Monday, August 31, 2009

Return of the Tabuk Log!

It’s ALIVE!!!!!!!!!!!

It’s been a while since I’ve given you an update on the Tabuk project. The reason for the delay has been a combination of waiting for replacement parts (the new barrel), waiting for that barrel to be corrected, replacing some dead, deceased, and defunct cobalt drill bits, and then waiting for some spare time to actually work on the project seriously.

Actually disassembling the old barrel was a little trickier than I’d anticipated, and I had to pull out one of my precision vises to actually get enough purchase on the rear sight block to get it off of the barrel. Once I had all of the pieces free, I cleaned up any nicks or marks from handling. Once I’d gotten the barrel back from Tornado Technologies I slowly began the process of getting it back together. I’ve taken it very slow to ensure I didn’t have a repeat of last time (and we all know how painful that was!).

Overall the barrel went together pretty well. I had a little trouble cutting the gas port, but once I switched to a new sharp bit I was able to get it cut without too much difficulty. Putting the barrel back in was a slow affair with numerous stops and starts to check the position of the barrel relative to the bolt assembly.

Once the barrel was in, the rest of the process went has gone pretty much like a normal AK build. I had to do a little work on the magazine catch, but now it accepts an array of magazines without issue (I put a 40 in it because I had it lying around. The 5-round Chinese work very well, though. Tabuk hunting anyone???). Honestly, one of the trickiest parts was riveting the pistol grip mount to the receiver. The normal AK builder jigs just aren’t quite set up to do this as easily as I’d like, so it took a little bit of careful work to get all of those rivets into place and secure. As you can see from the pictures below, the final product is coming out beautifully:

An astute observer will note a few things that need to be done yet. The rear sight is a standard M70 sight I included purely for the purpose of aligning the barrel assembly. I haven’t installed the Tabuk sight yet. You’ll also note the full trigger assembly isn’t yet installed – I’m still debating whether or not I want to install the adjustable match trigger or not. I also haven’t set the barrel pin just yet as I want to finalize checking the headspace. If anything, I’ll move the barrel out 1mm or so – don’t know if I need to, though. I also still need to cut the groove in the barrel for the lower hand guard retainer and screw in the buttpad on the stock. Once all that’s done I’ll tackle modifications to the cheek rest, as the hardware is completely different than the Dragunov.

Overall this has been an alternately frustrating and rewarding project. As the final pieces fall into place, I’m quite proud of the outcome, and I’ve learned a lot about trying to build a project from near scratch versus rebuilding a kit. Once I’ve completed assembly and done a field test, then I’ll get the entire rifle refinished. I still haven’t decided who I’m going to go with on that because I have a fair amount of research still to do.

Until next time!!!

More Anti-Gun Politics in the Funny Pages

One of the few remaining bastions of readable material in most newspapers these days has been the comic pages. I regularly read through the “educational section” as it’s one of the few places that isn’t heaped with biased reporting demonizing lawful firearm owners. Unfortunately the same politics that dominate the rest of the paper now seem to be creeping into the comics page, with the recent lifting of the ban on concealed weapons in parks causing a lot of “stir.” At this point we can add the comic Mother Goose and Grimm to the list of anti-gun / anti-Second outlets. The August 31, 2009 comic strongly implies that concealed carry holders will shoot randomly in parks and endanger visitors.

Maybe it’s time for a letter writing campaign to strip creator Mike Peters? The combination of comedy and politics goes way back, but it’s only “funny” to one side of the political fence. Hopefully this particular strip will backfire in the minds of most Americans.

Until next time!!!

The UK – Big Brother Everywhere

In yet another intrusion into the lives of ordinary citizens, BBC News is reporting that the British Medical Association (BMA) wants to “tag” or “highlight” the medical records of individuals with firearm licenses. The article goes on to debate the various merits of the issue, from a decidedly anti-gun owner perspective for the most part. What should be instructive, and terrifying, to an American citizen is how this ties into our own debate over health care. The UK’s socialized health care is being used as a model by many proposing “reform” in Washington.

