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“We don’t teach respect for guns in Philadelphia, not really. We teach fear, we preach abstinence, we mount political crusades and there are good reasons we do so. But none of that seems to work. So let’s try something new, not because we love guns, but because we respect their power — and we love our children.” – Joel Mathis in Let’s Teach Philly Kids to Use Guns-Properly [at]

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  1. Bingo. In my state there are more guns than there are people and we consistently have the lowest rates of gun violence in the nation, and it’s because our kids have guns.


    the cry of liberals and conservatives alike. just cause you or your SO shit out a kid and you cant take responsibility for them, doesnt mean my rights get curtailed.

  3. Even when they finally come within shouting distance of actual common sense, they can’t hide their utter disdain for gun owners: “The principle is the same as providing clean needles to drug addicts. We may find it distasteful, but it might reduce the public health harms of doing nothing.”

    • True enough. But think of a generation of kids trained about guns in public schools. Would it damage or help our cause?

      • The anti’s have no one to do the training and thus would have to look to the POTG. I don’t think any indoctrination benefiting them would occur. Any law requiring firearms instruction in school would have a minimum requirements section that insisted the person be credentialed to perform the training, and thus it would almost have to be someone from the AI. I think it could be a huge win for our side, not to mention a win for those kids from a safety standpoint.

      • When I was in third grade, they had Eddie Eagle come to talk to us about guns.
        Don’t Touch
        Get an adult

        Seemed like a good enough program to me for a third grader. If we taught shooting sports, I can only imagine how much that would help the participation level. Some of the kids didn’t want to be on the football or baseball teams, but if we got them on a shooting team they would have loved it.

      • If people weren’t scared of guns and understand what they can and can’t do, does that make them more or less likely to support disarmament?

    • “Every time this city tries to ensure that criminals can’t get their hands on a weapon of personal destruction” if the gun grabbers have anything its an excellent ability to come up with catchy buzz words.

      • Hatred and fear will do that for you. We don’t fear and we don’t hate enough. Because that is who we are..

    • Yeah, “The NRA and their minions” Now that is the way open the door to the gun owners and have a real “conversation”.

      • Yes, a “real” conversation about “common sense” ways to reduce accidental gun death in which one side speaks and the other side rolls it’s eyes.

  4. Give that man a cookie, shaped like a gun, for the children. Better yet, let children be creative with a new common core standard, issue pop tarts and have “the children” shape it into their favorite armament.

    • An official Red Ryder carbine action 200-shot range model air rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time.

      Or a cannon that shoots Pop Tarts, M&Ms, and ice cream.

  5. Is it just me, or does it seem like the author might really want the proposal gain acceptance and so couched it in the language he did to make the pill easier to swallow for the anti’s? I’d have to read more of his work to get a feel for him but the vibe I took from that is he was basically making fun of Philly anti’s with the bit about how with more guns Kansas is safer and with the juxtaposition of how the ‘evil’ NRA blocks philly gun bans but offers gun safety in safer Kansas. I can’t be sure but it seems to me like he’s attempting to demonstrate for the antis how foolish their policies and positions are but in an under the radar sort of way. . . it’s as if, unlike most of us, he realizes it’s all emotion and no logic with them and attempts to persuade them at their level. Some invocation of Poe’s law might be appropriate here. It’s just that in my reading of it I think there is a chance that this guy is on our side.

  6. You have to applaud when people use their critical thinking skill for more than a theoretically useless outcome. The entire quote is linear with sound logic. No double speak and no redundancy. You can sense reluctance but that’s no one’s problem but his.

    Obvious solution still is obvious.

  7. Joel, here’s a clue- instead of smearing “the NRA and it’s minions” apply what you presumeably learned- or maybe should have, at J-school: check the facts.

    Eddie Eagle is the school grade kid education program provided by the NRA for decades, that works. Give it a look, JOEL. Do some reporting in other words.

    Cynically, I doubt he will- I think he got the word about Holders $1B budget request for gun-safety outreach and is pandering to the community organizers, union-shills, and other fellow travelers, that I smell in his other reporting, to
    prepare the ground to GET ON THE GRAVY TRAIN.

    But I hope to be proven wrong.

