AR-15 Ammunition And Barrel Twist Rate

Herschel Smith · 19 Feb 2017 · 7 Comments

There are a lot of articles and discussion forum threads on barrel twist rate for AR-15s.  So why am I writing one?  Well, some of the information on the web is very wrong.  Additionally, this closes out comment threads we've had here touching on this topic, EMail exchanges I've had with readers, and personal conversations I've had with shooters and friends about this subject.  It's natural to put this down in case anyone else can benefit from the information.  Or you may not benefit at…… [read more]

New York Times On The NFA For All Firearms

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 2 months ago

Unbelievable.

FOR more than 80 years, the United States has enforced a tough and effective gun control law that most Americans have never heard of. It’s a 1934 measure called the National Firearms Act, and it stands as a stark rebuke to the most sacred precepts of the gun lobby and provides a model we should build on.

Leaders of the National Rifle Association rarely talk about the firearms act, and that’s probably because it imposes precisely the kinds of practical — and constitutional — limits on gun ownership, such as registration and background checks, that the N.R.A. regularly insists will lead to the demise of the Second Amendment.

In speeches, publications and a steady stream of fund-raising literature, the N.R.A. rails against gun registration and gun owner databases. In 2008, the organization’s chief executive, Wayne LaPierre, claimed that photographing and fingerprinting gun owners was “the key gun control scheme” of the candidate Barack Obama, who, Mr. LaPierre predicted, would confiscate every gun in America before the end of his first term as president. The N.R.A. now says that the “real goal” of “gun control supporters” like Hillary Clinton is “ gun confiscation.”

But the longstanding National Firearms Act not only already mandated the registration of all owners of machine guns, short-barreled rifles, silencers and other weapons deemed highly dangerous at the time, it created a national database of those gun owners with their mug shots and fingerprints, and a detailed description of each weapon purchased, including its serial number. Purchasers of “N.F.A. weapons,” as they are known, must pass an F.B.I. background check, be approved by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and pay a $200 tax. Stolen weapons must be reported to the A.T.F. immediately — the sort of requirement the N.R.A. opposes for other gun thefts.

The National Firearms Act includes much of what the N.R.A. fights against, but the lobbying group hasn’t directly challenged it. That may be because the firearms database, which includes weapons owned by both private citizens and law enforcement agencies, accounts for only a small percentage of the 300 million firearms estimated to be in private hands. Perhaps it should fight against it, though, because the 1934 law makes a good case against the N.R.A. The more than four million weapons inventoried — including machine guns, missiles, hand grenades and mortars — are the best example we have of gun control that works.

The N.F.A. was designed to control what today’s Justice Department calls “dangerous weapons that empower a single individual to take many lives in a single incident.” Millions of firearms now in private hands, including assault rifles designed for use by the military, are just as lethal as weapons covered by the N.F.A. They should be brought under the act.

Jeff Folloder, the executive director of the N.F.A. Trade and Collectors Association, says his members have learned to live with gun registration and lose no sleep worrying about confiscation. “There are still an enormous number of people who think if they register and purchase an N.F.A. weapon, they’re giving A.T.F. permission to come knock on their door at any time, and that’s just not true,” Mr. Folloder told me. You’re not giving up any rights.”

The author, Alan Berlow, hocks this steaming pile of crap – or something analogous to it – everywhere he goes, from Salon to Politico.  Anyone who is anyone in the progressive community gives him a voice to push his incitement to civil war.

One can always find a tool of the government to bolster his ideas, and this Jeff Folloder character is just that.  I couldn’t be less interested in what he has to say.  But take note that Mr. Berlow doesn’t mention the massive civil disobedience in New York, Connecticut and Oregon from their recent registration and confiscatory schemes.  Neither will the New York Times conduct an investigatory series on that.

For those of us who say “not one more gun control law,” Mr. Berlow is clueless as to the resolve of the patriot community.  If the federal government actually tried to do this, there would be bloodshed and violence, or otherwise simple civil disobedience and refusal to enforce said laws by the law enforcement community because they want to go home to families at the end of the day and not have to look over their shoulder for potential threats at 2300 hours when they take their dog out for the last piss of the night.

It’s sad that the New York Times is so disconnected from the ordinary population that they would give Mr. Berlow yet another opportunity to hock his crap.  The LEOs aren’t going to enforce such a law, the Congress won’t pass such a law, and Mr. Berlow won’t do anything to enforce it himself.  This is just a progressive wet dream – nothing more.

Texas Open Carry

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 2 months ago

KVUE.com:

Nearly six months ago, licensed open carry-gun owners in Texas were granted the privilege to carry their guns on their hip. Before the legislation’s passing, gun opponents feared it would cause problems for law enforcement.

So, has the public flooded law enforcement with complaints?

“As it turned out, we didn’t get any,” said Roger Wade, the spokesperson for the Travis County Sheriff’s Office.

In preparation of open carry, the Travis County created a special code to track complaints, but hasn’t had any calls to start using it.

Oooo!  A special code for open carriers.  Because it’s so special and everything.

“People were scared of people walking up carrying guns. What they don’t realize is, is that there are a lot of people carry guns, you have no idea are carrying guns,” said Wade.

