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Gun Safety and Gun Rights – 2023

long haired man defending himself from the person s kick
Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com


This document offers news and reports on the latest state of gun safety and gun rights in the United States. As gun-related tragedies increase in frequency and severity, the tug of war between opposing sides of the issue continues at a deadlock. The topic of firearms and the second amendment are under the overall theme of self-defense. So, the featured image for this post conveys that theme.

Quick Truth

The debate about firearms safety and gun ownership rights is complex. In the United States there has been an increase in gun violence and other types of violence. There are many factors fueling an increase in violence, with politics being perhaps the most visible as noted by Marco Rubio. [View]

In the time period where Switzerland had only one serious incident of multiple fatalities from a single firearm assault, the United States has had about 2,000 with a rate of one gun-related crisis per day. This fact was the focus of a report produced by The Daily Show which attempted to provide some levity mixed with challenging facts. [Part 1, Part 2, Full Show] In the typical Daily Show sarcasm, the report mixes in sarcasm with serious discussion. A more serious news report on guns in Switzerland was provided by Al Jazeera in 2015. [View]

Guns haven’t become more dangerous, people have become more dangerous. Deadly assaults may involve knife attacks, vehicles targeting crowds, or rocks being thrown from highway overpasses.

What seems to be a gun problem may be a symptom of a broader crisis of social collapse. The institutions we rely on to promote civility are being undefended, and the results are visible.

The attack on Israel on 7 Oct 2023 has drawn attention to the need for personal home defense against violent mobs. Thousands of military-grade weapons are being purchased and handed out to citizens there so they can protect themselves. These kinds of attacks are what fuel the interesting military-grade weapons for home defense.

In the United States, incidents of smash and grab crimes as well as other organized group crimes have people more concerned about being outnumbered in personal defense situations. Protests turning violent, demonstrations in residential areas, attacks on law enforcement, and even the attack on the Capitol, all remind people of the fragility of peace.

Gun culture seems to be growing in the United States. Political ads from Democrats who are gun owners get a lot of attention, and often result in winning campaigns. [Source 1, Source 2] In December 2023, Tesla posted a video showing guns, including automatic weapons, used to shoot at the Cybertruck. [View] The Tesla ad underscores the point that gun ownership for some people isn’t about self-defense, hunting, or target practice, but may simply be about gun enthusiasts enjoying the freedom of gun ownership even without a specific goal in mind.

A news report on 3 Dec 2023 describes how online extremists are radicalizing children to become violent through video games. [View] There is also the soft radicalization from violence in media.

In the United States it seems that guns are here to stay. We need to explore what can make our society more compassionate, humane, and less violent within the context of many guns and other potentially dangerous items being available.

Overcoming Gridlock

The Governor of Tennessee described that a possible compromise on gun legislation may be considered. This sentiment was shared after a dinner guest didn’t show up as a result of the recent tragedy there. So, even when seeing family and friends losing life, the gun rights advocates seem to be almost immovable.

The only hope to overcoming the gun rights and gun safety gridlock may be from a movement started by career military personnel and members of law enforcement who are promoting discussion about non-lethal self-defense.

This non-lethal self-defense movement is possibly the most influential and impactful undercurrent today. More information about this is included in this document.

Doctor’s Perspective

Dr. Jason Smith, Chief Medical Officer for University of Louisville Health, says his hospital handles over 4,000 cases per year of people needing urgent care after gun, knife, and other wounds. His comments are compelling.

People Who Know

There are police officers, members of the military, gun enthusiasts, and gun shop owners who are all on record expressing concern about the danger of firearms and the need for caution regarding their sale and use. These people are the most able to be an influential voice among gun owners and Second Amendment activists.

Honest Conversations

The video below is a conversation between two people with military and law enforcement backgrounds. This video is from the Byrna company that has developed a personal protection system as an alternative to lethal weapons. Byrna has been at the forefront of addressing concerns about lethal weapons.

