Posts Tagged ‘United States’

By Ruth Goodman

umpire safe

I am declaring it official. The gun-buying panic is over. The mad rush to arms following the Sandy Hook tragedy (and the politicians’ attempts to exploit it) has finally come to an end. In case you were out of the country or otherwise occupied during the last two years, let me bring you up to speed. The gun industry was already experiencing high activity thanks to the reelection of our current president when tragedy struck in Newtown, Connecticut. Immediately following the reports of a school shooting AR’s began flying off the shelves.

While this picture is not of our store (we did not think to take pictures of our empty racks and shelves), it is remarkably similar to what happened to us.

While this picture is not of our store (we did not think to take pictures of our empty racks and shelves), it is remarkably similar to what happened to us.

Most of our inventory of Modern Sporting Rifles was gone within a week, all of it was gone within a few weeks. (On our busiest day, we went from a regular staff of 5 to 9 and still had customers lined up to the door.) Once all the AR’s were gone, attention turned to handguns. Self-defense purposed handguns became impossible to keep in stock. The rapid rise in handgun purchasing led to ammo shortages in nearly all the popular calibers. For most calibers, the supply quickly caught up with demand and the shortage ceased to be a problem many months, if not a year, ago. The notable exception to that is .22 ammo. In our store, the .22 ammo shortage began around the same time the rest of the calibers were catching up with demand and has continued on from that time. The most bizarre thing to many of us in the industry, is how long it has taken .22 ammo to catch up. A full year later and we still have a very limited supply of .22 and impose strict limits on how many boxes a customer can purchase. 

However, as we entered Spring we noted a marked slow-down in our store. As we talk with others from around the country, we are hearing of the return of the normal “summer slow season.” Gun stores and industry reps for national companies are reporting an industry-wide slow-down of purchases and firearms activity (with the exception of states that recently enacted increasingly infringing gun laws). I believe this slow season feels much slower to many, because it stands in stark contrast to the record making sales of the last two years. We have been so busy for so long, that record busy became the new normal. Stores increased staffing and ordered more product, producers ramped up production, etc… 

out of breath

Now that pre-chaos norms have reinstated themselves, this is the perfect opportunity for us all to rest and catch our breath. It’s a chance to look up from the daily activities and see the bigger picture. How many of the recent gun-buyers were first time buyers that now need training, supplies, and support? How can we as an industry meet those needs? Women are steadily increasing their presence in the firearms world. What can we do to encourage and support that growth? Have the local demographics changed in the last two years? Should a store focus more on building their online presence or on their brick-and-mortar functionality? There are countless questions we, as an industry, can ask ourselves at this time. Now is the chance for each of us to really sit down and evaluate ourselves as a store, an industry member, a service provider, and a member of the community. 

Let us all make the most of this time and catch our breath. 



Does conceal carrying in church provide a level of protection and security for individuals, families and the church as a whole? Does the very act of carrying a loaded weapon into a place of worship violate the very peace that building represents?  Is it a responsibility and duty to protect family and friends or is it a sacrilegious mistrust of God’s protection? Does surrounding violence and criminal activity make obligatory the carrying of firearms? Are small churches in peaceful neighborhoods exempt from such considerations? Are members paranoid for desiring to carry in church? Are current or former Law Enforcement Officers the only ones to be allowed to carry in church? Can “regular” CCL holders be trusted to be trained well enough to not cause more harm than good when reacting to an incident in such a chaotic environment?


2012 Sikh Temple Shooting

These are some of the questions, both bluntly stated and implied, I encountered while reading up on this topic. Reading through the comments sections on numerous sites revealed most of these questions. Most people seem to have a very visceral reaction to the idea of loaded firearms in places of worship. Many recoil in horror at the very idea of violating a sacred place of peace, worship, and refuge with a tool of death. Many others emphatically state case after case of violent actions in churches, synagogues and other places of worship in the USA as an urgent and pressing demand to remove the “gun-free-zone” label off of these places. Very few comments were in the middle. Though I’m not a  psychologist, I believe people react so strongly because the act of joining together to worship our God is a deeply personal one.

