More Evidence Pamela Haag’s Bellesiles Reboot Filled With Holes

This age would seem to be the era of awful reboots in Hollywood, so it would seem fitting that in these times Pamela Haag would reboot an awful Academic book The Gunning of America: Business and the Making of American Gun Culture which is essentially Michael Bellesiles Arming America repackaged.

Clayton Cramer has been looking into this new work and is finding a lot of problems. The latest article of his is a must read, published by the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). In this article, Clayton refutes Haag’s assertion that the market for firearms in gold rush California was “saturated.”

Colt’s letter (or at least Haag’s characterization of Colt’s letter) is clearly wrong: A strong and vigorous gun culture already existed in California before 1853. Worse, that Haag never questioned the validity of this idea suggests either a gross ignorance of California’s turbulent history during the 1850s or an intentional unwillingness to verify the claim she purports to have found.”

Clayton also found this stunning piece of ignorance:

Throughout her book, Haag uses the word “semiautomatic” to refer to guns that are not. On p.179, she writes, “The family name, which became the rifle name, eventually stood for the genus, becoming a synonym for repeating, semiautomatic rifles.” On p.88, she asserts that “As the semiautomatic ancestor of automatic machine guns, the Henry performed ‘a terrible work of death…’”[emphasis added]  On p. 204, “Winchester had emerged the preeminent name for semiautomatic rifles.”

Let me just say if you don’t know that the Henry Rifle and Winchester Rifle were lever-action repeating arms and not semiautomatic rifles, you really don’t have any business writing a book about guns. I suspect the rest of Clayton’s findings won’t reveal so much academic fraud as Bellesiles work, but rather stunning ignorance piled upon ignorance, and an unwillingness to apply any real academic rigor.

I’d expect nothing less from someone who believes in speaking with the dead.

6 thoughts on “More Evidence Pamela Haag’s Bellesiles Reboot Filled With Holes”

  1. We wouldn’t listen to a sportscaster who talks about the 4th period of a hockey game, yet people like this insist on lecturing us about guns.

    1. I think the Model 1905 was the centerfire, and the Model 1903 was the rimfire rifle.

  2. She also says that semi-automatic predates fully-automatic. Because someone who doesn’t know anything about how guns work might think they came up with a way to make them shoot fast, and later came up with a way to make them shoot SUPER fast!

  3. God forbid she try to understand the concept of an open vs. closed bolt; her liberal head might explode! I look forward to Clayton Cramer’s full report.

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