Tuesday, May 31, 2005

We Have Returned

Bill and I got back home very late last night and have to head off to work. Although, I have to attend a home inspection before I make my commute. Our last post, Viva Las Vegas, was a little rushed since we had only so many minutes in the Paris Hotel and Casino's Business Center. As I mentioned, we got married over Memorial Day weekend. So, bear with us as we get our lives back into a more predictable groove and we start doing some real Ten Ring posts. And, thanks to those who've offered their congratulations.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Viva Las Vegas

Bill and I are buying real estate as you all know by now. We have been together for over 11 years now, and have never said "I do." Buying a house is not easy when you aren't married so we stopped procrastinating and finally got hitched. No reason to wait this long, just laziness I guess. We made arrangements, didn't even tell parents or co-workers or you who read our blog, and flew to Las Vegas. We are now married, each with the gold band on our left hands.

Sorry to not post during these past few days, but it was more important for us to elope (I say that as if we were kids). I am writing this post on the ground floor of Paris Casino. We are making a mini-vacation of our wedding. We've seen the Mojave Desert, lost money in slot machines--although we both had memorable wins, then losses--and just got away from it all.

By the way, we did not hire an Elvis to marry us. Wish us luck and congratulations. We return late Monday and will then resume regular posting.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Gun Bans in Condos?

In a comment, to this post JayG congratulated Bill and I on buying a new home. It’s a condo and he wisely mentioned that we should make damn sure there are no condo association restrictions on gun ownership.

Of course, we'd read the condo documents and the contract religiously looking for just such a clause. We didn’t find one although there is a restriction on illegal, immoral, and obnoxious activities. There are people who find gun ownership obnoxious and somehow immoral. They certainly want to make it illegal. Of course, that clause is so encompassing it could be used to restrict an unmarried couple’s night time activities or even owning a dog.

When I read JayG’s comment, I had to look at all the documents again in a minor panic. I had to read them again to make sure I hadn’t missed a tiny little sentence in a little tiny paragraph tucked away in an onslaught of legalese. Still nothing about guns. I sighed and felt better for having double-checked it.

Then it struck me. I live in New Hampshire and I’m an American. Why do I fear that such a clause is in the documents? Why should anyone even think someone else could write a statement that takes away a human right, my right?

The answer is because there are people who have gotten away with infringing on our rights. There are cities like Washington, D.C. and suburbs like Morton Grove, Illinois that have banned handguns from more than just condos. They've taken away rights to handguns for everyone.

Condo managers and dwellers see these broad laws and feel they can get away with their restrictions. I wouldn’t be surprised if Massachusetts and other gun-fearing states have many condos with anti-gun restrictions.

We have come to the point that our fellow citizens can ban our ownership of a machine. We’ve come so far because we’ve let the bastards win.

It’s time to get behind the District of Columbia Personal Protection Act. Let’s make these unconstitutional bans fall. Seeing these changes, condo boards would fall in line and get rid of their restrictions or never pass them at all. Time to start rolling back as many gun laws, regulations, and bans as we can.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Real Estate Update and Gun Advice

Sorry for our erratic posting. Bill and I spent about two hours in the realtor's office today. We found out that our offer on a large condo was accepted. Once we go through final mortgage approval, building inspections, and other steps, it will be ours.

We decided on a condo since we were not finding detached houses in the range we wanted to pay, near decent commuting routes, and not fixer-uppers. Given that my career may cause a move, a condo seemed our best bet. The one we found has over 1600 finished square feet, an unfinished basement, and a garage. We will have lots of room for storage, a purpose-built reloading bench, and can have a dog.

Here's one thing about guns and a tattle-tale on myself. Not too long ago, Bill and I went to our local range. I took my summer carry gun with me, a Beretta 21A featured in a One from the Vault.

I started plinking with it and it had intermittent failure to feed problems. At least once, the firing pin failed to strike the primer hard enough for ignition. The hell of it is, I had carried it that day and the weekend before in a pocket holster as my self-defense gun. I'm so glad nothing happened when I thought I had a reliable gun with me--it usually works fine, too, but not that day.

So, a word to the wise. When you swap your carry gun for one you can more easily conceal in summer clothes, take it out for a shooting session before you strap it on your hip or put it in your pocket. Just saying is all. And, let's see where did I put that gunsmith's address?

Monday, May 23, 2005

More on Leaving Blue States

As you all know, Bill and I are in the middle of a real estate search, which has made our blogging a little irregular. We made an offer on one house that we really liked, but ours’ was not the winning offer. That left us scrambling over the weekend to find another possibility on which we made an offer this evening. We have our fingers crossed.

The other day I made a post inspired by Kim du Toit’s post on leaving blue states behind. I read comments on my post and on his site and they got me thinking about what states are lost to those of use who own guns and why.

Despite comments regardingWashington, Colorado, Michigan and others, there are only three states I think that are lost to gunnies; Massachusetts, California and New Jersey. Bill and I recommended leaving these states and strengthening the gun vote in New Hampshire, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and other states.

There are several conditions that make a state lost to gunnies. A lost state must have too few gunnies to make an effective opposition. In 1999, Massachusetts had 1,541,201 licensed gun owners, but in 2001 there were only 199,660 licensed gun owners. There are a number of reasons for the 87% drop including the possibility that many gun owners became disgusted and didn’t renew registrations while still owning guns. Since they're committing a crime, I doubt many will get involved in gun politics.

Admittedly, all of the three lost states still have gunnies in them. Having lived there, I can speak intelligently about Massachusetts. It has many people with a red state liberty-loving mentality especially so when you get outside of I-495 (a second ring road around Boston). It has people who still own and shoot guns, who still hunt, and who still join gun support groups. Attorneys like Jesse Cohen still fight petty tyrants.

Despite these gunnies, Massachusetts’s population has shifted from rural to urban. The same is true in New Jersey, and in California political power is also held by urbanites. Too many urbanites view guns as contributors to inner city violence. They don’t see guns as tools and recreational devices.

But, there's more to it than an urban/rural divide. The largest reason we lose a state is because large majorities of their citizens believe that gun control solutions actually work. They believe such claptrap despite all evidence to the contrary. A majority of people in Massachusetts support licensing and registration as “common sense gun control.” For them, owning a gun is tantamount to watching NASCAR or eating pork rinds. They view themselves as more evolved than gun-owning troglodytes. And, if they decide they don't want to own a gun, they want to make sure you either can't own one or have to jump through hoops to get "permission."

