Category Archives: Gun Rights

Is It Controversial To Know Our Gun Laws?

“I don’t need no stinkin’ gun laws. You come into my house … yer dead meat.” When the situation demands it, too many gun owners are prepared to use deadly force to defend their families and their homes — and consequences be damned. And damn it, they’ll be damned for ignorantly doing so.

But this begs the question, what about the reverse? Is there something wrong with knowing exactly when you can legitimately drop the hammer on some bad guy, fill ‘em full of lead and walk off scot-free? Should you study the gun laws, and the self-defense laws enough so you’re pretty clear on just when you can draw on someone, fire away and expect to be justified in taking a human life?

It sure sounds like a plan. But to the leftists — and some prosecutors — knowing your rights for dead certain almost sounds like premeditation. To them, it sounds like you’re planning to go hunt down some criminal, make sure the setup is good, stand your ground, wait for the right moment and — kablang! — Add a notch to your sidearm. So, just how controversial is it to know the gun laws?

Get A Clue

First off, most of you reading this haven’t got a clue what the gun laws are — at least not accurately. You’re shooting craps with your freedom. You have some vague ideas, heard some scuttlebutt, remember something some cop told you once at a dinner party you didn’t want to be at, but you’re loaded for bear — and you’re likely bearing arms on a wing and a prayer.

“Be sure you drag him inside.” How many of you have heard this awful piece of advice? So, if you shoot him outside your local convenience store, you have to drag him all the way back home? It’s obviously idiotic.

“If you shoot him, you better cap him off and make sure he’s dead.” Is there worse advice? After the threat is over and the perp is down, so is your right to shoot. Any additional shot is more dangerous to you — legally speaking — than to the bad guy, living or dead.

Old King George used to post laws for the Colonists so high on a wall they couldn’t read them. Then, he could easily charge people with violations they knew nothing about and lock them up at will. It’s kind of why we rebelled and started America. Today, our own government writes such complicated laws even if you want to know what they are it’s nearly impossible to understand them. And suddenly, you’re at risk as if it were Colonial days. This isn’t good.

Knowledge Is Power

To our antirights countrymen, knowing how to buy machine guns, a 50-caliber with a tripod and scope or just a plain old .223 with normal 30-round magazines is “controversial.” They would much rather you didn’t know. The less knowledge you have about your rights, the happier they are, because if you knew all your rights you might demand them. I say do what you can to make those people miserable.

The more you know, the better you can exercise your rights and the safer you’ll become. This will allow you more guns and gear you can safely buy, keep and bear. In some countries, like Norway for instance, authorities will tell you it’s illegal to even know the gun laws.

Yep, that’s right — when we put out The Worldwide Gun Owner’s Guide, we actually had nations telling us their citizens weren’t allowed to know their own gun laws. Their reasoning was the laws gave them power, and put them in control. So, it’s controversial to know the gun laws. As an American, you should show zero tolerance for this sort of abusive government and social balderdash.

As a gun owner, you should push back and make it your business to know exactly what you can and cannot do. You should push back and insist on knowing what your rights are, and especially, the legal limits of the government.

Even though some people like to think, “all those damn gun laws are illegal and should be repealed!” keep in mind many of the laws control the government. Law guarantees you can buy guns, own guns, sell guns, teach your kids about guns, buy machine guns, carry guns, use guns to protect yourself … and this is all good. You need laws. It would be controversial to not have them.

While the antirights people are busy trying to pass restrictive legislation, we’re busy exercising our rights under the existing excellent gun laws we have, working to make them better. You owe it to yourself — and the rest of us — to know what those laws are. So get busy making them better and exercise them with honor and dignity. Dispatch criminals when it’s legal to do so, hold your fire when it’s legally required and arm yourself to the extent you feel prudent, within boundaries set by law. And this is not controversial … well, at least not to decent Americans.
By Alan Korwin

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Alan Korwin’s company Bloomfield Press has hundreds of books featuring plain-English descriptions of state and federal gun laws and other Second Amendment products for the public. See those books and DVDs at

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Are Your Guns Off The Grid?

You are SO on the grid. Everyone is. Everything is, except guns — so far. So what’s the grid? It’s the electrical web connecting us all, allowing for complete control of everything, from one central command, by whoever’s in charge. We’ve wired the entire surface of Earth, and tag! You’re in.

If you’re reading this on Handgunner’s website, I rest my case. If you’re holding the paper magazine, in a cave, and the postman didn’t deliver it, maybe you’re an outlier. But you get my point.

You have a cell phone or a landline. You swipe a credit card for groceries and gas. If you ever stay in a hotel, shop online, fly or have a bank account, you’re in. You could try to spend a single day off grid. It’s virtually impossible unless you head to the woods (and carry supplies you got on grid). You are tied on tight. We all are.

Except … for guns. Guns are decidedly off the grid. Millions of them were built before the feds even invented gun control paperwork. And these firearms remain solidly in American homes.

Millions were built before computers. All the guns people bought and sold from each other remain private property, keeping them way off the grid. This palladium of liberty, the linchpin of freedom, is uniquely outside organized grasp, because it’s inherently and pragmatically off the grid — just like your handwritten inventory.