The actions of British Doctors and the BMA are instructive as to the direction that we could expect the US to move toward if we implement a universal health care scheme. In addition to being openly hostile to gun owners, British Doctors have called for bans on kitchen knives and virtually anything that can be used as a weapon. Given the fact that health care and government are not distinct in the UK, the privacy implications are obvious.

At this point the UK has TV cameras monitoring all aspects of life. Ostensibly the cameras are there to “prevent crime”, but as I reported last week, crime in the UK continues to spiral out of control. Clearly the bans and schemes aren’t working, yet groups in the UK continue to call for additional bans, additional restrictions, and additional monitoring.

British citizens have given up their privacy, their right to self-defense, and so much more in hopes of comforts and convenience. The return for those sacrifices seems to be a declining standard of life and an increasing crime rate. We can not and must not go down the same path. We as a nation need to learn from the mistakes made by the UK and Europe and blaze our own trail – one that continues to hold the rights and liberties of the individual above all else.

Until next time!!!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Everyone Else is Jumping off the Bridge

Remember the stereotypical motherly question "If everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?" Hopefully in the area of gun control, America’s answer will be a resounding “no,” but it seems like everywhere you turn, the world is jumping off of that bridge at an alarming rate.

Ireland has passed several new onerous gun laws which have infuriated many people there. The Philippines are in the middle of an amnesty period before stricter controls take effect there. Leftists in the United States often point out that America is a “laughing stock” because of its “lax” gun laws trying to persuade the nation to take the plunge.

However, the facts continue to demonstrate that gun control just doesn’t work. In actuality, it makes crime worse. Drug and gang crime in the UK is spiraling out of control resembling a bleak US crime drama. Crimes involving firearms (which supposedly don’t exist in Britain since they’re banned) are up by more than 50% and fatal stabbings are at their highest levels ever. In the U.S., Chicago has a near total ban on handguns, yet it is our murder capital.

Policy makers try to respond with their typical nanny state remedies – more free social welfare and gun "bans" enforce a vicious cycle of poverty for those trapped in the cities and threaten the liberties of the law abiding. One definition of insanity is to “keep doing the same thing and expect a different result.” The political leadership in our urban areas is clearly insane by this definition, and needs to be opposed at every junction. We need new solutions – ones that will actually break the culture of drugs and violence but respect the inalienable rights of American citizens.

Until next time!!!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sales of Seized Firearms?

The L.A. Times is reporting that Colorado Springs, CO is considering selling seized firearms rather than destroying them as is the national norm. Citing that the same is done with other forms of seized property (autos and cars), it seems like a refreshing change from the normal “disarm the people” attitude of many large city police departments.

For the L.A. Times, the article is fairly middle of the road. Furthermore, given that some priceless collectable firearms have either been seized in drug raids or “bought back” by Police departments, this provides an outlet for these weapons.

Now if the Army would just send us some Iraqi and Khyber Pass AK kits, I’d be a really happy camper!

Until next time!!!

Will Supreme Court Consider Incorporation?

According to the Supreme Court blog two key Second Amendment cases will be considered early in the next Term. The key cases are National Rifle Association v. Chicago and McDonald v. Chicago. The key question here is whether or not the Second Amendment is incorporated under the 14th Amendment, and therefore applicable to not only Federal Law, but State and local ordinances as well. If the case is heard and the Second Amendment is incorporated, the decision would in many respects be even bigger than the Heller case that finally (and correctly) ruled that the Second Amendment affirms an individual right. The Supreme Court will consider the cases on September 29th, and we may know as early as September 30th whether or not the cases will actually be heard by the Court.

Keep your fingers crossed!!!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Armed Protests at Obama Stops

At this point anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock knows of several instances where armed individuals have shown up to protests over the health insurance plan (just what we need, another $2+ trillion disaster on top of the hundreds of billions already blown by this administration). In all cases these have been in legal open carry states by individuals simply exercising their rights under the Federal and applicable state constitutions. In no cases has the President or any other individual been directly threatened, and in no cases has there been a violent confrontation.