The social process is similar to England. Its own people disarmed itself by calling for more and harsher gun bans even while her leaders advanced their own agendas.

There is no political will in Massachusetts to change its unfair and unconstitutional licensing and registration scheme. Similarly there is no political will in California and New Jersey to stop passing anti-gun bills or roll back unconstitutional gun laws. In these three states while there are battles that must be fought as a rear guard action. Those people fighting these battles are to be saluted. Maybe they will win or there actually could be Federal legislation or court decisions that abrogate unconstitutional gun laws (okay one can dream).

We can win in all the other states if we organize. I could be wrong, but I believe New York and Illinois are still in play even though Chicago and New York City are lost. There are enough rural areas that could pull these states through. Encouraging things are happening in Illinois.

Again we salute warriors who remain in the lost three states. May you succeed. But, if you want to move to New Hampshire and make sure our local anti-gunnies can never gain the upper hand, we’ll save a place for you.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Real Estate and Carnival of Cordite #14

I've been a bad blogger this week. I missed doing a post the other day and I missed a post yesterday. Bill and I have been busy with real estate matters. I got a call yesterday at work from our agent and she told me a house was available for viewing and it had basically everything we wanted. I took time off work and headed to New Hampshire. It was (almost) everything we are looking for. So instead of writing a post I had outlined, I spent my time doing more house hunting.

Bill and I liked the house so much we made an offer on it this morning. There is at least one other offer and we don't want to get into a bidding war. So, we hope everything goes through without a hitch. Of course, the thought of owing almost a quarter million dollars on a small house (we live in New England) is enough to cause the shakes.

Bear with us though and we will soon return to our regular schedule with more "One From the Vault" posts on our guns, more Joy of Shooting type posts, and more.

Meanwhile, Carnival of Cordite #14 is up for reading pleasure.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Leaving Blue States Behind

Bill (Yosemite Sam) and I try to avoid “me too” posts. We write about gun nut things important to us. But, today I have to make a “me too” post based on an issue that is dear to our hearts.

Kim du Toit wrote about moving away from states ran by gun fearing wussies (GFWs). He and his wife liked Chicago but couldn’t stand local and state gun laws and other factors. They looked at several states including Texas, Idaho, New Hampshire, Arizona, and Oklahoma. They decided to settle in Texas.

Bill and I faced a similar decision. We’ve covered our decision in numerous places (not only is it a "me too" post, it's also redundant--oh hush Bill), but let me summarize. We moved to Massachusetts in August 1999 for me to accept a job offer I couldn’t refuse (almost twice my salary). We were living in Texas when they offered me the job. Bill is a born and raised Texan and I’d lived in the Lone Star State for about ten years.

We weren’t totally ignorant of Massachusetts’s gun laws, but were still surprised at their unfairness. We played according to their rules. We got gun licenses and even registered a few guns we owned and wanted to shoot—we left others with parents or in a storage shed out of state. We joined GOAL (Gun Owners Action League) to fight for better firearms law.

We reluctantly came to the conclusion that Massachusetts was lost to gunnies. People’s attitudes convinced us that Massachusetts gun laws were not going to change. For instance, one of my co-workers who supports rights for licensed gunowners said he was very proud of his state when Attorney General Tom Reilly won a court case that allowed him to apply “Consumer Protection” laws to guns. Now even Glocks are too “dangerous” for state residents to own.

Most people in Massachusetts support its gun laws. Many feel these laws aren’t strong enough. Few people want to make it easier to own guns. GOAL does much good work. Still, one of its legislative victories was helping to pass a bill to make gun licenses smaller in order to fit wallets. There’s no chance of passing a law that would actually eradicate licensing and registration. Massachusetts’s citizens wouldn’t stand for it.

We considered staying and fighting but realized it’s an exercise in futility. Bill and I moved to New Hampshire. I traded a two-mile commute for a 38-mile one way trek (Bill's drive is even longer). I get tired of driving to and from work, but I wouldn’t trade my gun rights for a shorter drive. And to be fair, we’ve actually made other gains such as being able to afford a house.

There’s a certain nobility to fighting a loosing battle (hum the “Impossible Dream” while reading), but the key word is loosing. We decided that it’s nobler to reinforce pro-gun beliefs in a state being overrun by Massholes (defined as Massachusetts residents who flee high housing costs and creeping socialism and then do everything they can to import to New Hampshire those conditions that caused them). Bruce, JayG, and frequent commenter Seth are fighting that good fight in Massachusetts. Still, I invite them to move here to help us fight a battle we can win.

I also read comments on Kim’s post (32 as of this writing) and Kim replied to them at 7:54am. He said exactly what Bill and I felt when we moved here. More eloquently than I, he answered the points of those who defended staying in anti-gun states. He said, “…the best way to battle the overall disease is not to stay and fight a hopeless cause. You need to move to a place where the disease is spreading, and fight it there.” Amen brother.

Here’s one final point. Bill and I recently vacationed in Texas. We drove from New Hampshire to Virginia, to Mississippi, then to Texas. We came back via Oklahoma, Missouri, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania. We covered a wide swath of this great nation. We spent most of our time in red states. When we hit the New York border, I looked over at Bill and told him, “It doesn’t even look like America here.” I don’t know why I said that, but there was a difference. New Hampshire feels like America even though it seems like an American fort surrounded by blue savages. For those who want to, come up here and help us defend it.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Media Bias

During the recent NRA convention, while waiting for the banquet to begin, I was standing by the huge panoramic window at the hotel, watching the rather small protest below. I was talking to a fellow NRA member and banquet attendee about how well the convention had gone, all of the new members signed up, and the huge crowds. I said how great this was, but it would not matter one whit because the media would spin it against us. We could work our fingers to the bone, and have, and all that work would be just a match guttering in the wind to just one anti gun news feature or article in the daily paper.

Denise has already mentioned the incredible anti-NRA bias of the Houston Chronicle. In a state that is very pro-gun (Texas ousted a governor, Ann Richards, largely because she would not sign concealed carry legislation) we have the only daily paper of Texas’ largest city sounding not very different from what I would expect from the Boston Globe.

Why is this? I can understand why the New York Times or Boston Globe would be biased to the Left and against the right to bear arms. The people that these newspapers serve are very liberal and these people consistently elect very liberal politicians. So it is no surprise that their major city newspapers would have a bias that tilts toward the Left. But this analogy doesn’t hold when you move out into the heartland of America, those so-called Red States. The newspapers in those areas are just as biased to the Left as the newspapers that serve Megalopolis and the Left Coast. There are two reasons for this.

