Archive for the 'Guns' Category



U.S. Representative Ralph Norman Pulls Gun In Meeting With “Moms Demand Action,” Explaining “I’m Not Going To Be A Gabby Giffords”

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 3 days ago

Charleston City Paper:

Republican Congressman Ralph Norman from the Upstate pulled out a loaded pistol during a meeting with gun control advocates Friday morning, upsetting at least one woman who said she felt “unsafe” by her representative’s actions.

The brandishing took place during a “coffee with constituents meeting” hosted by Rep. Ralph Norman, 64, a Republican from Rock Hill representing South Carolina’s 5th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Lori Freeman, a volunteer group leader with Moms Demand Action in Fort Mill, said she found out about the meeting on the congressman’s Facebook page and decided to go after he rebuffed a previous meeting request on the heels of the February shooting of 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Fla.

Freeman thinks Norman might have been encouraged to take out his weapon by another constituent who was at the table Friday morning.

“This gentleman offered up that he was concealed carrying, and he asked if we felt safer because he was concealed carry,” Freeman said in a phone interview with CP. “Once the gentleman said he was concealed carrying, that’s when [Rep. Norman] reached into his blazer. He pulled his gun out, told us it was loaded, put it on the table, and let it sit there for five to 10 minutes.”

Norman told the Post & Courier that he pulled out his loaded .38 caliber Smith & Wesson to prove that “guns don’t shoot people, people shoot guns.”

“I’m not going to be a Gabby Giffords,” Norman told the paper, referencing the former Arizona congresswoman who was shot in the head during a constituent meeting outside a Tucson-area grocery store in January 2011. “I don’t mind dying, but whoever shoots me better shoot well or I’m shooting back,” Norman said.

“Honestly it was just a strange feeling,” Freeman said about Friday’s meeting. “I don’t know that I felt scared. I was trying to figure out if he was using it as an intimidation factor or to have some kind of bravado. I kind of felt angry more than I felt scared, I felt very angry that he was doing that to us. I felt that he didn’t know our history, if any of us were survivors of gun or domestic violence, if anyone may have also had a criminal history.”

Freeman maintains that both of her encounters with Rep. Norman have been mostly pleasant, and that he even expressed support for a “red flag law,” which would allow family members or law enforcement to temporarily restrict gun purchases to anyone deemed to pose a danger to themselves or others.

There is no evidence he “brandished” the weapon, so the author of this report has leveled an accusation of a felony at the man without the slightest proof.

As for Rep. Norman, I like what you did and what you said, but if South Carolina was an open carry state like it should be, you wouldn’t have had to remove your weapon from concealment like some sort of criminal.  I’ll not be a Gabby Giffords either, but I open carry “For the peace, good and dignity of the country and the welfare of its people.”

But I don’t support your “red flag law,” and I think you need to revisit that support in light of what the constitution says about it and the corruption of the judiciary in the country (along with the stupidity of juries).

One commenter, Jan Napack, says this.

Where did Congressman Norman get his gun safety training? The first rule is never, repeat never, handle a firearm (especially around kids, in mixed company, at a crowded function, in a restaurant, close quarters, etc.) without first checking that it is unloaded. An extension of that rule is never hand over a gun, put it down, or receive it from someone unless its proven to be unloaded.

Sorry dear, that’s not a “rule of gun safety.”  Swing and a miss.  Try again some time.

Federal Judge Upholds Massachusetts Assault Weapons Ban

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 3 days ago

From Mack and other readers, this.

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit on Friday challenging Massachusetts’s ban on assault weapons.

U.S. District Judge William Young said in his ruling that the firearms and large magazines banned by the state in 1998 are “not within the scope of the personal right to ‘bear Arms’ under the Second Amendment.”

The features of a military-style rifle are “designed and intended to be particularly suitable for combat rather than sporting applications,” Young wrote.

Massachusetts was within its rights since the ban passed directly through elected representatives, Young decided.

“Other states are equally free to leave them unregulated and available to their law-abiding citizens,” Young wrote. “These policy matters are simply not of constitutional moment. Americans are not afraid of bumptious, raucous, and robust debate about these matters. We call it democracy.”

Well, I have a friend who hunts hogs in Georgia with a 6.5 Creedmoor AR-10, and the only reason I don’t hunt hogs in Georgia with an AR is because I haven’t been invited to go.  Hogs, he tells me, are tough critters and aren’t persuaded with single shots.  They often have to be shot multiple times.

But of course, that’s not the point, is it?  The point is that the second amendment is there for the amelioration of tyranny.  Because the politicians in Massachusetts are tyrants, they don’t want their subjects to have proper means of combat.  The judge is a tyrant too.  He told us so in his ruling.

How One Man Got Rich Selling Machine Guns

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 5 days ago

Bloomberg:

Over the past decade, patient investors benefited greatly from one of the longest economic expansions in U.S. history, using stocks, gold and even cryptocurrency as vehicles of profit. A few of them even used machine guns.

Yes, machine guns. Not the readily available, semi-automatic rifles that have figured so tragically in recent mass shootings, igniting a national furor over gun laws. We’re talking about actual machine guns, which are about as far from the local gun store inventory as you can get, and much more difficult to buy. A machine gun typically shoots about 600 to 800 rounds a minute, while the Bushmaster AR-15 will fire about 45 rounds a minute, depending on how fast you pull the trigger. Fully automatic firearms are often depicted in movies, but in real life they’re a rare commodity except to members of the military.