With that preamble out of the way, I have mixed feelings about the armed protests. On the one hand it is deliberately confrontational. It’s the equivalent of walking into a bar with a chip on your shoulder and daring someone to knock it off. It’s something that those opposed to our Second Amendment rights are going to use against us, and it may even succeed to some extent because it scares a lot of people.

On the other hand it’s a very uniquely American thing to do and to be able to do. Our nation started with armed protests and revolt against totalitarian regime. The Framers wanted an armed populace to be able to stand against any tyranny – especially the tyranny of a strong central government. I feel, as many, the administration is forcing policy down the nation’s throat, and many are rapidly losing patience.

I think the key question is “where is all this leading?” Is this just a loud way to express one’s opinion that will fade away in a few weeks, or is this the start of a shift in the electorate? Quite frankly our current business model for the nation is unsustainable – we’re almost $12 trillion in the hole, adding another $1.2 trillion to that this year with the administration spending money like it’s going out of style. To paraphrase Margaret Thatcher, we’re running out of other people’s money to spend. When the gravy train finally derails, it’s going to be ugly – a lot uglier than one or two fed-up law-abiding citizens showing up armed at a political protest.

Until next time!!!

Time to Boycott Frommer

Apparently Arthur Frommer, of Frommer’s Guide fame, is now boycotting the state of Arizona. Why? Because someone had the temerity to exercise their Second Amendment rights. According to Fox News, Mr. Frommer’s blog states he was:

“…’shocked beyond measure’ by reports that protesters openly carried guns and rifles outside a Phoenix building where President Barack Obama spoke on Monday.”

The article goes on to state:

“…he won't be spending his tourism dollars at the Grand Canyon, or anywhere else in Arizona, because the state's laws allow people he described as "thugs" and "extremists" to openly carry firearms.”

I don’t know if I still have any Frommer’s Guides hanging around, but I’ve got half a mind to hunt for any, box them up, and include a copy of the Constitution and some analysis of the Second Amendment thereto. Say what you will about the means of protest, certainly it’s “in your fact”, but people in America still have the right to keep and bear arms. If anything, the recent incidents have shown us who really believes that and who just plays lip service to the concept.

Until next time!!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Top 10 Handguns in American Rifleman

I just got my September 2009 issue of American Rifleman, and they’ve done another Top 10 list. If you remember last year around this time AR published their Top 10 infantry rifles and Top 10 hunting rifles. I only reviewed the Top 10 infantry rifle list, as that’s where my expertise lies. However the list wasn’t without controversy with many accusing it of being to American-focused. This time around, they’re picking their “Top 10 Handguns of All Time.” So how’d they do??? Let’s look at the list and find out.

1. The M1911, M1911A1, and variants. Okay – no argument so far. The 1911 is absolutely my favorite sidearm to carry and shoot. Ergonomically it’s spectacular. It’s accurate. It’s rugged. It fires the .45 ACP cartridge. While the basic design is nearly 100 years old, it has really increased in popularity since 1970.

2. Smith & Wesson Hand Ejector Revolvers. At least they’re using broad classes for some of the classic revolvers. This is one of the basic Smith designs that has soldiered on for over a century. Praised for both accuracy, durability, and crisp trigger pull, this is certainly a great firearm. However, two spots, two American guns. Where do we go from here?

3. Glock 17 Pistol. Oh no! The dreaded plastic gun!!! Actually seeing the Glock this high does lend some credibility to the list. The line has long since moved past the 9mm Glock 17 to include firearms in multiple configurations (compact, standard, tactical) and calibers (.40 Smith, .45 ACP, 10mm, and others). Glock changed the game, and while I own more XD’s than Glocks, I don’t think there would be an XD without the Glock having come first.

4. Smith and Wesson Model One Revolver. This one seems to be here for historical reasons – it was really the first modern handgun. I am a little concerned that we’re seeing another Smith on the list already though.

5. Volcanic Volitional Repeater. Say that three times fast! Early semi-automatic. Again, this one seems to be here for historical reasons as a "first."

6. Colt’s Single Action Army Revolver. Okay – yes. This one needs to be on any Top 10 list. Absolutely zero debate. Historically important. Standard issue for the U.S. military from 1873-91. The most famous gun in the American West.