The KVUE Defenders checked with some of the largest law enforcement agencies in Texas: Austin and Dallas Police Departments, and sheriff’s offices in Hays County, Williamson County, Bastrop County, Bexar County and Harris County. All of the agencies report little to no complaints from the public.

“When the Texas legislature was getting ready to pass open carry last year, we heard a lot of claims from the gun control crowd saying it was going to turn into the wild, wild west, and that just hasn’t happened here,” said Lars Dalseide, spokesperson for the National Rifle Association.

It’s too early to determine if open carry has influenced violent crime in Texas. According to crime reports though, Oklahoma (-3.97 percent) and Tennessee (-3.92 percent) both saw violent crime slightly decrease after open carry became legal.

“These people are safe, responsible gun owners and they go through a lot of trouble to make sure they get the proper licensing from the state,” said Dalseide.

Gun rights groups say they’re not done. They plan to push lawmakers to pass legislation making gun ownership a constitutional right, which would allow owners to own a gun without a license.

Yes, constitutional carry.  This is a good next step.  As for the notion that the wild, wild West hasn’t obtained, I think someone said exactly that and predicted exactly what has come to pass.

Again, as a citizen of a traditional open carry state, I’m going to tell you what’s going to happen here.  Nothing.  That’s right, nothing.  Life will continue in the lone star state unabated, and the doomsday predictions of law enforcement and the progressives will go down as a monument to their hatred of the common man.

I’ll send the bill for my consultative services tomorrow.

Mike Vanderboegh Speeches

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 2 months ago

This is a post you will want to bookmark for potential future patriots.  Mike’s most recent speech is here.

And of course, don’t forget the best extemporaneous speech I’ve ever heard.

Jim Sullivan Speaks On HBO About The AR-15

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 2 months ago

First of all, we all know that the major networks are all controlled by communists.  HBO is no exception, and as best as I can tell, is nothing but trash.  I would have never agreed to speak to them.  Courtesy of The Firearm Blog, here is Jim Sullivan on the AR-15.

JIM SULLIVAN: “The hits on the enemy, were just fatal– almost anywhere. One guy had been hit in the ankle, and it killed him.”

DAVID SCOTT: “Why?”

JIM SULLIVAN: “They couldn’t stop the bleeding. I mean, there was just so much damage.”
DAVID SCOTT: “No matter where you hit the enemy, you’d take him off the battlefield.”

JIM SULLIVAN: “That’s right. It was more lethal than any cartridge that was fired by any army in, in history.”

[ … ]

DAVID SCOTT: “Did you ever imagine—“

JIM SULLIVAN: “No. Never even considered that—it had any civilian application.”

DAVID SCOTT: “Concern you at all?”

JIM SULLIVAN: “Of course, everybody gets concerned when there’s one of these school issues where children are killed by an AR-15. I mean, that’s sickening. But that was never the intended purpose. Civilian sales was never the intended purpose.

He responded to HBO’s editing here.  He claims himself (and is claimed by others) to be “designer” of the AR-15.  He (and others) took a Eugene Stoner design and adapted it for the 0.223.

So as to his claim, whatever.

Again I say, whatever.  Yawn.  And as for whatever response he would make of the HBO show, I would never have even said that I was “concerned” about any particular gun or cartridge being used in some crime or other.  It doesn’t matter, because another gun or cartridge could have been used, and another will be used somewhere, and that, very soon.

And I would have never said that I saw no “civilian” application to the 5.56 mm NATO cartridge, because hunting, and self defense, and the second amendment remedy for tyrants who would harm us and our families.  That’s why.  Because.

So you see, I would never have been so gullible and stupid to say such things.  They’re wrong.  And I would never have been so gullible and stupid to speak to HBO without total control over the editing, by contract witnessed and drawn up by the best legal minds money could buy.

And I would always do my utmost to speak of Eugene Stoner with hushed reverence.  And John Moses Browning.  And Eugene Stoner.  But I said Eugene’s name already.

So there.  I’m not impressed with Jim’s qualifications about the HBO editing process.  And you know Jim, you just may have contributed to more gun control in the future, and you may have given the lawyers for the Sandy Hook parents more to work with in their lawsuit against Remington.  How sad.

As for The Firearm Blog, they make hay out of the fact that it’s about firearms only.  No politics, nothing to muddle the beauty of the gun.  And then this.  Where Jim Sullivan craps on the AR-15 and TFB talks about the HBO show.  And thus the beauty of the gun is broken by politics, and so TFB broke down and did something other than what they claim.

I’ve seen other instances as well.  And it’s okay with me, since I always thought that the claim NOT to dabble in politics was mistaken and theatrical anyway.  Good grief.  Politics is another name for ethics in the categories of philosophy (if you’ve ever read any legitimate texts in philosophy like Frederick Copleston).  Let’s just not pretend that TFB is better than everyone else or “above the fray” for not addressing the pressing issues of our time.

Please Open Carry Because You Might Kill Me

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 2 months ago

Via reporter Mack, opinion from Virginia:

Concealed carry needs to be done away with. All gun owners should carry openly.

When you meet me on the street, you don’t know I’m a loving wife, devoted mother, Girl Scout troop leader, Sunday school teacher and soccer mom.

