Private Ownership Of Firearms Makes No Sense

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 5 months ago

According to one of the “experts.”  Here is his brief resume.

Thomas Nolan, a lecturer at Tufts, spent 27 years as a Boston police officer before earning an Ed.D. from Boston University. When he was with the Boston Police Department, Nolan was a member of the elite mobile operations patrol unit and worked in the Youth Violence Strike Force. He ended his law enforcement career as a lieutenant and shift commander in the patrol division. He taught criminal justice at Boston University from 2004 to 2011, and then was a senior policy and program analyst at the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties in Washington, D.C. This fall he taught a course in the Experimental College called Forensic Behavioral Analysis.

Ooooo .  He’s an expert, so let’s hear him in his own words, inteview format.

Tufts Now: What was your experience with guns as a police officer?

Thomas Nolan: If you are hired as a police officer in Massachusetts, you cannot carry a gun until you have at least 80 hours of training and have fired 1,000 rounds, so you have become intimately acquainted with that weapon. But for the general public in most of the country, no training is required. I can sell you a gun at a gun shop, and I have no idea if you can shoot it or what you want to do with it. It’s like selling someone an iPod.

[ … ]

What about the rest of the country?

When I worked for the Department of Homeland Security and traveled to many places around the country, when the topic of guns came up, I would ask trainees how many did not have a gun and no hands went up. In many places, people seem to feel there is an obligation that you have to protect yourself against some kind of attack from intruders, whoever they think that might be. And some people who are extremists have the mindset that this is the only way we have to protect ourselves from the federal government coming into our lives and communities and taking over everything, including their guns. Of course, that’s a crazy, irrational thought. But don’t be surprised to see a rush on buying weapons soon, because the topic will come up in Congress and people fear there will be a ban.

Some say if more people had guns, they could prevent such mass murders as occurred in Newtown or in the Aurora movie theater shootings, because an armed person could kill the murderer.

If we armed people, the carnage would increase exponentially. Take the Aurora movie theater shootings, for example. If we had people in the audience who were armed, it’s safe to assume there would be an exchange of gunfire, but it would not necessarily result in the death of the shooter, who in this case had on body armor.

So let’s stop and examine what he has said.  First of all, the shooter in Colorado was not wearing body armor.  Period.  He is communicating myth that he has heard over news networks.  The shooter was wearing a tactical vest, but it didn’t include soft armor or hard plates.  And if he had been, how does it make the police more qualified to deal with it anyway?

Oh yea.  There’s the issue of training.  You know, only the police are qualified enough with their firearm to be competent to carry one.  They have fired 1000 rounds with their issued weapon.  Except that I have fired many more than 1000 rounds with every one of my weapons.  So according to Nolan, it’s better if a moviegoer simply sits in his chair and hopes that he isn’t shot!  Literally, it’s better to allow a shooter to pick off people like ducks in a shooting gallery than it is to attempt to stop him by an armed citizen.  Leave the shooter alone, says he.

But we’ve dealt with this before, although with statistics.

I am not willing to concede at all that a concealed carrier would be so ineffective against someone trying to take his life.  But for the sake of argument, let’s stipulate his case, or worse.  Let’s assume that a law enforcement officer would be 30% effective against a shooter, that a shooter in a crowded place would be no more than 25% effective with his shot placement, and worst of all, that a concealed carrier would be no more than 20% effective.

Terry’s argument is this: I am willing to subject my family to a shooter at 25% effectiveness for the duration of time it takes a LEO (at 30% effectiveness) to arrive on the scene, usually 10 – 15 minutes, rather than have a concealed carrier attempt to deal with the shooter at 20% effectiveness, because of the fact that a concealed carrier might also harm me or my family just like the police might harm me or my family.

It’s worse than nonsense.  It’s irresponsible nonsense.  But hey, whoever said that I am not easy to get along with.  If I’m ever in this situation with Terry’s family and I have gotten my own out of harm’s way, I will oblige Terry’s edict.  I’ll leave the shooter alone for Terry to deal with unarmed.  As they say … as you wish.

Finally, Mr. Nolan is only saying that the threat of home invasions is crazy and irrational because it’s never happened to him or his family.  And because he hasn’t read my articles, where I detailed some six and then nineteen home invasions that were easily found over the course of several minutes of searching.  And … Mr. Nolan is only saying what he is about home invasions because he doesn’t care about the safety of you or your family, caring more about his own ideological and political views.  That’s how the entire article should be studied, if you study it at all.  In fact, that’s the way you should treat all such diatribes.  These guys aren’t experts.  They’re just political hacks masquerading as researchers, and so are the people who print this piffle.


    When the article said Mr. Nolan was from Boston, I should have stopped reading right there. I’ve heard all the left-wing drivel without having to read his.

  • DDS

    If private ownership of firearms doesn’t make any sense to him, it’s OK with me if he doesn’t own any. That’s called freedom of choice and used to be an accepted part of the American culture.