1) Journalism Schools-Ever since Woodward and Bernstein brought down a President, the journalism profession has attracted activists who want to change the world. Virtually all of these activists are of the Leftist persuasion and pushing their agenda is their primary motivation. They graduate with a zeal to bring about change and their first assignments are often at second tier newspapers, many of which are located in the Red zone. The people that hire them also came from similar journalism schools. This creates a monoculture in the press where they rarely hear or never hear any challenges to their pre-conceived notions. From journalism school onwards there is an inculcated distrust and loathing of the Conservative side of the fence and little opportunity to have these feelings challenged.

2) Desire to advance—If a budding journalist gets a job at a smaller newspaper or television station and wants to advance in his chosen career, they have to advance to a major paper or station on the East or West Coast. In fact, our aspiring reporter may have graduated from a coastal journalism school like Columbia and have a burning desire to get back home from the boonies. As I said earlier, the media on the coasts is naturally to the Left because of the native population. So to appeal to the coastal media outlets, our budding reporter at a Red State media outlet will write articles and editorials that will appeal to their future employers. Then when a job opportunity presents itself, they can show from their past work that they have the proper perspective.

The effect of all this is that the people in the Red States, in particular, have a media that does not even begin to reflect their beliefs and seems to work at cross purposes to their most fervent desires. A media that pushes gun control when it is blatantly obvious that people in Fly Over country reject it.

What can we as individuals do? Well for one, we can cancel our subscriptions to biased, agenda driven newspapers like the Houston Chronicle who push an ideology that most Texans find repellent. We need to get out the word in blogs and encourage people to discover the truth for themselves. I am confident that a fair-minded person that has the desire to do their own research will come down on the side of gun rights. Also, we need to get the word out when the media gets things wrong. This happens every day so this can’t be too hard. Jeff Soyer’s weekly check of the bias is an excellent example of this kind of effort.

I’ll be honest, this will not be easy. The media in this country is very powerful and they preach an anti-gun, Leftist message from the print, television and big screen. We don’t have their kind of tools but we do have determination and we can work at the grassroots level, person to person to combat them.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Carnival of Cordite & More Real Estate Blogging

Sorry for not posting earlier. Once again Bill and I were out in the trenches of house hunting. We now have a good idea of those features we must have (security is high on our list) and those features that would be nice but not necessary. We set a timetable, we have a pre-approval letter in hand, and we found a couple of very good possibilities.

Although we don't have anything of interest today, the 13th Carnival of Cordite is up for your reading pleasure. Lot's of good stuff there so don't forget to give it a read.

And for now, Bill and I wish you all a very good night.

Friday, May 13, 2005

A Little Recent History

I was reading blogs at work lunch today when I decided to Google something I just read. You know how Google works. You find one item that piques your interest, click on a new link, then click on yet another link, and soon you forget what you were looking up in the first place. Meanwhile, you find really interesting information. Ahh, the power of nonlinear thought.

My interesting find today is a Clinton White House press release dated April 11, 2000. Of course, that’s five years, one month and 2 days ago and blogs are supposed to be topical. Bear with me because I found a few lessons for today.

We really dodged a bullet when Gore wasn’t appointed president. The 2000 election was a mess. Our system is not built for ties and this election was as close to a tie as I’ll ever see in my lifetime. Courts were going to decide that election and now I’m glad the Supremes made a good decision for a change.

The Ten Ring is a gun blog and I won’t go into other matters. For instance, when I imagine President Gore’s response to 9/11 a shudder runs up my spine. Maybe he would’ve stepped up and hit a home run, but I really doubt it. No, he would’ve declared a national day of navel-gazing while asking what we did to deserve it. That’s enough of other matters.

The press release is an election tool for Gore as well as a way for Clinton to blow his horn. It’s titled “Keeping Guns Away From Youth and Criminals: the Clinton-Gore Administration Record.” Its text is a litany of what that administration did to gun owners. It crows about passing the Brady Bill and the Assault Weapons Act. Built into that subject’s facile description is sporting purposes: “…banned 19 of the deadliest assault weapons and their copies, while specifically protecting more than 50 legitimate sporting weapons.”

Here’s another bullet we partially dodged: gun buyback programs in public housing. Funds were allotted to buy guns from poor residents living in high crime areas. Not mentioned here are questions of self-defense and how rules were passed to evict those who owned a gun even if they could legally own it and did nothing wrong with it. So much for fairness to the poor that Democrats claim so loudly.

If you’ve ever wondered why most new guns come with a lock, Clinton signed a directive mandating that Federal agencies could only buy guns that came with child safety locks. Our government buys a lot of guns and eight manufacturers decided to include locks with their products. They probably did so for public relations as well as not having to differentiate which boxed pistol must go to the feds and which could be sold elsewhere.

Clinton also passed the Gun-Free Schools Act forcing schools to expel any kid caught with a gun on campus. Thank you Mr. Clinton for helping start zero tolerance policies that punish decent kids who forget to take a hunting shotgun from a car’s trunk.

Then there was that abysmal Smith & Wesson agreement, which included new restrictions on the firearms business. Smith & Wesson almost went out of business due to a gunnie boycott, its British owner sold it to an American company for a huge loss, and the agreement went into abeyance. It stands as an example to all gun companies to stop “cooperating” our rights away.

Now we are getting to what President Gore would have done to us. The Youth Gun Crime Enforcement Act included a Federal one-handgun-a-month provision, added gun show restrictions, required a three-day waiting period for all handgun sales and much more. It died in committee, but Gore could have worked to resurrect it.

Finally, there was a plan mentioned in a Clinton State of the Union speech to issue a Federal license to buy handguns. We really dodged a bullet here.

I’ve not included everything listed in the press release in an already long post. Needless to say, they had plans for us. I know George W. Bush doesn’t do everything we gunnies want our president to do. But, consider the alternatives—Gore and John Kerry. Maybe 2008 will bring us better choices.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Go Enjoy a Little Light Reading

Maybe I don't get out enough, or cruise the Internet enough. Maybe I'm about to recommend a site that all of you have seen and enjoyed. Maybe you'll think I'm clueless and callow. Maybe you're thinking, "Quit babbling and get on with it." Okay I will.

