And Now Target

July 2nd, 2014


Target department stores have been the latest battleground in the public-image war between Moms Demand Action and the Texas open-carry rangers. The tone-deaf actions of the latter have already cost us on several fronts. As of today, it has happened again:

Our approach has always been to follow local laws, and of course, we will continue to do so. But starting today we will also respectfully request that guests not bring firearms to Target – even in communities where it is permitted by law.

We’ve listened carefully to the nuances of this debate and respect the protected rights of everyone involved. In return, we are asking for help in fulfilling our goal to create an atmosphere that is safe and inviting for our guests and team members.

This is a complicated issue, but it boils down to a simple belief: Bringing firearms to Target creates an environment that is at odds with the family-friendly shopping and work experience we strive to create.

Moms Demand Action gets to call it a win. More to the point, their campaign to look moderate by making gun owners look like irresponsible and inconsiderate dorks succeeds.

Continued »

This Won't Be Won in the Courts

June 29th, 2014


Last year, the Colorado legislature hastily passed a package of gun regulations. The new laws include a ban on all magazines capable of holding more than 15 rounds, and the requirement that all transfers of firearms between individuals go through a gun dealer and be subject to a background check. To say this was an unpopular decision with the voters would be an understatement.

Two sitting state Senators were recalled from office, and a third resigned in the face of an impending recall. The Governor himself seems to regret signing it.

A large group of plaintiffs brought a lawsuit, but the Colorado District Court has ruled that both laws are constitutional [pdf].

(…) the Court finds that although § 18-12-302 burdens the operation of semiautomatic weapons, the burden is not severe because it does not materially reduce the ability of a person to use a semiautomatic firearm for self-defense, nor does it reduce the effectiveness of self-defensive efforts [p. 32]

Likewise, Judge Krieger found that the background-check requirement does not impose enough of a burden to violate the 2nd Amendment. Dave Kopel and Weld County Sheriff John Cooke have stated that they plan to appeal her ruling in the 10th Circuit.

I think that's a very bad idea.

Continued »

Hickenlooper Goes on the Defensive

June 20th, 2014


The headline reads, "Colorado governor tries to apologize for gun control measures, blames staff, then curses." That's actually a pretty good summary of the situation. Video of his statement is here.

You may recall that 55 of the 62 elected sheriffs in Colorado brought a suit to challenge the constitutionality of the gun-control bills Hickenlooper signed last year. You may also recall that state Senators Morse and Giron were ousted in a historic recall election over those bills, and that Senator Hudak resigned just as she was about to be recalled.

Now, when he has to save face, he tries to spread the blame and claim he just didn't realize what a "kerfuffle" his signature would cause. Really? Does the fact that Michael Bloomberg bent him over a metaphorical barrel to sign them not suggest there might be some friction? Does the fact that the bills passed along strict party lines not imply some dissent?

When he signed HB 1224 (the magazine capacity bill), he promised that it would "make our state safer in the long run." Now he says,

Some punk kid in Aurora wants to go out there and start spray shooting his neighborhood, which is still happening, in Aurora, in Denver, in Colorado Springs. It’s not like you’re gonna have a hard time finding a magazine.

So, he admits it doesn't make them any safer. I have a serious question. No, really. Is this because they legalized pot? Are the voters in Colorado expected to be so baked they'll swallow this sort of vacillation?

Let's hope all this backlash leads to a repeal of those laws in the near future.

Abramski v. United States

June 16th, 2014


While technically a gun case, this one hasn't generated much press. At issue is a purchase of a pistol Bruce Abramski made on behalf of his uncle. Mr. Abramski was prosecuted for making a "false of fictitious" statement in regards to the actual buyer of the firearm.

Under 18 USC §922(a)(6) it is unlawful to mislead a dealer regarding the actual identity of the purchaser of a firearm. Ostensibly, this is to prevent "straw purchases," which are a major source of crime guns. The classic example is this:

Bob is legally disqualified from owning a firearm. Bob gives Steve money, and Steve buys the firearm on Bob's behalf. Steve is a bad man who has just provided a bad person with a gun and he should feel bad.

Except that's not accurate. Even if it was legal for Bob to own the gun in question, Steve would be committing a crime by claiming to be the actual buyer. However, if Steve bought the gun with his own money and gave it to Bob, it would be a gift, and it would be perfectly legal. It would still be legal if Bob reimbursed Steve directly after the exchange.

It only becomes illegal if Steve uses Bob's money while claiming to be the actual buyer. There's a lot of misunderstanding on this, and the situation isn't helped by the fact that information provided to the public isn't quite clear on the matter.

The law is poorly written and open to misinterpretation. Rather than visit that, the Court has simply reaffirmed the wording and how the ATF currently sees it.

