About Those AR-15 Pistol Braces

April 5th, 2014


Earlier this year, Sig Sauer started marketing an AR-15 pistol with a "stabilizing brace" that looks a bit like a short stock. As pictured here, it's designed to fit over the forearm.

People are claiming that the ATF, local law enforcement, or Bigfoot have been cruising public ranges and making arrests because some folks are using the brace as a stock. That's not true. They can't do that.

The ATF has classified this weapon as a pistol. Sticking it up to your shoulder does not turn it into a short-barreled rifle. I've already had arguments about this, so here's the response from the ATF themselves:

FTB [Firearms Technology Branch] has previously determined (see FTB #99146) that the firing of a weapon from a particular position, such as placing the receiver extension of an AR-15 type pistol on the user’s shoulder, does not change the classification of a weapon. Further, certain firearm accessories such as the SIG stability brace have not been classified by the FTB as shoulder stocks and, therefore, using the brace improperly does not constitute a design change. Using an accessory improperly would not change the classification of a weapon under Federal law.

The relevant word is designed. As per 26 U.S. Code § 5845(c), a rifle is a weapon that is designed to be fired from the shoulder. This doesn't qualify.

Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt

April 2nd, 2014


There's been something of a full-court press to demonize electronic cigarettes in the media lately. The idea is to present them as a public-health menace on the same level as tobacco, thus triggering extensive regulations. Senator Durbin, along with Blumenthal, Markey, Boxer, Heitkamp, and Lautenberg, has called on the FDA to step in.

And why? Because they're not already regulated. It's a grim tautology that implies every aspect of our behavior should be subject to government oversight. It's no coincidence that the politicians who have been the most vocal on this matter are also the biggest supporters of gun control in Washington DC.

It comes down to the same philosophy: meddling.

Continued »

Goodbye, Piers

March 29th, 2014


Piers Morgan signed off on his last CNN broadcast tonight. He didn't skimp on the melodrama.

But that’s where guns belong – on a military battlefield, in the hands of highly trained men and women fighting for democracy and freedom. Not in the hands of civilians. The scourge of gun violence is a disease that now infects every aspect of American life.

At least he finally came out and said it.

The gun lobby in America, led by the NRA, has bullied this nation’s politicians into cowardly, supine silence. Even when 20 young children are blown away in their classrooms.

I'd respond that we did no such thing. We opposed broken and ineffective regulations that, by the admission of the people promoting them, would have done nothing to stop another mass shooting.

Ah, but why bother? He's going back across the Atlantic, and he can be their problem. Let's hope he keeps that cricket bat handy.


March 26th, 2014


I'd like to say it couldn't happen to a nicer guy, but I'd be lying. California state Senator Leland Yee has been arrested on charges of corruption and bribery. What the Huffington Post (and many of his supporters) fail to mention is that he is also being charged with weapons-trafficking.

The grim irony is that Yee was one of the most vocal, persistent, and extreme proponents of gun control in the California legislature. Bills he sponsored included a ban on "bullet buttons," a bill to mandate so-called safe storage, a bill requiring ammunition sales to be reported to the police, and of course, legislation to kill 3d printing. He also hates video games.

If we add him to the list of anti-gun mayors who've landed themselves in legal trouble…well, it's not really a good year to be hanging around with that bunch.

If you want to parse it, the entire affidavit is here. Scott Lucas has a summary here that is absolutely surreal. Apparently "MILF" stands for Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Now I'm really confused by the internet jokes using that acronym.

Cloud Chasing

March 24th, 2014


I'm a bit of a hardware geek, and this apparently extends to most of the endeavors I feel passionate about. Three weeks into vaping, and I'm almost completely off cigarettes. This is where that money appears to be going instead.

Vape Collection

The black unit is an iTaste MVP, which I bought as a backup. Also, it reminds me a bit of an old tube amplifier with the OCD tank mounted. That's a perfectly legitimate reason.

The shorter silver unit is a Smoktech Magneto, which I bought because…is "secondary backup" a thing?


Sure. We'll say it is. Anyhow, it fits well in a shirt pocket. The juices I'm using are by the Vapor Chef, who does some phenomenal work.

Dianne's Back

March 21st, 2014


Senator Feinstein just won't let go. She tried to play the Newtown tragedy for all it was worth, but Harry Reid wouldn't let her new version of the Assault Weapons Ban reach the floor. Despite her constant pleas that President Obama make gun control a leading issue in 2014, he seems reluctant to discuss the issue.

Now she's trying to convince the President to expand the provisions of 18 U.S.C. § 925(d)(3) (also known as the "sporting purposes" clause) to ban the import of all "military-style" firearms.

She singles out the Romanian WASR-10 (a cheap AKM clone) for whole heap of ire:

An analysis by the Violence Policy Center found that more than 700 Romanian AK-47 variant rifles were identified in 134 federal gun trafficking prosecutions involving illegal smuggling from the United States to Mexico and other Latin American countries. (…) For example, one imported Romanian AK firearm, the WASR-10, was carefully designed to exploit the sporting purposes test and has become a favorite of the gun traffickers that profit by arming Mexican drug trafficking organizations.