For many, churches represent the one place they feel secure, loved, hopeful, and peaceful. It is their escape from the chaos around them. Their shelter in the storm. To borrow a little from the New Testament, it is a well-built, protected sheep-fold for them to come to for safety and shelter. To consider bringing weapons into the sheepfold is asking them to consider their sheep-fold as vulnerable to predators. To some, discussing the possibility a wolf might enter the fold is to dishonor their Shepherd. Preparing defenses against the wolf attack is to not have faith in God’s protection.


Atlanta 2012 Shooting

Others look at the violent attacks that have occurred in churches in the US and around the world (see the links below) and earnestly seek to defend the lives of their loved ones and church family from such horrific actions. They see a firearm as no more of a violation to the sanctity of worship than a cell phone. Both are used to bring firepower to a situation; one immediately, the other to call the cops.

201104_114_GunChurchHere in Georgia, it is currently illegal for me, and all other, non-LEO, Georgia citizens to carry in a place of worship. Many other states leave it up to local church boards, pastors or other religious leaders. Due to the wide variety of rules and regulations governing conceal carry in houses of worship, I highly recommend you research the laws for your area. Whatever your current practice is (carry in church or not), it is always good to know the laws governing something as important as concealed carry. You never know when something may change and to paraphrase, fore-learned is forearmed.

More on this topic next week…


What Others Are Saying…


A few of the Recent Church Attacks in the US

Excellent Videos of a Church Massacre Survivor (Survivor of the St. James Massacre Speaks to Virginia Citizen’s Defense League) (More from Charl van Wyk)

The Fight in Georgia to get the right to carry in churches… Georgia v Georgia 2011


shootingpreggers2Recently, a highly controversial issue was brought to my attention: shooting while pregnant. In the last few weeks, several pregnant women have approached our range desiring to get some practice. As I informed them of the potential risks, they were surprised and one even said that their doctor had never mentioned shooting on the list of “forbidden” activities. I had assumed that the risks were well-known to gun enthusiasts, if not doctors, and was surprised by the reactions of the women. I began exploring both pregnancy and shooting blogs and sites and was very surprised to see that most of the advice given is dismissive of the risks and encouraging of the activity. Lead is such a well-known danger to children and babies that my initial reaction was incredulity. I was very surprised to see so many people encouraging pregnant women to expose their babies to such peril. However, I soon found well-researched and documented sites that offered practical advice on the measures a woman may take to mitigate or eliminate her exposure to lead. With my skepticism still firmly in place, I would prefer a scientific study measuring the amounts of lead detected in subjects who take such precautions and in subjects that do not. While the scientist in me bemoans the lack of conclusions such a study would provide, I do realize we are speaking of pregnant women (who are highly cherished and protected in our society) and that such a study is likely to never be approved (and rightly so). The same goes for studying the effects on the developing baby of the sound of a defensive caliber handgun firing. Keeping all this in mind, I have searched for studies that may shed some light on this issue while recognizing concrete answers may never be found. And ultimately it is a personal decision between you, your spouse and God.

The Risks



As most of you probably know, much of the ammunition in circulation today contains lead in the projectile (bullet) portion of the cartridge. As the gun is fired, the primer ignites the powder and the powder exploding forces the bullet out of the cartridge, down the barrel and hopefully down range. During this process, some debris from this explosion escapes the firearm and travels out into the air. This debris may contain unburnt powder from the primer and propellent, and likely also contains lead dust. This gun shot residue is adept at finding its way to the shooter’s hands, arms, face, clothes and hair. At this point, the lead dust may be aspirated into the shooter’s lungs, and from there pass into the bloodstream. The lead may also be absorbed through the skin if the shooter neglects to wash off afterwards. Proper ventilation will help reduce the amount of GSR that blows back on the shooter. Once lead is in the body, the majority is stored in the bones while the remaining is stored in the blood and soft tissue. The concern with pregnancy is that lead easily passes through the placenta into the baby and the effects of lead exposure are much worse for infants and children than adults. A fetus is more susceptible to lead toxicity than adults because of the more permeable blood-brain barrier, the significantly lower amount of bone mass for lead sequestration, and the vulnerability of the developing central nervous system. Cord blood tests typically reveal the fetus to have very close Blood Lead Levels to the mother’s BLL. Many people feel they are safe with a blood lead level of <10 μg/dL. However, expectant mothers need to take note that a growing number of studies are finding fetus’ are effected well below the old 10 μg/dL benchmark. Writing for the National Institute of Health, Gilbert and Weiss put it this way,pregnant_1450316c

