“Militarized” Handguns on the Chopping Block

Regular readers of this blog know that I try to stay as a-political as possible, preferring to pursue my motto (as the sidebar notes) “Light over Heat.” Last week, however, I was unable to ignore a buzz in the gun control movement surrounding the release of Guns Down: How to Defeat the NRA and Build a Safer Future with Fewer Guns by Igor Volsky.

According to the book’s website,

Igor Volsky is the co-founder and executive director of Guns Down America, an organization dedicated to building a future with fewer guns. He made headlines in 2015 for shaming lawmakers who took money from the NRA and sent “thoughts and prayers” after mass shootings.

Before August 2018, he worked for the Center for American Progress, especially with its ThinkProgress newsadvocacy project.

In conjunction with the release of his book, the Brady Campaign did a Q&A with Volsky on Twitter. I found some of his answers enlightening.

As the response in the screen cap from Twitter highlights, Volsky’s niche in the gun control movement is to adopt a more aggressive, less compromising approach. Rather than tip-toeing around the issue of guns, he makes no bones about the fact that guns are the problem and therefore the fewer the guns, and the harder they are to get, the better.

In conjunction with his “the fewer, the better” view, Volsky takes aim in particular not only at “assault weapons” (of course), but also at something he calls “militarized hand guns” (see screen cap from Twitter above).

Volsky doesn’t say what a “militarized hand gun” is, but a Google search helped me find another reference to the thing on BuzzFlash.com:

A gun, particularly assault weapons and lethal militarized handguns, are at least two things: a prosthetic dick and a sign that even unemployed white guys still rule the Western World and sit at the head of the kitchen table.

So long Colt, S&W, and Remington revolvers, 1911s, Beretta 92s and Glocks, and who knows what else. Militarized handgun, like assault weapon, is an elastic concept which can be stretched to encompass all sorts of guns. Which is perhaps the point.

Note: The URL modernsportinghandgun.com is still available if anyone wants to register it preemptively.



      • Laws pertaining to “Assault Weapons” generally use extensive catalogues of affected firearms and/or combinations of features, for example a firearm is covered if it has a pistol grip and one or more features from a list. Folks on my side of the argument point out that these features are cosmetic and do not affect the lethality of the weapon, and that the catalogues appear to be arrived at by looking in gun periodicals for pictures of scary-looking guns. What we have yet to see is a definition that both sets, say, an AR-15 apart from a Ruger Mini-14 or a Browning BAR AND makes a compelling case for why it is more dangerous or inappropriate for civilian ownership.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Like any ideologue he is blind to anything but his view of the “facts” If indeed a reduction in gun violence is the objective, reducing the availability of firearms has negligible, possibly even negative effects (UK as example, more violent crime than ever, including guns. There are indeed none so blind as those who refuse to see, ie the most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is an interesting summary of a study done Carlisle Moody a while back (PDF of the study linked in the summary): https://billlawrenceonline.com/carlisle-moody-handguns-stop-murders/

      The premise of the study was that as handguns became more widespread, particularly after the introduction of the flintlock, violent crime dropped because people who weren’t so burly could defend themselves, and even if the ruffians had guns too, it made it merely a fair fight rather than a one-sided fight. Anyway, one of the stats in that study was that in 1920 when the English right to bear arms ended, the assault rate was something like 2.39/100k. In 1999 (near the time the study was done), the assault rate was 419.29/100k.

      Gun prohibition favors the beefy.


  2. Just another Socialist mouth piece going after the obvious, firearms, and easiest not the harder problems like mental health and economics and education. Let someone threaten him with a firearm and watch how fast his ‘opinions’ change. And a typical Socialist hypocrite because he demands I support and respect his First Amendment rights while wanting to restrict and take away my Second Amendment rights.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It seems he wants people to believe that the gun industry is not regulated? I’m surprised he didn’t use the modifier “reasonable” or “common sense.” I’m also surprised that he didn’t say that the “investment” in violence prevention would “pay for itself.”

