Author of “Glock: The Rise of America’s Gun”

Paul M. Barrett, the author of Glock: The Rise of America’s Gun, showed up at the Gun Blogger Rendezvous. We have been pushing him a little bit for some of the things he has written in the past. While he is someone I would characterize as mildly anti-gun* I don’t think I need to put on my tin-foil hat. With the limited information DirtCrashr had his suspicion was reasonable. But I’ve spent many hours with him now and I think he is probably being straight with us when he says he thinks we will like his book. I have agreed to read it and write a review of it. I expect I will get a preliminary version in a few days. My expectation is that I will find it an interesting read and will suggest it to others.

He went shooting with us yesterday and he shot a variety of guns and said he had a great time. He also said he tried to buy a handgun but going through the paperwork required by New York City had a rather chilling effect, “The police have no business knowing all the information they requested.” That was a very good sign to me.

In case you are wondering; after I showed him the video I made he showed me the video he made. We had a nice discussion afterward and (I believe this is correct) his position is that there might be some instances where the banning of possession of magazines greater than eight or ten rounds would save a few lives. He concedes there might be cases where such a ban would cost a few lives. In any case that’s not something worth investing political capital in. He put that in there mostly to point out that the 1994 “assault weapon” ban was totally worthless. The only thing that would have a chance of making people safer is a ban that would prohibit possession as well as manufacture and sale. But again the political difficulty of passing such legislation is not worth the effort.

The bigger story, again paraphrasing my discussions with Barrett, is that the anti-gun people biggest successes were the seeds of their failure. The Glock supposedly being “invisible to X-rays” got it unwanted attention by the Federal Legislature. But this increased its public profile and sales. The same with the 1994 ban on magazine capacity greater than 10 rounds. The irony is fascinating to him and he explores this in his book. This is part of what makes the book a very good read.

I’ll let you know after I read it but for now he has me about 90% sold when he says it is a good book that gun owners will enjoy.

*Update: After reading his comment I think that instead of “mildly anti-gun” it would be more accurate to say he is accepting of more gun regulation than I am comfortable with to call him pro-gun. And in any case as I have said before finding something to disagree with him on, which I could find many, is not the way you recruit people to your cause. Find the things that you agree on and work together on those issues. If necessary the points of disagreement can be revisited when you have accomplished everything you can as a team.


9 thoughts on “Author of “Glock: The Rise of America’s Gun”

  1. The self-same Paul Barrett here, weighing in briefly to thank you, Joe, for informing your readers and colleagues about my book, GLOCK: The Rise of America’s Gun, and describing our enjoyable interaction at the Gun Bloogers Rendezvous. I’m going to initiate a policy of not quibbling about descriptions of me, in favor of asking gun owners and gun-rights advocates to read the book and decide, based on what they find there, whether it is worthy of their time and the time of their friends and neighbors. The book is intended as a narrative history of an iconic firearm and the extraordinary company (and people) who brought it to America. I hope that it is received on those terms. If it is, I believe gun owners will find it rewarding and informative. I’ll end this comment by noting, with a smile, that it seems odd, to me at least, to call someone “mildly anti-gun” and then note that they spent the day at the range with you and, over dinner, recounted their frustration in trying to apply for a gun-owner’s permit in NYC. But to repeat, I don’t want to quibble over descriptions of me. I want people to read my book and react to what they find on its pages. Thanks again. Good to meet you, and I look forward to staying in touch.
    Very best wishes, Paul Barrett

  2. Your update to the original post about our interaction at the Gun Bloggers Rendezvous seems entirely fair. I do not think of myself as “pro-gun” or “anti-gun.” Guns are there. They even have their own constitutional amendment, which is a lot more than most articles of commerce and household tools can say. I accept them as a fact of American life and an important thread running through American history. I enjoy shooting, and I’ve taken my wife shooting. (She’s much better than I am!) I think there is plenty of room for reasonable people to discuss gun regulation, but I do not question the right to gun ownership. I would own a handgun myself if it were not so darned difficult to do so where I live, NYC. In any event, my book, GLOCK: The Rise of America’s Gun, is not an argument about guns. It is an exploration of handguns in American society, as seen through the story of one very important firearm–the Glock. I am deeply appreciative of your willingness to give it a read and, if you think it worthy, tell others about it. All the best, Paul Barrett

  3. I found Pauls narrative of the Glock story very interesting and ordered the book.
    As a person I found him to be very nice guy and a fairly good shooter. He shot all of ny pistols more than once and the .308 coming away with big smiles each time.
    The explanations of leaving the WSJ were understandable for the times but I’m still not comfy with the Bloomberg connection.

  4. I’d have to agree with you Joe. I spent some time talking to him, and was pleasantly surprised to find him more open-minded and objective than some other journalists I’ve met; he seemed more interested in giving full consideration to facts instead of applying pre-concieved notions and making biased judgments based on emotion. I’m going to be interested in reading the book, myself.

  5. “…seems odd, to me at least, to call someone “mildly anti-gun” and then note that they spent the day at the range with you…”

    Paul; For the sake of understanding, this is a common theme in the gun rights conflict. Yes I will call it a conflict, as Americans’ rights have been under attack for a long time, and people have been killed by our own government as part of this conflict while many others languish in prison or have had been bankrupted over technical “violations”. Large numbers of gun owners, hunters and occasional recreational shooters have advocated restrictions on gun dealers and gun owners for many decades. We used to complain bitterly that even the NRA, for example, never saw a gun law it didn’t want enforced – they’d oppose them up to the point that they passed into law, and then argue in favor of enforcing them. Chuck Schumer, one of the most rabid anti-gun legislators ever, has been to the shooting range with a Tech 9 pistol (maligned as a sinister tool of evil) and was photographed with a smile on his face as he holds the gun. Stuff like that. Having been stabbed in the back so many times that is seems to have become routine is not something you can forget.

    We are all too familiar with people who seek to make a profit, or win votes, from gun owners and shooters. They try to get us on their side and then later oppose our rights and livelihoods. That’s why we ask questions and are a bit guarded in some situations.

  6. “I think there is plenty of room for reasonable people to discuss gun regulation, but I do not question the right to gun ownership.”

    Some would see that statement as a contradiction. It is not “reasonable” to discuss certain things as options, simply because the word has been attached to it for a long time as part of a political agenda. In the spirit of following the truth where ever it leads, let me give you an example;

    “I think there is plenty of room for reasonable people to discuss the Jewish Problem, but I do not question the rights of Jews.”


    “I think there is plenty of room for reasonable people to discuss the problem of interracial marriages, but I do not question the right for anyone to marry. I would have black friends myself if it were not so darned difficult to do so where I live.”

    Certain things are not “reasonable for reasonable people to discuss” are they, just because the person making the assertion wants to appear “reasonable” or “open-minded” or “mainstream” etc., and/or is afraid of how certain people will think of them? No, Little Grasshopper – some things are not reasonable to discuss, and I think infringing on a basic human right stands at the very top of that list.

  7. Lyle–I look forward to further discussion after you have read my book on Glock. Meanwhile, I ask you, respectfully, to exclude references to persecution of Jews from any exchange with me about guns. I am Jewish. My family lost many people before and during World War II. I do not need anyone to lecture to me about Jewish history, especially in the intentionally provocative manner you have employed. I genuinely hope we can continue to discuss the book and the gun issue on their own terms. Thanks and best.

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