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Happiness is a warm gun

Months before I arrived in Los Angeles this past December, my friend Robert Avrech told me, “When you come to LA, I will take you shooting.” Robert, an Orthodox Jew and veteran of the Yom Kippur War, has written about what Jewish law says about private ownership of guns, and has taught his wife and daughters how to load, unload, and shoot various guns. Could I have had a better teacher for my first time shooting?

And yes, that is right: Despite being born and raised in the USA, I had never touched a gun until my recent visit to LA. I was raised not to respect the power of firearms, but to fear them. I was raised to believe that the responsibility for personal defense lies not with the individual, but with the state. I was raised to believe a lot of wrongheaded, backward things about guns and what the US constitution says about them.


Our shooting expedition took place at the LA Gun Club, in a not-so-nice area of Los Angeles. Robert, who is a screenwriter and producer as well as a publisher, told me that if one ever sees a shooting range scene in a film, it was most likely shot at the LA Gun Club. The place itself is impressively stocked with a wide range of rental guns, ammunition, targets, t-shirts, and all the other accessories that a gun owner could want.


Of course, the clientele was made up of your typical right-wing gun nuts.


As Robert explained to me, Asians in LA realise more than most the necessity of being proficient shooters, as they are one of the most besieged communities and amongst the very first targets whenever a riot breaks out.

In case you cannot tell, I really enjoyed my first time shooting. I found the Springfield a bit too powerful for my girly arms, but the ‘cowboy gun’ – a Ruger – was very much to my liking. It was easy to load, a breeze to unload, and very fun to use.

I have a lot more training to undergo before I am a confident shooter. Alas, it looks like I will not be taking that training in London – or anywhere else in Britain – anytime soon. And with the regulations that the legislature insists on piling upon American gunowners, I would advise US-based readers to exercise their freedom to bear arms while they still can.

19 comments to Happiness is a warm gun

  • BlogBis

    A warm gun means not only happiness, it also means freedom and the right of self defense.
    May be it´s for all that meanings that leftists governmets all over the globe are willing to grab private arms.

    Down here in my country the private ownership of firearms is being questioned, so questioning the exercise of basic civil (and human rights)

    About this issue (link (Link), About politics (Link)in Argentina

  • Richard

    Silly fixation with guns on this website.

  • Andy

    On a related note, apparently it’s OK to take out a burglar, according to the always accurate Sun:
    Licensed to kill a burglar

  • Would-be expat

    Silly fixation with guns on this website

    Another oblivious Brit harumphing while violent crime grows yearly and, since the handgun ban, even gun crimes are on the increase in the UK. I want to get out and leave this stinking island to Richard.

  • BlogBis

    I´ve just read Richard’s comment up here, and just want to make one point clear.
    When your life and property are in jeopardy by always growing criminal threats, when you learn the hard way that the state is not your friend, then you know that guns are not a silly fixation.

  • Richard

    Would-be expat

    Made the leap already mate. Plently of nice places in the world minus guns and I’m in one now.

    No return to Blighty for me.

  • JSinAZ

    Plently of nice places in the world minus guns and I’m in one now.

    That is silly. How could you possibly know if your new location is “minus guns”? The laws on the books? Crime statistics?

    If it is the former, GB should be a peaceful haven, with an ever-decreasing rate of armed robbery and homicide.

    Is it the latter? My location in the states allows unlicensed open carry by eligible citizens (and concealed carry by licensed owners), and has some of the lowest armed robbery and homicide rates in the country. We also have an extremely high rate of personal firearms ownership.

    Yes, some turn weapons into fetish items. Some also turn them into animate creatures, infecting all around them with murderous intent. This site does neither, instead preferring to concentrate on non-trivial matter of personal liberty and the protection thereof.

  • Hooray: the Sun has said something accurate and helpful, perhaps for the first time in its history…

    Richard could be on a desert island I suppose – although even then there might still be a cache of pirate guns buried under the beach.

  • Della

    Happiness is a warm gun? …But only if you are a nutter.

    Guns may have some legitimite uses, but for goodness sake don’t fetishise them.

  • Its a line from a beatles song, and a pervasive cultural reference, but that is neither here nor there.

    I will say this right now, you can’t be a libertarian and not believe in private firearms ownership.

    If you think the state should have the right to ban arms, then you agree that you are not responsible for yourself, and for your own safety.

    Even if you dont want to own guns yourself, being against private gun ownership is the ultimate exoression of statis philosophy.

    Oh, and since Kim is too sick to comment, I shall do the happy ak-47 dance of joy for him, as another person finds out what it really means to be free.

  • Andy Mo

    “I will say this right now, you can’t be a libertarian and not believe in private firearms ownership”

    I will say this right now, you can’t be a libertarian and not believe in private flamethrower ownership.

