Friday, December 30, 2005
On Shooting Poorly
Yosemite Same (Bill) and I had our bullseye league last night. My shots were all over the place, especially during the first relay of slow fire. One round didn’t even hit the paper. I haven’t done that in years. I ended up scoring at least 65 points lower than I usually do; and, that was only after I pulled myself up by the bootstraps and got a rally going.
Last night I was ready to box up my target pistol and stalk off the range in a towering rage. I wanted to throw my box of ammo at the target thinking that I might get a better score that way. As if I could throw 25 yards (I throw like a girl, but I come by it honestly). Thank goodness everyone was wearing hearing protection and couldn’t hear my inventive profanity.
No one who has not shot a gun before can understand that accuracy comes from achieving a zen-like state. If you concentrate on your breathing you’ll throw off your trigger control. If you think about your trigger control, you’ll throw off your sight alignment. You can’t force accuracy, it just comes.
My poor shooting last night wasn’t the guns’s fault. It wasn’t Bill’s fault. It wasn’t the range’s fault or the fault of other competitors. It was all my fault. That’s the beauty and the pain of shooting. You’re up there all by yourself and you’re putting the bullets where they hit. Oh well, there’s always next week.
Thursday, December 29, 2005
One Year Ago Today
We’ve kept to our initial premise that Ten Ring is a gun blog first and foremost. A few of our posts have been on other subjects and we will continue to throw in an occasional non-gun post. Bill and I have other interests outside of guns and shooting. We discuss politics a lot, spend too much money on books, watch movies and television, and we even have been now to gamble on rare occasion. But, Ten Ring is about guns and our passion for them and will remain so.
We want to thank our fellow gunnies who keep coming back. We enjoy your comments (I have to mention Seth from Massachusetts, a walking encyclopedia of gun knowledge) and links. It’s been a good year for us and the blog. . May 2006 be even better.
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
One From the Vault
Every gunnie, at least those who like wood stocks and blued metal, should own an M1 Garand. George S. Patton called the M1 Garand, “The greatest battle implement ever devised.” And, he wasn’t far off the mark. Patton was, of course, a World War II general and M1 Garands helped America win that war.
The United States was the only WWII combatant nation that armed most of its soldiers with a semi-automatic rifle. A semi-automatic is no more powerful than its bolt action cousin--an M1 uses the same cartridge, .30-06, as America’s M1903 bolt-action rifle. But, a semi-automatic has certain advantages over a bolt action. A shooter can shoot faster with one, it’s easier to be accurate because you focus on your point of aim while the action cycles, and it’s more rapidly reloaded than a bolt action.
Not only did M1s serve the nation throughout WWII they also saw use in Korea and a handful in Vietnam. Its close cousin, the M14 (basically a select-fire M1 with a box magazine) is still being used for certain military purposes today. M1s deserve all the accolades they’ve earned.
My M1 Garand with two en-bloc clips
The M1’s inventor was John Cantius Garand. He was born near Quebec, Canada, but came to the United States with his family when he was about 11 years old. He became an American citizen and worked in textile mills in New England. He showed an early aptitude for machines and a love of shooting. He combined both talents into designing guns. In 1919, his skills led to a position at the Springfield Armory in Springfield, Massachusetts. He was particularly interested in creating a semi-automatic infantry rifle.
Garand was a little eccentric. He once flooded his living room in winter and allowed the water to freeze giving him his own indoor skating rink. While always a pragmatic engineer, he was also stubborn. An example of Garand’s stubbornness was his insistence on using an en bloc clip—the M1’s only weakness as a battle rifle.
An M1’s magazine is internal unlike magazines for M14s, AR-15s, or AK-47s. A shooter feeds the magazine with a clip that holds eight cartridges (some are made to hold fewer cartridges for purposes like hunting or target shooting) into the top of the receiver and presses down. When the clip reaches the magazine’s bottom it stops and causes the bolt to slam closed. If the shooter doesn’t get his or her thumb out of the way fast enough, he or she acquires a case of “M1 thumb.”
Besides the risk of M1 thumb, en bloc clips lead to other problems in a battle situation. You can’t easily top off an M1 during a fight. If the fighting stops after you’ve fired four shots you can’t add four more rounds to the magazine in preparation for more fighting. Instead, you must open the bolt thus ejecting the chambered round, and pull out the three remaining rounds and the clip. Another drawback is the fact that it only holds eight rounds. Today’s battle rifles usually have 20 to 40 round magazines.
Still, the en bloc clip makes the M1 fun to shoot today. When you’ve shot your last round, the magazine follower kicks out the clip with a merry little chime and lets you know you’re ready to load another clip. I have read another criticism of the clip—that the distinctive ring could tell the enemy that you’re reloading. I doubt that any soldiers were killed because of the clip’s distinctive sound. For one thing, battle noise would drown out the sound, you’d probably have other troops near by who aren’t reloading, and there’s no real evidence that such a situation ever occurred.
My M1 was made in June 1944, the same month as D-Day, in the Springfield Armory. I don’t know if it served our nation in Europe, the Pacific, Korean or elsewhere. It’s possible it was sold to a foreign government and then came back here. I don’t know because the Armory didn’t keep those kinds of records.
There’s nothing special about my M1. It doesn’t have a milestone serial number like 2,000,000, it doesn’t have an inspector’s cartouche in the stock, and not all of its parts are original. After World War II, arsenals acquired the rifles, took them apart, replaced worn or superseded parts, and put them together again without any attempt to keep original parts together. An M1 with all original parts and a proper cartouche, is worth a fair amount of money to collectors.
Yet, I’ve shot my M1 at 100 yards and achieved a group of eight rounds that could be covered with a silver dollar—my best achievement in a rifle. I’ve taken it completely apart and cleaned every trace of dirt and grease from it. I’ve taken layers of old crud off its stocks and found gorgeous wood underneath.
There nothing’s special about my M1 Garand, except that it’s mine. I guess it’s special after all.
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
More Blogroll Updates
So without further ado:
Heartless Libertarian: A military man who writes well about guns and related issues;
One in a Row: Here's a blogger who likes shooting more (maybe) than I do, especially shotguns;
Arms and the Law: David Hardy is an attorney who's studied gun issues for years--his blog's a great resource for legal issues affecting our gun rights.
Monday, December 26, 2005
A Very Merry Gunnie Christmas Indeed
I had mentioned in my last post that I bought Bill an SMLE for his Christmas present. Have you ever tried to wrap one of those things? I did and the results aren't pretty. Also, can you guess what's under the wrapping paper?
Here's Bill's new rifle. It came with the bayonet, although I didn't wrap it while attached to the rifle. Even my gun-nuttery has some bounds. The rifle's action and bolt are in extremely good condition--the best I've ever seen and I've seen a lot of them. The wood is in quite good condition as well.
As I mentioned previously, I had no idea what Bill planned to get me. There were no hints, questions, or cajoling. He had, however, seen me go "ga-ga" (the technical term for gun lust) over a small pistol. Friday night, he went to the gun store without me and bought it. I was floored when I opened the package. Am I a lucky woman or what? Now I feel my gift was too paltry. I may have to figure out ways to make up for that.
The pistol Bill gave me is in the following picture. It's a Colt 1911 Government Model Series 80 .380 pistol. It's a scaled down 1911 suitable for concealed carry. Its bore is pristine as is its finish. I've wanted one of these or a Colt Mustang and just never saw one when I had enough cash. Bill knew that and bought it for me. He amazes me sometimes. I put the cards in the picture, a regular size deck, in the picture for scale. As I told Bill, it's a baby Colt just hoping to grow up into a .45 1911.
We had Christmas dinner--a ham and trimmings, called loved ones, and had a quiet day. That was our Christmas and we hope your Christmas was every bit as nice.
Saturday, December 24, 2005
I don't know what Bill is getting me. He's keeping it quiet this year. I don't know if it'll have anything to do with guns, but I'll try to smile anyway when he gives it to me. (Seriously, I do own and enjoy things other than guns and I'll love whatever he's found--except a lump of coal.)
