Thursday, August 30, 2007

My Only Word on Larry Craig

I haven't said anything about the Senator Larry Craig fiasco (in fact, I haven't said anything in about a week--oh well). If you don't know what fiasco I’m talking about, you really need to come up for air.

I don't much care if he's gay or not, guilty of soliciting sex or not, or of being a hypocrite about family values. Those things don't really affect me so much. It is a matter that he, his family, and the people he represents needs to come to terms with it.

However, the one thing I keep saying to Yosemite Sam is, “Why did it have to be Larry Craig?” He’s one of the (if not THE) most gun-friendly senators we have in that exclusive club. He’s on the NRA Board of Directors. I have seen him at each of the NRA Annual Meetings I have attended. He supports gun rights. Now, some may quibble about all his decisions and all his votes, but it does not change the fact that he is a friend to gunnies in the U.S. Senate.

No matter what happens, he will no longer have an effective voice for us in the Senate. He may soon not have a voice in that body at all. Gay or not, hypocrite or not, we have lost a good supporter for our cause.

So, why did it have to be Larry Craig? Why couldn’t it have been Chuck Schumer, John Kerry or even Diane Feinstein (now that would’ve been a headline)? Hell, even Arlen Specter or Orrin Hatch would have been better. Why you Larry?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Question on ATF Trace Data Graphics

There has been blog-talk about ATF's release (other links in that post as well) of firarms trace data. I don't have the statistical background to crunch the numbers or offer any real insight.

I did notice on thing about one of the ATF's graphics. They showed the types of traced guns in a bar graph. They broke types of guns into distinct categories: pistols, revolvers, rifles, shotguns, derringers, machine guns, unknown types, and combination. On the top of each bar for a primary type was a silhouette of that type gun.

The silhouette for machine gun was an M-16 rifle (with the old-style handguard). A true M-16 is certainly a machine gun, but the silhouette could be just as easily interpreted as a civilian AR-15.

I don't accuse the ATF of doing this on purpose, but it shows how easily semi-automatics are demonized in the public eye. They could of used the graphic of a Thompson (there is a semi-auto version, but it is not as common as AR-15s). Better yet, they could have shown a tripod mounted gun. But they used a silhouette of one of the most popular civilian rifles.

The public is confused enough between fully automatic and semi-automatic guns. This graphic won't help.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Summer Ammo Day

I'm behind in my blog reading as well as other things, so I am way behind on the mini-Ammo Day that David Codrea of War On Guns is advocating (also see links in that post). Codrea points out that the anti-gunnies want to stage protests for gun control on August 28. He proposes that gunnies should buy ammo on that day.

I support National Ammo Day by buying at least some ammo. For that matter, I have bought a gun on April 15 (Buy A Gun Day) more than once. I am not sure if "buycotts" (or boycotts for that matter) work politically or socially. However, we put more ammo and guns in civilian hands and that's never a bad thing.

I am not sure what we can do to finally win the war on gun rights. That doesn't mean I've lost hope . Au contraire I believe we are making gains. But, here's the thing: there are too many Americans who are convinced that guns are evil. They believe that they are too unskilled, too clumsy, or too stupid to ever touch a gun. They believe that they must leave self-defense to professionals. They believe you and me are just as stupid as they see themselves and they don't trust us with guns.

We will never win these people over and they will always have a voice. It is up to us to ensure that our voice is louder and stronger. It is up to us to ensure that we support gun-related businesses--even gun counters in big box stores. So, let's take David's advice and get out there and buy some ammo.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Neighbors Try to Close a New Hampshire Range

You'd almost think it was a conspiracy. So many times we’ve seen people move into an area where an established gun club operates. Then the newbies decide they can’t stand the sound of gun fire. They ban together and move heaven and earth to try to close down a gun club.

I read about one club in New Hampshire with this problem. It was in one of those free marketplace-type papers, The Broadcaster. I checked the Internet-tubes-thingy and I was surprised to see they were on the web (I have no idea why that would surprise me in this day and age, but there you are).

The paper wrote a surprisingly favorable story about a club that’s not going down without a fight. The Lone Pines Hunters Club has been in Hollis since the mid-1960s. The club itself is much older; founded in 1913 in Nashua, New Hampshire. Club members used the Hollis location without a problem until eight years ago when a group of new neighbors formed an organization called “Residents Defending Their Homes.”

