Jew With Shotgun

Remington 870

Remington 870

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.

And wait…


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.

End Interpolation

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.”

“No problem.”

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?”

“Uh, yeah.”

Salesman smiles.

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.

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  1. Posted January 29, 2013 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    Just had to post another bit – I stopped by my very good friend’s house for a beer tonight (I had just attended his daughter’s wedding in Israel 2 weeks ago). And, we go downstairs to his spare bedroom/ man cave and, he shows me his PTR 91; his GSG 5PK; his Walther PK380; and his father’s old .44 Magnum rifle….  
    Now, I’ve known this guy for 20 years (just another frum Jew in Minnesota) but this is the first time he ever showed me his guns.  Why?  Because I mentioned this blog and this post and he wanted to both enlighten me and freak me out.  
    It was nice.  Very nice.  We’re going to go to a range sometime and shoot his weapons.  He also told me the value and scarcity of the guns he had and of the ammunition for some of them.  He remarked, as did Robert, that gun stores are empty and some ammunition can currently not be gotten…
    And, apropos of nothing, his father, of Blessed Memory, (both of his late parents were German converts to Judaism), was a soldier in Hilter’s (y’mach sh’mo) German army and that his father taught him how to shoot a gun.
    It’s a strange, strange world we live in, Master Jack… 

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  2. kishke
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 9:37 am | Permalink
  3. Firehand
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    Ammo for the scattergun: personally, for home defense I’d see if I could find some #4 buckshot.  Smaller pellets than 00 buck, but that means more pellets and more total weight in the charge = more whack on the target.  I’ve heard a lot of argument on the subject, but I’d rather have buckshot than birdshot for serious social situations.
    And that ten-day waiting period ‘for the background check’ is crap: the federal database is searchable in seconds, should also be true for the state and city.  But it IS good for jerking the citizens around, isn’t it?

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    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted January 25, 2013 at 10:57 am | Permalink


      Thanks so much for the valuable advice. The ten day waiting period is just as dopey as the questionnaire we have to fill out.

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  4. Posted January 24, 2013 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Robert – echoing other statements about your fine choice of long gun.  We too have a Remington 870 at home (filled with 00 unless my husband is shooting skeet), along with some other “toys”.  My conceal carry choice is the Sig P238 (mentioned by another commenter); I’ll also carry my S&W .38 snub nose revolver if I can (much bigger and bulkier than the P238).  As a woman who lives in a rural community – quite literally in the middle of the woods – I feel it’s necessary to be able to defend myself.  I do not live alone and that doesn’t matter.  Sometimes I feel like Harry Potter – “Wand (gun” at the ready Harry”.
    We must always be “at the ready” these days.  It’s a sorry state of affairs yet we must do what we must to ensure our safety and that of our loved ones.  Now, I live in CT and there is legislation going thru our Capital that would make it legal for the permit holders’ names & addresses to be printed (ala The Journal News in NY). If that law passes – for it is illegal right now – I predict it will take less than 30 days for our names and addresses to appear in the state newspaper rag The Hartford Courant. My husband and I are already making contingency plans in the event that happens.  Home alarm system, alternate storage, etc…
    And once again it will the law-abiding citizens who pay the price for the follies of the uneducated.

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    • Brianna
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      “And once again it will the law-abiding citizens who pay the price for the follies of the uneducated.”

      Pfft.  Paying for the follies of the over-educated, more like.  That kind of stupidity has to be really worked for.

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    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted January 25, 2013 at 10:59 am | Permalink


      I shot clay pigeons for the first time a few years ago in Hillsdale College. I was there for a film festival. Anyway, I loved it and plan on doing more now that I have a shotgun.

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  5. Posted January 23, 2013 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    After 40 years of trauma surgery, I can tell you that #7 birdshot will do the job nicely. You can use #4 and do a good job at about 30 feet, which is as far as you will need a shotgun. Believe me, I have picked enough #7 shot out of shootees, not necessarily victims, that I know what works. I don’t recommend slugs in full choke shotguns but 00 buckshot does as well.
    I was in a gun store to have some gunsmith work done on a pistol of mine when a hand grabbed me and said , “hi!” It was a doctor (Jewish) that I know well but hadn’t seen in years in the shop to buy an AR 15 for his wife. Interesting times.

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    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 4:53 am | Permalink


      Thanks so much for jumping in with your recommendations. Indeed, we do live in interesting times, which according to the Chinese, is a curse.