More conversations similar to the one above, between gun enthusiasts, are available from Byrna. Here’s an example.

  • “Olympic Shooter Lanny Barnes” — Lanny Barnes grew up shooting at an early age which helped pave her way onto the world’s biggest stage as an olympic athlete participating in the biathlon. Lanny has not only spent a career training to be a better shooter but also training others in not only shooting but various self defense concepts and is now leading the charge at Prairie Fire, one of the largest ranges in the country. 23 Apr 2023 [Watch]

Responding to Criticism

The Byrna non-lethal approach to personal safety is met with criticism from gun enthusiasts. In the video below, a Byrna spokesperson addresses criticisms of non-lethal self-defense. There is some snarky attitude and slight sarcasm in the responses which is part of the online culture and engagement.

Part 1 of 3

Part 2 of 3

Part 3 of 3

The videos above are examples of how people familiar with gun ownership can identify problems and limitations of firearms.


Here are a few resources that relate to gun safety and gun rights.

  • CDC — “Firearm Mortality by State” [View Map]
  • Pew Research Center — “More Americans died of gun-related injuries in 2020 than in any other year on record, according to recently published statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That included a record number of gun murders, as well as a near-record number of gun suicides. Despite the increase in such fatalities, the rate of gun deaths – a statistic that accounts for the nation’s growing population – remains below the levels of earlier years.” [Read More]
  • Gun Violence Archive — “The Gun Violence Archive is an online archive of gun violence incidents collected from over 7,500 law enforcement, media, government and commercial sources daily in an effort to provide near-real time data about the results of gun violence. GVA is an independent data collection and research group with no affiliation with any advocacy organization.” [View Website]

We Can’t Ban Rocks

It’s a reasonable response to read about gun violence and conclude that banning guns is the solution to violence. However, there are also acts of violence that involve other weapons such as knives or cars used as weapons. Recent street flash-mob mayhem illustrated that even people who are unarmed can inflict harm on others.

On 20 Apr 2023, a woman was killed by a rock thrown at her car. [Source] At some point, even after we’ve banned and confiscated all the sharp objects and guns, people will still be killing other people. The problem in our society seems to be a lack of compassion for others.

Gun Enthusiast Viewpoints

On the MSNBC show “The Mehdi Hasan Show” two gun enthusiasts talk about their suggestions for making gun ownership safer in America.

“An Actual Debate: Two gun owners argue over open-carry” — As the U.S. again reels from a spate of recent shootings, Republicans continue to talk about anything – anything – but guns. Mehdi talks to former GOP congressman Joe Walsh and a former gun industry executive about what the gun reform conversation should look like on the right. [Source]

Below are some contextual visuals from the video above.


Below are news stories and reports relating to gun rights and gun safety. Entries are in chronological order with the most recent at the top. Headings convey the source and date.

Byrna (22 Dec 2023)

“Glenn Beck Believes In Byrna’s Stopping Power” — American conservative political commentator, radio host, entrepreneur, and television producer Glenn Beck recently had the eye-opening opportunity to learn about Byrna’s less-lethal stopping power firsthand. Beck and his audience are proud gun-owners and second amendment advocates and Beck immediately felt obligated to share his Byrna experience to his followers and why he believes it is critical to arm yourself with the Byrna less-lethal option, one that has proven power in deescalating a threat. [Source]

WFSB 3 (1 Oct 2023)

“New gun laws are in effect” — Since the Sandy Hook school shooting, this is the most wide-ranging package of gun safety measures. [Source]

Hannity (7 Sep 2023)

In the video below, conservative gun enthusiast Sean Hannity talks about benefits of non-lethal defense.