  • Son of Simon

    Mr. Nolan refers to some gun owners as extremist and he asserts that gun ownership is unreasonable. Asides from making an argument about the second amendment and other ration arguments, I noticed this: isn’t it odd that when the fear-mongering, anti-gun crowd start discussing there view, the laws seem to e aimed at everyone but them?

    “I received 80-hours of training and had to discharge 1,000 rounds before I could carry a weapon as a police officer.”

    So, I guess that makes him more qualified than a “normal” law-abiding citizen? We have seen in the news recently how several anti-gun politicians have concealed carry licenses themselves, and one was even arrested recently for trying to sneak a firearm onto a commercial jet (google it).

    That’s my thoughts, and guess what? I am a Police Officer in Texas.

  • Jean

    The decision to carry a sidearm should not be made lightly or with out careful thought. There has been increased in gun sales across the country. Many of my friends have asked my opinion about what type of weapon to purchase. It does not matter what make or model, there are plenty of good choices. Purchasing several firearms will not make you safer. Becoming proficient with one will. You also need to have a complete understanding of the “ROE”. If you shoot someone is self-defense, you will be investigated and possibly prosecuted. In addition, you may face civil action despite being cleared of criminal activity. Become an expert with your weapon, sustain your proficiency, know the law, have a home defense plan, don’t be a soft target. Time spent in rehearsal is never wasted. The experts and pundits will not be available when you are confronted in a parking lot of the grocery store or when the front door is kicked in.

  • David

    “And some people who are extremists have the mindset that this is the only way we have to protect ourselves from the federal government coming into our lives and communities and taking over everything, including their guns. Of course, that’s a crazy, irrational thought.”
    He will be surprised to find himself in the NDAA round-ups of potential enemies of the state.

  • scott s.

    I don’t particularly feel at-risk of home invasion, but I don’t know about the future and if in the future I did, I wouldn’t want to have worry about availability of what I felt I wanted. I don’t think that Nolan realizes that his remarks are just the kind of thing that makes it rational to assume that there is a risk to future acquisition of arms. In the face of that risk it is rational and prudent to take steps now to counter that risk.

  • David Z

    Generally the Police MISS rate is in the 80-90% range. See –

    I heard this first hand from Darrel in two separate training sessions.

  • H. Nelson

    I found Dr. Nolan hilarious. He’s another typical cop that that thinks only cops have “Jedi like” powers and the mental capacity to own and operate a firearm. I guess Dr. Nolan did not have to take any history courses to complete his ED degree. I wonder if Dr. Nolan being from Boston, had amnesia and forgot about General Gage, Lexington, Concord and a silversmith who took a night ride by horse back. The British tried gun control here when America was still a British colony. Look how that ended- Americans 1 – British 0. No, this is not about the horrors of psychotic mass murderers (powers that may be would like you to think that it is), this about control. Control of what you say and do. Dr. Nolan is merely following the wheel of progress and it’s returning back it started- taking away the freedom to choose, high taxes, unrest created by those that are acting like the pompous ass British and tories who felt the American continent was their possession and the inhabitants were subjects (slaves) to the crown of England.

    Dr. Nolan is simply supporting what he and his fellow handlers believe could be an outcome- being forced out of power by those that said “no more”. To prevent this, they want to remove the equalizing force- our firearms.

    As to the Education doctorate. Most who hold them look down their noses at those of us who are “uneducated” as basic labor or sub human. Your credentials do not impress me. It does not change the fact that you are shoving law and order down our throats at the cost of our freedoms. See you on the battle field some day.

  • Larry

    “have fired 1,000 rounds, so you have become intimately acquainted with that weapon.”

    1000 rounds is intimately familiar? Hahahahahah. That’s just a fun couple of hours.

  • ArmedPatriotsDOTcom

    Huh…no sense eh?
    I think the all the people listed on my homepage would call this guy a fool.

  • ArmedPatriotsDOTcom

    HUGE difference.
    Cops are sent out to look for bad guys. I may never cross on in my lifetime. A cop will certainly cross a long list of them during his career.
    I didnt have to train for hundreds of hours to drive that 1500 pound killing machine and put thousands of other drivers in danger every single day Im on the road…but if my JOB was about driving for 12 hours a day, every day, then certainly I might need to be trained a little more.

    I have no problem with training at all, but my use of my firearm and a Cops use of a firearm is entirely different. Mine may NEVER leave the holster…a cops certainly will many times during his career.

  • ArmedPatriotsDOTcom

    “I found Dr. Nolan hilarious. He’s another typical cop that that thinks only cops have “Jedi like” powers and the mental capacity to own and operate a firearm.”
    Im thankful that I havent had the misfortune of running across one of these neanderthals. All the LEO’s Ive met in person have been entirely for concealed carry.
    As far back as 1979 I can remember cops telling me/us to get a gun to protect ourselves here in my town.

  • Mr. Mark

    If police are so well trained, why do they keep doing raids on wrong addresses, shooting family pets, and choosing to serve warrants when children are home in bed? Why do they insist an tasering everything that moves? Furthermore, I disagree with most claims of police marksmanship skill.