When I saw Bill's new SMLE I found something I'm going to buy for myself as a Christmas/New Year's maybe even birthday present. I saw a small-ring Broomhandle Mauser complete with its wood stock that doubles as a holster. I already have a Broomhandle Bolo, but this was too nice a gun and too nice a deal to pass up. I probably would've passed on a Broomhandle without a stock, but I need a stock in my collection and why pass on the gun that goes with it. I'll get it off layaway in a few weeks and a "One From the Vault" will be forthcoming.
So, that's our Christmas plans. Bill and I wish you the best Christmas or Hanukkah ever. We leave you with this image from A Christmas Story and for you gunnies, may your gun-related Christmas dreams come true.
Friday, December 23, 2005
By the way, if you already link to Ten Ring and we don't list your site in our blogroll, put your site name and URL in a comment. Similarly, if you'd like us to put a link to your site on Ten Ring, put a link in a comment and we'll head over there--we would appreciate reciprocity. I will add one caveat however; if a site advocates things I can't abide by (violent overthrow of the government, racist screeds, gun-banning, gun-hating, and general anti-gunnie stuff, then no linky).
So, here are our additions (in no particular order):
Primarily Gun Blogs
Fish or Man: a blog dedicated by gun rights written by someone has risked jail for gun rights
South Park Pundit: a gunnie with a sense of humor who lives in California while attending college with moonbats
The Trainer: a gun and military blog with humor thrown in
Cam Edwards: the blogger is the radio spokesman for NRA News, need I say more
Irons in the Fire: a blacksmith, gunnie, and a man with an opinion
View from the Porch: a female gun blogger who sells guns for a living--very knowledgeable and well worth a read--she has good taste since she uses the same template as Ten Ring
Xavier Thoughts: a gunnie who prowls pawn shops and reports his finds
Other Types of Blogs (most with good gun content)
Free Market Fairy Tales: a British supporter of gun rights who writes on many topics, enjoy
Right Wing Nation: the name says it all, except for the attitude
Oscar Poppa: a gun owner and book collector, just like me--almost
I also updated the link for Kim's new site.
To paraphrase Porky Pig, "That's all for now, folks."
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Butters versus The Coyote
I believe that disarmament is a fool's dream. Two-legged predators will never disarm and even if you could make it impossible for them to get guns, they can always find weapons. If nothing else their fists will work. We also live in a world where animal predators thrive. Many of them attack our pets and a few children and occasionally adults. To give up guns, man's finest self-defense tools to date, in the face of two- and four-legged predators is ridiculous.
Disarmament comes from a fool's belief that all violence is equal. That is, if a thug stabs a person and that thug is then shot by a police officer then each of these acts is as bad as the other. Instead of one act of violence, we now have two acts of violence. The same belief is applied to animal predators. Some believe that while an animal cannot stop itself from committing violence, we humans can forbear and not harm the predator or at most trap it and send it away—even if that particular predator is aggressive.
Gun control comes from this twisted form of pacifism. It’s why we gunnies can argue facts and figures until we’re blue in the face and then hear the same tripe repeated again. For instance, if we tell them that more children die in accidental bathtub drownings than in gun accidents we hear the usual mantra; “guns aren’t necessary.”
Well guns are necessary and here’s one bit of proof. Butters is a corgi dog. A coyote attacked him while he and his owner were on a nightly walk on a golf course in Boston’s Hyde Park area (more complete information is in the video in the link). There were two or three other coyotes on the course. Butters fought back and his owner hit the attacking coyote with a stick and he and his dog got away. Butters suffered numerous bites, most to his neck.
A wildlife expert believes a mother coyote was teaching her young how to fight. Oh, and the newscaster’s advice on how to prevent such attacks in the future: keep your dog on a leash. Oh yeah, that’ll work.
I can’t say that I would've told Butters’ owner to carry a gun and use it if threatened. Each of us has to make that decision, but government should not stand in our way of making that decision. And, if one decides to carry one must take on responsibilities that come with that decision. But, I can say that the world and nature is not as safe as those who dream fool’s dreams want you to believe.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Transit Strikes and Big City Living
This is one more reason I'm not a city gal. I was thinking while listening to the radio that city people have to rely on others too much. They have to rely on others for transportation, for food, for just about everything. Self-reliance may not be possible in a big city and for me that's no way to live. To paraphrase Patrick Henry, "Give me liberty and self-reliance or give me death."
Just a random thought for the day.
Monday, December 19, 2005
History and "Common Sense" Gun-Banners
So how do we make sense of all of these positions? Well, the proof’s in the pudding—bans don’t work no matter how many people think they’re “common sense.” For instance, a gun control city like Washington, D.C. has high crime rates while low gun control places like New Hampshire, Vermont, and Idaho have low crime rates. Gun crime hasn’t ended in Great Britain even while handguns were totally banned. Instead of facing reality, gun banners want to close their eyes and ears and continue supporting their “common sense” non-solutions.
Why can’t people learn from history? Take a look at Prohibition in the Untied States. We amended the Constitution to outlaw alcoholic beverages, but that didn’t mean we became sober as preachers.
Americans supported smugglers, turned to “medicinal” whiskey prescribed by doctors, made booze in bathtubs, and did everything else but stop drinking. The respect for law took a nose dive once people realized bootleggers bribed the cops that were supposed to arrest them The quality of alcoholic beverages was unregulated—just because the label said “Canadian Whiskey” didn’t mean you weren’t buying moonshine with a little coal tar added for color. (Click for an article on prohibition).
Take a look at America’s Drug War. No one can say it’s working and I don’t care if you get stoned every day or you won’t take aspirin. Look at the situation. Illicit drugs are freely available. People make methamphetamines out of cough syrup making it harder for valid users to buy over-the-counter medicine. Quality control is dependent only on the mercy of thugs. We have people who buy drugs from street-corner gangsters and figure out doses by trial and error. We’ve filled our prisons with often non-violent drug offenders and released violent criminals to make room for them. Even worse, law enforcement can’t stop it.
The same thing will happen if gun-banners get their way. Smugglers will pack in guns along with drugs. Police and military members will sell guns from arsenals to make a quick and large profit. Machinists will grind guns out of metal stock. Lawmakers and honest cops will try to stem the tide. They’ll institute licenses to buy certain kinds of metal, throw people in jail for possession of one cartridge (already true for people debarred from firearm ownership), and pass increasingly onerous laws.
People will find ways to buy guns at a local street corner much the way people buy drugs now. Quality control will suffer—who would you complain to if the gun blew up in your hand. Society would have no idea what was going on in the black market--anyone with cash would be able to buy. Gun banners will demand even more gun control while murder and gun violence rates rise.
This is not a society I’d like to live in, but it’s as inevitable as night following day. If there’s one thing history teaches it’s that prohibiting something that people want doesn’t work and only leads to many unintended consequences. As George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Thursday, December 15, 2005
A Range Day
I think I had a good approach to the shooting session and plan on using the same model the next time I teach marksmanship to someone. On Monday night, I went over the safety rules and emphasized the top three. We gunnies know them, but repetition is our friend:
1) Never point a gun in the direction of anything you don’t want to destroy;
2) Keep your booger hook off the bang switch (and yes I used that expression but repeated it in less colorful terms);
3) Don’t load the gun until you’re ready to shoot.
I laid out the guns we'd be shooting the next day. As I mentioned these were a .22 Beretta Neos, a Smith & Wesson 9mm, and a Springfield Armory 1911 in .45acp. As I laid them out, I ensured that each action was open. Then I explained how each gun worked, where it’s controls were located, and what to expect in terms of noise and recoil when she fired the gun.
I had her grip the gun and taught her sight alignment. While ensuring the guns and area in front of us was safe, I had her dry-fire each pistol while teaching her about trigger control. I mentioned that when the moment the hammer fell should come as a complete surprise to her.
On range day, I lectured her again about safety, sight alignment, and trigger control. We checked into the range and began shooting. It was a major success. Her face lit up as she hit the target time after time. In fact, her very first shot ever hit the orange bullseye. We shot at five yards and then at ten primarily as confidence builders and for her to learn fundamentals.
She proved an excellent shot and her favorite gun was the 9mm.
She told me she wants a pistol for her 21st birthday (oh, what have I wrought?). I think it helped her to hear two sets of similar instructions on two different days. I also coached her while she was shooting. The most important thing though was she had fun and will continue to shoot.