Some of the hoops a buyer must navigate to get one mirror what some proponents of tougher gun laws would like for all firearms. But the red tape has also helped make machine guns the ultimate collector’s item, with some having doubled in value over the past 10 years.

Frank Goepfert is one of the biggest machine gun merchants in America. From a 100-plus-acre ranch he shares with his wife, son and German shorthair puppy in rural Jasper, Missouri, he runs a small empire of automatic weapons. Inside a tornado-proof vault, dozens of automatic firearms worth millions of dollars hang on the walls. There are Tommy guns, M2 Brownings, Uzis, a Sterling submachine gun and AK-47 assault rifles, the most popular machine gun in the world.

Goepfert, 47, who regularly sports a leather jacket and a black Stetson, says his company, Midwest Tactical Inc., sold as many as 500 machine guns in 2017, averaging thousands of dollars each. He’s made enough money to purchase two planes and even a tank.

His best customer, a technology company executive, spent $1.6 million on guns last year, while an oil and farming tycoon dropped $1.2 million, he says. By Goepfert’s tally, he has 20 clients who each have spent more than $200,000 on his wares. He declined to identify them, citing privacy considerations. And while the government keeps a record of automatic weapons, it’s not public. That may make Goepfert one of the best sources of information outside the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives when it comes to who has a machine gun in America.

There are “a fixed amount” of such weapons, says ATF Special Agent Joshua Jackson. “Demand has caused the value of these firearms to increase.”

In 1986, President Ronald Reagan signed an act effectively banning civilians from purchasing new machine guns. Suddenly, most of those already out there became a lot more valuable (Goepfert says there were 250,000 at the time). Today, the exact number left isn’t known, though one industry expert put it at 182,000.

Some of Midwest Tactical’s best-selling models have climbed in value by tens of thousands of dollars since Goepfert and his wife Joy, 45, started the company. According to data collected by the Machine Gun Price Guide, which uses information from dealers, auctions and gun shows, the cost of a Tommy gun (the Thompson M1) went from about $9,000 in 2004 to almost $27,000 last July—a 200 percent increase. The Heckler & Koch MP5 soared 250 percent, from almost $12,000 in 2003 to $42,000. Meanwhile, the MAC10, technically a “machine pistol,” more than doubled in price from 2011 to 2017, to more than $8,000.

In addition to the GCA of 1986, a traitorous act along with the NFA, there is another reason that fully automatic firearms will never be manufactured for civilians in America again.  Investments.

There are too many people who stand to lose too much and who also donate too much money to campaigns and the coffers of the NRA for the gun community to come together on repeal of the GCA.  The NRA provides the cover.

As always, follow the money.

Good Primer On North Carolina Gun Laws

BY Herschel Smith
3 weeks ago

Seldom does any newspaper in North Carolina do anything but a hatchet job on gun laws, but the News and Observer has actually done a service outlining where the gun owner stands in North Carolina, good and bad.

When it comes to domestic violence, North Carolina has stronger gun control rules in some circumstances, and weaker rules in other circumstances.

North Carolina bans people with even a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction from getting a concealed carry permit, and in some cases the courts can also ban domestic abusers from buying guns in the future.

Furthermore, North Carolina is one of only seven states that require judges to force abusers to surrender their guns – if there are allegations of violence or violent threats. Most states just give the judge that option. However, some states also give judges the option to order abusers to surrender guns even in cases that don’t involve imminent threats of violence, but North Carolina specifically forbids that.

Stop there and let’s discuss for a moment.  Notice that in North Carolina a person must surrender his guns if there are only “allegations of violence.”  Yes, I know someone who has had this happen to them, where a bitter separation or divorce was the catalyst for a false charge, and the man had to surrender his guns.  Unproven in court, mind you, no evidentiary basis, mind you, just allegations.

An accused abuser doesn’t even have to be convicted in criminal court of domestic violence to be ordered to surrender his guns; he just has to be subject to a restraining order. When there are particularly troubling allegations, especially involving the abuse of children or threats of immediate violence, courts can grant temporary restraining orders without the accused abuser getting the option to defend himself first.

Gregory Wallace, a constitutional law professor at Campbell University Law School in Raleigh, said concerns have been raised that people can lose their guns – even just temporarily – without the chance to tell their side of the story in court.

“Even though there eventually is a judicial hearing on the matter, these orders can unjustifiably deprive people of their constitutional rights, whether out of malice or sincere but mistaken concern,” Wallace said.

[ … ]

Can the government take your guns?

No. Or, at least, not unless they’re being seized as evidence for trial.

Even when it becomes illegal for people to own a gun – like after they have been convicted of a felony or involuntarily committed to a mental hospital – police don’t come in and take away their guns.

That’s partially because government officials typically have no idea who owns guns, or how many. Durham had been the only county in North Carolina that tracked who owned handguns – but that registry was shut down in 2014 by the North Carolina General Assembly.

Even in domestic violence cases in which the abuser is required to surrender his guns, police can’t go and take the guns. Instead, the abuser has to surrender the guns on his own and promise that he didn’t keep any.