    I will say this right now, you can’t be a libertarian and not believe in private landmines on my property ownership.

    Defence of one’s self can take a variety of forms ranging from fists and knives, to swords, to guns, to flamethrowers, to land to air missiles.

    Certain people believe guns are sufficient to protect oneself, others believe in the right to a more impressive arsenal. Its a wavering line as to what is necessary (esp. if the attacker or Govt is better armed).

    It just happens that when the US constitution (and many ideas on liberty) were formed, guns were en-vogue at the time – hence guns for some as protection.

    Surely there are more pressing liberties at stake (such as the Patriot act) to talk about than shooting. As far as liberties go guns are pretty low on my list compared to: freedom of expression, ability to criticise govt, freedom from state intervention in business and daily life, companies lobbying for protection, evil 1st world farm subsidies etc.

    OPINION: Anyone else feel the same as this: that of all the people I know, the ones that carry guns are the people I feel least comfortable with them packing. I.e. so they can pull it our after starting a fight at the local nightclub. Gun owners don’t take offense, its a wide tarbrush I know.

  • CV

    Andy, how many people do you know who carry legally? In the US most nightclubs I’ve seen don’t allow their customers to carry, and many CCW states ban carry in places that serve alcohol anyway. Your comments make me wonder what kind of people you must associate with.

  • Slightly off-topic, but there is a place for gun tourism in the world for all of you disarmed folks. Some years ago I visited Hawaii, which was then overrun with Japanese tourists enjoying their strong yen. Just off a small alley near my hotel was an establishment called the Gun Club of Hawaii. My mother saw a number of Japanese visoiors going in, and her memories of nefarious goings-on concerning the atttack on Pearl Harbor excited her worries.

    I later found out that this place was simply a shooting gallery using real guns and live ammo. It advertised only in the Japanese tourist papers. Apparently it was aimed at Japanese who would otherwise never get anywhere near a firearm, unless they joined the police or the Self-Defense Force. Now that they were in the Wild, Wild West, they could shoot a real gun, like a .357 Magnum or a Colt Peacemaker, and have a picture to bring back and impress their friends. Maybe I can make some money doing this for weaponless Brits?

  • Kristopher Barrett

    Andy …. flamethrower ownership in most western US states is both lawful and completely unregulated … and yet we do not see any flamethrower crime waves in the US … hell, we ain’t even shooting burglars with them.

    If any US residents reading this blog want one, here is a chinese LPO-50 for $3500

    Of course, using a flamethrower as an indoor self-defense arm is kinda self-defeating.

  • JSinAZ

    It just happens that when the US constitution (and many ideas on liberty) were formed, guns were en-vogue at the time – hence guns for some as protection.

    En vogue? That makes weapons ownership a matter of style. The second amendment to the U.S. constitution was not formulated to protect fashion accessories (ala rapiers in sixteenth century England), but instead was a profound recognition of the natural rights (and responsibilities) of people to defense of self and property.

    I suspect that the writer of this comment is the victim of successfull propagandization of the people. In that world-view, what right-thinker would want the responsibility that protection of self means? Surely everyone can see that citizens are merely vassals of the state. To be a free human with self-determination and all of the incumbant, uncomfortable, adult responsibilities is too much burden for any modern infantilized person.

    Many of us have grown up. Do they let you cross the street in the nursery in which you live?

  • Duncan

    I always assume the 2nd ammendment had something to do with this part of the Declaration of Independence –

    “–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…”

    Hard to abolish a government when they have the only guns…

  • Or as is often said, the second amendment exists to make sure the government honors the rest of them.

  • Flame weeders are generally a small flame thrower – very popular for weeding among the organic food set. (No chemicals!) But they also come as tractor-mounted industrial-sized giants. I particularly like Red Dragon (check the 2nd photo on that page)

    South Africans, denied the use of guns, have adopted car-mounted flame-throwers as a means of combatting car-jacking. The South African Car Flame Thrower, or Blaster, is amazing! Check the video.

    The question is, “Do I have the right to defend myself when attacked?” If you answer, “No,” I have nothing to say to you. If you answer, “Yes,” then it becomes a question of means.

    Do the old and infirm have the means to defend themselves from the young and violent? What means are those? Does a small woman have the means to defend herself from a large rapist? What means? If you grant me the right to defend myself, but withhold the means to defend myself – what have you said about that right?

    16th century dress swords were not (only) fashion accessories – they were the equivalent of a Colt Peacemaker in the Old West, or a Glock 9mm today. That is they were state-of-the-art in personal protection. (Various colts were engraved to be fashion statements – something we have lost lately.)

  • If you’re looking for guns, don’t hesitate to visit Self Defense Zone – reviews on self defense weapons, firearms, martial arts weapons…