Thursday, April 30, 2009

Representative Wu Responds

Last month I’d written a couple of blog entries regarding my correspondence with my Congressional representative, David Wu. This increased focus was precipitated by Wu’s clearly unusual interpretation of the Heller decision. His interpretation was clearly very anti-Second Amendment, but in the overwhelming majority of his correspondence he claims to support the right to keep and bear arms as a fellow “sportsman and hunter.” I therefore decided to test his level of support for the Second Amendment and grounding in the Heller decision by asking him to join 65 other Democrats in strong opposition to any re-instatement of the so-called “assault weapon ban” (which has nothing to do with any firearm that could be truly called an “assault weapon” using a technical definition of the term). I have finally received a response to that call – the short answer is “no”.

Here is the pertinent text of Wu’s response:

“Thank you for contacting me concerning your opposition to reports that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is advocating for a reinstatement of the ban on assault weapons. I appreciate hearing from you about this important issue.

“I am aware of Attorney General Holder's statements, which echo President Barack Obama's comments made during his campaign for the presidency. Any change to federal weapons regulations would require legislation passed by Congress, and currently there is no pending legislation regarding this matter. Should such legislation be introduced, I will keep your comments in mind.”

I’m certain that this is the blanket response to anyone that has sent a letter Representative Wu opposing any new “assault weapon” ban. He, or his aides, clearly paid no attention to the call to join his Democratic colleagues, nor was any attention paid to the grounding in the Heller decision.

The cynic/realist in me believes that Wu would vote for a new “assault weapon” ban in a heartbeat. It is interesting that he states that there is no pending legislation. This implies either that the previous bans proposed are officially dead or he hasn’t been paying attention to the bills submitted in Congress.

In short, I’m disappointed but not surprised by the response from Representative Wu. I’ll continue to write him on the issue and hope that there is a real alternative to vote for in 2010 as his views certainly don’t tally with mine on most issues.

Until next time!!!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Japanese Handguns in Shotgun News

The April 20th issue of Shotgun News there’s an article entitled “Japanese Handguns of World War II” – unfortunately as a Japanese collector, the subtitle sort of gives you the slant of the article from the start: “Were They as Bad as They Looked?” Peter Kokalis spends the first part of the article discussing Japan’s modest increases in production from 1937 to 1944 as compared to other nations, and then spends a fair amount of time berating Japanese Handgun experts as biased whiners who generate “puff pieces.” So from that “unbiased” starting point, Kokalis then goes on to detail many of the military sidearms used by Japan in world War II including the Type 26 Revolver as well as the Type 14 and Type 94 semi-automatic pistols.

The article is a bit more in depth than most of the Shotgun News articles I’ve read as it goes through many of the technical specifications of each gun. However, Kokalis seems to be fixated on the technical shortcomings of the firearms, especially as the war progressed. He also faults the Japanese lack of a credible sub-machine gun in quantity (which is fairly valid) and the lack of a semi-automatic rifle, referring to the Type 5 developed at the end of the war a “pathetic attempt.” Never mind that German and Soviet semi-automatics were of dubious reliability and weren’t fielded in quantity either (and the fact that Britain and Italy didn’t even field a semi-automatic rifle!).

While much of the information presented is indeed factual, many facts that are either favorable to Japan or unfavorable to nations he compares Japan’s efforts to are conveniently left out of the analysis. Japan’s level of preparedness for war was certainly no worse (and indeed, much better) than Italy’s. The quality and quantity of Japanese weapons also would compare favorably to Italy – and Japan was frequently not facing the same quality of armament that Italy was during World War II. While Japan’s handguns were of unusual design and fired a relatively weak cartridge, the Soviet Union fared little better with its ungainly M1895 revolver. A fair comparison of Japan’s Type 99 Arisaka rifle to the Mosin Nagant or any Italian bolt action would also tend to favor the Japanese arm (at least early in the war). Post-war overpressure stress tests showed the Arisaka possessed the strongest bolt action of any rifle fielded in World War II.

At the end of the day Kokalis fails to recognize that Japan, like all of the rest of the nations of World War II, prioritized design and production resources. Naval and air forces were given priority over tanks and many small arms, though Japanese rifles were very competitive until later in the war. Japan’s primary reason for war was to secure resources the island nation lacked; therefore they lacked the raw materials to produce at the levels of the United States, Soviet Union, or even Britain (which could still call upon an empire). Throw in the fact that the United States practiced unrestricted submarine warfare on Japanese shipping from 1942 onwards, and the lack of increase in industrial production is easy to understand.

Overall, I was fairly disappointed in the article as it really seems to be a hit piece or at least a “rebuttal” more than anything else. Granted, Japanese militaria has become more popular (and thus more expensive) in recent years, and that’s bound to bring detractors out of the woodwork. I put this article clearly in that camp.

Until next time!!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Carter Joins the Call for a New AWB

The droning from the leftist disarmament camp seems to be continuing at a dizzying pace, as does the continuing misinformation campaign. Now former president Jimmy Carter is getting in on the act with an editorial piece from the New York Times, a rag that is already hostile to the Second Amendment itself. As someone who believes in personal liberty, I honestly think this editorial should come with a warning label as I know my blood pressure shot through the roof at the outright lies and distortions contained in this piece. Fortunately there’s nothing new here as it is essentially a compiled re-hash of every lie and distortion that’s been used before, thus far without success this time around.

The editorial hardly gets going before the distortions and lies start:

“The evolution in public policy concerning the manufacture, sale and possession of semiautomatic assault weapons like AK-47s, AR-15s and Uzis has been very disturbing. Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and I all supported a ban on these formidable firearms, and one was finally passed in 1994.”

Of course, we know that isn’t true. The 1994 ban only indicated which features could, and could not, be combined on semi-automatic rifles after the law was passed. You could still get AK-47 clones, AR-15’s, and Uzis (with extended barrels or in pistol form) all day long – and do so legally. You could also get magazines all day long as existing stocks had been grandfathered in. Prices increased, but the “manufacture, sale, and possession” was not “banned.” That’s an outright lie, and Carter knows it! In addition you see Carter building the foundation for the “high-powered” argument with use of the phrase “formidable firearms.”

“When the 10-year ban was set to expire, many police organizations — including 1,100 police chiefs and sheriffs from around the nation — called on Congress and President George W. Bush to renew and strengthen it. But with a wink from the White House, the gun lobby prevailed and the ban expired.”

I guess Carter believes that history is written by the winners, and since the Democrats won the 2008 elections, they can re-write history. Bush actually said he’d sign a new assault weapon ban (something I held against him!), but Congress didn’t pass one. Another paragraph, another blatant fabrication.

“I have used weapons since I was big enough to carry one, and now own two handguns, four shotguns and three rifles, two with scopes. I use them carefully, for hunting game from our family woods and fields, and occasionally for hunting with my family and friends in other places. We cherish the right to own a gun and some of my hunting companions like to collect rare weapons. One of them is a superb craftsman who makes muzzle-loading rifles, one of which I displayed for four years in my private White House office.

“But none of us wants to own an assault weapon, because we have no desire to kill policemen or go to a school or workplace to see how many victims we can accumulate before we are finally shot or take our own lives. That’s why the White House and Congress must not give up on trying to reinstate a ban on assault weapons, even if it may be politically difficult.”

Wow – two paragraphs and enough distortions to fill a novel. First Carter tries to demonstrate knowledge and credibility on the subject by relating his own experiences with firearms. He fails miserably on multiple counts. The issue here isn’t hunting; the issue is the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment affirms the right to keep and bear arms for many reasons – hunting being only a peripheral one. The primary goal of the Second Amendment is to protect the nation and people from tyranny, be it foreign or domestic. Even if you look only at the hunting issue, the AR-15 is one of the most popular platforms for hunting rifles out there today. Its modularity makes it ideally suited to hunting everything from squirrel to big game.

However, the second paragraph quite frankly goes beyond the pale. He basically states that any individual who owns a so-called “assault weapon” wants to commit mass murder and kill police officers. This is a blatant insult to many law-abiding American citizens bordering on slander. At the very least Carter owes millions of American citizens an apology. Frankly I’d like to see him slapped with a defamation suit.

