gun pistol medicine prescription
Dan Z. for TTAG
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By Dennis Petrocelli, MD

It appears that the coronavirus has outpaced both Obama and Beto as gun salesman of the decade.  Reports abound of large numbers of first-time gun buyers depleting inventory in local gun stores across the country.  These purchases have elicited the expected pearl-clutching by the confiscationists, but these hoplophobes always miss the obvious: guns are used defensively vastly more often than they are used in the commission of crimes. Perhaps the pandemic-associated terms of art could help explain our position that these gun purchases are good for everyone.

The discipline of public health views efforts to stop disease through a model of graduated levels of prevention:

1. Primary Prevention—intervening before health effects occur, through measures such as vaccinations, altering risky behaviors (poor eating habits, tobacco use), and banning substances known to be associated with a disease or health condition.

2. Secondary Prevention—screening to identify diseases in the earliest stages, before the onset of signs and symptoms, through measures such as mammography and regular blood pressure testing.

3. Tertiary Prevention—managing disease post diagnosis to slow or stop disease progression through measures such as chemotherapy, rehabilitation, and screening for complications.

Applying these ideas to gun ownership, defensive gun usage, and violent crime, increased prevalence of guns in responsible hands might be the “primary prevention” of violent crime.  This may reduce the likelihood of criminal assault (see below), in a way increasing society’s relative immunity to violent crime.

This is the ideal outcome of gun ownership: no one is harmed, and crime is averted. “Secondary prevention” might be defensive gun use to keep a violent crime from occurring, in the service of preventing the threat from causing damage.  “Tertiary prevention” may be compared to firing the gun to stop violence in progress—the least favorable outcome, except for all the others.

The above analysis shows where the public health analogy about guns breaks down, and hoplophobes go astray. Although we have no way to keep viruses from thinking twice about attacking us, we absolutely have ways to make would-be violent felons rethink their approach to life. A complete public health model of crime prevention would promote gun ownership as primary prevention, i.e., publicizing the value of widespread gun ownership instead of discouraging it.

Having to use a gun to stop a threat is the consequence of the absence of general deterrence. It happens because the commonness of American gun ownership isn’t well enough known that would-be attackers realize the odds of facing off with an armed potential victim, such that they don’t attack in the first place.

During the current pandemic lockdown and associated gun buying, criminals would be well advised to think twice about violent break-ins as the tide turns toward more widespread gun ownership. Although it is difficult to capture this numerically, there are some promising data points that support the construct of deterrence as “zeroth prevention”:

“Higher rates of concealed carry permit holders are even more strongly associated with reduction in violent crime than are ‘right-to-carry’ states. The probable reason for this is that ‘right-to-carry’ studies often include ‘open carry’ states, which have not been shown to correlate with more people actually carrying or even owning firearms. Rates of concealed carry permit holders are better indicators of the number of people who actually possess and carry firearms within a given population.”


“56% of felons surveyed agreed that ‘A criminal is not going to mess around with a victim he knows is armed with a gun.’ 74% agreed that ‘One reason burglars avoid houses when people are at home is that they fear being shot.’

“A 57% majority agreed that ‘Most criminals are more worried about meeting an armed victim than they are about running into the police.’ [Yet i]n asking felons what they personally thought about while committing crimes, [just] 34% indicated that they thought about getting ‘shot at by police’ or ‘shot by victim’.”

Gun ownership does not require any further justification than its status as an inalienable right protected against government infringement by the Second Amendment. Nonetheless, several state governments have closed gun stores during the pandemic lockdown, and are now the respondents to resultant  legal action.

Gun-grabbing politicians fail to appreciate that during times of unrest, when police forces are stretched thin either by illness among their ranks or their more urgent need elsewhere to manage the crisis, well-armed civilians are the best deterrence against violent crime. We are our own first responders.

Ideally, training is obtained in person, but the current pandemic highlights the need for legal recognition of alternatives. It is far better that these new gun owners avail themselves of online training than to go without.

I recently asked my Governor for consideration of this following the close of the Virginia General Assembly, which promulgated, among other infringements, HB 264, prohibiting online concealed handgun permit training. Additionally, characterizing indoor shooting ranges as “entertainment” establishments is preposterous. Fastidious attention to social distancing and hygiene practices could restructure how those establishments function, but there is no reason they should cease functioning, given the essential role they play in keeping civilians armed and “well-regulated.”

Dear Governor,

Concealed Handgun Permit holders are assets to society, not liabilities. The current pandemic and the appropriate widespread purchasing of guns and ammunition makes it clear that there is broad opposition to efforts that reduce access to self-defense.  Veto HB 264:  this is the safest way for new gun owners to obtain life-saving training during the pandemic.  Remove indoor shooting ranges from the “Entertainment” list in Executive Order 53.  A well-trained, well-practiced, and well-armed civilian population is the best deterrent to lawlessness.

