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Dear Editor: Guns The Republicans Won't Talk About

Dear Editor: What happened to waiting periods for guns?

The Republican convention won't mention guns -- so it's up to us

An open letter to America's news media

From: Alan Korwin, The Uninvited Ombudsman


The Batman Movie Massacre
Our Forgotten Waiting Periods
The Need for Gun-Control... Counseling
Banning the Glock
Really Small Bullets
Copycat Heroes
Media Culpability for Massacres

Dear Media Colleagues,

Guns can't seem to keep themselves out of the limelight. Urban shootings, outside the ghettos where most shootings take place, are now becoming national news. What changed?

Why aren't we talking about waiting periods anymore? The media and the gun-control movement have abandoned waiting periods, but they used to be the holy grail. Why is that?

It turned out waiting periods didn't matter. They didn't work, had no impact on crime, they were a distraction. They were just an attack that could be made on guns, the flavor of the day, a reflection of what the public out here perceives as media hatred for guns. Like a reported shooting... from two thousand miles away.

Waiting periods were what gun controllers told media to ask for, not what media independently figured out might work. Media were told, "Waits will slow crime," and even though rational people knew this was silly, you (plural) called for them -- and then were bewildered at the resistance you got. Everyone lamented the predictable lack of results, until thankfully, you abandoned that red herring.

Now I find you urging support to ban gear, like magazine size, ammunition types and even brands, like AR-15 and Glock. This is just as bogus as the olden waiting-period demands, and you are just as mystified at the adamantine resistance again. This is why it is time for gun-control counseling.

People seeking gun control, media included, understand the subject so poorly they are getting in the way of making any real progress. Gun control is not crime control. It doesn't have the desired effect. That's why gun owners and others resist it so fervently. If it would work they would support it -- everyone wants to stop senseless murder, we're not irrational.

There is actually lunatic talk of banning the Glock sidearm for the public, along with all semi-automatic firearms. The Glock is so good that 65% of law enforcement uses it -- it's reliable, effective, safe, simple, fast. Guns save lives. Guns stop criminals. Guns protect us. This is why we give them to police. This is why the public wants and needs them. This is what gun controllers don't get, and why counseling is called for if we are going to get anywhere.

You would consider taking Glock and other autoloaders away from the public because criminals understand the value and use these too. That makes as much sense as taking them away from the police themselves. Of course the public balks at that, and you interfere with getting to any real solution for stopping armed maniacs. You fail to see how your equipment-based arguments are doomed to failure. The gun-control debate needs an intervention. For example:

Why only discuss guns after a mass murder? Wouldn't covering all the newsworthy aspects of guns help us understand the issues better? What about all the good that guns do? You may not even clearly know what that is. What about the shooting sports -- a billion dollars bigger than golf? What about censorship on the subject of guns in education? It is a vacuum. Why don't you cover that?

That vacuum is a measure of your bias. Your bias is a measure of why we have this problem. The media, both so-called "news" media and the cultural media like movies, TV, video games and magazines, are powerful driving forces behind the mass-murder behaviors we have never before seen. This is understandably hard for you to face.

When guns were more available during our baby-boomer youth -- without age limit, without paperwork, without background checks, without the FBI, by mail order from the pages of comic books -- these kinds of atrocities were unheard of, unfathomable, unthinkable. What changed? Our culture, and the media led the way.

Can you at least savor the irony? A crowded theater witnesses a blood-drenched massacre -- while eagerly waiting to watch hours of blood-drenched massacres.

Before these atrocities were standard fare, people died off camera, without blood. A crook who shot a cop was shunned by his peers, never held up as someone to be idolized like today, where entire films glorify the villains. Kids today are virtually trained assassins, inured to immoral levels of violence. You did that.

As a 25-year member of the Society of Professional Journalists, peers have told me their editors suppressed or downplayed stories of armed self defense so they wouldn't encourage copycats. Then broadcasters treat us to endless days of glorified mass murderers, and encourage copycats. You do that.

You're discouraging copycat heroes while perpetually portraying copycat villains, then you scratch your collective heads. Consciously or not, you the media connect those dots. You take your unspoken bias and hoplophobic fear of guns, mix in an immoral and unethical ingredient of grief and horror, and in a beautifully orchestrated promotion push the misguided gun-control agenda -- supplanting the crime-control agenda we desperately seek.

Here's why an intervention is needed: Consider that 80 people left home, never to return, prematurely dead in their cars on the same day 12 were murdered in the awful Batman-movie massacre (please don't besmirch a fine American city when referring to this literally theatrical violence; let the name help frame the blame).

Eighty grieving families, spread out everywhere, not just in one unlucky community. Blood and guts, horror, unspeakable tragedy, children ripped from us, police cars and flashy lights. Where were the cameras in their faces? Why not promote their grief with crocodile-tear remorse? Or does the thought of hounding those car-wreck victims for days horrify even you?

And what about the next day's eighty? And the next? No, the monstrous bias of the media is on display here, dancing in the blood of victims and trumpeting society's miscreants, with effects too offensive to rationalize. For shame, as a CNN anchor scolded me recently.