I’m not sure about this part and would have to do more research, but it seems a stretch and I think I recall times when cops have been sent to confiscate weapons in North Carolina.

What guns are illegal?

For the most part, American citizens and legal permanent residents who are over 21 can buy any gun they want. People over 18 can buy rifles and shotguns, but not handguns.

And people who aren’t yet old enough to buy their own guns can still use other people’s guns in certain circumstances, like if they have their parents’ permission.

It’s a common misconception that highly dangerous weapons like machine guns, sawed-off shotguns and other “weapons of mass destruction” are illegal for people outside the military to own. But it’s actually completely legal to buy those weapons as long as you have a National Firearms Act permit, which requires extra fees and background checks.

And this area is one where North Carolina has looser gun control rules than most other states.

Before 2015, local law enforcement officials were allowed to use their discretion in denying someone one of those permits – for example, if the applicant had never been convicted of a crime but the county sheriff knew he was a gang member, or if the sheriff simply didn’t want any locals owning machine guns.

But that changed after former Gov. Pat McCrory signed a wide-ranging gun bill into law that included several changes, including one requiring sheriffs to approve those NFA permit applications as long as the person meets all the guidelines.

I recall when McCrory did this.  It was a sad day when little boy Roy Cooper was elected Governor of NC.  If Pat has just fought the toll lane on I-77, this wouldn’t have happened.

It is one of the few states to require background checks for private sales of handguns, although private sales of rifles and shotguns can still happen without background checks. Private sales include everything except for buying a gun from a licensed dealer – like making a purchase from someone at a gun show at the fairgrounds, or from a friend or family member.

This is poorly stated and incorrect as it reads.  It is impossible for a citizen to perform a background check on his potential buyer according to the stipulations of the NCIS because he has no access to it.  Rather, state law requires that the seller verify that the buyer have a concealed handgun permit.  Whether this happens or not is another issue.

There are clear legal distinctions about the right to carry guns in North Carolina. People can carry openly in some places as long as they can legally own a gun, but no one can carry a concealed gun without a permit.

The concealed carry application process is handled by the sheriff of the county you live in; it consists of a $90 fee, a background check and a test of basic firearms skills.

Anyone who has gotten a concealed carry permit in any other state can also legally carry concealed in North Carolina. And 36 states – including all the states that border us – recognize concealed carry permits granted here.

This oversimplifies what’s required to get a CHP.  One must also have fingerprints made and sign over authority to examine medical records to the CLEO.  The CLEO then has the authority to inquire of medical facilities in the area whether you’ve had admissions for substance abuse or mental health.  The author likely doesn’t know that because he doesn’t have a CHP himself.  He ought to have been required to obtain one before writing this report.

North Carolina has in my opinion draconian gun laws, while being a shall issue state is still overbearing in terms of medical history for a CHP.  All of it is an infringement on the God-given right to keep and bear arms, as we all know.  On the other hand, it’s useful and worthwhile to stay out of prison if for no other reason than to be with and support your family.

Finally, note that North Carolina is an open carry state.  I’ve never even seen any attempts floated to reverse that.  In general, South Carolina has better gun laws that North Carolina, including no CLEO approval for handgun purchases.

How then can South Carolina persist in their idiotic opposition to open carry?

David Joy And Feelings About Guns

BY Herschel Smith
3 weeks, 1 day ago

From one thing to another, and another, and another until all the feelings about anecdotal experiences have been flushed out of his mind into the world.  Or something like that.

Two weeks before Christmas, I had a 9-millimeter pistol concealed in my waistband and a rifle with two 30-round magazines in the passenger seat beside me. I was driving down from the mountains to meet a fellow I didn’t know at a Cracker Barrel off I-40 in the North Carolina foothills. He was looking to buy a Kel-Tec Sub-2000, and I had one for sale. Other than that, I didn’t know him from Adam except for a few messages back and forth on Facebook.

We were both members of a Facebook group where people post pictures of firearms and buyers private-message to ask questions and make offers — sometimes cash, sometimes trade. I needed money to pay a buddy for an old ’70s model Lark teardrop trailer, and that rifle wasn’t doing anything but taking up space in the safe.

What I was doing was perfectly legal. In North Carolina, long-gun transfers by private sellers require no background checks. Likewise, it’s perfectly legal to sell a handgun privately so long as the buyer has a purchase permit or a concealed-carry license. But as I headed up the exit to the restaurant where we agreed to meet, I felt uneasy. I was within the law, but it didn’t feel as if I should have been.

He was backed into a space parallel to the dumpster, a black Ford F-250 with a covered bed, just as he described on Facebook Messenger. As I pulled in, he stepped out. He smiled, and I nodded.

“You can just leave it in the seat so we don’t make anybody nervous,” he said as I rolled down my window. There were families in rocking chairs in front of the restaurant. Customers were walking to their cars to get back on the road.

I climbed out of my truck so he could look the rifle over while I counted the money he’d left on his seat. He was about my age, somewhere in his early to mid-30s, white guy with a thick beard. He spoke with a heavy Southern accent not much different from my own. Said he built houses for a living, and that was about all the small talk between us. He liked the rifle. I needed the cash. We shook hands, and off we went.

