Walkabout In The Weminuche Wilderness

Herschel Smith · 05 Aug 2018 · 38 Comments

"There are no socialists in the bush" - HPS All of my physical training only barely prepared me for the difficulty of the Weminuche Wilderness (pronounced with the "e" silent).  It's National Forest land, not National Park.  The Department of Agriculture no longer prints maps of the area, so we relied on NatGeo for the map, and it's good, but not perfect. We have a lot of ground to cover, including traveling with firearms, the modification I made to one of my guns for the trip, the actors…… [read more]

A Former Remington Executive Takes On A Challenge: Building A Smart Gun That Can’t Be Hacked

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 1 week ago

Forbes:

For a while this summer, Ginger Chandler ignored the emails from LodeStar. As an executive who had formerly worked on product development for Smith & Wesson and Remington, she was an obvious candidate to help the startup develop a better smart gun. But she knew the history of smart gun efforts in the United States.

In short, they’d failed. Smart guns are a kind of graveyard of heroes who have been torn apart on the rocky shoals of American gun politics.

Chandler had been laid off from Remington as it neared bankruptcy in spring 2017. She’d started a platform for to help small gun accessories makers to access markets. But she had time. So, she started to think about the idea.

“Smith & Wesson ran after this 20 years ago and failed,” said Chandler. “Other companies have done it and failed. And I’m not interested in addressing the politics. I feel like we get it wrong every time we try to do that.”

But the executives at the company were on a mission.

CEO Gareth Glaser had a 30-year career in corporate America, but after a mid-career program at Harvard he wanted to do something with a social mission.

Ah, how sweet.  A social mission.  It’s all mere altruism, isn’t it.  But wait.

Ralph Fascitelli, another executive, had long been involved in Seattle-based Washington CeaseFire, which advocated pragmatic solutions to gun violence. They both saw smart guns as a business-oriented, pragmatic solution to gun violence, and a big market: They estimate potential sales at $1 billion, or about 40% of the 7 million unit handgun market.

There were high-profile investors involved (though they don’t want to be public), including a former CFO of Smith & Wesson, Chandler told me. The company has raised $500,000 and needs about $3 million to start producing the guns.

LodeStar was appealing, to be sure, Chandler thought.

“Giving people options so that they can maintain their firearms and keep others who are not authorized from using them …  that is a good and honorable cause,” she said. “No one would disagree with that.”

She found herself open to the idea. But there were other challenges.

The idea of smart guns makes incredible sense: build guns with tech-enabled safety features, like fingerprint IDs, that could prevent them from being used by someone who doesn’t own them. Take, for instance, the 15,000 children who are killed or injured by guns every year (the number is based on 2015 stats). “Smart guns can reduce gun deaths by 37%, which correlates with our own analysis re saving lives from suicides, domestic violence, police gun grabs, stolen guns used in homicides, child accidents, school shootings involving teenage underage shooters,” said Fascitelli by email.

In other words, the technology used on your smart phone, applied to guns, could save as many as 37 people out of the 100 who die each day from guns, not to mention those who are injured by guns. In fact, the three big gun safety/public health experts have all voiced support for smart guns: UC Davis’s Dr. Garen Wintemute, Johns Hopkins’ Dr. Stephen Teret and Harvard’s Dr. David Hemenway.

The market for smart guns starts with parents who want to keep their kids safe and police departments who worry about guns being turned around on police officers.

But when companies have tried to introduce them – Mossberg Firearms, iGun and most recently, German company Armatix – some of the technology wasn’t as easy as it is now. There’s been a backlash from the gun community.

So which is it?  Either the gun community will accept these things because no one could possibly disagree with such an approach, and it makes good sense, and it’s a swell idea, or the gun community has rejected them and is causing a “backlash.”  Which is it?  It can’t be both.  Only a lousy reporter wouldn’t probe to find the truth.  Only a shill would write an article that sounds like an ad.

