Man holds handgun in gun store
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On Monday it became official: The police issued me a gun permit.

Never did I imagine I’d be here. Not because I was anti-gun. My dad was a career FBI agent, so my siblings and I grew up with guns.

At the same time, my father was never particularly interested in guns. To no avail, we would beg him to go to shoots to show off his skills. More frequently he would remind us that many who keep guns in the house are more likely to shoot a friend or family member than a would-be robber or rapist. His proudest boast about his own career was that not once did he have to shoot anybody.

This may help explain why we all grew up supporting the Second Amendment in principle while not much interested in the practice. What changed? Certainly the rioters played a key part. But far more shocking than the rioters themselves has been the associated spectacle of police and political authorities across America standing down in the face of night after night of criminal behavior directed at the lives and livelihoods of innocent, law-abiding citizens.

Even in suburbia, many are no longer confident our authorities would or could keep us safe. In a small suburb such as mine, what would happen if even 100 or 200 people bent on violence were to arrive at once? Could our small police force really handle it? Or would we be left to fend for ourselves like Mark and Pat McCloskey in St. Louis, who defended their home and were then treated as if they were criminals?

A few years back, I asked a former colleague whom I knew to be pro-Second Amendment philosophically if he owned a gun. He answered no, and then asked if I had one. I said I wouldn’t know what to write down as my reason for wanting one.

He told me, “Write down, ‘Because I don’t trust the government.’ ”

– William McGurn in Confessions of a New Gun Owner

91 COMMENTS

      • They will be ordered by political authorities to “stay back and give the rioters room to destroy”. The same political authorities won’t care about your property but will have the SWAT team and several MRAPs to protect theirs.

      • Like TTAG, the WSJ has a comment section.

        Thanks to a subscriber giving me his login credentials, here’s the very first comment, the most popular :

        ” “His proudest boast about his own career was that not once did he have to shoot anybody.”

        I’ve always resisted having a gun because in my very early years I was taught that if I ever pulled a gun on someone I would have to be ready to use it and that’s the last thing I would want to do. Yet things have gotten so bad that even living in suburbia in the very same circumstances than McGurn I now have second thoughts. More telling, my wife, who has been even more rabidly against guns, recently told me that we should think of getting one.

        I’m angry, very angry that the country has taken such a bad turn and it is all due to the violence and fear being inspired and even egged on by Democrats seeking political power.”

  1. Welcome to the infringement club. Enjoy all the if but then laws of legally carrying a firearm. Enjoy being attacked by the liberal judges and media if you dare use a gun to defend yourself. If you pull a gun even if you don’t use it when your life is in jeopardy you will have your firearm confiscated be prosecuted for brandishing. Remember the Democrats built this.

  2. Seeing as how government is made up of people, that’s reason enough to distrust it.

    And also one should always be prepared to do for oneself no matter what as you are the only person you can completely rely on. Not family, not friends and certainly not paid strangers.

    Anyone who lets their life become ruled by others and trust them to do right by them is a fool and will soon wind up in trouble.

    • Jakee308,

      Seeing as how government is made up of people, that’s reason enough to distrust it.

      I have pondered on this very thought in the past and put forth a simple rhetorical question on this website: would you hand over your 8 year-old daughter to a random — and I mean truly and totally random — stranger to be in that stranger’s complete control and care for a month? Hopefully your answer is an emphatic “Hell no!”

      Of course your answer was an emphatic “Hell no!” because you have no idea how honorable, trustworthy, attentive, and competent that stranger is — and therefore would never dream of handing over your vulnerable daughter to a stranger. Thus it boggles my mind that someone who would never dream of entrusting the care of their daughter to a stranger goes forward and happily entrusts their own and their family’s care to complete strangers — government politicians, bureaucrats, and employees.

        • Art out West,

          Public school can definitely fall under that category.

          It seems to me that public school employees have quite a bit more culpability than politicians, bureaucrats, and general government employees. Public school employees who abandon children in their care will almost certainly be fired (or if their union makes it effectively impossible to fire them, put on paid leave) and face significant child abuse/neglect charges. Furthermore, public school employees almost always have a well-established track-record of their minimal acceptable competence or lack thereof. As a result, in most cases, I believe that there is significantly less risk (in terms of your child’s physical well-being) placing them in public schools than handing their physical well-being over to a truly random stranger.

