Saturday, December 29, 2007

Happy Third Blogiversary

Three years. That's how long the Ten Ring has been up.

Yosemite Sam and I haven't been posting as much as when we started. We told the world what we had to say and don't want to repeat ourselves too much.

We're certainly not going away though. You'll have to put up with my long essays and Yosemite Sam's rants. You'll have to tolerate our posts from the NRA convention this year. Maybe we'll even start repeating ourselves and post more often.

So, wish us a Happy Third Blogiversary.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Guns and Criminals

Alphecca posted a story about a violent felon who wants to use the Second Amendment to beat a gun charge. Commenters brought out arguments I’ve seen time again:
*Even criminals have the God-given right of self-defense;
*Criminals should not have unfettered access to guns;
*If someone can’t be trusted with a gun, they should be in jail.

This issue and arguments go right to the heart of our legal system. It puts a criminal in jail based on the severity of his crime, not what’s in his heart and mind. Punishment is based on actions. If a criminal steals a purse, we lock him away for say a year. That criminal may come out of jail with a true attitude adjustment and never steal again, or he may come out a worse criminal. We can’t tell which way that person will turn.

We know our system is imperfect, but the idea of locking away someone until he’s no threat is quite disturbing to me. We would have to rely on government to determine how long someone is a threat to the rest of us. I don’t want government to have that power. They don't have a crystal ball and I can't imagine a worse way to limit freedom.

That leaves us with the question of how to protect society. A violent felon will get a weapon by any means necessary. Therefore, the best defense we have is self-defense. We should make concealed carry permits easier to get or better yet adopt Vermont-style carry nationwide. We should be able to carry anywhere a police officer can carry—i.e., cops can’t carry a gun in jail and neither should we.

Violent felons have a legitimate right of self-defense, but they will abuse any tool—knife, club, gun—that they possess. As a society we should say certain criminals have proven themselves too violent to own a gun legally and bar them from buying a gun where the rest of us shop. It’s an expression of our outrage at their actions.

There is a selfish reason why I support restrictions. I don’t want to go to my favorite gun store and watch some over-muscled guy with prison tats and a pallor picking out a gun. He may want it only for self-defense, but….

At the same time, there should be a limit to any restrictions. First, the criminal has to have committed more than one truly violent crime. Then, if the released criminal stays honest for five years (or ten or whatever) all restrictions are lifted.

I know many won’t agree with having any restrictions at all and I am ready for the rotten tomatoes coming my way.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Yosemite Sam, Cooper the wonder Basset, Tummy the cranky ole cat (you've never met him), and I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas. We're here in a thawing New Hampshire getting ready for breakfast and other Yuletide fun. Hope yours is special and here's a blast from the not so long past:

Thursday, December 20, 2007

State Gun Laws and Winter Wonderland

I'm already tired of winter and it doesn't begin officially until tomorrow. I already feel hemmed in and just not wanting to deal with slick streets, slippery sidewalks, digging snow off the car, and the thousand and one things you have to do when you are living in New England.

New Hampshire, where I live, is a gunnie paradise, but the weather sucks. I keep wondering if I can move to other places with good gun laws and good weather. So far, my career won't allow it. Perhaps after Heller/Parker, if the decision goes our way and is far-reaching enough (dream on), I could stop having to choose places to live based on laws that curtail a constitutionally guaranteed freedom. Not yet, but perhaps.

That's one of the many things unfair with the gun laws. One state will curtail your rights, but drive across the border and there is no curtailment. I'm all for federalism, but there are just some things that are fundamental and owning a firearm, or choosing not to do so, is one of them.

I am working at home today trying to get a giant project off my desk. There's a snowstorm going on right now and I am glad I had the option to work here. I used my Treo's camera to snap a picture of the snow. My car is the one that is parked in front of the two vans. Yes, it's a lump of snow.

We're being socked this year and it's been cold. Needless to say, Yosemite Sam and I are not doing any trap shooting like we did last December. See you all later.

Winter--You can have it!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Where I am Now

Well, let's see's been a week plus one day since I posted last. A lot has happened that I didn't discuss. There was a shooting in a church that a female, former cop, now concealed carry permittee stopped with extreme prejudice. She is a true American hero or heroine whatever is the accurate term du jour.

Me, I've had my head down and working away. Yosemite Sam and I have a lot on our plates right now. For one thing, we are remodeling our master bathroom. We're not expert carpenters, painters, tilers, and everything else we've been doing. That means we're doing a good job, but a slow one. It's really affected how often we get to go shooting. It's been a while and I hang my head in shame.

For that reason and others, hunting season was a bust for us as well. This remodeling needs to get done, though. You see, whoever built our condo carpeted the bathroom about ten years ago. You can imagine what that was like. Who the hell ever thought that was a good idea? We pulled up a corner of it a few weeks ago and found some wet rot on the tile surround. We had to reinforce/rebuild the surround. Fun. We're almost done though and there will be before and after pictures up here one of these days.

Another thing, I'm on travel right now and using a hotel computer to type this. I don't have unencumbered access, so please forgive the stream of words and perhaps a miSpelaling or two. Work brought me down here to Maryland. You know, it's a lot warmer here than New Hampshire where we have snow and ice on the ground.

I better run now. Catch up with you all later.

Monday, December 03, 2007

A Law Professor and I Agree on Predictions Only

Where do I apply to become a law professor? Here’s what University of Chicago law professor Cass Sunstein had to say about the pending Heller decision:

“This spring, the Supreme Court will probably issue its first major ruling on the Second Amendment. Here's a prediction: Dominated as it is by Republican appointees, the court will adopt the individual-rights interpretation.…

At the same time, the court will recognize that reasonable restrictions are permissible - and thus will energize, rather than end, the national discussion about the regulation of guns.”
I said this about two weeks ago:

“I predict though that the Court will support an individual right to own firearms and I think that it won't be all that close (maybe 6-3 for instance). The reason it won't be close: the Court will add language like "...subject to reasonable regulation for public safety..." or some such wording. Anti-gun justices will see how useful such language will be.

Then, it will be off to the races to write laws that allow individual ownership while still infringing on our rights to keep and bear arms.”
Sunstein came to his conclusion from the opposite side of gun freedom. He doesn’t like the idea that the Supreme Court may very well agree that there is an individual right to own guns. However, we came to the same conclusion that the Court decision will likely include "reasonable" restrictions.

I can’t speak for Sunstein, but for me, the government will never give up its ability to regulate guns. It may agree that we can own them, but it will always try to determine what kinds of guns may be owned, how guns will be stored, when and where they may be used, what types of people may own guns, and so much more.

In fact, I believe that if the Bradyites and their partners had long ago agreed that gun ownership was an individual right, by now we would all be able to own only single-shot rifles, double-barrelled shotguns, and the only handguns would be Olympic-style free pistols.

If we do win the Court battle, we can never let our guard down.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Rioting in France

As you know, there is more rioting in France. Two years ago Paris' northern suburbs erupted and youths of indeterminate religion and origin (wink-wink) burned cars and generally made royal nuisances of themselves.

This time around, they are using shotguns and the police believe the "youths" are trying to get more guns. About 100 cops have been injured and about a third of them from gunfire. So far the police response has been restrained.

This is a truly serious situation for France. I can't pretend to be an authority on France, but Yosemite Sam and I have traveled there several times. I took more than one French history course in graduate school. I can read and speak French (not as good as when we traveled there--use it or lose it). So, take my following observations with those grains of salt.