No, the broadcast pity party national mea culpa grief deluge the "news" media perpetrates on the public is as meaningful as the waiting periods you have jettisoned. You wouldn't dare impose on other grieving families this way, it would be intolerable, reprehensible.

Without accepting it, you are a root cause of the problem. You appear to secretly hope the grief will finally be enough to convince the innocent to relinquish their rights and abandon the products you so misunderstand.

Please realize -- people face the exact same thugs police face. But cops operate in groups, with backup, in body armor, with sniper teams and helicopters. Is that why we need less ammo and smallish bullets in inferior guns? It is we who are the first responders in criminal assaults on ourselves. The police we dial after assaults start are second responders, a point you fail to appreciate.

If the public is limited to little bullets, and only a few of them, the problem of crazy people committing murder will neither resolve nor improve. It's waiting-period logic again. The public needs parity with police, not inferior tools. This is why counseling is appropriate -- so we can discuss this intelligently.

Oh, you can go into denial, talk numbers, point to countries that are not the linchpin of freedom on the planet. Ask about Japan or Switzerland that do not have drug wars or ghettos -- a word you will no longer even use -- yet which is at the heart of what you like to call guns on the street.

Things that will help, like firearms education in our schools, erasing decades of enforced ignorance, confronting your own biases that perpetuate and encourage violent behavior, examining activities of your companion industries, and seeing the "cultural" problem -- until we face these challenges, you'll keep seeking changes the majority of the public will correctly resist. You'll just be frustrated, get nowhere and not understand why.

Meet with me and a few select others for counseling that will truly get to the heart of the matter. Let's get past the firing mechanisms, types of lead or brand name intrigues and into the real-world answers that can reduce or stop this sort of behavior and make our world more safe. Together we can fix this.


Alan Korwin, Publisher
Bloomfield Press


T.D. Honeycutt

Right on point. I, too, was a working journalist for 15 years, and have watched the ignorance play out in many ugly ways in may ugly stories. Journalists are just a bunch of well-meaning people who can't do much else but be led around by conventional wisdom and personal bias.


Great article. Especially about first responders.

Actually, rampage killers existed, and probably have existed since there have been humans and weapons. This may help:

You can sort it by date or whatever.


Outstanding essay Mr. Korwin.


Excellent article!

murray dyer


Vince Hathaway

Please allow me to add a point or two that might be of interest to your intended audience.

The two American cities with the most extreme gun control are Washington DC and Chicago. In 2010 Washington DC had twenty seven times more murders than the slightly larger city of El Paso, TX.

El Paso is a good comparison because it is similar in size and the level of minority population to DC. It is also similarly located on the edge of the nation. In Texas, every responsible adult citizen can carry a loaded concealed handgun as they go about their day. Twenty seven times more murders is a substantial amount. The murder rate for Chicago was nineteen times higher for the same year. It is reasonable to believe El Paso has a much higher rate of an armed citizenry than DC or Chicago but the murder rate is much, much lower. Ask yourself why. Until you do, you have no right to demand the rest of the nation's citizens disarm.

Sources: FBI Crime Report for murder stats and US Census Bureau for population.

Peter Leg

Bumper sticker from the 1970s
"If guns are outlawed only outlaws would carry guns" or something like that.

Daniel in Brookline

A excellent article, sir!

Let me add: the reason the RNC did not talk about guns -- and the reason the DNC, to the best of my knowledge, has had little to say about them so far either -- is because neither side has anything to gain from doing so. Gun owners see the tide turning increasingly in their favor, and are quiet about it; gun-control advocates seem to have learned (finally) that screaming about gun control in an election year loses votes.

We've made remarkable progress. In just a few years, a decades-long anti-gun trend was reversed; now a majority of States are shall-issue, with only a handful (including my own, regrettably) choosing to stand in the way of law-abiding citizens defending themselves.

There are people who still Just Don't Get It; there are people who are afraid of guns because Guns Are Scary; and there are politicians, elected and otherwise, more than willing to use gun control to keep the peons at bay. Here's hoping that articles like this one will help to convince those willing to listen.

And, as was written recently on -- if you can take a liberal shooting between now and election day, do so! Let them learn about safe gun handling, and have fun with a long-distance paper puncher. Every little bit helps.

Stanley A Shock

I am sure that rational people will agree that guns are not the problem. People and kids are hammered with guns in every way, games, TV, movies, and, yes the news. It's a kind of brain washing where guns are on everyones mind. With kids, they don't realize the finality of the gunshot because of games, TV, ect. and it only takes someone who is a little off to do a horrendous thing. What we need is less exposure to guns for everyone. If we reduce the guns on TV,games, and the movies we will gain more than banning assault weapons for example.

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About the Author

  • Freelance writer Alan Korwin is a founder and past president of the Arizona Book Publishing Association. With his wife Cheryl he operates Bloomfield Press, the largest producer and distributor of gun-law books in the country. Here writing as "The Uninvited Ombudsman," Alan covers the day's stories as they ought to read. Read more.

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