I stumbled on a neat parody site this afternoon. I have a little history with parodies. For instance, I wrote a parody describing a Winchester 94 as an "assault weapon" that must be banned. I had fun writing it, but this other site makes me fall on my knees in Wayne and Garth mode and plead, "I'm not worthy, I'm not worthy.

The parody site eliciting such humility is called "Mothers Insisting on Licensed Tools" (MILT). MILT is rife with cute little drawings, and dire pronouncements. The home page shows two children holding each other in fear because a menacing power drill, complete with teeth, aims its pointed drill bit at them. The heading announces "Mothers Insisting on Licensed Tools Presents...Power Tools [/] America's Children at Risk."

Each page is chock full of text, drawings, photos, founding fathers' quotes, user modifications that make power tools more deadly; you name it. Even MILT's business address is a joke, it's actually the building in Harlem where Bill Clinton's New York office is located.

Other features: Wally the Whale teaches safety, Tim Allen is depicted as a sinister tool pusher, kitchen table tool dealers sell tools right out of ice cream trucks. I could go on, but you can read.

One final word, "Last Page" informs readers it's all a parody (apparently a few people thought it was real). It's actually a pro-gun site that shows what absurd levels anti-gunnies go to while demonizing guns. Bob Frenchu designed MILT and I really am getting him a round of virtual applause for a job well done. MILT's webmaster is now W. Earl Allen. It has a Geeks with Guns banner. Go there. Enjoy, unless you've already been there and I'm just boring you. Seriously, enjoy.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Black Robed Tyrants

I've written before about how the judical branch in this country is becoming a law unto themselves, freely interpreting the Constitution in a way that conforms to their(usually Leftist) interpretation. Now via Alphecca we have a decision from the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that pretty much takes a crap on the Bill of Rights. The case is Bach vs. Pataki in which a Virginia man argued that his Virginia carry license should be valid in New York State, just like a driver's or marriage license.

But this "Court" decided that New York has a compelling reason to crap on the Constitution and said that the state's restriction of permits to New York residents was valid. They justify their decision using the totally bogus 2nd Amendment collective rights argument that even Lawrence Tribe says is utter bullshit.

But this in particular is galling:
In so holding, Wesley said the 2nd Circuit was joining five other circuits, and it was following the lead of the U.S. Supreme Court in Presser v. Illinois, 16 U.S. 2252 (1886), which he said "stands for the proposition that the right of the people to keep and bear arms, whatever else its nature, is a right only against the federal government, not against the states."

This is the States Rights argument that all good liberals say is utter crap. This was the argument that the South used to justify secession and the continuance of slavery. That the Constitution only applied to the Federal Government, not the States. So in order to restrict our Right to Bear Arms, the Courts will take a giant shit on the Constitution and resurrect the State's Right's argument beloved of Slavery apolgists and the KKK.

I want to hear the Left out there criticize this outrageous decision but I think I already hear a chorus of crickets chirping. If it restricts the right of the people to bear arms, then they are ready to shred every right and principle they believe in.

A Little More on Avoiding Gun Confiscation

I really don’t have too much to talk about today, so that means I should just shut up. That’s just hard to do so bear with me while I do a little free association. I’ll probably end up covering ideas I’ve already written about, but here goes. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

On Monday, I wrote about a possible scenario of how ourgovernment might confiscate guns. My post was based on American Drumslinger’s excellent article. I’ve been doing a little thinking since then.

We tend to think of US government as a monolith. But, that’s not entirely true. Government responds to and simultaneously shapes society. A simple majority is society’s most notable part. Minority ideas are heard through individuals and their organizations. The bigger a minority is in comparison to a majority the more it too is heard. Still bare numbers are not an entirely reliable indicator of an idea’s success. If a slight majority or even a sizable minority is near government and opinion makers, its voice will drown out a minority’s voice.

That’s where we are on guns. A large minority is against private gun ownership, but that minority lives in Washington, D.C., Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, and other cities full of celebrities, politicians, business leaders, and others. Their voices are being heard more than our voices. They can’t conceive of someone liking guns and if they meet someone, they look at them as sort of a bug.

A person where I work argued with me a lot about guns and he finally said something I couldn’t answer. He said he could not image anyone owning something that was made to kill humans or animals. He thought it would give him nightmares just to pick up a handgun. He thought rifles and shotguns were only slightly better. He thought I was somehow perverted because I like owning and shooting firearms. How do you argue with this? In Boston, he and those who think like him are what Mayor Menino and state legislators hear.

Right now our Congress Critters are hearing gun owners voices too. They know we want no more gun control, but they still hear the anti-gunnie voice when they go to parties in Washington or meet constituents in their states’ big cities. They don’t know where to turn so they do nothing except tell gunnies to sit back and enjoy a few gains we have made. Our chief gain, expiration of the Assault Weapons Act, came about because that law had a sunset provision and Congress didn’t have to do anything. It only had to sit on its collective hands.

So, let’s look at anti-gunnie ideas. They don’t want to ban guns right away. Yeah, certain spokespeople have said let’s round them all up and that’s their ultimate goal. But, they’re patient and work in “reasonable,” “common-sense” increments. Their primary goal now is to kill the gun culture. That’s why they decry proven safety messages like Eddie Eagle since Eddie might have a positive messages about guns. It’s why they don’t want gun training or marksmanship competition in schools. It’s why they want to make it hard to shoot guns and even harder to let kids shoot guns.

Gun skills were historically passed from father to son (in my case father to daughter). If they can force us to skip a generation and ideally two generations our gun culture will wither away as each gunnie dies. Even now I’ve heard many gun dealers in New England mention people bringing in their deceased father’s guns because they have no use for them. A generational chain is broken in that family. I have no idea how many families are involved, but one is too many.

Government itself doesn’t want to take away our guns, but it will do what society directs. If anti-gunnies win, government will put more impediments in our way and especially make it harder to pass our skills to our children. Imagine a law that says you could not let any “child” under 21 touch a gun—even BB, Airsoft, or toy guns. Fine, you say, I’ll let him or her touch one indoors, but how do you teach marksmanship skills, gun safety, hunting lore unless you shoot?

Burying guns or buying them off the grid, as laudable and necessary as such activities may be, are not our sole answers. You can’t teach gun skills if your guns are buried or if there is no place to shoot legally. We have to defeat anti-gunnies in a war of ideas. We must organize and speak out. We must attract more women to gun ownership. Above all else we must pass gun skills and a pride in owning guns to each successive generation.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Yet Another Massachusetts Outrage

Several pro-gun bloggers have discussed a gun-related story out of Massachusetts. I won’t blog as much on the worst outrage, the suspension of a firearms license, but I want to discuss a gun collecting angle.

