Archive for the 'Firearms' Category

Why I Don’t Own A Handgun

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 1 day ago

Texas Observer:

The arms race is escalating again. Despite historically low crime rates and an improving national economy, more and more Texans are arming themselves. Applications for gun licenses have surged in the last few months, bringing the total number of Texans with handgun permits to just under 1 million. In 1996, just 1 in 168 Texans had a concealed handgun license, according to the Dallas Morning News. In 2015, about 1 in 30 did. And not just any piece will do any more. We want more firepower; we want it to be “tactical”; and we want to ash it. (Thanks to the open carry law that went into effect on January 1, you can now wear your gun, as the Townes Van Zandt lyric goes, outside your pants for all the honest world to feel.)

Former land commissioner and author of Texas’ concealed carry law Jerry Patterson captured the current mood nicely: “I used to carry a .380. Now I carry a 9 millimeter,” he said. “I’m just like every other idiot. I don’t think my .380 is big enough.” Big enough for what? Did I somehow miss the impending ISIS invasion or the stampeding of angry water buffalo down I-35?

At some level, I understand the impulse to take up arms. One Halloween night, some years ago, a man came into the bedroom where my girlfriend and I were sleeping. He fled as soon as she began screaming. We never got a good look at him, though the police were able to pull fingerprints and arrest the intruder, a homeless man with a criminal record. It was a terrifying experience — the kind that makes you think long and hard about how to protect yourself.

I was told by the men in my life to buy a gun — that was the responsible thing to do. But after a lot of thought, I decided there was one principal reason I wouldn’t buy a handgun: I don’t want to live in fear. I know that sounds strange — a gun is supposed to bring peace of mind. But to keep a piece at your side is to look at the world through gunsights. It’s a profoundly anti-social posture. To me, carrying a handgun is an acknowledgement of weakness, not strength. It’s an admission that you’re out of ideas for how to deal with people, even those — especially those — who mean you harm. It’s a failure of imagination, a failure of wits and, in the case of open carry, a threat of violence to every passing person.

Rather, it’s an abdication of your responsibility.  He thinks he can outwit everyone.  Well, let’s try this one on.  Lewisville dam breaks and buries Dallas, Texas under a wall of water 50 feet deep.  The writer, Forrest Wilder, survives.  Mr. Wilder now has to fend for himself when everyone is starving.  What does Forrest do?

We’re waiting, Forest.  Tell us.  Tell us how you comically enthrall those hordes of hungry peasants who would kill for their next morsel of edible stuff – since you’re so much smarter than the peasants.  Or you’ll love them to death.  Or something.  Tell us, Forrest.

Now beyond the silly know-nothing content of the article (the .38 Special is 0.357 inches, or 9.1 mm in diameter, while the 9mm is .355 inches, or 9.01 mm in diameter), and besides the laughable moralistic preening by someone who has likely never fended for himself in his life (but who probably has soft pajamas and drinks lattes), what do you notice about this commentary?

I’ll mention one thing, and readers can fill in the other details in comments.  It used to be that guns caused violence.  We’ve heard it so much that we’re virtually numb too it, and while we could ruin that argument with facts and statistics, we don’t even bother any more.

Now Forrest tries to turn the table with statistics.  Despite the virtually ubiquitous presence of guns in America, violence is decreasing.  (1) You aren’t supposed to have guns because they cause violence.  Opps.  Wrong argument.  (2) Everyone has guns and violence is still decreasing.  In fact, violence is decreasing to the point that’s it’s unnecessary to have guns any more.

You’ll be the subject of ridicule whether violence is increasing or decreasing.  It’s your liberty they hate.  Don’t ever relinquish it.

Kansas Government Workers Can Now Carry Weapons

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 1 day ago

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW/AP) – State agencies, cities and counties in Kansas will not be allowed to bar workers from carrying concealed guns while performing duties outside their offices, starting in July.

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback signed a gun-rights bill this week that includes the provision affecting government workers. Agencies still could limit the carrying of concealed weapons in public buildings.

The measure also creates an exception to a state law requiring students to be expelled if they bring weapons to public schools so that school groups can have organized activities involving air guns, such as BB rifles.

So, how is the new law being received in Sedgwick County?

“There have been employees who have requested an opportunity to defend themselves,” said Sedgwick County Commission Chairman Jim Howell.  “On July 1st our policies will be reflected of this new law.”

Meanwhile, Wichita City Council Member James Clendenin says policies at city hall will change.