7. Walther PP, PPK, PPK/S Pistols. Bond… James Bond. Walther’s small but elegant sidearm. This one doesn’t make my Top 10 Guns I’d like to own but don’t, but it comes in around #11 or #12.

8. C96 Mauser “Broomhandle” Pistol. This is another one of those oddballs. There seem to be a lot of “firsts” on this list rather than “bests” in my opinion. In AR’s words “it was the first semi-automatic pistol reliable and powerful enough for military service.” That makes it a first, not a best. It’s a neat design, looks cool, and I’d love to own one, but it certainly doesn’t make my Top 10 list.

9. Browning Hi Power Pistol. Similar in some ways to the M1911, this is another classic semi-automatic that has been used extensively the world over. Used by both the Allies as well as the Wehrmacht during World War II, it soldiered on after the war as the primary sidearm of most NATO countries. Again, I think this is another worthy choice for the list.

10. Smith and Wesson Registered Magnum Revolver. This revolver introduced the legendary magnum cartridge to the world. Honestly, I'd put it a bit higher. As immortalized by Dirty Harry:

“I know what you're thinking — "Did he fire six shots or only five?" Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I've kinda lost track myself. But, being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: "Do I feel lucky?" Well, do ya, punk?”

While this is the third Smith on the list, I think this one really actually deserves to make a “10 best” list.

So my overall thoughts on the list? Some of them I absolutely agree with, but overall the list is too American (three Smiths???) with too many “firsts” at the expense of some other very good firearms. I would expect the Webley revolver to make a Top 10 list as well as the Luger. Feel free to post your comments!

Until next time!!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Bloomberg’s “Gun-Free” Utopia

The New York Daily News published a recent article about a Harlem business owner who was forced to use a firearm in defense of his store and employees. MSNBC has also covered the story, and it is interesting to compare the two accounts and read not only the bias that comes through in the story, but the mentality of many people in Bloomberg’s “gun-free” utopia of New York.

A group of four hoods, led by an armed drug dealer, invaded Gus Augusto’s restaurant supply business, pistol whipped a clerk, pointed a gun at secretary Dorothy Hunt and demanded cash. Augusto responded that there was no cash and implored the robbers to leave. Rather than leaving, the assailants resumed beating the clerk. Augusto responded by retrieving his shotgun and opening fire. Two of the assailants were killed and two were wounded and treated.

The response has been predictable. NYPD focus on the fact that Augusto didn’t have a “permit” for the shotgun, though have “magnanimously” declined to press charges. The families of the assailants have protested loudly that they were “good sons” or “good men” and claim that Augusto murdered the assailants. I’m sorry, what word do some of these people live in? Denial must be running very deep because no “good son” or “good man” invades a person’s place of business with the intent of robbing it – much less does so armed and beats the employees in the process. I guess in New York no one has to take responsibility for their actions.

One thing that’s interesting – the New York Daily added one of those unscientific polls to the article asking:

“A Harlem shop owner who shot two would-be robbers do death said he no choice but to open fire. Did he do the right thing?”

The results are surprising – especially for a New York paper:

“Yes, he had no choice. He had to defend himself. 83%

“No, he could have avoided firing his gun. 2%

“I don't know. It seems like a decision you can only make in that moment. 15%”

Bloomberg and his draconian anti-gun and anti-defense policies have created an environment where criminals have all the advantages. It’s also apparently created an environment where delusional families don’t recognize (or are unwilling to accept) the fact that there is true evil in their midst. Until the people of New York have their inalienable right to self defense restored and the culture of “blame someone else” is erased, the city will continue to be a cesspit of criminals, drugs, and gangs. Sadly enough, Bloomberg seems to think his city is a “model” for the nation, and has gotten many other mayors onboard. The reality is New York is a model of what NOT to do.

