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October 06, 2011

Gunwalker, Guerena and Self Protection

For those interested in a bit of web-surfing, you might want to take a trip over to Pajamas Media where the good folks there are kind enough to publish me. I have a new article up on the Gurenea case. For those who have been reading my detailed posts here, it's nothing new—actually a summary of the last several updates for general consumption—but it's a pretty decent summary. Of course, I may be somewhat biased in that assessment… In any case, it's fun to read the many comments and PJM is a first class blog. If you don't know it, by all means, visit regularly. Bob has a great new Gunwalker article there too.

I've also been asked to write for the Gun Values Board and just posted a little article on the fact that the Police generally cannot be sued for failure to protect any individual citizen. The lesson: We're on our own; we're responsible for our own protection. For those who read my five-part article on gun ownership and the reasons therefore in the last year, it's a shorter version of one of those articles, but again, it's a pretty decent summary and a nice blog with which to acquaint yourself.

Posted by MikeM at 10:11 PM | Comments (0)

September 27, 2011

Gunwalker And The Law

The nice folks over at Gun Values Board have asked me to contribute now and then. My latest article for them regarding why Gunwalker cannot possibly be a legitimate law enforcement operation and why any legitimate law enforcement officer would know that, is now up

Posted by MikeM at 10:50 PM | Comments (0)

September 22, 2011

Ar-15 Lower Blowout

$65 each for Templar stripped lowers.

That's almost theft.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:34 PM | Comments (2)

September 13, 2011

MAIG Strangely Silent on Gunwalker

Congress will be discussing the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011 today, which, if passed, would allow concealed carry reciprocity in all states for a valid permit holder of any state.

The usual suspects are up in arms over the legislation, including Nanny Bloomburg and his anti-gun coalition called Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

Isn't it interesting that Bloomberg and the largely Democratic MAIG have all the time in the world to disparage lawful citizens, but can't seem to come together to issue such much as a strongly worded statement again the Obama Administration, elements of which have walked more than 2,000 guns to drug cartels and allowed convicted felons to buy guns in the Midwest?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:51 AM | Comments (4)

August 25, 2011

North Carolina Governor Declares Every Concealed Carry Permit in eastern NC Invalid Due to Hurricane Irene

Thanks to a brain-dead state law foisted upon us by a Democratic state legislature (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-288.7), every time the governor—in this instance, Democrat Beverly Perdue—declares a state of emergency, it is illegal from that moment onward to carry a concealed weapon until the state of emergency has been declared over.

14-288.7. Transporting dangerous weapon or substance during emergency; possessing off premises; exceptions.

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, it is unlawful for any person to transport or possess off his own premises any dangerous weapon or substance in any area:

(1) In which a declared state of emergency exists; or

(2) Within the immediate vicinity of which a riot is occurring.

(b) This section does not apply to persons exempted from the provisions of G.S. 14-269 with respect to any activities lawfully engaged in while carrying out their duties.

(c) Any person who violates any provision of this section is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

We've dealt with this bit of Democrat-generated stupidity before.

Governor Purdue made this declaration while the state was at work, meaning everyone who has a carry permit and lives east of Interstate 95 who was away from home instantly became a criminal by proclamation.

If we look at Google Maps, that means that a carry permit holder in Wilson dining at the Cracker Barrel is perfectly legal, but the permit holder a block to the east filling up on gas at the Kangaroo Express is now a criminal.

Ridiculous.

Update: I'd forgotten we were stuck with this crap last year as well.

Update: Looks like I was wrong about the I-95 cutoff. It includes those entire counties.

John Richardson notes that Perdue issued a statement with her executive order that gun provisions would not take effect, but as South Carolina's Joe Wilson might say, Bev Perdue, you lie.

Bev Perdue is incorrect in her assertions that the declaration of the State of Emergency does not trigger firearm restrictions. As I noted last year when she invoked a State of Emergency in the face of Hurricane Earl, if she uses Article 36A of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes, it invokes G.S. § 14-288.7 which states in part, "it is unlawful for any person to transport or possess off his own premises any dangerous weapon or substance in any area" if a state of emergency is declared. Just because she is the governor does not give Bev Perdue the authority to ignore plainly written state laws when it is politically inconvenient for her.

In other words, Perdue does not have the authority to declare the ban null and void, anymore than the governor can arbitrarily decide than any other law no longer applies.

While a state of emergency is in effect in North Carolina, taking guns of your property is illegal, whether concealed or openly carried. We need to address this flaw in our gun laws as soon as the NC Legislature returns to Raleigh.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:16 AM | Comments (68)

August 15, 2011

Shoot Twice And Go Home

The famous story goes like this: In 1912, the German Kaiser, knowing of the fearsome reputation of the Swiss for marksmanship and of the forbidding terrain of Switzerland, and knowing that the Swiss militia was then composed of a quarter of a million men, asked what the Swiss would do if the Germans invaded Switzerland with half a million men. A Swiss replied, no doubt completely deadpan: "shoot twice and go home." The Kaiser did not invade, nor did Adolf Hitler during WWII. Smart choices.

"Si vis pacem, parabellum:" If you desire peace, prepare for war. The Swiss have always understood this, and their martial tradition—and their fortunate terrain—has stood them in good stead. Even today, Swiss militiamen keep their fully automatic military rifles—real assault rifles, not the fake "assault weapons" invented by American gun banners—in their homes and frequent shooting competitions, attended by and participated in by entire families occur all over the nation.

There is a lesson in that, I think, for all who wish to remain free. Mr. Obama and his sycophants in the BATFE, DEA, FBI, DHS, DOJ, Department of State and likely other agencies understand it all too well and are always, always working with their non-governmental allies in and out of America to strip Americans of their Second Amendment freedoms. Gunwalker is only one very clumsy, illegal, idiotic and deadly manifestation of the realization of the Left that only through citizen disarmament can they ever truly control the American public.

Go here for a brief article and interesting photo that illustrates the reality of Switzerland, a nation that remains free and lives on its own terms because it understands that only free men have that option, and that only arms wielded by free men can establish and maintain it.

Posted by MikeM at 10:56 PM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2011

Practical Problem Solving: The S&W M&P 22-15

I'm fond of my AR-15. I don't mean that I sleep with it under my pillow or gaze longingly at its photograph on my desk at work. I appreciate well-designed and manufactured devices, whether firearms, musical instruments or computers. I find useful and functional design to be remarkable.

15.22 LS

The charming little weapon in the first photograph is my S&W M&P (Military & Police) 22-15 Standard model rifle. Its suggested retail price is $499.00. You'll also notice several accessories mounted on this side of the rifle.

15-22 RS

Here's the opposite side, and those of you familiar with AR-15s will recognize that the 22-15 is a faithful reproduction in virtually every respect.

15.22 BD

Here's the rifle with its hinged receiver open. Again, notice that it breaks down for cleaning exactly as the AR-15 family.

15.22 Bolt

Here's the bolt group of the 22-15, which bears only a superficial resemblance to the AR-15. I'll explain all of that shortly.

Before we go on, here’s a list of accessories I'll mention in this article:

(1) S&W 22-15 Standard Rifle. $499. 25 rnd mags $20.04: Go here.

(2) 1000 rnds of Fiocchi .223 $410. Lucky Gunner: Go here.

(3) Tasco Red Dot 38mm tube, $36.99: Go here.

(4) #11 Eye and #13 Objective—Butler Creek Flips Ups, app. $9.00 each. Go here.

(5) Magpul MOE commercial spec. stock. $59.95. Go here.

(6) SureFire G2 Nitrolon flashlight $55.00: Go here.

(7) Daniel Defense Sling Mount: $30.00: Go here.

The AR-15 family, the brainchild of Eugene Stoner, is indeed remarkable. Accurate, reliable, light weight, ergonomically brilliant, and when accomplished by many manufacturers, a thing of beauty, AR-15s are truly worthy of a bit of platonic admiration. There's just one problem…no, I'm not talking about the caliber. Yes, I know that in combat the .5.56mm is a bit anemic. Yes, I'd prefer a more powerful cartridge if I was in combat, but on the other hand, you can't have too much ammunition, and you can carry a lot more 5.56mm than anything in a larger caliber. There is no free lunch, and this post isn't about that ongoing argument anyway.

Back to the one problem: .223 ammunition (.223 is the civilian caliber designation while the military prefers the metric designation) is pretty expensive. Luckygunner.com currently offers 1000 rounds of Fiocchi .223 (with reloadable brass) for $410. That's reasonably cheap as .223 ammunition goes. You can, of course, reload, and if you do it enough, you can actually save money compared with even cheap factory .223. I used to reload and enjoyed it, but the problem is it's relatively time consuming, and as I've grown older, I've discovered that time is more valuable than I once imagined, particularly when the savings to be had from reloading are no longer as great as they once were for common rifle and handgun calibers. As many older people discover, I have a bit more disposable income than when I was younger, and as long as I can afford to pay a bit more for the ammo, I’d prefer to have the free time.

Shooting an AR-15 is just about as much fun as you can have with firearms. They're light, reliable, have very low recoil, are ridiculously accurate, and they simply feel right. They also look very cool, and even though some shooters are far too mature to admit such considerations, have you ever noticed how many of them have photographs of themselves proudly displaying various firearms? Hmmm.

A thousand rounds sounds like quite a bit, but you'd be surprised, particularly if you're planning on frequent practice, how quickly you can run through that amount of ammunition, particularly if you are participating in a professional one or two day class. Shooting is not only a physical skill, but a mental skill as well, and if you don't practice—regularly—its perishable. So we arrive at the problem: It is good (repeat after me: It is good; it is good) to own and shoot an AR-15, but it's also expensive.

One solution is one of the several .22LR adapter kits on the market. These normally consist of a bolt and bolt carrier group that slip into the upper receiver of an AR-15, replacing the normal bolt and bolt carrier. The AR-15 is a gas operated rifle, but such adapters (and the S&W 22-15) are simple blow-back actions and don't use the AR gas system. The kits also include a .22LR magazine (usually only one) that fits in the AR magazine well and uses its magazine release button. Such kits normally retail for about $130.00.

Any well-engineered kit will work reasonably well, but they have several drawbacks. The foremost drawback is that most magazines are limited to ten rounds and are quite expensive, often running as high as $100.00. Some kits have magazines of 25-30 rounds, but are often less than reliable in these larger sizes. In addition, I've found that magazines are often hard to find. The other factor is dirt: .22LR ammunition is quite dirty, and while it will shoot with good accuracy in standard AR-15 barrels, it can leave quite a bit of lead in the barrel and loads of powder gunk throughout the receiver, far more than shooting a great deal more .223 ammunition will cause.

I'm not a clean freak, but I do believe that a clean gun is a happy gun, and I like my guns to be very happy in their work. No, I don't talk to them; my cat certainly, my plants—maybe, but my guns, no. I don't mind cleaning guns, it's a part of appreciating fine machinery and fully understanding your weapons, and the AR-15 is easy to take down, clean and reassemble, but I don't like cleaning them longer and more often than necessary.

By now you've probably realized that the solution to this dilemma is the S&W 22-15. There are indeed similar weapons by other manufacturers, but Smith really got this one right. Smith and I have had a rather rocky relationship. They have always made fine revolvers, but many of their weapons, particularly their earlier semi-automatic pistols, just weren’t up to their promise. In recent years, S&W has, happily, reversed that trend in a great many ways, and the 22-15 is a fine example.

Before I get into the details of the Smith, let's explore the rationale for buying one. The standard model of the gun retails for $499, but can be found for considerably less with a bit of careful shopping. When you consider that many adapter kits with one spare magazine run for $200 and more, the difference is not so great, considering that 1000 rounds of .22LR can be had for less than $40.00. Compared to $410 for 1000 rounds of .223, you can nearly buy the Smith for the savings inherent in the first 1000 rounds. And it has been positively established by experiments with the Large Hadron Collider at CERN—as a side effect of looking for the Higgs Boson—that it really is scientifically impossible to have too many guns (or too much ammunition), but you always suspected that, didn't you? Ain't science grand?

Of course, the greatest benefit of the Smith is that it is, in virtually every way, identical to an AR carbine. The position and feel of all of the controls—bolt release, safety, trigger, magazine release, take down pin, cocking handle—is identical to that of a full-sized AR, with the exception that the travel of the cocking handle is much shorter than that of a real AR as the .22LR cartridge is much shorter. The two primary differences are that the Smith is about a pound lighter than a comparable AR, and that recoil—already very light in an AR—is all but nonexistent in the Smith.

The Smith is made primarily of polymer, and only those parts that need to be steel are made of steel and finished in what appears to be the same kind of dull black, mil-tech finish common on ARs. The forearm is a non-removable plastic with four standard sized, full-length accessory rails. The lower and upper receiver (which also has a full-length accessory rail) are also polymer.

The standard model comes with easily removable—by means of large knurled nuts--front and rear "iron" sights and no flash hider, an accessory available (nstalled) from the factory for an additional $20.00. In fact, a wide variety of accessories and finishes are available from the factory for extra cost, or you can do as I did and accessorize from the aftermarket.

Accuracy is easily on a par—within the range parameters of the .22LR cartridge—with the AR family. I chose an inexpensive yet well made Tasco red dot sight as being similar to the more expensive sights on my ARs. Unlike more expensive models with multiple, multi-colored reticles and other bells and whistles, the Tasco provides a simple, easy to see red dot. Windage and elevation click adjustments are audible and have a solid, positive feel. There is much to be said for simplicity. Turn the single rheostat control—11 separate brightness settings--to the brightness level appropriate to light conditions, and you're ready to go. You can certainly spend more than the price of the weapon on optics if you like, but when I sighted the Tasco in, I was able to shoot a 3-round group slightly under one inch from 50 yards, supported from sandbags on a bench with middling quality ammunition. Most expensive .22LR bolt-action rifles do no better, and the Smith has a standard feeling AR mil-spec. trigger rather than a ultra-light target trigger. In fact, the Smith's lock work resembles the AR mechanism, with the exception that Smith's hammer is plastic. Even so, it sounds and feels just like an AR. The Smith's barrel is not a heavy, target barrel, but it is more substantial than most .22 rifles.

One of the things I most appreciate about the Smith is its 25 round magazines which resemble standard AR 30 round magazines. These magazines cost only $20.04 direct from Smith, and are quite reliable. I've found that the key to reliability is to load no more than 23 rounds, and to load them by pulling down on the follower buttons on each side of the magazine, allowing each round to drop into the magazine rather than pushing it into the magazine under spring tension. This allows the cartridges to orient themselves in a sort of left/right/left manner and allows the nose of the top cartridge to protrude at an upward angle from the magazine lips. If the top cartridge is not in this attitude, you'll definitely experience a feedway malfunction. By the way, ten round magazines--useful for sighting in from a bench—are also available and inexpensive. I did initially have one 25 round magazine that would not feed reliably. I sent it back to Smith and received one that worked properly within a week.

You should also be sure to use a proper stance, holding the weapon firmly into the shoulder pocket. Failing to do this will often result in a failure to go into battery from a short stroking bolt, which didn't have a solid platform against which to recoil. There is no forward assist plunger on the right side of the weapon (that's a good thing with the .22LR which is a rimfire cartridge), but malfunction drills are identical to those employed with the AR. One should charge and manipulate the weapon smartly as delicate or tentative motions will tend to encourage malfunctions, but save your Incredible Hulk impressions for other weapons; the Smith is mostly made of plastic, after all, so butt-stroking others is pretty much right out, as the British would say.

As I mentioned earlier, the Smith employs a straight blowback action. The action spring rides above the bolt on a guide rod, which rides in two rails embedded at angles in its sides and attached to a plastic base behind the bolt. The recoil spring housing of the AR, in which rides the recoil spring and buffer, is non-functional on the Smith, and the plastic tube is present only as the mount for the telescoping stock. Unlike the AR, it is integrally molded as a piece with the lower receiver and cannot be removed, but it does accept properly dimensioned aftermarket stocks, like the Magpul unit I have, which is also available directly from the S&W factory. I chose this stock simply because it's the stock I use on my ARs, so why not be consistent? I also like its solid construction and unobtrusive but non-slip buttplate. Having the release mechanism protected by the body of the stock is also helpful, as I've had standard AR stocks collapse at inopportune times when hung up on gear and other objects.

I protect the Tasco sight with Butler Creek flip up scope covers, which at about $9.00 each are inexpensive and work very well. You should note that you can buy most—if not all—of the accessories I list here from sources other than those I've provided, possibly at reduced prices. However, I've generally found these sources to offer reliably good service.

I also mount a flashlight because I do the same with my ARs. We live in varying degrees of darkness half the time, yet few shooters practice shooting in low and no light situations. For less than $100, I've found that the SureFire G2 Nitrolon (polymer) flashlight and the VLTOR scout mount position the flashlight perfectly for on/off manipulation by the left hand thumb. Yes, you can purchase squeeze pads, but why add wires and additional expense and complexity when you have a perfectly good thumb just hanging around on the left side of the forearm anyway? The Scout Mount weighs almost nothing and adjusts the position of the flashlight, and clamps to the accessory rail, with a single thumbscrew.

The final accessory is a Daniel Defense accessory rail mount for one of their neat plunger-type sling mounts. Push a button to insert the solid, ballbearing plunger, and push the same button to release it. This works particularly well with single point slings, which I favor, rotates 360° and makes no noise. The only difference between the Smith and AR is that I use a Daniel Defense mount that clamps onto the recoil spring tube just behind the lower receiver on my ARs, which positions it perfectly for a single point sling, allowing the rifle to hang well on the body. I don't believe that particular mount is a good idea with the Smith as it could easily overstress or crush the plastic tube. The problem is that this forces you to attach the sling mount at the rear of the accessory rail, in front of the lower receiver, placing the center of gravity in about the middle of the gun, allowing the barrel to flip upward. The simple solution is to buy—or make if you can sew—a simple ľ" wide nylon strap with Velcro closures that wraps around the stock tube and the single point sling to keep the gun in a barrel down orientation.

My only real complaint about the Smith is its owner's manual. Most of it is obviously written with avoiding lawsuits foremost in mind. You know the type that might say something like this for a toaster: "Do not insert wet badgers connected to you by exposed copper wiring into the toaster slots." Can't you just imagine what the testimony was in that lawsuit? Lawyer: "And do you recognize this charred badger Mr. Jones?"

The Smith manual implies that if you're foolish enough to actually fire the gun, you or others could get hurt and its absolutely not the manufacturer's fault because they warned you! What is conspicuously missing from my manual is disassembly and reassembly instructions for the bolt/bolt carrier for cleaning. As I bought a rifle from one of the earliest production runs, this may have been subsequently corrected.

To take down the bolt, simply pull the recoil spring back slightly from its resting place on the black plastic base, and holding the back of the base steady, push the guide rod (the bolt will move too) slightly to the rear. There is a slot machined in the end of the guide rod, which will easily slide up and out of its holder on the top of the black plastic base if you push it back just a little. Simply slide the bolt off the rails and reassemble in reverse order. A little lubrication on the rails and guide rod are all that should normally be necessary (apart from a thin film of oil on metal parts for rust prevention, of course).

Cleaning the rifle is easy, but one should have plenty of Q-tips for small or hard to reach places, particularly around the breach face and its fixed, protruding ejector. It's important to be careful with the rifle when the upper receiver is open. This is so even with ARs, which have aluminum receivers. The single forward hinge point is vulnerable to damage with the receivers are open, and this is particularly true with the plastic Smith.

Oh yes, one additional warning: The accessory rails are plastic, so when attaching accessories, particularly scopes, keep in mind that torque specs applicable to metal rails might crush plastic rails. You'll need to figure it out by hand, again, saving the Incredible Hulk impressions for other weapons.

The Smith and Wesson M&P 22-15 is an excellent and inexpensive way to practice completely transferrable AR skills. Its light weight and miniscule recoil also makes it an excellent training weapon for any shooter, but particularly women and children who can shoot hundreds of rounds for little money.

Posted by MikeM at 11:48 PM | Comments (4)

July 21, 2011

The Joy of Lasers: Part 2

In the first article of this two-part series, we explored the rationale for lasers for rifles, particularly those with a high sight line relative to the axis of the bore. With handguns, and at handgun ranges, the rationale for a laser to eliminate the sighting problem inherent in the nature of such rifles doesn't apply, but there are still compelling reasons why lasers make substantial sense for handguns.

Glock 26 RS


The handgun in the first two photographs is a Glock 26 in 9mm, commonly known as a "Baby Glock." It owes its existence to the Clinton Gun Ban and its limitation of magazine capacity to 10 rounds.

Glock 26 LS


Glock—and eventually other manufacturers—decided that if they were limited to 10 rounds for a decade (but only on newly manufactured magazines—there were always plenty of standard capacity magazines available) they might as well design much smaller handguns with that capacity and the Baby Glock was the first of the breed. Glock makes the baby in a variety of calibers, but the 9mm was the firstborn.

Sight 001

This photograph shows the front of the LaserLyte RL-1 Glock rear sight laser unit. Notice the laser on the right and the battery compartment on the left.



RS 003

Here is the rear view of the sight, with the white outline virtually identical to the standard Glock rear sight, and the activation and feature selection button on the rear of the battery compartment.
As you can see, the entire unit is quite compact and rugged. But before getting too deeply into this particular unit and my reasons for choosing it, let's review what's available on the market.

Manufacturer Websites:

LaserLyte: This URL will take you directly to the Glock version of the sight.

LaserMax: Go here for LaserMax's line of effective and reasonably priced sights.

Crimson Trace: Go here for Crimson Trace's innovative sights.

Viridian: Go here for Viridian's line of exclusively green lasers. They tend to be quite large and expensive.

Insight: Go here for Insight's line of tactical weapon lights and lasers. They tend to focus on the military and police markets with more specialized and expensive designs.

TYPES OF HANDGUN LASERS: Laser sights for handguns come in three primary types:

(1) Rail-mounted sights which commonly clamp onto rails machined or molded into the frame forward of the trigger guard. Some come as a unit with an integral flashlight. Many of these types of sights work equally well with any rail-equipped rifle, such as the package featured in the first of this two part series. Some of these sights can be quite small, while others are large enough—though still small—to allow other rail-mountable accessories such as flashlights to clamp onto them.

(2) Grip-mounted sights such as those pioneered by Crimson Trace. These sights are built into grips that completely replace the grips—revolver or semi-automatic—designed for the weapon. Most position their small laser units on the right side of the frame, just above the first finger as the hand grips the weapon. Batteries and activation switches are built into the grips.

(3) Guide Rod lasers which entirely replace the guide rod/recoil spring assemblies of semi-automatic pistols. These sights leave the exterior of the pistol (they obviously do not work for revolvers) unaltered. The primary disadvantage of these units is that they are not finely adjustable for accuracy. Once installed, if your laser dot ends up 1.5" to the left of the center of your bore at 15 yards, you'll have to remember to adjust that distance with Kentucky windage when using the laser. Unless your guide rod assembly is indexed so as to fit into your weapon in only one way, the next time you install the unit, you could be 1.5" off in another direction.

There are a number of slight variations within these primary categories, and there are also some lasers designed to exploit the specific design features of individual handguns such as Ruger's LCP 380 pocket pistol. A number of manufacturers are even beginning to offer handguns with integral lasers directly from the factory, such as the Smith & Wesson Bodyguard .380. The advantage of this approach is that Smith can market a very smoothly designed, non-snag pocket pistol for only $399.00. I've not had the chance to test one, but it appears to be a genuinely ingenious design and a smart idea.

RATIONALE: Effective handgun range, for all but specialized hunting or target weapons and/or expert shooters, is usually considered to be 25 yards and less. That may not sound like much, but it's 75 feet, a quarter of the length of a football field, a considerable distance. Particularly with handguns, as distance increases, shooting with consistent accuracy becomes more difficult and takes longer.

As I mentioned in the first installment, lasers—with proper practice—can help to make the essential tasks of fast and accurate shooting easier. Lasers, with any type of firearm, do not for a moment relieve the shooter of the necessity of employing proper stance, grip, presentation and trigger squeeze. Failing in the application of any of these essentials, particularly trigger squeeze, will throw off shots regardless of the type of sight used. However laser sights do offer two enormous advantages: They help compensate for vision deficiencies when we no longer have perfect, 20-year-old fighter pilot vision, and particularly with handguns, can allow on-target shots when it's not possible to properly align, indeed, even to see, standard sights.

It’s relatively well known that most gunfights with handguns take place at very close, reach-out-and-touch each other ranges. In such circumstances, people virtually never remember seeing their sights, and often empty their weapons at each other and entirely miss. This is true for the police as well as civilians. One way that lasers can help is that from a proper ready position, the shooter need not bring the weapon up entirely to the plane of vision. The weapon—still being properly gripped and presented—can be below the sight line as the shooter need only see the laser dot on the target which will be aligned with the bore of the handgun. This allows the shooter, even when transitioning from ready to bringing the weapon on line, to see more of the target, providing greater tactical awareness.

Should you find yourself off balance, perhaps even on the ground for whatever reason, if you can place the laser dot on the target and properly squeeze the trigger, you need not see the "normal" sights at all. Of course, one should always employ all of the fundamentals, unless it's impossible but you still desperately need to shoot. As distance increases, this becomes more difficult, but at normal handgun ranges, it is a viable possibility for desperate situations.

As I mentioned in the first installment, green lasers are generally more visible under the entire range of environmental conditions than red lasers, but they are also considerably more expensive, often costing twice as much or more than their red brethren. At normal handgun ranges, this difference is greatly lessened, and in dim light conditions, and particularly at night, it's essentially a non-issue.

Do keep in mind that while lasers are particularly visible at night, we always have an absolute obligation to be certain of our targets. Simply because you can place a laser dot on a target doesn't mean you can legally shoot it. A high quality "tactical" flashlight is a necessity for night shooting with or without a laser sight. Positive target identification is never optional.

The final advantage of lasers I'll mention is in training. Handguns are simply more difficult to shoot accurately at just about any range than rifles, whose much longer sight radius, solid contact with more of the body, and shorter and lighter triggers make the fundamentals of shooting easier to accomplish. To teach proper trigger control, an old revolver shooter's trick (taught to me by an old revolver shooter) was to balance a coin on the front sight (on its flat side, not the edge; that would be a real Zen trick!) while practicing dry firing. When you could drop the hammer on as many empty chambers as you pleased without dislodging the coin, you were able to smoothly and consistently pull the trigger without disturbing the sights, which is not a simple matter with revolvers. A laser dot provides a real-time image of exactly what the shooter is doing wrong and right in terms of the trigger. It can also diagnose faulty stance, grip and presentations.

LASERS AND ME: I bought my first Glock 26 when the first one arrived in my local gun store shortly after the Clinton Gun Ban took effect. I carried it with its original sights for many years, and always found it to be a very concealable, accurate and utterly reliable handgun. But as I grew older and my close range vision began to weaken, the front sight grew more blurry. Glasses helped, but they have their own difficulties. All of the skills I worked so hard to attain and maintain served me well, but why work so hard unnecessarily?

My first laser was the Crimson Trace model for Glocks. It's an ingenious design that wraps around the backstrap of the G26 and is secured to the weapon by replacing the pin at the backstrap, which runs completely through the frame, with a slightly longer pin. It does make the grip more bulky with swells on each side to contain the two batteries, and the laser itself sitting above the hand on the right side of the weapon.

The laser dot was relatively large and quite clear, and I found the unit to be completely reliable. However, I did experience some difficulties. When I first turned it on, I noticed that the dot seemed to be at about half strength. I returned it to the factory and they had it back, in perfect working order, within a bit more than a week. Once sighted in, it remained rock steady—for several years—but more about that shortly.

For me, the best feature of the unit was its rear activation button on the center-back of the backstrap. Gripping the G26 correctly would activate the laser, and I could, by simply slightly relaxing my grip, turn the laser off. Squeeze, and it was back on. That's tactically handy. The problem is that some people's hands simply don't work with this type of switch and its placement in much the same way that some people have a hard time with the grip safety of the Colt 1911.

But there is no free lunch, and I noticed several problems with the sight. When putting my trigger finger in register (extended straight, in contact with the frame and out of the trigger guard), I tend to prefer to elevate it slightly and place its tip in contact with the slide. Doing this obscured the laser, forcing me to readjust my grip. The position of the laser also interfered with some holsters, particularly inside-the-waistband types which a weapon like the G26 might often inhabit.

The most annoying issue was that when racking the slide with a proper grip—left hand cupping the top of the slide, thumb toward the shooter's face—the laser unit got in the way of the tips of my fingers, forcing me to slightly rotate my wrist to avoid hitting the sight. It wasn't enough to convince me that it would be a potentially dangerous issue, but it was annoying and required some adaptation. Still, I could and did adapt to these comparatively minor issues.

When LaserLyte came out with rear sight lasers, I was intrigued. The design seemed to potentially address everything I found unsatisfactory with my Crimson Trace sight. My mind was made up when after somewhat more than two years, I noticed that the mounting system of my CT sight no longer held the unit rigidly to the polymer frame of the weapon. Enough play had worked into the unit so that when I gripped it firmly—and correctly—the point of impact would shift laterally. I suspect that this was a design issue as the unit and the Glock's frame are polymer. The frame of the Glock didn't change, but the laser unit was retained by a thin pin with relatively little purchase on each side of the frame, and I suspect time and daily use simply enlarged the pin holes enough to cause the effect I experienced. A tiny variation in a sight at the weapon is more than enough to cause a substantial variation at the target, which only gets worse as distance increases.

So when my wife and I recently decided to upgrade our Generation I Glocks for Generation III G26s, we got the LaserLyte sights too. Each sight comes with everything necessary to remove the standard sights and install the laser sight, but we had our local dealer do it with his more expensive sight tools.

The sight is really quite small, and is solidly made of steel rather than plastic or aluminum. Like all lasers of its size, the adjustment wrench is very small and easily lost (plan ahead), but the adjustment mechanism is precise and once set, doesn't drift, or at least not in the 500 or so rounds I've fired through the gun since getting the sights installed.

It is a 5 milliwatt laser-the most powerful the law allows—and the dot is of comparable size and brightness to every other red laser sight I've seen or tested. It retails for $199.95 (Hey! it costs less then $200, honey!) and is powered by four small 37 watch batteries which slip into the battery compartment on the left by means of a knurled screwcap. According to LaserLyte, the batteries are good for five+ hours in constant-on mode and 10 hours in pulse mode. My Crimson Trace sight was rated for three hours (it only had constant-on mode) and was still going strong despite daily use after 2.5 years when I traded it in.

The sight has several neat features, which include what is essentially a electrically powered rear night sight with the appropriate green Tritium-like glow. With a Tritium (the radioactive element common in analog watch faces) front sight (available separately from various manufacturers, you have a complete night sight set as well as a laser. Hit the activation button on the back of the battery compartment, which activates positively and is easy to do with either thumb, once and the green night sight comes on. It can be adjusted to constant-on or pulsing configuration. However, it is really only usable in near-dark or dark conditions, precisely like a night sight relying on radioactive elements. However, unlike such sights, there is no half-life and full function can always be restored with a battery change.

Press the button twice and the laser is activated, again with a choice of constant-on or pulsing function. I recommend the pulsing configuration as it not only doubles battery life but is substantially easier to see under the full range of conditions. Pressing the button a third time shuts the unit off. There is also an automatic shut off feature that engages after five minutes regardless of whether you are in night sight or laser mode. After five minutes a tiny red LED in the back of the laser unit will pulse for one minute to let you know that you're on borrowed time. Pressing the button again within that minute will reset the countdown.

While I've had the unit a relatively short time, it does address all of the issues to which I had to adapt with the Crimson Trace unit. There is no alteration of the grip, I can place my trigger finger in register as I please, the sight does not interfere with any holster I own or might consider owning, and I can manipulate the slide with the proper grip.
The only issue I've noticed is that using the built in "iron" sights is taking me a bit of time to adapt as my eyes tend to be drawn to the two Mickey Mouse-like ears at the upper edges of the rear sight if I don't focus as well as I should. I've no doubt I'll be able to rewire my brain to deal with this, which is an issue of some importance. Some people ask: "Well lasers are nice, but what happens when you run out of battery power." You simply revert to the iron sights. You need to practice with both.

I should clear up any misconception about Crimson Trace sights. They make quality products and I was generally pleased with my sight. With any consumer product, there is no such thing as absolute perfection applicable to all. My wife's sight—identical to mine—did not show the same wear problem, but she does not carry as often as do I nor is her grip as strong. I suspect that the CT sights that are more solidly mounted, such as their Colt 1911 models and others, would never suffer from the problem I observed.

If you're considering the LaserLyte sight—and they have models for many popular semi-automatic handguns—you need to be aware that the newest model of the sight—which I have—is different in function from the initial production runs. In fact, circa mid-July, 2011, even the specifications on LaserLyte's web-site reflect the old system which had no night-site and was constant-on with the first button push, pulse with the second, and off with the third. I spoke with LaserLyte before writing the article and they assured me that they are going to update things in the near future.

One additional compelling reason for laser sights is that smaller, pocket pistol-type handguns such as the Ruger LCP generally have very small and mediocre sights. Virtually none are adjustable because most are little more than molded or machined slots and grooves in the top of the slide. Granted, such weapons are not designed for great accuracy at long range, but a laser can bring a degree of precision not otherwise possible with such weapons.

Laser sights are certainly worthy of your consideration, and I've found the LaserLyte sight to be an excellent choice.

Posted by MikeM at 10:47 PM | Comments (2)

July 14, 2011

The Joy of Lasers: Part 1

Technology provides us with entertainment and innovations that have become, in many ways, necessities. I am old enough to have learned to type on a manual typewriter, physically flinging the carriage back into battery at the end of each line. In high school, back in the 1400’s, I witnessed and embraced the invention of such wonders as the cassette tape, the touch-tone phone and all-transistor guitar amplifiers. I bought my first home computer, an Apple, in 1986 and have ridden the wave of innovation that flowed from what was then considered the enormous 20 megabyte hard drive of that first machine. So I often take a moment to appreciate the wonder of the technology that drives my iPhone4, which in very real ways puts the world in my pocket.

One innovation that is a boon to shooters, casual and professional, is the laser. Contemporary lasers are small, weigh little, and are relatively inexpensive and very effective. One of the best things about lasers is that they are actually a highly effective solution to real world problems rather than the many ingenious solutions to non-existent problems so common in the firearms world.

Rifle

Note in this first photograph my pre-ban Colt with a few modern enhancements, the most noteworthy of which is the LaserMax Uni-Max Value Pack for Rifles (go here), which retails for about $189.00 these days. All of the goodies in this post are available direct from the factory. Disclaimer: I am not being paid by LaserMax, nor did they supply this unit to me.

Laser 001

The package consists of four elements: The Uni-Max ES laser itself, which is essentially an off-the-shelf 5mW unit (the most powerful the law allows) which works equally well with handguns and rifles and comes with a crossbolt-type activation switch which works quite well by itself. It also has a built in rail that allows the mounting of any rail compatible accessory—such as a flashlight—directly to the laser. The package also comes with a momentary-type activation switch, which neatly replaces the crossbolt switch and has only a 6” straight cord which is far better than the lengthy coiled cords that come with some switches.

Laser 002

The really neat part of the package is the MantaRail system which is a neat polymer/silicone sheath for the momentary switch which easily clamps onto a standard rifle rail and is as easily removed. This eliminates adhesives and Velcro, neither of which work well in this application, and it comes with two end caps and three polymer cord routing clamps called, amazingly enough, “MantaClamps.”

Laser 004

As you can see, I prefer the simple expedient of two small cable ties that are cheap and easy to remove--via wire cutters--and replace. The sheath also solves another common momentary switch problem: they tend to become quite hot—electrical resistance--if left on very long. The silicon sheath effectively insulates the fingers from any such discomfort. I chose to mount my switch and laser on the right hand side of the handguard, but they can easily be mounted on adjacent rails.

But wait a minute, aren’t lasers really difficult to see at long range and in bright sunlight? Indeed they are, particularly red lasers. Green lasers are generally more visible, but are substantially more expensive ($170.00 more for the same package). So what’s the point? Close Quarters Battle or CQB. Or for the civilian, using a carbine in the home defense role. If you need to take 100 yard shots indoors, you’re probably Al Gore or John Edwards and you don’t like guns, at least not when the little people own them.

One of the primary difficulties with any rifle with a high sight line relative to the bore is that at closer ranges, say 25 yards and less, rounds will impact below the point of aim. With the AR-15 family, this means that with iron sights or with an optical red dot sight zeroed for 100 yards, bullets will strike at point of aim at 100 yards. But move to 25 yards or closer and bullets will strike 3” or more below the point of aim.

So what? Just remember that and adjust your aim upward three inches. Unfortunately that’s not a good idea in CQB. Raising the muzzle to compensate obscures the shooter’s view of what they intend to shoot, and in the heat of battle, remembering the necessity for Kentucky windage is easier discussed than accomplished. When it’s necessary to deliver a precise shot at close range, it’s best to know exactly where that shot is going without additional computation and adjustment, and even better, to be able to have your head up and your eyes on your potential target. That’s where lasers come in.

With an optical sight zeroed for 100 yards and the laser zeroed for 25, it is easy to instantly transition from sight to sight while moving closer to the target. The same mounting and target acquisition motions (presentation) are used for either sight, but with the laser sight at close range, it’s great to be able to simply look directly at the target rather than through a scope. It does take some practice to condition the brain to see and respond to the laser dot rather than an illuminated reticle, and some practice to work out the slightly different muscle memory required, but it’s not difficult.

One of the other advantages of this particular laser is that it can be set for pulse mode, which even with a red laser, produces a much easier to see dot, even in bright sunlight. Indoors, even with bright artificial lighting, the dot is brilliant and easy to see. Many manufacturers market green lasers with the claim that they can be seen at 100 yards, which may be true, but not necessarily for everyone. Perhaps young people with fighter pilot-like vision can instantly pick out a laser dot on any target at 100 yards, but it’s not always an easy or quick task for me. On the other hand, it’s a piece of cake to immediately align a properly sighted in optical sight at that, and greater, ranges.

With the laser, bullet impact is right on, and for most people, accuracy, and particularly speed, are enhanced. The eye is naturally drawn to the pulsing dot, which can substantially decrease the time required to place accurate fire on any target. This does not eliminate the need for proper stance, trigger control, grip and presentation, for if one becomes lazy, they’ll lose time looking for a laser dot that is anywhere other than the target. In other words, you still have to present the weapon as though you were using iron or optical sights. Leave shooting from the hip for the movies.

Using a rifle in the proper ready position with the laser activated provides several advantages. A bad guy noticing—because you have told him—a pulsing laser dot dancing around just below his belt line might be readily encouraged to cease hostilities. With the dot visible and already aligned with the centerline of the target, it is simplicity itself to point in from ready and fire the instant the dot reaches center mass, all the while keeping your attention and both eyes on what is happening in front of you.

The laser with this package is easily adjusted for windage and elevation with the supplied allen wrench, but know that the wrench is very small and easy to lose. Once aligned, the sight tends to stay in alignment. The laser unit weighs very little, is low profile (unlikely to hang up on anything) and quite rugged and is available individually for $149.00. The MantaRail system with the sheath, end caps and three MantaClamps retails for $34.95 and is a great solution for any momentary switch/laser combination from any manufacturer. Once mounted—it’s easy to position and remove—it stays put.

I’m pleased with the quality and utility of this LaserMax sytem and use it on several of my AR systems. I suspect you’ll be equally pleased.

Next Friday: Part 2 of this short series on lasers for handguns.

Posted by MikeM at 10:42 PM | Comments (3)

July 10, 2011

Steyn On Fast And Furious

If you have not read Mark Steyn, this article in National Review would be an excellent introduction to the work of one of the best writers and most insightful pundits writing today. His book America Alone: The End Of The World As We Know It should be required reading in the classrooms of America and for every American citizen. This National Review article discusses governmental accountability using several examples, but focusing on Fast and Furious.

As you know, Bob has been in the forefront of breaking the Gunwalker story in the blogosphere and on the radio across America, and his pioneering efforts--and the efforts of others--seem to be making a difference. Fox News Sunday discussed the case today, unfortunately only in their "Panel Plus" feature which is available online (here). In that excerpt, Juan Williams, who is often quite reasonable, claimed that 70% of guns used in crime in Mexico were traceable to the US--a claim that has been repeatedly debunked--and tried to portray the scandal as a political vendetta against Eric Holder, largely perpetrated by the NRA. Mara Liaison, the other liberal member of the panel, agreed that it is a genuine scandal but suggested that it was due in part to the fact that there has not been a director of the ATF for 4-5 years, alleging that this was because the NRA didn't approve of anyone nominated by Republicans or Democrats. Sigh.

And in the "How Tone-Deaf Are These Guys Anyway?" department, we learn from Fox News (here) that the Justice Department and White House are working hard on gun control measures that they plan to release in the near future. Perhaps it would help if the Obama Administration stopped preventing federal law enforcement officers from doing their jobs, didn't stonewall and lie to Congress, and stopped giving guns to murderous foreign and domestic criminals? Read this one only if you have taken your blood pressure medication and have secured easily breakable items.

The beat goes on. Don't you go on without reading Steyn.

Posted by MikeM at 08:13 PM | Comments (1)

West: Obama Must Fire Holder, Or He Is Complicit in Fast and Furious

The outspoken Congressman from Florida tells it like it is.

"The president needs to realize that Eric Holder needs to be removed from the Department of Justice," West said after detailing why he thinks Holder should appear before an investigative committee to testify about how the DOJ has handled its response to the Operation Fast and Furious investigation. "Or else I believe President Obama is complicit and he is in approval of the actions of his attorney general."

Gill followed up by asking West if he thought a special prosecutor was needed to investigate Operation Fast and Furious. West said he thought so, adding that the mishandling of the operation is a part of a "trend" he sees forming at the DOJ. West said the way Holder has handled Operation Fast and Furious is reminiscent of how he handled the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation scandal.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:17 AM | Comments (2)

June 20, 2011

First Down: Acting ATF Director Melson Likely Out in Gunwalker

The wheels on the bus go bump-bump-bump:

Andrew Traver was nominated in November by President Obama to become the permanent ATF director, but his nomination has been held by objections from groups that say Traver is hostile to the rights of gun owners.

Nonetheless, Traver's return to Washington Tuesday for a meeting with Attorney General Eric Holder and Deputy Attorney General James Cole could be the first step toward ousting acting director, Kenneth Melson.

Melson is complicit in Gunwalker and is the logical sacrificial lamb for the Obama administration.

I suspect he will not be the last to fall.

Update The Examiner says that while Melson needs to go, he is hardly the only one, and that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder must resign as well.

That Melson should be removed is obvious, as should other senior ATF officials in Washington and in the field. But Gunwalker could not have gone as far as it did without the approval of senior Justice Department officials, including Attorney General Eric Holder, which is why The Washington Examiner last week called for Holder's resignation. Holder should have stopped the program as soon as he found out about it if he was aware of it. And if he didn't know such an outrage was being perpetrated on his watch, he clearly isn't up to the job of managing the Justice Department.

Add Janet Napolitano to the mix and we're starting to get close to bringing those responsible to account.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:25 AM | Comments (2)

June 16, 2011

Was Gunwalker Designed to Affect U.S. Laws Through Cartel Violence?

I've been working the available evidence since last night, and there are enough smoking guns (literally and figuratively) to begin wondering if generating violence to justify gun control proposals wasn't precisely the point.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:23 AM | Comments (12)

May 28, 2011

Bloggers Are Good People

Met up with a bunch of folks participating in the Lucky Gunner Blogger Shoot last night, and quickly fell in with John Donovan of Argghhh! and Dustin of LuckyGunner.com and had a nice conversation with them, and briefly met some of a substantial group of bloggers.

I'm going to refer you to Bob's Gun Counter for blog coverage of the rest of the event, and will post live updates to Twitter as I can.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:44 AM | Comments (0)

May 27, 2011

Be Jealous, Kids. Very. Jealous.

I'm relaxing at the hotel in Lenoir City, TN right now.

Why should that make you jealous? I'm here for the LuckyGunner Blogger Shoot. Cool people. Cool firearms. Unconfirmed rumors of armor. And a minivan that is about to get a close and personal feeling of the power of civil war-era cannon.

LuckyGunner.com Blogger Shoot

The meet-and-greet is in a few hours, and we get down to blowing holes in things tomorrow and Sunday. I'll post video and write-ups as possible.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 04:41 PM | Comments (3)

May 19, 2011

NY Daily News Writer Corners the Market On Ignorance

Considering the competition for that dishonor, NY Daily News writer Joanna Molloy really had to go out of her way to prove her ignorance, and in Ex-NYPD top cop Bill Bratton pushing for overdue ban on assault-weapons ammo clips she certainly does her best, encapsulating several decades worth of ignorance—not to mention stupidity and laziness—in just the second sentence of a dim rant.

Former New York top cop Bill Bratton has joined forces with the city's Citizens Crime Commission to support the ban on assault-weapons ammo clips that have been used in virtually every mass murder since 1984.

We can start by stating with absolute authority that assault weapons ammo clips have never played a part in a mass murder. Not before 1984, and not since.

Never. Ever. Happened.

Ammo clips are nothing more or less than strips of metal—typically spring steel—that hold one or more ammunition cartridges by the base. The rifles of both sides in World War I used ammunition clips. So did the rifles of World War II and Korea, from Mosin-Nagants designed in the 1890s to Enfields and Garands and SKSs that were obsolete by the 1950s.

Below, we see an example of the 8-round en-block clip of the M1 Garand on the left, and the 10-round stripper clip of the SKS rifle on the right. The most common clips in America, they have never been an accessory in any mass murder.

Clip_M1-SKS

Oh, but I'm being completely unfair, aren't I?

Poor befuddled Ms. Molloy is but a journalist, and can't be expected to tell the difference between a clip and a magazine any more than she should be able to tell the difference between a car and a truck or a cat and a catfish.

ClipMagazineLesson

A clip holds bullets to load magazines. It is the difference between a gas pump and a gas tank, or a Democrat and a Republican. It's so hard.

But back to Ms. Molloy's contention that "assault-weapons ammo clips that have been used in virtually every mass murder since 1984." Even if we generously allow her to plead obvious ignorance and substitute clip for magazine, her claim still fails to be true.

Arguably the most infamous school shooting in America took place at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold used as their primary instrument of death a Hi Point 9mm carbine that was designed specifically to comply with the very Ban on Scary-Looking Guns that Molloy would see re-implemented.

Richard Farley killed seven without using a single assault weapon in his 1988 murder spree.

The 1998 Westside Middle School Massacre was perpetrated by two kids armed with rifles with standard capacity magazines.

Patrick Henry Sherrill is the reason for the phrase "going postal," and used a pair of .45 ACP pistols to kill 14 of his co-workers in 1986.

Terrorist soldier Nidal Hassan shot up Fort Hood with a pistol.

Atlanta trader Mark Barton killed 12 with a pair of handguns and a hammer in 1999.

Just last year, Omar Thorton used a pair of standard-capacity pistols to kill 9 at a Connecticut beer distributorship.

Seung-Hui Cho perpetrated the Virginia Tech massacre of 32 of his fellow students using standard-capacity magazines in a Glock 19 and Walther P22.

Jiverly Antares Wong used a pair of standard-capacity pistols in Binghampton, NY in 2009.

Shall we go on?

Jeff Weise killed 9 in Red Lake Minnesota using handguns and a shotgun. Likewise, the North Illinois University shooting was perpetrated with pistols and a shotgun. Charles Carl Roberts, infamous for the Amish schoolhouse shooting in 2006, used a 9 mm handgun, 12 gauge shotgun, .30-06 bolt-action rifle. Kip Kinckel, Eric Houston, and Charles Andrew Williams also committed their mass shootings without using any assault weapons.

Purely as a matter of empirical fact, assault weapons and their magazines have been used in just fraction of murders of any kind.

But NY Daily News employee Joanna Molloy isn't acting as a responsible journalist, informed editorialist, or critical thinker. She is an ideologue dedicated to deceiving her readers in order to get them to agree with her.

Come to think of it, Joanna Milloy isn't ignorant. She knows exactly what she is doing. The only question is whether the NY Daily News finds this sort of deception acceptable.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:58 PM | Comments (5)

May 18, 2011

Not Today Dear, I Have a Headache

Not much in the way of productivity today until I get this migraine/cluster whatever-the-Hell-it-is headache under control. In any event, I have a review of Butler Creek magazine loaders up at LuckyGunner for American shooters, and a post up at Pajamas Media about the guns favored by certain Mexican shooters, and from whence they came.

Consider it my contribution to multiculturalism.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:20 AM | Comments (0)

May 15, 2011

The Second Amendment and Self Defense Post Heller and McDonald

The good folks at Pajamas Media, who are kind enough to publish our work from time to time, have posted an article I wrote on the fate of the Second Amendment and self defense post-Heller and McDonald. The battle for liberty is far from over, and the near-term fate of the Second Amendment may well be one of the most obvious indicators of the loss of individual freedom. I suspect you’ll find it interesting. Go here.

Posted by MikeM at 04:57 PM | Comments (0)

May 01, 2011

The Deadly Political Correctness of Gun-Free School Zones, Part III

The first two installments of this series (available here and here) raised the issue of arming school staff, and raised and answered many of the primary objections. Still, how can school officials be convinced to accept concealed handguns in schools? How can risk-averse superintendents and school boards see the danger that we face? Can hard-core liberals be persuaded to accept reality? I hope to provide some possible answers in this, the final installment of this series. I’ll provide, first, some useful information on the relevant federal law (go here for more complete information).

In 1990, the Gun Free School Zones Act was written into law as part of the Crime Control Act. Among its provisions was a blanket prohibition on all firearms within 1000 feet of a school. The act relied on the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, asserting that Congress had the power to enact the law because most firearms probably had at some point moved in interstate commerce. The law basically turned huge portions of the nation into gun-free zones, making their perfectly law abiding owners liable for arrest and prosecution merely due to their unwitting proximity to a school.

In the 1995 Lopez decision, the US Supreme Court struck down the law, ruling essentially that the Congress couldn’t write any law they wanted by claiming some Commerce Clause involvement. The Congress--Bill Clinton was then President--reenacted the law with a few minor language changes, but it was, in essence the same law, but without the 1000’ foot provision. This law has been upheld, for instance, in the Dorsey case (2005) by the 9th Circuit Court, which is infamous as the most liberal in the nation and also, the Circuit most overturned by the Supreme Court.

Here is the relevant text of the law:

Title 18 U.S.C §922(q), The Gun Free School Zones Act of 1995 States:
(A) It shall be unlawful for any individual knowingly to possess a firearm that has moved in or that otherwise affects interstate or foreign commerce at a place that the individual knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is a school zone.
(B) Subparagraph (A) does not apply to the possession of a firearm—
(i) on private property not part of school grounds;
(ii) if the individual possessing the firearm is licensed to do so by the State in which the school zone is located or a political subdivision of the State, and the law of the State or political subdivision requires that, before an individual obtains such a license, the law enforcement authorities of the State or political subdivision verify that the individual is qualified under law to receive the license;
(iii) that is— (I) not loaded; and (II) in a locked container, or a locked firearms rack that is on a motor vehicle;
(iv) by an individual for use in a program approved by a school in the school zone;
(v) by an individual in accordance with a contract entered into between a school in the school zone and the individual or an employer of the individual;
(vi) by a law enforcement officer acting in his or her official capacity; or
(vii) that is unloaded and is possessed by an individual while traversing school premises for the purpose of gaining access to public or private lands open to hunting, if the entry on school premises is authorized by school authorities

The Federal government generally does not enforce this particular law, in fact, the law notes that it does not intend to occupy this particular field of law, leaving such things to local and state authorities, but one of the primary problems with federal intervention into what should rightfully be the exclusive territory of the states is that federal enforcement of such laws tends to be selectively arbitrary and capricious. One should always be aware of the firearm laws of their state and city, for it is those that are generally the controlling authority. Federal intervention in these matters tends to be dependent on the political leanings of the party in power. It would not be unreasonable to assume that the federal government would be more likely to involve itself in local issues under a Democrat, anti-gun president.

The effect of all of this is that those licensed by a state to carry concealed weapons may do so in school zones in accordance with state law. Those not licensed may carry only unloaded and secured guns on school grounds, though again, federal involvement is unusual and generally only occurs incident to arrests for other crimes.

Let’s return to some of the more common questions and objections relating to the issue.

Q: AREN’T GUNS ONLY USED FOR BAD PURPOSES?

Guns are used as often as 2.5 million times around the nation each year to thwart crime, usually without firing a shot. Even the notoriously anti-gun Clinton administration carried out a study, hoping to prove the opposite in support of even more anti-gun legislation. To their surprise, they discovered from one to one and a half million incidents per year of honest citizens using firearms to protect themselves and others against criminals. They attempted, unsuccessfully, to quickly and quietly bury their results.


Q: AREN’T GUNS FAR TOO DANGEROUS TO BE AROUND CHILDREN?

(Updated 05-02-11) Firearms have been a part of the raising of American children since before the founding of the republic. The number of yearly firearm accidents has been, for decades, dramatically declining. Since the all-time high in 1904, the overall accident death rate has dropped 94% despite the fact that the population has more than doubled and there are, per capita, far more firearms in American hands than ever before--Barack Obama has been the best firearm salesman in American history--accidents are at their lowest level in more than a century.

During his presidency, Bill Clinton was fond of deceptively asserting that 11 or more children die each day by gunshot. To reach this figure, one must count people as old as 24 and more as “children” and include, for example, 19 year old drug dealers killed in turf shootouts, or 20 year old robbers shot by the police or citizens defending their lives.

In reality, for actual children (14 years and under), the daily rate is 1.2 (in the entire country). For children ten and under, it is 0.4. In 2000 (the most recent year for which complete National Center For Health Statistics are available), for example, just over 400 children (14 and under) died of gunshot wounds from all possible causes. Circa 1995, nearly 2900 died in automobile accidents, nearly 950 drowned, and 1000 died of burns. Even bicycle accidents kill more than gunshot injuries. While the death of any child for any reason is tragic, we don’t keep children out of cars and away from water and bikes.

That so few children are injured by gunshot each year is welcome news, but it doesn’t lessen the potential threat and the damage that will be done when an attack occurs. The world has changed. The only rational argument is for effective responses to realistic potential threats. Again, one must balance the potential threat and the potential benefit of any given solution. If all that matters is raw numbers, how can we justify allowing children near cars, water, anything that might produce a burn or even bicycles?

Q: ISN’T THE LEGAL LIABILITY FOR GUNS IN SCHOOLS JUST TOO GREAT?

That we live in a ridiculously litigious society is a sad fact of life. Parents sue schools if their daughters aren’t picked to be cheerleaders or if their sons don’t make the first string football squad. One may use the threat of potential litigation to avoid implementing any program or policy, but the potential liability for the misuse of a firearm is the same on and off school property. Absent a specific state statute, school grounds do not impose any greater legal burden on those carrying a firearm than is found on a public sidewalk, and the requirements for the use of deadly force remain the same whether one is on a playground or the street adjoining it.

Playing high school football is statistically far more dangerous than school shootings, yet we do not abolish football over liability concerns. Anyone carrying a firearm must always take affirmative steps to ensure that it is not misused by themselves or others. Such concerns are an eloquent argument not for disarming victims, but for good training, situational awareness and adult responsibility.

Of course, repeal of the 1995 law would be a practical necessity, but potential liability issues must be primarily addressed by the state legislatures. As many states require schools to be “gun free zones,” it would be necessary--as a first step--for their legislatures to repeal such statutes and authorize the carrying of concealed weapons on school grounds. In Texas, for example, state law allows school boards to authorize the carrying of concealed weapons by those so licensed by adopting a written policy or giving written permission. As education and tort law does differ in the various states, liability issues should be dealt with in the same way.

A sort of “Good Samaritan” law could be written absolving teachers and other staff members of liability so long as they were properly trained and vetted and acting reasonably in response to a deadly threat--just as we expect police officers to act. Such a law obviously must not shield anyone from the consequences of reckless, malicious or foolish behavior or outright negligence--just as the police are not so shielded.

If the strongest case one can muster against armed teachers is that they are too unstable to bear such responsibility, what are such emotional and mental defectives doing in classrooms when millions of citizens with less education carry concealed weapons off school property without incident every day? It should be remembered that teachers are stringently vetted before being allowed to teach. Fingerprinting, credential verification, background checks, references, criminal history checks, are all an essential part of the hiring process for any teacher. Virtually every teacher in America is vetted at least as thoroughly as any citizen who receives a concealed carry license. Indeed, mistakes are sometimes made, but because those who hire teachers must themselves be hired from the human race, and because they must choose teachers from the same inherently flawed pool of applicants, this is rather like observing that oranges are orange and that all oranges are thereby fatally flawed.

It may be worthwhile to consider the potential liability (to say nothing of the horrendously negative public relations fallout) inherent in doing nothing in the face of known terrorist threats when the worst case scenario comes to pass. The MSM has also done a fine job of hiding the fact that from one to 2.5 million Americans successfully defend themselves and others with firearms each year, most without firing a shot. If a school’s only response amounts to “duck and cover,” defending a gun free school zone policy after the fact will suddenly become a very uncomfortable proposition, at Virginia Tech and elsewhere.

THE WORST CASE SCENARIO:

Regardless of how one feels about the foreign policy of a given presidential administration, America has been embroiled in a war with terrorists since at least the Carter administration, and nearly 800 Americans had been killed around the world by terrorists prior to 9-11. It was only 9-11 that made some realize that it might be wise to act as though we were fighting a war against those who had long since publicly declared war on us. We also know that our terrorist enemies desperately want to carry out attacks in America and in American schools. Recently gathered intelligence suggests this and they have elsewhere used this tactic--old hat for them but new to us--for decades. It is equally sobering to realize that our own domestic brand of terrorist, juvenile or adult, always has been present.

The arming of school staff is not a panacea. It cannot replace competent, practical identification and intervention programs--which include intelligent, aware teachers simply keeping their eyes and ears open--which might help to stop some school shootings before they begin. It is, rather, a very low or no cost protective measure for worst case scenarios that has the great benefit of providing credible deterrence if properly publicized. Arming staff is like providing fire extinguishers. Most teachers will complete an entire career without needing a fire extinguisher, but when they do need one, they need it immediately, badly, and nothing else will do. So it is with firearms.

I’m about to provide a scenario based on reality. Remember that I have been there and done that, in the classroom and in the responding police car. A law enforcement agency in which I served as a SWAT operator actually responded to a juvenile shooter in a large high school. In that case, the police again had no real effect. The shooter absent-mindly put down his shotgun in the classroom where he was holding fellow students hostage and a quick thinking youngster grabbed the shotgun, ending the affair. Miraculously, no one was injured. The scenario I propose allows generous response times for the police, and the actions of the killer are likewise based on real events and practical knowledge of the criminal/terrorist mind, of tactical reality, and of school design and procedures.

WARNING: This scenario is somewhat graphic and entirely realistic. The mere idea of anyone shooting helpless children in a school is horrendous and sickening to rational people, but considering such a scenario before the fact and drawing reasonable lessons from it is far better than doing so after the fact of an actual attack.

CONSIDER THIS SCENARIO wherein a single active shooter, an adult, armed only with a shotgun and a revolver, two common, non-military looking firearms, enters an elementary school in small to mid-sized town USA. Unhinged over imagined grievances, he is determined to kill as many students and teachers as possible and has several hundred rounds of ammunition stuffed in his pockets. He does not plan to survive the assault; he will kill himself or force the police to do it. Your eight year old daughter is in the fourth classroom he will enter.

0830: Monday. School has been underway for only a half hour. The morning traffic crunch won’t begin to slacken for at least another 45 minutes. The shooter enters the school--the doors are unlocked--and makes his way to the first classroom in the hallway left of the door. His choice of this hallway is entirely random; he simply decides to go left rather than right, a choice that in this case will spare the lives of the students and teachers in the right hallway. He knows the school has no liaison officer that day and that no one in the school is armed. A phone call asking to speak to the liaison officer (the secretary politely told him that the liaison officer is only in the building on Tuesdays and Thursdays--he is shared with two other elementary schools) and prominently posted gun-free school zone signs have made him certain of those facts.

0832: The first gunshots ring out causing confusion, but not instant panic. What are those noises? Is the sixth grade studying the Civil War again? Is someone watching a movie? Did someone drop something heavy? Are they making noise repairing something again?

0835: A nearby teacher finally realizes what is happening, and horrified by a glimpse of the shooter and what he is doing in that first classroom, frantically tries to call 9-11 on her cell phone. All of the structural steel in the building and nearby wireless computer transmitters interfere with the signal and she is unable to make contact. Hysterically weeping and in a panic, she begins the 200 yard dash to the office.

0837: A call finally goes out from the school office to the police. They relay the room number and the name of the teacher occupying the room where the panicked teacher saw the shooter, but this information means nothing to the responding officers who have no idea how the school is laid out. None of them have ever been inside the building. Even if they had, it’s unlikely they’d remember anything about one of many schools in their community. It takes the dispatcher 15 precious seconds to clarify that the room is in the east side of the building. That has some meaning to the officers. The shooter has reloaded and is entering the next classroom in line. The door is locked, but a kick makes short work of it, as it will every randomly locked door he encounters. He spent five minutes in the first classroom. Twelve children and the teacher are dead. Seven more are wounded and two will die within the week. Miraculously, the shooter overlooked two children who happened to fall under the bodies of their not-so-fortunate classmates. His bloodlust is overpowering; any inhibitions he had against killing children have melted away. He is now faster and more efficient.

0838: The call goes out to officers patrolling the city. Only four are on duty. One is handling a life-threatening emergency and cannot get away. Of the remaining three, the nearest officer is three minutes from the school. Another is five minutes away, the third, probably six minutes away. Various administrative and investigative officers hastily get the word and rush to respond from their centrally located police headquarters, but they will take much longer to arrive, which is the case with the two available sheriff’s deputies and the single available highway patrolman who rush to the school from many miles away, fighting early morning traffic all the way.

0841: Only 11 minutes have elapsed. The shooter has finished with the second classroom. This time he was more methodical and everyone in the classroom is dead or dying. He is reloading on his way to the next in line. The young female principal, shaking with fear, bravely approaches the DT in the hallway and tries to reason with him. The first officer, alone, arrives and sprints toward the east side of the school. He enters and pauses, hearing nothing for several seconds until a single gunshot rings out, followed by several long seconds of silence. Room numbers are on small signs above each classroom door and he cannot see them unless he is actually in a given hallway and close to the doors. He desperately listens, hoping to orient himself as quickly as possible.

0842: The officer again hears gunfire as the shooter enters the third classroom. He draws his handgun and moves, quickly and carefully, in the general direction of continuous, muted gunfire, but is unfamiliar with the building and makes several wrong turns, losing precious seconds. He knows that he must act immediately, but he knows that if he blunders into the shooter unprepared, he will do no good at all. He has to know where the shooter is before he commits to action. He hears what sound like shotgun and handgun fire; could there be more than one shooter? This makes him more cautious and slower, only a few seconds slower, but every second matters. He stops to radio his observations--and to ensure they are heard and understood (the structural steel of the building makes radio signals weak and intermittent)--before he continues.

0844: Two other officers arrive and radio the first officer who pauses to radio directions. They hurry toward him as he moves toward where he believes the shooter to be. The killer has finished shooting and reloads. Only the teacher and two first grade students, all wounded, will survive in the classroom he is about to leave. He steps into the hallway and seeing the officer, who is kneeling over the bloody body of the principal, trying to see if she has a pulse, takes several shots. The first buckshot round misses, shattering a trophy display case in a deluge of glass, wood and plastic. The second strikes the officer’s bullet resistant vest which stops most of the pellets, but several penetrate his shooting arm, numbing it and causing him to drop his handgun just as he is about to fire. In shock, feeling as though he is trying to move through molasses, he struggles to pick up his handgun with his left hand, but it is too late to engage the killer who enters the fourth classroom. Less than three minutes have elapsed from the moment the first officer entered the building until his encounter with the killer.

0845: Fifteen minutes into the incident, four minutes past the arrival of the first officer. The two additional officers arrive and drag their wounded partner, still struggling to raise and fire his handgun, down the hallway, out of the line of fire, just in time to see the killer enter the fourth classroom where your daughter, like the other children, is trying to hide behind a frightened but courageous female teacher who will be the first to be shot. She will live, but will have a single kidney for the rest of her shortened life. Many of her students will not be so fortunate. The officers do not have time to fire a single round before they hear multiple rapid gunshots echo from the classroom down the hall. The shooter knows he has little time left. Leaving their wounded comrade, they leap over the body of the dead principal and rush toward the open door of the classroom, gunshots echoing in their ears...

What happened? Did the officers corner the killer in the classroom and prevent further deaths (other than those already littering the classroom floor)? Did the killer shoot himself or was he shot by the officers? Did your daughter survive?

But it wouldn’t happen like that! The police would surely be there much more quickly and would know exactly what to do. Perhaps a single officer, in the finest martial arts hero style, would disarm the suspect without firing a shot, beating him mercilessly for daring to threaten children, for not heeding the good intentions of the gun free school zone message, preventing a single injury...

Unfortunately, the time frames I’ve suggested here for police response are generous; any honest police officer will confirm that. This does not reflect badly on the police, but is merely a reflection of the realities of time, distance, traffic and the fog of battle. The police did not enter the building at Columbine for many hours. If that time was reduced by 80% would it be fast enough, considering that the killer is on his way to your daughter’s classroom? Would a 90% reduction comfort you? In Pearl, Mississippi, at the Appalachian Law School, at Virginia Tech, the police had no role at all in stopping the killers. This has been true for virtually all school attacks. Even if the killer fires only five rounds in each classroom, would you be satisfied? Would you consider the odds to be in your daughter’s favor?

Remember that in this case, there was a single killer--not a dedicated terrorist--armed only with two widely available, unremarkable firearms. Imagine the consequences if there were multiple killers, dedicated terrorists all, with more effective weapons, even explosives. Imagine that one or more were detailed to hold off the police as they arrive, giving their fellows more time to kill. Would the police response be more, or less effective under these circumstances? How much greater would be the death toll?

But doesn’t this scenario demonstrate the necessity of disarming everyone? Let’s assume that we can wave a magic wand and roll firearm technology back before the invention of gunpowder. Remember that during the Medieval period--and millennia before--thousands of people were often killed in a single day in various battles, killed with the kinds of weapons we would consider very crude indeed. Yet those same weapons are readily available even today, and even if they weren’t, are easy to make. Remember too that honest citizens are not now, nor have they ever been, the problem. They will obey the law; they have no desire to harm anyone. Disarming ourselves in the face of those who will not obey the law and who do wish to harm others is unspeakably foolish and dangerous. The problem, in 500 AD and now, is not tools but human nature. Evil existed then; evil exists now.

Would you want teachers, trained and prepared, to be armed and able to protect your daughter, to have the opportunity, then and there, to stop the attack, or would you be satisfied with the non-violent, peaceful, safe-feeling and comforting message delivered by a few small metal signs, and the protection provided by a locked door and a 3/4” thick particle board desktop? The odds, thankfully, are probably in your favor, but some people always run afoul of the odds, and there is no reason that some people cannot include your daughter.

If you would honestly choose the message and the signs, then by all means, live your convictions and post a conspicuous “WE ARE COMPLETELY UNARMED” sign on your front lawn. If you honestly wouldn’t do that, perhaps it’s time to join the ranks of those who recognize that times have changed, and that a kind of danger unique in American history faces us. Perhaps it’s time to recognize that this danger can and must be addressed, and that there is one way, and only one way, to do it effectively.

Posted by MikeM at 09:29 PM | Comments (5)

April 24, 2011

The Deadly Political Correctness of Gun-Free School Zones: Part II

The first installment of this series (available here) outlined a dangerous and very real issue facing American schools today: The likelihood of attacks by active shooters, whether disaffected or deranged citizens, or Islamic terrorists, foreign or domestic. This article will deal primarily with ways with which the problem may be successfully dealt, and with commonly raised objections to the only truly effective way to protect our children if a worst-case scenario occurs.

QUESTIONS, ANSWERS AND SOLUTIONS:

There is one simple update in school policy that can change American schools, as has been the case in Israel, from soft to hard--or at least harder--targets: allow teachers and other school staff to carry concealed handguns. This policy can be implemented at no cost to schools and mechanisms, both legal and practical, are already in place. Only two American states completely prohibit the carrying of concealed handguns, though it is likely, circa April of 2011, that this will change in Wisconsin. The rest allow it subject to records checks, testing and licensing. However, several states allow any law abiding citizen who is not otherwise disqualified by mental illness or past criminal status--Wyoming is the most recent--to carry a concealed handgun with no state testing or licensing. These laws have been a uniform success in that every state that has passed a concealed carry law has seen reductions in violent crime, mass shootings, and no corresponding increase in shooting incidents. The kinds of wild west shootouts anti-gun activists predicted would break out at the slightest provocation have simply failed to materialize.

Those licensed to carry concealed weapons have been, unsurprisingly, uncommonly law abiding, and only a tiny percentage (commonly much less than a single percent) have had their licenses suspended, most for technical violations of the law such as unintentionally carrying a handgun into a prohibited area. Concealed carry has been so universally successful and beneficial that no repeal legislation has been seriously considered, let alone passed. Circa Spring, 2011, concealed carry is allowed on school grounds only in Utah and Colorado, but 13 additional states are debating the issue, including Texas, where a bill that would allow concealed carry on state college campuses is being debated.

Q: SCHOOLS ARE GUN-FREE ZONES. WON’T GUNS MAKE SCHOOLS MORE DANGEROUS?

Gun free zones? Yes, but only for those who obey the law, and are, as a consequence, no threat. The fact that schools are “gun free zones” did not stop the Columbine killers or any other maniac intent on harming school children, nor will it stop those intent on harm in the future. The laws ensure only that schools are easy targets. In truth, they are victim disarmament zones, special preserves where shooters can be assured that they will have ample time to kill before any police response can be organized. A gun-free zone sign in front of a school provides only a false sense of security to parents, but is comforting indeed to killers who may be certain that their victims will be unarmed and in a very poor position to resist them.

Very few people are comfortable with the idea of prominently posting a sign in front of their home advertising the fact that they are unarmed. Yet some are delighted to see essentially the same sign in front of their children’s school. Signs and laws confer no protection. They suggest and provide for only the possibility of punishment after a violation of the law. The people who threaten our children don’t play by the rules of the American criminal justice system, and boldly standing ready to prosecute school murderers who commonly kill themselves during their attacks is, at best, an exercise in futility. Only the affirmative acts of those prepared to effectively defend themselves and others offer real protection.

Q: TEACHERS CARRYING GUNS?

One significant reason that violent crime has uniformly declined in right to carry states is that even though only a small fraction of the population carries a concealed weapon, the likelihood is high that some honest citizen will be carrying a handgun virtually anywhere at any time. Knowing this, criminals can never know who will be armed and must assume that everyone might be. Therefore though only a small portion of the honest population carry concealed weapons, they provide a protective, deterrent effect for the general public far out of proportion to their numbers.

Those already licensed for concealed carry provide a ready pool for schools. Many people assume that the police are all expert shots. Not so. Many police officers are required to qualify with their firearms only once a year. The courses of fire are commonly not demanding and passing scores generous. Many officers fire their weapons only on those occasions (and clean them less often).

Shooting skills can be learned by virtually anyone, and a great many citizens exceed the police in shooting skill. This is not to denigrate the police in any way--they do a difficult job well--but putting on a police uniform does not endow the wearer with magical shooting powers beyond the reach of civilians. Most teachers are women, and firearms teachers know that women often make the best students, usually lacking the preconceptions and ingrained bad habits present in many men.

Publicizing that teachers are allowed to carry, suggesting that they are carrying, but taking pains to ensure that no one knows who or how many in any given school, will confer upon all teachers, students and schools the benefit of making every school a harder target. No one should be required to carry a firearm against their will. Even if one school in a district has no one on campus carrying a concealed weapon, as long as the public doesn’t know that but reasonably believes that some are, the school retains the deterrent effect of appearing to be a harder target.

If you were planning a school attack and knew that the Smallville School District allowed concealed carry on school property, even encouraged it, but the Pleasantville School district next door did not, in which school district would you be more likely to attack? Terrorists are deterred only when they believe that their mission might be thwarted, which tends to cause them to shift to a softer target. At the moment, virtually every American elementary and secondary school is a soft target.

Q: CAN’T WE SECURE SCHOOLS WITH METAL DETECTORS, LOCKS AND OTHER METHODS?

As I previously noted, only recently have architects begun designing schools for greater security. However, the very nature of schools mitigates against effective security. Particularly in secondary schools, teachers, students and others are constantly coming and going, and a large number of exterior access doors are mandated by fire codes. Metal detectors do not protect against anyone who intends to kill, and security guards are often the first killed, as was the 2005 case at Red Lake High School in North Dakota. A 16 year-old student began his attack by killing the school’s only security guard. The shooter killed a teacher and five students and wounded 14 others before briefly trading gunfire with the police and killing himself in one of the relatively few school attacks in which the police played at least some part in stopping the shooting.

Strong locks and substantial classroom doors are certainly a good idea, as are video systems, comprehensive intercoms and other security measures, but they are expensive and as such, are often set aside for other priorities.
Good security design of school facilities can slow determined killers, but cannot stop them. By all means, employ these methods, but that’s not the point. The more capable and determined the shooter(s) the more likely it is that such passive methods will be of little or no value. The question is what works when these methods have failed, when a killer is present and ready to kill?

Q: WON’T STUDENTS STEAL TEACHER’S GUNS? WON’T TEACHERS LOSE OR MISPLACE THEM?

Anyone carrying a firearm must carry it on their person, invisible, safe and secure from theft. Handguns can’t be locked in cabinets, left in purses or desk drawers; they are not secure and will be useless if their owner is confronted by a deadly threat while thus unarmed. A handgun in a lockbox in a teacher’s classroom will be less than useless to the teacher confronted by a shooter in the hallways of their school. The most effective known weapons locked in an armory are useless to people under attack anywhere else, particularly if they don’t have the key.

It is difficult or impossible to detect a concealed handgun if it has been carefully chosen and concealed. Carrying a firearm entails the absolute responsibility to keep it from unauthorized or dangerous persons. This is all a part of competent training, and requires changes in mindset, behavior and wardrobe.

Carrying a concealed weapon, on or off school grounds, is clearly not for everyone, but is not unreasonably dangerous. By this I mean that when we leave our homes every morning, we assume a great many reasonable risks. Driving represents one of the most real and serious risks we face every day, yet we tend to think nothing of it. We trust average citizens each and every day with weapons far more destructive and deadly than handguns: automobiles. Driving is the most complex, demanding task that we do every day, far more difficult than shooting, yet we require less training, background checks and testing for drivers than that required for concealed carry and think nothing of it. Uniformed police officers who carry their weapons openly are far more likely to be the victim of an attempt to take their weapon than anyone discreetly carrying a concealed handgun in any setting.

Fortunately, there is an experience model. In all of the years of teachers carrying concealed handguns in Utah, there has never been an instance of a student obtaining and using a firearm taken from a teacher. While the theft of a handgun is always a possibility, all of life is a matter of balancing risks, of balancing the good against the bad. The potentially life saving effects of concealed carry during a worst case scenario clearly outweigh, by an enormous margin, the potential negative effects of a lost or stolen weapon.

Q: WE PAY THE POLICE TO PROTECT US. SHOULDN’T WE LEAVE IT TO PROFESSIONALS?

It’s true that police officers love to catch really bad guys, but the police have no duty to protect any individual citizen. On June 27, 2005 the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision in Castle Rock v. Gonzales. In this case, the estranged husband of Gonzales defied a restraining order and kidnapped their three daughters, ages 7-10. Over many hours, the police were repeatedly called, even begged to act. Mrs. Gonzales even went to the police station in person and plead for their help, but they did nothing. Shortly thereafter, Gonzales’ husband committed suicide by cop by firing on the police station. His three daughters were found dead in his vehicle. He murdered them before attacking the police station.

The court affirmed decades of lower court precedence in holding that the police have a duty only to deter and investigate crime for the public at large but not for any individual; the police could not be held liable even though they did nothing to assist Gonzales despite her repeated, obviously valid and pitiful pleas for their help.

This might seem outrageous, but it is rational and necessary. Most people would be amazed, even shocked, to learn how few officers are patrolling their community at any time of the night or day. It is impossible for the police to guarantee protection to any individual, and if they could be successfully sued for failing to provide such protection, what city could possibly afford a police force? Police agencies are always understaffed. As a consequence, they staff their shifts with the most officers when most are required: evenings in general and Friday and Saturday nights in particular. Police agencies virtually always have the fewest officers working during weekday shifts when school is in session.

Indeed, the police love to catch bad guys in the act, and would love nothing more than to stop school shooters, but the police are primarily reactive rather than proactive. There aren’t many of them, and they’re not well prepared to deal--in terms of weapons, training or procedures--with actual terrorism which employs military methods, weapons, tactics and objectives. It is true that more police agencies are changing their response models and training regarding school shootings, but we are all responsible for our own--and our families’--personal safety. No matter how well trained and prepared responding police officers might be, the immutable issues that matter are time and distance. Unless officers are present--within easy handgun range of the shooters--when an attack begins, many children and teachers will die before they can arrive.

Q: WHAT ABOUT SCHOOL LIAISON OFFICERS?

Some schools have armed police officers on their campuses during school hours, more have part time officers, but most have none. School liaison officers are expensive; they are of little use to a day to day patrol force, yet their salary must come, in part or completely, out of a police budget. Even if a school has an assigned liaison officer, the odds that the officer will be on campus when an attack occurs, or will be in the part of the building necessary to take immediate and effective action are small. Such officers duties do not consist only of walking continuously around a school. For most, that’s a very small part of their daily routine. Many schools have the population of small towns, and modern schools are like mazes to those who don’t work in them daily. Those most likely to know who doesn’t belong on a campus and what is happening on a moment by moment basis are those who work there--the teachers.

Time is no longer on the side of the good guys. When an active shooter or shooters enter a school, if they are not engaged and stopped immediately, the only factor determining the eventual death toll will be their good will or lack of marksmanship. Many schools do not have intercom systems, so a teacher seeing an armed attacker in a hallway may have no way--other than their own cell phone, which may or may not work inside the school--to notify the office, warn other teachers, or to call the police.

Q: WON’T TEACHERS WITH GUNS JUST MAKE A BAD SITUATION WORSE?

Worse? Worse than what? Worse than active shooters intent on killing as many students and teachers as quickly as possible? Worse than terrorists feverishly wiring explosive charges? When an armed attack on a school occurs, “worse” has arrived. The only issue thereafter is how deadly things will become, and if the good guys have no effective response, “deadly” will be measured by the amount of time available to the killers to run up the final body count.

Unlike feel good gestures, arming teachers is one of the simplest and most effective measures that can have a positive effect if the worst case scenario occurs--ask the Israelis. If it never occurs, the school environment remains unaffected, except for the positive benefits of deterrence.

Teachers who hold concealed carry permits currently live a schizophrenic legal/professional existence. Standing on the sidewalk in front of a school, they are trusted upstanding citizens who have willingly, and at considerable expense in time and money, submitted to rigorous vetting by the state. Step onto school property and they instantly become potentially crazed killers, liable for firing and lengthy jail sentences. The determining factor? Geography.

Does the value of a teacher’s or student’s life change depending upon where he or she stands relative to a school property boundary? Should children be under the protection of their parents who hold concealed carry licenses be deprived of that protection merely because they step on school property, crossing an invisible line? Does a gun-free school zone sign confer magical protective properties on the real estate behind it, forcing the most deranged or homicidally determined to obey that law even as they doggedly prepare for mass murder? Unless this kind of magic exists, the only thing worse than an armed attack is failing to prepare for it, and therefore, having no effective response when it occurs.

Q: WON’T ARMED TEACHERS MAKE THINGS MORE DANGEROUS FOR RESPONDING POLICE OFFICERS? WON’T THEY SHOOT ARMED TEACHERS BY MISTAKE?

Most teachers wear identification cards and look a lot more like teachers than killers. Police officers are trained not to fire their weapons without being absolutely sure of their targets. Every police officer knows that they are, morally and legally, absolutely responsible for every round they fire and that they will frequently be required to walk into ambiguous situations. They train for these scenarios. Officers knowing that teachers might be armed makes friendly fire incidents less, rather than more, likely.

It is true that police officers sometimes make mistakes and injure or kill innocents. But again, the issue is one of balance. Should the mere possibility of mistakes prevent us from providing the best, most proven method of protecting the lives of our children at school?

Q: SCHOOLS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE SAFE, SECURE ENVIRONMENTS FOR OUR CHILDREN. DON’T GUNS IN SCHOOLS GIVE STUDENTS THE WRONG MESSAGE?

Indeed, schools must be safe and secure environments for our children. Historically, this has been the case, but never has there been a clear and present--and often demonstrated--danger like that we now face. Never has it been more vital that those responsible for the safety of children entrusted to them at school deal with that responsibility rationally and effectively. Locks, doors, video, passive security measures are all nice to have, but the question that each and every parent must ask is: “what will you do if the worst case scenario comes to pass? How will you protect my child?” Unless the answer is to effectively deter attacks, and to meet deadly force with deadly force, your children are “protected” only by rhetoric, only by small, metal signs. School shooters have not, to date, been impressed, deterred, or stopped by rhetoric or by signage.

The true gun free school zone message is that we are not responsible for our own safety and security; someone else will protect us. It represents magical thinking: A thing is so because we say it is, because we sincerely wish it to be. Pity the poor Virginia Tech official who, months before the shooting, after the defeat of a law that would have allowed students and faculty to carry firearms on campus, smugly proclaimed that everyone could, as a result, feel safe. No doubt he and others felt safe for a time, but feelings and reality are often quite different, an irony that one can only hope will haunt him, and will certainly haunt the surviving relatives of the victims, for the rest of their lives.