PBS NewsHour (2 Sep 2023)

“Why shooting sports are exploding in popularity among young people” — Every year, millions of Americans use guns recreationally, not only for hunting, but also for target sports like skeet and trapshooting. A growing number of young people are participating in shooting sports, a trend that is raising concerns for some. Special correspondent Megan Thompson reports. [Source]

VICE News (17 Aug 2023)

“The Gunslinging 10-Year-Old Blowing Up the Internet” — While Autumn Fry wasn’t born with two glocks in her hands, she might as well have been – she learned to shoot shortly after she learned to walk! Now, at 10 years old, she’s a social media sensation with over 200k subscribers on her gun YouTube channel, “Autumn’s Armory.” In this episode of Child’s Play, we learn about Autumn, her home life, and her extraordinary abilities with one of America’s most controversial items – guns. [Source]

MSNBC (13 Aug 2023)

“Gun safety activist David Hogg reveals to Jen Psaki why he joined a shooting club” — Jen Psaki sits down with gun safety activist and co-founder of March for Our Lives David Hogg. They discuss why he joined a shooting club in college, his new PAC “Leaders We Deserve”, gun reform after U.S. sees deadliest six months of mass killings on record and much more. [Source]

White House (11 Aug 2023)

“Vice President Harris Participates in a Moderated Conversation on Gun Safety” — Vice President Harris participates in a moderated conversation at Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund’s annual Gun Sense University conference to highlight the Biden-Harris administration’s historic progress on advancing commonsense gun safety policies and discuss their continued commitment to reducing gun violence in communities across America. [Source]

DW News (27 Jul 2023)

“America’s love affair with firearms” — Gun violence is on the rise in the United States. An estimated 400 million firearms are in private hands. Casualties are at a record high. But the dispute over stricter gun laws is dividing the country. Various initiatives call for tougher controls. But some people resist these, pointing to the Second Amendment and what they say is their constitutional right to defend themselves. For them, carrying a firearm is part of their American identity. This documentary paints a portrait of a heavily armed nation. The filmmakers visit places like the ‘Gunsite Academy’ in Arizona – the largest private shooting school in the world. Gun enthusiasts from all over the country practice their marksmanship here. They also meet people like Brandon Wolf, survivor of the devastating gun massacre at the Pulse nightclub. Since the tragedy, he has been fighting for gun law reform. Philip Smith, on the other hand, is the founder of the National African American Gun Association. The organization’s declared goal is to get as many African American citizens as possible to take up arms. Physician Stephanie Bonne sees what firearms can do every day. She works for a hospital in Newark, New Jersey, with an intensive care unit that almost exclusively treats victims of shootings. In her eyes, gun misuse in the U.S. has long counted as a full-blown epidemic. [Source]

The View (14 Jun 2023)

“Ajike “AJ” Owens’ Mother Speaks Out On Daughter Being Fatally Shot By Neighbor” — “The world is full of so much hate now,” Pamela Dias tells “The View” following the death of her daughter. [Source]

CBS News (30 May 2023)

“Shooting near beach in Hollywood, Florida leaves 9 injured, including children” — Nine people were injured when gunfire erupted near a beach in Hollywood, Florida, on Memorial Day. Video shows people ducking and running for cover along the crowded beach. Manuel Bojorquez has the latest on the police investigation. [Source]

CBC News (29 May 2023)

“Engaged couple killed in dispute with landlord” — Police in Hamilton, Ont., say a 27-year-old woman and a 28-year-old man were shot and killed by their landlord after a dispute on Saturday. The landlord was killed in ‘an exchange of gunfire’ with a police officer, according to the province’s Special Investigations Unit. [Source]

ABC News (28 May 2023)

“Terrifying bus shootout in Charlotte, North Carolina” — The driver and a passenger on a public bus exchanged gunfire after that passenger asked to get off between stops. [Source]

DW News (25 May 2023)

