Monday, October 26, 2009

Another Idiot Sticks His Foot in His Mouth on the AK-47

The Medford Mail Tribune is fairly notorious for its anti-gun, anti-self defense, anti-Second Amendment positions. It therefore comes as no surprise that they printed an “editorial” declaring that “AK-47s should be illegal”. The piece (of tripe) by one R. "Andy" Anderson of Phoenix Oregon is a rant that hits all of the standard anti-gun talking points with a healthy dose of ignorance and distortion on top.

Going through the piece point by point:

“As we all know, an AK-47 is a "killing machine" and nothing else! Gun dealers should be prohibited from selling them and should have to divulge where they get them from!”

Technically all firearms are “killing machines” by that definition – from the Brown Bess Musket all the way through Glock pistols and bolt action hunting rifles. The author furthermore clearly has no understanding of the nature of the so-called AK-47’s advertised for sale today. He’s clearly laboring under the delusion that they are fully automatic weapons smuggled into the country. In fact, all AK-47 derivatives sold in the United States are semi-automatic firearms with BATFE approved receivers to prohibit easy conversion to a fully automatic firearm. Furthermore AK-47 derivative rifles in the United States must have a minimum number of U.S. made parts to comply with Section 922(r) of the Federal Code. They are available from several reputable importers and manufacturers in the United States.

“As a veteran of the Korean War, I'm very much aware the damage this weapon can do.”

The AK-47 was not used in the Korean War, though the PPSh was. This seems like a normal “appeal to authority” logical fallacy, but Mr. Anderson only further demonstrates that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

“It's not used for hunting deer, elk or any other game animal that can be legally hunted.”

Actually with a five round magazine the AK makes a very nice deer hunting rifle. However as any student of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Section 27 of the Oregon Constitution is aware, hunting is not the purpose of the right to keep and bear arms. Defense of the self, the state, and liberty are. The AK-47, even in its semi-automatic incarnation, is a solid defensive weapon.

“Most of the people that get their hands on this weapon of mass destruction are crooks, bank robbers, etc., and the police department is totally outgunned by these criminals.”

This whole statement is just factually incorrect from the outset. A 2004 study by the Department of Justice indicates that the impact of the Assault Weapon Ban on crime was minimal, largely because so-called “assault weapons” were “rarely” used in crimes. Furthermore, most police departments are armed with high caliber, high capacity semi-automatic pistols as a standard sidearm. Departments also have access to REAL fully automatic assault rifles which outgun anything a civilian can own outside of a Class III weapon.

He closes with:

“I can't understand why anyone would want to own one, even a collector of guns!”

Obviously “Andy” doesn’t understand a lot of things. He doesn’t understand the law, he doesn’t understand the right to keep and bear arms, he doesn’t understand the difference between a BATFE approved semi-automatic clone and a fully automatic firearm, he doesn’t understand modern hunting, and he doesn’t understand what weapons were actually used in the Korean War (which he allegedly attended). It’s therefore not surprising given the dearth of knowledge he’s displayed in his “editorial” that he wouldn’t understand why someone would like to own one. Speaking as someone who owns several AK-47 clones, I own them for self-defense. I own them for hunting. I own them for target shooting. I own them because they’re rugged, easy to clean, and easy to carry. I own them because the ammunition is generally inexpensive. I own them because they are an important part of world firearm history. Maybe next time “Andy” will educate himself on an issue before writing an editorial... Yeah, right!

Until next time!!!

Newspaper Editorial Board Admits Error - Supports Concealed Carry!

The editorial board of the Missouri News Tribune has come to an amazing conclusion – concealed carry works! In a recent op-ed piece, the editorial board discussed two recent incidents where individuals use firearms to defend themselves from attack. The first case involved a home invasion, but the second case involved an individual with a concealed carry permit using their weapon to resist an assault. The editorial board stated the oft repeated mantra against concealed carry:

“We confess to harboring some reservations about the concealed carry law. Our fear was an increase in guns in public would result in more guns being displayed prematurely and/or more accidents.”

