Addressing Hoplophobia

Hoplophobia is an irrational fear of weapons, and most often, of guns. The word itself was coined by Lt. Col. Jeff Cooper in the 1960’s.

Following the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, in August, the media has become so sensitive, and so eager to report on shootings, that any shooting involving more than one person becomes a “mass shooting,” As with any irrational fear, all this does is make hoplophobes’s conditions worse.This, naturally, leads them to seek relief for their fears.

Now, my wife is an arachnophobe – she has an irrational fear of spiders. I can tell you, from years of living with her, and rational discussion in times when she is lucid on the subject, that no amount of rational talk will ever be able to change her. She knows full well the facts – that she is much larger than spiders, that the vast majority of spiders, beyond brown recluses and black widows, do not present the slightest danger to her. Yet – and this is the key point – she wishes to see the complete extinction of every spider from the face of the earth. End of discussion.

So it is, then, with hoplophobes. No amount of discussion of “common sense gun safety” will change them in any way. And we, as rational people, must understand this: that, for them, the final answer is the complete outlawing and confiscation of all guns. End of discussion.

Understand, we can point out, rightly, that criminals will still have guns, as they do in all countries where guns have been outlawed. That doesn’t matter. They don’t, or can’t, understand. That is why they talk about “gun control,” not criminal control. For them, the source of the problem is the guns themselves.

Perhaps the best way to tell it comes from the words of Col. Cooper himself:

We find it perplexing that there are people who do not realize that a right may be neither granted nor withdrawn by the State. If the Bill of Rights were repealed, the right to keep and bear arms would still exist, since it was to defend that right that the Constitution was established. (See the Declaration of Independence.) Thus the state may destroy me, but it may not rescind my right to self-defense. This all seems pretty clear, but frequently I find people who do not understand it.
. . . Regardless of the best efforts of our enemies in Congress, the United States remains the last best hope of Earth. Those other people are going to do their very best to destroy us in the months between now and the next election. We must remember that this is the most serious trouble that our liberties have been threatened with since the signing of the Declaration of Independence. They are going to work very hard. We must work even harder. Regardless of how senseless hoplophobia may be, it exists, and, being a true phobia, it does not respond to reasoned argument. We must defeat it by exposing it as a psychopathic threat to our cultural liberties. When we force our adversaries to the wall and make them admit that they do not care about crime or child welfare or “animal rights,” but just hate us because we are morally better off than they are, we can pick up votes, and votes are what we must have.

Emphasis mine.

I can think of little to add.

So, realize that we are never going to change the hoplophobe with discussion. But, in doing so we expose their irrational ways to the rest of the public, on whose votes we will ultimately depend if we are to retain at least our innumerated rights as they are today. So, don’t give up.


Of course, if one wants to see someone really good at this in action, I refer you to Linoge, of the walls of the city blog. Follow him on Twitter, and enjoy.

Congrats – You Bought a Gun, Part 2

Okay, you got it home. Now what?

Last time we looked at documenting the guns you purchase from private sellers, and, alternately, that you sell to private buyers.

I admit, that is the most boring part of gun ownership.

Today we’re going to look at what you do with that new gun. Trust me – this is a lot more fun.

First, we will assume you have already chosen your gun. That process is a much longer post for another time.

Now, I like to follow the same process with each gun, so I don’t forget anything. This makes things a lot safer and easier to understand, and helps me know where I am with each gun.

Get in line, bud

If you bought it new from a gun dealer, then a lot of what we will do is taken care of. It will arrive with all the factory accessories, like cleaning kits, manuals, spare magazines, and the like. And, if it’s a gun you’ve never owned before, and you bought it from a good gun dealer, the dealer can and should show you how to take it down, clean it, maintain it, and operate it.

If you bought it from a private seller, then some or all of this may be missing. Sometimes, all you get is a gun. For someone like me, who loves the thrill of the chase, this can be just as enjoyable.

So, for every new gun, here is my process:


I make sure I have all the documentation, that it’s correct, and it’s recorded. We talked about the sales documentation last time, but this will also include registration (of required by your state or locality), owners manual, warranty, and any other papers that may come with it.