  8. Now THIS is “common sense gun regulation” (using the word the way the Framers used it in “well-regulated militia”). Yes, he had to dig at the NRA, but he also pointed out the NRA promotes gun safety (a surprise, I’m sure, to many NYT readers), so everyone stop wetting your panties. The comments on this all miss the point completely. Let’s not do that here.

  9. “The principle is the same as providing clean needles to drug addicts.”
    Umm… No, it’s not. And I find that comparison repugnant.

    By the way, needle exchange programs have proven to be just as effective as gun control.

  10. Why wait until Jr. High? They should be teaching kindergartners what to do if they find a gun and by the time they’re 8 they can be taught to check and clear a weapon.

    He is right though. They teach kids fear and ignorance so the only education they get on firearms is what they learn on TV.

  11. So an idiot comes to something close to the right conclusion but for the wrong reasons. I’m going to chalk it up to the Broken Clock Principle.

  12. The TV shows the nation loves are about drug cookers, biker gangs, and general criminality, and these glorify the use of a gun as leverage, intimidation, and power. Then turn on the news and see anecdotes of the same in the real population to reinforce that idea, (if it wasn’t intriguing to people it wouldn’t be news). Pop in your earbuds and listen to some music glorifying gang culture, posturing, intimidating, and earning respect, money, and success for doing so. These industries’ share of the economy makes the gun industry look like noise.

    I’m not making an argument that these things cause violence. These topics were always ones of intrigue, going back to Dragnet on the radio in the 30s and beyond. The fact that these things are and always have been popular tell you something about people though. Especially if you want to sell entertainment to them.

    Anti-gun people argue that that the Eddie Eagle program, or hunter’s safety, general gun safety, or the existence of shooting sports shouldn’t be publicly discussed because it will recruit people into the “gun culture” (Eddie eagle has been fallaciously described as “Joe Camel” for guns by the VPC).

    The problem with this view is there are actually two gun cultures, a positive one which is large and exists in the real world and a negative one, the fictional component of which is large and the real component of which is small. People innately seem to LOVE tuning in to see the negative one and it is in your face everywhere, making advertisers and musicians and news stations a ton of money.

    The gun culture that is disallowed is the safe, respectful, defensive, and sporting one. This is the one that advertisers and musicians and news stations feel is a threat, and attack on a regular basis. As a participant in positive gun culture, when I see the negative gun culture garbage on TV I turn it off because it is offensive and insulting to me. So maybe more people aware of positive gun culture is a threat… to somebody’s bottom line.

  13. I’m so pro-gun I make the NRA look liberal (and they have been from time to time…), but:

    Gun safety education should be apolitical, left-right, no matter where you stand on gun control. An Eddy the Eagle type program should be part of *every* pre-school curriculum, and *every* 6th grader should learn basic gun safety and how to safely handle and unload a firearm. Kids learn to buckle up for safety, to avoid poisons in the cupboard, to look both ways before crossing, etc. Guns are no different – a tool to be safe around like a hammer, knife, saw, hatchet, blender, stove, whatever. It’s about respecting a tool, not fearing a weapon.

    Importantly, I firmly believe the NRA should have no part in that program. You won’t get buy-in from the left if they are, and since the left controls our schools, the safety program would never get off the ground. It’s time for Aikido here, not boxing or street fighting. With respect and familiarity, you’d get a long-term shift in the public’s opinion about firearms.

    Now, how some idiot left a loaded revolver where a 2 year old could get it is a whole other issue.

    • Should be yes, unless of course you subscribe to the delusional idealism in which the world is completely free of all guns, in which case you’ll stand in line to have your voice heard at the PTA and school board meeting to protest any notion of gun-related education in schools.

    • Yes get ride of the entire BS “DARE” nonsense as well. And keep all cops out of it (who milked the DARE cow for years).

      So who teaches it? Local gun owners using an effective prepared program. See Eddie Eagle.

  14. Gun abstinence doesn’t work! Kids are going to get out there and try guns, so its better if we teach them how to do it properly in school. Maybe hand out ear plugs in a little bowl so at least we know they are doing it safely. The hypocrisy of their position tickles me, the man is right.