However, Missouri data shows that these fears are unjustified, and the editorial board “concede(s) the point” indicating:

“The evidence, however, does show people defending themselves from harm.

“The message being sent to felons is don't bring a weapon to a crime unless you're prepared to accept the risk.”

Honestly I’m not surprised by the results of the Missouri concealed carry law. People who qualify to have a concealed carry permit are generally unlikely to commit crimes themselves. The fear that there would be “more guns in public” that would be used irresponsibly is a paper tiger. Time and again, real data has show that it is not the case. The real increased danger is to those who seek to violate the law and civil rights of others.

I glad at least one small newspaper in the nation has realized this. Now if the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, and LA Times would only follow suit we may be able to make some real progress!

Until next time!!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Smith and Wesson Victory Model

As I mentioned a few days ago I picked up a Smith and Wesson Victory model revolver at the gun show. Turns out it’s technically a “pre-victory” or a host of other collector terms as it’s a lend lease gun with the “United States Property” stamp, but it’s just before they moved over to the “V” serial number block typical of the Victory model. So what the heck is a “Victory Model?” Basically it’s the Smith and Wesson Model 10 revolver chambered to be compatible with the British .38/200 load (which is essentially just a .38 Smith and Wesson with a 200 grain bullet). The Model 10 is the direct descendant of the standard Smith & Wesson Military & Police revolver.

After the disaster at Dunkirk, the British army needed replacement armaments – and quickly. The United States provided over a half million of these revolvers to Britain and Commonwealth forces throughout the war. They were extremely popular – even more so than the indigenous Enfield and Webley revolvers firing the same cartridge. The U.S. also used the Victory model, though in American service the revolver was chambered for .38 special rather than .38/200.

My example (above) still has most of its original parkerized finish. It also has several proofs indicating it was in Australian service during the war, and has been through a Full Thorough Repair (FTR) in 1954. I also picked up a British canvas holster to go with the pistol.

There are several great references on the web about the Victory Model. This site has a great tutorial on the markings commonly found on the Victory model. The site includes links to pictures of each of the proofs and markings as well.

I’m quite pleased overall with my find. I’d wanted a Victory Model for some time, but I’d never been able to find one at a price I was willing to pay (as both historical collectors and Smith and Wesson collectors target these little gems). I feel I got a good deal on this pistol, and can’t wait to get it out to the range and put a few rounds through it!

Until next time!!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Media Continues to Orbit Bloomberg’s Ego

The NRA-ILA website has an article detailing Bloomberg’s latest escapades in his egomaniacal crusade to erode and eliminate your right to keep and bear arms. Surrounded by cameras and media at a “news conference” Bloomberg proclaimed that his undercover agents had discovered "a willful disregard of the law" by "74% of gun show sellers." Seems fairly damning until you realize the following:

“...his "investigators" attended gun shows only "in states . . . that supply crime guns trafficked across state lines at the highest rates," only in neighborhoods with the highest incidence of "federal prosecutions for straw buying and trafficking, and proximity to urban areas experiencing gang violence," and ultimately focused their attention on only 47 individuals who, based upon their comments and actions, seemed the most likely to violate a gun sale law.”

Granted, it’s troubling that there are that many individuals willing to break the law, but the statistics do not carry to the general population, nor do they carry to the general gun show population. Unfortunately many of the usual anti-gun suspects seem to have similarly flunked basic statistics:

"Thanks to Mayor Bloomberg and the New York City Police Department, the public can see firsthand what goes on at these weapons markets," said the Brady Campaign.

"This investigation reveals how easy it is for criminals and even terrorists to purchase firearms at gun shows," said Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.).

Media outlets and newspapers nationwide have latched onto Bloomberg’s “revelation” with their usual level of journalistic integrity – that is to say none. The NRA site correctly points out:

“Reporters worthy of the name would have pointed out that buying a gun for a family member or friend as a gift is not a straw purchase. It's a violation of the law only to buy a gun for a prohibited person. And competent reporters would have also noticed that Bloomberg's "investigation" actually undercuts his call for requiring background checks on non-dealer sales at gun shows. The most common gun sale violation, Bloomberg says, is that straw purchasers defeat the background check. Requiring more sales to be run through checks would not alleviate the straw purchase problem one whit.”