The decision is here [pdf].

Stingray Black Copper

June 9th, 2014


Until recently, I'd been using a Magneto mechanical mod for my coil builds.  Various build problems aggravated me, and when it broke, I replaced it with a Stingray clone.

Stingray Bottom Cap

All of the contacts on the Stingray are copper, which enhances conductivity. I suspected this was a gimmick, but it does actually heat up more quickly.

Stingray Top Cap

The top cap has a floating firing pin, which allows any tank or dripper to sit flush. Here it is with a Patriot RDA. With a 0.9Ω coil, it generates massive clouds.

Continued »

Guam Goes Shall-Issue

June 6th, 2014


The governor of Guam has signed Bill No. B296-32 [pdf] into law. As per Section 2, the police "shall issue a license" to carry a firearm if the applicant meets the requirements, which are fairly lenient. Aside from being legally eligible to own a gun, applicants must show some proof of training, which can be satisfied by a hunter safety course, an NRA course, or a DD214.

So, the requirements are basically the same as getting a permit in Florida. Guam falls under the appellate jurisdiction of the 9th Circuit, and they may be feeling the pressure after the Peruta ruling.

Guns Save Lives has more information on this.

Irreconcilable Differences

June 3rd, 2014


We all know who the NRA is, right? They've made a statement on the ludicrous practice of carrying rifles into public businesses as a form of "activism."

Let's not mince words, not only is it rare, it's downright weird and certainly not a practical way to go normally about your business while being prepared to defend yourself. To those who are not acquainted with the dubious practice of using public displays of firearms as a means to draw attention to oneself or one's cause, it can be downright scary. It makes folks who might normally be perfectly open-minded about firearms feel uncomfortable and question the motives of pro-gun advocates.

You may not know Charles Cotton. He's an NRA board member and Executive Director for the Texas State Rifle Association. Alice Tripp is one of the TSRA's lobbyists. These are the folks actually doing the work to get open carry legalized in Texas. They've told us that the antics of Open Carry Texas have jeopardized the chances of that passing in the next legislative session.

In short, people who know what they're doing and get things done want these ludicrous "demonstrations" to stop.

C.J. Grisham is the President of Open Carry Texas. His folks are the ones causing the problem. His reaction?

When you've got the TSRA and the NRA basically coming down on us for standing up for our rights, that's where our problem is, because now you guys are siding with Moms Demand Action.

Now he's doing the whole James Brown cape over the shoulder act and encouraging his members to cut up their NRA membership cards.

That should cost the NRA roughly 11 one-year memberships. That's a loss we can take. Grisham, Watkins, and the others need to be actively called out and shunned.

Several major businesses have chosen to disallow the carry of weapons on their premises in the wake of these rifle toting play dates. Our opponents have picked up on it and it's given them a strategy. They've realized they don't need to go through the legislative process to make life harder on us. They just need to go after private businesses.

All the while, Grisham and his little absolutists are making the argument for them. Who's really siding with Moms Demand Action?

Still Not Getting It

May 28th, 2014

Bent Barrel

"I told my daughter it's not safe to be here. We gotta go," says the guy who's got the muzzle of an AK-47 sweeping his daughter.

First Starbucks, then Jack in the Box, then Chipotle. Now it's Sonic. The Texas open carry crowd is practically phoning in content for the anti-gunners to ridicule us.

This isn't activism. It's a fun prank for some reprobates to occupy a lunch hour. The rest of us deal with the consequences forever. They need to knock it off, and we need to start telling them that.


May 26th, 2014


Politicians didn't waste any time calling for gun control following the Elliot Rodger shooting. The usual suspects like Dick Blumenthal and Peter King have already made their voices heard. So has Dianne Feinstein, whose renewal of the ineffective Assault Weapons Ban was snubbed last year.

We must ask ourselves if an individual whose family called police with concerns about mental health, who is receiving therapy and who has had several run-ins with police should be allowed to own multiple firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. When anyone, no matter their mental health or history, can so easily obtain any gun they want and as many as they want—we must recognize there is a problem.

You know what? I don't disagree. Where I do take issue is the idea that more laws would have prevented this. Consider California's laws for a moment. They are are among the strictest in the country, and they're a virtual grab-bag of everything the gun-control lobby wants.

California bans weapons like the AR-15, so the shooter used pistols. They only allow the purchase of one handgun a month, so he spaced out his purchases. Magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds are banned, so he stocked up on 10-rounders.

California requires buyers to present a Handgun Safety Certificate, which the shooter presumably acquired. They also ban private-party transfers and require "universal background checks," which did not deter him. The Santa Barbara sheriff doesn't make getting a concealed carry permit easy, but Rodger didn't let this stand in his way.

So, we need, what, more laws? This is where the slippery slope argument comes in.

Some folks believed that if we acquiesced to the Manchin-Toomey bill and Feinstein's renewed Assault Weapons Ban last year, they'd leave us alone. Sorry, but no. We'd have had another shooting, and they'd demand more laws. When those laws failed to stop yet another shooting, they'd demand even more. The cycle would continue until virtually nothing was left.

And what then? We'd still have the fatalities, and the whole time, we'd have ignored the central question: what has gone wrong with society over the last 20 years that's making this happen? We need to stop blaming the instrument and start looking at the cause.

Blaming the NRA might make for good press, but they're not the ones with blood on their hands here.



May 24th, 2014


By now, you've likely heard of the Elliot Rodger incident. He stabbed three people to death in his apartment, then when on a shooting rampage that killed three other people. It's big news because he's the son of a Hollywood director, he left a juicy manifesto, and his victims were affluent white people.

Poor children are shot in Chicago on a weekly basis, and we treat them like a grim but acceptable statistic. Yet we obsess over the ravings of a spoiled narcissist who decided to punish the world because he couldn't get laid.

Yes, Rodger was sick, but so are we all.

Despite having plenty of clues as to his mental instability, the police did nothing. Sandy Hook was supposed to open a dialogue on our shameful treatment of mental illness in this country, but it was drowned out by calls for gun control because the latter makes for easy politics. We're still making the same mistake.

How sane is that?

We Just Can't Have Nice Things

May 20th, 2014


Last year, Starbucks asked customers to stop carrying guns in their locations because people walked in with rifles slung over their shoulders. Last week, Jack in the Box asked customers to stop carrying guns in their locations because people walked in with rifles slung over their shoulders. This week, Chipotle asked customers to stop carrying guns in their locations because people walked in with rifles slung over their shoulders.

Are we seeing a pattern here, folks? Are we really that obtuse? This isn't civil activism; this is a malicious sort attention whoring that hurts the very cause these dinks claim to support.

And they have the audacity to pretend they don't even get it. This isn't happening because of some culture war. It's happening because people can't show simple discretion and manners. They get a picture to show to their friends on social media, and the anti-gun groups get to chalk up a very public victory.

Frankly, if I saw this going on in a restaurant, I wouldn't eat there either.

Carrying for the cause. Not.

This needs to stop. The only "awareness" it raises is that gun owners are disruptive, selfish nut jobs. We need to single these people out, and we need to ostracize them.

C'mon, Dudley…

May 16th, 2014


Ah, election season. Today's obnoxious mail comes from our friends at the National Association for Gun Rights.

I think they meant Phil Gingrey. The guy doesn't even have red hair, so it's not accurate to refer to him as "gingery."

Or it could be they're too busy slandering real 2nd Amendment advocates to be bothered with trivialities like spell check.

Probably the latter. I really don't expect much competency from an organization whose sole purpose seems to be nipping at the heels of the NRA. Frankly, Dudley Brown has his hands full making a fool of himself in Colorado. I'd appreciate him not splashing around in our pool.

That said, the primary race to replace Senator Chambliss is already as wretched as can be. While Gingrey has been an unwavering friend to the 2nd Amendment, I'm not fond of his support for CISPA or for FISA expansions. As far as I'm concerned, those are both huge fails on the civil liberties front.

Jack Kingston is also running for the seat. He's a hard-right partisan who voted for last year's government shutdown. He also voted to make the PATRIOT Act permanent, and he supports the usual time-wasting drivel like amending the Constitution to punish flag burning and being gay. No thanks.

Then there's Karen Handel, who ran an infamously vicious and negative campaign against Nathan Deal in her run for governor. She was eager enough to court favor with the Log Cabin Republicans when it helped her earlier in her career, but when it became apparent being nice to gays was bad for Tea Party politics, she tried to deny her membership with them. She's an opportunist who sells out her allies when it suits her. Think carefully before allowing her to represent you.

And what of Paul Broun, for whom the NAGR are so fond? I couldn't come up with a better caricature of the Sean Hannity fan club if I tried. Note to Republicans: if you want any hope of attracting moderates, drop the family-values and anti-science stuff.

That pretty much leaves Derrick Grayson and Michelle Nunn. I really like Grayson's platform, but I don't know if he stands a chance. If Michelle Nunn's name sounds familiar, it's because her father was a long-serving, old-school Georgia Democrat who followed his conscience and knew how to build consensus. She seems to be cut from similar cloth, but I'm leery of her stance on the 2nd Amendment.

So, the issue arises: vote for a terrible candidate who might fight for the right to keep and bear arms, or vote for a good candidate who might not? Sometimes single-issue voting isn't a clear course.

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