“On July 1st our policies will be reflected of this new law,” said Clendenin.  “Our city attorney’s are going over the law now that it’s signed and their going through it point by point and looking at what ordinance changes need to be made.  I think our community is much safer as a result of these laws that allow this to happen.”

But County Commissioner Howell says with the increased responsibility comes increased risk.

“Should they have a need to use that firearm, or should they have an accident or incident with that firearm, whatever happens is going to fall on the shoulders of that person,” Howell said.

The Kansas State Rifle Association said the new law recognizes workers’ rights to defend themselves and allows schools to instruct students in handling firearms safely.

Well, not exactly.  The law only applies to government workers.  I get it.  The Governor can’t infringe on private property rights.  But I have a dream.  I have a dream that one day we won’t be judged by the presence of weapons on our person, but by the God-given right to bear arms in self defense.

Pediatrician Asks, Why Can’t I Talk To You About Guns In The Home?

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 5 days ago


Here’s a conversation I was in on recently between a pediatric intern and the parents of a healthy, 1-day-old baby. It occurred in the Yale-New Haven Hospital well baby nursery.

“Your daughter’s physical exam is perfect,” the intern said. “She’s eating well, peeing and pooping well. I want to talk to you a little about how to help you keep her safe and healthy.”

Next came a standard discussion about the baby’s sleeping position and whether she’s got a car seat. Then, the next question:

“Do you have any guns in the home?”

Suddenly, the genial tone changed.

“I don’t think you should ask that question,” said the child’s father.

“Should I take that as a ‘yes’?” the intern pressed.

“I just don’t think you should ask.”

“Sir, we ask because we want to make sure that your baby is as safe as she can be, making sure you keep any guns locked up and away from her.”

“It’s none of your business.”

What started out as a lovely interaction between two new parents and the pediatric intern, with me observing, suddenly turned into the reprimands of an angry father. No matter how the pediatric resident and I tried to explain that we were asking for the safety of his newborn daughter, he persisted in telling us it was none of our business and not relevant for the child’s health. The mother sat silent in her hospital bed.

This really shouldn’t be controversial.

Since 1992, the American Academy of Pediatrics has encouraged primary care providers to discuss firearm safety with families. This reflects the influential group’s acknowledgment that keeping a gun locked and unloaded dramatically reduces the risk of firearms accidents, and the belief that brief counseling by physicians promotes safer storage of guns in homes with children.

Still, sadly, some controversy remains.

[ … ]

This means if you’re a Florida pediatrician, no asking about guns in the home or documenting them in the chart of a baby or young child …

This commentary was written by Marjorie S. Rosenthal, assistant director of the Yale Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program and associate research scientist in the Department of Pediatrics at the Yale University School of Medicine.

You see Marjorie, the fallen nature of mankind is wicked.  That means that totalitarians of all stripes want to exercise control over others.  The desire to exercise control over other people is often sinful.  Every genocide in modern history was preceded by gun confiscations.  As you know, the government has exceptions to medical privacy laws, and with the stroke of a pen (followed on by thousands of pages of federal register notice that explains how the executive intends to carry out his nefarious plans), those laws can be expanded.  The last little bit … “or documenting them in the chart of a baby or young child,” is a big part of the problem.

We know that you would willingly turn in records of gun owners to the government, enabling confiscatory measures and schemes.  Furthermore, we really don’t want your counsel on how we handle our guns.   We would prefer that you spend your time and focus on medicine.  For instance, the human error rate in medicine is still much higher than the commercial nuclear power industry, commercial airlines and pharmaceutical industries (all of which practice and focus on human error reduction tools and techniques).  We would prefer that you study disease, diagnosis, pathologies, biology and pharmacology as opposed to trying to understand the mechanics of machinery or fix the error rate for anyone else.  Tend to your own house and get it in order.  It’s a mess.

So to summarize, the gentleman you cited in the initial example was kind to you, kinder that I will be.  As for whether this has to be controversial, you’re right.  It certainly doesn’t have to be.  Mind your own damn business.  Now I have a few questions for you, beginning with this one.  What is your favorite position for sex?

