Letter to the gun-grabbers of San Francisco

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This article (link) from Jim March is one of the most compelling arguments against banning guns that I have read. Jim has given permission to re-post as long as you attribute his name as the author.

Letter to the gun-grabbers of San Francisco

Rachel, Craig and whoever “Silence Dogood” is,

The three of you have been Emailing people who you see as “gun nuts” regarding the Prop H situation in SF. Some of your comments include turns of phrase like “mindless sexually frustrated pricks” and go downhill from there. As one of the people you’re addressing, I’m going to respond rationally to you, and try and show you that there really is two sides to this debate. Where to start…well let’s start with some interesting statistics. Ever compared the number of murders and population levels between the single most “pro gun” state (Vermont) and the single most self-defense-restrictive area of the US (WashDC)?

It’s rather interesting.

Vermont’s population at 621,394 is larger than DC at 553,523:



Washington DC basically bans all handguns, bans all carry of guns and strictly regulates long-guns. Vermont in contrast is one of only two states where anybody without a felony record can legally carry a handgun concealed or open with no prior government permission needed – and has since 1903. (Alaska copied this system in 2004 so for a very long time Vermont was uniquely pro-self-defense above all other states.)

So if guns cause murder, one would expect more in Vermont?

Not exactly. The total number of murders in Vermont in 2004 was 16:

http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius_04/documents/CIUS2004.pdf – page 256 as pages are printed in the document pages, not in the Adobe page number readout.

The total in DC isn’t in that document that I could find but I did find a Washington Post reference to 420 murders in ’04 and even more in ’05:


(Only three of the VT murders were gun-related. Seven involved “knives or other cutting implements” and six were “misc. other weapons” – not at all what you’d expect in a place “awash in guns”.)

Obviously, gun access isn’t the whole story regarding causes of violence.

Chicago, another “gun free Mecca” according to gun control laws is another place with insane violence rates and often trades off with WashDC for the title of “murder capitol of the US”, and is one of the few other total-handgun-ban-zones in America.

Still think taking SF in that direction is a good idea?


Let’s switch gears a second and talk about civil rights.

Back in 2000 I lived in Richmond, just across the bay. Tough town. I had good roommates in a really bad apartment building. Every once in a while the manager would have some rather unsavory types renovate one or two of the units, and house them in it while they worked. Regular as clockwork, they’d open up a meth lab in the basement storage area. This was an old wood building with kids in it, mind you. We would do the usual, report to the cops and watch, they’d go away eventually.

Well that summer it got worse than usual. Gang tags went up, including a big complex “mural” at the front of the building about 4ftx3ft that somebody was able to translate as “drugs for sale here” in street-mangled Spanish.

I decided this wouldn’t do.

So at 2:00am I’m out front of the building with a can of leftover black engine paint in one hand and the cover of one of my roommate’s Anime videos in the other. See, I can’t freehand draw for crap and needed a pattern for the nice multicultural “go away” sign I had in mind, and this cover art featured a nice post-modern skull’n’crossbones. Yup. I slapped a Jolly Roger all over that main tag.

This was an exercise of my First Amendment civil right – the right to object to hideously dangerous and insane behavior literally underneath my home.

What made it safe to exercise that right was my Second Amendment right – and the loaded 38Special snub-nose revolver in my pocket for the occasion.

All of our civil rights are interlinked. You have only those civil rights that NOBODY can take away from you – based on your own personal power if necessary.

Mao was correct: all power derives ultimately from the barrel of a gun.

It is no accident that Democracy has increased in direct relation to the rise in firearms technology. There have been notable reverses, almost all of which are linked to socialism and/or communism…but three major empires of socialistic thought (Imperial Japan, Nazism and the USSR) have fallen.

The first major outbreak of freedom in the western world involved the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215, in which the English king gave up “unfettered rule” when threatened with over 10,000 Longbowmen. The Longbow was the first weapon affordable by civilians that could stop a fully armored knight. It was the financial equivalent of a $500 rifle able to stop a $5,000,000 tank and it changed the balance of power for the good. However, it required major practice. The Swiss went in the same direction but with crossbows that didn’t require as much training (with some downsides related to rate of fire) and it is no accident that the English and Swiss pioneered Democratic principles as early as they did.

A “world without guns” is no utopia. It is a recipe for tyranny either on a “street level” as seen now in most areas with heavy gun control, or national tyranny.