France has a seething problem with its immigrants (no shit Sherlock). Unlike some European countries, France has a clear road to citizenship. For one thing, you learn the language, which is no problem for immigrants from Francophone North African countries. But, the French expect you to adopt Frenchiness, for lack of a better term. That's what so many of the North Africans cannot do.

Most, if not all, unassimilated youths are Muslim and won't adopt French concepts of liberty, equality, and fraternity. They don't want to give up their cultural notions of women, gays, Jews, and their ethnic identity. They have a hard time getting and keeping work. This is not
necessarily true of their parents who came to France to work or set up shops. They wanted to assimilate, but their children want to keep the outward trappings of their cultural and religious identity.

In turn, this has led a sizable minority of the French people to turn against the immigrants. While we were there, we heard certain Parisian suburbs described as homes of the black beasts. We saw graffiti carved deeply into a park bench in Lyon, "Interdit aux arabes" (forbid all the Arabs).

This situation is only going to get worse in France. The youths don't want to assimilate and many French people don't want them to assimilate. Two years ago, they burned cars. Now they're shooting at police. The question is, when will the French military (if they still have one) shoot back?

The situation in not pretty and the French are perfectly capable of channeling their inner Robespierre. If they do, it will be another one for the history books.

On this issue, I have a confession to make that will shock many of you. I actually like France and the French. Yosemite Sam and I have been all over the country. I met and talked with some very good people--the ones in Normandy in particular. It saddens me that they haven't been able to solve their immigrant youth problem and I see no good solution.

It will be awhile before we return and I hope there's something worth visiting when we do.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Torchwood--A Gunnie TV Show Review

Lately, Yosemite Sam and I have been watching a BBC import, Torchwood, set in Cardiff, Wales. We’ve been able to see every episode thanks to our cable company’s On Demand feature. It’s entertaining and surprisingly gunnie friendly.

First, it’s a spin-off of Doctor Who. If you don’t know about the Doctor, I can’t explain it here. Suffice to say it’s still on the air and still popular. Yosemite Sam grew up with it and is more of a fan than I am, but I really like Torchwood.

Its lead character, Captain Jack Harkness, was in a few episodes of the recently reincarnated Doctor Who. He was a con man who ended up more heroic than not and comes from Earth’s 51st Century. Through various permutations, he can’t be killed, but is stranded on Earth beginning in the late 19th Century. By the time of the TV series, he’s head of Torchwood Institute Three which investigates alien incursions and related.

That’s enough background, let’s get to the gunnie stuff.

One character, Gwen Cooper, is a police officer who observes Torchwood a little too closely and becomes a member herself. Torchwood members are expected to defend themselves with guns. Gwen doesn’t know how to shoot, because she wasn’t an armed constable. Harkness teaches her in an entertaining session. She fears the gun at first, but finds out she can shoot well and loves it. A surprisingly pro-gun message given the BBC’s track record on gun control.

Captain Jack carries a World War II era Webley Mark IV in an old leather holster with a flap. Unlike the Doctor who refuses to use a weapon, Captain Jack has no problem shooting someone who needs it. In one episode, he shoots a very evil woman several times at close range. BBC didn’t spare the stage blood and squibs.

A British show that allows self-defense is interesting. Of course, Torchwood members are not average citizens, but they’re not the police either. The Torchwood Institute is beyond government and beyond police.

It’s not all gun-friendliness though. In one episode a very scared teenager wounds Gwen with a shotgun thinking she’s one of his deadly neighbors. However, he used a pump-action shotgun illegal in Britain, so it begs the question of how did the character get it (it’s unpossible to get something that’s illegal isn’t it?).

The show is not for everyone. It’s darker and more adult than Doctor Who. For instance, Jack thinks the whole idea of sexuality is a quaint but primitive concept unknown in the 51st Century. There’re intimations that he’ll have sex with any sentient being that walks on two legs. Still, it’s entertaining and nice to see a Webley on TV.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Superme Court Says "Let's Hear It"

Take a deep breath, 'cause here we go. The Supreme Court will finally hear a Second Amendment case, the Heller/Parker case. You all know what it's about and probably already read that the court granted cert.

There's a lot at stake with this one. I predict though that the Court will support an individual right to own firearms and I think that it won't we all that close (maybe 6-3 for instance). The reason it won't be close: the Court will add language like "...subject to reasonable regulation for public safety..." or some such wording. Anti-gun justices will see how useful such language will be.

Then, it will be off to the races to write laws that allow individual ownership while still infringing on our rights to keep and bear arms.

Of course, my predictions have been off the mark before (last time I chose lottery numbers, for instance), so take it with a grain of salt.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

National Ammo Day/Week 2007

Monday is the official “National Ammo Day.” I support it even though it’s not blessed by whatever committee declares a day a Day. Blogger Kim du Toit started it and selected his birthday as the first Ammo Day.

The idea is to buy ammo on that day or during that week. There’s no reporting on what people buy, no public celebration, no “official” declaration of Ammo Day, and no real support in tradition. With all of these apparent negatives, why do I support it?

One good reason is there should have been such a day officially declared many years ago. The Federal government is responsible for having a well-regulated militia. The militia is the whole body of the people who can defend the nation. It’s basically what’s found in Federal law.

The government also used to encourage shooting through its Office of Civilian Marksmanship. They supplied guns, ammo, built ranges and supervised riflery matches. Its successor, The Civilian Marksmanship Program, is a quasi-private group that’s still a great source of M1Garands, M1Carbines, runs some matchers, and sells ammo, but is a shadow of what could have been. The government would rather scrap its guns than sell them.

The whole idea behind civilian marksmanship was to ensure Americans could shoot. That way, in time of national emergency, civilians could be called up and would need less training to be able to meet defense needs.

Today, shooting is seen as a dangerous skill and as something that the “right” people never do (unless it’s skeet with $40,000 shotguns). The government certainly didn’t help alleviate this attitude.

Instead, they banned cosmetic features on certain types of guns, put up import restrictions, and more. They should have been sponsoring more school outreach, more gun sales to the public, more urban ranges, and other programs. After all, we all know that the way to break down hoplophobia is to take someone shooting.

So I support National Ammo Day because it’s something our government should do in the first place. There are other reasons. It’s a way to get more ammo in private hands and that’s never bad. It’s a way to reward retailers who carry ammo. Most importantly, it helps us improve our own marksmanship whether it’s bullseye pistol shooting or action shooting, plinking or long-range competition, or whatever type of shooting you prefer.

Go out this coming week and help your local ammo dealer.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Hunting in the New York Times

The New York Times had a surprisingly (for them) fair and balanced article on hunting. It was in the travel section and it covered the impact of hunting on a small Maine town. Jackman, Maine is a village of about 700 souls. Many of its businesses cater to and rely on hunters. The article profiled them and generally didn't call them a bunch of rubes and hicks (there was an element of condescension, but low-key). It's worth a read.

Even more interesting are the comments. As of this writing there are 104 comments, so it struck a nerve. Of course, there's the usual "killing is eeevvvvillll" stuff and the counter-and irrefutable argument that we all kill to eat (even vegans). A few commenters went all anti-gun. Some are quite entertaining in their own hysterical way.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

More Fear of Inanimate Objects

From SayUncle we get the latest PSH alert. A gun cleaning kit and empty box of shells was found in a classroom in Baylor's School of Medicine. School officials evacuated the school and closed it until today. Even worse, it was used. They searched the school for a gun and eventually someone came forward and explained that he had accidently left it in the room after he had done some target shooting off campus. At no time, did he bring a gun on campus.