Now this makes the political left, the gun haters, gun-o-phobes (hoplophobes is the correct term) and “commie-statist-fascist-jackbooted thugocracies” nervous — because it means they lack control. Remember, gun control is not about guns. It’s about control. And control these days is all about digitizing. The digitizing of everything lies at the root of the government’s increasing ability to exert control over every facet of your life.

The freedom firearms have from the grid is desirable, if freedom is desirable. In the same way, guns have been at the root of liberty since the nation was born. The distance between our guns and government is a key to why America remains the freest nation on Earth. The grid threatens this distance.

The core value of the Second Amendment works best when it pivots without friction. Digitizing guns, keeping records of guns, knowing who has what guns adds grinding, screeching friction. Putting everyone’s guns on the grid grinds freedom to a halt.

Here They Come

Waving a flag sewn from clothes of young dead children, government agents and their allies are attempting to put guns on the grid, with procedures, paperwork and bureaucracy, in the false name of safety. One name they have for it is, “Universal Background Checks.” It has a safe and reasonable ring. The call for voluntary enslavement must also have a nice ring or no one would fall for it. Universal background check is a code phrase for universal gun registration. Some politicians and useful idiots pressing for it don’t know they haven’t thought it through. The Manchin-Toomey bill had so much supposed support (90 percent!) but failed to pass had registration built right in on page 27.

The bill was called registration “Prohibition of National Gun Registry”! It left every agency and every person in government, except for the Attorney General, free to collect virtually any data about gun owners.

This is how they do things:

So what’s wrong with registration?

How does writing my name, or your name, in an FBI book help stop crime? Giving government the name of every gun owner and what they own only tracks the innocent, and does nothing to reduce crime. The people organizing this charade know it.

In fact, it’s illegal to list the criminals! The Fifth Amendment forbids requiring a criminal to register a gun he can’t have — this only applies for people who’ve done nothing wrong. If you could add crooks, heck, you could just arrest them and be done with it. It’s absolutely ridiculous. The promoters know it too.

If it’s background checks they want, BIDS (Blind Identification Database System) will do it for one-tenth the cost of NICS (the current system) and with no possibility of compiling a list of gun owners.

With NICS, you must send your name and address to the FBI, who swears they don’t record it. They use a recording device to run their system. You can’t audit them. “Trust us,” they say. The whole thing is statist, “We’re the boss, submit to us, you’re not free.”

With BIDS, the FBI sends the prohibited-possessor list (people outlawed by 18 USC §922d), to the licensees who sell guns. It’s the same concept as Wanted Posters. Your dealer is able to look you up instead of having the FBI do it. The FBI maintains the list for us, like they’re servants … leaving us in charge. A dealer’s obligation to look you up remains the same as to call the FBI when you walk in. There’s more to it but here’s the gist. Take a look: BIDS is cheaper, works great and your guns stay grid-free.

Alan Korwin’s 14th book is designed to help bring your gunless friends and relatives from their fears and into the ranks of gun ownership. Take a look at Your First Gun and help preserve our right to arms. Alan invites you to write him or see his work at

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Will You Shoot To Save Your Gun Rights?

By the time this issue of American Handgunner hits the newsstands, the Fourth of July will be upon us, so it will be almost too late. More specifically, it will almost be too late for you — not some other guy, but you — to go to your local shooting range and ask if they’re joining in National Training Week.

If they are participating, they’ll be busy and there’s plenty in it for you. If they’re not, it’s not too late for them to join in. Will you ask? Or will you sit on your fat butt and just gripe about ammo prices and the guy in the Oval Office?

National Training Week encourages everyone to go to the range and practice from July 4-11, celebrating Independence Day with fireworks, firearms and freedom! The idea behind this event is to get everyone to practice gun safety and marksmanship around The Fourth. Can anything else be more wholesome and patriotic?

The very day firearms helped set us free is the perfect time to exercise our right to keep and bear them. You, as a gun owner, can build on this theme, help overcome the virtual blackout in the lamestream media, and make it happen. But you have to do something. This column will tell you how you can help and the key idea behind this event.

Ranges nationwide are offering the public free firearm rentals for an hour during the week of National Training Week, for the seventh year in a row. Is there anything else to say? Wouldn’t you like to rent some cool firearm you’ve wanted to try — for free? Of course you would. Everyone would. This is the big draw and it works really well. All you have to do is let your local gun store know, and get them on board.

The gun rental itself is free for an hour, but you will likely need to buy their ammo and targets and pay for range time — enabling them to make money while you save some. Everyone wins. This represents a big incentive for newcomers, one of the primary goals of this weeklong event. Ranges feature extra classes, discounts and more. A splendid time is guaranteed for all.

Taking Action

In order for this to come to fruition at your local range, you need to jump in your car, drive over to the range, find the managers and talk them into it if they’re not already. Be the champion, the patriot, the guy who is determined to make it happen — the guy who actually does something.

It’s all spelled out online; simply visit, and in the upper-right corner, click the National Training Week emblem. Three easy steps and a ready-made promo are there, endorsed by the NRA, GOA, Second Amendment Foundation, Second Amendment Sisters, the Appleseed Project and more.