Hitting a Milestone
A little later I'll have more detail on my range trip with my young relative.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
On Friday, my job let me out early and I got caught in the middle of one of the worst snowstorms I've ever seen. I was driving up a freeway going about ten miles an hour with maybe thirty yards visibility. It was the first time I've seen people stopped in travel lanes to clear ice and snow from their windshields. The roads had been plowed and treated, but the plows couldn't keep up with the snow fall. My commute home is usually about 50 minutes, but on Friday it took me 2 and a quarter hours to get home. Because I was so snow-frazzled, no gunnie goodness was posted herein.
On Saturday, I picked up a relative who's here for a "snow" visit. She lives in Florida and she's had serious temperature shock. I've been reliving old times with her, shopping and having fun.
Today, I took her shooting for the first time in her 20 years of life. You can believe me when I tell you that we have a new member of the Nation of Riflemen. And, even better--she's a natural.
I started her on a .22 Beretta Neos, then moved to a 9mm Smith & Wesson 6904, and finished the day with a Springfield Armory 1911 in .45 acp (naturally). I worked with her before the range trip and taught her safety rules, sight alignment, trigger squeeze and grip. At the range, she put it all together and was hitting a large bullseye. She even had groups rather than isolated shots all over the paper. It's enough to make an aunt proud.
She's leaving on Thursday, so regular bloggage will resume. Also, Yosemite Sam (Bill) is working on a couple of posts. See you all later.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Katie Couric and Ignorance
Given the facts before them, the marshals could’ve done anything differently, but there are always people who question life-and-death situations. They wonder if an unarmed man really needed to be killed, they question officer training, and they debate why law enforcement shoots to kill. Invariably, law enforcement people (current or retired) explain that cops shoot to stop and the debate continues.
This morning, Katie Couric of NBC’s Today show argued that air marshals could have just incapacitated Alpizar with a perfectly placed shot. She may be watching too much television, but I think her statement is born of pure ignorance coupled with a certain fiction law enforcement tries to maintain.
First let's talk about Couric’s ignorance, which is born from a willful lack of experience. I don’t know if she’s ever shot a gun, but I doubt that she’s ever mastered one. If she had, she would have fired at different rates of speed—everything from very deliberate bullseye-type slowfire to a fast shot out of a holster. She might have fired under different levels of stress—anything from no stress, to competition-caused stress, to combat training’s induced stress. If she’s had such experience, she’d know how difficult it would be to incapacitate someone with a quick shot to a shoulder, hand, or wherever.
Couric’s ignorance is hers alone, but she’s in a position to share it with millions of people, many without any real experience with firearms. They’ll listen to her and demand “reforms” of law enforcement policies until a cop is killed trying to “shoot to incapacitate,” or a bomber sets off his bomb, or more likely cops and their departments get sued for trying to shoot to wound and hitting a bystander.
But, law enforcement is not merely a victim of public opinion drummed up by Katie Couric and her compatriots. Too many people in law enforcement, particularly at top levels, foist an attitude that only they have the training to deal with criminals, that only they are trained well enough to carry a gun in public, and that “regular” civilians can’t be trusted with firearms. After awhile, the public starts believing the police can do anything and wonder then why they would kill people when they could simply incapacitate.
Is it any wonder then that willful ignorance coupled with law enforcement’s belief in its own specialness confuses most people?
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
One From the Vault
I’ve mentioned several times that I like mouse guns. I’m not saying they’re the best things for self-defense, but when you can’t carry anything else a mouse gun can’t be beat. I’d call a mouse gun anything that can fit into a jeans pocket without making your jeans fall to the ground (embarrassing and not to say slow on the draw). The OWA Pocket Pistol certainly fits that bill.
First a little history. Austria today is a quaint country that’s the end of Western Europe and the beginning of Eastern Europe. At one time though, Austria led a huge empire including the Czech and Slovak Republics, Hungary, most of what once was Yugoslavia.
World War I started when the heir to the Austrian throne was assassinated in Sarajevo. The Austro-Hungarian Empire, an ally of Germany, fared badly in the war and worse in the peace. It was carved up and its Imperial family sent packing. It was demilitarized and forced to pay war reparations although not as severe as Germany faced.
Of course an Empire has an arsenal and something had to be done with its gun makers. The Imperial arsenal was partially turned into a business called Oesterreichische Werke Anhalt or OWA.
OWA made a pocket pistol beginning in 1920 and exported an unknown number to the United States marking them "Made in Austria." In the first picture, you can see that the pistol is small. I can cover it with one hand. It’s 4 and 5/8" long and 3.5" high. At its thinnest, it is only a half-inch wide although the maximum width is 7/8". They stopped making them in or around 1926.
The pistol relies on the recoil to blowback the slide and chamber another round. It’s chambered in .25 ACP (or 6.35mm). It’s a technically fascinating gun.
Almost every thing about the pistol is backwards. It’s almost like its Austrian engineers found a technological backwater and steamed up it as fast as they could. As you can see, it has a tip up access to the bore:
but, you can’t load it this way. It was advertised as an "easy to clean" feature and it’s easy to fieldstrip; I‘ll give that to those long-dead engineers.
Another backward feature is the magazine catch located on the bottom of the grip. Many European guns have magazine catches in this location. But, in this gun you operate the catch by pulling it towards your fingers (as you hold the gun) instead of pushing it towards your palm.
In my final picture, you’ll notice another technological backwater.
The recoil spring is located on top of the barrel. It’s right behind that little screw. And yes, you are looking down the bore. (Note: I took the picture with the action open and at no time did my head or hands cross the muzzle, although the camera was at slight risk.)
My particular gun is an early model and was probably made in 1922. It’s slab-sided above the trigger guard and the grip models are marked OWA with the umlaut (two dots above the O) outside the letter O. Most importantly my gun is marked "Patent Angemeldet" meaning "Patent being sought." Later versions had a notice stating it was "patented in civilized nations." Most of these guns had a jeweled slide, but mine is plain. I’m not sure if that was typical for an early gun or was done to cut the retail price.
My gun also bears Austrian proof marks. Ironically one mark is "NPv," which is found on Austrian-made Glocks today. An Austrian eagle is also stamped on the frame.
I haven’t shot this gun yet, but one day I will. I don’t trust the safety on it since it’s a mere hint of a hammer block. The rest of the gun is built as solid as a safe. The trigger-pull is heavy and Its sights are typical for pocket pistol of the day, that is, almost non-existent. I don’t expect much accuracy, but then it wasn’t built to be a target pistol.
For me, a mouse gun from the roaring Twenties suggests flappers and men wearing straw boaters. My OWA suggests the same things, but with a little Central European style and an interesting technology.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Fighting for Gun RIghts in San Francisco
San Francisco’s “turn ‘em in” law is scaring at least two lesbians who seem to be politically liberal. Marilyn Hurst and her partner B.C. like to shoot guns and know that their guns and their gun skills could save their lives. They have a couple of handguns and a long-gun or two secreted in their home. They’ve thought through a number of scenarios in which getting to a gun may be the difference between life and death. The two women practice regularly and they’ve become responsible for their own safety.
They describe themselves as, “…exactly the kind of people that should have weapons.” Such a description is especially true in gay-friendly San Francisco. However, Hurst and B.C. joined the National Rifle Association because they like its literature and possibly because they hope NRA will help protect their gun rights.
The story itself is surprisingly friendly to these gun owners although it’s not entirely free of bias. The reporter included gun crime statistics and interviewed one of the asshats who pushed for the gun ban, Bill Barnes. He states that the women can find another way to defend themselves, but he doesn’t even begin to explain what that might be. Instead he falls back on a red herring fearing that their guns might be stolen and that would lead to gun violence.
Hurst and B.C. hope that their city’s law will be struck down in an NRA sponsored lawsuit. If not, they plan to abide by the law (my one argument with them as gun owners, but everyone has to make their own decisions). They say they’ll take their handguns to friends living outside of the city and buy more long guns for their apartment. They’ll not disarm.
