Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Yosemite Sam and I hope you and yours had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We are home in New Hampshire and it is good to be here. Yosemite Sam loves how quiet it is. Our cat loves being able to go upstairs and be away from the dog.

I cooked a small meal with some traditional elements. We called family. In short, we had a great day. It is good to be away from thinking about politics, work, and other stuff.

We took that civics test that many people are talking (no link, not sure how to do links on a Blackberry). Yosemite Sam got every one right and I missed one. I noticed these results are similar to other gun bloggers and commenters. Not too bad for a bunch of cousin-loving, redneck, bitter clingers. The average on the web site was about 78 per cent.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Over The River

Well, I tried to blog yesterday, but I am taking today off and the boss kept tossing stuff on my desk to get done before my mini-vacation.

Of course I could have blogged from home, but packing took precedence. I am posting this from Yosemite Sam's truck from my Blackberry (phone-blogging, is this a great country or what).

We're on our way home to New Hampshire where we will eat, shoot our new and old guns, and have fun. Talk to you all later.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Gun Nut Weekend

Yosemite Sam and I were busy enjoying our gun-nuttiness to its fullest. That also means that we spent more money than we planned. Oh well, such is life. After all, what’s the point of working if you can’t spend the proceeds of that work on something you enjoy?

Friday night, Yosemite Sam and I joined yet another gun club, an Izaak Walton League Chapter here in Maryland. The chapter is also engaged in conservation work, supporting fishing and hunting rights, and other good works. All in all, we believe it’s a good fit. Still a year’s worth of membership and initiation fees does make the pocketbook a bit lighter.

Saturday, we went to the Nation’s Gun Show in Chantilly, VA (thanks to Matt at Armed Canadian for offering to pick stuff up early for us—we saw his comment to this post too late to take him up on it).

Yesterday was cold with a raw wind. We arrived at the Dulles Expo Center around 10:30and faced full parking lots. After parking, we stood outside in line for about 15 minutes with the wind chapping our faces, the concrete chilling our feet. We paid the $12.00 each admission fee and roamed around.

We bought some books, several magazines for our ARs and a semi-auto handgun of mine. We didn’t buy ammo partly because we had recently bought some and because they had few individual boxes. Dealers had good supplies of 1000 round cases of .223, but we’re waiting for pay day and we’ll be in tax-free New Hampshire over Thanksgiving (wink wink.

We saw lots of guns in this huge show. Dealers showed $25,000 muskets, and $25,000 Thompson submachine guns (not the same dealers). Disturbingly, there was no beef jerky. Sad, but true. Ammo dealers and black rifle dealers were doing a brisk business.

We saw media camera crews interviewing dealers and customers. I hope they don’t focus on militaria vendors with their German helmets and swastikas, but that’s probably too much to hope for. We witnessed the humanity that you see at guns shows; ordinary people who simply like to shoot and go to a gun show for wide selections of guns, gear, and accessories all at 15% included.

In short, we came home poorer, tired, and today I am reading about the competitive AR-15, one of the books I bought at the show.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sad Commentary

In going through the referrals in Sitemeter, I noticed a sad commentary on today’s attitude toward gunnies. A Google searcher was looking for how society views people who choose “riflery.” I may be reading too much into it, or even reading it wrong (see screenshot and you can interpret it as you wish).

At one time in America owning a rifle and mastering it was not something that you would even question. For various reasons people valued those skills. The book I reviewed here has a chapter on a famous rifle match in the 1800s held at Creedmoor and how the public was entranced with the plucky American team.

It’s a shame that nowadays we even after worry about society’s attitude toward us. It’s even worse that we have to worry about gun bans and other such nonsense. Life in America today. Sigh.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Voting with Our Pocketbooks

We have all read of increases in gun, ammo, and accessories sales. Stores are running out of guns, prices are going up, magazines are getting hard to find. The anti-gun people are fuming in numerous editorials and on places like Democratic Underground.

I believe most of the increase stems from concerns that the incoming administration will pass laws that ban sales of black rifles, ban sales of normal capacity magazines, and who knows what they might pass to decrease ammo sales.