        • You would be wrong. Public schools have higher abuse and molestation rates than the catholic church. The media helps cover it up. The offending teachers get moved to new districts just like the church moved molesters to new locations.

    • Interesting thought experiment: apply the RICO Act to government agencies and bureaus, taking note to replace “tax” with the word “extort”.

      Puts things into perspective. As a follow-on, the only reason the RICO Act exists is that governments hate competition.

      • They’re exempt from many of their own laws, like SEC regulations.

        Try to start a private annuity plan that’s formulated anything like Social Security. You’d go to jail and you should. What do you call a plan where beneficiaries are paid from the proceeds of current contributors? It’s a pyramid, or more commonly referred to as a “Ponzi” scheme.

        https://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/ponzischeme.asp

        • And – worst of all – it’s a pyramid scheme where the demographic pyramid has practically inverted since the program’s implementation!

    • Politicians see The Little Peeps’ money as their’s to skim, scam, squander, and with which to buy votes to maintain their power and control via their free shit Government Plantation Dwellers. Don’t be stingy. Give it up with a smile……today is 3rd Quarter Estimated Income Tax due day.

    • Fascinating. I wonder why we have not heard of anyone actually SHOOTING one or two of the rioters, ever, anywhere. Even the “rooftop Koreans” from LA 20-odd years ago, shot no one. Is it because the rioters figure out quickly they’d rather be somewhere else? But the cops are armed! Doesn’t slow down the rioters a bit. I’m thinking they know I am not restrained by all the crap a cop has to take when he shoots someone, hell, in the dark and noise, could be no one will even notice if I shoot him once or twice, and the cops aren’t coming when he calls, either.

      • In the mid 70s Albuquerque cops went on strike. The locals started to open carry, and the criminals were terrified. Why? 1) The locals knew they wouldn’t be arrested for creating a disturbance. 2) The criminals knew the locals were not trained in the law, and may shoot them out of hand.

        We need to go back to this.

    • I’m from the government and here to help.

      While I try to make that truthful the employer doesn’t make it easy so generally good not to believe the previous sentence.

    • Your comment is unclear; do you mean it’s a lie that the government won’t be there to protect you or will be? I presume the latter. This pretty much has been obvious ever since the US Supreme Court ruled that government (namely the police) has no obligation, enforceable by liability for not fulfilling that obligation, to protect citizens from crime, but only to act afterwards. Removing the potential financial penalty for not providing proactive protection against crime turned the entire issue that we face today into a political one only; your remedy will not be in damages from the court but will be found at the ballot box only. Even the dickheaded liberal Demorat mayors and governors who have allowed and condoned this riotous mob behavior would not have done so had the prospect of substantial damages against the jurisdiction, including damages against them personally, been real. People get the point of legal incentives and disincentives when they call for the elimination of the qualified immunity afforded cops in dealing with the public; What we should all be calling for is a re-examination of its application when it is not to protect the government for having done something but rather to hold the government liable for having done nothing.

      • AngryDad,
        The “no obligation, enforceable by liability” rulings are simply rational acknowledgements of [physical, not philosophical or legal] reality. Like “When seconds count, help is only minutes away,” it’s an essential planning assumption, but not a disparagement of the police. What percentage of the time could you or I arrive prepared at a friend’s home “left of bang”? Roughly zero, at least for me.

        Assuming today’s preposterous proliferation of laws remains in place, imagine the soul-crushing police state that would be required to prevent all crimes.

        Not to mention the logistics! Providing you (alone) one full-time bodyguard, under any sustainable labor practices, would require at least four people. One bodyguard would be slight comfort against a riot, and essentially useless against rooftop snipers, IED builders, red-light runners, computer hackers, reservoir poisoners, and countless other threats; provide zero penal, forensic, or investigative services, etc.

        No firemen can prevent all fire deaths; no ambassadors can prevent all wars, and no taxpayers should ever be on the hook for any of the above. It’s not indifference or dereliction of duty; it’s math. As other commenters have noted, nobody can take full responsibility for your well-being except you.