Guys, this school is located in Houston, Texas. I lived there for a few years and it's not the Texas I remember. This type of crap is happening all over and not just in New York, New Jersey, Masschusetts, Illinois, or California. Hoplophobia is getting worse among its sufferers. Be sure to read the comments to the newspaper's article.

(Sorry for the lack of posting, but work has become a big stinky cauldron into which I pour my time and energy and don't see much progress.)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Will Hollywood Ever Learn?

No, Hollywood will never learn. They’ll never understand that they can’t make money by pissing off half the country with a political thriller that stacks the deck against America. Their latest flop is “Rendition.”

It posits that a probably innocent man is kidnapped by the United States and sent to another country for interrogation involving torture. Reese Witherspoon plays his tormented wife and Jake Gylllenhall plays a CIA analyst who overseas the interrogation to his horror. Both well-known actors cut their usual fees to perform in this movie.

The script tries to hit all the leftist notes about the evil lengths our government will go in the “War on Terror.” It cost just south of $30,000,000 to make. Its cast is a roster of famous names including Meryl Streep. Given its topic, its advertising, its wide release on 2,250 screens, and blatant appeals to leftist sensibilities, you’d think it would be burning up the theaters. It’s been out for two weeks and its made about $7,800,000. The re-issue of Tim Burton’s “Nightmare Before Christmas” has made more money.

I hold no brief for the government and realize they make mistakes and do bad things sometimes. However, I’m put off by “America the Bad” messages. How about showing the good our nation has done in the world? How about showing the evil things other nations and groups do (airliners v. skyscrapers ring a bell)? I don’t know when Hollywood will get the message, but keep voting with your feet.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Ruger 10/22, A Confession

The other day, Say Uncle did a show and tell on his Ruger 10/22 rifle. He was responding to Bruce of No Looking Backwards (I still call his blog mAssBackwards) who realized that October 22 would be a good day to show his and others Ruger 10/22s.

I would love to show you my Ruger 10/22, but I can't. I have a confession to make. I don't own a 10/22. I've got a Remington FieldMaster pump-action .22 rifle. Yosemite Sam has a semi-auto Sears .22 handed down to him from his father, but neither of us has a Ruger 10/22.

Is that a gasp of amazement I hear out there? No, it's a gasp of amazement coming out of me. The 10/22 is a fine rifle and belongs in any gunnie's collection. One of these days I will have to buy one and thus end my shame.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

More on a Gallup Poll

I posted about a Gallup Poll last week that showed that support for rights to own handguns is the highest it’s ever been since the question was asked. In 1959, only 36% of people polled supported handgun ownership and 60% would ban handguns for “ordinary” citizens.

This has puzzled me since I wrote it. We view anytime before 1968 as being a Golden Age for gun rights. In terms of formal laws I guess it was. You could buy a gun in a hardware store with no questions asked. You could order a 20mm Solothurn rifle from a magazine advertisement and the U.S. Mail would deliver it to your door. There seemed to be less crime then even though guns were more available.

Now we have organized groups who want to ban guns and legislators who try to make this happen. We must undergo an FBI check to buy any firearm. We have gun crime at a higher rate than in the 1950s. One would think that the poll numbers would be reversed, but they’re not. I think there're a few reasons for this.

First, some (not all) World War II veterans came home with little use for handguns. Most of them had been trained as riflemen first and foremost. The rifle was your best friend—if you were infantry. In fact, some military planners hoped the M1Carbine would replace handguns.

I can give one example of veterans having little use for handguns. My father flew bombers during the war and was issued a Colt 1911A1, which he carried in a shoulder holster. He told me that he could have kept his pistol, but he was tired of carrying it. To this day, he’s never had any interest in handguns although he owns rifles and shotguns.

If veterans with this attitude had been polled, they might be part of the 60%.

Second, you didn’t have the very real threat that your handgun and maybe gun rights could be taken away. Such a thought was “pie in the sky” at best. A person who didn’t like handguns might agree to ban them in a poll believing such a thing was impossible. That same person might give a different response if they felt it could actually happen. It’s part of mankind’s paradoxical nature.

Third, gun control may have been in the air. Most of our gun laws were passed in 1968, only nine years after the 1959 poll. That’s not a lot of time. During the 1960s we had terrible political assassinations using guns. These events may have consolidated a feeling that already listed.

I’ve done little research into public opinion in 1959. I’m flying by the seat of my pants here and could be all wet, but maybe not.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Blog Milestone

The Ten Ring reached a blog milestone sometime this weekend. I checked Sitemeter and found 225,347 hits. That may be what some of the big bloggers to on a good day, but it feels good to have had that many people check into our blog. Thanks to all those who came in for a visit and another thank you to those who keep coming back.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Historical Comparisons in A Gallup Poll

Wow, two posts in one day--must be a slow day at work. Anyway, I checked out a couple of blogs this morning and noticed some good news from the wonderful people of Gallup Polls. Arms and the Law mentioned that fewer Americans support gun control after 9/11. Call Me Ahab discusses the numbers in more detail. And they are good news for us--the Brady Bunch must be crying in their corn flakes.

I took a closer look at some comparisons with past and present support for handgun limitations(here's the link and scroll down to Number 21 about 2/3s of the way down the page). There's something that jarred me.

Today, 68% of the people believe there should not be a law limiting handgun possession to police and other authorized people. That leaves 30% of Americans (with 2% on the fence) that would infringe on our rights. Surprisingly, in 1959 the numbers were almost exactly reversed; 36% of the people thought that handgun ownership should not be limited to police and other people while 60% would ban handguns for the average citizen.

In fact, since 1959 public support for handgun ownership is the highest its ever been tracked by Gallup. You could've knocked me over with a feather.

Turning Good New into Bad

I try to keep concentrate on gun issues, but every now and again, I have to expand the blog's horizons. I'm here at work and I was doing some morning news reading (don't tell the boss).

I read an article in the New York Times that discussed the affect more immigration enforcement was having on a large meatpacking plant in North Carolina. The author is Stephen Greenhouse and he laments the impact this enforcement has had on the employer and the illegal immigrants.

Greenhouse tells us sob-stories about Hispanic themed stores having less business, about a woman whose husband is facing deportation, about how illegal aliens may have helped formed unions, and about how they were harder workers than Americans who replaced them.

I don't know about the work ethic part of it, but the article mentions a lot of good news couched as bad news. Here's an example, "Some companies have reluctantly raised wages to attract new workers following raids at their plants." The key words here are "reluctantly" and "following raids." The good news is that companies raised their wages. I thought this was a good thing.

Greenhouse goes on to complain about a woman who now works at the meatpacker and faces a long commute in a company van (she pays a weekly amount to ride it). I don't like my long commute, but this woman more than doubled her hourly wage. That's not a bad thing. Further, Greenhouse had to admit that the plant has hired more black people to replace the illegal immigrants.

The plant has a high turnover rate and new employees complain of sore muscles. But, there's no guarantee that work will be easy or even rewarding. Someone must do the mind-numbing hard work and we all can't get paid to discuss Jacobean poetry.

I am amazed that a New York Times writer could try to turn good news into bad (that's called sarcasm people).