The best way to let the incoming administration know how we feel is to continue “voting with our pocketbooks.” When people open up their wallets and plunk down $1,000.00 for a rifle, $100.00 for magazines, and $200.00 for ammo it means that people are serious about owning all three. It means more guns in American hands. It means that enforcing future bans will be a nightmare.

Today is National Ammo Day. If you can’t buy ammo today, get out this weekend and buy at least 100 rounds. In Michael Bane’s words, “Buy, Buy, Buy.”

Yosemite Sam and I are going to a gun show in Virginia this weekend and we’ll be buying magazines (if available) and more ammo. Who knows, maybe another booomstick will follow us home.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fudds Redux

(NOTE: Yosemite Sam put up a post on this subject just as I was finishing this one. Rather than toss it in the bit bucket, here it is.)

Bill Schneider has gone and started the whole Fudd thing up again. We all know what a Fudd is. Well, don’t we? Just in case, “Fudd” is derived from Elmer Fudd the hapless hunter of Bugs Bunny. It often describes people who are lukewarm on at least some aspects of gun rights, but could mean more depending on the reader.

I think the name Fudd is too encompassing to be useful. Yosemite Sam said recently “Fuck the Fudds” a sentiment not well received by some. By Fudds, Yosemite didn't mean all hunters, bullseye shooters, silhouette shooters, or others who don’t do “tactical.” Instead he defined Fudds as those gun owners who actively work against gun rights—or at least rights to own some guns (see comment #14).

Schneider went ahead and proved Yosemite right. He said, “Losing some of my gun rights doesn’t make my top twenty concerns. If that makes me a ‘traitor,’ well, we have a pandemic of treason in this country.” He would gladly trade some of his gun rights in order to have Obama fight corporate greed, homelessness, and stop “unwinnable” wars. He even takes us to task for saying we would not buy from Cooper Firearms because company president Dan Cooper supported Obama.

Have you noticed that when union members or others on the left agree not to spend their hard-earned money for a cause it’s noble. When gun owners do it, it’s somehow “a mean-spirited attack” (yes Schneider said that).

I have no argument against Fudds if it means only hunters. Yosemite Sam and I hunt and often have as much luck in the field as good ole Elmer had against Bugs. But I do have plenty to say, none of it nice, about gun owners who would throw me and mine under the bus.

These gun owners aren’t Fudds, they’re turncoats who want to register/license guns, ban black rifles or handguns, and support “common-sense restrictions.” We have enough of these laws that don’t work.

Here’s a big difference between them and me. You see, I’ll gladly protect their rights to own an over/under shotgun and a scoped Cooper rifle. In fact, I own guns that the Fuddiest Fudd would love. But, they’re willing to ban other guns that I own and like to shoot.

Oh, Schneider also took the NRA to task and believes that 99% of us gun nuts belong to it. Let's prove him right. If you're not a member, clicky.

There’s a gun show coming up, I think I need more magazines, ammo, maybe another black rifle. Hmmm….

Fudd the Fudds

Sebastian has a short post that questions the use of this term. What can I say, I disagree. I think the word Fudd is a useful term for the subset of hunters who just don't get it and will gleefully vote for someone like Obama and throw every other shooter under the bus as long as they get to keep their precious hunting rifles and shotguns.

As I said in a comment on his blog:
I for one have never seen the term Fudd ever used as a general term for all hunters. If that was the case, I would be a Fudd as well. I just can’t get with the program of making nice with a group(Fudd’s & western Democrats) who hold my rights in disdain and tell me that the government would never take away my guns(unless I own a military style “assault weapon” or a handgun or a bb gun or ……).

We (the non-Fudd's) didn't create the wedge in the shooting community. I have absolutely no problem with them as long as they leave me and mine alone. But they don't want to do that. They have been selling our rights down the river for the last 40 years and I for one have no desire to play nice-nice with them.

How many of you out there have a story about a Fudd at the gun club that was giving you crap because of your black rifle or your less than pricey shotgun? I bet just about everyone has a story.