If you’re wondering what the hell the point of all of that was and what he’s trying to communicate other than sharing an anecdotal experience, you’re not alone.  It’s all entirely legal as it should be.  It’s called a person-to-person transfer.  Let’s continue with his feelings for a while longer.

Where I live in the mountains of North Carolina, I am not alone. With fewer than a dozen guns in the safe, I wouldn’t even be considered a gun nut. Most of my friends have concealed-carry licenses and pistols on their person. If there are 10 of us in a room, there are most likely 10 loaded firearms, probably more, with a few of us keeping backups in ankle holsters. Rarely do we mention what we carry. We don’t touch the guns or draw them from their holsters. They are unseen and unspoken of, but always there.

I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t around guns. When I was a kid, there was a gun rack hanging on the wall in the living room. My father kept a single-shot .410 and an old bolt action .22, small-game guns, though he didn’t hunt anymore. I can remember watching older boys shoot skeet at a junkyard in the woods behind my house, my fingers plugged in my ears while orange clays turned to smoke against a backdrop of post oak and poplar. I can remember the first time my father taught me to shoot a rifle, how he had me sit on the concrete driveway and use my knee for a rest, aiming for a cardboard target in a honeysuckle thicket across the road. I think I was 8 or 9. I pulled the stock in too high on my shoulder, and craned my neck awkwardly to line up the iron sights. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I knew the rules: Always assume a firearm is loaded. Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction. Know your target and what’s beyond it.

Okay, so here we are in the South where guns are ubiquitous, and he is sharing an experience and his feelings about that, and we’re left wondering about the point of all of this.  So let’s continue a while longer.

The second and last time I had a gun put to my head it was by the police. After a drunken fight, I left a friend’s apartment to walk five miles and sleep on the porch of a buddy’s house across the river. I was walking down the side of Wilkinson Boulevard in Belmont.

Okay, I know right where he’s talking about.  So what happened?

I was carrying a shoe box. I saw a police cruiser pass me and make a U-turn at a stoplight up ahead. When the Crown Vic came back, the driver jumped the median and next thing I knew there were multiple cars, lights flashing, officers ordering me to the ground.

They had their guns drawn. There was a K-9 unit, and the German shepherd wouldn’t quit barking. I was lying flat on my stomach, and one officer came forward and put his knee in my back, his service weapon pushed into the base of my skull. They let the dog close enough that I could feel him barking against my ear. They said I matched the description of someone who’d burglarized some houses nearby. They asked what was in the shoe box, and I stuttered, “Papers.” They asked if they opened the box if there was anything inside that would hurt them. With my face in the grass and the officer’s weight making it hard to breathe, I was so terrified that I couldn’t mutter a single word. I just shook my head, and they opened that box to find nothing but a stack of notebook papers, a pile of half-assed stories I’d written. They told me I could get up, and I stood there trembling while they apologized. They gave me a ride across the river and dropped me off at the Mecklenburg County line, told me they were sorry but they couldn’t take me any farther.

So at least that night the cops in Belmont were a bunch of ignorant hicks roughing innocent folks up and assuming something for which they had absolutely no basis and which they could have ascertained with a little intelligent conversation.  Actually, I suspect this was the Gaston County Police, but who knows because he doesn’t say?  We’ll come back to this in a moment.  Let’s continue for a while longer.

Just before the deer strolled behind a cedar sapling, I touched the trigger, and the .308 blew apart the morning. A hundred and fifty grains of copper-jacketed lead hit just behind the shoulder and blood-shot the backside to pudding. The buck stooped forward and sprinted, back legs driving him over tangled ground. He made it 40 yards before he crashed. From my stand, I could just make out the white of his stomach through the brush. I watched his ribs rise with each breath, that breathing slowing, slowing, then gone.

There is a sadness that only hunters know, a moment when lament overshadows any desire for celebration.

Hunting isn’t for everybody, but I’m still not sure what this all has to do with anything.  For the love of God, let’s get somewhere, okay?

When the trooper had my license and registration, he went to his cruiser. In a few minutes, he came back to the window and issued me a warning for speeding. I asked if there was anything I could’ve done differently to make him more comfortable when he first approached the truck. The trooper told me what I’d said was fine. He said that some officers might have been uncomfortable with where the pistol was located, being holstered near my wallet, but that he felt we had a good rapport. Depending on the officer, some might have asked me to step out of the truck so they could remove the weapon. He smiled and told me: “But this is South Carolina. Most every car I pull over has a gun.”

Frankly, I think we should be more worried about what the cop intends to do with his weapon than what the cops think about the fact that we have one.  But let’s continue still.

Last summer I drove back to Charlotte to visit my father for his birthday. While I was there, I went into a Cabela’s store in Fort Mill, S.C., to buy him a new depth finder for his fishing boat. After I found what I was looking for, I headed across the store to see if there were any good deals on ammo.

There were floor displays of AR-15s, and probably a hundred or more other rifles and shotguns for anyone to walk up and hold. I watched a kid about 8 or 9 pick up one of those ARs and shoulder it to the center of his chest. He held the gun awkwardly, cocked his head hard to the side, squeezed one eye closed to aim and dry-fired the weapon. I watched two men, presumably his father and grandfather, smile and laugh, then break out their cellphones to snap a few pictures.

