LA Times Op-Ed: ‘Thinking of Buying a Gun for Self-Defense. Don’t Do It’

(Photo: Screengrab LA TImes)

By Larry Keane

Californians had a decision to make as they endure a two-year span of increased criminal violence, pushes to throttle law enforcement’s ability to protect communities and prosecutors going soft on criminals. They could choose to lawfully purchase a firearm to protect themselves or be a victim. They choose the former.

That’s got gun control peddlers worried. An opinion column in The Los Angeles Times pleaded with readers, “Thinking of buying a gun for self-defense? Don’t do it.”

Californians instead took up their Second Amendment rights. They weren’t alone either as millions of law-abiding Americans from coast-to-coast purchased a firearm last year, including more than 5.4 million first-timers.

Pleading Their Case

The Los Angeles Times’ opinion writers have had their heads buried on California’s beaches. Californians on the other hand have been feeling unsafe. The Los Angeles City Council cut $150 million from the police department budget in the aftermath of riots that followed the murder of George Floyd. A police shortage, including $47 million in owed backpay for overtime, has left criminals emboldened.

That led to a short-staffed LAPD issuing an unthinkable warning to city residents: if you’re the victim of a crime, just “cooperate and comply.” The LA Times-endorsed, George Soros-funded County District Attorney George Gascon has been on the receiving end of public outcry, and a recall effort, for his continued soft treatment of violent criminals, including murderers.

Criminals noticed. In 2021, Los Angeles saw a 12 percent year-over-year increase in murders. Violent crimes and property crimes were both up 4 percent. The Los Angeles Times opinion page, instead of condemning the crime, clung to fear.

“Choosing to have a gun in your home, because it will keep you safe, is a myth. And a deadly one at that.” The column urged readers to practice “common sense” and “safety,” stating, “Be responsible and be wise. Don’t buy into the myth of owning a gun for self-defense. The life you save may be your own.”

Resounding Rejection

Law-abiding Californians are tuning out “be a good victim” advice and instead are choosing lawful firearm ownership. In 2021, nearly 1.5 million verifications were run through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) for Californians purchasing a firearm. The year before the figure was even higher at 1.6 million.

The owner of the only Los Angeles firearm retail store said business was booming and he wasn’t surprised.

“This morning I sold six shotguns in about an hour to people that say, ‘I want a home defense shotgun,’” Russell Stuart said. “Everyone has a general sense of constant fear, which is very sad.”

Debbie Mizrahie lives in Beverly Hills and described why she chose to purchase a gun. She’s “always been anti-gun” but changed her mind. She wanted to, “get myself shooting lessons because I now understand that there may be a need for me to know how to defend myself and my family. We’re living in fear.”

Geneva Solomon owns Redstone Firearms in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Burbank. Her firsthand experiences contradict the “advice” and “data” from the Los Angeles Times opinion page.

“Years ago a gentleman was charged with home invasion on my home. He forced his way into my home and I walked downstairs with a gun,” Solomon described. “I believe that my firearm deescalated what could have happened if he felt we were unarmed.”

Solomon encourages all gun owners new and old in her store to seek more training and education to be confident and safe gun owners.

National Movement

Californians buying firearms aren’t outliers. They are part of a larger firearm-owning community that’s growing by the day. NSSF retailer survey data from 2021 revealed more than 5.4 million law-abiding Americans purchased a firearm for the first time. That’s on top of the more than 8.4 million in 2020. It’s not just white males stockpiling guns either, as the media and national gun control groups often portray.

Women accounted for more than 33 percent of first-time buyers in 2021, only slightly lower than the 40 percent from 2020. A full 44 percent of retailers saw an increase of African-Americans purchasing firearms in 2021; nearly 40 percent of retailers saw an increase of Hispanic-American buyers and over 27 percent of retailers saw an increase of Asian-American buyers. On top of purchasing their first firearm, buyers were looking for training. Retailers said that almost 47 percent of first-time buyers inquired about training and education courses and more than 43 percent of them signed up for classes.

Americans from all walks of life, including Californians, aren’t listening to the fear and loathing from newspaper opinion pages. They’re thinking, and acting, for themselves.

Larry Keane is Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association.

{ 19 comments… add one }
  • phil February 11, 2022, 7:50 pm

    Look around the world. Look at the metropolitan area in the U.S. Where do you see the majority of crimes being committed? I see liberal controlled area where residents don’t have/can’t generally have firearms. How about the self-defense trials in St. Louis and Kenosha? Those prosecutors came after the law-abiding self-defense folks. The liberal prosecutors wanted to make an example of those folks. Even in my community a Town Ordinance was enacted to restrict and even confiscate firearms in case of emergency! Thankfully state legislation squashed it.

  • Nunya Business February 11, 2022, 3:53 pm

    First OFF, OUR GOD GIVEN NATURAL BORN RIGHTS are NOT, NOR WILL NEVER BE UP FOR DEBATE, PERIOD. OUR RIGHTS are FOR NO HUMAN TO TAKE or RESTRICT, PERIOD. 2nd, We have been THREATENED BY BOTH RUSSIA and CHINA that they WOULD INVADE AMERICA if we INTERFERE with UKRAINE or TAIWAN. These LEFTTURDS want it to happen, SO THEY WANT to DISARM the PEOPLE. It is TIME for the PATRIOTS to QUIT ACTING LIKE HUMAN CONTROLLED OWNED SHEEPLE SLAVE COWARDS.

    “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing,” SUPPOSEDLY JOHN STUART MILL

    It is TIME for “GOOD MEN” to “”””QUIT”””” DOING “””””NOTHING””””””.

    We no longer live in a high trust society ruled by law and order. The social contract has been broken, so you are under no obligation to fight fair anymore. Take the gloves off and start fighting dirty.