Individuals who break firearm law should be prosecuted, but that is the duty of the BATFE, not the Mayor of the City of New York or its police department. Thirty or so individuals at specifically targeted gun shows do not represent a nationwide epidemic. All this latest stunt proves is that Bloomberg will go to any lengths to deny American’s their inalienable right to keep and bear arms – and hog the media spotlight.

Until next time!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Obama Seeks Foreign Arms Control Entanglements

The Obama Administration has reversed a Bush Administration policy stating it would back talks to develop a treaty regulating arms sales under the condition that the talks “operated by consensus, a stance critics said gave every nation a veto.” While it’s certainly no surprise that the current administration is willing to entertain a treaty which limits armaments, the precondition is a little surprising. By requiring a consensus to move forward, an actual treaty agreement resulting from these talks may be unlikely. Looking at the decision in that light, perhaps this is an attempt by the administration to appear to be taking actions without having to take a strong stand on a controversial issue.

The goal of the treaty is to “tighten regulation of, and set international standards for, the import, export and transfer of conventional weapons.” According to the article:

“Supporters say it would give worldwide coverage to close gaps in existing regional and national arms export control systems that allow weapons to pass onto the illicit market.

“Nations would remain in charge of their arms export control arrangements but would be legally obliged to assess each export against criteria agreed under the treaty. Governments would have to authorize transfers in writing and in advance.”

Critics of the treaty believe that rogue states would still be able to arm themselves at will while other smaller nations with a tenuous military balance (like Israel) would suffer a reduced ability to defend themselves. The treaty is also opposed by gun-rights groups like the National Rifle Association.

Honestly from where I sit, this treaty could lead to a fair amount of mischief and limitations on things like parts kits and imports of firearms into the United States. The administration stance on the issue seems to be little more than throwing a bone to the international community while expending as little political capital as possible.

Until next time!!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

October Rose City Gun Show Report

Had an enjoyable afternoon at the Portland Gun Show on Saturday as it was too rainy outside to do – well, pretty much anything without the use of SCUBA gear! A few of the regular vendors were moved around a bit because some regulars couldn’t make this show. Pricing on firearms is about steady from last time around, so the recent discounts I’ve seen online haven’t started to work their way through the system. For example, AIM has a WASR10 for about $380 at this point, whereas they were all closer to $500 at the show.

Ryan Judy had a first article of a Finnish Suomi M31 9mm semi-automatic on display. I’ve got one on order and picked up two stick and two drum magazines at the show. He also had a decent selection of Finnish Mosin Nagant rifles. There were a few semi-decent C&R rifles elsewhere at the show, but it was lighter than previous shows.

A few of the people walking through had some interesting firearms they were offloading. I ended up picking up a Smith and Wesson Victory Model for a reasonable price. Hit one of the vendors specializing in C&R and picked up British Canvas holster to go with it too.

Overall I had a great time. I’m still considering setting up a table in November or December as I need to rotate some of the collection.

Until next time!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I Took the Plunge – 6.8mm Remington SPC

Unless you’ve been under a rock, you’ve probably heard about the (relatively) new 6.8 mm Remington SPC (Special Purpose Cartridge). The cartridge was developed to address ballistic deficiencies in the standard 5.56 NATO cartridge in widespread use in both military and civilian applications. I’ll be the first to admit that while I was excited by the prospect of a new cartridge for the AR platform, I was wary as not only was the cartridge in its infancy, but the barrels, chambers, bolts and magazines to support the new cartridge were as well. As you can see below the size of the 5.56 and 6.8mm cartridges are similar (6.8mm is on the bottom).

Over the past few years, the ballistic performance of the round has been improved, but that has also necessitated improvements in the AR platform as well. Many early 6.8mm uppers do not perform well, or do not perform well with the most current version of the 6.8mm cartridge. At this point, however, the specs seem to be stabilizing, and there is a growing community adopting the cartridge.