We are all, by law and common sense, responsible for our personal security. Refusing to take affirmative measures to protect ourselves and our charges is an abrogation of responsibility and teaches weakness, helplessness and victimhood. We have established gun free school zone policies to lull ourselves into the belief that such “zones” are safe, to “send a message” about what we believe to be important, to advertise our belief in peace and safety and niceness. Unfortunately, reality dictates that such signs will be obeyed only by the law abiding and that they empower, even encourage those who would harm others. There are truly evil people abroad in the world, and any one of us may have the misfortunate to meet one of them at any time of the day or night. Do we really want to teach students to ignore reality and rely only on feel good/feel safe measures in this, or any other situation?

A recent focus in schools across the country is the prevention of bullying. Programs are being developed and large amounts of money being spent. There is little doubt that some children subjected to bullying, particularly where school authorities do nothing, commit suicide or otherwise suffer. But if we are willing to devote so much energy and so many resources to this issue--and it is surely reasonable to take prudent steps to prevent bullying and to effectively and immediately punish it when and where it occurs--why are so many educators and others unwilling to address an even greater and more potentially deadly danger?

PARTING THOUGHTS:

As regular readers know, I am a teacher of high school English. I’ve been fortunate to have some 15 years of experience in this wonderful and vital endeavor and have also had the pleasure of teaching college. These experiences have given me considerable insight into the culture of education.

Many educators, many of those in positions of authority in education, are liberals. As such, their views of those who own guns tend to run the gamut from disapproval to believing them to be barely sentient lunatics ready to kill the innocent at any moment. Some really have an irrational, visceral fear and loathing of firearms, as though inanimate objects have magical, evil powers capable of infecting those around them. It should hardly be surprising that such people would reflexively oppose what I’m suggesting.

However, the times are changing. Only a few years ago, before the Heller and McDonald decisions by the Supreme Court finally established the Second Amendment as a fundamental American right enforceable on state and local governments, the kinds of laws now being considered and increasingly passed would have been thought impossible. Anti-gun forces still exist, but are more and more marginalized. The field of education is one of their last power bases.

In the final installment of this series, which I’ll post next Monday, I’ll lay out a very realistic scenario that may help to persuade otherwise reluctant parents and school board members. It is my hope that America won’t have to suffer through a Beslan-like attack--or many such attacks--in an elementary school before our schools implement the only effective means of stopping those who would harm our children. Never has the danger been greater, yet never has the possibility for effective change been greater.

Posted by MikeM at 03:08 PM | Comments (9)

April 18, 2011

The Deadly Political Correctness of Gun-Free School Zones

Terrorists attempting attacks on American soil have, of late, had a run of bad luck. An underwear bomber succeeds mainly in torching his “junk” on an airliner; a car bomber is thwarted by an alert citizen in Times Square; would-be bombers are stung by the FBI in Dallas and Baltimore, and no doubt, other plots have been thwarted in earlier stages of execution, plots about which most will never know so that the methods and sources of our police and intelligence agencies might be protected, unless Julian Assange, the New York Times or similar internet/media vermin get their paws on the information.

But such good fortune has not been universal. During the seven years of the Bush Administration following 9-11, there were no successful terrorist attacks on American soil. In the first two years of the Obama Administration, hope and change have produced multiple successful attacks, including the Fort Hood attack, which cost 12 deaths and 31 injured. Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut), commenting on the report on that act of domestic terrorism, observed that it was not only preventable, but was the result of a climate of political correctness. It is that particular kind of attack that is likely to be the wave of the future. Due to misplaced, misinformed good intentions and political correctness run amok, America is particularly vulnerable.

Consider the case of obscure Florida minister Terry Jones, leader of a small flock, who burned a Koran in early April, 2011. Around the world, a few days later, Afghan President Hamid Karzai decried the burning and his citizens went berserk, attacking a UN compound and killing seven UN workers, as many as five fellow Afghan Muslims, and injuring 20 or more.

In response, Senator Lindsay Graham was upset that he could not punish the pastor or anyone who would burn a Koran. President Obama likewise “deplored” the Koran burning, but also got around to expressing his disapproval of those who killed innocents. While the Florida paster is certainly unwise, and book burning is the act of a Luddite, the politically correct response, by an American senator and the President--among many others--should give us all pause. There is no moral equivalence between burning a book and the brutal murder of innocents, none. It is particularly ironic that one of those killed was a 33 year old Swede who, according to media accounts, “worked for human rights.” That the default position of so many of our civic “leaders” is to blame anyone but those responsible for inhuman crimes is a symptom of a dangerous strain of emotionalism and illogic abroad in contemporary America, of political correctness elevated above all else.

Many Americans give lip service to the idea that everything changed on September 11, 2001. For our schools, however, that process of change began on April 20, 1999 at Columbine High School in Colorado. Unfortunately, far too many, and particularly educators, have learned the wrong lessons.

School shootings and terrorist attacks on schools are notorious primarily because they are relatively rare. Students are, statistically, more likely to be killed in an automobile accident, struck by lightning or hit by a meteor than to be involved in a Columbine, Virginia Tech or Beslan-like attack. That is the good news.

The bad news is that intelligence agencies have, for some time, been developing information that indicates that terrorists intend to strike soft targets in America in the same ways that they have struck soft targets in other nations. And even if such intelligence did not exist, it wouldn’t take Nostradamus to forecast the likelihood of such attacks. Terrorists know that it will be difficult to again turn an American airliner into a flying bomb, and so they have resorted to tactics such as suicide bombers wearing binary liquid or semi-liquid explosives. The recent Russian sale to Venezuela of advanced, shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles has opened up another possible avenue of attack, particularly since intelligence is also indicating that terrorists have been--and almost certainly are--entering America over our porous southern border. Of course, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano continues to claim that the situation on the border is better than ever. Thus, under the Obama Administration, is the future apparently to be won.

Mass, coordinated attacks originating from abroad are always possible, but perhaps the greatest current danger comes from homegrown jihadists who do not have consistent ties to foreign terror masters. Such neophyte jihadists have, to date, often made mistakes that have allowed law enforcement to intercept them, but as has already been noted, not every one of them has been so careless, and many will not be so careless in the future.

An allied danger is the disaffected citizen who, for whatever reason, decides to attack innocents and go out in a blaze of deranged glory, the Virginia Tech killer--who would certainly have liked me to mention his name--being only one example. For such killers, attacking undefended, soft targets like shopping malls, churches, theaters and schools will almost certainly become much more attractive. Unlike plots involving substantial amounts of explosives, or other military ordinance, such attacks require nothing more than a few pockets-full of ammunition and commonly available, non-military (not fully-automatic) firearms, and if the plots involve only one or two killers, particularly if they are closed-mouthed, they are virtually impossible to intercept and prevent.

Due to an unfortunate and outdated mix of social, academic and legal factors, schools are uniquely vulnerable to attack. The feel-good trend of the 80s and 90s to declare school zones “gun free,” to “make a statement,” may have impressed those who believe that statement making is a good in and of itself and would doubtless have unjustifiably raised their self-esteem to stratospheric heights. However such high-minded statement making has not served to provoke good will in those who have attacked schools or who are currently looking for a soft target.

For most schools that have considered the possibility of such attacks (most have not), response to an armed attack amounts to little more than locking classroom doors, and reminiscent of early Cold War duck-and-cover drills, overturning and hiding behind desks, relying on 3/4” particle board desktops for protection from bullets and bombs. Doors and desks don’t provide effective protection from either. Only coldly sober, rational tactical thinking, planning and action can prevent or ameliorate terrorist attacks. Hiding, particularly hiding poorly, provides no real protection. Unfortunately, tactical thinking remains off the radar of most educators, and only recently has any tactical thinking gone into the construction of school facilities.

Attacks by “active shooters,” whether Islamist terrorists or non-ideological, domestic juveniles or adults, have many elements in common. All have missions in mind, and for most, survival is decidedly secondary. Most expect to die, either through suicide or by means of the police (forcing the police to shoot them, AKA “suicide by cop”). Both types have no interest in negotiation, and on the rare occasions when they speak to the police at all, it is merely a means of obtaining greater publicity or playing for more time to rape, torture and kill helpless victims. Both care about police intervention only because the police might interfere with their plans. The police, who behave in legally proscribed and predictable ways, do not deter their attacks, and unlike common criminals, they have no reluctance in killing police officers. They plan their attacks with the goal of causing the maximum damage--usually in loss of innocent lives-- in the shortest time, which tends to produce the most and most lasting publicity and/or the greatest glory for their cause and themselves in whatever hellish afterlife they covet.

At the Virginia Tech attack in April of 2007, the killer, pausing after two initial murders, prepared and mailed a package of video, writings and photographs to NBC, which copied everything before bothering to call the police to turn over the originals, and blitzed the airwaves for days with the killer’s lunatic pronouncements. In short, the media gave him exactly what he wanted. In arrogantly and mindlessly defending their actions, NBC made clear to any and all future killers that their insane manifestos would receive a similarly warm welcome from the media. This was not lost on those considering similar atrocities.

LESSONS: All active shooter threats, regardless of ideology or motivation, are equally dangerous. It must now be assumed that those attacking schools will not behave as common criminals, won’t play by the rules of the criminal justice system, do not intend to survive and will kill as many innocents as possible as quickly as possible. Negotiation is likely futile. The press will be on the side of the terrorists in their publicity seeking desires.

The Columbine killers tried to kill as many teachers and students (15) as possible before they were stopped. Considering the time afforded them by the police, it is amazing that hundreds weren’t killed. The police were ineffective because they relied upon an outdated response model that assumed that the attackers were common criminals, wanted to negotiate, and that time was on the side of the police. A school liaison officer did trade a few rounds of gunfire with the shooters, but quickly withdrew, doing as he had been taught: contain and control, let the professionals--Special Weapons and Tactics--handle it. By the time a SWAT team assembled, organized and entered the building, the murderers had already killed their classmates and themselves, and a wounded teacher who might have been saved slowly bled to death over the course of many hours. The Columbine killers brought a crude propane tank bomb, hoping to set off an explosion that would kill scores, but were not able to cause a detonation. The Virginia Tech killer, who chained shut doors to keep victims in and the police out, also had more than enough time to kill 32 innocents before killing himself. He was armed only with two common handguns. The response of the police at Virginia Tech was many times faster than the Columbine response, yet they had no role in stopping the murderer, and their faster response mattered little to the victims or their families. In fact, the number of cases where the police have had any actual role in stopping an active shooter are vanishingly small.

LESSONS: In order to save lives, attackers must be immediately engaged and neutralized. Time is not on the side of the authorities and is absolutely not on the side of the victims. By the time a SWAT team--even if one is available--can be mobilized, arrive and formulate a plan, their only useful task will be in helping to remove the dead.

The 9-11 terrorists had no short-term goals save killing as many Americans as possible. There were no demands, no negotiations, nothing to contain or control. It was the passengers of Flight 93, the airliner the terrorists intended to crash into the White House or Congress, alerted by cell phone to the terrorist’s intentions, who changed the response model independently of the authorities. Crying “let’s roll,” they overwhelmed the terrorists, forcing the plane to crash in a Pennsylvania field, far short of the terrorist’s target. Terrorists now know that American airline passengers will not meekly wait for the authorities to save them. As positive as this development is, it tends to focus terrorists on softer targets.

Few are as soft as schools, as the world learned at Beslan, Russia during several days that began on September 01, 2004 when Islamic terrorists blew up a school, killing more than three hundred and wounding hundreds more as the culmination of three days of rape, torture and murder. This tactic should not have been a surprise, and would not have been a surprise had the mainstream media honestly done its job in the past. Israel has suffered the threat and reality of terrorist attacks on schools for decades. These attacks have been, at best, underreported in the American media, but one particular aspect of these attacks, and the most effective response to them--in Israel and potentially in America--has been ignored, even suppressed by the MSM: the use of firearms by school staff to deter and stop school attacks.

LESSON: Terrorists have been attacking schools and students, throughout the world, for decades. Domestic active shooters have been doing the same in America for decades. The threat is real and is already present. What is new is the potential for an escalation in the number of attacks and in their deadliness.

Living with terrorism in a way that is, for the moment, foreign to Americans, the Israelis have adopted practical responses to terror. For decades, Israeli teachers have been armed, even with true assault rifles (there is no such thing as an “assault weapon,” which is an anti-gun/MSM invention) and submachine guns, changing soft targets to hard targets, deterring attacks and preventing or minimizing the loss of life when attacks occur. As a result, school attacks are rare.

A January 25, 2008 attack on an Israeli High School by two armed terrorists ended with only slight wounds to the two school counselors who used their handguns to quickly kill the terrorists. That’s right: two armed school counselors protected their own lives and the lives of their students. They were not police officers, commandos or action heros, but school counselors. This story received scant attention in the American press, which continues to downplay or ignore Israeli, and many similar American, success stories, and routinely ignores the one to two million (or more) times each year that honest citizens use firearms to stop criminal assault, usually without firing a shot.

In Pearl, Mississippi on October 01, 1997, a crazed adolescent armed with a rifle shot nine students, killing two and wounding seven. Who has heard of Assistant Principal Joel Myrick who stopped the rampage, saving untold lives? Virtually no one, because he used a gun to overcome the shooter. Myrick ran a quarter of a mile to his car, which was parked off school property to comply with the federal law then in force (but since overturned) prohibiting firearms within 1000 feet of a school. Retrieving his handgun, he ran back to the school and confronted the shooter, disarming him and holding him for police. Media accounts, when they mentioned Myrick, virtually all failed to mention the presence and role of his handgun.

On January 16, 2002 at the Appalachian Law School in Grundy, Virginia, a crazed student went on a shooting rampage, killing three and wounding three. He was stopped by two fellow students, Mikael Gross and Tracy Bridges, who ran to their cars to retrieve their handguns. At gunpoint, they ended his killing and held him for police.

Dr. John Lott, in his book “The Bias Against Guns,” recounts how he conducted a Lexis/Nexus search of the news stories surrounding this event. Of 208 news stories throughout the nation in the week following the attack, only four mentioned that the attack was stopped with the use of firearms. Only two reported that Gross and Bridges actually pointed their guns at the shooter. In his book, “Arrogance,” former CBS reporter Bernard Goldberg wrote of his surprise, upon reading Lott’s research into the incident, that the MSM would leave out such a noteworthy and essential detail. Conducting his own research, he discovered that Lott was correct. Goldberg wrote: “Only a tiny handful of reporters in the entire country were willing to report an essential part of the story: that it wasn’t just the killer who used a gun on campus that day, but two of the rescuers too.”

Considering media treatment of the issue, it is hardly surprising that so many Americans buy into the false and deadly promise of safety of the “gun-free school zone.” It is unsurprising that most Americans do not recognize the very real threat of school attacks by terrorists. In the two most deadly American school attacks--Columbine and Virginia Tech--the police had no role in ending the killing, another fact which has gone unmentioned by the media. For school attacks, this is overwhelmingly the rule, not the exception.

LESSON: If the goal is saving lives--and where school children are involved, what more important goal exists?--force must be met, immediately, with equal or greater counter-force. The police virtually never arrive in time to make a difference.

Please keep in mind that I am not denigrating the police. I was a police officer for nearly two decades. That is why I understand the reality of police response time. The police love to catch dangerous criminals in the act. It’s what they live for, but in the real world, unlike television, catching bad guys in the act, or preventing their crimes, is uncommon precisely because most bad guys take pains to avoid being caught and because there are, relative to the size of any community, few police officers.

In installments two and three of this three-part series, I’ll elaborate on the difficulties the police face in responding to active shooters, and on the realities of time and distance that frustrate their response. I’ll also propose a means to harden schools, and address the arguments against that proposal.

Posted by MikeM at 05:34 PM | Comments (16)

April 11, 2011

Me? Own A Gun? Article 5: Cartridges and Carrying

In this final installment of the five part series (the first four installments may be found here, here, here and here), I’ll explore the basics of cartridge and holster choice, and add a few interesting additional tidbits. I hope this series has been useful and informative.

CARTRIDGE CHOICE:

Cartridge choices for handguns are relatively simple. For revolvers, the .38 special and .357 magnum predominate. One can also obtain revolvers in .44 special, .44 magnum and larger, specialized cartridges most commonly used for hunting, but for most people choosing a revolver, the choice is .38 special or .357 magnum. The .357 is nothing more than a .38 special with a slightly longer case which allows more powder, greater bullet velocity, and therefore, more power. Smaller revolvers like the Ruger LCR are chambered only in .38 special (there is a .357 model with a different model designation), and while any revolver chambered for .357 magnum will also fire .38 special ammunition, the opposite is not true. It would be wise to consider .38 special to be the smallest cartridge appropriate for self defense in revolvers. Smaller calibers are available, but there is no advantage in size or otherwise in such weapons. Revolvers chambered for .357 magnum and larger calibers are themselves larger and heavier, often much larger and heavier than smaller, short barreled revolvers chambered in .38 special.

Common cartridge choices for semiautos are somewhat more numerous: .380 ACP, 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP predominate. Again, there are a variety of other available cartridges, but these are the primary four. Of the four, the .40 S&W is the most recent, having been developed from the 10mm cartridge as a shorter cartridge with less brutal recoil characteristics. It does approximate the performance of some .45 ACP ammunition with lighter bullet weights, while being physically small enough to use the same frames and slides as guns chambered in 9mm. Generally speaking, none of these cartridges is interchangeable. With semiautos, one should load and fire only those cartridges for which a given handgun was designed. In this genre, the .380 is generally considered the smallest cartridge effective for self defense. Handguns chambered for it, such as the polymer Ruger LCP, can be very small and light indeed, but as with very small and light revolvers, tend to have mediocre sights and triggers and because of their very light weight and small size, tend to impart considerably more recoil energy to the shooter. This usually results in equally mediocre accuracy.

Cartridges are commonly named for their bore diameter and developer, or to clearly differentiate them from similar cartridges. The .357 magnum, for instance, fires a bullet whose diameter is 357/1000 of an inch, and the “magnum” designation is intended to denote a more powerful version of the .38 special, which fires a bullet of the same diameter. The .40 S&W fires a bullet of 400/1000 inch diameter, and major development work was done by Smith and Wesson. It is essentially a development of the 10mm cartridge, but the case is slightly shorter to allow smaller framed weapons to fire it with less recoil. Again, the .40 S&W designation clearly differentiates it from 10mm ammunition, though both fire bullets of essentially the same diameter. While it is possible to fire .40 S&W ammunition in a handgun chambered for 10mm, the opposite is not true, and it is always best to fire only that ammunition for which a gun is specifically chambered, particularly with semiautos.

BROAD AMMUNITION GENERALIZATIONS:

For self defense, only jacketed hollow points should be used. Hollow points have the greatest likelihood of expending more of their energy within a target--thus having the maximum stopping effect--and the least likelihood of over-penetration and ricochet as they will tend to “mushroom” or fragment on impact with solid objects. Full metal jacket, or “hardball” ammunition--lead bullets fully encased with copper and with rounded noses--are military issue due to international treaties and because of the military need for greater penetration of cover. In the military context, it is often better to wound than to kill an enemy. A wounded enemy takes three people out of the fight: the wounded soldier and two of his comrades to carry him. This kind of ammunition is entirely appropriate--and much cheaper--for practice, but not for daily carry.

Practice ammunition, whether with lead bullets or jacketed bullets, is generally substantially cheaper than carry ammo, however, it is often of lower power and will therefore have different recoil, report and muzzle flash characteristics than carry ammo. In fact, some light-loaded practice/target ammunition may cause malfunctions in some semiautos. The lesson is to practice, upon occasion, with the ammunition you intend to carry.

Another significant issue is ammunition cost. If you’re going to be truly proficient, if you’re going to have the confidence that will help to ensure that you’ll likely be able to avoid using a handgun, which should be your preferred outcome, you must practice--and practice correctly--regularly. Anyone can learn to shoot, but shooting well under pressure is an acquired skill, and a skill that is degraded without consistent, correct practice.

For all of the ammunition that follows except the 9mm, the cost was derived by multiplying the per box (50 rounds) cost by 20. Revolver cartridges and the .380 can be sometimes difficult to find in 1000 round lots, but when purchased in that quantity, one can usually save $20 or so over the per-box price. The prices listed are quite close to those of other brands currently for sale on the discount ammo market. Hollow point ammunition suitable for concealed carry normally comes in 50 round boxes, but every manufacturer markets ammunition claimed to be nothing short of miraculous in 20 round boxes at much higher prices. As you can see, 9mm ammunition is generally substantially cheaper than any other popular caliber.

In revolvers, .38 special ammo is generally cheaper than .357 ammo of the same type. In semiautos, 9mm ammo is generally much cheaper than the other three types and is generally much more readily available. Checking prices at Midway USA (a popular supplier of ammunition and all things gun) in early April 2011 for roughly comparable practice FMJ (full metal jacketed) ammunition (per thousand rounds ), I find (bullet weights are expressed in “grains”):

Magtech .38 Special, 158 gr. lead round nose, 1000 rounds, $287.80

Sellier & Bellot .357 Magnum, 158 gr. FMJ, 1000 rounds, $459.80

Sellier & Bellot .380 ACP, 92 gr. FMJ, 1000 rounds, $339.80

CCI Blazer 9mm, 115 grain FMJ, 1000 rounds, $219.00

Magtech .40 S&W, 180 gr. FMJ, 1000 rounds, $323.80

Magtech .45 ACP, 230 gr. FMJ RN, 1000 rounds, $377.80

By way of comparison, 1000 rounds of .22LR ammunition--and there are many models chambered for this caliber in revolvers and semiautos--can be had for about $35.00. However, .22LR is not a good choice for a self defense arm, though for a backup gun meant to be used only at near contact range as a last resort if a primary arm is lost or out of ammunition, it is a reasonable choice. That said, the .22LR is a very versatile--and obviously inexpensive--cartridge and no shooter should be without at least one .22LR rifle, and arguably, a .22LR handgun, but more about that later. As the Texas Ranger suggested earlier, in ammunition, bigger is often better.

Consider the Moro uprising of 1899-1913. The Moros, Islamic revolutionaries in the Phillipines, fought a protracted jungle war with the US Army. This was America’s first real war against an Islamic enemy and its first jungle war. The Moros were small in stature, being only a bit over five feet tall on average, but were fierce, dedicated and prone to atrocities. Many would drug themselves prior to combat, lowering their resistance to pain and increasing their homicidal rage.

At the time, the US Army’s issued handgun and cartridge was a .38 special which was quickly discovered to be wanting. The round nosed lead bullets fired at slow velocities might inflict wounds on a charging, drug crazed Moro that would eventually result in his death, but proved to be exceptionally poor in stopping such charges, even with multiple hits in vital areas.

Desperate for a better gun/cartridge combination, the Army adopted what is perhaps authentic American genius John M. Browning’s most enduring design: The Colt 1911 pistol in .45 ACP. Large, heavy and reliable, the 1911 fired much heavier jacketed .45 caliber bullets that proved to be excellent man stoppers, often immediately dropping Moros with a single hit. The model 1911 in various configurations and the .45 ACP have been very popular since.

This brings up one of the classic shooter controversies: 9mm vs. .45ACP. The basic argument is which is best, a larger/heavier, slower bullet, or a smaller/lighter but faster bullet? Proponents on each side often engage in lengthy proofs in the popular gun press fraught with righteous anger and disdain, supported by scientifically derived (or not) ballistic tables and anecdotal evidence of horrendous failures of the cartridge they disfavor, but the truth is that any of the cartridges I mention here, properly placed, will be effective. Poorly placed, the most powerful handgun cartridge will have minimal effect.

In truth, I have carried both cartridges and have never felt under-armed with either. There are indeed instances where people have been shot multiple times with either cartridge and have barely been affected, only to more or less fully recover later. On the other hand, there are many instances of attackers being completely and immediately stopped by single rounds. Generally, the. 45ACP has a well-deserved reputation as a man-stopper and will, in objective, scientific measurements tend to outperform smaller, lighter calibers. However, there are many other factors to consider.

A full-sized model 1911 has a seven-round magazine of .45ACP. It is an excellent, but large and heavy handgun and while some people do commonly carry it, it is hardly an optimal concealed carry choice for most people. Because the focus of this article is on concealed carry, following are the specifications of three Glock subcompact models and the Ruger LCR.

Keep in mind that it was the decade-long Clinton gun ban that gave birth to the Glock 26 and a great many other similarly sized handguns by other manufacturers. Under the ban, new magazines were limited to 10 rounds, so Glock, whose smallest gun at the time was the G19 with a 15 round magazine, designed the G26 for ten round magazines, making a much more concealable weapon that still carried an impressive amount of ammunition. It certainly gave the gun banners fits. Irony can, upon occasion, be particularly satisfying.

SUBCOMPACT HANDGUN COMPARISON (weight in ounces):

G26: 9mm, Barrel: 3.46”, L: 6.29”, W:1.18”, H: 4.17”, Weight: 19.75/26.1 (unloaded/loaded), 10 Round magazine capacity.

G27: .40 S&W, Barrel: 3.46”, L: 6.29”, W:1.18”, H: 4.17”, Weight: 19.75/26.98, 9 Round magazine capacity.

G36: .45ACP, Barrel: 3.78”, L: 6.77”, W:1.13”, H: 4.76”, Weight:20.11/26.96, 9 Round magazine capacity.

LCR: .38 Special, Barrel: 1.875”, L: 6.5”, W: 1.283”, H: 4.5”, Weight: 13.5 unloaded, 5 round capacity.

Notice that the .45 model is larger and heavier than its 9mm and .40 S&W cousins, but not by much, which is a testament to Glock design and engineering. the largest difference is in magazine capacity. With one round in the chamber and a spare magazine, carrying a Glock 26 yields 21 rounds. For the Glock 27 it’s 19, and for the 36, 13. A Ruger LCR with a speedloader yields 10.

HOLSTERS:

What should guide one’s choice of a holster? What will be comfortable, concealable, and most importantly, what you will actually wear every day. A holster that looks great but just doesn’t fit your body or life will be of little use. There are several primary categories of holsters useful for concealed carry, but much depends on the individual, their lifestyle, the climate, and their weapon. Generally, those living in predominantly hot climates have fewer choices than those who live in cold climates as coats and jackets can effectively cover a wider variety of weapon/holster combinations than a shirt. Shoulder holsters, for example, while looking sexy on James Bond, are generally not a great choice in hot climates. As it is best to carry only one gun, it is best to always carry it in the same holster. Here are the primary options:

BELT HOLSTERS: These come in a variety of materials--primarily polymer or leather--and styles, and attach to a belt by means of various clips, slots or paddles. Among them, the widely used “pancake” holsters hold the weapon close to the body, but are marginally slower to draw than holsters that are not so body-hugging. Fobus makes a line of inexpensive but effective polymer holsters that allow easy adjustment of the angle of the holster on the hip.

INSIDE THE BELT/WAISTBAND HOLSTERS: Made of leather, Cordura and nylon or polymer, these are among the most effective concealment holsters as they minimize the appearance of a handgun and hold it as close to the body as possible, between the waistband of the pants and the body. They are slightly slower to draw that pancake holsters, but for most people, drawing speed is not the primary concern. Most require a belt for proper support and to keep the pants from constantly sliding downward under the weight of a handgun.

SHOULDER HOLSTERS: Made of leather, Cordura and nylon, polymer or combinations of these, shoulder holsters are generally comfortable, particularly if balanced by two magazines on the opposite side of the body. However, they do require loose-fitting overgarments to properly conceal them and generally cost much more than other types of holsters. In addition, one cannot take off the outer garments without revealing the handgun. They come primarily with vertical or horizontal holster orientations.

FANNY PACKS: Usually made of Cordura, nylon or some combination, these devices are normally worn with the pack on the front of the body or on the hip. Depending on their release/opening mechanism, they may afford a rapid draw. Obviously, they allow the convenient carrying of a handgun, magazines and other common items with little concern for wardrobe. These are a particularly good choice for hot climates, but avoid units that place the belt release buckle on or near the back. It’s far too easy for a bad guy to make off with the pack, thinking he’s getting a billfold, only to find an entirely unexpected windfall.

Fanny packs can be a very good choice for women, whose clothing options tend not to be as numerous or carry-friendly as those of men. Many belt holsters require a substantial leather or nylon belt to work properly, and that, in turn, requires wide, substantial belt loops (to say nothing of pants), something many women’s pants simply do not have. On the other hand, an unobtrusive fanny pack accessorizes well with pants and skirts alike, as long as they’re not too formal, and can double as a small purse.

There are a variety of other specialty holsters for a wide variety of weapons. Some manufacturers make purses with easily accessible holsters, but this presents a unique problem. You must keep your concealed weapon with you and in your direct control at all times. If it’s in a purse, it can easily be forgotten, or stolen without the owner’s knowledge. It’s not an impossible choice, but anyone carrying one has to be extra careful to keep it within her immediate grasp at all times. A quick trip to the internet/Google will reveal the profusion of holsters available. Expect to spend from $25-$100 on a good holster.

ONE ILLUMINATING ACCESSORY: Laser sights. Lasers are now available for most popular handguns in two types (red and green) and three primary mounting methods: Incorporated in the the handgun grip, attaching to an under-frame rail, or incorporated into the rear sight. Some manufacturers also make models that replace the guide rods of semiautos, though this limits the models for which the laser is available and they cannot be finely adjusted for precise accuracy. Quality laser sights run just a bit over $100 to as much as $500 and are now quite small.

Red lasers are more common and less expensive than green lasers. The only real advantage green lasers have over red is that the laser dot is more visible in a wider range of situations over greater distances. Red laser dots might be hard for some people to see in bright sunlight, particularly over ranges greater than 15 yards, while green will commonly be more visible. However, since virtually all handgun engagements take place at ranges under 15 yards--commonly a great deal under 15 yards--this is not as significant an issue as it might seem. For most people, a red laser will be quite sufficient, and this problem is reasonably effectively addressed with a pulsing laser dot which is much more easily seen than a solid beam. Pulse mode lasers are offered by many manufacturers.

Lasers are a real solution to the generally poor, non-adjustable “iron” sights standard on most small revolvers and many .380 semiautos. In addition, they are an excellent training tool, giving shooters an immediate visual representation of the effects of their trigger techniques, an important issue for any shooter, but particularly for beginners. For any shooter, they can improve speed and accuracy, and for shooters whose eyesight is not as sharp as it once was, are an obvious benefit. Some may ask “but what happens when the battery fails?” Simple: just use the sights that came with the handgun; they don’t require batteries. I change batteries yearly, and despite relatively frequent use, I’m always replacing batteries that still have useful life remaining.

Some of the best-known laser companies are: Crimson Trace, Laser Lyte, LaserMax and Veridian. I have used lasers from the first three companies and have found them to be high quality and reasonably priced. Veridian specializes in green lasers, so their offerings tend to be more expensive than average.

AN IDEAL SITUATION:

Please keep in mind that I am not paid to endorse any product, so my suggestions are based entirely on decades of experience in carrying weapons, in the military, civilian police work, and as a citizen rather than motivated by financial self-interest.

That said, I have carried a Glock 26, and only a Glock 26, for about 15 years. For the last nine years, I have carried it in a fanny pack. This makes a great deal of sense as I live in the southern US where it is commonly very hot. As I was raised in the north, cold bothers me little, and in a common southern (what passes for) winter might wear a jacket two to three times at most. A fanny pack, which I wear on the right front portion of my body, allows me to carry not only my handgun and spare magazines, but other items like a checkbook and keys. One of the advantages of this method of carry is that when I have no choice but to enter a place that prohibits legal concealed weapons, it’s easy to put the weapon in the truck of my car without making it obvious to anyone that I’m storing a handgun there. I’ve used several different models, including one by Uncle Mike’s, but these days, I’m carrying a UTG model that cost only about $15.00. With a bit of easily done sewing modification, this one works are well as several I’ve carried at three and more times the cost.

I chose the Glock 26 because of its small size and weight while still keeping substantial magazine capacity. With two spare magazines, I have 31 rounds handy, and keep fifty in my vehicle. Because I have relatively large hands, I’ve equipped each of my magazines with a Pearce Grip floor plate/finger rest. This is a simple plastic device that replaces the floor plate of a Glock magazine (a simple and quick change) while providing a secure place to perch the little finger. This helps in controlling recoil, which with the 9mm in a pistol of this size is relatively mild in the first place. These neat little bits of plastic cost only about $7.00 each and are available for a wide variety of makes and models. Many women and men with smaller hands might find that the G26 grip is just fine without the addition of a finger rest. My wife could probably do without them, but likes the feel.

While I’m on the topic of magazines, it is a good idea to have a complete replacement set of magazines. If you normally carry two spares, buy a total of six magazines. On a regular basis, say every two-three months, switch magazines. This allows the magazine springs to relax and lessens the chance of a magazine failure. Is this absolutely necessary? Possibly not. Will you experience magazine failures if you don’t? Eventually. Any spring will eventually weaken, but it may well take many years. For relatively little extra cost--spare Glock magazines are usually about $25.00--the potential problem is probably eliminated.

I also chose a Glock because I have long experience with them, in law enforcement and out. They are faultlessly rugged, reliable, accurate and work the way they should right out of the box. In transition training from .357 S&W model 686 revolvers to Glocks, we were told that if we lost our grip to simply let the Glocks fly. A great many were flung down our concrete-floored range, and aside from some slight scuffing on some sights, showed or sustained no other damage. Doing the same with our .357s would have resulted in a great many non-functional, badly dinged revolvers. Glocks are also very easy to take down, clean, and reassemble, breaking down into only four parts: Slide, frame, barrel and spring. This is a happy consequence of Glocks having been designed as military pistols.

Glocks are also among the simplest semiautos, having no manual safety devices, but three separate internal and trigger safety mechanisms incorporated into the design. I recently traded a G26 for a new G26. The only wear on my old handgun was some paint worn off the painted slide release, and this in a gun regularly carried for a decade. In every field of endeavor, some manufacturers do it right from the beginning. Glock was the first to market a pistol with a polymer frame and many polymer parts, and everyone else has followed suit. The Glocks I have owned and/or carried have easily been the most reliable handguns I have ever used.

Another advantage of Glocks is that if you know know the manual of arms for one Glock, you know them all. They share the same general configuration, triggers, and in every way that matters, work identically, making it very easy to transition from, say, a G26 with a 10 round magazine, to a full-sized G17 with a 17 round magazine.

My old G26 was equipped with a Crimson Trace grip laser, which I found to be an effective, though expensive unit. My newest G26 has a Laser Lyte rear sight laser, which is a brilliantly miniaturized unit which is actually a part of the rear sight. As such, it does not widen the grip and does not interfere with any type of holster. It also has two significant red laser advantages: It’s quite inexpensive (no more than $150) and has a pulse mode which is not only easier to see but doubles battery life to about ten hours.

Third generation G26s are going for $500 or a bit less (circa early April 2011), while the 4th generation models are about $50 more, and if gun media accounts are accurate, seem to be having some initial teething problems, i.e.: more malfunctions than one expects with Glocks. This might be two to three malfunctions in 500 rounds, which illustrates the general reliability standards one expects of Glocks.

The part of this situation that is ideal, at least for me, is the Walther P22, which is a neat little double action .22LR handgun that sells for around $380. My wife and I each have one of these, which we use about twice as often as we use our Glocks for practice. While not identical, the feel of the weapons is similar and the trigger, even though double action, are not greatly different than our Glocks. The manual of arms is also very similar. The greatest advantage, however, is the cost of ammunition. A thousand rounds of 9mm, again, can be found for about $220, while a thousand rounds of .22LR will fetch about $35.00. All of the principles of marksmanship apply as well to the Walther as they do to the Glock.

One major difference is that the Walther comes with differing backstraps to allow the user some adjustability. But the most significant--and potentially useful--difference is that the Walther has virtually no recoil or muzzle flash, and a mild report. It’s an excellent weapon for the first-time shooter and for training beginning shooters. In practice, malfunctions drills are identical with the Walther and the Glock, but you’ll likely have to rig them as both weapons have been virtually malfunction free, at least in my experience. Having a Glock in .22LR would be ideal, but alas, such is not to be, and the Walther is a reasonably close substitute.

The .22LR cartridge is not a good choice, as I’ve mentioned before, in a weapon on which you’re going to bet your life, but for training, it’s a very inexpensive choice. If you can afford the expense, this would be an excellent combination of firearms for a beginning shooter.

A WORKABLE SOLUTION:

If you cannot afford two weapons, or if you’d simply prefer to work with one, the same weapon you’ll carry, by all means, do that, but for the first year or so, try to shoot at least 50, or better, 100 rounds a month. With 9mm, that’s a bit over $20 a month, and at the end of that year, you’ll be completely comfortable with shooting, taking down, cleaning and reassembling your weapon. It is that kind of confidence that makes all the difference. As I mentioned in the past portions of this series, the man to fear is not the man with a great many different guns, but the man who owns and carries only one.

Obviously, I prefer and recommend Glocks, for the reasons I’ve mentioned. However, there are a great many fine handguns on the market, and no single make or model is an ideal choice for everyone. Some people think Glocks are ugly and expect a certain elegance in their firearms, while I find them to be efficiently designed and perfectly functional. Shopping for guns is part of the fun. Be careful, however, of gun shop salesmen who are pushing a given gun or caliber. Some gun shops do their best to push whatever isn’t selling well, and as I’ve pointed out here, it’s wise to look into a wide variety of factors before making a final decision. A handgun chambered for a cartridge that is so pricey that you’ll seldom be able to shoot it will be of far less use than one that may have less impressive ballistic performance on paper, but which you can afford to regularly shoot.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

I have not spent much time delving into the specifics of training. There are a great many books and professional, private training academies out there that can provide what is not possible for me to do in a few articles. And of course, please feel free to contact me if you have questions. My contact information is available on the site in the “About The Authors/Contact” link on the right hand side of the page. I do, however, have several suggestions:

(1) Always wear hearing protectors and eye protection. Amplified hearing protectors are very neat and will allow you to hear conversation and instructions, but immediately mute when damaging sounds--like gunshots--occur. They’re available for as little as $30.00. It used to be thought unmanly to wear hearing protection. As a result, there are a lot of very manly deaf folks of an earlier shooting generation still walking about saying things like: “Eh? What’s that?”

(2) Use the Weaver Stance to the exclusion of all others. Information is widely available. Some may argue this point, but trust me on this one. It is a foundational issue.

(3) Be purposeful, focus your attention and be firm, but always work to be, above all else, relaxed and smooth. Smooth is truly fast. Yes, you can be relaxed and firm simultaneously.

(4) Train the same way consistently. As I’ve said before, train the way you want to fight, because you will fight as you’ve trained.

(5) Above all, train yourself to be so aware of your surroundings that you’ll likely never have to use your shooting skills.

INTERESTING PS: Federal law requires that you buy firearms only in your state of residence. There is no such thing as direct sales from out of state suppliers to customers. All sales of new weapons must be done through federally licensed dealers and you will have to fill out federal paperwork swearing that you are not a convicted felon, haven’t been judged mentally ill, etc. If you already have a concealed carry license issued by your state of residence, this will speed up the process in most states. If not, various delays or waiting periods might apply.

FINAL LESSON:

As I close this series, I leave you with a wonderful story from Japan, a people with a longer martial history and tradition than ours. There was a master of the tea ceremony who was traveling. As he came to a crossroads near a town, he met a Ronin, a masterless samurai. The Ronan was ready to take offense at anything, and taking offense at the inoffensive man, challenged him to a duel.

The master of the tea ceremony didn’t own a sword and had no skill as a fencer, but could not honorably refuse. However, he was able to convince the Ronin to meet him at the crossroads the following day at the same time so that he could find a sword.

The master of the tea ceremony hastened into the town and found a fencing master. He begged the Sensei (teacher) to loan him a sword and to teach him something so that he could die with honor. Learning of the man’s skills, he asked him to perform the tea ceremony.

As the man displayed his skill, won over many years, he was transformed before the Sensei’s eyes from a frightened shell of a man to a calm, graceful, confident man, at peace with the world and with himself. When the ceremony was done, the Sensei agreed to loan him a sword, but told him that it was impossible to teach him anything of value in such a short time.

The master of the tea ceremony was crestfallen. He asked how he could possibly die honorably. The Sensei told him that when he went to the Ronin, to approach him with the peaceful confidence and grace he had just displayed and that when he did, he would surely personally return the borrowed sword.

The next day at the appointed time, the Ronin was at the crossroads, impatiently waiting. He saw a man approaching, a man wearing a sword, but it did not appear to be the same man he challenged. As the man drew near, the Ronin saw that it was the same man, yet not the same man, and certainly not a man he wanted to fight. He quickly made his apologies and left.

Be the master of the tea ceremony, but back up his tranquility and attitude with an effective handgun, and with consistent, correct practice. It is the man or woman carrying the gun that is truly dangerous; the gun is merely a tool. Good luck, and welcome to the ranks of those who fully accept their responsibility to take care of themselves and those they love.

Posted by MikeM at 06:36 PM | Comments (8)

April 08, 2011

Me? Own A Gun? Article 4: What To Buy?

In this installment I’ll discuss the primary differences, advantages and disadvantages between revolvers and semi-automatic handguns. In the final installment, which will be posted in a few days, I’ll get into caliber choices, methods of carrying, and several other items of interest. I’m making the assumption that readers contemplating what I’ve had to say in the first three installments (here, here and here) intend to do more than purchase a firearm exclusively for home defense. After all, our lives don’t lose their value outside the home, and one is, depending on a variety of factors, arguably more rather than less likely to need to defend their life outside their home.

I’m also going to be writing for those whose knowledge of firearms and related terminology is limited. As the information I’m providing here is covered in a wide variety of magazines--print and online--and books, I’ll be providing primarily an overview rather than an exhaustive exposition of the issues. I do recommend as a basic text The Complete Book of Handgunning by Chuck Taylor. It’s available through Amazon and other sources, and contains the fundamentals necessary to develop essential basic skills. Full disclosure: I am one of a relative few certified as an instructor by Taylor’s American Small Arms Academy, and I am also certified by the NRA as a range safety and handgun instructor.

Why a handgun? There’s an old story about a reporter who asked a Texas Ranger why he carried a .45. He replied (of course), in a slow drawl: “Because they don’t make a .46.” The bottom line is that one should always carry the most effective weapon they can effectively manage. Anyone who knowingly enters a gunfight armed with less than a rifle (or submachine gun) is asking to die. Long guns are much easier to shoot accurately at much greater than handgun ranges and are far more deadly. However, since it is practically difficult or impossible to carry such weapons on a daily basis, a handgun is the best alternative.

But what about shotguns? Aren’t they more effective than handguns? Again, we run into the size issue, and despite what Hollywood would have you believe, you do have to aim them. The effectiveness of shotgun ammunition depends primarily on keeping the shot column together, as close to the diameter with which it left the muzzle of the shotgun as possible, which means that to be truly effective, shotgun range is essentially the same as handgun range: Out to about 25 yards, and the closer the better. Experts can deliver accurate handgun fire at greater ranges, but for most, 25 yards is the outer effective limit. Twenty-five yards may not sound like much, until you’re trying to place a bullet on a target that looks surprisingly small at that range. It is fortunate--and frightening--that the overwhelming majority of gunfights take place at much closer ranges.

The choice of a personal, defensive handgun must take into account many factors, but ultimately one should choose a handgun that is powerful, concealable, reliable, that they can shoot well, and with which they are comfortable. That said, the choice is simpler, and more difficult, than many imagine.

REVOLVER OR SEMIAUTOMATIC?

Revolvers predate semiautomatics. Revolvers are so called because ammunition is loaded into a steel cylinder commonly holding 5-6 rounds. Pulling the trigger mechanically rotates the cylinder bringing a fresh round into precise alignment with the barrel. Revolvers come in two action types: Double action and single action. Single action revolvers are like the Colt .45 handguns of cinema westerns. The cylinder is rotated by cocking the large, exposed hammer. The resulting short and light trigger pull serves only to release the hammer to strike the primer, firing the cartridge. Such weapons are generally inappropriate for personal defense. Double action revolvers are modern weapons, and can be fired in double action mode, with a long, relatively heavy trigger pull that rotates the cylinder and ultimately drops the hammer to strike the primer and fire the cartridge, and single action, where cocking the hammer rotates the cylinder and pulls the trigger back, producing a very short, light trigger pull. Owners of revolvers should always train to use their weapon in double action mode. It is very easy indeed to accidentally fire a cocked revolver when under great stress.

Semiautomatics are sometimes incorrectly called “automatics.” An automatic weapon fires multiple rounds for each pull of the trigger. As long as the trigger is pulled and held back, the weapon will fire until its ammunition supply is exhausted. A semiautomatic weapon fires only one round for each pull of the trigger. Semiautomatics hold their ammunition in magazines. Magazines are often incorrectly called “clips.” The only currently manufactured, widely available firearm that actually uses ammunition clips is the M1 Garand battle rifle. Most semiautomatic pistols hold more rounds than revolvers.

All semiautomatic pistols work on the same principle: Firing a cartridge uses the energy of firing to push a heavy metal slide back against a powerful spring. the slide simultaneously extracts and ejects the fired brass from the chamber, and when the slide is propelled forward under spring tension, picks up a fresh cartridge from the magazine, inserting it into the chamber. This process is almost faster than can be seen by the naked eye. A powerful spring in the magazine pushes each fresh cartridge upward, ready to be fed into the chamber.

Semiautomatic pistols, however, have a greater number of trigger types than revolvers. The oldest, characterized by John Moses Browning designs, is the single action mechanism employed on the Model 1911 .45 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol) and the Browning Hi-Power in 9mm Parabellum (Latin: for war). In these pistols, an exposed hammer is manually cocked and a safety lever mounted on the left side of the frame engaged. To fire, the shooter clicks off (pushes down on) the safety and pulls the trigger, which commonly has a light and short travel. This means of carrying these pistols, commonly known as “cocked and locked,” frightens the uninitiated, but is perfectly safe when done by those properly trained who use proper holsters. With this action type, each trigger pull is consistent, contributing to ease of use and accuracy. Such weapons employ the manufacturing methods and materials--heavy steel--available more than a century ago and are labor intensive to make. So while well-proved designs, they can be expensive.

A second action type is the double action mechanism that mimics the trigger action of the double action revolver. Invented decades ago to increase sales of semiautomatics to police forces used to double action revolvers, Col. Jeff Cooper called this invention “an ingenious solution to a non-existent problem.” The inherent problem with this type of trigger mechanism is that the first trigger pull is long and heavy, but because the first, and every subsequent shot fired causes the recoil of the slide to cock the hammer, the second and every subsequent shot requires a single action trigger pull, in other words, a much shorter, lighter pull of the trigger. This commonly results in widely varying impact points between the first two shots on any target, and while experienced, capable shooters can overcome this “feature,” double action mechanisms are a less than optimum option for most people.

Another action type is a hybrid of the double action mechanism that seeks to address the inherent problem of such actions. In this case, manufacturers produce weapons incapable of single action fire, so that each pull of the trigger must be double action. In other words, even through slide recoil cocks the hammer after the first and each subsequent round fired, the trigger recycles fully forward after each shot, making a long, relatively heavy trigger pull necessary for each shot. While this method might be a theoretical improvement on double action mechanisms, any action that requires a long, heavy trigger pull will be inherently less accurate and harder to shoot than a lighter, shorter trigger.

The most modern mechanism is the striker fired pistol, typified by the Glock design. These weapons do not have an exposed external hammer or an internal hammer, but instead employ what is essentially a larger, heavier firing pin driven by a strong spring. When recoil cycles the slide, the striker spring is compressed until it is released by the next activation of the trigger. Trigger pulls with this type of weapon are generally shorter and lighter than those of double action pistols, and are consistent from shot to shot. One advantage of the Glock design is that trigger pull weight can be easily changed from seven to five pounds, for example, merely by changing drop-in parts, an easy process with the modular Glock which uses not a single screw. Such weapons are often made with polymer (plastic) frames and many other polymer parts. This method of manufacture has many advantages, such as low cost, speed of manufacture, long life, no rusting, and the ability to absorb some recoil energy that would otherwise be imparted directly to the shooter. To contain the inherent pressures and recoil forces, however, such weapons must have steel barrels, slides, and slide rails. This is no such thing as a “plastic gun” that can’t be seen on x-ray machines. A Glock under x-ray looks exactly like what it is.

Another interesting Glock feature is the ability to “catch the link.” When firing a round, the shooter holds the trigger fully back as the slide cycles and then slowly releases the trigger until an audible and easily felt “click” occurs. This allows the next shot to have a much shorter trigger pull, enhancing long range accuracy. But this is not a true single action mode as it does not function in the same way, and it requires a conscious effort on the part of the shooter to make the weapon function in this way for each shot.

REVOLVER ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES:

Modern double action revolvers come, generally, in large, medium and small sizes. However, there are some revolvers made for hunting or competition with very large magnum cartridges that fall into the “huge” category. Such weapons are universally made of steel, are very heavy, and have barrels of 6” or longer. On the opposite side are mini-revolvers, such as the stainless steel, derringer-like, 5 shot .22LR (Long Rifle) weapons made by Freedom Arms. Such weapons, which fire single action only, are made primarily as back-up guns, or for circumstances in which carrying an larger weapon is impossible. Unfortunately, their barrels are very short which can cause keyholing (for the appearance of the holes they leave in paper targets), or unstable bullets tumbling end over end. As a result, their accuracy beyond a few yards is generally poor, their penetration ability is limited, reloading requires removing the entire cylinder from the weapon, and for the inexperienced, or even the average shooter, they are hard to shoot with any degree of consistent accuracy, to say nothing of the general unsuitability of the .22LR cartridge in the self-defense role.

Large, or full-sized revolvers generally hold six rounds (though a few designs hold seven), have at least a 4” barrel, and usually have fully adjustable rear sights (adjustable for windage--side-to-side, and elevation--up and down). This class is generally considered to be “duty” revolvers of the kind some police forces still use. Unless you’re a large, strong person, concealing such weapons is difficult. They are meant to be carried in exposed holsters. It is possible to conceal them with the right holsters, but they are big, heavy handguns built to take heavy wear from powerful cartridges over the long term.

Medium framed revolvers also share barrels of the same length, but are lighter and not as solidly built, but will still provide many years of service for most people. Many models have barrels from 2” to 3” and some do not have adjustable rear sights. They are generally somewhat smaller and weigh somewhat less than fully sized revolvers.

Small frame revolvers commonly have barrels of around 2” length and are of only five round capacity. They rarely have adjustable rear sights. In fact, many rear sights are merely notches machined in the top strap of the weapon. They commonly have small grips. Such weapons are designed in recognition of the fact that full sized revolvers are not easily concealed. Some revolvers in this class have aluminum, titanium or alloy frames for reduced weight, but their barrels and cylinders must be steel. Some of the newer weapons in this class, such as the Ruger LCR are being manufactured with frames and some parts made of polymer to reduce weight as much as possible.

ADVANTAGES OF REVOLVERS: Because they have no separate safety devices, they are also simple; pull the trigger and they go “bang.” In fact, long, heavy double action trigger pulls are usually thought to be an inherent safety feature, requiring the shooter to really intend to shoot to discharge the weapon. On the other hand, short, light single action trigger pulls are, with justification, thought to be dangerous because they are far more prone to unintentional discharge. It is also easy to load and unload revolvers, and one can tell at a glance if they are loaded. Properly maintained, revolvers--particularly in stainless steel--can last a lifetime. Stainless steel does rust, but is far less susceptible to it than other steels commonly used in firearms.

Revolvers represent well developed technology and manufacturing methods and are relatively free of inherent malfunctions. With speed loaders, they can be reloaded reasonably quickly, though experts can reload with amazing speed even without speed loaders. High quality revolvers are also potentially more accurate than most semiautomatic pistols, though relatively few shooters are skilled enough to notice any significant difference at common handgun ranges. There is a difference between intrinsic accuracy and practical accuracy. With the wide range of different materials and shapes available, most people can adapt a given revolver to their unique hand by simply exchanging factory for aftermarket grips. Revolvers are also capable of handling the largest, most powerful pistol cartridges, but only with very large, heavy and hard-recoiling weapons.

DISADVANTAGES OF REVOLVERS: The higher the bore axis of a handgun is above the hand, the greater the recoil effect on the shooter. All revolvers, by design, suffer from this inherent problem, a problem made worse by more powerful cartridges and lighter weapons. It is ironic that in an attempt to make some revolvers more easily carried and concealed, manufacturers have also greatly increased the recoil effect (from light weight), muzzle blast and report (from short barrels), and lessened accuracy (by means of small, non-adjustable sights). While speedloaders greatly lessen reloading times, they tend to be inconvenient for most people for concealed carry. In addition, many grips interfere with speedloaders and often have to be “relieved,” which consists of removing any grip material in the way. This is not difficult, but does take some skill and specialized materials.

Revolvers are very dirt sensitive and can malfunction. This is one of the primary reasons that virtually every military issues semi-automatic pistols rather than revolvers. Even with well-maintained revolvers a tiny piece of grit under the ejector “star” can actually jam the cylinder, preventing the gun from firing. Remember that the round aligned with the cylinder at rest will not be fired. When the trigger is pulled (or the hammer is cocked to single action mode), the cylinder rotates to the next cartridge, so if the cylinder won’t rotate, the shooter will not be able to fire a single round. Unfortunately, virtually anything other than grit under an ejector star that causes a malfunction in a revolver is due to breakage of mechanical parts and cannot be quickly repaired in the field or without tools. If one is under fire, this is a significant weakness indeed. Revolvers much be kept scrupulously clean, but many designs are ironically time consuming and demanding to clean thoroughly and properly.

Even expensive, top of the line revolvers have the same potential weaknesses. In my early days of police work, I carried Colt Pythons, very expensive, high quality weapons, as did several of my police shooting buddies. One day at a range session, one of my friend’s brand new Python suddenly started printing down and to the side of the target. He couldn’t figure it out and asked me to take a look. I peered down the sights and was amazed to find that the barrel had come unpinned and was, under the recoil of .357 magnum ammunition, unscrewing itself from the frame. The front sight was cocked at a 30° angle! I simply unscrewed the barrel with my bare hands, handed my amazed pal the two parts, announcing, deadpan, that I was reasonably sure I’d identified the problem. A good gunsmith quickly and cheaply fixed the problem, but you get the point.

Cylinder cranes and ejector rods are likewise prone to damage. Anyone flipping out a cylinder or violently snapping it back into place with the flip of a hand is looking for a bent crane and a lengthy, expensive visit to a gunsmith. Whenever the cylinder is out of the frame--as in ejecting spent rounds from the cylinder and/or reloading--those parts must be handled with gentle care. The kind of idiotic handling of revolvers one sees in movies or on TV is highly likely to result in damage that will probably render a revolver an expensive paperweight. Don’t get me started on people who “spin” cylinders. Don’t.

The exposed hammers of small revolvers are prone to hanging up in pockets or clothing. Many manufacturers have designed smaller, or “bobbed” hammers, made shrouds around external hammers, or have even made internal hammer designs to address this well-known problem. The aforementioned Ruger LCR, which represents contemporary state of the art small revolver design, has an internal hammer and cannot be fired single action. Careful holster design can minimize this unfortunate snagging tendency.

The largest problem with revolvers remains their long, often rough double action triggers. This factor makes revolvers much more difficult to shoot with consistent accuracy than semi-automatic pistols, though with proper training and consistent practice, it is possible to shoot revolvers with considerable accuracy. This problem can be addressed with an action job by a competent gunsmith, but that’s additional expense, commonly in the $100+ range. Some revolvers now come from the factory with much better triggers than one would have found in the recent past, but this is still an issue to be considered.

It should also be noted that this problem is exacerbated with the smaller, lighter more concealable weapons, and made even worse by the recoil effects of full-powered, as opposed to lighter loaded target, ammunition. Smaller men and many women often find long shooting sessions to be actually painful, and any weapon that is painful to shoot will dramatically degrade accuracy and effectiveness. It is ironic that even full-sized, heavy revolvers that are poor choices for concealment can suffer from this problem, though to a lesser degree and requiring more rounds fired.

Consider the experience of a police department for which I once worked. In the mid-90’s, that police department was run by an anti-gun chief, and the issued department weapon was the S&W model 686, a stainless steel, 4” barrel .357 magnum revolver. As an issued weapon, it was a mediocre choice. On one hand, it was--and is--a high quality, reliable weapon. Its stainless steel construction made it easier to maintain, and the 125 grain hollowpoint duty cartridge was an excellent, effective choice. On the other, the revolver was very large, heavy, had substantial muzzle blast and report, substantial real and felt recoil, was difficult to conceal, and the only concession allowed to the individual officer was the choice of a few different styles of rubberized grips. Female officers had a hell of time with the weapon. We used to joke--sort of--that even if we missed, the bad guys would be incinerated by the muzzle blast. Night-firing qualifications were truly wonders to behold. I had no difficulty with the weapon, but I became a police shooter in a time with few reliable semiautomatic pistol choices. As a result, I became adept with the revolver, even earning the top shooter honor in my first basic academy class.

I’m also a 6’, 200+ pound man with larger than average hands and greater than average strength. Consider too that I was--and am--an avid shooter, so I was far more practiced than most of my compatriots (most cops aren’t shooters). Even so, after 50 rounds of qualification with full-charge cartridges, I was feeling the effects of fatigue in my hands and arms and glad to be done. Many of my smaller, less experienced colleagues absolutely hated to shoot their handguns, wincing with each report and actually experiencing bruises and abrasions to their hands. Their qualification scores reflected this reality. Still, if my only option for a duty weapon had to be a stainless steel Smith and Wesson in .357 caliber, the 686 would probably be my choice.

Because of the necessary width of their cylinders, revolvers are generally wider and more difficult to conceal than semiautos. One final observation is that because of their designs, revolvers can become “out of time.” In other words, the cylinder no longer precisely aligns cartridges with the barrel. This can cause splashback of portions of a bullet, or in extreme cases, injure the shooter or bystanders. While this is usually not seen outside of significant mechanical failure or significantly worn weapons, it is something about which to always be aware with revolvers.

Despite this litany of potential problems, modern, quality revolvers are generally quite safe and reliable and will usually fire every round without fail right out of the box. However, no one should carry or use any firearm for self defense without familiarization training consisting of firing several hundred rounds through the weapon.

Police experience is revealing. Police agencies transitioning from revolvers to semiautos have commonly found that the hit ratio of their officers, on the range and in actual gunfights, goes up. This was my experience when an agency of some 100 officers for which I worked transitioned to Glocks. Officers who struggled to make minimum passing scores with their .357 revolvers were consistently scoring much higher with much less effort. Officers who were highly skilled demonstrated far less variation. One hundred percent shooters are 100% shooters for a reason. In other words, semiautos are generally easier to shoot accurately than revolvers despite the fact that revolvers may have greater intrinsic accuracy.

ADVANTAGES OF SEMIAUTOS:

The primary advantages of semiautos are that they are more easily concealable, tend to have lighter triggers, have greater ammunition capacity than revolvers--in many cases, much greater--and are more quickly and easily reloaded than revolvers. Semiautos also, in most common calibers, have less recoil effect and muzzle blast than revolvers, and have a bore axis much lower than revolvers. With polymer frame construction, some semiautos can be substantially lighter than revolvers yet hold substantially more ammunition.

Because of their very nature, semiautos are subject to more common malfunctions than revolvers, but each of these common malfunctions can be cleared in the field, without tools, in four seconds or less by those without expert levels of knowledge and skill. Note: A “malfunction” is a stoppage that can be rapidly cleared by hand without tools. A “jam” is a stoppage that requires tools to clear/repair. Thus, a gun that “jams” is a gun that cannot fire and cannot be made to fire on the spot. Because they do not have cylinders, as long as there is a round in the chamber--and this is the way modern semiautos should be carried--semiautos will virtually always fire at least one round even if they malfunction thereafter.

One interesting advantage that is of little use to most shooters is that semiautos can accept suppressors (there is no such thing as a “silencer”). Suppressors are useless on revolvers--despite what Hollywood would have you believe--because of the gas that escapes through the gap between the cylinder and the barrel.

Semiautos, many of which are designed with military service in mind, usually break down without tools and are easy to clean. Even non-military designs are generally easy to break down, clean and reassemble, and virtually always without tools.

DISADVANTAGES OF SEMIAUTOS:

There are two primary types of malfunctions common to semiautos: failures to feed and failures to eject. Each has several commonly known variations, but as previously mentioned, proper training will show anyone how to, within mere seconds, clear such malfunctions. One of the most common problems with semiautos is “limp wristing,” or not giving the handgun a firm grip with a straight, rigid wrist. Semiautos need a solid grip against which to cycle the slide. If the weapon is held limply, it may lack the force to complete the cycle and may not fully eject an empty casing, or may not fully seat a fresh round. Proper technique can easily sort out this common problem.

Semiautos generally come in only one grip size, so some may simply be too large for smaller hands. However, some manufacturers are now shipping models with easily switched backstraps to correct this problem. In addition, weapons with polymer frames like Glocks allow magazines with substantial capacity while still keeping the grip relatively small.

One cannot normally tell whether a semiauto is loaded merely by looking at it, though some do have mechanical loaded chamber indicators. However, this can be addressed with a simple “pinch-check,” or retracting the slide just enough to see brass in the chamber. Some people also experience accidental discharges when, after removing the magazine, assume that the weapon is empty and fire the round in the chamber. This too can be easily addressed by using the proper manual of arms of always removing the magazine, cycling the slide several times, locking it back, and looking and using a finger to verify that the magazine well and chamber are empty.

Some semiautos, due to their unique design, have very stiff recoil and magazine springs. Some people with weak hands or limited strength may have difficulty cycling their slides and loading magazines. However, inexpensive magazine loading tools that essentially eliminate this problem are widely available--Glocks include one with every handgun sold--and it is a very small percentage of the population that cannot learn how to use what strength they have to cycle a slide. Even so, some people, due to disability or illness may find such tasks daunting.

The greatest single weakness of semiautos is the magazine. They are generally easier to damage than the guns themselves, and if a magazine won’t properly feed through fatigue or damage, the shooter suddenly has a very hard to load single- shot handgun. To address this problem, at least one spare magazine should always be carried, and all magazines should be regularly rotated with a complete set of spares.

Though this is a much smaller issue than it was only a decade ago, some semiautos are ammunition sensitive; some brands and/or configurations of ammunition may make some guns more prone to malfunctions. Most guns designed for self-defense will fire just about anything with little or no difficulty, but some guns, particularly those built to very tight tolerances, such as guns intended for competition, may take a bit of trial and error to find ammunition that is completely reliable. On the other hand, brands such as Glock have a well-deserved reputation for reliability right out of the box.

There is no question that semiautos are, by their very nature, more complex to operate than revolvers. This makes accidental discharges somewhat more likely for some people. However, learning the proper manual of arms is far from rocket science, and I’m tempted to wonder about the fitness of anyone unable to safely handle a semiautomatic handgun to handle any kind of firearm.

I’m sure that gun buffs can easily make various points, pro and con, regarding what I’ve had to say, and comments are always welcome and appreciated, however, I believe I’ve provided a good general overview of the relevant issues. The final installment of this series will be posted within a few days. Thanks for reading!

Posted by MikeM at 11:07 PM | Comments (10)

March 10, 2011

Who Is Responsible For Protecting You?

My latest article, kindly posted by the good folks at Pajamas Media, is up at that site (here). It explores the realities of the limitations--legal and practical--of the police, examined in light of the situation in Wisconsin.

It may provide some information about which you've not previously been aware.

Posted by MikeM at 10:39 PM | Comments (1)

Well, I Suppose That's Progress...

Just for fun, check out the March 10 edition of the New York Times online (here). they have an article on gun control and they actually linked to my article from yesterday regarding Mr. Obama's gun control record (it's in the center section, near the top, under Confederate Yankee).

The best part is the photo they chose to illustrate their lead story. It's two crossed handguns: A stainless steel, short-barreled .38 revolver and a Nambu! That's right, an issue WWII Japanese handgun of questionable quality and reliability. Thanks, and bless their little pointed heads for the link--at least they're trying--but using a Nambu in a contemporary firearm story is rather like using a line drawing of a whalebone corset to illustrate a Victoria's Secret catalog.

Posted by MikeM at 01:34 AM | Comments (2)

March 08, 2011

President Obama Supports the Second Amendment: Who You Gonna Believe? Him or Your Own Lyin' Eyes?

Across America, framed portraits of President Barack Obama are displayed in gun shops. In gun shops?! In gun shops. One might be tempted to be appreciative of the patriotism and respect for the Office of the President of the United States this would seem to indicate, and they would be right, yet simultaneously completely wrong. Indeed, virtually all firearm retailers and their employees are patriotic and respect the office of the President, but they have displayed the image of Mr. Obama not because of their respect for him, but because of their keen sense of irony. For the last two+ years, Mr. Obama has been the most effective firearm salesman in American history.

Despite his frequent teleprompter readings claiming respect for the Second Amendment, Americans have universally disbelieved him. The left has disbelieved him in this, as they have in essentially anything he has said that would seem to support conservative values. They know that while professing support for conservative or constitutional principles, he is simultaneously winking at them and holding crossed fingers behind his back. They know that he is making such outlandish comments only to maintain political viability, to fool the God and gun clingers in fly-over country. They know he’s really one of them. The right has disbelieved him because in professing respect for the Second Amendment, he is lying. To demonstrate their solidarity with the President, they often buy a new firearm or some ammunition.

On March 3rd, in a joint press conference with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, Mr. Obama once again expressed his support (here) for, as leading law professor Sanford Levinson once put it, “The Embarrassing Second Amendment.”

"’The Second Amendment in this country is part of our Constitution and the president of the United States is bound by our Constitution,’ he said. ‘So I believe in the Second Amendment. It does provide for Americans the right to bear arms for their protection, for their safety, for hunting, for a wide range of uses. That does not mean that we cannot constrain gun runners from shipping guns into Mexico.’”
This makes a sort of sense. Indeed, the Second Amendment does not prevent attempts to keep “gun runners from shipping guns into Mexico.” Of course, regular readers--and others who keep themselves well informed--might wonder how this might be accomplished when the BATFE knowingly allows such gun running, gun running which has directly cost the lives of American law enforcement officers.

It is when Mr. Obama professes his belief in the plain language of the Second Amendment that he is unbelievable. It is true that people can change their minds, and perhaps Mr. Obama, in two years in office, has come to respect the entire Constitution, not merely those parts that might lend legitimacy to his various schemes to remake America into a hellish worker’s paradise. On the other hand, the best indicator of future performance is always past performance. With that in mind, Confederate Yankee provides a handy compendium--not an exhaustive list--of 23 reasons why it might be a good idea to disbelieve Mr. Obama (sources available here and here):

(1) The infamous quote: In April of 2008, comments Mr. Obama made at a private San Francisco fundraiser were made public. Explaining his difficulties in convincing working-class voters in Pennsylvania and Indiana (fly-over country), he said “It’s not surprising they get bitter. They cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

(2) Mr. Obama opposed an Illinois bill that would prevent local ordinances from overriding an individual’s right to self defense in home invasions. Obama was one of only 20 senators who voted against it. Gov. Blagojevich vetoed it, but the legislature overwhelmingly overrode his veto.

(3) Mr. Obama denied writings on a 1996 questionnaire revealing of his anti gun views. However, his handwriting was on that document, filed when he was running for the Illinois Senate. On the document he indicated that he favored legislation to ban the manufacture, sale and possession of handgun, supported mandatory waiting periods and background checks and would ban “assault weapons.”

(4) In 2000, Mr. Obama co-sponsored a bill to limit gun purchases to one per month.

(5) In 2004, Mr. Obama supported a bill that would allow retired law enforcement officers to carry concealed weapons. Mr. Obama has always strictly opposed concealed carry and denied that this was an exception. It was later revealed that at the time he was fighting his Republican opponent to win an endorsement by the Fraternal Order of Police.

(6) Mr. Obama believes that it’s Constitutionally permissible to “[keep] guns out of our inner cities, and that our leaders must say so in the face of the gun manufacturer’s lobby.”

(7) In an Illinois senate debate against Alan Keyes, Mr. Obama revealed his view on so-called “assault weapons” (no such thing exists--it is a media creation),
“Mr. Keyes does not believe in common gun control measures like the assault weapons bill. Mr. Keyes does not believe in any limits from what I can tell with respect to the possession of guns, including assault weapons that have only one purpose, to kill people. I think it is a scandal that this president did not authorize a renewal of the assault weapons ban.”

(8) Mr. Obama has expressed his support for banning the sale and transfer of all semi-automatic firearms, is for increasing state restrictions on the purchase and possession of firearms, and is for requiring manufacturers to provide child-safety locks with firearms.

(9) Mr. Obama has also endorsed a complete ban on handgun ownership.

(10) Mr. Obama voted to allow lawsuits against gun manufacturers for the independent actions of those misusing their products, actions about which they have no knowledge and over which they have no control.

(11) Mr. Obama opposes four of five Supreme Court justices who affirmed the individual right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment. He stated that he would not have appointed Justices Thomas and Scalia and voted against Justices Alito and Roberts.

(12) Mr. Obama voted for an Illinois Senate bill to confiscate and ban “assault weapons,” a bill that would have banned most semi-automatic and single and double barreled sporting shotguns.

(13) Mr. Obama has supported re-instituting the Clinton gun ban.

(14) Mr. Obama voted to ban virtually all common hunting and sport shooting rifle ammunition.

(15) Mr. Obama has endorsed an increase of 500% in the federal excise taxes on firearms and ammunition.

(16) Mr. Obama voted to uphold local gun bans and the criminal prosecution of people using firearms in self defense.

(17) Mr. Obama supports gun owner licensing and firearm registration.

(18) Mr. Obama would not sign a friend-of-the-court brief supporting individual Second Amendment rights in the historic Heller v. DC case.

(19) Mr. Obama was a member of the Board of Directors of the Joyce Foundation, the leading source of funds for anti-gun organizations and for anti-gun research.

(20) Mr. Obama supported a ban on gun stores within five miles of a school or park, eliminating almost every gun store in the nation.

(21) Mr. Obama favors banning standard capacity magazines, supports micro-stamping, mandatory waiting periods, banning inexpensive handguns and one-
gun-a-month restrictions.

(22) Mr. Obama supports repeal of the Tiahrt Amendment, which prohibits information on gun traces collected by the BATFE from being used in reckless lawsuits against firearm dealers and manufacturers, and which protects police operations.

(23) Mr. Obama supports banning the resale of police issued firearms, even if the proceeds are used to buy police equipment.

Considering this list, it would appear that Mr. Obama’s professed support for the Second Amendment is as hollow as his promise that people who like their medical insurance can keep it. At best, he appears to support the Second Amendment while stridently and consistently opposing any and everything that would make its exercise useful and meaningful. Anyone surprised by this richly deserves a nomination for the Captain Louis Renault Award.

Posted by MikeM at 11:58 PM | Comments (3)

March 07, 2011

The (Non) Wonders of GPS Gun Tracking

What’s new on the cutting edge of crime fighting? In Massachusetts, State Senator Andrew Petruccelli (here) has reintroduced a bill to establish a commission to research the latest, greatest hi-tech hope to wipe out the scourge of crime in the People’s Republic: GPS tracking of firearms. But before exploring this newest Holy Grail of the gun-ban set, let’s review two of their more recent technological forays, both falling under the general heading of “ballistic registration (here).”

One scheme would require that all new weapons be delivered to authorities, usually the state police, who would fire and retrieve several bullets and expended casings and enter them into a massive graphics database for comparison with bullets and casings recovered at the scenes of crimes. Unfortunately, merely firing a firearm will, over time (potentially a very brief time), change the markings left on bullets through normal wear and tear. Many bullets are so mangled upon striking objects (and people) as to render meaningful comparison impossible. And of course, barrels and firing pins may be quickly and easily changed.

Another scheme is “microstamping (here),” which consists of etching tiny characters on a firing pin or other portion of the chamber of a firearm so as to leave unique, identifying marks on any fired case. Again, the unique microstamp would be entered into a database for comparison. The usual problems apply, including poor readability and longevity of the stamp, the ease with which it may be altered, or removed, unbelievably poor results in computer matching even known samples, widely varying hardness of cases and primers from manufacturer to manufacturer, and the fact that criminals need only pick up ejected casings, thus leaving no evidence to compare.

In fact, both schemes--particularly involving bullet registration--have been reviewed by scientific experts who have concluded that not only would they cost far too much, they cannot accomplish what their supporters (including then Illinois State Senator Barack Obama regarding microstamping) claim. In short, they just don’t work, and they don’t work at astronomical cost.

So how do the police solve crimes? Do they rely on hi-tech CSI units that can detect errant molecules and instantaneously match bullets, fingerprints and DNA with an enormous, powerful, all-encompassing database? Not even close. Most of the time, the police solve crimes by simply talking to people. Certainly, they gather evidence when it’s present and when it might be useful, but rare is the police officer who has not theatrically spread around a bit of fingerprint powder at the scene of a car or home burglary at the demand of the victim who has watched too much TV, knowing that they’ll find nothing, and that if they do, they won’t have suspects with which to compare it or any means other than the “Mark I Human Eyeball; 2 each,” to use in making comparisons. There is no central fingerprint database. There is no central DNA database. No one can simply insert a fingerprint or DNA sample into a computer and more or less instantly obtain a 100% positive match with a criminal suspect. The technology just doesn’t exist, at least not in the ways TV would have you believe.

Compelling as these flaws are, there is another, far more important reason why such schemes must be rejected: Even if they worked with 100% reliability and at low cost, they prove only that a certain firearm was associated with a crime. The venerable aphorism “guns don’t kill people; people kill people” applies. To obtain a conviction, the state must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a specific person committed a specific crime. Where firearms are involved, they must prove that not only was a specific person present at a specific place and time, but that they used that specific firearm to commit a crime.

“But it’s their gun! That should be enough!” Not in a system of justice with a presumption of innocence, where the State must prove guilt, not where the accused must prove their innocence. Guns are lost or stolen every day, and criminals can easily “borrow” and return a firearm without its owner ever knowing it was gone. In fact, criminals can easily toss firearms into a lake or run them through car shredders, and this is commonly done.

But Senator Petruccelli apparently believes we now have the technology to actually track individual firearms! Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that this is his sole motivation. Wouldn’t that be a great leap forward in crime fighting technology? As with the other technology-based gun control schemes, no.

While GPS transmitters are now smaller than they were even a few years ago, they are not sufficiently small to be implanted into firearms, particularly the handguns that are always the primary object of gun banner’s concerns, without compromising their design and functionality. Such implantation would also add substantially to the cost of each firearm, as much as $100 or more. For gun banners, this is a feature, but for rational people, it’s a bug.

Another significant issue is battery life. Any such scheme would require transmitters to operate continuously, so gun owners would find themselves changing batteries as frequently as weekly, and perhaps even more often. But again, for gun banners, this is a feature, a feature that would absolutely require two companion laws.

Criminalizing failing to immediately report a lost or stolen firearm would be a necessity. The only question would be whether to make a violation a misdemeanor or felony. For many people, a gun, stored in a closet or in the bottom of a drawer, might be missing for years before its absence was noticed, but turning the law- abiding into felons would surely be a small price to pay for such spiffy technology. And of course, failing to change batteries would also have to be a crime. Because failing to change batteries would defeat the entire system, it would certainly have to be a felony. Features? Bugs? It depends on your perspective on the Constitution and individual freedom.

Even with such “enlightened” laws, the technological hurdles would be insurmountable, the costs, unbearable. Any state-wide system would almost certainly require purpose-built satellite coverage. Such things tend to be a bit pricey, and considering NASA’s recent luck at satellite launching, futile. How would such a system work? Would it track millions of firearms, each continuously broadcasting its own discrete signal? Most would be stationary, resting in closets, drawers or gun safes...uh-oh...wouldn’t gun safes, being made of thick metal, block such relatively weak signals? So much for safe storage.

How many thousands of government workers would be required to monitor the system and dispatch law enforcement officers (Federal Bureau Of GPS Police?), and under which circumstances? How many firearms are being transported, legally and illegally, from place to place at any time of the day or night? Hundreds of thousands? Millions? Would the law require advance notice (or permission) of the movement of any firearm? Even from a closet to a workbench within a home? Are police dispatched when a battery dies and the signal ceases? Do they arrest the “criminal” who maliciously and with malign intent, allowed the battery to die?

It’s not hard to imagine the inherent problems, such as criminals leading the police on a merry chase following a gun transmitter on one side of town while guns with disabled transmitters are used to knock over a bank on the other. After all, if a criminal is planning robbery, or worse, what’s removing a battery? The costs for hardware, software (even if such a thing was actually possible) and personnel would be awe-inspiring, but hey, what’s a few trillion among friends, particularly during these heady days of huge, across-the-board budget surpluses?

The largest problem, the practical problem that renders the entire enterprise useless before it begins, remains: It’s still necessary to convict the criminal, not the tool he uses during the commission of his crime. GPS tracking would prove only--perhaps--that a given GPS discrete signal--not necessarily the GPS transmitter registered to a given firearm, or the firearm itself, was transmitting at a specific place and time. It doesn’t take much of an imagination to envision how such a system might be manipulated or spoofed. The police, as always, would still have to solve crimes the old-fashioned way, by talking to people, and the taxpayer would be much, much poorer.

I do, as it happens, have a better, more cost-effective use for the technology. Let’s make Democrat state legislators wear GPS trackers! Wisconsin and Indiana seem like good places to start. And I’m not talking about constant monitoring or any Orwellian plot like that. Combine, say, a GPS ankle bracelet with an injector for a powerful tranquilizer. If the battery dies, it’s sleepybye time! Tamper with the ankle bracelet, and it’s straight into the bonds of Morpheus. Come within 100 yards of a state line and they’re counting sheep. A small reserve battery would have to be included to send out a locator signal after the wearer took a dirt nap so that any nearby police officer could scoop them up and return them to their respective state capitol, where they could be propped up in their cushy leather chair so they could attend to the state’s business with their usual dilligence and efficiency.

But in all seriousness, Senator Petruccelli has performed a public service by reminding us—if our collective experience of the last two years under the Obama Administration has not--that big government exists to ignore the Constitution and to crush individual liberty. Should we allow it to remain at its current size, to say nothing of substantially reducing it, it will inevitably crush us, perhaps beginning in Massachusetts.

Posted by MikeM at 10:39 PM | Comments (4)

March 06, 2011

ATF Memo: Agency Desperate For Bust/Good PR. Are They Accepting Nominations?

I haven't gotten around to covering it yet, but the ATF really screwed the pooch with Project Gunwalker, letting cartels buy thousands of firearms and take them over the border in what I personally suspect was an attempt to give credence to the Obama Administration's 90% lie. As a result, at least two U.S. federal law enforcement officers have been murdered with guns the ATF lost, and there is every reason to suspect that dozens of Mexican law enforcement officers have been killed as a result of the agencies incompetence as well.

CBS News has now obtained an internal memo, which reveals the ATf is trying to score a quick win to shore up faltering support:

Public Information Officers:

Please make every effort for the next two weeks to maximize coverage of ATF operations/enforcement actions/arrests at the local and regional level. Given the negative coverage by CBS Evening News last week and upcoming events this week, the bureau should look for every opportunity to push coverage of good stories. Fortunately, the CBS story has not sparked any follow up coverage by mainstream media and seems to have fizzled.

It was shoddy reporting , as CBS failed to air on-the-record interviews by former ATF officials and HQ statements for attribution that expressed opposing views and explained the law and difficulties of firearm trafficking investigations. The CBS producer for the story made only a feigned effort at the 11th hour to reach ATF HQ for comment.

This week (To 3/1/2011), Attorney General Holder testifies on the Hill and likely will get questions about the allegations in the story. Also (The 3/3/2011), Mexico President Calderon will visit the White House and likely will testify on the Hill. He will probably draw attention to the lack of political support for demand letter 3 and Project Gunrunner.

ATF needs to proactively push positive stories this week, in an effort to preempt some negative reporting, or at minimum, lessen the coverage of such stories in the news cycle by replacing them with good stories about ATF. The more time we spend highlighting the great work of the agents through press releases and various media outreaches in the coming days and weeks, the better off we will be.

Thanks for your cooperation in this matter. If you have any significant operations that should get national media coverage, please reach out to the Public Affairs Division for support, coordination and clearance.

Thank you,

Scot

Scot L. Thomasson

Chief ATF Public Affairs Division

Washington, DC

I've got an idea. If the ATF needs good PR, maybe they could start by arresting Lee Franklin Booth, the convicted felon that the agency has refused to prosecute despite his involvement in the acquisition of three gun companies. Think Gunwalker was a trainwreck? Imagine the the damage that could be done by a felon that has significant influence or ownership of gun manufacturing facilities.

I've not posted upon Mr. Booth in a while, but that doesn't mean I've lost interest in seeing him put behind bars. If the ATF wants a quick win, they need look no further than an ex-con no one would miss.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:04 PM | Comments (3)

February 16, 2011

CMMG stainless steel .22LR conversion kit review for LuckyGunner.com

I started talking with the folks at LuckyGunner.com a few weeks before SHOT Show, and they gave me a chance to run the CMMG .22 conversion kit that they stock and write up a review on it. Considering the cost of centerfire ammo and the strained economy these days, shooting .22LR at the range instead of .223 Remington or 5.56 NATO makes a lot of sense for most training applications.

I used my BCM Mid 16 as the test platform, outfitted with a UTG carry handle to replace the BUIS (backup-iron sight). I'm trying to get back into shooting with iron sights, in hopes of running an Appleseed course later this year shooting iron-sights only.

To make a long story short, I burned through 325 rounds through the CMMG kit in about an hour. This in a gun that already had 200 rounds of .223 through it from my last range session.