First a little background (I synopsize so you don’t have to). In 1998, duly-licensed gun owner Joseph Landers’ jacket flipped open in the wind and a passing Dedham, MA cop saw his carry weapon. The cop investigated the gun owner and found he had a valid Concealed Carry permit issued by Dedham Township.

Now, you’d think that would be the end of it. Nope, we’re talking Massachusetts here. The cop had filed an incident or contact report. Dedham’s police chief, Dennis Teehan, used that report to revoke Landers’ Class A License to Carry (LTC). Landers wants his Class A LTC back, not to carry a concealed weapon, but so he can follow his passion of collecting guns, uniforms, and military accouterments.

Before I talk more about collecting, let me mention that Massachusetts licensing scheme contains so many misnomers it’s an affront to the English language. When you read “License to Carry” wouldn’t you think that it referred to carrying a concealed weapon? I’m sure that’s what 90% of Massachusetts’ citizens believe, especially those reading about Mr. Landers.

“Carry” in the context of Massachusetts’ licensing scheme means possession. For instance, you have a gun in a locked case, in your car’s locked trunk; you are carrying that weapon in Massachusetts. In fact, you can have a Class A LTC and still be barred from doing almost anything with your own gun. A police chief can limit your license to target use only, hunting use only, employment (i.e., security guard) use only, and anything else he or she can dream up. A Class B LTC means you can possess a revolver or pistol capable of holding less than ten rounds of ammunition, but you are affirmatively debarred from concealed carry.

When Teehan revoked Landers’ LTC it meant Landers could get a Firearms Identification Card (FID) only since these are more or less “shall issue.” Landers is now limited to owning only long guns, and those must have less than a ten round capacity (another feature of a Class A is "permitting" ownership of "high-capacity" weapons and magazines). Thus, Landers is debarred from collecting most modern military long arm and any side arm. He had to sell his 1908 Luger and a Colt 1911 to avoid breaking Massachusetts law.

I’m a collector of military and other firearms. I don’t share Landers’ passion for uniforms, cannonballs, books on warfare, or other items he owns. There are people who probably think he has an unhealthy interest in warfare just as there are those who think my interests are warped. They’re entitled to their opinions unless they foist them upon me or others. That’s what Teehan has done to Landers.

Teehan has prevented Landers from collecting weapons that will complete his collections, Teehan has caused him to sell items, he has refused to issue an LTC for “collecting purposes only" even though that’s in his purview. He is a petty tyrant wearing a police chief’s uniform.

Shit like this is why Bill and I maintained a storage shed in New Hampshire when we lived in Massachusetts. We wanted it just in case we ever needed to spirit guns out of Mordor Massachusetts quickly. It’s why we finally fled the state (full disclosure: we still work there and pay income tax to that hellhole--arggghhhh). Massachusettslawmakers have purposely allowed its citizens to become victims of petty tyrants through their carefully designed licensing scheme. Its citizens have forgotten freedom while pursuing a pie-in-the-sky dream of Kumbaya harmony.

Not everyone comes out of a cookie-cutter. I am interested in guns. Landers interests lies in guns and accouterments. We are somehow suspect in the land of Kumbaya. Massachusetts’ citizens want what they got. They want to feel superior to those of us who own and shoot guns and especially those troglodytes who’d carry a gun for self-protection. They want us to embrace the bliss and eat the lotus blossoms.

I don’t blame Teehan and gun grabbers in Massachusetts government so much as I blame the citizens of Massachusetts for supporting police chiefs and politicians who are petty tyrants. While these “good” citizens create their Kumbaya land of milk and honey they are forgetting there are two-legged and four-legged predators in their midst. More importantly, they are forcing conformity to their beliefs in ways that those people they hate the most, red-state religious right-wing “nutjobs,” can only envy.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Gun Confiscation and its Prevention

American Drumslinger (AD--and may not be work safe) put up a post last Thursday that I just read today. TriggerFinger linked to it and other bloggers may have linked it as well. AD’s post deserves all the attention it can get and I have added ideas of my own. So, go read his post and then come back here.

In case you didn’t click, here’s a summary. AD discusses how our government might confiscate arms. He points out that gun owners expect a hunkered down, “From My Cold Dead Hands, shoot-out as Federal agents bust down our doors.

Instead, he thinks that government will start by passing a ban with a grace period for compliance. The grace period will come and go and then government will use its computers to locate gun owners. They’ll send you a friendly letter asking to clear up their information. They’ll follow up on what you send and after a number of steps send Federal agents to your home with search warrants. They will do so perhaps while the IRS is auditing your taxes. (AD makes a minor error here when he said the BATFE is part of the Treasury Department, it was moved to Department of Justice about a year or so back.) After your appointment with your friendly IRS agent, you’ll be arrested in the parking lot or at home depending on what they find—and they will find your guns and/or ammo.

I think AD’s absolutely right on governmental procedure. The government has access to more information than we can imagine. Private databases are just as bad and eventually (if not already) our government will link these into one vast web. If you buy ammo at Cheaper than Dirt or other places, they’ll see who bought it using credit card or hacked company databases. If you always pay cash for ammo and guns, someone still has enough information to make you a “person of interest.” For instance, a seller you found in the want ads decides to cover himself and asks you for ID or jots down your car’s license tag. He may present that record to government agents when they come to him for a gun traced to him, the one on your hip.

Another thing that is happening now hinges on societal change. More people are living in cities than in rural areas and city dwellers don’t see guns in positive lights. They make it harder for people to buy and own guns, to shoot them, and to hunt. If Sarah Brady and her ilk make buying and owning a gun too onerous, fewer people will buy them. The fewer people who buy them, the fewer people who will resist “common sense” gun control. And, the fewer people who hunt, the fewer people need guns, which Sarah Brady will tell you are only for hunting or similar “sporting purposes.”

They make guns harder to buy guns through restrictive laws:
First, fewer places sell guns because they restricted how Federal gun licenses were issued. Hardware stores and other historic outlets don’t want to hassle with licensing. Zoning laws make it harder to operate or open a gun store.

Second, they add government checks as they did with the Brady Act; states may have even more onerous rules—looking at you Massachusetts.

Third, they make it hard to find appropriate places to shoot. Ranges are being challenged constantly on noise and now lead contamination.