“An overwhelming majority of Americans, including me and my hunting companions, believe in the right to own weapons, but surveys show that they also support modest restraints like background checks, mandatory registration and brief waiting periods before purchase.”

I’d like to see the polls he allegedly cites here. His first statement, regarding recognizing the Second Amendment affirms an individual right, tallies with the polls I’ve seen. I’d also tend to agree that the polls I’ve read support the assertion that most Americans support background checks. I question whether or not the majority, much less the “overwhelming majority” of Americans support universal registration and waiting periods. Clever how he groups those all together without citing sources.

“A majority of Americans also support banning assault weapons. Many of us who hunt are dismayed by some of the more extreme policies of the National Rifle Association, the most prominent voice in opposition to a ban, and by the timidity of public officials who yield to the group’s unreasonable demands.”

Here’s a poll I’ve never seen. I again seriously doubt whether a majority of Americans “support banning assault weapons.” Of those that do, I believe many of them think an “assault weapon ban” refers to fully-automatic, not semi-automatic firearms. However the disarmament camp isn’t interested in educating the public as to what their proposed legislation actually covers. In fact, they seem to be counting on that level of public ignorance. Also included here is the typical demonization of the NRA. I wonder if Carter remembers that JFK was an NRA member?

“Heavily influenced and supported by the firearms industry, N.R.A. leaders have misled many gullible people into believing that our weapons are going to be taken away from us, and that homeowners will be deprived of the right to protect ourselves and our families. The N.R.A. would be justified in its efforts if there was a real threat to our constitutional right to bear arms. But that is not the case.”

This is an interesting paragraph. Simple statement, no support, no reasoning, just “trust me!” I’m sorry Dr. Carter, I don’t trust you on this one. The Heller ruling indicates that the Second Amendment covers firearms used commonly by the populace. These so-called “assault weapons” are commonly used by Americans for self-defense, hunting, and many other sporting uses. Therefore an “assault weapon ban” is a threat to our constitutional right to keep and bear arms. Rather than admitting this, Carter points to the shadowy NRA and “firearms industry” as the bad guys. I’m surprised he didn’t use the phrase “merchants of death” as the rest of the propaganda he’s spewing lends itself to that sort of hyperbole.

“Instead, the N.R.A. is defending criminals’ access to assault weapons and use of ammunition that can penetrate protective clothing worn by police officers on duty. In addition, while the N.R.A. seems to have reluctantly accepted current law restricting sales by licensed gun dealers to convicted felons, it claims that only “law-abiding people” obey such restrictions — and it opposes applying them to private gun dealers or those who sell all kinds of weapons from the back of a van or pickup truck at gun shows.”

Here Carter is using the “fling enough mud and something will stick” approach. Anyone who uses tactical rifles or so called “assault weapons” will immediately pick up on the “high powered firearm” argument being used here. What Carter isn’t telling you is that his “hunting rifles” fire a much MORE powerful cartridge than just about any so-called “assault weapon”. AK-47 clones fire the mid-powered 7.62x39 cartridge (or the less powerful 5.45x39 cartridge). AR-15’s can fire a variety of cartridges, but the most common is the .223 Remington which has very low stopping power. Hunting variants of the AR-15 fire more powerful rounds, but these are uncommon and expensive. The most powerful round commonly fired out of a so-called “assault weapon” would be the .308 NATO round – which also happens to be a very common big game round. However, even the .308 is far less powerful than many other common hunting rounds.

“What are the results of this profligate ownership and use of guns designed to kill people? In 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported more than 30,000 people died from firearms, accounting for nearly 20 percent of all injury deaths. In 2005, every nine hours a child or teenager in the United States was killed in a firearm-related accident or suicide.”

Now Carter tries to play the emotional statistics card. However, if you look at the numbers before and after the ban expired, they have remained essentially flat. Why? Even the Justice Department concluded that the 1994 ban was ineffective because it didn’t actually ban any firearms and because so-called “assault weapons” were (and are) only used in a very small fraction of crimes. Furthermore, the 30,000 number includes suicides (which take out roughly half of that number). Suicides aren't generally performed with rifles, and America's suicide rate is lower than Japan (where firearms are effectively absent from the hands of average citizens). Also, he fails to mention that the deaths of teenagers are generally gang related – which tells me the problem is the gangs, not the firearms. There are lies, damn lies, and statistics, and Carter seems to be a master of “statistics” in this particular example.

“Across our border, Mexican drug cartels are being armed with advanced weaponry imported from the United States — a reality only the N.R.A. seems to dispute.”

Carter also can’t seem to resist pushing the “big lie” as well, never mind that the actual BATFE report disputes the “advanced weaponry” claim as do several news reports that have come out in recent weeks. However, he may be right in a sense – some of the advanced weaponry in the hands of the cartels could have originated in the United States. Thousands of Mexican army soldiers have deserted over the years, perhaps as many as 100,000. Most of them take their fully automatic M16 rifles provided to Mexico by the U.S. government with them. Rather than legislating away our Second Amendment rights, perhaps our government should no longer supply Mexico with military hardware?

“The gun lobby and the firearms industry should reassess their policies concerning safety and accountability — at least on assault weapons — and ease their pressure on acquiescent politicians who fear N.R.A. disapproval at election time. We can’t let the N.R.A.’s political blackmail prevent the banning of assault weapons — designed only to kill police officers and the people they defend.”

Carter concludes his diatribe by repeating his slander of law-abiding supporters of the Second Amendment. This is perhaps the most insulting “editorial” I have ever read. It consists entirely of lies, distortions, misused statistics, and ad homiem attacks against American citizens that cherish their Second Amendment rights. The fact that Carter would write this and the New York Times would print it shows you the lengths that those who seek to abolish our right to keep and bear arms will go to in order to realize their goals. I urge everyone to write the Times and let them know that these sorts of attacks will not be tolerated. They are baseless and they are slanderous.

Until next time!!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Yamhill Valley News Register Getting in on the Big Lie

The op/ed pages of most print newspapers today are the main area where the editorial staff can “let its hair down” and let their bias show through in an undiluted and unabashed way. Most major city newspapers have called for renewal of the so-called “assault weapon ban,” and after the Heller ruling, many even called for the outright repeal of the Second Amendment. Even better they can print “letters to the editor” to support their position – and those letters don’t have to go through the even nominal “fact” checking staff editorials do. A recent letter to the editor from the Yamhill Valley News Register demonstrates not only the level of ignorance we’re still fighting as Second Amendment supporters, but the lengths the print media will go to in order to support their disarmament agenda.

The editorial in question, written by one Robert S. Bevers, starts out well enough:

“We must vigorously enforce our gun laws...”

I don’t think anyone is going to disagree with that. No one wants to see gangs or criminals have easy access to firearms. The use of a firearm in the commission of a crime should be vigorously prosecuted and result in severe criminal penalties – up to and including the death penalty depending on the nature of the crime. Unfortunately Mr. Bevers didn’t stop there, he continued writing, and the entire editorial went rapidly south:

“...and strengthen them where they are weak. We must stop the selling of guns to the mentally ill and domestic abusers. We must stop the unregulated sale of guns at gun shows.”

Sales to the mentally ill and people convicted of stalking or domestic abuse are already illegal, and checked for with every commercial sale via the background check. Mr. Bevers has clearly not been to a gun show in Oregon, as Oregon law requires a background check at gun shows. I know because I’ve been on both sides of the table at gun shows in Oregon. So his comment regarding “the unregulated sale of guns at gun shows” doesn’t apply to Oregon. Unfortunately, the editorial gets worse from there:

“I have been to gun shows where I witnessed bags full of 1911 model .45 automatic handguns being sold with no background check or identification required. These guns were being sold to known gang members wearing gang colors. One table away, AR15 rifles and M1 carbine rifles were being sold. At the next table, the parts to convert them to fully automatic weapons were being sold. These activities are legal. The 1934 national firearms act did not apply because they were being sold from different tables.”

I’d like to know where he saw these things and why he didn’t report them to the authorities. Selling weapons without a background check at a gun show in Oregon is illegal. Conversion of an M1 carbine or an AR15 to a fully automatic M2 carbine or M16 is a non-trivial process and can’t be done with a few “drop in” parts – especially on the AR15. The BATFE has analyzed and approved receivers for semi-automatic rifles with fully automatic analogs with ease of conversion in mind. So where’s all this going?