  • Jack February 11, 2022, 2:37 pm

    I was trained by a WWII combat vet – I called him “Dad.” I also have professional training for which I paid good money. That said, if firearms are too dangerous for humans to possess, then Law Enforcement must not have them either – they are humans! Citizens carry or have arms at hime for the exact same reason that LE officers carry arms: self-protection. Where I live, criminals wait until LE officers are not around to do their crimes against others. Wake up, people – if the existence of LE officers stopped crime, then crime would not be rising. Be responsible. Get training. Then get more training. Then buy some professionally produced videos on the subject. Then practice those perishable skills of using them. Be mature. Protect self & family. TRUE: since 1964, FOUR of my family members have been involved in shootings with felons. The two family member who were armed, returned fire and survived. The two who were unarmed perished by gunfire.
    -Jack

  • NGH February 11, 2022, 1:09 pm

    Just take a look at where gun crime is happening vs who owns the majority of guns… The gun crime is happening in areas where there are high populations and very few gun owners. All of the smaller / country communities have almost no gun crime to speak of and everyone owns at least 1 or more firearms. Tell me how taking away these peoples guns is going to help the situation in the heavily populated cities? It won’t stop criminals in the cities from getting their hands on guns. Gun control is absolutely ridiculous.

    Kind of like a house on fire but you point all your water at the one next door hoping it might run over and help. But when you have nothing but ignorant, self-serving politicians governing most big cities, you can’t expect things to make sense.

  • NGH February 11, 2022, 1:02 pm

    People in big cities are waaaay too out of touch. The only thing they see about guns are criminals and what they see in movies. They don’t hunt, they don’t have land for target shooting. People in the country are raised with guns as part of their every day life. There is absolutely no intentions of shooting people. It’s kind of like tractors or 4×4 trucks. People in the big cities are not exposed to this because they don’t need or use them. Letting them get rid of things because they don’t use or understand them is ignorant and irresponsible.

  • Ken February 11, 2022, 11:41 am

    Random violence and armed robbery and home invasion are on the rise. If you’re naive enough to believe that you shouldn’t take measures to protect yourself…. well, you’re to dumb to survive.

    We’ve killed off all the wild beasts that used to eat the dumb ones among us… so now they get to survive and serve as prey for modern predators.

  • David February 11, 2022, 11:35 am

    And yes, peoplr in CA are aome of the dumbest and most gullible I have ever met. 2 years in, wearing masks, and taking some sort of experimental spike protein biologic, and they still think it does something?! It’s like a zombie drone world with them wqlking around with their double masks, shields and gloves in their cars by themselves. All for a flu that is a risk for 0.03% of the population, and I’m rounding up! This is jidt the distraction, somethings coming around the corner! Beware!

    • John Rogers February 12, 2022, 10:26 pm

      None of that really belongs on this site. How about stick to the topic? Thanks

  • Sam February 11, 2022, 11:21 am

    If a Dr. tells me something, I get at least 2-3 more opinions. If the government, or the “news” tell me what to do or not to do, I turn tail and do the exact opposite. Still alive, still living free, and no experimental scientific shots!

  • Big Al 45 February 11, 2022, 10:31 am

    Well it’s the L.A. Times, so that alone tells us ‘Journalism’ doesn’t even play into it.
    And yes, I understand it’s an Op-Ed piece, but back in the day MOST real News outlets still had standards, even for their Op-Ed pieces.
    But those days are long gone.

  • Tyler Kent February 11, 2022, 10:25 am

    The author of the L.A. Times article falsely claimed that criminologist Gary Kleck and scholar John R. Lott “claim that more than 2 million gun-use deaths occur each year. Yet reputable analysis put such deaths at around 2,000 a year, not 2 million.” But Kleck and Lott don’t claim that those defensive gun uses result in death. On the contrary, they point out that most do not result in death. L.A. Times author Steven Sainsbury is either lying or is incompetent.

    • Willie-O March 20, 2022, 5:52 pm

      Or as is even more likely the case, BOTH

  • Edward D Ireland February 11, 2022, 9:29 am

    PDRC helps differentiate it from the PRC Peoples Republic of China. A most unfortunate spread of totalitarianism is happening around the world and here at home.

  • Bulletcatcher February 11, 2022, 9:06 am

    Aren’t California people the worlds must gullible, stupid people on earth. Stand up for your rights and protect yourself and family, as your are obligated to.

  • LJ February 11, 2022, 8:56 am

    ‘Hoping to have ANY right in the Republic of Kalifornian – don’t do it!”

  • Rusty February 9, 2022, 11:16 am

    I don’t care how good a shot, and how powerful the gun is, a cop MINUTES away is no match for even a .32,.380, or even a lowly .22 in your hand, when you NEED it.

    As more and more people recognize it is time to fight back against the criminal element, less and less will be victimized by them. BUT, one caveat remains; the law enforcement and Justice communities will need to work WITH the law abiding defending their well being, not AGAINST them!!

  • SuperG February 8, 2022, 9:05 am

    It shows that the people of California are seeing the reality of their situation. They see that they are living in a criminal’s DisneyLand and are refusing to lay down. Some will, and their name shall be victim, but others will not. I left the PDRC (People’s Democratic Republic of California so I could carry and defend myself. I know I may not win a gun battle with seasoned criminals, but at least I won’t go out slaughtered like a sheep.

    • Carl February 11, 2022, 8:11 am

      Democratic “Republic”???
      Absolute opposite meanings.

      • Willie-O March 20, 2022, 6:04 pm

        Not really. Look up democratic republic. While they are not interchangeable terms, there is a degree of “overlapping” meaning. People incorrectly refer to our system as a democracy, whereas it is indeed a republic. In reality I think the original comment was rooted in cynicism and sarcasm.

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