  3. Granted, not all or even most of the new gun owners will be voting pro-gun.
    But, I wonder, will these new gun owners view infringements on their right as another victimhood accoutrement to add to their SJW cred and fight that way?

  4. Reality is a bitch.

    The application of “rule of law” and an understanding of the constitution is all that separates us from the third world.

    Now that many politicians had decided to not enforce/unequally enforce the rule of law, apply our rights is all we have left.

    You have a republic – if you can keep it.

  5. “Anyone who lets their life become ruled by others and trust them to do right by them is a fool and will soon wind up in trouble.”

    I read that and my mind instantly goes to:
    Apple
    Microsoft
    Facebook
    Twitter
    Google
    Amazon

    This is a statement of slavery. If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice. People see slavery as black people vs. white people without ever considering that it ALSO includes the mental prisons we choose. People CHOOSE to be subject to the whims of government. Perhaps because it’s easier. Unlike being genetically forced into the family tree, humans make the decision to be subjects of social media and the whims of tech corporations. While shouting in anger of how evil rich people are, the stand in line for days to acquire the latest iPhone. Not to mention a never ending level of grief when it comes to software updates no one has any clue about.

    The government was never meant to be there for someones every need or desire. Being free comes with the primary responsibility of taking care of yourself. Do everything you can for yourself and your loved ones first before ever reaching out to any government for help. This is figured into the price of freedom and will result in something better.

    The best results are the ones had through hard work knowing what you have, what you want, and the drive to get there.

    • ” The government was never meant to be there for someones every need or desire. Being free comes with the primary responsibility of taking care of yourself. ”

      I’ve never asked for, nor expected, the government to take care of me.

      What I also never asked for, or expected, was the government to get in the way and prevent me from taking care of myself.

  6. So they’re finally catching up to what most of us have known for years… Just like any big throw down week-end long party, better late than never…

  7. It’s amazing how many people trust the government to keep them safe and at the same time think Donald Trump is a fascist dictator and the cops are a bunch of racist execution squads. You’d think such thoughts would eventually collide somewhere in those tiny brains.

  8. Fearful unarmed Soccer moms need to jump in the mini van and head for the hills. Save yourselves leave the couch potato and rug rats behind they’ll just slow you down. Or Remember the Alamo, Bunker Hill, Gettysburg, Omaha Beach, Normandy, The Fourth of July or whatever it takes to stand your ground, tap and rack and take out as many bullies, looters and arsonists as you can. Party Time.

    • They could just get married to men instead. Women need to marry men who own guns, not turn into these gun thots like Dana Loesch. When she’s not kowtowing to the mob for Armaud the jogger, she’s cheating on her husband.

      DebbieW- get back in the kitchen. Your job is to cook, clean, and make babies.

      #freekyle

      • kitchen gasbag…Instead of coming on this forum and talking out your cowardly behind just man-up aqnd wipe the crybaby snot off your nose and call Dana and speak directly to her. If her line is busy call my Hotline for Morons @ 1-800-Eat-Poop. Wait times can be hours…While waiting enjoy hearing I Am Woman on a loop or hangup and gfy.

        • I get the feeling you are a single mother with black kids. Am I right? How much Prozac do you take each day?

          You need to pray and fast for forgiveness.

          #freekyle

  9. “On Monday it became official: The police issued me a gun permit.”

    Substitute: The police issued me a church attendance permit, or a newspaper subscription permit, or a free speech permit.

    That chilling statement shows how far we’ve regressed. The 2nd Amendment was supposed to restrict the GOVERNMENT not us citizens. Now, it’s the other way around and the “government” has become our master.

    • That stopped me cold, too.

      The police won’t be there to protect you…but you still have to ask them for permission before you’re allowed to defend yourself. Makes me wonder when they’ll decide you can’t be allowed to protect yourself at all.

      And how much of this infringement is America going to put up with? THere’s been way too much of it already, and it’s not going to stop at guns, and it’s not just the government doing it. Facebook, Twitter, Google, et al., are working on deep-sixing the First Amendment right now.