“Mexican President Calderon has pleaded with the U.S. government to help stop the sending of guns and money across our common frontier to the Mexican criminal gangs, and to increase our border security. Let us heed Calderon’s clarion call. Our national security and domestic tranquility are at great risk.”

Ahhhh! Mr. Bevers has bought into the “big lie” that the fully automatic weapons in Mexico come from U.S. sources, and clearly wants to do his bit to “support the cause.” Because the “goal” is pure, “the ends justify the means” in this case and “truth” or “facts” don’t enter into the equation. I believe Mr. Bevis is at the very least mistaken about his experience at gun shows and at worst deliberately lying about them in order to support larger legislative action. Whether this is a case of ignorance or deception, it is clear that these comments support the agenda of the Yamhill Valley News Register – otherwise this sort of erroneous and blatantly false tripe would never see print. I honestly believe this sort of blatantly slanted yellow journalism is the reason the print media is going the way of the dinosaur. Regardless, we have a long way to go to educate the public, and we can’t let up for a minute! Letters like this beg for follow-up comments, and I urge everyone to write the Register to inform them of the facts.

Until next time!!!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

AMD-65 Build Log – Part 3

Found the piece to my jig! Woohoo! I'm still going to order a spare!

Anyway, without further ado, the rest of the build log. The first step was getting the front trunnion riveted into the receiver. I’m using the current generation AK-builder jig, and this thing works like a dream. The rivets came out looking great with very little fuss. I had to do a little buffing to get the magazine to seat properly, but the end result looks great (pictured below). I also had to file back the magazine rails on the receiver to accept the Hungarian 20 round magazines as these are a little wider at the top than the magazines I’d used for test fitting.

Once the front trunnion was seated, next comes reseating the barrel. Again, I’m using the AK-builder jigs. This time, at least, I had no trouble getting the barrel back into the front trunnion. The fit was excellent and the assembly didn’t shift during pressing. Occasionally with Romanian kits I’ve had trouble with the barrel end wiggling in the trunnion. The hardest part is making sure you stop before you press the barrel pin slot past the hole in the front trunnion (pictured below).

Once the barrel is in, simply press back in the barrel pin and you’re nearly ready for final assembly. I went ahead and attached most of the external parts at this point. I’d refinished the wood grips with a few coats of tung oil (may buff and give them another coat). These went in easily. It took a little work to get the lower handguard in, but it ended up aligning well. I then simply dropped in the gas tube and the external assembly was largely complete (pictured below).

To ensure adequate U.S. content for the build, I replaced the gas piston with a U.S. made Tapco one. This involves drilling out the rivet holding the existing piston into the bolt carrier, pressing out the bolt, then fitting the new gas piston. I drilled the new gas piston once it was in place and riveted it for stability. I then buffed the excess to smooth the entire assembly as shown below.

At this point, it’s just a matter of installing the trigger group and the build is finished. I used an Arsenal single hook design I picked up with the receiver from NoDak Spud. I also used an AK retaining plate rather than the hook. After adding the rest of the internal parts, the AMD-65 seems to function quite well. I picked up a 3-pack of Hungarian magazines along with the AMD pouch pictured below with the finished product.

The next step will be to get a good gunkote black finish on the barreled receiver. The rest of the external parts are mint, but the receiver and the flash hider need significant help! Overall this was an extremely satisfying build – the final product looks great and seems to function flawlessly. I’m looking forward to getting this one out and test firing it. It should be a great compact carry gun as well. Wonder if I can find a good Hungarian sling for it?

I have a couple of more builds I’ll be working on in addition to my Tabuks – including one more Romanian build (with AK furniture) and a Tantal build – my first AK that won’t be in 7.62x39.

Until next time!!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

AMD-65 Build Log – Part 2

I’d hoped to get this project done in two parts, but the fates have conspired against me, so here is the second installment of my AMD-65 build project. I’d collected all of the parts I needed to complete the project, including the receiver from NoDak Spud. Unfortunately one of the parts of my AK jig went walkabout half way through the project and that ended the build right quickly.

One of the most important parts of an AMD-65 build is getting the barrel right. As mentioned before, the AMD-65 in its normal form would count as a short barreled rifle. This means you either need to find a way to lengthen the barrel or apply for a tax stamp. At this point I wasn’t willing to go the tax stamp route, so I had a Tapco extended muzzle break affixed to the barrel per BATFE regulations by Tornado Technologies at the same time they were working on my Tabuk barrels. As you can see from the picture below, the finish on the Tapco muzzle break comes nowhere near the finish on the rest of the rifle. Fortunately I am planning on getting this finished with a black duracote later.

Pictured below is the virgin NoDak Spud receiver. My only disappointment with this particular receiver is that the holes for the front trunnion are not pre-drilled as they are for the rear trunnion. NoDak Spud receivers are excellent, but they are also a bear to drill as they are exceptionally hard. If anyone has any good tips or tricks they’d like to share on drilling NoDak receivers, I’d appreciate hearing them!

After drilling the holes for the front trunnion, I considered attaching the sling swivel but decided against it (pictured below). In retrospect, it would have been easier to install the sling swivel at this point because the opening for the rear trunnion makes it much easier to fold down the halves of the metal.

On most builds I start with the trigger guard / magazine catch, pictured below. On an undrilled receiver, this makes it easier to set the spacing for the front trunnion easier (so it easily accepts magazines).

I then installed the rear trunnion and stock. Per suggestions I’d received, I shortened the AK-builder rivets slightly before pressing them. The rivet heads came out nicely hemispherical, but seem a little small compared to the opposite side. On my next build I may not shorten them as much. At this point I also inserted the front trunnion and held it in place with a rivet to test fit a magazine. The magazine inserted and released without issue.

Until this point, the build was going well, but as I mentioned earlier, I misplaced a critical part of my jig (and then have spent several hours looking for it, even with the help of a magnetic broom). I’ve got a new part on order, and once it comes in I expect that this build will finish up quickly. Watch this space for Part 3!

Until next time!!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Victory in Loss? The 14th Applies to the 2nd

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court has often handed down controversial decisions. Many believe that the Court leans too far to the left, but a recent decision may represent one of the clearest victories for supporters of the Second Amendment since Heller – and in some ways it may be even bigger than the Heller decision. I first came across the case, Nordyke v. King, in a write-up on the Volokh Conspiracy blog. The blog provided a link to the full decision which I’ve had a chance to at least skim through. There are several key nuggets of wisdom in this decision that will frame legal precedent regarding the right to keep and bear arms going forward.

The issue at hand was whether Alameda County’s regulations around prohibiting firearms on County property violated the First and Second Amendments. Initially the Second Amendment claims had been dismissed under the “collective right” interpretation of the Second Amendment. Because of the recent Heller decision, the Court immediately vacated all rulings based on that interpretation and was therefore forced to consider whether or not the Second Amendment was protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. While the Court ultimately upheld the County’s clearly anti-gun prohibitions, supporters of the Second Amendment have won some clear victories in this decision.

One clear victory was the refutation of the County’s interpretation of the Second Amendment. The decision details the individual rights interpretation of the Second Amendment at length as well as its history:

“The County does little to refute this powerful evidence that the right to bear arms is deeply rooted in the history and tradition of the Republic, a right Americans considered fundamental at the Founding and thereafter. The County instead argues that the states, in the exercise of their police power, are the instrumentalities of the right of self-defense at the heart of the Second Amendment. This argument merely rephrases the collective rights argument the Supreme Court rejected in Heller. Indeed, one need only consider other constitutional rights to see the poverty of this contention. State police power also covers, for instance, some of the conduct the First Amendment protects, but that does not deny individuals the right to assert First Amendment rights against the states.”

This portion of the decision is vitally important because it represents an attempt to “re-collectivise” the Second Amendment at the State level. The Court wisely saw right through this tactic.