The NRA says officially that it is concerned that technology introduced in guns could make guns less safe, though that claim is widely dismissed. The second issue is that smart gun technology could be mandated, which both the NRA and the National Shooting Sports Foundation object to. More than 15 years, a New Jersey law seemed to confirm some gun owners’ worst fears:

A law sponsored by Loretta Weinburg in 2002 mandated that only smart guns could be sold in New Jersey within three years after the first model hit the market anywhere in the United States. That law is now largely regarded as a well-meaning failure — even by Weinberg — because it touched off such a nasty dispute with gun rights proponents,  as columnist Mike Kelly wrote.

Smart guns haven’t received much support from some gun control organizations over the years – though the Obama Administration tried to promote research into them.

“The major gun safety groups like Brady have done very little to promote a technology approach. … This we “believe” is because of a small group of naive well-heeled idealists on the left don’t want a safer gun to be the solution to gun violence   The idealists on the left, who supported the New Jersey mandate, and right have prevented a pragmatic solution for a long time,” said Fascitelli.

So the controllers haven’t pushed technology, it’s the right teaming up with the left that has prevented smart guns.  Well, this is a narrative I haven’t heard before, maybe because it’s idiotic.

In addition, politicians in New Jersey seemed open to changing the 2002 that would have mandated smart guns in New Jersey (which some in the gun community objected to on principle and as a sign that other states would follow.)

This week, in the wake of the Tree of Life shootings, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said he would introduce new gun control bills, including one that would replace the mandate. The new legislation would require every New Jersey gun retailer to carry at least one smart gun

Mandates did trouble Chandler, but New Jersey seemed to be conceding part of that battle, and truthfully, over the years she had come to have a more nuanced view of the subject.

“When seatbelts got mandated in Texas, it made me angry that they were trying to legislate an individual right. But when somebody has a wreck without one, all of your insurance goes up,” she said. “Then, in my first job out of school, I designed air bags. Air bags save lives.

Mandating that they are in cars is not a bad thing.”

[ … ]

So now we get to the crux of the issue, yes?  It’s not that this is an economic option for people, it’s not that it’s the far right teaming up with the far left to kill the idea, it’s not that the technology sucks, it’s not that it can be hacked, it’s not that it’s another step in the process of defending life, it’s not the failure modes inherent in yet another complex component in the train of equipment, it’s all really about the need to mandate these things.

I asked if, in the wake of her decision to join LodeStar to work on smart guns, whether she’d gotten any hate from her friends or the community. She was nervous about that, she said.

But, no. “What I did get was, ‘Ginger, that’s such an uphill battle. Why would you spend your time there. They’re not against smart guns. They just don’t think anybody can do it.”

That’s not the kind of remark that stops Chandler, who seems not only pragmatic but one of those people who slices through obstacles like butter. Saving 37 lives every day seems like a pretty good goal.

“I just kind of believe this is a good thing,” she said. “I believe this will happen.”

She’s a liar.  She doesn’t really believe in them, and she doesn’t really believe the market can support this.  She believes that she can sell the product if the government mandates that all other products are illegal.

I remind readers of my challenge.  Hard hats and ketchup, folks.  I have yet to have anyone take me up on it.  And as for money, I hope and recommend that she and leftist investors of all sorts drop millions upon millions upon millions of dollars into the venture.  I think that would be wonderful – and a good social mission.

NJ Legislators Approve Bill Banning Gun Manufacturing

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 1 week ago

Via WiscoDave, that’s not exactly the way the title of the article reads, but it’s close enough to the real effect.

TRENTON, NJ – No Ghost Guns. No 3-D Firearms. And no purchasing any component used in making either of these weapons.

Legislation banning the manufacturing of any untraceable or covert firearm was approved 68-5-3 by the full Assembly and the Senate 31-0 Monday.

The bill (A-3129)- sponsored by Assembly Democrats Paul Moriarty, Gary Schaer and Annette Quijano – would make it illegal to purchase firearm parts for the purpose of unlawfully manufacturing firearms without a serial number and to manufacture or possess covert or undetectable firearms and 3-D printed firearms.