It’s really too bad that voters in San Francisco can’t be as wise as these two gun owners. It’s too bad that voters believe that women like Hurst and B.C. somehow threaten them. And, in a city known for tolerance, as they define it, it’s too bad that a majority of voters think they can decide how other people should live their lives.
I’m going to slip into rant mode here: I’m tired of GFWs (gun fearing wussies) who paint gun owners as violent yokels. I’m tired of reading purposefully skewed stories and statistics trying to show that a gun in the house will one day hop right up and shoot its owner. I’m tired of GFWs thinking they’re more “evolved” than gun owners.
I’m tired of GFWs trying to vote away my rights and trying to tell me how to live my life. I’m tired of Boston reporters and politicians trying to tell New Hampshire to institute gun control.
Most of all, I’m tired of fearing that one day I’ll read about a new national law that says “turn ‘em in” like they did with Hurst and B.C. I fear it because I won’t “turn ‘em in.”
Sunday, December 04, 2005
Why Do We Even Try?
You might remember the act, it says that courts will no longer hear frivolous lawsuits against the gun industry. Many gunnies could see how anti-gunnies would use lawsuits filed in anti-gun jurisdictions, heard by anti-gun judges, to cripple the firearms industry. Even Congress could see where such suits were headed and took action. But when you have anti-gun judges in sympathetic jurisdictions why let law stand in your way?
This particular case is being heard by Judge Jack Weinstein who is biased against guns. He presided in a 1999 trial that awarded damages to a plaintiff for negligent marketing--the only successful one of its kind. He must have cried himself to sleep when Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Firearms Act.
Judge Weinstein agreed with plaintiff lawyers that their suit fit one of the Act's exception (maybe we should even use a Brady Campaign word--loophole). The exception said that a person could sue gun companies if their marketing violated state or Federal laws.
The plaintiffs argued that gun company marketing in other states allowed a surplus of guns to be available for illegal shipment to New York City thus violating a nuisance statute. Because an anti-gun judge agreed with them, this suit will continue unless the decision is reversed on appeal.
Once again several gun companies including such famous names as Beretta, Browning, Colt, Glock, and Smith & Wesson are paying lawyers to defend themselves in court for selling a legal product legally. No wonder guns are so expensive. And no wonder I'm feeling discouraged; why even pass laws if activist judges will find torturous paths around them?
If you think you don't have a horse in this race here's a quote from the City's attorney:
"Probably the most sweeping lawsuit against the gun industry is now poised to go to trial," Mr. Elkin said, "and if we're successful it will have wide-reaching effects on how guns are marketed and sold."Weinstein's decision cannot stand.
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Rumblings on the Left
The rhetoric is terrible and there's more vitriol in Watcher's screed than I can stomach. It’s too long to quote adequately, but here’s a sample:
I can no longer peacefully co-exist with these people. They are accessories. They are co-conspirators, willful or ignorant, misguided or fearful, it matters not. They are ALL Guilty. I cannot have these people around me. I cannot have them in my personal space. I do not have children, but if I did I would not accept them being around my children.Even worse is that many commenters (any many jumped on the thread) agreed with Watcher. A few pointed out that such screeds have led to genocide and fascism in the past. These words of moderation were condemned. Interesting that the "party of peace" shall we say harbors so many haters.
They are filthy, degenerate, and LOST. And I no longer find their very existence acceptable. They are aiding in the destruction of this country, and as individuals they have absolutely NOTHING to contribute to the progression of the human species. NOTHING. I deeply hesitate to use the word "Useless Eaters", because of the negative connotations behind it, but I no longer care.
What personally struck me about Watcher's rant was not the vitriol or commenters who agreed with Watcher. What struck me is Watcher’s wish to be left alone. You see, I sometimes conclude my posts with a lament to anti-gunnies. I tell them to leave me alone and let me enjoy shooting and collecting guns to my heart's content. I'll certainly leave them alone.
But, there's a big difference between Watcher and me. Watcher wants to see the left rise and create a utopia, but “Bushies” are preventing it. That utopia, if created, would be a nightmare for most Americans and probably for Watcher as well. It would be a world of high taxes, no guns in civilian hands, enforced veganism. In this vision, politically correct definitions will rule over common sense. It would lead to a country that none of us would recognize as America—it would be worse than Europe because we Americans never do things in halves.
Watcher's hopes are why I stopped being a Democrat (I am not a Republican either even though my family had been Democrats since before anyone can remember). Watcher is an example of what fervent moonbattism could bring about--a dystopian world enjoyed by only a handful of our "enlightened betters." It's worth fighting these totalitarian snakes in our midst.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
A Conversation with an Anti-Gunnie
I had an interesting conversation with one of my co-workers today who learned I'm a gun owner and avid shooter. Since he's a new employee, he hadn't met a gunnie before (that’s me a rare bird). He asked me a few questions and then asked why I wouldn't support firearm licensing and registration.
He carted out all the usual arguments. He compared guns and cars, how police could track guns, how bad guys wouldn't be able to buy guns. You've heard them all before and they’re all bunk. I tried to explain why to him, but he continued to push the argument. He finally said something to the effect, "Well, I know you're reasonable, so if you designed a gun licensing and registration system what would it look like?"
I hadn't heard that one before, so I had to get back to him. Here's what I came up with. First, I'd never support any kind of registration—that's out of the question entirely. I explained that even if I trusted today's crop of politicians (which I don't), who knows how such records would be used in the future. Someday, someone will use them to confiscate once legally owned firearms.
He didn't have an answer for that one, so I moved to licensing. I told him the only firearm license I could support is a "universal" license. That is, everyone must get a license unless society thinks they are a danger to others based on objective criteria. (Note: I think felons should get gun rights back after they prove they can re-enter society and not resume criminal behavior. I suppose there are a few out-and-out violent bastards and mentally ill people who shouldn't have guns, but why they're not in prison or a hospital is a question for another time.) Since everyone must get a license, there would be no way for authorities to know who actually bought a gun assuming the NICS check was put out of business.
My co-worker sputtered for a minute and said, "Well that would mean I’d have to get a gun license, too." And I said "damn straight there, chief"—or words to that effect. Then he observed that it still wouldn’t mean people were "qualified" to own a gun. I observed back that if you really wanted to be certain you could have gun classes and shooting lessons for everyone, including him.
He revealed his true colors and said that my scheme would coerce everyone into being a gun nut and he couldn’t shoot one of those things even if he were forced to. Then, I said, "I don’t have the right to coerce you into getting a gun license and maybe even firing a gun. But, why do you think you have the right to coerce me into getting a license for a Constitutional and human right? Why should I go to great lengths, which I did to get a Massachusetts gun license, that potentially marks me as a ‘suspect’ citizen?" No answer.
Of course, even if I could implement a universal license I wouldn’t. The government shouldn't have that much power. But, I found it interesting to turn the tables on an anti-gunnie and maybe make him realize that ideas he supports are just as onerous to me as my idea was to him. Then again, I probably just wasted my time.
Monday, November 28, 2005
Self Evident Rights
Here is the most relevent portion:
Do I want the government to have a monopoly on force? You betcha! Those we elect and appoint to protect us need to hold all the cards. The time at which officialdom might abuse such a monopoly is miniscule when compared to the daily slaughter of Americans by Americans throughout the land.
I am a relatively new American, having migrated from Britain in 1965, and becoming an ardent American citizen in 1976. I realize that the desire to bear arms is a matter going back to the founding of the nation and is deep in the soul of most Americans in a way which I cannot feel or understand. This right will not be changed easily or overnight. But it must change in the fullness of time. The presence of semi-automatic weapons in the hands of the public and the general ease with which current gun laws are circumvented is counter productive to a people seeking public safety and mutual respect.
Bitter thinks he might feel more at home in a less freedom loving state like New Jersey or Massachusetts. I would concur, but add that maybe he would be happier moving back to where he came from, namely Britain, a country who's government no longer seems to believe in inherent rights.
To become a citizen of the United States, you have to study the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. John Paul must have read those documents at some point. Obviously he read them but understood nothing.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --
In today’s language: We are born with Rights that are a fundamental part of our humanity. Everyone has those Rights whether or not they or their government choses to recognize them. People in North Korea, New Hampshire, Great Britain and Iraq have those Rights. They are part of what makes us human beings. Part of what it means to be an American is the ability to recognize those Rights. One of those fundamental rights is the Right to Bear Arms which was iterated by our founders in the 2nd Amendment to the Bill of Rights. The Founding Fathers recognized this Right to be so important and vital that it was one of the ten they thought needed to be listed for posterity.