I don’t know those things about you either, but if you open carry, I know two things I need to know: 1. You are prepared; 2. willing to kill me.

When I see you at the counter in Starbucks, I should have the right to decide if I want that coffee now or leave the store immediately.

When I drop my sons at soccer practice and see you’re one of the coaches, I should have the right to decide if my son joins another team or plays Little League.

Concealed-carry gun owners have all the rights. It’s time people who don’t like guns have rights, too.

Kimberly Blatt

Stafford

The comments are a hoot.  Well Kimberly, it ain’t no skin off of my back.  I’ve said before many times that I would prefer to open carry simply because of the level of comfort having to do with carrying OWB versus IWB.  It is my understanding that two centuries ago it was considered dishonorable to conceal a weapon anyway.  Honorable men displayed weapons for all to see.

But the problem is this.  Suppose we stipulate that such a law wouldn’t infringe upon a right (a point I do not grant, by the way, but stipulate for the sake of argument).  Making this law doesn’t lead to observance of that law, the deadly weakness of all such progressive social planning.  Setting the regulation in place does nothing to effect compliance, because … ahem … the weapon would be concealed, not openly displayed.

In other words, such a law would only affect peaceable, law abiding men, not criminals who were never going to obey the law regardless of what it says.  So you see Kimberly, your proposed law does no more than the opposite proposal does for the folks who fear the public carrying of weapons.  Yes, that’s right, Kimberly.  Some people want to prohibit what you want to encourage.

They want to prohibit open carry because the law forces hiding the weapon, and since it is out of sight they can pretend that it doesn’t exist.  You want to force open carry by law so that you can pretend that concealed weapons don’t exist.  In either case, this is a psychological problem, one which you ought to take up with your pastor or church counselor rather than the state legislature.

This historian just made it likelier that Sandy Hook parents will be able to take Remington to court

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 2 months ago

Raw Story:

Connecticut judge has ruled that the families of the Sandy Hook elementary school mass shooting can gather facts to develop a civil action against Remington, the parent company for the Bushmaster AR-15 used by shooter Adam Lanza. If their case goes to trial, it would be a landmark challenge to the 2005 legislation that shields the gun industry from civil liability.

The plaintiffs are arguing that Remington bears some culpability for the shooting because their marketing deliberately targeted teenage males. The plaintiffs hope to gain access to Remington’s highly proprietary marketing plans to instantiate their claims. They may or may not succeed. But for the early 1900s, those marketing plans are hidden in plain view, in the historical archive. And they spell out how consciously and energetically the gun industry worked to cultivate the young male consumer in modern times.

The Winchester Repeating Arms Company, for example, developed what they shorthanded as a “boy plan” to encourage gun sales and love in young men.

In 1917, saddled by massive wartime expansion and debt, Winchester wrote a confidential letter to its jobbers and retailers about its postwar ambitions. “You are going to sell more guns this year than you ever sold before!” the company promised. “The need today is for more gun business.” Likewise, “the best way to make…ammunition business is to put more guns into hands of shooters.”

To support sales Winchester embarked on what it characterized as the “greatest commercial venture in the history of this country, probably in the history of the world.” They never lacked for ambition. In 1920 alone, they spent close to a million dollars on advertising.

A centerpiece of this effort was the company’s boy plan. Winchester prepared a letter about the .22 caliber rifle to send to boys between the ages of ten and sixteen. They asked retailers to send a list of the names of boys in their towns, so the company could send the letter to them under the retailer’s name.  The company intended to reach precisely 3,363,537 boys this way.

“Read this letter. Put yourself in the place of a boy of 14. Would you let another day go by before calling on your dealer?” The retailer’s task was to “Put a Winchester into the Hands of Every Youth in Your Town. When the boys and girls of your town arrive at the age of twelve years, they become your prospects.”

The company supported the campaign nationally with extensive advertisement in American Boy, Boys’ Life, Youth’s Companion, and others, as well as magazines such as the Saturday Evening Post.

Some of the boy plan selling points emphasized military readiness, and the idea that boys should know basic marksmanship, and how to handle a rifle safely. Capt. E. Crossman, something of a gun gossip columnist in the early 1900s, praised Winchester for trying to popularize preparedness through marksmanship, “even though it be from a purely business standpoint” and motivation. Other strands of Winchester’s boy marketing sold the gun on more mystical and deeply emotional terms.

In their internal sales publications, newsletters, correspondence, and bulletins to introduce the campaign, Winchester drew on the modern language of psychology. The company emphasized “a boy’s natural interest in a gun,” his “yearning for a gun” as a “natural instinct,” and the “inborn trait of human nature” that aroused a male’s interest in a display of guns and ammunition. This naturalized a boy’s desire to own a gun in a more urban, post-frontier America in which a gun was less necessary to his daily life. The Winchester Record, a company magazine, summarized it as the “the shooting instinct, which is present in most boys and girls.”

The company explicitly tied guns to powerful feelings about masculinity and authenticity at a time when Americans had anxiety about the softening effects of modern life and shifting gender roles. One group of ads claimed that every “real boy” wanted a gun—and that “every real American mother and father” knew that he should have one. Nothing was closer to a “real boy’s heart than shooting.” A lot of self-conscious effort reinforced the ostensibly obvious and irrefutable link between the gun and the “sturdy manliness that every real boy wants to have.”