You can print out the promo and 3-step instructions ahead of time, making it easier for you. Or, when you get to the range, ask the managers to go online and look for themselves. They can print fliers and add their contact information in handouts and print banners as big as their building if they want, using any local quick-print shop. It’s so easy even a knuckle-dragging, gun-toting … well, you get the idea.

But there’s no time to waste. If your local range hasn’t yet spread the message, they need to get on this quick to get the word out. Emailing customers and passing out fliers to those who come in the gun store will surely prompt a response, especially with free gun rentals involved!

And don’t let them forget to set up special classes for ladies, first-time shooters, youngsters and entire families coming in together.

You experienced shooters can try out guns you’ve only been dreaming about — maybe the cannon-like .454 Casull or one of the newer .500-caliber magnums. Or on the other end, maybe a titanium lightweight hammerless with an integral laser would pique your interest.

The icing on the cake is the idea of gift-giving on Independence Day, rivaling a child’s first long gun under the Christmas tree. Today, we need to bring aboard new adult shooters, who, thanks to political pressures, are considering their first gun. The day responsible for making our freedom possible is the perfect day for the gift of introducing new people to our sport. It’s the reason why I wrote my 14th book, Your First Gun, to help potential new gun owners in their decision-making — and it’s a gift you can give to someone you know who needs it. As I like to say, “friends don’t let friends go gunless.”

Are you convinced? Will you do something to protect your rights? Look up National Training Week, get excited, then drive to your local range and make it happen. Don’t think about it. Do it.
By Alan Korwin

Alan invites you to write to him or see his work, at

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Handgunner Sept/Oct 13

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Can The Philosophy Of Freedom Save Guns?

This nation was founded on principles I believe most of the public still cherishes, despite elections and superficial media-instigated disputes. The kinds of human liberty we invented grew the most abundant and successful society the world has ever seen by far, lifting people from poverty (the natural state of humanity) into abundant prosperity and happiness — which was created through hard work and lofty goals. Can resurgence of that American spirit help in the fight to protect the right to keep and bear arms?

You bet it can. Abraham Lincoln — both admired and controversial — once wisely said, “Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment nothing can fail. Without it, nothing can succeed.”

If the deep philosophy of freedom takes hold again, and washes away the statism (reliance on the state) and ugly collectivism that has eroded it, our gun rights will have the very natural and robust support they can sorely use.

When you jump up and down about the Second Amendment, and your buddies jump up and down with you, you make the antirights mob and their ignorant followers jump up and down about blood in the streets and shootouts at traffic jams. You can’t blame them really; they’re ignorant, pounded daily by a belligerent and biased “news” media, a victim of their own irrational fears. They’re a product of government schools teaching the statist message on everything, including an antigun rights mantra, instead of a message of freedom and abundance. But when you harangue people about the whole Bill of Rights instead, and human liberty, they also jump up and down. Is there something there we can use?


Just what is this philosophy of freedom? It is knowing humanity’s greatest achievements occur when people are as free as possible to pursue their self-interest. Adam Smith figured that out in 1776, calling it Wealth of Nations, a book still in print. The idea is the more you are left alone, the more you can accomplish, and the better for society.

By peeling away the restrictions of government’s laws and regulations, you end up with a small government of limited powers. That’s what our Founders sought, recognizing the bigger government gets, the more powers it claims and the worse for the public it governs. In the elegantly simple words of political activist Ernest Hancock: Freedom good, government bad, bad, bad, bad … bad.

Will this resonate with everyone? No, of course not. The “takings coalitions,” those people who have attached themselves to government handouts, entitlements, funding programs and other leach-like redistributions of the wealth we earn will be extremely reluctant to roll back the clamps government has on all of us, from gun rights to taxation (where true representation is almost non-existent).

The philosophy of freedom is built on principles supporting gun rights and all human rights, in direct opposition to towering government control over you. A free person can own arms and slaves cannot. A free person bears arms in direct opposition to government power and a government detests that balance of power. Just look at any tyrannical regime for proof of principle here. To the extent this shifts the mindset of your friends, community and officials, our goals as marksmen advance, and the repression of government recedes.

Freedom Tests

The fundamental tenets of freedom include: less government is better government; government of limited powers is best; individual responsibility and enterprise are goals; free markets with low taxation are prized and the right to keep and bear arms is sacrosanct.
Now don’t confuse this with pure libertarianism, a marginal political approach with no borders, no central banks, no control over drugs, unbridled prostitution (which we practically already have in Congress!), there’s just no way that dog can hunt. And the idea of a libertarian party is a flat-out contradiction in terms.

But if a libertarian-type set of principles were to make headway into the mainstream parties — government governing least governs best, just leave us alone, delegated powers only — the groundwork for a return to the philosophy of freedom would be set, and the entire nation would benefit.

You can do this with a simple single phrase. Does it maximize freedom? Ask that about every new law. When you see a legislator, or hear a proposal, ask yourself, does it maximize freedom? If it doesn’t — and you’ll be amazed how rarely it does — say so. “Mr. Legislator, that does not maximize freedom, so I would be against it on principle — and you should be too.” Watch their faces. They’re slow, but eventually, they will start to get it. Especially when we dump the ones who minimize freedom. The ones who’d regulate everything? They have no place in our government.