I hope that you'll read the detailed review of the CMMG stainless steel .22LR conversion kit on LuckyGunner.com, and let me know what you think. It was a fun conversion kit to shoot, and relatively easy to clean.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:06 PM | Comments (1)

February 14, 2011

Is Travelers Insurance Dropping Gun Owners?

Travelers Insurance is apparently dropping coverage for customers that own certain firearms they find objectionable, including some of the most common rifles in America (AR-15s).

It is certainly their prerogative to decide with whom they want to do business. I also suspect other carriers will be more than happy to provide former Travelers' clients with new policies.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:55 AM | Comments (3)

February 01, 2011

A Reply To A Reader

INTRODUCTION: At Confederate Yankee, we hope that our musings will be entertaining, educational, and that they will encourage thoughtful, civil debate. To those ends, we remove only those reader comments that are advertising, or are simply rude and abusive. All others are read, appreciated and thoughtfully considered.

In response to my recent post on the consequences of magazine capacity restrictions, reader “Doug,” wrote an interesting comment that seems to encompass the thinking of the anti-gun side of the issue. I thought it worthwhile to reprint that comment here, and to add my responses, all in the furtherance of thoughtful, civil debate. Doug’s comments will be in quotation marks and mine in brackets.

“I'm often very disheartened by the tenor of these arguments simply because they seem to only engage in peripheral details rather than dealing with very basic questions. It's presented here as if there are people out here with the sole intention of addressing gun violence as a means of restricting your freedom, or liberty, or your idea of both of these. This seems to be the only real argument on offer. Guns are exemplars of freedom.”

[Doug, may I suggest that for a much more in-depth treatment of these and related issues, you see my recent series of articles relating to gun ownership? In those articles, I explore not only history, human nature, philosophy and theology, but practical, legal and moral issues relating to gun ownership and use. The first two articles are available here and here, and the third will be up on the CY site no later than 02-02-11. I hope you’ll find them to be less peripheral.

Please also know that as a veteran of nearly two decades of police service, I am among the first to oppose violence, however, I’ve never found a gun control measure that had the slightest effect on criminals or the violence they commit, except to occasionally enhance their sentences after the fact. Also, may I suggest that a fair reading of the historical record will reveal that every oppressive, murderous government has deprived its citizens of arms. Understanding that fact, it’s quite clear that gun ownership is emblematic of a free people, and is so important that unlike any other nation, America has a Second Amendment that secures--not establishes--the effective exercise of what has always been a natural right of men, the right to self-defense.]

“I think it really is far more simple than that...be angry at what you think are false arguments or at best "restrictive" arguments (as I'm not sure you think the arguments are false regarding killing capacities--you just seem to want to employ ways to negate their import), but it would be best to acknowledge the basics here.”

[There is no anger here, Doug. In analyzing these issues, either I am historically and factually correct, or I am not. My arguments are either logical and well reasoned, or they are not. My opinions are fact based and logical and reasonable, or they are not. You are free to address my arguments on the merits, as I have tried to do here. Anger avails nothing.]

“1. Guns are a weapon with a single purpose: to kill or at least incapacitate another creature.”

[Doug, I’m afraid you’re factually inaccurate here. Firearms do not have a single purpose. Indeed, almost any firearm can be employed to kill or incapacitate, and some are specifically designed to be particularly effective in military applications. Those weapons might be accurately described as designed to kill, though they may certainly be used--and many are used--in target shooting practice and competitions. In fact, a great many firearms are designed specifically for sporting purposes and as such, are particularly unsuitable for killing or incapacitating other creatures. A small, but important point, I hope you’ll agree.]

“2. You want to be able to be a potential "killer" using this weapon.”

[Doug, you’re imputing a great deal of ill will to people who do not have it. No rational person--and the facts indicate that the overwhelming majority of gun owners are law abiding, rational people, particularly those with concealed weapons licenses--wants to harm or kill anyone, quite the opposite. Your comment implies that you are also speaking of hunters, so please excuse me if I have read into it that which is not there. Hunters do indeed kill animals, but they do so humanely and for food. Human beings have always been predators. That part of human nature has always existed. That we have advanced to our current state of firearm technology does not brand us evil or demonize our tools. Those who hunt do not do so for the thrill of killing, but to experience a closer connection with their inherent, fundamental nature, to experience and develop unique skills, and to feed their families.]

“3. Others do not want to kill and do not want to be killed.”

[I must refer you again to my articles on these issues. The problem is that evil exists. I have fought it virtually all of my life. Evil can confront each of us at any time and any place. There is no question that some people--thankfully a small portion of the population--do want to kill and are more than willing to kill any one of us if we happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Others want to rob, burn and rape and take great delight in so doing. Again, no rational person wants to kill another, but no rational person should harbor the delusion that it may never be necessary, and should be prepared should that awful day arrive. Particularly for women, those of small stature, and the elderly, the sole tool that may preserve their lives and the lives of those they love is the firearm.]

“4. They do not want a gun in order to kill or incapacitate.”

[Doug, I know it may sound trite, but criminals don’t obey any law. They want firearms and they’ll always get them regardless of how illegal it may be. Some people do indeed want guns and other weapons to harm others. I must assume that you do not want to disarm reasonable, rational, kind people who are actually concerned for the safety and feelings of others, that you don’t want them to become the helpless victims of evil. I suspect that you mean that you don’t want to harm others. I certainly do not, but I’m prepared to do so if it is absolutely necessary. With whom would you make common cause? Those who would harm others, or those responsible gun owners who would not, but are prepared if there is no other choice?]

“I would make no arguments for even the existence of guns. I don't fear the "criminal". I fear the gun in anyone's hands. A gun fired creates culpability that I find unjustifiable.”

[Doug, you’ve hit on an important issue and one that all responsible gun owners take very seriously. It is, in fact, an integral part of basic gun safety and is constantly reinforced: Bullets fired cannot be recalled and we are responsible--culpable--for each round fired. Therefore do we train carefully, and therefore do we do our best to avoid confrontation. Carrying a firearm makes responsible people more, rather than less, likely to be involved in a confrontation. Believe me, you should fear the criminal, because given the chance, he will harm or kill you. Every day you are surrounded by gun owners who would, if presented the opportunity, protect your life against criminal assault. I can’t say it enough: Evil exists. It takes on human form and is all around us. If you have yet to meet it face to face, thank your lucky stars and pray that your luck holds, particularly if you have no means of defeating it.]

“I don't care to be called names for this stance. I do want to talk about some of your positions and their basic motivations. To talk about these things might open up some understanding. Talking instead about how "they" want to "regulate" your "capacities" is only a template for the argument that simply calls "up" "down" and "down" "up"--an argument designed for argument's sake.”

[Doug, I hope you’ll agree that there has been no name calling. My motivations for owning firearms are relatively simple. I have an appreciation for fine mechanisms and craftsmanship, whether firearms, musical instruments, timepieces or electronics. I enjoy the discipline and concentration required to attain accuracy with firearms in much the same way that I enjoy the discipline and concentration necessary to function as a classically trained professional musician. I have been fortunate never to have had to shoot a fellow human being, but I have perforated reams of paper. I appreciate the historical foundation of the right to self defense and the role of firearms in securing it, and in defending liberty. Shooting is also simply great fun (done responsibly and safely, of course), and as a shooting instructor, teaching others the necessary skills is likewise fun and rewarding.

There is no question that some want to gain any and every possible restriction on the way to eventual bans and confiscation of firearms, and I have named some of them and their intentions specifically in the article to which you responded. It would take little additional research to discover that what I’ve said is true: Many anti-gun people do want to ban all guns, incrementally or all at once, whatever they can get, and this is their primary motivation. Surely, some who are proposing magazine capacity limitations and other measures are well-intentioned, if mis-informed, but there is sufficient data and experience to understand that their measures will have no effect on crime and will not prevent what they hope to prevent. This is not argument for argument’s sake, but recitation of fact.]

“My basic position is that people without guns...people with no inculcated zealous drive to engage in "oppositional" aggression...will not maim and murder readily.”

[Doug, I agree that most people are not criminals and most are not violent. Competent research, and my experience as a human being and a police officer bears out that most people will obey the law most of the time and wish no ill will to others. But there is no linkage here with gun ownership. A very significant portion of the American public owns firearms, yet our shared conviction holds true: it is their nature, not the tools they do or don’t own, that determines their actions. Firearms have no power to compel their criminal misuse, nor are firearm owners more likely to use them violently than non-owners. Valid social science research is more than clear on that point. The Arizona and Virginia Tech shooters are good examples. They were not, in fact, gun owners, and purchased their guns only after formulating their murderous plans as tools necessary to carry them out.]

“I would not argue that there are no bad actors out there who would no doubt kill without compunction; rather I can only state that I am not one of these and it is always my hope that you too are not one.”

[Doug, if you carefully consider some of what you’ve written, you might concede that you are arguing just that, as when you wrote “Others do not want to kill and do not want to be killed.” Surely you can see how one might reasonably believe that you are are at least reluctant to acknowledge the existence of evil?

I’m pleased that you aren’t a criminal, nor am I, nor are the overwhelming majority of gun owners (again, it would take little research to confirm this), particularly those who hold concealed carry permits. But Doug, your comments seem to place you in the company of some on the anti-gun side who cannot admit that firearms have served good purposes throughout history and continue to do so today, that those who own them are equally thoughtful and well-intentioned, and like you, wish no harm to others. Do you truly believe that the mere ownership of a firearm reflects negatively on the intellect, education and/or intentions of its owner? I certainly make no such assumptions about those who choose not to own firearms, or any other mechanism. You can rest assured that those who own firearms are no more threat to you--and indeed, almost certainly less threat--than anyone else.

Thanks for the opportunity to address these issues, and thanks for reading and commenting!]

Yours,

Mike

Posted by MikeM at 10:49 PM | Comments (12)

Me? Own A gun? Article 3: Life-Changing Realities

If you’ve already read the first two portions of this series (available here and here), you’re reasonably well versed in the philosophical and theological implications of weapon ownership and use. This essay concerns practical, moral and legal issues, as well as exploring some of the primary ways that carrying a concealed weapon must necessarily change your life. Keep in mind that I am not an attorney, and that you are responsible for becoming familiar with the law where you live. But before we begin, for a humorous and accurate take on her rationale for carrying a concealed weapon, see my wise and delightful co-blogger, Brigid’s post, here.

AWARENESS: Walk down any street and take the time to assess the situational awareness of those you meet. What’s situational awareness? It’s a very familiar term to police officers, soldiers, and others who engage in risky, dangerous endeavors. Think of it as a heightened alertness combined with the ability to predict what might happen in any given situation. Most people walk around in a fog, almost completely unaware of what is happening outside of their “personal space,” that bubble extending to arm’s length or less. It is this lack of situational awareness that helps killers fire many shots into crowds or classrooms before anyone is aware of what is happening. In the aftermath of such attacks, people often say: “I didn’t see it coming,” or “it all happened so fast.” That’s because most people lack situational awareness.

See that man approaching you on the sidewalk? Notice that if he looks at you at all, it will only be, at best, a quick glance at your face. His mouth may turn up at the corners in a semi-smile, or it may not. Notice that no one looks up; virtually no one looks higher than the level of people’s faces. The next time you walk down a familiar downtown block in your community, concentrate on looking up. You’ll be amazed at the details you’ve missed. In the same vein, no one looks behind them. Consider how vulnerable this lack of situational awareness makes you to two legged predators. This is one of the primary reasons that they can be successful. In true, survival of the fittest style, criminals tend to prey on those who appear to be weak and/or distracted, hence, vulnerable.

The late Col. Jeff Cooper, firearms guru and founder of the Gunsite training facility, developed a color code that is helpful in understanding this issue.

Code White: This is the level of situational awareness of most people, which is to say, none at all. In this state, you are essentially unaware of what is happening outside your personal space. You cannot anticipate and identify potential danger and have no chance of dealing with it effectively if it appears. Predators see you as a walking piece of meat wearing an “eat me” sign.

Code Yellow: This is the level anyone who does not want to be prey should adopt. It is the level you must adopt if you carry a concealed weapon. In this state, you have an enhanced level of awareness. While remaining relaxed, you are constantly on the lookout for potential danger. You have expanded your personal space far beyond arm’s length and are alert and prepared to avoid or confront danger. This level of awareness is not stressful and can be maintained day in and day out without danger of physical or psychological damage.

Code Orange: In this state, you have recognized an imminent potential threat. Say a man walking toward you suddenly thrusts his hand into his coat in the manner of someone reaching for a handgun in a shoulder holster. You immediately escalate from yellow to orange--until he pulls out and begins to read a pamphlet--allowing you to return to yellow. This state may or may not result in an adrenaline dump, but remaining in this state for long periods of time may be physically or psychologically harmful.

Code Red: In this state you have recognized a definitive, imminent threat, but still have time to choose options. You approach your car in a parking garage to find several gang bangers lounging on the trunk lid. As they see you approach, they nudge each other, stand up, spread out, and one pulls a knife from his pocket while you see the others reaching into their pockets. They are grinning in anticipation. They think they’ve seen an easy mark approaching. You feel the heat of an adrenaline dump and have to make a decision: Flight or fight? Can you safely change direction and walk away without provoking a pursuit, or is a confrontation unavoidable? If it’s unavoidable, what must you do to gain and retain a tactical advantage? Remaining in code red for more than a few minutes is impossible for most people and will almost certainly be physically and/or psychologically harmful.

Code Black: You are actually fighting and must assume, in any confrontation outside the sparring practice of a martial arts school, that you are fighting for your life, particularly if you are attacked by a stranger on the street (more on this shortly). Adrenaline is pumping and you may experience time dilation (seconds seem like hours) and a narrowing of your field of vision known as “tunneling.” Your hearing may become very dim. All fine muscle control is lost. This is a debilitating physical and psychological condition and those who experience it are often physically and emotionally exhausted after a confrontation that lasts only seconds. If you have not adopted the habit of maintaining situational awareness, you will almost certainly be at a serious tactical disadvantage and may be hurt or killed.

With only fiction and movies as a guide, most people do not understand that it is entirely possible--indeed, it may be absolutely necessary--to be capable of two modes of behavior which, to the uninformed, seem contradictory. Police officers, special forces soldiers, martial artists and others understand what I mean. It is entirely possible to live a quiet, unassuming life, a life that, observed by others, would appear to be not only non-violent, but incapable of violence. Yet, when confronted by a deadly threat, such people are instantly capable of acting with overwhelming speed, violence of action and focus which results in the elimination of the threat.

In all of my police years, my wife would often say that she could not imagine me doing violence. Many of those who knew me would often comment that I didn’t look or act like a police officer. It was because I existed in code yellow--as I do to this day--that I was able to recognize potentially dangerous situations and avoid them, thus avoiding the necessity of violence, yet I constantly trained, mentally and physically, to deliver it if necessary. No rational person wants to harm or kill others, yet no rational person should be without the ability should it become necessary.

It must be understood that most people are utterly unprepared to meet violence. While most Americans believe, at least in the abstract, that evil exists, they don’t tend to think of it in concrete, daily terms. Most people think of themselves as kind, considerate, polite people, people who obey the law and consider the feelings of others. This is admirable, but it is hard, perhaps almost impossible, for such people to realize that they live near people who are not at all like them, people who, if not truly sociopathic--people with absolutely no feelings for others, essentially those without a conscience--care very little for others and have no problem with hurting or killing them for fun, to get what they want, or both. The realization that we might live next to such people, or walk or drive past them at any time of any day is sobering, but may lead to taking the necessary steps to be prepared. That is what this series of articles is all about.

THE OBLIGATIONS OF CONCEALED CARRY: Those who choose to carry a concealed weapon are, whether they realize it or not, taking on obligations that others simply do not have, and they will be held responsible, legally and morally, for upholding those obligations. Among them are:

(1) Situational Awareness: You are now obligated to live in code yellow. You can no longer afford to be oblivious to your surroundings. You must, to at least some degree, think like a criminal and ask yourself how they would behave and what they would do if they were intending to break into your home, steal your car, or assault you. You’ll be amazed at how much you’ve missed and at how much more vibrant and interesting the world is now that you’re actually much more aware of it in your daily life. You’ll also be entitled to a degree of pride in your ability to better protect yourself and those you love.

(2) Safeguarding Your Weapon: You are solely responsible for safeguarding your weapon. This includes keeping it concealed and ensuring that no one is able to take it from you. It also includes keeping it from those who should not have it, such as children. To fulfill this obligation, you’ll have to consider many things, including how you’ll carry your weapon, how to store it when you’re not carrying it, your wardrobe and how you’ll change your habits--and adopt new habits--to ensure that you don’t accidentally expose your weapon or accidentally leave it behind in a public restroom. You’ll have to alter your wardrobe and behaviors to accommodate the weapon, not the other way around. The premise behind concealed carry, and its value, is that since criminals cannot know who is carrying a concealed weapon, they must assume that anyone could be and act accordingly. You must develop consistent daily routines--do things the same way all of the time--to ensure that you don’t forget to do what you must. If you carry your weapon in your purse, for example, you can never allow that purse to be out of your immediate grasp, and certainly never out of your sight. At a restaurant, it should be on your lap, not on the floor near your chair. If this doesn’t work for you, you must find another means of carrying your weapon. In future editions of this series, I’ll go into the variety of available carry options.

(3) Maintenance Training: Shooting quickly and accurately is a matter of muscle memory and practice. It is a perishable skill. You must be willing to commit to a minimum amount of practice. How much? That depends on you, but generally speaking, once a month in live--on the range--fire, and once a week in dry fire--in the home--practice. The point is that your weapon should feel as familiar to you as your watch. Its mechanisms and use should be as easy and familiar as walking and should require no more conscious effort. New shooters should stick with a single weapon rather than carrying a variety of weapons. There is a venerable saying to the effect that the most dangerous man is the one with only a single gun. The point is that he probably practices with it enough to be truly proficient. If the point is being so familiar with your weapon that you need no conscious thought to employ it efficiently and quickly, that kind of familiarity will be hard to come by if you carry multiple weapons. Firearms aren’t fashion accessories.

(4) Avoidance of Danger: Firearms aren’t license to become a righteous avenger. In fact, if you’re carrying a firearm, you have a more compelling duty to avoid trouble. Firearms are to be used only as a last resort to protect your life, or the lives of others and to prevent imminent serious bodily injury or death. You must avoid places where danger is more likely such as bars and certain neighborhoods or areas where criminals are known to be. You must ignore insults, walk across a street to avoid people who might be trouble, even walk or drive blocks out of your way. If you are in code yellow, if you have enhanced your situational awareness, such things will be second nature because you’ll constantly be asking “what if?” You’ll be far more likely to recognize potential danger and avoid it. Predators will notice your awareness and will be far more likely to leave you alone.

On the other hand, if they’re too stupid to notice, or so bold or drug-addled that they don’t care, you’ll also be more prepared to avoid them or to gain a tactical advantage if it’s not possible to avoid a confrontation. Remember that if you do have to shoot someone, prosecutors will be asking themselves if you were looking for trouble because you were armed. Be sure that there is not only no evidence to support that theory, but plenty of evidence to the contrary. Most police officers will spend an entire career without ever having to shoot anyone, and they’re exposed to more danger in a month than most citizens will experience in a lifetime. Unlike you, they don’t have a choice; they have to knowingly enter dangerous situations. Prosecutors know this; so must you.

LEGAL ISSUES: There are two bodies of law with which anyone carrying a concealed weapon must be intimately familiar: The specific laws of their state that regulate concealed carry and the laws regarding the use of deadly force, in general, and those specific to their state. Of particularly concern are the places where concealed carry is prohibited as most people have their permits suspended for accidentally carrying their handguns into such places. These restricted zones vary from state to state, so it’s always wise to carefully research this issue and avoid violating those laws. Keep in mind, however, that Col. Cooper said that it’s much better to be judged by 12 than carried by six. In other words, it’s better to be alive and in violation of a given law than dead and faultlessly law abiding. I do not advocate violating the law, merely being aware of all of the issues relating to these topics.

State Laws: These regulate who is allowed to carry, the related fees, forms and tests (usually written and shooting), terms of license validity and the means of renewal, specify manner of carry (open, concealed or both) and specific zones and places wherein firearms may not be carried by licensees. They also commonly list states with whom reciprocity is shared. In other words, states that have entered into a compact of mutual respect for the concealed carry licenses of their respective citizens. Most states--at last count, 38--are “shall issue” states. In other words, if you meet the criteria for concealed carry under the law, no public official may deny you a license. In the other states, concealed carry is either completely prohibited (Wisconsin and Illinois), or a “may issue” system is in place where local sheriffs or state officials have absolute authority to decide who will be allowed a license. In such states, licenses are normally granted only for the wealthy, well connected, politicians, or similar worthies. The National Rifle Association website maintains an up to date database of state laws under its Institute For Legislative Action tab.

Municipal laws may also have some bearing, but only in those states that lack a state pre-emption statute, a law that prohibits municipalities within the state from regulating firearms. Ultimately, the point is to become very familiar with any state or local laws that might apply, not only where you live, but where you plan to travel. Even those states with reciprocity agreements with your state are sure to have some significant differences in law, and you are required to follow the law wherever you are, even if it differs from the law in your home state.

The Doctrine of Deadly Force: This is another area where you should carefully follow state law. The laws of some states are more lenient than the general principles of the use of deadly force, while some are more restrictive. The question is: When is the use of deadly force justified? Answer: When necessary to halt the imminent threat of serious bodily harm or death to you or another.
What this basically means is that in any situation in which a reasonable person would believe that they--or another--was faced with the imminent--as opposed to possible or future--threat of serious bodily injury or death, deadly force is a reasonable response. Of course, running away might also be a wise and reasonable response, but only if it is reasonably possible. In states that have enacted the Castle Doctrine--more about that later--it is not required.

It’s important to understand what “serious bodily injury” means. While the legal definition will vary a bit from state to state, it essentially refers to injury that, while not deadly, is crippling, seriously disfiguring, that will have a continuing, negative impact on your life from the moment it is inflicted. Getting shot in the leg or shoulder--as in the movies--is not something to be easily treated and shrugged off. Gunshot wounds are ugly, nasty and can be permanently debilitating. Equally, cuts inflicted by edged weapons like swords or knives can be as debilitating and in many ways, far more horrific and ugly. Many police officers who survive a gunshot wound may be physically healed, but never fully psychologically recover.

The means for determining--on the spot--if deadly force is necessary and justified is to apply the “means, opportunity, and jeopardy” test. There are a variety of similar terms/acronyms, but they all boil down to the same thing.

Means: Does your opponent have the means necessary to cause serious bodily injury or death? If you are a 100 pound woman, any man of average size and strength would almost certainly have the means necessary employing only his bare hands. Someone with a gun certainly would. Someone with a knife, almost certainly, and someone holding a variety of other instruments would also pose such a threat. Someone known to be highly skilled in a martial art, even if smaller than you, might also have the means.

Opportunity: Does your opponent have the opportunity to cause serious bodily injury or death? An attacker armed with a handgun certainly does, out to normal handgun ranges, perhaps as much as 50 yards away, although there is always such a thing as a lucky shot even at greater ranges. An attacker armed with a rifle has a much greater dangerous range. Someone armed with a knife is dangerous to at least 21 feet, perhaps even more, as practical experience demonstrates that even an average person with a knife can close 21 feet before they can be shot and/or stopped by a handgun-wielding victim. And if a knife- wielding opponent further away moves as though to throw the knife, a reasonable person must assume that they know what they are doing and can cause serious injury or death at a distance with that knife. Other tools such as hammers, bats, screwdrivers, etc. are also dangerous if the person wielding them is close enough.

Jeopardy: Is an opponent acting in such a way, here and now, as to indicate to a reasonable person that they, or another, is in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death? An opponent you know to be carrying a handgun which remains holstered is not putting you in jeopardy, but when he, after uttering threats, perhaps even glaring at you menacingly, quickly reaches for his handgun, jeopardy attaches. Someone standing across the street with a knife yelling threats is not putting you in jeopardy, but when they begin to run toward you, jeopardy increases with each foot gained.

Notice that I keep referring to what a “reasonable person,” might think or do. This is the general standard applied by the courts in analyzing the use of deadly force. Shooting a slight 12 year old girl who yells “I’ll kill you,” while making ready to throw a baseball at you from 50 feet away would almost certainly be found to be inherently unreasonable. Shooting an adult male who has threatened to kill you and is bringing a shotgun to his shoulder from the same distance would almost certainly be considered to be inherently reasonable. Fortunately, the courts, even the Supreme Court, understand that one cannot be expected to be absolutely cool and calm and able to engage in extended intellectual reflection and debate when faced with imminent deadly danger. That necessary understanding does not, however, relieve anyone of the necessity of acting reasonably and properly in deadly force situations.

Shooting to Kill: You must never say, or even think, that you shoot to kill. You never shoot unless the requirements of the three part means, opportunity, and jeopardy test have been satisfied. If so, you shoot only to STOP the attacker, to immediately stop them from doing what they were doing that put you or another in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death. To that end, you shoot as quickly and effectively as possible to immediately end the threat. So how do you stop an attacker?

The Mechanisms of Stopping: There are three primary means of stopping a human being: (1) Neural damage; (2) Breaking the skeleton; (3) Exsanguination (reducing blood pressure through bleeding). There are, however, many other considerations.

(1) Neural Damage: Causing trauma to the brain usually causes immediate cessation of hostile action. In fact, SWAT marksmen, when possible, try for a brain stem shot. They try to hit a hostage taker exactly where the brain and brain stem meet, at the base of the rear of the skull. If properly placed, a bullet to this spot will cause the potential killer to drop as though a light switch had been switched off, and even if they have their finger on the trigger of a gun, they will not be able to pull it. The problem is that this area is a very small target. In fact, relatively speaking, the human head is also a small target, particularly if it is moving at all. Notice too that I am talking about a highly trained marksman making the shot with a scoped, highly accurate rifle, almost always with the benefit of a spotter and from a supported position. Accurately shooting a handgun at the same target, even at close range, is much more demanding.

(2) Breaking the skeleton. While breaking a femur, or the pelvis, for example, will cause most people to drop to the ground, they may still be capable of pulling a trigger, and if so, have merely been rendered less mobile, not stopped. And again,
making such shots with any degree of reliability with a handgun is exceedingly difficult, particularly because, compared with rifle ammunition, much handgun ammunition lacks the power to reliably break large bones.

(3) Exsanguination. Someone shot in an artery, or even the heart, may have up to three minutes of useful consciousness if they are truly determined to kill you regardless of the damage they suffer in the attempt. However, if sufficient blood is lost, the resulting drop in blood pressure will inevitably lead to unconsciousness.

If by now you’re wondering how people are stopped at all, good for you. You’re paying attention and really thinking. Again, you’ve likely been infected by Hollywood.

Fortunately, such matters are not only physical, but psychological. Many people, upon receiving even a survivable gunshot wound, immediately drop and cease hostile action because of what I’ll call the “OMG! I’ve been shot!” response. Others--thankfully relatively few--may absorb ridiculous numbers of bullets which might slow, but not stop them, as they try to continue their deadly attacks. Such people eventually succumb to one or more of the effects I’ve mentioned, but “eventually” is not helpful or comforting if they are attacking you.

The best course of action is to aim for “center mass,” or the part of the torso at or around the sternum, and fire enough rounds to force the attacker to stop. If a single round of .22 LR ammunition will accomplish this, great. If it requires ten rounds of .45 ACP ammunition, that’s fine too. It is the cumulative effect of blood vessel damage, neural shock, and psychological shock that will have the greatest effect, therefore more than one round may almost always be necessary. Do not expect anyone, even if shot with a shotgun, to fly ten feet backward. If any weapon possessed the power, solely through the energy imparted by the impact of its projective, to fling a 200 man ten feet backward, similar energy would be imparted to the person shooting the weapon.

Keep in mind that it is always a good idea, even if you cannot avoid or escape a deadly force situation, to try to avoid shooting. If there is time, you should clearly display your weapon in the “ready” position--pointing it at your attacker, but roughly at the belt line--and loudly and clearly say “don’t move.” Fortunately, many criminals, confronted with an armed and obviously prepared victim, will choose the better part of valor and promptly show you the rear of their sagging pants and the soles of their flying shoes. And if they do not, you’re in the proper stance to fire and have established your desire not to fire unless absolutely necessary to any bystanders and potential witnesses. “Yeah Officer, that guy told him not to move and wasn’t pointing his gun right at him at first.”

The general rule is that if you have legitimate cause to shoot, you may shoot as many rounds as necessary, with as large a firearm as necessary, to stop the imminent threat. However, once any part of the three part test is no longer operative, you immediately stop shooting. If the attacker is writhing on the ground and has dropped his gun, which is out of his reach, he no longer has the means or opportunity, and is no longer placing you in jeopardy. However, if he is down, but is still holding his gun, the moment he begins to move it toward you, jeopardy is again present, and you shoot until he is stopped, whether that takes an additional round or ten rounds. When the justification to shoot ends, the shooting ends. Even though some states allow it, never shoot a fleeing criminal in the back. If they’re fleeing, there is no jeopardy. If they should suddenly stop and turn toward you with their gun, jeopardy is again present. While there are a few, very rare, circumstances in which shooting a fleeing attacker might be reasonable, they are so rare as to be nothing about which you should worry.

You must never think about “shooting to wound,” let alone try to do it. The law does not require it, and it will be highly likely to backfire for several significant reasons. Obtaining the desired stopping effect with a shot that inflicts only a non-mortal wound is highly unlikely and could conceivably enrage an attacker who will press an attack he might have otherwise abandoned. The necessary physical damage and psychological effect is simply not there, and making such a shot accurately is highly unlikely.

In fight or flight situations, among the first abilities human beings lose--which accompanies time distortion, tunneling and hearing loss--is fine muscle control. This makes it very difficult, perhaps even impossible, to formulate the intention to shoot someone effectively in a small portion of the body so as to immediately disable them, to say nothing of actually carrying out that intention. For most people, it is simply physically impossible. Hitting center mass will be more than hard enough, but with proper training and practice, absolutely attainable.

In addition, substantial legal liability may attach. If you were so cool and detached that you could shoot someone in the knee, did you really have sufficient reason to shoot them in the first place? If you really thought that you were in deadly danger, why did you take the time to shoot them someplace that any reasonable person should know wouldn’t reliable stop them? Yes, stopping them will likely result in their death, but you did not intend to cause their death. You intended only to stop them from causing yours That they subsequently died is regrettable, but they made that choice, not you. You are not the attacker.

In all cases, if you shoot at all, you shoot to stop, and you accomplish this by delivering a sufficient volume of accurate fire to that part of the body most likely to cause them to stop. When the threat has stopped, you stop.

At this point, you may find yourself experiencing some degree of revulsion. If so, good for you. You have a conscience. I cannot say often enough that no moral, rational human being wants to harm or kill another. Violence is cruel, nasty, hateful and bloody, but the choice is simple and stark: Do you prefer to be alive and unharmed, or bleeding, perhaps dying on the ground, at the mercy of those cruel and inhuman enough to attack you? Which alternative would you prefer for those you love?

The Castle Doctrine. One of the most salutatory developments of recent years has been the passage of a growing number of state “Castle Doctrine” laws. Based on the common law principle that “a man’s home is his castle,” these laws create the legal presumption that if you are in your home, or any other place you are legally allowed to be, such as your car, on your property, in a store, etc., you have no duty to run away or otherwise retreat if placed in a deadly force situation. You may stand your ground and defend yourself and it is up to the state to affirmatively prove that you acted in bad faith. This is important in that some states and jurisdictions have historically badly treated law abiding citizens who legitimately used deadly force. Some states had and have laws that require you to try to run away or retreat, even within your own home, if attacked by a burglar in the middle of the night, before using deadly force. Some essentially make you prove that you did try to run away or retreat before using force.

Castle Doctrine laws are, of course, only common sense. If someone breaks into your home or car and tries to attack you, it makes no sense at all to run away, surrendering your vehicle or home to them, if such retreat was even possible. Because such idiotic laws actually put families in danger rather than deterring criminals, castle doctrine laws are welcome and rational. Who would retreat from their home, leaving their wife or children at the mercy of criminals deranged enough to break into an occupied home?

A related issue is the old--and completely wrong--advice that if you are forced to shoot a criminal in your back yard, you should drag his body inside. If you have the legal cause to shoot, it does not matter where the criminal is standing. When the criminal is stopped, you stop, and do nothing--absolutely nothing--to alter the scene in any way. Anything you do, no matter how innocuous, may be taken by the police and prosecutors as evidence of evil intent on your part.

THE AFTERMATH: Let’s say that you have been forced to defend your life. Walking back to your car with your wife after a movie, you were approached by a criminal who told you he had a gun and demanded your money. He threatened your life and began to pull his hand out of his baggy coat pocket. You were faster. You went to ready and ordered him, loudly and repeatedly not to move, but he kept trying to pull his gun out of his pocket, and he is face down on the ground and not moving.

The entire confrontation has taken only five seconds, but it felt like an eternity. At this point, your head may be swimming. Your breath is coming in shallow gasps, and your muscles ache. Suddenly, you’re aware of the world around you. You’re in shock and your wife is shaking and crying. You suddenly realize that you’re shaking too. What should you do?

First be sure that the criminal is truly stopped and not faking. If it’s not obvious, keep him covered, but avoid approaching or touching him. The last thing you want is to become involved in a wrestling match with a wounded, crazed criminal desperate to get his hands on your handgun. If his weapon is near him on the ground and you can safely move it out of his reach, do so, but again, do not place yourself within lunging reach of the person who just tried to kill you.

Immediately call your attorney. The attorney you’ve already spoken with; the attorney whose number is on your cell phone. Explain what has happened and get his advice.

Part of that advice will almost certainly be to call the police, which you will do next, and at the same time, tell them that they need to send an ambulance. Everything I’ve suggested thus far should take place within the first few minutes after the shooting stops. Tell the police as little as possible. Know that they are recording what you say and will use it against you. Ideally, you will tell them only that there has been a shooting and that you were forced to defend your life against an armed robber. Be sure to specifically describe what you are wearing and make the dispatcher repeat it, along with the understanding that you have described the good guy, not the bad guy. Remember, say only the minimum possible necessary to inform the officers who will shortly be arriving and no more. You will feel like blurting out your feelings--don’t.

Before the officers arrive, if possible, move behind cover while still keeping the robber covered. As they arrive, holster your weapon, putting it out of sight, and position yourself so the arriving officers can clearly see you. Keep your hands in the open so the officers can see them. Tell the officers, repeatedly and clearly that you’re the victim and obey their commands, moving slowly, deliberately, and only when they tell you to move. Remember that they are unsure what has happened and who is the bad guy. Don’t give them any reason to see you as a threat.

The officers will try to question you as much as possible. Follow your attorney’s advice and say as little as possible. If you were unable to contact your attorney by phone, tell them that you were forced to defend your life against a robbery attempt. In either case, assure them that you will cooperate fully as soon as you have had the opportunity to speak with your attorney, who should be on the way to speak with you. Expect to be arrested and do not resist if they do arrest you. Expect to be taken to a police station where other officers will try to question you. If they do not arrest you but ask you to come to the police department to make a statement, agree to go, but again, tell them only that you will cooperate fully as soon as you’ve had the chance to speak with your attorney.

As long as you have obviously acted within the law, it is likely that no charges will be filed against you, though you may end up spending some time in jail until bond is set. This is not unusual.

Thereafter, expect that the robber’s relatives will suddenly discover that the robber, regardless of a rap sheet a mile long, was spending his life waiting for a letter from the Vatican announcing his sainthood. Expect to be sued. Yes, it’s insane, but expect that it will happen. The good news is that you’ll probably eventually win--and that you and your wife are alive to be sued. That’s the point.

The next installment of this series will deal with the more practical aspects of concealed carry, including weapon choice, methods of carry, tactics, and other related concerns.

Posted by MikeM at 09:16 PM | Comments (3)

January 30, 2011

The Unintended (or Not) Consequences of Magazine Capacity "Restrictions"

The Arizona shooting has provoked predictable calls for various gun control schemes, each and every one a recycled proven failure, but the most clever and insidious is the banning of large (actually, regular) capacity magazines for semi-automatic firearms. Prior to the State of the Union Address, occasionally suspect Republican Peggy Noonan has recently suggested that President Obama fly this particularly odious flag, echoing Paul Helmke of the Brady Campaign’s call for the same restriction. As most now know, this was one of many topics he entirely avoided, wisely—for him. Before I continue, some useful links:

(1) My commentary on the SOTU can be found here.
(2) Bob’s informative posts with video on magazine changes can be found here and here.
(3) Bob’s post on the Columbine killers is available here.
(4) My article on Justice Breyer at PJM is available here.

In preparation for what they hope to be a new front in a never ending battle, anti-gun forces are engaging in the continual re-branding of gun control, a re-branding occasionally made necessary when the public becomes wise to the most recent re-branding of a decaying carcass. The most recent re-branding seems to be the substitution of “restriction” for “gun ban” or “gun control.” Fortunately, for most Americans, a ban by any other name would smell as badly (apologies to Shakespeare).

Paul Helmke, who is trying to shame President Obama into overtly supporting gun “restrictions,” said: “Providing access to high-capacity magazines is beyond the pale. Banning them is a matter of public safety. There is no Second Amendment or God-given right to be able to maim and kill your fellow Americans with military-style ammunition. When the high-capacity magazine restriction was in place until 2004, it was effective. If our nation can agree that machine guns, cop-killer bullets, and plastic guns ought to be banned, surely we can agree that high-volume magazines have no place in our society.”

Also recently piling on the magazine capacity limit bandwagon was the Washington Post. While such a ban might sound relatively harmless to some--VP Dick Cheney recently—and uncharacteristically--suggested that it might not be such a bad idea--it is not only foolish but dangerous. Here’s why:

(1) THE (NON) EFFECT ON PUBLIC SAFETY: Set aside the fact that criminals don’t obey any law. Set aside too the fact that even if all firearms could be magically disintegrated by appropriate legislation, the murderous would simply use other more time-tested methods of killing. It should not be forgotten that some 7000 were killed in a single day at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 using the available hand weapons, which did not include firearms. At the Civil War battle of Gettysburg in 1863, both sides suffered approximately 51,000 casualties in three days of fighting using primarily single shot, breech loading rifles and muzzle loading cannon quite crude by contemporary standards. Some 5000 horses were also killed. The problem, in 1066, 1863 and today is human nature, not the tools employed.

Helmke’s claim that the 1994-2004 Clinton Gun Ban’s 10-round magazine limit was “effective” is easily disproved nonsense. It’s hard to imagine what Helmke means by “effective,” unless he counts as effective inconveniencing and annoying the law abiding while not in any way hampering criminals. My co-blogger Bob Owen’s recent article (see the link at the beginning of this article) on the Columbine killers—who would want their names mentioned here—eloquently makes that point. There are two primary reasons the gun ban was allowed to sunset: Congressional Democrats learned through bitter experience that the issue was electoral suicide, and after a decade under the joys of Progressive gun ban fantasies, no evidence could be found, or even plausibly manufactured, to indicate that any part of the law--of which the magazine capacity limit was a crown jewel--had any meaningful, positive effect on reducing crime or in any way improving public safety.

Helmke engages in additional sophistry. “Military style ammunition” is not, in fact, what is commonly in widespread civilian use. True military ammunition can be dangerous for civilian use because of its over-penetrating properties. Machine guns have never been banned in America, merely tightly regulated, and incidents of their criminal misuse are essentially nonexistent. There is no such thing as a “cop-killer” bullet, nor have “plastic guns” ever existed. They are figments of the fevered gun banner imagination, outright lies, inventions out of whole cloth meant to play on the emotions and gullibility of an uninformed public. The public can hardly be said to agree on the necessity of banning things that don’t exist and have never been banned. Arguing for a limitation on magazine capacity with nonexistent and false examples is, to the informed and rational, less than convincing.

(2) THE PRACTICAL ARGUMENT: Limiting magazine capacity, so the argument goes, would limit the number of victims that could be shot before a shooter had to change magazines, giving bystanders (unarmed, of course) the chance to attack and disarm the shooter. This is likewise nonsense. While it is true that with, say, a 30 round magazine, one can potentially fire thirty rounds in a shorter time than someone armed with two magazines of 15-round capacity, the difference is tactically negligible.

Semi-automatic pistol magazine changes done by the skilled take as little as one second. Even those with only average skills can change magazines in 3-6 seconds. The same is true for revolvers, which commonly hold only six rounds. With widely available and commonly used speed loaders (inexpensive plastic devices shaped like a revolver cylinder that allow all six cartridges to be simultaneously inserted into the cylinder), revolvers can be reloaded within 2-8 seconds, again, dependent upon the skill level of the operator. Bob has posted several revealing posts and videos that clearly illustrate this reality (see the links at the beginning of this article). The point is that the time required for magazine changes is practically insufficient to allow effective intervention by bystanders who would most likely find themselves running toward a shooter just as he finished inserting a fresh magazine and closed the slide--not a good place to be. And if Helmke and the rest of those who would ban all firearms had their way, all possible bystanders would be disarmed.

In Arizona, the shooter was reportedly overwhelmed not because of the time required for a magazine change. He did—according to some accounts--make a successful magazine change, but his weapon malfunctioned on the second magazine and he apparently lacked the skill to clear it. An alternate possibility is that he didn’t fully insert the second magazine and it dropped to the pavement--there are reports of a magazine on the ground and of a bystander seizing one of his magazines at some point--but it’s impossible to know for sure with currently available information. That, and the very close proximity of witnesses--he apparently walked into the middle of a crowd and started shooting--made it possible to disarm and restrain him without additional injuries. With proper training, all malfunctions to which semi-automatic pistols are susceptible can be cleared in one to four seconds. In short, those who overpowered the shooter--who would surely want his name to be mentioned here--were not only brave, but lucky.

However, a shooter can eliminate all of these problems by doing as the shooter at Virginia Tech--who would also like to have had his name mentioned--did by simply employing multiple loaded weapons. That killer used two handguns, a Glock 19 (as did the Arizona killer) in 9mm, and a Walther P22, a .22 caliber handgun with a 10 round magazine. Instantly available in those two handguns, without reloading, were 27 rounds. By simultaneously employing two handguns, one can fire 30 or more rounds even faster than a single handgun with a 30 round magazine.

Anti-gunners would not want it to be known that the killer could easily have done as much--or more--damage with an improvised bomb, by driving an SUV into the crowd, or through a variety of other methods it would be best not to publicize. Consider too that what gun banners call “large capacity magazines,” are usually those specifically designed for a given handgun and are, as such, magazines in common, every day use, in no way special or unusual. Such magazines are not considered “large capacity” by their manufacturers or by those who understand and own firearms. The AR-15, for example, perhaps the most ubiquitous semi-automatic, intermediate cartridge rifle in America, has a standard magazine of 30 rounds. Manufacturers do manufacture magazines of lesser capacity, but over the years, the 30 round magazine has become standard. “Large,” like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

While most incidents of civilian shootings involve relatively few rounds, there are certainly circumstances where a magazine capacity of more than 10 rounds can save, and has saved, innocent lives. Citizens, up to two millions times each year, use firearms to stop criminal attacks, usually without firing a shot. A group of criminals sizing up a woman in a parking garage late at night would surely take into account the 15 round magazine of her handgun as she drew her weapon. The practical--as opposed to theoretical--case for limiting magazine capacity simply does not exist.

(3) THE LEGAL ARGUMENT: One of the facts that must surely be most grating to Helmke and certain Congressional Democrats is the outcome of the Heller and McDonald cases. From 1994-2004, the state of 2nd Amendment jurisprudence was unsettled. The Supreme Court had never definitively ruled on the meaning and scope of the 2nd Amendment. Helmke, and those in tune with him, constantly declared that the 2nd Amendment did not confer an individual right to keep and bear arms. The Heller and McDonald cases conclusively established that the right to keep and bear arms is without question a fundamental, individual right that does apply to the states and that extends to firearms in common civilian use, which would surely include semi-automatic handguns, revolvers, and most semi-automatic rifles that resemble their military cousins such as the AR-15. These decisions have taken considerable wind out of the sails of anti-gunners, and all but the most virulently and irrationally anti-gun Congressmen have shown little interest in running headfirst into what is now far more clearly a constitutional and electoral buzz saw.

It is not just the two decisions that worry gun-banners, but their non-enumerated, implications. Admittedly, the full scope of this fundamental right has not yet been absolutely delineated. Unquestionably, one may keep commonly available firearms, including handguns, in one’s home, and this surely includes the magazines, ammunition and related accessories in common, lawful use. Still in some flux is the issue of bearing firearms, though the twin decisions--to say nothing of common sense--imply that one cannot meaningfully exercise the right without the ability to carry firearms--not only in the home--in some substantive way. All but two states--Illinois and Wisconsin--allow some form of concealed carry, with 38 currently having “shall issue” systems where qualified applicants may not be denied a concealed carry permit. It is highly likely that Wisconsin, having recently elected a Republican majority legislature and Republican governor, will soon join the other 38.

The experience in all of these concealed carry states is consistent: Those who are willing to apply, go through rigorous vetting and training and pay substantial costs, are far more law-abiding than the general public. Their permits are suspended or revoked primarily for minor technical violations of the law such as accidentally carrying a handgun into a prohibited location. Such revocations commonly comprise only a hundredth or thousandth of a single percent of all licensees in those states.

Researchers such as economist Dr. John Lott and others have found that concealed carry states have uniformly experienced drops in violent crime, and anti-gun predictions of gunfights over shopping carts and at fender benders have failed to materialize. Even partisan anti-gun researchers have, after mighty labors, been able to say no more than that concealed carry has produced no measurable effect on crime. In this field of study, they are in the decided minority.

If the right to keep and bear arms is truly an individual right and the plain words of the 2nd Amendment retain their equally plain meaning, arms may certainly be bourn outside the confines of the home. The right to self-defense, and its necessity, cannot be said to begin and end at one’s front door. The positive American experience with concealed carry is ubiquitous and supports the rationality of concealed carry using commonly available weapons and their component parts--such as the magazines designed for them--and accessories. Restrictions may be imposed on the exercise of a fundamental right only if a compelling state interest can be clearly demonstrated, and it’s clear that no such interest adheres.

Ah, but the Constitution would prevent such restrictions? Ideally yes, but if Mr. Obama is able to appoint several Supreme Court justices, the ideological balance of the court would be swayed from those who wish to interpret the law as written, while considering the historical record which faithfully reflects the intentions of the Founders, to those who see the Constitution as a mere impediment to desirable Progressive policies. Justice Stephen Breyer, who typifies this liberty destructive mindset, was discussed in my recent PJM article (see the link at the beginning of this article).

(4) THE SLIPPERY SLOPE: Slippery slope arguments can be irrationally alarmist. Yet, considering the nature of those who wish to impose such restrictions, including their long records of deception, misdirection and hyperbole, this particular slippery slope is all too real. For those willing to take the time to conduct a bit of research, it’s easy to find the statements, oral and written, of gun banners, which reveal their unmistakable, ultimate goal of complete bans and even confiscation of all firearms. Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) for example, said on February 5, 1995, on 60 Minutes, "If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them . . . Mr. and Mrs. America, turn 'em all in, I would have done it.” In this statement, Feinstein committed the stereotypical DC Beltline gaffe: She accidentally told the truth, the truth most other anti-gunners are usually careful to keep under wraps.

Why allow 10 round magazines? Does this indicate that gun banners are comfortable with allowing lunatics to shoot 11 (10 +one round in the chamber) people before reloading? And if ten rounds is good, wouldn’t any other arbitrary, lower number, such as six or even one, be better? Gun banner strategy has always been incremental. Their internal documents, which from time to time surface, reveal that they have always intended to get whatever restrictions they could manage, by any means necessary, as transitional steps on the way to complete bans and confiscation. Those wondering about the consequences of honest citizens being deprived of firearms need conduct only a bit of research into the experience of the British and Australians--who have no 2nd Amendment or anything like it--to understand the deadly consequences of such policies.

Two recent anti-gun maneuvers, designed to circumvent Congress and the law, serve to illustrate the point. In July, 2010 the Center For Biological Diversity petitioned the EPA to ban all lead ammunition. Lead is an essential component in all bullets. Ban lead and you ban shooting; this is an old anti-gun tactic. Despite the fact that the EPA had no such power, and that ammunition was excluded--by law--from such attempts, the Obama EPA attempted an end run around the Constitution and the Congress. Fortunately, publicity and other pressure caused the EPA to back off--for the time being.

Also in 2010, BATFE Special Agent in charge of the Chicago Field Division Andrew Travers was nominated by President Obama to head the agency. Travers has a long anti-gun record, including the kind of blatant exaggeration and outright deception about weapons and their characteristics common in anti-gun advocacy organizations. With Travers as the head of the BATFE, substantial under-the-radar harm could, and almost certainly would, be done to the rights of Americans. Such attempts to circumvent the law and Congress by regulation are fast becoming a defining characteristic of the Obama Administration. As this is being written, the disposition of Travers’ appointment is unknown.

Ultimately the slippery slope to the elimination of individual freedom always begins with self-appointed elites assuming the power to determine what each individual “needs.” In the strictest sense, most people don’t need firearms. But then again, most people don’t need fire extinguishers either--until the unexpected moment that they do--and at that moment, they need one immediately, badly, and nothing else will do. So it is with firearms, in or out of the home.

Allowing the elite to begin by choosing how many rounds may be carried in magazines seems--to some--a small matter. After all, that doesn’t absolutely eliminate handguns. But it is a foot in the door, the door to the eventual elimination of a fundamental American right. If government has the power to allow citizens only 10 rounds why not five? If minimizing casualties at mass shootings is the goal, why not allow citizens only one magazine of five rounds? And if one magazine of five rounds is “effective,” why wouldn’t single shot handguns be even more “effective” for “public safety?” And after declaring such policy to be “effective,” why wouldn’t doing away with magazines entirely be best? And when guns able to fire single rounds are inevitably found to be ineffective anyway, who really needs them? After all, no one really needs a handgun, with the exception of criminals who will always be able to obtain whatever they think they need because they have a significant advantage over the law-abiding: As criminals, they don’t obey the law, any law.

So. A magazine limit “restriction” will have no effect on public safety. It will not deter or affect criminals. It makes life more dangerous for the law-abiding. It will not, in any reasonable, practical way, reduce the potential danger posed by lunatics who want to commit mass murder. It would arguably violate the Constitution as well as tramp on state’s rights. And it would certainly put America on the slippery slope to outright gun bans and confiscation, particularly if Mr. Obama was able to upset the ideological balance of the Supreme Court such that the 2nd Amendment was left in place, but rendered meaningless. Other than all of this, it’s a great idea.

When Americans give up the ability to choose what are no more than common, everyday firearm parts and accessories, it is a short path indeed to more and more “restriction” and less and less freedom. This is what the enemies of freedom intend. This is their reason for being, and they believe they have an opportunity, an opportunity which may last only another two years, to achieve as much as possible. Perhaps they’re right, but only if law abiding Americans who wish to continue to exercise the most fundamental right, the right to preserve their lives and the lives of those they love, and who also hope to preserve freedom against destructive change, are willing to give up that right, round by round and accessory by accessory, starting with handgun magazines.

Posted by MikeM at 09:27 PM | Comments (12)

If 1994 Magazine Ban Democrats Want to Bring Back Was In Effect, More Could Have Died in Tucson

As a group, politicians seem utterly unable to consider the "law of unintended consequences." They are quite good at reflexively throwing a new law up to address past events, but rarely consider the effects their laws will actually have.

A prime example is the magazine ban provisions of the 1994 Crime Bill. Most people remember the Ban on Scary-Looking Cosmetic Features and a ban on manufacturing magazines of more than ten rounds, but the media forgets that the immediate and unexpected reaction to that law was that gun manufacturers responded by making handguns limited to 10-round magazines as small as possible. The result was an entirely new class of subcompact handguns that packs a considerable amount of firepower into a much more concealable package. This gave concealed carry permit holders far more choices, and increased the possibility that they would leave home armed.

Increasing the number of Americans going armed in public was the exact opposite of the intention of those that passed the 1994 Crime bill, but that was the direct result.

The same politicians have not learned, and are now proposing that they bring back that flawed and ineffective law. They don't seem to grasp that the law they would resurrect very well would have made the carnage in Tucson far worse than it always was.

Anti-gun groups and the media were quick to seize upon the fact that Jared Loughner was able to empty a 33-round magazine in a matter of seconds. What most didn't tell you is precisely why his rampage ended.

Pima County Sheriff Clarence W. Dupnik shed more light on how the gun was secured during the shooting. A woman grabbed a magazine of ammunition away from the shooter. The shooter, according to Dupnik, was able to grab another magazine - but the spring in it failed. As the shooter's second magazine failed, two men were able to subdue the shooter until law enforcement arrived.

Detachable firearm magazines are typically composed of four parts:

  • the magazine body
  • the baseplate
  • the follower
  • the spring

The more cartridges a magazine holds, the longer the magazine body must be and the longer the spring must travel. This increased movement means that larger magazines are generally more prone to failure.

This appears to be what occurred in Tucson.

It now appears that Loughner's second 33-round magazine suffered some sort of failure. If he had only the ten-round magazines that some politicians would force upon us, the odds are that he would have had to change magazines more times, but that takes just a second. Literally.

Of course, many people take longer to change magazines. For example, I don't have the time to practice regularly as I should, so it takes me 2-4 seconds.

The citizens that disarmed Jared Loughner had the chance to do so because his extended magazine failed, and he didn't know how to clear it. That gave them the time needed to make their move. If he had ten-round magazines—like those Eric Harris used to such devastating effect at Columbine in a firearm designed to comply with the Crime Bill—the number of dead and wounded could have been far, far higher.

Laws have unintended consequences. If Congress wants felons to have more reliable firearms, reinstating the 10-round magazine ban would be the most effective way to do it.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:35 AM | Comments (2)

January 28, 2011

WaPo: We Know Precisely How to Stop Massacres

The Washington Post has, err, posted an unsigned op-ed calling for the reinstatement of the Scary-Looking Cosmetic Features Ban provision of the 1994 Omnibus Crime Bill. You may know it better as the "assault weapons ban," but my description is more factually accurate.

The Post claims that as the ban sunset in 2004, it was just becoming effective. That's quite a bit of a stretch, and certainly not an opinion founded upon empirical data. It is a claim that would not stand up to even a cursory pass by someone familiar with the scientific method. Despite this, they confidently claim:

Jared Lee Loughner appears to be a deeply disturbed young man who should never have been able to obtain a weapon of any kind, let alone the kind that easily transforms a lone gunman into a mass murderer. The data from Virginia show that the federal ban worked. Lawmakers should not wait for another Tucson-like tragedy to resurrect this common-sense law.

They strongly assert throughout the article that reinstating the ban would prevent mass murder. The ban, in their memories, was mass-murder repellent.

Let me introduce you to the Hi-Point 995 carbine.

HP995

All you really need to know about it for the moment is that it was designed during the Scary-Looking Cosmetic Features Ban, and was designed from the beginning to use ten-round magazines.

I'll let you go to Wikipedia for the full description of this particular firearm if you are interested in reading up upon it in more detail.

As the Post said, "Lawmakers should not wait for another Tucson-like tragedy to resurrect this common-sense law." They are so right.

We need all guns to be as safe as the Hi-Point 955.

Here's another photo of the in-every-way Post-approved Hi-Point 995.

hipoint at columbine

It has been rather tightly cropped, though you can see it more detail at this page if you really must.

The owner of this particular Hi Point 995 used only Post-approved ten-round magazines in this firearm developed during the ban.

To be specific, the shooter used ten of the 13 Post-approved ten-round magazines in his possession, firing this ban-developed firearm a total of 96 politically-correct times during the April 20, 1999 rampage through Columbine High School.

I'm glad the Post is so cock-sure that reinstating a failed law will save lives.

Me, I have my doubts.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:43 PM | Comments (10)

January 17, 2011

Marcotte The Latest in Long Line of Leftists Pushing Gun Control After Tucson

I really try not to ready anything by Mandy Marcotte if I can help it. Her worldview is generally overshadowed by a pervading anger and her reasoning, such as it is, is warped and generally illogical. Unfortunately, I ran across her latest post in the U.K. Guardian, an appropriate location for an America-hating leftist, as she whined about America's refusal to conform to what she views as sensible gun control.

As usual, the rant quickly broke down into another shrill feminist rant against penises, which according to Marcotte, are now and have always been the bane of human existence. That particular complaint is of course never worth addressing with someone so steeped in illogic, but the following claim was worth destroying:

It's stunningly obvious that if gun laws were even slightly more restrictive – if background checks were more thorough, if semi-automatic weapons were more restricted, if you couldn't buy 30-round magazines – we would have more survivors of this attack today. Or we may have never had an attack at all.

Based upon past experience reading her half-literate rants, when Marcotte claims that something is "stunningly obvious," you can know for a fact that the next comment she utters will be completely incorrect. This is typically because her fixed and intolerant worldview simply makes her incapable of recognizing that much of what she "knows" is a fallacy, or because her powerful prejudices make it impossible for her to see any other side of an issue.

More extensive background checks on handguns, restrictions on semi-automatic firearms, and reduced capacity magazines would not guarantee few casualties when a lone gunman attacks. If anything, historical fact teach us just the opposite.

Gunmen who plot these attacks are unhinged mentally, but they are not stupid, and the tend to plan their attacks with the goal of generating as many fatalities as possible, as efficiently as they can.

Loughner probably chose the Glock 19 after considering a number of factors, including it's relatively compact size, controllability, ubiquity, and affordability. Glocks are among the most common handguns in America, and the Glock 19 one of the most popular variants of the most popular 9x19mm centerfire pistol caliber on the planet. The Glock also has factory-made 30+ round magazines that can be purchased as an aftermarket accessory. These facts are most likely what led Jared Loughner to select the weapon he did.

Marcotte makes the unwarranted assumption that if he did not have access to this kind of weapon, with this capacity magazine, that his rampage could not have been so bloody. This is an opinion based on her particular weakness of incredible ignorance compounded by insufferable arrogance.

Let us presume for the sake of argument that Marcotte and her fellow progressive/socialist/Marxist allies had her way, and laws were in place to keep Jared Loughner from purchasing a semi-automatic handgun or high-capacity magazines, and those laws functioned completely as designed. Let us presume that those laws kept Loughner from purchasing handguns of any kind. What would be the likely outcome?

Rather obviously, it would mean that Loughner would have had to find an alternative weapon with which to carry out his intended goal of assassinating Gabrielle Giffords and as many random bystanders as possible. Loughner's most natural next choice would either be a rifle or shotgun, or constructing a crude bomb.

If he filled the trunk of his aging muscle car with propane canisters and fashioned a crude detonator, he could have emulated the successes of your typical terrorist car-bomber, killing dozens, wounding perhaps hundreds.

But what if he went the "easier" route, and went with the sort of common long arms that even radicals such as Marcotte would be forced to allow, such as bolt-action deer rifles, and 12-gauge pump shotguns?

Well, then you would have a gunman with weapons with much greater range and far greater destructive power per bullet, which was the recipe for disaster that Charles Whitman brought to the bell tower of the University of Texas, Austin in 1963, where he killed 16 and wounded 32 in 1966.

Marcotte doesn't seem to quite grasp the law of unintended consequences, nor does she know enough about the subject matter she has pretended to master to know that when you take away less lethal, shorter range weapons such as pistols, your invariably push would be-shooters towards longer-range, more powerful weapons that keep any would be Samaritans at a much greater distance... or to devices with far more capacity for carnage, such as crude but brutally effective bombs.

Marcotte's British readers know the terror of those devices, with the Tube Bombings killing 52 and wounding roughly 700.

Would-be elites such as Marcotte love to delude themselves into thinking that they are intelligent enough to control their fellow man.

Predictably, they have never been right.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:41 PM | Comments (10)

January 14, 2011

No Winners. Just One Fewer Losers.

Surprisingly (to me at least) the jury has acquitted a gun fair organizer in the the death of a child that shot himself to death with a machine pistol.

A Massachusetts jury acquitted a gun fair organizer of manslaughter in the 2008 death of an 8-year-old boy who accidentally shot himself in the head with an Uzi submachine gun.

A Hampden Superior Court jury found former Pelham Police Chief Edward Fleury not guilty on Friday of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Christopher Bizilj (buh-SEEL') of Ashford, Conn. The charge carried up to 20 years on prison.

Fleury was also cleared of three charges of furnishing machine guns to minors.

The jury returned the verdict on its first full day of deliberations. It got the case on Thursday after closing arguments.

Fleury's firearms training company co-sponsored the annual Machine Gun Shoot and Firearms Expo at the Westfield Sportsman's Club, about 10 miles west of Springfield. Christopher was shooting a 9 mm micro Uzi at some pumpkins on Oct. 26, 2008, when the gun kicked back and shot him in the head.

Since first hearing about the case in October of 2008, my first thought was always, "what kind of idiot parent puts a submachine gun in the hands of a child?"

In this case, it was Dr. Charles Bizilj, the boy's father. You would thing a trauma room doctor would have enough presence of mid and enough sense not to arm a child with a weapon he could have no reasonable expectation of controlling, but this apparently wasn't the case.

Fleury won't spend the next 20 years in jail, which is something, but the family has still lost a son and the father has his own stupidity to blame. It's a harsh sentence for a mistake, and one I would think that is almost unbearable.

Parents, be smart with your kids and machine guns. I would have thought it didn't need to be said...

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:34 PM | Comments (3)

January 12, 2011

Ever the Gun-Grabber, Lautenberg Lies About Failed Gun Law in CNN Op-Ed

It seems all I have done the past several days is "correct" obvious attempts by the leftist media/political machine to create false narratives about the gun and magazines used by Jared Lee Loughner in his deadly assault last Saturday, and when I haven't been dealing with that, I've been dealing with pundits and politicians lying about the failed 1994 "assault weapons ban" that expired in 2004.

To hear them tell it, the ban kept blood from flowing in the streets and ended threats of gun violence. That is a neat trick, as the ban did not radically affect the violent crime rate during its entire existence, nor did violent crime spike as a result of the ban expiring. To those with knowledge of the ban's actually language and effects, this is less than surprising. After all, the ban did not in any way address the lethality, range, rate of fire or accuracy of any firearms. It was nothing more or less than a ban on the name of certain firearms, along with a list of cosmetic features that bore no relation to how well firearms functioned. A perfect example of a "banned" gun was the Tec-9 pistol.

Demonized by liberal gun-grabbers as the kind of "assault weapon" favored by criminals, it underwent utterly cosmetic changes—the elimination of the barrel shroud and threaded muzzle—and was out on the street as the AB-10 the very next day. Gun-control advocates claimed victory, but accomplished precisely nothing in terms of saving lives or reducing crime.

So it goes with Senatorial vulture Frank Lautenberg, who wants to use the bodies of Jared Loughner's victims as pulpit to press forward once again with gun control schemes. His editorial at CNN today is replete with half-truths and lies, with this being the most objectionable.

If the shooter didn't have access to the high-capacity magazine that he used, he would have stopped to reload sooner and lives might have been saved.

Loughner's magazine was attached to a 9 mm Glock 19 semi-automatic handgun, which is the preferred weapon of deranged madmen. In 2007, Seung-Hui Cho used the same model in the Virginia Tech shooting spree, which claimed 32 lives.

The Senator has carelessly libeled hundreds of thousands of police officers, military servicemen and women, and law-abiding citizens around the world that rely upon Glock pistols, and like all would-be tyrants, he would use the actions of a loathsome individual to justify his attempt to usurp the freedoms of the rest of society.

He then goes on to argue:

This is common-sense legislation, and there is no justification for keeping these large-capacity devices on the market.

The sad irony is that high-capacity magazines were illegal from 1994 until 2004 when the federal assault weapons ban was in place. In addition to dangerous gun magazines, this groundbreaking law also outlawed AK-47s, Uzis and other semi-automatic firearms.

These are the kinds of guns soldiers used on faraway battlefields; they don't belong in our communities.

The unintended irony of his pronouncement that such magazines are suitable for military and hence militia use is not doubt lost upon him, but that is dwarfed by the magnitude of the lie he continues to spread.

These so-called "high capacity" magazines were never illegal to buy, sell, trade, possess or use during the entire life of the ban. They were freely available for commercial sale, and hundreds of thousands, if not millions, were bought, sold, and used.

The law banned the import of foreign high capacity magazines, and marked new magazines manufactured after the law went into effect for law enforcement use only. All previously manufactured magazines were completely legal, even those thousands of brand-new magazines sitting in packages in the warehouses of wholesalers and retailers, which were never in serious threat of being depleted.

Likewise, "AK-47s, Uzis and other semi-automatic firearms" were never in short supply during the laughably labeled "ban." You could walk into gun stores across the breadth of America and pick up AR-15 or AK-pattern rifles, or many other semi-automatic firearms. Manufacturers simply shrugged their heads at the absurdity of the law passed, and went about releasing the same functional weapons, with minor and superfluous cosmetic differences.

The simple fact of the matter is that the petty tyrannies that men like Lautenberg desire to impose on others merely restricts the rights of the lawful, at the expense of liberty.

That, of course, is far harder to sell than his fiction that he's done something worthwhile in the past that he'd like to replicate.

After all, who would buy the claims of the honest liberal politician proclaiming, "I want to re-impose upon you a law that failed before?"

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 05:54 PM | Comments (1)

January 11, 2011

Lautenberg Reminds Us Why The Founders Want Us Armed

A US Senator announced Monday he would soon present legislation to ban high-capacity ammunition clips after a gunman used one in an attempted assassination of a US lawmaker over the weekend.

"The only reason to have 33 bullets loaded in a handgun is to kill a lot of people very quickly. These high-capacity clips simply should not be on the market," Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg said in a statement.

The Senator from New Jersey is partially correct (though they are magazines, not clips, which are something completely different). The standard-capacity and high-capacity magazines of semi-automatic firearms does enable shooters to have a formidable amount of firepower.

But they most certainly should be on the market, and in the hands of every responsible adult.

Provided such devices, adequate arms, ammunition, and fortitude, even just one person can mow down a crowd... or keep a lynch mob at bay, send rapists to the morgue, stop would-be tyrants, another coup d'etat, or genocide.

Such weapons systems serve as a great equalizer. The Founders intended arms to be used by a "well-regulated" militia comprised of patriotic citizens to keep would-be tyrants at bay, whether those tyrants were Redcoat tyrants of centuries ago, or the mentors and fellow travelers of a sitting President that plotted an American holocaust.

The Founders would applaud rank-and-file Americans having AR-15 carbines, AK-pattern rifles, and yes, semi-automatic pistols with what the gun control industry has chosen to call "high-capacity" magazines. Further, they wanted us to have these arms so that would-be tyrants—the very same legislators attempting to now ban magazines and firearms—could be kept from using the power of the elected elite and the color of law to run roughshod over our freedoms.

We have the Second Amendment not to protect us from wild animals or protect our right to plink at cans, but to keep the powerful and corrupt from becoming tyrannical.This fact is offensive to those now intent on imposing their will upon the populace, and why they push for "sensible" gun control—civilian disarmament—at every turn.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:21 PM | Comments (11)

Why Magazine Limit Laws Don't Save Lives

Gun control advocates are hoping to use the bodies of those killed by Jared Loughner as a podium to spread their views. New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein and New York Rep. Carolyn McCarthy—Democrats all—are using the tragedy to rush forward a ban on magazines of more than ten rounds, claiming that by limiting the number of cartridges held in each magazine, the number of casualties in shootings would be reduced.

Really?

Here is a magazine change of a Glock 19 pistol (the kind used in the shooting in Tucson and at Virginia Tech) by a shooter with average skill.



He fires two shots, drops the empty magazine, reloads, and fires two more shots within three seconds. That includes shooting two rounds from each magazine, not just the magazine change, which takes roughly a second. Such results are not atypical, and skilled competition shooters are even faster.

The bills being proposed by these freedom-hating lawmakers aren't about guns.

They're about control.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:50 AM | Comments (3)

January 10, 2011

Here, In Reality

A lot of memes are dying a bitter death as more information comes out about Jared Loughner's rampage at Gabrielle Giffords' townhall. Despite dishonest attempts by a corrupt media and their left wing allies to blame conservatives and the Tea Party movement for the shootings, the truth has emerged.

Loughner—according to those who knew him in high school and college—was very liberal when he was younger, but began displaying behavior that became increasingly erratic, and his obsession with Giffords began before the Tea Party ever existed.

Another meme is also suffering its downfall in the wake of the massacre in Tuscon. For years, left-wing gun control advocates have claimed that concealed carry laws allowing the general population to carry arms would result in carry permit holders gunning down each other and the public at large in the panic of a violent episode. Well, a concealed carry permit holder was at the scene of Saturday's attack.

He helped subdue the shooter. So much for another leftist meme.

Long-time CY reader Bill Smith noted via email:

According to the above piece, it seems that there WAS a private, armed citizen on scene with a pistol who, in the midst of the chaos, managed to keep his head, assess the immediate situation, and not draw his weapon.

That is, he did NOT become a "cowboy" even though he was -- as some idiot saw fit to point out elsewhere about this shooting -- within some sort of significant distance from the OK Corral -- and start blazing away with his weapon.

He did not even draw his weapon.

He, did, however, start running TOWARD the shooting.

He became intimately involved in the struggle, and saw what he thought was the shooter holding the gun. Instead of using his own weapon to shoot the shooter, he used his considerable size, and strength to "[force] the muzzle to the ground." He was then made aware by others -- and was sufficiently in control of his own faculties to immediately understand -- that this was NOT the shooter. At about the same time, the innocent man dropped the gun, and our armed citizen decided to stand on it, and try to get to the police on his cell phone.

"Zamudio [ -- our armed citizen -- ] said he never pulled his gun out. He saw that the slide on the shooter's gun appeared to be empty and decided the shooter was not in a position to fire."

"I don't know about being called a hero," he said. "I feel like everybody should think that's what you are supposed to do in a situation like this - go and help," Zamudio said.

My question is, does our armed citizen, Mr. Zamudio, fit the picture so often painted of armed citizens by the Brady Campaign? Or, don't many of us recognize him from thousands of shooting ranges, gun clubs, matches, hunting camps, and classes around the country, who just enjoy their sport legally and responsibly, and pass along its values to younger shooters coming up, because that's how we were taught when we learned to shoot when we were kids. For the present purposes you may want to read these rules starting with # 4, but it seems that our armed citizen had all four of these rules present clearly, and simultaneously in his head from the moment he strapped on his weapon that morning on his way to his Mom's art show:

RULE 1: ALL GUNS ARE ALWAYS LOADED

The only exception to this occurs when one has a weapon in his hands and he has personally unloaded it for checking. As soon as he puts it down, Rule 1 applies again.

RULE 2: NEVER LET THE MUZZLE COVER ANYTHING YOU ARE NOT PREPARED TO DESTROY

You may not wish to destroy it, but you must be clear in your mind that you are quite ready to if you let that muzzle cover the target. To allow a firearm to point at another human being is a deadly threat, and should always be treated as such.

RULE 3: KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER TIL YOUR SIGHTS ARE ON THE TARGET

This we call the Golden Rule because its violation is responsible for about 80 percent of the firearms disasters we read about.

RULE 4: BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET

You never shoot at anything until you have positively identified it. You never fire at a shadow, or a sound, or a suspected presence. You shoot only when you know absolutely what you are shooting at and what is beyond it.

The vast majority of those citizens that choose to go armed do so to be a benefit to society, not just themselves. Mr. Zamudio isn't atypical.

He's simply one of us.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:23 PM | Comments (0)

Text of the So-Called "Assault Weapons Ban" That Liberal Journalists Can't Seem to Find or Understand

Consider this a public service (HTML) (PDF).

TITLE XI--FIREARMS

Subtitle A--Assault Weapons

SEC. 110101. SHORT TITLE.

This subtitle may be cited as the `Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act'.

SEC. 110102. RESTRICTION ON MANUFACTURE, TRANSFER, AND POSSESSION OF CERTAIN SEMIAUTOMATIC ASSAULT WEAPONS.

(a) RESTRICTION- Section 922 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

`(v)(1) It shall be unlawful for a person to manufacture, transfer, or possess a semiautomatic assault weapon.

`(2) Paragraph (1) shall not apply to the possession or transfer of any semiautomatic assault weapon otherwise lawfully possessed under Federal law on the date of the enactment of this subsection.

`(3) Paragraph (1) shall not apply to--

`(A) any of the firearms, or replicas or duplicates of the firearms, specified in Appendix A to this section, as such firearms were manufactured on October 1, 1993;

`(B) any firearm that--

`(i) is manually operated by bolt, pump, lever, or slide action;

`(ii) has been rendered permanently inoperable; or

`(iii) is an antique firearm;

`(C) any semiautomatic rifle that cannot accept a detachable magazine that holds more than 5 rounds of ammunition; or

`(D) any semiautomatic shotgun that cannot hold more than 5 rounds of ammunition in a fixed or detachable magazine.

The fact that a firearm is not listed in Appendix A shall not be construed to mean that paragraph (1) applies to such firearm. No firearm exempted by this subsection may be deleted from Appendix A so long as this subsection is in effect.

`(4) Paragraph (1) shall not apply to--

`(A) the manufacture for, transfer to, or possession by the United States or a department or agency of the United States or a State or a department, agency, or political subdivision of a State, or a transfer to or possession by a law enforcement officer employed by such an entity for purposes of law enforcement (whether on or off duty);

`(B) the transfer to a licensee under title I of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 for purposes of establishing and maintaining an on-site physical protection system and security organization required by Federal law, or possession by an employee or contractor of such licensee on-site for such purposes or off-site for purposes of licensee-authorized training or transportation of nuclear materials;

`(C) the possession, by an individual who is retired from service with a law enforcement agency and is not otherwise prohibited from receiving a firearm, of a semiautomatic assault weapon transferred to the individual by the agency upon such retirement; or

`(D) the manufacture, transfer, or possession of a semiautomatic assault weapon by a licensed manufacturer or licensed importer for the purposes of testing or experimentation authorized by the Secretary.'.

(b) DEFINITION OF SEMIAUTOMATIC ASSAULT WEAPON- Section 921(a) of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

`(30) The term `semiautomatic assault weapon' means--

`(A) any of the firearms, or copies or duplicates of the firearms in any caliber, known as--

`(i) Norinco, Mitchell, and Poly Technologies Avtomat Kalashnikovs (all models);

`(ii) Action Arms Israeli Military Industries UZI and Galil;

`(iii) Beretta Ar70 (SC-70);

`(iv) Colt AR-15;

`(v) Fabrique National FN/FAL, FN/LAR, and FNC;

`(vi) SWD M-10, M-11, M-11/9, and M-12;

`(vii) Steyr AUG;

`(viii) INTRATEC TEC-9, TEC-DC9 and TEC-22; and

`(ix) revolving cylinder shotguns, such as (or similar to) the Street Sweeper and Striker 12;

`(B) a semiautomatic rifle that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least 2 of--

`(i) a folding or telescoping stock;

`(ii) a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon;

`(iii) a bayonet mount;

`(iv) a flash suppressor or threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor; and

`(v) a grenade launcher;

`(C) a semiautomatic pistol that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least 2 of--

`(i) an ammunition magazine that attaches to the pistol outside of the pistol grip;

`(ii) a threaded barrel capable of accepting a barrel extender, flash suppressor, forward handgrip, or silencer;

`(iii) a shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel and that permits the shooter to hold the firearm with the nontrigger hand without being burned;

`(iv) a manufactured weight of 50 ounces or more when the pistol is unloaded; and

`(v) a semiautomatic version of an automatic firearm; and

`(D) a semiautomatic shotgun that has at least 2 of--

`(i) a folding or telescoping stock;

`(ii) a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon;

`(iii) a fixed magazine capacity in excess of 5 rounds; and

`(iv) an ability to accept a detachable magazine.'.

(c) PENALTIES-

(1) VIOLATION OF SECTION 922(v)- Section 924(a)(1)(B) of such title is amended by striking `or (q) of section 922' and inserting `(r), or (v) of section 922'.

(2) USE OR POSSESSION DURING CRIME OF VIOLENCE OR DRUG TRAFFICKING CRIME- Section 924(c)(1) of such title is amended in the first sentence by inserting `, or semiautomatic assault weapon,' after `short-barreled shotgun,'.

(d) IDENTIFICATION MARKINGS FOR SEMIAUTOMATIC ASSAULT WEAPONS- Section 923(i) of such title is amended by adding at the end the following: `The serial number of any semiautomatic assault weapon manufactured after the date of the enactment of this sentence shall clearly show the date on which the weapon was manufactured.'.

SEC. 110103. BAN OF LARGE CAPACITY AMMUNITION FEEDING DEVICES.

(a) PROHIBITION- Section 922 of title 18, United States Code, as amended by section 110102(a), is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

`(w)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), it shall be unlawful for a person to transfer or possess a large capacity ammunition feeding device.

`(2) Paragraph (1) shall not apply to the possession or transfer of any large capacity ammunition feeding device otherwise lawfully possessed on or before the date of the enactment of this subsection.

`(3) This subsection shall not apply to--

`(A) the manufacture for, transfer to, or possession by the United States or a department or agency of the United States or a State or a department, agency, or political subdivision of a State, or a transfer to or possession by a law enforcement officer employed by such an entity for purposes of law enforcement (whether on or off duty);

`(B) the transfer to a licensee under title I of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 for purposes of establishing and maintaining an on-site physical protection system and security organization required by Federal law, or possession by an employee or contractor of such licensee on-site for such purposes or off-site for purposes of licensee-authorized training or transportation of nuclear materials;

`(C) the possession, by an individual who is retired from service with a law enforcement agency and is not otherwise prohibited from receiving ammunition, of a large capacity ammunition feeding device transferred to the individual by the agency upon such retirement; or

`(D) the manufacture, transfer, or possession of any large capacity ammunition feeding device by a licensed manufacturer or licensed importer for the purposes of testing or experimentation authorized by the Secretary.'.

`(4) If a person charged with violating paragraph (1) asserts that paragraph (1) does not apply to such person because of paragraph (2) or (3), the Government shall have the burden of proof to show that such paragraph (1) applies to such person. The lack of a serial number as described in section 923(i) of title 18, United States Code, shall be a presumption that the large capacity ammunition feeding device is not subject to the prohibition of possession in paragraph (1).'.

(b) DEFINITION OF LARGE CAPACITY AMMUNITION FEEDING DEVICE- Section 921(a) of title 18, United States Code, as amended by section 110102(b), is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

`(31) The term `large capacity ammunition feeding device'--

`(A) means a magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device manufactured after the date of enactment of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 that has a capacity of, or that can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than 10 rounds of ammunition; but

`(B) does not include an attached tubular device designed to accept, and capable of operating only with, .22 caliber rimfire ammunition.'.

(c) PENALTY- Section 924(a)(1)(B) of title 18, United States Code, as amended by section 110102(c)(1), is amended by striking `or (v)' and inserting `(v), or (w)'.

(d) IDENTIFICATION MARKINGS FOR LARGE CAPACITY AMMUNITION FEEDING DEVICES- Section 923(i) of title 18, United States Code, as amended by section 110102(d) of this Act, is amended by adding at the end the following: `A large capacity ammunition feeding device manufactured after the date of the enactment of this sentence shall be identified by a serial number that clearly shows that the device was manufactured or imported after the effective date of this subsection, and such other identification as the Secretary may by regulation prescribe.'.

There is of course more to the bill, and this section of the bill, but this is the language that is relevant to the MSM's erroneous claims that the Glock 19 and the magazines used by Loughner would have been illegal if this ban were still in place.

Clearly, Glock handguns were never banned in any capacity, and higher-than-standard capacity magazines such as used in Loughner's atrocity were legal to own, buy, sell and possess during the lifetime of the ban. It was only illegal to manufacture new magazines after the law went into effect.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:57 PM | Comments (4)

Predictable: Gail Collins Recycles Brady Campaign Lies

Dear Gail Collins,

You are entitled to have your own opinions about firearms, but you are not entitled to your own reality. That means you should not parrot the speech of people with a vested political and financial interest in lying, like, say, a spokesperson for a gun control organization who is paid to pass along absurdities such as this.

If Loughner had gone to the Safeway carrying a regular pistol, the kind most Americans think of when they think of the right to bear arms, Giffords would probably still have been shot and we would still be having that conversation about whether it was a sane idea to put her Congressional district in the cross hairs of a rifle on the Internet.

But we might not have lost a federal judge, a 76-year-old church volunteer, two elderly women, Giffords's 30-year-old constituent services director and a 9-year-old girl who had recently been elected to the student council at her school and went to the event because she wanted to see how democracy worked.

Loughner's gun, a 9-millimeter Glock, is extremely easy to fire over and over, and it can carry a 30-bullet clip. It is "not suited for hunting or personal protection," said Paul Helmke, the president of the Brady Campaign. "What it's good for is killing and injuring a lot of people quickly."

First, Collins' is factually wrong when she asserts that a Glock 19 is not "a regular pistol." It is perhaps the single most "regular" pistol in the United States, being one of the family of the most popular sidearms purchased and used by civilians, military and law enforcement around the globe, and it uses the most common centerfire pistol caliber in the world (9x19mm). It is perhaps possible for Collins to be more wrong in her characterization of the Glock 19, but I fail to see how.

Then we have Paul Helmke, of the Brady Campaign, who claims that the Glock 19 is "not suited for hunting or personal protection."

He is perhaps half right. I don't know of anyone who would advocate the use of a compact 9mm pistol for hunting, but that doesn't mean it could not be done. It would be too small to take big game humanely, and is generally regarded as too large of a bullet for small game such as rabbit or squirrel, but I've heard the occasional anecdotal stories of mid-sized handguns being used to dispatch predators such as coyotes and feral dogs.

Helmke is of course laughably dishonest when he claims the Glock 19 "is not suited... for personal protection."

Personal protection is the entire reason the Glock 19 was created!

It was conceived of, designed to be, and marketed as a personal protection handgun from the ground up. It is particularly well-suited for concealed carry by law enforcement and citizens, and tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, have been sold just to fit that role, just in the United States.

