NY Times columnist: We're not coming for your deer rifles or bird guns

NY Times columnist: We're not coming for your deer rifles or bird guns
(Brian Gehring /The Bismarck Tribune via AP, File)

As my colleague Tom Knighton pointed out earlier today, the latest anti-gun screed by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof seems designed to throw as many anti-gun talking points into one column as possible in the hopes of providing readers with an avalanche of bad arguments that are too numerous to check or rebut. A thorough fisking of Kristof’s column would take more time than I’ve got available today, but there’s at least one bit in his piece that I don’t want to pass by unacknowledged. It comes about halfway through his diatribe, as Kristof is describing how anti-gunners like himself can “work with” gun owners.

Five of the most common American guns are hunting rifles: the Remington Model 700, the Ruger 77 series, the Winchester Model 70, the Marlin Model 1894 and the Savage Model 11. Yet one study of crime guns recovered by police departments found that only five out of 846,000 were identified as one of these hunting rifles.

Thus we should reassure gun owners that we’re not going to come after their deer rifles or bird guns. That makes it politically easier to build a consensus on steps to keep dangerous people from lethal weapons like 9-millimeter handguns. There’s also evidence that gun owners with a military or police background strongly believe in safety training and other requirements for people carrying handguns; any coalition for gun safety needs to work with such moderate gun owners.

The core of the Second Amendment is the guarantee that our right to armed self-defense will not be infringed on or impeded by the government, and the Supreme Court has already ruled that banning handguns is incompatible with that right. Yet here’s Kristof blithely maintaining that, as long as the gun grabbers leave hunting rifles and the shotguns of sportsmen alone, Americans will be all in on criminalizing possession of the most popular handguns in the country.

Four out of every 10 pistols made from 2010-2020 were 9mms. And the percentage of 9mm is on the rise. In the year 2010, 27.9% of all handguns produced were 9mms. But in the year 2019, 9mm pistols represented 56.8% of all handguns made in the USA. For the entire decade, 9mm pistols made up 42.8% of all pistols produced domestically (15,111,566 of 35,315,097).

Based on data collected by the ATF, we can compare production numbers for the entire decade 2010 through 2020. During this 10-year span 15,111,566 9mm pistols were produced. That’s roughly twice as many as the next largest category, .40 up to .50 caliber, with 7,661,896 produced. Americans also liked their .22-caliber handguns, with 4,605,411 “up to .22″ handguns produced.

According to Shooting Industry Magazine: “9mm pistols were the most prolifically produced caliber in the 2010s.”

It’s true that Kristof didn’t explicitly say that every 9mm handgun should be confiscated from their legal owner, but what other impression are we left with when he says that gun grabbers aren’t “going to come after your deer rifles or bird guns”? That certainly implies that if you own a firearm that Kristof and his anti-gun ilk find unacceptable they do want to come for those guns, though it should also be noted that in the thousands of words that Kristof spat out attacking the Second Amendment, he never managed to get around to explaining how, exactly, he and his buddies would try to round them up. Funny how the anti-gunners never seem to have the space to outline that particular strategy, isn’t it?

What’s even weirder to me is that for all of Kristof’s talk about reducing gun ownership he acknowledges that we’re not going to get rid of every gun in the country, but nowhere in his “harm reduction” approach does he mention the importance of providing an abundance of training and educational opportunities for gun owners and those wanting to become one.

In fact, his whole approach is backwards. Rather than dealing with “dangerous individuals”, of which there are far fewer than the roughly 400-million firearms in the United States, his idea is focused on reducing the number of peaceable Americans exercising their constitutionally-protected right to keep and bear arms through as many regulatory hurdles and criminal statutes as possible; an idea that will not only lead to more ignorance around firearms, but would be a flagrant violation of our fundamental right to armed self-defense. Far from reducing harm, Kristof’s plan would cause immeasurable harm not only to our Second Amendment rights, but our ability to protect ourselves and the people we love from the dangerous individuals who would undoubtably ignore any of Kristof’s new infringements just like they ignore existing gun control measures.