But Winchester also invited its sales force to imagine a boy’s natural gun love as a by-product of the yeastily proliferating world of matinees, westerns, and the “countless boys’ adventure stories” that complemented the gun industry’s advertising. “Picture a red-headed boy in the front row of the movies. He’s on the edge of his seat, eyes still popping out of his head as the end is written across a … film where Winchester rifles were the star speakers. Up flashes your ‘ad’—boys earning Winchester sharpshooter medals …. What’s he going to save up his quarters for? A Winchester of course.”

It is strange to contemporary ears, but Winchester advised retailers to appeal directly to their “boy customers” and their allowance quarters, not to their parents.

I’ve lifted enough text out of the Raw Story article that hopefully you won’t have to visit the site to get the gist of the report.

So what the hell difference does any of this make?  How is this any different than marketing a car to a teen and that teen driving in an unsafe manner and harming someone?

Answer.  It isn’t any different.  The breathless report at Raw Story is just another reminder that the law only means something when it benefits the progressives, and can safely be ignored if it hinders their social planning.

Valediction Of A Three Percenter

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 2 months ago

Sipsey Street Irregulars, Mike Vanderboegh:

For many years I have introduced myself as a Christian libertarian who believed in God, free men, free markets, the rule of law under the Founders’ Republic, and that the Constitution extended to everyone regardless of race, creed, color or religion. As I take my leave from this existence, I must admit that the Constitution, as the Founders crafted it, is now or soon will be dead — killed by corruption and collectivism and mostly by our own sloth and moral cowardice in opposing its enemies.

Yet if the Constitution is dead as an organizing and unifying force in this nation, the principles enunciated in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights can never die as long as there remain free men and women who believe in the Founders’ vision. This is the essence of the Three Percent, that no matter how small our numbers are — if we remain armed and determined — we may yet preserve the flickering flame of liberty.

However principled, you must still be clearheaded about the realities facing us. We are on the brink of chaos that will make the agonies of the former Yugoslavia look like child’s play. Anyone who believes otherwise is whistling past the graveyard of history. There will be no deliverance from the rigged game of national politics. If any of our traditional liberties are to be saved it will be on a local basis of community, county and church, secured by your own efforts, your own organization, with your own friends and neighbors according to the principles enunciated by the Founders. I envisioned the Three Percent movement with that local focus in mind, as a philosophy, a discipline, of the armed citizenry. I enunciated some of these in the Three Percent Catechism. The growth of the concept has been startling. Yet many of those who claim to be “Three Percenters” haven’t a clue about the principles upon which the movement was founded.

 

It’s with very mixed emotion that I read these words.  I’m happy to see Mike still with us, but I’m apprehensive about what this “valediction” means.  I would like to think that Mike will always be there writing prose, making speeches, leading us in thought-mining the current scene, and in general crafting phrases that no one else seems to be able to create.

But I know that’s not the case, not with Mike, and not with me either.  Not with any of us.  No man knows the day or hour.  But what we do know is that for Mike, he had various and sundry regrets about earlier exploits and wanted to contribute as much as he could since then.  But what’s true of Mike is true of any of us – without God’s salvific intervention, none of us will live.

Life is granted as a gift, a free gift based on the vicarious atonement, so none of Mike’s works serve towards redemption.  They are works of love for his savior, and I know that not only because of Mike’s belief system, I know it from his actions.

Read this entire commentary, pray for Mike, and be thankful that we had him for a short while.

Wheelchair Bound Veteran Kills Intruder

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 2 months ago

Via Uncle, this:

A wheelchair-bound Vietnam veteran fatally shot a man who forced his way into the veteran’s residence, authorities said.

Eddie Frank Smith, 69, was at home in Monticello on Thursday about 9 p.m. when Andre Smith, 22, (no known relation), forced his way into Eddie Frank Smith’s home through a rear door, according to a media release from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

When Eddie Frank Smith went to investigate, Andre Smith lunged toward the resident, who shot the intruder once in the chest, according to the GBI.

There are some less than thoughtful “Christians” who think maybe Mr. Smith should have just sat there and perished, sort of like women who are being raped should just spread their legs and take it rather than defend themselves.  To them, God apparently wants it that way.

Irrational Christian Bias Against Guns, Violence And Self Defense

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 2 months ago

Several examples of Christians opposing all violence and means of self defense have been in the news lately, and I can’t deal with all such examples.  But three particular examples come to mind, and I first want to show you one example from Mr. Robert Schenck in a ridiculously titled article, Christ or a Glock.

“Well, first of all you’re making an immediate decision that if someone invades your home, they are going to die,” Rev. Schenck replied. “So you are ready to kill another human being in your home. That brings about a big ethical question for the Christian. And we’re told in the Bible, we’re even to love our enemies.”

“Even a potential intruder? Someone who’s been coming into your home to hurt you?”

“Absolutely. Is it always God’s will that I survive a violent confrontation with another human being? I’m not sure that’s always God’s will.”