“Now, not only is there overwhelming evidence of effects at low levels, but it is increasingly apparent that the rate of decline in intellectual impairment is greater at BLLs below 10 μg/dL than above. Overall, every 1 μg/dL increase in blood lead results in a decrease of 0.87 IQ points. For BLLs below 10 μg/dL, a 1 μg/dL increase results in a 1.37 IQ decrease (Canfield et al., 2003).”

In May of 2012, the CDC revised the 10 μg/dL Level of Concern to 5 μg/dL while acknowledging 0 μg/dL is the ultimate goal. So what are these effects that researchers are so concerned about?

Adverse Health Effects of Blood Lead Levels <10 μg/dL

  1. Decreased IQ
  2. Decreased cognitive function
  3. Decreased neurologic function
  4. Slower development
  5. Greater odds of having Dental Caries
  6. Later onset of puberty
  7. Decreased renal function,%202004%20-%20single%20spaced.pdf


Another cause for concern I discovered in my research is that during pregnancy your body may pull lead out of your bones (thereby increasing your Blood Lead Level) in place of calcium. Structurally, lead and calcium are very similar and your body may pull lead out of your bones instead of the calcium it needs. While I was not able to find any scientific studies to back me up, my instincts tell me this means that simply foregoing any shooting while pregnant does not guarantee BLLs will not rise during pregnancy and thus endanger the baby. Translating that into daily life means (though I am a long way from any pregnancy) I will be much more careful to take steps to minimize my lead exposure today to protect any future children I may have.


While there are steps you can take to protect yourself from lead exposure (which might possibly nullify all the dangers of lead listed above), I don’t know of any way possible to shoot a defensive caliber handgun and still protect the baby from the sound of gunfire. We wear hearing protection to protect our ears, but there aren’t any muffs available to protect a baby in the womb. Some argue that the baby’s ears have not developed until 24 weeks and the fetus is not able to hear loud noises until then. However, consider this, the military has long invested time and money developing weapons that use electromagnetic (sound) waves outside of our natural hearing range. These weapons are designed to affect people (make them extremely hot, dizzy, nauseous, etc…), even though the people cannot hear a thing. The baby may not “hear” the noise by way of the ears but loud noises are related to adverse health effects in the fetus. The threshold of pain for most adults is typically around 140 decibels and 120 dB for children. The average defensive handgun is between 153 dB and 164 dB. The shock and stress the baby may feel from such an onslaught of vibrations may be why loud noises are “associated with several disorders, including miscarriage, intrauterine growth retardation, preterm delivery, hearing loss in babies and children, altered immune response in the fetus, and hypertension. A combined exposure to noise and lead seems to have an increased toxicity, causing heart lesions, which are not observed for those agents alone.”

There are also new reports indicating babies react negatively to ultrasounds. They may be far more sensitive to electromagnetic waves than we knew.

The Benefits

woman_with_gunSo what are the benefits of shooting while pregnant? Maintaining your skill with a firearm is the foremost benefit. Others have offered the following reasons to continue shooting: relieve some pregnancy-induced stress, spend quality time with loved ones, and continue to qualify for work or sport.