Before I go any further, I will admit that the paper’s story is one-sided. The neighbors’ were not interviewed while the club president tells his side. So, keep that in mind as you read on.

The neighbors went to the Planning Board and eventually the board ruled against the club. In 2003 a court ruled that the board could require the club to develop a site plan. In 2005, all shooting stopped at the club until the plan could be approved and then implemented.

From roughly 2003 until now the club has suffered over 22 planning meetings and paid out a staggering $358,000 for engineering studies, fees, and everything else. In March, the Planning Board demanded a shooting demonstration with monitors stationed around the area to listen for and gauge gun shot noise. Few if any heard significant noise.

Club members are going to fight the court and the board. I don’t know if they’ll win, but I hope so. There are too few shooting places for too many gun owners. It also dismays me that this is happening in New Hampshire.

You see, my state has a range protection law that clearly supports shooting ranges. (The law is a quick read and a model for a well-written statute.) There's also a tradition of gun ownership and hunting.

There may be more to the story. In fact, the article passed over a possible pollution concern. Also, the range protection law was revised in 2004, so the neighbors may have found a loophole since closed.

But if everything in the story is accurate, I really hope the Lone Pines Hunters Club members are sighting in their guns for this fall’s hunting season.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Lack of Public Shooting Ranges

Arms and the Law posts this news story about a lack of shooting ranges in Colorado. At least there’s a plan to improve the situation.

I’ve probably said this before (given the fact that I’ve said more about guns than I ever thought possible) that New England has a lack of public ranges. There are a handful of commercial ranges open to the public, but there’re not cheap especially if you need to buy ammo. Of course, ammo is getting spendy everywhere.

Yosemite Sam and I joined a couple of shooting clubs. New England actually has a good number of these private organizations. They’re usually called “[insert town name here] Rod and Gun Club” or “[insert town name here] Fish and Game Club” or permutations to that affect. Ironically, both clubs in which we’re members aren’t located in the towns for which they’re named.

We had to pay good money to join initially and we pay dues each year. Still, we have good, safe places to shoot. For us, joining both clubs was a no-brainer. We were already dedicated shooters and hunters. We needed a place to practice, sight in rifles, shoot clay birds, and enjoy the shooting sports. We took the time to find clubs and work through their membership requirements.

What about the person who isn’t sure shooting will be for them, but has bought or inherited a gun? Or the person who decides to buy a revolver just in case they get a visit from Mr. Burglar and his friend Mr. Rapist? They may not take the effort to find a club and become members. They may not want to spend a lot of money and time at a commercial range.

Public ranges are necessary. Local, state or Federal governments should provide an area and facilities in which to shoot. A few such ranges should offer shooting lessons. Being able to learn, to practice, and to improve marksmanship is part of the meaning of “well-regulated militia” (the whole body of the people, not the National Guard).

For most of us, there are relatively few impediments to buying a gun, but it can be difficult to learn how to use one. What do anti-gunnies want? Do they want to have gun owners who barely know which end of the gun the bullet comes from or don’t know gun safety?

Perhaps by ensuring that it’s hard for people to find training and practice and thus gain competence, the anti-gunnies can exaggerate the dangers of guns. Nah, couldn’t be that.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

This, That, and the Other

I admit I haven’t been living up to my blogligations. I can sum it up in one word (or is it two) Burnout. I have said so much about guns in long essays, short posts, musings, range reports, Ones From the Vault, that I've said everything that I've ever thought about guns.

I've supported gun rights and the battle continues seemingly with no change. The anti-gunnies are lying while the pro-gunnies are slinging facts, but to little avail. Anti-gunnies have done an excellent job demonizing guns. Too many of our fellow citizens think a gun is too dangerous to own, too complicated to use, and too evil to touch.

Still, I see a lot of hope for gunnies. We have been winning battles, although we may need to continue fighting forever. Things are not as good as they were while I was growing up, but they’ve improved in the last fifteen years or so. I doubt we’ll ever restore gun rights to pre-1968 or 1934, but we’ve held our own and made some advances.

I’ve said all of this before in so many ways here on Ten Ring. I plan to continue to blog about guns after my recent breather, but I may throw in a few non-gun posts to liven things up (that is, to clear my head). Here’s a few facts about me to show I'm not just a gunnie:

I collect first editions of modern literature; the collecting field is called “Modern Firsts.” The Internet has made collecting harder. Bookstore and thrift shop owners have learned that a first edition can be worth a pretty penny. They might not be able to sell it for its full catalog price locally, but they can sell it on the Internet for that price and sometimes more.