If a person who has been a citizen of this country for nearly 30 years cannot understand this fundamental aspect of what America is all about and in fact wants to change this nation into one that no longer recognizes the right to bear arms and probably other fundamental rights, I would argue that that person should leave this country and seek citizenship in one that better suits their belief system. His home country of Great Britain seems to be an ideal choice since the current government seems to be hell bent on ignoring the ancient rights that even Henry the VIII accorded to his subjects. Rights like double jeopardy and the right to confront ones accusers, as well as the right to bear arms.
More "Advice" on Self-Defense
Yesterday’s Boston Globe discussed a training program in Maine for pharmacists and their assistants. Law enforcement officials laud the proposed training which Maine’s pharmacy association will sponsor. The program’s gist is: avoid any confrontation, do what the robber wants, be a good witness.
In other words, they want us be good sheep, to bleat, call 911, and wait to give a police officer a description that will fit thirty percent of the population. And we wonder why crime is so high.
I’ve seen such advice before and I’m writing about it now because it was to pharmacists. My father, now retired, was a pharmacist who owned his own store in a small western city. He was aware of security even 30 years ago (despite the quote a Maine pharmacist gave saying that he didn’t worry about security when he entered the business 28 years ago). My dad’s store had an alarm including a daytime panic alarm, a safe for narcotics, and other security features. And, he and his assistant pharmacist kept guns in the store.
My dad believed in self-defense. He is also a wise man who once explained to me that getting shot over a bottle of pills or your wallet is not a good idea, but that you can’t trust a criminal. You don’t know if that criminal will shoot even if you cooperate. My dad also once said that dignity is worth defending.
Like him, I believe in self-defense. I have problems with “be a good witness” advice. It doesn’t work and I believe it actually increases crime. Here’s why I don’t like it;
1) Most people are not observant enough to give a description that will lead to an arrest unless the robber just barely exited the store and had no time to get away. And the longer the time between the offense and capture, less likely an arrest will be made based solely on description.
2) A criminal can change his or her appearance with a change of clothes, putting on or taking off a hat or jacket, re-combing hair, etc. One doesn’t need to be a master of disguise to alter one’s appearance.
3) There’s not enough difference between us humans to really describe someone (the famous description of “he was medium height, build, medium complexion, medium colored hair” comes to mind).
4) A cooperative attitude makes robbery easier causing more people to commit more robberies. There is little risk to robbing people.
5) People have been convicted of crimes based on eyewitness testimony and then were found innocent later. One could have a slight resemblance to a robber and end up doing his time.
6) If a robber does go to prison based on good eyewitness, that robber will be released some day. In the likely event that he returns to crime, he may decide it’s in his best interest to eliminate eyewitnesses. Thus, current law enforcement advice may actually be escalating violence levels.
So, what’s my answer? Be armed whenever possible and practical. Practice often and realistically. Keep your weapon in good working condition. Don’t allow yourself to be disarmed at all costs. Don’t be a sheep, but be smart and don’t get killed over property. If a robber is already pointing his gun at you, cooperate because you can’t outdraw his trigger finger. If you have a chance to go for your gun, do it. Have a plan and always be aware of your surroundings. I’m not paranoid and I don’t fear leaving my house, but I am careful. (Remember I’m not a lawyer or self-defense expert so the above is only my personal advice and you can follow it or not as you choose.)
Friday, November 25, 2005
Happy (Belated) Thanksgiving and Update
This is not the first Thanksgiving dinner we have by ourselves. Bill's family lives in Texas and mine lives in Idaho and that's a little too much "over the river and through the woods" for us to do on a four-day weekend. Even though we miss our families, we do enjoy each other's company a lot.
I've been quite busy at work this week, but here's the good news; my project is winding down and this week I put finishing touches on my deliverables. I've already received a performance award for my work. You can bet at least part of that award will find itself into a gun or lots of ammo.
With the end of my major project, I can concentrate a little more on the blog. You will soon see a few changes and better housekeeping; a few additions to the blogroll, a few more photographs, and other stuff we hope will make Ten Ring better.
So, thanks for sticking with us for about 11 months now. We've gotten a lot out of it and we hope you have too. Now, I gotta go and tackle that kitchen.
Saturday, November 19, 2005
This year, several bloggers and forums added a twist and said to buy ammo at Wal-Mart. They even added a certain time. Their arguments convinced me and I decided to buy ammo at our nearest Wal-Mart and at our favorite gun store. We hope to raise a spike in Wal-Mart's sales records and convince them that we are an excellent market that they better make happy.
Here are our purchases:
The Winchester white boxes are from Wal-Mart. We bought 4 boxes of .223 ammo (40 to a box for a total of 160 rounds), and we bought three boxes of 9mm ammo (100 to a box for a total of 300 rounds). The subtotal is 460 rounds.
At our local gun shop, State Line in Mason, NH, we bought two boxes of .308 Winchester and two bricks of .22 long rifle ammo--one is CCI Standard Velocity and the other is Eley Sport. Eley makes the best target ammunition in the world, and they have a line of inexpensive practice rounds. National Ammo Day gives me an excuse to try it out. That's a sub-total of 1,040 rounds and a grand total of 1,500 rounds.
We hope your Ammo Days were at least as productive and we hope you have a lot of good, safe fun using up those brand new cartridges.
Friday, November 18, 2005
A Tale of 54 Guns in Pennsylvania
I’m a little surprised that anti-gunnies haven’t made more of this story. It has all the elements they need to twist it into a tight little ball of gun-hatred:
*The young man had access to firearms;
*He is a hunter;
*He was home schooled in probably a Christian family, and;
*He seemed like a nice guy until he went berserk with a gun.
Jeez, could gun-banners asked for anything more. Well, if they did, they got their wish.
There are two news articles this morning that make a great deal about finding 54 guns in the teen’s home. A court document lists three AR-15 “assault weapons” and, gasp, “Several rifles and shotguns, some pump-action….” Of course, the family had “…numerous rounds of ammunition….” The guns were removed from the house. I don’t know why they were removed since there are no allegations that Ludwig’s family had anything to do with the murders.
The stories don’t say who the guns belong to. My guess is most belong to Ludwig’s father who is a commercial airline pilot. They might be owned by several family members. Who knows?
I don’t know if these guns are a collection in the sense of historically interesting guns, or an accumulation a gunnie might build up over the years. After all, different guns have different purposes and if family members were active shooters in more than one discipline, they would have similar guns for different sports (i.e., an accurized AR-15 rifle for Service Rifle competition and a M4-type AR-15 for plinking).
The Lancaster story (second link above) includes reader comments. Be sure to skim them. Many people think the report is sensationalized and others call for more gun control—in various ways (“…how many guns does one need to hunt?”). There are also attacks on home schooling.
The article sensationalizes the number of guns found in this home. Its author, Janet Kelly, knows (even if she wouldn’t admit it) that when gun haters read her article, they will take a collective gasp. They wonder why people could own so many firearms. They imagine such owners to be troglodytes with too little education to understand the error of their gun-accumulating ways. For them, one gun is too many, but 54 guns put the household beyond society’s pale.
An event such and the fact the murderer’s family owned so many guns gives gun-banners the truths they need to twist into lies. They will use it to try to pass “arsenal” laws while hoping to reduce gun ownership in general. Ludwig’s actions are inexcusable, but so are gun-banners’ soon-to-come attempts to use this tragedy for their political ends.
Bill and I own a lot of guns—I won’t say how many. We also have numerous rounds of ammunition. We like to shoot a variety of guns and I collect historically and technically significant firearms.
When I see stories like this, I can only imagine how a reporter could spin our collection into something evil. But it’s not. Our collection and shooting are our avocations and our guns have never hurt anyone while we’ve owned them. We take gun safety and gun security seriously while still enjoying owning and using them. And yet, someone could twist our stories into something we wouldn’t recognize.