Perhaps it is too much to expect either competence or honesty from left-wig ideologues such as Collins and Helmke, but I do appreciate the fact that they don't even attempt to hide their dishonesty.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:32 PM | Comments (3)

And the Parade of Idiots Continues...

As we discussed in some detail yesterday, the writers and editors of Salon are remarkably incompetent when it comes to fact checking their claims about the expired "federal ban on firearm cosmetics" (if we are to describe what the bill actually did).

Apparently the Village Voice is similarly staffed with writers and editors that simply can't be bothered read the actual law.

As Gail Collins points out in today's Times, the Saturday shooting of Gabrielle Giffords and 19 others -- six fatally -- at the shopping mall parking lot was deadlier than the gunfight at the O.K. Corral in nearby Tombstone. And Loughner never would've been able to buy his Glock with its extended clip if the Federal Assault Weapons Ban hadn't been allowed to sunset in 2004. Which means, as Collins writes, that if the 22-year-old had been limited to your standard assassin's pistol, we might well have lost a congresswoman, but "not a federal judge, a 76-year-old church volunteer, two elderly women, Gifford's 30-year-old constituent services director, and a 9-year-old girl who had recently been elected to the student council and went to the event because she wanted to see how democracy worked."

The Glock 19 used by Loughner was never banned by federal law, nor was the sale, ownership or possession of the aftermarket extended magazine that he used in the shooting. The only thing covered in the expired federal bill was the manufacture of new magazines after the law went into effect. Any new or used magazine made prior to the ban could be sold in retail stores, and in actuality, that is precisely what occurred. There was a shortage of standard capacity magazines for more obscure firearms, but standard capacity magazines and high capacity magazines like those used by Loughner were available for sale—quite legally—during the entire life of the ill-conceived law.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:13 AM | Comments (3)

January 09, 2011

Salon Posts Completely False Article About Giffords Shooting

Some guy named Justin Elliott is claiming that the Glock 19 and magazines used in the Giffords shooting yesterday would have been banned by the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban.

The only thing he got right in his article was the punctuation.

The semiautomatic handgun used in the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and more than a dozen other people on Saturday would have been illegal to manufacture and difficult to purchase under the Clinton-era assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004.

According to police and media reports, the alleged shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, legally purchased a Glock 19 with a high-capacity magazine in November at a gun store in Tucson. Under the assault weapons ban, it was illegal to manufacture or sell new high capacity magazines, defined as those that hold more than 10 rounds. The magazines used by Loughner had 31 rounds each, according to police.

Unfortunately for Elliott and the dolts he has for editors at Salon, his claims are almost entirely untrue.

The Glock 19 was completely legal and freely available during the entirety of the laughably ineffective law. It was never illegal to purchase, manufacture or own at any point, and Glock actually introduced 11 new models to the US market during the time Elliot claimed they were banned.

Likewise, the 31-round magazines used in the shooting have never been banned from civilian ownership, or commercial and retail sale. Only the manufacture of new magazines was banned during the time the law was in effect. Sale, ownership, possession and use was always perfectly legal as a federal matter.

Elliott's post isn't just wrong, it's embarrassingly wrong.

Update: Salon has since updated the article, and it's still wrong:

The high-capacity magazine of the semiautomatic pistol used in the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and more than a dozen other people on Saturday would have been illegal to manufacture and difficult to purchase under the Clinton-era assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004.

According to police and media reports, the alleged shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, legally purchased a semiautomatic Glock 19 with a high-capacity magazine in November at a gun store in Tucson. Under the assault weapons ban, it was illegal to manufacture or sell new high-capacity magazines, defined as those that hold more than 10 rounds. The magazines used by Loughner had 31 rounds each, according to police.

Salon was embarrassed enough to partially correct the claim about the gun (without having the integrity to acknowledge their gross error), but is still completely incorrect in claiming that so-called "high-capacity" magazines were illegal to sell during the ban.

They most certainly were not.

Shooters could buy high capacity magazines—new or used—during the entire ban.

But Elliott still isn't done being incompetent, even in the revised article.

Such as this false claim, which still remains:

Between 1994 and 2004 when the assault weapons ban was in effect, gun manufacturers such as Glock could not market handguns with high-capacity magazines. If the ban were still in effect, it's less likely that Loughner could have obtained a gun with a high-capacity magazine. Stores could legally only sell used high-capacity magazines at that time, and new magazines could not be manufactured.

Manufacturers could indeed legally manufacture and market guns capable of using high capacity magazines during the entire life of the so-called ban. What they could not do is manufacture new high capacity magazines after the law went into effect.

Elliot is still incompetent, as are his editors. It is obvious that Joan Walsh's magazine is far more interested in misleading their readers and pushing a radical agenda than telling anything resembling the truth.


MIKE’S UPDATE:

There are a number of additional mistakes and misrepresentations in the article, as well as plainly misleading statements. Among them:

MISREPRESENTATION: “If Loughner had been using a traditional magazine, "it would have drastically reduced the number of shots he got off before he had to pause, unload and reload -- and he could have been stopped," Daniel Vice, senior attorney at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, tells Salon.”

FACT: The standard Glock 19 magazine holds 15 rounds, With one round chambered, that’s a total of 16 rounds. With one additional magazine (Glocks are factory shipped with two magazines), a total of 31 rounds. To “unload,” one need only press the magazine release which causes an expended magazine to drop free from the magazine well and takes only a fraction of a second, or perhaps a bit longer than a second for an untrained operator. Inserting a loaded magazine and releasing the slide to chamber a round would commonly take no more than six seconds for an untrained operator. I have no idea what Vice considers a “traditional” magazine, but even if it was a Clinton ban magazine of only 10 rounds, the shooter would still have 21 readily accessible rounds. Vice is trying to suggest that there would be substantial time differential with “traditional” as opposed to “extended” magazines, but that differential would have been far less significant than he suggests. The best means of stopping the shooter would have been one or more honest citizens carrying their own weapons in the crowd, but the Brady Center opposes that as well. It’s tragic that none were apparently present.

MISTAKE: “State laws are also an issue....‘Even if folks had seen Loughner with the gun walking up to the congresswoman, it was perfectly legal until he started firing,’ Vice says.”

FACT: The applicable Arizona laws are:

“13-1202. Threatening or intimidating; classification
A. A person commits threatening or intimidating if the person threatens or intimidates by word or conduct:
1. To cause physical injury to another person or serious damage to the property of another; or...”

“13-1204. Aggravated assault; classification; definition
A. A person commits aggravated assault if the person commits assault as prescribed by section 13-1203 under any of the following circumstances:
2. If the person uses a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.
B. A person commits aggravated assault if the person commits assault by either intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing any physical injury to another person, intentionally placing another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury or knowingly touching another person with the intent to injure the person, and both of the following occur:”

13-1202 is a misdemeanor and 13-1204 is a felony offense. Vice could not be more wrong if he tried. “Loughner with the gun walking up to the congresswoman...” is violating both statutes, particularly if he had the weapon in his hand. The laws pertaining to self defense and use of deadly force would also have empowered any armed bystander to, at the very least, point their weapon at Loughner and challenge him. The second he began to raise his weapon toward anyone--arguably, particularly the congresswoman--he could have been immediately shot.

MISREPRESENTATION: “He [Vice] also notes that Glock pistols are particularly easy to fire, letting off rounds as quickly as the operator can pull the trigger. "They are very good at killing people quickly," he says.

FACT: Any handgun, revolver or semi-automatic pistol like a Glock, will fire “as quickly as the operator can pull the trigger.” Vice is suggesting that Glocks, apart from other types of firearms, are somehow uniquely adept at “killing people quickly.” This is nothing more than an attempt to demonize a tool and to mislead those not well acquainted with firearms. While Glocks are rugged, reliable handguns, they possess no unusual or unique “killing” abilities. No firearm does. It is more than a mere issue of semantics to observe that it was Loughner who killed six people, not the tool he used.

MISLEADING: “‘Our gun laws are so weak that someone who couldn't get into the military, who was kicked out of school, and who used drugs walked into a gun store and was able to immediately buy a semiautomatic weapon,’ he [Vice] says.”

FACT: Many people are not accepted for military service, some are kicked out of school, and many have used illegal drugs at one time or another, yet these are not, by themselves or together, a bar on possession of legal ownership of firearms, or even to driving, in any state. While the Brady Center has, over the years and under various names, tried to ban virtually all gun ownership by various devices, unless Vice is suggesting that anyone who has ever been unfit for military service, been ejected from school, or has used illegal drugs should be forever banned from buying a gun--this would require nationwide laws and a massive computerized registry--he is being particularly misleading here.

One of the supreme ironies and unintended consequences of the Clinton Gun Ban was that it actually inspired the design and manufacture of a variety of new, particularly concealable weapons and the foundation of a variety of manufacturers. It was Glock that led the way with the Glock 26 in 9mm, designed for the 10 rounds to which all newly manufactured magazines were then limited. Needless to say, the design was a runaway success and spawned many successful copies from other manufacturers.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:25 PM | Comments (21)

Just Like Virginia Tech; CBS Spreads Lies to Further Their Gun Control Agenda

It pisses me off how the hacks in the MSM take every horrific shooting like the one today in Arizona to further their favored cause of gun control. Not only do they try to demonize and entire class of citizens (gun owners) and firearms (everything is "high-powered" or "high capacity" or an "assault weapon" or "military-style"), they also lie about the effect of gun laws they champion, claiming these seemingly magical laws would have prevented such a crime.

CBS is guilty of fabricating such a lie:

A source with knowledge of the gun involved in Saturday's shooting says the weapon used was a Glock 19 9mm semi-automatic pistol.

Importantly, the source said, the gun had a high capacity magazine that can hold up to 30 or more rounds, two to three times a normal magazine capacity; and witnesses said the magazine stuck out about 12 inches. The Glock website confirms that, reading that the standard magazine hold 15 rounds, while the high capacity magazine Loughner had can hold up to 33. One reports says the magazine was probably purchased separately.

The high capacity magazine was banned while the federal assault weapons ban was in place during the Clinton administration; the ban was allowed to expire during the Bush administration.

Any detachable magazine fed firearm--which includes the most common target rifles, hunting firearms, and the most common self-defense and sporting pistols--can use a "high-capacity" magazine. Someone simply needs to make it.

But the claim that such magazines were ever outlawed is an abject and bald-faced lie.

Magazines holding between 10-100 rounds were perfectly legal to buy, sell, possess, own, and shoot the entire time the so-called "federal assault weapons ban" was in place. They were available in every sporting good store that wanted to carry them, via catalog sales, or on the Internet, just as they are today.

The "ban" simply made it illegal to build new magazines during that time period, which affected the supply of magazines for many firearms very, very little. It simply made the less common and higher demand magazines a bit more expensive.

CBS knows this. They know they are selling a lie to a public reeling in shock from a horrible massacre.

And that is exactly what they intended to do, to further their political agenda.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:32 AM | Comments (10)

December 26, 2010

Snow Makes Concealed Carry Illegal in North Carolina

It is difficult to hold the intellect of politicians in the proper disdain. As citizens, we hope that our elected officials are the best of us, or at the minimum, are as intelligent as we are.

Here in North Carolina, that is decidedly not the case. We've awoken to a rare covering of snow, and can expect a half-foot or more of it across much of the state. As a result of the winter wonderland, hundreds of thousands of our most law-abiding citizens are now potential felons.

North Carolinians have been plagued with Democrats in our state legislature for far too long, and one of the more ignorant bits of legislation they've passed is a law making it illegal for concealed carry permit holders to carry their firearms during any state of emergency declared by our elected officials.

It is an absurd law, by any measure. A coating of snow or ice or does not revoke the God-given rights recognized in our federal or state Constitutions, and yet the dim representatives of year's past have attempted to usurp these natural rights.

The 2010 elections have swept a Republican legislature into office, and gun owners in our fair state are determined that these an other restrictive laws passed by anti-gun Democrats are defeated. Freedom is not a weather-related phenomenon.

It's too bad past legislators lacked the common sense to understand that.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:23 AM | Comments (9)

December 14, 2010

Any Gun Bloggers Going to the SHOT Show?

If so, UTM is interested in setting up a demo for you.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:26 PM | Comments (2)

Justice Breyer Lays Down His Cards

Pajamas Media was kind enough to publish a piece I wrote about Fox News Sunday's interview with US Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer on December 11th. Justice Breyer revealed himself to be a stereotypical leftist believer in a "living, breathing, Constitution," which is essentially Progressive-speak for ignoring the Constitution in favor of implementing Progressive policies. The article may be read here.

Posted by MikeM at 06:42 PM | Comments (0)

December 13, 2010

Anybody Bought Ammo Here?

The Sportsman's Guide has been used by my family over the years for stuff like hunting boots and camping gear, but I also noticed they seem to have a decent selection of ammunition, at what seems to be reasonable prices.

I'm getting low on 9mm practice ammo, and am due for a carry ammo refresh as well.

Has anyone bought from them before? Are their shipping rates and shipping times as reasonable as their prices seem to be?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:04 PM | Comments (10)

WaPo Reprises the "90% Lie", Whines for Selective, Ineffective BATF

The Washington Post rehashed the infamous and oft-debunked Mexican Gun Canard again this morning in a story they laughably call an "exclusive."

The only thing exclusive about this fabrication is that they are the only fools outside of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave still pushing it.

The foundation and the National Rifle Association aggressively challenge statistics that show 80 to 90 percent of the weapons seized in Mexico are first sold in the United States, calling the numbers highly inflated. After being criticized by the gun lobby, ATF stopped releasing such statistics this year.

"To suggest that U.S. gun laws are somehow to blame for Mexican drug cartel violence is a sad fantasy," said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action.

Cox said guns are coming to Mexico from other Central American countries and from former Mexican soldiers who have U.S. weapons and are now working for the cartels.

ATF disagreed, saying the biggest factors are the high number of dealers along the border and the convenient location.

When the Post reporter claims that the "ATF disagreed," he doesn't speak for the entire agency, just a regional supervisor that is either pushing a political agenda or lacks the big picture. Either way, his superiors have overruled his opinion with facts for over a year.

The myth that legal guns sales in the United States are responsible for Mexican drug cartel violence took another serious blow last week when an ATF official testified in Congress that only eight percent of weapons recovered in Mexico came through licensed U.S. gun dealers.

This figure is far lower than the 90 percent claim made previously as an appeal to reinstate ineffective gun laws that expired in 2004. The claim — still active among the less informed or serially dishonest — officially became myth during congressional testimony last week when Bill McMahon, deputy assistant director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, revealed the eight percent figure, how it was calculated, and where the 90 percent myth arose from.

Of the 100,000 weapons recovered by Mexican authorities, only 18,000 were determined to have been manufactured, sold, or imported from the United States, and of those 18,000, just 7,900 came from sales by licensed gun dealers.

The Post can't even get through their accompanying photo gallery without exposing their dishonesty; this FN MAG this South African Vector SS-77 machine gun certainly didn't come from a U.S. gun store.

Let's be clear: I am personally of the opinion that too many guns are heading south of the border from the United States, but the media and Administrations in both the U.S. and Mexico need to be honest. The number of guns imported from this country is dwarfed by the number of guns sold, stolen or given to the cartels by Mexican law enforcement and military sources, and from black market smuggling from Central and South America and Asia. You simply cannot get the machine guns and grenades the cartels favor in the United States. They come from corruption in Mexico and the same pipeline that bring in drugs from overseas.

The rest of the article is a complaint about just how dang hard it is for the ATF to prosecute criminals.

Bull.

You can give them all sorts of evidence, including pictures of felons with a gun in their hands, and they will actively fight against prosecuting them.

This article is about politics, not crime prevention.

Update: Per Big Country's expert eye, I've updated the post to correct the machine gun type in the photo. I await with baited breath for the media to explain how an American gun store is responsible for a weapon that cannot be sold on these shores.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:58 AM | Comments (7)

December 07, 2010

Always Zero Your Weapon

As Cubachi notes, liberals are not going to be happy that Sarah Palin shot and killed a caribou during a hunt featured on Sarah Palin's Alaska. I'm not real happy, either.

It appears that the rifle she used had not been sighted in before the hunt, or was banged around enough to come off-zero. In any event, she shot high every time she fired thate weapon. In the end, she put the caribou down with a single shot from another weapon. This suggests the problem is the weapon, not the shooter.

Always be sure of your target, but also always be sure you are using a weapon sighted to hit your target. There may or may not be some political wisdom in that statement as well.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:04 PM | Comments (12)

December 06, 2010

Ultimate Training Munitions

I had some private trigger-time with some of the cutting-edge training munitions just being deployed to the U.S. Army for close-quarters battle training.

Check it out at Bob's Gun Counter.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:04 AM | Comments (1)

November 21, 2010

Me? Own A Gun? Article 2: Is Killing Justified?

The first article of this series ended with this paragraph:

“But let us assume that this article has, at least, persuaded you to the point that you are willing to tentatively concede that an individual, inalienable right of self defense is probably necessary. What then? The next installment of the series explores the legal, moral and spiritual issues revolving around taking the life of another, legally and illegally.”

IS KILLING MORALLY JUSTIFIED?

This is an ancient argument, an argument about which countless volumes have been written. I can only touch on a few of the salient points, but fortunately, for our purposes, that is all that is required. Since Western culture is built on the foundation of the Judaeo/Christian tradition, and America is, by and large a Christian nation (which tolerates, even embraces all faiths), I’ll focus on that tradition and its holy texts.

The Sixth Commandment, in the King James translation, says “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13 / Deuteronomy 5:17). It is the misunderstanding of this Commandment that has caused much confusion. The Bible--particularly in the Old Testament--makes clear, explicitly and implicitly, that killing is both justified and unjustified, and that unjustified killing is murder. In fact, more recent translations of the Bible use that word, the word closest to the correct translation of the Greek and Hebrew: “Thou shalt not murder.” It is this ancient distinction between justified and unjustified killing, between lawful and unlawful killing that is the foundation of our criminal justice system. Such a distinction requires one additional, vital, understanding: Each individual, each human life, has value and that life may not be taken except under the very narrow exceptions imposed by God’s law and man’s law, so long as it faithfully reflects God’s law in embodying the importance and value of each life.

The Bible also, in many ways, makes clear that killing is anticipated by God and is permitted when it is justified. Ecclesiastes 3 states: (1) “To every thing there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven: (3) A time to kill, and a time to heal...” And while the Bible enjoins believers to respect governmental authority because God allows it to exist, it makes clear that each individual, because of his or her intrinsic worth, has not only the freedom to protect their most precious, God given gift--their life--perhaps even the duty to do so. This was, at one time, almost universally understood. Decades of relativistic thinking have, to greater and lesser degrees, and in some quarters, muddied what were once clear philosophical waters.

In Jewish tradition, the word for murder is based on the concept of longing for or desiring, in other words, invoking passion, a passion to kill--to murder--in an unjustified manner and for unjustifiable reasons. Killing, however, is a matter of necessity or of justifiably applied justice. Neither the Bible nor the Torah prohibit self defense and both recognize the inherent value of each human life. Therefore, the distinction between justified and unjustified killing seems clear.

NON-VIOLENCE:

But what about those who believe in and practice non-violence? Isn’t that a viable way to live? What about Ghandi and Martin Luther King, for example? Ghandi and Dr. King were educated, intelligent men who clearly understood that their methods could be effective and held little or no risk of death because they were employed against peoples and governments who recognized the rule of law informed by the Judeo/Christian tradition. In effect, they knew that the people who ran the governments whose policies they opposed might imprison them for a time, but were highly unlikely to seriously harm or kill them. They also know that their respective governments could be made to feel shame and embarrassment, and that those feelings of shame and embarrassment could be harnessed to cause desired social change. Such tactics employed against a great many governments, then and now, would be virtually certain to result in torture and death. Non violence as a method of social change is effective only if those who oppose you have a conscience and you or your followers are around to take advantage of that change, and to that end, the governments to be opposed must be carefully chosen indeed.

While non-violence as an individual lifestyle may be, in some respects, a noble choice, its effectiveness ends at the moment its practitioner meets one bent on murder. At that point, the choice becomes immediate and stark: Noble words in a eulogy affirming a non-violent life tragically cut short, or survival. The world will certainly be better served by the continuing existence of one who rejects violence unless it is absolutely necessary.

A central lesson of Christianity is the practice of love and mercy. There is no inherent contradiction in one who believes and practices those virtues but who must protect their life or the life of another. In fact, the Bible teaches that there is no greater love than that a man lay down his life for a friend. General George Patton said that you don’t win wars by dying for your country, but by making the other poor bastard die for his. Similarly, perhaps it is also a great expression of love and mercy to make one who would take your life, or the life of a friend, lay down his life instead.

THE SOCIAL UTILITY OF KILLING:

What about those who reject killing under all circumstances, who claim that killing can never be a social good? Take the case of India under the British Colonial Government of 1829. A common Hindu practice was to burn a man’s widow on his funeral pyre. The story goes that when the British Governor-General, Lord Bentinck objected to this practice, he was told that it was the Indian custom. He reportedly replied something to the effect of: “Very well, you may practice your custom, but we too have a custom which we will practice. It is our custom to hang those who burn widows.” Needless to say, the Indian custom was hastily abandoned and soon outlawed under Indian law. The social utility of being willing to kill those who were, for reasons of custom, killing innocent women, can scarcely be denied.

Some people of good will oppose capital punishment, arguing, among other things, that to put men to death is playing God, capital punishment is not a deterrent, and that with life imprisonment, capital punishment is no longer necessary as a means of protecting the innocent. Perhaps the strongest argument against capital punishment is that human beings make mistakes and sometimes execute the innocent.

But if the individual may act in self defense, why is the state, a government deriving its just powers from men, prohibited from acting in defense of men? True, it is the nature of our criminal justice system that execution takes place not on the spot, but after many years of the exhaustive application of due process, but this long, careful process would seem to be an argument for, rather than against, the capital power of government.

Christian theology recognizes that killing is sometimes justified and necessary, hence men acting in good faith under those conditions are not playing God, but acting in ways anticipated by and approved by God. And while capital punishment does not deter the psychopath, common sense (and my own police experience) suggests that some will be deterred, and that we will likely never know their names or numbers, yet some will live who would have otherwise died.

Life imprisonment is all too commonly anything but. True, there is such a thing as life without parole, but this is far from universal. Killers sometimes continue to kill while behind bars, taking lives that while not entirely innocent, are not deserving of that fate. In addition, escape from prison is not unknown, and foolish politicians have been known to commute the sentence of or pardon those who might be in political favor, a case in point being the cop killer Mumia, who, for the moment, remains behind bars. As we have already agreed that evil does indeed exist, there is a strong argument for destroying evil wherever it exists, for evil lives only to destroy the good and innocent. To put it simply, to protect others, some people deserve to be killed.

It is indeed disturbing that some innocent people have been put to death. This is not an argument against capital punishment but an argument for the perfection of the criminal justice system to the greatest degree possible. And while we must always strive for perfection in every human endeavor, we cannot cease our endeavors because they do not, at all times and in every way, reach perfection. It is indeed terrible when the innocent are executed, but error is a part of humanity and it cannot be allowed to paralyze us from achieving worthy ends. Of course, the argument about whether the good of capital punishment is greater than the tragedy of executing the innocent goes on.

LAW AND THE BALANCING ACT:

How does this apply to governments? To individuals? Each sovereign state may adopt its own laws which may be applied within its own borders and within territories under its control. One of the essential powers of sovereignty is the power to punish those who transgress the law, including the power of capital punishment. Our laws come from the British tradition, under which, during the Medieval period, there were some 200 capital offenses. This led to many bizarre spectacles, including that of pickpockets happily working the crowds gathered to watch the execution of other pickpockets.

Fortunately, American law has evolved such that there are commonly only two capital offenses: Murder and treason. While kidnapping, under some circumstances, may also invoke capital punishment, these two are our primary remaining capital crimes. Our society has devolved to the point that it is difficult to imagine anyone being prosecuted for treason, let alone being put to death for treason, such old fashioned values having fallen out of fashion among the self-styled cultural and political elite.

For example: With the fall of the Soviet Union, Soviet archives were opened and it was discovered that the late Senator Teddy Kennedy (Democrat of Massachusetts) actually contacted the KGB (through an intermediary Democrat Senator) in 1984 trying to enlist their aid to defeat Ronald Reagan and his arms control policies to pave the way for a Kennedy presidency. While there is no evidence that they took him up on his offer, it’s hard to imagine a sitting US Senator committing a similar transgression during WWII not being tried for treason, but now it’s a completely different matter (this was known during Kennedy’s lifetime).

ERRARE HUMANUM EST (To Err--Sin--Is Human):

Is killing, in every instance and always, a sin, and if so, may that sin be forgiven? Again, these are questions that have been argued for millennia, but there are several possibilities:

(1) Killing, under any circumstance, is always a sin. God’s gift of life is precious and to take life is God’s province, not man’s.

(2) Killing, when justified, as in self defense, is not a sin. God is omniscient--all-knowing--and understands that his creation--man--will be subjected to situations where killing is necessary, therefore why would God consider that which he has set into motion, ordained, to be sin? Man has free will, also ordained by God, so he who tries, without justification, to take the life of another sins, but the person who defends them self against an unjustified attack and takes the life of the attacker as a consequence of that defense does not sin. They have preserved God’s greatest gift while their attacker tried to destroy it. Sin lies with the attacker.

(3) Killing, even when legally justified as in self defense, is a sin. However, there is no degree to sin, therefore one may ask for and receive forgiveness for any sin. But what about a serial killer who asks for forgiveness after each murder? It is inconceivable that God does not know whose plea for forgiveness is sincere and whose is not. God pardons whom He chooses, and He knows the hearts of all men.

Even if one should consider killing under any circumstance, whether homicide, self defense, killing while serving in the armed forces during war, or by accident to be sin, our shared faith tradition makes clear that even this sin, if one sincerely repents and begs forgiveness, will be forgiven. This does not mean that the aftermath of a justified killing will be trouble free or ever forgotten, but one need not worry for the final disposition of their soul if forced to defend their life or the life of another.

THE AFTERMATH OF KILLING:

America has, since its founding, had the experience of citizen soldiers reintegrating back into society after exposure to combat. Men, and recently, women, who have killed others, have, by and large, successfully become productive citizens. Indeed, some have suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, some few have been driven mad by their experiences, but the overwhelming majority have learned to deal with the experience of taking the life of another.

So too have police officers who have been forced to kill in the line of duty, and citizens who have been forced to kill to protect their lives or the lives of others, been successful at living with their experiences. Some have been able to simply and effectively compartmentalize, to wall off their experiences as past and done. They accept what they did as necessary and justified, and it does not haunt them. Others have sought and found peace through faith and forgiveness. Some periodically deal with the doubt and pain of their experiences, experiences that never entirely leave their minds. Such is the burden of being honorable people, people of good will and conscience, people who deserve to live that society might benefit from their example.

That these issues are of concern to you speaks well of your conscience, of your humanity, for if you were not concerned about them, you might very well be a sociopath and as such, completely unconcerned. Have no doubt that if and when killing ever becomes necessary and is justified, the aftermath will be, personally and in every other way, intense, demanding, and difficult. The way in which one deals with it will depend upon their upbringing, their faith, the strength of their character, their beliefs and those who love and support them, but it will always, always be better to be around to have to deal with the aftermath than the alternative. I’ll cover this issue to a somewhat greater degree in the next article in the series.

CODA:

Let us further assume that you now accept the inalienable right and necessity of self defense. Let us also assume that you accept the idea that killing--never murder--is justified and is not sinful. Or in the alternative that it is a sin, but that sin may be forgiven for those who sincerely ask for forgiveness. The next article in this series will outline the realities, legal and moral, of employing deadly force. We’ll get to the matter of attitudes, weapons and accessories a bit further down the line.

Posted by MikeM at 11:13 PM | Comments (6)

October 11, 2010

Me? Own A Gun? -- Updated

This is the first in a series of articles exploring, in depth, the issues revolving around gun ownership. Whether you have never considered owning a gun, are thinking about it or own all you need but not as many as you would prefer, this series may provide some ideas, or possibly provoke the latest round in a lively debate that has been raging for millennia. Our first installment:

THE PHILOSOPHY OF GUN OWNERSHIP

Do human beings have an inalienable right to self defense? If you do not accept this, now would be a good time to be sure you have 911 on your speed dial. However, tragically, that will be cold comfort, as this series will reveal. In addition, if you truly do not accept this proposition, and you live your conviction, it’s possible you’re not around to read this, survival of the fittest being a rather inescapable and final proposition.

What, by the way, does "inalienable" mean? Most dictionaries would indicate that it means something like this: "Not transferrable to another," or "cannot be repudiated," but in the language of the Founders and of our founding documents, the word is most often coupled with an equally important word and is rendered as "inalienable rights." Inalienable rights are rights that are the inheritance of each human being by virtue of being born a human being. They are bestowed by our Creator. Because they are not granted by governments, they cannot be taken away by governments. The Declaration of Independence makes explicit only three "unalienable" rights: "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness," but makes clear that these are not the only inalienable rights.

Notice that "Life" is the first of the three Thomas Jefferson chose to make explicit. This is important in that if there is no inalienable right to life, your life is forfeit to any government that chooses to take it. It should also be noted that even if the laws and legal traditions of the state do recognize a right to self defense, if the state denies citizens the most effective means to exercise that right, or so restricts its exercise as to make it impractical in application, there is little difference to the individual between that state and one that recognizes no right at all. In addition, if there is no right to self defense, no right to mere survival, your life is forfeit to the whims of those cruel and strong enough to take it. If this is the case, can any other right, inalienable or otherwise, truly be said to matter? Of course, it may reasonably be argued that if a right is not inalienable, it is merely a privilege to be granted and rescinded by the state, but do we really want the state to treat our lives with the caring, efficiency and humanity employed by the EPA, the IRS, or in the regulation of our privilege to drive?

These ideas did not originate with Jefferson in the late 1700's. Thomas Cahill, in his insightful book "The Gifts of the Jews," suggests that the paramount gift of the Jews, dating back to the time of Abraham, was the idea that each individual life has value and that each is precious and worthy of salvation. This idea is easily recognizable as one of the foundations of Christianity. However, ultimately all such discussions are about power and the proper balance of power between the individual and the state. John Locke (1632-1704) was a proponent of natural rights, which are rights established by nature--by nature's God--and are therefore inalienable. Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) tried to reconcile the inherent conflict between a society full of individuals possessed of competing, inalienable rights and the need of humans beings to live together in communities through the "Social Contract," the proposition that in order to live together, individuals must surrender some degree of absolute autonomy while still retaining certain inalienable rights, the most important of these being life, liberty and property. This is the balancing of power that truly democratic republics perform each day, and that, until recently when it took a sharp leftward turn toward totalitarian power, America performed far better than any other society.

The Social Contract is part of the foundation of our government. While we retain inalienable rights, they are not absolute, yet can only be infringed in limited fashion by due process of law under the rule of law. When the Founders made references to God, they were not merely expressing personal religious conviction, but participating in a debate millennia old over the nature of God and man and man's natural rights. They well knew the work of Locke and Rousseau and were certainly influenced by them, as are we all whether we know it or not.

This is, of necessity, a whirlwind tour of issues that have filled hundreds of volumes over the centuries. But without a basic understanding, it's difficult to appreciate the gravity of the question that began this essay: Do human beings have an inalienable right to self defense?

Let us add a second, related question: Does evil exist? The answer to this question represents a fundamental dividing line between conservatives and socialists (for that is what the contemporary Democratic Party has, sadly, become). Socialists believe that human beings are inherently racist, sexist, and a variety of other ists, but are perfectible. This perfection can be reached if only there is sufficient (absolute or near absolute) governmental power and the right kinds of laws and regulations to make people behave in appropriate ways, to perfect them for their own good. These laws and regulations will be composed and enforced by a small class of elite socialists who are already, by virtue of their education, sophistication, beliefs and highly attuned sense of social justice, perfected. Hence, the only true evil is resistance to their evolved social consciousness. Inalienable rights do not exist. The only rights are those allowed at any given moment by the state, and in this polity, rights actually exist not at all and are reduced to the reality and force of mere privileges. Religion, with its quaint, superstitious adherence to the doctrine of an eternal battle between good and evil, is just that, quaint and superstitious, and when it is politically useful, dangerous in its resistance to progressive socialist enlightenment, which is always ongoing because it can never be falsified. If perfection has not been reached, it is only because the unenlightened resist and because insufficient socialism has been applied. Because man is always in the necessary process of being perfected by his betters, neither inalienable rights nor adherence to a moldy, faded, yellowing document written by privileged white men centuries ago can be allowed to stand in the way of the brave, inevitable march of socialist progress. The greatest weakness of socialist thought and policy is always a fundamental misunderstanding, even willful ignorance, of human nature. That, and as Margaret Thatcher said, you always run out of other people's money.

Conservatives have no doubt of the existence of evil or of its eternal work in the world. They overwhelmingly embrace Christian theology and its fundamental understanding of men as fallen sinners who can never attain perfection on Earth. Mankind cannot be perfected, yet the social contract works best when he has the greatest possible freedom and autonomy, still consequences for misbehavior must be made swift and certain and must be justly applied while upholding the essential dignity and worth of the individual. Thus do Conservatives accept the necessity of the social contract, of the equality before the law of all men, of the rule of law, and of a supreme law of the land, the Constitution, which may not and should not change, as the Founders put it, for light and transient reasons, because the fundamental nature of human beings does not change. For conservatives, any balance of power that favors the state at the expense of the inalienable rights of the individual is illegitimate, tyrannical and must be resisted, and if necessary, overthrown. In this understanding, Conservatives are not at all radical and merely adopt the thinking of the Founders and the text and intent of the foundational documents of the Republic including The Federalist Papers, The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution. Socialists tend to reject all of these documents, or to so twist their clear intent and meaning as to render them self-contradictory and meaningless.

If there is no right to self defense, are you, gentle soul, truly willing to meekly surrender your life to anyone cruel enough to take it? Will you, sensitive, caring socialist, allow your life to be taken to fully live your convictions? Do you believe that right and sufficient law and regulation will eliminate any tendency toward human evil, and that the power of the state will protect you and those you hold dear? Would you truly do nothing to prevent the loss of your own life? The loss of the life of your spouse? Your children? Is your life of so little value and the value of the lives of evil brutes so great? Truly?

You may not believe that evil exists or that it can possibly interrupt your life, but to paraphrase an aphorism attributed to many, you may not be interested in evil, but evil is interested in you. As a student of history, as a veteran of nearly 20 years of service in police work, I have no doubt that evil exists and that any one of us may meet it, in human form, at any time as I so often have. Had I been unaware of its existence or unwilling to acknowledge it, I would not have survived. Hundreds of the wounded, maimed and dead with whom I have been involved would attest, if they could, to that reality. They would also attest to the fact that good intentions, a life lived virtuously and enlightened social consciousness are not proof against evil, but serve only to encourage its propagation.

But surely the police will protect me? It's their job and they are professionals. It is surely one of the great ironies of all time that socialists tend to hate the police, regarding them as barely literate, stupid, racist, sexist, (add your favorite "ist" here) brutalizers, resist paying them more, yet simultaneously expect them to protect their very lives and the lives of those they love. An even greater irony is that the police have no duty to protect any individual citizen. None.

In June, 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision in Castle Rock v. Gonzales. Gonzales defied a restraining order and kidnapped his three daughters, ages 7-10, from his estranged wife. Gonzales killed the girls and committed suicide by cop by shooting up a police station. The police were called when the girls were kidnapped, but did nothing until they were forced to respond to Gonzales' gunfire, but by then the girls were dead. Gonzales followed not long after. Cold comfort may be found in such situations only in the belief that Gonzales' final destination was 180° different than that of his innocent children. In handing down this decision, the Court relied upon decades of precedence that holds that the police have a duty only to deter and investigate crime for the benefit of the public at large. They have no duty to protect the life or property of any individual. Even though they did nothing to assist Mrs. Gonzales who so piteously cried out to them for help, even though they did nothing to save the lives of her children, they could not and cannot be held liable.

This might seem outrageous and unjust, but it is rational and absolutely necessary. Most people would be utterly shocked to discover how few police officers are patrolling their community at any time of the night or day. It is practically impossible for the police to guarantee protection to anyone, and if they could be successfully sued for failure to render such protection, what city could possibly afford a police force? Who would volunteer to become a police officer knowing financial ruin awaited them at any moment? Police agencies are always understaffed, always. They staff their shifts with the most officers when most are needed: Evenings in general and Friday and Saturday nights in particular. In smaller communities across America, only two or three officers may be patrolling between 6 AM and 6 PM, often, fewer. In semi rural or rural areas, the nearest available officer may be an hour or more away at top, lights and siren, speed. The police love to catch bad guys in the act. They love to stop rapists, killers, child molesters, you name it, they love to stop and catch them, but there are very, very few police officers, more than enough bad guys to go around, and many, many of us. This is the nature of reality, of human beings.

Police officers all know several common axioms: "Call for the police, call for an ambulance and call for a pizza. See which one shows up first." They know that all too often, it won't be the police. In many urban areas, even 911 calls are often left unanswered or put on hold, so great is the volume of emergency calls and so few are the police. Police lore is full of true stories of citizen's panicked 911 calls that didn't get through, were hung up, were ignored, improperly dispatched or just couldn't be handled because of a lack of manpower, resulting in beatings, robbery, rape, mayhem, torture, even murder. The police have another common axiom, which, like the first, they know to be true, but which makes them cringe nonetheless: "When seconds count, the police are minutes away." This too is the nature of reality, of human beings. Ask any experienced police officer if evil exists, but not if you really don't want to hear the answer.

So. Evil exists. The police would love to protect you from it, but they can't and you can't sue them and win when, not if, they don't. What options remain? Gated communities? Locks? Alarm systems? If it's made by man, it can be defeated by man. Will you spend your life within that gated community, behind those locked doors with your security system engaged?

But I live in a good neighborhood! Consider the case of a car burglar I investigated. Responsible for hundreds of crimes, during his many and lengthy confessions, he told me of how he and two of his fellow burglars set out to steal the side view mirror of a vehicle by removing the entire door. As they set to work at 2 AM, the owner came home unexpectedly and they barely had time to scramble under the vehicle they had just begun to burglarize as his pickup truck pulled into the driveway, inches away. The door they intended to steal was standing open a few inches, but the man did not see it and went into his home, leaving the burglars to hastily complete their work and leave with the door.

This too, was a good neighborhood, but the story does not end here. The burglar had, only a half hour earlier, burglarized another car not far away and found, to his surprise and delight, a loaded and chambered 9mm semiautomatic handgun which he hastily stuffed into his pants, the better to play the role of the manly gangster/burglar. As the owner of the soon to be stolen car door stepped from his truck onto his driveway, mere inches away lay the burglar, hopped up on speed, the unfamiliar handgun tightly clutched in his sweating, shaking hand. The man lived only because he did not notice the open car door. The burglar was ready to shoot him; he would have shot him, a man who had no reason whatever to imagine, let alone expect, a 2 AM meeting in his own driveway with unthinking, irrational, doped up, stupid evil. Postscript: I put the burglar and many of his pals away for a long time and recovered the handgun and even the car door--absent the mirror--which I fished out of a creek near the bridge where he threw it. Sadly, it's not common for crimes of that kind to be solved and the property recovered, but that's a story for another post and another time. Evil is interested in you, and evil is always out there, watching and waiting. This too is the nature of reality and of human beings.

Even understanding all that I've presented here, at least intellectually, there will always be some portion of the public determined to cling to socialist philosophy in the expectation that their intellectual and moral superiority will, in some way, magically protect them. Or perhaps they merely have unshakeable faith in an all-powerful, benevolent state, even a state that manifestly cannot protect them, cares little or not at all for protecting any individual, and will never allow itself to be held accountable for failing to protect them. It is for these people that the term "prey" was created, and it is to them that a famous aphorism may someday apply: "A conservative is a liberal who has been robbed at gunpoint." Unfortunately, even that kind of intimate encounter with evil does not always suffice, but some are capable of reevaluating their philosophy when reality is visited upon them in ways that cannot be easily ignored.

If no inalienable right to self defense exists, what other right or privilege actually matters? What is the point of continuing education if one's life may be taken at any moment? If no right to self defense exists, there can be no crime of murder, as no life has value, value that compels society to impose the ultimate penalty for its unlawful taking. In such societies the ultimate penalty tends to be imposed for crimes against the state rather than crimes against individuals who are of value only in their utility to the state. How can anyone plan for the future if life is reduced to a state of nature where, as Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) said, life is "...solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short"?

Quite unlike Socialist orthodoxy, it is not an armed society, a society where the lawful, productive and decent have the most effective means immediately at hand to protect their lives and the lives of others that is lawless, violent and dangerous, but a society where only the government has power and where only the lawless, idle and evil are armed. Contemporary America provides myriad examples of the truth of this assertion. In those states where concealed carry is common, by any honest measure, citizens are safer. In those states and cities, particularly, where honest citizens are disarmed, it is quite the opposite. Cities such as Detroit and Washington DC are commonly more dangerous than active war zones, which they closely resemble.

But let us assume that this article has, at least, persuaded you to the point that you are willing to tentatively concede that an individual, inalienable right of self defense is probably necessary. What then? The next installment of the series explores the legal, moral and spiritual issues revolving around taking the life of another, legally and illegally.

* * *

Bob adds: Pick virtually any anti-gun organization, politician, or private citizen, and you will find them sharing a message that runs counter to the views of our Founders.

  • They believe that firearms in the hands of private citizens are a threat to society.
  • They believe that the government should have a monopoly on the use of force.
  • They abdicate responsibility for their own self protection and the protection of their rights.

We know as a matter of historical record what results when such views are allowed to take root, and those views have filled mass graves with tens of millions of bodies in the last century alone.

I would go so far to suggest that it is the responsibility of able-bodied and psychologically fit citizens to both own arms and become proficient in both their use and their limitations. Would I support a Kennesaw-style law mandating firearm ownership? No, because laws mandating gun ownership are as contrary to freedom as the laws restricting gun ownership.

Ultimately, you have to determine the worth of your life, the life of your partner or spouse, your offspring, and your neighbors. If you determine that these lives have more worth than the lives of criminals or the desires of politicians and power brokers, then you should at least consider gun ownership.

If you believe the state should be the sole source of power, that citizens should not be have rights or responsibilities, well... perhaps your funds would be better spent on a ticket out of the country, or in a life insurance plan for survivors.

Posted by MikeM at 12:24 AM | Comments (5)

October 08, 2010

How Not to Be a Firearms Instructor

This more properly belongs at the gun blog, but the events contained are so extraordinarily dangerous they deserve an audience as wide as I can provide.

Front Sight is a firearms training school with a good reputation for their level of instruction, even if they have gotten in a bit of hot water over some of their off-range antics trying to establish a shooting-based resort.

Recently, an excellent shooter with very impressive shooting skills submitted a series of videos to Front Sight's director as a sort of visual resume.

You won't believe what this guy did. I highly suggest that if you ever come across someone like this, you find the most convenient exit possible, and take it.

Needless to say, the would-be instructor didn't get the job.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:03 AM | Comments (7)

October 04, 2010

50-Caliber. Hand-held. Full-Auto.

.50 caliber holes

So... how was your Sunday?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:54 AM | Comments (13)

August 06, 2010

Brady Center VP Assaulted

Verbally. By what should have been a receptive audience.

Poor Dennis Henigan... Even the Huffington Post audience knows better than to listen to him anymore, and they shred him in the comments for his ignoble effort.

When you lie for a living, don't be surprised when even the dimmer members of your audience eventually turn on you.


Posted by Confederate Yankee at 05:33 PM | Comments (2)

July 29, 2010

Bo Dietl Doesn't Know His Butt From a Hole In The Ground

Why being a retired NYPD detective earns someone the right to be called a "gun expert" is anyone's guess, but Edgar Sandoval and Samuel Goldsmith of the N.Y. Daily News called Bo Dietl one, and he promptly returned their thanks by making all three of them look like idiots.

Anna Fermanova has been accused of attempting to smuggle three high-end night vision rifle scopes to her husband in Russia, a gross violation of export laws that could result in serious jail time for the native Latvian. Fermanova is the second very attractive young woman accused of being a Russian spy in recent months after Anna Chapman, and the media wasn't about to miss a chance to sell advertising, so they decided they needed another story (presumably as an excuse to post her pictures).

The Daily News then decided Dietl was just the gun expert to interview about these scopes, and it all went to Hell from there:

"These are used specifically for an assassination," said security consultant Bo Dietl, a former NYPD detective. "You're not going to hunt deer with a super scope. That's crazy.

"You could take someone out with one of these scopes in the dead of night from up to a mile-and-a-half-away," he said. "I have friends in Iraq who use these. These are the real deal."

The optics—which the Daily News grossly over-valued by $1,000-$1,500—are indeed marketed as having a range in excess of a thousand yards, but the simply fact of the matter is that these Raptor scopes (when they were available to the public) were only available with short- to mid-range 4x or 6x power magnification. This magnification range is popular among sportsmen and the military to ranges of perhaps several hundred yards even during the daylight and twilight hours, but for Dietl to claim "you could take someone out with one of these scopes in the dead of night from up to a mile-and-a-half-away" is, to put it mildly, a load of crap.

As for Dietl's claim that "These are used specifically for an assassination," well, he's astoundingly ignorant about that as well.

The primary use for night vision (NV) scopes hasn't changed much in the 50+ years they've been used. NV scopes and googles are primarily used by soldiers to identify the enemy, either while out on patrol or while guarding static positions. They are not "specifically used for assassination", unless Dietl wants to label the thousands of U.S. soldiers using this sort of technology every night in Afghanistan and Iraq as assassins.

If someone did know a little bit about this kind of technology, and had a grasp of history, they would come to the much more reasonable conclusion that the Russians would be interested in obtaining the latest U.S. technology so that they could reverse engineer it and then build advanced night vision scopes for export sales and/or use this tech to equip their own soldiers.

For the record, Russian soldiers aren't assassins either, and know hell of a lot more about night vision gear than some self-aggrandizing media whore retired New York cop.

I'd also point out that night vision rifle scopes are used in the taking of various animals including wild hogs in Texas, where Fermanova lives. I'd also point out that wild boar hunting is a sport in Russia and other parts of the former USSR as well (though I still find her story more than likely a bad cover story).

I would mention that night vision scopes are also used for predator hunting and predator control.

But that would just be piling on.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 04:23 PM | Comments (8)

July 22, 2010

SCAR-L Cancelled?

From being touted as the next-generation 5.56 combat rifle for the U.S. Army to the scrap heap in record time (Via The Firearm Blog).

On the record, SOCOM told me spending money on the Mk-16 wasn't worth it since it was only a marginal improvement over the M4 and saw no use in spending SOCOM dollars on a weapon the services buy their snake eaters already. And the meme that that Mk-16 wasn't "cancelled" and that only hyperbolic "reportage" "interpreted" the fact that the command had decided to stop buying the Mk-16 and have all those in the field returned as a "cancellation" is borderline delusional. Give me a break. It's CANCELLED! Live with it!

The SCAR simply didn't make sense in 5.56 Mk-16 trim as it didn't offer next generation improvements over the existing M4/M16 family of weapons.

Unfortunately for manufacturer FN Herstal, there is little chance that the closure of the military market for the Mk-16 will be made up for with civilian sales. At more than $3,000 retail on the street, the rifle simply costs more than it's performance and caliber justifies.

I'm not an industry insider by any measure, but the only way I could see the civilian variant of the Mk-16 having any widespread commercial success would be a combination of it experiencing a significant price drop so that it competes against piston-ARs, and availability in 6.8 SPC.

I would personally find it most attractive if they could find a way to market/sell it as a 5.56/6.8 SPC combo kit, especially if they could drop the price of that kit below $2,000 on the street. Is that actionable? Would that be profitable? I don't know. But if they don't come up with something, I suspect the civilian variant of the SCAR Mk-16 will fade away just as quickly as the military variant.

* * *

In other gun-related news, today is the last day I'll mention that I'm accepting donations (yellow button on the right) for accessories for my BCM Mid-16 Mod 2.

My unexpected knee surgery is covered 100% by my insurance, but the twice-a-week physical therapy is killing me with co-pays, and that is eating up my gear budget.

Thanks to those of you who can afford to donate (and those of you who already have), and to everyone else, thanks for simply being readers!

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:43 PM | Comments (1)

July 21, 2010

Blingapalooza: The Target

Good morning...err afternoon, everyone.

I want to take a few minutes to thank those of you who have donated thus far to my question to outfit my new rifle.

One of our number is a a guy named Tim who just happens to be an Eo-Tech dealer and he has suggested that he can help out with one of their super-cool holographic weapons sights (HWS).

I'm partial to the 517.A65 myself. But that depends on you guys and girls think.

Is it fair for me to ask you guys to chip in a few dollars one a year or so, simply because you read my blog? I think so. It's far to ask, I mean. I provide the bloggy goodness, the occasional gotcha or exclusive, or simply a place to hang out and argue with one another (you know who you are).

I like to think there is some entertainment value in that. Now, whether the value is enough for good optics or rail covers is entirely up to you.

Thanks for your support!

And now back to your regularly scheduled blog...

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:28 AM | Comments (3)

July 17, 2010

Never Let Go of the Narrative

Nick Miroff and William Booth have a fascinating article in the Washington Post about U.S. grenades provided to allied governments in past decades turning up in the hands of Mexican drug cartels.

M67 "baseball" grenades, typically stolen from military armories in Central America, are part of a growing arms race between cartels and government forces.

Miroff and Booth have done their homework identifying the source of the grenades, but then they got sloppy:

The redeployment of U.S.-made grenades by Mexican drug lords underscores the increasingly intertwined nature of the conflict, as President Felipe Calderón sends his soldiers out to confront gangs armed with a deadly combination of brand-new military-style assault rifles purchased in the United States and munitions left over from the Cold War.

As we've covered extensively in the past, only 8-percent of cartel firearms are purchased in U.S. gun shops, and the number of firearms traced to the U.S. for any reason—including stolen weapons— is still just 18-percent.

The vast majority of cartel weapons—82-percent—comes from the same black market sources as the grenades.

It's a shame that writers who did their homework to track down the various sources of cartel grenades so easily believed the fictions created by politicians such as Barack Obama and Felipe Calderon about cartel small arms, stories readily debunked by our own BATF trace data.

Neither cartel grenades nor guns come from American civilian sources.

It's too bad the authors were all too eager to continue pressing a left-wing anti-gun agenda in an otherwise informative article.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:42 AM | Comments (6)

July 15, 2010

I'ma Let You Finish...

...but Barack Obama is the greatest gun salesman of all time!

In October 2009, firearms and ammunition excise tax collection climbed 45 percent from the previous fiscal year, the greatest annual increase in the firearms tax revenue in the agency's history, the report said. By comparison, the average annual increase for fiscal years 1993 to 2008 was 6 percent.

A Gallup Poll conducted in early October 2009 said one possible explanation for the surge in gun and ammunition sales could be that more than 50 percent of the Americans who owned guns and some 41 percent of all Americans believed that President Obama would "attempt to ban the sale of guns in the United States while he is president."

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:26 PM | Comments (9)

July 14, 2010

There is a Reason We Only Protect the Right to Arm Bears

Man's best friend? Not this pooch.

Oddly enough, I've heard similar stories before, where people have been shot by pets, children, and inanimate objects when a firearm isn't properly stored and kept on safe.

All guns are always loaded, remember?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:25 AM | Comments (2)

July 11, 2010

Black Rifle Update

Last week I asked you for advice on M4 carbines. Specifically, I was trying to decide between a pair of exellent rifles, the Noveske Rifleworks 16" Light Recce, BASIC, and the Daniel Defense DDXVM and was wondering which I should go with.

As it turns out, the answer, according to you, was neither.

There isn't anything wrong with either of these firearms, but as more than one experienced reader pointed out, I'm not going to need such high-end carbines for the kind of shooting I am most likely to do. I'm not SWAT, or a security contractor in the Sandbox.

Regular reader Mike McDaniel, Down Range TV's Michael Bane, and Sean from I am to misbehave were among those that pounded into my head that a solid, basic carbine without all the bells and whistles would suit my needs just fine. I didn't need a $1,500-and-up rifle.

And then Blake pointed me to this gem of a page, a comparison chart of major AR brands based upon key features.

After reading through that thread, comparing all the features, listening to the practical advice of experts (and then submitting to gun geek lust just a little bit) this is what I ended up ordering on Friday.

Meet the Bravo Company Machine Mid-16 Mod 2.

It has all the key features I could hope for, plus some nice extras (quad-rail, rear BUIS), and at a very reasonable price.

Mike McDaniel suggested an excellent list of add-ons to enhance the functionality of the carbine, without paying "tacti-cool" prices for stuff I don't need. I've ordered the basics.

Now I need to start thinking about a carbine training course, and training gear.

But that sounds like another blog post, for another time...

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:48 AM | Comments (3)

July 08, 2010

Predictable: Leftists Wet Themselves Over LA Guns In Church Law

Louisiana's Bobby Jindal signed a law allowing guns in church... and the law seems a bit absurd:

Burns' bill would authorize persons who qualified to carry concealed weapons having passed the training and background checks to bring them to churches, mosques, synagogues or other houses of worship as part of a security force.

The pastor or head of the religious institution must announce verbally or in weekly newsletters or bulletins that there will be individuals armed on the property as members of he security force. Those chosen have to undergo eight hours of tactical training each year.

There is no federal law against carrying guns in church.

In many states there are few if any restrictions regarding legally concealed handguns in church, or for that matter, openly carried firearms, though doing so might earn you some odd looks.

The odd and chaffing bit of this law is that Louisianans carrying weapons must be part of some known security force, and that the church must broadcast such information to church members in every weekly bulletin... perhaps so so timid soul doesn't get the vapors upon seeing a bulge in the pastor's pocket (Yes, pastors carry concealed carry weapons too).

As you may have been able to predict, the typically law-ignorant left is freaked out over the the law, obviously unaware that the law is hardly unique except in it's oddly restrictive requirements.

They apparently think—or prefer— that the right to self protection ends for the faithful at the church door.

Even more sadly, they desperately cling to their own impulsive insecurities and stereotypes. They are apparently still firmly convinced that the mere possession of a firearm will cause someone to go in to an uncontrollable, homicidal rage:

If you're like most Americans, there's probably been a time in your life when you've been sitting in church, listening to a particularly ennui-inducing homily or enduring another warbly version of "Holy Holy Holy" and thought, "Man! I could really reach for some steel right now, squeeze off a few rounds, and let these fools know what the score is!"

The author of this screed should obviously be kept far away from all firearms, at all times. Responsible citizens, however, are ill served by poorly written and overly-restrictive laws.

Update: Don Surber has another take, calling the the signed bill "the ultimate law to freak out liberals."

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:32 AM | Comments (11)

July 04, 2010

Any Black Rifle Experts Out There?

So I'm going to ask something that might seem a bit hypocritical here.

I've written on CY and at Pajamas Media about how the 5.56 NATO round needs to be replaced in the military, and that M16/M4 weapons system is getting long in the tooth, and that it should probably be replaced. I still feel that way... as it applies to the military. I want them to have weapons that are lightweight, ridiculously reliable, accurate, easy to maintain and perfectly lethal. I also want a pony.

But for my needs, an AR-type rifle fits the bill. Specifically, I'm looking at a carbine with a 16" barrel and mid-length gas system chambered in 5.56 (I'll also probably get a 6.8 SPC upper from Bison Armory at some point, but that is down the road).

I've narrowed my choices down to 2 options:

Noveske Rifleworks 16" Light Recce, BASIC
  • Daniel Defense DDXVM
  • I'll be using whichever one I get for tactical carbine courses that I've been interested in learning/writing about as part of a side project of mine. I'll primarily be running 55-grain metal case ammo (both .233 Remington and 5.56 NATO) for classes, but will keep 50-grain Winchester Silvertips for home defense and stock 5.56 NATO 55-grain MC for the zombie apocalypse. I'll also be getting a CMMG .22 LR conversion kit for cheaper practice.

    If anyone is familiar with either (or even better both) of these mid-length carbines, I'd love to hear what you think about them.

    And whether or not I should look at 62-grain zombie ammo instead of the 55-grain stuff.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:00 PM | Comments (19)

    June 28, 2010

    SCOTUS Rules for Gun Rights (Updated with Opinion)

    Richard Daley and Mike Bloomberg must be sharing a stroke:

    In its second major ruling on gun rights in three years, the Supreme Court Monday extended the federally protected right to keep and bear arms to all 50 states. The decision will be hailed by gun rights advocates and comes over the opposition of gun control groups, the city of Chicago and four justices.

    Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the five justice majority saying "the right to keep and bear arms must be regarded as a substantive guarantee, not a prohibition that could be ignored so long as the States legislated in an evenhanded manner."

    The ruling builds upon the Court's 2008 decision in D.C. v. Heller that invalidated the handgun ban in the nation's capital. More importantly, that decision held that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms was a right the Founders specifically delegated to individuals. The justices affirmed that decision and extended its reach to the 50 states. Today's ruling also invalidates Chicago's handgun ban.

    Update: MCDONALD ET AL. v. CITY OF CHICAGO, ILLINOIS,ET AL. opinion (PDF, 214 pages).

    The key point:

    JUSTICE ALITO delivered the opinion of the Court with respect toParts I, II–A, II–B, II–D, III–A, and III–B, concluding that the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the Second Amendment right, recognized in Heller, to keep and bear arms for the purpose of self-defense.

    Update: Over at Alan Colmes Liberaland, the first thoughtful left wing commenter opines:

    I say every black man in America should own a gun and we should show up at the next tea baggers klan rally and see if they will have the same heart to call black people nini&&ers as they did when they call John Lewis a ni&&er

    Bigoted New Yorker Ron Jackson would be surprised that the leader of the Tea Party in his city (as much as the Tea Party has leaders) is black, as are some of the armed protesters we've seen. Not that reality matters. It won't be intruding into the left's hate, no matter what the occasion.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:21 AM | Comments (9)

    June 25, 2010

    Mom's Weapon of Choice? Really?

    This video by child predator watch group AmberAlert.org is supposed to promote something... I'm just not sure what.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:02 PM | Comments (5)

    June 21, 2010

    Bad Example

    If you are going to write a presumably pro-gun article about open carry, perhaps you shouldn't use the victim of a handgun murder-suicide as your model.

    Update: I don't know why on earth Meleanie Hain's picture was used here when Eric Shuford's photo was used in the linked story.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:28 PM | Comments (0)

    June 17, 2010

    El Paso PD Latest to Up-Gun to M4 Carbines

    As always, I have mixed feeling about this:

    The El Paso Police Department on Wednesday unveiled its new M-4 rifles intended to provide every officer with greater firepower.

    The department bought 1,145 after approval by the City Council's 8-0 vote in January.

    Training with the M-4 is under way at the Police Academy, and the new weaponry will eventually be issued to every member of the department, from patrol officers up to the chief.

    "It's a safety issue," said Sgt. Lawrence Lujan, an instructor at the academy. "The El Paso Police Department is catching up with the rest of the nation."

    No good person wants those who protect us to be at the mercy of criminals with superior weapons. As a result, there has been relatively little public outcry as more and more law enforcement agencies around the nation give rifles to officers on patrol.

    Arming officers with carbines in areas where criminal gangs are known to favor assault rifles makes sense on one level. Officers equipped with sidearms stand very little chance in an encounter with criminals armed with assault rifles. Issuing AR carbines gives officers equivalent standoff range and weapon capacity, and the choice of the .223 caliber means that the rifle is less likely to over-penetrate targets or materials beyond the target in event of a miss, and the likelihood of a fatal wound to bystanders dissipates comparatively quickly when compared to other rifle calibers.

    At the same time, there are always questions about the training and maintenance of skills when agencies deploy a new weapon, and whether or not training standards will send officers into the streets armed with weapons perhaps better left to tactical units.

    By they way, America, thank you for buying these firearms for El Paso. The $773,000 cost of the weapons was paid for with stimulus funds.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:38 AM | Comments (8)

    May 28, 2010

    Why Was This Solider Off Base, In Civvies, with His M4?

    The chain of command is going to rip someone a new one over this bit of idiocy:

    The soldier had been in Atlanta less than a day when when he and his cousin, identified simply as T.J., were sitting in his blue Chevrolet Impala at the Rolling Bends Apartments in northwest Atlanta, the soldier told WSB.

    Seven men walked to the car, he said.

    "They were coming up to the car,"' the soldier told the television station. "I noticed T.J. hit the unlock button. They came up to the side of the car. They opened the door and grabbed my rifle."

    The soldier said he was punched, kicked and hit in the head with a glass bottle when he tried to retrieve his gun.

    "I tried to call out to my cousin T.J. but he didn't do anything," the soldier said in a WSB news report.

    "A weapon like that being in a neighborhood like that is not a good combination," the soldier said. "I still feel betrayed by my family because T.J., that's my blood. Like, how are you going to value the streets more than your own cousin?"

    The soldier was not in uniform at the time. It was not clear why he had his weapon with him.

    There is no logical reason that I can think of that a soldier on leave would retain a selective-fire carbine or machine gun as he left base. The weapon should have been secured in the unit's armory. Both the soldier and his immediate superiors have some explaining to do.

    Meanwhile, a real, honest-to-God assault rifle is in the hands of criminals.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:20 AM | Comments (13)

    May 26, 2010

    Chicago's Handgun Ban Fails to Save Home Invader

    An elderly Chicago couple is alive today because they ignored Chicago's unconstitutional handgun ban and killed the armed invader breaking into their home:

    An 80-year-old Chicago man shot and killed an armed man who broke into his two-story house in a pre-dawn home invasion Wednesday on the city's West Side.

    At about 5:20 a.m., the homeowner and his wife, also in her 80s, discovered the intruder entering their home through a back door. The homeowner, who had a gun, confronted and killed the burglar on the doorstep, police said. Cops said the intruder also fired his gun during the struggle.

    "It's a good thing they had a gun, or they might be dead," said Curtis Thompson, who lives next door to the couple, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

    Neighbors described the elderly couple, who both walk with canes, as pillars of the community in Garfield Park, where home invasions have been all too frequent.

    Their neighbor, Shaquite Johnson, told MyFoxChicago that the two are "heroes" for fighting off the attacker — and that the shooting means there is "one less criminal" walking the streets.

    Chicago Mayor Richard Daley immediately assailed Johnson for referring to the deceased as a criminal, and instead called the home invader a "valued constituent."

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 04:26 PM | Comments (9)

    May 12, 2010

    Progressives Panic Over TN Restaurant Carry Law

    Is Alan Colmes merely dim, or deeply dishonest?

    That is the decision you have to make when you read his nonsensical headline "Tennessee Republicans Pushing Guns In Bars." Following the less-than-brilliant guidance of Think Progress, Colmes dishonestly suggests that the goal of Tennessee's legislature is to put armed civilians in bars.

    No person with a bit of common sense will swallow that argument, but that means every liberal will. As they aren't bright enough to figure out the facts on their own, I'll try to explain it in small words they can understand.

    Like many states, TN treats bars and restaurants that serve alcohol identically under the law. The law that Colmes is shaking with indignant fury over was not written with the intent of encouraging people to carry guns in to bars, but to allow concealed carry permit holders to retain their weapons on their persons when they go out to dinner at restaurants that serve beer, wine, or mixed drinks. It is a law designed to let citizens who carry legally at IHOP also carry legally at TGI Fridays... that is all. It allows people who go to lunch or dinner at some restaurants that were formerly off limits. That is all.

    They aren't looking to recreate the fabled Wild West, despite what Colmes & Shakir claim.

    The only real question is whether they are lying to their easily-led readers on purpose, or if they is just as uneducated as those that follow them.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 04:03 PM | Comments (7)

    May 05, 2010

    News Organ Freaked by Dramatic Rise in Pistol Permits in Upstate NY

    You can almost hear the reporter's sphincter tightening as she frames her story:

    Oswego County Clerk George Williams delivered some startling news to the legislature's Community and Consumer Affairs committee during the April 22 meeting.

    Pistol permit applications have increased sharply, following both a state and national trend, he noted. "Something is happening in this country," Williams added.

    During the entire year of 2008, the county clerk's office handed out 208 pistol permit application packets. Of those, 67 were returned. For 2009, 428 application packets were handed out and 110 were returned.

    As of the date of the committee meeting, 400 application packets were given out and 142 have been returned. That is more than double the number of pistol permits issued for 2008. "Something's on the move," Williams said, adding that other county clerks in the state are seeing the same trend. "It's scary."

    Scary? 142 pistol permits?

    My county's sheriff has a name for that.

    Thursday.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 04:21 PM | Comments (11)

    April 12, 2010

    Pimp My Rifle

    I know that cultures throughout world history have decorated their weapons, but the gentleman to the left in this article is a great example of going over the top, with artistic license taken with his rifle, its magazine, and the underslung grenade launcher.

    It probably would have been more impressive if he'd actually taken care of the AK, which appears to have a field-repaired cracked wood stock and the finish worn down to bare metal almost everywhere.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:58 AM | Comments (2)

    March 09, 2010

    Not Too Bright

    The Brady Campaign apparently thinks the best way to convince their fellow citizens to disarm themselves is to make penis jokes in the captions of their photos. The anti-gun group has since removed the captions entirely, but not before the damage was done.

    I'd simply like Brady, the Violence Policy Center, and related anti-gun groups to make fact-based arguments for their positions, instead of resorting to cheap emotionalism.

    Or is that too much to ask?

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:00 AM | Comments (5)

    February 03, 2010

    Rough Audit? Probably Not.

    Over at the John Locke Foundation's Right Angles blog, Jon Ham asks what I think about the Internal Revenue Service's intended purchase of 60 shotguns:

    The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) intends to purchase sixty Remington Model 870 Police RAMAC #24587 12 gauge pump-action shotguns for the Criminal Investigation Division. The Remington parkerized shotguns, with fourteen inch barrel, modified choke, Wilson Combat Ghost Ring rear sight and XS4 Contour Bead front sight, Knoxx Reduced Recoil Adjustable Stock, and Speedfeed ribbed black forend, are designated as the only shotguns authorized for IRS duty based on compatibility with IRS existing shotgun inventory, certified armorer and combat training and protocol, maintenance, and parts.

    The firearm in question does not seem to exist on Remington's Law Enforcement web site (at least by that model number), but the specs sound somewhat similar to a variation of the Wilson Combat/Scattergun Technologies Border Patrol Model.

    I don't think there is any reason to worry about rank and file IRS agents showing up at your door with these shotguns. Instead, they seem like they would likely be used by the Criminal Investigation agents that focus on "Illegal Source Financial Crimes; and Narcotics Related and Counterterrorism Financial Crimes." They would presumably be raiding terrorist cells, drug cartels, and organized crime, er, organizations that participate in money laundering, tax evasion, and other socially unacceptable behavior under their jurisdiction who tend to go heavily armed.

    But I'd still be nice to all IRS agents, just in case.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:30 AM | Comments (6)

    January 20, 2010

    ACOGs and Idiots

    The more I think about the manufactured outrage I see in the press over this, the more upset I get.

    Trijicon has been putting references to Bible verses on their products for at least two decades, well prior to elements of the U.S. military falling in love with the ACOG and Reflex optics as COTS (Commercial Off the Shelf) optics that excel at giving our soldier the ability to find, identify, and differentiate potential targets from innocent civilians, quickly and at range.

    Trijicon did not, as some ignorant or malicious journalists implied, slip some sort of crusading reference into their products once they had military contracts. No they continued to sell the exact same product they sold when American soldiers took ACOGs to war for the first time in Panama, and in conflicts around the world since then. And because these optics were COTS, we, as taxpayers, didn't pay millions or billions of development costs, either.

    The references to the verses only became a "problem" when angry atheists blatantly lied and said that the standard references to scripture passages on Trijicon's products—all of which play off of the word "light," appropriately enough for optics products—somehow broke the military ban on proselytizing in the military.

    If anyone honestly thinks that tiny print passively notated on the side of a military weapon's sight is equivalent to exhorting people to convert, then they need their tiny minds examined.

    The entire issue seems to stem from a group that seems to be under the mistaken impression that freedom of religion should be rewritten to be freedom from religion, and all aspects of religion at that.

    I agree with the theory that the military is not in the business of evangelism by force, and do not think that the military should actively promote any particular religion beyond making it possible for practitioners of various religious faiths toexercise their right to worship as they please.

    But a soldier's right to practice religion—or right to practice no religion at all—does not mean he should expect others to force their faith underground. That in and of itself is anti-religious bigotry, and the military should not be forced into recognizing anti-religious soldiers as more equal than religious ones.

    There is nothing wrong with faith on the battlefield as long as the practice of that faith doesn't extend to proselytizing.

    A Muslim soldier that complained about the ACOG's in his unit seemed to be using the ACOG as a scapegoat for the alleged proselytizing behavior of a non-commissioned officer in his unit, and if his complaint was focused on the noncom's behavior alone, he would have what appears to be a decent case of exactly the kind of behavior the military does not want to allow.

    But to claim a static piece of military equipment is capable of evangelizing is asinine by any logical measure.

    ACOGs in particular give American soldiers and Marines the ability to magnify their view and quickly and accurately discern possible friend from foe, using the Bindon Aiming Concept.

    Small-minded "me too" detractors think themselves quite witty as they mockingly assert claims of "Who would Jesus shoot?" but they miss the reality of the situation entirely.

    The undeniable fact is that Trijicon optics that the fashionably anti-religious like to mock happens to be a technology that enables our soldiers a better view of the chaotic urban battlefield. It provides them with better target discrimination, and enables them to more easily tell the innocent from the enemy. These sights also serve (quite obviously, one would think) to help our soldiers put more accurate shots downrange, meaning a lower volume of overall rounds expended. Both of these factors mean that these optics help save the lives of innocents downrange.

    Somehow, I think Jesus would approve of that.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:12 PM | Comments (7)

    Trijicon-Religious Aiming Solutions

    Via SaysUncle, we have what we can only assume will be the next big investigative revelation out of ABC New Blog, The Blotter.

    Uh, we can still say "revelation," without running afoul of Brian Ross... right?

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:43 AM | Comments (2)

    January 02, 2010

    Violence Policy Center Still Can't Tell Difference Between Living, Dead

    This is getting rather ridiculous.

    Weeks ago in a Pajamas Media article I eviscerated the shoddy "research" of the Violence Policy Center, an anti-gun group President Obama repeatedly helped fund while a director of the Joyce Foundation.

    In that exposeé, I highlighted the fact that VPC couldn't even total the number of deaths they reported correctly, "double-dipping" to create a higher false number of fatalities. But among the the biggest, most glaring weakness of the VPC report was the claim that at least one person they listed as killed, was never shot.

    The VPC claims:

    On March 8, 2008, Christine Burroughs, naked and covered with blood, ran to neighbor Alice and Lance Lather’s house seeking refuge from her enraged husband, Arthur Burroughs. Burroughs followed his wife to the home, fatally shooting Lance Lather. Burroughs then barricaded himself in the neighbors’ bathroom with his wife. A SWAT team and hostage negotiator were called to the house, but Burroughs shot and killed his wife and then himself. Christine Burroughs had previously told Alice Lather that her husband wanted to kill her because she wanted a divorce. Burroughs had been previously employed in loss prevention and security for T.J. Maxx and had possessed a concealed handgun permit since at least 1999.

    As noted by citing several news accounts, including two that interviewed Christine Burroughs after the shooting, Mrs. Burroughs survived her husband's rampage. She was never shot. Period.

    Gun control organizations routinely engage in hyperbole, fear tactics, and falsifying claims to pursue their political objectives. Still, even by the low standards of gun control groups, isn't claiming that someone died when they did not far over the line of acceptable behavior?

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:12 AM | Comments (4)

    December 31, 2009

    Would-Be Robber Killed With Concealed Handgun

    It looks like someone made the wrong choice of victim at the ATM of my old hometown bank:

    An off-duty Pitt County Sheriff's deputy on Wednesday night shot and killed a man who reportedly tried to rob him at an ATM on Charles Boulevard, the Greenville Police Department reported.

    The deputy, whose name has not been released, was at the automatic teller machine at the State Employees Credit Union, 2296 Charles Blvd. when the incident occured, according to a news release issued at 1:30 a.m. Thursday.

    I hope that the deputy that killed this armed theif is able to deal with the trauma that typically occurs following a shooting.

    It is worth noting that the deputy was off-duty which made his appearance no different than the estimated 160,000 North Carolinians with concealed carry permits.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:18 AM | Comments (4)

    Finnish Mall Shot Up, Shooter Commits Suicide

    Via my friend Jose Guardia comes news that a man walked into a mall in Finland's second largest city and killed four shoppers.

    His body, and body of his wife, were later found:

    Police say they found a body in the apartment of the suspected gunman, identified as 43-year-old Ibrahim Shkupolli.

    His ex-wife has also been found dead in an apartment in Espoo, raising the total dead including the gunman to six.

    According to Yle, Shkupolli used a 9-millimeter caliber hand gun.

    Hundreds of people in the mall were panicked by the shots, witnesses said.

    It wouldn't be surprising if Shkupolli murdered his wife over some sort of domestic dispute, decided that his life was over, and went to the mall to ruin as many lives as possible before returning to his apartment to commit suicide to avoid the consequences of his actions. Like many mass shooters, Shkupolli took the coward's way out.

    People will not doubt focus on the fact that Shkupoli's first name is Ibrahim, and wonder if this was yet another case of a Muslim going on jihad. I suppose that is possible, but it doesn't seem likely based upon early reports.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:19 AM | Comments (5)

    December 10, 2009

    E.J. Dionne Gets His Stupid On

    It is usually so depressingly easy to pick apart the pro forma op-eds from Washington Post columnist E.J Dionne that it isn't any fun at all to make the effort, but since his latest, Beyond the NRA's absolutism, is pre-demolished by an article I already wrote last week and the effort is minimal, I may as well go ahead and make the effort.


    Dionne complains that a survey of the National Rifle Association's membership found that members polled by Frank Luntz actually went against the NRA's official position on a number of issues.

    In his survey of 832 gun owners, including 401 NRA members, Luntz found that 82 percent of NRA members supported "prohibiting people on the terrorist watch lists from purchasing guns." Sixty-nine percent favored "requiring all gun sellers at gun shows to conduct criminal background checks of the people buying guns," and 78 percent backed "requiring gun owners to alert police if their guns are lost or stolen." Among gun owners who did not belong to the NRA, the numbers were even higher.

    On the surface and without reflection, these all superficially sound like reasonable ideas and I completely understand why most people would agree.

    But if you take away someone's right to purchase a firearm for being on a terrorism watch list, you just tipped off that potential terrorist that he is under investigation. You've just helped the terrorist. The counterpoint of that, that civil libertarians have been harping on since early in the prior administration, is that these lists are wildly inaccurate, with even Senators being erroneously tagged a s terrorists in federal lists. Compound that with the fact Americans hate to see a citizen's rights denied without the due process of law, and you have a host of very good reasons for the NRA to dig deeper and oppose an idea that sounds good as a theory, but which is horrible in practice.

    Likewise, while I would like to see all gun sellers at gun shows be required to follow the laws that FFL dealers do, including requiring a NICS background check, I know that such restriction would be a fig leaf. Non-dealers would still be able to sell guns outside of the show with no restrictions at all, and no felon would be significantly inconvenienced.

    And while I would certainly hope that a citizen would report a stolen weapon, I find the idea of the government compelling citizens to report stolen property of any kind offensive, and I fail to see what reporting a gun as stolen with have any impact on what the criminal does with a stolen gun. It is—again—a law that enables politicians to claim they "did something" without any real benefit.

    But what really amuses me about Dionne's whining column is when he shows the innocence of a child—one not burdened with being academically gifted—when he bleats propaganda from the front group, Mayors Against All Guns.

    NRA members also oppose the idea behind the so-called Tiahrt amendments passed by Congress. Named for Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.), the rules prevent law enforcement officials from having full access to gun trace data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and require the FBI to destroy certain background-check records after just 24 hours. Talk about handcuffing the police.

    The mayors' poll offered respondents this statement, antithetical to the Tiahrt rules: "The federal government should not restrict the police's ability to access, use, and share data that helps them enforce federal, state and local gun laws." Among NRA members, 69 percent agreed.

    As it turns out, the group—largely self-financed by anti-gun New York RINO Michael Bloomberg—blatantly lies about the Tiahrt Amendment, and what it does, while also obfuscating the fact that the BATF and Fraternal Order of Police want the law kept in place to protect the lives of police officers and informants.

    I'm having a hard time to find who is more repulsive here. Is it Dionne for his intellectual laziness, or Bloomberg for his continued dishonesty?

    It's a big world.

    I think we have the space to revile them both.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:24 PM | Comments (4)

    December 03, 2009

    ROK to Deploy World's Most Advanced Combat Rifle To Afghanistan

    The U.S. XM-29 program faltered, then split, then was shelved, but the South Korean K-11 dual-caliber air-burst weapon is about to deploy to Afghanistan:

    South Korean troops to be deployed in Afghanistan will be armed with the latest K-11 airburst assault rifles for self-defense, according to the Ministry of National Defense.

    [snip]

    Developed by the state-funded Agency for Defense Development, the K-11 consists of a semi-automatic 20mm smart grenade launcher, an under-slung assault rifle firing a standard 5.56mm NATO round, and a top-mounted computer-assisted sighting system with integrated rangefinder and thermal infrared night vision capabilities.

    Using a self-detonation system, the 20mm round from the rifle can track its target and explode three to four meters above it. And it is also capable of penetrating walls of buildings.

    I wouldn't want to tote this beast, but it gives South Korean troops some very interesting capabilities.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:51 AM | Comments (4)

    November 16, 2009

    Shocker: Brian Ross and The Blotter Get Details of Fort Hood Story Wrong

    There are two constants we can expect from the ABC News blog The Blotter.

    They will report in great detail on stories involving the criminal use of a firearm.

    They will invariably get significant details grossly wrong.

    Whether the subject is Mexico's drug cartels, items restricted by the 1994 Crime Bill, or basic descriptions of guns used in massacres, Ros and ABC News are predictably incompetent, and their streak continued today as they try to discuss some of the weaponry purchased by Fort Hood Jihaidi, Major Nidal Hasan:

    Right next door to the strip club is the gun store, Guns Galore, where authorities say Hasan bought his semi-automatic pistol and bullets and in the weeks before the shooting, 13 extra ammunition clips that could hold up to 30 bullets each.

    As anyone with a rudimentary understanding of modern firearms will tell you, modern handguns do not use clips. They use magazines, and yes there is a distinctive difference between a single piece of spring steel that holds a group of cartridges together (a clip) and an enclosed, spring-loaded mechanical device that encloses and protects cartridges an actively feeds them into a firearm's chamber (a magazine).

    Then there is the fact that one cannot readily buy a 30-round magazine for the Five-SeveN pistol as ABC tries to claim.

    Precisely two magazines are available with the Five-seveN, a 10-round magazine for states that restrict the number of cartridges a civilian's handgun can carry, and the standard 20-round magazine that the weapon was designed to accept. No one makes a 30-round magazine for the Five-seveN, though CMMG has a 10-round extension one can purchase separately and install to the base of the factory 20-round magazines. There are no reports that Hasan actually purchased such extensions, much less used them in his attack.

    But that sort of inaccuracy is par for the course for a propagandist far more interested in pushing a political agenda than actually reporting the facts, and Ross is quite consistent in framing stories in such a way to give gun control groups an edge.

    After all, who needs facts?

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:21 PM | Comments (6)

    November 07, 2009

    The "Cop Killer" FN Five-seveN

    The media is wasting very little time informing us that the weapon used by Major Nidal Malik Hasan in his rampage at Fort Hood was a "cop killer."

    Ft. Hood terrorist used a cop killer FN-Five Seven tactical pistol—20 round clip -- Examiner

    'Cop Killer" Gun though to Be Used in Ft. Hood Shooting, Offiicals Said -- ABC News

    Fort Hood shootings: gunman used 'cop killer' weapon in massacre at US Army base -- UK Telegraph

    Ironically, there is no known record of that weapon even being used to kill a police officer in the United States, and there is a distinct possibility that Sgt. Kimberly Munley, wounded while engaging Hasan, may have been the first American law enforcement officer ever shot with a Five-seveN.

    How did the Five-seveN get it's "cop killer" reputation, then?

    It was created in a Brady Campaign press release in February of 2005.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:04 PM | Comments (14)

    October 29, 2009

    SOCOM SCAR/ Remington ACR Updates

    The FN SCAR (Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle) that has been deployed in small numbers with U.S. Special Forces will finish an initial deployment in December. Jane's is reporting that a much larger follow-on order of 15,000 5.56 SCAR-L(ight) and 5,000 7.62 SCAR-H(eavy) modular rifles is expected to follow in 2010.

    Jason Spradling of Remington addressed rumors about the 6.5 chambering listed for the much-anticipated Remington ACR (Adaptive Combat Rifle).

    The Firearms Blog had assumed that the 6.5 cartridge would be the 6.5 Grendel, but an industry insider informed him that Remington was not developing a 6.5 Grendel variant, and someone else said that Remington may be developing their own 6.5 cartridge.

    Jason confirmed with me via email yesterday that Remington was not actively working on a 6.5 Grnedel variant... or a 6.5 cartridge of their own.

    "We have mentioned the 6.5 in our communications on the ACR simply because that platform is capable of handling the Grendel or something like it. At this point, there are no plans to chamber the ACR for the Grendel. However, that may change if we receive enough input from the marketplace to make it seem necessary."

    The SCAR-L and ACR are destined for a collision course in the defense market as direct competitors as a replacement for the M-4 carbine. Both rifles are also going to be developed with semi-automatic variants for the civilian market. The SCAR-L and SCAR-H are currently priced north of $2,500 (sometimes far more).

