The Ayoob File

Readers Know Massad Ayoob As A Writer, But He’s Also A Leader

In this screen clip from the Gun Rights Policy Conference live stream,
SAF President Massad Ayoob offers his perspective on the right to keep
and bear arms, as SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb looks on.

American Handgunner and GUNS Magazine readers have known Massad Ayoob over the years for his insight and careful analysis of self-defense incidents, and for his several books on the subject, but there’s another side of this multi-talented fellow with the deep voice and New England accent.

He also serves as president of the Second Amendment Foundation, a gun rights organization that has become the national leader in firearms litigation. It’s also where I hang my hat as editor and communications director. It was a SAF case — McDonald v. City of Chicago — which won a Supreme Court ruling that incorporated the Second Amendment to the states via the 14th Amendment. It is SAF, sometimes with national and/or local partner organizations, which now has nearly 40 active lawsuits challenging restrictive gun control laws across the states.

And it is SAF, along with the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, which annually sponsors the Gun Rights Policy Conference. This year, the event was in Dallas, Texas, and it was Ayoob — a pal of mine for decades — who delivered opening remarks and later on the agenda, some timely and important tips on how to win the “gun battle.”

Suffice to say, Ayoob did it with a style all his own; a bit of activist, some diplomat, a dash of cop humor and a heavy dose of reality.

In his opening remarks, Ayoob detailed how “the other side has tried to demonize all of us as a bunch of white supremacists.” But, as he noted, a look around the conference ballroom proved how demonstrably false such an allegation happens to be. There were men, women, people of all races, creeds, colors and gender.

“Indeed,” he observed, “our entire movement crosses every line of the socio-economic barrier; the rich, the poor and the in-between.”

“I remember the first time I went to the Bianchi cup shooting match,” Ayoob recalled, “the so-called Wimbledon of pistol shooting. I noticed not only did the multi-millionaire who flew there to shoot in his Lear jet shoot on the same relay as the young man who worked in the auto body shop, after which they went to lunch together. Our values cross all those lines. We’re here together in a common cause and a righteous cause.

“People try to make us look like we’re outsiders,” he observed. “There is no more inclusive culture in the United States … than gun owners.”

When Ayoob talks, people listen, as they did at the Gun Rights Conference.
He said the battle over Second Amendment rights is “absolutely about human rights.”
(Dave Workman photo)

As he explained to the audience, both in person and via live stream video, “I do not believe in gun rights … all of us are here today about CIVIL rights; the civil rights of gun owners.

“And it is absolutely about human rights,” Ayoob continued. “Lord William Blackstone, the great commentator on the common law, said that self-defense was the highest of all human rights.”

He recalled how the current Second Amendment movement began back in the mid-1970s. It was a time when there were seven states with no provision for the law-abiding citizen to carry a loaded gun in public. 

“Today, there are none,” he said. “Every single state has such a provision. Back then, the states that did have a provision were predominantly ‘may issue,’ which in all together too many places became a code word for ‘We’ll give you the permit if you’re white, male, rich and politically connected.’”

But the movement made progress, Ayoob said. The “may issue” states became the minority, and then came the ruling earlier this year which turned the world upside down for the gun prohibition movement.

“In June of this year, with the Bruen decision, the United States Supreme Court put a stake in the heart of that elitist system,” he stated.

Countering Critics

Later in the program, Ayoob was back at the microphone, telling activists what to do and not to do in the great debate about Second Amendment rights.

He explained the 10-80-10 principle.

“In any polarized debate,” he said, “there are going to be 10 people who are hardcore with you, 10 people who are hardcore opponents and will never change their mind, and 80 percent in the middle who may be inclined to lean one way or the other (but) still have their minds open and are willing to listen.”

His advice to anyone speaking before a town or city council, or legislative committees is to “keep it short, keep it sharp, keep it memorable; above all have it logical (and) always press that common-sense button.”

“Even more important than that,” he added, “never exaggerate. Make sure everything you give them is true and verifiable. How much credibility has the other side lost with their exaggerations? We must avoid falling into that trap.”

If someone questions you about why you own and even carry a gun, the best explanation is to compare it to a fire extinguisher. It’s is an emergency lifesaving rescue tool.

Following the Uvalde outrage, Ayoob was contacted by the BBC (the British seem fascinated by the American “gun culture” but not in a friendly way) for comment.

“I was asked, ‘in the year 2022, how can the Second Amendment possibly be relevant in America?’ I was able to get it with three words: ‘Ask a Ukranian,’” he told the announcer.

He reminded the audience of news footage of Ukranian officials handing out genuine “assault rifles” to civilians as Russian invaders moved into their country. Those images are etched into the memory of every grassroots gun activist in the country.

Ayoob also touched on suicide prevention efforts in the gun community, and he said there are still people who insist the Second Amendment applies only to the states’ rights to form a National Guard. They simply will not accept the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right, included in the Constitution by men who had just fought a revolution, and the sound of gunfire was still “fresh in their minds.”

The Smirk

Ayoob proved to the audience he also has a razor sharp sense of humor, and it shined when he mentioned one of the left’s oldest and silliest arguments against gun ownership.

“How many times have we heard, ‘They just buy those guns to compensate for sexual insecurity?,” he inquired. “The gun is a phallic symbol.”

Speaking specifically to the men in the audience, he offered the ultimate put-down response.

“If guns were phallic symbols, would any of you ever have bought one with a two-inch barrel?” The remark brought one of the biggest laughs of the conference.


In other news, The Guardian recently reported homicides and suicides are at their highest rate in three decades, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

Last year, the report noted, firearms were involved in a combined total of 47,286 homicides and suicides, after 2020 produced 43,675 such fatalities. This was a subject upon which Ayoob also touched, calling it disingenuous for anti-gunners to combine those totals.

When anti-gunners conflate suicides with crimes, Ayoob said “they are twisting the truth.”

New York Attorney General Letitia James quickly vowed to defend the Empire State’s new gun control / concealed carry law just days after U.S. District Court Judge Glenn Suddaby declared many tenets of the law unconstitutional. James and other New York anti-gunners are furious with the judge’s ruling, and have promised to fight to the bitter end.

The new law, according to the Spectrum Local News, “is facing multiple legal challenges, including one from upstate churches who are contesting the ban on guns in houses of worship.”

Gov. Kathy Hochul and Democrat lawmakers in Albany scrambled to pass a new concealed carry law after the U.S. Supreme Court scrapped the old “good cause” statute as unconstitutional in a 6-3 decision authored by Associate Justice Clarence Thomas.

‘Shoot ‘Em’ Says the Sheriff

Don’t get on the wrong side of a Polk County, Fla., resident by looting their home in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, because Sheriff Grady Judd recently offered some advice to his neighbors: “You take your gun and you shoot him, you shoot him so that he looks like grated cheese.”

The career lawman was interviewed by Fox News’ morning program “Fox & Friends,” and he pulled no punches.

“It’s total devastation,” Judd said, “and people have a right to be safe in their homes. They have a right for their property to be safe even when part of their home may be torn away. And these looters, that’s unacceptable. Absolutely unacceptable.”

He justified plugging a looter by observing, “Because you know what? That’s one looter that won’t break into anyone else’s home and take advantage of them when they’re the most vulnerable and the most weak.”

Don’t say you haven’t been warned!

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