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  6. Posted January 23, 2013 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    I’m not a gun guy.  I doubt I ever will be.  Then again, if I ever lived in LA or NYC or Chicago, etc. (which, IMHO, are not places where Jews ought to be living), I might possibly change my mind.  But, I doubt it.
    Several years ago an older friend of mine in our synagogue wanted me to take a gun course with him; get a concealed carry permit; and buy a gun – for all of our mutual protection.  I declined.
    Even though I walk around saying “Thank G-d, Life is beautiful all the time,” all day long; to everyone I meet…  I’m afraid if I were carrying a gun and somebody was really mean and rude to someone or myself…  I’d shoot them.  I think there’s a passive aggressive psychopath inside of me that would just love to for someone to “get in my face…”

    However, Robert, your last few lines brought tears to my eyes.  I thought about my relatives – going back umpteen generations, forever and ever…  And, I thought how the majority of the human race will never know; will never understand; cannot comprehend, just why you, and by extrapolation, the entire Jewish State of Israel, must have their guns and must be able to use them.

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    • sennacherib
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

      I’m not in the majority.
      “I’m not a gun guy.  I doubt I ever will be.”. Everyone has to live their life as they see fit, good luck and G-d be with you.

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    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 4:53 am | Permalink


      I was not a gun guy, and then I was:-)

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    • Brianna
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 6:11 am | Permalink

      What’s wrong with Jews living in NYC or Chicago or LA?

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      • Posted January 24, 2013 at 6:40 am | Permalink

        🙂  Brianna – That was a sly aggrandizement of the benefits of living in Minnesota – the Center of Yiddishkeit in North America.  🙂
        Honestly?  I don’t like big cities and, in my humble opinion, Jews are better suited to small town life where “you’ll always know your neighbor; you’ll always know your pal…”   
        We are a communal people who are commanded to love each other; to help each other; to support each other.  That is far more difficult to do outside of your immediate neighborhood anywhere.
        In our little shteeble here in Minnesota, everybody knows everybody and, in general, we all get along – even with those people across the river in St. Paul (“of course, there was the time that he sold him a horse and it turned out to be a mule…”).
        I have lived in San Francisco; Boston; New York and New Jersey, among other places.  My children have spent much of their lives in large Jewish enclaves such as Brooklyn; Lakewood, NJ; and Israel.
        As wonderful as these places are for learning and diversity and eating kosher food – I prefer places where I know everyone and, in spite of everything else, I really don’t have to worry about whether or not I need a gun to defend myself against either the unruly hordes or the government (even in Minnesota, the Land of Liberals, Where Absolutely Nothing Is Allowed, the government is “too nice” to threaten its populace with armed might…).

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  7. orcadrvr
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    This is a great blog.  I am buying a sig p238 for concealed carry purposes.
    I still recall the Korean shop owners on the roofs of their buildings holding off the howling mobs during the riots.  A lot of them had “assault weapons”, or at least auto pistols with more than 10 rounds capacity.
    Keep up the great work on this blog.

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    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 4:56 am | Permalink


      Glad you enjoy our blog. The Sig Sauer is a really fine weapon. Yes, the Koreans really stood their ground in ’92, a lesson I will never forget.

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  8. sennacherib
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    Nice looking shotgun. 10 days wow! You have a lot options on ammunition. 00 buck is commendable. If your worried about down range damage to people other than your target use #6 or #7 field loads. At close range they are very similar to 00 buck (they haven’t expanded much yet) 40yds+ they are hard on pigeons and little else. Check what choke your barrel is (full, modified, etc.) that will tell you what the shot expansion rate is over distance.

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    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 4:58 am | Permalink


      Thanks for all the good ideas for ammunition. This is my first shotgun, so I have a lot to learn. Plan to try out different loads at the range, and get some instruction from an expert I know.

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  9. Eric
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Avrech,
    Congratulations on your new shotgun.  I hope Karen likes it, because at this point trading it back in and getting something else is going to be a problem.  If you care, I think the 20 ga was a good choice.  The only slight negative is that 12 ga ammo is probably more common.
    Which brings me to the real reason I am commenting.  I hope you bought as much ammo as you could afford and as much as they would sell you.  For both your guns. Lots and lots of target loads for routine practice, lots of duty ammo for serious use and serious practice.  Nowadays, if you haven’t already stocked up, you have to take what you can get.  Bird shot is not very good for self-defense purposes — it makes nasty surface wounds, but not much penetration — after all it is for birds that weigh in ounces — but if it is all that is available, buy it for practice and to use if you have to.
    The gun-banners know it will be hard to get all the guns, but that ammo is the weak link, they will try to ban what they can, tax the rest, and make the ownership of it so onerous  that it drives people away.
    BTW, I used to go to Rettings, it has been 15 years since I was in LA, but I went to every gun store there at least a couple times.
    Best wishes.