    Pricing for the ACR has not yet been released.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:55 AM | Comments (4)

    October 18, 2009

    Applying Rights Equally

    A letter to the editor in the Arizona Daily Sun asks an interesting question:

    If I understand it correctly, a lot of folks are saying health care is a right for all and we all should help pay for it. I'm wondering: Since owning a gun is a right, do you think everyone can chip in and get me a new rifle?

    That sounds like a better use of tax dollars than most.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:56 PM | Comments (10)

    October 15, 2009

    "I'm Sure Everyone is Exploring Their Options Right Now."

    I contacted several shooting industry sources regarding California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's decision to sign oppressive ammunition restriction bill AB962.

    The bill requires ammunition to be held behind the counter, restricts sales to individuals to a maximum of 50 rounds per month, bans direct mail and internet sales, and requires retailers to collect intrusive personal information for each sale including:

    Date of transaction.

    Buyer's date of birth, full address, driver's license number, right thumbprint and signature.

    Brand, type and amount of ammunition purchased.

    Name of the salesperson who processed the sale.

    While the law theoretically affects only handgun ammunition, many rifles also shoot handgun-caliber ammunition and owners of those firearms will be affected as well. That information would be turned over to the government which would effectively be able to compile a backdoor handgun ownership database on all California gun owners.

    The prohibition does not outlaw the unregistered ownership of handgun ammunition, nor does it stop individuals from crossing state lines to purchase as much ammunition as they desire. In effect, it penalizes law-abiding recreational shooters, while potentially creating a lucrative market for ammunition smuggling into California.

    The California Association of Firearms Retailers (CAFR) and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) are highly critical of the bill, stating:

    NSSF has estimated that AB 962 would cost California at least $2.92 million annually in lost sales taxes and $629,000 in increased operating costs for state agencies. Lost retail sales in California were estimated at $35.7 million. These estimates followed the recent release of a study by the Governor's Office of Small Business Advocate that show over-regulation of small businesses in California costing the state an estimated $492 billion, almost five times the state’s general fund budget and almost a third of the state's gross product. The Small Business Advocate study also found that California's regulatory burdens costs an average of $134,122 per California business, $13,801 per household and $4,685 per resident each year. Small businesses are 98 percent of the state's enterprises and provide 52 percent of the jobs.

    "Despite the excuses given this morning by the governor, nothing will change the fact that this legislation will drive many small, independent retailers already struggling in a poor economy out of business or force them to flee California's burdensome and hostile regulatory environment for greener economic pastures elsewhere-- taking with them their jobs and tax revenue," said CAFR President Marc Halcon.

    I sent email to contacts within the ammunition industry, and few seem willing to talk about a possible response.

    I asked them all the same specific question: Do you anticipate sanctions by manufacturers against the state of California in response for this law, perhaps similar to Barrett's refusal to sell or service CA state agencies after the ill-advised .50 BMG rilfe ban went into effect?

    While anti-trust laws keeps the companies from discussing such an idea with one another, one highly-placed industry source was willing to provide his opinion off the record.

    He would not rule out a decision by one or more ammunition manufacturers to refuse to do business with the State of California while the ban was in effect.

    "Nothing would surprise me. I'm sure everyone is exploring their options right now."

    If ammunition manufacturers do decide to go this route in response, state and local law enforcement agencies may have to find other vendors to supply their ammunition, or face running low on ammunition themselves.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 04:44 PM | Comments (15)

    October 11, 2009

    Are Our Troops Getting the Best Weapons?

    In the chaos of an early morning assault on a remote U.S. outpost in eastern Afghanistan, Staff Sgt. Erich Phillips' M4 carbine quit firing as militant forces surrounded the base. The machine gun he grabbed after tossing the rifle aside didn't work either.

    When the battle in the small village of Wanat ended, nine U.S. soldiers lay dead and 27 more were wounded. A detailed study of the attack by a military historian found that weapons failed repeatedly at a "critical moment" during the firefight on July 13, 2008, putting the outnumbered American troops at risk of being overrun by nearly 200 insurgents.

    Which raises the question: Eight years into the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan, do U.S. armed forces have the best guns money can buy?

    Despite the military's insistence that they do, a small but vocal number of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq has complained that the standard-issue M4 rifles need too much maintenance and jam at the worst possible times.

    There are tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of veterans far more qualified to opine on whether or not the M-4/M-16 family of small arms are the best that money can buy, but it doesn't take a great deal of qualification to suspect that the answer to this question is "no."

    The basic weapon design for the M-16/M-4 is over 40 years old. While there have been modifications and upgrades during its service lifetime, it has always been prone to failure in adverse conditions. The shorter M-4 carbine, with an abbreviated gas system, is also said to be less reliable than the longer barreled M-16.

    Then there is the issue of the cartridge the weapon uses. While the 5.56 NATO round can create devastating wounds at higher velocities, the shorter barrel of the M-4 reduces the velocity of the small .22-caliber bullet so that at extended ranges, velocity drops off enough that the bullet merely penetrates straight through without immediately stopping the enemy. I've written before about soldiers I've spoken to directly that had to shoot insurgents in the head after multiple shots to the torso failed to stop them.

    Likewise, the cartridge has been criticized from the beginning because the high velocity lightweight bullets fail to penetrate light cover and stop the enemy on the other side. This is a significant problem, especially as U.S. troops typically encounter an opposition with 7.62-caliber weapons that have greater penetration capability.

    Our soldiers are armed with a weapon advanced in years with a history of failing at the worst possible time, chambered for a cartridge with a dubious record of stopping the enemy in real-world combat scenarios.

    Of course, our military knows this.

    The XM-8 program developed a lighter, more reliable 5.56 weapon. The military cancelled it, but civilians can get a semi-automatic version for themselves. There are also other, more reliable weapons being used in small quantities in the field, from the HK416 to the FN SCAR.

    Other cartridges are being tested as well, from the 6.8 SPC specifically developed for the military, to the 6.5 Grendel.

    The simple fact of the matter is that we are not arming our military with the most modern, reliable, or potent weapons.

    I'll leave it for others to explain why.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:24 PM | Comments (16)

    October 05, 2009

    UnManned Handgun Attacks, Wounds Three

    Tales of the gun weird:

    Michael Thourot had just pulled his hand away from the warm metal when it started spewing bullets.

    Moments before, Sherri Thourot had watched her husband fire and reload the Jennings 9mm. Then he set it down for her to shoot next at the range.

    That's when the handgun started firing on its own, she said, spinning around in circles, landing the Thourots and an Irish tourist in the hospital.

    "Nothing like that has ever happened," said Sherri Thourot on Sunday evening from her room at Lakeland Regional Medical Center.



    Bryco/Jennings/Jimenez Arms designs have been a pawn shop favorite for years, filling out the market for inexpensive and basic pistols. Their reputation for durability and quality are about what you would expect in a sub-$200 handgun, and they have been on the losing end of lawsuits in the past. That said, it is exceeding rare for a stationary, unmanned handgun to spontaneously start firing.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:54 AM | Comments (10)

    October 01, 2009

    1 Free Gun, 2 Classes, 5 Days: The FrontSight Training Package

    So I mentioned briefly Tuesday that I was contacted by the staff at Front Sight Firearms Training Institute last week, inquiring into whether or not I might be interested in partnering with them for a promotional venture.

    Guess what? I looked it over, and it seems like a good deal.

    Without further procrastination, let's get to it.

    Here is what Front Sight is offering.

    Four Day Defensive Handgun Certificate that allows you to attend a $2,000 Four Day Defensive Handgun Course at any time in the future with no expiration date. Have better gun handling, marksmanship and tactical skills than 99% of the people who carry a gun for a living! Your shooting buddies will ask, "Where did you learn how to shoot like that?" You will proudly tell them, "Front Sight." Course Value: $2,000. Being the Best Shooter in your group of shooting buddies... Priceless!

    One Day 30 State Concealed Weapon Permit Course that gives you all the training, paperwork signed off, finger prints, and certificates to apply for permits in FL, NV, and Utah. Reciprocity agreements in place allow you to carry a concealed handgun in 30 states. Course Value: $500. Comfort of being armed and trained to handle anything... Priceless!

    All 7 Front Sight Dry Practice Manuals, each over 100 pages with photos of all the techniques we teach in our Four Day Defensive Handgun, Tactical Shotgun, Practical Rifle, Select Fire M16, Uzi Submachine Gun, Empty Hand Defense and Edged Weapons Courses. These manuals are your "Perfect Practice At Home Front Sight Instructor!" Manuals Value: $280. Ability to dry practice all the correct techniques and continue to improve your skills between courses... Priceless!

    Limited Edition, Stainless Steel Folding Knife with Front Sight Logo etched in handle. You can't get this knife anywhere at any price. This is a special run of knives made specifically for this offer. If we sold a logo knife in our pro shop, which we don't, it would be priced at $300 or more. You get it as part of this package. Knife Value: $300. Cool factor when you whip it out to open a box, slice an apple, or dissuade an attacker... Priceless!

    Front Sight Instructor Belt, Holster, Magazine Pouch, Flashlight Holder and Flashlight. All the right gear you need to wear on your belt for a Four Day Defensive Handgun Course. Gear Value: $230. Knowing you are outfitted for your first Front Sight course with the same gear the Front Sight Instructors wear... Priceless!

    Front Sight Logo Armorer's Bench Mat. Neoprene bench mat measuring approximately 16" x 12" featuring the Front Sight logo and exploded view disassembly diagrams for the 1911 pistol, Glock pistol, and AR-15 Rifle on it. Armorer's Bench Mat Value: $40. Having a Front Sight padded mat to clean and work on your guns... Priceless!

    Front Sight "Any Gun Will Do-- If You Will Do" Logo Shirt. I have had so many reports of people seeing our students proudly wearing their Front Sight shirts all over the country. Our students wear them to shooting ranges, gun shows, rock concerts, Disneyland and even church! You too will enjoy proudly flying Front Sight's colors. Shirt Value: $30. Wearing it to your liberal brother-in-law's house party... Priceless!

    Front Sight Logo Hat. Perfect accessory item to wear with or without your Front Sight shirt. Keeps the sun out of your eyes and your mind in Condition Yellow (If you don't know what Condition Yellow is you REALLY need to take a course with us!) Hat Value: $20. The acknowledging nod you get from other gun owners when they see you wearing it... Priceless!

    Right there I think that Front Sight has a week's worth of experience lined up a a reasonable price, but the other previously-mentioned take home prize makes the deal even sweeter.

    Yes, your very own Springfield Armory XD, in your choice of 9mm, .40 S& W, or .45 ACP.

    I've made no secret that I'm a fan of the XD, and Front Sight will give you one once you are enrolled.

    Folks, this is one great offer.

    What should you expect to get out of this investment in your shooting skills?

    The ability to draw from a concealed holster and put a controlled pair of shots to the target's thoracic cavity from 3-5 yards away, in less than 1.5 seconds.

    Folks, that is strong. Admittedly, I can't do that now. Can you?

    I'm hoping that you will consider signing up.

    With competence comes confidence.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:16 AM | Comments (9)

    September 29, 2009

    Affiliate Partnership with FrontSight

    You may notice above that there is a banner ad to FrontSight Firearms Training Institute. After being approached by one of their staff last week about promoting a training package I decided to partner up with them, as FrontSight has a excellent reputation as a shooting school and the package they are promoting includes a Springfield Armory XD that you get to take home.

    I'll have more on this later tonight or tomorrow.

    In the meantime, you can read up on some the links to articles about them they so graciously provided.

    Front Sight
    Ignatius Piazza in Small Arms Review
    Ignatius Piazza
    Ignatius Piazza Blog
    Ignatius Piazza in Times Democrat
    Front Sight in National Enquirer
    Ignatius Piazza in Handvapen
    Front Sight in Sierra Times
    Ignatius Piazza in Forbes
    Ignatius Piazza in Playboy Magazine German Edition

    Or since seeing is believing:

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 05:39 PM | Comments (4)

    September 10, 2009

    Long Guns I'd Like to See

    Every once in a while I get the opportunity to test some exquisite firearms.

    The last to pass through my hands was Ruger's first entry into the AR market, the piston-driven SR-556, which I was able to outfit with an Insight Technologies MRDS optic. I just returned it last week after having it for three months, and it was tough to send back. I'll post my range report in the weeks to come.

    Having a newly-released gun in your hands sometimes lead you to try to get into the mind of the designer to try to understand why they decided on the features they brought to market, and in my case, that leads me to wonder about other firearms that I'd be interested in seeing developed from existing firearms, or entirely new designs.

    There are two that I've been kicking around in the back of my mind in recent weeks, one being a 5.56 Garand, and the other is a user-friendly dedicated home-defense shotgun.

    The 5.56 Garand

    The Garand needs no introduction. It was America's premier service rifle in World War II through the Korean War, a semi-automatic firing eight .30-'06 rounds loaded from an en bloc clip.

    There are millions of Garands in the hands of American shooters, with the vast majority of them chambered in the traditional .30-'06, but the .308 Winchester increasing being adopted in new rifles. Modification of Garands into other calibers is nothing new, with custom Garands chambered in .338 Magnum and 458 Magnum being available to those who can afford them, but I'd like to see development taken the other way.

    I'd like to see a Garand design modernized and scaled to the 5.56 cartridge. Imagine a Garand at 90-percent the size of the original, with a forward-mounted short section of picatinny rail for "scout"-type scopes, with a detachable rear sight (and perhaps a folding rear backup iron site). Even scaled to 90-percent, I wold think an 8-10 round en bloc clip is quite possible.

    I imagine it as a truck gun, equally suited for utility work, plinking, predator, and defense or light to medium game hunting.

    The Home Defense Shotgun

    While the 5.56 is a nice " want to have," the next firearm on my wish list is for a real and vital market that in my experience, is under-served.

    When I was selling firearms, the most heart-wrenching work I took on was trying to help someone who had recently been the victim of a crime. A young couple just starting out was living in rough part of town, awoke one night to a someone high on drugs battering open their front door. A single older lady found signs that someone had tried to force open her apartment window. A single woman in her 20s, visibly shaken, scared that her obsessive ex-boyfriend was going to break in one night and hurt her for leaving him.

    None of these customers was the caricature of a gun owner that liberals love to set up as strawmen, and none really wanted to purchase a gun. What they really wanted was the sense of security that only firearms can provide in a potentially dangerous situation.

    For each of these customers, I wish I had a better option than what I had on the shelves. What I wish I had to sell was a very easy to operate, compact and nearly foolproof shotgun, one that was light and compact enough for women and smaller-statured men, without punishing recoil, and with at least 4-5 rounds in the magazine. I still don't see a perfect solution on the market (and a one-size fits all solution will never exist), but something built off the basic concepts behind the Kel-Tec RFB would certainly be a step in the right direction.

    The RFB is a very compact bullpup-style .308 rifle that ejects spent shells forward, meaning it can be used ambidextrously without any modifications. A similar weapon chambered in 20-gauge with simple iron sights and larger game loads (#4-#6) could certainly be the in-home, last defense gun that I would have recommended if we had it on the shelf.

    I don't know that there is a significant market for either firearm, but it would certainly be interesting to see how such concepts might work out.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:52 PM | Comments (16)

    August 28, 2009

    NC Supreme Court Issues Emergency Room Stimulus

    Because what this world needs is more armed ex-cons:

    The North Carolina Supreme Court says a 2004 law that bars convicted felons from having a gun, even within their own home or business, is unconstitutional.

    The state's high court ruled Friday in the case of Barney Britt of Wake County that the General Assembly went too far five years ago when it toughened restrictions on felons owning guns as part of a broad anti-domestic-violence bill.

    Update: Okay, I'm a dolt.

    For whatever reason, I had it in my head that the Court was allowing violent ex-cons to own firearms, and I was not thinking about non-violent offenders. Sadly, the article doesn't do a good job in defining precisely what the court said.

    If it turns out that the ruling affects non-violent offenders, I'll agree with those that state they have paid their debt to society. If it applies to violent offenders as well, I still have a problem with it.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 04:47 PM | Comments (11)

    August 19, 2009

    Debunking the Latest Violence Policy Center Propaganda

    The VPC — an organization funded by Obama when he sat on the Joyce Foundation — invents their own reality with an assault on gun rights.

    Seems rather fitting, considering how much of the progressive agenda is based upon a community-based reality.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:00 AM | Comments (1)

    August 18, 2009

    About Those Open Carry Advocates in Phoenix, and the Liberals Who Loathe Them

    As I hopefully made clear last night, I think that open-carrying firearms at political protests—even when perfectly legal—is needlessly provocative and counter-productive. While the open carry advocates are attempting to get across a message that open-carrying guns is legal and hope to normalize the practice, doing so at an event where there is already political controversy is going to have the opposite effect and polarize those who might otherwise be more accepting of their message.

    But while I disagree with the idea of open-carrying at political events, I must say that I was impressed with how these open carry advocates conducted themselves. They coordinated their display with the Phoenix Police Department, who provided them with a liaison officer. They were also courteous to those around them, remaining calm and well-behaved (with the exception of the mysterious "other" rifle-carrying man that only one CNN employee seems to have seen).

    And despite the shrieking we're hearing for the hyperbole-prone left, there is not a double-standard at play between the security afforded this President and the last.

    One blogger at Firedoglake whined:

    Once again we see how irony deficiency maims the conservative's ability to reason: those most terrified of The Negro Socialist Non-Citizen Grandmother-Killing President taking away their assault weaponry [roll eyes here] are free who to openly carry them at Obama events without fear of reprisal.

    Could you even begin to imagine that sort of apparently lackadaisical approach during Bush's Orwellian tenure? Contemplate what would have happened to audience members had they shown up at one of Bush's "socha scurty" town halls packing heat. People wearing even vaguely anti-Bush t-shirts were summarily ejected from his little Potemkin village affairs and those whose cars brandished "liberal" bumper stickers were no doubt assigned to some DHS anti-American no-fly list. Anyone with a firearm at a Bush event would have found himself wearing an orange jumpsuit and shackles faster than you could say "Dick Cheney's man-sized safe."

    Maha wails a similar lament:

    The forces of civility already are bowing to the pressure of the mob. We might remember that people wearing anti-Bush T-shirts were not allowed to be within view of Dear Leader, whereas law enforcement can do very little about visibly angry people carrying loaded firearms in the streets.

    Both of these bloggers are making false comparisons, without any merit whatsoever.

    The armed protesters at events in Arizona and New Hampshire were never "at" Obama's meetings. They were never inside of the security perimeter that the Secret Service establishes for Presidential appearances. They weren't ever close.

    The protester in New Hampshire who had a gun in a tactical drop-leg rig was on private property well away from the Obama appearance (I've heard estimates of ½ to ¾ mile away) and was never in direct line of sight of either the venue or the motorcade. He never remotely a threat to the President, nor did he intend to be.

    Likewise, those open carry advocates at yesterday's event in Arizona arranged for a police liaison the day before the event, and were constantly afforded security by the Phoenix Police Department and had at least one known Secret Service agent shadowing them to assure they were following the law. These citizens were never anywhere near the President, nor did they attempt to go anywhere near the Secret Service's security perimeter that cordoned off the event and the building in which it was held.

    As for the citizens ejected by the Secret Service during President Bush's meetings in the past, I can't claim to know much about the specific instances they refer to, but they do make clear these were citizens inside the event location when they were ejected.

    It is always well within the Secret Service's discretion to eject unruly citizens or suspected agitators from Presidential appearances as a matter of security, just as it is their duty to arrest and detain anyone who attempts to breach the perimeter with a potential weapon (As they did another protester in New Hampshire last week).

    These mewling cries of left-wing bloggers that the Secret Service is somehow applying a double-standard isn't remotely "reality-based." It is an attempt to make an apples and oranges argument, and a weak one at that.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:19 AM | Comments (21)

    August 17, 2009

    A Bad Idea Escalates

    The lefty blogs are beside themselves (indeed, Gawker John Cook seems like he is about to lose bladder control) over the fact that about a dozen open carry advocates attended the protest outside Barack Obama's speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Phoenix, AZ today. Much to the dismay of the commenters at many of those sites, openly carrying firearms is completely legal in Arizona.

    It also appears that protestors on both sides may have been armed.

    As much as I support the open carry movement in theory, I have a very hard time seeing open carry at a political event full of people as anything other than a very bad idea. It is needlessly provocative (and I suspect in many instances, purposefully so), and potentially dangerous.

    While the protestors themselves may not have any intent to use the firearms they are carrying, open carry in dense, emotional crowds opens up a whole host of possible scenarios that could end in disaster. I'd be rather surprised if any were using holsters with any sort of locking retention devices.

    The man who got the greatest amount of attention was carrying a Carbon-15 rifle with a 30-round magazine and an EOTech sight slung over his back; not the best way to retain and control your weapon in a crowd.

    The people on both sides were of course well within their legal rights to carry at this event.

    Whether or not openly carrying firearms to a political protest is intelligent is another matter entirely.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:27 PM | Comments (40)

    July 23, 2009

    ATF Refutes Obama's "90-Percent Lie" About the U.S. Being the Source of Mexican Cartel Guns

    What... you expected honesty?

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:25 AM | Comments (5)

    July 22, 2009

    Addled Critics Unable to Form Logical Opposition to Thune's Concealed Carry Reciprocity Amendment

    The so-called "Thune Amendment" to provide co-equal reciprocity to concealed carry permit holders traveling across state lines will come to a vote today.

    The Amendment would allow concealed carry permit holders to carry their guns in the 48 states that allow some form of concealed carry (Illinois and Wisconsin do not allow for concealed carry in any form). Permit holders would still be responsible for knowing and following all applicable laws of the individual states they visit regarding concealed carry.

    Opponents of the amendment have gone for the usual hysteria, insisting that such a bill would mean blood flowing in the streets.

    That sort of hyperbole and fear-mongering is of course unfounded.

    There are legitimate reasons one could cite to oppose the bill, such as concerns over how Alaska and Vermont residents—which are allowed to carry concealed weapons without any sort of a permit—would be accommodated. There are legitimate reasons to question the public safety of allowing people who come from states that provide permits without any training to travel anywhere. There are also questions about whether such a bill tramples on states' rights.

    Those questions need to be answered, and I suspect they reasonably can be.

    By the protests sounded by many of those opposing this bill aren't based upon any sort of logical thought process. They trumpet only unreasoning fear:

    "If you walk down the street in New York ... you can have the solace of knowing that if someone has a gun on them they've gone through a rigorous police background check. After this bill, you can have no such comfort," Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said Sunday.

    Shumer is dishonest. If someone is carrying a gun in New York City, they are either a criminal or politically connected, with very, very few exceptions, and it is only slightly less difficult to carry upstate. Being a well-trained, responsible, law-abiding citizen isn't enough to get a carry permit in New York City, you need political connections, or if you are a normal citizen, you have to demonstrate need—as if a citizen can foretell in advance when someone might attempt to carjack, rob, or rape them. Even then, permitting is an altogether arbitrary process subject to whim as much as process.

    New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg was no more logical:

    It could be drunks stumbling out of saloons packing heat that leads to another OK Corral. Or a bump on the subway that turns into a quick-draw shootout.

    And the cops can't do anything about it until it's too late.

    Those are some of the nightmare scenarios an agitated Mayor Bloomberg said could unfold on city streets if the Senate doesn't kill a "terrible piece of legislation."

    The controversial measure says that as long as you're legal to pack heat in one state, you're A-OK to carry a concealed gun anywhere you travel in the U.S.

    The proposal, an amendment coming up for a vote today, "is just an out-and-out trampling of historic states' rights," Bloomberg said in a reference to New York's tough laws against concealed guns.

    "This bill is an anti-police, pro-gun-trafficker bill. This is going to put a lot more guns on the street," Bloomberg said on a conference call with several other mayors who warned their streets could also become war zones.

    As Bloomberg should know, carrying a firearm in New York City would still be prohibited even when the Thune Amendment passes; it only apply to state laws, and local prohibitive ordinances such as NYC's would presumably still apply.

    As for the Wild West hyperbole of shootouts on every street corner over the slightest offenses, well, that bit of dark fantasy has been debunked no less than 36 times. The same fear-mongering has been made in response to every state that implemented a concealed carry law, and the claims have always fallen flat.

    Concealed carry permit holders are far less likely to commit a crime than the general population, and though there are millions of concealed carry permit holders in the United States—there are more than 1.4 million in Florida alone—the best that the anti-gun Violence Policy Center could do to suggest that concealed carry was dangerous was to point out 31 instances where concealed carry permit holders have been accused of violent crimes.

    The VPC was so desperate to get even this scant amount of evidence that they were forced to include allegations of wrong-doing in cases that had not been adjudicated, cases that concealed weapons played little or no part in, and at least on case were no weapons at all were used.

    Far from showcasing gun violence caused by concealed carry permit holders, the VPC report instead serves to show that carry permit holders as a group are far less violent that those citizens that are not licensed to carry firearms.

    38 states allow concealed carry. 28 of them already have reciprocity laws that allow permit holders to carry in various states.

    Thune's amendment is an attempt to add some consistency to an often confusing hodgepodge of state-mandated and constantly changing reciprocity agreements, while keeping every individual state restriction and concern in place about how and where guns can be carried within those states. It seeks nothing more or less than extending to law-abiding citizens the opportunity to follow the laws of another jurisdiction.

    That hardly sounds like a situation that should earn the shrill hyperbole we're hearing from some politicians and media elitists.

    But then, we aren't dealing with rational people.

    Update: Why am I surprised that irrational fear wins in a Democrat-controlled Senate? The vote fell two votes shy (58-39) of the 60 needed.

    And the victorious dolt speaks:

    "Lives have been saved with the defeat of this amendment," Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, a leading opponent of the amendment, said in a statement. "The passage of this amendment would have done more to threaten the safety of New Yorkers than anything since the repeal of the assault weapons ban."

    The ten year (1994-2004) "assault weapons" ban did not save one single life.

    While 19 guns were banned by name, every single domestic manufacturer had variants of pre-ban guns on the street the day after the "ban" took effect, with no decrease in accurate, power, or rate of fire. Many manufacturers of assault weapons expanded their domestic sales during the ban due to high demand, and there were always plenty of these firearms legally available for sale on gun shop shelves.

    The "ban" can fairly be credited with the creation of a new class of handguns, subcompact semi-automatics that packed duty-grade calibers (9mm, ..40S&W, .357 SIG, .45 ACP) into ever-smaller frames, so that far more powerful bullets can be launched from guns not appreciably larger that the low-powered and often ineffective &qout;mousegun" calibers of previous generations. If anything, a good case can be made that by making guns ever smaller and more powerful, the assault weapons ban encouraged people—both law-abiding citizens and violent criminals—to carry firearms more frequently.

    How many homicides associated with this new class of weapon do you want credit for, Chuck?

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:50 AM | Comments (13)

    July 20, 2009

    Carry Reciprocity Agreement Brings Out The Bedwetters

    If Chuck Shumer and the New York-based media are against it, it must be good for America:

    A measure taken up by the Senate Monday would give people the right to carry concealed weapons across state lines as long as they obey the concealed gun laws of the state they are visiting. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said his proposal would reduce crime by providing reciprocity to carry concealed firearms. "My legislation enables citizens to protect themselves while respecting individual state firearms laws," he said.

    ...


    Thune's bill, supported by the National Rifle Association and other gun rights groups, would allow people with concealed weapons privileges in one state to transfer that right to other states, contingent on their following the laws of those other states. Many state gun laws specify locations where concealed weapons can, or cannot, be carried.

    It does not, Thune said, provide for a national carry permit and would not permit the concealing of weapons in the two states — Wisconsin and Illinois — that do not allow the practice.

    Gun control advocate Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the amendment "could endanger the safety of millions of Americans."

    He said in a statement that "to gut the ability of individual states to determine who should be able to carry a concealed weapon makes no sense," he said.

    This may come as a shock to the uninformed, but most states with concealed carry permits already have some sort of reciprocity agreement with other states. For example, my North Carolina concealed carry permit is honored in 31 other states. New York concealed carry permits have considerably less clout, being honored in only 13 other states.

    Critics that insist this amendment would lead to violence are all predicted on the absurd illogic that a person who is licensed to carry a firearm in his home state would be overcome with a murderous desire urge to commit a violent felony the moment they cross the border into another state where they did not previously have reciprocity.

    It's a laughably foolish premise that an educated, rational person would ignore, and yet the apparent de facto position in a number of editorials in northeastern news organizations.

    The echo is so harmonious that almost makes me wonder if news organizations have been orchestrated in some manner—perhaps by a panicky senior Senator from New York?

    On second thought, I'm sure I don't want to know.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:50 PM | Comments (7)

    Almost Under the Radar: FBI Agent Arrested After Guns He Sold Were Tied to Mexican Cartels

    When the Attorney General and President told us that Americans were responsible for Mexican drug cartel violence, I guess we should have pressed them on just how close to the issue they were.

    An FBI agent was arrested in early July for illegally selling Barret M82 .50 caliber rifles that made their way into the hands of the cartels, including one confiscated in a raid in March of last year. The agent John T. Shipley, purchased at least 54 firearms from a variety of sources, and sold at 51 of them illegally for a profit, according to his indictment.

    The agent sold three .50-caliber semi-automatic sniper rifles, several Remington 700 rifles in .308, and two DPMS LR-308 .308 rifles, all which would be very suitable for the assassination of Mexican police officers and military personnel from hundreds of yards away. Shipley was apparently comfortable with turning a profit even if it meant fellow officers could end up in the sights of the rifles he sold.

    You would think such a story of a cop supplying criminals with the weapons to kill other cops would be prime-time news fodder, but the first I heard of this story was an accidental link I stumbled across while researching another story.

    Funny, that.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:59 PM | Comments (11)

    July 05, 2009

    After Three Centuries, Brits Lose Ability to Arm Themselves

    Rather pathetic considering their history of small arms development, but perhaps to be expected from a now-neutered nanny-state that thinks normal kitchen knives are too dangerous.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:02 PM | Comments (7)

    June 24, 2009

    Anti-Gun Harold Koh Headed for Confirmation Vote

    From Foreign Policy:

    A cloture vote on the nomination of Harold Koh will be held this morning at 11 a.m. ET, The Cable has learned. Koh, the dean of Yale Law School, was tapped to become the State Department's legal advisor nearly four months ago, but has faced criticism from conservatives for an alleged "transnational" approach to the law.

    According to reporter Dave Wiegel of the Washington Independent, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said through a spokesman that he is confident he has the 60 votes needed to overcome conservative opposition to Koh's nomination.

    Koh is a self-described "trans-nationalist" radical who believes in global gun control.

    Koh's positions treat our constitutional law as if it were a mere local ordinance on the greater world stage. This is of particular concern to gun owners at a time when the U.S. Congress is under pressure from President Obama to ratify an international gun control treaty with countries in the western hemisphere. That treaty, known by its Spanish acronym CIFTA, would likely serve as a forerunner to a more extensive United Nations initiative, the "Program of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in all its Aspects."

    The Bush administration, under the leadership of UN Ambassador John Bolton, rejected the small arms treaty. Bolton plainly told the world that the United States will not accept a gun control document that violates our Constitutional right to bear arms. Harold Koh commented that Bolton was being "needlessly provocative."

    In a paper entitled "A world drowning in guns," Koh maintains that a civil society cannot exist with broad gun ownership: "Guns kill civil society," he said.

    Given President Obama's track record of participating in schemes to undermine Second Amendment scholarship, and his disdain for those "bitter clingers" who believe in the Constitution, it is unsurprising that Koh would be nominated to the position at the State Department.

    What is surprising is that Senators that desire to retain their seats would consider confirming such a radical so hostile to basic Constitutional rights.

    Call your Senator this morning and express your disdain, while you still have a chance.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:22 AM | Comments (11)

    June 22, 2009

    Location. Location. Location.

    I think that most people would think that this production still of the new Ruger SR-556 is a very nice photo.

    I personally feel that this one is slightly more appealing.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:56 PM | Comments (12)

    June 04, 2009

    Great Moments in Parenting

    A five-year-old kindergarten student was found with a handgun at my child's elementary school (name removed) in Raleigh, NC today. Don't bother to check the news, as that information hasn't been released to media outlets, just sent out as a phone alert to the parents of students, who are—at least at this moment—unaware of the prepubescent gunmen in their midst.

    We were assured that the gun they recovered was unloaded, and from the moment it was discovered, that no student saw or touched it. Would that make you feel better if it was your child's school? Frankly, the seeing it isn't what concerns me.

    I'm all in favor of having guns in schools. I think concealed carry permit holders should be allowed on college campuses as faculty, staff, and students, and would feel comfortable—actually, more comfortable—if I knew that public school faculty and administrators were empowered to act as a last line of defense against prospective school shooters.

    But I also know you must always treat all guns as being loaded weapons all the time, and you simply cannot put them where children and irresponsible adults in your home can access them. Owning a firearm is a right, but it is also a serious responsibility.

    Wake County law enforcement is dealing with the child, and his family.

    I'm simply thankful that this time around no one is having to deal with the coroner.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:55 PM | Comments (2)

    May 29, 2009

    End Run: Sotomayor is Obama's Attempt to Undermine the Second Amendment

    I don't care if Sonia Sotomayor is a "wise Latina woman." I certainly hope that she is if she's in the running for a seat on the Supreme Court.

    But one thing that should concern all freedom-loving Americans is Sotomayor's views on the Second Amendment, and why she was chosen by an anti-gun President that belonged to an organization that once attempted to the undermine SCOTUS itself.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:18 AM | Comments (2)

    May 28, 2009

    When Self Defense Becomes Murder

    If robbers come into your home or place of work, pull a weapon and threaten your life, you have every moral right to defend yourself and others as long as they pose a lethal threat. Pharmacist Jerome Ersland was therefore justified when he shot Antwun Parker in the head on May 19 before chasing his armed accomplice out the door.

    Ersland crossed the line, however, when he re-entered the pharmacy after chasing away the armed suspect, retrieved another gun, and used it to shoot Parker five more times as he lay unconscious on the floor.

    The district attorney has decided to charge Ersland with murder for the five shots fired into Parker as he lay on the floor that eventually killed him. While Ersland's lawyer is confident that a jury will find in favor of his client, there seems to be very few shades of gray here. An unconscious man laying on the floor with a head wound cannot be construed as a legitimate threat as anything much more than a trip hazard, and Ersland's lawyer is going to have to fight the dual battles of explaining why Ersland apparently lied to the police about what happened (his statement apparently does not match forensics or the ins-store camera footage of the event), and why, if Parker was a lethal threat, Ersland had the time to retrieve a second handgun from another location in the store to shoot him five more times, instead of using the gun he had at hand or a closer, makeshift weapon.

    This pharmacists escalated what was apparently a justifiable case of self-defense into a seemingly clear-cut murder of an unarmed and unconscious man.

    For that, there is no easy excuse.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 05:46 PM | Comments (24)

    May 17, 2009

    A Response to Susan Gill

    Glenn Reynolds linked to an article in the Christian Science Monitor about the growing prominence of gun-bloggers among the old media and how these sometimes cranky and contrary souls [We don't know anyone like that, do we?] are even forcing the hand of the NRA on occasion.

    The very first comment on the article was from someone using the name Susan Gill. I'm sure you'll recognize someone you know in her reply:

    My goodness, it's hard to know where to begin. In Seattle, there is an increase of gang shootings, often by teenagers, right out in the open on the University of Washington Ave., Alki Beach, Golden Gardens, the South end at bus stops, etc. Kids should NOT have guns. Nationally, we have people in the same families shooting one another. People go off the deep end and shoot fellow workers or students with machine guns they should NEVER have access to.

    The logic is we all have the right to protect ourselves. But, maybe we need to be thinking through the best way TO protect ourselves. Some good ways are living a wise lifestyle, trying to be harmonious with all, listening to your intuitions, staying out of trouble spots, leading a good purposed meaningful life and providing opportunities for others to do the same.

    This pressure and lobbying from the NRA has been escalating for years. I don't like it at all. I'm to the point I'm more opposed to the pressure than the availability of guns. Why not more pressure for a harmonious society? Why not more pressure to provide for larger police forces? Why not more regulated laws that oversee gun sales, and limit gun sales to the appropriate parties, those who are professionals in the service of protecting our cities and country? (I won't even try to talk about the "hunting" aspect. I cannot in a million years imagine shooting an animal!)

    I simply cannot believe our Founding Fathers' intent with the 2nd Amendment was to indiscriminately pass out guns to anyone who wants one. There MUST be more intelligent scrutiny and stricter laws on who may carry a fire arm.

    Let us for a moment look past her sincere ignorance and the fact that there have been precisely two murders documented with legally-owned machine guns since 1934, that children are already barred from purchasing all manner of firearms, that "harmonious living" never stopped a hardened criminal, and that criminals should not circumscribe your freedoms. We'll look past all that to focus on what all too many outside of her moonbeams-and-unicorns world view also misunderstand about what our nation is, and the role firearms were intended to play.

    To her and others like her I would write:

    Ms. Gill,

    I'd like to direct you to The Federalist Papers and other documents written by our Founding Fathers. They did indeed mean for every law-abiding reasonable man be armed with small arms suitable for military use. They created the Second Amendment not to sanctify pheasant hunting or target shooting, but to make sure American civilians always had access to small arms for the defense of their communities and against tyrannies foreign and domestic.

    They recognized the militia as the citizen, not the National Guard, and the contemporary use of the phrase "well-regulated" in their time meant "well-trained."

    The Founders wanted America to be a nation where the citizenry itself was a well-trained deterrent to tyrants abroad and would-be tyrants at home, recognizing that blood needed to be shed from time to time for liberty to remain and free men to remain free.

    What the media glibly calls "assault weapons" today are the very arms that most closely mirror what the founders would have regarded at the proper armament for a free American citizenry. Our Founding Fathers, Ms. Gill, were what you would regard as right-wing extremists.

    They wanted us armed and well-trained with those arms, knowing that any government security force sufficiently large and powerful enough to protect us from any crime is large and powerful enough to strip us of our freedoms. There is, after all, a reason why totalitarian nations are known as "police states."

    Our Founders were men of action, and require action from us. They do not expect us to shirk our duties and responsibilities, and would be ashamed of those of you who think so much of your own self-worth that you would put another person's life on the line to assure you safety.

    If you truly love your nation and your God, procure a weapon, and learn how to use it to defend the one sacred life that your Father gave you to lead, and freedoms that our Founding Fathers hoped to enshrine on parchment three centuries ago.

    Thank you for your time.

    Bob Owens

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 05:37 PM | Comments (12)

    May 04, 2009

    Daily Beast Lies Again

    More outright fabrication from The Daily Beast (my bold, of course):

    At the gun show in Reno, I witnessed the sale of rocket-propelled-grenade launchers and bazooka guns; I watched a California-based dealer demonstrate how rapidly he could field strip his .308-caliber sniper rifle, then stash it in a deliberately innocuous-looking backpack and a briefcase that "looks just like a camera case."

    Mr. Blumenthal, I'll make you a deal.

    Produce a functional gun show-purchased RPG-7 launcher and grenades or a functional "bazooka gun" (whatever that is), and I'll either eat it, or let you shoot at me with it. The simple fact of the matter is that such weapons are not available at guns shows, though replicas— non-firing essentially 1:1 scale models—sometimes are.

    The take-down rifle design he shows with forboding isn't particularly innovative and has been around for over a hundred years. I just watched the Clint Eastwood classic Joe Kidd over the course of a weekend, where a western set in 1900 featured a scene where the title character assembled a similar weapon transported in a compact presentation case, and then used it to kill a rifleman sniping from a ridge hundreds of yards away.

    As for Blumenthal's crockmentary, I'm less than impressed with tired leftist tactic he used of finding a small number of crackpots from multiple events and presenting them as being a fair representation of the overall group. Whether used by Blumenthal or Riefenstahl, it is purposefully dishonest.

    You'll note that though he claims to have attended two shows, he came back to the same 2-3 guys for the bulk of his interviews, most prominently the old Alex Jones fan and the young Paultard. Those interviews were culled from out of what must have been thousands of potential attendees he could have chosen to talk to. I have little doubt his intention was to isolate and fixate upon those he thought would be most useful fodder for a smear out of what was sure to have been thousands (for example, there were 8,000 people attend a gun show in Raleigh over the course of the weekend, and I suspect I could find several dozen conspiracy theorists or more that would give similar stories to what he culled, but that doesn't make them representative of the larger group).

    It's a smear job from a shameless propagandist, and yet another blow to the credibility of Tina Brown's Daily Beast, which seems to be trying to emulate the kind of journalism that is leading the New York Times into both irrelevancy and bankruptcy.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:53 PM | Comments (31)

    April 27, 2009

    Jimmy Carter's Cry for Help

    Jimmy Carter needs to be disarmed:

    I have used weapons since I was big enough to carry one, and now own two handguns, four shotguns and three rifles, two with scopes. I use them carefully, for hunting game from our family woods and fields, and occasionally for hunting with my family and friends in other places. We cherish the right to own a gun and some of my hunting companions like to collect rare weapons. One of them is a superb craftsman who makes muzzle-loading rifles, one of which I displayed for four years in my private White House office.

    But none of us wants to own an assault weapon, because we have no desire to kill policemen or go to a school or workplace to see how many victims we can accumulate before we are finally shot or take our own lives. That’s why the White House and Congress must not give up on trying to reinstate a ban on assault weapons, even if it may be politically difficult.

    President Carter doesn't go on to mention precisely what kind of firearms he owns or what calibers they are chambered for, but I feel confident asserting that every single firearm he owns, in every caliber he owns, has been used to kill people, and I suspect we can include police officers wearing bullet-resistent vests in that tally. I'm equally confident that weapons strikingly similar to what Carter owns can be directly linked to some of the worst mass killings in American history, most of which did not use "assault rifles."

    Carter claims that he has no desire to " kill policemen or go to a school or workplace to see how many victims we can accumulate before we are finally shot or take our own lives."

    But can we really trust him?

    After all, Carter admits to owning two handguns, and it was with two handguns that Seung-Hui Cho committed 32 murders at Virginia Tech before taking his own life, and Jiverly Wong recently used two handguns to kill 13 befor taking his own life in Binghampton, New York.

    Carter also admits to owning an arsenal of four shotguns, and it was a pump-shotgun that Eric Harris fired 25 times at Columbine High school; his perverse partner Dylan Klebold was found with a sawed-off double-barrel shotgun beside his body as well.

    As for Carter's scoped rifles, why are his any different than the weapons used by Charles Whitman in his Texas bell tower attack that left 14 killed and 32 wounded?

    Perhaps it is safest to err on the side of caution and view Carter's angry letter to the editor as a final cry for help before he embarks on his own killing spree.

    Jimmy Carter owns weapons have been used in more mass killing sprees than the assault weapons that that the former president is somehow convinced contain a malevolent soul, and Carter's record of incompetence has been unmercifully skewered for three decades as being one of the most incompetent Presidents in American history, giving him a far greater reason to go on a random killing spree than almost any mass shooter in American history.

    Perhaps America does need more gun control.

    Let's start with James Earl Carter.

    Update: Jimmy has killed before, shooting his sister's cat. Don't profilers claim that animal cruelty is one sign of a sociopath?

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:55 AM | Comments (7)

    April 26, 2009

    Letter to an Ignorant Hero

    It is more than a little sad that a man like Mr. Crumbo put his life on the line in dangerous combat missions in the service of a Constitution and Bill of Rights he clearly knew nothing about.

    As various other posters to the op-ed linked above have made clear, the 1994 "assault weapons" ban did not ban so much as ONE assault weapon or machine gun capable of firing one shot per trigger pull. It was, for all intents and purposes, a law to ban scary looking features on some firearms, and did not in any way affect their lethality or rate of fire.

    The Second Amendment that Mr. Crumbo so clearly does not understand was not written to protect your hunting rights. It was written by a group of very wise men who had just watched a army comprised largely of civilian militiamen defeat one of the most formidable land armies on the planet. The Second Amendment was expressly written to protect the rights of following generations to own arms that would be suitable for them to use as militiamen if the need again arises, as it has repeatedly through American history, most recently (to my knowledge) in the Battle of Athens/McMinn County War in 1946.

    The semi-automatic intermediate-caliber rifles that mimic the look and feel of today's modern military weapons, far from being something not protected by the Second Amendment, are the very weapons that should be most protected by a Right that ensures Americans never again need feel the boot of a tyrant on their necks. It is perhaps the Right most singularly responsible for ensuring that our United States boasts what may be the oldest continuously-functioning government on Earth.

    The Second Amendment was never about home defense, or hunting, or target shooting. The clear purpose of the right to keep and bear arms was to create a nation of riflemen, a citizenry armed with weapons suitable for use as a militiaman.

    If former Navy SEAL Kim Crumbo is the weapons expert he claims to be, perhaps he can point out a civilian weapon more suitable for the militia use imagined by our Founding Fathers that the very semi-automatic rifles that he now says should be banned.

    I thank Mr. Crumb for his service, and hope that he uses his retirement to educate himself about a Constitution he defended, but so clearly never understood.

    (h/t NC Tea Party Revolution)

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:00 PM | Comments (6)

    April 15, 2009

    Uh, No

    The Mexican police have captured another cache of weapons from a drug cartel, and their apparent instinct was to hype their find as being something more than what they captured, which the Daily Mail bought into entirely.

    The "anti-aircraft gun" in the picture is an old M1919 in what appears to be an A4 configuration, and is mounted on a low-tripod for its designed use, allowing infantry to take on ground targets, not aircraft.

    Far from the 800-rounds-per-minute claim in the Daily Mail, the cyclic rate of fire was rate of 400-600 rounds per minute, but because the gun was air-cooled and would overheat if fired continuously, it was fired in short bursts, resulting in a rate of fire that was much less.

    This is as much an anti-aircraft gun as Margaret Thatcher is a Victoria's Secret model. Sure, all the basic parts are there, but pressing this configuration into a role it was never designed for is a recipe for disaster, and the over-hyping Mexican Police should be ashamed of themselves.

    (Via Instapundit.)

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:57 AM | Comments (7)

    April 14, 2009

    20/20 Blows Another Gun Story

    No, ABC News didn't put explosives in a gas tank, but they certainly stacked the deck in creating Diane Sawyer's "guns are bad, guns are useless" self-fulfilling prophecy, which AWR Hawkins deftly exposes at Pajamas Media.

    The scenario is worth watching, if only to point out the flaws in the contrived scenario, starting with neophytes playing the role of CCH holders, the CCHs being forced to wear a holster in a position where they could not draw their weapon in a sitting postion (and would not think of carrying a weapon in real life simply for reasons of comfort).

    And of course, ABC rigged an outcome where the only possible outcome was the death of students in the scenario, with the only question being "how many?"

    In real life, of course, there is never just one possible scenario or possible outcome.

    As I noted in a comment at PJM, what ABC News pointedly didn't run is what I would dub the "Virginia Tech" scenario.

    Have a student with a concealed weapons hear shots in another classroom, draw his weapon, and cover the door. Then tell me how far the shooter gets through that classroom door, compared to rooms without a CCH.

    Alternately, think about the possible reaction of CCH to seeing an agitated man pull a weapon or enter the hallway brandishing the weapon on the way to a classroom. Frankly, if I was a student or faculty member with a CCH and saw an agitated man pull a weapon as he entered a class room in front of me, my immediate reaction would be to draw my sidearm and draw a bead on the back of his skull and close the distance.

    It isn’t always that the CCH closest to the threat is immediately on top of it, or that in a mass shooting, the perp will always have the element of surprise on his side.

    People who legally carry concealed weapons are not going to magically prevent attempted mass murders. There are simply too few of us in the general population, and well-meaning but ignorant people in positions of power make it far too difficult to carry in the very settings (schools, businesses, civic buildings) where such attacks are most likely to occur.

    But just because a concealed carry permit holder can't be everywhere a shooting takes place or prevent people from always getting killed in these rampages doesn't negate their potential to alter or terminate a threat in some scenarios.

    It's funny, but the same people who rail against concealed weapons because they are concerned about the rare instances of CCH permit holders becoming violent never seem to want to talk about the possible lives that could be saved by them.

    It's almost as if they have an agenda...

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:56 AM | Comments (3)

    April 10, 2009

    An Ugly Beast and Fallen Knight

    The falsehoods and untruths in Sir Harold Evans unhinged rant that I first noted earlier this week are even worse than thought, with him apparently making up statistics and attributing them to a Department of Justice study.

    Can we call him Sir Beauchamp?

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:48 AM | Comments (0)

    April 09, 2009

    New Anti-Gun Meme: Cheap Ammo Causes Massacres

    Say Uncle pointed me this morning to the an absurd new meme that ABC's William Kates is attempting to spin, that massacres could be prevented if we just listened to comedians.

    Yeah, really.

    Ballistics reports showed Jiverly Wong fired 87 times from a 9mm Beretta and 11 times from a .45-caliber handgun. If he bought the ammunition online, he could have paid as little as $40 for the rounds he fired.

    Friends say Wong complained that he only received $200 a week in unemployment benefits.

    "Chris Rock says in one of his routines — have all the guns you want but charge like $1,000 for every bullet," said Jackie Hilly of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence. "I think if you raised the price, you would probably discourage the violence, but I don't think you would prevent it."

    In other news, Eddie Murphy suggested that raising the price of cars to a minimum of $300,000 would increase carpooling while decreasing the number of people picking up transvestite streetwalkers.

    But that's neither here nor there.

    What I really want to know from ABC's Kates is just how much a massacre is supposed to cost. If Kates thinks the cost of the ammunition used in the massacre was too inexpensive, what would be an appropriate price to pay for the slaughter? If Wong paid $98,000 for the bullets he used in his massacre ($1,000/bullet x 98 bullets) would Mr. Kates have then found the cost in human lives acceptable?

    Of course, we know that Kates and his allies couldn't care less about the specific cost of bullets used in this shooting or other gun crimes, because the cost is only secondary to their primary goal of establishing control over gun owners.

    Gun laws have always been about establishing political control over a population and forcing them to rely on the government to protect them.

    Can we think of any reason why typically left-leaning journalists and politicians might want to advocate for people being forced to rely on the government?

    Yes we can.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:21 PM | Comments (5)

    April 06, 2009

    Beastly Lies

    Harold Evans, editor and historian according to his bio, can now added "discredited crank" to his list of accomplishments, all thanks to a rant he published in Tina Brown's The Daily Beast.

    The rant, Accomplices to Murder, attacks, well, nearly everyone as being an accomplice in the recent spate of mass shootings.

    Indeed, Evans may have something when he accuses the society at large for creating an environment where such barbaric events are too commonplace. But Evans goes over the line in attempting to fix blame to certain people and groups in a rant howled into type.

    Unencumbered by his former roles as a historian and editor, Evans has now descended to printing blatant falsehoods to support his position, acts which should result in a retraction of his article, and perhaps a re-evaluation of his relationship with the Beast.

    He rants:

    All these gun killings—43 in total—occurred over the last 26 days. All harvest profuse expressions of sympathy and prayers for the families and the communities. The detestation for the killers is universal. How could it not be? These are crazed and evil people. They merit our detestation.

    But they are not alone in their guilt. The people who put guns into the hands have a share of that ignominy. Who are they?

    The guilty are the gun dealers at flea markets and state shows who will sell any number of weapons to anyone—juveniles, criminals, nuts—without any background check or records.

    By federal law, licensed gun dealers must have perspective purchasers fill out ATF Form 4473. Dealers then must check a government issued photo ID and then must call the FBI-run NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) for a background check of the buyer.

    This background check must be performed by gun dealers for all firearms transactions, at their primary business front location in a guns store, a flea market, or a gun show. There are no exceptions, and form 4473 specifically includes question #17 on the form that asks "Location of sale if at a gun show. (city, state)".

    Only individuals who are not gun dealers may sell their private firearms without a background check according to federal law, though that varies according to the laws of individual states.

    Mr. Evans flatly lies when he says dealers are not required to perform a background check, as direct links to the government web sites and documents above clearly shows. This lie is pervasive enough throughout his screed, and forms enough of the underlying thesis, to demand that the rant be retracted in its entirety.

    But Evans is just warming up, and he is likewise deceptive when he implies the Mexican cartels are heavily-armed because of lax U.S. gun laws.

    83% of the firearms captured by Mexican law enforcement in the past two years –more than 20,000—came from sources other than the U.S civilian market, and most come primarily from the international black market.

    Mexican cartels are often armed with hand grenades, automatic weapons, and anti-tank rockets—weapons unavailable on the U.S market at any price.

    But nowhere does Mr. Evans display his ignorance more than when he discusses the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban.

    The assault weapons "ban" did not ban assault weapons. The popularity, sale, and ownership of semi-automatic military-style weapons grew over the ten-year course of the ban, all quite legally. Several American gun companies that build "assault weapons" exclusively grew over the course of the ban, and the already low rate of crimes committed with such weapons never deviated substantially from the roughly 2% that it was before, during, and after the ban.

    The actual net effect of the ban was no reduction in crimes committed with the class of firearms covered in the ban, an actual increase in the distribution and popularity of so-called "assault weapons," and the creation of an entirely new class of ultra-compact and powerful handguns designed for concealed carry, which brought even more specialized gun manufacturers into existence.

    The Department of Justice study Evans sought to cite as evidence of a drop in gun crime as a result of the ban also seems utterly irrelevant to his argument, and a bit of a purposeful red herring. We don't know precisely which report he refers to because he omits that detail, but by Evans' own description, the DOJ study was for automatic weapons, not the semi-automatics covered in the ban. Evans can't even plead ignorance of the difference in the terms, as he explains the difference between automatic and semi-automatic himself:

    ...semi-automatic fire (one trigger pull per shot but with magazines enabling the user to fire hundreds of rounds in a minute).

    He knows the difference, but appears intent on conflating the terms on purpose. Is he being purposefully deceptive? It would appear so.

    The only person "guilty" in this shameful display of collapsed ethics is one Mr. Harold Evans, who commits the journalistic sin of deceiving and misleading his readers, massacring truth along the way.

    Update—A Nepotistic Beast? As "happyfeet" points out in the comments, the head of the Daily Beast, Tina Brown is married to Harold Evans.

    Will she chose to retract her husband's sloppy rant, or risk the integrity of her latest venture and her life's work as an editor, along with Barry Diller's investment in her leadership?

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:40 PM | Comments (9)

    April 04, 2009

    How Many People Died Because of the Binghamton Police Response?

    By all accounts, there were 14 dead (including the shooter) and four wounded when police finally entered the American Civic Association in Binghampton, NY yesterday, at least an hour after a three-minute rampage had ended with the death of the shooter.

    If autopsies determine that even one of the 13 victims died after the "golden hour" and could have been saved by police immediately entering the building and getting them medical care, instead of forming a perimeter and just waiting, then I hope the citizens if Binghampton call for Chief Joseph Zikuski's ouster.

    Why do I have a CCH permit? Because when seconds count, police are just seconds 25 yards and several hours away.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:27 AM | Comments (11)

    April 03, 2009

    Binghamton Shooter Recently Laid Off From IBM Shop Vac

    More information is already coming out about the man who went on a shooting spree inside the American Civic Association in Binghamton, NY today.

    Jiverly Voong, 42, was a nationalized naturalized Vietnamese-American who has been in the United States for 28 years. He began his rampage at 10:31 AM, killing 13 others and himself by 10:33 AM. There is still some uncertainty about the number of people who were wounded during the shooting who are in area hospitals.

    Voong is said to have used a pair of semi-automatic handguns in his assault, once chambered in 9mm and one chambered for 45 ACP (Kudos to the ABC News staff for using my rewrite of that paragraph to report the story more accurately; they had originally used a sentence that described the weapons used inaccurately as heavy caliber automatic pistols).

    Police have no known motive for Voong's attack, but some media are suggesting that his recent layoff from IBM may have been part of the reason for the for the shooting. An account of last week's layoffs from WBNG suggests a thin motive for attacking the Civic Association:

    Big Blue plans to layoff 5-thousand U.S. Employees today.

    IBM headquarters has not responded to calls about whether there are cuts at the Endicott site.

    Conrad says Alliance has been told layoffs are taking place in Global Business Services, Systems Technology Group, and Global Technology Services.

    "We are hearing that these jobs will be eliminated here in the United States and the work shifted to India, China, Asia-Pacific and Latin America." says Conrad.

    It is thin and perhaps irrational reasoning that would lead an immigrant to attack other immigrants for jobs that are leaving this country, if this was indeed Voong's motive. Sadly, that is all the motive we have at this time, and no motive could every justify such a senseless act.

    I would caution Americans on the left not to use this senseless tragedy to push for more gun control (New York has restrictive gun laws that obviously failed here), just as I'd advise my fellow citizens on the middle and right not to blame the current or former Presidential Administrations for the recession that led to IBM's layoffs. Congress?

    That's a point that may well be worth discussing...

    Update: As they so often are, earlier media reports were wrong. Voong (formerly Wong) hated America, was obsessed with guns, and hated having poor English skills.

    Illiteracy kills?

    Zikuski said Wong was depressed about his poor English-speaking skills, which he was teased about, and his recent unemployment.

    "He was terminated from his job at a place called Shop Vac, and he was very upset about that also," Zikuski said.

    Zikuski told NBC's "Today" show that people "degraded and disrespected" the gunman over his inability to speak English well.

    As a result, said Mayor Matthew Ryan on ABC's "Good Morning America," he was upset about his problems with the language.

    This makes his decision to attack a room full of recent immigrants, many who we can assume also faced the challenge of adopting to a new language, even less understandable.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:00 PM | Comments (7)

    April 02, 2009

    KA-BOOM: "Ninety-Percent" Lie Goes Up in Smoke

    I've said before that the anti-gun forces in this country must lie about the horrors of firearms, because reality won't to stoke a level of fear that would convince the American people to give up their Constitutional rights.

    An anti-gun lie being pushed hard recently is that 90 % of the guns used to commit violent crime in Mexico come from the United States. Democrats favoring more gun control have been hammering that claim repeatedly, claiming the violence in Mexico justifies further restrictions here in the United States.

    That lie, favored by our media, our Attorney General, and our President, is now circling the drain.

    There's just one problem with the 90 percent "statistic" and it's a big one:

    It's just not true.

    In fact, it's not even close. By all accounts, it's probably around 17 percent.

    What's true, an ATF spokeswoman told FOXNews.com, in a clarification of the statistic used by her own agency's assistant director, "is that over 90 percent of the traced firearms originate from the U.S."

    But a large percentage of the guns recovered in Mexico do not get sent back to the U.S. for tracing, because it is obvious from their markings that they do not come from the U.S.

    "Not every weapon seized in Mexico has a serial number on it that would make it traceable, and the U.S. effort to trace weapons really only extends to weapons that have been in the U.S. market," Matt Allen, special agent of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), told FOX News.

    So where are the 83-percent of guns coming from, if they aren't coming from the United States?

    Shockingly, cartels that exist to smuggle large quantities of illegal drugs internationally also have the ability to smuggle large quantities of illegal weapons internationally as well. Who knew?

    Well, anyone with the slightest bit of integrity.

    The super-majority of firearms that have turned up in the hands of Mexican cartels came from black market sources, Central and South American revolutions, are smuggled in from Asia, or come from deserters of the Mexican military.

    We should hope that President Obama's administration, members of Congress, and media outlets that reported the 90-percent lie will be as honest as Fox News was, and put this myth to rest.

    I have hope, but not expectations.

    Update: An interesting take on Mexico's gun laws and gun culture from the inside.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:43 AM | Comments (14)

    April 01, 2009

    NFA 1934 Overturned; Machine Guns Legal Again With Fewer Restrictions

    Via The Gun Source:

    That NFA laws have been repealed through a long standing court battle in the 7th US Circuit Court. The president of TGSCOM had sued the federal government on the grounds that the NFA law violated the Second Amendment of the Constitution. After heated and lengthy oral arguments, TGSCOM is now able to sell fully automatic weapons to the general public without tax stamps and the additional background check. The one stipulation to the agreement is that fully automatic rifles will be treated like handguns in that they will require a purchaser of 21 and older, the firearm must be transferred in the state of their residence (same as handguns) and that the buyer must submit to all regulations in the state of their residence.

    I'd been watching this in the court system and had hoped for this outcome, but frankly was surprised TGSCOM prevailed in such a manner, and with so little fanfare. Since I'm a registered gun writer because of my work for Pajamas Media I was able to order a Glock 18 machine pistol during a writer's only sale last night. With spare 33 round magazines, it will probably become my new concealed carry pistol.

    Once I saw up the money from the Obama stimulus, I'll also be picking up the 100-round G36K for "squirrel and rabbit hunting" and the FN M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) I've always wanted.

    Frankly, I don't think I'd use it for hunting, but it might make parts of Durham accessible again.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:12 AM | Comments (6)

    March 16, 2009

    DoD to Scrap Valuable Once-Fired Brass at an 80% Loss During Recession So Obama Can Screw Gun Owners; Jobs Are Lost As A Direct Result

    One of the most expensive components of a modern rifle or pistol cartridge is the brass casing. It is also the part of the cartridge that is the most "green," in that brass cases can be reused multiple times.

    The Obama Administration, however, so despises gun owners that it has forced the Department of Defense to start chopping into scrap once-fired rifle brass that it formerly sold in bulk to to ammunition reloading companies at a premium.

    Read all the details at The Shootist, which has far more.

    In enacting this directive, the Obama Administration:

    • wastes a tremendous amount of government money; once-fired brass can be sold for 80-percent more than bulk brass scrap
    • directly caused the firing of workers at ammunition factories who cannot get the brass cases they relied upon as a key material
    • by purposefully undermined the reloaded ammunition market, forces federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to buy top-of-the-line ammunition for training qualification, meaning either departments will have to get by with less training for their officers, or citizens will have to pay even more in taxes

    This attempt to undermine the ammunition market is hardly surprising considering the prohibitionist mindset of a man so dishonest he was part of the Joyce Foundation attempt to pervert legal scholarship in order to undermine the Constitution.

    His Arrogance probably thinks that putting more Americans out of work is worthwhile if he can get what he wants, and considering his across-the-board walk-backs on combatting terrorism, it isn't all that surprising that he's willing to put already tight law enforcement training budgets in peril as well.

    Barack Obama's economic incompetence is wrecking the economy, and his rabidly anti-gun ideology is threatening our security.

    Why am I not surprised.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:32 PM | Comments (19)

    March 12, 2009

    The Serial Liars of the Brady Campaign

    I saw via Reason that the ever opportunistic Paul Helmke of the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence jumped at the chance to once again use a tragedy for political gain. The Brady Campaign, for those of you unfamiliar with it, is the Westboro Baptist Church of the gun confiscation movement.

    Never missing a chance to fabricate, obfuscate, or twist the truth, they begin with a whopper in their opening paragraph (my bold below):

    Alabama killer Michael McLendon fired more than 200 rounds from his military-style semiautomatic assault weapons. He lived in a state that has pathetically weak guns laws: In the Brady Campaign’s recent state scorecards, Alabama earned a score of 15 out of 100. Assault weapons were banned under federal law until four years ago.

    This statement is a monsterous lie.

    The 1994 Assault Weapon ban that our über-intelligent Vice President liked to take the credit for authoring banned by name less than two dozen firearms, and attempted to ban others by making rifles or pistols with detachable magazines and two or more cosmetic features—pistol grips, flash hiders, bayonet lugs and other features that had no effect on accuracy or rate fire—illegal.

    What effect did this law have on the legal sale or possession of these "evil" weapons the Brady Campaign and so many gullible Congressmen and Senators rushed into law?

    It increased the popularity of these firearms. Yes, you read that correctly.

    Legal sales of these kinds of firearms grew during the so-called ban. Manufacturers of some rifles, for example, removed flash hiders and bayonet lugs, and put these same firearms into the hands of eager customers the very day the "ban" took effect, and every day of the ten years afterward until it expired. Manufacturers of banned pistols made similar modifications, and had similar results. It might also be noted that an entire new class of concealable handguns was the direct but hilariously unintended consequence of this law, but that is a tale for another time.

    There firearms were constantly and quite legally available during the time this impotent law was in effect. Manufacturers specializing in these kinds of firearms actually expanded during this time period, and competitions dedicating to shooting them greatly increased. Brady's claim that assault weapons were banned until the law expired four years ago is patently absurd.

    McLendon shot complete strangers, women, children, dogs and his own mother before taking his own life. He had an SKS assault rifle, a Bushmaster assault rifle and a 38 caliber handgun.

    Neither an SKS nor a Bushmaster is an assault rifle, but that has never kept Westboro Gun Banners Brady from making the claim over and over again. An assault weapon, by proper military definition, must be selective-fire, fitted with a selector that enables the shooter to fire either single shots or a burst for each trigger pull. None of the guns in the assault weapons ban was actually an assault weapon, which I guess is appropriate, as they weren't actually banned, either.

    Because of thoroughly dishonest groups like Brady and unethical men like Helmke, the term "assault weapon" has evolved into a political term that can be applied to almost any semi-automatic firearm, even though using it thus is factually incorrect.

    Alabama has the fifth-highest gun death rate in America, including the third-highest rate of gun homicide.

    "This man needed the firepower of assault weapons to execute his plan of mass carnage. Alabama, and our nation, must take action to make it harder for dangerous people to get dangerous weapons," said Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign.

    The "firepower" of these weapons— or rather, the lack of it—may be directly responsible for the fact that two or more law enforcement officers who confront the gunman are alive today.

    The Bushmaster rifle the murderer carried fires an intermediate caliber .223 Remington cartridge with a lightweight, high-velocity bullet generally considered to small and weak to use on deer-sized targets, and is instead typically used on much smaller game. The officers that he shot were protected in large part because the lightweight bullets fired were easily slowed, stopped, or deflected by their police cars, resulting in officers that were mildly wounded instead of being more seriously wounded or killed. If the shooter had used any one of many popular big game hunting cartridges...

    The simple fact of the matter is that this deranged and vengeful man could have carried out his murderous assault with the shotgun he also had in his vehicle (the one that Brady curiously forgot to mention) and could have caused as much damage and loss of life as he did, or worse.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:32 PM | Comments (12)

    March 01, 2009

    History Repeating

    While the "tea party" protests against the new administration and spending-crazed Congress are certainly getting a lot of attention in the conservative blogosphere and in isolated news stories, I suspect these small, but growing nationwide protests are masking a far deeper disenchantment with our arrogant young President and his allies in the House and Senate who seem to have one massive tax-and-spend (or more accurately, spend-and-spend until the economy completely crashes) bill after another lined up.

    What am I talking about?

    I wrote a blog entry in 2007 correcting a poorly researched Associated Press story by Estes Thompson. Thompson apparently decided before writing his article that he was going to blame a police ammunition shortage he had heard about on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which would fit in nicely with the years-long anti-war bias prevalent in most "professional" media.

    Not surprisingly, Thompson was too lazy to go to the source, and only spoke to several police departments and their immediate suppliers, people in a position to appear to have credibility, but who were not far enough up the supply chain to have any idea what the real cause and effect were. I did the work Thompson was too lazy to do, and actually contacted the ammunition manufacturers themselves, and they explain what was really going on.

    I followed up on that 2007 article yesterday in a post at Pajamas Media, explaining why the current ammunition shortage we are currently experiencing is even worse than that which hit in 2007. I'd suggest you go read it for a more detailed explanation, but the gist of it is this: demand that spiked in 2007 never abated, and the election of a President with a anti-gun record with cronies pushing aggressive firearms and ammunition laws on the local, state, and national level, combined with a global recession spiked demand even higher.

    The firearms and ammunition industry are clearly recession-proof thanks to our new President's agenda.

    It is next to impossible to find a gun store that stocks the kind of military-style semi-automatic rifles and pistols that our Founding Fathers would have recognized as the exact kind of weapons that are best suited for duty in the modern version of the citizen's militia, one they so strongly advocated to be built from individual citizen-soldiers as a defense against tyrants, both foreign and domestic.

    I spoke with a contact of mine at a major firearms manufacturer several days ago about acquiring a new AR-15 type carbine that his company just recently brought to market for a T&E (testing and evaluation) loan as he had done for me in the past with handguns. Demand was so great, and their backorder so large, that he estimated it would be 6-8 months before I could get one. When I asked him what was causing such a massive run on his companies AR-15-type rifles, you might guess his one-word response.

    Merely adding to the anecdotal evidence I've compiled from manufacturers is that which I've gathered from retail merchants, from mom-and-pop gun shops to big-box retailers.

    Late last night I visited one of the local Walmart stores and swung by their ammunition counter to see if supplies at one of the largest retailers was as scarce as individuals around the country has related on various Internet forums.

    "We just a got a shipment in!" the gentleman behind the counter told me. The shelves were still at least two-thirds empty, but he did indeed have several thousand rounds of 7.62x39mm and .223 Remington rifle ammunition, along with an equal amount of 9mm, 40S&W, and 45ACP pistol ammunition. He told me it would be gone by sunrise.

    He claimed that since late October demand had gone up, and that since Obama won the election, it went through the roof. When he has ammunition to sell, he's pushing out 10,000-15,000 rounds per shift late at night. Two Saturday night's ago, he sold 5,600 rounds to one customer.

    I've been focusing on looking at why we've been having shortages from the supply side of the equation; I haven't done as much research into why demand is so high from individual purchasers. Obviously, that is because building an accurate picture is going to require a level of in-person interviews that a single person can't easily manage. That said, I am seeing anecdotal explanations in the comments to my posts on the subject and in reading comments on firearms blogs and other internet forums.

    Many people are buying significant amounts of ammunition for their personal supply, from thousands to tens of thousands of rounds each, to one person who claims to have built a stockpile over the past decade of three-quarters of a million rounds that seems to fantastic to believe.

    Most claim they are building a reserve in anticipation of ammunition prices continuing to rise. Another significant component are buying ammunition as a hedge against uncertain times, both as an investment, and as security measure.

    But an increasing number of people are openly expressing that the reason they are stocking up on ammunition is that they fear the actions of our federal government. These are people who have never been radicals, most could generally care less about politics, and many have never even dreamed of owning guns until now.

    And while it will no doubt come as a surprise to those who would like to perpetrate the stereotype of gun owners as rural and uneducated—the kind that bitterly cling to their guns and Bibles as someone once scornfully said—anecdotal evidence suggests many new gun owners are minorities, and all social classes are purchasing firearms and ammunition.

    While we seem to have a tea party movement growing nationwide as people voice their dissatisfaction with our power-mad, spending-crazed government by calling on the symbolism of the acts of Patriots in Boston Harbor more than two hundred years ago, I suspect those protests are hiding a deeper resentment and fears about the competency and goals of our federal leaders.

    If our government continues to make citizens feel abused, and makes an over-aggressive miscalculation in asserting their power—certainly possible with our fumbling Attorney General who was part of the Clintonian Justice Dept management nightmare under Reno—tea parties will be the least of their worries.

    They should be more concerned they are convincing many Americans to prepare for Lexington Green.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:42 PM | Comments (19)

    February 26, 2009

    Is Eric Holder Too Ignorant to Be Attorney General?

    Sadly, competence is not a requirement for the position of Attorney General, as Obama Attorney General Eric Holder proved beyond the shadow of a doubt:

    "I think closing the gun show loophole, the banning of cop-killer bullets and I also think that making the assault weapons ban permanent, would be something that would be permitted under Heller," Holder said, referring to the Supreme Court ruling in Washington, D.C. v. Heller, which asserted the Second Amendment as an individual's right to own a weapon.

    That someone can be so uninformed and hold the position he does boggles the mind.

    The "gun show loophole" is myth. It simply doesn't exist.

    According to ignorant people—and sadly, this includes our neophyte President and AG Holder—people can walk into a gun show and face an entirely different set of rules than they would elsewhere.

    This is a bald-faced lie.

    Whether at his storefront location or at a gun show, a gun dealer must follow the exact same federal laws, which include filling out a form 4473, checking for valid ID, and running a FBI background check.

    Private sellers, whether in their homes or at a gun show, do not have to fill out paperwork of any sort or complete a background check.

    As for "cop killer" bullets, perhaps the ignoramus in charge of Justice should learn to read. Such bullets have been banned for 21 years. Of course, I wouldn't be surprised as all if these left wing gun confiscation fans in the Obama White House and Pelosi/Reid Congress try to redefine what constitutes "armor-piercing" so that most rifle and pistol bullets fall into that category.

    As for assault weapons...

    If one was, say, a Constitutional law professor—or even marginally literate—one would note that when the founders created the Bill of Rights and wrote the Second Amendment, they were concerned with making sure that citizens had the right to bear arms suitable for use in the militia. The Second Amendment was not about hunting, nor target shooting, except that those pursuits enhanced the militia's ability to field qualified riflemen for militia service.

    Further, what the media and other anti-gun organizations have dubbed "assault weapons" are not actually assault weapons; true AWs are intermediate-caliber, selective-fire weapons, meaning they are capable of automatic fire or single-shots by the manipulation of a selector switch. Contrary to popular belief, automatic weapons, including real assault rifles, have never been illegal in the United States.

    There are roughly 240,000 machine guns in civilian hands. Roughly half of those belong to law enforcement agencies, and the other half belong to civilians just like you and me. Just two have ever been used in crime, and one of those was by a corrupt police officer using a department-issued submachine gun to kill an informant.

    The firearms Barack Obama and Eric Holder and their anti-Constitutional friends would like to ban are semi-automatic firearms that look identical to commonly-issued military assault rifles, use the same magazines, and fire the same cartridges. The big difference is that these firearms can only fire one shot per trigger pull, just like every other firearm in America.

    Being nearly identical to the M14 battle rifle, M16 assault rifle, and M4 carbines issued to our front-line troops, civilian "assault rifles" are precisely the kind of firearms best suited for militia duty. As such, it is only logical that our Founding Fathers would recognize these firearms as precisely those weapons they sought to protect by their function and utility.

    The Second Amendment was not written to protect your right to hunt doves or deer. It was not written to protect your right to shoot at paper targets.

    The Second Amendment was written so that the militia—codified as all able-bodied men between 17-45—would have ready access to arms suitable for military duty. No firearm in America today fits the definition the Founders intended as well as what Eric Holder and Barack Obama would seek to make illegal.

    I suspect, sadly, that they are well aware of this, and they will not let a little thing like the Constitution stand in the way of whatever it is that they desire.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:00 PM | Comments (28)

    February 25, 2009

    What's The Matter with Illinois?

    And why do they keep freedom-hating urban Democrats?

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:29 AM | Comments (3)

    February 15, 2009

    Stimulus Guns

    The Multi-Generational Financial Rape Act of 2009 passed in the House of Representatives Friday without a single Republican vote and the loss of seven Democrats, sending the bill to the Senate, where just three turncoats—Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, and Arlen Specter—could be fooled into voting for a massive spending program no Senator or Congressman has read.

    The unexamined legislation forced through Congress with little oversight or review is expected to threaten the nation's credit rating, potentially devalue the dollar, and lead to a spike in inflation not seen since Jimmy Carter's abortive Presidency.

    Neophyte President Barack Obama, less than a month into the first professional executive position of his life (the failed chairmanship of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge that wasted tens of millions of educational dollars in attempting Marxist indoctrination was a volunteer position), is poised to sign the Bill on Monday Tuesday (because one simply must have a three-day weekend his third week on the job), adding years to the recession, and increasing violent crime and property crime to levels not seen in decades outside of Chicago public schools.

    In light of these bold, decisive, and reckless series of decisions of Congressmen and women more intent on catching their vacation flights than helping theri constituents, many Americans have decided that now is a great time to put money back into certain segments of the economy, spurring a run on shelf-stable foods, water purifiers, subterranean concrete construction, and of course, firearms.

    While I don't have the necessary background to help people determine the best brand of freeze-dried ice cream or powdered milk, and my knowledge of the right cement mix to use in do-it-yourself bunkers is very limited, I have spent a considerable amount of my recreational time over the years around firearms and ammunition, including a stint selling guns and ammo for a major sporting goods retailer that rhymes with "Pricks."

    Without further ado, here are some select choices, broken down by political affiliation

    Guns for Liberals
    For the hardcore hope-and-changer, nothing says I HEART OBAMA more than the 10 Exciting Power Squirt, just the kind of item New York Times editorialists gush over when they're gushing about the Great Big O. This Indonesian import is colorful, and is guaranteed to leave you soaked. And while it can't really defend you from anyone or anything, gosh-darn it, it sure looks fun!

    For fans of San Fran Nan and her all important junket to Italy, we offer the 8mm Beretta CX4. Made of the same space-age polymers and rigid plastics as our Speaker of the House, this ultra-fabulous design looks capable, but when it goes off, the joke's on you.

    And last but not least, the perfect Harry Reid gun is obvious, if lacking spark.

    Guns For Obamacons
    Not quite liberal, but certainly not conservative, Obamacons want a little power in their hands, even if they don't know what to do with it. Nothing could be more fitting for an Obamacon than the powerful new Taurus revolver, the Judge. A pistol designed to fire a .410 shotgun shell, the Judge is a favorite of Obamacons everywhere. We recommend Obamacons use the Judge with 12-gauge shells. True, that doesn't fit, but they can always try to force it and see how that works out.

    For Conservatives, both Democrat and Republican
    How many are you willing to sell, and at what profit margin?

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:39 AM | Comments (7)

    February 03, 2009

    Second Amendment Demonstration In Raleigh Tomorrow

    Mike at Cold Fury pinged me to let me know that Bubba is organizing a demonstration in front of the North Carolina State Legislature tomorrow to remind them that our rights Shall Not Be Infringed:

    February 4, 2009
    2:00 till 6:00pm.
    Raleigh, North Carolina
    W. Jones St, from Salisbury St to Wilmington St, facing the State Legislature.


    Join with hundreds of fellow Americans, peaceably assembled to seek a redress of grievances from government officials who are not respecting our Constitutional Civil Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

    As American citizens , We have a responsibility to protect and preserve ALL of the rights, freedoms and protections guaranteed ALL Americans by the Bill of Rights and the 13th, 14th, 15th and 19th Amendments. These are our Constitutional civil rights and liberties, they are a birth right of ALL Americans extended to all naturalized citizens.

    Call them Constitutional Rights, Civil Rights or Civil Liberties they are one and the same and mean as much to tens of millions of gun owners, conservatives and Constitutionalists as do other Civil Rights to other groups of people.

    No more gun bigotry, No more infringement.

    In addition to the gun bans currently being advocated by the Obama White House and some members of Congress, there are some moves afoot here in North Carolina (and in other states) where MoveOn.Org-affiliated groups and individuals are pushing for gun registration, ammunition licensing, and other pre-confiscatory schemes.

    If you can make it, be there. If you aren't nearby, perhaps you might be able to find or organize a similar event near you.

    Μολὼν λάβε

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:04 PM | Comments (4)

    January 21, 2009

    Whitehouse.gov Contradicts Obama's Gun Claims

    Despite numerous public claims in the past that he would leave gun owners alone, reinstating the Assault Weapons Ban and enacting other restrictions are very much on Barack Obama's "Urban Policy" agenda.

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/agenda/urban_policy/

    Obama and Biden would repeal the Tiahrt Amendment, which restricts the ability of local law enforcement to access important gun trace information, and give police officers across the nation the tools they need to solve gun crimes and fight the illegal arms trade. Obama and Biden also favor commonsense measures that respect the Second Amendment rights of gun owners, while keeping guns away from children and from criminals. They support closing the gun show loophole and making guns in this country childproof. They also support making the expired federal Assault Weapons Ban permanent.

    The Tiahrt Amendment does not unduly restrict law enforcement investigations; to the contrary, it keeps law enforcement agencies honest, making sure they cannot abuse gun trace data. Both the BATFE and FOP (Fraternal Order of Police) oppose the release of the information protected by the Tiahrt Amendment citing a threat to on-going investigations and to the lives of undercover officers and informants.

    So if law enforcement agencies get all the trace data they need to solve specific crimes and law enforcement itself is against repealing Tiahrt, why would Obama be for it? Some would speculate that Obama's fellow gun-banning proponents such as Chicago Mayor Daley and New York Mayor Bloomberg might find a way to use this data to fire off another round of lawsuits hoping to cripple or bankrupt the gun industry.

    As for "commonsense measures," the man who tried to corrupt constitutional scholarship and doled out funds to some of the most rabid anti-gun groups in the United States simply has no credibility for having common sense on the matter, as he's supported outright bans and has been openly hostile to firearm owners in the past.

    As for the infamous "gun show loophole," it is completely false, a myth. It simply doesn't exist.

    The same gun store dealers that perform background checks at their retail locations are required by law to perform those same background checks at gun shows. Private sellers have never been required to perform a background check anywhere, whether selling it in a person-to-person sale at a gun show or in their home. The only reason to push for such legislation is to further erode the rights of Americans and expand government control in your lives.

    As for "childproofing guns," there is no proven or near-term solution that can both render a firearm inoperable for some users and still leave it reliable enough for use as a self defense weapon for law enforcement or civilian use. Various gimmicks have been trotted out in the past; all have been commercial failures because the inherent unreliability of such systems compromises the confidence of the shooter, and their faith in the tool.

    Further, "childproofing guns" is not something that can be done retroactively, meaning tens of millions of existing guns would either need to be grandfathered—rendering the law immediately useless—or the guns themselves would have to be modified to comply with the law at taxpayer expense. How many billions of our tax dollars does President Obama intend to spend assuring compliance of a law that makes a potentially deadly tool unreliable in the hands of those most prone to needing it in a time of life-threatening danger? That's a rhetorical question, by the way. Expansive gun laws aren't about saving lives, but asserting control.

    As for reinstating the laughably ineffective Assault Weapons Ban—which Joe Biden still inexplicably like to take credit for authoring despite its utter failure—this too, is an attempt to control the lives and rights of law-abiding Americans, and an attempt that has a well-documented history of accomplishing next to nothing.