Before we address this tangled web of confusion, let’s bring up another example from Mr. Benjamin Corey who has a commentary up at Patheos entitled The Serious Problems With Using Ecclesiastes 3 To Justify Christian Support Of War & Violence.

thought I had addressed all of the counter arguments over the years, but a new one is emerging and being used more and more frequently: the use of Ecclesiastes chapter 3 to justify the Christian’s support of war and violence.

[ … ]

So, here’s how this is starting to be used in Christian discussions about guns, war, and violence: When Christian A puts forth the nonviolent teachings of Jesus, Christian B retorts by posting this passage in reply. The inferred argument is, “Jesus couldn’t have really meant that, because Ecclesiastes says there’s a time to kill and a time for war.”

First, it ignores Jesus! The act of rebutting Jesus using other passages of Scripture should be a major red flag in the mind of any believer. If Jesus is the living Word of God and the Wisdom of God, then we begin with what Jesus taught us. This is what makes us Christians instead of Biblicists– we follow the teachings of our Lord and Savior. When one rejects the face value teaching and example of Christ in favor of other passages or people in Scripture, it’s a good indication that such a person may like Jesus the Savior but not Jesus the Lord– and unfortunately, this thing is a package deal.

Let’s expand on Benjamin’s views on guns in a previous commentary entitled Some Serious Questions I Have For All Those Good Guys With Guns.

So, you’re a good guy with a gun. I get it. I’ve seen the bumper sticker, heard the slogan a million times, and I even used to be one of you. I’m retired military, was an expert marksman, and was even awarded the Bronze Schützenschnur by the German army.

I was a bonafide good guy with a gun for most of my adult life thus far. But even in my most pro-gun days, the entire American motif of a good guy with a gun made me ask some hard questions– and left me feeling less and less comfortable with the whole concept.

I appreciate the basic sentiment of it all, really. I want my family to live in safety as well, and my desire-meter ranks precisely zero for how badly I’d like to die while standing in line at the deli.

However, this idea that the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun is really over-simplified. In fact, I think it is dangerously over-simplified and should really invite some hard questions for those would-be good guys with guns.

The first question this invites is, where will you keep it? Studies show that the presence of a gun in the home increases the likelihood that someone will get shot. Further, we have a growing problem in America of toddlers shooting people with guns they stumble upon. Will you at least keep it locked up in a gun safe where kids can’t access it?

I hope you’ll be that reasonable. But, if you do keep it locked up in a safe because you don’t want your kids getting their hands on it, that invites another question: What good would that do you in an emergency? I mean, having it inconveniently out of reach under lock and key sorta defeats the entire point, no?

But let’s say you resolve that issue– perhaps you’ll be one of those good guys with a gun who carries it everywhere. You strap it safely to your hip, have a hollow point in the chamber, and you’re locked and loaded. That too invites a whole additional line of questioning.

Perhaps the biggest question it invites is this: What qualifies you to be a good guy with a gun who is ready to end a human life at a moment’s notice? Is there some special qualification, or is the mere fact that you think highly of your personal character all the qualification you need?

Some states (like my home state of Maine) require no training at all to be a good guy with a concealed gun, while others require some sort of basic gun safety training. Let’s say you took one of these basic courses: Does a few hours or even a few days of training qualify you to be making life or death decisions in a split second while shopping in Walmart?

If it does, why do the military and law enforcement constantly train? Why not give our professional good guys a few hours of training on a Saturday, hand them a gun, and call it good?

Let’s give the benefit of the doubt for a moment, and consider that you’re an expert on gun safety and an expert marksman. That still leaves a bigger question: Have you taken “kill or no kill” training? Like, lots and lots of it where you decide if someone lives or dies, on the spot and in less than a second? Because that’s what you’ll have to do in real life as a good guy with a gun.

It’s one thing to be a decent person who owns a gun and is trained on the mechanics of how to use it, but what about split-second judgement calls when a human life is in the balance? This is why professional arms bearers repeatedly take kill or no kill training– it’s not enough to be ready to shoot, one needs to have the ability to decide if to shoot at all.

Let me ask you a hypothetical: let’s say you’re standing in the movie isle at Walmart and you hear gunfire and people screaming. You quickly remember that you’re a good guy with a gun, so you draw your weapon and run to the end of the isle. Once you get there, you see a guy with his own gun drawn, and is pointing it in the opposite direction as you.

Do you kill him while you have a clean shot?

Oh my.  The confusion with Benjamin is neck deep, and it’s going to take some time and effort to sort this out.  Before we begin, I know that I have a number of readers who aren’t Christians.  That’s great, and I’m happy to host you in my small and humble home.  This may be a bit boring to you, but you should care anyway.  Men like this not only influence public policy, but they effectively disarm much of the Christian public with their advocacy, this disarming have the effect of making them vulnerable to literally anyone who comes along armed.  Witness the kidnapping of those poor girls at the hands of Boko Haram, or the extinction of Christianity in Mesopotamia, a sad but gradual catastrophe I have watched ever since OIF began.  A large segment of the population that cannot defend themselves is of concern to you, whether you are a Christian or not.  And if you hang on with me, you’ll learn some things about what Jesus thought of unbiblical laws banning weapons.  With that said, let’s begin.