Get your hands on a copy of Common Sense by Thomas Paine. In print for centuries, it remains a glorious outline of why freedom works. Read The Law, by Frederick Bastiat, to grasp the purpose and limits of what law can do, and why it must be strictly contained. Shift some of your focus from guns specifically to freedom generally, and both will advance. Think freedom.

Alan Korwin’s company Bloomfield Press is the largest publisher and distributor of gun-law books in the country, featuring plain-English descriptions of state and federal gun laws for the public. He invites you to write to him at, where you can also find the books he recommends in this article.
By Alan Korwin

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How Bad Is Antigun-Rights Bigotry?

In its desperate dance to defeat America’s right to keep and bear arms — a ballet only performed in the blood of massacre victims — the political left may finally be defeating itself. Their concocted antirights arguments, piled high atop one another, are beginning to collapse under their own weight.

Spewing bile and vitriol with foaming wrath, the illogic and insanity of calls to disarm the innocent — in the name of protecting the innocent — are ringing hollow in America’s ears. People grow weary of the incessant bleating and impossible demands that even gun-hating ignorant masses can see will do nothing to protect them or crowds of defenseless children and shopping malls or theaters. Let’s examine these one at a time.

It has become painfully clear antirights bigots can’t agree, indeed have no idea what a so-called “assault weapon” is because, in plain English: Assault is a kind of behavior, not a kind of hardware. Tell that to people you meet (don’t argue arcane technicalities).

Any plain-speaking person can see this. Legal assaults on different semi-autos by brand names or acronyms will do nothing to stop maniacs. People are starting to realize that politicians’ demagoguery, demanding gun bans by name or looks will not protect their kids or themselves. The bigots are losing that narrative faster than they can shovel it. Ten years of that did nothing last time, is that all they’ve got.

They’re demanding again that magazines be limited to 10 rounds. This makes no sense to the common man. How will forcing madmen to use ten-shooters save us? It won’t. The common man can see this. Madmen with ten-shooters, or two ten-shooters and pockets full of spares pose every bit as big a problem as any other madmen. Ten-shooters is no solution. The common man can see bigots lack reason — a serious problem for bigots.

And behind the curtain we know the bigots really want zero-round magazines but are afraid to say it, because defenselessness is a non-starter. Ten-shooters is nuts, zero-shooters is, well, the jig is up.

The antirights media’s false attachment to “balance” hurts them too. They repeatedly bombard us with images of the murderers. This revolts people. It is yellow journalism, designed to disgust and sensationalize, and it does. It fails to inform, it’s not news, and it simply advances the agenda of their political puppet masters attempting to smear decent gun owners.
But it does force the media to show “the other side” for balance, so the truth gets air, and the public sees it. And our side makes sense. The truth leaks out, despite the media. The bigots lose the narrative even faster. John Lott, Larry Pratt, Wayne LaPierre, they out Piers, CNN, O’Reilly and the rest as the fools they are.

No one bothered to answer Wayne’s totally salient question. We protect banks, corporations, politicians, airplanes, and even sports arenas with armed guards — why not our precious kids — especially knowing they’re at risk and continue to be? Reporters merely attacked the NRA for suggesting armed guards in schools — but they didn’t answer his question, they didn’t even mention he asked it. But it leaked out, and the Kool-Aid got watered down. And then it leaked more: Obama’s kids go to a school with armed guards. And Obama’s blue-ribbon panel says everything must be on the table. This is good.

We have teachers and principals ranting almost incoherently schools are no place for guns. At last! The subject is in the open! My high school had a rifle team. Their picture is proudly in my yearbook. Since when is 10 percent of the Bill of Rights off limits? Who represents these teachers?

According to the Associated Press, Carol Lear, a chief lawyer for the Utah Office of Education says guns in schools is, “a horrible, terrible, no good, rotten idea.” Is she speaking of Obama’s kids’ school? Or just your kids’ school? Who are these people? It’s like listening to antiblack arguments in the civil-rights battles of the 1960s. The bigots are losing the 21st-century civil rights battles, and our lives are at stake.

The antirights bigots are so poorly informed on firearm issues they need counseling. They are impeding progress, making it harder to protect ourselves, our children and develop workable solutions. Why are a growing number of people going insane and acting out psychopathic murderous rage? How do we stop them before they start — and afterwards? What is Big Pharma’s role? And American Psycho movies? Why does the AMA refuse to recognize or treat hoplophobia and its horrific effects?

Wayne is right and people sense it. The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. That message is leaking out, and the left hates that.

Maybe most of all, people can see the media is lying — police have guns, but police are second responders — you are the first responder. When seconds count, police are minutes away. You need guns more than the police. You want police to have full-capacity magazines, high-powered guns and all the ammo they can carry for the same reasons you need that — because you face criminals first. And bigots are definitely losing that part of the narrative. Because their kids are at stake too.

Alan Korwin’s company Bloomfield Press is the largest publisher and distributor of gun-law books in the country, featuring plain-English descriptions of state and federal gun laws for the public. He invites you to write to him or see his work, at

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AH MK 2013

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Should Political Refugees Be Armed?

America Has Plenty Of Them.