If it’s a used gun, there may be no manual, and certainly no warranty. Don’t worry, though, there is help. A fellow named Stephen Ricciardelli has made it kind of a mission to accumulate owners manuals for just about any gun. Take a look at his site and get the manual, and print a paper copy if you can. It helps to have something you can hold and make notes on.

Now, in the days before the interwebz, this wasn’t so easy. Back when the earth was still cooling, I bought a used shotgun from a truck driver who delivered product from our plant. He had no manual, and in fact, the shotgun didn’t even have a brand name on it, just the name of the store that sold it, Western Auto. I gave him the money and took the gun home, and spent a half hour in the middle of the living room floor trying to disassemble it for cleaning. I had no luck.

The next day, though, my monthly copy of the NRA magazine American Rifleman arrived. Each month, this magazine features an assembly drawing and history of a firearm, and as God’s sense of humor would have it, the gun featured that month was the gun I had just bought, the Mossberg 500.


Once you have the documentation squared away, take an inventory of what you have. It may be just a gun, or it may include a case, spare magazines, cleaning kit, brushes, trigger locks, manuals, and other accessories. If it’s a new gun and you’re missing something you should have received, now is the time to make it right.


At this point, I get the gun in an area away from distractions, and field strip it. Now, if you’ve already owned a gun like this, or gotten good instruction from someone, this can be easy. But if it’s new, take your time, refer to manuals or the interwebz, and make sure you keep all the parts organized.


Before I shoot a gun for the first time, I make sure it’s clean. Sometimes this is easier than other times. My Mosin Nagant had last been cleaned by a Finnish peasant woman in the winter of 1920, from what I could tell. On the other hand, my new Glocks were spotless, save the copper colored lubricant that I have since learned NOT to remove. (This is where a manual or other source of information come in handy.)

Clean as much as you need to. For new guns this usually just means the barrel and other critical parts. For some, the cleaning will get deeper. My Mosin Nagant still had cosmoline in it.

Now, if this is your first gun, here’s a starting point for acquiring a cleaning kit. First, if you plan to get more guns, and can justify the expense, buy a gun cleaning kit. There are several out there, from reputable names like Hoppe’s and DAC. As a minimum, it needs to contain cleaning rods, bore brushes, cleaning jags (which hold cleaning swabs), and some lubricating oil. You will also need some cleaning brushes (get several in nylon, brass, and stainless steel) and, if you can, a bore snake.

For the first time, run the bore brush through the barrel, and brush out the trigger mechanism and rails.

Do not over lube. Seriously.

Then, lubricate the gun according to the manufacturer’s instructions. DO NOT OVER LUBRICATE. If you do, the extra oil will just accumulate dirt, dust, and crud, and make the gun fail. Trust me on this. Too much oil can be as bad as not enough. And then, Chris Edwards of Glock will chew your ass out in front of all his armorers. And mean it. But I digress.


Not comes the test. Put the gun back together. If you have parts left over, you’ve done it wrong. Take it apart and do it again.


At this point, make sure all ammunition for the gun is put away. Then, recheck that all the ammunition is put away.

Now, test the action. Does the slide on a semi-auto pistol operate smoothly, without any binding? Does the cylinder on a revolver turn the way it’s supposed to, and lock up well when the chamber is in line? Does a rifle or shotgun operate smoothly?

If any part of the gun is not operating smoothly, now is the time to correct it. This could mean more cleaning, or a little more lubrication. But, be careful with lubrication – most of the time your are looking for a light film, not a large clump or mass.


At this point, unless you own dummy rounds or snap caps in the caliber of the new gun, we must make a calculated safety allowance, and let a few rounds of ammunition into the area. With your finger well off the trigger and the gun on safe and pointed in a safe direction, load up a magazine or cylinder or other feed device with 3 or 4 rounds, and chamber it. Make sure it chambered correctly. Then, work the action and eject the round as applicable, and feed another round. If it’s a revolver, make sure the ejectors work, and make sure the cylinder rotates correctly as the trigger is pulled.


Now comes the moment you bought the gun for – taking it to the range.

And, sadly, that will wait for the next installment . . . .