Of course, who facilitated the smuggling of those guns? Our government. While she's done her best to avoid discussing that angle, she has the nerve to close her letter with a plea that, "we have endured too many funerals and mourned the loss of too many innocent lives to accept less than full enforcement."

Maybe she can tell that to Brian Terry's family, and to the families of dozens of dead Mexicans who were killed with guns our government let walk on her watch.

In the meantime, contact your Representative. The ATF budget is subject to House approval. Let's make sure they're reminded of that before they consider enacting any new measures.


So, This Happened…

March 21st, 2014


A dealer in Minnesota shipped us a pistol like this:

Postage Fail

That's 92 stamps, in case anyone's wondering. The saddest part was that he was still $0.14 short when he got to the post office.

I spent a couple of minutes marveling at how long it must have taken to stick all those on the box. Bonus points for persistence, I suppose.

NRA 2015 Ballots

March 18th, 2014


If you've been a member for five years (or a life member) you should have gotten your ballot in the February magazine. There are 29 candidates up for election, and you may write in others.

Some, like Tom Selleck and R. Lee Ermey, are easy endorsements. Charles Cotton has been an active litigant for us in Texas, and Linda Walker has been supportive in the Ohio legislature. Todd Rathner lobbies for the American Silencer Association and was instrumental in reforming Arizona's carry laws. Curtis Jenkins was the author of the PLCAA. Antonio Hernández Almodóvar is a bit unknown on the mainland, but he spearheaded two important court cases in Puerto Rico.

The ones we need to drum out aren't up for reelection this year. As far as write-ins go, Rob Pincus is campaigning for a spot, and he's a solid choice. I would love to see Colion Noir on the board, but he doesn't seem to be interested. Former SEAL Brandon Webb has campaigned for a spot, but his positions on mandatory training and background checks are unacceptable.

Ballots are due on April 6th. Make sure you get yours in.

Believe the Hype

March 4th, 2014


OK, this gets long. The short version is this: after 24 years of smoking, I'm almost completely over cigarettes. It took less than a week, I haven't taken any hostages, and e-cigarettes work.

Sigelei Zmax

Read on if you want the long form.

Continued »

Evolve Together, Slight Return

February 25th, 2014


I wrote about these guys last week. At the time, I really couldn't find much to link them directly to any of the regular gun-control groups. This isn't too surprising. Their new generation of advocates has adapted well to social media and they've learned to cover their tracks.

Then Mike Weisser's name came up. He calls himself the "gun guy" at Evolve Together, and he has a column at the Huffington Post. Apparently, he's the "gun guy" because he runs a shop somewhere, and that qualifies him to decide what's good for us. He's not a fan of the NRA, and he only recently seems to have discovered the NSSF, which is odd for a guy in the gun business.

His own blog is replete with "studies" authored by David Hemenway and funded by the Brady Campaign. John Lott, who has debunked a great deal of Hemenway's nonsense, is of course "the NRA’s favorite academic stooge."

So, yeah. We know what we need to now. Nice job trying to get in under the radar, guys.

Chess vs. Checkers

February 25th, 2014


The big news today is that the Supreme Court declined to hear three cases involving gun rights. The first was NRA v. ATF, a challenge to 18 U.S.C. § 922(b)(1), which prohibits licensed dealers from selling handguns to individuals under 21 years of age. The second was Lane v. Holder, which challenged the requirement that handguns be purchased in one's home state.

The third was NRA v. McCraw. At issue was Texas law, which denies a license to carry a pistol to anyone under the age of 21. To answer the central question of the case, the Court would have to rule whether the right to keep and bear arms applies outside the home.

So, does their refusal to grant cert mean the issue is dead? No. These were good cases, but none of them was the right case.

The Second Amendment Foundation and several others have been bringing another set of cases on the matter in the lower courts for three years now. We've lost in three Circuits and won in two. All five decisions were important because they set up a split between the lower courts that the Supreme Court can't ignore. In technical terms, it's called strategery.

Last week's win in the 9th Circuit directly contradicts the 3rd Circuit's ruling in Drake v. Jerejian (formerly Drake v. Filko). The latter case is up for consideration by the Supreme Court as we speak, and it's being run by Alan Gura. Gura represented us quite well before the Supreme Court in Heller and McDonald, and he cleaned the floor with the opposition in Ezell v. Chicago. 

I've got a feeling this is the situation the Supreme Court was waiting for, and we've got the right guy on the job.

Don't Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out

February 24th, 2014


Piers Morgan is leaving CNN. I can't say I'll miss him. His unrelenting condescension towards the country that hosted and employed him wore thin long ago.

His constant hammering on the gun issue was repetitive and often surreal. While I'm of two minds about Larry Pratt, he was civilized and patient in his first go-round with Morgan. He didn't deserve to be treated like this. I don't care what the issue is, or who's right. A display like that from a man in Morgan's position is absolutely unacceptable.

Was there ever an apology? No. Morgan doesn't do apologies, not now and not when he slandered the Queen's Lancashire Regiment.

I daresay his chances of finding gainful employment in the UK may be worse than his chances here. At least he's not our problem any more.

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