The County also attempted to cite the “controversy” around the Second Amendment as grounds for limitations. The Court also disagreed with that interpretation as well:

“The County and its amici point out that, however universal its earlier support, the right to keep and bear arms has now become controversial. See generally Sanford Levinson, The Embarrassing Second Amendment, 99 Yale L.J. 637 (1989). But we do not measure the protection the Constitution affords a right by the values of our own times. If contemporary desuetude sufficed to read rights out of the Constitution, then there would be little benefit to a written statement of them. Some may disagree with the decision of the Founders to enshrine a given right in the Constitution. If so, then the people can amend the document. But such amendments are not for the courts to ordain.”

Once again, another tactic used by Second Amendment opponents to restrict our rights has been defeated in Court. This begins to rein in some of the legal trickery that’s been used so successfully for the past few decades and consigns entire schools of legal thought (or more appropriately, mental gymnastics) to the scrap heap of history. These are key victories for the long-term security of our Second Amendment rights. However, the Court didn’t stop there, perhaps the most important victory is the ruling that the 14th Amendment applies to the 2nd Amendment:

“We therefore conclude that the right to keep and bear arms is “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition.” Colonial revolutionaries, the Founders, and a host of commentators and lawmakers living during the first one hundred years of the Republic all insisted on the fundamental nature of the right. It has long been regarded as the “true palladium of liberty.” Colonists relied on it to assert and to win their independence, and the victorious Union sought to prevent a recalcitrant South from abridging it less than a century later. The crucial role this deeply rooted right has played in our birth and history compels us to recognize that it is indeed fundamental, that it is necessary to the Anglo-American conception of ordered liberty that we have inherited. We are therefore persuaded that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the Second Amendment and applies it against the states and local governments.”

The point above is vitally important – it means that even if a State does not have an 2nd Amendment analog in its own Constitution, that an individual is still guaranteed the right to keep and bear arms under the 14th Amendment. This ruling therefore puts many city and state bans on classes of firearms in immediate jeopardy as the Second Amendment now applies directly to their own laws. While I am extremely disappointed that the Alameda County ordinance was upheld, supporters of the Second Amendment have achieved a very clear victory that will be vitally important to the long-term preservation of our Civil Rights.

Until next time!!!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Inhofe Blasts Obama on Gun Treaty

The past few weeks have seen the Obama administration throw ideas on gun control around like throwing spaghetti on the wall – and hoping something will stick. The latest round sees the administration pushing the Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Other Related Materials (CIFTA) treaty. This treaty will place onerous requirements on firearm manufacturers and may be used to sharply limit our Second Amendment rights in the United States. This treaty is potentially so dangerous, the NRA has issued a special statement about it.

As with all recent attempts to curtail our Second Amendment rights, this one hinges on the notion that most of the firearms used by criminals in drug lords in Mexico originate in the United States. Previous blog entries have detailed the errors in this assumption, and now some in Washington are waking up to the facts. Senator Inhofe has issued the following statement:

“The idea that American-manufactured firearms are responsible for the growing violence in Mexico isn’t grounded in reality, but the Obama Administration is using this violence as justification to require stricter licensing requirements and markings on firearms by U.S. manufacturers. The majority of the gun violence that is occurring in the drug wars in Mexico is the result of assault weapons, including fully automatic versions, which aren’t even available for sale in the United States. Many of these weapons are coming from other countries in Central and South America and deserters from the Mexican military.

“I am strongly opposed to placing more stringent requirements on U.S. gun manufacturers, especially when the evidence shows that they are not the problem. This is an instance of the Obama Administration using alternative means to place greater regulations on the manufacture and sale of legal firearms in the United States. I believe that my colleagues in the United States Senate understand this to be the case and will do as they have for the last 10 years and not ratify this treaty.”

At least one Senator has seen through the Big Lie campaign, and I wager many others have as well. The facts are out there if people bother to go looking for them. Unfortunately there is a large segment of our population (and our politicians, and our media) that are simply uninterested in the facts if they don’t support their preconceived notions. One of my favorite TV characters noted :

“The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. Instead of altering their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views...which can be very uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering.”

I’ll let you decide which category best describes the current administration and a large portion of the media. I can also sympathize with that “uncomfortable” feeling, as far too often law-abiding firearm owners seem to be one of those “facts that needs altering” if our past history of gun control legislation is any indication.

Given this new tactic, it is more important than ever to write your Senators and urge them not to even consider ratifying the CIFTA treaty. It has languished for over 10 years; it can languish for another 10,000 as far as I’m concerned!

Until next time!!!

April Rose City Gun Show Report

It was another great day at the gun show this weekend. Parking was a bit of a problem because of another event (“Portland’s Biggest Garage Sale”). This time around was special because my wife and 1-year old son joined me. All things being equal, of the two I think my son had more fun.

Ammunition is still scarce as hen’s teeth – and what ammunition there is costs 2X to 3X what it did a couple of years ago. I remember being able to buy a half case of wolf 7.62x39 for $110 – and I remember people telling me at the time that was “high.”

The post election price spike for any misnamed semi-automatic rifle (AKA “assault rifle”) seems to be normalizing. Several AR uppers and lowers were available at reasonable prices from numerous vendors. The selection of semi-auto AK’s was also decent.

On the C&R front – the show wasn’t too bad. There was a decent selection of Mosin Nagant rifles – including a few Finns. Lots of Nagant revolvers as well. There were also some very nice Garands, a trench shotgun with bayonet, and a few others. I ended up picking up a couple of Nagant revolvers to round out my collection.

I managed to pick up a couple of AK receivers I had on order from Ortwein’s table – one for a Romanian build, one for my AMD-65 build, and the second one for my Tabuk project. Overall it was a great show, though my arms were tired from carrying the little guy afterward.

Until next time!!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

More Lies About So-Called Assault Weapons

The administration and our neighbors to the South continue to try to convince the world of the Big Lie - that is that American "assault weapons" are fueling the increase in crime in Mexico. According to a CNN report, Obama is still working to reinstitute the so-called “assault weapon ban” with encouragement from Mexican President Felipe Calderón playing the role of designated mouthpiece, and CNN “dutifully” passing along the propaganda. According to President Calderón:

"From the moment the prohibition on the sale of assault weapons was lifted a few years ago, we have seen an increase in the power of organized crime in Mexico."

Only problem is that none of the “19 types of military-style semi-automatic rifles” (at least they got that sort of right) were “banned” from 1994 to 2004. You could still by AK’s, AR’s out the yin yang – you only couldn’t have certain combinations of features on them. I bought my first AK-style weapon in 2003 before the ban sunset. It was a double stack WASR-10 that takes (and came with) 30-round magazines. It was legal to produce. It was legal to sell. It was legal to own – all under the so-called “ban.” Therefore anyone who tells you that there was a “sudden change” when the ban disappeared, is most likely lying. They’re playing on public fear and ignorance to push a broader agenda.

The article also cites the Mexican President stating “that more than 16,000 assault weapons have been seized in the crackdown on drug traffickers, with almost 9 in 10 coming from the United States.” That’s also incorrect – only 5000 firearms were actually traced back to the United States, and there is no indication that those were actually “assault weapons” from the accurate published accounts. Again, CNN is pushing the “Big Lie” trying to get a gullible American public to fall for it.

It is time for these lies and propaganda to STOP. Mexico needs to clean up its own problem with illegal fully automatic military rifles coming in from other Latin American nations, Russia, China and others. Mexico seems to have no respect for our borders, our laws, or our customs, yet they feel justified in taking aim at our rights and liberties because their corrupt regime, police, and military is losing control of their nation. This assault on our freedom needs to stop NOW. Our President needs to be standing up for the rights of Americans, not caving to demands to curtail our rights. Obama took an oath to uphold our Constitution, but instead he’s working to dismantle it at the command of foreign governments.

I urge everyone to write CNN and point out the faulty arguments they’re using. Write your Representatives. Write the President. We have to make our voices heard, and we can’t give an inch. Too many Americans have given too much to protect our Liberty to see it frittered away at the bequest of regimes unable to maintain order within their own borders.

Until next time!!!