Until next time!!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Return of the Big Lies – Time Magazine

As I reported last Thursday, Mexico continues to want to make a U.S. so-called “assault weapon ban” a priority. Recently Time published an article “Obama's Mexico Mission: Keep Guns in El Norte” by Ioan Grillo clearly trying to drum up popular support for such a measure. The piece was an absolute travesty with more lies and distortions than I’ve seen in a long time. It starts out bad and then goes downhill from there:

“The camcorder shakes as it films the thud of thick .50 caliber bullets ripping through a steel plate target in the heat of the Arizona desert. Panning across the jagged rocks and cacti, the camera then focuses on the shooter: a smiling Mexican sitting down on the dust as he uses both hands to fire the huge state-of-the-art weapon that can tear through tank armor. He was the happy customer, having bought the killing machine from an Arizona gun shop for about $21,000.”

Now the dreaded .50 cal has gone from merely being able to “down a plane” (which it can’t) to being capable of “tear[ing] through tank armor.” Anti-tank rifles were generally of a much higher caliber than .50 and have been obsolete since the early days of World War II. A .50 caliber rifle wouldn’t even go through a vintage Sherman, much less any modern tank. Of course, in addition to lying about the capabilities of the weapon, the author’s clear bias is showing by referring to the weapon as a “killing machine.”

The article doesn’t get any better:

“Obama concedes that one major problem in stopping the traffic is the strength of U.S. gun laws - and the gun lobby supporting them. Mexican officials have pushed for the United States to reinstate a Clinton-era ban on assault rifles. Such weapons - especially Kalashnikovs and AR15s - are behind the vast majority of Mexican gang killings. Both types of guns have been sold widely in Arizona and Texas since the U.S. ban on sale of assault weapons was repealed in 2004.”

Wow – where to start? First let’s start with the obvious factual errors. The 1994 ban did not ban the sale of the AR-15 or semi-automatic AK-47 clones. It merely limited the feature combinations on such rifles. So any correlation between the 2004 expiration (not repeal) of the 1994 ban is coincidental. To put it more simply, you could buy virtually the same weapon both before and after the ban, so I have serious doubts about the veracity of the Mexican numbers on this issue.

Second, again the author’s bias is showing by tying American gun laws to a “lobby.” The NRA, GOA and other organizations are very grassroots and are comprised of millions of individual, everyday citizens. Compare this to those opposed to the Second Amendment – like the Soros Foundation and their recommendations for draconian gun control.

Yet again our rights and freedoms are under attack – this time from the Mexican government with the tacit approval of the administration and media outlets like Time magazine. I urge everyone to write Time magazine and highlight the plethora of errors and misconceptions in this most recent piece. Those opposed to our liberty are well connected and well funded, and only continued grassroots activism will keep their agenda at bay.

Until next time!!!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Final Report Card Grades In!

CNN has posted the final grades from its second 100 day report card. The results represent a stark contrast to the administration’s first 100 days. In this version, individuals had the option of adding a + or – to grades, I’m just going to report the results as a straight letter grade to make the trends clearer.

Q1: Grade the administration on the economy.

Overall Grade: C-
A: 22%
B: 17%
C: 9%
D: 16%
F: 36%
Four point math: 1.73 / C-

I’ll assume that a “D” or an “F” equates to an unacceptable grade for the purpose of my analysis. Based on the CNN poll, it looks like a clear majority (52%) disapproves of how the administration is handling the economy. Not a great start for the administration.

Q2: Grade the administration on health care reform

Overall Grade: D
A: 19%
B: 15%
C: 8%
D: 9%
F: 49%
Four point math: 1.46 / D

… but the administration and Democratic leaders in Congress tell us that the people disrupting town meetings angry about the health care proposal represent a small minority of special interests and lobbyists. Based on these results, I’d say the administration and Congressional leaders are full of it. It’s clear that the overwhelming majority of respondents don’t like the current proposals.

Q3: Grade the administration on foreign affairs

Overall Grade: C
A: 29%
B: 13%
C: 14%
D: 16%
F: 26%
Four point math: 1.99 / C (barely)

One of the rare bright spots – clearly the distribution is heavy on both ends.

Q4: Grade Secretary of State Clinton

Overall Grade: C+
A: 29%
B: 21%
C: 21%
D: 13%
F: 15%
Four point math: 2.34 / C+

Clearly the Secretary of State is more popular at this point than the policies of the administration.