Fourth, they make hunting expensive and concentrate it to only a few public lands. It used to be, you could save money hunting, but now licenses, fees, and gas cost more than a trip to a supermarket’s meat counter.

The fewer people who own guns, the easier it will be to confiscate them.

Many people on our left and right coast already view gunnies with fear and suspicion. They will welcome confiscation and because they probably don’t know any one who owns guns they will sleep well at night.

I don’t have any suggestions on how to handle AD’s confiscation scenario, but I have a couple of ideas that may slow our nation’s slide into gun-fearing wussidom. Become active in pro-gun organizations. Let our government know that we too are a powerful voting block. Even if you do not hunt, get the cheapest hunting license you can (many states have a “small game license” for a nominal fee). A state government’s not going to reduce hunting opportunities if 40% or more of its people are licensed hunters.

Finally, recruit just one person to gun ownership. If your spouse doesn’t own a gun, get him or her out to a range. If a co-worker talks wistfully about shooting BB guns in Boy Scot camp, get him to your nearest range. Learn all you can about your area’s gun rules, laws, regulations, and restrictions. Become politically active and fight unfair laws. Finally buy a gun as a gift, but make sure you follow all those regulations you learned about.

In short, recruit people to gun ownership. The more of us who own guns, who are politically active, with strong pro-rights organization, the less likely AD’s nightmare will come about.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Slow Blogging These Past Two Weekends

Bill and I have not posted the last couple of days, which is not our usual pattern. We have been incredibly busy these past two weekends. We are looking for a house to buy. My career(s) has been fairly mobile and because of that I've reached (almost) fifty without buying a house. Bill, a little bit younger than I am, also has never bought a house. Now, it looks like my job will leave me here in New England until retirement--unless something comes up.

One reason we are buying now, is to build equity. We hope to live in Texas again and the New England housing market is much more expensive than in Texas. We've seen small two-bedroom capes in New Hampshire selling for $237,000.00. (That same house in Waltham, MA where I work would sell for $350,000.) We figure that we would leave here after selling our house giving us good amount of cash and buy a ranchette or something in Texas. At least that's our plan.

We've been incredibly busy with realtor appointments, mortgage counselor appointments, you name it. And, we are actually only at the beginning. We have to do our meetings on weekends and that has cut into our blogging time. So, forgive us for awhile.

We did find time to get out to a plinking range at our gun club (the one we joined last weekend). We burned some gunpowder shooting at plastic bottles. We basically went there to have fun and shot one-handed, two-handed, and weak-handed for practice. We made those bottles dance (not with our .22 pistols though, the bottles didn't bounce, bullets just went right through them). We didn't stay out too long since it is damn cold here--in the low to mid 40s with a cold wind. It's freaking May and we have to wear jackets. (Bill: Denise, explain again to me why we are staying in New England? Finances dear, finances.)

So wish us luck as we wend our way though a real estate swamp. We have a buyer's agent and hope to avoid any major pitfalls. Thanks for your patience too.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Nostalgia and Magazine Blogging

I've never tried to hide my age here. I'm almost fifty, in fact I turn that age next week. Such fun. Unlike Michael Bane, I won't be buying a gun for my birthday although that's been my custom too for a number of recent birthdays. I can't do it this year because I blew my gun budget on my Broomhandle Mauser. Gonna have to let my gun fund build itself back up again.

I wrote a long post written about a War on Guns post that linked a .pdf version of Guns Magazine from May 1955. But Blogger ate about two-thirds of it and I don't have time to reconstruct it. Here are a few highlights that Blogger left me and which I can remember.

First, I need to explain that the magazine came out the month and year I was born and needless to say it caused more than a little nostalgia. Its very first page (p2--all page numbers refer to its .pdf page number), shows a photograph of Bat Masterson. I used to love the Bat Masterson TV show with Gene Barry. It went off the air in 1961. Since I was six when it was canceled I may have seen it in syndication or I have a very good memory.

Page 9 gives us an article on "Belly Guns, written by Colonel Charles Askins, an almost legendary gun writer. The article discusses self-defense with easily concealed revolvers. Askins comes out strongly in favor of revolvers over semi-autos, at least for purposes these guns fulfill. There is nothing new under the sun and in gunnie world, there will be no resolution to the revolver vs. semi-auto self-defense arguments. Askins' article is interesting also because very few states had legal carry--methinks a lot of people carried anyway.

We also learn on page 13 that Jean Yates was Queen of the Cougar Hunters with 23 cats to her credit. Who says women in shooting sports is new? We've always shot guns and hunted, but never admitted it. Similarly, Cowboy Action Shooting is not as new as you think. TV westerns caused a high demand for single-action revolvers and companies jumped in to satisfy demands (p18).

There is also a review (p 40) of the first gun I ever owned, Remington's Model 572 Fieldmaster. My parents gave it to me on my thirteenth birthday. I still own it today and it's one pampered gun because it was the first one that actually belonged to me.

Finally check out the Hy Hunter ad on page 51 for a blast from the past.

I wanted to thank War on Guns for posting it and Guns Magazine for making its archives available. It's nice to remember good times. Now I really have to run.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Arms Control Doesn't Work

Every so often, I take a look at the "gungeon," a gun rights vs. gun control forum at DemocraticUnderground.com (DU) where leftist pro-gunnies argue with leftist gun grabbers.

Many pro-gunnies argue that Democrat asshattery on guns have led to Democrat losses in recent elections. Gun grabbers believe being anti-gun is a core belief and so they can't compromise. They must grab guns; it's who they are. They are also infuriatingly ignorant about guns and often patronizing.

I feel for pro-gunnies because they're hitting their heads against a brick wall. They won't win in a party that embraces Diane Feinstein and Chuck Schumer.

While on DU, I found a thread about what's happening in Sudan, the genocide of Darfur. Pro-gunnie "Beevul" started it with a link to an editorial in the Pittsburgh Tribune written by pro-gun writer Dimitri Vassilaros. His first sentence is enough to make Sarah Brady faint, "The slaughter, rape and torment of the citizens of Darfur would end if humanitarian aid included guns."

The first post after Beevul launched his thread wonders where the Sudan is getting their arms and why can't they be blocked. Others answered, pointing out Sudan is a government. One poster mentioned millions of AK-47s that are in circulation. Then, "Virginia Mountainman" in post 17 links something very interesting, Russia's arms export webpage, Rusarms, which I've never seen before.