My Conclusion

Why risk it? Pregnancy is for 9 months, but the life developing within you has a lifetime ahead of him or her. Why risk making that life more challenging for that precious child when you have a choice? You have wisely chosen not to drink alcohol or smoke for the sake of your child (along with a myriad of other things). Why not include shooting on that list? And add an airsoft pistol to your gun cabinet.



National Institute of Health,

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Lead Exposure from Indoor Firing Ranges Among Students on Shooting Teams,

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, A Review of Evidence of Adverse Health Effects Associated with Blood Lead Levels <10 μg/dL in Children,%202004%20-%20single%20spaced.pdf

Other Great Resources:

Lead first trimester most dangerous?  Sex-specific effects


Non-lethal sonic weapons


LA Riots in 1992

Sides-LA-Riots-6_525As unlikely as it appears to many US citizens, the riots of Europe, the Middle East, South America and Los Angeles may conceivably occur in cities across the US. While the current political climate is not conducive to riots in the US, as we have recently seen in Europe it does not take much to set off a firestorm of violence and chaos. Riots are often sparked by food shortages, high prices, government oppression, racial tensions, religious tensions, and politics. For example, during the Zimmerman trial there were many threats of mass riots all across the country. Thankfully, little came of those threats but they do provide an excellent opportunity for strategic analysis. For those of us in the Atlanta area, have you ever considered what you would do if riots break out Downtown Atlanta? What if you were working downtown when the riot erupts? How would you get home? If you are outside the Perimeter, can you stay there indefinitely? What steps should you take if you find yourself needing to travel through the riot area?


Brazil Riots

Naturally, the best thing is to avoid a riot completely. Just don’t go there. By avoiding the chaos, your personal injury and damage will be severely limited. However, as not everybody has the luxury of avoiding Downtown Atlanta (due to health, family or business), what steps can you take to mitigate your chance of injury or loss should you find yourself traveling through a hostile area?

  1. Be armed — While a firearm is certainly an effective way of dealing with assailants, it also will attract a lot of attention. Attention is the last thing you want in the midst of a riot. Gaining the attention of the rioters may get you attacked and gaining negative attention from the police may get you shot. Utilizing mace or a knife is a far more stealthy option that may help you escape a riot unscathed. Knives have the added benefit of never needing a reload but the downside of requiring close quarters to use. Mace/OC Spray has the advantage of clearing an area instead of just one person. One person may get the full effect of the spray, but most of the people around them are also going to clear the area in an attempt to escape the spray.


    French Rioter Wears Protective Clothing

  2. Wear Protective Clothing — Long sleeves and long pants will help protect you from some of the crowd control measures utilized by police. Jeans and a long-sleeved shirt can somewhat mitigate the damage caused by rubber bullets, spray and other crowd control measures. Preparing beforehand is the best way to insure you will have such protective clothing available in the eventuality a riot begins while you are away from home and/or at work. I recommend keeping an extra set of clothes in your car or desk drawer (especially if tensions are mounting).
  3. Blend In — do your best to look as much like the rioters as possible. Again, you do not want to gain the attention of the crowd nor the police. Standing out in this kind of crowd will likely be very detrimental to your health. Wear clothes that are similar to those the rioters/protesters are wearing. Shout the same slogans the rioters are shouting. Suddenly become the biggest supporter of the rioters and their cause. Remember, at this point your goal is to survive not be politically correct. Discard anything that looks authoritative: security badges, uniforms, (even referee or umpire uniforms), etc…


    There’s a Reason for the Flow

  4. Go with the Flow — If you are caught up in a moving riot, go in the same general direction the crowd is going. Walking in the opposite direction will likely cause you to bump into somebody, and that small infraction may trigger a harsh reaction. Also, if the crowd is running a certain direction they may be running from something. The police may have just released large amounts of Tear Gas or other types of crowd control agents (or in the worse case, may be shooting live rounds into the crowd). Following the crowd is not a technique I normally advocate in life, but there is certainly a time and a place for it…. And that would be the time.
  5. Remember, this is how rioters treat Police during a riot.

    Remember, this is how rioters treat Police during a riot.