20/20’s Rigged Experiment

Rigging experiments for dramatic effect on “news” shows is nothing new. 60 Minutes had the infamous Audi “sudden acceleration” episode – where they mechanically altered the cars for dramatic effect. NBC rigged fuel tanks to explode on GM pickup trucks. Now 20/20 has rigged its own experiment to “prove” to the nation that even if a student had a firearm, it would do no good in one of the random shootings like have been seen at Virginia Tech. A recent blog by John R. Lott, Jr. goes into detail on the “experiment’s” shortcomings:

“The experiment was set up to make the student fail. It did not resemble a real-world shooting. The same scenario is shown three times, but in each case the student with the gun is seated in the same seat –- the center seat in the front row. The attacker is not only a top-notch shooter –- a firearms expert who teaches firearms tactics and strategy to police -– but also obviously knows precisely where the student with the gun is sitting.”

And unfortunately that’s just the tip of the iceberg. A real experiment is designed to disprove the hypothesis and is designed to test a variety of scenarios. This one was clearly designed with an agenda and result in mind. The show goes on to talk about the potential for accidental shootings and claims criminals get their firearms at gun shows. The first is tragic, but exceedingly rare, and data shows that even if you include flea markets only 1.7% of criminals get firearms at gun shows.

The show’s “final thought” is equally erroneous and insulting:

“If you are wondering where are all the studies about the effectiveness of guns used by ordinary Americans for self-defense, well keep searching, we could not find one reliable study and the ones we found were contradictory.”

John Lott, Jr. offers the following data as counterpoint:

“Yet, “contradictory” is an overstatement. There have been 26 peer-reviewed studies published by criminologists and economists in academic journals and university presses. Most of these studies find large drops in crime. Some find no change, but not a single one shows an increase in crime.”

He also goes on to cite examples from Europe, where there is strict gun control, and the extensive problem they have with mass shootings. Worse, in fact, than in the United States (at least outside of so-called “gun free” zones).

It is clear that the gun control crowd is getting desperate at this point. Their so-called “assault weapon ban” was dead on suggestion (not even arrival!), even with the lies trying to tie it to Mexican drug crime. The recent Gallup Poll shows that Americans’ believe we have enough gun laws as is, and there is no support nationally for handgun bans. Since the election, Americans have been buying firearms in record numbers, and there are a lot of first time buyers in that number as well.

At this point, the anti-Second Amendment crowd seems willing to do anything to further their agenda. For years they have lost battles left and right on both factual and legal grounds and even the traditional plays to emotion are falling on deaf ears. So what is their response? Try to internationalize the issue with false statistics and tie it to the War on Drugs (which has been, if anything, an even more dismal failure than gun control) and have sympathetic media outlets swamp the airwaves with propaganda and rigged experiments.

I am a strong believer in freedom of speech and freedom of thought. However lies and slander have never been protected speech. Until the media outlets and their sponsors begin to feel some heat, both in the marketplace and legally, for their criminal mischaracterizations, lies, and slanders, they will continue to beat the drum in support of this perverted agenda. I urge everyone to let ABC know that they weren’t fooled by their rigged experiment, but rather enraged at their hubris. I also urge everyone to let their sponsors from this debacle know that if they continue to support such programming, that we will no longer be able to support their products. We have to make our voices heard, especially in their pocketbooks!

Until next time!!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tabuk Sniper Rifle Build Log – Part 4

It’s been a few weeks since I gave you an update on the Tabuk project, but I’ve just gotten the corrected barrels back. Before I dive in, I want to thank the guys at Tornado Technologies for doing such a great job on my two barrels. They’re extremely professional and easy to work with!!

As I’ve discussed earlier, the Green Mountain Tabuk barrels are a bit long as compared to actual Tabuk rifles. The original thread on The AK Forum shows a picture of an actual Tabuk DMR with a measuring tape showing that the barrel should be 21 3/8” long (as opposed to the 23.6” reported earlier). Since the posting of that thread, another Iraqi veteran has posted pictures of several Tabuks in Iraq along with more data. According to his data, the length of the barrel with the flash hider attached the barrel is 24.5” long. So with this data in hand, I was anxious to see how my barrels came out:

First, here’s a picture of the barrel without the flash hider:

Next, here’s a picture of the barrel with the flash hider:

In both pictures, the breech is at the 10” mark:

The threads hit right at 31 3/8” for a total length of 21 3/8”

With the flash hider the tip hits just about at 34 1/2” for a total length of 24 1/2" (granted I can probably tighten the flash hider a little tighter than normal at this point because the lack of the front sight block and detent at this point):

So at this point, I’m confident that both of the barrels that I have for my Tabuk are the correct length. Hopefully Green Mountain will consider updating their design going forward.

In addition to getting the barrels squared away, I’ve picked up several more parts. Since my previous update, I’ve replaced the East German RPK sights with Yugoslavian RPK sights as they are a better match to the original. I’ve also picked up a few less glamorous parts (handguard retainers, etc.). For comparison, I now have a few actual Tabuk DMR parts including a rear sight, front sight block, flash hider, and cleaning rod. Comparing these to my existing parts cache has been very interesting!

The picture above compares three different rear sights: Iraqi, Yugoslavian, and East German. From the picture it is clear why the East German sights are unsuitable for this application – they are only graduated out to 800 meters, whereas the Iraqi and Yugoslavian ones are graduated to 1km. The structure of the windage adjustment and finish is also wrong on the East German version. The Yugoslavian model is very close to the Iraqi one, although the font for the numbers is slightly different. My conclusion is that unless you have the real thing, the Yugo is perfectly fine, and it’s really not worth getting the font re-engraved as it’s pretty close.

Above is a comparison between cleaning rods (one Tabuk and two reproductions put together by a friend of mine). As I’d corrected the barrel length, I couldn’t use the recommendations for cleaning rod length on the net as the shorter barrel necessitates a shorter cleaning rod. The reproductions are still a sneeze shorter than the original, but they’re close enough!

Above is a picture of a real Tabuk DMR flash hider (finished) compared to a NoDak spud one (in the white). As you can see there are some minor differences between the two, though I know that NoDak Spud used actual as their exemplar. This is another part where there could be some variation over time.

Here’s a front sight comparison with an Iraqi version on the extreme left and two copies some friends of mine have worked up. Both copies capture the original quite well. The larger hole on “Copy 1” may be a smidge too far forward and the hole on “Copy 2” may be just a tad large. However, given that there is undoubtedly some variation, these should both work fine.

My second receiver has arrived, and I’ll pick it up this weekend from Andrew over at Ortwein International. So my next step is to send both receivers and all associated parts off for engraving. I’m not sure how long that is going to take to get done, but for my next installment I’m planning on showing “before” and “after” comparisons of all of the engraved parts. I’m still waiting on the stock from Ironwood (as well as confirmation on ordering a second stock set), and that represents the only holdouts at this point apart from a few small parts (front sight detents and detent springs, etc.). Once I get the parts back from engraving, I’ll be ready to start actually assembling the rifles!

Until next time!!!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Obama Not Bringing Back the Assault Weapon Ban?

In what may be a shocking reversal of policy, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs has announced that President Obama is looking at other strategies and is not pushing an assault weapon ban. I guess I would amend that to say “at this time”. Helen Thomas asked if the President would reinstitute the ban because of the “epidemic” of gun violence in this country. Gibbs answered:

“Obviously, we, while we were overseas last week, were surprised and shocked at the news at what had happened in New York. … That’s one of the reasons that increased money to hire more police officers as in the Recovery Act. I was asked specifically about assault weapons. I think the president would — the president believes there are other strategies we can take to enforce the laws that are already on our books.”

The article cited above also indicates that Attorney General Eric Holder may be backing off on the proposed assault weapon ban as well based on an interview with Katie Couric at CBS News. Of course, given Katie’s political stance, every question dripped with disdain for firearm owners and the NRA, even to the point of misquoting the “90%” statistic. Fortunately in the comments many people are lambasting Katie’s lack of research. However, Holder's comments clearly show a reversal in policy.

This is potentially very good news as it shows that Obama and Holder have been feeling the heat for their distraction campaign around the so-called “assault weapon ban.” Unfortunately the media still continues to parrot the “90%” statistic like it’s gospel. We need to keep fighting that “big lie” and it looks like the commenter posters at CBS news are doing a good job at that. We need to go further, though, we need to be calling up CBS news and demanding that Katie publicly states in prime time that her numbers are wrong!

Keep up the good work everyone. This fight is just beginning, but we’re already seeing some signs of success, but don’t let these preliminary positive indicators lull you into a false sense of security. We have a long way to go!