It's not clear who Rusarms (actually named Rosoboronexport) sells to and its prices aren't listed. But, one can buy a training facility complete with firing ranges, or one can hire experts to teach military subjects, even have them build entire bases. The site doesn't support external links, but take a look around for yourself. Here are a few other things I found.

If you want a submarine, they've got several types to choose from. You'll find a 155 mm self-propelled howitzer if that's on your shopping list. You want AK-47s, they have them in abundance. If you've got cash to burn, how about a Tu-22M3 Long-Range Strategic Bomber.

If you're a terrorist and want small arms suitable for assassination missions in American shopping malls, why risk buying semi-auto AK-47s in American gun stores when you can get a friendly government to buy you crates of 9mm KLIN submachine guns? A discriminating terrorist might pick up a few 5.66mm APS Underwater Assault Rifles.

I could go on, but it would only get tedious. Besides, I wish I could shoot small arms on their lists, but my government won't let me touch most of them.

DU's thread goes on from there, but I got a number of things from what little I read in it. For one, we'll never achieve world peace through arms control. It can't happen. Too many weapons exist now. Too many countries make too much money selling arms. Too many people are willing to smuggle weapons.

Likewise, gun control in America can never work for similar reasons. Even if our Congress Critters banned guns, supply is too large, demand would be too high, and black market profits would be too astronomical to stop criminals from buying and dealing in illicit weapons. Criminals will get guns and people will supply them even if they have to actually set up their own workshops, or buy them from Rusarms.

Another idea I got from DU's thread is about terrorism: Terrorists will always have friendly states who'll front arms purchases for them. America may be able to crush training bases in such states, but we'll never stop a sympathetic dictator from passing a handful of his army's weapons to terrorist cells.

Finally, maybe gunnies need to set up a country. We could hire Russians to build firing ranges. Then we could buy ammunition and fully-auto AK-47s, etc. and shoot to our hearts' content. Maybe set it up as a place for gunnies to visit, a playground devoted to burning gunpowder for the sheer joy and skill of shooting. Oh well, wishful thinking. Besides, I can't afford my own country and I love being an American.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Coyotes in Boston

It’s amazing how things work out sometimes. Yesterday, I posted a pro-hunting screed and I said, "Predators are still with us and their populations are increasing. I think it’s a good thing, but I wouldn’t want a coyote to get my cat or a neighbor’s child. Predators have a place, but not living among us.”

This morning, I’m driving to work and a morning radio-talk host is talking about a Boston Globe story on a coyote attack in Jamaica Plain. The host interviewed David Sherris who lost his dog when a coyote came into his well-lit backyard and killed his dog. Sherris approached the coyote causing it to drop his dog and run away (brave man).

For those of you not familiar with Boston, Jamaica Plain is actually near the city’s heart. It’s not far from the harbor, its inside Highway 128/I 95 (a crescent shaped freeway around Boston), and definitely an integral part of Greater Boston. It’s noted for wooded areas such as the Arboretum, Forest Hills Cemetery, Jamaica Pond, etc. One of my co-workers lives in Jamaica Plain not far from Sherris’ back yard and today he’s concerned about his cats.

Massachusetts is an asinine state. Massachusetts considers coyotes a “protected species” and won't hunt a coyote down to kill him. State officials can “humanely” trap him, but they must relocate him to his natural habitat, that is they will actually send him back to Jamaica Plain. Boston’s head of animal control, James Cahill, states that, “'Someone's going to get hurt; it's inevitable…. It's out of our control. I hope it doesn't happen. Some little tyke is going to get bit some day.” Boston will be lucky if a kid is just bit and not made a coyote’s breakfast.

Based on my readings, predators see other creatures in one of three ways: food, threat, and unclassified. The more they’re around us humans and see that we aren’t a threat, the more they start to classify us as food. That’s going on right now. It’s only a matter of time before we read about a coyote killing a toddler. And, it’s not just a Boston problem. I’ve seen coyotes in northern suburbs on my way to work from New Hampshire.

What Massachusetts is not doing is they aren't reinforcing a predator's number one rule; hairless apes are not food. If we humans don’t reinforce that rule, we’ll lose first our pets, then our children, and then adults will be attacked.

Massachusetts needs to reassert human dominance over coyotes, but it's not known for common sense. If it had common sense it could use its gun licensing classes to train and authorize people to shoot coyotes and other predators in an urban environment safely. You don’t even have to kill a coyote; a load of #8 shot in his butt will discourage him.

If guns in cities aren’t their cup of tea, Massachusetts could loosen rules on self-defense sprays. A face full of bear-strength pepper spray will tell any coyote humans are dangerous. However, Massachusetts licenses sprays similarly to how they license firearms. Paintball markers are another possible way to discourage predators, but of course Massachusetts is averse to any weapon in civilian hands.

Instead of letting civilians defend ourselves and our families, Massachusetts wants us to rely on professionals; professional animal officers, professional police officers. None of whom will be there when you need them. State policies leave you impotently trying to scare a coyote away from your child and pets with a broom or less.

It’s not just state government’s fault, citizens won’t step up and do what’s necessary. They keep electing these state officials. They insist on anti-gun and anti self-defense laws. They don’t want to see poor coyotes killed; even Sherris said that during his radio interview. Well, I hope they’re not too surprised when they lose a child to a four-legged or two-legged predator. It’s just a matter to time.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Yet Another Pro-Hunting Screed

New Hampshire’s Spring turkey hunting season begins soon and Bill and I plan to participate for the first time. Periodically, The Ten Ring has featured pro-hunting screeds. Here’s another one for to read or click away from. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I’m from a hunting family and I have hunted ever since I was old enough to hold a gun by myself. I’m also a recovering liberal. When I moved to an East Coast state to attend graduate school, I heard anti-hunters whine about poor Bambi and about how savage hunters were. Because I had very few hunting opportunities while in school, I didn’t hunt. After graduation, I began a career and became distracted by too many liberal lies and began wondering if hunting was really as savage as they claimed. I hung up my hunting rifle and shotgun.

I returned home for a family visit one year and Dad took me to see a “die off,” a place where dozens if not hundreds of mule deer had congregated over a terribly harsh winter and died of starvation. A few misguided souls had thrown hay out for them, but mule deer (I don’t know about white tails) naturally lack a digestive enzyme for hay and starve with full bellies. Soon after that, hunting again became a part of my life again. I wonder if Dad planned that?