When a ruthless dictator seizes control of the power structure at some backwater nation in a dark corner of the planet, people tend to flee. They pack up their meager belongings, focusing on food, water, clothes and life’s necessities, and take to bomb-pocked roads, seeking safe haven. Rarely are they armed, leaving them potential victims to thugs along the way, or the new thugs running their government.

It seems impossible for that to happen in our great nation, but increasingly, people are fearful it could occur. Certainly, American Indians faced it. Preppers, people who plan and prepare for catastrophe, with escape routes memorized, are increasing in number. Even mainstream TV is starting to sport ads for long shelf life food packages, “victory farm” seed assortments and other survival gear that used to be the bailiwick of deep-end tin-hat survivalists. Hey, having at least some bottled water, flashlights, canned goods and a battery-powered radio is a basic requirement for any sensible person living in the world today.

But I’m concerned here with a softer type of refugee. I’m concerned with increasing migration within the US, of people moving away from where their right to keep and bear arms is seriously infringed, to a place where that precious right is held in high esteem and well protected. I’m talking about armed political refugees within America.

We have a supply of them here in Arizona. People who are proud to have left behind the highly repressive regimes in their home states for the relatively free air of constitutional carry in the Grand Canyon State. My good friend Charles Heller, formerly of Chicago, where even getting a firearm is a bureaucratic entanglement defying freedom, arrived here knowing and proclaiming he was a political refugee. That had an impact on me. And he has had a significant impact on Arizona. Arizona is arguably the gun friendliest state in the Union.

Ultimately, this is about federalism, that brilliant idea of the Founders to make us subject to two sets of law instead of one. By being a citizen of both the nation and the state you are in, you have choice. Your feet can vote.
You want a diverse multicultural feeling of compassionate environmentalism? Go to California. You want your gun rights intact? Come to Arizona. You want easy access to abortion or gay marriage? Try Massachusetts. Family values are important to you? Check out the Midwest. Some state goes too far? The feds can step in — hopefully — for balance.


The dual system is remarkably effective. Initially, the idea of being under two sets of laws is a turn off, until you realize federal and state forces compete with each other. The states fight against the feds for your rights. The feds fight with the states over control and a balance of power. We may seem a little (a lot?) out of balance just now, but that fight is a good thing. All the time governments spend focusing on each other instead of on you enhances your freedom. And it gives you two routes instead of only one to redress grievances or advance causes. This is good.
All that said, I have to encourage the stalwarts among you to remain where you are. America needs freedom fighters — gun-rights advocates and the rest — especially in the most repressive states. People like Scott Bach, fighting overwhelming odds and anti-rights bigotry in New Jersey, make ground little by little, and give the anti-rights bigots no quarter. Like you, he fights the good fight. When you feel weak and believe you’re only one person remember — everyone is only one person. Stand your ground.

Oh, and about those barefoot refugees abroad with their lives on their backs fleeing to a new mud hole away from the old mud hole’s new tyrant? Their right to arms or even self-defense is below zero. If they arm themselves with weapons abandoned along the way they (and their families) can be summarily executed. Cold dead fingers, anyone?

If you help them get weapons, even to avoid an active genocide, that’s subversive. You become a reviled international gun smuggler and a mortal enemy of the state running the extermination. The U.N. actually backs your execution, by remaining passive about the murderers in power. And it makes you a felon under all sorts of US gun laws, despite what we sometimes think is a robust Second Amendment.


In a ground-breaking Notre Dame Law Review article in May, 2006, scholars David Kopel, Paul Gallant and Joanne Eisen asked the question, “Is Resisting Genocide A Human Right?” After extensive research and documentation, looking at U.N. policies, the laws of the world and how they’ve been implemented, they conclude that although resistance to genocide should be protected, as a practical matter it essentially is not.

Should we follow the example of the rest of the world? Or should we, as we have always done, remain exceptional, and stand up for freedom and what is right? Arming refugees against the atrocities perpetrated on them is the right and moral course of action, at home and abroad. So what if it might upset the dictators and tyrants. Armed refugees are a flag of freedom.

Alan invites you to write to him or see his work, at

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Handgunner March/April 2013

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No Law… Or Know Law?

As a general rule, people don’t know their laws. You hear “news” about laws, but those stories avoid the actual laws because (critics suspect) reporters aren’t bright enough (or are too lazy … or both) to read and understand them. What’s the actual law on taxes you owe? Quien sabe? Oops, press one for English. Who knows?

Could you answer even basic questions about real estate law (you have a home, right?), zoning law (your home is in one place, factories in another, right?), education law? (Your kids are in government schools but the laws that control them are a mystery to you, right?) Yes, citizens of America in the early 21st century know squat about their laws.

With one exception: Citizens know their gun laws. More than any other field of law, people know and want to know and seek out and recognize the need to know their gun laws. They’re honest people. Gun people are honest? Yes, they are. They don’t want to run afoul of the law. They know the way laws are set up; it’s easy to commit a minor infraction and end up in more trouble than a crook, so they guard against that.

This is a good thing. Can you imagine if the public wanted to know all the laws that are limiting their freedoms, controlling their lives, empowering their leaders and elites, protecting the ruling class? What a different country this would be.