Until next time!!!

Busy Week for Oregon Firearm Legislation

The Oregon Firearms Federation has published an announcement detailing several upcoming hearings, bills, and other activities directly relating to our Second Amendment rights in Oregon. The next week will prove to be pivotal as many key pieces of legislation are scheduled to be heard as well as oral arguments in a key court case.

The ball gets rolling on Monday April 13th with oral arguments in the case of Medford Teacher Shirley Katz. In November a judge ruled that teachers do not have right to carry, even with a concealed carry permit, if a school district has a policy against it. This ruling seems to fly in the face of state law, so the decision was appealed. The hearing will take place at 9AM at the University of Oregon School of Law. Hopefully this case will successfully appeal the heinous decision by the lower court. Our schools and universities represent ripe target zones for any maniac or terrorist to “make a statement” as they know full well that they represent a target with high emotional impact and no ability to defend themselves.

Also on the 13th, Oregon State University is hosting a “Second Amendment Week.” According to OFF, they “have been reliably informed that the school administration is so nervous, they have requested State Police in riot gear. No, we are NOT making this up.” Make no mistake, the Second Amendment is going to become the Civil Rights battle of the next decade. It is abundantly clear that many in power fear the Second Amendment, and those who want it preserved will face hurdles that other groups fighting for their Civil Rights in the past have faced. That apparently includes police in full riot gear.

On Tuesday April 14th, House Bill 2364 is scheduled to be heard in the House Judiciary Committee. This bill allows concealed carry reciprocity for all states with a concealed carry permit law, as well as for the two states that don’t require permits to carry concealed. According to OFF, “Democrats on the committee had a collective fit and the bill was returned to committee to be reconsidered.” There may or may not be an updated version of the bill available before discussion begins, and the current version of the bill may be heavily amended from its previous incarnation.

On Wednesday April 15th pivotal House Bill 2727 is scheduled to be covered. This bill protects the privacy of concealed carry permit holders, and has been covered extensively on this blog. Unfortunately this bill has become the target of amendments which effectively castrate the bill and make it useless. If these amendments are not removed, this bill would be effectively dead as the few committee members are over-ruling the majority on this one. Unfortunately as our House is organized at this point, a few committee members can block passage of this sort of progressive legislation. It also shows that certain members of the House clearly don’t value the privacy of their constituency. I strongly believe that if this bill fails, serious challenges to the members of the Judiciary Committee who blocked this legislation should be made as they clearly don’t deserve to represent any Oregonians in government.

Thursday brings up House Bill 2991 which according to OFF, “CHL holders from background checks for gun purchases.” I think it’s a great idea, but I agree with OFF that if it actually passes, then it will see a Federal challenge under the current background check laws.

There are a few other announcement on the OFF page as well, and I urge everyone to go read them and take action. As indicated earlier, the Second Amendment is a Civil Rights issue. The right to keep and bear arms is a right affirmed by our federal Constitution as well as many state constitutions as well. It is a right that has been under direct attack for decades, yet if the recent Gallup poll is an indication, more and more people are reading through the propaganda campaign and waking up to the fact that the one key civil right – the right to protect one’s own life and the life of one’s family – is what is truly under attack. The world is not safe. It never has been, and no government is physically able to “take care” of its people.

Yet that seems to be what the nanny state is promising. The price, of course, is that the nanny state wants to regulate anything it considers “dangerous” in the interest of “public safety” or “public health.” That leads down a slippery slope where the Constitution and Bill of Rights have been shredded and “We the People” are now “We the Drones.” We cannot let that happen. In spite of the current political climate and anti-Second Amendment views of the current leadership, at the grassroots level momentum has been shifting for years. We need to keep that trend going and accelerate it. The goal is protection of our civil right to keep and bear arms for ourselves and future generations. It may take years, but it is a fight we can’t afford to lose!

Until next time!!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Taking People Shooting Works!

A reader pointed me to an article on the local Portland, OR KATU news website entitled “Afraid of guns? So was I... until I took a trip to the shooting range”. I didn’t realize that this article was out there when I encouraged everyone to take people shooting as it changes more minds than anything else, and this article truly underscores this point. It starts with an individual who truly had an aversion to firearms, and ends with an individual who no longer had that fear.

First, kudos to the team out at Tri-County Gun Club for hosting KATU. You were truly first-rate ambassadors for the firearm community. I honestly wish I lived closer to Tri-County as it is an absolutely amazing facility. Second, kudos to author Shannon Cheesman for actually accepting the challenge with an open mind.

While the author indicates she probably won’t ever fire a gun again, at least the fear of the unknown is gone. People tend to fear that which they don’t understand, especially if it appears (or actually is) dangerous. Firearms are very dangerous tools if used or handled improperly. So it is human nature for people to fear them if they don’t have any experience with them. It is up to us to ensure that as many people as possible have positive experiences with firearms, and this particular example is a fine blueprint!

Until next time!!!

May 2009 Guns and Ammo Review

My May issue of Guns & Ammo arrived the other day – finally made it through. One of the early articles is a “buyer beware” on G&A subscriptions. Apparently there’s a scam running out of Palm Coast, FL. I think I actually got one of these because the sticker price for renewal was insane. I think I tossed it though as I knew my subscription is good through April 2010. Keep an eye out.

There’s a good article on ammo called “Ammo Heaven” where an individual born and raised in Zimbabwe comments “one of the most amazing things about living [in America] is that it’s possible to go into a gunshop and buy ammunition.” Well, at least that was true until the election last year. Now most shops are fairly lean on ammunition, at least in the popular calibers, but I take the individual’s meaning. Firearm restrictions in many other countries are draconian at best. The article focuses on several vintage cartridges, and is a good read.

The “Identification and Values” feature has a few neat items people have written in regarding. One person wrote in about a Mauser Model 1914. It’s an inexpensive yet collectible little C&R pistol – they put value at $150 to $200 with the caveat that military proofs would increase the value 100% to 150%. Sounds about right. I’ve thought about picking one of these up, but I’ve never found the right one at the right price. Someone else wrote in about a .30 civilian Luger. I had one of these a few years ago – ended up selling it to fund other projects in the range that they valued it at ($750 to $900). I love lugers, but I’m going to stick with the 9mm versions going forward.

As a C&R guy I appreciated the article on the 8x57 mauser cartridge. Once purely a military cartridge, the venerable 8mm has found new life as a sporting cartridge. In fact, they provide several loads (for 150 grain to 220 grain bullets) for a variety of sporting rifles. All of my 8x57’s are military – two Russian Capture K98’s and one Turkish Mauser. I’ve never sighted them in enough to use as hunting rifles, though the Turk would probably do okay as it’s one of the only Turk rifles I’ve seen with a pristine barrel (no kidding!).

Feature article this month is CZ’s new P-07 in 9mm. It’s a polymer framed semi-automatic that’s small enough to use for concealed carry. There’s also a small tactical rail forward of the trigger guard. Magazine capacity is 16+1 (which beats my XD9 sub-compact to hell and back, though my XD is smaller). G&A was able to achieve around 3” groups (on average) at 25 yards with a variety of ammunition. Looks like a winner!

They also test a variety of .32 caliber handguns for concealed carry: The Kel-Tec P32, the CZ83, the Taurus 731 Ultra-lite, and the Ruger SP101. The most accurate was the CZ83 which was able to achieve groupings of under 1” at 10 yards. The Taurus had groups in the 2” to 3” range, while the other two ranged from 2.5” to 5” groupings.

Probably the highlight of the issue for me was a feature on the French Lefaucheux pinfire six shot revolver. This is one of those firearms I had heard about vaguely – but I’d never seen one, nor had I ever seen one tested. The example used for the article clearly has a “been there, done that” look as I’d rate the blue at <20%. But the venerable revolver was still able to print a solid grouping at 25 yards with excellent reliability. There’s even a mini-guide to loading pinfire ammunition.

Overall another decent issue with an appropriate mix of hunting, carry, modern, and vintage firearm and ammunition stories!