Now let’s talk about pacifism and race relations.

Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King successfully used non-violent means for social change. At around the same time Dr. King’s effort largely succeeded in America (or at least, it was visibly obvious it was going to succeed), gun control became a pressing US issue.

There are two reasons for this:

1) Some “hardcore believers” on the left decided that pacifism was the only moral option to any problem, and developed a hatred of all forms of violence including lawful and moral self defense. By appearances, all three of you likely fit this mold.

2) More quietly, some on the right realized that true equality would mean eliminating race-based discrimination in gun control, and hence broader gun control would be necessary to maintain the “normal” state of African-American disarmament.

It is NO accident that the areas with the heaviest gun control laws are also areas of high minority and esp. African-American demographics. Washington DC and Chicago are hallmark cases, as is New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and many other urban areas.

There are numerous references to this process. Clayton Cramer’s 1995 peer-reviewed history paper “The Racist Roots of Gun Control” is the seminal work in the field:


In California, there’s a way to track this directly and in modern times. In this state access to a permit to legally carry a concealed handgun is “discretionary” on the part of police chiefs and sheriffs. There’s about 39,000 such permit across the whole state. It’s possible to sort out how many permits are issued in each county, and then cross-reference that by racial demographics. The results are rather interesting: in those counties with less than the state average black demographics, your odds of having a permit (regardless of your race) is six times higher than for residents of counties with more than the state average of blacks:


You can’t possibly be in favor of something like this.

You should also choke on the documented corruption involved in this “discretionary” process:


…or the cronyism:


In short, when the pacifist element of the left chased heavy gun control as “utopia”, they played into the hands of the worst elements of the right and left, racists that couldn’t tolerate the idea of widespread black legal armament. As a side effect, the rate of female permit issuance is often even lower than minority access.

Surprisingly, the “deep south” has gotten past this stuff because they had no choice but to acknowledge their racist past. So when you look at the spread of more rational gun policies wherein people get equal access to self defense based purely on the ability to pass a background check and training, the South is now universally under such rules, among the 38 states with such laws.

You ought to pay attention to the spread of these “shall issue” gun carry laws over time:


By 2004 you’ll see that laws allowing legal self defense dominate the US.

None of these states has gone “backwards” towards more restrictive limits on self defense. The reason is clear: the people willing to go through background checks and (usually) training aren’t the people anybody has to worry about.

Now let’s get back to pacifism as a rigid choice:

When I’m not doing pro-self-defense stuff, I’m an activist in the field of voting rights, specializing in the problems with electronic voting machines made by Diebold, ES&S, Sequoia, Hart Intercivic and the rest. I was a computer tech/LAN administrator from 1984 – 2000 and in mid-2003 came across some very disturbing reports on those machines.

By mid-05 I was monitoring an election in San Diego, California as a volunteer for (and at the time a member of the board of directors of) Black Box Voting, a national civil rights organization for election reform. California election code 2300 lays out a civil right covering election monitoring by the public:

2300. (a) All voters, pursuant to the California Constitution and this code, shall be citizens of the United States. There shall be a Voter Bill of Rights for voters, available to the public, which shall

(9) (A) You have the right to ask questions about election procedures and observe the elections process.

San Diego County announced ahead of time that they weren’t going to respect this right. It’s complicated but basically they took the entire vote-counting process and moved it inside a locked computer room and locked the public out. We couldn’t see bupkis.

I knew this couldn’t be tolerated and I knew that civil disobedience of an illegal procedure might be called for. So before leaving for the elections office, I left my pocketknife behind, my sole weapon.

Sure enough, around 10:30 that night I was arrested for walking into that closed room to observe the counting of the vote. I was jailed 18 hours before bailing out with my own $10k. The county was pissed enough to file false charges of felony election tampering, charges dropped the following week. You can read about for yourself:




My point is this: I’m possibly the only person you’ve ever talked to who has actually used the civil disobedience techniques of Dr. King to effect social change related to a civil right. You may think you have a monopoly on pacifism, and that a “gun nut” like me couldn’t possibly demonstrate it, and you’d be wrong.