I remembered how when I was his age, I used to love going to the sporting-goods section of Walmart to look at fishing lures and camouflage clothes. I’d walk over near the register and push the manual turntable on the curio display to look at all the rifles and shotguns. There were usually a few big game guns — a gray stock Remington 783 in .30-06, maybe a Marlin 336 lever action — a couple of pump shotguns, a single shot .410 or 20-gauge. There were always Ruger 10/22s and Marlin Model 60s, the .22LRs kids unwrapped when their grandfathers gave them their first rifles for a birthday or Christmas. There were always guns, but nothing like the assault weapons that line the shelves today.

Maybe it’s how I was raised and the types of firearms my family kept, but the idea of owning a rifle designed for engaging human targets out to 600 meters just never interested me. I keep a Savage 10 in .308 to hunt whitetail and hogs. I have a CZ 920 that’s absolute hell on a dove field. I have a handful of .22 rifles that I use for plinking at the range and hunting squirrels and rabbits each winter. Then there are the weapons I keep for defense — the shotgun by the bed, the pistols — firearms whose sole purpose would be to take human life if I were left with no other choice. I’ve witnessed how quickly a moment can turn to a matter of life and death. I live in a region where 911 calls might not bring blue lights for an hour. Whether it’s preparation or paranoia, I plan for worst-case scenarios and trust no one but myself for my survival.

My friends see no difference between the guns I own and their ARs. One or two of them rationalize assault weapons the same way I justify what sits by my bed. When I ask if those rifles are really the best option for home defense, they joke about the minute hand of the doomsday clock inching closer to midnight. They post Instagram photos of Sig Sauer MCXs and tac vests loaded with extra magazines, their bug-out bags by the door as they wait for the end of the world.

But a majority defend their ARs the same way I defend the guns I use for plinking and hunting. They say they own them because they’re fun at the range and affordable to shoot. They use the rifles for punching paper, a few for shooting coyotes. Every weekend they fire hundreds of rounds from custom rifles they’ve spent thousands of dollars building. They add bump stocks and Echo Triggers to increase rates of fire and step as close to Title II of the federal Gun Control Act as legally possible without the red tape and paperwork. They fire bullets into Tannerite targets that blow pumpkins into the sky.

None of them see a connection between the weapons they own and the shootings at Sandy Hook, San Bernardino, Aurora, Orlando, Las Vegas, Parkland. They see mug shots of James Holmes, Omar Mateen, Stephen Paddock, Nikolas Cruz — “crazier than a shithouse rat,” they say. “If it hadn’t been that rifle, he’d have done it with something else.” They fear that what starts as an assault-weapons ban will snowball into an attack on everything in the safe. I don’t believe that politicians are going to ban ordinary guns or overturn the Second Amendment, but I understand their reasoning because I understand what’s at stake. I think about that boy picking up that AR in Cabela’s, and I’m torn between the culture I grew up with and how that culture has devolved.

Aha!  We’re finally there.  A gun dude is sharing his feelings about how his culture has “devolved,” and says that he “understands” the reasoning behind politicians and their gun bans.

Would the New York Times have published anything else?  The comments are amusing if not downright ridiculous.  He is a great writer!  He has started a commonsense conversation among gun nuts and the rest of the world.  It’s a “moving and beautifully written article.”  Who needs a gun that can “spray bullets with one pull of the trigger?”  “Concealed carry is a bad idea unless you have a job that requires it.”  And this from Dara Resnik.

Thank you, David Joy, for this thoughtful piece. I wonder how many more are like you, and how we can bring them into the open. I think many of them are afraid of what you experienced when you brought up the subject of banning assault weapons to your friend — it’s taboo in gun culture to talk about curbing any gun rights at all. But I know you are not alone in your views.

I imagine given who your friends are, there will be, to use a firearm term, some kick back for having published this piece. But writing it was the right thing to do.

I hate to break it to you Dara, but most of us don’t feel this way.  We call guys like David a “Fudd.”  You can look it up, dear.  And this from Peter.

People on the other side of the divide are fearful of all those paranoid gun-toters hoping that they’re not in someone’s line of fire when things go bad, with reason or without. How have we as a society arrived at this point

I’m more worried about the cops, Peter.  And yes, “we as a society” have arrived at this point.  At one time, kids carried their guns to school with them.  No, I’m not kidding.  So point your finger of blame somewhere else.

As for the author, David Joy, he’s apparently now fulfilled his bona fides for selling more books, as well as commenting on NBC, CNN, CBS and ABC.

What he hasn’t done is crafted a commentary that’s anything but a running list of anecdotes and his feelings about them, appended by a statement of agreement with gun bans.  And he hasn’t offered any compelling reason to believe that the justification for owning weapons – self defense and the amelioration of tyranny – has changed since the beginning of time.

South Carolina Senators Kill Proposal To Ban Felons From Having Guns, Ignore Open Carry

BY Herschel Smith
3 weeks, 2 days ago

Greenville News:

Although federal law prohibits convicted felons from possessing guns, local and state law enforcement officers as a rule don’t work to enforce federal laws, lawmakers say. State law bans only those convicted of violent crimes from possessing guns.