    Keep Calm!! — Maintaining your awareness and clarity of mind is key for such a time. If you are to escape unscathed from the chaos you will need to keep an eye out for 1) opportunities to escape, 2) potential threats, 3) ensuring any loved ones traveling with you stay with you. Depend on no one but God for help. In a riot situation the Police are not there to help, they are only present to contain and control. Do not run towards them for help or you may be seriously injured or killed. The Police will see movement towards them as a threat and will react as such.


    In this case, you want a bag that will be as unobtrusive as possible… No ALICE or MOLLE packs. You need to BLEND IN!!

  6. Prepare Now! — As we have already seen in LA, Europe, the Middle East and other places around the world, mass riots can begin with little warning given to the everyday citizen and in a matter of a precious few hours. Many of us prepare for the eventuality of getting mugged, assaulted, or otherwise accosted (which is why we carry) but we also need to expand our preparations to include common sense items that will assist us in any emergency. Cash may get you gas for your car, bribe a rioter into letting you pass, or buy you food when the grid is down. Keep emergency cash on hand: on your person, in your glove box, etc… Stash some food and clothes in a bag and keep the bag in your car or you could also stash them in your desk at work. If a mass riot breaks out while you are working (or shopping in) downtown, you may be trapped. Having food on hand will help you both physically and mentally. You may also want to do as I did and throw a small Bible in your emergency bag as well. During such a time, a Bible will likely be very comforting.  A deck of cards may also be a good idea (if you happen to be one of those that still knows how to play with actual cards and not just digital ones).

lariot01While many of us pray such a scenario of utter chaos will never unfold in this country, a realistic look around the world and at history reveals the odds are stacked against us and it is likely only a matter of time. While we are still on the peaceful side of such an event it behooves us to analyze our weak and strong points, our travel patterns, and those of our family members so we may quickly plan the best avenues for escape, concealment and defensive positions. For example, a non-threatening shop/business such as a sewing shop or craft store is a better place to hole up than fuel stations, restaurants or other locations that bring crowds or numerous customers. It is also best to avoid places that may attract thieves to loot; i.e. a jewelry or grocery store. While there will be little we can do once a riot erupts, preparing beforehand will dramatically increase the effectiveness of what we are able to do. The oft quoted “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is especially applicable to just such an emergency situation.

US-social-racism-riots-anniversary-files Riot

Other Sources—Practicing-What-to-Do-In-Case-of-a-Riot&id=7435911  Voice of Experience…  eye-witness account of a mass riot

And I do not mean this type of Flash Mob…Flash-Mobs

This is what I’m talking about….


During and after the Zimmerman trial there was much talk about riots. Some places experienced mass protests while in other cities the protests were fairly localized. Just before the verdict was announced, there were concerns of mass rioting across the US. While these concerns have dissipated and it appears that the LA Zimmerman protests were as bad as it’s going to get, flash mobs and race riots are an ongoing threat to the peace and safety for the law-abiding US citizens. And while many of us recognize that we would do well to be mentally and physically prepared to encounter such a mob, how many of us actually know what to do?


In researching this topic, I realized mobs/riots can be separated into two categories: street riots and city riots. Street riots are localized centers of mass criminal activities that tend to catch innocent bystanders unaware. City riots are characterized by large areas of a city being taken over by rioters/demonstrators and police; such as in the LA Riots, Argentine Crisis of 2001 and The Arab Spring). While a few of the tactics recommended by security instructors apply to both categories, for the sake of clarity I will separate them into two blog posts. As street riots are happening all across the US in increasing numbers, these riots are the more pressing threat and thus I will focus on that type for this first post.