Maybe when Fudds stop looking down on the rest of the shooting community as nothing more than dog shit on their shoes, I can make nice. Anyone see that happening anytime soon?

Friday, November 14, 2008

American Rifle: A Biography (Gunnie Book Review)

Alexander Rose is an American-born military historian who grew up in Australia, was educated in Great Britain, once lived in Canada, now lives in New York, and a former journalist. He wrote American Rifle as a biography of well, American rifles. Given his own mini-biography (see his website) you might think we would decry the role of rifles in America (given that there is an “America Sucks” school of history).

Instead, Rose has maintained an admirable objectivity. He concerns himself primarily with military rifles. Sometimes he makes room for discussions of what was going on in the civilian market, but mainly as that market would then or later affect the military.

American Rifle opens with a vignette. In 1772, Charles Wilson Peale is painting a portrait of the youngish George Washington who insisted that a rifle be included in the background. The book then backtracks into earlier history of the rifle. Later, Rose states that Washington learned to appreciate rifles as an Indian fighter on the colonial frontier.

Washington became the model of what Rose describes as the tension between sharpshooting and mass firing philosophies. As commander of the colonial forces during the American Revolution, Washington at first stressed aimed fire by small bands of marksmen. He learned that battle still had to be joined with soldiers bearing muskets (in fact, the army had too many rifles and scrambled to find muskets). The conflict between marksmanship and mass-firing continued to affect rifle development throughout United States history.

Rose names the advocates of marksmanship the “progressives” (no relation to people who use the name today) who believed that war could be fought by small cadres of marksmen who would surgically destroy an enemy through long-range carefully aimed shots. He names the mass-firing disciples the “diehards” who believed in throwing a great deal of lead while fighting at closer ranges—much like 18th century lines of musket wielding troops who pointed their weapons but did not aim them.

Rose discusses the development of most of America’s military rifles and shows how the tension between progressives and diehards explain some truly surprising choices in military rifles. For instance, after the Civil War the Ordnance Department believed the “Trapdoor” Springfield had reached the absolute zenith of accuracy and fire discipline. Small bands of marksmen could use it to hit officers and enemy soldiers at 1,000 yards. In this context, former Union officers and others formed the National Rifle Association to increase marksmanship and lead the way to such a military.

Unfortunately for progressives, soldiers experienced something quite different in the Indian Wars. Instead, Indians attacked quickly and tried to get among the soldiers. The soldiers needed repeating rifles that could throw a lot of lead. They pushed the military to consider repeating arms such as the Winchester and others.

Slowly, the army began to adopt repeaters, but even as late as 1900 kept a magazine cut-off that would force a soldier to load one cartridge at a time (as on the 1903 Springfield rifle). Another five rounds were kept in “reserve” in the internal magazine.

Today, we still have arguments between very accurate guns and rapid-firing guns and tactics that take advantage of one or both (see the chapter on the M-14 versus the M-16 especially).

I wish Rose had included more discussion of civilian guns. Granted, most civilian makers have tried to get the military interested in their guns. Also, military developments certainly impact the civilian market (less so now with banning civilian ownership and development of new fully-auto rifles).

American Rifle explains how our rifles came into being. It describes the successful innovations and the failures. It shows that their development was not just one straight line from the Kentucky Rifle to the M4 Carbine. At any point, another road could have been taken. It tells of lost opportunities such as the early breechloader invented by John H. Hall. It is well written and a valuable addition to any gunnie’s library.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Remember what I said about Fudds(or Blue Dogs)

via Sebastian, we have a new name to add to the growing list of so-called pro-gun, Obama supporting Democrats.

John Patrick Williams is a former Congressman from Montana who wrote another one of those screeds about how I support gun rights, but the NRA is now so radical and partisan and Obama isn't going to take your guns.

They must have a form letter keyed up on the server at the DNC.

He starts by asserting his pro-gun creds:
"During my nine terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, I had a 100 percent
voting record with the National Rifle Association. Not once did I vote for gun
control; ..."

