Is food really harder to buy than guns?

If Kushbu Shah is to be believed, nine types of food are harder to obtain than a firearm.  At least so she claims in an article written for the food section of, a magazine with emphasis in subjects of interest to millennials.  The article is a smorgasbord of twisted facts, bad interpretations, and outright falsehoods.

The firearm shown for comparison is a low-resolution image, but it looks like a World War II edition of the M1911 A1—though the thumb safety, slide stop, and plunger tube appears on the right side of the pistol.  I don’t know when the last time was that Shah went looking for, say, a genuine Remington-Rand carried by a G.I., but perhaps her history classes dropped off before getting to the particular global conflict in which such pistols played a role, so she may lack the basic context here.  Though I’ve been called pedantic before.

Shah tells us that “certain states don’t require a license or a permit to purchase a firearm.”  Thirteen states and the District of Columbia do have laws mandating a license to buy or to own, but the phrase “certain states” implies deviations from the norm.  The last time I checked, thirty-seven out of fifty counts as a sizable majority, not a rare exception.

These are mere side dishes, though.  The main course of failure is Shah’s inability to understand the concept of supply and demand.  She cites Chilean sea bass as one of the nine foods that are harder to get than guns.  But she admits that this is because of excessive fishing of the species.  The simple fact is that if something is rare, it’s going to be harder to acquire.  And if it’s a choice between getting only a few fish from time to time or driving them extinct, it makes sense to limit how many are taken in a given year.  The same is true about the boutique pastry and bottles of rare whiskey that require standing in line to buy or getting your name on a selective list.  Shah tells us that eleven million firearms were made domestically in 2013.  What she leaves out is the vast difference in price among the many makers and models.  A Remington 870 will set you back a few hundred dollars—more or less depending on features and whether it’s new or used.  Something by Purdey or Holland & Holland, by contrast, is going to cost you a wee bit more.  That’s because a lot fewer are made, typically by hand, with fine attention to detail and decoration.  If she wants to compare food products and guns, she needs to be honest.  A bottle of my favorite Lagavulin should be matched with something by Volquartsen.  A Glock is far more like a bag of chicken tenders—nutritious if part of a balanced meal and not hard at all to get.

Another food that Shah tells us is in fact illegal in the United States is haggis—sheep organ meat with oatmeal if you’re not of Gaelic extraction.  I may get drummed out of my Scots-Irish heritage by saying this, but I regard this particular food item in the same terms as I would a gold-plated Hi-Point C9.  It would be spendy, but who would want one?

We are offered a large helping of cabbage in the discussion of food stamps.  Shah claims that receiving such benefits takes thirty days on average, though the source she cites, The Daily Beast, says that’s the average time in Arkansas, not nationwide.  We can debate the merits of social services—I would say that a modern and wealthy society should act out of compassion—but there is a world of difference between applying for and qualifying to receive benefits from a federal spending program paid for by taxpayers and spending your own money to purchase a legal product, protected by the Constitution.

This article is what I’d expect from a high-school cafeteria, but when the subject is basic rights, I insist on four-star thinking.  Trying to microwave stale ideas is a poor attempt at convincing anyone who studies the subject of guns in America.

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of

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