But that’s hope against hope. The public isn’t going to study the fine points of immigration law (well, actually they might and are), or abortion law (well, actually they might and are), or federal reserve law, or election law, or … maybe there is hope the wise example gun owners set will be adopted by others.


Is it controversial to know the laws? Some of our leaders think so. They really don’t want you to know when you can use deadly force (or that there’s a 50 state guide on that). They’d rather you remain ignorant of the carry laws (every state is different). Heaven forbid if you found out anyone who can legally own firearms is qualified to (gasp) own a machine gun (not valid in all states, how about yours?).

The gun-rights issue (never the “gun issue”) is the only one where we people know and are very concerned about the law. This is exemplary. It is civil involvement in a way we don’t see elsewhere. It’s a model to be emulated, expanded, spread. You should be proud.

Gun rights are motivational like no other. Gun-rights advocates know the entire Bill of Rights depends on the right to keep and bear. “You can’t arm slaves and expect them to remain slaves.” If government has the power to disarm you, then they’re in charge, not you the governed, as it should be in America, land of the free. Half the world doesn’t get that. They’re sheeple.

When you’re armed, literally exercising the fact you’re a free person, and you run into John Law, do you know how to answer the inevitable questions? If an officer tries to roust you, make you feel guilty, just based on woofing, can you come back with some snappy answer? Do you have any idea how good it feels to be able to retort, “I’m sorry officer, but my firearm here is protected under section 133102, so unless there’s something else, I have an appointment to get to.”

Made Up Law

You may have experienced the tendency of some police to make up law on the spot, and use that to juggle your freedom in power-hungry mitts. Knowing the law short circuits, this not uncommon abuse. Police do a lot of things right, but understanding gun law isn’t always one of them. When I wrote my first book, The Arizona Gun Owner’s Guide, not a single thing I got from police made it into print — because not a single thing they told me was accurate or true. Not one — in an entire year of research.

If that doesn’t motivate you to get and learn your local gun laws I don’t know what will. Your freedom is on the line when you go armed, facing those who enforce the laws. A gun owner who knows the law is a powerful force. You feel better when you’re carrying, because you know you’re legal. You shrink the chances of a spurious arrest. You help the entire gun-owning community by being scrupulously compliant. In that regard, gun owners are good countrymen because they know the rules, and follow them.

“We should get rid of all those gun laws, they’re all illegal!” you hear some zealots shout. Certainly, many gun laws are treasonous, abusive infringements on your fundamental civil rights. But others serve civil society, by disarming crooks, criminalizing dangerous behavior and providing a most basic tenet of justice: Law gives fair notice to everyone of behavior that is banned, the penalties involved, and law limits condemnation of behavior that isn’t criminal. Gun ownership is legal activity, and your laws help keep it that way. You need to know that.

Alan Korwin’s company Bloomfield Press is the largest publisher and distributor of gun law books in the country, featuring plain-English descriptions of state and federal gun laws, at

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Handgunner Nov/Dec 2012 Cover

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Can “Hoplophobia” Be Cured?

Words are powerful things. It’s significant that words come before guns in the Bill of Rights. When a dictator takes over a country, the first step is to shut down the broadcasters and printing presses — to control words. That’s less effective these days thanks to the web and cell phones, so now they attempt to shut those down too. Disarming everyone comes second. Vladimir Lenin noted he wouldn’t allow himself to be challenged with guns, why should he allow challenge with words, when words are the more dangerous thing. He knew something.

A single word can change the nature of an entire national debate, and hoplophobia is just such a word. Coined in 1966 by the late Col. Jeff Cooper, it comes from the Greek word hoplites, or weapon. Hoplophobia is a morbid fear of weapons, and a lot of people have it. Just mention a gun near a hoplophobe and the nervous discomfort begins. Place a gun near a hoplophobe, and the pulse rises, blood pressure soars, nausea, sweating, faintness and other symptoms rush in.

The definitive paper on this terrifying mental disorder was written by Dr. Sarah Thompson, Ph.D., and is posted with background at the blue hoplophobia button at The most chilling aspect of the paper is her description of how hoplophobes fail to cope with their disorder. They displace their fears through the psychological mechanism of projection — they project their fears onto everyone else. This explains a lot.

Hoplophobes are so afraid of guns, and especially what they might do if they ever got a hold of one, they project this onto everyone around them. They fear their own fear. They make the irrational assumption (it is, after all, a phobia, which is irrational), that if you have a gun, you would shoot them without cause — because this is what they fear they might do if they ever held this awesome power.

Hoplophobes are afraid of their own inability to control themselves. They presume (irrationally again) everyone with a gun is the same way, a ticking time bomb waiting to go off — just like they are. It’s like the urge you may have felt at the tip of a high place, that urge to heave yourself over the side. You control it. Hoplophobes are afraid they can’t.

This explains the never-ending nonsense arising every time a new carry law or gun-rights bill is enacted. Hoplophobes everywhere, like in every crack of our so-called “news” media, yell and scream about “blood in the streets” — which never happens. I did mention it’s irrational, right? That doesn’t stop them from fearing it each and every time, even though it never happens. Facts have no bearing or even meaning on a person who is phobic.