Mr. Schenck says, following Christ, to “love your enemies,” and asserts that this is a big “ethical question” during a home invasion.  Next, without any exegesis or explanation fleshing this out, another leaky bucket is put with the first one, where Mr. Schenk invokes the will of God.  “Is it always God’s will that I survive a violent confrontation with another human being? I’m not sure that’s always God’s will,” he says.  Here Mr. Schenck has said too much and destroyed his own argument, and it will require some explanation to explain what I mean.

Mr. Schenck is acting like a Calvinist, but I seriously doubt he has the deep and abiding commitment to Calvinian theology that I do.  Mr. Schenck is relying on ignorance of the masses for the force of his argument.  Classic Calvinian theology divides the will of God into two distinct categories: (1) preceptive, and (2) decretive.  God’s preceptive will pertains to His precepts, His laws.  What does God wish to happen, or how does He wish mankind to live?  The second category pertains to His decretive will, or what He has decreed to come to pass.

Isaiah 46:10 says “I am God and there is no one like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure’ ” (Isaiah 46:9-10).  Ephesians 1:11 says ” … having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.”  Again, all things.  This suffices for many hundreds of passages that teach the same thing.  God decrees, and no one stays His hand.

Furthermore, He tells us that the later category is not only unknown to us, it is off limits.  Deuteronomy 29:29 says “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.”  We are responsible for knowing and obeying His law, not the outcome, nor the flow of times and epochs that result from our choices and actions.  That’s in God’s hands, and we are not to question it.

Mr. Schenck is questioning God’s decretive will, apparently in need of knowing it so that he can attempt to effect it.  But it makes no difference.  Mr. Schenck can no more bring it to pass nor prevent it from coming to pass than he can move the moon or keep it from moving.  And we have just said that it is none of his business anyway.  Mr. Schenck is either a poorly informed and badly educated Calvinist, or he invoked the doctrines of God’s will in an attempt to confuse people, or merely as another objection to self defense.  I suspect it’s the later rather than the former.

In either case, we’re left with only his first objection, his notion that Jesus was a pacifist, Bohemian hippie flower child.  But he has supplied no exegesis of Matthew 5:44 to make us think that Jesus intends for us to allow others to kill us in His name.  In fact, the problem lies not in the words of Jesus (who was dealing with personal grievances, not public threats, see here John Gill’s and Matthew Poole’s exposition), but rather Mr. Schenck’s lack of hermeneutical self-discipline.

The Holy writ is a unity, with Christ as the scarlet thread running throughout.  The words of the O.T. are no more in contradiction with Christ than the balance of the N.T.  There is progressive revelation and development of the covenant, but there isn’t any embarrassing contradiction.  We needn’t turn to obscure passages or tangential concerns to justify Biblical self defense.  As we’ve noted before, the basis for it is found in the Decalogue.

I am afraid there have been too many centuries of bad teaching endured by the church, but it makes sense to keep trying.  As I’ve explained before, the simplest and most compelling case for self defense lies in the decalogue.  Thou shall not murder means thou shall protect life.

God’s law requires [us] to be able to defend the children and helpless.  “Relying on Matthew Henry, John Calvin and the Westminster standards, we’ve observed that all Biblical law forbids the contrary of what it enjoins, and enjoins the contrary of what it forbids.”  I’ve tried to put this in the most visceral terms I can find.

God has laid the expectations at the feet of heads of families that they protect, provide for and defend their families and protect and defend their countries.  Little ones cannot do so, and rely solely on those who bore them.  God no more loves the willing neglect of their safety than He loves child abuse.  He no more appreciates the willingness to ignore the sanctity of our own lives than He approves of the abuse of our own bodies and souls.  God hasn’t called us to save the society by sacrificing our children or ourselves to robbers, home invaders, rapists or murderers. Self defense – and defense of the little ones – goes well beyond a right.  It is a duty based on the idea that man is made in God’s image.  It is His expectation that we do the utmost to preserve and defend ourselves when in danger, for it is He who is sovereign and who gives life, and He doesn’t expect us to be dismissive or cavalier about its loss.

And concerning John Calvin’s comments on this subject:

We do not need to prove that when a good thing is commanded, the evil thing that conflicts with it is forbidden.  There is no one who doesn’t concede this.  That the opposite duties are enjoined when evil things are forbidden will also be willingly admitted in common judgment.  Indeed, it is commonplace that when virtues are commended, their opposing vices are condemned.  But we demand something more than what these phrases commonly signify.  For by the virtue of contrary to the vice, men usually mean abstinence from that vice.  We say that the virtue goes beyond this to contrary duties and deeds.  Therefore in this commandment, “You shall not kill,” men’s common sense will see only that we must abstain from wronging anyone or desiring to do so.  Besides this, it contains, I say, the requirement that we give our neighbor’s life all the help we can … the purpose of the commandment always discloses to us whatever it there enjoins or forbids us to do” (Institutes of the Christian Religion, Vol. 1, Book 2, Chapter viii, Part 9).

If you’re willing to sacrifice the safety and health of your wife or children to the evils of abuse, kidnapping, sexual predation or death, God isn’t impressed with your fake morality.  Capable of stopping it and choosing not to, you’re no better than a child molester, and I wouldn’t allow you even to be around my grandchildren.