The 6.8mm forum (link above) has generated a really good spreadsheet that has many tips for individuals just getting into the cartridge. I’d seen several ads and had initially ordered an upper from a company I’d seen frequently in Shotgun News. They were out of stock, and I ultimately canceled that order because the company’s upper got a failing rating on the 6.8 forums rating system based on twist rate, grooves, barrel rating, feed ramps, thread size, and gas port location. I ended up getting an upper from AR15 Performance as all of their uppers received highest marks. Bison Armory, Titan Arms, and the new uppers from Noveske are also all “A” rated.

The photo above is of my rig. I haven’t had a chance to sight it in yet as it just arrived right before I headed out on a hunting trip (and proceeded to get sick – but that’s another story!). Can’t wait to get it out and see how it performs. I’m going to take my time breaking in the barrel and sighting it in.

Until next time!!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Briefs Start Coming in for McDonald

Just as they did with the Heller case, Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) are joining Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.) in filing a joint amicus brief before the Supreme Court asking the court to rule that Chicago’s gun ban is unconstitutional. Interestingly, The Hill is couching the case as one that “could further expand the Second Amendment and restrict governments’ ability to police the flow of firearms.” Talking about a slanted statement! Even a cursory reading of American history shows that the Second Amendment was always supposed to affirm an individual, inalienable right. All the upcoming McDonald case does is to reaffirm today what was patently obvious then. In no way, shape, form, or fashion does it “expand” the Second Amendment, nor does it have anything to do with the government’s ability to “police” firearms.

Senator Hutchinson states:

“With its landmark decision in D.C. v. Heller, the Supreme Court affirmed an individual’s right to bear arms is a fundamental, Constitutionally-guaranteed liberty. The Second Amendment should protect all lawful gun owners, but some courts have not viewed this right as one protected from state infringement. I look forward to the Supreme Court’s consideration of McDonald v. the City of Chicago so this extremely important Constitutional question regarding a fundamental, individual right can be settled, once and for all.”

I personally couldn’t agree more. This is a Constitutional question that should have never had to have been asked. I’m also glad to see that this brief will be filed by both Democrats and Republicans. The Second Amendment for too long was a purely partisan issue, but recent years have seen a surge in bipartisan support for the right to keep and bear arms. Hopefully other Senators and Representatives will sign on to this brief as well.

Until next time!!!

Schwarzenegger Caves on Ammo Regulation!

After vetoing three similar bills in recent years, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has now signed a sweeping ammunition regulation bill saying he believes it will “promote public safety.” Regulating guns hasn’t worked, but suddenly regulating ammunition will? Yet again we see the politicians acting like they’re “doing something” rather than addressing the real problems leading to violence – largely in urban areas.

Given that this is California legislation, the provisions of the bill are fairly onerous:

  • All ammunition sales will have to be face-to-face.
  • The Law makes it a crime to knowingly sell or give ammunition to someone who cannot possess it legally, including felons, gang members and the mentally ill.
  • As of February 2011, all ammunition buyers will have to provide a driver's license or other state identification and a thumbprint.
The only “bright” spot in the legislation is that a provision that “would have required sellers of more than 50 rounds of ammunition a month to be licensed by the state” was stripped from the final bill.

Welcome to the new front in gun rights legislation. For years, those opposed to the right to self-defense have focused on outlawing firearms. Now that court case after court case has upheld the individual right to keep and bear arms, they’re going after other targets. Bloomberg has attacked FFL’s and now this is the first step in attacking ammunition. I expect that this law will eventually be challenged, but until then it will serve as a “model” to gun grabbers across the nation.

Until next time!!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

NRA - Good or Bad for Our Rights?

Over at the Northwest Firearms board, there’s a thread that asks the question – is the NRA good or bad. It’s a seemingly simple question, but there are a myriad of views on the topic. Here’s my take.

First off, let me preface this by saying that I'm both an an NRA life member and a GOA life member. I honestly think both serve their purposes.