We see hoplophobic responses every time a psychotic madman goes berserk. The gun-o-phobes come out of the woodwork, bolstered by a complicit and equally fearful press, with politicians in tow (some of whom are only in it for the power grab), seeking new laws to disarm everyone who didn’t do anything wrong. There it is — irrational behavior on a platter. It’s not about guns. It’s about sickness.

Unfortunately, because hoplophobes turn their fear outwards, they tend to inject themselves into the political arena, becoming one of the main forces fighting against your civil right to arms. They turn a medical condition into a political bludgeon, leading to a stunning conclusion: A significant part of the firearms debate is not about guns or politics or history or self-defense or resistance to tyranny — it is about an untreated medical problem.

Hoplophobes deserve pity, and need treatment. Instead they get political rhetoric. No wonder it’s been so hard to advance this civil-rights cause — we’re fighting a disease and don’t realize it. A national effort to get hoplophobia into the DSM, the official mental-disorder catalog, is making little headway.

An Opportunity

One way psychiatrists deal with phobias is through desensitization —gradually introducing the afflicted to what they fear. We’ve all experienced this a bit when we take a nervous novice shooting. They come with a full bottle of fears, which dissipate as they learn the shooting skills. The worst hoplophobes won’t go near a range; but that deep-seated fear is dispelled by those who do.

When a hoplophobe (or anyone) tells you they hate guns, an opportunity opens. Put a comforting hand on the person’s shoulder, and in a soft reassuring voice tell them, “It’s not good to hate.” Then stand quietly while they stand like deer caught in headlights.

It’s important you personally confront hoplophobia wherever you encounter it. When someone makes irrational claims about guns, or shows even subtle telltale hints of fear, ask, “Are you hoplophobic?” Man oh man does that change the flavor of things! Suddenly they’re on the defensive, insisting they’re not afraid of guns. Denial is a symptom of the condition. Let them know if they suffer under a phobia, it doesn’t justify denying your rights in a misguided effort to ease their malady. Attacking your rights is just plain wrong, and will not help them.

Alan Korwin runs the website, and is the manager of the campaign.

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July/August 2012

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Should You Fix The World… With Your Own Lawsuit?

How outrageous do attacks on our rights and freedoms have to get before you throw caution to the wind, damn the torpedoes, and just sue the tar out of the bastages who are America’s great domestic enemies? Can you just stand by while the criminal-injustice anti-rights defilers of the Constitution prance around scot-free? When the intolerable acts and rights-crushing laws get bad enough, and defenders of our rights seem idle, maybe it’s time for you personally to take things into your own hands, go to court, and hold those villains accountable. Overturn the bad laws. Remove the evildoers from office for dereliction of duty. Use the courts to get Justice with a capital J! Sue the bums! Yeah, that’s the ticket! Mebbe.

Have you ever been to court, even to wait in the jury pool, or pay a traffic ticket, or to (boring!) actually watch a case? Did you like what you saw? Did it seem unjust, confusing, were the procedures a mystery, did it make you feel like a helpless flea? That’s a good thing to understand, because filing your own lawsuit is 100 times worse.

People do invent their own lawsuits from time to time. You can file an in pauperis lawsuit (a pauper’s suit, because presumably you don’t have the half million it takes to start a proper lawsuit, like, you know, with lawyers). Freelance filing may not be the worst thing you can do, but it’s damn close. Bad lawsuits make bad law. The enemies of freedom love it when a well-meaning turkey takes on the world through the courts without knowing the rules, let alone having a game plan — or the support of lawyers, assistants, scholars, researchers and even hip-pocket judges for good measure. A good lawyer knows the law. A great lawyer knows the judge.

Everyone wants to fix injustices and stop incursions on our precious rights, but your own lawsuit is the wrong way. I’ve written about this repeatedly in response to people who ask me how to proceed. I’m not even a lawyer, I’m a writer — shows you what they know. I will say this, though, that’s better than mail I get from people who are so fed up they want to start shooting people — a far worse idea. Claire Wolfe got that right in her book, 101 Things To Do ‘Til The Revolution, when, “It’s too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards.” Stock up on those ideas first.

Legal Genius

As I tell my ardent correspondents, “You need legal geniuses behind the effort, a team of people not just ‘a lawyer,’ hundreds of possibilities and ramifications considered, elements for inevitable appeals built into initial pleadings, and the perfect test case structured so it can be won. No amount of personal frustration is sufficient justification for a ‘wildcat’ I’m-gonna-test-this-fool-law-and-right-the-world badly played game. Find enough of the right people to back the plan first, bankroll the effort, structure the absolutely perfect test case in the exactly right court, then go — I’m all for it. Oh, I’m sorry, that’s hard? That’s a lot of work? You don’t know if you can or how to do that? You don’t have a clue who the right people are? You just want to run with the football? Tough.”

The roots of the 2008 Heller case, the case that saved the Second Amendment, traces back to lawyers Clark Neily III and Steve Simpson at a happy hour in 2002, or even earlier, to a law-review article by Don Kates in 1983. This is not 1-man-1-shot stuff.
So what can you do?