I buy gold on occasion in the form of small coins--mainly Canadian Maple Leafs. I think gold’s a good investment because it’s always liquid, it’s never had no value, it’s portable. I don’t buy it as a TEOTAWAKI investment, although it wouldn’t be bad to have if zombies attacked, asteroids fell, or whatever else hits. Also, I’m such a girly-girl that the stuff is just too damn pretty to resist.

For my career or to attend graduate school, I have lived in (no particular order) Maryland, Idaho, Florida, Massachusetts, Texas, and New Hampshire. I have visited all but one of the lower 48 states (Minnesota), but have never been to Alaska or Hawaii. I would love to visit Alaska, but I’m not too interested in Hawaii.

Also, I don’t like Glocks or most other polymer guns. There’s nothing wrong with them in particular. I just prefer wood grips, blued metal, and a gun that feels good in my hand. I know there are many who swear by Glocks and that’s okay too. Each to their own. (Whoops this wasn’t a gun post, ignore this paragraph.)

Finally, we have mentioned our new addition, Cooper the Basset Hound puppy. He’s getting bigger all the time. He’s a really good natured, sweet dog. We didn’t mention that we found out he had pneumonia probably from the breeder’s kennels. We nursed him back to health with enough antibiotics to kill a jumbo jet full of pathogens. We spent a lot of money at the vet’s office, but he’s our dog, which means he’s our best friend. And here he is:
Cooper, Ten Ring's Mascot

Thursday, August 09, 2007

One From the Vault

H&R Self-Loading Pistol
There are those who disparage mouse guns. These are the little guns, the vest pocket guns, that are easily concealed, light weight, and chambered for small cartridges. They’re second guns, or hide-out guns.

Some who disparage mouse guns say the cartridges they shoot are too weak for self-defense. Others say that they’re not accurate and complain about the sights, the grips, and everything in between. Of course, they have a point. But, I still like mouse guns. They’re little jewels of technology. Their makers have had to figure out how to make something that would work, stand up against recoil, and still be small enough to carry in pocket or purse.

I don’t have much interest in today’s mouse guns; the Ravens, Lorcins, and Jennings. Not my cup of tea. I like the old ones, the ones like our ancestors bought and carried. These guns are made of steel, not pot metal. They have heft and some serious machining.

One such gun was made by Harrington and Richardson of Worcester, Massachusetts—practically in my back yard. H&R as they’re usually called had long made revolvers and shotguns. They wanted to go head to head against Colt with a small semi-auto mouse gun chambered in .25 caliber. They decided to team with the British company, Webley & Scott. (They both made a larger model in .32 caliber as a joint venture.)

Webley had already started production of a small gun. One of their designers met with H&R’s engineers and they worked out a plan. Webley would license the design for a fee and H&R would sell it in the United States and make it in their own plants. This got around steep tariffs.

Certain realities caused the designer to make changes from the British model. They got rid of the hammer using a striker design instead. After all Colt's successful vest pocket gun had no hammer. They had to re-engineer the sear and trigger links because it was a smidgen too close to Colt’s patents. In 1912, both companies launched versions of the pistol, one in Great Britain the other in the United States.

H&R Self-Loading pistol in .25 caliber

One thing I like about the naming of the gun. H&R purposedly avoided the use of "semi-auto" suggesting that it could be too easily confused with fully auto. Had everyone at the time avoided that term, we may not have had the confusion between self-loading and automatic weapons the anti-gunnies have exploited.

The guns were not necessarily commercial successes. The Webley model was plagued with jams, but the H&R model proved a little more reliable. H&R stopped production in late 1916 and made a total of 16,630 pistols.

My gun is the H&R model. It was made in early to mid-1916 judging by the rollmarks and the serial number (which I obscured in the photo). It remains popular as a collector’s item because it was an early semi-auto mouse gun and it was well made.

The gun is solidly built with master-level machining throughout. It is also an early example of a gun that will give a no-snag draw from one’s pocket. Look at the rounded contours, the lack of a hammer, etc.

I haven’t shot this gun yet, although some day I will. However, I doubt I’ll hit anything with it. Remember I mentioned some people criticize mouse guns’ sights and that this gun would never snag in a draw. Well, this little gun has no sights at all, not even a groove cut into the top of the gun. It’s the ultimate belly gun.