    During the life of the ban (1994-2004) semi-automatic rifles and pistols increased in sales and became more widespread. So-called "assault rifles" and high capacity magazines sold in higher numbers than ever before during the ban. It did so because then Senator Biden and his fellow gun-banners are idiots, outlawing cosmetic features, knowing that a law affecting how the guns actually work would never stand a constitutional challenge. As a result, firearms that were "assault weapons" the day before the ban drops several scary-looking features that did not slow their rate of fire or affect their accuracy, and were legal again the very next day.

    Below on the left is the infamous TEC-9 that Congressmen and Senators made such a big deal of being a preferred weapon of gangs and drug dealers. Beside it is the cynically-named AB-10, the "After-ban" version of the exact same gun that was legally on store shelves the day the ban took effect.

    The law did not save lives, though it did have one interesting, unforeseen consequence: the creation of an entire new market of small, powerful handguns designed for concealed carry.

    While the high capacity magazine ban portion of the ban raised the cost of magazines for existing models, it also had the unintended consequence of convincing gun designers that if they were restricted to guns that only carried ten-round magazines, then these guns needed to be small, light, concealable, and powerful. As concealed carry laws were becoming more widespread across the country during this same ten years, this new market exploded, creating a market niche and even created entire companies to cater to that market where none had before existed.

    Barack Obama continues to lie to the public about his intentions towards our Second Amendment rights, but may end up doing nothing more than making the American people more heavily armed, and the shooting industry among the most recession-proof.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:15 PM | Comments (19)

    January 15, 2009

    Crap Shoot

    When I wrote Six Months Under The Gun for Pajamas Media, one aspect of carrying a concealed weapon that I decided not to cover was what you should do with your firearm if you have to use a public toilet. While it can constitute a legitimate dilemma when you gotta go gotta go gotta go right now, I figured people would be able to figure it out on their own.

    I was wrong.

    The man escaped with a few cuts to his arm, but the toilet made out much worse. Police say a man's gun fell out of its holster while he pulled up his pants after using the bathroom at a Carl's Jr. restaurant Tuesday. The gun fired when it hit the floor and shattered the commode.

    I'll simply say this: if you are going to carry, you need to carry your firearm in a holster that holds it securely at all times.

    I don't know what the specifics of the Utah criminal justice system would say about this particular incident, but as the permit holder is responsible for all negligent discharges no matter how amusing or bizarre it may be, I would not be surprised if his carry permit is revoked as a result of this incident.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:23 PM | Comments (6)

    December 24, 2008

    David Spade's Arms Deal

    The former Just Shoot Me star made a grand gesture to the Phoenix Police Department, giving them funds to equip their officers with AR-15 rifles to counter the firepower of increasingly violent Mexican drug cartels.

    The thing is, Spade's donation doesn't seem to be going as far as it should.

    The Phoenix Police Department has gotten some high-powered goodies courtesy of actor David Spade.

    The one-time Phoenix resident donated $100,000 so that the department can buy approximately 50 AR-15 rifles.

    Spade said he wanted to make the donation after seeing a TV news report about Phoenix officers having to buy their own rifles. Spade grew up in the Phoenix area and graduated from Arizona State University.

    Phoenix Police Sgt. Alan Hill says the rifles will be given to patrol officers and that the agency was grateful for the gifts.

    But how is Spade's donation of $100,000 leading to just 50 rifles for PPD patrol officers?

    Even with the tremendous increase in demand due to the election of Barack Obama, the Phoenix Police should be able to get AR-15 carbines for far less than $2,000 a copy that the story seems to indicate.

    The Bushmaster Patrolmans' Carbine, an M4-style AR-15 marketed to law enforcement, retails for less than $1,300, roughly the same as a similar version made by Smith & Wesson. And these are premium AR-style rifles at retail prices—there is no reason on the earth that a bulk agency purchase can't buy these rifles for less than a thousand dollars (the automatic M-16 has a replacement to the military of $586).

    If Spade's donation is also helping purchase ammunition, magazines, cleaning kits, and/or officer training for these rifles as well, then he's not getting a bad value for his donated dollars. I would hope that his generous donation isn't being squandered on over-priced weapons, or the appearance of the same created by journalists guilty once again of not thoroughly covering a story.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 04:21 PM | Comments (9)

    December 21, 2008

    Good News: BB Guns Now Classified By Journalist as Assault Rifles

    I sincerely hope than any journalist ignorant enough to write "BB-gun" and "snipers" in the same sentence doesn't have firearms of his own, or else he'll likely end up as another subject of my research at the Media Violence Project (or a Darwin Awards candidate).

    Savor the idiocy:

    Two alleged BB-gun snipers facing felony charges, including assault with a deadly weapon, used a laser scope and a BB gun that looks like a fully automatic AR-15 assault rifle, according to deputies with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station.

    The arrests Tuesday night capped a two-month shooting spree with more than two-dozen shootings investigated since Nov. 1.

    Victims include a 53-year-old man shot in the head and a 13-year-old girl waiting for a bus, both shot with a BB.

    Christian Morfin, 18, of Saugus, and a 17-year-old Canyon Country male were booked at the Sheriff's Station on felony charges of vandalism and assault with a deadly weapon in connection with several shootings.

    BB guns are not toys and some air rifles can fire BBs or pellets with more velocity than common handgun calibers. They can indeed kill under certain circumstances. That said, BB guns are not assault rifles even under the already incorrect definition widely used by journalists; do we really need them to re-dumb it downward again?

    Update: More evidence that many journalists are simply too incompetent to write about firearms.

    In April, officials announced that the police force's 13,500 officers would be armed with the M4s. Chicago Police SWAT teams are already equipped with M4 carbines, but officials say pistol-carrying rank-and-file officers are out-gunned.

    Used by the U.S. Marine Corps, the M4 is an assault rifle that fires more shots in less time than a conventional handgun.

    The obvious problems with Donovan's story:

    1. M4 carbines are not commonly used by the U.S. Marine Corps. With the exception of Special Operations forces, the general issue selective combat rifle of the Marine Corps is the M16, a weapon with a barrel almost six inches longer that generates far more bullet velocity and killing power and has a far more effective practical range. The much shorter M4 is prevalent among mounted infantry in the U.S. Army.
    2. The M4 does not "fires more shots in less time than a conventional handgun." Both police pistols and the M4s used by the CPD are semi-automatic, meaning they have the exact same rate of fire, one shot per trigger pull, as fast as the shooter can pull the trigger.
    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:45 PM | Comments (26)

    December 11, 2008

    Westside Middle School Massacre Shooter Applies For Concealed Carry Permit

    Denied. I'm amazed the idiot even made the attempt, and I hope they investigate whether or not he was in possession of a weapon and the apparent lies on his application and send him back to prison where he belongs.

    (h/t Fred R.)

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:22 AM | Comments (8)

    December 04, 2008

    Charges Filed Against Police Chief in Accidental Machine Gun Death of Eight-Year-Old at MA Machine Gun Shoot; Father Amazingly Not Charged

    This past October an eight-year-old was killed on the firing line of a machine gun shoot when he lost control of a Micro Uzi submachine gun he was firing and put a single 9mm bullet into his own head.

    Charges have now been filed:

    A police chief and a Massachusetts gun club have been indicted for involuntary manslaughter in the death of an 8-year-old boy who accidentally shot himself with a Uzi at an October gun expo in Massachusetts.

    Pelham Police Chief Edward Fleury owns COP Firearms & Training, which sponsored the Machine Gun Shoot and Firearms Expo at the Westfield Sportsman's Club, where 8-year-old Christopher Bizilj accidentally shot himself in the head in October after losing control of the 9 mm Micro Uzi submachine gun.

    In addition to the manslaughter indictments, Fleury and the Westfield Sportsman's Club were also indicted on four counts each of furnishing a gun to a minor.

    Two other men, Carl Guiffre of Hartford, Conn., and Domenico Spano, of New Milford, Conn., also face involuntary manslaughter charges.

    This story is an exercise in what happens when a series of bad judgement calls compound upon one another with tragic consequences.

    As a father of an eight-year-old myself, I know that my child doesn't yet have the responsibility, situational awareness, or strength to handle any firearm responsibly, and I would never consent to letting her handle a submachine gun.

    Even if the father did not know enough about the recoil of fully automatic weapons to know that his child should not be handling one, the instructor should have been familiar enough with the firearm to suspect that a child cannot handle one responsibly.

    Third, the owner/operator of the shoot, the Police Chief that has been among those charged, should have posted some sort of minimum qualifications to participate in the shoot, and the physical age and capability to handle such firearms should arguably factor into who is allowed to participate; the dead child obviously and tragically did not meet these standards.

    I'm not sure if involuntary manslaughter charges are the best way to handle this negligent death, but if charges are to be brought, I'm disappointed that they were not distributed equally to those obviously the most to blame.

    The judgement of the father of the child to allow his child to try to fire a machine gun was the largest mistake in a string of mistakes, and he was not charged.

    Perhaps the prosecutor agonized over the possible charges and felt that the family suffered enough with the loss of the child, but this father, in my opinion, is the individual most directly to blame for the death of his child, and if others are charged for this tragic death, he should be as well.


    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:00 PM | Comments (19)

    December 01, 2008

    Future Stupid Weapons

    Embrace the absurdity of the chainsaw bayonet.

    Via the Firearms Blog.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:02 AM | Comments (9)

    November 25, 2008

    Six Months Under The Gun

    "Be nice. Be Polite. Have a plan to kill everyone you see."

    Been there. Done that. Carrying a weapon now, come to think of it.

    Update: And while I didn't read this in advance of my experiment, every word holds true:

    There is nothing like having your finger on the trigger of a gun to reveal who you really are. Life or death in one twitch — ultimate decision, with the ultimate price for carelessness or bad choices.

    It is a kind of acid test, an initiation, to know that there is lethal force in your hand and all the complexities and ambiguities of moral choice have fined down to a single action: fire or not?

    In truth, we are called upon to make life-or-death choices more often than we generally realize. Every political choice ultimately reduces to a choice about when and how to use lethal force, because the threat of lethal force is what makes politics and law more than a game out of which anyone could opt at any time.

    But most of our life-and-death choices are abstract; their costs are diffused and distant. We are insulated from those costs by layers of institutions we have created to specialize in controlled violence (police, prisons, armies) and to direct that violence (legislatures, courts). As such, the lessons those choices teach seldom become personal to most of us.

    Nothing most of us will ever do combines the moral weight of life-or-death choice with the concrete immediacy of the moment as thoroughly as the conscious handling of instruments deliberately designed to kill. As such, there are lessons both merciless and priceless to be learned from bearing arms — lessons which are not merely instructive to the intellect but transformative of one's whole emotional, reflexive, and moral character.

    The first and most important of these lessons is this: it all comes down to you.

    No one's finger is on the trigger but your own. All the talk-talk in your head, all the emotions in your heart, all the experiences of your past — these things may inform your choice, but they can't move your finger. All the socialization and rationalization and justification in the world, all the approval or disapproval of your neighbors — none of these things can pull the trigger either. They can change how you feel about the choice, but only you can actually make the choice. Only you. Only here. Only now. Fire, or not?

    A second is this: never count on being able to undo your choices.


    If you shoot someone through the heart, dead is dead. You can't take it back. There are no do-overs. Real choice is like that; you make it, you live with it — or die with it.

    A third lesson is this: the universe doesn't care about motives.

    If your gun has an accidental discharge while pointed an unsafe direction, the bullet will kill just as dead as if you had been aiming the shot. I didn't mean to may persuade others that you are less likely to repeat a behavior, but it won't bring a corpse back to life.

    These are hard lessons, but necessary ones. Stated, in print, they may seem trivial or obvious. But ethical maturity consists, in significant part, of knowing these things — not merely at the level of intellect but at the level of emotion, experience and reflex. And nothing teaches these things like repeated confrontation with life-or-death choices in grave knowledge of the consequences of failure.

    There's a certain kind of freedom that comes with the responsibility of carrying arms that is hard to properly express to those who don't. People who have done so have tried to tell me that before, but it isn't something that translates easily to print. Yes, guns can take lives.

    But far more often, experience truly bearing arms help hone and reveal character.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:14 AM | Comments (12)

    November 23, 2008

    Two Gunned Down in Seattle-Area Mall

    One man is dead and another is wounded in what may be a gang-related confrontation:

    Shots erupted in a packed Seattle-area shopping mall Saturday after an apparent argument between a gunman and two other young men, killing one of the men, creating panic among shoppers and sending police on a store-to-store search for the shooter, authorities said.

    The Southcenter Mall in Tukwila was locked down for six hours as police tried in vain to find the gunman. Officer Mike Murphy, a police spokesman, told The Associated Press there were "thousands" of shoppers at the mall when the shooting took place just before 3:45 p.m. He said the gunfire may have been gang-related.

    "It's a possibility," Murphy said.

    The two injured men were taken to Seattle's Harborview Medical Center, where one of them died. A hospital spokesman said Saturday night the second victim was in critical condition.

    The gunman used a pistol and fired multiple shots, Murphy said. He said at least four or five people were detained for questioning, but none of them was the shooter and some had been released. He said some of those detained were witnesses.

    My advice remains the same as it was after the Omaha, Nebraska Mall shooting roughly this same time last year.

    The odds of getting shot in a mall shooting are extremely low, but you can reduce those odds even further by being in a self-aware, ready state (yellow, for Jeff Cooper disciples) and take these common sense steps if you hear or see a similar violent situation developing. There's no need to be paranoid, but after so many events like this in recent years, it is immature to pretend that such events can't happen.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:26 AM | Comments (7)

    November 20, 2008

    Only Supply is Dampening The Run On Guns

    "I could sell a hundred ARs an hour, if I had them."

    That was the word from the man behind the counter at my local gun shop yesterday afternoon when I stopped in. As if to put an exclaimation point on his claim, two men added their names to an ever-growing waiting list to purchase AR-15 carbines within minutes of my entering the store.

    Two months ago, the first two racks of rifles to great you as you entered Fuquay Gun & Gold would be bristling with AR15 carbines, AK-pattern rifles, and a smattering of SKS carbines. Today, those same worn racks are almost bare except for misfits from the Island of Misfit Martial Toys—a pair of Saiga Ak-pattern shotguns, a .22 caliber AR-clone, and a nearly $900 VZ-58 with the ugliest stock I've ever seen.

    Fears of an Obama administration attempt to raise prohibitive taxes and reinstate bans on so-called "assault weapons" and standard capacity magazines have led to rushes on many kinds of semi-automatic rifles and pistols, especially those with high capacity magazines. Until recently, Obama's transition website indicated his intention to reinstate the ineffective 1994 Assault Weapons Ban that passed under President Clinton and expired in 2004 under President Bush.

    Local news reports from other gun shops across the country seem to indicate that a run on military-style semi-automatics and ammunition of all types may continue for months as long-time shooters and new gun purchasers stock up in preparation for what many expect to be one of the most divisive, anti-gun federal governments in years.

    Update: Janet Reno's Deputy Attorney General during the Clinton years, Eric Holder, seems to be Obama's choice to be the next Attorney General. It wasn't until Glenn Reynolds highlighted a post at the Volokh Conspiracy that I realized how dangerous of a selection Holder is to gun owners.

    Earlier this year, Eric Holder--along with Janet Reno and several other former officials from the Clinton Department of Justice--co-signed an amicus brief in District of Columbia v. Heller. The brief was filed in support of DC's ban on all handguns, and ban on the use of any firearm for self-defense in the home. The brief argued that the Second Amendment is a "collective" right, not an individual one, and asserted that belief in the collective right had been the consistent policy of the U.S. Department of Justice since the FDR administration. A brief filed by some other former DOJ officials (including several Attorneys General, and Stuart Gerson, who was Acting Attorney General until Janet Reno was confirmed)took issue with the Reno-Holder brief's characterization of DOJ's viewpoint.

    But at the least, the Reno-Holder brief accurately expressed the position of the Department of Justice when Janet Reno was Attorney General and Eric Holder was Deputy Attorney General. At the oral argument before the Fifth Circuit in United States v. Emerson, the Assistant U.S. Attorney told the panel that the Second Amendment was no barrier to gun confiscation, not even of the confiscation of guns from on-duty National Guardsmen.

    As Deputy Attorney General, Holder was a strong supporter of restrictive gun control. He advocated federal licensing of handgun owners, a three day waiting period on handgun sales, rationing handgun sales to no more than one per month, banning possession of handguns and so-called "assault weapons" (cosmetically incorrect guns) by anyone under age of 21, a gun show restriction bill that would have given the federal government the power to shut down all gun shows, national gun registration, and mandatory prison sentences for trivial offenses (e.g., giving your son an heirloom handgun for Christmas, if he were two weeks shy of his 21st birthday). He also promoted the factoid that "Every day that goes by, about 12, 13 more children in this country die from gun violence"--a statistic is true only if one counts 18-year-old gangsters who shoot each other as "children."

    After that, Holder's plans for gun owners gets worse.

    And as "stace" noted in the comments, Obama's desire to reinstate the ineffectual "assualt weapons" provision of the 1994 crime bill is back on his web site as a goal for his administration.

    Update: Even Better! I'm starting to understand why the protégé of a Marxist domestic terrorist would favor someone like Holder. He'd regulate the Internet as well.

    Reasonable restrictions seems to be the only way these people can view the Constitution. For our own good, of course.

    Final Update: Screening to keep gun owners out of his administration?

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:52 AM | Comments (35)

    November 19, 2008

    Stripping Concealed Carry in the O.C.

    The new Orange County, CA Sheriff doesn't like citizens having the ability to defend themselves, and may take almost half of the concealed carry permits presently issued from their legal permit holders, for no good reason at all.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:16 AM | Comments (10)

    November 12, 2008

    Random Shots

    Armed with a single-shot .22-caliber rifle, an eight-year old in Arizona ambushed his father, shooting him in head and chest, pausing to reload between each shot. He then methodically killed a second man who lived at the home, again with shots to the head and chest, again pausing to reload between each shot. Despite blind and immediate media speculation of child abuse, there is nothing to indicate the father was anything other than a loving father and hunter who taught his son to shoot so that they could share his love of the outdoors. The moral of the story? Love your kids. Teach them to shoot if you want. But always lock up your firearms.

    In Alaska, Gov. Sarah Palin's controversial helicopter-borne culling of wolf packs has proven to be life-saving for an Alaskan caribou herd in danger of extinction. At times, shooting even beautiful wild things is a better option than doing nothing. Her pragmatic approach to wildlife management offers a caribou herd a second chance. Don't look for the animal rights groups that attacked Palin for the culling program to congratulate her on it succeeding.

    Advocating the shooting of people, however, especially the President-Elect, isn't a good idea, as some N.C. State students are no doubt learning.

    State has what it calls the Free Expression Tunnel where students are encouraged to communicate controversial ideas and thoughts without criticism as an exercise in free speech. That free expression stops when racial slurs are spray painted, along with the graffiti "Shoot Obama." The NAACP is now involved, pushing for the students involved to be punished by the University since criminal charges will not be filed. The right to free speech is not a freedom from responsibility.

    But what about shooting some friends of the President-Elect? Is that permissible?

    Someone pointed out that Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn, and others in the domestic terror group called the Weather Underground formally declared war against the United States, but that they were not aware that the WU ever signed a formal peace treaty. If someone decided to take a shot at members, could they argue they were targeting known enemy combatants?

    I strongly suspect that defense would utterly fail in court, so I'd advise not testing it. Besides, if someone was successful in terminating them as they planned to do to 25 million of us, what would President Obama do? He'd no longer be The Fresh Prince of Bill Ayers.

    And speaking even more of Obama and guns, it appears that his campaign and election have done wonders for gun and ammunition sales, even as his policies seem ripe to wreck the rest of the economy.

    Gun shops across America are seeing a massive increase in sales of both guns and ammunition as a result of Obama's historic victory. His record of supporting bans on all semi-automatic firearms and all handguns, his stated desire to reinstate the ineffectual Clinton-era ban on assault weapons, and fears that a Democratic Congress may attempt to raise prohibitive taxes on firearms has led to a shortage of certain kinds of firearms and ammunition across the country. In particular, semi-automatic rifles that would potentially be affected by such a ban are difficult to keep in stock, and many retailers are back-ordered.

    I only how much more sales will increase when Americans learn that Obama actively sought to undermine the Second Amendment as a director of the rabidly anti-gun Joyce Foundation.

    Quite by accident, Barack Obama seems poised to do more to increase gun ownership by American citizens than any President in history.

    If I wasn't so bitter and clingy, I'd be thrilled.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:49 AM | Comments (21)

    November 06, 2008

    Good News: Obama's Election Spurs New Appreciation For Constitution

    Especially the Second Amendment:

    John Faulkner and his wife, Brenda, thought Wednesday was a good day to buy a handgun.

    "I'm 37 years old, and this is the first time in my life that I am really scared for our future," said Faulkner, an oil field worker, as he perused the collection of weaponry in A Pawn Shop here.

    At Aurora's Firing Line gun shop, Steve Wickham was also purchasing. "Anything I can get my hands on," he said as he cradled a $699 9mm handgun.

    Same thing in Lakewood: "I was selling guns before I even opened the door," said George Horne, owner of The Gun Room. "It's gone completely mad. Everyone is buying everything I've got on the shelves. Sales have been crazy."
    By midday Wednesday, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation's "Insta- Check" background check — required for the sale of a firearm and typically about 8 minutes long — was jammed with waits lasting more than two hours.

    Gun-shop owners and buyers said the urgency was fueled by Barack Obama's presidential win and Democrats' increasing their majority in Congress.

    "I'm here because of Obama," Wickham said. "I think he's misinterpreted the Second Amendment. It's not about the right to hunt. It's about the right to defend yourself."

    These scenes are being repeated all across the country.

    As severe the rush is now, it would be even worse if more Americans knew of Obama's attempt to corrupt Constitutional scholarship while at the anti-gun Joyce Foundation. Barack Obama is a gun-banner at heart, and there is every reason for Americans to doubt his campaign's more moderate rhetoric when compared to his actual record.

    Buy guns, America. It's good for the economy, good for the development of our nation's moral character, and our last bulwark against tyranny.

    While you're at it, consider hitting the Paypal link in the sidebar to the right as a belated blogoversary present. What, you think that SLR 106FR is going to buy itself?

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:55 AM | Comments (26)

    November 05, 2008

    Bitter, Clingy, and Discounted

    Fearing a gun-grabbing President-Elect and Congress, Ruger is issuing an "Inaugural Special" on Mini-14 magazines.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 04:52 PM | Comments (11)

    October 29, 2008

    Increasingly Clingy Americans Finally Get Media Attention

    You've got to hand it to the media... now they're only 19 days behind the curve.

    These reports come via Drudge, from local Florida stations.



    Obama is a proven gun-grabber who went so far as to try to subvert the Constitution by corrupting legal scholarship, and most expect he will rubber-stamp Congressional attempts to reinstate the free speech restrictions that Democrats like to call the Fairness Doctrine... I can't imagine why people would feel concerned about their rights.

    If Obama wins the White House, and Democrats collect as many seats in the House and Senate as most experts predict, then we will have attempts to reinstate failed gun bans by the far leftists in charge.

    Frankly, I'm only surprised that sales in Florida are just up 10-30-percent.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:03 AM | Comments (5)

    October 15, 2008

    Fulton Armory Promotes Election Ammo Sale

    While the sale prices on parts and ammunition, are nice, what kind of message are they sending?

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:06 PM | Comments (3)

    September 06, 2008

    Obama Slips, Admits He'd Favor A Gun Ban

    In Pennsylvania for a campaign event before a hand-picked crowd, Barack Obama stumbled badly when thrown by a skeptical supporter with a question about his noted anti-gun stance:

    A woman in the crowd told Obama she had "heard a rumor" that he might be planning some sort of gun ban upon being elected president. Obama trotted out his standard policy stance, that he had a deep respect for the "traditions of gun ownership" but favored measures in big cities to keep guns out of the hands of "gang bangers and drug dealers" in big cities "who already have them and are shooting people."

    "If you've got a gun in your house, I'm not taking it," Obama said. But the Illinois senator could still see skeptics in the crowd, particularly on the faces of several men at the back of the room.

    So he tried again. "Even if I want to take them away, I don't have the votes in Congress," he said. "This can't be the reason not to vote for me. Can everyone hear me in the back? I see a couple of sportsmen back there. I'm not going to take away your guns."

    So Obama concedes that he wants to "take them away," but then he claims that he doesn't have the votes to push through a gun ban. Far left liberal Democrats control both houses of the most unpopular Congress in recorded history. Do they have anything to lose by trying to push another gun ban, and does anyone want to take the risk, knowing Obama would sign any gun control bill that crosses the President's desk?

    Update: Several folks I respect are disputing my contention that Obama's comments amount to an admission of favoring a gun ban, and think I'm distorting what he said.

    What do you think?

    In my experience as a reader and author, the construct "Even if I wanted to do 'x'..." is an admission that the actor desires 'x' but merely lacks the means to obtain it.

    Further breaking down Obama's statements, he says, "Even if I want to take them away, I don't have the votes in Congress. This can't be the reason not to vote for me." I read this as an admission that he desires a ban, but that he lacks the means so you should not hold his views against him.

    Taken in the context of a politician that refuses to recognize the right of gun ownership for anything beyond hunting and target shooting on his own campaign web site, who has a documented record of working to fund anti-gun groups as a Woods Fund board member, who had called for the banning of all semi-automatic firearms and handguns, and who has attempted to zone gun stores out of business, is my interpretation illogical?

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:19 AM | Comments (29)

    September 05, 2008

    Texas Family Kills Guns Down Home Invaders With Their Own Guns

    Or as Sarah Palin calls it, "trash day."

    With Kellie Hoehn clinging to the weapon's muzzle, her husband tackled the man who held the shotgun. She knocked the intruder in the head with a jar candle, giving her husband a chance to wrest the shotgun.

    By then the tussle had spilled out onto the front lawn. Keith Hoehn shot one of the men who had a pistol, police said. Wounded, that man ran away.

    Then the intruder who initially had the shotgun charged Keith Hoehn.

    Kellie Hoehn told The Dallas Morning News that she screamed at her husband, "Shoot him, shoot him, shoot him."

    Her husband fired the shotgun and the man fell to the ground. Then the shot man lunged a second time.

    "Well, I shot him again, and I guess that was it," Keith Hoehn said.

    Over at The Atlantic, a certain blogger just launched an "investigation" demanding that the Hoehn's provide DNA to prove that they are the parents of their children, and paperwork showing that the home is really their own.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:35 AM | Comments (7)

    August 25, 2008

    Thank You, Barack

    I hope that I am one of the first of American gun owners to thank Barack Obama for choosing Joe Biden as his running mate. You see, I had almost forgotten just how much Joe Biden has done for gun owners and gun ownership in America, until Roger Simon reminded me.

    As author of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994—also known as the Biden Crime Law according to Wikipedia—Biden's carefully-manicured hands shaped the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, a law pushed through by Democrats that specifically outlawed 19 firearms by name, and tried to outlaw many others by outlawing firearms that had two or more mostly-cosmetic features.

    Because of the attempt to outlaw semi-automatic weapons by Biden and his fellow Democrats, interest in owning variations of semi-automatic rifles—and specifically those firearms Democrats ineptly tried to outlaw—began surging in 1994 and has ever slowed down, even though the law itself expired four years ago.

    AR-15 and AK-pattern rifles in particular became very popular sellers during the "ban," and Biden deserves considerable credit for sparking interest in a portion of the market that until then was considered the realm of survivalists and military collectors. Now one can hardly visit a rifle shooting range without hearing the characteristic crack of a 5.56mm AR-15, or the boom of an AK-47's .30 caliber bullet, and both weapons often dominate the showcases of gun dealers. Far from banning assault weapons, the 1994 law Biden created helped marshal semi-automatics into the mainstream as some of America's best-selling firearms, while creating jobs for skilled workers at gun and ammunition companies rushing to satisfy customer demand for one of the few market segments that has kept growing.

    In addition to what he's done for interest in assault rifles, we also owe Senator Biden and his fellow Democrats a special thanks for helping create an entirely new class of small, powerful, and easily concealable handguns.

    One of the provisions of the 1994 law Biden drafted was a stipulation that pistol magazines would be limited to just ten rounds. At the time Biden drafted his law, American shooters were enthralled with large, heavy, service-class semi-automatic pistols with magazine capacities that seemed ever-increasing. In the age of the "wonder-nine," pistols carrying 15-18 rounds per magazine became fashionable, but Biden's law helped push the market in a radically different direction.

    With handguns now limited to a specified magazine capacity by an arbitrary law, interest then grew in designing semi-auto pistols that were smaller, lighter, more powerful, and in most respects, more effective than those that came before them. An entire niche of compact and subcompact "carry guns" is directly attributable to Biden and his fellow Democrats, and these days nearly every company that make handguns serves this burgeoning market, with new models for this market sector being created every season. Entire gun companies—the very successful Kahr Arms is one shining example—arose almost purely as the result of consumer interest generated by Joe Biden's "gun ban."'

    Entire shooting organizations—the IDPA, for instance—have grow as the result of Joe Biden's work, and interest in existing shooting sports in general has also greatly increased. It is fair to say, without exaggeration, that this Senator with an "F" rating from the NRA has done more for shooting sports and gun ownership than any Senator in the past 25 years, even if it was all accidental.

    So thank you, Barack Obama, for selecting Joe Biden as your Veep. While it may not be what you intended when you selected him as your running mate, Joe Biden is responsible for far more hope and change within the American shooting community than you could ever know.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:24 PM | Comments (3)

    August 09, 2008

    Encouraging News: Secret Service Doesn't Know Much About Bullets, May Have Jeopardized Case Against Assassination Suspect

    The Secret Service agents that arrested Raymond Hunter Geisel claimed in their affidavit that 40 rounds (two boxes) of Black Talon bullets recovered from Geisel's vehicle are "armor-piercing," a claim that is categorically false.

    Armor-piercing bullets have almost no legitimate use outside of shooting people wearing body armor. It is for this reason that it has been illegal to manufacture, import, transfer, or deliver armor-piercing ammunition in the United States since 1986, according to Title 18, U.S. Code Section 922.

    The coating on Black Talon ammunition is merely an oxide designed to help minimize barrel fouling—it doesn't give bullets the ability to penetrate armor. The Black Talon cartridge uses industry standard velocities and hollowpoint bullets with an oxide finish. Hollowpoints are actually more likely to be stopped by body armor than most other bullet designs because of their increased surface area of the bullet shape. All ammunition recovered from Geisel's possession were types consistent with use in the shooting portion of the bail-bondsman class in which Geisel made threats.

    Falsely claiming that Geisel's bullets are armor-piercing in information released to the media could be argued by an enterprising defense attorney as an intent to prejudice the case against Geisel by suggesting nefarious intent, when none could or should have been inferred by the incorrect description of the bullet type alone.

    It's rather sad that one of our nation's most elite law enforcement agencies bought into an ignorant fantasy of magical coatings creating armor-piercing "cop killer" bullets, an illusion manufactured by the media and anti-gun groups more than a decade ago. It's worse that such ignorance might be used in the defense of a man who is accused of threatening political assassinations.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:35 PM | Comments (8)

    July 21, 2008

    Why Are Snub-Nosed Revolvers Suggested for New Shooters?

    One of the co-bloggers at Ace-of-Spades has asked for advice on a handgun for CCH carry, and as a quick click over there will attest, there is no shortage of advice. Some of the advice provided so far is solid, most of it fell into the moderately helpful category, and some of it is simply ignorant or irrelevant to the question asked.

    What was fascinating about the suggestions made was the overwhelming "conventional wisdom" recommendation of a short-barreled .38 Special/.357 Magnum revolver offered by many of those who responded.

    A snub-nosed .38 revolver can be an excellent concealed carry gun—I currently have one in my possession that I've carried recently— but I don't know that I agree with some of the reasoning offered by those suggesting such a revolver for a new shooter with "little girly hands."

    The basic snub-nosed revolver has great reliability, is uncomplicated, and in the ever-popular .38 Special, has decent stopping power when paired with modern defensive ammunition. That said the downsides are that it is thick through the cylinder (which can make it harder to conceal), and the short sight radius and heavy double-action trigger pull on most of those coming from the factory can make it difficult to shoot well, particularly for people with "little girly hands."

    [FYI, my standard for "shooting well" is roughly defined as being able to put 5 shots in 9-inch paper-plate at 5 yards in less than 4 seconds from low-ready or a retention position, which isn't a very high standard, but is defensively adequate. Many people can do that in half the time.]

    In contrast, good DAO semi-automatic subcompact pistols abound, and they can be far easier to learn to shoot to our "shoot well" standard, and often in a shorter amount of training time.

    Whether you want to plug the merits of a Kahr, Springfield Armory XD, Glock, Smith & Wesson M&P, Kel-tec or something else is irrelevant to me, but the design philosophy behind these pistols seem to have resulted in numerous advantages over similarly-sized snub-nosed revolvers.

    Most of these pistols are thinner than revolvers (at their thickest points), have a longer sight radius, a more manageable (typically longer and lighter) trigger pull, and a greater choice of ammunition (I'm thinking 9mm and .40 S&W in particular)that is less expensive and has a better reputation for stopping fights than the .38, without kicking as hard or with the blinding flash of a .357 Magnum. Semi-autos also offer a distinct advantage in reloading times and capacity, but as most shootings average 3-4 shots, this shouldn't be a deciding factor.

    So tell me: why are snub-nosed revolvers so repeated recommended for new shooters, even by people who prefer semi-autos for their own use?

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:54 PM | Comments (23)

    July 10, 2008

    Reuters Health and Science Editor Cites Well Known Gun Fraud in Heller Hit Piece

    How incompetent can Reuter's Health and Science Editor Maggie Fox be that she would cite Arthur Kellerman in a story about firearms?

    She quotes Kellerman saying:

    "A number of scientific studies, published in the world's most rigorous, peer-reviewed journals, show the risks of keeping a loaded gun in the home outweigh the potential benefits," Dr. Arthur Kellerman, an emergency physician at Emory University in Atlanta, wrote in The Washington Post.

    Kellerman, a radically anti-gun doctor, has been discredited since 1986, when an article he co-authored with Donald T. Reay, "Protection or Peril?: An Analysis of Firearm-Related Deaths in the Home" in the New England Journal of Medicine, created the oft-repeated fallacy that a person with a gun in the home is 43 times as likely to shoot someone in the family as to shoot a criminal. The authors arrived at the 43-1 figure by including 333 suicides in their total sample size of 389 firearms deaths.

    Any competent person writing about firearms, public health and gun control should know about Kellerman's shoddy research and deservedly tattered reputation—Google certainly does—so why doesn't Reuters?

    (h/t Hot Air)

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:36 AM | Comments (11)

    July 02, 2008

    Liberal Blogger Shot During Mugging In D.C.

    Liberal blogger Brian Beutler was shot three times during a mugging last night in Washington, D.C., apparently over a cell phone.

    Let's hope that he has a full and speedy recovery.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 05:03 PM | Comments (17)

    July 01, 2008

    Reporting What They Want You to Hear

    I've criticized ABC News on numerous occasions for their coverage of gun-related stories, but their coverage of the Joe Horn shooting incident in Pasadena, Texas is one of the more irresponsible stories they've posted since ... well, since the last one I saw in late April.

    Perhaps equally unsurprising is that the Associated Press made the same crucial omission in a story that has gained national attention.

    Joe Horn faced the possibility of being charged by a Texas grand jury after he shot and killed two men who had broken into the home next door. Horn had called 911, told the dispatcher he though they were going to get away, and despite repeated pleas by the dispatcher to stay inside his own home, decided to step outside with a shotgun after declaring his intention to kill them.

    He did.

    The shhoting seven months ago has inflamed ethnic tensions in the area, and raised questions regarding the ethical use of deadly force to defend property. There are all sorts of opinions on the story, but a key detail that may have significantly influenced the grand jury's decision not to press charges was completely ignored by ABC News and the Associated Press.

    As noted in passing by some news outlets including the L.A. Times, plainclothes police officer responding to Horn's 911 call witnessed the shooting:

    Ballistics tests suggested that at least one of the men had been shot in the back, raising questions about Horn's story.

    But a plainclothes detective who witnessed some of what took place later told investigators that the men did not stop when a visibly nervous Horn pointed a shotgun in their direction, and that at least one man appeared to be moving toward Horn when Horn fired.

    The Houston Chronicle likewise noted the presence of the detective:

    Pasadena police have said a detective in plainclothes had parked in front of Horn's house in response to the 911 call, and saw the two men before they crossed into Horn's front yard.

    Police believe that neither Horn nor the burglars knew an officer was present.

    When Horn confronted the men in his yard, he raised his shotgun to his shoulder, police have said. However, the men ignored his order to freeze.

    Authorities have said one man ran toward Horn but had angled away toward the street when he was shot in the back just before reaching the curb.

    The tape of Horn's 911 call, testimony from Horn, and forensics were no doubt key pieces of evidence weighed by the grand jury, but it is reasonable to suspect that the testimony of the detective that witnessed the shooting—a very rare occurrence in cases involving the use of deadly force—was among the most influential evidence heard by the grand jury.

    Why, then, was the mention of the detective's eye-witnessing these events and no doubt providing key testimony that influenced the grand jury's decision not to bring charges whitewashed by the these news organizations?

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:06 PM | Comments (9)

    Where Do We Go From Heller

    By a disturbingly narrow 5-4 decision, the learned minds on the Supreme Court determined last week that the Second Amendment means what it says:

    "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

    The Founders were quite clear on what this Amendment meant, with Thomas Jefferson unequivocally stating, "No Free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." James Madison stated likewise:

    "The right of the people to keep and bear...arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country..."

    The Founders were clear: the body of the citizenry—even those not formally enrolled—helps comprise the militia, and so it is codified into federal law.

    As the citizenry is the militia, and in light of the Heller decision, two details of existing U.S. federal gun laws should be re-examined.

    The Hughes Amendment

    The Hughes Amendment was interjected into the Firearm Owners Protection Act (FOPA) of 1986 by Rep. William J. Hughes (D-N.J.), late in the debate and literally in the dead of night. The provision banned the civilian ownership or transfer of any fully-automatic weapon which was not manufactured before May 19, 1986. Though witnesses claim the amendment failed in a voice vote (even though many opponents were absent an empty House), gun control proponent Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) was presiding over the House at the time, and declared the amendment approved. FOPA as a whole subsequently passed House and Senate votes and was signed into law.

    Though it will come as a surprise to some, fully-automatic weapons are not illegal for U.S. citizens to own, be they submachine guns, selective-fire assault rifles, or crew-served, belt-fed machine guns. According to the BATF, there are at least 240,000 machine guns in civilian hands (PDF) in the United States as of 1995, with roughly half of those belonging to government agencies, and the other half belonging to individuals.

    The Hughes Amendment cannot claim to have had any impact on gun deaths; there have been only two known deaths attributed to legally-owned machine guns singe 1934. One of those was at the hands of Dayton, OH Police Officer Roger Waller, who used a department-issue MAC-11 submachine gun to murder a police informant, 52-year-old Lawrence Hileman in 1988. FOPA, by the way, does not apply to police agencies, meaning it was utterly irrelevant in this case.

    A second MAC-11 was used (PDF) by Dr. Shou Chao Ho in the murder of Dr. Carmelito Olaes in 1992 may be the only murder committed with a legally-owned, BATF-registered machine gun since the National Firearms Act (NFA) of 1934 began requiring registration 74 years ago.

    So if it hasn't hand any impact on saving lives, what has the Hughes Amendment accomplished?

    It has raised the price of those firearms among the most suitable for militia use in these modern times to exorbitant levels. A basic, no-frills M-16A2 selective fire as issued to all U.S. military forces (and therefore, perhaps the most directly applicable firearm for militia use) has a replacement cost for the military of just $586. Factor in the $200 NFA transfer tax and a gun dealer's profit, and such weapon should still cost an American citizen who has passed the requisite (and extensive) background checks no more than $1500-$2000.

    Because of the middle-of-the-night Hughes Amendment banning individual civilian ownership fully automatic weapons manufactured after May 19, 1986, prices for existing machine guns are exceedingly expensive, as transferable machine guns have become collectors items. The greatest impact of the Hughes Amendment is to make gun collectors, speculators and certain dealers wealthy, at the expense of the intent of this nation's Founders when they imagined the purpose of the militia.

    Overturning the Hughes Amendment need not be any more telegraphed nor debated than the original Amendment itself. Simply amending language to overturn the constitutionally-dubious ban to an appropriate bill before the House should return use to a more appropriate NFA-ruled state of affairs that has served this country so well these many years, though that federal law as well could use some updating as well.

    Updating the National Firearms Act of 1934

    Without question, the National Firearms Act (NFA) of 1934 is what most Americans would consider "reasonable" gun control.

    It was passed at a time in American history when criminals engaged in high-profile shootouts with the police during the "Public Enemy"" era of 1931-35, and in the year where Charles "Pretty Boy" Floyd, Bonnie and Clyde, and John Dillinger were all killed in shootouts with authorities.

    The NFA was a $200 dollar transfer tax on automatic weapons, short-barreled rifles and shotguns, silencers, "destructive devices" in two categories, and "any other weapon," a category to regulate other weapons not necessarily covered in other classifications, but deemed worthy of taxation and regulation. It was designed to be used a another law enforcement tool against criminals unlikely to pay a transfer tax the equivalent of roughly five months salary at the time.

    As a law enforcement tool NFA has been and continued to be an effective tool but is perhaps unduly cumbersome for those civilians who desire to own firearms or firearm components regulated by the law.

    As noted in Wikipedia:

    Individual owners do not need any license under the NFA to buy Title II weapons. However, the purchase and sale of NFA weapons is heavily taxed and regulated, as follows.

    All NFA items must be registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Private owners wishing to purchase an NFA item must obtain permission from the ATF, obtain a signature from the county sheriff or city or town chief of police (not necessarily permission), pass an extensive background check to include submitting a photograph and finger prints, fully register the firearm, receive ATF written permission before moving the firearm across state lines, and pay a tax. The request to transfer ownership of an NFA item is made on an ATF Form 4.

    Most Americans have little problem with such restrictions being placed upon NFA-defined "destructive devices" that includes explosives, non-blackpowder rifles greater than .50-caliber, or machine guns, but it is perhaps time to reconsider whether or not the short barrel rifle and silencer provisions of NFA are due to be removed.

    Short-Barreled rifles (SBRs)
    Short-Barreled Rifles (SBRs) are those firearms with a stock that have either a barrel of less than 16-inches, or a total length of less than 26 inches. For firearms with folding or detachable stocks, measurements are taken with the stock fully extended.

    SBRs are imminently practical firearms. Most (not all) SBRs currently in production are short-barreled versions of common assault rifles, and are chambered for either intermediate-power assault weapons, or comparatively low-powered pistol cartridges.

    A specific subclass of SBRs, called PDWs (personal defense weapons) has emerged in recent years, designed to bridge the gap between full-size rifles and handguns for military personnel who do not carry a weapon as their primary job function, but who may still be called upon to defend themselves. Different from previous carbines or long-barreled pistols pressed into the role, PDWs are typically chambered with special ammunition that give them greater range and accuracy than pistol caliber bullets common to submachine guns and many carbines, and in military and police guises, often use armor piercing ammunition and are selective-fire.

    SBRs are popular among military units and police units because they provide rifle-grade accuracy in a stocked firearm nimble enough for close-quarters use inside buildings. SBR's chambered in .223 Remington/5.56 NATO are particularly useful and safer alternatives to shotguns, pistols, and larger caliber rifles because the .5.56 bullet, having much less mass than even the lightest typical centerfire pistol bullets, provides adequate stopping power, enhanced accuracy, and far less risk of over-penetration compared to other weapons.

    As a public health issue, it would be worthwhile for Congress to weigh the pros and cons of amending the NFA to make at least some SBRs more accessible to the general public.

    Doing so may:

    • reduce the need to discharge a weapon at all in legally-justified defensive shooting situations, due to a significant intimidation factor/deterrent effect;
    • reduce the number of shots fired, as SBRs have more practical accuracy than pistols
    • specifically in the case of the 5.56-chambered SBRs, reduce the risk of collateral damage due to over-penetration;
    • be a more palatable option for communities that still desire to minimize the number of handguns available to the criminal population, while still providing law-abiding citizens an extremely effective home defense tool.

    It is also worth noting that the existing SBR provisions of the 1934-passed NFA have largely been antiquated by technology, with legal pistol variants of both AK-47 and AR-patterned rifles available for sale with only the restrictions placed upon normal handgun sales.

    It would make sense to provide the public with this viable alternative firearm for all the reasons noted above, plus the obvious applicability for SBRs as a firearm well-suited for militia use.

    The Heller decisions, including both the majority and minority opinions, has opened a conversation on the role of firearms in American law and society. The usefulness of the Hughes Amendment and the updating of the National Firearms Act are but two small steps we should take to help create and maintain the kind of free society that Jefferson, Madison, and the other Founders intended.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:20 PM | Comments (10)

    June 29, 2008

    ATF Takes Machine Guns From Blackwater in NC

    22 fully-automatic assault rifles were confiscated by the BATF from Moyock, NC-based Blackwater Worldwide last week after a story was published in the Raleigh News & Observer questioning an arrangement between the private military contractor and the Camden County, North Carolina Sheriff's Department.

    Blackwater financed the purchase of 17 Romanian AK-47s and 17 Bushmaster Bushmaster XM15 E2S for the Sheriff's SWAT team as it was forming in 2005. The Sheriff's Department had requested both weapons systems for trial. After training, deputies determined that the AK-47s did not meet their needs for SWAT use, and since that time, the 17 AK-47s and 5 of the17 XM15 carbines have been stored in a weapons locker dedicated to the Sheriff's Department at Blackwater's training facility armory. The other 12 XM15s are deployed with deputies. The department does not have an armory of it's own. Both the Sheriff's Department and Blackwater insist that the arrangement made three years ago is legal.

    Fully-automatic weapons have always been legal to own in the United States according to federal law, though they are prohibited or further restricted in some states. There are more than 240,000 machine guns registered with the BATF as of 1995. Roughly half of those are owned by civilians, and the rest are owned by government entities such as police and sheriff's departments.

    As a matter of policy the BATF will not comment on pending investigations, but the most likely cause for the confiscation was the determination by the BATF that the arrangement may have constituted a "strawman" purchase. On the most basic level, a "strawman" occurs when someone who is legally authorized to purchase a firearm knowingly purchases it for someone who they know or suspect cannot buy a firearm on their own. Additional scrutiny applies to the purchase, transfer and possession of machine guns under the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA) and the Firearms Owners' Protection Act of 1986 (FOPA). NFA places a $200 tax on the transfer of firearms, and FOPA banned the possession or sale of machine guns to civilians manufactured after May of 1986.

    The BATF may claim that the three-year-old arrangement, where the Sheriff's Department stores their weapons at Blackwater's armory is a violation of the transfer and possession requirements of NFA and/or FOPA. Anne Tyrrell, spokesperson for Blackwater Worldwide, argues that FOPA does not apply "because we never owned the weapons. The Camden County Sheriff's Department own them."

    Tyrrell further claims that BATF agents have known of the arrangement with the Camden County Sheriff for an extended period of time, saying via email:

    "All aspects of our contract with a local Sheriff's Department are valid and lawful. Some of the same ATF agents involved in the current inquiry have long been aware of this arrangement as a result of visits to our facility and audits of our firearms programs at Blackwater's request. As a company that is fully licensed to sell, provide training on, or even manufacture weapons---including machine guns---we have worked closely with the ATF to ensure we are in compliance with all applicable federal firearms laws. We look forward to cooperating with the government to resolve this allegation."

    Pro-Blackwater blog Blackwaterfacts backs Tyrrell, claiming that the AFT did a full inventory of the facility in 2005, including the Camden County Weapons locker, after Blackwater alerted the ATF to two employees that worked in the armory were engaged in illegal activity.

    If it is accurate that BATF agents had "long been aware" of the existence of the Camden County Weapons locker at Blackwater, but had not seen fit to confiscate them until now, it suggests that new details may have emerged. That detail may have been provided in articles from the News & Observer and the Elizabeth City, NC-based Daily Advance, which note that in addition to merely storing the Sheriff's Department weapons, they may have been used to train police and military units.

    Blackwater, which also manufactures vehicles and airships, is the largest security contractor for the U.S. State Department and operates one of the largest tactical firearms training centers in the world. Critics of the company have attacked it as a mercenary army, and Blackwater security personnel in Iraq have been accused of using excessive force in numerous engagements, including a September 2007 incident in Baghdad's Nisour Square where 17 Iraqi civilians were killed.


    correction: Moyock, NC not Mynock, as noted by "EC" in the comments.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:31 PM | Comments (7)

    June 27, 2008

    SHOCKER: Associated Press Gets Facts Wrong in Gun Story

    In a story about the Federal ATF raid to confiscate assault rifles (real ones for a change) that Blackwater International held in a secure vault for the local Camden County Sheriff that owns them, Associated Press report Mike Baker twice claims that it is illegal for private citizens or companies to purchase automatic weapons.

    Fair-use, non-lede quote:

    Federal laws prohibit private parties from buying automatic weapons, but allows law enforcement agencies to have them.

    This claim is absolutely and unquestioningly false.

    The National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA) imposed a tax on machine guns, but did not make them illegal to own by private citizens or companies. While extremely expensive, one can legally purchase machine guns from a wide variety of vendors.

    Due to a Clinton-era restriction, machine guns manufactured after 1986 are not available for private sale, but this has had the side effect of making these machine guns an investment, and they are being marketed that way.

    The media's ignorance of the subjects they write about never fails to amaze me.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:35 AM | Comments (6)

    June 10, 2008

    Toddler Shot with CCH Holder's Gun

    The sad story out of Columbia, SC, is an example of why I find some methods of carrying concealed completely unacceptable:

    A 4-year-old girl grabbed her grandmother's gun and shot herself at a Sam's Club store in Columbia, S.C., authorities said.

    Police Department spokesman Brick Lewis said the child took the gun from her grandmother's purse Monday and shot herself in the chest.

    He said the child's grandmother has a valid permit to carry a concealed weapon. She has not been charged with a crime.

    While I'm sure to have folks disagree on this point, I simply don't find off-body carry to be responsible. If you have your carry weapon in a purse or a bag, you put yourself in a situation where you will, during the course of your day, willingly relinquish control of your weapon numerous times. No person on this planet keeps a purse, bag, or briefcase in hand at all times, often placing it in a seat, shopping cart, on a desk, etc.

    For unarmed people this is not an issue; shoplifters, purse-snatchers, and other thieves aren't rampant at our homes or places of work, and the very worst that can occur as a result of someone else accessing a bag or case is identity theft. For those who chose to carry a firearm, you should be held to a higher standard of responsibility, and when you carry off-body in a bag, you create a situation where unauthorized access arms curious children or thieves with a lethal weapon.

    Frankly, the grandmother in this case should be charged for criminal negligence (or something similar) and have her carry permit revoked. She knew she was going to be around small children, and apparently left a lethal weapon unsecured in a purse in a shopping cart with a small child.

    I'm glad that the child looks like she will recover, but Grandma should not be allowed to make such an irresponsible mistake again, and I'd urge my fellow CCH holders to carry on your person, or not carry at all.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:28 AM | Comments (19)

    June 02, 2008

    Edumacated

    It appears that our education system is failing us once more, as a collegiate newspaper published an anti-gun editorial penned upon completely false information.

    It is sad enough when one editorialist makes up the basic facts his story hinges upon; it's worse when editorial board signs off on this kind of ignorance:

    In 2004, a federal ban on assault weapons expired.

    Now, four years later, Mayor Michael Nutter and Governor Ed Rendell want to reduce violent crime nationally by convincing Congress to re-enact the ban.

    The ten-year federal ban forbids the possession, manufacture, use and import of assault weapons. And according to a 1999 National Institute of Justice study, it reduced the percent of crime committed with assault weapons, including police murders, by a significant amount.

    The only thing that the editorial board of the Daily Pennsylvanian got right in this editorial is that the ban expired in 2004.

    As we well know, the so-called "assault weapons" ban in the 1994 Crime Bill:

    • Did not ban the manufacture of semiautomatic firearms. In fact, companies that manufacture semi-automatic firearms, such as Bushmaster and Olympic Arms thrived throughout the length of the ban, and Kahr Arms was founded as a direct result of a market created by the ban;
    • Did not ban the transfer of semiautomatic firearms. Sales of semiautomatic firearms actually increased during the 1994-2004 ban.
    • Did not ban the possession of semi-automatic firearms. This includes weapons defined as "assault weapons" under the ban, as long as they had been manufactured prior to the law going into effect, and tens of thousands of semi-automatic firearms made and sold during the ban;

    The 1994 Assault Weapons Ban was irrelevant; if anything it had the unintended effect of making such firearms more desirable, increasing their popularity.

    Sadly, this mythical view of the accomplishments of the 1994 AW Ban is common "conventional wisdom" in left-leaning journalism and politics. Unlike so many views held in the community-based reality, however, the perception has nothing to do with the truth.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 05:32 PM | Comments (4)

    May 31, 2008

    Bitter and Clingy Bleg [Bumped]

    Bumped to the top.

    The M&P Compact isn't the only handgun I've got out on loan. Here's a stock picture of the very nice J-frame 637 CT (Crimson Trace Laser) I've been carrying. That little capsule-shaped bump at the top of the grip is the laser aiming module.

    I've had some very nice items loaned to me in recent weeks for a long-term story I'm developing, including this one.

    Nice, isn't it?

    The only downside of this project is that while I've found the shooting industry to be very gracious and giving, there are still some out-of-pocket expenses involved, and finances are a bit tight right now as we adjust to the new baby, as you might expect.

    If you can chip in a couple of bucks, I'd greatly appreciate it, and if you can't that's cool, too.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:09 AM | Comments (3)

    May 13, 2008

    Killing The Zombie

    On the morning of Saturday, May, 3, Philadelphia Police Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski was brutally shot down at close range by one of three bank robbers. Liczbinski was hit at least five times with bullets fired by a cross-dressing thug armed with a Chinese-made SKS. It was a horrific crime that left Liczbinski's wife a widow, and his three children to grow up without a father.

    On Thursday, May 8, Governor Rendell sent out a press release calling for a reinstatement of the federal assault weapons ban, a 1994 law than banned the cosmetic features of various firearms, and several specific firearms by name. The features banned in the ill-fated law were insignificant to the function of these firearms, and lightly modified versions of these same guns (with the offending features removed) were already on the market by the time the law went into effect with no impact to the accuracy, rate of fire, or lethality of these weapons.


    A MYTHICAL BAN
    Pre-1994 TEC-9 made illegal by 1994 "Assault Weapons" ban(Left).

    1994 and later AB-10 (AB mockingly meaning "after ban") AB-10 already in gun stores before the 1994 "Assault Weapons" ban became active(Right).

    Functionally, both firearms are identical, with only banned "scary looking" features removed.

    The ban did have one unintended consequence, that of creating an entirely new class of weapons, sub-compact semiautomatic pistols, which now sell at brisk pace to concealed weapons permit holders.

    The Governor's press release is replete with falsehoods, inaccuracies, and embellishments, betraying a sloppiness of thought on the part of the Governor as he spoke, and on the part of his staff in compiling a press release based upon wishes, but not reality.

    For starters, and perhaps ironically, the rifle used in this killing is not an assault rifle. The ownership, selling, or buying of SKS rifles such as the one used in this shooting was not outlawed under the failed 1994 federal law.

    All the same, Rendell claimed:

    "The firearm used to murder Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski was designed for one thing only - the death of a fellow human being," Governor Rendell said of the Chinese-made SKI assault rifle fired at the officer as he responded to a bank robbery Saturday morning. "There was no chance that his body armor could have protected him from the power of this weapon."

    To be fair, the statement is partially correct. The SKS was designed to shoot at human beings when created back in 1945. The popular intermediate-powered carbine is best known, however, for its reliability and economy. It is popular in the civilian market, used as a knock-about utility rifle for plinking, wild animal control, and brush-country hunting.

    Rendell is also partially correct on another point: it is unlikely that the unfortunate officer's body armor had any chance of stopping the carbine's 7.62-caliber bullets, but that result would have been the same for nearly any centerfire rifle bullet. "Bulletproof" vests worn by most police officers are not bulletproof, but are instead designed to stop moderate-velocity pistol bullets. The relative power of the cartridge used in the SKS is similar to that of the .30/30 lever-action rifle on the lower end of the rifle cartridge power scale.

    Rendell could perhaps be forgiven some hyperbole due to the emotional nature of the day as he stood with members of the fallen officer's police force and the city's mayor, but only if the emotion of the day was a valid excuse.

    Emotion isn't nearly a valid excuse, however for the blatant lies in Rendell's press release. The sheer scope of Governor Rendel's fabrication was magnificent to behold, completely misrepresenting not only the essential nature of a law that governed this nation for a decade, but miscasting it's subtleties as well.

    In 1994, Congress banned the manufacture, transfer or possession of semiautomatic firearms and large capacity ammunition magazines, as well as the import of automatic assault weapons not already banned under law.

    In that one masterstroke of a sentence, the Governor's press rewrote the entire ten-year history of failed law to make it something it never was.

    Contrary to what the press release stated, however, the so-called "assault weapons" ban in the 1994 Crime Bill:

    • Did not ban the manufacture of semiautomatic firearms. In fact, companies that manufacture semi-automatic firearms, such as Bushmaster and Olympic Arms thrived throughout the length of the ban, and Kahr Arms was founded as a direct result of a market created by the ban;
    • Did not ban the transfer of semiautomatic firearms. Sales of semiautomatic firearms actually increased during the 1994-2004 ban.
    • Did not ban the possession of semi-automatic firearms. This includes weapons defined as "assault weapons" under the ban, as long as they had been manufactured prior to the law going into effect, and tens of thousands of semi-automatic firearms made and sold during the ban;
    • Did not ban the possession or sale of high capacity magazines. The manufacture of "high capacity" magazines (arbitrarily set at 10 rounds by Congress) was stopped during the ban, but magazines of up to 100-rounds manufactured prior to the ban were available for sale and ownership during the entire lifetime of the ban, and were commonly featured in sporting goods catalogs. An entirely new class of subcompact semi-automatic pistols designed for concealed carry such as the Kahr K9 and Glock 26 were developed as a direct result of the 10-round limit, with manufacturer's competing to see who could make the most compact handguns under the ten-round limit.

    Rendell's press release is an example gun-grabbing revisionist history, lamenting the "loss" of a law that never existed as he described it, ignoring the ineffectually of the law during it's existence in slowing or stopping the manufacture or distribution of semi-automatic firearms, and glossing over the fact that it was responsible for the "revolution" in the handgun industry to design ever smaller and more concealable firearms.

    Sadly, Governor Rendell is not alone is this alternate reality, where a long-dead and failed law is remembered as being bigger, better, and more robust now than it was during it's lifetime. The 1994 "assault weapons" ban was a "zombie" law that only became stronger after its passing. Lies about the ban's reach and effectiveness are pervasive in the media, perhaps encouraged by their own biases and ignorances, and certainly encouraged by many politicians in the Democratic Party and in dishonest gun control organizations such as the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which I've exposed for apparently falsifying evidence before.

    From ignorant local reporters to national reporters that continue to deceive readers about the ban after being corrected time and time again, to op-ed columnists that base their work more on felling than facts, to misguided and occasionally dishonest local, state, and national politicians, the power of the "zombie" ban on "assault weapons" continues as ignorance, bias, and inaccuracies breed mythology.

    Let's kill this monster now.

    The "Assault Weapons" ban provisions within the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 did not ban a even a single assault weapon, firearms that are capable of selective modes or fully automatic fire.

    It only banned firearms that looked like military assault weapons, i.e., similar cosmetic features such as flash suppressors, threaded barrels, or bayonet lugs. These cosmetic features were removed, and the exact same firearms—minus the offending cosmetics—were back in stores and for sale before the ban went into effect, and were sold without impediment throughout the life of the ban.

    So-called "high-capacity" magazines were never banned for anything other than new manufacture, and hundreds of thousands, if not millions, were available for sale in catalogs, on web sites, and in retail stores. Likewise, ownership was not banned.

    It is time for those cling to the myth of the effectiveness of the so-called "assault weapons" ban to concede that this failed law never accomplished its goal. It posed no impediment to criminals when it was passed, served as only an annoyance to law-abiding citizens during the life of the ban, and actually served to increase sales in semi-automatic firearms prior to, during, and after the ban died.

    The "assault weapons" ban was an unmitigated failure, and trying to bring it back from the dead won't change that fact.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:52 AM | Comments (3)

    May 08, 2008

    What Philly Should Know

    I just sent the following to David Gambacorta in response to an article he wrote that was published today in the Philadelphia Daily News about an increased call for a futile "assault weapon" ban in the wake of a police officer being killed by a burka-wearing thug armed with an SKS carbine during a bank robbery on May 3. One of the three criminals involved was killed the day of the robbery. Another was captured Sunday, and the third was captured today.

    I just read In wake of Liczbinski slaying, a push for assault-weapon ban and thought I might be able to help correct some erroneous information contained within that story that I'm sure was accidental.

    Mayor Nutter states:

    "I don't understand how anyone can stand up and make any kind of argument or defense as to why someone should have an AK-47 or an SKS or whatever," Nutter said yesterday, while he paid tribute to fallen officers at the Living Flame Memorial in Franklin Square Park.

    "These weapons . . . are for one purpose only, to maim and destroy human beings," he said. "We should have statewide legislation. The federal government has a role to play here as well."


    Mayor Nutter, while obviously impassioned, is factually wrong in several respects.

    The "argument or defense" for these kinds of firearms are to be read in the context of the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, which was written to insure that "we, the people" have a enumerated right to military-grade small arms suitable for militia service, to defend ourselves not only from foreign aggressors, but from rogue governments bent on enslaving the population. A simple reading of the Founding Fathers confirms this view.

    The Second Amendment is not about hunting, but armed community defense by citizens. Firearms that have practical military use are more protected according to the founders principles than hunting or target guns would be. You would hope that the mayor of the city where our founding documents were created would have a better understanding about their origins and meaning.

    In addition to Nutter's obvious historical ignorance, the SKS has far more uses than one, and "to maim and destroy human beings" is the function in which it is least used in this nation.

    The cartridge fired by the SKS, the 7.62x39, is very similar to the .30/30 cartridge commonly chambered in lever-action rifles. Because of this fact, and because the SKS and its ammunition are far less expensive than many .30/30 rifles and the bullets they fire, they are commonly used in hunting medium-sized game such as deer at short to medium ranges. Because the ammunition for the SKS is readily purchased at reduced cost, it is also a favored centerfire "plinker" rifle useful from building familiarity with rifles, and those made in China are typically found with shortened stocks, which is often advantageous for women and smaller-framed men. It is an excellent all-purpose utility rifle.

    Phil Goldsmith, who has an obvious bias as a member of an anti-gun group, is deceptive when he claims that "a weapon this destructive has no legitimate place or purpose in Pennsylvania."

    As I just noted, the SKS and the cartridge it fires is similar to .30/30 rifles and is therefore certainly no more "destructive" than this and other rifle rounds of moderate power.

    The SKS is far less powerful and has a shorter range than most common hunting rifle cartridges, including, but not limited to the following standard cartridges: the .270 Winchester, 7x57 Mauser, the .308 Winchester, .30-06, and all other long-action and magnum-action cartridges. Goldsmith, I will reiterate again, is being blatantly and purposefully deceptive when claiming that the relatively anemic 7.62x39 cartridge is especially dangerous when compared to other common rifle cartridges.

    These are the corrected facts.

    Now I'll editorialize a bit, and note that gun laws only disarm those citizens prone to following laws. As criminals by definition do not obey the law, such laws only serve to create more victims and more violence.

    If you doubt this at all, you need to look no further than Washington DC and Chicago. Both cities have excessively strict gun control laws, and both have an extreme level of violent gun crime. Contrast that with other metropolitan areas where the laws are more intelligent and citizens have the right to earn concealed weapons permits, and you'll see cities with far less gun crime.

    It seems paradoxical, but it really isn't.

    Criminals know they can terrorize the law-abiding in cities where gun control is out of control, and that the only legally armed force (the police) are not likely to arrive until well after they've committed their crimes and escaped. Others illegally armed like themselves are unlikely to intervene on behalf of the victims and expose themselves to legal jeopardy.

    Contrast that against a city such as Charlotte or Raleigh (the two cities in North Carolina with the highest population and highest number of concealed carry permits issued) and you will see far less violent crime. Criminals are unsure of who is armed, but most are smart enough to know concealed carry holders can only draw their weapons if life is at risk. As a result, we may have higher strong-arm robberies and property crime, but less gun crime. It is a pragmatic decision criminals have made to keep from dying at the hands of their potential victims.

    If you truly want there to be less violence in Philadelphia, allow your citizens the freedom to defend themselves against petty tyrants both criminal and political. Once upon a time your city didn't have to be told that. Perhaps it is your turn to remind them what they once were, and could be again if the "City of Brotherly Love" only loved its citizens enough to trust them to do the right thing.

    I suspect my letter will fall upon deaf ears.

    Far some, particularly in liberal urban areas, attempting to legislate teh behavior of an inanimate object while at the same time ascribing to it human characteristics (typically those associated with evil or ill intent) is "logical," even as they avoid to making attempts to correct or eliminate the criminal culture responsible for the crime. Instigating firearms bans doesn't work, but it is easy and gives politicians the appearance of caring and of "doing something," even when that appearance is merely a mirage of effectiveness.

    Expect Philadelphia to push an "assault weapons" ban. If passed, don't expect it to save a single life.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:53 AM | Comments (11)

    May 07, 2008

    11 Months?

    A woman can turn a fertilized egg into a human being in nine months. Apparently it takes longer than that to amass enough evidence to bust a weapons dealer.

    A Phoenix gun store raided by federal and state officials Tuesday provided hundreds of assault rifles and other guns to violent drug cartels in Mexico, where such weapons are used in deadly confrontations between rival cartels and against law enforcement officers, officials said.

    The gun store's owner, George Iknadosian, 46, was arrested following the raid, as were two Mexican brothers who authorities say recruited "straw buyers" to go into X Caliber Guns and purchase weapons that would then be trafficked to the drug cartels.

    A "straw purchase" simply involved having someone who can legally purchase a gun do so knowingly for someone who can't legally purchase a gun. In this case, Iknadosian is accused of selling more that 650 AK-pattern rifles to drug cartels through buyers arranged by two legal Mexican immigrants.

    Why, though, did the investigation take eleven months? Conducting a sting on a suspect dealer should take an hour at the most once the targeted dealer is known. It should be readily apparent to any honest dealer that a "strawman" purchase is underway within a few minutes, and if this account is correct, the undercover buyers even indicated the weapons would be shipped to Mexico. There is no apparent ambiguity here.

    Please don't get me wrong—as someone who used to work behind the gun counter myself, I want criminal dealers put away. My concern is that during the course of the 11 months it took to develop a relatively-localized felony into a major international arms-trafficking bust, that other criminals—not officers posing as criminals— may have been able to continue to purchase firearms.

    I certainly hope that this is not the case, and that the ATF wasn't once again putting lives at risk while seeking publicity and funding increases with a high profile bust.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:06 PM | Comments (5)

    May 05, 2008

    Was Hillary Betrayed?

    Over the weekend, The Clinton campaign came under fire for a mailing that attacked Barack Obama's horrific record on guns. The ad was inaccurate—it didn't go nearly far enough in describing the number and kind of firearms Obama would like to see banned—but as Hillary's record is every bit as suspect regarding the ubiquitous and yet poorly misunderstood semi-automatic action, I can understand why should wouldn't want to undercut her own less-than-credible position.

    Almost immediately after that story aired, however, Clinton came under fire for the choice of gun used in the add, a rare Mauser 66 with double-set triggers. Rifles with double-set triggers are rare in the United States, but are a feature more common in Europe. The problem was further compounded by the fact that the image was flipped to show the gun as a left-handed model, and the Mauser 66 was never released as a left-handed gun. The picture therefore portrays a gun that has never been made.

    This is all very amusing for everyone but the Clinton camp, but you have to wonder if the gaffe wasn't a gaffe at all.

    With literally millions of stock photos to choose from "in the wild," including hundreds of thousands of hunting rifle photos, including expensively-produced high-resolution photos that typically would be provided by manufacturers for public relations campaigns, the Clinton campaign "accidentally" ends up with a high resolution image of decades-old rare European firearm for an American political mailer, and compounds that gaffe by flipping the image so that it portrays a gun that was never built?

    I'd like to know very much how that picture was selected for the mailer, who selected it, and why they chose that particular photo to mirror image.

    It could very well be that the mailer is merely the perfect storm of coincidences.

    Or...

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:19 AM | Comments (6)

    April 22, 2008

    ABC News Caught Lying About Guns... Again

    I've really had it with ABC News and Brian Ross.

    Last year in the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre, Ross and the crack staff of The Blotter lied about the effect 1994 Crime Bill as it related to pistol magazines used by the shooter, refused to issue a retraction, and deleted blog comments warning them of how wrong they were while continuing to get basic facts of the case wrong through carelessness.

    Today, Ross and accomplice Richard Esposito continue that fine ABC News tradition of making up the news, in a story claiming that the U.S. Second Amendment is to blame for Mexico's drug cartel problems.

    The deception starts with the picture at the beginning of the article.

    The focus of the story, according to ABC News, is that U.S. dealers of civilian firearms are to blame for Mexico's drug cartels and their violence problems... so why do they highlight an M60 general purpose machine gun, a weapons still in use in Mexico's military, but impossible to find in the open U.S. civilian market?

    From that visual deception, we'll transition to outright lie number one in the text, an attempt to smear the Bush Administration:

    Assault weapons made in China and Eastern Europe, resembling the AK-47, have become widely and cheaply available in the U.S. since Congress and the Bush administration refused to extend a ban on such weapons in 2004.

    AK-pattern rifles were legal to own or import during the entire life of the 1994-2004 "Crime Bill," something that Ross knows for a fact... or should. This claim is a blatant falsehood.

    The only effect of the law was to outlaw the importation or manufacture of certain specific firearms by name, and cosmetic features found on other firearms, without banning their manufacture, important, or purchase once these features were removed or replaced. The result was that the same functioning firearms were imported the day after the "ban" went into effect without a bayonet lug or flashhider, and with a thumbhole stock instead of a pistol grip. Functionally, the weapons were identical, with no reduction in firepower, magazine capacity, controlability, or or lethality. The "Crime Bill" outlawed virtually nothing, and was merely a fig-leaf for anti-gun politicians.

    As for Bush, he was in favor of extending the ban. ABC News failed to get that fact correct, either, even though checking it would have taken less than ten seconds on Google.

    Now, to the second visual deception by ABC News. Once again, this article is about how common U.S. civilian weapons are being used by Mexican drug cartels.

    So why does ABC News insist on displaying highly-restricted SBRs (short-barreled rifles), automatic weapons, what appears to be no less than 4 M-203 grenade launchers, and at least 20 40mm grenades, military hardware not readily available on the civilian market?

    Once again, they post pictures designed to deceive, but we're not quite done with ABC's print deceptions, either.

    The drug cartels' weapons of choice include variants of the AK-47, .50-caliber sniper rifles and a Belgian-made pistol called the 'cop killer' or 'mata policia' because of its ability to pierce a bulletproof vest.

    "It's in high demand by your violent drug cartels, their assassins in Mexico," said Newell of the ATF. The gun can fire a high-powered round used in a rifle. "

    Again, more fiction, aided and abetted by a law enforcement officer that is either incompetent, or who is as dishonest as ABC News.

    The FN Five-seveN (their punctuation, not mine) does not fire rifle bullets as the article claims. It fires a tiny 5.7mm personal defense round designed for light carbines, submachine guns and pistols.

    It is not any more armor-piercing than many other pistol cartridges, and less powerful than all centerfire rifle cartridges. Furthermore for the 5.7 cartridge to be truly armor-piercing, it must fire special ammunition that is only available to military and law enforcement sources.

    There are multiple inaccuracies in this story that display outright incompetence on the part of ABC News, or a willful desire to deceive. Based upon prior performance, the blatantness of the misrepresentations that far surpass simple incompetence, and a pattern of deleting comments that point out their errors in the past, an attempt to willfully defraud ABC News consumers should be inferred in this article until mere incompetence can be proven.

    It may well be true that civilian weapons are making their way across the border into Mexico, but that does not give ABC News the right to manufacture or misrepresent evidence to increase their story's impact.

    Update: Warner Todd Huston notes yet another fabrication in an earlier version of the ABC News story.

    Also made minor edits to the text to further clarify that M60s, SBRs, and machine guns are not readily available on the open market as ABC News implies. Such firearms are heavily regulated under the National Firearms Act.

    Update: Story video here.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:57 PM | Comments (39)

    April 21, 2008

    CCH Help (Last Time, I Swear)

    So back on February 1, I solicited advice from you regarding a good CCH handgun, and after reading your responses, talking to various people I know offline, and hours of scouring the Web for scraps of information, I made a decision.

    Well, that decision lasted all of about two minutes when I went to my local gun shop this past Friday afternoon and asked to owner to place my order. He asked a very simple question

    "So, are you looking for an actual carry pistol, or are you looking for something that will spend most of it's time in the car or at the range?"

    I'd always planned on actually carrying the weapon on my person where allowed, as a concealed lawyer was impractical and of dubious value in the event of a crime. I said the same.

    He asked earnestly, "Can I show you something?"

    He went to the display case, pulled out a variant of the Glock 23 I was thinking of ordering, along with the XD-subcompact that was my second choice, and then proceeded to show me how thick the two guns were both across the slide and through the grip.

    He went on to tell me that both pistols are extremely reliable, but because of their thickness, my body type, and personal style of dress in North Carolina's long summers (flip-flops, shorts, and tee shirts), they will be difficult for me to carry concealed.

    He then pulled out a Kahr CW, which was one of the guns I'd been looking at in my original list of possibilities. It was much, much, more narrow, lighter, and generally far easier to hide than anything else on my list, though single-column magazines are more difficult to seat quickly.

    As a larger alternative (but still not quite as thick as the Glock or XD), the Smith & Wesson M&P Compact has also been lurking in the background. Based in part on things I've read, the first-hand experiences I've heard from a local instructor who carries one, and the two free mags offered with a write-in $50 rebate, it is certainly attractive (and fits my hand well).

    Being honest with myself, I think I'd like the XD and Glock better for range sessions and as a "car gun," but I also know that on quick runs to the grocery or drug store in the middle of the night, I'd be far more likely to grab a smaller, lighter, and more-easy-to-conceal pistol.

    So what would you gun geeks recommend?

    Should I go with the smaller, lighter, and easier to conceal Kahr CW-series, the Smith&Wesson M&P Compact, or should I go with the larger Glock or XD knowing I'm less likely it to carry it on more mundane trips?

    Let me get your pros and cons on these, folks.

    Later this week, one of these is coming home.

    Update: or maybe not this week after all. I took my M1927 to a gunsmith to replace a broken extractor (it crapped out Saturday morning) and it's going to cost more than I thought to replace it, depleting my gun budget.

    Meanwhile... Glenn Reynolds notes that University of Tennessee students are staging an empty holster protest of gun laws today as part of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:40 AM | Comments (13)

    April 16, 2008

    The Fake "Gun Rights Group" Supporting Obama

    ABC News reports that Barack Obama has collected the endorsement of a guns rights group, the American Hunters and Shooters Association:

    "Sen. Obama will be a strong voice an unabashed voice for America's hunters and shooters and it is with great pleasure that we endorse his candidacy," President of the Association Ray Schoenke said, citing Obama's commitment to the traditions of gun ownership.

    Schoenke said they had reached out to the Obama campaign several weeks ago to offer their support – but the announcement wasn't made public until today. Schoenke added that the timing amid the controversy was important.

    "We believe recent attacks on Sen. Obama's stand on the 2nd amendment and his commitment to the hunting and shooting heritages are unfair."

    Actually, it is Obama's record on firearms that is unfair to Americans, but don't expect Ray Schoenke to know much about gun rights, even if the Daily Kos diarist is the President of the American Hunters and Shooters Association (AHSA).

    Schoenke, a failed Democratic candidate for governor of Maryland, has donated thousands to Handgun Control, Inc, a virulent anti-gun organization that was the forerunner of Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence. He has donated tens of thousands more to anti-gun Democratic politicians including Ted Kennedy.

    AHSA executive director Robert Ricker has testified as a paid witness against the gun industry and consults for several anti-gun groups, and John Rosenthal, President of the AHSA Foundation, is a former member of Sarah Brady's Handgun Control, Inc, and is leader of Stop Handgun Violence, a Massachusetts anti-gun group that has contributed to that state's intolerant anti-gun guns.

    Just as Obama's record of claiming he is in favor of the Second Amendment even as he pushes for gun ban is dishonest, so is this endorsement from a trojan horse gun control organization masquerading as a group that respects American's rights to life and liberty.

    Update: SayUncle examined this group earlier this year in greater detail.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 04:05 PM | Comments (14)

    SHOCKER: MSNBC Won't Air "Fake" Anti-Gun Ad

    MSNBC has refused to air a dishonest anti-gun ad:

    The cable network MSNBC has refused to air an advertisement from Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the group created by New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg,on the grounds that the ad is too "controversial."

    The ad, below, features each of the three leading presidential candidates pledging to make it harder to buy guns at gun shows, and images of three mayors urging viewers to call Congress and ask that a bill closing the "gun-show loophole" be passed.

    The ad is airing on CNN and Fox, and on affiliates around the country, a Bloomberg aide said.

    But in an email obtained by Politico, an MSNBC account executive told the group the network wouldn't air the ad.

    "just heard back from legal about your script...unfortunately, we can not accept as it is a controversial issue ad," said the email from the account executive.

    New York's criminal-justice coordinator, John Feinblatt, called MSNBC's decision "amazing.'

    "How could the network call something controversial that all three candidates agree about," he said. "All three cands have called for the gun-show loophole to be closed."

    They can call it controversial because the "gun show loophole" is an urban legend—yes, a myth— that does not exist, even if all three candidates are willing to pander over it in their ignorance.

    Commercial gun dealers have to fill out the same ATF form 4473 and conduct a NICS background check at gun shows as they do in their own shops and retail stores, a fact ignored by the candidates and Bloomberg.

    Individuals selling firearms to other individuals are not required to conduct background checks regardless of their location in many states. Gun shows do not have an exemption.

    Declining to run false advertising should never be controversial, even if it is pushed by a big city mayor with a history of breaking gun laws himself.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:37 AM | Comments (2)

    April 15, 2008

    Lip Service

    Been to Wal-Mart lately?

    If you do go to "Wally World," walk back towards the sporting goods section the next time you visit, and see if there is a gun section. They are slowing disappearing in some stores, and those that that remain stock "bread and butter" firearms, mostly bolt-action centerfire rifles, .22 rifles of various actions and 20-gauge and 12-gauge shotguns of single-shot, pump, and semi-auto varieties. There isn't much there to get a shooting enthusiast excited, or much in stock that would likely be described as the kind of firearm a felon would prefer.

    That however, has not kept gun-grabbing mayor Mike Bloomburg from making a big deal of an agreement between his group Mayors Against Illegal Guns and the retail giant, an agreement that looks good on paper, but will have very little significant in impacting the flow of guns into criminal hands.

    Why?

    Criminals prefer firearms that are concealable, well-made, and of large caliber, but will settle for concealable, and handguns tend to fill that need. According to government statistics, rifles are used in just 3-percent of murders, and shotguns just 5-percent.

    Of the "top ten" most commonly traced firearms in crimes (according to that same government report), seven are cheaply-made, small-caliber handguns, two are ubiquitous 9mm service pistols common among police, civilian shooters, and criminals, and just one is a long-arm of any kind.

    Wal-Mart does not sell handguns, stocking only rifles and shotguns, and therefore this agreement, while somewhat interesting from the point of view of speculating why the retail giant might capitulate to Bloomberg's wishes (trying to get into the City where they haven't previously been allowed, no doubt), will have virtually no discernible impact in fighting gun crime.

    This makes a nice press conference for the man who would consider running for president, but doesn't amount to anything of significance.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:35 AM | Comments (8)

    April 04, 2008

    Dear Shrieking British Media Harpies...

    The bulletproof hoodie that has so many of you up in arms today is more than likely a cynical fraud by a company that obviously knows how to play up the easily excitable U.K. press, but who doesn't have much of a chance of following through with a product that can do what they claim.

    According to the company's web site:

    Bladerunner have now created " The Defender Hoodie " which is BULLET PROOF throughout the main body area.

    This Hoodie is rugged and tough just like a normal Hoodie but this one has a removable Inner Shell that gives you Balistic Security at Level NIJ STD 0101.04

    Number 1: Never trust your "Balistic Security" to a bunch of over-zealous fashion designers that can't spell "ballistic."

    Number 2: There is no such thing as "bullet proof," just bullet resistant, a fact that any responsible armor designer will tell you that Bladerunner blows right past in a bit of self-promoting puffery.

    Number 3: NIJ STD 0101.04 is not an armor level. It is a testing specification published by the U.S. Department of Justice's National Institute of Justice to determine the classes or types of armor protection.

    Type I body armor--which I suspect the "bulletproof hoodie" will be if it meets any NIJ standards at all--will only stop low-velocity ammunition, and is generally regarded as being obsolete for all practice purposes. Types IIA, II, and IIIA provide increasing resistance to penetration from handgun bullets.

    Types III and IV are designed to protect against rifle rounds.

    Of course, if the edgy fashion designers at Bladerunner want to put their products up for real-world testing, I can easily find some police officers and civilian shooting instructors here in the United States that would enjoy helping test these claims with common .22LR, 9mm, .38 Special, 40 S&W, .45ACP and .357 Magnum ammunition.

    My email address is in the right column of this page under "email me." I look forward to hearing from you.

    Via Ace, who isn't buying this, either.