Get your act in gear by getting to know some lawyers. Do that by going to your state (not national) gun rights groups, joining if you’re not a member, and talk with them. Learn who they know and trust in the legal community, because those are probably the good lawyers — probably (you have to decide for yourself). Find your state associations at the National Directory link at

This serves several purposes. If you own a gun you should own a lawyer too (they don’t like calling it that, but it’s just a figure of speech). When you have a lawyer you never have to say, “I want an attorney,” you get to say, “I want my attorney,” a wonderful position to be in.

But How?

How do you “get” your own lawyer? That’s the right question, and it’s surprising how many people have tons of guns, and enough ammo to sink a ship (based on weight) but no lawyer to call in emergencies (or for simpler things like suing the federal government). When you find one that seems right, you book a paid 1-hour consultation, bring a few buddies so you can split the bill and share notes afterwards, and scope out the person. If it seems right, get half a dozen business cards (for your wallet, glove box, desk, spouse and spares), and then you “have” a lawyer.

Now, instead of imaging some fool lawsuit doomed to failure, you’re preparing for intelligent defense of your rights — and yourself. And that’s a good legal strategy.

Alan Korwin is the author of nine books on gun law, including “Gun Laws of America: Every Federal Gun Law on the Books, with Plain-English Summaries.” He runs the website, and is the manager of the campaign.

May/June 2012

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What Tactics Can Protect Our Rights?

I Dare You…

We know some of you don’t care about gun rights. You just want range time or some hot new gun in order to smell burning powder and bust a few caps — nothing wrong with that. If there weren’t love for the sport, it would have died.

On the other hand, we know lots of you are scared witless that big government and anti-rights bigots will destroy our precious right to arms, and leave you defenseless. No amount of cold-dead-finger posturing seems capable of stopping that — and getting yourself dead may not be the best approach, you think? So, what can you do?

I hear it all the time: “What can I do to help save our rights? I’m just one person.” First of all, everyone is just one person, so you inherently have the identical power to act that everyone else does. If you’ve done nothing to increase your power, then sure, you’re a low-power lackey. Fortunately, it’s not a terminal condition, and you’re the one who can fix it. And it’s easy.

Go to dinner. I said it was easy, right? Here’s the catch — invite a handful of good friends or shooting buddies along. Pick a place that’s quiet, like the side room of a joint, so you can have a long talk. You may have to look around to find a good spot, and make sure they’ll do separate checks. Man, that’s hard, going around to local haunts and checking them out, even if you beer up along the way, hey? Are you man enough (or woman enough) to try this? Pick a date and let everyone know.

After everyone arrives and mingles, tap a glass to make the universal call-to-order sound, welcome your friends, thank them for coming and spend the entire evening talking about one single subject: “What can we do to help preserve our rights?” Don’t get side tracked, stay on point, and be bossy if you need to. This gives you real power — power in numbers, leadership and the constitutional power of the right to assemble, which can move mountains. The group will come up with ideas that make everyone nod in agreement — that’s what you’re looking for.

Then Do It

As a group, decide to do whatever it is you come up with. You’ll feel the power, it’s exhilarating and like politicians, you’ll hunger for more. Ask everyone to come back next month, bring friends, and do it again. Put e-mails on a list so you can easily organize. Now you’re a community organizer, and you know where that can get you. Do you have the guts to invite friends to dinner and help save the world? Or are you a completely witless, incompetent, insecure woosy, complainer with no cojones like everyone says you are?

Okay, sarcasm off now. I can almost hear you saying, “Is that all there is to it? Isn’t there something else I could do, something more … umm … high caliber?” Well, yes, there is, but I had to see if you could make it this far. Organizing marksmen is a giant step. A giant step, very high caliber. If you can’t get that far, no sense in aiming further downrange.

State representative H.L. “Bill” Richardson, who founded Gun Owners of America, wrote a book about how politics really works, called Confrontational Politics. It’s strong stuff. All the seemingly bizarre political news stories actually make sense, because as Richardson puts it: “Politics works, just not the way you think it does.” Get it at Read it. Then consider these ideas too:

• Constantly build your e-mail list. That’s how we get word out because the “news” media hides the facts from you. When good bills need support and bad ones need to die, you’ll have a finger on the controls.

• Learn how to follow gun bills in your state legislature — it’s online and easy — and you’ll gain knowledge, which is pure power. I dare you.

• Join your state gun groups, because that’s where the rubber meets the road. Spend the few bucks and position yourself for serious impact.

• Take people who have never gone shooting, to a range. This makes converts, they have fun (you do too), and they end up wanting more. More power in numbers, and power in new contacts, because they typically spread the evangel of gun ownership as a wonderful hobby, exciting sport, and life-saving fundamental right at the core of our culture.

• Want something even harder? Join the not-choir. Go to a meeting of the left, see if you can stomach it, and listen and learn. Don’t talk or you’ll get yourself thrown out or hated (easy to do). Requires extreme composure and fortitude. Dress business-casual, not bubba.

• Stop winning debates. If you win all your debates you’re losing, because “a man convinced against his will is of the other opinion still.” You don’t want to win debates, you need to learn How to Win Friends and Influence People, which is another great book you should read, it’ll make a man out of you.

Alan Korwin is the author of nine books on gun law. He runs the website, and is the manager of the campaign, which you should check out.