He goes on to say how the NRA endorsed him in each of his elections.

Now we come to the BUT.

"Thus, I have been both saddened and alarmed to watch that organization's
three-decade-long lurch toward the political Far Right"

But they still supported him, a Democrat and they still support pro-gun Democrats, like Dan Boren from Oklahoma who spoke at the 2008 NRA convention.

He goes on:

"The organization's primary focus should be on vastly improving game habitat in
America, advancing hunting fair play, and the safety of our youngest hunters."

No, the primary focus of the organization should be what the membership vote for it to do. The membership see the 3 decade long attack on their right to bear arms and they want the NRA to fight that.

Now he really gets out the smoke generator:
"First the good news: The federal government, your elected officials, never have
and are not now conspiring to take our guns."

You have to wonder where this guy was throughout the 1990's, on Mars? Does he not remember the Assault Weapon Ban, Diane Feinstein's famous remark about Mr. & Mrs. America to turn them all in. The confiscations in California, which his party runs, lock, stock & barrel.


"The urge to blame President-elect Obama is a transparent example of how utterly
partisan the gun groups and far too many of their adherents have become."

Wow, did he really say that. Sorry to be rude, Mr. Congressman, but have you looked on your President-elect's transition web site. It says, right there, that he wants to restore the "assault weapons ban. And we are the ones that are paranoid and partisan for taking the man at his word?

He goes on to say that Obama's record "somewhat favored gun control" Somewhat! The man is on record saying that he wants to ban concealed carry, ban so-called "assault weapons", the list goes on & on & on. He is without a doubt the most anti-gun individual to be elected President in American history.

But Congressman Williams, I'll make you a deal.

If Obama would say the following, maybe a little faith and trust could develop about your party's commitment to the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution:

I will sign no bill or issue no executive order that in any way, shape or form infringes on Americans rights & freedom to own any firearms or firearm paraphernalia they may so choose to own that are legal at the time I was elected.

Guess what, it isn't going to happen.

Folks, get used to this. The Democrats are going to go whole hog to discredit the NRA and gun owners. They are going to trot out their pet Blue Dogs and get them to write editorials like this which I term I support gun rights but.....

It's going to get worse before it gets better.

We Already Have Gun Control Laws

Yesterday, Ten Ring had 835 hits (a lot for us). Most of them came from links to this post on why gunnies are buying guns now. Thanks to CrankyLitProf for the link and kind words, kudos to Tam, and thanks to SayUncle.

I wrote a comment on CrankyLitProf (if you have a love/hate relationship with a cat, you must read this post). I wanted to follow up on that comment and my original post. If you’re already a gunnie, this will be old hat, but maybe not so much for others.

Many Americans say that they don't want governement to take away our guns. They only want tougher controls. You see that's the problem, most of these people have little ideas about what laws exist now (read the links for more details--I could write too many words about all of them).

Gun owners have watched government impose tougher controls for years. In 1934 there was the tax on machine guns and sawed-off shotguns (among other items). That law is still in effect. In 1968 Congress passed the backbone of gun laws in the United States. Certain aspects of the law proved too draconian and hard to enforce and were ameliorated in 1986 with the Firearm Owners Protection Act.

Since 1986, there have been other laws and executive orders that chipped away at gun rights. Then there was the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban (AWB). The problem with this law is there's no such thing as an “assault weapon” and the law tried to define one as a semi-automatic gun (not machine guns) with certain features (bayonet lugs, pistol grips, etc.). It expired and was not renewed in 2004.

The law made no sense. Worse a gun owner could unwittingly become a felon. For instance, a husband and wife could have bought a rifle in 1998 and both used it for target shooting. The wife needed a shorter stock, so rather than buy a new rifle, the husband puts an adjustable stock on it. If the gun had been made prior to 1994, that act would be legal. If it were made after 1994, the husband committed a felony.

In the final analysis the Center for Disease Control commissioned a blue ribbon panel to find out if gun laws actually reduced crime. After exhaustive research the panel announced, “The Task Force found insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of any of the firearms laws or combinations of laws reviewed on violent outcomes.” (They added that the absence of findings was not evidence the laws were ineffective either.)

