I love the smell of guns in the morning.
It’s a whiff of freedom in Obamerica.
I’m in the Martin B. Retting Gun Shop, located in scenic Culver City. The store is jammed. When I lived in New York, Barneys used to have a one-day super sale. The line to get in was around the block. It was a fashionista frenzy. There is no frenzy in Martin B. Retting. Just a growing realization that the Second Amendment is under assault by the radical left. Barack Hussein Obama and his cult are making the most of the Newton atrocity to advance their statist agenda.
And, as far as I can tell, people here are buying AR15s—by the dozens.
I plant myself in line and wait for a salesman.
Memo to Martin B: I don’t want to seem presumptuous, I’m just a dopey Hollywood screenwriter, but can’t you work out some kind of system? Look, at my local kosher bakery, on Friday, right before the Sabbath, madness reigns. People are buying challah and calorie-laden desserts for the Sabbath meals. It’s frightening—the crowds, not the desserts—and you do not know violence until you’ve been elbowed in the gut by some frail-looking Jewish grandmother who has the offensive instincts of Phil Sheridan. Anyway, to avoid too much mayhem, the bakery has this little thingee at the front counter that gives out tickets with numbers on them, and each customer rips off a ticket. And there’s this electric counter that clicks off the numbers, and when your number lights up—presto! It’s your turn. Genius!
Anyhoo, Martin B., that’s this gun owner’s brilliant idea for organizing your sales.
The guy in front of me is buying a Sig Sauer. He’s also buying all these high-tech custom attachments that are so high-techy I can’t even imagine what their function might be. This guy really knows his stuff. I’m totally intimidated because all I want is a simple shotgun for home defense because 21 years ago I was a Jew without a gun, who saw the light, bought a pistol, but never the shotgun which would be much easier for Karen to use—G-d forbid, if she ever had to—rather than my Springfield .45 which she can’t even rack.
Sig Sauer guy turns to me: “Sorry for taking so long.”
I’d like to ask about the high-tech gear, but who wants to look and sound like a complete wuss in a gun shop?
Not yours truly.
A few minutes later, the salesman—this is not Barneys where the sales, ahem, associates, look at you like you’re dirt—turns to me and says: “How can I help you, sir?”
“Shotgun. I’m thinking .20 gauge so my wife can shoot it and not dislocate her shoulder.”
“Sounds about right,” he says.
Salesman shows me a Remington 870 Express. I know this machine. It’s been in more cop movies than any other weapon in the history of Hollywood. It’s a classic. The sound it makes when racked is a fearsome double-crack that send shivers up the spines of movie perps everywhere.
Salesman goes over the 870 with me. He’s a personable guy with a deep knowledge of firearms. He’s like a young rabbinic student carefully elucidating the fine points of a Talmudic argument.
“I’ll take it.”
Let’s see: U.S. citizen, check; Felon, nope; Drug addict? Nope. Illegal Alien? Nyet. Mentally ill: Nope. Two pages of questions, and then I have to pick an ethnic group. I reluctantly pick White. Reluctant, because this ethnic balkanization on the part of the government is simply reprehensible.
I’m an American.
I hand over my driver’s license. Salesman studies it and frowns.
Oh-oh. Did my license expire?
Salesman looks at me. “Did you write that blog about getting trapped in the LA Riots?”
Hey, I’m famous!
Salesman’s name is Gray, and he fills out even more paperwork.
And then a familiar face.
Sarah is a friend who lives in my neighborhood. We attend the same synagogue. Sarah is a single mother who, a few weeks ago, confided to me how vulnerable she felt. I suggested she buy a gun, take a gun-safety course and learn how to use a weapon. Sarah was shocked, resistant. But she thought it over, purchased a steel safe that opens with a fast thumb imprint, and now here she is buying the pistol I recommended, a Smith & Wesson .38.
Sarah turns to Gray: “This is the man who brought me here.”
Gray nods, listens to us shmooze for a minute, and then hands Sarah a card: “Go see this man. He’s the best weapons instructor around. Two tours in Iraq. He’ll teach you everything you need to know.”
Gray is totally cool. He realizes that Sarah, a gun newbie, needs serious guidance.
Gray explains to me that I can’t pick up my shotgun for ten days so the FBI can do a background check. There’s a whole bunch of other stuff Gray is telling me but my mind is drifting. I’m thinking about an uncle I never met.
My maternal grandmother Genia’s brother Max Fliegel, his wife Chana and their four children — three daughters and one son — were rounded up by the Nazis on October 12, 1941 in the Polish town of Stanislawow, cruelly beaten, made to undress, forced to dig their own graves, and then shot at point-blank range.
They were Jews without guns.