  10. I live in a suburb. Of Chiraq. I’ve known the gubmint won’t come to my aid for quite awhile. Big time on May 31. Preaching to the choir here…

  11. Trump was right about the cheat by mail effort by the Democrats. People who see nothing wrong with defunding the police, arson, rioting, looting, and murder won’t see anything wrong with a bit of voter fraud. You will hear the phrase “Every vote must be counted” from all the usual leftist and communist inspired sources starting before the real in person voting is even finished on November 3rd. As the in votes start to pile up with Trump winning in an apparent landslide the Democrats will start to truly panic and when they do they will call out their Antifa and BLM troops to riot in every city they can stir them up in. The mass mailing of ballots will result in a massive amount of fraud but when even that isn’t enough to change the Electoral College numbers enough to get Biden elected they will call for revolution in the streets.

    Keep your powder dry!

    • How about this? A childhood/high school friend of mine who has lived, and votes, in Alabama for decades has received by mail a Georgia mail in ballot. He lives nowhere near the Georgia border. The Dims are trying to get the fix in!

  12. “…..what would happen if even 100 or 200 people bent on violence were to arrive at once? Could our small police force really handle it?…..”

    Or if your elected local representatives such as mayor, council, what have you, instruct the police to stand down and let them burn and loot?

    Cops have a job to do and just like the rest of us need a pay check to live. Some can buck the system, some can retire or move, but some have to do what their told or risk not having a paycheck. Sometimes it’s a hard choice IMO especially if one has a family and obligations.

    If this cancer spreads I can see more and more people coming to an understanding that ‘you are responsible for your own safety and those you care about’. I can also see the rise of the militias if the politicians allow looting, arson, and killings to continue.

  13. Its Amusing to watch white liberals get their wake up call. Their mayors have told the police to do nothing. As their cities burn to the ground. And no one is doing anything to stop it. In 2020 white Liberals have learned a brand new lesson. Now are they going to be that zombie and pull the lever for the same politicians who order the cops to stand down???

    btw
    It’s mostly white people, who are Black Lives Matter members. Some of who wave rainbow flags. While they smash cities into rubble.

    • I suspect BLM started out black. But as it was co-opted more and more by anarchists and antifa, more and more blacks grew disgusted and dropped out. As it is now, every time I see “BLM” in action, it’s difficult to locate a black person in the crowd. Which, at least to me, is a great compliment to today’s blacks. Hopefully it’s helping them figure out who they need to vote for, not just President, but all candidates down to dogcatcher. Especially Sheriffs, school boards, mayors, DAs.

      • “I suspect BLM started out black.”

        Nope, their own website declares them to be: anti-white, anti-european, anti-capitalist, anti-traditional values. Of course, once that truth began to circulate, BLM changed their website to hide their true motivation. I still have a copy of the original website “about” page.

        • When did you cache that page though?

          There were YouTube videos of black guys who figured out that BLM was mostly white Leftists and just “selling a line” to blacks to entice them to join BLM back as early as at least 2017, which is plenty of time to have updated the site repeatedly.

          I’ll have to see if I can find it but there’s a video of a black dude sitting on a porch talking for like 20 minutes about why he left BLM, the video is from 2016 or 2017 and he’s talking about how it started out black but was rapidly taken over by militant Leftists whites who are suckering in black people and radicalizing them to Leftist viewpoints which the guy in the video doesn’t believe align with black community values. He likens it to Scientology where the noobs are just told what to say and the scam is “revealed” to those who have time-in-service and can be “trusted”. He left the group after he was “trusted” and this was revealed to him.

          In that regard it’s kind of like watching the older video of Dr. Patrick Moore (I think, it might have been Irving Stowe) talking about how Greenpeace was co-opted and eventually taken over by Communists to push a political agenda under the cover of environmentalism.

      • Yeah…. that’s it…. black people got disgusted and dropped out…..
        Wtf is in that pipe your smoking? Cause Last I remember crack doesn’t cause hallucinations.

    • Answered my own question. From his Wikipedia page: “McGurn and his wife, Julie Hoffman, live in Madison, New Jersey.”

      I lived in New Jersey for a while. You couldn’t pay me to go back to that place. I won’t even drive through it.

      • I went to college in Madison (Drew U). Nice little bedroom community, quiet place, not nearly enough bars.

        Of course, that was 1969.