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Privacy, Cars, and Guns

From Arms and the Law I see that a Federal judge has struck down an Oklahoma law that ruled companies could prevent employees keeping a gun in their cars if parked on a company lot.

I admit to some mixed feelings about this, as did some of you who commented on the post. Private property should not be subject to arbitrary government rules. I didn't like the state of Massachusetts saying that I had to have a gun license to keep my own gun in my own house. Believe me, that law and virtually all of Massachusetts’s gun tyrannies sucked. The more I have thought about this, though, the more I have to come down on the side of Oklahoma's legislature.

Here's some history. A few years back large employers like Weyerhauser and ConocoPhillips decided they wanted to prevent gun violence in the workplace. They knew that some employees had carry permits and others brought guns to work in their cars during hunting season. They used obscure parts of employee handbooks to order surprise inspections of cars belonging to randomly selected workers. If you refused a search, you were fired. If they found a gun in your car, you were fired. It affected a number of employees regardless of how well they performed or how long they had worked for the companies.

Oklahoma lawmakers thought this was unfair and that it violated the Second Amendment. They passed a law to stop this practice, the same law that has been struck down. Of course, the state could appeal, so the story is not over yet.

As I said, I've thought about this and I must come down on the side of being able to keep a gun in your own car even if it is parked in a private lot. Especially so the lots of huge private bureaucracies employing thousands of people and that may be the only employer of note in a city. There's no comparison between a huge company and a homeowner.

My car is an extension of my home. If I visit a gun-fearing friend and I'm carrying a gun, I will respect his wishes and lock my gun up in my car even if it is parked on his driveway. While he owns the driveway, I expect to be able to store my gun during the visit. If I visit a small store that has a no guns allowed sign, I also expect to store my gun in the car parked in that store's parking lot (ignoring the fact that I probably wouldn't shop there in the first place).

If we allow anyone to state that you can't have a gun in your own car while it is parked in their lot or driveway, we make our self-defense and gun rights meaningless. You won't be able to run a few errands while carrying a gun. You won't be able to stop at a store and buy supplies on your way to a hunting spot. You won't be able to store your gun in your car while you're at work and then holster it after work.

If enough businesses promulgate such rules it will become impossible to carry a gun for self-defense no matter how many permits you have from state governments. My property rights do not end when I park my car in someone's lot. My Second Amendment rights do not end just because a private party wishes them gone. My right to self-defense does not end because some private nanny wants me to be defenseless.

I will cede this though, I think a company, store, or person does control what happens inside their buildings. Carrying a gun when they wish you to refrain does violate private rights. Storing a gun in your own car even in their lot is not the same thing.

I hope that this decision is reversed.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Arbitrary Government

Via Kim and Say Uncle, we have the story of Ronald “Bo” Ward, an owner of a barber shop who needed a zoning variance in order to stay in business. His request was denied and Mr. Ward exclaimed “Ya’ll have put me under ... I’m out of here,” and then shot himself in the head.

On the surface, most people will say: That seems to be an extreme reaction to a minor setback, but the first thing I thought was that I'm surprised this doesn't happen more often.

You see, I work in the land development field and I deal with these zoning boards all the time. Massachusetts zoning boards. Massachusetts has 351 towns and each town has different rules and requirements for zoning. Thus, we have to keep track of the rules in every town in which we do business. This doesn't even take into account the restrictions caused by various environmental regulations like the River's Act.

All that is bad enough. But now we get to the real fun.

For example, a client wants to add a pool to his property in one of those W towns in the western suburbs of Boston. OK, this shouldn't be too hard. Look up the Zoning rules for the town, check if he has wetlands on his property, apply the rules and regulation, design the pool accordingly and then we're done.

Right. Not so fast.

We go to the board and the board mentions that our client's house is on a Scenic Road and that his landscaping needs some work. Well, I can't seem to find the zoning rule that mentions landscaping, but the client agrees in order to work with the board and to facilitate approval of his pool.

Time passes.

Another meeting.

Now the board has issues with our client's lighting. Lighting that can't even be seen from the road. The board wants low environmental impact lighting with a low wattage.

Now our client is getting pissed.

He wants to get his pool built before the end of summer. We draw up lighting plans that show the negligible impact of our client's current lighting arrangement. The board still wants the low impact lighting and now wants tighter development restrictions on our client's property.

Restriction that would guarantee that our client would no longer be able to add improvements to his property.

Now you might say: Why doesn't our client sue the town? Well assuming that our client has enough funds to afford a long, protracted law suit, the outcome would still be far from assured.

The town doesn't care, they have a nice tax base to defend any potential law suit. So our client finally gives up and decides to try again later, even though, according to the town's zoning rules and regulations, he had a legal right to build a pool on his property.

This is arbitrary government at its finest.

I have seen scenarios like the one outlined above, over and over. It does not surprise me in the least that a few people reach their limit and push back.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Where Have I Been Lately?

Well, here it is almost a week since my last post. I've promised myself to do better. I really have. Honest. Good thing I haven't promised that publicly...D'Oh!

I have an excuse. I've been in a pharmaceutical haze for much of the week. There's a good reason. I was at work doing a collateral duty (workspeak for something that isn't in my job description, and for which I have absolutely no training, background, or experience). I helped a co-worker lift a few heavy things and then bent over to pick up a roll of shrink-wrap. Bam, my lower back spazzed up and I went limping around for a day and a half.

I said a day and a half because the people I worked for told me to walk it off and do my regular job. Yeah, okay, fine. When the pain got too bad, I told them I needed to see a doctor and they agreed, finally. I found out that I had a lumbar back spasm. A real doozy too. No real damage, just a lot of pain that caused my toes to tingle and not in a good way.

The doctor prescribed Flexeril to relax my muscles and Vicodin for pain. Now, this is only the second time I've ever taken anything with opiates in it (Vicodin). The first was in a cough syrup when I had a lingering flu. I have no tolerance for anything stronger than Tylenol. I spent the next four and a half days off work including Saturday and Sunday.

Now normally I'd be celebrating days off by heading to the range or doing something else fun, but oh no I spent those days, including my sacred weekend, sleeping on the couch, in the bed, in my dinner plate, and everywhere else in between.

Poor Yosemite Sam didn't know what do to. He wanted to go shooting on Sunday, but said he wouldn't really want to see me falling asleep with a gun in my hand. So poor guy ended up in the house all weekend with me sleeping, the dog farting (nobody ever told us that Basset hounds pass a lot of gas), and the cat crying for food. Boring.

I'm recovered now. The muscle relaxant did its job. Now I want my weekend back.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Why We Support Thompson

Back in June, Yosemite Sam mentioned we support Fred Thompson for President even before Thompson was officially in the race. Now that he is in the race, I want to explain our reasons.

As you can imagine, our primary reason is protecting the Second Amendment and with it our gun rights. We believe Thompson supports and will help protect these rights if he is elected President. We both know that Thompson is not a perfect candidate. Speaking only for myself now, he doesn't have a lot of experience and no executive experience. In fact, he has about the same experience as Barack Obama and John Edwards. So why Thompson?

I know he has made a few questionable votes in his Senate career, but no Senator can be pure thanks to the practice of tacking riders to necessary bills (like spending bills). Even with that, I believe he respects the Second Amendment. He campaigns in gun stores and at gun shows. More importantly, he vocally supports gun rights.