This Is What Dystopia Looks Like

BY Herschel Smith
3 weeks ago

So, you know Venezuela is on the verge of economic collapse. The price of oil has dropped precipitously over the past few years—that’s a budgetary nightmare for a nation dependent on its oil exports. As a result, basic necessities, like toilet paper, are being rationed. There’s limited access to television and long distance phone service. There are rolling blackouts due to energy shortages. And now the government is cutting back the workweek to just two days. This comes at a time when Venezuela’s citizens need government services the most. Supermarkets are not stocked regularly, so there’s a food shortage; people are starving. They’ve resorted to looting to survive. You would think that the government can’t really afford to print its own currency because it’s so broke would be the cherry on top of this socialist nightmare. Nope—the hunger games appear to have begun, as Venezuelans are now hunting stray dogs, cats, and pigeons for sustenance …

Do you think these poor folks would like to have a gun for protection, to prevent looting, and to kill animals (no, not dogs) for sustenance?  But Hispanic and Latino cultures are totalitarian and statist, and there are very few legal gun owners.  The government both failed the people in terms of providing the liberty to catalyze a well-functioning economy, thus ensuring its failure, and at the same time prevented the people from being prepared for that assured and certain failure by disarming them.

There’s a special place in hell for such rulers.

Cracker Barrel Firearms Policy

BY Herschel Smith
3 weeks, 1 day ago

News from Georgia:

DALTON, GA (WRCB) – A Dalton man says he was asked to leave a Cracker Barrel restaurant when managers spotted him carrying a handgun. He says there was no sign posted stating guns are not allowed on the property. Now he wants answers about why he was asked to leave.Shane Franks says he went to the Cracker Barrel in Dalton to purchase Mother’s Day cards. He says two managers escorted him out because he was carrying a gun, a gun he believes he had every right to take with him into the building.

This revolver is what triggered managers at the Dalton Cracker Barrel to escort Shane Franks out of the building Monday. Franks says he was legally carrying the gun on his hip when management asked him to leave. “If the business does not want you to carry a firearm, they are asked to make that known,” said Franks.

Franks said there was no sign posted telling him he couldn’t take the gun in until after he returned without the weapon. “When I came back there was a paper sign and place it on there and it said unless you are law enforcement you are not supposed to have a fire arm.”

Georgia’s Safe Carry Protection Act says it’s legal for licensed gun owners to carry in schools, churches, bars, and even some government buildings. Private businesses have the right to decide if they want guns on their property. “That’s confusing for a law abiding citizen. Thinks he’s obeying the law and walks in, gets cornered in front of everyone for doing what he thinks he is allowed to do.”

When Channel 3 visited Cracker Barrel Friday the makeshift sign was no longer in the window. A manager referred us to a corporate spokesperson, who denied our request for a statement, but a customer service representative tells Channel 3 if a gun is seen on any Cracker Barrel property the owner will be asked to return to their vehicle.  Franks says he got a similar response. “It’s our policy no one carries on the premise. I said, you don’t have any signs. He says, well that’s our decision also, we don’t put up signs.”

Sign or no sign,  Shane Franks said there is no hard feelings towards the restaurant he’s just looking for answers so he doesn’t have to run into this problem again. “By law, you got to have a sign so that way I know that.”

Georgia law allows a licensed holder to carry a gun. It also allows private property owners, like Cracker Barrel to ban guns from their property. The law is not clear on how and where a sign must be posted to notify customers when a gun is not welcome.

So this report is confusing, and I doubt that anything about the store manager’s reaction was well thought out or deliberate.  It needed to be.  First of all, open carry isn’t the same thing as concealed carry, and the patron was openly carrying.  When he returned without his weapon, the sign in the door referred to firearms not being welcome, as opposed to open carry.

Second, if you do a search of the Cracker Barrel web site, you’ll find nothing there that even hints of a formal corporate policy concerning firearms.  They also don’t seem to me to make it easy to contact them.  Third, if you do a Google search of Cracker Barrel firearms policy, you’ll get everything from all firearms being banned to only open carry being banned.  And of course as I said, there is no formal published policy, and there are never any postings from what I can recall from being in that store.

So here is the deal, Cracker Barrel.  Man up.  Make your decision regarding carry of weapons, concealed and/or open, publish the policy decision on your web site, and post your stores in a manner consistent with your policy.  Don’t play games with patrons – that’s rude and ill mannered.  Tell us what you want, and we can then make our decisions according to our own beliefs in light of your corporate policy.

Is that such a difficult thing to do?

Guns On Campus

BY Herschel Smith
3 weeks, 1 day ago

The Trace:

Governor Nathan Deal rejected a bill on Tuesday that would have allowed eligible students in Georgia to carry concealed weapons at public universities. In a lengthy veto statement, Deal said he found “enlightening evidence” for his position in the views of pair of Founding Fathers who, nearly two centuries ago, opened a college where guns would not be allowed.

In October of 1824, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison attended a board meeting of the University of Virginia, which would open the following spring. Jefferson and Madison had spent not a little time thinking about individual liberties. But minutes from the meeting show that their new school would not extend the right to bear arms to its red-brick grounds.