The bill prompted questions by Sen. Brad Hutto, an Orangeburg Democrat, starting with why a 36-year-old who was convicted at age 22 of breach of trust with fraudulent intent for embezzlement shouldn’t be allowed to own a gun.

“They’ve done their time,” Hutto said. “They’re fully off probation. Now they’re gainfully employed. They’re married. They’re a deacon in their church. Why are we going to reach back to those people that I would think have just as much right to defend themselves in their own house?”

Hembree said it is already federal law that the embezzler cannot own a firearm.

“But the federal government doesn’t come to my house every day, but the local constabulary might,” Hutto replied.

Hembree said the real solution is to fix the state’s expungement law instead of making the state law on guns different. Expungement is a court order that removes something from a person’s criminal record if that person meets certain conditions.

“You’re not fixing it by having a different state law,” Hembree said. “You’re fixing it by expungement, because if you fix it through expungement, then it’s not a federal violation. That’s the right way to fix it.”

Hutto said another problem with the bill is that if a spouse of a felon owns a gun, the spouse would have to remove it from the house. He believes most households in the state have guns for self-protection.

Hutto also said he wanted to be sure divorcing couples couldn’t use the law to remove each other’s firearms if a judge as a precaution placed a restraining order on both. He said in the heat of emotions, judges sometimes issue such orders to keep relative peace, while there is no evidence in many such cases of any threat of physical harm.

Good points sir.  I agree with every single one of them.  Now, tell me why you’re still ignoring the issue of open carry in South Carolina, and why you’re still like New York and California when it comes to how a man decides to carry his firearm?

What right by God do you have to make a man who openly carries his firearm a felon?  How can you defend an embezzler and call an open carrier a criminal?

Stop Arguing Over The Features Of The AR-15

BY Herschel Smith
3 weeks, 5 days ago

Our stolid friend James Fallows at The Atlantic has yet another dense post up mainly consisting of letters to him and a few lines in reply.  There’s not much to see, except that he does make an admission that brings a much-needed breath of fresh air.

I understand that the AR-15 is not functionally unique. Thus anyone who argues that the AR-15 should not be in civilian hands should be willing to extend the argument to similar weapons. That’s what I think about the AR-15, and and I say the same thing about functionally similar weapons.

Good.  It’s a healthy and helpful thing to speak honestly about such matters.  This whole thing began some years ago with arguments over select-fire and the definition of assault rifle, the smaller caliber cartridge and whether it is any good for deer hunting, the value of a pistol grip, the “scary looking” features of the AR-15, the standard capacity magazine, its semi-automatic design, and on and on it went.

These were merely the first steps in the dance.  We’re way past that now.  Honesty has demanded that the progressives admit their demands, and honesty has demanded that we reply.  The definition of “military” is nonsensical anyway, and we all know it.

There was an article recently about Glock making their “military-grade” pistol available to civilians.  This means that it’s a Glock with a flat dark earth finish and pretentions of being modular.  Nothing more.  And truthfully, all weapons are “military grade.”

Let’s talk 30-06 bolt action deer rifles.  Yep.  Ask those whom Carlos Hathcock killed in Vietnam to speak from the grave and tell you all about that 30-06 round that hit them from a Winchester bolt action gun.  Marines were still using Winchester bolt action rifles for DM guns at the beginning of OIF, and most sniper rifles in military use today are bolt action.  How about 30-06 semi-automatic?  Yep.  The M1 Garand.  WWII.  And how about semi-automatic or automatic carbine?  Yep.  The M1 Carbine.  WWII.

How about shotguns?  Yep.  The Marine Corps was using Benelli M4s for room clearing in Now Zad, Afghanistan, during OEF.  How about revolvers?  Yep.  They were the sidearm for many years, and today .357 Magnum and .44 Magnum wheel guns are still in use defending homes and against big predators in America.

No one who knows anything should have to ask about Browning’s best design of his life, the 1911, which is still the most expensive handgun that can be purchased.  The point is that there is no such thing as a weapon that hasn’t been used on the field of battle between countries or various actors, and it makes no sense to argue over whether something is called “military grade.”  We’ve got virtually everything the military has ever had, and vice versa (except that the professional precision rifle shooters probably have better guns than the military).

The freshness about what Fallows said is that he admits that there is no stopping point, and that’s good, because logically he’s right.  And the freshness for us is actually not all that fresh, I just don’t think Fallows is hearing it, or perhaps he’s hearing it, but he just doesn’t believe it.

No.  We won’t give them up.  Period.  Your move.

The Federal Government And War With The American People

BY Herschel Smith
4 weeks ago

Every time a new contract is issued for weapons and ammunition, the typical cacophony of comments follow.  Those who think that the FedGov has too many guns and too much ammunition weigh in, and invariably (perhaps some of them are trolls or paid commenters?) some people weigh in with support.

Terrorism.  Bad people.  Every agent with a gun needs range rounds and personal defense (PD) ammunition (JHP or whatever).  Think of how many rounds you shoot per year, and multiply that times the number of agents, blah, blah, blah.