        • I knew that they were “college administration type nerds” from their post. They should beg permission to protect themselves.

  14. The democrat party supports BLM and Antifa. They have hamstrung the police in dealing with them and have let them go when the police arrest them. All of this was to show that Trump was not a good president and facilitate their rise to power. Think about that the next time you vote.

  15. “Suburbanites Discovering The Government Won’t Be There to Protect Them”

    Bingo !

    And it is Donald Trump’s fault; he disengaged the US from the Paris Agreement. Trump is a climate change denier, which leads to such severe frustration among the people, that peaceful protests are are happening in every city, town and village in the US. Since Trump has not re-joined the Paris Agreement on climate change, protests are forced to turn into violence as a way to get Trump to act.

    And because Trump’s denial of climate change is at the core of all the bad things that happen in the world, forest fires that were benign under other presidents are becoming more frequent and violent every day. And because of Trump, even the days are getting shorter.

    • peaceful protests are are happening in every city, town and village in the US.

      Hmmmmm.. Not in my city, town and/or village/.. not even in any nearby cities, towns and/or villages… In fact I’d have to drive two or three hours in any direction to even get a whiff of a demonstration/riot.. People around here are too busy getting back to their own lives to give a damn about a bogus agreement designed to transfer their wealth to some third world shit hole….

      • Because of Trump the days are getting shorter? You’re really on to something here. I bet if I vote for Biden and he wins, they’ll start getting noticeably longer about the time he’s inaugurated. You’ve changed my mind. I’m voting Democrat from here on out.

        • “Because of Trump the days are getting shorter? You’re really on to something here. I bet if I vote for Biden and he wins, they’ll start getting noticeably longer about the time he’s inaugurated. You’ve changed my mind. I’m voting Democrat from here on out.”

          We aim to please, so you aim too, please.

    • I bet somebody is going to make you wish you’d remembered the “sarc”. Most of us realize no one could really be that stupid.

  16. Regarding new gun owners, exampled by the writer, the following might prove interesting regarding the duties, never mind the actual capabilities of the police, toward the individual.

    The courts have ruled, more than once, that the police owe no particular service or duty to the individual.The police are there “to protect society”. You tell me what that ringing phraseology means, In Plain English please. By the way, I believe that the foregoing applies to city dwellers as well as suburbanites.

    My understanding is as follows. While the police might arrive in the nick of time, rather than after the fact, to interview survivors and witnesses, they owe no particular service to the individual, the individual being YOU. Anyone should feel completely free to correct any misunderstanding I might labor under here.

    It boils down to choice, something that in this country, the citizenry enjoys, in theory at least. You can put your full faith in “government”, the police being part thereof, or you can choose to in theory at least, the capability of defending oneself. Here, people have that choice, not always the case.

  17. Memorize:
    * Police have no legal duty to protect individuals.
    * Police have no legal liability when they fail to protect individuals.
    * Police not specifically assigned as bodyguards have virtually no ability to protect individuals.

    The police don’t protect individuals. They draw chalk outlines around individuals unable or unwilling
    to protect themselves.

    If you’re not able and willing to protect YOURSELF, you’re just not going to get protected AT ALL.
    Anybody who tells you different is a LIAR.

    My family learned that the police aren’t going to protect you during the 1919 Chicago race riot, when the Chicago PD took the side of the White arsonists and rioters. My great uncles, just back from segregated service in France went to the National Guard armories and armed themselves in defense of themselves, their families and their community. If they had not, I probably wouldn’t be here to type this.

  18. Chris, you’re right about everything except one point. We don’t draw chalk outlines around bodies. That’s Hollywood. We take pictures of the bodies as they lay.

  19. That old lie… many who keep guns in the house are more likely to shoot a friend or family member than a would-be robber or rapist.

    Well, if u have a staircase or bathtub or pool @ ur house ur more likely to die in/on those than someone without [email protected] their house…..duh…

    • FACTS,
      Yes, the author’s father absolutely lied. Annual DGU estimates range from hundreds of thousands to the low millions. The chance of accidentally shooting a family member is many orders of magnitude lower – essentially negligible.

      The other hazards you mentioned, while minor, are actually true. How does that misleading analogy help counteract the lie?

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