“No student shall, within the precincts of the University, introduce, keep or use any spirituous or vinous liquors, keep or use weapons or arms of any kind …” the board declared. In his veto statement, Deal zeroed in on that passage …

Yea, well those same rules stipulated studies in Latin, Greek, Mathematics, Philosophy, forbade visits to taverns, the consumption of “spirits” or wine of any sort, insubordination and contumacy, and a host of other things commonly practiced on the campuses of America.

So let’s see an end to physical education majors for those football players in favor of training in Latin, Greek and Math, and a prohibition of alcohol, shall we?  I’m waiting?  No, in fact, none of these rules will ever obtain, and I don’t think that anyone who cares about property rights wants to force carry of weapons onto private property (of course, for State-owned property that’s a different matter).

I think the Governor is too clever by half, and by saying just a little bit he has said too much.

What’s Going On With South Carolina Gun Laws?

BY Herschel Smith
3 weeks, 1 day ago

Report from Columbia:

A bill making its way through the Statehouse could put more guns on the streets of South Carolina.

Rep. Wendell Gilliard said Friday he believes it’s a mistake to pass a bill that would open South Carolina borders to concealed carry permits from other states. He added, it would give almost anyone the ability to walk into South Carolina with a gun.

“Everybody wants the right to carry a gun and that’s dangerous in a free society,” Gilliard said. “We should not allow that.”

Part of this bill also amends current legislation; It no longer requires South Carolinians to get a concealed carry permit to carry in public.

What?  I think I’ve got the issue of reciprocity.  South Carolina has always had an issue with that, but this bill seems to go farther.  Is this bill headed towards constitutional carry?

Can someone who is familiar with the awful machinations of South Carolina politics tell us what is going on?  And why doesn’t this bill include open carry?  My God!  How long is South Carolina going to be the national outlier on this issue?

A Few American Rifleman Articles

BY Herschel Smith
3 weeks, 1 day ago

Is Walnut The New Black?  American Rifleman does the M1 Carbine.  I would never trade or sell my Auto-Ordnance M1 Carbine.  I love mine, and if you don’t have one, you should seriously consider buying one.

The .270 Winchester Cartridge.  What a great article!  This is a comprehensive look at the .270, where it came from, who made it, why it was made, and how it performs.  I’m biased since I own a Tikka .270 bolt action rifle.

Millennials’ “Mysterious” Support For Permissive Gun Laws

BY Herschel Smith
4 weeks ago

The Washington Post:

When I was in middle and high school, there were spirited public debates about whether the proliferation of grisly movies, gore-glorifying song lyrics and shoot-’em-up video games might desensitize my peers and me to violence.

While I’m reluctant to pin any of this on pop culture, it’s true that my generation appears somewhat inured to violence — at least violence involving firearms.

A decade or two post-adolescence — as our own preschool-age children now practice “active shooter” drills in which they’re coached to cower in the closet or throw toys at a tactical-gear-outfitted maniac — millennials seem to have neither the desire nor the willpower to pressure our political leaders to do much to prevent such tragedies. If anything, we may be slightly more blasé about them than our elders.

Which does not bode well for liberals hoping that the arc of history will eventually bend toward greater gun control.

Poll data about views of gun control and specific gun-control measures are mixed, and responses vary depending how questions are asked. But statements about protecting gun rights generally elicit at least as much support from younger Americans as from older ones.

Well, that’s a strange visit down memory lane for the author, Ms. Catherine Rampell, and I say strange because it would never occur to me to connect gun control laws with active shooter events, except in that so-called “gun free” zones are never really that, and instead are open invitations for such nefarious miscreants to do their wickedness.

Inured to violence is how the author chose to set this up, with her appeal to blood and gore, but she slips and accidentally paints a word picture of what can happen when her restrictive gun laws are enacted – idiotic things like strategies to run, hide, fight, and throwing potted plants at shooters, or perhaps toys.  You see dear, your restrictive gun laws never stop criminals because they don’t care about your laws.  They only disarm law abiding and peaceable citizens.

Millennials are generally smart enough to figure that out.  We’re winning, the progressives know it, and I suggest that you learn to live with it.  We know how to evangelize and proselytize.  Perhaps you should even purchase a gun and learn to use it, in case of an attempted rape or an active shooter event.  The police will show up to fill out paperwork, but the event will be over by the time they arrive.  You are responsible to defend yourself.  No one else will.