Q5: Grade Vice President Biden

Overall Grade: C-
A: 12%
B: 19%
C: 17%
D: 16%
F: 35%
Four point math: 1.55 / C- (close to a D+)

The math here seems fuzzy, but it looks like Biden benefited from some quirks in the math. With a 51% disapproval rating, it seems like an overall C- grade is generous.

Q6: Grade your Senators

Overall Grade: C-
A: 11%
B: 18%
C: 22%
D: 18%
F: 31%
Four point math: 1.60 / C-

This is sort of an oddball because it is a truly state focused question. North Dakota seems to really like its senators. Everyone else goes downhill from there.

Q7: Grade the performance of Congress

Overall Grade: D
A: 5%
B: 10%
C: 16%
D: 19%
F: 52%
Four point math: 1.01 / D

Congress has a credibility and performance issue. Quite frankly its time to fire many of them.

Q8: Grade the Republican Leadership in Congress

Overall Grade: D
A: 8%
B: 14%
C: 22%
D: 16%
F: 40%
Four point math: 1.34 / D+

Though the Republicans still average out to a “D” according to CNN’s somewhat skewed four point scale, it’s clear that they’re doing better than Congress as a whole.

Q9: Grade the media

Overall Grade: D
A: 4%
B: 10%
C: 19%
D: 19%
F: 49%
Four point math: 1.03 / D

Talking about pathetic. The country is clearly not happy with the media at this point. Hopefully they’ll start waking up and realize that their continued bias is antagonizing their readers and viewers.

Q10: Grade President Obama

Overall Grade: C-
A: 29%
B: 12%
C: 7%
D: 13%
F: 39%
Four point math: 1.79 / C-

Mirroring national polls, the disapproval rating for the president is rising. Opposition to the health care plan is rising, which represents a centerpiece of his domestic policy. Attempts to re-instate the so-called “assault weapon ban” (which never had anything to do with assault weapons) can’t have helped either.

It’s clear that the nation is not happy. They’re not happy with Congress, they’re not happy with the health care proposals, they’re not happy with the President. Hopefully the administration and Congressional leaders will take these results to heart and stop putting their ideology and interests ahead of those of the nation.

Well, I can hope can’t I???

Until next time!!!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Send Your Comments on Mexico’s Push for AWB

The Security and Prosperity Partnership Of North America has a website where you can send comments on a variety of topics for the upcoming summit. Based on Mexico’s continuous attempts to violate our Constitutional rights, I sent in the following comments:

“A recent article on the ABC News website indicated that Mexico is going to try yet again to push for a so-called “assault weapon ban” at the upcoming North American Leaders summit. I am writing today as a concerned American citizen who sees this effort as nothing more than an attempt to abridge my rights because a foreign entity has singularly failed to maintain order in its own nation. The case they make is based on misconception and falsehoods, and no time should be wasted at the summit entertaining this attack on the rights of American citizens.

“The ABC article quotes a Mexican official as stating that the number of so-called “assault weapons” rose with the expiration of the 1994 U.S. ban. I question this assertion as the 1994 ban was based solely on cosmetic features. Any law-abiding individual could readily purchase semi-automatic AR-15’s and AK-47’s during the “ban.” Furthermore, news reports detailing the weapons in the hands of the cartels clearly show fully automatic weapons, which are rare in the U.S. and strictly regulated. These same reports show rockets and grenades as well which also can’t be coming from any gun show or gun store.

“Based on these facts, it seems clear that the true source of the majority of the weapons in the hands of the cartel’s is Mexico’s own military and police as well as black market weapons from China, Russia, and Central America. Even assuming American weapons were making it to Mexico, that isn’t a compelling argument to abridge the U.S. Constitution. Instead it would simply reinforce what we already know – the U.S. Mexico border is not as secure as it should be.”

I urge everyone to send polite, well-written comments in if you feel strongly about this issue. Remember, anything sent will be available under the Freedom of Information Act.

Until next time!!!