Unrelated to gun rights, Thompson has charisma and can speak well. He projects authority. He probably learned some of that in his acting career, but we've had about seven years of a President who cannot speak eloquently or project authority or charisma. The ability to talk and connect with people is a significant skill in a leader. It may seem like a small thing, but eloquence matters.

Those are the positive reasons to support Thompson, the others are negative in the sense that he's not any of the other candidates. Let's look at the Democratic field. Believe it or not Hillary is not the worse of that field for gun rights. I don't think she would actively campaign against gun rights, but she would be more than happy to sign any anti-gun bill that crossed her desk and veto any pro-rights bills. Let's not even imagine what her Supreme Court appointees would be like.

Obama is a Chicago pol--enough said. Edwards would probably do pretty much what Clinton would do. Let's not even mention Kucinich. Other than the also rans, that leaves Bill Richardson. He's not a perfect Second Amendment supporter, but at least he gives it credence. If it turned out to be a Giuliani versus Richardson race, I would go for Richardson. Still, I would worry about what the Democrats would do to gun rights if they held the House, Senate, and White House.

On the Republican side, McCain has proven he's no friend of gunnies. Giuliani is a New York City pol--enough said. Romney did little to remove onerous gun laws while governor of Massachusetts. The rest of the field doesn't have a chance, so I will ignore them except for Ron Paul.

Paul is an interesting figure. Some of his ideas intrigue me. He certainly would be a great supporter for gun rights. But his foreign policy thoughts are unworkable and perhaps dangerous.

Paul lost me completely though when he didn't repudiate 9/11 "truthers" completely and immediately. I don't believe he is a truther, but he's too close for comfort.

This post is not about the merits of truther arguments. I have read or viewed their arguments and came to the conclusion that all but a handful of them are self-deluded fools. Truthers irritate me even more than anti-gunnies. My irritation is nothing compared to Yosemite Sam's.

Thus, the field has narrowed down to Fred Thompson and Bill Richardson as a reluctant second choice. This is not the best of reasons to support a candidate, but the process of elimination leaves only these two.

Thus, run Fred run.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Proud NRA Apologist

Sebastian has a post up that addresses a critic that thinks he is an apologist for the NRA. As both Denise and I have frequently stated, we are proud members of the NRA and think that the NRA is the most effective gun rights organization that we have.

Anyway, I left a comment at Snowflakes and thought that it may be of interest here as well.

Quoted from Sebastian's post:

"If you’ve ever spent any time talking to real people about the gun issue, you know that most people believe that some level of gun control is necessary."

My comment:

Here Here. I think we in the gun rights community often forget this fact. We have gun control in this country because the citizens of this country wanted it. We fool ourselves when we get the idea, amplified by our group think, that the general public is interested in removing the gun control laws. They aren't. Particularly law regulating fully automatic firearms.

For example, I was talking to my aunt about 4 years ago, who is not really anti-gun, and mentioned that machine guns ought to be fully legalized. She said, No Way.
If you talk to most Americans, they will tell you the same thing.

We have nearly 50 years of lies and propaganda to overcome and it will only be defeated by hard work and persistence. In particular, work needs to be done to bring women into the gun rights fold. We are having some success. What we don't need is members of our own community calling the most effective gun rights organization we have, the NRA, a gun control organization. It is silly and destructive.

I will readily admit that the NRA isn't perfect and has made mistakes. But it is the most effective gun rights organization we have. I urge anyone reading this to become a member. Add your voice to the membership.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

New Bloggers--A Welcome

I had a little time to do some blogroll maintenance this morning. It’s like cleaning house, you gotta do it once a year or it just gets away from you (I’m joking I clean house at least once every six months).

I removed a few blogs and could have taken out more. I used ad hoc criteria—if a blogger hadn’t posted for awhile but the blog was still up and had something on the front page, I left it in. I hope they return to blogging. If the blog was “not found” or had nothing on the front page, then out it went.

I added three blogs and probably should add more later.

Call Me Ahab” is really a name and address change. Ahab has moved to snappy new digs. He dropped his former blog name “What Would John Wayne Do?” I loved the name of the old blog, but “Call me Ahab” resonates too, especially for someone who reads as much as I do.

I want to welcome “New Jovian Thunderbolt” to the roll. He is fairly new to gunnie-hood and mentions several times the influence "Ten Ring" has had on his interest in shooting. We are flattered and your blog is now a daily read.

Finally, we are welcoming a professional blog: Outdoor Life Magazine’s “Gunshots.” The magazine brought together several excellent gun writers and told them to go forth and write. Michael Bane is among the writers. Yosemite Sam and I are also flattered and happy to see “Ten Ring” listed on their blogroll, despite my recent dearth of posts.

There is a certain ego-boost to this blogging thing. It's great to hear how we inspired someone to go shooting. Appearing on the blogrolls of so many bloggers that we respect is certainly welcome. If you would like us to add your blog to our blogroll, just put a message in comments.

Also, we recently had an e-mail problem, so if you e-mail or have e-mail us and not gotten an answer, your message was probably spam-filtered out of existence. Such is life in the digital world.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Let Me Eat my Steak in Peace

I'm not always popular here at work. I work in Massachusetts and most of my co-workers are to the left of Lenin. I don't look for political or social discussions, but I don't hide them either.

When people found out I was a gunowner, there was wailing and gnashing of teeth, let me tell you. I am, so far as I know, the only gunowner now in this building with about thirty employees. I italicized "so far as I know" on purpose, because you never know.

I'm also a carnivore. We have a vegatarian here who preaches her diet like Billy Graham preaches Jesus. She has added a new theme to her sermon. Not only does meat equal murder, but also meat equals a bigger carbon footprint. Like I care. Besides, I'm doing my best to increase my footprint given my 40 mile one-way commute.

I checked the InterTubes for information on her sermon and found an article that discusses some Japanese study on meat production. It made me wonder what a vegetarian diet's impact would be. What about here in New England when one's fresh fodder must be shipped in? What carbon footprint would that leave?

Besides, I love steak. I'm a woman and I'm not "supposed" to admit that. I'm supposed to love green salads with a teaspoon of lean chicken placed so artfully on top and then drizzled with no-calorie vinegar. I guess I didn't get the memo and if anyone sends it to me I'll sic Cooper the basset hound on them. Granted, he would lick you senseless, but dog slobber is a serious matter.

I'll say it again--I love steak. I love it medium rare, juicy, and with just a hint of char around the corners. I broil it, grill it, or saute it depending on my passion at the moment. I've always loved steak and my love affair has aged to where I avoid the round and chuck steaks and go for the loin cuts. Perhaps it's more a function of income.

I basically told my co-worker that she would have to pry my steak out of my cold dead jaws.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Anniversary of 9/11

It is 9/11/2007. Six years after we were viciously attacked. In fact, we were attacked on Tuesday, the same day of the week as today. Six years ago, that Tuesday was bright and clear. Today it’s cloudy, cool and drizzling. Appropriate in some way.

I thought about writing a memorial post and realized I had done so a year ago today. In that post, I said all I could say now. Give it a read if you wish.

Today I only wish to say that I still grieve for those innocent people killed on 9/11. I still loathe the bastards that did it. I am still angry at those people who spin conspiracy theories simply because they cannot accept the truth. I still honor the courageous passengers of United 93. I will never forget and I will never forgive.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

The NRA Thing Again

You know, I really hate going over old ground. The third post I ever made to this blog, back in December 2004, was why I support the National Rifle Association even though it is not the strongest Second Amendment champion out there. I'll rephrase now for clarity. It is the only pro-Second Amendment organization that the gun banners fear and loathe and that's enough for me.