    Update: I sent Bladerunner an email leading them back to this blog post. Barry Samms of Bladerunner responded via email with a curt "who are you to be calling me a fraud, I suggest you choose your words a bit wiser before emailing us."

    I suppose that was meant to be intimidating, but you'll note he didn't refute a single point I made, nor did he seem willing to offer his product up for real-world testing.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:27 PM | Comments (10)

    March 25, 2008

    Would You Please Invite Big Brother In?

    Via Instapundit, an attempt by the Washington, D.C. Police to convince residents to allow officers into their homes for voluntary gun searches.

    A crackdown on guns is meeting some resistance in the District.

    Police are asking residents to submit to voluntary searches in exchange for amnesty under the District's gun ban. They passed out fliers requesting cooperation on Monday.

    The program will begin in a couple of weeks in the Washington Highlands neighborhood of southeast Washington and will later expand to other neighborhoods. Officers will go door to door asking residents for permission to search their homes.

    Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said the "safe homes initiative" is aimed at residents who want to cooperate with police. She gave the example of parents or grandparents who know or suspect their children have guns in the home.

    If "safe homes" were the actual goal of the program, then perhaps residences that were searched and found to be without firearms would be provided with suitable defensive weaponry and an offer of free training from teh D.C. police. Of course, the program isn't about safety, but is instead a last desperate bid by the District of Columbia to disarm their citizenry in advance of the expected verdict of the U.S. Supreme Court in the Heller case.

    It's an attempt at fascism, but at least it is polite fascism.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:59 AM | Comments (10)

    March 21, 2008

    Still Flogging the False War-Related Ammo Shortage

    Jeff Quinton alerted me to this story online at Baltimore Radio station WBAL earlier this week, and still online:

    Quartermasters with the Baltimore County Police Department became aware of a higher demand on ammunition as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and planned accordingly.

    Bill Toohey with the department says their supplier was giving the priority to military ammo and it was difficult to get "day to day" bullets.

    Toohey says as a result they switched suppliers who is not so dependent on military contracts. He says they also purchased a nine month supply of bullets instead of the usual six month supply. "At the moment we have more than enough to get us through so if there is a problem we have some pad to fall back on," says Toohey.

    The Sheriff in Washington County and police chief in Hagerstown say in addition to have a shortage of ammo for their agencies they are also paying more for bullets.

    Toohey says the cost of bullets has also gone up in Baltimore County. He tells WBAL Radio that they were spending $209 dollars per one-thousand bullets that the officer's use now the county pays $278 per thousand. "But again they saw this coming and built it into the budget," says Toohey.

    The problem with this story? It is unequivocally false, as was the original Associated Press article that first made a similar claim last summer.

    If Wikipedia is correct, the BCPD uses the Sigarms SIG Pro 2340 as their primary sidearm, a firearm that does not use the 9mm NATO pistol cartridge used by our military. It is therefore false to claim that that any ammunition shortage of this caliber of bullets is due to military usage.

    The same Wikipedia entry notes that for backing up the SIG Pro, the Remington 870 pump-action 12-gauge shotgun plays a secondary role. 12 gauge-shotguns, while used by the military for specific roles (typically door-beaching, CQB, and guarding prisoners), is used in far fewer numbers than the M16/M4 weapons systems. Claiming that a war-related shortage of ammunition affects the BCPD shotguns is also false.

    The only possible firearm cartridge used by the BCPD that could conceivably be impacted by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are the .223 or 5.56x45 NATO round used by the relatively few BCPD officers issued M16 or M4-type firearms.

    But this claim is also untrue.

    As I noted in great detail on my post of August 20, 2007, the ammunition factories and production lines that supply our military are completely separate from the ammunition factories and production lines that supply ammunition to police and the general public.

    After speaking with spokesmen from three of the largest ammunition manufacturers in the United States, it became clear that the primary cause of the shortage of ammunition for police departments was the direct result of increased consumption by police departments.

    Police departments (and civilians) are purchasing more .223 Remington/5.56-caliber firearms, particularly military-style carbines.

    Once purchased, police officers much train to acquire and maintain their proficiency with these weapons, and it is the increased consumption of ammunition by police that is most directly responsible for their own ammunition shortages, as manufacturers we unable to catch up with increased police demand.

    Another cause of the shortage is increased demand in developing nations for raw materials used in cartridge manufacturing, particularly brass and lead.

    What... you think that China was able to produce all the lead for their toy industry internally? No, they purchase those materials on the global market, including the United States, which drives up raw material prices.

    Sadly, though Jeff Quinton addressed the factual inaccuracies of the story yesterday morning, and I contacted both the BCPD and WBAL's newsroom shortly afterward to retract their false story (after providing them with the names of contacts of the three largest military and civilian ammunition manufacturers, Brian Grace of ATK Corporate Communications, Michael Shovel, National Sales Manager for CORBON/Glaser, and Michael Haugen, Manager of the Military Products Division for Remington Arms Company Inc), the news outlet seems less than interested in discovering the facts than in pushing a poorly-sourced story that relies on police quartermasters, men in no position to have direct knowledge of why demand has risen.

    WBAL's newsroom seems far more interested in taking the lazy way out than practicing professional journalism. If you would like to ask WBAL to retract this demonstrably false story, you can contact them here.

    Be polite, and perhaps we can make sure they stay on target in the future.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:29 AM | Comments (6)

    March 18, 2008

    Reasonably Disarmed

    Heller v. District of Columbia goes to the Supreme Court today, as a group of Washington, D.C. residents contend that the ban on operable firearms inside homes in the District of Columbia—including an outright ban on handguns not registered prior to 1976—violates the Second Amendment and is unconstitutional.

    Robert A. Levy, co-counsel to Heller has an op-ed posted in today's Boston Globe that highlights the correct individual rights argument.

    Predictably, the editorial board of the New York Times has an op-ed of their own against the individual rights perspective, which they seem to feel applies to the First Amendment, but not the Second.

    They write, quote dishonestly:

    Today the Supreme Court will hear arguments in a politically charged challenge to the District of Columbia's gun control laws. The case poses a vital question: can cities impose reasonable controls on guns to protect their citizens? The court should rule that they can.

    The District of Columbia, which has one of the nation’s highest crime rates, banned private ownership of handguns. Rifles and shotguns were permitted, if kept disassembled or under an easily removed trigger lock. It is a reasonable law, far from the ban that some anti-gun-control advocates depict.

    What is "reasonable" about a law that turns a homeowner into a felon the moment he takes a trigger lock off his firearm (including rifles or shotguns) and loads it during a home invasion to protect his family? The Times refuses to address the obvious unfairness of this law, and the fact that it completely precludes any legal armed self defense, even during the most violent of crimes.

    As you might expect from the Times, they follow one deception with another.

    The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the law violates the Second Amendment, which states: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." The decision broke with the great majority of federal courts that have examined the issue, including the Supreme Court in 1939. Those courts have held that the constitutional right to bear arms is tied to service in a militia, and is not an individual right.

    The 1939 case in questions is of course, United States vs. Miller in which a pair of bootleggers were arrested for transporting a sawed-off shotgun in violation of the National Firearms Act of 1934, which required certain firearms to be registered and a $200 transfer tax be paid every time an NFA firearm was transferred. The two men were charged for not paying the $200 tax on the the shortened shotgun. Neither of the bootleggers nor their defense showed up for the Supreme Court case, as Miller had been killed by that time, and the other defendant, Layton, accepted a plea bargain.

    In reality, Miller is a very murky ruling, having been cited by both gun control advocates and gun rights advocates alike. Far from being a pro-gun control case, Miller is inconclusive at best, which the Times dishonestly and purposefully overlooks.

    They continue:

    The appeals court made two mistakes. First, it inflated the Second Amendment into a sweeping right to own guns, virtually without restriction or regulation. Defenders of gun rights argue that if the Supreme Court sticks with the interpretation of the Second Amendment that it sketched out in 1939, it will be eviscerating the right to own a gun, but that is not so. Americans have significant rights to own and carry guns, but the scope of those rights is set by federal, state and local laws.

    The second mistake that the appeals court made — one that many supporters of gun rights may concede — was its unduly narrow view of what constitutes a "reasonable" law. The court insisted that its interpretation of the Second Amendment still leaves room for government to impose "reasonable" gun regulations. If so, it is hard to see why it rejected Washington's rules.

    Again, only at the Times could they attempt support a law that completely outlaws the use of a firearm as a firearm as a "reasonable" restriction.

    Perhaps if the District of Columbia ruled that their citizens had the right to own a printing press"or today, a computer printer"but required it to be kept disassembled or locked up, and made it illegal to either load it with paper or ink, then the Times might change their tune.

    That, of course would require far more intellectual honesty than exists at the Times, and it seems that putting truly innocent people at risk to the whims of criminals does not weigh heavily on their souls.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:00 AM | Comments (14)

    March 14, 2008

    And This Is Why You Do Your Own Research...

    You have to enjoy this bit of information in a Reuters story today by Daniel Trotta, where he simply parrots a claim made by anonymous police (my bold):

    Interstate 95, which runs up the U.S. East Coast, is known to cops as the "Iron Pipeline" -- the conduit of choice for gun smugglers to move their hardware from the southern United States to New York city.

    With formidable opponents in the gun manufacturers and gun owners, national politicians do little to stop this traffic, leaving gun control largely in the hands of local leaders.

    "Where is the outrage in this country? Well, mayors see it," said New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. "We're the ones who have to go to the funerals. We're the ones that have to look somebody in the eye and say your spouse or your parent or your child is not going to come home."

    Since Bloomberg became mayor in 2002, every gun homicide in the city -- including the killing of eight police officers -- has been committed with an illegal gun, police say.

    The claim is false, and took me less time to prove than it took to write this sentence.

    The following homicides were committed with legal police firearms since Bloomberg became Mayor:

    • On May 22, 2003, 43-year old Ousmane Zongo, an immigrant from Burkina Faso, was shot four times by Police Officer Bryan Conroy in a Chelsea warehouse. In 2005, Conroy was found guilty of criminally negligent homicide and sentenced to 5 years probation. In 2006, the city awarded the Zongo family $3 million to settle a wrongful death suit.
    • On January 24, 2004, Housing Bureau officer Richard Neri, Jr. accidentally shot to death Timothy Stansbury, a 19-year-old black man who was trespassing on the roof landing of a Bedford-Stuyvesant housing project. Stansbury was unarmed but had apparently startled Neri upon opening the roof door coming upon the officer. At that point, Neri discharged his service firearm and mortally wounded Stansbury. Although Commissioner Kelly stated that the shooting appeared "unjustified", a Brooklyn jury found that no criminal act occurred and that the event was a tragic accident. Neri was thus cleared of all charges.[35] The city later agreed to pay $2 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the Stansbury family. A grand jury declined to indict Neri but Kelly later suspended him for 30 days without pay and permanently stripped him of his weapon.
    • On November 25, 2006, plainclothes police officers shot and killed Sean Bell and wounded two of his companions, one critically, outside of the Kalua Cabaret in Queens. No weapon was recovered.[37] According to the police, Bell rammed his vehicle into an undercover officer and hit an unmarked NYPD minivan twice, prompting undercover officers to fire fifty rounds into Bell's car. A bullet piercing the nearby AirTrain JFK facility startled two Port Authority patrolmen stationed there. [38] An undercover officer claims he heard one of the unarmed man's companions threaten to get his gun to settle a fight with another individual.
    • On November 12, 2007, five NYPD police officers shot and killed 18-year-old Khiel Coppin. The officers responded to a 911 call where Coppin could be heard saying he had a gun. When the officers arrived at the scene, Khiel approached officers with a black object, which was later identified as a hairbrush, in his hand and repeatedly ignored orders to stop. This prompted officers to open fire at Coppin. Of the 20 shots fired, 8 hit Khiel, who died at the scene. This shooting has been ruled to be with both NYPD rules for the use of deadly force and the New York State Penal Law provisions, so no charges, criminal or administrative, will be filed against these officers.

    It took my about 15 seconds to pull that information from Wikipedia, citing homicides committed with NYPD-issued (and therefore, presumably legal) firearms.

    New York also has hundreds of homicides per year and shotguns and rifles are not illegal to buy, sell, or own within city limits, so even the claim that civilian homicides are all performed with illegally-owned firearms is also very suspect.

    There is also the pesky little problem that not all firearms used in homicides are recovered, making it impossible to tell if the firearm used was illegally or legally owned.

    Nice job vetting your story, Reuters. You're great stenographers, even if you aren't very good journalists.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:51 PM | Comments (14)

    March 13, 2008

    UNC Murder Suspect Also a Duke Murder Suspect

    From WRAL:

    A teen arrested in the death of a University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill student has also been charged in connection with the death of a Duke University graduate student.

    Lawrence Alvin Lovette Jr., 17, of 1213 Shepherd St., was arrested Thursday morning and charged with murder in UNC Student Body President Eve Carson's March 5 death. Authorities also charged him in connection with the January shooting death of Duke student Abhijit Mahato.

    I'd like to know if investigators intend to ask Lovette and fellow Eve Carson murder suspect Demario James Atwater why they targeted college students.

    Think it had anything to do with the strong suspicion that their victims would be unarmed?

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:13 PM | Comments (45)

    March 12, 2008

    NC State: Gun-Free School Zone Not So Gun Free

    I see N.C. State's new $250,000 WolfAlert system is having an effect on campus crime.

    Or not:

    Police at North Carolina State University are being especially alert after two armed robberies in two days, and they are urging the university community to do the same.

    Investigators said one victim, a graduate student, was leaving a building on the Centennial Campus when two men armed with a handgun demanded his wallet late Tuesday afternoon.

    Two male students told police they were near 2110 Avent Ferry Road at about 9 p.m.Monday when a man wearing a mask and armed with a knife robbed them.

    In a chilling near parallel to the recent murder of UNC student body president Eve Carson, NCSU student Natasha Herting (running for student body president) and her roommates were victimized in an break-in of their off-campus apartment, leaving her to state:

    "It was really scary just to think that you have no control – that someone could be in your apartment and you have four girls alone," she said.

    The statement, of course is false. Four girls share that apartment, but they do have the legal option to assert control over the situation, even if they lack the inclination to assert that right.

    Like everyone in North Carolina over the age of 18 who does not have a criminal or mental health record, Herting has the legal right—and one may argue, moral responsibility—to provide for her own safety by obtaining a firearm, learning to use it, and learning North Carolina's self defense laws.

    As she and her roommates live in an off-campus apartment and are not subject to the restrictions of university-wide gun free free-crime zones, she very well could put herself in a position where at least she has some control over threats to her life.

    Students on campus, unfortunately do not have such an option, a fact that criminals are are too well aware of.

    Update: Durham police have detained a "person of intrest" in the Eve Carson murder case. The WTVD story is here.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:41 AM | Comments (22)

    Reuters: Gun Owners "Not Just Urban Criminals and Drug Dealers"

    Thanks clearing that up, as I was a bit confused.

    The American affinity for guns may puzzle foreigners who link high ownership rates and liberal gun ownership laws to the 84 gun deaths and 34 gun homicides that occur in the United States each day and wonder why gun control is not an issue in the U.S. presidential election.

    The owners are not just urban criminals and drug dealers. There are hunters and home security advocates, and then there are the gun collectors.

    Not that it matters, but Reuter's reporter Tim Gaynor interviewed two men from Douglas, Arizona in this article, Alex Black and fellow gun collector Lynn Kartchner. For whatever reason, Gaynor neglects to mention in the article that Kartchner is not just a collector, but a gun shop owner, though that fact emerges in the caption of a story-related photo.

    Perhaps ironically, another photo that was shot for the story shows a customer in a Cabela's store in Forth Worth, Texas, features Cabela's salesperson Larry Allen showing a customer a handgun.

    The firearm in question? A Taurus revolver marketed as "The Judge" which gained it's name according to Taurus, "because of the number of judges who carry it into the courtroom for their protection."

    The judges that prefer this revolver, presumably, are not just urban criminals and drug dealers.

    Update: I would probably be remiss not to mention that like the author, I too, would like to see gun control advocacy made an issue in the 2008 presidential election.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:05 AM | Comments (26)

    March 07, 2008

    Up-Gunning The Campus Police

    The story is a couple of days old, but should echo across campuses nationwide: University police are getting patrol carbines in Arizona:

    Police departments at Arizona's three universities plan to arm their officers with military-style assault rifles within the next year, officials said Tuesday.

    The new rifles would give campus police officers long-range shooting capabilities, allowing them to hit targets at the end of long hallways or atop tall buildings, officials said.

    Arizona State University will be the first of the three schools to use the weapons. Officers there will be trained to use the rifles in the next few months, said ASU police spokesman Cmdr. Jim Hardina.

    Officers will undergo 40 hours of training before using the weapons.

    "We don't want to just throw rifles out there," Hardina said.

    Eight officers at the University of Arizona will get similar training before a rifle program launches there in four to five months, officials said. Northern Arizona University officials said a rifle program was in the works, although a specific start date was not immediately available.

    The precise firearms in question are semi-automatic Bushmaster carbines equipped with EOTech holographic optical sights, vertical foregrips and tactical lights, as shown in this article by Matt Culbertson of ASU Web Devil. As equipped, the firearms are well-suited for clearing buildings, which would probably be the most likely scenario to which they wold be deployed, in the event of the tragic situations like those at NIU and Virginia Tech.

    This is a development that more college and university police forces should emulate.

    While most full-time university police forces already arm their officers with handguns, the inherent accuracy and effective range of a carbine such as those purchased for use by ASU officers would both increase the range at which officers could engage threats in extreme situations, and also increase the likelihood of any shots fired finding their preferred targets.

    Missed shots typically mean that more rounds have to be fired to end a threat, and each additional shot—particularly those shots that miss the target and continue downrange as the laws of physics require—increases the odds of innocent students, faculty, or staff members stopping a bullet.

    It will be interesting to see if this idea radiates out to other university police departments.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:29 PM | Comments (36)

    March 05, 2008

    Down to One

    A little over a month ago, shortly before taking my concealed carry class here in North Carolina, I put up a post asking for advice on a carry gun, something small enough to carry concealed, but large enough to shoot accurately without discomfort.

    What I learned during the class is that getting a concealed lawyer was perhaps my best bet, "if I could only find one small enough to shove in a holster.”

    As that wasn't practical, I was back once again to deciding on a sidearm.

    After a lot of Internet research, and talking to fellow shooters, I'd narrowed down my choices to three sidearms: the Smith & Wesson M&P Compact, the Springfield Armory XD, and the Glock 23, all in 40 S&W caliber.

    I went with the 40 S&W as a compromise between the higher magazine capacity of 9mm pistols and the bigger hole of the a .45 ACP.

    I liked the subcompacts from Springfield Armory and Glock, but didn't like the shorter sight radius or the fact that my pinky finger curled under the magazine. I also realized that because of my lifestyle, a slightly larger gun was not a limitation in where I could carry. The Smith, while an interesting design and a handgun that fit my hand very well, was simply too new of a design for me to feel comfortable staking my life on.

    So it was down to the service model Springfield XD and the Glock 23, and from there, it was simply a matter of what fit my hand best, and which might be cheaper to shoot.

    The winner?

    Both the Glock and the XD fit my hand well, and in the end, the availability of a .22-caliber conversion kit sealed the deal in favor of the Glock 23.

    While the addition of a conversion kit means more initial capital outlay, it also means that I can afford to practice far more frequently over the long term, an important consideration for a shooter on a budget. To be honest, if the XD had a reliable conversion kit available, I probably would have selected it, as it fit my hand just as well and I would have preferred the XDs fully-supported chamber.

    Thoughts?

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:10 PM | Comments (22)

    March 04, 2008

    App State Student Fakes Campus Gunman and Shuts Down Entire University to Cover Up Broken Door He Didn't Want to Pay For

    After the shootings at Virginia Tech and NIU, why not scare the crap out of everyone and shut down campus because you don't want to cough up a few bucks for a door you broke?

    Matthew Haney did.

    An Appalachian State University student who said he saw a gunman — setting off a campus-wide lock down Monday — made up the story, police said Tuesday.

    Matthew Haney, from Durham, said he saw an armed man trying to steal his TV, but investigators said he lied. His apartment door was broken, and investigators said they believe he didn't want to report it to the management company.

    That's Matthew Haney, of Durham, North Carolina, for all you future employers.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:23 PM | Comments (1)

    March 03, 2008

    Grandma's Got a Gun

    In rural parts of the country, it happens from time to time; a person appears uninvited on someone's property, and the landowner tells them that "elsewhere" is a better place to be. Typically these confrontations are benign in nature, even when on occasion either the property owner or the trespasser turns out to be armed.

    Such was the case in Texas this past weekend when a Danish reporter wandered into the yard of an elderly Texas woman, and she shooed him off, a gun apparently in hand.

    CNN's Ed Henry made quite a big deal out of the incident, promoting it as a near "international incident" writing in the lede that the Dane came "this close to getting shot."

    He characterized the confrontation this way.

    "I was just so occupied dictating my story that I didn't really see where I went," Svensson told me later. "I was just walking and talking."

    What Svensson didn't realize was that he had stopped walking a couple hundred feet away, on the front lawn of an elderly woman. An elderly woman who looked through her window and didn't like that a strange man was standing outside her house. An elderly woman who had, um, a gun.

    Next thing you know the woman is outside, no more than a few dozen feet from the journalist, demanding that he leave. "Suddenly she comes out and she says, 'Get off my property. You're trespassing,'" recalled Svensson.

    Svensson was too preoccupied to notice the pistol, and was not aware that Texas law gives homeowners leeway on using a weapon when someone is trespassing on your property. All of us journalists across the street were too far away to see the pistol at first, until a Danish photographer with a telephoto lens announced to a bunch of us that there was indeed a weapon in the elderly woman's right hand.

    Henry, of course, had no way of knowing if the journalist was actually in any danger, and he apparently was not. The citizen's interaction with the reporter seemed to have been limited to verbally warning the reporter off her property. She never raised the weapon or pointed it at the Danish journalist, and the one photo of the incident shows that the firearm was pointed at the ground. The journalist reported that he didn't even see a weapon when told to leave, according to Henry's own account.

    And so it seems shocking to Henry that an elderly person has the right to be armed when confronting someone trespassing on their property, not knowing if the person wandering towards their door is a wayward Danish journalist, a petty thief, or someone with much darker intentions towards a seemingly frail victim.

    That an elderly woman in a rural area warning off an intruder had the common sense to arm herself in case the intruder's intentions were something more than an innocent mistake never crossed his mind.

    But, Henry, apparently, had the story he wanted. That being armed is a prudent decision for some in certain circumstances never crossed his mind.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:24 PM | Comments (4)

    February 28, 2008

    Who Benefits? Iraqis to Trade AKs for M16s

    An iffy idea in the making, as published in Military.com:

    In a move that could be the most enduring imprint of U.S. influence in the Arab world, American military officials in Baghdad have begun a crash program to outfit the entire Iraqi army with M-16 rifles.

    The initiative marks a sharp break for a culture steeped in the traditions of the Soviet-era AK-47 Kalashnikov assault rifle, a symbol of revolutionary zeal and third-world simplicity that is ubiquitous among the militaries of the Middle East.

    "We in the U.S. know that the M-16 is superior to the AK ... it's more durable," said Army Col. Stephen Scott, who's in charge of helping the Iraqi army get all the equipment it needs to outfit its forces.

    "The Iraqis have embraced that ... and the fact that it is U.S. manufactured and supplied. They are very big on U.S.-produced [foreign military sales] materials," he said in an interview with military bloggers this month.

    So far, the U.S. military has helped the Iraqi army purchase 43,000 rifles - a mix of full-stock M-16A2s and compact M-4 carbines. Another 50,000 rifles are currently on order, and the objective is to outfit the entire Iraqi army with 165,000 American rifles in a one-for-one replacement of the AK-47.

    "Our goal is to give every Iraqi soldier an M-16A2 or an M-4," Scott said. "And as the Iraqi army grows, we will adjust."

    My immediate response upon reading this is simple: which defense contractor most benefits from this deal, and how much did they pay to make it happen?

    I don't know if that is a fair question to ask, but I'm being as honest as I know how: transitioning the Iraqi military to the M16/M4 family of weapons has all the hallmarks of creating or exacerbating a problem, not solving one.

    Why?

    While I hate to disagree with Col. Scott, stating that the M16 is a more "durable" weapons system than the AK verges upon being an outright lie.

    As a matter of fact, the M4 variant of the M16 finished dead last in a recent U.S. Army Small Arms reliability test in an environment that was designed to test the weapons in a heavy dust environment... an environment very much like Iraq. The M4 finished behind the XM8, Mk16 SCAR-L, and HK416—weapons systems developed precisely because the U.S. military want a more reliable weapons system than the M16/M4.

    The M16/M4 that the military is passing on to the Iraqis has a hard time functioning even when in the hands of American soldiers who are trained to practice rigorous weapons maintenance. The Iraqi military and police forces, which have come to trust the AK's ability to function in almost any environment and despite shoddy maintenance, are going to be in for a rude, and for some, unfortunately fatal learning experience as a result.

    While the M16/M4 has some benefits over the AK, such as accuracy, and weapons commonality between U.S. and Iraqi forces would ease logistical concerns, this sounds like a political move as much as anything, which brings me back to my initial question—who benefits from this, financially?

    Did Colt or FN (our primary M16/M4 suppliers) do any lobbying for this arrangement?

    I hate to be suspicious over motivations, but the pros of going for shared small arms commonality and logistics doesn't quite seem to be as strong or stronger than staying with a weapons system that the Iraqis already know and understand, and is proven to work in their environment.

    If aging AKs are the issue, it would seem to make far more sense to simply supply them with new AKs... would it not?

    Tell me I'm wrong, folks. I want to believe this is more than a backroom deal.

    Update: Uh-oh:

    Colt had relied on a series of lobbyists in Washington, but now Keys, a decorated veteran who played an important role in the 1991 Gulf War, has taken on more of those responsibilities himself.

    "I knew a lot of guys up on the Hill," he said, referring to Congress. Among those is Rep. John Murtha, the powerful Pennsylvanian who is the highest-ranking Democrat on the House defense appropriations subcommittee.

    Keys' uncle, Thomas Morgan, also represented western Pennsylvania in the House and served as mentor to Murtha when he first arrived in Congress in 1974.

    "You couldn't have a better guy than him, with his experience," Murtha said of Keys. "When he tells you something, you can take it to the bank. No matter how good a lobbyist is, talking to the president of the company means more."

    Rep. John B. Larson, D-1st District, recently brought Murtha to the Hartford area to meet with local defense contractors. Keys and Murtha clearly had a strong rapport, he said.

    Since 1994, Colt Defense has had a series of contracts with the U.S. military for its M4 carbine rifle, a version of the venerable M16 with a shorter barrel that advocates say has proven useful in urban fighting in Iraq.

    Colt has been pushing to supply more for American troops at war, homeland security operations and U.S. allies around the globe.

    "Right now, Colt is in a better position that they were a year or two ago," said Dean Lockwood, an industry analyst with Forecast International in Newtown. "They seem a lot more focused on what their goals are."

    A "smoking gun" by no means, this relationship between M16/M4 manufacturer Colt's President and John Murtha is at least enough to raise eyebrows.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:32 PM | Comments (76)

    February 27, 2008

    Waiting to Die

    Growing a new culture of victims.

    An armed man who burst into a classroom at Elizabeth City State University was role-playing in an emergency response drill, but neither the students nor assistant professor Jingbin Wang knew that.

    "I was prepared to die at that moment," Wang said Tuesday.

    The Friday drill, in which a mock gunman threatened panicked students in the American foreign policy class with death, prompted university officials to apologize this week to Wang and offer counseling to faculty and students.

    Anthony Brown, vice chancellor for student affairs, said the university was testing its response to shootings of the sort that have shaken campuses around the country. "The intent was not to frighten them but to test our system and also to test the response of the security that was on campus and the people that were notified," Brown said.

    The mock assailant—a campus police officer—quickly established control over the classroom, and the students did exactly as he demanded until the drill was over and police rushed in to "subdue" the attacker.

    After the ordeal, some students stated that they were prepared to jump out classroom windows. The instructor said he was "prepared to die."

    And yet, even after the recent slaughters at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University, none of the students reported that they were preparing to fight for survival, or that they had thoughts of actively defending themselves and their classmates.

    Have we completely breed the violence of self-preservation out of this generation?

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 05:35 AM | Comments (34)

    February 20, 2008

    The Media's Newest Manufactured Gun Controversy

    Back in 1986, Time and other news organizations attempted to whip up hysteria about a new firearm on the market, the Glock 17, attempting to state that it could pass easily though airport metal detectors, and therefore become a favored weapon for terrorists or hijackers:

    Noel Koch, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, recently left his Pentagon office toting an overnight bag and rode to Washington's National Airport. Koch breezed through three airport metal detectors and into the departure lounge. That was as far as he planned to go. Inside his carry-on bag, Koch had concealed a 9-mm handgun that weighs only 23 oz. and is made partly of superhardened plastic. When disassembled, the Austrian-made weapon, known as the Glock 17, does not look like a firearm. Only its barrel, slide and springs, which are metal, show up on airport scanners. The polymer handgrip, trigger guard and ammunition clip that complete its profile as a gun do not set off the security devices.

    High-technology weapons have created a terrifying dilemma for airport officials in their war against terrorists. Already, new guns made entirely of plastic are being developed. Easily concealable handguns like the Glock, along with hard-to-detect components for putty-like explosives that are also readily available, give air pirates an edge that officials are finding increasingly difficult to counter.

    The manufactured Glock hysteria was of course false; the barrel, slide, sights, and of course the pistol cartridges themselves are made of dense metals, and the promised "new guns made entirely of plastic" have never materialized on the consumer market.

    Yesterday I ran across another attempt to create a false hysteria, this time about painted guns.

    Yes, really.

    The CNN.com video story from affiliate KPNX reporter Brahim Resnik in Phoenix warns about the evils of painted guns, specifically firearms they state are painted like children's toys. The reporter gets support from Bryan Soller of the Arizona Fraternal Order of Police.

    "Somebody points it at an officer, and he hesitates, at which point he could get shot, or worse, the officer could react and take the life of a child..."

    The reporter then keys in on Jims Gun Supply, one of dozens, if not hundreds, of retailers that offers Duracoat a firearms refinishing paint that comes in almost any color, and is typically used to refinish firearms, providing a self-lubricating, durable finish that provides rust-protection, camouflage and/or a custom look.

    The story opens by focusing on a "Hello Kitty" themed AK-pattern rifle in pink and black, and then shows a picture of the company web site's photo page, and then going on to assert that "But the larger worry is that children being drawn to candy-cane colors..."

    The story then transitions to a teacher, who states, "Just being a teacher, any child would think that was a toy..."

    The story, just 63 seconds long, ends with a voiceover by what appears to be the same AZFOP official featured earlier in the report.

    "Apparently it is legal. It's frightening to law enforcement."

    The obvious point of the story is to frighten parents into thinking that their children could easily come across a real weapon that they think is a toy, and that law enforcement officers could either kill a child carrying a Durocoated firearm, or be shot by a criminal armed with one. Is is a story that manufactures a controversy out of a nonexistent problem.

    Duracoat is primarily purchased by law enforcement and military customers, but it has a growing following among hunters (who typically prefer matte or camouflage) and sport shooters (who sometimes select bold color schemes) and others that want a unique look for their firearms.

    This manufactured controversy is not new. New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg gave it a go in 2006, and the newspapers treated him like the idiot he was (PDF).

    Common sense goes a long way towards debunking this story, but as we know, that is all too often in short supply in our country's media. Let's take this story apart, focusing on the two main claims.

    Brightly-painted Durocoated firearms are a threat to children.
    If you bother to Google Durocoat and have any knowledge of the kinds of firearms you'll typically see receiving a professionally applied Durocoat finish, you'll quickly note that while any firearm can be Durocoated, the overwhelming majority of those featured are firearms that cost hundreds or thousands of dollars even before being Durocoated.

    People who care that much about their firearms are not going to leave them laying around for children to find as the story falsely implies. After that much of an investment in the base firearm and the additional cost of having ti professionally refinished, owners will typically secured these firearms in gun safes or make sure they are otherwise protected, as would be any expensive investment.

    There are precisely zero documented incidents of a child finding a Durocoated firearm and playing with one, or of law enforcement officers firing up a child carry a Durocoated weapon.

    A far more common and realistic threat
    We do know, though, that parents buy their children hundreds of thousands of airsoft guns every year, firearms that often are to the naked eye nearly exact copies of real firearms.

    Can you spot the difference?

    Other than a plastic or painted orange tip on many models, these firearms found commonly at retail outlets and sold by the dozens to suburban children are the same size, weight, and shape of real firearms, have realistic actions and moving parts, and can be had as cheaply as $25, or less.

    In far wider circulation that Durocoated firearms, these fake weapons are far more likely to be encountered by police, or used by criminals without easy access to real firearms, but who can purchase a plastic copy and a can of black spray paint to cover the orange cover without any problems at all.

    And yes they have been used in crime... by children and adults as well. Both of these linked incidents came with in the past two weeks, but the reporter would rather focus on an unlikely potential tragedy that has never apparently occurred.

    Brightly-painted Durocoated firearms are a threat to police.
    If realistic airsoft guns—one of the most sought-after Christmas gifts in 2007— aren't filling our nation's morgues with the bodies of children mistaken for thugs by our law enforcement agencies, why are Durocoated firearms—even those with bright colors and odd color schemes—a greater threat?

    When I was a child (and going back generations), cap guns that looked and sounded almost exactly like real firearms were commonplace as a staple of a young man's toy box.

    Likewise, criminals have been modifying firearms for years for various reasons, including spray painting them to look like children's toys, for many years. I even recall seeing an episode of COPS (or perhaps a show like it) where a pump shotgun recovered in a gang raid had been spray-painted to look like a SuperSoaker water gun, complete with an empty soda bottle on top faking the water tank.

    There are millions of fake guns that look real, and it is easy for a criminal to conceal a weapon, make a real gun look fake, or even disguise it as another object entirely.

    How do law enforcement officers deal with such an issue? Despite the hysteria assisted by Bryan Soller of the Arizona Fraternal Order of Police (who apparently doesn't trust Arizona police officers not to shoot citizens with concealed carry permits, either), it comes down to the elements of proper training, situational awareness, and common sense.

    Its sad how often those elements are absent when incompetently researched or flatly biased firearms-related stories hit the media, all too often scaring the public with false controversies and unrealistic threats. Sadly, like nearly ubiquitous airsoft guns, this incompetence and bias in the media is something we've become accustomed to over time.

    Update: Say Uncle has more.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:23 AM | Comments (7)

    February 01, 2008

    Looking for Advice On a Carry Gun

    This Sunday, while the vast majority of my fellow Americans will be preparing to watch the New York Giants get obliterated by the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl (and for the record, I'm pulling for the Giants...sorry Eli, it's going to be a long day), I'll be taking the concealed carry class required to obtain my concealed carry permit here in North Carolina.

    I'll most likely be shooting either my own M1911-A1 .45ACP clone to qualify during the shooting qualification portion of the class, or perhaps my brother's Springfield Armory XD Compact 9mm. My other brother will be shooting his Glock 23 .40S&W, and my Dad will be qualifying with his Ruger, also in .40S&W.

    Once the class is over (anticipating I pass... and I expect to), the next step it to apply for the permit. Between 30-90 days after that, if all goes well, I should have my North Carolina-issued concealed carry permit, which is good in 30 other states (PDF) thanks to reciprocity agreements.

    But what to carry?

    My steel-framed, 5"-barreled 1911 is a great gun, but at over 40 ounces loaded, I don't want to try to lug it around all day, and the fact it is a full-size service pistol makes it a tiny bit difficult to conceal on my rather thin frame (I'm 6'3" 165 lbs). I am, in short, looking for a dedicated carry gun.

    I've immediately ruled out pocket pistols, both ultra-tiny semi-autos and revolvers chambered in .17, .22, .25, .32 and .380. While small handguns such as a Beretta Bobcat or the entire line-up from North American Arms are very easily concealed, they are difficult to shoot well due to small grips and tiny sights. Combine that with questionable stopping power, and I'm just not interested.

    After doing some online research, shooting a bit, and talking with both some owners and gun shop folks, I've decided on the following criteria:

    • either 9mm or .40 S&W caliber in a pistol, or .357 Magnum or .44 Special in a revolver.
    • less than 30oz in weight, but more than "airweight."
    • decent grip size—I hate "pinky dangle."
    • good sight picture.
    • under $500.

    I'll also betray a preference for semi-auto pistols over revolvers, predominately because that is what I'm used to shooting, but also because they are typically easier/faster to reload.

    That said, here are the contenders I have so far.

    Springfield Armory XD Subcompact Pistol




    My middle brother bought one of these several months ago in 9mm, and I like the way it shot. There was a bit of pink dangle due to the short grip on the 10-round magazine, but with the extension on the 16-round magazine, it fit my hand very well. I also like the cost of the 9mm FMJ practice ammo, which is much cheaper than my current .45.

    Taurus 617 .357 Magnum Revolver




    I like the fact that with a .357 Magnum, you can practice with .38 Special ammunition, but still have the stopping power of a Magnum. The only downsides are that it is thicker through the cylinder than most semi-autos, and it is going to slower to reload. Oh... and it's a seven-shot.

    Taurus Millennium Pro Pistol




    Compact and light, it has a lot of the favorable features I'm looking for, but I've heard mixed results about reliability.

    Charter Arms .44 Special Bulldog




    Less powerful than the .357 Magnum, it still makes a .44 caliber hole. Other than that, I don't know much about it.

    CZ 2075 Rami Pistol




    The only alloy-framed semi-auto on my list, it's big brother, the CZ-75, has a sterling reputation. My local dealer carries one, and he's quite high on his.

    Kahr CW Series Pistol




    The "Pontiac" of the Kahr Arms family, and as such, their entry into the less-pricey end of the CCW market. The downside? Only a 6,000 round frame.

    So that's what I'm looking at right now. For those of you gun nuts out there, based upon my criteria, which would you choose... or would you suggest something else entirely?

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:05 AM | Comments (54)

    January 18, 2008

    Gun Control Legislation Fails in Virginia

    Though that isn't quite the spin put on it by Larry O'Dell of the Associated Press:

    Emotional pleas by relatives of Virginia Tech shooting victims failed Friday to persuade a legislative committee to close a loophole that allows criminals and the mentally ill to buy firearms at gun shows.

    The House Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee voted 13-9 to kill legislation that would require unlicensed sellers at gun shows to conduct criminal background checks on buyers. Such checks now are required only on transactions by federally licensed gun dealers.

    Thirty-two people were killed at Virginia Tech on April 16 by a mentally disturbed student who committed suicide as police closed in.

    The Committee made the right choice, as the proposed legislation was ignorant, irrelevant and unworkable, just as this article's lede is prejudicial and purposefully misleading.

    The "gun show loophole" is mostly a fable, and always has been, with only 2% of guns used in crimes being tracked back to gun shows. Most criminals obtain their firearms from family or friends who obtained firearms legally or illegally from another source.

    This proposed legislation would have forced private individuals to conduct background checks on perspective buyers at gun shows, an idea not very well thought out, as it would mean that private individuals would have to turn over sensitive personal information —name, date of birth, address, driver's license number or other form of picture ID, social security numbers (optional, but many buyers don't know that), etc—to other private individuals they don't know and would probably never see again to run though the background check. In this day of increasing identity theft, what could possibly go wrong?

    Real criminals, lazy, but not stupid, would certainly be willing to sell a firearm at a gun show for several hundred dollars in exchange for personal information to which they could fraudulently charge thousands. The background check would be done through FFL holders, for an additional fee.

    In addition, the background check and associated hassles would only would only be applicable at the gun show, and nowhere else.

    Citizens who didn't want to go through the hassle of paperwork would simply complete the transaction at another location, entirely legally. Be honest, would you drive five minutes to save 20-30 minutes of paperwork, and a processing fee?

    So would most other people.

    It was bad legislation borne of emotionalism, exploited by the cynical, creating serious problems and accomplishing little or nothing.

    Gun control forces tried to exploit the still-fresh tragedy of the Virginia Tech massacre to force this legislation through, and went so far as to bring family members of those wounded and killed to plead their case in from of the committee.

    The proposed law would not have had any effect on Seung-Hui Cho. None. It would not have saved one life at Virgina Tech.

    Cho passed criminal background checks and purchased his pistols from licensed dealers who followed the letter of the law, as O'Dell finally brings himself to mentions in the very last paragraph of his article.

    As for O'Dell, his inability to research the critical flaws in this legislation before posting his article is childishly irresponsible. It's too bad the Associated Press couldn't have had a serious, thoughtful journalist write this article, where people might have actually learned something useful.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 05:07 PM | Comments (13)

    January 09, 2008

    Citi Merchant and First Data Corp's Backdoor Gun Control

    Citi Merchant Services and First Data Corp has decided to implement their own form of gun control, refusing to process credit card transactions between firearms retailers, distributors, and manufacturers, according to a press release issued by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade association for the firearms industry (h/t Hot Air).

    CDNN Sports, Inc, a Texas-based firearms distributor, provided a copy of the notice of termination in which states in part:

    We discussed with Mr. Crawford [of CDNN Sports Inc] said termination due to the sale of firearms in a non-face-to-face environment. Keep in mind that a violation of the Gun Control Act occurs when a gun offered online is sold to an individual in another State; the act prohibits selling a handgun to a resident of another state. Shipping across state lines is also banned, yet guns for sale online reach people across the country. We at Citi Merchant Services are unable to monitor or track adherence to these Gun Control laws.

    A charitable explanation of this decision would be to state Citi Merchant Services and First Data Corp lawyers are grossly incompetent. Online retailers do not sell firearms to individuals, and to suggest otherwise is ignorant, if not duplicitous.

    Firearms "purchased" online are shipped from a distributor to a local Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder who has authority to sell firearms from the federal government. Once this FFL holder—typically retail establishments— receive the firearm, all individuals must complete a FBI NICS background check via Form 4473 and/or comply with state and local firearms regulations regarding retail firearms purchase. It is only after these background checks are satisfied that the local retail purchase actually occurs, face-to-face. There is never a direct sale from the online site to a non-FFL holding retail customer, as the termination notice incorrectly states, and does not in any way violate GCA '68.

    At worst, this is an attempt at backdoor gun control, preventing manufacturers from shipping firearms to distributors, and from distributors to retailers. In doing so, Citi Merchant Services and First Data Corp seem to assert that it is their responsibility to enforce laws, which is a patently absurd position. They are not the FBI nor the BATF, the two federal agencies tasked with enforcing these laws.

    The firearms industry, of course, can easily voice their displeasure with their wallets by changing to other credit card transaction processing services that actually employ lawyers capable of understanding the applicable law.

    I hope the company or companies that profit from this send Citi Merchant Services and First Data Corp lawyers a nice gift basket.

    Update: I'll send you over to SayUncle for a response from Citi Merchant Services and First Data, showing that they are, indeed, completely ignorant of the law and how firearms sales are conducted.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:48 PM | Comments (17)

    January 03, 2008

    Positive ID On Bhutto Assassination Gun

    Abid Jan of dictatorshipwatch.com has posted a link to another image of the firearm used in the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in the comments of this earlier post that identified the weapon as a Steyr M.

    Here is the new photo.

    3208onground

    This is a much better photo the the grainy picture originally released by the Associated Press, and because of this, the sidearm's distinctive characteristics a a definitive match for the Steyr M-A1 variant, proving the earlier supposition by "karlJ" beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Her is a Steyr M-A1 as pulled from the Steyr web site, with three distinguishing characteristics highlighted.

    STEYR_M-A1_large_view_01

    Here is a rotated and magnified version of the picture submitted by Abid Jan, with those same distinguishing characteristics highlighted.

    bhutto assassination gun

    Why would the assassin use a a Steyr M-A1?

    Availability is typically a prime concern, as an assassin will use the weapon he has access to, but online research suggests that there is little indication that the M-A1 is normally exported to Pakistan in any numbers, suggesting that this was a purpose-specific acquisition.

    The M-A1 is touted by Steyr for its relatively unique trapezoid sighting system, which the company touts as "a new and innovative stepping stone towards quicker target acquisition." The 111-degree grip angle is also said to put the shooter's hand more in-line with the bore of the pistol, reducing upward muzzle movement and enabling faster follow-up shots, and the guns relatively light weight (27oz. empty) theoretically enhances control, allowing faster follow-up shots.

    Sadly, at the bottom of the Steyr site in red text are the words NO AUSTRIAN WEAPONS FOUND WITH TERRORISTS!, and a link to a story from last year, where an irresponsible British journalist claimed Steyr HS 50 sniper rifles purchased by Iran were being supplied to terrorists in Iraq, a claim I also debunked.

    This time, through no obvious fault of the company, they cannot make that claim.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:25 AM | Comments (5)

    December 31, 2007

    Bhutto Assassination Weapon ID'd?

    On December 27, Pakistani police recovered a pistol from the scene of Benazir Bhutto's assassination in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

    I tweaked the low-res version in PhotoShop, rotated it 90 degrees, and played with the color balance to provide better contrast. Here is the modified, rotated photo, inset into the original.

    Pakistan Bhutto Killed

    I emailed that "green" photo this morning to Confederate Yankee commenter "karlJ," who has worked in the region as a contract medic, who thinks it could be a Steyr M 9mm pistol.

    20117-1

    Based upon the shape and angle of the grip and the angled rear of the slide (which makes it distinct from similar polymer-framed Glock, Springfield XD and M&P pistols), I think that "karlJ" is probably correct.

    Barack Obama has yet to link the pistol to Hillary Clinton's vote on the Iraq War.

    Update:

    Photo editor William G.S. Smith, seems to think that the ID of the assassination weapon as a Steyr M is positive, and sends along this comparison.

    Bhutto

    01/02 Update: Hey, Nuts. The truthers at whatreallyhappened.com have linked to this post to float the theory that the shooter was Pakistani special forces:

    Now guess who uses the Steyr M 9X19mm handgun exclusively - the Pakistani army - special forces division.

    An interesting theory... and completely divorced from reality.

    I can find zero evidence that the Steyr M has been purchased by any branch of the Pakistani military in an online search... not so much as a single pistol. Pakistani police units bought a limited number of the old Steyr GB pistol in years past, but there is no confusing the two handguns, and the folks at whatreallyhappened.com apparently just decided just to make up a story about the M being "exclusive" Pakistani Army SF issue to float a witless conspiracy theory... shocking, I know.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:45 PM | Comments (5)

    December 26, 2007

    Huck Goes a-Hunting

    A fairly shrewd move, to be sure, as it highlights yet another difference between Huckabee and fellow Republican front-runner Mitt "I've been a lifelong hunter... both times" Romney.

    James Oliphant wrote an amusing post on the subject, but part of it made me cringe:

    Huckabee's party drew farther and farther away, circling their targets. POP! POP! Another pheasant down, the killer unknown. The journalists shivered and stomped their feet. Checking BlackBerrys is tougher with gloves on. Another hunter explained that pheasant is usually cooked with the buckshot still in the body. "You just spit it out," he said.

    The party was still circling, coming back toward us. The reporters edged out to try and make out the scene. Another bird surfaced and it flew, and flew, and flew.

    Right toward us.

    POP! POP! POP!

    We ducked our heads and scattered. "That was too close," a cameraman said. Nobody was wearing orange anything. The hunting expert said the buckshot wouldn't hurt us if it landed on our heads.

    Huckabee's party drew closer and he seemed pleased at our discomfort. He produced three slain pheasants. Huckabee said he had shot one of them, but of course, there was no way to know.

    It's not buckshot used in pheasant hunting, Mr. Oliphant. If it was, it would most assuredly hurt you should it happen to hit you in the head, and being roughly the size of pistol bullets, buckshot could quite possibly kill you.

    More worrisome, however, is the characterization that someone in Huckabee's party shot in the direction of the press, and Huckabee seemed "pleased at our discomfort."

    If that is just awkward phrasing that suggested Huckabee drew delight from firing a shotgun in the direction of the press, then perhaps Mr. Oliphant needs to be gently reminded that "words mean things."

    If however, Huckabee did draw visible pleasure from someone in his party shooting close enough to the press to cause them to scatter, then his Reverend Gomer Pyle act seems to be just that... an act.

    Update: It's official: Huck's entourage almost bagged some journalists:

    The former Arkansas governor, who has surprised the rest of GOP field with his front-runner status here, was the first candidate to hold an event the day after Christmas. Flanked by about a dozen reporters, he wore a microphone from CNN as he went shooting, with Dude, his 3-year-old bird dog, and Chip Saltzman, his campaign manager, at his side.

    In the first 30 minutes, Huckabee, Saltzman and a friend shot three birds. Their last shot flew over the heads of reporters, one whom cried out: "Oh my God! Oh my God! Don't shoot. This is traumatizing."

    Oddly enough, these are the only two media mentions I've found of the near miss, even as they duly reported his crack about Vice President Cheney's hunting mishap in which he shot a fellow hunter while bird hunting.

    I wonder if the media would have been so kind to other candidates in a similar situation, but then, I think we already know the answer to that.

    Piling in on Huckabee's unsafe hunting trip now may deprive them of the "easy kill" they desire later in the general election.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:28 PM | Comments (5)

    December 05, 2007

    Nine Dead in Nebraska Mall Shooting

    May God be with the families of the killed and wounded.

    There really isn't a whole lot more to be said at this point, but I'd like to offer some clarification of media statements if that will help people process the story.

    ABC News cites police as saying an SKS rifle was used in the shooting. The SKS is not an assault rifle, despite it being called that erroneously by some news outlets. One account attributed to ABC News claims that the shooter used a weapon with two magazines. This would throw the initial identification of the weapon as an SKS into doubt, as the overwhelming majority of SKS rifles use 10-round magazines permanently affixed to the weapon, though some variants do have the capability to use detachable magazines. If the rifle did use detachable magazines, the likelihood is greater that it was an AK-pattern rifle.

    Both firearms are chambered for the 7.62x39 cartridge, typically firing an intermediate-power 123-grain .30-caliber bullet.

    I'd caution readers not to make too much of accounts of a grenade being recovered from the parking lot of the same mall last week. The pineapple-style grenade casing was phased out decades ago, and the item recovered is more than likely just a novelty.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:42 PM | Comments (22)

    October 05, 2007

    Somehow, I Just Don't Think That's the Whole Story

    Via VOA News:

    U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has expressed concern that the slow process of approval for U.S. arms sales is forcing some countries, including Iraq, to buy weapons elsewhere. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Santiago, Chile, where Secretary Gates is visiting.

    Frustration over the slow approval process resulted in a $100 million Iraqi arms purchase from China, announced in Washington Wednesday by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. The light weapons are for Iraq's police forces. Secretary Gates says that causes him some concern.

    "We have been concerned that our process is taking too long. On the other hand, the first request we received from the Iraqis for weapons was in January. We have already delivered over $600 million worth of weapons," he said.

    Secretary Gates says another two-to-three-billion dollars worth of Iraqi purchases are in the process of being approved. The secretary says he is not particularly concerned that the Iraqi police purchase went to China, but he says the United States needs to improve its Foreign Military Sales Program for all its customers.

    "This is an issue that we have to look into and see what we can do in the United States to be more responsive and to be able to react more quickly to the requirements of our friends," said Gates.

    If his Wikipedia bio is accurate, Robert Gates has never had any sales experience, which explains a lot. Let me take this opportunity, as someone who had sold a weapon or two, to explain what probably really happened here.

    The slow procurement process may have been a good excuse, but for this particular $100 million small arms purchase from China, an excuse is probably all it was. The truth is that U.S. small arms are inferior for Iraqi needs.

    The primary U.S. military assault rifle these days is the M4, a variant of the decades-old M16. It shoots a 5.56mm, .22 caliber bullet.

    The M4 features a much shorter barrel than the M16, which means that the small 22-caliber bullet doesn't build up that much velocity or power. The result? Bad guys often don't go down even when shot multiple times, and are often quite capable of still fighting back. Because of this poor performance from short-barreled rifles, various other calibers are being tested as a replacement, including the 6.8 SPC and 6.5 Grendal.

    In addition to stopping power issues, the M4/M16 family of weapons, while typically quite accurate, require diligent maintenance, and if they aren't take care of, quickly become inoperative. As a result, variants of the weapon with completely different operating systems are under development, and trials to replace the entire weapons system ebb and flow around the obsolete design.

    Compounding all of this is that fact that these are not inexpensive firearms, with variants potentially costing into the thousands of dollars for a single firearm when all the bells and whistles are added, and the magazines (which are considered consumables), parts and cleaning kits are also costly over the life of the weapon.

    By contrast, the AK-pattern rifles popular in Iraq and elsewhere are favored for a number of obvious reasons. They are quite inexpensive to produce and purchase, require far less maintenance than most comparable weapons systems, and fire a far more effective cartridge(7.62x39) than the 5.56 NATO, which also happens to be far more readily available and less expensive on the open market.

    If you have $100 million to spend to arm a police force composed primarily of new recruits who will get only moderate (and uneven) training, are unlikely to practice a diligent maintenance schedule, who live in harsh environment when sand and grit will constantly be introduced to their weapons, and prefer that the people they shoot act like they've been shot, which weapon would you choose?

    If I'm in charge of procurements, I'm going for the more reliable, powerful, less expensive weapon every time, a decision not made any more difficult by any gratuities that may result of this already no-brainer decision.

    We've got an antiquated weapon system requiring far too much TLC that fires an anemic round.

    That we're delivering it slowly isn't exactly our greatest problem.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:14 AM | Comments (16)

    September 17, 2007

    Miami PD Up-Gunning, But At What Cost?

    The City of Miami is giving Miami police patrol officers the option of carrying assault rifles:

    Patrol officers will have the option of carrying assault rifles as police try to combat the rise in the use of similar weapons by criminals, Miami's police chief said Sunday.

    [snip]

    Officers interested in the guns will have to undergo two days of training and be certified to use the weapons. The police department doesn't yet have money to purchase the guns, and if officers want to use them now, they will have to pay for them, Timoney said.

    [snip]

    The Miami Police Department said 15 of its 79 homicides last year involved assault weapons. This year, 12 of the 60 homicides have involved the high-power guns.

    On Thursday, a gunman opened fire on four Miami-Dade County police officers with an assault rifle during a traffic stop, killing one and injuring the other three. Police killed the suspect hours later.

    Officers using the weapons in Miami will shoot "frangible" bullets, which shatter after they've hit something to avoid striking bystanders or other unintended targets.

    Not all officers may choose to carry the new weapon. But, said Timoney: "If I was a police officer out there in a tough neighborhood, I would want to have that in the car."

    Video game makers should be thrilled now that the stage has been set for Medal of Honor: South Beach, but if I was a resident of Miami, I'd be far less than thrilled with the continuing arms race between the police and criminal elements in their city.

    I sympathize entirely with the police officers that sometimes feel outgunned by criminals, but feel compelled to state that by escalating to intermediate caliber weapons, and without adequate training, the Miami Police Department is setting the stage for a much greater risk of collateral damage and potential civilian casualties, and that the casualties that are sustained have the potential of being far more lethal becuase of the ammunition being used.

    Two days of training to carry an assault rifle in an urban environment is, in my opinion, unforgivably short.

    By way of comparison, Gunsite offers a five-day course for urban rifle training. Frontsight offers a four-day advanced course the focuses on the urban environment, and it requires either a 2-day or 4-day prerequisite skill-builder course focusing on marksmanship. Other dedicated professional shooting schools offer similar courses of similar length. What makes the Miami PD think that two days training is adequate for their officers to carry carbines in a crowded urban environment, when courses designed for already more-qualified special operations soldiers and SWAT teams takes more than twice as long?

    The fact that the Miami Police are not (apparently) receiving adequate training will only compound another problem, that of collateral damage to property and civilians when shootouts occur. Despite what Cheif Timoney says, the laws of physics dictate that bullets will go precisely where they are fired; the have no ability to "avoid" striking anyone, and the weapons he has authorized both extend the range at which innocent bystanders can be hit, and potentially increase the severity of the wounds.

    It is a well-documented fact that in the overwhelming majority of officer-involved shootouts, the police miss most of the time, even at near-contact ranges. Amadou Diallo was hit 19 times from 41 shots at close range by NYPD officers armed with Glock pistols firing from just yards away. Simple math tells us that 22 shots completely missed Diallo, and of the 19 shots that hit and killed the unfortunate young man, many of those passed through his body completely and kept going before being stopped by the buildings behind him.

    Now keep in mind that the pistols used in the Diallo shooting used relatively short range (typically fired at just 7 yards or less) 9mm pistol ammunition. Miami is going to allow their police officers to carry weapons shooting much longer-ranged (300+ meters) 5.56x45 NATO-caliber weapons with a far greater ability to penetrate the body of the suspect and materials. They hope to mitigate the inherent over-penetration risk by requiring officers to fire frangible ammunition.

    Frangible ammunition is great in theory: if it hits the suspect or a hard surface, the bullet is designed to fragment into small pieces. But the theory can become something else in practice, when under-trained officers may empty firearms with magazines containing roughly twice the amount of ammunition they typically carry in their handguns, with more than triple the practical range. It is a proven fact that officers miss more than they hit at short range; is there any reason to suspect that this tendency will decrease even as the potential range increases?

    And what of those innocents hit with frangible ammunition? There is another aspect of frangibles that the Miami Police will not likely mention in press releases: frangible bullets are by far the most deadly kind of bullet to those struck by them directly.

    Purposefully constructed with thin or weakened brass jackets, frangibles blow apart into many small fragments once they hit a target. In a human being, the effect is to make many small wound channels that shred muscle, bone and organs, similar to a contact-range shotgun blast instead of the larger single hole created by typical bullets.

    This is great news if the cop firing the weapon hits the armed suspect, as it will almost guarantee the immediate end of the gunfight if he hits the suspect in the head, torso, or the major part of an extremity, such as the upper arm or thigh. The downside of this is that if the officer misses the target and hits a civilian hundreds of yards away, the odds of the civilian surviving the wound are much less.

    So is a change in ammunition enough to rectify this potential problem? By no means. Frangible assault rifle ammunition, for all its lethality on soft targets, is still far safer to shoot in an urban environment than hollowpoint or FMJ rounds with will more readily penetrate structures and vehicles. Frangibles will blow apart; FMJ and even hollowpoint loadings can and will blow through multiple buildings, depending on their construction.

    So what is the solution?

    The "simple" solution is to recognize that American police forces, no matter how bad the neighborhood, are not soldiers engaged in urban combat. Assault rifles chambered for 5.56 and 7.62 rifles are a horrible choice of weapons from the perspective of the great majority of law-abiding civilians that are not engaged in shootouts with police.

    If Miami and other police forces would like to provide their patrol officers with a longer-range firearm than their duty pistols, the community at large would be far safer if these officers were armed with patrol carbines, small rifles that greatly extend the officers effective range while still using the exact same ammunition and typically the same magazines as their service pistols. Major manufacturers of police-issue sidearms such as Beretta and Ruger already offer such carbines, which provide police officers more range and potential accuracy than they have with their pistols, but with a significant reduction in the risks associated with firing much more powerful rifle rounds in an urban environment.

    The City of Miami fails to mention how the militarization of the Miami police is going to make their officers and citizens safer, and does not seem to address the problems that are inherent to their stated plan of giving their officers higher-velocity, longer-ranged weapons with minimal training.

    The police are contributing to the prospect of turning Miami into an urban battlefield, which I somehow suspect was not their original intent.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:21 AM | Comments (31)

    June 15, 2007

    Liberal Senators Seek To Equate .50 BMG Rifles To Poison Gas, Grenades, Mines

    If ever there has been a bill introduced in Congress to ban something based completely on fear and in the complete absence of any actual problem, S.1331, the so-called "Long-Range Sniper Rifle Safety Act of 2007" may be a perfect example.

    The bill, introduced to the Senate on May 8 by Dianne Feinstein and co-sponsored by Senators Kennedy, Levin, Menendez, Mikulski, Clinton, Durbin, Boxer, Lautenberg, Shumer and Dodd (Democrats all), seeks to classify all firearms chambered for .50 BMG and similar calibers as "destructive devices" under the Gun Control Act of 1968 and the National Firearms Act of 1934.

    Presently, the "destructive device" ban in both laws refers to poison gas, bombs, grenades, rockets, missiles, and mines.

    These Senators are attempting to equate large caliber target rifles with poison gas and bombs under the law. Why?

    Fear and Ignorance:

    U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), today introduced legislation to regulate the transfer and possession of .50 BMG caliber sniper rifles, which have extraordinary firepower and range (more than a mile with accuracy, with a maximum distance of up to four miles). These combat-style weapons are capable of bringing down airliners and helicopters that are taking off or landing, puncturing pressurized chemical storage facilities, and penetrating light armored personnel vehicles and protective limousines.

    [snip]

    "These are combat-style weapons designed to kill people efficiently and destroy machinery at a great distance. This legislation would regulate these dangerous combat weapons, making it harder for terrorists and others to buy them for illegitimate use," Senator Feinstein said. "This legislation doesn't ban any firearms; it would only institute common-sense regulations for the sale of these dangerous sniper rifles."

    Capable of bringing down airliners and helicopters? A .50 BMG rifle must make huge holes in aircraft to do that, wouldn't you think?

    Not so much.

    Thi is the rough difference between the diameter of a .50-caliber bullet (left) and the extremely common .30-caliber rifle (right).

    50vs30

    Now, take into account that a typical .50-caliber rifle is roughly five-feet long weighs around 30 pounds, requiring them to be shot from a bipod or some other sort of support, and virtually all .50-caliber rifles use telescopic sights. Most are also single-shot, bolt-action firearms.

    Feinstein and the other Democrat Senators sponsoring this bill are asking you to believe that a terrorist "super-sniper" can somehow heft a 30-pound gun and wingshoot an airliner like a clay pigeon.

    The odds of a sniper hitting an airliner moving in three dimensions faster than a NASCAR stock car is infinitesimal; the odds of Feinstien's hypothetical terrorists actually bringing down a plane verge on the impossible.

    What of the threat of a terrorist using such a rifle to penetrate a chemical storage tank or rail car?

    According to a builder of such pressurized vessels, also virtually impossible:

    When asked about the alleged threat of .50cal rifles to his railcars, Mr. Darymple said that they have long tested their cars against almost every form of firearm, to include .50BMG and larger. When asked what happens when a .50 hits one of his tanks he said with a shrug "It bounces off." He went on to point out that railcars are designed to survive the force of derailing, and collision with other railcars at travel speeds. By comparison the impact of a bullet, any bullet, is like a mosquito bite.

    It also goes without saying that if terrorists did desire to take down an airliner, or blow up a railcar or chemical storage tank, they are far more likely to acquire smaller, less obtrusive, more accurate, purpose-built or improvised devices already covered under federal law.

    So what is the true purpose of the bill, when the stated purposes simply don't make sense?

    Only the Senators themselves know for certain, but I’d be willing to bet it comes wrapped in a cloak of fear and ignorance.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:31 PM | Comments (11)

    June 14, 2007

    Guns and Madness

    I'm assuming that many of you saw that the House of Representatives passed an NRA-supported gun control bill yesterday that aimed to close some dangerous loopholes, requiring states to more quickly and fully provide information to check the criminal and mental health records of potential gun buyers.

    Congressional Quarterly reports that the bill faces an uncertain future in the Senate, due in part to resistance by Gun Owners of America and unidentified mental health advocacy groups.

    As someone who uses the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to check the status of potential gun purchasers, I have reservations about the proposed changes, even though I strongly believe that neither felons nor the mentally ill should have access to firearms. Actually, it is my concern over the mentally ill potentially accessing firearms that has me worried.

    One provision of the bill that was described thusly:

    The senator suggested earlier this week that he was pleased with negotiated language that would explicitly protect the ability of veterans designated as having psychological conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, to buy guns. The measure would also authorize procedures that would allow those successfully treated for mental illness to regain the ability to buy guns.

    I'm neither a psychologist nor a psychiatrist, and I do not have anything beyond a layman's understanding of how the human psyche is damaged nor healed. Frankly, based upon what I've seen of people who have been to psychologists and psychiatrists, I'm none to certain that the experts have any idea, either.

    For this reason, I'm extremely leery about how they might determine whether someone who was once determined to be mentally ill is now "cured."

    My secondary concern deals with reality and the law of unintended consequences.

    While a NICS background check is an important tool in sorting out those who should not be allowed to purchase firearms, it is simply one tool based upon documented information.

    In my opinion—and I believe that I share this opinion with many who sell firearms on the retail level—one of the best tools to determine whether someone should be allowed to purchase a firearm is an employee trained to look for certain "red flag" characteristics in a buyer. For every high-profile killer like Seung-Hui Cho, there are many potential purchasers without a criminal or mental record who should not be allowed to purchase firearms for other, less technical but still reasonable concerns.

    I have, on more than one occasion, turned down a transaction after a NICS background check came back allowing the sale to proceed simply because something "wasn't quite right" about the purchaser. Displayed maturity, firearms safety, certain mannerisms, personality traits, or other suspicious behavior can all be reasons to deny a sale that a database simply cannot account for.

    Some gun sellers may become too over-reliant upon the more powerful proposed NICS system, and may forego some of the "human checks" as a result, while we at the same time rely on a less-than-precise mental health system to determine when someone is "cured" and once more able to purchase a firearm.

    Somehow, I don't think this bill will change much.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 04:04 PM | Comments (12)

    May 24, 2007

    At It Again

    The Associated Press got their facts wrong on yet another firearms-related story today, something I know that readers will find absolutely shocking.

    In this story about Moscow, Idaho gunman Jason Hamilton, they made two glaring fact errors regarding the firearms used in Hamilton's deadly Sunday rampage.

    They waste no time, blowing the facts in the lede.

    A man who went on a deadly shooting rampage with two high-powered assault rifles was supposed to have surrendered his firearms after being convicted of domestic assault, authorities said Wednesday.

    By definition, "assault rifles" are not high-powered.

    Further, they are selective-fire, meaning they can be fired semi-automatically (one bullet at a time for each trigger pull) or automatically (multiple shots per trigger pull), with the mode of fire determined by a selector switch on the weapon. Neither of these firearms had that capability.

    And what were the firearms used?

    Hamilton used an AK-47 assault rifle and a Springfield M-1A rifle, both bought legally before he was convicted of assaulting his girlfriend in 2006, Duke said.

    I'll state that the Associated Press flatly blew it here.

    AK-47s are heavily regulated by the National Firearms Act of 1934 (requiring an extensive, nearly prohibitive background check), and none have been imported or manufactured for civilian sale in the United States since 1986. Because demand among collectors is much higher than supply, a true AK-pattern rifle would probably cost between $16,500-$20,000, using this site as a guide.

    A janitor, Hamilton would not likely be able to afford such a firearm.

    He carried out his attacks with a rifle that looked like an AK-47, but it is no more an AK-47 than this 1987 Pontiac is a Ferrari.

    New let's refer back to the lead for one second.

    If you recall, it said two "assault rifles" were used. We've already established the fact that neither weapon fit the definition, and that one of those firearms could only be termed an assault rifle based upon how it looked. The other firearm doesn't even look like one.

    This is the Springfield Armory M-1A.

    SpringfieldM1A

    Even by the most tortured media definition, the M-1A is no assault rifle or assault weapon. It is most properly categorized as a battle rifle, and it is typically valued in both military and civilian shooting circles for it's long-range precision. As such, it is very popular in target competitions.

    Once again, the media blew the facts in a firearms-related story.

    Surprising, I know.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:14 AM | Comments (3)

    May 15, 2007

    Liberal Anti-Gun Hysteria on Parade

    In New Jersey:

    New Jersey moved yesterday toward becoming the second state to outlaw the powerful .50-caliber rifle that critics contend could potentially be used in terrorist attacks. The guns, which resemble large hunting rifles, are accurate up to 11/2 miles, and opponents contend that they could be used to penetrate an airliner or ignite chemical plants, rail tank cars and refineries.

    California is the only state with a similar law.

    Legislation that would make New Jersey follow suit was released yesterday by an Assembly committee and can now be considered by the full Assembly.

    The proposed ban is getting renewed attention after federal investigators announced this week that they had foiled an alleged terrorist plot by six men who were planning to attack Fort Dix.

    "As unnerving as the Fort Dix terrorism plot was, it could have been all the more worse if the weapons of choice for alleged assailants had been .50-caliber assault guns instead of AK-47s," said Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D., Mercer).

    This is a man holding a .50-caliber rifle (source).

    .50 BMG Rifle

    You'll note that the rifle in question is a Steyr HS50, a 28.5-pound, single-shot rifle that weighs roughly 30 pounds with a scope and one cartridge in the chamber. Because of its weight, I assure you he did not hold this pose for very long.

    This is what that rifle looks like with a scope.

    steyrHS50

    Let's fisk this anti-gun tirade on a paragraph-by-paragraph basis.

    New Jersey moved yesterday toward becoming the second state to outlaw the powerful .50-caliber rifle that critics contend could potentially be used in terrorist attacks.

    Lets go past things that "could potentially be used in terrorist attacks," and actually look at thinks that have been used in terrorist attacks:

    There has never been any sort of documented crime committed in the United States with a .50 BMG rifle.

    The guns, which resemble large hunting rifles, are accurate up to 11/2 miles, and opponents contend that they could be used to penetrate an airliner or ignite chemical plants, rail tank cars and refineries.

    Actually, they are large hunting rifles, as this Field and Stream article attests. Mechanically, they are no different than any other rifles, other than scaling to match size of the cartridge they use.

    Yes, opponents do contend that .50 BMG rifles could be used to penetrate an airliner, but the simple fact of the matter is that virtually any bullet, from the lowly .22 long rifle to all handgun and rifle cartridges will penetrate the very thin aluminum skill of an airliner.

    As for the size of the hole such a bullet would cause, here is a high-tech rendering of the size of the hole a .50-caliber rifle would make (left) versus the extremely common .30-caliber rifle (right).

    50vs30

    You'll note that if you hold your thumb up next to the .50 "hole" that it is roughly the size of your thumbnail. By comparison, most broadhead arrows have a cutting diameter of more than one inch.

    .50 BMG bullets carry far more energy than most rifle bullets, but commercially available bullets are not explosive, and military API (armor-piercing incendiary) cartridges do not function well in these precision rifles. Combine those facts that with the near impossibility of being able to hit a distant moving aircraft with a single bullet from a 30-pound single shot rifle, and the case made by hysterical and ignorant gun control advocates is laughable.

    Chemical plants and rail cars?

    Not a chance:

    When asked about the alleged threat of .50cal rifles to his railcars, Mr. Darymple said that they have long tested their cars against almost every form of firearm, to include .50BMG and larger. When asked what happens when a .50 hits one of his tanks he said with a shrug "It bounces off." He went on to point out that railcars are designed to survive the force of derailing, and collision with other railcars at travel speeds. By comparison the impact of a bullet, any bullet, is like a mosquito bite.

    Refineries? Perhaps possible, but nearly any other form of weapon would be far more concealable, far cheaper, and far more effective.

    California is the only state with a similar law.

    Legislation that would make New Jersey follow suit was released yesterday by an Assembly committee and can now be considered by the full Assembly.

    And how well is that law working?

    To date, both the .416 Barrett and .510 DTC Europ have been developed to completely invalidate the ban California passed and New Jersey is trying to implement. There is an upside: these cartridges are said by some to be even more accurate than the .50 BMG they replace.

    The proposed ban is getting renewed attention after federal investigators announced this week that they had foiled an alleged terrorist plot by six men who were planning to attack Fort Dix.

    Irrelevant, anyone?

    New Jersey is also overrun by the mentally ill. Quick, ban moose hunting!

    And the closing quote from the article, provided by one of New Jersey's mentally ill:

    "As unnerving as the Fort Dix terrorism plot was, it could have been all the more worse if the weapons of choice for alleged assailants had been .50-caliber assault guns instead of AK-47s," said Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D., Mercer).

    Mr. Gusciora, most .50 rifles sold in the United States are single-shot rifles, and because of their excessive weight, are almost always fired prone. Perhaps a New Jersey Democrat would rather our soldiers be attacked with a lightweight, far more concealable fully-automatic weapon capable of firing hundreds of rounds per minute as the terrorists intended, but I promise, that to a man, any knowledgeable soldier would rather be attacked with a ponderous .50-caliber single-shot rifle than an AK-47.

    Thus ends today's lesson.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:46 PM | Comments (7)

    Bittersweet: A Nightmare Over

    Last night, Vernon Pardue fulfilled a promise he made to me in late 2005. Shortly before 10:00PM, I got an email from him:

    Hello Bob

    Can you give e a call ASAP
    I need to talk to you.

    On October 19, 2005, I wrote one of the most difficult blog entries I've ever had to write, Torn.

    I wrote then:

    Law enforcement officers, like members of the military, firefighters, paramedics and other first responders are the sheepdogs that keep the wolves at bay. These men and women and their families make sacrifices every day that those of us they protect will never fully understand.

    Because of all that these families do for us, when I find myself squaring off against the bereaved widow of a law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty, I do not enter into such opposition lightly.

    On February 12, 2004, Wake County Sheriff's investigator Mark Tucker was gunned down by Matthew Charles Grant, a felon who didn't want to go back to prison for being the possession of a weapon. Deputy Tucker's widow, backed by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, filed suit against Cary Jewelry & Pawn in October of 2005, alleging that:

    ...Cary Jewelry & Pawn, of Cary, North Carolina, negligently and illegally sold the murder weapon to an obviously dangerous person.

    In November 2003, Van McQueen and Matthew Grant went to Cary Jewelry & Pawn to buy a firearm. McQueen planned to purchase a firearm as a straw buyer for Grant, because Grant was a felon prohibited from buying guns, and in return Grant promised to buy McQueen a beer. McQueen was mentally deficient and was obviously intoxicated, and the shop's clerk refused to sell him a gun. Three days later, McQueen returned to the pawn shop with Grant, again wanting to buy a firearm. Although his home address was a local mission, McQueen had $120 in cash to buy the weapon. This time, even though the same clerk who had seen McQueen intoxicated three days earlier was on duty, the shop completed the all-cash sale. McQueen then transferred the shotgun to Grant, who used it to shoot Investigator Tucker in the face, killing him. Grant was arrested, convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Investigator Tucker.

    "The evidence in this case clearly shows that the gun dealer irresponsibly and illegally sold a shotgun to a man it knew to be dangerous," said Daniel R. Vice, Staff Attorney with the Brady Center. "The gun dealer chose to make a quick buck rather than protect public safety; greed and recklessness caused the death of a brave law enforcement officer."

    That was according to the Brady Press release.

    I questioned the Brady Center's claim, and then did a bit of investigative journalism, publishing my findings several weeks later in a post called Lawyers, Guns, and Money. My investigation showed that several of the allegations made by the Brady Center against Cary Jewelry and Pawn and its owner, Vernon Pardue, in their civil case, were falsified.

    Vandorance McQueen was not mentally deficient, did not live in a mission, and did not buy the firearms three days after being turned down.

    After I spoke with Pardue about this case in November of 2005, he promised he'd get back in touch with me with any major developments. He made good on his promise.

    Last night, Mr. Pardue let me know that Brady has decided to drop its civil suit against him. He perhaps gives me too much credit in thanking me for my writing on the case. It was the blatant falsehoods of the Brady Center case, and the opposition of Sherrif Tucker's blood relatives, that probably had far more influence on the decision to drop the case, as Dan Tucker, Sheriff Tucker's youngest brother, noted in a comment on November 22, 2005:

    Hello CY, I am really glad I finally found a website that has been following this nonsense and has made sense from it. I am the youngest brother of Mark Tucker. I would like to publicize the fact that Mark's immediate famiy (by that I mean blood family) have absolutely nothing to with this frivilous law suit against Cary Jewelry and Pawn. We found out about it the same way most of Wake County did, via the local news. I was in the courtroom last year everyday of the trial. I know for a fact that if the pawn shop had done anything wrong, the DA's office would have charged them with criminal charges. I have personally been to see Vernan Pardue to apologize for what he is going to go through and to let him know that I hold no grudges. I would stop this if I could and believe me I've tried. And I am sure Mark would not go along with what is happening in this case. In my opinion this lawsuit is purely for publicity and exposure.

    I held then, and still believe now, that the Brady Center was not interested in anything remotely like justice for the murder of Sheriff's Investigator Tucker. Justice was served by a court of law. Matthew Charles Grant is in prison. I strongly suspect that the Brady Center and its lawyers were cynically using the death of a brave law enforcement officer and the grief of his family to push a political agenda. It is a cruel, callous organization that would pursue such a manipulative course of action.

    My heart goes out to the Tucker family. They will never be whole again. But I am thankful that Vernon Pardue can finally put this politically-generated nightmare behind him. If I did indeed play a small role in stopping this frivolous case, I'm thankful. Creating more misery and destroying more lives because of tragedy is not justice.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:20 AM | Comments (3)

    May 11, 2007

    When Antiques are Outlawed, Only Outlaws with Have Antiques

    Where did AFP dig this up, the Smithsonian?

    antique

    While the blurred edges and inadequate lighting make a positive ID very difficult, it certainly appears that AFP might be using a century-old 1903 Colt Hammerless pistol in this obviously and admitted staged photo related to the Virginia Tech massacre.

    * * *

    Update: Speaking of guns lost in time, an eagle-eyed Glennstapundit links to a gun control article at the Huffington Post, noting that the guns in the photo aren't real; they're Airsoft.

    airsoftrifles

    You would think that some subtle clues would encourage the HuffPuffers to question the authenticity of the weapons pictured--perhaps the grenade launcher component slung under the barrel of the gun held by the guy in the white shirt might have clued them in, or the fact that the rifle in question was a prototype cancelled in 2005--but apparently these little details slipped through the cracks.

    They do give the Associated Press photo credit, however, and I wonder if the AP might have botched it as well.

    Update: According to Canada.com, the AP photo shows firearms on display at an NRA convention in Pittsburgh, PA. A quick Google search indicates that the convention was held in April, 2004. The firearms in question appear to be part of a "hands on" display focusing on next-generation military combat rifles.

    They are decidedly not for sale in Virginia, as the Huffington Post article seems to imply, and could not be sold to civilians under federal law, as all of the firearms displayed are automatic weapons manufactured after 1986.

    The Huffington Post is lying with pictures, just not in the way we originally thought. Thanks to SayUncle's "Quack" for catching the photo's origins.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:13 PM | Comments (5)

    May 09, 2007

    Strict British Gun Laws Fail to Save English Officer

    An officer tentatively identified as Pc Richard Gray was killed by a gunman who turned the weapon on himself:

    The armed response unit officer has been widely named as Pc Richard Gray.

    The gunman is said to have killed himself following Sunday's shooting in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, which was reported to have come after a row.

    West Mercia chief Paul West said the PC's family was "understandably devastated". He was reportedly praised recently after tackling a gunman.

    As noted above, the dead officer was recently praised for tackling another suspect armed with a semi-automatic pistol.

    It has been said thousands of times, but bears repeating: criminals that ignore other laws will also ignore firearm laws. The end result is that only law-abiding citizens will be disarmed.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:35 AM | Comments (0)

    May 08, 2007

    One Dead, Two Wounded Near Fresno State

    Details are posted on the Fresno State web site.

    The shooter, Jonquel Brooks, is a student, as it one of the wounded victims. The person killed and the other injured person are not students according to the University, but KESQ reports that the deceased is a former student. Neither of the two wounded sustained life-threatening injuries in the shooting that occurred late last night. Brooks has been surrounded in an off campus apartment by a Fresno PD SWAT team, and they are attempting to get him to surrender.

    The incident is viewed as isolated, and Fresno State remains open.

    Though California already has among the most restrictive gun laws in the United States, expect the usual suspects to use this shooting to push for more gun control.

    Update: Not such a great perimeter. The shooter slipped away.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:36 AM | Comments (5)

    April 27, 2007

    Stoner Militia Busted in Alabama

    Sounds like they took the lyrics to Steve Earle's Copperhead Road just a little too seriously:

    Federal and state agents swooped down Thursday morning on a group calling itself "The Free Militia" and uncovered a small arsenal of home-made weapons that included a rocket launcher, 130 hand grenades and 70 Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) similiar to the kind used by insurgents against American GIs in Iraq.

    [snip]

    Officials said ATF agents encountered booby traps at one of the search sites.

    The weapons cache also included a machine gun, a short barreled shot-gun, two silencers, numerous other firearms, 2500 rounds of ammunition, explosive components, and commercial fireworks. Agents also found more than 120 marijuana plants, Martin said.

    I can only assume that the commercial fireworks recovered were used as components in the other explosive devices recovered.

    Based upon the story so far, the now not-so-Free Militia sounds like it might be as much of a drug operation as much as an extremist group. Luckily, we have enough space in federal prisons that these gentlemen shouldn't be a problem for anyone for a very long time.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:40 AM | Comments (3)

    April 25, 2007

    Run for Your Lives! The High Caps Are Loose!

    Embarrassingly close to home:

    Memphis police were looking Monday night for the thieves who stole seven weapons from a North Carolina SWAT team van parked in South Memphis. Members of the SWAT team based in Raleigh, N.C., were eating at Interstate Bar-B-Que, 2265 S. Third, about 3:30 p.m. Monday when they realized their van had been broken into, said Lt. Jerry Gwyn of Memphis felony response.

    The weapons stolen from my local SWAT team were:

    3- Sig Sauer Model 551, .223 caliber, Fully Automatic Assault Rifles, in black nylon cases (with several hundred rounds of ammunition) 2 - Remington Model 870, pump action 12 gauge shotguns 1 - Sig Sauer Model 229, .357 caliber semi-auto handgun 1 - Sig Sauer Model 226, .357 caliber semi-auto handgun

    One of the SIG assault rifles--a real one, not the semi-automatic rifles the media has falsely labeled as assault rifles-- has been recovered after apparently being purchased along with some ammunition by one of the fine, upstanding citizens of Memphis.