Turning now to Benjamin, the confusion becomes even more chaotic with less hermeneutical self-discipline.  First of all, he’s tried to tackle too much.  Without going into the details of his argument, Professor Darrell Cole has written a very good article at First Things entitled Good Wars.  His closing paragraph summarizes his thesis.

The most noteworthy aspect of the moral approach to warfare in Aquinas and Calvin is that it teaches (contrary to today’s prevailing views) that a failure to engage in a just war is a failure of virtue, a failure to act well. An odd corollary of this conclusion is that it is a greater evil for Christians to fail to wage a just war than it is for unbelievers. When an unbeliever fails to go to war, the cause may be a lack of courage, prudence, or justice. He may be a coward or simply indifferent to evil. These are failures of natural moral virtue. When Christians (at least in the tradition of Aquinas and Calvin) fail to engage in just war, it may involve all of these natural failures as well, but it will also, and more significantly, involve a failure of charity. The Christian who fails to use force to aid his neighbor when prudence dictates that force is the best way to render that aid is an uncharitable Christian. Hence, Christians who willingly and knowingly refuse to engage in a just war do a vicious thing: they fail to show love toward their neighbor as well as toward God.

If Robert or Benjamin haven’t interacted with Cole’s analysis, you may safely ignore what they have to say on this issue.  They haven’t really tackled the hard issues yet or dealt honestly with violence, federal headship or the fallen state of mankind.  To that extent, their exposition is cowardly.  It never helps your case to beat up on straw men or weaklings.  You have to step into the back yard and run with the big dogs before people will respect you.

Second, Benjamin acts as if the only justification for violence is found in Ecclesiastes 3.  I’ve never even seen such an argument in print, and I certainly wouldn’t make it (not from the so-called “wisdom literature” of Scripture).  But beating up on Ecclesiastes 3 doesn’t justify his next move, which is to disconnect the balance of Scripture from the person and teachings of Christ.  He says “If Jesus is the living Word of God and the Wisdom of God, then we begin with what Jesus taught us. This is what makes us Christians instead of Biblicists– we follow the teachings of our Lord and Savior. When one rejects the face value teaching and example of Christ in favor of other passages or people in Scripture, it’s a good indication that such a person may like Jesus the Savior but not Jesus the Lord– and unfortunately, this thing is a package deal.”

That’s right, Benjamin.  It’s a package deal, and I have no need of setting one passage off against another because I follow the commonly accepted rules of Biblical hermeneutics.  It’s a package deal, and that means I see all of Scripture as a whole, with progressive revelation, development of the covenants, unity of purpose, and divine sanction and inspiration of the authors.  For the best study on this, see Inerrancy, edited by Norman L. Geisler.  I have no need of ignoring Jesus’ words – in fact, I cherish every one of them.  I just make sure to appropriately understand and contextualize them.

For the third example, as for the oft-quoted Luke 22:36, Preston Sprinkle dismisses this passage out of hand as justifying anything at all, to the point that he doesn’t even interact with this passage.  He continues his missive, and I have to say that I’m not at all impressed by his “scholarship.”  He doesn’t any more honestly deal with issues than the two authors we’ve already examined.  I find his snarky manner very off-putting, and his lack of honesty in dealing with the Scriptural data very revealing.

But regarding his dismissal of Luke 22:36, which I presume he treats as some sort of spiritualized metaphor, remember that Christ wasn’t just commanding His disciples to get swords (for the purpose of self defense, or the purpose of ensuring that they would later be guilty of breaking the law, or whatever, it doesn’t matter).  He was commanding that his disciples become criminals.  It was against the law for them to have those swords.  “During the Roman occupation of Judea, Jews were forbidden to own swords, spears or any implements of war.”  Jesus commanded them to ignore laws controlling weapons.  While I reject the theological approach taken by Dr. Martin at Yale University, he has supplied us with good data on this question.

… for some evidence, see Digest 48.6.1: collecting weapons ‘beyond those customary for hunting or for a journey by land or sea’ is forbidden; 48.6.3.1 forbids a man ‘of full age’ appearing in public with a weapon (telum) (references and translation are from Mommsen 1985). See also Mommsen 1899: 564 n. 2; 657-58 n. 1; and Linderski 2007: 102-103 (though he cites only Mommsen). Other laws from the same context of the Digest sometimes cited in this regard are not as worthwhile for my purposes because they seem to be forbidding the possession of weapons with criminal intent. But for the outright forbidding of being armed while in public in Rome, see Cicero’s letter to his brother relating an incident in Rome in which a man, who is apparently falsely accused of plotting an assassination, is nonetheless arrested merely for having confessed to having been armed with a dagger while in the city: To Atticus, Letter 44 (II.24). See also Cicero, Philippics 5.6 (§17). Finally we may cite a letter that Synesius of Cyrene wrote to his brother, probably sometime around the year 400 ce. The brother had apparently questioned the legality of Synesius having his household produce weapons to defend themselves against marauding bands. Synesius points out that there are no Roman legions anywhere near for protection, but he seems reluctantly to admit that he is engaged in an illegal act (Letter 107; for English trans., see Fitzgerald 1926).