    The biggest threat to the firearms industry is the repeal of The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). I can only imagine what Remington is paying in defense costs related to Newtown. Just think about what it would be like if firearms manufacturers’ got sued in a significant number of gunshot cases?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I totally agree that this appears to be another one-sided propaganda attack on firearms makers and owners. However, I think it’s important to remember that people like Volsky are at least partially motivated by a sincere desire to make our communities safer—not just to strip rights from law-abiding gun owners. The fact that they are probably wrong yet irritatingly convinced of their righteousness makes it hard to see what’s underneath their surface arrogance.


    • Jim – I think you are right to recognize the sincere desire to make communities safer. If would be beneficial for both sides to recognize this common goal, and to do less stigmatizing of those on the other side.

      To his credit, Volsky is very clear about his goal: weaken the NRA and the firearms industry, fewer guns in society overall, and no “assault weapons” or “militarized handguns.”


      • As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

        I don’t know that recognizing a common goal has that much value when 1. their proposed solutions violate my rights and/or demonstrably do not work and 2. they intend to impose those solutions from above whether we concur or not.


      • I wonder if the underlying goals _are_ laudable.

        I’m in sort of a weird place — child of hippies and yet somehow I ended up a part of Gun Culture 1.0. I’m a liberal, atheist, non-practicing Jew with a post-graduate degree. My major distinction I think, is that I grew up in rural areas and I’ve been shooting most of my life. Some of my most cherished childhood treasures are the NRA shooting patches I earned for marksmanship — I may actually value those more than any of my diplomas, at least I know what I’d grab first if my house was burning down. Yet I’ve been around lefties and liberals my entire life and in my experience, there is frequently an underlying intolerance directed toward “gun totin’ rednecks,” as if the world could become a utopia if they all disappeared.

        I’m also friends with people that liberals in my life might characterize as “ya’ll-queda Faux News zombies” (more snark). What baffles me though, is that my “redneck” friends can be more open and accepting. For example, I was driving around with one such friend, a Vietnam vet who still uses “commie bastard” as a sort of cuss. We were chatting about something and that popped out (not at me, just about some topic I can’t recall). I said “hey! I’m right here you know?” and we both broke out laughing hard. A fault I would ascribe to my lefty friends is that they are sometimes more dogmatic and unaccepting of differences than my friends on the right.

        I can’t help but wonder how much of the current gun debate is founded on a pernicious sort of prejudice in the left which is rooted in a smug sense of intellectual superiority, a sort of lefty corollary to the “white man’s burden” rampant in colonial thought. This “progressive person’s burden” comes out in the scorn we hear all the time, like how “pickup truck Republicans” vote against their own interests. We hear it in “common sense gun control,” perhaps this book is itself an expression of that self-satisfied superiority complex, and sometimes, it’s right at the surface (“deplorables” or “clinging to their guns and bibles”).

        Anyway, I’m not willing to give the author the presumption of good intentions.


      • All the gun-control schemes rest on some invalid core assumptions. The first is that you can seriously reduce the number of firearms in circulation without the active participation of gunowners. Nobody really knows how many guns there are in America; nobody knows where they all are. Recent events have shown that the vast majority of owners aren’t going to register what they have, why should they? This is why grandfather clauses get built into gun laws, the writers know they would be unenforceable otherwise.

        The second invalid assumption is that you can control the supply. Firearms are a mature technology. Any competent machinist with decent (and very common) tools can make sophisticated modern firearms. The market will continue to be served.

        As a means of reducing death and injury, these laws suck. They would prevent only those shootings carried out by people inclined to obey laws like that, and that’s a very small number.


  5. rustygunner1 — the main reason we see grandfather clauses in legislation is because of the 5th Amendment which ends “… nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

    When you start calculating the value of 3-400 million firearms (or more), you get to a really big price tag for confiscatory gun laws. This is why we have grandfather clauses — not because of good will on the anti side — but because the cost would be an impossible sell to voters.


  6. Will you address the bizarre sexual comments antigun people make toward gun owners? Please ask a psychologist to discuss why antis accuse — without any evidence — gun owners “compensating” for sexual shortcomings..
    If we want to talk psychology, there may be a certain amount of projection as well. I have read antis talk about how if they had a gun, they would commit a mass killing. Maybe THEY have homicidal impulses which they project onto lawful gun owners. This is a woefully under-researched aspect of gun culture.


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