Mexico Continues to Try and Dictate American Law

ABC is a reporting that Mexico will continue to push for a new so-called “assault weapon ban” in the US at the upcoming North American Leaders summit. According to the article, an unnamed official stated:

“I would like to see the assault weapons ban reinstated – it’s not philosophical, it’s because of what we have seen on the ground…There is a direct correlation between the assault ban and expiring in 2004 and the numbers – simply the sheer numbers – of assault weapons that we seize in Mexico…We are both cognizant of what can and cannot be done right now – we will softly, diplomatically…continue to say that this is an important issue for us but I think the real perspectives of this moving on Capitol Hill these days are slim to say the least.”

The ‘official’ goes on to state:

“The Mexican government is not about challenging the Second Amendment. That’s a sovereign decision of the United States. It’s a sovereign decision of the U.S. Congress. That’s up to you guys. But the Second Amendment wasn’t adopted by the Founding Fathers to allow transnational organized crime to illicitly buy weapons in the Unites States and be illicitly cross them over international borders into countries where those calibers and types of weapons are prohibited.”

Thank you, but I’ll keep interpretation of the Second Amendment to the experts – the people who actually wrote the thing. Just because Mexico believes that a disarmed populace is easier to control, that’s not our problem. If Mexico is so concerned about weapons trafficking, then they need to beef up the border – not only to keep alleged American weapons from entering their country, but to keep their citizens from illegally entering OURS! I’m all for a tighter border, and it seems to me that it would make everyone’s life easier. Let's work on that instead, eh?

Until next time!!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

CNN Administration Report Card

In case you haven’t seen it, CNN has set up a report card where you can grade the administration, Congress, and even the media on several current issues. From the results so far, it’s clear that the nation isn’t happy and that the honeymoon is over for the Obama administration. Based on the methodology used its hard to get a really low grade, but the results so far are very interesting. Here’s the current status:

Q1: Grade the administration on the economy.

So far: DC gives the administration a C+, that’s the high point, eleven states give it a C, thirty four states give it a C-, and five states give it a D. If you look inside the numbers, between 25% and 40+% of individuals voting give the administration an F.

Q2: Grade the administration on health care:

So far: A disaster for the administration with only DC and Alaska giving the administration a C, roughly nine states giving the administration a C-, and the rest of the nation giving it a D. In many states well over 50% of those responding give the administration an F.

Q3: Grade the administration on foreign affairs:

So far: This is one of the few “bright spots” for the administration with most states giving the administration a solid C with a smattering of C+’s, a few C-‘s, and even one B- from DC. Inside the numbers roughly 25% of the individuals responding are still giving the administration an F.

Q4: Grade Secretary of State Clinton

So far: She does better than the administration with no state rating her lower than a C with many C+ grades.

Q5: Grade Vice President Biden

So far: YEEEOWCH!!!! DC gives him a C, twenty one give him a C-, the rest give him a D. The fraction of F votes is also very large on this question.

Q6: Grade you state Senators:

So far: Most people aren’t happy with their senators – this one is a slightly different pattern as it isn’t asking a rate on the Senate itself.

Q7: Grade the performance of Congress:

So far: Double YEEEOWCH: No state gives Congress above a D. “F” grades are a majority in many states.

Q8: Grade the performance of the Republican Leadership in Congress.

So far: Not great, but a little better than Congress as a whole – mostly D’s with roughly 10 C- grades. It is interesting to note that the proportion of “F” votes is lower (~10% from a cursory glance) than Congress as a whole.

Q9: Grade the performance of the media:

So far: D’s across the board with a huge percentage of F grades.

Q10: Grade President Obama:

So far: A couple of C+ grades, ten C grades, a boatload of C- grades, and seven D’s. Proportion of F grades is also high.

Clearly the honeymoon is over for this administration. They can no longer blame the previous administration for all of the issues facing the nation today. Some of the centerpieces of the administration’s domestic policy are meeting with substantial resistance. Gaffes in the realm of health care, the deficit, the economy and gun control are clearly taking their toll. Hopefully this positive momentum will arrest this nation’s slide into socialism.

Until next time!!!