Christ commanded them to possess and bear arms, even in violation of the law.  This is a fact, and no amount of spiritualizing, Scripture twisting or hermeneutical machinations can get around it.

If we have learned absolutely nothing – and I do mean absolutely nothing – of any import or value on the Scriptural data concerning violence or self defense from the three authors cited here, it seems that it’s time to move on to the mundane and trivial.  Benjamin wants to know all about how we keep our guns.  But here I find my own attention floating to something else, i.e., how Benjamin parks his cars, where he does so, whether they are put into a safe condition when he isn’t around them, where he keeps his keys, how well he controls the kitchen knives, cleaners, soap, gasoline for power tools, electrical outlet covers, and cabinet locks, and whether all of his circuits are up to current code with GFCIs in the bathrooms, garage, porches and other places they need to be?

In fact, I’m wondering how I know that Benjamin is actually qualified to be a husband and father?  But this sort of meddlesome, control freak, brooding mother hen, nanny mentality tires me and seems repulsive and grody, so I think I’ll just leave it to Benjamin seeing that it’s none of my business anyway.  Grok that, Benjamin?

As for this notion that cops receive all of this ninja warrior training, it just isn’t so.  One friend who recently retired as captain of one of the largest police departments in America, told me that most gun owners’ self training far exceeded what most cops get, mostly who just qualify on the range once a year and then never unholster their weapons after that (thankfully).  Otherwise, we would have no answer for all of those examples of stupidity, overreaction, dead dogs, negligent discharges, fellow officer shootings, hundreds of rounds discharged in rolling gun battles inside the inner city, and SWAT raids gone bad.  You see Benjamin, if we civilians unholster our weapons, we’re charged with brandishing and we get to talk to a judge and get our rights taken away.  If we point our weapons at someone, it’s called assault with a deadly weapon (which includes perceived intent), and we get to go to prison for an extended stay.  When the LEOs do it, it’s called being “heroes of the community.”  Perhaps, Benjamin, when you pose your shoot / no-shoot scenario, you should be talking to LEOs.

It doesn’t take an experienced law enforcement professional to know that ordinary folks with weapons can and do save lives, every day, all over the world.  That’s not the problem or the question.  You see, by invoking the police, Benjamin has said too much.  He isn’t really a pacifist, he doesn’t really want to perish at the hands of criminals, and he doesn’t really take the teachings of Christ as seriously as he claims.  He just believes in the same thing all progressives do – monopoly of force.  The ugly little truth of progressives, including Christians who have progressive tendencies, is that they haven’t yet been able to turn away from the state as savior and protector, judge and jury, lawyer and arbiter.  They are statists, and their reflexive tendency is to attempt to reconcile their statism with the Holy writ.  To them the state is supreme – otherwise they wouldn’t believe in a monopoly of force.  The real Scripture twisting is done by them, not the millions of Christians around the world who either know better and dismiss their antics as misguided or who are [unfortunately] misled by them.

There are many more steps in this process, including pointing out that the American revolution has its roots in the covenant theology of continental Calvinism (taught by my former professor Douglas Kelly), and that thousands of pastors fought in the war of independence.  For now it is enough to observe that the objections the detractors offer up are like ten leaky buckets.  All of them leak, and putting ten of them together no more ensures that you have a viable container than a single leaky bucket.  They float from one idea to the next, and don’t seem to spend any time on core objections because that tactic doesn’t work and they know it.  They haphazardly throw everything up but the kitchen sink, hoping something will stick.  Quantity is favored over quality because none of the objections are compelling.

They hope something will stick not because of the Biblical data on self defense, gun ownership and war, but because of the philosophical presuppositions they bring to their study of the Scriptures.  Unless this issue is honestly addressed, their prose will not be honest.

UPDATE: Thanks to WoG, SSI and WRSA for the links.

Prior:

Philosophizing With Guns

Guns In Church In Mississippi

A Touching And Heartwarming Story Of Violence And Revolution

Jihadist Shooter Was Going To Target A Church

Pistol-Packin’ Christians

The Idolatry Of Security

They Believe The Angels Will Protect Us

Woe To The Nation Whose Religious Teachers Have Become Workers Of Wickedness

Should Christians Own Guns?

A Desperate Cry From Iraq’s Christians

The PCUSA On Guns

Dear Christians With Guns

Concerning The Nigerian Christian Girls

Guns: Think Of The Children

Does Jesus Shoot An AR-15?

Baptist Forum Does Gun Control

Who Would Jesus Shoot?

The Golden Calf Of Gun Control

Faith And Firearms

Guns And Religion

When Christians Discuss Guns

Christians, The Second Amendment And The Duty Of Self Defense

Today In Guns: Pistol & Machine Gun Review

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 2 months ago

The Grease Gun.  I’ve wanted one ever since I first saw it as a child.  Because of the Hughes amendment and your wonderful congress-critters, you cannot have one.

S&W Shield .45.  I was wondering when they were going to make this in .45 for folks who don’t shoot 9mm.

H&K pistol SP5K (semi-automatic).  See also this.  Of course, this is “we hate you” H&K.

Uzi pistol.  I’ll take one please, along with the Grease Gun and the SP5K.


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