This week, Kim DuToit mentioned again why he doesn't join the NRA. His commenters chimed in. A few even said they would not join or they would quit because one of the NRA's board members disparaged civilian ownership of "assault weapons."

Since then, Sebastian and Ahab both have vocally supported the NRA. Sebastian later asked for ideas to improve the NRA. Their posts are worth your time.

I really hate this internal sniping at each other. The NRA is and should be a "big tent" organization. It should include hunters, Cowboy Action Shooters, bullseye shooters, and black rifle aficionados. By providing a home for all of these types of shooters, it provides them a voice that is much stronger than it would be otherwise.

Look at Gunowners of America. They are a "no compromise" group and that's great. We need them. But, they have no political clout. The NRA and the AARP have the loudest voices in American politics today. Do gunnies who decry the NRA want to give up that clout and that voice?

Being a "big tent" organization means that the NRA cannot please everyone all the time. NRA leaders also know that politics is the art of compromise. Thus, they may make a political decisions to support something or not support something for political reasons.

Let's take a look at the Gun Control Act of 1968. It was going to pass no matter what. The political assassinations of the 1960s, the arming up of radical groups (Weathermen Underground, Black Panthers, etc.) scared liberals and conservatives alike. The NRA helped protect gun owners rights by being at the table to help craft compromises. I believe that we would have lost a lot more in 1968 if the NRA had simply yelled "no compromise" and refused to take a seat at the table.

This argument does not do much for the blood pressure of those gunnies who quote "...shall not be infringed." They argue that every gun law, or at least most of them, are unconstitutional. You know something, they're probably right. Many gun laws have no basis in the Constitution or the Second Amendment.

No matter how true this is, the United States has always had some sort of gun laws. In the 18th Century, slaves could not own guns. Most white landowners were required to own a non-rifled musket (useless for hunting) and show up at militia practice. In the 19th Century there were laws against concealed carry, and even possessing a gun in some Western towns if you were a stranger.

We have gun laws now. Way too many of them. Many are unconstitutional, but asserting that loudly gets you no where except maybe jail (depending on your actions). The laws must be repealed and new laws must be stopped in their tracks. The only way to do that is through politics. The NRA is the best positioned lobby we have to fight for gun rights. Also, don't forget that anti-gunnies have a voice and they use it.

The courts do not offer us much either. They are the ones who basically decide what is Consitutional. We all know that courts are not really on our side. Even if we win a sweeping Supreme Court victory we will still have some gun laws. Any decision they hand down will include words like, "subject to reasonable regulation." Congress and state lawmakers will decide what is reasonable.

I am as strong a believer in the Second Amendment as anyone out there. I give money to pro-gun groups every two-weeks in payroll deductions. I buy a lot of guns and a lot of ammo. I run this blog. I vote and I write letters and make calls to Congresscritters. I know the NRA has done stupid things in the past and will do so in the future. I know they're not perfect, but their collective voice has helped be retain my gun rights through too many attempts at stripping them from me.

I urge people to join the NRA and vote in board members that support your idea of the Second Amendment or your favorite shooting sport. If you don't, then you have no voice in the one pro-rights organization that Congress and state legislatures actually hear.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Mandatory Health Care--No Way!

This is a non-gun post (unless I figure out a way to bring guns in later). Yosemite Sam and I played tortoise this weekend. That is, we pulled our shell in and didn't read the news, watch the news, or listen to the news. We had fun, but stayed blissfully unaware of everything else.

You miss stuff when you do that and you realize everyone is talking about important stuff. For instance, Presidential Candidate John Edwards is calling for universal health care. But, he doesn't stop at that.

He said, "It [his plan] requires that everybody be covered. It requires that everybody get preventive care." and then, "If you are going to be in the system, you can't choose not to go to the doctor for 20 years. You have to go in and be checked and make sure that you are OK." He mentions mammograms and possibly mental health visits (this is not very definite).

I really hate this idea. First off, I may not want to visit a doctor and that's my choice. It may not be the smartest choice, or not, but it's my choice. Further, if you visit a doctor who recommends a treatment, what happens if you refuse that treatment? What if that treatment's a diet and you can't resist those cupcakes and you fail to meet your goals? Will they fine you, put you in a fat camp and sweat it off you, or what?

What if the doctor advises you to take a psychotropic drug because you said you got sad when your cat died? What if a doctor asks if you have guns and then orders them taken away for your own good (I knew I could sneak guns in here somewhere)?

I wouldn't vote for Edwards if he was running against Jack the Ripper. I might, however, want to sell him hair gel and retire early. What a putz.

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.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Making Gun Sports Fade Away

Alphecca covers this article about a proposal to let up to 50 of Great Britain’s top handgun shooters practice shooting in England. This would allow them to prepare for the Olympics in 2012 and then the ban on handgun shooting would once fall again. Predictably some anti-gunnies are totally against this even though there will be many “safeguards” in place.

Here’s what strikes me about rules that would allow up to 50 shooters to practice, or laws that limit handguns to licensed competitors, or any such similar idea: How do you identify those 50 people? What happens as the older competitors get old and die off? If shooting sports become so hard to enter how will we find young people to replenish the ranks?

Basically we can’t. So many of these “common sense” ideas such as licensing competitors or any gun owner, or keeping firearms in a police operated arsenal, or making people jump through government hoops are designed to keep young people out of the shooting sports. The more hassles, the fewer people entering the sport.

At the same time, it’s getting harder to find ranges open to the public. Commercial ranges are getting more expensive. Membership in some local gun clubs is expensive or they’re hard to join. In some countries you face a Catch-22; you can only get a gun license if you’re already an experienced shooter, but you can’t get experience unless you're an experience shooter.

On one hand, I think more people in the United States are buying guns right now, but on the other hand, not many buyers will take up a gun sport. Too many guns will be bought for defense and languish in a nightstand. There’s nothing wrong with defense, I believe in it heartily, but marksmanship is important. One reason it’s so important is that some people must master their sport, so that he or she can teach their knowledge and skills to younger people.

If those younger people don’t become “serious” shooters they will not be able to pass any knowledge and skills to their children even if they can (or are allowed to) pass a gun to an heir.

I don’t know what the future of shooting will be, but I know we have to pass it down to those who come after us.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

"Circles" E-Postal Match

I haven't written much here recently about getting out and shooting. Truth is Yosemite Sam and I just haven't been out much due to work and other demands. Still, we did get to the range last weekend and shot a number of guns and truly burned some powder.

I decided to shoot the "Circle" e-postal match that The Conservative UAW Guy is sponsoring. Until last year, I shoot a lot of bullseye pistol matches. I had to take a hiatus because my gun club is refurbishing the indoor range. That doesn't mean that I don't practice though. The "Circles" match's rules include one target shot offhand (one hand--just like in formal bullseye shooting). The other target can be shot either offhand or with both hands. I was enthusiastic about this match.

I shot my first target with a .45 Long Colt cowboy-type pistol. I was disappointed in the results. I discovered the gun that I thought was fairly accurate shoots to the left. Hmmm...nothing like having a different target to force one to discover certain unpleasant truths. No one will ever see that target (shudder).