So, after 40 or 74 years (depending on how you date them) gun control laws have not proven effective. However, hundreds if not thousands of gun owners, gun store proprietors, gunsmiths and others have been prosecuted for technical violations of ineffective laws. Millions of gun owners have had to make their way through a minefield of complicated laws.

More gun laws will not solve the problem of gun violence. Instead, go to the heart of it and figure out why too many young men are shooting, stabbing, and bludgeoning other young men. But, that solution takes too much work. So, instead we’re hearing about another round of ineffective laws. It’s enough to make you cry.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Reconciliation and All That

I stumbled on a new site (thanks Smallest Minority). People send a message by posting pictures of themselves holding up signs. This one is called "From 52 to 48 with Love." Most of the messages, as the site name implies, are from Obama voters to McCain voters. They make nicey-nicey kissy faces for us. Their messages are things like, "58 to 48 = 1" and "Together we can make us better."

Hard to argue with the sentiment, but that's all it is. Most of them want us to come over to their side. To unite behind their Obama.

I agree that Obama won the election and he's legitimately the President-Elect. But, I'm concerned about what his policies will do to me and mine. For instance, one of the 52's mentioned we can have better health care if we work together. I don't want government to have power over me that health care could entail.

People have told me not to sweat about an Obama presidency. They say he would not want to spend the political capital it would take to pass gun control, socialized health care, green issues, etc.

Here's the thing. What if Obama decides that his ideas are too important to put on hold? What if he feels he won't win a second term because so many oppose him? He could go hell for leather and ram through many of his ideas in his first two years in office. He could then spend the next two years defending his gains against a possibly less favorable Congress (a significant percentage of Americans support almost everything he wants, so he might not even lose Congress).

By the time there's a new President, the damage would be done. We gunnies have never been able to get rid of the Hughes amendment. Could we get rid of an Obama imposed ban on "assault weapons," a ban on concealed carry, a new department for health care, a new civilian security force, etc? We might be able to change or abolish some things, but the damage will be done for years to come.

And, while we're at it, I know that the 52's on the photo site are trying to extend an olive branch and for that I thank them. But, will they promise to support the President after Obama who tries to undo Obama's terrible policies?

The stakes are frighteningly high, which is why I'll resist the new President with everything I can. I will use this blog, my letter writing skills, and everything else I can to slow down the juggernaut. My contribution will be vanishingly small, but united we can make a difference, so--forgive me--Together We Can!

Friday, November 07, 2008

More Guns in American Hands, Yay

Surprise! Surprise! I glanced at the on-line version of The New York Times (I do not subscribe to that or to any other paper, and still I read a lot of news--ain't the web grand). What do I see, but an article about increased gun sales.

These increases are not just a little bump. I guess the entire country must have read my post advocating we buy guns, ammo, and reloading supplies (I know it's not so, just let me bask in my delusion for a moment...there done).

Yosemite Sam and I already did our part. Once the economy tanked, I suspected that Obama would win. We went to New Hampshire over Columbus Day and I bought a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle to join my AR-15 carbine (an M4gery with collapsible stock and even a [useless] bayonet lug].

Yosemite Sam bought a Dragunov-type rifle that he's wanted for awhile. He likes the AK platform. I found that I can't shoot one. The recoil slams its stock into my cheek bone and bruising around the face is not good.

This weekend, we're going to a sporting goods store in Pennsylvania (we don't entirely trust Maryland gun laws yet) and buy some ammo, AR magazines, and reloading supplies. That is, if they are available.

In case there is an anti-gunnie reading this, I honestly don't expect to fire a rifle in anger. I'm not preparing for a survivalist's wet-dream. I'm buying them to ensure that I will have guns and ammo I need and want no matter what laws you pass. I will have them and I will pass my guns down to my heirs. But, please understand this, if you ban possession of guns and ammo, I will not turn them in, I will not register them, and I will die defending them.

