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When I learned that Boston T. Party was updating his popular book Boston on Guns and Courage, I was pleased. As good as the book is, there were things I'd wished my friend had addressed in it. Although I never expressed this wish to him, he fulfilled it in a big way with his update. In fact, his new book expands on his theme so well that he gave it a new name: Boston's Gun Bible.
That's an audacious title, but the book delivers. Its size gives an indication of what the reader is in for; at 698 pages, the book has some serious heft. A look at the table of contents shows that those pages aren't filled with inanities. The book is divided into six sections, with subtitles such as "Combat Rifles", "Guns in General", and "Acquisition". Some of the 36 chapter titles include "Dealing with the Post-Ban Blues", "How to Buy, Sell, and Trade", and "When the Raids Come". Actually, just reading the table of contents provides helpful information, as BTP includes section headings under each chapter.
The book is well-organized, overall. In an introductory chapter on terminology, Boston covers the basics of shooting and preparation. Then he delves into combat rifles, guns in general, and gear in turn. Included in the section on general guns is a chapter titled "Women and Guns" which seems a bit out of place in the section. It could easily go in the "basics" section, as its information is neither gun- nor gender-specific. Boston devotes considerable attention to the challenge of acquiring firearms and gear, investing one chapter into covering the BATF, their methods, and ways to avoid being entrapped by them. The last two sections address current and possible future disarmament strategies, and psychological aspects of preparation. Much of the material in these sections is reprinted from other sources, such as Brian Puckett's excellent essay, "Why I Will Not Obey California's Gun Registration Edict", widely circulated on the Internet. This does not reduce these sections' usefulness--rather, having one handy source of such works makes Boston's Gun Bible all the more valuable.
Boston's idea of the basics is much more detailed than the usual gun safety rules; he addresses legal aspects of self-defense, tactics, and what to do after the battle ends. This includes a highly thought-provoking discussion on preparing and using a cold carry piece. Much of the information, as he admits, is largely academic, as it's extremely difficult to walk away from a homicide scene cleanly. However, with cops going after former gun owners in their never-ending crusade against the second amendment , such issues may become relevant overnight. Use this section as a beginning point for your own thinking on various possible scenarios and what you'd do.
The heart of the book is the evaluation of weapons and equipment. Although it's impossible to cover every weapon and piece of gear available, Boston does an excellent job at a daunting task. He includes older weapons and foreign ones, cheapies and high-end firearms, addressing value, utility, and availability of each. The majority of this section deals with rifles, which shouldn't be too surprising to anyone familiar with BTP's views: "Your handgun is what you use to fight with to get back to your rifle--which you shouldn't have left behind in the first place". The rifle information is extensive, including a comprehensive rating for each rifle. Handguns are also given fairly thorough treatment. I was a little surprised to see that the LAR Grizzly isn't mentioned, as it's one of very few semiautos designed to be capable of firing various calibers. My only major complaint with the book is the dearth of information on shotguns--out of a nearly 700-page book, only 5 pages on a firearm type that is less regulated in the States than any other (so far), and that many people choose for home defense. Boston's argument that the rifle is the best tactical weapon to choose is valid, and I don't question it. The fact remains that, for whatever reasons, individuals will choose shotguns as part of their defensive equipment and thus would benefit from learning more about available features, gear, training courses, and uses. (Mentioning an extant publication that does this would have been an acceptable alternative if concern about the book's length was a factor.)
Boston's Gun Bible is remarkably easy to read, a feat not easy to accomplish for such a long and, of necessity, detailed text. The organization makes it fairly easy for one who's interested only in a specific rifle to find that information, and for those who aren't interested in the minutiae of major firearms' characteristics to skip over those sections. Boston's typesetting style takes a little getting used to (it's explained in the preface); however, his conversational tone engages the reader and helps acclimate one to his use of italics, underlining, and the like. While the detailed table of contents is handy, it isn't thorough enough to serve as an index, which the book lacks. For a book of this size and scope, that lack is noticeable; it's sometimes difficult to find specific references or to check if a specific subject is covered. Typos and other such errors are few, but some are substantive. One is the omission of the author's name on a book listed in the "Resources" section.
Throughout the book, Boston is careful to distinguish facts from opinion, and clearly labels his opinion when it's offered. He even anticipates and answers readers' possible questions or objections in several places, demonstrating that the intent of the book is to inform, rather than be a bully pulpit for BTP. The book includes copies of BATF paperwork, texts of various disarmament legislation, and a detailed examination and ranking of each state's current gun laws. On other matters, however, a lack of information makes it difficult to evaluate the quality of the information being presented. One such case is on page 30/3, where he writes: "First, Nazi-style gun regulation. Then, the camps. In 1998 there were guys in Montana welding shackles to the insides of railroad box cars. (I spoke to the brother of one of the welders, so this isn't rumor.)" While that attribution may satisfy some, it's still sufficiently vague to enable skepticism. If such a thing is true, it ought to be independently verifiable by interested parties, and providing more specific information (what railroad company, for example) would help individuals accomplish that. The "Resources" section at the back of the book offers a wide variety of helpful resources, from books and movies designed to help with preparedness and planning, to sources of gear, and contact information for relevant groups and organizations. This section is a nifty little gem on its own! Boston also dons his wizard's robe and gazes into the future, predicting various courses of further victim disarmament tactics. Some are fairly easy, such as the imminent regulation of .50 BMG rifles; others are less clear, and it's to his credit that he's willing to share his thoughts and possibly be "wrong" rather than play it safe.
But then, that's what the entire book is about, in a sense: having the courage to stand up for a right that was affirmed by the framers of the Constitution (as opposed to a privilege granted by it) in the face of increasing attempts to demonize and criminalize those who possess and use firearms, and the equipment that makes their work more efficient. Boston's Gun Bible resonates with what Boston calls "The Warrior Spirit"--the character to resist being made into prey by others, and to fight against predators. For individuals who've wearied of the bloody RKBA battle, this book offers an infusion of strength not only on that front but against tyranny in general. BTP reminds the reader (page 43/2), "Our lives are not blank checks for government. Our backs were not made to be saddled nor our mouths to be bridled! We are the sovereigns--they are the servants.", and warns government minions:
Back off, now, before you step into the abyss.
Back off, now, while you are allowed to." (44/5) (all emphases in original).
Boston's Gun Bible, published 2000 by Javelin Press. Trade paperback, ISBN 1-888766-06-9. $28, with volume discounts possible from publisher. See Javelin Press Web site for ordering information.
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