I got out my bullseye pistol, that I featured here. I resighted it in for the 25 feet the rules required and shot a target. I did great on that one. But, I found out it was beginner's luck, at least for the Circles target. Let's roll that footage:

As you can see, I had a couple of throwers, but most hit home. I hit the edge of the smallest circle (13 points), but I have a little secret: I wasn't aiming at it. I was aiming at the bottom of the #4 ring and accidentally hit the 13 ring. I stared at it through my spotting scope and couldn't believe it. Knock me over with a feather. I got a total score of 88 out of a possible 91. I used a strategy of shooting the #8 ring first and then slightly raising my aim to hit the #7, then the #9 then #6 and so forth.

I then got humbled. I shot the next target with both hands and found the gun's grips don't really lend themselves to that practice. I managed to eke out a 56 on that target and here it is:

For the life of me, I couldn't even hit the #4 ring and sent a cluster of bullets next to it. Of course, I thought I could do better and took the last circle target I brought and tried in offhand. No improvement over 56. Thus I got a total of 144 for the match.

Shooting these e-postal matches is a useful practice. The targets take you out of your comfort zone and force you to try something new. If you haven't tried one, give it a whirl.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Steve "I'm Afraid of Guns" Bailey

By now most of you’ve read something about Boston Globe business columnist Steve Bailey and his potential problems with the ATF. He may have made a straw purchase while trying to show how “easy” it was to buy a gun illegally. If you haven’t read about it, catch up here and here.

Yosemite Sam and I heard Bailey on the radio last Friday, but that’s not what I want to talk about right now. Instead, Bailey wrote something in last Friday’s column (the one in which he tries to blame the NRA for well almost everything). He brags that, “…I’m afraid of guns.” He implied that he didn’t even touch the gun his or the Globe's money bought. The one that he had someone buy for him.

This bothers me. Why do leftists think it makes them a better person when they admit to an irrational fear? Experiencing fear when a bad guy points a gun at you is rational, but fearing an inanimate object is not rational.

Bailey must have known that the three people he was with could handle a firearm properly. One was anti-gun gunowner John Rosenthal (he likes to shoot skeet). Another was a Massachusetts cop and the other was the New Hampshire prison guard who made the purchase. All of them presumably can handle firearms properly.

Bailey probably realized that under supervision he could have safely handled the gun (perhaps he did and he’s lying). He could have even received bare bones training and then safely fired the gun in an appropriate place. But no, he has to make it a point that he fears guns.

Does he think that saying he’s afraid of guns makes him a reliable source on gun policy? In fact, I don’t think someone who’s afraid of cars should set highway policy. Or someone who’s afraid of knives should tell us how to prepare food.

With this statement Bailey admits that he’s the last person we should listen to on this issue. So, why should I listen to this fool on any issue? Too bad I don’t subscribe to the Globe—it would be so satisfying to cancel it.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Happy B'day to the AK-47 and Shooting a Clone

The New York Times "Week in Review" section has an article on the AK-47. Knock me over with a feather, but it has little anti-gun snark. The article centers on the weapon’s 60th anniversary of the weapon attended by its maker Mikhail Kalashnikov, now 87 years old.

The article states that Russia celebrated the gun’s “birthday” with pomp, circumstance, and a little chagrin. They praised the gun's world-wide acceptance, but they’re not happy that so many other countries are making and selling the iconic weapon. In many cases, the former Soviet Union established the very factories in those countries that are competing with them now.

The Russians are also unhappy that America has been buying a large number of AK-47s for Iraqi and Afghani police forces but not buying them from Russia. In other words, Russia wants to become the premier seller for AK-47s.

I think that horse has already left the barn, but who knows. Of course, they can’t sell a true AK-47 in America—at least not one made after 1986 (thanks to the execrable Hughes Amendment to the Firearms Owner Protection Act). Semi-auto versions are still legal here.

Yosemite Sam has a semi-auto Romanian AK clone, a SAR-1. He enjoys shooting it, but I’ve never developed much liking for the rifle. The gun is all black stamped metal and a particularly unlovely wood with little finish. Not exactly the esthetic I look for in a gun. Still, that’s not the most important reason for my dislike of this one (and so far only) gun.

It beats me up when I shoot it. There must be a strange confluence of the gun’s shape and my body structure. No matter how I hold the gun when I shoot it, the rear of the stock flips up and bashes me in the cheekbone. I guess I could shoot from the hip like the Brady Campaign suggests is so deadly, but there’s no fun in that.

I guess I’ll have to settle watching Yosemite Sam shoot his AK clone while I shoot my AR-15 clone. Thinking of it that way, I’m not settling for anything.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

New OSHA Comments Deadline and the NRA

Who says the NRA doesn't have clout when it comes to gun issues? According to a trade magazine for occupational health and safety, OSHA will increase the time for comment on its controversial recommendations that would demand retailers, manufacturers, and handloaders to treat ammunition the same way they would treat much more volatile explosives (smokeless powder is not even an explosive).

The article states;
The NRA is organizing opposition to the rule, which it believes would prohibit possessing firearms in gun stores (and other commercial facilities containing explosives); require evacuation of such facilities, "even your local Wal-Mart," the organization says, during an electrical storm; and prohibit smoking within 50 feet of such facilities.
The new deadline for comments is September 10, so get your cards and letters in. Keep them respectful and let them know that ammunition sales do not have to be regulated out of existence. Explain that modern ammo cannot be exploded with a spark, a match, a thunderstorm or any thing else that these people claim.

Also, this is one reason I am an Endowment/Life member of the NRA. I don't agree with everything they do, but they get attention when it's needed.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Gun Lies on the Radio Today

I came into work today all hot around the collar. I was driving to work and listening to a radio talk show. It’s called “Finneran’s Forum.” Host Tom Finneran was the Speaker of the Massachusetts House and practically ran the state for some time.

Finneran made a few wrong comments to Federal investigators looking into a possible gerrymandered redistricting map based on race. He ended up plea bargainong a felony conviction. I am unsettled about his conviction—the same type that got Martha Stewart and Scooter Libby. Any one could make a false statement even without lying and end up in the same position. Still, Finneran was convicted for a felony.

Finneran is a conservative Democrat and has surprising stands on many current issues. In other words, he’s not a moonbat even though he is a Democrat. This week, he has a co-host Todd Feinburg who is generally on the right. So, I was very interested when they announced their next segment would be on gun rights.

I turned up the volume and began a slow boil. They interviewed anti-gun leader John Rosenthal who sponsors a giant pro-gun control billboard placed on the Massachusetts turnpike near Boston. He is unveiling a new campaign on it—one that suggests we would have peace in our inner cities if only the NRA hadn’t bought off Congress and the White House.

Finneran objected to this and I waited for fireworks. They didn’t happen because his objection was to the thought that any lobbyist can “buy” a Congress critter at all. He and Feinburg, who I thought might know better, let Rosenthal get away with a lot of big, fat, porking anti-gun lies.

1) Rosenthal mentioned he was a gun owner and shoots skeet. At the same time, he opposes ownership of small handguns (maybe even target models) and “military-style” weapons. Too bad Finneran or Feinburg couldn’t point out that many people use “military-style” rifles for well-organized target shooting (Camp Perry matches anyone) and the guns are not true military guns anyway.

2) Rosenthal repeatedly talked about criminals buying guns in gun shows which he described as unregulated. He said most guns sold there go to anyone with the money. That’s not true. Gun shows are not a big source of crime guns and licensed dealers have to follow the same laws they would follow in their shops.