There are savage elements about hunting; there I’ve admitted it. You have to kill a beautiful creature, stick a knife into it, and remove its still warm guts. It’s bloody, but all of us carnivores are part of the life cycle rather we wield a knife ourselves or pay meat packers to do it for us. It’s part of life and vegetarians, who refuse to eat meat because an animal had to die, aren’t in touch with their humanity. Humans are predatory omnivores and need meat. I don’t care what vegetarians argue, because I tried a vegetarian diet while in my deluded phase and I know that craving for animal protein.

Good lean meat is truly the stuff of life. But, hunting has another purpose other than providing us protein—keeping animal populations in check. We humans clawed our way up the food chain and decided we didn’t want predators trying to knock us off that pedestal to make our children or us their food. We almost killed off wolves, banished mountain lions, and we tamed dogs so they could help us hunt predators and game.

Predators are still with us and their populations are increasing. I think it’s a good thing, but I wouldn’t want a coyote to get my cat or a neighbor’s child. Predators have a place, but not living among us. Because we don’t want a bunch of carnivores living near us, herbivore populations have exploded. Hunting is the only way we can control these populations. Anti-hunters though have scared people out of hunting and parents have not always passed hunting skills to the next generation. So now we don’t have enough hunters.

Anti-hunters hope to find a way to control burgeoning deer populations, but are not succeeding. In Millstone, New Jersey deer are taking over and one moonbat thinks they need to freeze development to control deer. She says, “We have too many houses.” I don’t follow her logic here, but then again it’s moonbat logic and let’s not think on it too long because it’ll make our heads hurt. Another Millstone resident and head of the Democratic County Committee supports hunting since he hit a deer while driving his wife’s Lexus and was almost killed—according to him. He takes a collectivist approach and wants to process hunted deer into meat for food banks and charities. I don’t know if their specially licensed hunters would get to keep any meat. Of course, Millstone plans on allowing only bow hunting—can’t have those horrid guns in town not even shotguns or muzzleloaders.

Texas is taking a different approach to wild animal control. They have problems with feral hogs. These porkers are dangerous, omnivorous, reproduce quickly, and destroy crops. Texas has a year round hunting season and guns are not an issue. In fact, one rancher said you need an AK-47.

Other areas are having problems with Canadian and Snow Geese. Hunting is a way to control populations, but there are still those who want non-lethal means. As part of constituent services, Senator Charles Schumer helped bring Geesepeace to Long Island as a means to scare geese to other areas and destroy their eggs (hmmm…abortion for geese). One problem with scaring birds, you have to keep it up year after year at public cost. Why not let hunters do it, pay their own way, and eat the healthy meat?

Still, anti-hunters won’t stop their screaming. Groups like In Defense of Animals would have us change our lives to accommodate animal populations. PETA criticizes hunting as well. Here, among many nuggets of asshattery, they make a few good points about canned hunting. I have nothing against hunting ranches with guides so long as prey has a chance to escape. I don’t like trophy hunts where an old circus animal is drugged and set out for a “mighty” hunter to kill.

Beyond that I have little agreement with anti-hunters. Their propaganda has reduced the numbers of those of us who trek outdoors. Now though, they and their urban sympathizers are reaping the whirlwind. Many people who once though Bambi was simply too cute to kill now want these "antlered rats" dead, especially after they eat their expensive plants. The need to control animal overpopulation may help hunters regain lost ground and increased seasons, bag limits, and open more ground to hunting. Such steps will lead to better success rates, which may attract more people to hunting.

Wish us luck when we go hunting turkeys; one of the cagiest and hardest animals to bag. It is also a dangerous forms of hunting since you’re sitting in the woods dressed in full camouflage making turkey noises while fellow hunters are trying to shoot turkeys. Hmmm….

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Two Gun Nuts' Busy Saturday

Bill and I managed to stay incredibly busy yesterday, hence no post then. We took care of household chores neglected while we were on vacation, ran errands, and then had a truly gunnie afternoon. Well, almost truly gunnie since we didn't burn any powder.

We applied to join a large gun club located less than a mile from where we live. We were accepted and needed to attend an orientation. You see, New England is different from Texas. In Texas, we'd gotten used their less formal ways of doing things.

We thought we'd be there about an hour. Two and a half-hours later we were just finishing up. The membership committee passed out rulebooks and bylaws. We had to take a test covering safe gun handling and a few club rules. You could look up rules in the rulebook. We received membership cards, electronic gate keys, and identification buttons. We gave them about $175.00 each in return. We got a safety lecture, a short discussion of the club, and finally a tour--did I tell you it was raining all day yesterday.

We knew the club had nice facilities since we'd been shooting bullseye league matches all winter in their indoor ranges. But, we had never seen all of their ranges since our league shot after dark (in New England winters that's about 4:30). We were impressed with what we saw:
  • a 600 yard rifle range;
  • a rifle/pistol range with berms at 25, 50, and 100 yards with covered stations;
  • a trap field (they only have one shotgun sport);
  • a plinking range;
  • an archery range;
  • a fishing pond stocked with trout;
  • an indoor pistol and small-bore rifle range;
  • clubhouse with the obligatory stuffed moose head;
  • other smaller features.
We will need to be certified to use some of the facilities; that is, take tests on rules and prove proficiency with a range appropriate firearm. Members and officers seem very safety conscious and they are constantly improving the facilities. We think we'll like being members.

You can imagine that our plans were changed because of a long orientation session. Bill is still looking for the right BAG Day gun (yeah, he's over two weeks late). He wants a semi-automatic shotgun for sports and hunting. While at the NRA convention in Houston, he fell in love with a Franchi. He liked this model's price, feel, and fit. Fit is especially important for him since his reach is a little shorter than average.

After orientation, we went shopping for a new shotgun. First we went to Rileys Sport Shop in Hooksett, New Hampshire (we reviewed it here). They carried Franchis, but didn't have the model Bill wanted. It was getting close to 5:00 and we know we didn't have time to visit all the stores we wanted to. We chose to check out Lewis Arms. We had been there once before and liked it.

Lewis Arms is a new store, but its owner ran a gunsmith shop out of Rileys' basement for some time. It is located about ten miles north of that basement. They offered many fine guns, but alas no Franchis. We hefted some Benelli's, a Remington 1100, and a few others. We didn't buy one since Bill hasn't given up on buying a Franchi. So, maybe next week we'll be telling you that Bill found his shotgun, or maybe this will become an ongoing saga. Stay tuned.