Senators Need to Read Recent Zogby Poll

News media outlets this weekend were effectively wetting themselves to trumpet that the NRA’s attempts to derail the Sotomayor nomination had been a failure. However, the results of a recent Zogby Poll strongly indicate that the rank and file in the U.S. Senate may need to reconsider their support. The article gives the following background for the poll:

“Judge Sotomayor does not believe the Second Amendment right to "keep and bear arms" and the right to self-defense are fundamental rights of all Americans. Specifically, Judge Sotomayor believes the Second Amendment only applies to the federal government and does not apply to the States, as indicated by her recent testimony and past rulings.”

It is unclear whether that background was provided those surveyed. However, the poll did ask the following question:

"Would you support or oppose a U.S. Senator who voted to confirm a Justice to the U.S. Supreme Court who does not believe in the right to keep and bear arms and the right to self-defense?"

The response was encouraging. Based on the article acceptable responses were “support, oppose, or unsure.” Overall 52% of those polled would oppose the Senator’s re-election bid whereas only 26% would support the Senator. Among Independents the split was 57% to 17%. Somewhat troubling, but not surprising, is that young voters (18-29) show slightly lower numbers with 49% opposing and 31% supporting. With all of the anti-firearm propaganda in schools today, it’s not surprising that younger voters are slightly skewed. Traditionally Democratic leaning Unions also overwhelmingly opposed such a Senator by a 54% to 29% margin. Even a plurality of Hispanics opposed (42% to 28%), with the caveat that the number of undecided voters was 30%.

Zogby also covered another hot button topic in the Senate – concealed carry laws. The poll asked:

"Currently, 39 states have laws that allow residents to carry firearms to protect themselves, only if they pass a background check and pay a fee to cover administrative costs. Most of those states also require applicants to have firearms safety training. Do you support or oppose this law?"

This time the results were an absolute grand slam:

“An overwhelming majority of Americans (83 percent) support concealed-carry laws, while only 11 percent oppose them. A majority of Independent voters (86 percent), Democrats (80 percent), young voters age 18-29 (83 percent), Hispanic voters (80 percent), and those who voted for President Obama (80 percent) support the right to carry a firearm.”

What amazes me is how far apart the views of the People are from the views of our so-called “representatives.” The Thune Amendment failed by a 58-39 vote, yet Americans support concealed carry by more than 8-1!!! It is a sad testament to our political process that individuals with an agenda clearly hostile to our rights hold such sway in the halls of Congress.

What is encouraging is that more and more Americans are becoming cognizant of their rights, and they’re standing up for them. Hopefully that will translate to something more than just letting Zogby know of their opinion. Real change comes in the voting booth.

Until next time!!!

More Seeking Concealed Carry Permits

USA Today ran an article indicating that record numbers of individuals are applying for concealed carry permits in record numbers. As mainstream articles go, it’s fairly balanced though it does seem to go out of its way to indicate that gun owners are “fearful” – be that of increases in violent crime because of the current economic downturn or gun control legislation proposed by a largely Democratic Congress and administration.

Honestly, I’m glad to see American’s waking up and actually exercising their Second Amendment rights. For too long we’ve taken a very casual approach to many of our rights as long as the economy is okay and taxes aren’t too high. That kind of complacency is a luxury we can’t afford anymore. The erosions to our rights in the last quarter century have been staggering. We have to draw the line and begin to reverse this trend; otherwise the America we leave for our children will be the merest shadow of its former self.

Until next time!!!

Interesting Take on Thune Amendment Defeat

The Jurist, a publication of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, recently published an opinion by Alan Gura discussing the defeat of the Thune Amendment. His take is that the defeat of the Thune Amendment effectively violates the Constitution’s “full faith and credit clause.” He argues that one of the key purposes of the Constitution was to ensure “Americans do not trip on internal borders.” As it stands today, concealed carry regulations and reciprocity is a maze of conflicting regulations.

As I stated last week, I’m encouraged that the Thune Amendment had such broad bi-partisan support in the Senate, and I sincerely hope it the issue will come up again soon. I’d much prefer a vote where a simple majority vote would allow it to pass though (as I don’t think its die hard opponents have the votes to filibuster).

Until next time!!!