3) Rosenthal mentioned that most gun owners support a system where criminals could not easily buy guns. That could be true. I don’t like criminals buying guns, but the devil is in the details. He wants a Massachusetts style registration/licensing scheme—the same one that drove me out of the state.

I got to work before the segment ended and was so incensed I tried the call-in number but got a busy signal. Unless there was a change after I parked the car, there was little refutation of Rosenthal’s outright fibs, most of which were lies of omission. He knows that gun shows are not unregulated. He knows most gun owners would not support a Massachusetts-style scheme. He knows that “military-style” guns are not truly military guns.

Finneran and Feinburg should know better. They need to do a little research before letting outright lies go over the airwaves. Ironically, Finneran cannot touch a gun legally. Heh, maybe Rosenthal should invite Finneran for some skeet shooting and we can watch him give Finneran a gun and then we can watch the arrests. Nah, I couldn't nark like that.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Ammo, Dollars, and OSHA

Yosemite Sam and I went to our favorite gun store yesterday. We keep a fair amount of ammo on hand and also reload calibers we shoot the most. Thus we haven’t had to buy ammo like .45 Long Colt for awhile. Yes we've had to buy .22LR and other stuff, but that didn’t prepare us for sticker shock. As I reached for a box of Cowboy style .45LC, I saw a price sticker of $33.95 on the boxes and quickly snatched back my hand.

This is not a rare caliber people. It's become even more popular with Cowboy Action shooting. I decided that it was time to revisit the loading bench rather than buying new fodder. I know there’s good reasons for the price increase in ammo. I've been keeping up with posts from various people, but this hits home. It could also be very discouraging for those that are new to shooting. It is hard to buy a product for $33.95 that you’re planning to burn up in one short range session.

If you think prices are bad now, there's a proposed OSHA regulation that would treat small arms ammunition just like the most powerful explosives. If promulgated, the regulation would kill sport shooting. Xavier is all over it (as are gunnie organizations), so go do the clicky thing and learn more.

This proposed (and I have to stress it is only proposed) regulation is a perfect example of the law of unintended consequences. Every law, rule or regulation has goals—sometimes good sometimes bad depending on how you look at it. But, every one of them had consequences that no one foresaw. For instance, outlawing certain drugs has led to gang warfare, full prisons, and mayors bleating about banning guns in inner cities.

Let’s assume that OSHA is not ran by a bunch of bed-wetting gun fearing wussies (I know it’s a tretch). The employees who researched and drafted the proposal just want to make us safer. They want to reduce the loss of life of explosions in gun stores. Of course, this is a non-problem, but when did that ever stop a regulator.

The unintended consequence of such a regulation would be to virtually kill ammo sales. Thus a government agency presumably with no intent to damage ammo retailers and manufacturers could accomplish what anti-gunnies have been trying to do for years.

If I thought a box of .45 Long Colt was too expensive, if this rule passes I ain’t seen nothing yet.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Summer Camp that Goes Boom

I suffered a minor disappointment today. I glanced at the New York Times before starting my work day and saw a summer camp that teaches participants how to use explosives properly.

I can't say that I've ever been into blowing things up, but I certainly could have a lot of fun doing just that. It seems like the camp is only for high school kids who are planning a mining or explosives engineering career. I wonder if I could pass as a high school kid....

Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Ten Ring is X-rated?

There's a little blog thing I've seen recently. It gives your blog a movie rating. I tried it out and was surprised to see this:

Online Dating

It is based on having "gun" appear 27 times, "hell" twice, and "bitch" once.

Since when do I live in a country where gun is a dirty word? I have tried, believe it or not, to keep the tone of this blog reasonable. I try not to swear too much, although Lord knows its a struggle. I don't even put up boobie pictures--or for that matter beefcake.

Well, in order to get a PG rating, I wll spell gun, g*n. I will use only respectable words like shit, cock, damn, motherfucker (yippee-ki-yay), and other such PG words. Just kidding of course.

Who the hell thought gun should be listed as a dirty word in the first place? Must have been some latte-sipping, Birkenstock-wearing, lamppost-hugging city dweller.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

No more voting for RINO's

Today, the U.S. Senate finally listened to the American people and denied the final cloture vote on the Senate Immigration bill.

Unfortunately, one of my Senators, Judd Gregg, voted for this shameful bill. I’ve known for some time that Senator Gregg is a squishy RINO ; he voted for an extension of the Assault Weapon ban.

However, I still voted for Gregg in the subsequent election because I felt that his opponent was much worse. No more.

In no way, will I vote for Senator Gregg again, even if his opponent is to the left of Hillary. I’m tired of voting for politicians who are only slightly better than their opponent. For now on, if I am presented with a choice between a RINO like Gregg and an avowed socialist, I will leave that choice blank.

Better a Socialist who actually stands for something than a wishy-washy RINO who will end up voting the same way as the socialist. If this country is going to go down the tubes, better a swift trip down the drain than the drip-drip of incrementalism.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

My Email to Senator Judd Gregg

Dear Senator Gregg,

I am writing to urge you to vote no on cloture on the immigration bill before the Senate. This bill is bad for New Hampshire and bad for the United States. The path to citizenship rewards people who have violated our laws and harms working Americans by driving down wages.

I feel strongly enough about this issue that I regret to say that I cannot support you in your next election if you vote for this bill. I voted for you in your last election and generally vote for Republicans, but I have to say that the direction of the Republican leadership in the Senate has been shameful on this issue and at odds with the wishes of the Republican rank and file and the American people as a whole.

Again, I urge you to not support this bill.


----, NH


Senator Gregg voted for cloture on the amnesty bill.
NH needs to remove this RINO from office.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Musings and Camping

I don't have an essay today and don't really have much to say on gun rights. That's a problem with blogging on guns; no matter how many victories we win, and we do win some, there's always someone making emotional yawps and getting good press.

Gun control evokes the emotions--we have to do something about the violence and who needs something that kills anyway. I feel like I have said everything, made every argument, and dotted every "i" without doing any good.

So, instead of that, I'll blog a little about our weekend. Yosemite Sam, Cooper (the Ten Ring's Basset Hound mascot), and I went to Lake Umbagog State Park in northern New Hampshire. It's only a few miles from Errol, NH which is only a few miles from nowhere. We froze our asses off, to put it bluntly.

A thunderstorm crashed down on us Friday and night time temperatures were in the 40s with the wind coming off the lake. We stayed in a tent. Talk about cold. I woke up early Saturday morning with chattering teeth.

You see, I hate sleeping bags because they confine me too much. Maybe I have a few latent claustrophobia issues, who knows. So, I sleep on a cot with an open sleeping bag as a mattress and blankets for warmth. Somehow, I had kicked off the blankets. Talk about cold. I didn't know I could get that cold in the summer.

Saturday's day time was not much better, but it didn't rain. There we were, in late June, wearing jackets and long underwear like it was late October. Tell me why we live in New England again? Of course, Sunday dawned nice and warmed up to the 70s. It only did that because we were leaving.

We did get a lot of fresh air. All of us including Cooper managed to get some exercise. Time in the forest is worth some rain and freezing one's toes off. Saturday, I cooked a couple of rib eye steaks on an open fire and roasted potatoes in the coals. Something about a wood fire makes steaks even better. Needless to say, we didn't go into the forest unarmed, so I won't say it.

All in all, it was nice crawling into my own bed last night and not listening to the incessant whine of mosquitoes.