”

        Scratch an anti-gunner, find a Klansman… or a Nazi.

        • Chris, you gotta be kidding me. Earlier in this thread we were considering the fact that these morons claim that firearms scare them just so bad, they should be outlawed, and you tell us that someone who KNOWS you are armed talks to you like that? That is just beyond belief. But you cannot make this stuff up. Amazing. Thanks for the input.

    • I wish the S&W guy had just said “No” in response before throwing the clown out. As it is, it makes an uninformed person think the answer must be “yes,” or else it wouldn’t have been such a trigger to end the interview.

  10. Airstrip one called, their idiots are missing.

    Seriously though, the idea these people have integrity to report the news vs push an agenda is absurd.

  11. “with FBI data showing that gun owners are 78 times more likely to kill themselves than they are to carry out a “justifiable homicide.”

    Are these “gun owners” that the FBI is referencing people that just went out and bought a gun and subsequently killed themselves? Or are they people that have owned guns for a long period of time and just decided to end it. There is a difference. You can barely call the first group gun owners as they were just buying a tool to end their life.

  12. So, just to be clear, if I walked into a Mosque and on camera asked “is this the same religion espoused by the San Bernadino Massacre Killers” I would be treated to a fair and polite conversation and not be kicked out on my heiney?

    Oh wait, we don’t want to blame a religion (or a version of it), we don’t want to blame the perpetrators, we don’t want to blame the organizations that espouse the ideology of terrorism…. but we do want to blame the object.

    • Gun-grabbers that embrace Muslim terrorists are simply applying, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” bit.

  13. “Guardian the whole picture”

    That’s a laugh.

    It’s a never ending smear campaign on gun manufacturers and this guy wants to pretend he is not part of that campaign.

  14. Something deep in me triggers when I hear someone with a English accent try to talk about gun control. Let alone talk about it in an condescending and derisive voice. My family immigrated to the U.S. in the 1920’s so I have no connection to the American Revolution, but growing up in the US and serving in the USMC, I have a deep appreciation for what the Founding Fathers and the men and women who fought in our Revolutionary War did for me. So when I hear them talk about gun control, I makes me angry, because I think they still want to disarm us to show they are superior, despite our own contributions to their liberty in 1918 and 1942-45.

    • Hi Original Brad,

      As a gun-owning Brit, let me first apologise on behalf of my countryman for what I agree was a weak and somewhat offensive attempt to push a “guns are bad” agenda.

      As one of the relatively few in the UK who own guns (<1% of the population) gun control is a topic that comes up quite regularly in conversation with various people.

      I don't generally feel that even anti-gun Brits are trying to disarm their American cousins "to show they are superior". They tend just to be meddlesome and believe that they have all the answers to all the problems; they aren't used to guns being a part of life over here, so assume they should not be a part of life anywhere else. They genuinely do believe they're superior, and are in favour of civilian disarmament, but it's not a causal link.

      Sadly there's a substantial overlap between the meddlesome and ignorant / liberal anti-American sentiment in the UK.

      The former is irritating but generally harmless. The latter is far more serious: the US is our strongest, most enduring and closest ally.

      There is often a lot of hostility, or at least a pretty dismissive attitude, towards the UK here on TTAG. Although I can see that "journalism" like this won't exactly endear Britain to many POTG over in the States, please don't take it as representing anything more than a vocal, know-it-all section of the population.

      There are a great many others, myself included, who will never forget or downplay the immense debt of gratitude that we owe the US for supporting us during the two World Wars.

      • There were plenty of times I worked alongside Brits during my multiple tours in the Middle East. No problem with the majority of them, and I thanked their ability to deliver beer when it was banned from my usual avenues. But your elites are generally no worse then ours. Except with an even more haughty accent maybe.

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