Some gun rights activists accuse the NRA of secretly working with the anti-gun activists behind the scenes and a host of other nefarious activities. Do I think the NRA is in bed with Feinstein and co? Absolutely not. That's a ridiculous charge GOA uses to boost membership numbers. GOA is "no compromise", but they're also "no money" and effectively "no clout" in Washington – beyond a few individual representatives that were already onboard anyway.

Sadly enough I’ve seen gun owners fall into two camps – those who think they don’t go far enough and those who think they’re “too radical” – it all depends on who they’ve been listening to.

One important thing to consider, though, is the fact that the NRA has the money to push legal cases forward. That's why they're demonized in the media so much - because the anti crowd sees them as a legitimate threat. The landmark Heller case was funded largely with NRA money. The upcoming McDonald case I believe is mostly Second Amendment Foundation if memory serves, but you can bet that the NRA and GOA will most likely both file briefs.

GOA is good for whipping up the base, but that’s really about it. They just don’t have the resources to move outside that role at this point. The NRA on the other hand is aware of GOA, and seems to be taking a much harder line these days on Second Amendment cases. The Heller case finally got the government of the United States to admit that the Second Amendment affirms an individual right – just like the Framers intended. In short, competition is good.

I personally support the NRA, GOA, Second Amendment Foundation and the Oregon Firearms Federation when I can. We need to make sure that all of these organizations are well-funded to ensure the future of our Second Amendment rights.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Pundits Weigh in on McDonald

As discussed a couple of days ago the Supreme Court has decided to take up the case McDonald v. Chicago. At issue is Chicago’s draconian handgun ban, which has done absolutely nothing to decrease the crime rate in Chicago. Violence in the city has continued to increase with the recent murder of Derrion Albert serving as a stark example of the all-to-common brutality in Chicago’s streets. At this point, several pundits are starting to weigh in on the issue, and right now most seem to be predicting that the Constitution will actually be upheld.

Steve Chapman at the Chicago Tribune wrote a short piece discussing the ban. It hits most of the relevant points, including the fact that the ban hasn’t decreased crime. He also cites Chapman University law professor Ronald Rotunda as giving the ban only a 20% chance of surviving this challenge. The Tribune allows comments on their web site which seem to be running more heavily in favor of getting rid of the ban, but there are still several people clinging to the “collective right” interpretation of the law who clearly haven’t read their history. I added a brief shot to the discussion:

“People love to cite the militia clause of the Second Amendment, but then trip over that "right of the people" part... They also fail to read the Federalist and the writings of the people who actually debated, authored, and ultimately ratified the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment is there as much to protect America from outside invasion as it is to protect America from a strong central government run amok. Their intent was that the populace should be armed - and armed as well as any army. Not practical today, but the individual rights interpretation is the only interpretation with historical backing. Don't believe me - go read your American history”

Don’t know if it will do any good, but I’ve found the best way to defeat someone who thinks they “know it all” in an argument is to prove that they really don’t know it all.

Eric Zorn, also of the Tribune, also predicts that the Chicago ban is going down because of some of the broad language in Heller. Again, there are several gun-banners posting in the comments, but they’re starting to sound more and more like petulant children who aren’t getting their way as the facts don’t support their interpretations, and they’re being called out on it.

Declan McCullagh over at CBS as also written an opinion on the issue, but his takes a different view focusing on an individual rights interpretation of the Second Amendment applied to the states in many post Civil War court decisions (where the rights of African Americans were being trampled). The comments on this one seem to have more of an anti-gun slant to them overall with many people playing the “it’s not the 1800’s anymore” card and maintaining that cities are “different.” I’ve got news for them, they either have inalienable rights, or they don’t. It’s time America got back to recognizing our inalienable rights as such!

It proves to be an interesting next few months as the briefs begin to pour in for the January hearing of the case. Next year will be a pivotal year for our rights as affirmed under the Second Amendment – regardless of how this case is decided. Remember to keep up your support for pro-Second groups (see links on the sidebar) as they will be the ones presenting large portions of this case.

Until next time!!!