    The media has really dropped the ball on the most alarming aspect of this case, the flow of 30-round magazines onto American streets. The SIG 551, like most .223/5.56x45mm duty rifles, uses 30-round magazines.

    Where are the magazines? Why aren't they being reported on?

    Clearly, the American public can't handle the thought of such magazines being released, and the media is participating in a willful cover-up to minimize the hysteria that would surely sweep the nation if it was found that such high capacity magazines were allowed to run free.

    Sure, the police say they are looking for the criminals holding two outstanding machine guns, a pair of shotguns, and a pair of pistols, but we know that the magazines are the real threat.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:15 AM | Comments (1)

    April 19, 2007

    A Proposal for Collegiate Concealed Carry

    One of my liberal regulars made the following observation in this post, which got me thinking if there was a "right way" to implement the carrying of concealed weapons at colleges and universities:

    The thing that surprises me about the news coverage is the idea that this can be blamed on the fact that this campus was a "no firearm" zone. I didn't know that there was a "fully armed" option when it came to college campuses.

    Let's all cast our minds back to college, shall we? I'm willing to bet that every one of us was, to some degree or another, a horse's ass back then. Do we want fully-armed horse's asses on our college campuses? It seems like a bad idea to me.

    The idea that more weapons on campus would solve this problem is counterintuitive. This guy was on campus, and he had a weapon, and he killed 33 people.

    "Fully armed" college campuses are of course a horrible idea for the very reasons implied above, which are primarily a lack of maturity and the abundant flow of alcohol and other recreational drugs. It would be a recipe for further increasing recipients of the Darwin Awards, and that is something we are certainly against.

    What is reasonable, however, is giving students, faculty, and staff who meet certain rigorous standards the ability to bring handguns on campus for the defense of themselves and others in extraordinary life-threatening circumstances.

    Here is my proposal.

    The minimum age to purchase a handgun is 21 years old in most states. By definition, this would limit concealed carry to mostly juniors, seniors and graduate students, non-traditional (older) underclassmen, faculty, and staff.

    Limit concealed carry to students housed off-campus, and to faculty and staff members. Firearms would not be allowed in the dormitories. This is both a practical and legal consideration. In-dorm firearms could not be secured properly and uniformly, and should not be allowed.

    Those students, faculty and staff must prove that they have secure storage for their firearms in their off-campus dwellings.

    They must register the firearm they wish to carry on campus with the university police, and qualify with that firearm to show proficiency and safety at least once per calendar year. These requirements are already served by the current CCW licensing process in some states, and actually exceed the CCW licensing of others, who may only require a one-time qualifying performance. It is also comparable to the qualifying guidelines of most police departments.

    In addition to these state guidelines, those faculty, staff and off-campus students who qualify under state CCW guidelines should also take a university-prescribed course detailing any additional campus restrictions, and then require them to pass a written test showing these understand both state CCW laws and campus restrictions.

    Universities should adopt guidelines for acceptable firearms and ammunition for those who wish to carry on campus, using the following as a general outline:

    • All university-approved CCW firearms shall be of modern design and sound mechanical shape, as shall holsters and spare magazine carriers;
    • All firearms shall be of standard self-defense calibers, and these calibers are designated as follows: .380 ACP, .38 Special, 9mm Parabellum, .357 SIG, 40 S&W, .44 Special, and .45 ACP or comparable cartridges;
    • All firearms using lower-powered cartridges (below .380 ACP) shall not be allowed;
    • All firearms using higher-power cartridges (.357, .41, 44 Magnums, and above) shall not be allowed;
    • All firearms using bottlenecked ammunition ( exception: .357 SIG) shall not be allowed;
    • Only commercially-loaded frangible ammunition shall be allowed.
    • Pistol magazines shall be of "standard length" (not exceeding the butt of the firearm but more than 1 inch, including any "bump" pads). The number of magazines would be restricted to one in the firearm and one spare magazine in an approved spare magazine carrier.

    The guidelines above are very practical in nature. Certain calibers are simply better than others for CCW purposes, and the calibers cited above encompass the overwhelming majority of those in which defensive handguns are chambered. The frangible ammunition mandate may be new to some that are more familiar with full metal-jacketed (FMJ) and hollowpoint ammunition, and so may need to be explained.

    Frangible ammunition is designed to fragment or disintegrate upon or shortly after contact. This significantly reduces the dangers associated with overpenetration, by transferring most or all of the projectile's energy into the target as the bullet fragments. While typically being more lethal to the target, frangible ammunition is not as likely to penetrate structural components (walls, floors, doors). Glaser and MagSafe are two of the most common examples.

    As for carrying and storage guidelines, all students would be required to carry their firearms and magazines on their persons at all times while on campus (not in a desk, satchel, purse, or bookbag), and all faculty and staff would be expected to follow these same guidelines, with the additional provision that firearms can be kept in individual locked offices in university-approved, bolted-down gun storage safes for faculty and staff.

    The requirements and restrictions outlines above are only a rough roadmap of reasonable outlines for a campus concealed carry program.

    A similarly-implemented plan would create an atmosphere where the faculty, staff, and students can be confident that those who are allowed to carry concealed weapons on campus are perhaps better trained than their CCW-licensed counterparts in the rest of society, and are arguably as well trained as some municipal police officers.

    Your thoughts?

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:46 AM | Comments (65)

    April 17, 2007

    Damn Occam, Full Speed Ahead

    It is becoming abundantly clear that Brian Ross isn't the only member of ABC News that has the intention of using the Virginia Tech massacre to push an anti-gun political agenda, with extended magazines being mentioned again, even though there has been no corroboration that they played any factor at all:

    It is unknown at this time if his guns had standard or extended clips, which, depending on the weapon, can fire as many as 30 shots before the gun has to be reloaded.

    Actually, we do know for a fact that one of the weapons used, a Walther P22 that was his most recent purchase is only available with a ten-round magazine. Extended magazines for this pistol do not exist.

    Extended magazines for Glocks (designed with the selective-fire Glock 18 machine pistol in mind, a weapon practically unavailable to American shooters) are capable of being used in Glock 19s do exist, but they are rather rare to encounter, and are typically found only online or through catalog order. They are rarely carried in most gun stores.

    The reason is quite simple; Glocks are typically purchased for sport (target) shooting and personal defense by both civilians and police departments. When a Glock is fed an extended 31-round or even less common 33-round magazine, the weight of the extra 16-18 rounds dramatically changes the balance and weight of the pistol to make it butt-heavy, making it a bit more difficult to shoot, and the extra length and weight make it all but impossible to carry in any practical manner.

    There is also no indication at all that he purchased his weapons, ammunition and accessories from anywhere other than the Roanoke gun shop where he purchased both pistols roughly a month apart, but as first voiced in Brian Ross' patently false "Blotter" blog entry yesterday and carried forth in this news article, the "deciders" at ABC News seem to have decided that they are going to hammer the extended magazine angle of this story, whether or not such magazines were even used.

    "Truthy" used to be the standard for satire-based news shows. God help us now that it is ABC's new apparent standard for news.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:13 PM | Comments (5)

    Brian Ross' Gun Idiocy Rides Again

    I've already slapped around Ross and ABC News for refusing to retract an entry on "The Blotter" that was remarkably fact-free, but Ross seems determined to further showcase his ignorance in yet another post today, attempted to tell us that one of the guns used was a 22 millimeter handgun.

    Cho Seung-Hui bought his first gun, a 9 mm handgun, on March 13 and his second weapon, a 22 mm handgun, within the last week, law enforcement officials tell ABCNews.com.

    Well, that would certainly explain why the casualty figures were so high. 20, 25 and 30 millimeter cannons are used as armament on helicopters, fighter aircraft and armored vehicles. Of course, no handgun could fire such a massive shell, outside of a Hollywood fantasy.

    ***

    It is also worth noting that the ABC News picture associated with this blog entry is inaccurate as well.

    cho_gun_nr

    It shows a picture of the Virginia Tech shooter as well as a Walther PPK or PPK/S in .380 ACP; a firearm and cartridge not used in the shooting.

    The firearms used were a 9mm Glock 19 and a Walther P22 in .22 caliber.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:42 AM | Comments (10)

    Does ABC News or Brian Ross Have Any Integrity at All?

    A day after posting a blog entry replete with falsehoods, and despite more than dozens of comments pointing out the factual inaccuracies of the story, Brian Ross and Dana Hughes of the ABC News blog "The Blotter" have yet to issue a retraction.

    Does ABC News have an obligation to report facts, or is peddling a political agenda buttressed by lies their preferred stock in trade?

    As I noted yesterday, the ABC News blog did not get so much as a single fact in their blog entry correct.

    The Ross entry states that high-capacity magazines "became widely available for sale when Congress failed to renew a law that banned assault weapons." This is a patently false statement, containing no truth at all.

    High-capacity magazines have been around for more than half a century, and the sale of high-capacity magazines was not impacted whatsoever by the 1994 Crime Bill. These magazines were freely and commercially available, both in retail stores and online, without interruption, for the 10-year life of the ban, the decades preceding it, and afterward.

    Ross implies that high-capacity magazines are now for sale on Web sites as a result of the ban expiring. Again, this is a deceptive, inaccurate statement.

    The fact of the matter is that high-capacity magazines were always available for purchase (as noted above) both online, and in retail stores, without interruption.

    I stated yesterday:

    This Blotter entry by Ross and Hughes is a study in bias, wrapped around ignorance, justified by fear.

    I'll now add to this that it is now quite possible that Ross' entry is a study in willful media deception as well. The Blotter's own moderated comments section contains dozens of posts warning ABC News that the information contained in the post was incorrect.

    Brian Ross and Dana Hughes can't even get their facts right about the 94 AW law nor can ABC fabricate a legit connection between high capacity magazine availability and this crime. Just the usual liberal bias against gun ownership. Posted by: sssss | Apr 16, 2007 3:07:54 PM

    ---

    For the record, the federal law that lapsed didn't have any effect on the sale of high-cap magazines. Sales of existing magazines with capacities over ten rounds was entirely legal after the 1994 Act. What was prohibited was the manufacture of new magazines.
    Posted by: Jeffersonian | Apr 16, 2007 3:09:34 PM

    ---

    The magazines (not clips) were available during the ban on them, as anything that had been manufactured prior to the ban was grandfathered in. The "ban" banned nothing and was democratic showmanship at it's worse.
    You can't ban firearms in the US, they are a constitutionally protected right. Again, the shooter is at fault, not the tool he used.
    Posted by: Brian Heck | Apr 16, 2007 3:25:08 PM

    ---

    Lets stick to facts for a side story. This article implies that the person guilty of this used large capacity clips and assault style weapons. all unknown @ this time. As an earlier post stated - lots of small capacity magazines can sould like one large capacity. The Magazine size limit was no clips 10 or over could be manufactured for sale in the US. this didn't stop the existing quantity to be resold.
    As to the description of spraying requires large capacity clips. Two handguns with 9 round clips would sound like 18 rounds going off rapidly. If the person was truely Spraying fire into classrooms then Large capacity clips were the least infraction. Automatic weapons as seen in hollywood flicks spraying fire downrange were banned in 1934 for private ownership. either the person had a license for the weapon (unlikely)or modified (in violation of the law) the weapon to fire automaticly.
    Again I ask to stick to facts and not jump to conclusions about what may have exasperated the situation to promote a political agenda.
    Posted by: glenn | Apr 16, 2007 3:26:18 PM

    This is just a sampling of comments left in the moderated comments thread accompanying the Ross blog entry.
    Every single one of these comments went past an ABC News employee. This ABC News employee either decided not to investigate the multiple inaccuracies noted by readers, or passed the information on to Ross, who also declined to address the multiple falsehoods contained in his post. In either event, Ross and ABC News have had ample time to correct a blog entry devoid of facts, and they have declined to do so.

    This is media malpractice and what many would consider willful deception.

    Facts and truth do not apparently matter to ABC News.

    Pushing a political agenda is clearly their goal, even if that agenda must be supported by abject falsehoods.

    Update: It is also worth noting that one of the weapons used did not have a high-capacity magazine by any definition, and the other is typically used with a standard 15-round non-extended magazine that is moe or less an industry norm for pistols of its size.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:23 AM | Comments (29)

    April 16, 2007

    The Blotter: Never Let Tragedy or Stupidity Get in the Way of Your Political Agenda

    Brian Ross and Dana Hughes prove just how little they know about firearms, laws related to them, and the effects of both with their knee-jerk response to today's Virginia Tech shootings, where they attempt to place the blame not on the shooter, but on high-capacity magazines:

    High capacity ammo clips became widely available for sale when Congress failed to renew a law that banned assault weapons.

    Web sites now advertise overnight UPS delivery of the clips, which carry up to 40 rounds for both semi-automatic rifles and handguns.

    "High capacity magazines read extreme firepower and gusto. Stock Up!" is the headline of one of many gun shop Web sites.

    Virginia law enforcement officials have not identified the weapon used in the shootings today at Virginia Tech, but gun experts say the number of shots fired indicate, at the very least, that the gunman had large quantities of ammunition.

    "When you have a weapon that can shoot off 20, 30 rounds very quickly, you're going to have a lot more injuries," said Peter Hamm of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

    "It's not one or two shots at a time when you're putting 20 bullets, spraying them into a classroom or into a dorm room," Hamm said.

    This blog entry is so ignorant and factually incorrect on so many levels that ABC News should immediately print a correction or a retraction, and require Ross and Hughes to go to a basic firearms safety class before ever being allowed to write about the subject again.


    They state:

    High capacity ammo clips became widely available for sale when Congress failed to renew a law that banned assault weapons.

    This is absolutely and totally false.

    First, "clips," literally thin strips of metal designed to hold cartridges for ease in loading, were never addressed in the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.

    For that matter, the law never banned existing high magazines either, "magazines" being the word that Ross and Hughes needed, but were too technically ignorant to use.

    As a matter of practical fact, if Hughes and Ross had bothered to speak with any experts at all, they would have discovered that high-capacity magazines were never in short supply prior to 1994, and the commercial sale of high-capacity magazines was never slowed, much less stopped, during the ten years the ban was in effect from 1994-2004.

    The commercial sale of high capacity magazines was legal during the ban, and the supply of pre-existing magazines was so plentiful that prices for many magazines never increased. In some instances, prices actually dropped.

    Web sites now advertise overnight UPS delivery of the clips, which carry up to 40 rounds for both semi-automatic rifles and handguns.

    Again, Ross and Hughes are lazy and factually incorrect.

    Large commercial sporting good stores sold high capacity magazines during the entire life of the ban, because the ban never affected the sale of existing magazines, and there were warehouses full of them. Nor are we limited to 40-round magazines (not clips, which are something else entirely). If you want a 100-round magazine, you can have it shipped the very next day. You always could.

    "High capacity magazines read extreme firepower and gusto. Stock Up!" is the headline of one of many gun shop Web sites.

    Horrible grammar, perhaps, but at least they know the difference between a magazine and a clip. Online and commercial retail stores, again, have never been affected by the ban in any measurable way, nor have been consumers.

    Virginia law enforcement officials have not identified the weapon used in the shootings today at Virginia Tech, but gun experts say the number of shots fired indicate, at the very least, that the gunman had large quantities of ammunition.

    There are tens of million of people in this nation with "large quantities of ammunition." Does that mean we're all criminals in the minds of these ABC reporters? Probably.

    The fact of the matter is that high-capacity magazines were never difficult to get, and that even standard capacity magazines would have made very little difference in today's tragic shooting. For anyone with even a rudimentary familiarity with their firearm, changing a magazine takes less than three seconds. Those who practice can make a magazine change in less than that. Whether a shooter has two 15-round magazines or three 10-round magazines, the outcome would likely be very much the same.

    Once again, Ross and Hughes spray rhetorical blanks, and hit nothing.

    But they aren't quite done yet: now they need an expert opinion to provide the illusion of competence and objectivity.

    Send in the clown.

    "When you have a weapon that can shoot off 20, 30 rounds very quickly, you're going to have a lot more injuries," said Peter Hamm of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

    "It's not one or two shots at a time when you're putting 20 bullets, spraying them into a classroom or into a dorm room," Hamm said.

    I sholdn't have to point out the fact that their "expert" is from the anti-gun Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, a viciously anti-gun group, who is as light on the facts and as high on rhetoric as is Ross and Hughes. Note how Hamm purposefully uses the word "spray" to create an image of machine gun fire, even though machine guns are strictly regulated, and no one is even suggesting one was used in Blacksburg. I’d also note the obvious and undisputed fact that a weapon with a high-capacity magazine does not fire any faster than one with a regular magazine.

    This Blotter entry by Ross and Hughes is a study in bias, wrapped around ignorance, justified by fear.

    I don't think that is how ABC News should run their newsroom, but then, that is their decision to make.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:23 PM | Comments (16)

    April 02, 2007

    Creative Gun Reporting

    Somehow, I just don't believe that the reporter who wrote this San Mateo County Times story, Christine Morente, was actually there (h/t Michelle Malkin):

    KIMBERLY SHRUM grips a Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum revolver and aims at a target 25 yards away. Bang.

    A hot shell casing hits the floor, joining hundreds of others littering the concrete at Jackson Arms Indoor Shooting Range in South San Francisco.

    Just to point out the obvious to the oblivious, the scenario described above simply cannot happen.

    Morente stated Shrum is firing a Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum revolver. Shell casings remain in the chamber of a revolver until manually removed by the shooter; they cannot as Morente described "hit the floor" as a result of pulling the trigger. The automatic ejection of a fired shell is physically impossible with revolvers.

    These is basic firearm design fact not open to discussion. What does appear to be open for discussion is whether or not Morente was actually at the Jackson Arms Shooting Range with Shrum as her article implies.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:24 AM | Comments (7)

    February 22, 2007

    When the Deceptive and Uninformed Attack

    The liberal blog The Carpetbagger Report has a post up this morning entitled They don’t even have the right rifles, in which the author laments over National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers being re-deployed without enough time between deployments and without the right equipment.

    The post is based upon this article in today's New York Times.

    Now, it is perhaps deceptive enough that the blog dowdified the quote it chose to feature from the Times article to leave out certain critical information that David S. Cloud felt was important enough to dedicate the second paragraph of the article to—namely that a final decision had not been made to re-deploy these soldiers—but the blog then focused the rest of its post on lamenting that the soldiers don't have the "right" rifles.

    Unlike the Carpetbagger Report treatment of the Times article, I'll provide you with their full rifle-related original commentary:

    As if that weren’t bad enough, there’s the equipment problem weighing heavily on the military. Maj. Gen. Harry M. Wyatt III, commander of the Oklahoma National Guard, told the NYT that one-third of his soldiers lacked the M-4 rifles preferred by active-duty soldiers and that there were also shortfalls in night vision goggles and other equipment. Capt. Christopher Heathscott, a spokesman for the Arkansas National Guard, said the state’s 39th Brigade Combat Team was 600 rifles short for its 3,500 soldiers and also lacked its full arsenal of mortars and howitzers.

    Think about that — National Guard troops are training for another quick deployment, but some of these soldiers don’t even have the right rifles yet. Body armor and Humvee protection is one thing, but Guard troops don’t have the rifles they want?

    It’s unfortunately part of a trend.

    The Politico reported today that military officials have given lawmakers “a long list of equipment and reconstruction needs totaling nearly $36 billion, denied earlier by the administration in its $481 billion defense appropriations request for the new fiscal year.”

    The Army and Marine Corps say they need more than 5,000 armored vehicles, another $153 million for systems that defend against the deadly improvised explosive devices in Iraq and $13 million in language translation systems.

    In an annual exercise initiated by the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, the military service chiefs were asked to forward spending priorities for the new 2008 fiscal year that either Pentagon budget planners or White House budget officials struck from the services’ original requests. Lawmakers use the list to gauge where military commanders see shortfalls and to justify additions to the appropriations. […]

    The Army’s $10.3 billion list includes $2.2 billion for 2,500 special vehicles to better protect troops against roadside bomb attacks.

    Murtha’s “readiness strategy” is premised on the argument that troops with inadequate training and equipment shouldn’t be sent to Iraq. With this in mind, expect today’s reports to play a big role in the congressional debate. I can’t wait to hear to hear war supporters argue that National Guard troops who currently don’t even have the right rifles should be deployed anyway.

    Now that we've heard the complaint about having the "right" rifles, let's take a look at exactly what we're discussing.

    This is the M4 carbine:

    m4

    The most common variant is chambered to shoot 5.56X45mm NATO ammunition out of a 14.5" barrel, has a 14.5" sight radius, and has a multi-position collapsible stock. It weighs in at 5.9 lbs (empty). Bullets leave the barrel at 2,900 ft/sec and generate 1645 joules of energy at the muzzle (Data from Colt Weapons Systems).

    The M4 is the weapon many soldiers prefer for its compactness, lower weight, and adaptability.

    This is the M16 rifle:

    m16

    The most common variant is chambered to shoot 5.56X45mm NATO ammunition out of a 20" barrel, has a 19.75" sight radius, and has a fixed stock. It weighs in at 7.5 lbs (empty). Bullets leave the barrel at 3,100 ft/sec and generate 1765 joules of energy at the muzzle (Data from Colt Weapons Systems).

    This combat-proven basic configuration and its updates have been the primary combat rifle for the American military for four decades.

    Now, the Carpetbagger Report has somehow determined, using some leap of illogic, that the "preferred" M4 is the "right rifle," though how they came to that conclusion is never explained.

    The operating mechanisms, rate of fire (700-950 rounds per minute) and ammunition of these two weapons are nearly identical; the primary difference between the two weapons is the barrel of the M4 is 5.5" (27.5%) shorter than that of the M16.

    The shorter barrel length and overall shorter weapon length of the M4 (also due to the multi-position collapsible stock) of the M4 makes the weapon extremely popular ("preferred") by many of our soldiers, as does it's lighter weight. But many does not mean all, and it does not mean right, and that shorter weapon has some serious drawbacks, among them, a serious lack of "stopping power."

    Without getting to bogged down in the technical aspects, the M16 and M4 issued to our military use the standard 5.56x45 NATO round; the 5.56 being a militarized, higher pressure/higher velocity version of the .223 Remington cartridge. The .223 Remington is , as Wikipedia correctly notes, a slightly enlarged and higher velocity version of the .222 Remington.

    What is the primary avocation of the .222 and .223 Remington rounds?

    Shooting creatures like these guys:

    ghog2

    As you may well imagine, a cartridge developed from a family of cartridges designed to shoot small, lightly-armored woodland creatures has developed a reputation as having problems stopping much larger and occasionally armored humans. That problem is compounded in shorter-barrelled weapons such as the M4:

    There has been much criticism of the poor performance of the round, especially the first-round kill rate when using firearms that don't achieve the velocity to cause fragmentation. Typically, this only becomes an issue at longer ranges (over 100 meters) but this problem is compounded in shorter-barreled weapons. The 14.5-inch barrel of the U.S. military's M4 Carbine can be particularly prone to this problem. At short ranges, the round is extremely effective, and its tendency to fragment reduces the risk to bystanders when used at close range. However, if the round is moving too slowly to reliably fragment on impact, the wound size and potential to incapacitate a target is greatly reduced.

    I've spoken with several soldiers stationed at Fort Bragg shortly after they returned from deployments to Iraq, and the lack of stopping power of the M4 was a significant complaint. On soldier I spoke with had just completed a tour in Ramadi, and mentioned that he had shot one insurgent in the chest three times as he advanced, and it took a fourth shot to the head to finally end the threat. He was armed with an M4, and despised the weapon’s poor stopping power.

    Also armed with the M4 were the soldiers of the "Deuce Four" Stryker Brigade Michael Yon wrote about in Gates of Fire, where:

    Prosser shot the man at least four times with his M4 rifle. But the American M4 rifles are weak - after Prosser landed three nearly point blank shots in the man's abdomen, splattering a testicle with a fourth, the man just staggered back, regrouped and tried to shoot Prosser.

    Prosser then engaged the man in heated hand-to-hand combat before finally prevailing over a man he'd already shot four times. The terrorist, 50% less fertile than before, was captured, and survived his wounds.

    The simple fact of the matter is that the M4 may be "preferred" by some troops, but because of its record of dubious stopping power, it is not the favorite of all, leading to some soldiers preferring the M16, while others prefer modernized variations of the Vietnam-era M14 battle rifle. Because of the M4's anemic stopping power, there has been rushed special operations development of more powerful cartridges for elite forces, including the 6.8 SPC, 6.5 Grendal, and the .50 Beowulf, to pick up where the 5.56 M4 falls short.

    Clearly, there is a huge gap between "preferred" and "right," and millions of dollars have been poured into the development of weapons and cartridges precisely because many in the military community feel that the M4 is not the "right" rifle as the Carpetbagger Report argues from a position of ignorance.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:08 PM | Comments (21)

    February 12, 2007

    Name That Weapon

    Michael Yon has a question for his readers: What the heck is this?

    As the Drudge link seems to have fried Yon's server momentarily, here's the low-resolution version he emailed me this morning as he was trying to ID it.

    attcf4dd
    Photo property of Michael Yon. Swiped pending permission.

    Funky, isn't it?

    It looks fearsome, but don't plan on buying one: this homemade weapon was pulled from a captured ammunition cache in Iraq.

    What is it? Here is what I told Mike this morning when he asked for my opinion:

    I want to start by saying that without being able to get other angles and actually take the thing apart, what follows is purely unadulterated speculation, and perhaps laughably wrong.

    That out of the way, I think my original, joking assessment calling this a potato gun might not be too far off.

    This appears to have a crudely manufactuered wood front grip and stock, and the size of the holes in both to me suggest that they might have used nuts, bolts and washers to put this thing together... we're not talking a weapon designed by experts, or a weapon designed to handle much in the way of pressure. The welded together scope mount is probably not "true," and if you tried to adjust it, it would probably pull you off target. Based on what I can see, I'd suggest the scope is mostly for show, not performance.

    The plunger-type trigger to me suggests a friction ignitor, once again suggesting a potato gun, as does the larger of the two tubes, which suggests a combusion chamber leading to the smaller front tube, which is the barrel.

    With nothing else to go on, I really think it is a tater gun, though perhaps one with serious intentions.

    If you've got a tube of sufficient strength to handle a decent amont of propellant without detonating, I'd guess it could be used as a crude launcher, perhaps being used to toss molotov cocktails a little further or with a little more velocity or accuracy. If it wasn't found in a cache, I'd think it was a complete joke.

    Feel free to drop your guesses of what it might be used for in the comments.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 04:22 PM | Comments (18)

    February 02, 2007

    Cincinnati: Best Place to be a Vigilante

    So a 77-year-old Minnesota farmer and local Township Board member by the name of Kenneth Englund has been charged for taking the law into his own hands, chasing down a thief and holding him at gunpoint until police arrived.

    A lot of us would like to do what the farmer did in this case, or are at least supportive of such actions, but civilians are simply not allowed to do what this man did.

    As the sherrif said:

    Sheriff Mike Ammend said people can't take the law into their own hands, and that Englund's actions were "an invitation to a shootout. There's so many things that could have gone wrong here."

    Englund has been charged with second-degree assault.

    Which brings me back to this.

    Paul Hackett did almost the exact same thing in Ohio. The man who drove through his yard has already been sentenced.

    Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters decided not to charge Hackett.

    Apparently, vigilante justice is just fine in Hamilton County.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:01 PM | Comments (6)

    January 12, 2007

    The Wild, Wild West of... Ohio?

    The dateline is Indian Hill, and he's acting like a one-man posse, so close enough:

    An Iraq war veteran who drew national attention when he ran for Congress criticizing the president chased three men who had crashed into a fence outside his home, then guarded them with an assault rifle until police arrived, according to police reports.

    [snip]

    According to a police report, officers were called to Hackett's home on Nov. 19 after a car crashed into a fence and sped away. The officers arrived to find three men lying face down near their car and Hackett with an assault rifle slung over his shoulder.

    "He said he had done this about 200 times in Iraq, but this time there was not a translation problem," the police report said.

    Hackett told police later that he was carrying a civilian model of an AR-15 and that one round was in the chamber but the safety was on. He said he never aimed the weapon at the men or put his finger on the trigger.

    The driver of the car was charged with failure to maintain reasonable control, driving under suspension and carrying a concealed weapon, a pair of brass knuckles.

    Admittedly, I'm a couple of days late to this, but how is it that the cops show up to find three guys face-down on the ground in front of a guy that chased them down and then displayed an AR-15, and the guy with the rifle doesn't get arrested?

    Even when smothered with lawyerly talk, this seems like a fairly cut-and-dried case of brandishing a weapon, if not assault with a deadly weapon, depending on what the victims/defendents here have to say about the matter. You simply cannot go chase down someone and use a weapon to get them to comply to your demands.

    While I am not a lawyer, I have heard of similar circumstances where people "compelled" other people to remain on the scene until the cops arrived with the use of a firearm, and when the cops arrived, they charged the person with the firearm for several crimes, including with something akin to kidnapping or unlawful detainment.

    I thank Hackett for his service to our nation in Iraq, but Paul--can I call you Paul?--You are no longer in Iraq.

    You simply can't chase someone down for a property crime with a weapon. That is a crime. Potentially, it is more than one crime. I'm rather disappointed he wasn't charged on the scene, but at least a grand jury is investigating.

    Somehow, I doubt that the (generally gun-hating) netroots would be nearly as accommodating as they seem to be in this case, if any other former soldier decided to use his weapon to enforce the law once he was back home.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 04:50 PM | Comments (25) | TrackBack

    December 18, 2006

    Bloomberg Behind Entrapment?

    Glenn Reynolds linked to the following from NRA News:

    There's someone out there telling folks to buy guns illegally, and I think it's time we put a stop to it. He's directing contract employees to walk into gun stores, lie on the paperwork about who's buying the gun, and walk out after making a straw purchase.

    Even worse, he's bragging about what he's doing. He's holding press conferences to tell the world about what he's done, but so far law enforcement doesn't seem to be listening.

    Well, I think it's time we help out the ATF agents that enforce our nation's gun laws. We need to call their Illegal Gun Hotline at 1-800-ATF-GUNS (that's 1-800-283-4867) and alert them to this illegal firearms activity. Tell them that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is hiring private investigators to initiate straw purchases in several states, and you want them to enforce the law.

    Oh, I know Bloomberg says he wants to rid New York's streets of illegal guns. But he's not asking for help from local law enforcement agents. He's not asking for the help of the ATF. He's not even using his own police department.

    Bloomberg is using his own private army of investigators to lie on the paperwork in order to sue the small business gun dealers, alleging that they're to blame for the lies they've been told. And once he sues, he offers the trapped gun dealers a devil's bargain: Give Bloomberg all of your business documents, and the lawsuit goes away.

    Unless the law works differently in New York City than it does elsewhere, it appears that Mayor Michael Bloomberg may be involved in a criminal conspiracy to break federal firearms laws.

    Strawman purchases—roughly defined as someone legally allowed to purchase a firearm illegally acting to purchase a firearm for someone not legally allowed to own a weapon—is a felony. At the sporting good store where I work, we have multiple notices posted for customers letting them know that such a sale can lead to up to ten years in jail and a substantial fine, and they are not the only people at risk.

    Gun store owners and employees are extremely aware of the threat that illegal purchases pose to not just their industry, but their own immediate welfare. Knowingly selling a gun to someone we suspect may be a strawman is also a crime.

    As a result, most gun store employees interrogate potential purchasers to a certain degree to attempt to determine if the potential gun purchaser is indeed attempting to purchase a firearm for himself. If we suspect that something might be fishy with the buyer, we have a right to stop the transaction from occurring, even when the federal government, through the FBI’s NICS Operations Center, verifies that the purchaser is indeed himself legally allowed to own a gun.

    The problem is that Mayor Bloomberg's investigators likely know every nuance of the law, just as they know the tricks of the trade dealers use to expose potential strawman purchasers from legitimate purchasers. To initiate lawsuits against small gun store owners, it seems quite likely that Mayor Bloomberg and his investigators may have initiated a felonious conspiracy, committing fraud in order to set up my layman’s understanding of entrapment.

    If any lawyers would like to comment on this, I'd be very interested to see if these gun shop owners targeted by Bloomberg have any criminal or civil recourse against the Mayor, his investigators, and the City of New York.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:39 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    October 23, 2006

    Of Monsters and Mouse-Guns

    The M16/M4 family assault rifles have served the U.S. military for longer than I've been alive, and during that 39-year run, it has always been fielded with a 5.56mm NATO catridge. The success of the.22-caliber centerfire round relies almost totally upon velocity, and the short-barreled M4 carbine issued to many of our troops today means that they are equipped with a weapon and cartridge combination that places their lives at risk.

    Nowhere in recent memory was anecdotal evidence more apparent than in Michael Yon's widely read dispatch, Gates of Fire, where CSM Robert Prosser engaged a terrorist in Mosul at point-blank range after LTC Eric Kurilla was shot in a storefront ambush:

    Prosser ran around the corner, passed the two young soldiers who were crouched low, then by me and right to the shop, where he started firing at men inside.

    A man came forward, trying to shoot Kurilla with a pistol, apparently realizing his only escape was by fighting his way out, or dying in the process. Kurilla was aiming at the doorway waiting for him to come out. Had Prosser not come at that precise moment, who knows what the outcome might have been.

    Prosser shot the man at least four times with his M4 rifle. But the American M4 rifles are weak - after Prosser landed three nearly point blank shots in the man’s abdomen, splattering a testicle with a fourth, the man just staggered back, regrouped and tried to shoot Prosser.

    Prosser’s M4 carbine failed to seriously incapacitate the terrorist even after he was shot with four 5.56 NATO rounds at almost contact range. Prosser ended up capturing the terrorist after intense hand-to-hand combat. The terrorist survived his wounds.

    This incident, written about fourteen months ago, immediately came to mind when I spoke last week with another soldier that had been based in Mosul and Ramadi during his latest tour. The last insurgent he shot took two 5.56 NATO rounds from an M4 in the chest, and the terrorist didn't go down. It took a third round through the head to kill him.

    These are not the only "failure to stop" stories I've heard about regarding the 5.56 NATO round, and as the shorter-barreled M4 variant becomes more common through the military, these stories most assuredly won't be the last. I'd like to see the statistics of those American soldiers killed or wounded by those insurgents and terrorists that had already taken one or more hits to the torso, but I imagine that even if the military did maintain such statistics, they would probably be classified.

    We know that the M4 does not have a long-enough barrel (14.5") to generate the velocities needed for 5.56 NATO cartridges designed for peak velocities in the 20" barrel of the M16. We also know that future assault weapons programs like the XM8 (with an even shorter 12.5" barrel) have been shelved. So does this mean that American soldiers are destined to use under-performing weapons for the time to come?

    A handful of weaponsmiths are hoping to develop larger-diameter cartridges that will be able met the needs of American soldiers, among these cartridges being the 6.8 SPC and the 6.5 Grendel.

    These cartridges are designed to fit existing 5.56 NATO-compatible weapons systems, meaning that these new and more powerful cartridges could be retrofitted to existing M16s/M4s with a minimum of modifications (new upper receiver, barrel, magazines, etc). That said, with the historically sloth-like speed of the military procurement system, expect our soldiers to be fielding "under-gunned" 5.56 NATO-chambered M4s for a long-time to come.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:59 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

    October 17, 2006

    Gun Season

    Woodlots and fields across the United States are filling with hunters of game both large and small throughout the coming weeks as rifle and shotgun seasons start in many jurisdictions around the country, but every year about this time we also see an increase—at least anecdotally—of a number of home invasions as the holiday season approaches. ‘Tis the season to be robbing.

    As a result, it seems that as we get closer to the holidays, we see an increase in the number of potential firearms purchasers inquiring about home defense weapons for the first time.

    Most potential purchasers turn to the "gun expert" in their family or circle of friends for guidance, who often in turn glean their information from other shooters and from gun magazines. Employees of gun shops are often another resource that people know and trust. Sadly, most of the information provided by all of these experts is—in my not so humble opinion—completely wrong.

    Pick up any popular gun magazine in the United States today, and you will be quickly overwhelmed at the plethora of tricked-out tactical carbines based on the M16/AR15 platform, intimidating 12-guage combat shotguns, and highly customized pistols costing thousands of dollars. Odds are that when the conversation comes around to which firearms is best suited for home defense, gun magazine authors and your neighborhoods experts will quickly zero in on a 12-guage pump-action shotgun in one flavor or another, with 00-buckshot often mentioned as the ammunition of choice.

    You could make a worse choice—a long-barreled single-shot Sharps rifle in .45/70, or on the other extreme, a cheap .25 semi-automatic pistol—but the ubiquitous 12-guage pump touted by neighborhood amateurs and professional gun writers is often the wrong choice for most homeowners.

    I first addressed the point when I wrote a post called Overcoming The "Viagra Theory" of Home Defense on March 15 in response to an Instapundit reader looking for advice on a home security shotgun that could be used by her and her husband.

    She wrote:

    I have a great little .22 Browning rifle for plinking, but my husband and I are looking to purchase a shotgun for home security. Not sure what's the best shotgun to get for this, although I'm leaning towards a pump action for the sound effects, which I'm told can be a good deterrent. Would love to hear recommendations from folks. Also wondering if we can get a shotgun that can also be used for trap or skeet, or are guns just too specialized these days? Looking for cost info too, for new and used. Thanks for your advice!

    This is very similar to the questions I got from husband-and-wife customers of mine two weeks ago under a far more stressful situation. They were two young homeowners awoken the previous night when someone attempted to force open the back door of their home. When they came to me the following evening they were still visibly shaken as they explained that they’d talked to an "expert" they knew who suggested a 12-gauge pump shotgun equipped with a extended magazine and filled with 00-buckshot cartridges. They were not the first customers sent to me who had been told to make that specific choice by the "experts" they knew, and they won't be the last. They went home with something else.

    Why?

    As mentioned previously, gun geeks are a knowledgeable lot, but not all of what they "know" applies to all people in all situations. Most of your gun magazine writers are by definition long-term firearms users, usually with military, law enforcement, and/or hunting backgrounds. The vast majority of these writers became familiar with the idea of a 12-gauge shotgun filled with 00-buckshot because that is the most common gauge and loading issued to military and police shotgun users over the past 100 years. As a result, the conventional wisdom, based upon decades of successful use of this combination in military and police shootings, not to mention millions of successful big-game animals harvested, is that this loading works. It is almost unquestioned.

    But are soldiers and police officers the same audience as home defense purchasers, and would they use their firearms in the same way, and in the same kinds of situations? The answer to all of these questions is a resounding "no."

    12-gauge shotguns used by the military are primarily used for close-quarters offensive operations, like house-to-house fighting, and in guarding prisoners. Shotguns used by police are generally used to augment handguns in standoff situations or for guarding prisoners. In both instances, the person wielding the shotgun, either soldier or policeman, is likely to be a reasonably fit male with formal weapons training that is interjecting himself into a situation where he desires to control and overwhelm an opponent with superior short-range firepower.

    Homeowners defending their lives against home invasion do not share the same goals, training, or in many instances, physical characteristics as those assumed by gun writers and other experts.

    Unless the Census Bureau is way off, the majority of the American population is neither young nor male, nor necessarily in the best of health. Once you consider that a significant number of potential home defense customers are small-framed women, men, or youth, or may be aging, or may have other issues that prevent them from easily controlling a full-size 12-gauge shotgun, the absurdity of recommending this firearm to all home defense users becomes readily apparent.

    In the example of my customers above, both were on the short and stocky side, and a full-size shotgun of any gauge was simply out of the equation. Neither could easily shoulder the weapon. All too often, gun writers and other experts overlook this basic issue.

    In addition to the size of their frames, neither customer had much experience with firearms nor physically very strong, and so expecting them to reasonably control a shotgun with a pistol grip was also a dubious prospect. The fact that they lived in a community with a relatively high population density—small homes back-to-back and side to side-to-side small lots—made overpenetration also a significant issue.

    What did I end up recommending?

    This, specifically, even though it was not something we currently had in stock at the time.

    While sniffed at by the experts, a .410-bore shotgun loaded with birdshot possesses more close-range stopping power than any popular handgun caliber, with far less danger of overpenetration. It is also much easier to operate and shoot accurately in high-stress situations than any handgun (which required well-practiced fine motor skills). The fact that this particular variant came with a laser-sight made it even more appropriate for these specific customers.

    Is a .410 pump shotgun the "perfect" home defense weapon? Of course not; no weapon exists that can address the needs of all homes and homeowners. But what the HS 410 and other similar shotguns offer is a better compromise for most users, one that can be employed more successfully by a greater number of people. It is also often found at a far more reasonable price that the four-figure tactical firearms that seem to compose the bulk of the gun media's editorializing these days.

    The advice I gave to the two customers I worked with was partially heeded. They were determined to leave the gun counter with something that night, and as I happened to be out of .410s at that time, they did as good as the could have under their self-imposed deadline.

    They went with smaller shotgun than the full-size extended-magazine military-issue 12-gauge recommended by their friend. They selected a youth model 20-gauge with a shorter stock that both of them could handle reasonably well. They also went with light target loads instead of buckshot, which will be just as effective for the 12-15 foot ranges that they would expect, while being far safer in their dense suburban neighborhood.

    There is no "one size fits all" solution for home defense. I simply wish more "experts" were willing to admit it.

    Update: Just to clarify points made above, the average defensive gun use in home invasion shooting is across a room—generally 3-5 yards. At those ranges, common 12-gauge birdshot loadings penetrate 4.5 inches into ballistic gelatin for #8 shot, and 7.5 inches for #5 shot.

    At the same range, 00-buckshot will penetrate 22 inches of ballistic gelatin, or translated into English, it will go through your target with enough velocity left to potentially wound or kill someone on the other side of your target, even if you hit your target with 100% of the pellets fired.

    .410 loadings will of course have a smaller mass of shot (11/16 of a ounce at 1100+ fps) than the 12 gauge loading (1 Ľ oz of shot at 1200 fps) and a slightly lower velocity, but as Mossberg noted in it’s own research, that produces more than 800 ft/lbs of force at the home defense ranges mentioned, or about twice that of the venerable 230-grain Federal Hydrashok in.45ACP. and at these 3-5 yard ranges, they are quite capable of a one-shot stop.

    If additional shots are necessary, the low-recoil, low-report of a .410 will make follow-up shots considerably easier than would a larger-bore shotgun. Fire a 12-gauge in an enclosed 12x12 box in low-light conditions, and tell me how easy it is to simulate a self-imposed flash-bang. Your odds of survival go down dramatically if you temporarily give up two of your five senses.

    Update: I also realize now that I failed to specify which loading I'd recommend for a .410 shotgun for home defense. I tend to prefer the Winchester X4134 loading, a 3" shell loaded with 11/16 oz. of #4 shot, the Federal H413 GameShok with #4 shot, or the Remington Express Extra Long Range #4 shot in the SP413 loading.

    These 3" loadings will in most circumstances at a 3-5 yard range produce a hole 1-3" in diameter penetrating up to 6 inches to the dead center of a human target, and the low-impulse recoil will allow rapid follow-up shots.

    Again, no gun is suited for all self-defense scenarios, but for those who will choose to barricade themselves in a predetermined safe room and will have the good sense to stay there until arrive and clear the home, this particular firearm and ammunition choice may be ideal for some.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:10 AM | Comments (135) | TrackBack

    September 14, 2006

    Loser Control

    A pathetic excuse for a human being named Kimbeer Vill shot 20 people at Dawson College in Montreal, Canada yesterday. One of those people later died as a result of her wounds, and six other remain in critical condition, two of them are barely clinging to life. I pray that the injured pull through and are able to get on with their lives with a minimum of physical pain and psychological trauma.

    As for Gill, I hope he doesn't mind the smell of roasting meat in a fire that burns, but does not consume. I guess I'm not that compassionate a conservative.

    Gill seems cut from the same cloth as his apparent idols, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the psychopathic killers of Columbine that were also into the gothic vampire loser fantasy world of real and imagined death that some people retreat into when they can't cope with reality.

    Predictably, the debate about gun control is heating up in Canada, and I'm certain calls will ripple down across our northern border as well.

    But this isn't an issue of gun control. This is an issue of loser control.

    gill

    This is Kimbeer Vill. He is a caricature in many ways, the stereotypical Goth-loving, vampire wannabe with no friends and an anti-social attitude. He is, was, quite simply a loser, and he shot 20 people to prove just how much of a loser he could be.

    The gun he carries in the photo above is the Beretta CX4 Storm. Ironically, the CX4 and similar designs were developed largely with the law enforcement community in mind, being developed as longer-ranged companions to police sidearms that still used the officer's pistol ammunition and magazines.

    While I cannot claim to have a knowledge of Canadian firearms laws and will leave the details to those more familiar with their provisions, I do know that in the United States, gun dealers do have available to them a certain amount of "loser control" built into firearms laws. I know this firsthand, because one of the many hats I wear is as a part-time gun dealer working behind the gun counter of a sporting goods store.

    Even if a potential firearms purchaser has all the appropriate documentation and is cleared by the BATF background check, I still have the right as the seller to deny a suspect purchaser a sale for any reason, or no reason at all.

    Most reasons are concrete, but a lot of it is intuition and nuance that boil down to the fact that the dealer doesn't like the way a customer looks or acts or answers a question. It is de facto loser control, a latitude given to dealers to use their experience and judgement to weed out potentially dangerous people who we feel should not be armed.

    There is or course no way to know if Kimbeer Vill displayed the kind of behavior that might have caused a dealer to have second thoughts, but as Vill had a penchant from dressing "Goth," in going for the vampire look, and according to what his blog reveals, for reveling in thoughts of death and dying, he seems like he would have been easy enough to red flag. Another dealer I know recently turned down a perspective purchaser based upon very similar reasons.

    Gun control as policy very rarely if ever works, but loser control can be surprisingly effective.

    It's too bad it was not more effective here.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:58 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

    March 15, 2006

    Overcoming The "Viagra Theory" of Home Defense

    Via Instapundit, I see that a blogger by the name of Miss Kelly is looking for shotgun advice:

    National Buy a Gun Day is only 30 days away! I have a great little .22 Browning rifle for plinking, but my husband and I are looking to purchase a shotgun for home security. Not sure what's the best shotgun to get for this, although I'm leaning towards a pump action for the sound effects, which I'm told can be a good deterrent. Would love to hear recommendations from folks. Also wondering if we can get a shotgun that can also be used for trap or skeet, or are guns just too specialized these days? Looking for cost info too, for new and used. Thanks for your advice!

    As you may imagine, she's picked up a lot of advice... and most of it is bad. As a matter of fact, I guarantee someone reading this post right now is already thinking about a 12-gauge pump stoked with 00-Buck, without first bothering to really digest the questions in her post.

    Let's look over her request again, shall we?

    What she did and didn't say…
    She wants a shotgun ("leaning towards a pump") for "home security" (we'll define that later) and possibly trap/skeet shooting. She is willing to look at used firearms. Let's go from there.

    Looking at her profile, it seems she lives in Massachusetts (not the most gun-friendly state), and she lives with her husband and some animals, but no children seem to be present in the household.

    We do not know if she lives in an apartment or condominium, or if she lives in a home, if she lives in a high-density suburban area or if she lives in a rural location. We do not know if she or her husband have any physical limitations. We do not even know the basic layout of her dwelling. It would be nice to have more specifics about all of these things, but we'll make do with information we have.

    We'll have to assume she and her husband are healthy, and probably in middle age. As we don't know for certain that there aren't children present, and as Massachusetts is a fairly dense state population-wise, we'll assume for safety's sake that there are other inhabited dwellings in close proximity.

    Defining weapon parameters
    First, we know that Miss Kelly is looking for a shotgun. This fact has been no deterrent to at least 13 people make comments about other weapons so far. Nice to know they are listening, isn't it?

    We also know that the users of this shotgun will be a male and female. While Miss Kelley didn't give her measurements, lets assume she is the "average" American woman of about 5'4" with proportional arms and legs for her height. Any shotgun we pick must be able to be used effectively by her to be, well, effective.

    So what do our intrepid commentors at Miss Kelly's give us (those that can remember to focus on shotguns, that is)? No less than 18 posts about variations of the tricked-out pump-action 12-guage combat shotgun, a weapon designed for relatively large, healthy, men.

    Following the "Viagra" theory of defense, these folks think bigger and the more enhancements and attachments you can add on, the better it is. That might work for some devices that a woman might to keep in her bedroom, but Miss Kelly is interested in shotguns.

    She needs one that will fit her needs, not theirs.

    "Home Security"
    The phrase “home security” means different things to different people, and a lot of the weapons choices made, paint a picture of people preparing for sustained offensive urban combat operations.

    Unless we wake up in al-Anbar in the morning, this is not our reality.

    In our world, home security means retreating to a defensible point in your home and firing your weapon only when given no other choice, and firing only until the threat ends. Nothing more than that is legally justifiable.

    This is a defensive situation, not an offense one.

    Choosing the Home Defense Shotgun
    Miss Kelly would be best served by a shotgun designed for the smaller stature of women and teens, and many men will be surprised to find the shortened stocks, smaller gauges and lighter overall weight of these weapons can be desirable, especially in the close confines of a home security situation.

    As she has only noted experience with a .22 rifle, and the defensive shotgun will be used indoors in the confined spaces of her home and possibly at night, recoil, flash, noise and penetration are all critical factors in choosing a shotgun as well.

    Luckily, O.F. Mossberg, the company that won the U.S. Military contract for combat shotguns in 1979, was diligent, and did their homework for the home security market as well. Their suggestion is a .410 pump called the HS 410.

    A .410?

    The smallest of the shotgun calibers does seem like an odd choice to those of the "bigger is better" philosophy and it would be an odd choice for a police or military weapon, but it makes perfect sense for a home security shotgun.

    A .410 shotgun, at the typical home security distance of near-contact range out to 25 feet, has more short-range stopping power than the vaunted .45 ACP, the .357 Magnum, or the .44 Magnum. The .410 won't deafen you the way a 12 or 20 gauge shotgun could, not will it have excessive muzzle flash or recoil.

    In addition—and this is very important—the .410, loaded with birdshot will not over-penetrate walls as 12 and 20 gauge shotguns typically will. All bullets fired by pistols and rifles (even .22s) will easily over-penetrate multiple layers of sheetrock, going into other rooms or even other homes, potentially wounding or killing someone other than your intended target.

    Not a great choice for the beginning skeet or trap shooter, a 410 pump is a shotgun Miss Kelly and her husband can learn to shoot well and confidentially in a minimal amount of time, with enough stopping power to immediately stop anyone who invades her home at a reduced danger to others in the area.

    Bigger may be better for some applications in the bedroom, but not for home security shotguns.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:45 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

    March 14, 2006

    Name That Bang-Stick

    Being something of a gun geek, I usually can identify modern military firearms at a glance, but this photo of Jordanian Army counter-terrorists has me almost stumped.

    To me it looks like a H&K G36C. Can anyone confirm this?

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:18 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    March 11, 2006

    Man Down

    I just found out that someone I know was shot in a hunting incident that sounds eerily like Vice President Cheney's accident with Harry Whittington several weeks ago.

    I don't have all the facts, but apparently "E." had a successful quail hunt and swung by the club. He ran into another member and his son who wanted to go out, and being more experienced, he volunteered to take them.

    They flushed the first bird, and the young man froze. They flushed a second bird and again the young man froze. I'm sure he was probably embarrassed, and when they flushed the third quail, he concentrated so hard...

    He fired at the quail just as he swung into both E. and his own dad. His father took four or five birdshot without any serious injuries.

    E. wasn't quite as lucky.

    He took 44 birdshot to the right side of his face, including two in the right eye. One of those continued through his eye, into his brain. Miraculously, he wasn't killed. He'll find out later this week if they can repair his right eye. He could lose his sight. They'll also try to determine if they will need to remove the shot lodged in his brain, or if it is safer to let it remain where it is.

    If any of my readers are praying folks, I'd ask you to say two prayers.

    The first is for E. and his family, asking that E. has a full recovery. The second prayer is for this young man, who was only 12. He certainly meant no harm, and this is bound to have devastating effects on him and his family as well.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:47 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

    February 20, 2006

    Shooting Blanks

    In the past few days, much attention has be paid to a short video compiled by a man by the name of Alex Jones who claims to have proven that Vice President Dick Cheney shot a fellow hunter, Harry Whittington, at a much closer distance than the 30 yards that has been accepted and uncontested by federal (Secret Service), state (Texas Parks and Wildlife), and local (Kenedy County) law enforcement.

    Dan Riehl gutted the Jones video Saturday with precision, and even this liberal bird hunter concurs, but the logic of their statements haven't sunken in yet, and so I thought I would give it a try myself, even though no amount of logic can overcome a closed mind.

    The Shotguns: Buicks and Maybachs
    The firearm used by Alex Jones in his video is an unidentified side-by-side shotgun of undetermined origin, manufacture, and condition, presumably a general mass-produced shotgun like the vast majority of firearms in the world today. Vince President Cheney's Perazzi is a custom-fitted, hand-made over-under competition-grade shotgun.

    Incredibly, Alex Jones tries to pass off shotguns of different basic design, layout, and manufacture as being identical (or at least being close enough). The closest he comes to validating the shotgun he uses is when Jones states that the shotgun is "the same length" as that used by the Vice President. That said, he doesn't explain that unlike rifles, shotgun barrel length does not have a significant impact on accuracy or velocity. All that Jones does substantiate is that both his firearm and Cheney's are both 28-gauge shotguns.

    The Ammunition
    In addition to passing off very dissimilar shotguns as being the same, he attempts to pass of the same broad generalization as being specific enough with his mention of shotgun ammunition. In short, how does Jones know he is using the "exact same shot?"

    Who made the ammunition he used in his test, and was it a harder-hitting game load, or a lighter target load using both less powder and shot? Three major ammunition manufacturers make loadings for the 28-gauge shotgun that uses size #7 ½ shot. A virtually limitless number of smaller, custom ammunition manufacturers also have this same capability.

    Winchester makes two loadings, a lighter shooting AA target loading that fires ¾ oz of shot at 1300 fps (feet per second), and a harder hitting “Super X” game loading that fires 33% more shot, or 1 full ounce of # 7 1/2 shot, with a maximum powder loading, at 1205 fps.

    Federal Cartridge manufactures a Premium Wing-Shok Hi-Brass loading for the 28-gauge that fires at 1295 fps, 3/4 ounce of #7 1/2 shot that, interesting enough, happens to be copper plated. Copper-plating makes shot less prone to deformation, and typically contributes to a tighter shot pattern that lead shot.

    Remington makes their Express Extra Long Range 28-gauge using #7 1/2 shot to perform at 1285 fps with a Âľ oz shot loading.

    Every single manufacturer uses slightly different primers, powder, wads and shot.

    Every single one of these shells patterns differently, even from the same firearm.

    It is very important to note that nothing Alex Jones says about the ability of Dick Cheney's shotgun to pattern is valid. Froma forensic perspective, the firearm and ammunition combination Jones used for "testing" are little more than theatrical props.

    The Chokes
    Another point of interest is that Jones either knows next to nothing about shotgun chokes, or he simply cannot talk about them articulately. A choke is nothing more than the tapered constriction of the muzzle end of a shotgun used to focus the concentration of shot to varying degrees.

    He speaks of firing a shot through the "larger barrel," which is false statement, as the barrel of even a wide-open, un-choked cylinder bore is not larger, but is the same diameter of the rest of the barrel. Somehow, we are supposed to trust the “expertise” of a man who does not know his own weapon.

    He fires a shot through this "larger barrel," and while we are not able to see the pattern of the shot, by his description is that with the ammunition he uses, it patterns poorly at 30 yards.

    He then speaks of shooting "through the choked barrel." He later states this barrel uses a modified choke, but that it patterns poorly as well. I felt from the beginning that Jones was comparing his Pontiac of a shotgun to Cheney's Maybach, and this would seem to support that supposition.

    Jones says his choke is modified, but is unable to tell us what the chokes on the Vice President's shotgun may be. There are no less than nine chokes for shotguns, ranging from the un-constricted cylinder bore through skeet 1, the common improved cylinder, sheet 2, modified (the claimed choke of the second barrel of Jones' shotgun), improved modified, full, extra full, and turkey chokes.

    In review, Jones uses a different basic shotgun design and unknown ammunition, from chokes that may not be similar, and attempts to fool a largely gun-ignorant audience into believing that he is creating a valid test situation. He is not.

    What About Bob?
    In addition to creating an invalid test situation by comparing dissimilar shotguns and unknown ammunition (with only the shotgun gauge remaining similar between the two firearms), Jones selects the oddest of targets for comparison, including my old friend, BOB. I worked at a sporting good store some years ago, and I watched as BOB took punches ever hour, twelve hours a day, every day of the week. Bob is a lot tougher than Harry Whittington.

    BOB, or the Body Opponent Bag, is a martial arts striking mannequin, with "skin" composed of a thick, very resilient, dense and yet flexible rubber compound made to takes thousands of punches and strikes from some martial arts weapons. When compared to human flesh, BOB's rubber skin is far thicker, more dense and far more resilent.

    The degree of Jones' deception is compounded by the physiology of the skin in the elderly:

    By the time we reach old age our mature skin may well have experienced decades of sun exposure, even if only at very low levels. This is associated with the effects of intrinsic aging. The result as we see it is almost always a balance of the two.

    Elderly skin can be very dry and almost paper-thin, with the structures in the dermis clearly visible. The TEWL is increased, and the skin becomes more fragile and prone to injuries: with the lack of protection from the dermis, the small blood vessels become vulnerable to breakage and bursting ('broken veins').

    BOB's strike-proof rubber hide is a far cry from the skin of the average person, and even further away from the paper-thin skin of a 78-year old like Harry Whittington. Alex Jones could not be further from the truth when he states that Bob's thick rubber hide is "soft rubber, very similar to human skin." That is simply an untrue statement. I suspect it is far closer to being a purposeful lie.

    The Shooting
    Jones then make claims about the birdshot that hit Harry Whittington that he cannot factually support.

    He claims that some of the shotgun pellets from Cheney's shotgun penetrated three layers of clothing that Harry Whittington was wearing, passed through his ribs and his pericardium, and into his heart. The first doctor's to treat Whittington, including a surgeon, never claimed pellets penetrated Whittington's rib cage. The shot migrated to Whittington's heart, it did not penetrate there.

    The vast majority of shot to hit Harry Whittington hit exposed flesh on the right side of his face, neck, and shoulder (upper right chest), more than likely through the open neck of the button-down shirt typically worn while quail hunting, as shown below.

    Counting Pellets
    In addition, while Jones and others have claimed Whittington was hit by 200 pellets, they misstate what the doctor actually said. What the doctors once stated is that up to 200 pellets may have hit Whittington, but they never claimed that 200 pellets necessarily did hit Whittington. 200 pellets could have hit him, but only about half that (and here) actually did according to the most recent reports.

    The False Charge
    Alex Jones directly charges that Vice President Dick Cheney shot Harry Whittington from 15-18 feet away.

    That is the width of average American living room. At that distance, a mass of shot weighing 3/4 of an ounce would have spread (as a liberal bird-hunting blogger concurs) only about 4-5 inches, and would have hit with enough velocity that it would have penetrated deeply into the body, shredding internal organs and obliterating bone, regardless of how much clothing was worn, as one of my commentors to this post can personally attest. Chances of anyone surviving this kind of hit to the upper torso are slight.

    So does anyone—any rational person—actually think that a 78 year-old man, when shot in the chest, face and neck with a shotgun from a distance only as wide as a living room, would walk out of a hospital under his own power and be able to give a press statement less than a week later? It is, quite literally almost impossible. And yet...

    ...here he is, even wearing a coat and tie.

    The Conspiracy Unravels
    Jones further claims that the police were kept in the dark to allow time for nefarious forces to somehow orchestrate a cover-up. He purposefully ignores the fact that federal law enforcement officers (the Secret Service) were with the Vice President's party the entire time, and that the Secret Service called local authorities shortly after the shooting. It was the local sherriff's decision not to interview Cheney until Sunday. This bears repeating: the proper authorites were immediately notified, and they conducted their investigation without interference.

    Of course, Alex Jones is attempting to justify a conspiracy theory to persecute a political figure he personally demonizes, and inconvenient facts such as these merely get in the way.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:36 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    February 18, 2006

    When the Ignorati Attack

    As I thought might happen, some gun-ignorant liberals are concocting stories about Dick Cheney's accidental shooting of Harry Whittington one week ago today.

    Their basic argument is that Cheney must have been a lot closer than 30 yards when he shot Whittington becuase of the way the shot patterned.

    Dan Riehl deconstructs and debunks their argument rather well.

    The only slight discrepancy in Riehl's post is that jumps out at me is that steel shot is only made for waterfowling loads, not birdshot sizes. Steel has too little mass to be effective in such small sizes.

    And so Dan got me thinking... WWCS? (What would Cheney shoot?)

    To get such a dense pattern, you need shot that hold their spherical shape very well when exiting the barrel. Shot (pellets) that deform are aerodynamically unstable, will wobble, and will cause pattern spread. Extremely hard shot keeps its shape and enables the shot string to pattern better.

    I present to you, Federal Cartridge company's 28-gauge # 7 1/2 Premium Wing Shok Hi-Brass copper-plated lead birdshot. The copper-plating makes the pellets harder, enabling them to hold tighter patterns at longer ranges.

    Of course, if Taylor-Marsh wants to be thoroughly humiliated, I can deconstruct her articles one-by-one, but I think liberals are against torture.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:18 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    February 16, 2006

    The Quail on the Grassy Knoll, Part 2

    I just read the transcript of Dick Cheney's interview with Brit Hume on Fox News, and it is obvious that the Vice President is extremely remorseful, haunted by the fact he shot a friend. The image of Cheney firing at the bird, only to see Whittington drop, obviously plays over and over again in his mind.

    My heart goes out to Mr. Whittington and his family, and also to the Vice President and his family. This is traumatic for all concerned, and I wish for all of them to recover as fully as God and time allows.

    That said, some of the details of this late Saturday afternoon hunt are still unclear.

    Obviously, I'm still very interested in discovering if the shotgun pellet in Harry Whittington's heart is really "roughly 5 mm" as Dr. David Blanchard claimed. Odds are that the good doctor was mistaken, and I hope that this is indeed the case. Ammunition using pellets of that size, which are more suitable for goose hunting than quail hunting, are not made for the Vice President's 28-gauge shotgun. I have two emails in to media contacts at the hospital where Mr. Whittington is being treated, and hopefully they will indeed confirm this is a simple mistake in judging the size of the shot.

    Another thing that perplexes me is the relative positions of the three hunters in this incident. According to the Vice President in Hume's interview:

    HUME: Tell me what happened.

    CHENEY: Well, basically, we were hunting quail, late in the day.

    HUME: Let's recall the setting.

    CHENEY: It's in South Texas, wide open spaces, a lot of brush cover, but fairly shallow, but it's wild quail. It's some of the best quail hunting any place in the country. I've gone there to the Armstrong ranch for years. The Armstrongs have been friends for over 30 years. And a group of us had hunted all day on Saturday.

    HUME: How many?

    CHENEY: Probably 10 people. We weren't all together, but about 10 guests at the ranch. There were two of us who had gotten out of the vehicle and walked up on a covey of quail that had been pointed by the dogs. The covey was flushed, we shot, and each of us got a bird. Harry couldn't find his. It had gone down in some deep cover, so he went off to look for it. The other hunter and I then turned and walked about 100 yards in the other direction.

    HUME: Away from him?

    CHENEY: Away from him, where another covey had been spotted by an outrider. I was on the far right ...

    HUME: There was just two of you then?

    CHENEY: Just two of us at that point, a guide and an outrider between us. And, of course, there was the entourage behind us, all the cars and so forth that follow me around when I'm out there. But the bird flushed and went to my right off to the west. I turned and shot at the bird, and at that second, saw Harry standing there. I didn't know he was there.

    Here is where I start to get confused.

    The three hunters - Dick Cheney, Harry Whittington, and a third hunter Cheney does not name, but self identifies herself in this CTV article as Pamela Willeford, the U.S. ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, were walking in a line when they flushed a covey of quail and all three fired and brought down birds. Cheney and Willeford were able to find their birds, but the quail Whittington shot went down in heavy cover. As Whittington sought his bird, Cheney and Willeford went off "in the other direction."

    We aren't told exactly what the course change was, but most people, I think, would assume a reversal of course of 180 degrees. At this point, the explanation becomes unclear to me.

    Cheney and Willeford have apparently left Whittingon somewhere behind them as they sought a second covey of quail, with Cheney explicitly stating he was on the far right. A quail flushed, as Vince President Cheney recounts:

    ...and went to my right off to the west. I turned and shot at the bird, and at that second, saw Harry standing there. I didn't know he was there.

    Let me see if I get this.

    The two hunters had separated from Whittington and had gone off in "the other direction," meaning a returning Whittington came up from either the dead rear, left rear, or right rear of the party. Let's look at how this plays out.

    Whittington advances from the center rear
    First off, a center rear (straight behind) situation doesn't make much sense. A hunter would have had to pivot and bend to an excessive degree to have hit Whittington, who would have been on their inside. None of these AARP-aged folks would appear to be capable of that sort of Cirque de Soleil contortion. Let's rule that out as a strong improbabability, (but not an impossibility).

    That leave us with the more logical situations of Whittington angling in from either the right or left rear.

    Whittington advances from the right rear

    In the crude image above, the green circle represents Willeford, the blue circle represents Cheney, the red circle coming up from the right rear is Whittington, and the the black circle is the quail, with the curved, dotted line representing the bird's flight path, and the short dotted line between the blue circle (Cheney) and the red circle (Whittington) representing the path of the birdshot from Cheney's shotgun.

    Assuming all three hunters were moving in roughly the same direction (towards the top of the page), what do you notice? A hunter on the right, swinging right, would have most likely shot a forward-facing Whittington on the left side. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department incident reports states that Whittington was shot on the right side of his body.

    Whittington advances from the left rear
    Now, I suppose it is possible for the shooter on the right to swing to the right and hit a person on their right side, but only if the victim turned aggressively inward, and it seems questionable that a 78 year-old man would have the reflexes to make that turn quickly.

    It would, however, seem to make sense that a shooter on the left, swinging left, would almost certainly hit the victim on the right side as Whittington was struck.

    If the hospital is correct in estimating the size of the pellet in Mr. Whittingon's heart (and that is indeed the major point of contention), then Vice President Cheney could not have fired the shot, because ammunition is not made for his shotgun using pellets of anything approaching that size.

    In addition, it seems quite puzzling how a hunter on the right, swing right, could have hit Harry Whittington on the right side of his body.

    I'm very glad that it appears Mr. Whittington will survive this horrible accident, and I'm glad that the Vice President has now given his side of the story.

    I just wish what I've heard reported made more apparent sense.

    Also:
    The Quail on the Grassy Knoll

    The Quail on the Grassy Knoll, Part 3

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:02 AM | Comments (51) | TrackBack

    February 14, 2006

    The Quail on the Grassy Knoll

    Austin lawyer Harry Whittington was shot during a hunting trip with Vice President Dick Cheney on Saturday. This afternoon, he suffered a slight setback as a birdshot pellet in his bloodstream became trapped in his heart... and what an interesting pellet it was.

    Via CNN (my bold):

    Dr. David Blanchard, the hospital's emergency room chief, said Whittington suffered an "asymptomatic heart attack," meaning Whittington did not display symptoms such as chest pains or breathing difficulty. He said a roughly 5 mm piece of shot became lodged in or alongside Whittington's heart muscle, causing the organ's upper two chambers to beat irregularly.

    The physician quoted is Dr. David Blanchard, director of emergency services at the hospital. Only “T” and “BBB” shot - at 5.08mm and 4.83 respectively - are close to that size range.

    According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department incident report, Vice President Cheney was hunting with a Perazzi Brescia 28-gauge shotgun using factory-loaded #7 1/2 shot.

    #7 1/2 shotgun pellets have a diameter of 2.41 mm, half the size of the pellet found in Harry Whittington's heart.

    According to 28-gauge aficionados, the size shot found in Whittington's chest is not made for the caliber of shotgun Cheney was shooting.

    The most logical explanation is that the hospital equipment is merely inaccurate in measuring the size of the pellet, in which case they should recalibrate their machines.

    If the hospital equipment is accurate, however, then someone using a shotgun other than a Perazzi Brescia 28-gauge fired the shot that wounded Harry Whittington.

    Also:
    The Quail on the Grassy Knoll, Part 2

    The Quail on the Grassy Knoll, Part 3

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:34 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

    February 12, 2006

    Painful Lessons

    This will be liberal blog fodder until 2009. Via the Associated Press.

    Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot and wounded a companion during a weekend quail hunting trip in Texas, spraying the fellow hunter in the face and chest with shotgun pellets.

    Harry Whittington, a millionaire attorney from Austin, was "alert and doing fine" in a Corpus Christi hospital Sunday after he was shot by Cheney on a ranch in south Texas, said Katharine Armstrong, the property's owner.

    [snip]

    Armstrong said she was watching from a car while Cheney, Whittington and another hunter got out of the vehicle to shoot at a covey of quail.

    Whittington shot a bird and went to look for it in the tall grass, while Cheney and the third hunter walked to another spot and discovered a second covey.

    Whittington "came up from behind the vice president and the other hunter and didn't signal them or indicate to them or announce himself," Armstrong said.

    "The vice president didn't see him," she continued. "The covey flushed and the vice president picked out a bird and was following it and shot. And by god, Harry was in the line of fire and got peppered pretty good."

    Luckily, Mr. Whittington's wounds, while painful, are not life-threatening, and the presiding officer of the Texas Funeral Service Commission will not yet become a client.

    Some will enjoy blaming the Vice President for this one, but Harry Whittington bears a large degree of the blame for his shooting. You simply do not come up behind a hunter unannounced, especially while bird hunting when a passing shot is a distinct possibility.

    I'd guess (this is hypothetical) that Whittington, having been shot in his right side, came up from the left rear quadrant of the Vice President. If the Vice President is a right-handed shooter as the majority of people are, Whittington would have been in Cheney's blind spot as he swung on a bird passing right-to-left. There is very little the Vice President could have done, except, perhaps, having gone hunting with someone a little more intelligent.

    Regardless, I hope Whittington has learned something from this very painful experience.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:54 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

    January 28, 2006

    Big Bang Theory

    Carnival of Cordite .45 is up and well worth reading, especially this little gem from Hell in a Handbasket.

    It seems that the U.S. military has tired of the anemic stopping power of the 9mm FMJ cartridge chambered by the current issue Beretta M9, and is looking to return to the .45.ACP with the JCP (Joint Combat Pistol) program.

    The new gun has to be of modern design (sorry, 1911 fans), with a minimum 8 round magazine as standard, while also having the capability to seat a 10-15 round extended magazine. The gun also has to have rails incorporated in the design (to attach equipment such as small flashlights or electronic sights). Strategy Page has more information, and Global Security has the details.

    While James at HiaH seems to think Sig Sauer has this contract sewn up, probably with some sort of P220 variant, I think the field is far more open than he might expect.

    For example, Heckler & Koch has current working relationship with U.S. Special Operations Command and uses their excellent Mark 23 for elite units right now, and their smaller USP platform would also seem to be a top contender.

    The Ruger P-Series of semi-autos has developed an excellent reputation for rugged reliability among law enforcement and civilian shooters, and a P345 variant could also be what the doctor ordered.

    Smith & Wesson has new autoloader on the market called the M & P (Military and Police) chambered commercially for in 40S&W, 9mm and 357Sig, that is a platform that should be able to be built to house the .45 ACP, and otherwise seems to meet the JCP general requirements.

    I'm also very impressed with Springfield Armory's XD 45, a variant of the striker-fired XD family of pistols.

    For both the Smith & Wesson and Springfield Armory pistols, my only concern with whether or not the companies had prototypes developed in time to submit for this contract bid.

    The Glock 21 is reportedly not in the running because of licensing issues.

    Regardless of which design wins, it is nice to see that our soldier will once again be armed with a pistol cartridge that actually provides decent stopping power.

    Now if the military will only get rid of the outdated M4/M16 in 5.56mm NATO in favor of a rugged, reliable modern rifle (bullpup, anyone?) firing a cartridge designed for killing something larger than a groundhog...

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:12 PM | Comments (19) | TrackBack

    January 23, 2006

    UPI Reporters Still Undergunned

    You would hope that the UPI's Pentagon correspondent would have enough gun savvy not to make this boneheaded statement:

    Next month a new high-explosive munition will be fired in Singapore and then tested again by the U.S. Army, heralding what may be a sea change in weaponry: a gun that can fire 240,000 rounds per minute.

    That's compared to 60 rounds per minute in a standard military machine gun.

    I hate to tell Pamela Hess, but by 1876 Gatling guns could fire 400-1,200 rounds/minute, and modern electrically-driven Gatlings can fire 4,000-6,000 rounds per minute. Every single gun I own (none of them machine guns) is capable of more than 60 rounds per minute. Poor knowledge, or poor editing? You make the call.

    In addition, Metal Storm, the company fielding this "new" technology, had been around with weapons that can fire a million rounds a minute since 2003, and they put the 40mm launcher on Dragonfly UAVs in 2004. Has UPI discovered UAVs yet, or are they still working with those Sopwith Camel prototypes?

    Way to be on top of things, UPI.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:22 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    December 06, 2005

    Darwin, Ignorance, and the NFA

    via USA Today:

    Pen gun accident kills budding rap singer

    Steven Zorn had put the pen gun to his head and clicked before, apparently thinking it was jammed and would not work.

    But on the third try, the tiny silver pistol went off as the 22-year-old budding rap artist was drinking to celebrate an impending record deal. He died at a hospital.

    The Nov. 18 shooting at Zorn's home in this rural village of 2,000, about 50 miles northeast of Dayton, is believed to have been accidental, according to family, friends and law enforcement officials.

    "Steven had a career and his dreams all ahead of him," said Zorn's mother, Lisa McCoy-Horn. She said she wants lawmakers to outlaw pen guns, which are small-caliber, single-shot weapons that resemble pens.

    Let's parse this tragedy, shall we? First, the headline:

    Pen gun accident kills budding rap singer

    When you put the barrel of a loaded gun to your head and pull the trigger three times... well, it isn't an accident. It is stupid. It is a tragic waste of a promising life. But it is no accident when a product works as designed.

    Let's read something else as well; the part that tells us why the media really cares:

    "Steven had a career and his dreams all ahead of him," said Zorn's mother, Lisa McCoy-Horn. She said she wants lawmakers to outlaw pen guns, which are small-caliber, single-shot weapons that resemble pens. [my bold]

    That sounds entirely reasonable.

    So reasonable, in fact, that seventy-one years ago Congress passed the National Firearms Act of 1934, which specifically mentions weapons such as pen guns in the classification of "any other weapon" (AOW), and makes them as highly-restricted by the law as machine guns, bazookas, and land mines.

    Pen guns are among the most restricted weapons in the country.

    It is doubtful, very doubtful, that Steven Dorn shot himself with a legal weapon that is as rare and restricted as anti-tank rifles. Had he been arrested with it on the street, he could have faced the federal felony charges of up to $250,000 and up to 10 years in prison.

    Steven Zorn shot himself while drunk, after multiple attempts, with what in all likelihood was a highly illegal weapon.

    As tragic as this death is, the ignorance displayed by both the media and law enforcement officers regarding this case is a tragedy all its own.

    Crime Scene KC
    quotes Kansas City Police Capt. Rich Lockhart:

    "We get officer safety bulletins on them periodically when we see them, just to remind officers that they are out there," Lockhart said. Are they legal? "It's no different from a handgun or any other kind of gun like that," he said. "It's a firearm, so if it's concealed you have to have a permit in Missouri to have a concealed firearm, and you have to be of age."

    Greg Reeves who writes Crime Scene KC, even links to a pen gun for sale on Guns America in an attempt to establish just how easy they are to get.

    Perhaps he should have read the fine print and explained what it means when an item such as this is restricted as "Class III weapons & are classified as AOW."

    Class III AOW weapons are very "different from a handgun or any other kind of gun like that." That the police and the journalists covering them are ignorant of the law scares me, and it should scare you, too.

    The Dayton Daily News ran a crusading anti-gun story about these firearms, as did CBS News, the Star-Tribune, among others who unquestioningly ran the Associate Press feed version of this story.

    It's too bad someone couldn't waste a few minutes on Google discovering that legally made and sold pen guns are about as common as legal anti-tank rifles on the streets of America. Of course, you wouldn't want to spoil a good tragedy, especially if it serves your political agenda.

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:03 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

    December 02, 2005

    Carnival of Cordite #40

    It's up like Bob Dole after sampling the merchandise... *

    Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    November 26, 2005

    Manufacturing a Gun Crisis with the Associated Press

    Read this article, and you'd get the impression that there is a tank-killing, airplane-destroying rifle being bought by drug dealers, survivalists, and terrorists en masse.

    It is too bad that almost all of what they write is inaccurate hyperbole.

    For example:

    When U.S. soldiers need to penetrate a tank's armor from a mile away, they count on a weapon that evolved from the garage tinkering of a former wedding photographer.

    There is not a single tank made since early in World War Two that could be penetrated by an armor-piercing bullet from a .50 BMG. Not one. Only unarmored vehicles (which can be penetrated by literally any rifle, including a .22) and lightly-armored personnel carriers are threatened by .50 BMG rounds.

    The .50-caliber rifle created by Ronnie Barrett and sold by his company, Barrett Firearms Manufacturing Inc., is the most powerful firearm civilians can buy.

    Not quite accurate. While the 50. BMG is currently the most powerful centerfire rifle cartridge in wide distribution*, Barrett is far from being the only manufacturer making these rifles. They are offered by Accuracy International, Anzio Ironworks, Armalite, and more than a dozen other rifle manufacturers.

    It weighs about 30 pounds and can hit targets up to 2,000 yards away with armor-piercing bullets.

    This is accurate, though finding an area where you can see a target 2,000 yards away is somewhat problematic.

    That kind of power has drawn a customer base of gun enthusiasts, Hollywood actors and Barrett's most loyal buyer, the U.S. military, which has been buying Barrett's rifles since the 1980s and using them in combat from the 1991 Gulf War to the present.

    Also true.

    But the powerful gun has drawn plenty of critics, who say the rifle could be used by terrorists to bring down commercial airliners or penetrate rail cars and storage plants holding hazardous materials.

    This rifle has drawn plenty of ignorant critics, including, apparently, the Associated Press. A .50 rifle is less likely to bring down a commercial airliner than any other kind of rifle. Why?

    The vast majority of .50 BMG rifles are single-shot weapons. The odds of hitting an airplane moving several hundred miles an hour with a single bullet from a 30-pound, handheld or bipod-mounted weapon are extremely remote, and the odds of a single half-inch wide bullet hitting anything of significance on an airborne aircraft verges on the impossible. (Publicola explains in exquisite detail why shooting an aircraft at range with a .50 BMG is highly improbable.)

    Rail cars and storage tanks are a legitimate target for a .50 BMG rifle, but it is far easier to acquire or manufacture explosives that would cause far more damage to the targeted structure.

    Tom Diaz, a senior policy analyst with the Washington-based Violence Policy Center, says the guns should be more regulated and harder to purchase.

    The gun can now be bought by anyone 18 or older who passes a background check.

    "They're (.50 caliber) easier to buy than a handgun," Diaz said. "These are ideal weapons of terrorist attack. Very dangerous elements gravitate toward these weapons."

    Mr. Diaz, of course, is guilty of extreme hyperbole. .50 BMG-chambered weapons are not "easier to buy than a handgun" except in his fevered imagination.

    The Barrett M82 pictured in the MSNBC-version of this Associated Press article retails for $7,500. Most single shot .50 BMG rifles range from $2,600 upwards. For this reason, no national sporting good stores carry this caliber of firearm, nor its ammunition, which costs $3-$5 per cartridge. It is prohibitively expensive for all but the most affluent customers. Only a tiny fraction of gun shops across the nation stock such a firearm, whereas almost all typically stock dozens to hundreds of pistols.

    If 50 BMG rifles are the "ideal weapons of terrorist attack," then why hasn't a .50 rifle ever been used in a terror attack anywhere in the world? Not once have I ever heard of an incident reported where a .50 BMG rifle was used in a terror attack, not can I find any evidence of such an attack.

    Nor can I find any evidence that "dangerous elements" gravitate towards such a weapon. More people have walked on water than have been assaulted with a .50 BMG rifle.

    Mr. Diaz's hyperbole verges on being a bald-faced lie.

    The guns are used by most civilians for hunting big game and in marksmanship competitions.

    I'd be very interested to see who the Associated Press find who uses such a weapon for hunting. At roughly 30 lbs and five feet, these rifles are far too impractical for hunting purposes based upon size and weight alone. They are simply too heavy to carry afield. In addition, the .50 cartridge is not useful as a hunting round, being vastly overgunned for every big game animal on the planet.

    Long-range target shooting with .50 BMG rifles, on the other hand is rapidly growing in popularity, as the existence and growing membership of the FCSA and .50 BMG-capable target ranges proves.

    Joseph King, a terrorism expert at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, said terrorists could use the weapon to take out a plane.

    "I don't understand what good a .50-caliber is going to do you," King said. "I don't understand any civilian use of it. The only thing it's good for is for military or police application. You can't really hunt with it because it would destroy most of the meat."

    This has been previously addressed. .50 BMG rifles are very unlikely to successful carry out an attack against an aircraft. While Mr. Jay may claim terrorism expertise, he seems to have gathered his firearms and aeronautical knowledge from Hollywood.

    "I don't understand what good" is not a valid legal argument in this country. While not understanding a good use for something might be a reason to outlaw everything from foosball tables to the Wonderbra for Mr. King, his potential fear of Wonderbras and guns doesn't have to ruin the enjoyment of such products for everyone else.

    Barrett and gun advocates say the gun's power has been exaggerated and doesn't pose a threat to citizens because the weapons are