“How America’s left is preparing for escalating violence” — There are fears that a polarizing election will further inflame the culture war in the US. This week the Department of Homeland Security warned of a rise in right-wing terrorism — the potential targets including the LGBTQ community as well as racial and ethnic minorities. While the debate over gun controls remains deadlocked in Washington, some say the best protection for “vulnerable groups” is to give them guns as well. The Socialist Rifle Association’s answer to gun violence in the US is to arm “vulnerable populations” – meaning Black communities, LGBT people, and women. Through firearms training and advocacy, they hope to “take back the monopoly on gun ownership” from the right wing. I’ve interviewed them at an outreach event, and filmed with them at a shooting range as well as a first-aid training. At a public outreach event in a Washington D.C. park, the Socialist Rifle Association finds an audience for its message that there’s an arms race in this country whether you like it or not, and the right-wing is winning by a long shot. [Source]

NBC News (22 Apr 2023)

“Florida homeowner shoots at car with teens that went to wrong home delivering groceries” — A grocery delivery in Florida ended in gunfire after an 18-year-old woman and 19-year-old man reported that they mistakenly drove to the wrong house. The car was hit multiple times, but the man and woman were not injured. NBC News’ Erin McLaughlin has the story. [Source]

The View (21 Apr 2023)

“What Is Driving String Of Senseless Shootings?” — [Source]

ABC 7 Chicago (20 Apr 2023)

“6-year-old shot after basketball rolls into neighbor’s yard” — A North Carolina man allegedly shot a 6-year-old girl, her parents and an additional neighbor after a basketball rolled into his yard. [Source]

MSNBC (19 Apr 2023)

“Two Texas high school cheerleaders shot after accidentally getting into the wrong” — Two high school cheerleaders in Texas who were shot after mistakenly getting into the wrong car thinking it was theirs. NBC News’ Morgan Chesky reports on how the incident occurred. [Source]

NBC News (19 Apr 2023)

“Cheerleader shot after friend approached wrong car in grocery lot” — High school cheerleader Payton Washington was shot after a stranger opened fire on her and three friends in the parking lot of a grocery store outside Austin, Texas. The incident follows two other recent shootings tied to innocent mistakes like approaching the wrong car or home. NBC News’ Morgan Chesky reports. [Source]

TODAY (18 Apr 2023)

“NY homeowner kills driver who made wrong turn into driveway” — A homeowner in upstate New York has been charged with second-degree murder after police say he fired shots at a car that made a wrong turn into his driveway, killing 20-year-old Kaylin Gillis. [Source]

ABC 7 Chicago (17 Apr 2023)

“Police hunt for suspect in AL shooting; what we know about victims” — After a Sweet 16 birthday celebration was shattered by a shooting over the weekend that left four people dead and at least 28 others injured, investigators in Dadeville, Alabama, are still working to determine what caused the chaos. [Source]

“2 shot, 1 fatally, trying to flee carjacking attempt in Chicago” — Chicago police said a man was killed and woman injured in a shooting during a carjacking attempt in the Bronzeville neighborhood Monday morning. [Source]

WLWT (17 Apr 2023)

“Police investigating after triple shooting in downtown Cincinnati” — [Source]

WSB-TV (17 Apr 2023)

“Shooting at Gwinnett Co. baby shower leaves father of 6 dead” — A Gwinnett County family is in disbelief after a deadly shooting at a baby shower claimed the life of a father of six. Witnesses told police that the victim, acting out of safety concerns, took a gun away from a guest he did not know who had just accidentally shot himself in the foot. [Source]

KHOU 11 (17 Apr 2023)

“2nd teen charged in deadly FBI raid at north Houston motel” — The suspects are accused of kidnapping migrants and holding them for ransom. An accomplice was killed in the raid. [Source]

PBS NewsHour (17 Apr 2023)

“Four dead, 15 more wounded in shooting at birthday party in small Alabama town” — A spate of weekend gun violence left more American families grieving. In Dadeville, Alabama, a gunman killed four people at a birthday party and in Louisville, Kentucky, two people died when someone fired into a crowd at a public park. Anger also grew over a recent shooting in Kansas City, Missouri where a Black teen was shot after showing up at the wrong house. [Source]