Surviving a Street Riot or Flash Mob

  1. Have an exit plan: Any time you and your family are in a large public gathering, identify at least two escape routes. Should a flash mob occur, you will not have time to pick out a safe path to travel. You and your family will need to react very quickly to avoid getting caught up in the violence. As soon as you see large groups of suspicious people amassing, get going. Do not wait for the violence to start or it may be too late.
  2. Be aware: Pay attention to what is going on around you. Identify the norm for that event or area and give strict scrutiny to anyone or anything outside that norm. Listen to your instincts. That uneasy feeling could save your life, don’t dismiss it.
  3. story_mainTrain your family: Just because you’re aware and prepared to flee doesn’t mean your family is. They may be completely oblivious to that sudden influx of urban youth at the far corner of the concert. Training everyone to recognize and react to a code word will speed up the reaction time of your family and increase your chances of escaping unharmed. Also, it is human nature to stop and watch mayhem from a “safe” distance, for the same reason traffic slows to a crawl when there is a bad accident on the other side of the highway. Take this natural instinct into account when you train your family to flee the scene. It is also a good idea to teach your family not to stand behind you if you are forced into gun fight. Even though it is a natural instinct to stand between them and danger, it will also put them directly in the line of any return fire that may come your way. It is strongly recommended for your family to keep running to a predetermined meeting place (such as the car) while you deal with the criminals.
  4. Establish meeting places: Should your family get separated, it is important to pre-establish a meeting place or two. One meeting place inside the perimeter and one outside. The car may be a natural choice for a meeting place outside the perimeter. To ensure your children are able to get into the security of the car as quickly as possible you may also want to give them copies of the vehicle keys.
  5. Be prepared: When you attend a large public gathering, carry extra defensive weapons with you. Anecdotally, OC spray (mace/pepper spray) is great defensive option during a flash mob or riot. Most of the criminals are looking for an easy victim and as soon as you demonstrate your willingness to fight back with a quick spray to the face they tend to move on to find easier prey. In comparison to a firearm, a knife also has the advantages of not spooking the crowd, being easier to retain in close quarters, never runs out of ammo, and will not over-penetrate. In addition to bringing extra defensive weapons with you, it is also a good idea to ensure your family wears the type of shoes which make evacuating the situation a better possibility. Many people prefer to wear flip-flops during the summer, but I’d strongly urge you to trade in the flip-flops for tennis shoes when going to the Braves game or Six Flags.
If, despite your best preparations, you get caught up in a mob, then what?

vancouver riot

  1. Try to be inconspicuous: If at all possible, try to blend in with the rioters. For example, if they are rioting because their favorite team lost (or won), yelling the name of that team might help you. Of course, if the mob you’re encountering is like this one then your best options are fight or flight.
  2. Get your back to a wall: Find a way to minimize your vulnerabilities and reduce the visual area you are monitoring. As an additional benefit, retreating to the wall may get you far enough away from the most violent of the mob and help you avoid injury.
  3. Go with the flow: Mobs and riots are frequently like a fast-flowing river, the middle moves the fastest. If you are caught up in the middle of a riot don’t try to fight the flow. Going cross-current will bring unwanted attention and may also cause you to stumble and get trampled. Go with the flow of the crowd while patiently working your way to the side. Escape the mob as soon as you find a safe way to exit.
  4. Escape, don’t fight (if at all possible): Make every attempt to escape. One man fighting 10 or 20 is never a good proposition. Men, there is no shame in acknowledging an unfavorable situation and enacting a tactical retreat at a high rate of speed. If you are cornered, fight with all that you have. Small blunt instruments, knives and OC spray work best in such environments. Using a firearm should be your last resort. In such an environment, there is a high potential for the firearm  to be taken from you, you may miss or over-penetrate your target and hit an innocent, the sound of gunfire may galvanize the mob, and you may be mistaken by the police as one of the criminals and be shot.
  5. panic in waterDon’t panic–There will chaos, panic, anger, and fear all around you. It is vital you do not give into these emotions or you will lose your ability to safely navigate your way out of the mob. Thinking and praying are key to escaping such a situation, neither one is done well in a blind panic.


Mobs and Riots are best avoided when at all possible, and escaping when not. Fight only when you are personally accosted and save your gun for your last resort. Use your head not your fists, until fists are needed to protect your head. Stay Safe…

My Sources and Other Recommended Readings: