Threat and Response

July 16th, 2014

smok_ magneto_sm

The good folks at Nicorette have been running these ads in the English media and on subway trains:

Nicorette Ad

If they didn't feel their business model was threatened by vaping, they wouldn't be running this campaign. Why the UK? It could be due to the fact that authorities there are all but endorsing e-cigarettes as a cessation tool. That cuts into business.

And is Nicorette any safer than vaping? Not by a long shot if you read the ingredients [pdf]. Electronic cigarettes contain propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, and nicotine. Nicorette QuickMist takes those ingredients and adds the following:

  • Anhydrous ethanol
  • Trometamol (which may cause birth defects)
  • Poloxamer 407 (which may cause liver problems)
  • Sodium hydrogen carbonate (baking soda)
  • Acesulfame potassium (basically Aspartame, with the attendant issues)
  • Hydrochloric acid

That last one should speak for itself.

Yet in the States, Nicorette has the wholehearted approval of the FDA and electronic cigarettes are on the chopping block. I suppose the potential to lose a chunk of a $206 billion settlement stings a bit.

That Explains It!

July 8th, 2014

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Gatfact

I have to admit: it's not the loopiest hypothesis I've heard. For those concerned about drones, there's informative, if not misguided, information here.

Mark It Zero, Smokey

July 3rd, 2014

walter_1911

A couple of times a year, we hear a rumor that the Army is going to dump the Beretta M9 as a service pistol and go back to something in .45. Some people even claim we're going to see the error of our heathen ways and welcome the venerable 1911 back into the fold with repentance and glee while the Holy Ghost of John Moses Browning forgives us for our folly.

Sorry, folks. It's not going to happen.

The government bought nearly half a million M9 pistols in 2009. That's not something they'd have done if the platform was on its way out. The sheer cost of replacing not just the pistol, but its whole support system of training, magazines, and other parts would be staggering. Then there's the problem of using ammunition that's completely incompatible with everything else NATO uses. Good luck getting Congress to greenlight that.

And what is this "Modular Handgun System" they're gabbing about? The Sig Sauer P250, a botched idea of a pistol in both concept and execution that even the Dutch don't want. Let's not forget the pistol's failure in the 2010 ATF trials, during which Sig Sauer contended,

that ATF placed too great an emphasis upon reliability in determining which offers should continue to phase III. In this regard, Sig Sauer argues that reliability was only one of a number of elements to be considered in the live-fire assessment, and notes that reliability was not identified as having any more importance than the other elements.

Yeah. That's a hard one to live down. Sorry, true believers, but the Beretta is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

And Now Target

July 2nd, 2014

target-logo

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

colorado-state-flag

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

colorado-state-flag

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

DL_DigitalBillboard_low2

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

stingray_full_sm

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

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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

watkins

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.

Opportunism

May 26th, 2014

feinstein_ar15

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.

 

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