Until next time!!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

New Gallup Poll on Firearms Laws

In what appears to be an amazingly good trend, Americans are losing their taste for strict gun control laws. A recent Gallup Poll finds that support for handgun bans and stricter firearms laws is at an all time low – and many of these polls include more than 20 years worth of data. Perhaps the most striking is the handgun ban data. When asked the question:

“Do you think there should or should not be a law that would ban the possession of handguns, except by the police and other authorized persons”

The results were an all time low of 29% favoring such a ban. Compare this to an astonishing 60% in 1959. If you look at the graph, the trend over the years has been on a fairly consistent downward trend with support dropping below 50% in 1965 and reaching a low of 31% in 1980 before rising to the mid 40% range until the 1990s. The downward trend resumes in the 1990s with a few bumps for high profile firearm cases, but those don’t seem to result in the large bumps seen in the past. This data shows conclusively that cities like DC, Chicago, and others are out of step with the rest of the nation which has recognized that firearm ownership is a civil right, and that firearm bans have done nothing to stem crime.

The other question asked was:

“In general, do you feel that the laws covering the sale of firearms should be made more strict, less strict, or kept as they are now?”

The data here only runs from 1990 to the present, but it shows the same declining trend. In 1990, an amazing 78% of the nation wanted stricter gun laws, today, only 49% do. Those wishing to keep laws as they are today has increased from a paltry 17% to 41% today. Less strict started out at about 2% and has increased to 8%. The peak was about 12% in the 1995 poll (after the so-called “assault weapon ban” passed). It is clear that over time America is recognizing that the problem isn’t firearms, or firearm laws. This year’s poll is important because it is the first time in a long time that the majority of Americans do NOT want stricter gun laws. Our laws are adequate to keep guns out of the hand of criminals through legal channels. Unfortunately there is nothing we can do about the evil in the hearts of many. They will find ways to perpetrate their atrocities regardless of the law. Their very actions are already in defiance of many laws, so it is clear to this author (and obviously many others) that additional firearm laws won’t curb that sort of random madness.

Gallup also provided a demographic breakdown of both questions. Women tended to favor stricter gun laws than men. Democrats tend to favor stricter gun laws than Republicans or Independents. Non-gun owners tend to favor stricter gun laws than gun owners. What I do find interesting is that there is no major difference between age groups or geographic region. This indicates that opposition to additional gun control is growing across the nation and among the youth as well. Far too often gun owners are painted as “old white men” who are “out of touch”. These results begin to belie that myth.

While these results are very encouraging, there are clearly areas that need additional work – for example, far too many Democrats still don’t recognize that the Second Amendment affirms a civil right. One of the best ways I’ve found to change someone’s mind about firearms is to actually take them shooting. For a lot of people a “gun” is an abstract concept. It’s something they’ve seen on TV or heard about from the Brady Campaign or other Anti-Second group. Take them out to the range – teach them about firearm safety – teach them about responsible gun ownership. Ignorance is perhaps our greatest enemy in this fight, fortunately it’s also the easiest to overcome!

Until next time!!!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Tactical AK Build

So here’s another project I’ve been working on – actually did the riveting on the receiver before I started on the Romanian build with the Tapco furniture. My last (of 3) Romy builds will be with wooden furniture. I’m still debating whether I’m going to try and refinish the original stocks or get new from Ironwood designs. I’ve had very mixed results on my refinishing to date (read as one piece out of five has come out usable so far). Parts on this one are similar to the last build:

The Parts: Romanian “G” kit. MAKO buttstock, upper handguard, lower handguard, and Tapco SAW grip. Tapco three piece trigger group. AK builder rivets. NoDak Spud lower receiver. Power Custom shepherd hook replacement. Tapco U.S. made slant break.

The Tools: AK-builder barrel press tool. AK-builder trigger guard jig. AK-builder riveting jig. 12-ton arbor press. Rigid freestanding drill press. Makita hand drill. Cobalt drill bits. Various clamps, hammers, vises and punches.

As you can see this one in many ways is similar to the previous build, but this one has tactical rails built in. Does the AK make a reasonable tactical rifle? Don’t see why not, though I know the subject is hotly debated. For close in work it’s accurate enough and its plenty durable enough. As with the previous one, this one still needs to be refinished as well. This kit is all matching, but unfortunately the matching top cover was damaged at some point and no longer fits – period. Can’t seem to find an AK it does fit on. I borrowed one from another build, but will replace the one for this rifle and return that cover to its matching kit.

This one went together fairly well, but this was the one I’d alluded to in the last article where I’d had trouble with the AK-builder long rivets – more from my lack of experience than anything else. I’ve gotten them to where they’re tolerable (they’re on the other side). Otherwise this build went together without a hitch. I had to do a little work on the magazine catch as it was initially a bit tight, but now it accepts all magazines without any issue. The only major problem I encountered was, ironically enough, installing the furniture.

The SAW grip is a newer version than my last one as it is set up to use the normal pistol grip connector – of course, it uses a roughly 7/16” hex head bolt to attach the pistol grip. If anyone from Tapco is reading this – KNOCK IT OFF! Just use a regular frikkin’ screw assembly on these things – PLEASE! You don’t seem to have that problem on your pistol grips.

The MAKO furniture looks great once it’s installed. . . it’s just getting it installed that’s the problem. The buttstock has floating connection points that are a real pain to get to stay in place. Once you tighten it down, it’s great, but getting it started is a bit tough. The top handguard installs readily onto the gas tube, but unfortunately the lower handguard is a nightmare given form to install. The connection points on both ends are overly tight. I really shouldn’t have to pull out the punches and the four pound sledge to get a plastic receiver component on.

Overall I’m pretty happy with the way this one came out with the exception of the two long rivet heads. Like the other rifle, I need to get this out to the range and try it out. Initial functional tests seem just fine, but I want to be sure it doesn’t need any reworking before I get it refinished.

Until next time!!!

Romanian AK Test Build

It had been a couple of years since I built an AK kit all the way through, and in the past I’d had the benefit of using a friend’s shop (he restores classic cars, and his shop is the bomb). With all of the AK build projects I have going on, I wanted to take one to completion to make sure that all of my jigs, presses, and tools are working properly. More importantly, I wanted a chance to hone my skills with the tools on my set-up before I started working on some of the more exotic builds. I have several Romanian “G” kits lying around and I’d always intended to build one up with the Tapco furniture (largely because the original furniture on this kit was completely hosed). One of my next projects is to do one in the original wood, but as this was a practice run, I didn’t want to have my “best parts” on the line.

The Parts: Romanian “G” kit. Tapco olive drab folding stock, SAW grip, and Galil handguard. Tapco three piece trigger group. Tapco rivets. Armory USA receiver. Ak-builder trigger guard and mag release. Power Custom shepherd hook replacement.

The Tools: AK-builder barrel press tool. AK-builder trigger guard jig. AK-builder riveting jig. 12-ton arbor press. Rigid freestanding drill press. Makita hand drill. Cobalt drill bits. Various clamps, hammers, vises and punches.

Above is a picture of the completed build. It didn’t come out too bad for a first solo attempt. There are a lot of things I would do differently on future builds (detailed hereafter). I still need to get it refinished, but before that I’m going to get it oiled up properly and run a functional test as it still seems to be a bit tight. Part of the problem could be the Romanian kit was non-matching. I also need to check it with the “go” and “no-go” gauges.

After demilling the kit, step one was getting the Armory USA receiver ready to accept the trunnions as it was only drilled for the trigger guard. The steel they used on this particular receiver was particularly hard, and I damaged one of my bits drilling through it. I hadn’t needed cutting oil on other receivers I’d prepped, but obviously this type does. In fact, getting the holes drilled on this one was such a pain, I’ve pretty much decided that going forward I’m just going to spring for the NoDak spud pre-drilled receivers going forward and spare myself the hassle.

Once the holes were set, then you can rivet in the trunnions and trigger guard. The AK builder jigs work beautifully. The front trunnion is a walk in the park – all you have to do is properly set the length of the bar and you’re good to go. You’re also able to divot the receiver properly to accept the rivets. I’d used some AK-builder rivets in the past, but all I had handy were the Tapco ones. I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t really like the Tapco ones as much. The heads seem a bit large (so they don’t drop into my jigs as well). I’d run into problems in the past with AK builder rear trunnion rivets being a bit long, so I shortened the Tapco one about to the point where I’d shorten the AK-builder ones. They worked okay, but now one side is very small as compared to the other (I forgot to account for the larger head on the Tapco rivet). I’m not sure that I would have been able to replicate the look of the Tapco head because the tools are designed for smaller head rivets.