Respectfully submitted,

Dennis Petrocelli, MD

Gun grabbers aren’t going to let any opportunity to infringe on our rights go to waste. Remain vigilant, get involved, vote, and stay well-regulated.


Dennis Petrocelli, MD is a clinical and forensic psychiatrist who has practiced for nearly 20 years in Virginia. He took up shooting in 2019 for mind-body training and self-defense, and is in the fight for Virginians’ gun rights.

This article was originally published at and is reprinted here with permission. 

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  1. So…….my insurance should cover a prescription for a new G43x?

    And then refills for ammo.

    I’m liking this.

    Good points all around.

  2. Covid is yesterday’s news. Nobody gives a hoot about that anymore. We’ve got much bigger problems, in case you haven’t been paying attention. Riots, looting, arson, murder, etc. in every major and some minor cities. And it’s moving a lot faster than any virus.

    There’s gonna be more shootin’, and more people are gonna die. According to an un-named government source. But in this case, the ‘source’ is very likely correct.

    Story on Foxnews dot com.

    “Agitators behind the rioting that has paralyzed the country over the past week want to move into more suburban areas, a government intelligence source has told Fox News.

    Much of the worry stems from the notion that many in well-armed, suburban, and rural neighborhoods won’t hesitate to exercise their Second Amendment rights and elevated anxieties could lead to heavy confrontation.

    “Antifa knows this,” said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “Local and state authorities have to get a grip on this because if it moves to the suburbs, more people will die.” “

    • “Antifa knows this,” said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “Local and state authorities have to get a grip on this because if it moves to the suburbs, more people will die.” “

      As it should be. “Antifa knows this,” If antifa members are going to willfully put themselves in harms way, knowing full well it may result in their death just to terrorize and threaten U.S. citizen in their homes, having made that choice for themselves, we should feel no guilt in dispatching them for the good of the community when they begin their assault.

      • It’s not about ‘us’ not dispatching them or feeling guilty having done so…its about them willingly sacrificing their lives to “prove” a point. If they can finagle being shot by suburbanites/rutalites, then “We needs gun control now cuz only racists have guns”. It’ll make for some compelling video on the MSM.

        • That ship has sailed. Nobody but a brain dead moron like slow joe questions defending your life and family from rioters.

        • They will *try*, Cool, and may well be successful in heavily ‘Blue’ areas like the San Fran, Silicone valley area, but as JWM wrote, that won’t get real traction in the rest of the country…

    • ““Antifa knows this,” said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “Local and state authorities have to get a grip on this because if it moves to the suburbs, more people will die.” “

      The ones who will be doing the vast majority of the dying in the suburbs will be the invaders, full stop.

      Those who live there will not put up with that crap.

      “Drunks with guns. You loot, we shoot”

    • Honestly I doubt that Antifa has groupies down to die for the cause, at least not a lot of them.

      It’s all fun and games until there’s live ammo inbound. Branching out of the cities and they’ll get a lot of that.

      I don’t see college sociology professors and untrained kids in skinny black jeans and a balaclava being willing to get their brain splattered over this. But hey, if I’m wrong, fuck ’em.

      Show up in my neighborhood starting this shit and you probably won’t make it out alive. A friendly warning: The cops are 20 minutes out. We don’t need them. The dark out here isn’t your friend.

  3. All these idiots and thugs feel invincible since, in liberal controlled cities, they are allowed to, if not openly encouraged, do whatever the hell they want with no fear of retaliation and the like. Somehow they have the idea that going out into suburbs, neighborhoods and committing the same criminal behavior will be just as easy. In large liberal/demonrat enclaves they could possibly be right. In red states in areas that aren’t leftist controlled it is totally different should any of them decide to give it a go. Somehow I doubt that would happen because if they are part of the hired/organized groups then they handlers won’t be sending them into those places. Obviously there can be exceptions to everything. I do know that in the unlikely event they show up in my area they won’t like the reception they receive.

  4. Come on down! Sitting here with my guns. And Trump is still getting blamed😩😖😡

  5. My town is so safe that it’s almost boring. Of course, it’s surprisingly gunned up.

    • Boring you say?

      You can change that Ralph. You have the power. Er… fight the power… or for your right to party… or… fuck it, just read a book or something.

  6. Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be looters.
    They’ll be on the run, and will always die young.
    Courtesy of ole Mr. Mossberg.
    Mamas don’t let your babies be looters.
    Cause the good guys are armed and are shooters.
    If your babies loot,
    the good guys will shoot,
    and your babies won’t grow up to be tall.

    It’s a choice. Choose wisely.

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