The commenters yammer and yak and go on about how we need to support law enforcement, not understanding the deeper meaning of things.  That was true of the recently released contract on behalf of the DHS.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently awarded Federal Premium a major ammunition contract. Starting delivery in 2018, the contract provides for up to 180 million rounds of .40-cal. Tactical HST duty ammunition to multiple Department of Homeland Security law enforcement components and other federal agencies for up to five years. This contract will provide the organization’s agents and officers with .40 cal. duty and training ammunition.

“Law enforcement and federal agencies put it all on the line for our safety and freedoms,” said Mike Holm, said product director at Federal Premium.” They should expect nothing less from their ammunition.”

Notice the sleight of hand?  “Multiple Department of Homeland Security law enforcement components and other federal agencies.”  While wrapped in a patriotic cloak of border security, this contract so hidden as to its real import that you have no idea what’s in it or who receives the ammunition or for what purpose.

I suspect various commenters will come to the rescue of the FedGov on this one as well (I’ve seen it every time something like this is announced), but the fact remains that 180 million rounds is a lot of PD ammunition.  Note: this isn’t range ammo – it’s duty ammo.  I have faced the usual suspects before, like “Well, the FedGov has to protect the American nuclear facilities.”

No, I reply, go back and try again.  Commercial nuclear power plants owned by utilities in America must provide their own security, and sometimes they are utility employees, while sometimes they are contract workers.  But always, the FedGov has nothing whatsoever to do with it.

Next up, “Well, FedGov must supply security for our nuclear weapons facilities.”  No, try again, I reply.  The real shooting in any incident effecting our nuclear weapons facilities will be done by Marine Corps FAST teams, and if you’re stupid enough to perpetrate an incident against such a target, you’re likely to be staring down the barrel of a Mark 19, operated by men who, as the Gunny would say, are “Ministers of death, praying for war,” and just waiting on someone like you.  I know some of them (or at one time I did).

Finally, the commenters always mention our national laboratories, and I’ve visited multiple labs on multiple occasions.  Most of the security is done by contract employees, and doesn’t get counted in any of the weapons or ammo purchases made by FedGov.

It is against this backdrop that this insightful report must be read.

In the aftermath of the Orlando terrorist attack, many Washington politicians tried to shift the conversation to the Second Amendment and called for an assault weapons bans. But former U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, our Honorary Chairman, had another idea. In this interview on CNBC, Coburn said we should improve our system of background checks, but said it was IRS officials and non-military federal personnel who should be subject to an assault weapons ban, not the general public.

This week, our organization at OpenTheBooks.com released our findings in an editorial at The Wall Street Journal that quantified the growing federal arsenal. The number of non-military federal officers with arrest and firearm authority (200,000+) now exceeds the number of U.S. Marines (182,000). Spending on guns, ammo and military-style equipment at 67 federal agencies – including 53 regulatory, administrative agencies amounted to $1.48 billion between 2006-2014.

The IRS gun-locker is an example  of this growing federal firepower. Nearly $11 million was spent on guns, ammo and military-style equipment for 2,316 ‘special agents’ during this period. The IRS stockpile includes pump-action and semi-automatic shotguns with buckshot and slugs; and semi-automatic AR-15 rifles (S&W M&P 15) and military-style H&K 416 rifles. (See the OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – The Militarization of America.)

The recent growth of the federal arsenal begs the questions: Just who are the feds planning to battle?

In 1996, the Bureau of Justice Statistics officially counted 74,500 federal officers who had arrest and firearm authority. By 2008, the Bureau quantified over 120,000 such officers. Newly updated counts were supposed to publish by this July but the Bureau now admits that over 80% of federal agencies ignored or stonewalled responses to their latest survey. What are they trying to hide?

Even though our organization at OpenTheBooks.com estimated the number of non-Department of Defense federal officers at 200,000+, the current number of non-military federal officers and security personnel could be much larger. Here’s why:

  • The feds refuse to disclose the number of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers, claiming a national security exception.
  • The growth of officers within the 53 administrative, regulatory agencies since 2008 is uncertain. Our officer count estimate used a no-growth figure of 30,000 – the same count as in 2008.
  • Likewise, the count within the Department of Homeland Security is unclear. We found conflicting sources citing figures at 70,000 and 63,000. We used the more conservative figure for our analysis.

At Health and Human Services (HHS), it’s also unclear just how many ‘special agents’ are currently employed. Yet, research uncovered a multi-million-dollar program for HHS ‘Office of Inspector General Special Agents’ that used a sophisticated military-style weapons platform with Special Forces contractors training the agents on domestic special operations.

Today, HHS is operating from a brand new “National Training Operations Center” within the Washington, D.C. area they describe as “an operational readiness, emergency response, crisis room and command post for HHS headquarters and staff.” That’s serious business for an agency supposedly preoccupied with “health” matters.

The author, 

So if America’s founders would be disappointed in the United States today, how much of that disappointment, if any, might be directed at the military and what has come to be known as national security affairs? It is a question especially worthy of our attention, since the American people have repeatedly said in polls that, of society’s major institutions, the military is the one they most trust.

Let us start with the Preamble to the Constitution. Whatever the framers’ intent, however aspirational the wording, and notwithstanding the fact that national security wasn’t part of the vernacular of the day, the Preamble stands as America’s enduring security credo.