  15. Hey, I’ll give the guy his due, even if he had to make the usual remarks. It’s a good start, Joel. Come over to our side. We’re more fun, we have lots of guns, and I’m sure somebody here has some Idaho-shaped cookies.

  16. I go back to my post from the “10 guns you must shoot before you die” thread yesterday . . .

    Maybe I am looking at the “before they die” part of this wrong, but by my way of thinking if you have not shot these 10 first you have lost a lot of good years of education and training.

    1) Any .22 bolt action rifle
    2) Any .22 revolver
    -By now you should be 6 year sold or so
    3) A 20 guage pump shotgun
    4) A Ruger 10/22
    -By now you should be 10 years old or so
    4) AR-15 variant
    5) AK Variant
    6) 12 guage shotgun
    7) A Bolt action hunting rifle capable of taking down dear and elk
    8) Any semi-automatic pistol
    -By now you should be 13 years old or so
    9) Any magnum caliber revolver
    -By now you should be 15 years old or so
    10) Everything else

    Of course ages vary by the size/strength and more importantly the personality of the youngster in question, but I think you are all smart enough to understand what I’m getting at here.

    • Well, I come from Joel Mathis’s part of the world, and I can tell you that most of us couldn’t afford access to all that, or a place to shoot them. After GCA68 drove affordable pistols off the market, all we had left was our dads’ old Army guns if lucky, maybe a grandparent heirloom or two.

      Do you have any idea what pressure it puts on a modest family’s budget? First there’s the firearm purchase. OK. Then you have to join a gun club or rent lane time, you have to buy ammo and Hoppes, you have to apply for all sorts of licenses and permits TO EXERCISE AN INBORN RIGHT GUARANTEED BY THE CONSTITUTION, you have to buy objects for storing, securing, and transporting the firearm….

      One of the entire points of gun control was ALWAYS to price out of the reach of the modest and poor classes (you know, the rabble) firearms, ammunition, and the skill-honing to use them. At bottom, gun control has always been an elitist enterprise, and it has been very successful in the large Northern cities where elitists are in charge (and consider themselves democrats and progressive).

      • I assure you I do know the pressures of a modest budget. Fortunately I acquired most of my collection before the economy fell and those I am missing I have friends who are happy to lend to my children. Times are rough to be sure.

  17. “…we preach abstinence…”

    It’s a ridiculous notation when it’s sex, but even more so when it’s guns.

    • ^^^ Beat me to making that point. They won’t “preach” to kids about sex and doing without because they know that they won’t. Why did they think doing so with firearms would be any different.

      Gee, I can’t quite recall any teacher or school making an argument that “sex=bad” with the same intensity that they argue “guns=bad”.

      Which has me wondering, are schools “sex-free zones” these days? If not, why not?

      • Yes you also beat me to this point but I shall add that, it is an incredible crisscross of Liberal/Conservative philosophies.

        Liberals DON’T WANT children to be educated about guns because they are dangerous and can have life altering consequences.
        Conservatives WANT children to be educated about guns because they are dangerous and can have life altering consequences.

        Liberals WANT children to be educated about sex because it can be dangerous and can have life altering consequences.
        Conservatives DON’T WANT children to be educated about sex because it can be dangerous and can have life altering consequences.

        Now you understand why I consider myself a Libertarian.

        • “Conservatives DON’T WANT children to be educated about sex because it can be dangerous and can have life altering consequences”

          Uh, no. Many conservatives DON’T WANT children to be educated about sex *by the public school system*. It’s the parents’ responsibility to do that, when the child is ready to learn about it.

  18. If trotting out ” The Children” is good enough for the gun grabbers it’s good enough for the gun owners..
    The target audience is the same.

  19. From the phillymag article
    “Every time this city tries to ensure that criminals can’t get their hands on a weapon of personal destruction…”
    Do you notice the use of the word ensure?
    This implies that “ensures” means to actually achieve by passing a law.

    I could leave my back door open and have my guns in the closet and “ensure ” that my guns are not stolen by placing a sign that says “Don’t steal my guns” or I could put them in a safe to ensure (without quotes) they are not stolen.

    This is a common rhetorical dishonesty technique that is not often detected by the reader.


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