“Instead of making it harder for criminals to obtain weapons, new technology and mail-order kits are only making it easier for criminals to manufacture firearms at home,” said Moriarty (D- Camden and Gloucester). “Our only recourse is to arm our court system with additional penalties for those who choose to skirt the law, avoid licensure and manufacture these types of firearms to keep or even to sell. We’re saying no to ghost guns, and no to 3-D firearms. Not in New Jersey.”

Well, in addition to running headlong into the second amendment, which they don’t care about, there’s also the issue that manufacturing a firearm for personal use without a serial number is perfectly legal under federal law as long as the firearm isn’t sold or transferred to anyone.

This isn’t really about 3D guns.  This is about universal background checks and government control.  But I’m being redundant, yes?

Georgia’s Democratic Candidate For Governor Calls For Banning AR-15s

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 1 week ago

The Federalist:

“I do not believe like weapons of mass destruction like the AR-15 belong in civilian hands,” she said. “I think it should be prohibited from civilian use. I have shot an AR-15, and I think you probably have too, and while it’s an amazing amount of power, it also is an amazing amount of destruction, and there is very little that can be done to protect vulnerable communities when the AR-15 is present.”

So in other words, the only people who should be able to employ destruction is the authorities.  Okay, I’ve got it.  So much for that pesky little notion of death at the hands of a corrupt state apparatus.

As for that horrible, high powered weapon of war, Charles Whitman called from hell and said you’re full of crap.

Retired ATF Agent Says AR-15 Rifles Should Be Regulated Like Machine Guns

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 2 weeks ago

The Hill:

David Chipman, a retired Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agent, on Monday said AR-15 rifles should be regulated like machine guns.

“What I support is treating them just like machine guns,” Chipman, who is now a senior policy adviser at Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence, told Hill.TV’s Buck Sexton and Krystal Ball on “Rising.”

“To me, if you want to have a weapon of war, the same gun that was issued to me as a member of [the] ATF SWAT team, it makes sense that you would have to pass a background check, the gun would have to be in your name, and there would be a picture and fingerprints on file,” he continued.

“To me, I don’t mind doing it if I want to buy a gun. These policies just protect the criminal. Like, I don’t think you should be able to anonymously purchase 20 AR-15s at one time, and the government shouldn’t know,” he said. “I don’t think it’s unreasonable at all that you have to pass a background check to own a weapon of war.”

Hmm … it’s a short hop and a skip from “weapon of war” to the Winchester Model 70 used by Carlos Hathcock, yes?  Or the Benelli shotguns used by the Marines for room clearing operations in Now Zad.  Or the venerable 1911 pistol used by John Basilone in his famous battle.

I suppose that Chapman doesn’t want people to be able to defend themselves from multiple home invaders as did Zach Peters or Stephen Bayezes.  Well, honestly, you can tack on others in that category.

So now you know what kind of people populate the ATF.  But you knew that already, didn’t you?  Instead of regulating AR-15s, I think we should regulate people who think AR-15s should be regulated.  They are a threat to liberty.

And You Thought The ATF Interpretation On Pistol Braces Was Safe, Did You?

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 2 weeks ago

Prince Law:

Although I cannot disclose all of the occasions where ATF has recently reversed its prior determinations or devised a new interpretation of the law or regulation, I can disclose a recent prosecution, of a veteran, where ATF devised a new interpretation out of whole cloth and was successful in convincing the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio to prosecute. The case is U.S. v. Wright, 3:18-CR-162 and it should have the entire Firearms Community alarmed.

Although many of the documents have been sealed by the Court (that should tell you a good bit already), the superseding indictment is publicly available and suggests that Mr. Wright had an unregistered short-barrelled rifle (SBR) that was not registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record (NFRTR). Regardless of whether you believe the National Firearms Act is constitutional or appropriate, at the time of writing this article, the courts have not yet found it to be unconstitutional and if merely inappropriate, one’s proper recourse is to seek a statutory deletion or revision. Thus, the possession of an unregistered SBR is unlawful. So, why is this case concerning? Unfortunately most of the informative documents have been sealed…that is, except for the Government’s Motion in Limine. (For those who don’t know what a motion in limine is, it is a motion filed by a party which asks the court for an order or ruling limiting or preventing certain evidence from being presented during a trial).