    Regardless, even if every single police officer in the United States were a hybrid of Sherlock Holmes, James Madison, and Carlos Hathcock, the professor’s comments would remain utterly idiotic. To begin with, there is not 80 hours worth of instructional material in the subject area of safely operating a handgun. It ain’t calculus. I can teach someone to safely operate a handgun and practice on a range in well under an hour. Use of force under the law is the subject that takes longer to explain. But use of force is not something restricted to firearms. A baseball bat is no less of a deadly weapon than a firearm once somebody is swinging it another human being, and such a use of force is no less subject to the same laws as shooting someone with a firearm. Could society benefit from better education of the public regarding laws governing use of force? Sure.

    However, neither ignorance of the law nor a deficit in gun safety knowledge played a role in the Newtown murders. It would not have mattered a hill of beans if there had been an 80 hour training requirement, an 800 hour training requirement, or an 8000 hour training requirement because training had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Newtown.

    Newtown did not happen because of training deficits. Newtown happened because one individual with some combination of mental difficulties and in the midst of some sort of personal crisis, decided to commit multiple murders. He could have done the same thing by running people down with a car, or by committing arson, so on and so forth.

    Do we need to disarm the country? No. Do we need to put cops in every school? No. (Does the NRA need a new leader? Yes.) Do we need to suspect every person in America who has some form of mental difficulty of being a ticking-time bomb? No.

    I doubt that anything could have been done to prevent what occurred in Newtown. Accept that. Live with it. If Americans could handle reality, things would go better for us all. The reason so many Americans are in favor of gun control and disarming law-abiding citizens is that so many Americans view government as some sort of God-figure that can guarantee them safe, happy lives simply on a whim.

    Government cannot guarantee against things like the Newtown massacre. Nobody can. Not me, not you, and for damn certain, not the half-wits that run the bloated monstrosity that festers in Washington, D.C.

    But extend that to other subjects as well: retirement, health care, credit card debt, mortgages, jobs, energy sources, and so on. Government cannot guarantee or provide a retirement to everyone. Government cannot run a health care system (ask Canadians). Government cannot afford to pay off your credit bills or to bail either you or your bank out of your mortgage disaster. Government cannot produce magical petroleum replacements. Government produces NOTHING. Government only takes from one person and gives what it took to somebody else. It just moves stuff around. Government is not God. Government is a bureaucracy.

    Self-defense is part and parcel of freedom. Self-defense is taking responsibility for yourself, and with that responsibility comes freedom. To rely on government is to sacrifice freedom. It is to enslave yourself, gradually, to government. Gun ownership by free, private citizens is part of self-defense. Opponents of private firearm ownership are opponents of freedom and advocates of tyranny.

  • Kevin R.C. O’Brien

    Well, to start with, he has an Ed. D. which is a pseudo-doctorate for people who can’t do college level work. Most of them go to drones who work for the government and will get a pay raise if they get a doctorate. So teachers, cops and other time-serving hacks pay the money, sit in classrooms a bit, and sometimes write a dissertation, which is never rejected or seriously challenged, and is usually a hoot to read.

    Nolan’s publications are listed here. Confirmed to be the same Nolan. They suggest he may have some sexual issues, it’s a lot of the gender/sexuality crap that today’s academics abuse themselves to:

    You can get to his research interests (same stuff) at the blog, using the links at the top.

    He seems to be the sort of lecturer or adjunct that bounces from school to school, using the academic launchpad as an excuse for staying in the media. He frequently comments on police engagement dynamics, but doesn’t seem to have any relevant training or experience beyond the police academy and annual requal. Again, how a guy’s research focus on the gendered stress of policewomen working as vice-squad decoys makes him an expert on the stuff the papers quote him on is a mystery. I assume they quote him because he (maybe learning from his ho decoys) pimps himself well, and they already have his number.

    He comes across like the Army researcher character in Idiocracy. That is, a perv, a creep and (above all) a quack.

    One the other hand, he’s been one of the few former cops willing to admit that “shot-spotter” audio gear doesn’t work. Maybe they wouldn’t pay him like they do the ones who say it does!

    There’s no reference to a dissertation, so maybe the content-free EdD program for municipal hacks at BC has dispensed with that, too.

  • Kevin R.C. O’Brien

    On the other hand, his students at BC (mostly criminal justice students — i.e. hacks pursuing cop careers, as the mangled syntax and dyslexic spelling of their comments suggests) do really like him. Even though they think he grades hard.

    So there is that. CWCID.

    He has several more pages at RMP because he’s skipped around. It looks like even at BC he was an adjunct teaching some physical and some online classes).

  • mblaydoe

    “And some people who are extremists have the mindset that this is the only way we have to protect ourselves from the federal government coming into our lives and communities and taking over everything, including their guns. Of course, that’s a crazy, irrational thought.”

    So, Thomas Jefferson was a crazy irrational person? Who knew?
    “The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”
    -Thomas Jefferson

You are currently reading "Private Ownership Of Firearms Makes No Sense", entry #9588 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Second Amendment and was published December 20th, 2012 by Herschel Smith.

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