We’re not rednecks or troglodytes even though we hunt. Like Ludwig’s father, Bill and I are responsible professionals with three college degrees between us. I own a sizable book collection, primarily literary fiction. Bill owns a matchbook collection. One big difference is that we don’t live with a love-sick foolish young man. However, if you ever see a story about an arrest of two people in a home full of guns, ammunition, matches, books, and one cat, please send bail.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Notes on Posting about Wal-Mart
I thought I had explained that Bill and I only occasionally buy ammo at Wal-Mart and we've never bought a gun there. In fact, we strongly prefer supporting our local gun dealers.
That said, what is it about Wal-Mart that inflames liberals and conservatives alike? I read books and magazines on both sides of the culture war. Many on each side simply hate Wal-Mart. Certain conservatives hate it because it buys overseas now despite Sam Walton's original vision of "Buy American." Liberals hate it because of its resistance to labor unions. Both sides hate it because it's too big.
I have to admit I view Wal-Mart with a certain degree of mistrust because of its size. In the comments to Sunday's post, "Doug in Colorado" mentioned that Wal-Mart could put the small gun stores out of business. Then, for whatever reason, they could pull the plug on its gun department and leave many communities without a gun store. Certainly, Wal-Mart has put a lot of small hardware stores out of business. I don't know if they've put any gun stores out of business yet, but it's a legitimate concern.
On the other hand, Wal-Mart and most gun stores are not really in competition. Wal-Mart grabs certain cream parts of the market like .22 long rifle ammo, 9mm pistol ammo, 12 gauge shotgun ammo, cleaning kits, and related. They carry no handguns (anywhere in the country to the best of my knowledge) and only a few shotguns and rifles.
A fully stocked gun store is your source for all of the above and for more esoteric cartridges like .32-20, 7.62 x 25, and others. Then, there's your local gun store’s wide selection of rifles, shotguns, and handguns. Certainly a local gun store will give you more services and have more knowledgeable employees than will Wal-Mart. As “Seth from Massachusetts” points out, Wal-Mart won’t mount a scope for you.
All this is true, but here is why I plan to buy a couple of hundred rounds of ammo from Wal-Mart this Saturday. I really like the idea of having many outlets for ammo and guns. When I was growing up, you could buy ammo at Sears, any hardware store, and some grocery stores. Do we really want to concentrate all ammo sales in a few stores that zoning boards could force out of town? Wal-Mart will stand up to zoning boards if it is in their interest.
Further, Wal-Mart is under pressure from anti-gun groups to stop selling guns and ammo. Wal-Mart must see customer support or it will walk away from the business. Do you really want the gun-grabbers to win?
Sunday, November 13, 2005
National Ammo Day Plans
A familiar gun blogger who is now anonymous started National Ammo Day. He chose November 19 because it was his birthday. His first year included statistical reporting that quickly became impossible for one person to do. After that, he began only advertising the idea. Other gun bloggers picked it up and now, well I wish I could say the rest is history, but the idea is growing.
I think it's a good idea to spike sales on a given day or week. This year several bloggers, including Smallest Minority, and some members of AR15.com plan to buy ammo from Wal-Mart at the same time on November 19.
Normally, Bill and I buy our ammo at our local gun stores. We rarely buy ammo at Wal-Mart although we've made exceptions. This year, we'll make another exception and visit our local Wally World. We plan on buying several boxes of .308 Winchester, maybe 9mm, and other select calibers.
I don't know if gunnies will spike Wal-Mart's ammo sales and I doubt if they would announce it (competitive edge and all that), but it may do good in other ways. Most stores of Wal-Mart's type don't sell ammo or don't sell handgun ammo. If Wal-Mart sees a little kick in their profits, it will help them decide to stay in the ammo business. And, given that you can find a Wal-Mart almost anywhere in America open almost any time of the day, that ain't bad at all.
So, if you've ever thought about joining a "buy-cott" come to your local Wal-Mart at 4:30 Eastern Time. Let's buy 'em out. Besides, it's not like Bill and I would just let that ammo sit around. We've shooting to do.
Friday, November 11, 2005
A Respectful Veteran's Day
I get Veteran's Day off. Ironically I am not a veteran, but Bill is and he has to work. Every year for the past four or so, I do the same thing. I go to the range by myself and I make sure that I am shooting at the 11th hour of the 11th day of this 11th month--the time and date of the Armistice that ended World War I.
I don't turn my range session into a ceremony and I don't make a fuss about it. But, I believe exercising my Second Amendment rights in a country that our veterans helped make free is a fitting tribute to them. After all, gunfire is used as a salute and with it I mentally salute our veterans.
So thanks to all you veteranss and soldiers for winning and protecting our rights.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
A Notice to Gun Banners
Here’s a sample if you can stomach it, “They only stopped at handguns. They should have banned every type of weapon from handguns, rifles, shotguns, to bows 'n arrow. They are only used to kill or inflict injury to animals and people. This ain't Dodge City, and we don't need a bunch of Wyatt Earps running around! Today San Francisco, tomorrow, the world!” (posted by Hogwyld on 11/9/2005 at 4:06pm).
I need to rant on this topic so bear with me; it’s going to be a bumpy ride. First, I want to thank NRA for their rapid response. They are already filing suit to stop this April Fool’s joke (the ordinance becomes effective on April 1, 2006).
Second, I want bitch about people who want to change our way of life by eradicating gun ownership. San Francisco’s ban aims to do exactly that and its author called it “sensible gun control.” So, because total bans are deemed sensible; even the most political ignorant gun owner now understands what sensible really means.
When we argue with these anti-freedom idiots, we often mention self-defense. Guns are after all the best defense tool we have. But, there’s more I want to tell these gun bigots. I want to tell them about the sheer joy of owning and shooting guns.
Most gun-banners refuse to see that shooting is a wonderful source of fulfillment. They tell us to get a new hobby as if that were a valid choice. They forget that a hobby is also called an avocation: that is, an occupation separate from one’s employment that brings enjoyment. What gives them any right to tell us how to use our time and money?
Gun-banners don’t want me to enjoy shooting and owning guns. They want me to feel guilty about actions taken by criminals, murderers, gang-bangers, and suicides. They want me to “realize” that my sport and hobby (said with a dismissive sneer) is an issue of public health. They want me to bow before their gods of “the needs of the many outweigh the rights of the few” and the community is more important than the individual.
I have news for them. A community is made up of individuals and anytime you take away one person’s rights you diminish that community. Each community is made up of groups: gun owners, gun haters, gays, straights, whites, blacks, liberal, conservative. Each group must respect each other and learn to compromise in order to live together.
Gun banners don’t want to live with gun owners and their idea of a compromise is a total ban. They call us cowboys, trigger-happy rednecks, and so many other kind terms. Granted we respond in kind—I sneer a little myself when I type gun-banner, but we didn’t attack them first.
Banners want to change my way of life, because they believe they know how to live my life better than I do. They want to ban my guns, or ban certain guns they don’t like, to tax ammo, to ban hunting, or whatever scheme excites them at the moment.
Despite gun banners’ best efforts, I don’t feel guilty about owning guns. I don’t feel guilty when a criminal kills someone with a gun anymore than I feel guilty when a criminal kills someone with a kitchen knife. My rights are not subject to something a mutant does with an object.
Gun-banners want me to give up my so-called hobby. Well, I ain’t going to do it. I love shooting guns. I love the challenge of putting a small object into a ten ring at 200 yards with a rifle or 25 with a pistol. I love hitting a flying clay bird with a column of shot.
I’m not good at other sports and never have been. But, shooting is my sport and I love it and I’m damn good at it. I also love collecting guns and I’m as good at that as my pocketbook allows. My enjoyment of my sport is harmless.
Understand this you gun-banners. Your laws make my life harder. I moved out of Massachusetts largely because of your stupid gun laws. I once lived five minutes from work and I now live an hour away in New Hampshire. I made that move and many other compromises to live my life as I see fit. But you want to spread your poison further. You want the entire world to live your way—as Hogwyld said above.
Further if you ban my avocation and try to confiscate my guns you must realize that my love of guns and shooting is part of me. If you take that away, you diminish me and change who I am for the worse. I won’t let that happen and neither will the millions of Americans who join me in my sport. So leave us alone and we promise we won't make you own a gun.