When you review the Motion in Limine, you quickly learn that the Government is seeking to preclude ATF FATD (Firearms and Ammunition Technology Division) determinations from being used in any way during trial. These determinations appear to have been part of a discovery dispute, which is also sealed and is evidenced by the Government’s statement that “[t]he Government produced the letters under the protection of a protective order that the Court authorized on August 1, 2018.”. For the reasons that follow, I find it extremely comical that the Government actually contended that “ATF FATD letters at trial creates a grave risk of confusing the issues and misleading the jury,” but I digress…for now.

We quickly learn from the Government that:

The critical issue in this case will not be possession, registration (or lack thereof), or barrel length. Ultimately, the primary issue in dispute at trial will be whether or not Kelland Wright’s firearm meets the definition of a “rifle,” that is a firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder, see 26 U.S.C. § 5845(a). Part of this issue will center on the implications modifications that Kelland Wright made or had made to the firearm, including the addition of an extension piece to the rear of the firearm.

Hmmm, so now we know that the issue is whether the piece added to his Ar-15 pistol constituted a “stock” or not. The Government further contends:

Wright’s expert, Richard Vasquez, is expected to testify that the extension piece functions as a cheek rest. The Government’s expert, Firearms Enforcement Officer Eve E. Eisenbise, is expected to testify that the extension piece makes the firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder. Officer Eisenbise is an employee of the ATF FATD. Richard Vasquez formerly was employed by the FATD.

The relevant issues at trial relate to the specifics of Wright’s firearm, an AR pistol platform that was modified with an angled foregrip and collapsible stock.

Now, everything starts to come into light. The Government is contending that an extension piece that is designed as a cheek rest is actually a stock or if not, Mr. Wright had a vertical foregrip on his pistol. (We call this roping a heifer, where the Government attempts to contend that no matter how you classify the situation, you have violated some law). Now, some of you are probably saying, hold on, ATF previously issued determinations – such as in relation to the Thorsden determination request letter and ATF’s response – that cheek rests and other devices, which were not designed to be shouldered, are not stocks. (For more discussion on cheek weld determinations, see our blog article Ringing In the New Year ATF Style). And they have issued numerous determinations – such as the one regarding the Magpul Angled Fore-Grip – that angled foregrips are not vertical pistol grips. Yep, but that didn’t stop the ATF and the U.S Attorney’s Office from prosecuting Mr. Wright and seeking to preclude the jurors from seeing or hearing of the determination letters, even though, the Government never once contended that Mr. Wright actually shouldered the cheek weld extension or utilized the angled foregrip.

So the DoJ is revising by practice their determination that the stabilizer braces aren’t an NFA item, or more correctly, the weapons to which they are attached are an SBR.  I’m not certain whether he had an angled foregrip or a vertical one, and it should make no difference.

Fortunately, this was an instance of jury nullification and Mr. Wright was found innocent.  But the cloak has been pulled back and you see the future.  It looks stupid.

Putin Says Russia Needs Stronger Gun Restrictions

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 2 weeks ago

Guns.com:

The Russian President on Thursday said the country was in dangerous times and needed to step up gun regulations for public safety.

While attending a ceremony to promote senior military officers and state prosecutors, Vladimir Putin said that the Rosgvard, the federal national guard service — a force established two years ago to combat terrorism and organized crime — will have to get tougher when it comes to guns.

“You must promptly suppress any violation of public order,” said the Russian strongman. “Please note that it is necessary to significantly improve gun control. I expect from you concrete proposals, including regarding the legal framework.”

Missing from the quote is the following: ” … just because I say so, because the state is god, and I am the state.”