Freedom to speak, to worship or not to worship as I see fit, and to own guns are all freedoms worth fighting for. I could list more freedoms, but that's enough for now.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Constructive Ideas for Hope and Change

I'm sober now and re-read my last post. The scary thing is that I would change little of it. You see, Yosemite Sam is more strident than I am. When I say things like, "...he will never be my president" you know how despondent I am. I have always cherished liberty and freedom. Liberty is heading out the window and the American people opened that window. That's the source of my despondency.

I called in sick today, but tomorrow I face my liberal coworkers--basically my entire office and boss. I have to face a woman who brags about ripping down McCain signs. A man who bought a $100.00 bottle of champagne in 2004 to toast a Kerry victory and finally blogged about drinking it last night. There's more, but I won't bore you. Suffice it to say I have to suck it up.

But, I want to be constructive here. Let's talk about protecting our firearm rights. Yosemite Sam included some of these ideas in an uber-post, so I'll repeat ourselves a little. Also, don't forget that states might enact laws even if nothing happens at the Federal level.

--Expect an "Assault Weapons" Ban sometime in the next two years. It's possible that Obama and company will not want to spend political capital, but don't count on it. Buy ammo, black rifles, and magazines.

--Expect laws to curb ammo availability such as taxation or purchase/storage limits. Some states and Congresscritters hate the fact that people can make their own ammo. Learn to reload and buy equipment and components. With care, anyone can make safe loads and thus avoid taxes, ammo registries, etc.

--Expect range closings and further demonization of gun owners. Join a local range. Be an advocate for gun ownership. Let them know you're not a cousin-lovin', banjo playin', big-bellied redneck. But, also let them know that you'll never give up your guns and your liberty.

--Expect the introduction of various anti-gun laws such as bans on concealed carry, specific weapon bans (not just AWBs), zoning gun stores out of business, convoluted regulations that are impossible to meet, etc. To fight them join the NRA.

I know that many say the NRA compromises too much. Maybe so, but if government is going to pass draconian laws, it's better to have a lobbyist that can help reduce their impact. The deck is stacked against legal and societal agreement with "the right to bear arms shall not be infringed." We have a long ways to go to get back to a basic and correct understanding of the Second Amendment. Our rights disappeared incrementally, we can protect them or get them back the same way.

Lastly, remember that we gunnies have made a lot of progress. The anti-gun people will have a lot to roll back. We can still win legislative and court victories even with an anti-gun administration. We must work to find and elect good people who will protect our rights. We must fund and file legal challenges to every anti-gun law that comes down the pike.

Let's get 'er done.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

President (N)obama

Well, at this time it looks like Obama will be the President. I am not happy about that at all and I am far from being a McCain fan. I also admit that I've had a little too much Southern Comfort to really make sense so forgive me any faux pas.

In the spirit of reconciliation I will accept Obama as the President. I will give him the same "support" and acceptance that lefties gave Bush in the last eight years. I will give him the same respect that they gave Bush and Condi Rice and Dick Cheney. I will give him the same treatment that they gave to Sarah Palin.

Yep, Obama is the president now. But, he will never be my president. He will also not be the president of almost half of the American people. The other 51% that voted for this empty suit have earned their socialism good and hard. I only hope the blowback from his policies doesn't hit me and mine.

May God have mercy on America.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Get Out and Vote!!

I hope I'm wrong, but I think Obama will win this election. Granted the polls may be wrong for any number of reasons, but they are consistent and that gives me pause. I also have a gut feeling that we will be talking about a President Obama on Wednesday.

Even if you think McCain will lose, I urge everyone to vote. If there are enough of us, Obama may only have an Electoral College win while losing the popular vote. Even if he wins both electoral and popular votes, we will put him on notice. He will see that 47-49% of Americans do not want him in the Oval Office.

I don't know if that will influence how he governs, but it could. It could also give those who oppose or are affected by Obama's policies (be that "share the wealth," or anti-gun laws) hope that we can change the political landscape in 2010 and ulitmately in 2012. Hey, that means we too can have Hope and Change.