Mandating Smart Guns

BY Herschel Smith
1 month ago

Smart ass Ron Conway is banking on your stupidity.

In the 2012 movie Skyfall, James Bond brandishes his trusty sidearm, but with a high-tech twist: There’s a sensor in the grip that reads palm prints so only he can fire it. The souped-up firearm saves the secret agent’s life, and in the real world, similar technology could do the same for thousands. Or so says Ron Conway, an avuncular Silicon Valley billionaire trying to disrupt the gun industry.

Speaking at the International Smart Gun Symposium in San Francisco in February, Conway exuded the cockiness of a man who invested early in Google, Airbnb and Twitter. “The gun companies have chosen to sit on their asses and not innovate,” he said. “Silicon Valley is coming to their rescue.”

Conway isn’t a gun owner, and for most of his life, he never gave much thought to firearms. But after Adam Lanza shot up an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012, killing 26, Conway created a foundation that has given $1 million to inventors. The goal: perfect user-authenticated firearms.

The only problem is politics, not technology.  Ignore the fact that any legitimate fault tree analysis of so-called “smart guns” would find them less reliable due to differences that cannot be overcome with any design change.  Know-it-all Ron Conway knows what you want and is going to drag you kicking and screaming if necessary into the promised land.

On another front, president Barry is going to renew his push for smart guns, and guess whose Ox is getting gored?

While the “smart gun” element of the actions drew little attention earlier this year, critics are gearing up to fight back against the possibility that such guns could be required for government firearms purchases.

A source familiar with the plans said that type of mandate isn’t on tap right now, but critics are still worried the administration is laying the groundwork for such a move. Among the biggest skeptics are cops worried about testing an unproven technology on the streets.

“Police officers in general, federal officers in particular, shouldn’t be asked to be the guinea pigs in evaluating a firearm that nobody’s even seen yet,” said James Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police. “We have some very, very serious questions.”

Uh huh, I’ll bet you do, blue costumed one.  And one recent editorial at the Albany Times-Union believes that a mandate is the only way to go – for all guns.

Of course smart gun technology won’t cure gun violence in America altogether. But if the technology can be made reasonably reliable — as reliable, say, as an ordinary gun is today — it could prevent many such guns from being obtained illegally and used to commit crimes. It could also make it impossible for a child to stumble on to one and accidentally fire it. We’re at a loss to see anything undesirable about either of those outcomes.

The technology takes several forms that share a common feature: making a gun inoperable to anyone who does not know how to disable the security. That might be done with a code or fingerprint, technologies that are already used to safeguard things like computers, cars, homes and offices.

Groups like the National Rifle Association still will no doubt find reasons why smart guns are a bad idea. Limiting future firearms production and sales to smart guns, they’re sure to say, wouldn’t removed from circulation the more than 300 million guns already in the United States that lack smart technology, nor would it stop determined bad guys from hacking smart guns. And if it adds even a small cost to the price of a gun, they’ll insist that’s an infringement on the right to keep and bear arms.

The NRA and the National Shooting Sports Foundation already say the marketplace should decide whether smart gun technology is a good idea or a bad one.

But we all know, as they do, that the marketplace won’t insist on safety, any more than the market was keen on seat belts, motorcycle helmets, smoke detectors, or emission controls in cars or factories.

Ah, it’s literally that simple.  It’s the NRA rather than individual gun owners, it’s a matter of seat belts, smoke detectors and helmets.  It’s all so clear now.

Here’s what I think.  No matter what smart ass Ron Conway says, I don’t think he or any venture capitalist is going to invest any money or time at all in so-called “smart gun technology” because they know they won’t get one dollar back out of it.  Oh how I wish they would.  Oh how I wish someone would invest his life’s earnings in such an endeavor to “make us safe.”  It would be a good object lesson, yes?  But alas, it won’t happen.

And I don’t really believe that president Barry is going to mandate that anyone in any federal agency only use or procure smart guns.  President Barry will be out of office by the time such a mandate would take effect anyway.  President Barry is a lame duck and can’t mandate anything.  At this point he is nothing more than a court jester.

And I think the editors of the Albany Times-Union don’t really understand what they’re demanding.  Question for the editors.  Does the phrase “second amendment remedy” ring any bells for you?  Yea, that one.  Listen to me.  Any time you’re feeling froggy – any time you’re feeling froggy – you give it a whirl and try to mandate that we gun owners only purchase, own or carry “smart guns.”  See how much “safer” that makes you when the second amendment remedies are invoked.

Any time you’re feeling froggy.

Prior: Smart Guns Tag


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