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    • sennacherib
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      I must have posted 2 seconds after you in others words didn’t see you until mine went up. Agree with you on the ammo availability and practice with field loads yes. Still say up to 30′, #6 or #7 loads are pretty effective. Otherwise cheers. By the way I’m a 12ga pump 00 buck express acolyte.

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    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 5:01 am | Permalink


      I bought quite a bit of ammo. But look, as an Israeli special ops soldier once told me, “You never know how much ammo you need until the gun battle is finished.”

      I did notice that people in Martin B. were buying ammo by the truckload.

      I’ll probably go back for more because I also need to buy a gun case for the 680.

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    • Tamarah180
      Posted January 25, 2013 at 3:40 am | Permalink

      When I moved from LA to Kansas, I sold my Taurus .357 and bought a Mossberg 12 gauge shotgun. Ammo is cheaper and it would be easier to use in a self-defense situation. And, according to the gun dealer who made the trade for me, the racking sound will loosen the bowels of anyone on the business end of it.
      Hopefully, in this rural area, I will be less likely to need to use it. But my police officer DIL also has a CUTE pink handgun and is less than a mile away.

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      • Robert J. Avrech
        Posted January 25, 2013 at 11:02 am | Permalink


        That racking sound you mention is one of the great sound effects we use in action movies. When that double rack kicks in, the audience knows some serious stuff is about to go down.

        Welcome to Seraphic Secret!

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  10. raven397
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    and what Solzhenitsyn thought about self-defense–“And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”- Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn

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    • kishke
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      Wonderful quote.

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    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 5:05 am | Permalink


      Brilliant and moving quote. We should all remember that progressives expressed contempt for Solzhenitsyn, especially after his Harvard commencement address of 1978. He was characterized as an extreme right wing idealogue. In fact, he spoke for simple human freedom and warned of the dangers of government tyranny.

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  11. Bill Brandt
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    That is a nasty-looking weapon! (and I mean that in a good way). Maybe you might want to consider a sling for it? (see once you become a gun owner you start to think about accessorizing it 😉 – new grips, sling….
    You like fashion – a woman in my Facebook Group – became a shooting convert a year/so ago – showed us her snubnose .38 with pink Pachmeyer grips.
    Keep some 00 Buck for strict defense – that stuff will blow a hole in a door – and hopefully you can get out to a trap range and  get used to it (worst time to “get used to it” is when your life depends on using it right).
    I think this deluge has been so unexpected by gun shop owners that they have been caught unprepared. There has been a run on ammunition for some time which is why I haven’t gone to the range as much as I used to (it is expensive – ammunition – now)
    And good for Sarah.
    More women should be following her. Take charge for your own safety!

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    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 8:04 am | Permalink


      I’ve seen a few pink guns carried by ladies. The blessings of the internet.

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    • Posted January 24, 2013 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      Hi Bill – that was me with the .38 snub nose and the pink grip (Hogue, btw). 🙂 Small world.

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  12. Posted January 23, 2013 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    A pistol grip and (possibly) an adjustable stock… you obviously bought an assault rifle… oops, I mean assault weapon, And it’s black. And it’s named “870 Express”, so it must shoot fast! It probably is one of those semi-auto guns that shoots 870 rounds per minute using a mega-ultra-high-capacity clip.
    Sorry, Robert, I couldn’t resist. I’m glad you took my advice about getting a shotgun (although I know others suggested it as well). Now, I suggest you get Karen and yourself trained and maybe start shooting “sporting clays”. Karen might just enjoy it, and I bet you would.

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    • Posted January 23, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      By the way, I don’t have any personal experience with them, but I have heard of Triple B Clays at

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    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      Prophet Joe:

      Yes, took your advice along with a few others.