Monday, November 07, 2005
My View on Samuel Alito
In that post, frequent commenter, Seth from Massachusetts, asked how we felt about Samuel Alito’s nomination to the US Supreme Court and I decided to answer. First, I’m glad that Harriet Miers got the boot. Being good friends with the president is not suitable qualifications for a Supreme Court justice.
Alito seems very well qualified, so that’s gratifying. My chief concern is Second Amendment rights—at least in my blogging life. Even outside of Ten Ring, gun rights are a huge issue for me. I’m not sure about Alito’s views on the Second Amendment. He dissented in US v Rybar stating that Federal law couldn’t prevent someone from owning a machine gun if that weapon was not involved in interstate commerce.
For that decision, the Brady bunch disparaged him as “Machine Gun Sammy,” but its not a pro-gun decision anymore than Clarence’s Thomas’s dissent in the Raich Medical Marijuana case was a pro-drug decision (the court ruled that Federal drug laws still pertained in a state that legalized medical marijuana even if the pot was never involved in interstate commerce).
Alito’s argument was for a limited application of the Commerce Clause and I like that. This clause has been used to support big government and it’s time its put to pasture or at least curtailed. But, I’m not convinced that Alito is pro-gun any more than John Ashcroft was pro-gun. You see, Ashcroft stated that there was an individual right to own guns, but subject to “reasonable restrictions.”
That’s a conservative anti-gun philosophy that bothers me. We know the liberal anti-gun version all too well (“Guns are bad, they kill, they must be banned, and then we can achieve Kumbaya”). The conservative anti-gun philosophy can be more insidious than outright bans. Basically, you can use a reasonable test to infringe on almost all gun rights if the test stops short of an outright ban.
For instance, a politician may say that it’s reasonable to restrict handguns since they are used in crime. But, that politician could recognize a so-called sporting purpose for handguns in target shooting. That could lead to a right to own a handgun suitable for target shooting only—and the politician and his cohorts could decide what that gun might look like. I could imagine a twelve-inch barrel, a bulky wood grip, and other items that would make it hard to carry concealed.
Similarly, another politician could argue that it’s reasonable to curtail “assault weapons.” Whoops, that’s already been done and we saw how that turned out.
Given that I don’t know Alito’s philosophy on gun ownership, I’m still concerned he could be one of those “Law and Order” conservatives who think “Project Exile” is wonderful even though logically it could be used against any gun owner. I wonder if he would argue for “reasonable restrictions.”
Lest you think I’m overly thinking this point, remember that the founder of Handgun Control, Pete Shields, was a California Republican. Sarah and James Brady took over and renamed the organization. James Brady was Ronald Reagan’s press secretary and presumably Sarah shared her husband’s philosophy.
I’m glad that Alito is not the nominee a President John Kerry (shudder) would have picked, but he will bear watching.
As Paris Burns
If you haven’t already, please read this excellent article by Theodore Dalrymple, The Barbarians at the Gates of Paris. The French have done a lot to create this problem and I find it rather hard not to partake in a little schadenfreude.
I also can’t help wondering that if the French had firearms rights, like we have here in New Hampshire, that these riots might have been nipped in the bud. Somehow we don’t seem to have all that many riots in New Hampshire, Texas and other areas that believe in a strong Second Amendment.
But before we get too smug about the situation the French find themselves in, it might behoove us to realize that we are well along the path that the French have trod for us. Many in this country bow down to the twin gods of Multiculturalism and Political Correctness and if we are not careful, we could be in the same boat as the French. Massachusetts is more than half way there already and there are many among us who think that the French way is an example we should emulate.
Friday, November 04, 2005
We at the Ten Ring wholeheartedly concur with The Gun Guy's attitude and will continue to write about what we see fit. We will not allow a bunch of two bit politicians, who are not fit to shine the shoes of our country's founders , to decide who has Constitutional Rights and where and when those rights are to be exercised.
We realize that the powers that be have been chipping away at the Constitution for many years, at the Second Amendment in particular, as we have discussed over the past year. But in our opinion, this infringement is the final straw. We will not be silenced, pre election or post election.
We find it interesting that Congress, in its infinite wisdom, only sees fit to dole out free speech rights to those in big media, comprised of huge conglomerates that the founding fathers could never have imagined.
We suspect if Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin could be around today, they would think it more important to guarantee the free speech rights of bloggers, who are much closer to the people who printed bills in colonial days, than the free speech of huge media corporations that have their own agendas and know or care little about the lives of ordinary citizens who work and struggle from day to day.
History has shown that the free speech of the powerful and well connected (as the mainstream media is) is never really much in jeopardy, but the rights of the ordinary man or woman must be vigilantly guarded and exercised. Denise and I are ordinary people and we will exercise that right.
Monday, October 31, 2005
I've had to do more travel these past six months than I've had to do in the last two years. Business travel is not my cup of tea, but one has to do it when one must.
A Massachusetts Photo Essay
A Colonial Inn
Some Scenic Beauty
More Scenic Beauty
A Little Massachusetts Humor (seen near Charlemont, MA)
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Stranded in Massachusetts
Most importantly, this is in Massachusetts and I don't have a gun. Not even in my suitcase. One can't get caught here with such a useful tool. If hotel management would find it and if they called the cops, I could conceivably lose my gun rights on a Federal level. Massachusetts' laws and punishments are that draconian. It's one reason I left the stupid state.
Unfortunately, I have to work in Massachusetts and all my co-workers except one lives in this benighted state. Almost all of them are anti-gunnies and don't understand that a gun is a tool and can do nothing on its own. For these benighted people, a gun is a talisman that equates to all evil. Oh well, I need to find a job in New Hampshire. Easier said than done in my profession.
Well, I'd better run. Talk to you all later.
Monday, October 24, 2005
A Blog Meme and Weekend Fun
Seriously, this weekend Bill and I finally did some gunnie stuff. We checked out parts of southwest New Hampshire in preparation for the muzzle loading deer season. We found one spot full of deer crap, rubs, bedding areas and hoof prints. I think we might be hunting there next weekend. Unfortunately, there's only one way in and if the wind is behind us, we might see nothing more than weeds and trees.
We sighted in our muzzleloader and I was consistently putting a 300 grain .45 caliber bullet (wrapped in a sabot) in the ten ring at 100 yards. I think it's ready.
I shot my new Savage Model 11 in .308 Winchester. I'm still getting the hang of the Savage adjustable trigger. I'm getting shots in and around a 4 inch Shoot-N-See at 100 yards, but I think my rifle and scope is capable of a mono-hole. I will need to readjust its trigger. I might have it set just a little too light. At this point, it's a matter of practice and more practice, but I'm closer to having an accurate rifle than I was two weeks ago.
Finally, Bill and I shot our Mauser K-98. I bought it over six months ago and never got it to the range. It's a S/42 marked rifle built in 1937 with clear Weimar markings. It is extremely accurate and has surprisingly little recoil. I really liked shooting this gun.
I earned a sore shoulder, breathed a lot of Pyrodex smoke, jammed my hand once on the front sight while loading the muzzle loader, got cold when a front moved in, got wet with rain, but I had a glorious weekend.
Friday, October 21, 2005
Had to Listen to an Anti-Gunnie
Seriously, “This Morning” on WRKO hosted by Scott Allan Miller did a segment with John Rosenthal of Stop Handgun Violence.
They were talking about the passing (yeah) of the law that limits gun makers and gun dealers liability if a third party misuses an otherwise legally sold handgun. Rosenthal claims to be a gun owner and that he loves skeet shooting. I have no doubt that he does, although a caller disagreed. Too many gun owners think they own “good” guns while maroons own “evil” handguns, so-called assault weapons, and fifty caliber rifles.
Rosenthal certainly epitomizes such a gun owner. I can imagine him on the skeet field with his fine over/under shotgun. Yet, he’s created an organization to ban handguns. He pays for a giant billboard in Boston that calls for gun banning. With friends like this….
Miller made one mistake that led to a rancorous interchange. Miller stated he knew that you could not buy a machine gun. Rosenthal corrected him, but Miller argued with him. Later Miller corrected himself by saying that you could not walk into a gun store and then out with a fully automatic weapon. It takes a grueling licensing procedure and a lot of money.
