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The Gun Lobby's Own Publications Expose the Fantasy of the 'Good Guy With a Gun'

Last week the pro-gun gang received a shot in the arm from a story out of Detroit where a legally-armed private citizen yanked out a gun and shot a man who was running away from a bank with a pile of cash.
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DETROIT, MI - MAY 18: Guns people brought in to exchange for a $50 Meijer gift card at a 'Groceries For Guns' gun buyback program are shown May 18, 2013 at the New St. Paul Tabernacle Church of God in Christ in Detroit, Michigan. The event was sponsored by the law firm Goodman Acker P.C. in a public-private partnership with Wayne County. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - MAY 18: Guns people brought in to exchange for a $50 Meijer gift card at a 'Groceries For Guns' gun buyback program are shown May 18, 2013 at the New St. Paul Tabernacle Church of God in Christ in Detroit, Michigan. The event was sponsored by the law firm Goodman Acker P.C. in a public-private partnership with Wayne County. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

Last week the pro-gun gang received a shot in the arm from a story out of Detroit where a legally-armed private citizen yanked out a gun and shot a man who was running away from a bank with a pile of cash. Actually, the armed citizen shot the bank robber in both arms, as well as the leg, shooter and robber doing just fine; the latter in the hospital under arrest, the former no doubt on his way to Fairfax, VA to be congratulated by Wayne-o for reminding us all about the true value of our 2nd Amendment rights.

Granted I'm indulging in a bit of hyperbole, but you would think that since groups like Everytown and Brady post interviews with victims of gun violence on their websites, the NRA would want to run stories about citizen-defenders to promote their point of view. In fact, the NRA has been running such stories since 1978. It's something called the Armed Citizen, which is a monthly collection of press reports about good guys stopping the bad guys; for the current month there are four reports, including the incident in Detroit, which is slightly less than the average 6-7 reports published each month.

Wait a minute! Hold the presses! In a country of 319 million people, in a country where civilians own more than 300 million guns, in a country in which at least 12 million good guys have concealed weapons permits, how in God's name is it possible that only six or seven people use a gun each month to defend themselves or others from a crime?

To try to answer this vexing question, the first thing I did was turn to the Armed Citizen website, which bills itself as the place that "provides you with the news and resources you need to remain informed and active." One of their latest examples of the work of an armed citizen has the following headline: "Car fleeing from police goes through park, nearly hits children." So I guess this website collects stories about citizens armed with cars.

Then there's another outfit called GunPitt - Guns Saves Lives, which advertises itself as the "secure way to trade guns online" although the link is broken, also produces a series of gun podcasts, including a series called God and Guns, The Responsible Christian Gun Owners Interests (they must have been pretty busy this week given what Pope Francis told the Congress), and also collects stories about defensive gun uses which now totals 1,360 anecdotes about the work of armed citizens, although it's not clear how many years are covered by this report. In any case, I took a look at the latest DGU story out of my neighboring state of Connecticut, and here's what the website says: "A woman in Waterbury, Connecticut had to grab a gun in order to capture a naked man who was allegedly raping the woman's dog in her backyard."

Here's the bottom line: If the same bunch which assures us that guns are used to stop crimes "millions" of times each year tries to prove it by publishing stories about cars driving through playgrounds or man rapes dog, then the argument about good guys stopping bad guys bears no relationship to the truth. And maybe it's time to stop advancing cogent, reasoned and researched arguments against gun fantasists like Gary Kleck and John Lott, and step back to take another look.

Take a look, for example, at the marketing message of a company like Glock. Under personal defense products, the website shows a tough, executive-type strapping on his gun: "Defense is personal, and it should be, it's about invading your space." Then off he runs to catch the 7:15, armed with his G42 pistol and the Wall Street Journal to confront another harrowing day. Marketing isn't reality; it's about merging a product with a fantasy, in this case a lethal weapon which makes you feel that you'll come out ahead. Sells guns, doesn't it?