      I also have an assault Swiss Army knife, and an assault frying pan:-)

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  13. Brianna
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    I was at the gun store last weekend too, buying a pistol.  I’ve been meaning to do it for a while, and it undoubtedly would have happened in the next few months anyway, but Obama’s little stunt with the executive orders goaded me to get a move on.  I didn’t walk out with my top choice (which would probably have been a Springfield) because the gun stores are, as you said, incredibly crowded and rapidly running out of stock.  However, I did end up with a nice Ruger 9mm that had a good grip and an evil (to politicians, anyway) high-capacity magazine.  Even better, since I had a concealed carry license I was able to walk out with my purchase that day.  Cheers 🙂
    I must admit, I’ve never understood the mentality of some Jews that “guns wouldn’t have helped us during the Holocaust anyway.”  Well, perhaps that’s true, but could it have possibly hurt?  Do tyrannicaly-minded governments truly look at an armed populace and think, “This is wonderful, their possession of massive amounts of firearms will make it even EASIER for us to take over!”  And then there’s the defeatist outlook of this viewpoint: to say that you think resistance to tyrannical government is impossible is basically the equivalent of saying that if the government ever did become tyrannical, you wouldn’t even try to do anything about it.  Sure, maybe it’s stupid, maybe it’s pointless, maybe it won’t help, but if the worst ever does happen, are we not morally obligated to at least try?  Are we not morally obligated to do the right thing, even if we do not think it will work?

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    • Bill Brandt
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      Brianna – hypothetical surmising is just that – hypothetical – but I’d be willing to bet if the Nazis knew that knocking on some hapless Jew’s door to take them somewhere might result in one or more of them getting seriously hurt or killed – history might have been different.

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    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 8:09 am | Permalink


      I’ve also read a few pieces in liberal internet sites (there was one in Salon that was truly hideous) which dismiss the idea of Jews with guns during the holocaust making any difference. Of course the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto who had very few guns fought the Nazis to a dead stand still for over a month. And as you say, the defeatism of these liberals is almost beyond comprehension. It’s almost as if they prefer dead Jews to ones who are alive and armed.

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      • Brianna
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 10:41 am | Permalink

        “It’s almost as if they prefer dead Jews to ones who are alive and armed.”
        I promised my Israeli friends that if they ever came to visit me over here, I’d take them to the range.  😉  They’ve handled rifles in the army of course, but I don’t think any of them have ever done any pistol shooting.  One of them is trying to come here in the fall for his doctoral studies (engineering), and two of the others want to come visit/sightsee when they finish their own studies in a couple years, so it’ll probably happen.

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  14. Johnny
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    My cousin is a minority owner in a gun store and he says they don’t sell AR-15s – they sell themselves when they can get some in.
    That 10 day waiting period (or a 3 day waiting period) doesn’t look so bad until some jury reaches a verdict people don’t like and riots ensue and a murderous mob is marching towards your store. Or in the case of European Jews, the nazis are rolling into town.
    One of the questions Scarborough likes to ask of his incestuous little group of lefties sitting around his table is why does anyone need a 15 round clip? His panelists scratch their heads and then their behinds and come up blank so of course limiting ammo magazines is “sensible regulation everyone can agree with”. No one says that when trained police can miss their target 9 out of ten times, a homeowner awakened at 2 am may need 15 or more shots. NRA member Joe gets cred with his lefty friends and no one ever considers that in a country of 300 million people no legislature can ever conceive of every circumstance a law abiding citizen may need a weapon.

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    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 8:10 am | Permalink


      You need a 15 round clip because you don’t know how many rounds you need until after the gun fight is over.

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  15. Robert J. Avrech
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 8:04 pm | Permalink


    Thanks so much for your comment.

    I believe we should all have the right to decide how many rounds we want in a clip. Besides, it’s the Bill of Rights, not the Bill of Needs. And as an Israeli commando once told me, “You never know how many rounds you need until after the gunfight is over.”

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    Tenth: June 9, 2013
    David Horowitz: “The War Against Judaism on the University Campus.”

    Blog Post | Audio (mp3 16MB)
    Ninth: June 3, 2012
    Joel B. Pollak: “The Mainstream Media’s Betrayal of Israel.”

    Blog Post | Audio (mp3 15MB)
    Eighth: June 5, 2011
    Yossi Klein Halevi: “What is Expected of a Survivor People: Lessons My Father Taught Me.”

    Blog Post | Audio (mp3 18MB)
    Seventh: June 13, 2010
    Dennis Prager: “Happiness is a Mitzvah, Not an Emotion.”

    Blog Post | Audio (mp3 80MB)
    Sixth: June 21, 2009
    Rabbi Steven Pruzansky: “Conformity in Jewish Life: Vice, Virtue or Affectation?”

    Blog Post | Audio (mp3 64MB)
    Fifth: June 15, 2008
    Rabbi Dr. Gil S. Perl: “What Was the Rosh Yeshiva Reading: Intellectual Openness in 19th Century Lithuania.”

    Blog Post | Audio (mp3 70MB)
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