There’s one thing that Rosenthal said that we gunnies need to look out for. He argued that guns and tobacco are the only products not regulated for public safety and that this has led to selling “dangerous” fifty caliber rifles that are advertised as being able to shoot down planes (that’s what he said, the big fibber).
Miller pointed out that guns are regulated by a host of other laws and that Rosenthal stretched the truth when he argued guns were not safety regulated. It’s true that guns are not regulated by the Consumer Products Safety Commission, but such regulation is something that Rosenthal and his ilk want.
Guns are dangerous by design. They are weapons even if designed only for target or skeet shooting. There is nothing that can be done to make them “safe” in the sense that you can make a toy safer by banning small parts.
Gun banners have failed now to bankrupt the gun industry. They’ve failed in public opinion with more people buying guns than ever before. Let’s make sure they fail in trying to make guns a “consumer product.”
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Thoughts After seeing Serenity
What I will do is lament what might have been. Joss Whedon is known for creating story arcs and complicated characters. His TV show, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," had seven (actually six and a half) glorious seasons.
I enjoyed "Buffy." It was smart, funny, tender, and other good things. Most of all, its characters developed over time. Buffy started out as a teenage girl worried about little more than making a cheerleader squad.
By the end of the series, she had the world on her shoulders. You saw exactly what that meant, as she grew older. You saw the toll slaying vampires and demons took on her and those around her. But, she and her cohorts accepted their responsibilities and became better persons for them. Despite its otherworldly premise, you knew that the vampires and demons were metaphors, but Whedon never hit you over the head with allegory.
"Firefly" was supposed to be another "Buffy." It had a story arc and great characters. Fox Network never understood Whedon’s genius. They shuffled episode order making it impossible to follow the story arc. They insisted on character changes. They changed its time slots and pre-empted it for sports. They finally killed it after showing only 11 of the fourteen episodes Whedon made.
If Fox had trusted Whedon’s creation (and if fans had followed it) we would now have about 70 episodes of "Firefly." We would have seen characters change and grow. We would have seen loyalties rewarded and treachery punished. Now we have 14 episodes and Serenity, a two-hour movie. It feels like starting a long, rewarding novel and realizing that its last 50 chapters are missing.
Whedon didn’t give up on his show and fans bought "Firefly" DVDs—enough so that Universal decided to release Serenity. The movie has done okay in the box office, but not as well as one might expect with a built-in fan base. It could mean there will be no more "Firefly" or no movie sequels. Such a shame.
Where else will we see freedom-loving characters who think government only gets in the way? Where else will we see a mare’s leg Winchester used with Zoe’s grace? Where else will we see a crew of cranky libertarians on a creaky ship sticking their fingers in the government’s eye?
I’d like to see more of these characters. I told Bill I’d like to see the movie again and I might even buy an extra seat. Maybe you should too.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
NYT on Immunity Bill--A Fisking
Today’s post involves The New York Times; the Grey Lady of Herald Square, the newspaper of record, the bastion of what’s right in journalism is our subject (of course I’m being sarcastic, the Times has repeatedly revealed itself to be little more than a mouthpiece of urban, liberal, metrosexual, white, latte-sipping, elite snobs—but I digress).
On its op-ed page, the Times (NYT) put up an unsigned editorial meaning it’s the editorial board’s view. Its board is outraged that the US House of Representatives is about to pass a bill that would protect gun makers and dealers from frivolous lawsuits. In the interest of fair play, I support the bill. I’d rather live in a world where such a law wasn’t necessary, but lawyers and their anti-gun clients are out to bankrupt a necessary industry and therefore that industry must be protected.
As expected, NYT splashes the blood of innocents while obscuring truth. Here’s their opening sentence:
Three years ago, the nation's capital region lived in fear of a pair of snipers who killed 10 people and wounded three in random attacks with a Bushmaster XM-15 .223-caliber telescopic rifle - a gleaming civilian version of the Army's basic M-16 assault rifle popular with recreational shooters.Here’s what’s wrong (and I will pick a couple of nits). The Bushmaster is not gleaming. It has a matte-black finish. It’s not a telescopic rifle. They mean it’s a rifle fitted with a telescope. More seriously, it is not an M-16 assault rifle. At no point does the article point out that the Bushmaster is semi-automatic like many classic hunting rifles and not capable of full auto burst-fire like an M-16.
Then NYT states that:
In the aftermath, the rifle was traced to a shoddy gun dealer who claimed he somehow "lost" that war weapon and some 200 other guns to the underground market. Victimized families sued in grief and outrage and won $2.5 million in a settlement that most Americans - except Congress - would pronounce proper.First, a Bushmaster is not a "war weapon." Second, the settlement included Bushmaster which settled because its insurance company insisted on it. Bushmaster had done no wrong. It sold to a licensed dealer though a licensed wholesaler. It couldn’t know the dealer had inventory-retention problems. Further, I’ve seen reports that many of the 200 guns were located in the dealer’s paperwork, but that the dealer was a shoddy record keeper so it took a while to figure out what was sold and what was stolen. And, no I don’t think it was a proper lawsuit, especially where Bushmaster was concerned.
Now we move to the heart of the matter:
The House of Representatives, in callow disregard of cause and effect in the nation's harrowing gun carnage, is about to take aim at the Bushmaster settlement by voting what is expected to be final approval of a bill to grant assault-proof protection from damage suits to the gun industry, from manufacturers to dealers.
You've got to love the language sprinkled with sonorous emotion-laden words like callow, harrowing, carnage, and assault-proof. Further, who says the House is disregarding “cause and effect” of gun violence. There’s no evidence that guns by themselves cause crime. Granted, people use them in crime, but suing gun makers into oblivion won’t stop gun crime (see my last earlier earlier post about a man in China using homemade guns to shoot school children).
There’s an expected slam on the National Rifle Association of which I am a member:
This extraordinary shield, written to the diktat of the National Rifle Association, is so sweeping that it would have barred the D.C. sniper settlement and other valid negligence claims, according to legal experts stunned that any industry could ever win such blanket immunity.
Yeah, the evil NRA once again proves that it is able to deliver what its members want like protecting gun makers and dealers from silly lawsuits. The editorial also misleads. The bill limits lawsuits, but doesn’t end suits that truly deal with negligence. If a maker’s gun blows up, then one can still sue them. If a dealer sells guns illegally, he can still be sued. What it does end is novel legal theories that makers can be sued if a criminal steals a gun from a home and uses it in crime and similar inane ideas.
Now, NYT really gets rolling:
With all the critical issues on the national agenda, from the Iraq war to hurricane recovery, the House's eagerness is obscene as the gun lobby herds lawmakers from both parties behind a bill to deny victimized families their fair day in court.
First, it’s not a fair day in court. Court cases have been introduced that obviously dealt from a stacked deck. Makers of and dealers in legal products have been dragged into court for making or selling legal products even though they followed strict laws. They’ve paid exorbitant fees for lawyers to defend themselves for simply being in business. If these suits were “a fair day in court” for both sides, there would be no need for this legislation.
Let’s read another insult shall we:
The bill goes beyond barring lawsuits to shielding black-market dealers from administrative loss of their licenses without near impossible burdens of proof.
“Black-market” dealer is a contradiction in terms. No truly black-market dealer has a license. If a licensed dealer breaks the law, then he or she can be prosecuted, which is a lot more serious than an administrative loss of license. Further, I thought we were innocent until proven guilty. A dealer should not lose their livelihood unless there is proof and that should be a high test indeed.
Finally, we have a bit of Bush-bashing:
President Bush talked favorably about the assault weapons ban as a candidate but was notoriously mute when the Republican Congress let the ban expire last year. Surely he would not compound the nation's gun scourge by signing the immunity bill.
I don’t want to get into the assault-weapons ban: that’s old news. In fact, I wish Bush had simply said it was an abomination and he would never sign an extension, but that’s just me. Bush will sign this immunity bill and I’ll cheer him on—despite the other ways he’s disappointed me.
Now that I’ve cleaned out the bile, I can breathe a little easier.