Don’t miss the ideological connection between American gun controllers and Putin.  A communist is a communist and always favors control over others.  Can a leopard change its spots?

Hiker Suffered A Broken Neck From Mountain Lion Attack

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 2 weeks ago

News from the Northwest:

A Gresham woman killed in a suspected cougar attack near Mount Hood suffered a broken neck and had more than a dozen puncture wounds to the nape of her neck, records released this week show.

Those injuries — as well as wounds on Diana Bober’s hands — “appeared to be consistent with an animal attack,” staff in the Clackamas County medical examiner’s office determined, according to a state police report.

The 5-page report doesn’t list an official cause of death for Bober, 55, and it’s unclear why it’s missing. Her death is the state’s first confirmed fatal wild cougar attack.

Wildlife officials later shot and killed a female cougar they believe mauled Bober, based on all available evidence.

The new details emerged in Oregon State Police documents obtained by The Oregonian/OregonLive through a public records request.

Searchers found Bober, an avid outdoorswoman, on Sept. 10 in the Mount Hood National Forest, three days after out-of-state relatives reported her missing. They said they hadn’t heard from her since Aug. 29.

Her body was discovered about 300 feet off the Hunchback Trail and down a steep incline, the state police report shows. The area was about a mile from the Zigzag Ranger Station, where searchers first found Bober’s car.

State officials said her wounds indicated a wild cougar was responsible.

A hunt for the mountain lion began almost immediately. Officials set up multiple cameras along the Hunchback Trail in the area where Bober was found.

Three days later, on Sept. 14, a trail camera captured an image of a large cougar, state police records show.

“This appears to be a big cat,” Sgt. Todd Hoodenpyl wrote to Capt. Jeff Samuels and Trooper Casey Codding at 9:51 a.m. that day.

About six hours later, search dogs treed the cougar off the Hunchback Trail and it was shot and killed, according to state police.

They’re not warm and cuddly and friendly.  If you backpack or hike or mountain bike like I do, going solo is a risk.  I usually take partners, but sometimes don’t.  If you don’t, watch your six.

Always carry weapons and be prepared to use them with quick-access gear.  And a dog can alert you to things you won’t hear or see.

Shooting In Pittsburgh: The State Cannot Protect You

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 2 weeks ago

This image says it all concerning the recent shooting in Pittsburgh.

At current count, there are eleven dead.

My oldest son Joshua text this: “None of the turnout gear, range time, gym time, or boot shining in the world is as good as the weapon you have with you.  The state cannot protect you.”

And Trump is calling for more armed guards.  Right.

Corporate Ammunition Controls

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 2 weeks ago

Gryphon:

Look to see this Spread to common Military (Militia) Calibers next, to try and prevent sales of Cases or Cans of several Hundred to a Thousand Rounds, while maintaining Corporate ‘Profit’ by large price increases on Boxes of 20 Rounds.

Long past Time for everyone to have 10K+ Rounds for Each Gun they Own, as well as Distributed Storage of both.

Yea, it would be perfectly in line with the controllers’ plan as they stated, yes?  But I fear that if this plan fully obtains, 10K rounds won’t be nearly enough.

Obama Administration’s Chokepoint Documents

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 2 weeks ago

David Codrea:

The documents from the Advance America et al. v. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. et al. lawsuit “show that top leadership at the [Federal Deposit Insurance Commission] held strong personal biases and began a ruthless targeted campaign against the small-dollar lending industry [and that] These industries include local small businesses like fireworks and firearms companies…”

It’s instructive at this point to review some of the documents, particularly this appendix, and do a “find” search for the term “firearm.”

Until the actors have all been charged and tried for treason, convicted accordingly and punished as traitors, the book on this is still very much open, and justice has not been served.

I wouldn’t expect either Trump or Sessions to even bring this up to the American people.  Because laws are for little people, and when America elects an administration, we all understand that we’re electing our own law breakers to break whatever law they wish with impunity.

For Obama, it was Fast and Furious, Operation Chokepoint, and a host of other things.  For Trump, it’s bump stocks.


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