As I didn’t have the original trigger guard for this kit, I was using an AK-builder one. The gauge of the metal is a bit thicker than what I’m used to, but it’s a nice piece. I had the added wrinkle of having to demill it off of a failed attempt, but I was able to get it nicely back into register. In fact, the only real problem I had with the AK-builder trigger guard was setting the magazine release spring. Once I’d drilled the hole for the mag catch pivot, it was very difficult to hold the compressed spring in place while I got the pivot rod through the trigger guard and mag catch. However once I got it in, it seems to work perfectly. My Chinese test magazine inserts and catches perfectly.

With the primary receiver work complete, the next step was to put the barrel back in. I’d used the AK-builder jig to remove barrels and barrel pins, but this was the “maiden flight” reinserting one. The hardest part was getting the barrel aligned with the trunnion before trying to press it in. Once I got the barrel aligned, though, it went in easily and lined up perfectly to accept the barrel pin. I was able to re-use the existing barrel pin, which went in without a hitch.

At that point, it’s a simple matter of putting on the furniture, dropping in the trigger group, and assembling. The Galil front handguard fit nicely, and it’s a simple matter to remove the gas tube (you just have to remove the top cover. The folding buttstock took a little drilling before the screws would feed through, but once I’d gotten that done it attached nicely. The SAW grip had the oddest screw configuration I think I’ve ever seen. Instead of running the primary screw hole to fit with a standard pistol grip, they put it aft of where the screw needs to go with a slot (for variable placement?) for the pistol grip screw. It tightened down okay, but it was a very strange. Installing the trigger group was a pain as always – largely because of the tension on the hammer. I got my customary bashed knuckle, but when the trigger group was installed it worked fine. The Power Custom trigger group retaining bar works great, and it much simpler to deal with than the shepherd hook.

Overall, the finished product seems to be in good shape and ready to go. I want to run a few tests with it before I spring to get it refinished. As I said, there were a lot of lessons learned on this trial run. First, I’m probably going to stick with pre-drilled receivers going forward – much less of a pain than undrilled ones, and with a 1 year old son, I don’t have infinite time. Second, I’m probably not going to use Tapco rivets going forward – they don’t work well with my jigs. Third, long rivets take a fair amount of finesse to get to where they look right. I’m going to need a fair amount of practice on those before the Tabuk build, because it has not two, but three of those buggers. Still, this should end up a good dragging through the brush gun as the barrel is decent. I’ll post it’s functional test in a future blog entry!

Until next time!!!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Lies, Damn Lies, and Mexican Gun Statistics

The old axiom goes "If you tell a lie that's big enough, and you tell it often enough, people will believe you are telling the truth. . . " We are seeing that theory put in practice today by Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, President Obama, Senator Dianne Feinstein, and a host of others hostile to your Second Amendment rights. The lie is "90 percent of the weapons used to commit crimes in Mexico come from the United States," and that lie is being used to justify draconian limitations on the right to keep and bear arms. The truth is, maybe 17% of the total number of firearms reaching Mexico come from the United States, and those that are reaching Mexico from the United states are not the fully automatic firearms, grenades, and rocket launchers used by the drug cartels.

So where did the 90% number come from? Fox News has published a report detailing where the number came from, and the real math behind it. According to the article, roughly 11,000 weapons were submitted to the ATF. Of those, the ATF was able to successfully trace 6000. Of that 6000, roughly 90% of them could be traced as originating in the United States. The total number of weapons seized over that period was 29,000. So the number isn’t 90% of all seized weapons, it’s not even 90% of the submitted weapons (which represent less than half of the number of seized weapons), it’s 90% of those that can actually be traced (and 10% of those didn’t even track to the U.S.!).

So why so few weapons being submitted? The article indicates that in many cases it is obvious that the source of the weapon is not the United States, and they list several of the real sources of firearms:

"-- The Black Market. Mexico is a virtual arms bazaar, with fragmentation grenades from South Korea, AK-47s from China, and shoulder-fired rocket launchers from Spain, Israel and former Soviet bloc manufacturers.

"-- Russian crime organizations. Interpol says Russian Mafia groups such as Poldolskaya and Moscow-based Solntsevskaya are actively trafficking drugs and arms in Mexico.

"- South America. During the late 1990s, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) established a clandestine arms smuggling and drug trafficking partnership with the Tijuana cartel, according to the Federal Research Division report from the Library of Congress.

"-- Asia. According to a 2006 Amnesty International Report, China has provided arms to countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Chinese assault weapons and Korean explosives have been recovered in Mexico.

"-- The Mexican Army. More than 150,000 soldiers deserted in the last six years, according to Mexican Congressman Robert Badillo. Many took their weapons with them, including the standard issue M-16 assault rifle made in Belgium.

"-- Guatemala. U.S. intelligence agencies say traffickers move immigrants, stolen cars, guns and drugs, including most of America's cocaine, along the porous Mexican-Guatemalan border. On March 27, La Hora, a Guatemalan newspaper, reported that police seized 500 grenades and a load of AK-47s on the border. Police say the cache was transported by a Mexican drug cartel operating out of Ixcan, a border town."

It is therefore clear that yet again the law-abiding American gun owner is playing the role of scapegoat. Our administration either doesn’t know, doesn’t want to know, or most likely doesn’t care about the facts. Obama and Holder came in with a new so-called “assault weapon ban” on their agenda, and they’re using the Mexican drug cartels as their excuse. Never mind the fact that the cartels have sources of fully automatic firearms at a far lower price-point than Americans pay for a semi-automatic version, they prefer to tell the "Big Lie" over and over again until the masses buy it enough to overcome Congressional opposition.

I say it is time for the lie to end NOW! We can’t sit idly by and allow media outlets and our government lie to the people of the United States in a blatant attempt to subvert the Bill of Rights. Freedom of Speech only extends to opinions and the truth – and this abomination being foisted on an unsuspecting public meets neither of those criteria. Every time you see a story in a newspaper quoting this "fact," demand a correction is printed. Every time you hear a story on the news quoting this "fact," call the station and demand that they air a correction.

The days of sitting on the sidelines are over. The opposition has discovered that they can’t win in the court, and they can’t win in the legislature, so now they’re resorting to false propaganda to garner support for a new round. Fortunately the facts of the matter are available for the public, if they look hard enough. We need to make sure that everyone is aware of that. . .

Until next time!!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Oregon CHL Privacy Bill May Be Pulled!

Seems like “the powers that be” in Salem don’t want to see any pro-Second bills get passed this time around, and it looks like the Judiciary committee is playing the role of the obstructionist. Oregon Firearms Federation has released an update indicating that the bipartisan CHL Privacy bill HB 2727 has been pulled from the schedule. The change was made at the last minute and without the bill being heard in committee, it will not advance to a full vote (where the original bill would have passed).

Representative Kim Thatcher is working diligently to draft amendments to the bill that would re-instate the actual purpose of the bill, which had been subverted by a few zealots who don’t value the privacy of their constituents. Deadlines for hearings are fast approaching if anything is going to be accomplished this legislative session, and these sorts of delay and amend tactics represent the worst sort of politics. OFF is urging all Oregonians to contact the House Judiciary Committee and ask them to push this bill forward in its un-amended form without delay. They provide a sample letter on their site. I modified that form letter slightly when I mailed the committee this morning:

"Dear Representative,

"I am very concerned about the delays imposed on HB 2727 given how late we are in the legislative session. As HB 2727 has broad bipartisan support as well as the support of law enforcement, why are needless delays and amendments being imposed upon this important piece of legislation?

"I therefore urge you to pass HB 2727 with the strongest possible safeguards for CHL holders intact. Any amendments that would allow the personal information of license holders to be revealed at the discretion of government agencies subvert the purpose of the bill.

"Please do all you can to move HB 2727 to the floor without amendments that would render it useless."

It is up to us to make the few in Salem hear the voices of the many and stop pandering to special interests with an agenda – and that agenda is the persecution and harassment of law abiding firearm owners and CHL holders.

Until next time!