Firing handguns can be difficult for folks with arthritis, as the recoil puts a good deal of stress on the wrist and hand joints, and squeezing the trigger can be impossible. Constitution Arms of Maplewood, New Jersey has created the pictured Palm Pistol, a double action 9mm single shot that supposedly is easier to control than traditional pistols by people with bad hands.
According to a widely followed dictum enunciated by the Russian playwright Anton Chekhov, “[i]f in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired.” As a principle of drama this is, of course, quite sensible. But it leads to the odd effect that, unless you have had personal experience with firearms, chances are you have never seen a gun without soon seeing it used to shoot someone. And even taking into account the fictional nature of most of these “shootings,” it is not surprising that a person who knew about guns only through film and television might have an exaggerated sense of the dangerousness of firearms, or of their association with murder and violence.
Many people are rightly wary of negative depictions of members of various minority groups, on the grounds that they may serve to re-enforce stereotypes about those groups, particularly among those whose main experience of those groups is from film and television. In each case the basic principle is the same. When you lack much personal experience of a group, object, or environment, and encounter fictional depictions of it, you are liable to accept those depictions as accurate, even if they are not a true reflection of reality. Continue reading
The scene is a familiar one now at the Olympic shooting hall: Matt Emmons and Katerina Emmons, hugging and smooching after yet another medal.
Matt took center stage Friday, winning the silver in the 50-meter prone rifle. That makes three medals in all this year for the husband and wife – Katy won gold and silver in her two rifle events.
“You can’t do much better than a gold and a silver,” Matt Emmons said. “We’re a team. The more medals we get as a team, the better. I don’t care who wins them.”
They met at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, after Matt squandered a big lead at the end of the three-position rifle event. He had fired at the wrong target, an unimaginable mistake, and Katy wanted to offer condolences.
They were married last year and have split time between his country and hers. Matt is an American; Katy is from the Czech Republic.
If I had a magic wand that could magically get rid of all the handguns in the United States, and prevent people from getting any more of them, I would use it. But I don’t have such a wand, and if my plan for dealing with the social problems associated with handguns was to search high and low for such a wand, most people would, I think, conclude that I was wasting my time.
A national gun ban, in my view, was the gun control folks equivalent of a magic wand. I don’t know how effective a national ban would have been in limiting gun deaths and/or gun crime, but the question is largely irrelevant. Such a ban was never a realistic possibility. From 1939 until last Thursday, the Second Amendment was basically dead letter. It provided no meaningful restriction on the ability of government to restrict access to handguns, up to and including a total ban. Yet despite this, neither the federal government nor any state government has come anywhere close to passing such a ban, and if Heller had gone the other way, no such ban would have been forthcoming. Continue reading
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