Pacifism however isn’t a universal philosophy. It’s a “tool in the toolbox” to be used when appropriate. Gandhi used it against a Democracy with a free press, with great success. Dr. King did likewise. While elements of each were evil, the basic nature of each (Britain and the US) were fundamentally just. Had Gandhi or Dr. King tried it with a truly evil bunch like the Nazis or the old Soviet Union, they’d have failed rather miserably. Only force took them down – outright killing in the case of the Nazis, economic sabotage killing probably tens of thousands (at the hands of the US) in the case of the USSR – go feed google the terms:

Siberian pipeline sabotage explosion

…if you don’t believe me.

So when dealing with any civil rights violation by a government or individual (remember, ALL crimes with a victim are civil rights violations from murder on down) it is necessary to sort out whether their level of evil more closely corresponds to Germany in 1940ish or Britain at the same time and the US circa 1965.

I judged the San Diego elections officials and the criminal justice system supporting them as being morally equivalent to the people Gandhi and King dealt with, and hence used similar tactics. In doing so I raised awareness of elections oversight issues and this is now a subject of reform legislation.

Faced with a violent mugger I’d make another decision entirely, and you bet I’d want a gun on me. Because I assure you, its use would be completely appropriate under any rational moral system and current California law.

In other words, you’ve misunderstood the lessons of the civil rights movement. It will be a very expensive mistake if you succeed with your plans for disarmament of all but government agents.

Fortunately, your view is failing nationally. Proposition H is a stunt that will ensure just one thing: Republicans across the nation will point to this stupidity and then at their Democrat opponents and say “see, THAT is what you’ll get if you let Democrats get control here!”

Congrats. You’ve managed to screw your party on a national level.


A “guns are eeevil” mindset ignores the cultural and social issues behind America’s violence. Start with answering the question “why is DC’s murder rate so insanely high?” and it will take you to an inevitable conclusion: the real trick is to reform hearts, minds and culture, the places where violence starts.

Gun control has been applied more stringently to the African-American community than any other, from before the days of the Civil War to present. As a result criminals who operated purely within their own communities weren’t dealt with as a serious issue by law enforcement until very recently. Even then, ask whether or not a murder of a black will get the same coverage on TV as the murder of a white. Would the Peterson murder have gotten any coverage at all if it had happened in Hunter’s Point among a black family? Would the latter have gotten as much police attention?


Gun control in minority communities has ensured that criminals who prey locally have a free reign – and reign they do, as the monarchs of the community. These “new rulers” have gotten younger and younger, setting up a situation completely abnormal to human societies: the adults of a community afraid of their own children.

Is shooting these children the answer? Of course not! But not being afraid of them anymore is CRITICAL. Only then can the responsible members of the community restore civil order. To argue against this is to say that the community should be helpless and the police should be the only force for law and order in minority or any other community. Except that the law abiding members of the community are the ones that care about what happens…not outside and mostly white cops.

OK, let’s play out a little scenario. Let’s say we’ve got three young black male teens walking through Hunter’s Point, or the Tenderloin or similar. They’re good kids, raised right, not in a gang but they listen to rap and dress a bit “urban hip-hop fashion”.

So as they’re walking down the street, people of all races are afraid of them. There are little glances, there’s a tendency to back away, wary looks, hands covering wallets.

What’s the effect?

It’s going to break down their souls.

Their choice is going to be to either get depressed over it or worse, see it as “respect” in a desperate effort to turn something rotten into something good.

By the time they’re 18, they’re ready to kill somebody for “dissin’” (“disrespecting”) them, and we get absolutely unbelievable murder rates.

Now arm those adults, legally, with training in the legal use of deadly force.

The fear on the part of the lawful adults goes away. Now they can stand up straight as free citizens rather than subjects. They can report crime to the police, who are now their partners rather than their masters. They can comment negatively on gang tags, or wipe them out without fear of retribution.

The balance of power in the community changes, for the better and 98% of the time without violence.

This isn’t just theory.

In 2001 Michigan with the insanely violent Detroit became one of those places where lawful self defense is possible. By 2002 Michigan’s murder rate per capita had dropped below that of Ohio for the first time in 40 years – and Ohio soon copied the self defense laws of Michigan and the rest of the “shall issue permit states”.

I have a collection of newspaper articles from Michigan and elsewhere tracking the lack of problems caused by these laws and the notable lack of “blood in the streets” predicted by the gun-grabber set:


Take a good look. This is why you’re losing and will continue to lose big.

Jim March
TFL Alumnus
Equal Rights for CCW Home Page
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