WXYZ Detroit (17 Apr 2023)

“3 people shot and 1 dead in Downtown Detroit because someone ‘threw a drink’” — [Video Available on YouTube]

CBC News (16 Apr 2023)

“4 killed, multiple others injured in Alabama mass shooting” — Police say four people were killed and multiple others injured in a shooting on Saturday night that was tied to a 16th birthday party in the small community of Dadeville, Ala. Officials provided no information about what led to the shooting, and it was not known if any suspects had been taken into custody. [Source]

MSNBC (16 Apr 2023)

“Alabama police confirm multiple people dead after birthday party shooting” — Alabama police confirm that multiple people were killed in a shooting at a birthday party in the city of Dadeville in addition to a “multitude” of injuries. [Source]

Fox 13 Tampa Bay (13 Apr 2023)

Guns taken from Florida teacher who said she ‘wanted to shoot some students’ — A judge granted a risk protection order in the case of a Hernando County teacher who the school district said made “concerning” comments. [Source]

MSNBC (12 Apr 2023)

“Repeated deadly shootings put Americans opposite Republicans on gun safety laws” — Alex Wagner looks at the role of the AR-15 and high-capacity magazines in deadly shootings in the United States and notes that majorities of Americans support better control of assault style weapons and high-capacity magazines but Republicans refuse to allow it. [Source]

ABC11 (11 Apr 2023)

“‘Busy like Christmas’: Gun store says sales surging after NC pistol-permit requirement eliminated” — It’s been nearly two weeks since North Carolina lawmakers passed Senate Bill 41, bringing an end to the requirement of a pistol purchase permit for people looking to buy a handgun and not already in possession of a concealed carry permit. [Source]

WCNC (3 Apr 2023)

“Charlotte gun store sees boom in business after pistol permit law change” — Handgun sales are rising in Mecklenburg County. Local gun shops have been busy since Republican lawmakers overrode Governor Roy Cooper’s veto of Senate Bill 41 on March 28. The bill, now law, makes it easier for North Carolinians to buy handguns by simplifying the permit process. [Source]

PBS (18 Mar 2023)

“As Congress stalls on federal gun safety laws, some states push their own rules” — This week, Michigan’s Senate passed a major gun safety package passed a major gun safety package and sent it to the House, where it is expected to pass. The action was spurred by last month’s shooting at Michigan State University that killed three students and wounded five others. Lisa Geller, director of state policy at Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions, joins John Yang to discuss. [Source]

PBS NewsHour (6 Oct 2022)

“Despite high gun ownership, Scandinavia remains largely free of firearm violence” — Survivors of Norway’s deadliest massacre are urging the United States to tighten up gun laws to put an end to school shootings. In Sweden, sporadic gang-fueled gun crime just helped install a far-right party in power. Both countries have relatively high levels of firearms ownership but low levels of gun-related homicides. Malcolm Brabant went to see if there are lessons America can learn. [Source]

BBC News (22 Aug 2022)

“Hundreds queue up in US to turn-in guns to police” — Hundreds of people queued up in Houston, Texas, to turn their guns over to the police on a recent Saturday. More than 800 guns were collected in the effort by local law enforcement to make the city safer. However, many who gave up their firearms have many more at home. The hundreds collected were also just a drop in the bucket, with more guns than people in the United States. [Source]

The Daily Show (5 Jun 2022)

“The ‘Impossible’ Conversation About Guns In America” — It’s strange how quickly America goes from the land of the possible to the impossible when it comes to stopping gun violence. [Watch on YouTube]

The Daily Show (29 May 2022)

“Switzerland: So Many Guns, No Mass Shootings” — Michael Kosta heads to the world’s largest annual shooting festival to find out how Switzerland can love guns so much yet have such a low rate of gun-related crimes. [Source]

By Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson is a freelance writer and tech consultant in Iowa City. He is also the founder and Director of the ResourcesForLife.com website. Learn more at AboutGregJohnson.com