Its importance is essentially threefold. It lists providing for the common defense (in lower-case letters) as merely one — not the first, not the most important — of the national aims the governing apparatus called for by the Constitution seeks to achieve. Semantically, it captures the normative essence of military affairs as self-defense (not aggression, not power projection). And it thereby implicitly cautions against purchasing defense at the expense of these other strategic priorities — national unity, justice, domestic tranquility, the general welfare, liberty.

[ … ]

Madison famously provided one of the most powerful statements ever on war:

“Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals engendered by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”

Today, we live in a state of constant, potentially endless war — always, without exception, undeclared; invariably by choice (rhetorically disguised as necessity); frequently in secret (to increase the license to act, while minimizing oversight and accountability); often labeled war (to engender fear and urgency), but just as often labeled something other than war (for reasons of expediency, convenience and legal circumvention); initiated and prosecuted by a now permanently imperial presidency, largely devoid of congressional consultation and consent before the fact, sometimes even with minimal congressional notification after the fact.

Such concentration of executive power, such abrogation of legislative authority and responsibility, such marginalization of popular consent would seem to be the ingredients of tyrannical government the founders said the people had the right and the duty to overthrow.

It’s instructive and expedient to understand the FedGov and its actions under 3P’s: [1] Protect, [2] Perpetuate, and [3] Promote.  It isn’t by accident that the FedGov wants a disarmed population and continually presses gun control (supported all the way by the court system up to and including the SCOTUS).  A disarmed population is a corollary and a couple to government control and subjugation of the people.  An armed population cannot be subjugated – and thus the population must be disarmed.  It all works together, and without each part none of it works.

But in America that’s difficult, so one answer to the difficulty is to arm the FedGov better and with more.  Note well that the rulership has created a caste system of peasants who will protect the FedGov because it’s their livelihood.  Too old and not in good enough shape to join the military, and not desirous of the decrease in income, there is nothing much else a gun toting agent can do except work for the government.  Family support is a strong motivator, and provision for wife and children can cause all sorts of word twisting and reinterpretation of oaths and vows.  The job of this peasant class is to keep the other peasants in check.  It is to protect the rulership.

The rulership by its very nature perpetuates itself by patronage and largesse to its families, friends and allies.  This is the value of high taxation and federal ownership of land.  Finally, promotion of the FedGov and rulership occurs via the public education system where willing subjects are molded, and also through the MSM where willing “journalists” parrot talking points.

There are those who say that the constitution contained in it the seeds of this despair and destruction.  And there are those who say that we need a new constitution because the last one failed.  While I am no defender of the notion that the constitution was infallible or perfect, I don’t subscribe to this being the ailment or the proposed remedy.

If I’ve tried to teach anything in these last years, it’s that men are to blame.  The constitution is a covenant, or agreement with the appurtenant blessings and cursings for obedience and disobedience, respectively.  It is nothing more, and nothing less.  We don’t get rights to ownership of weapons from the second amendment – we get them from the very fountain of rights, the Almighty Himself.

But America has broken covenant with the Almighty.  After this, everything else is duck soup.  It’s easy to break covenant with men when you have no fear of God.  Blaming the constitution for the malfeasance of men is like blaming the marriage covenant for an adulterous spouse, and demanding a new marriage covenant because the last one let your spouse engage in infidelity is demanding more of the same and expecting a promise to mean something to an adulterer.

To answer the question posed by the author, “Just who are the feds planning to battle?,” the answer is that the answer is crystal clear for those who would see it.

Prior Featured: AR-15 Ammunition And Barrel Twist Rate

Do You Carry Enough Gun For Big Cats?

BY Herschel Smith
4 weeks, 1 day ago

Via reader Fred Tippens, this.

What North American and South American territorial predator is a voracious hunter of livestock and deer, weighs up to 220 pounds and can reach short speed bursts exceeding 45 mph?

If your answer was the cougar or mountain lion, give yourself a pat on the back and enjoy a soft drink.  A pair of residents in the suburbs West of Milwaukee had the fortune of encountering a big cat through the magic of video, as a transient male was seen literally peering into the window of the home.

This is in an urban setting.

Former SWAT Officer Says Cop Who Stood Outside Is Another Victim Of The Parkland Massacre

BY Herschel Smith
1 month ago

The Nation:

But Chipman says that the reality is that, even though they undergo extensive training designed to inoculate them against natural human stress reactions, it’s not uncommon for soldiers to freeze up the first time they experience combat. It’s not a sign of cowardice. In most cases, those same troops perform well—or even heroically—after that first exposure to real-life combat. We can’t expect police officers to behave any differently.

[ … ]

So I think that unless you are trained—and you’re trained over and over again, and you practice like you play, which means you’re training in simulated life or death environments—the likelihood of you even firing your gun is small. And then the likelihood that you would actually hit a moving target surrounded by other moving targets—any trained operator knows the fallacy in that. It’s highly unlikely that it would turn out well.

Wow.  You’d think this guy did room clearing in Fallujah with my son in 2007.  But on to his points, these sound like the same ones made by “military expert” Ralph Peters.

When the shooting starts, even the best-trained, most disciplined soldiers and cops — US Army Rangers or NYPD SWAT members — don’t put every round on target. The notion that a guard or teacher who goes to the range once a quarter would keep kids safe is profoundly divorced from reality. “Friendly fire” would simply add to the danger.

Well, this is depressing.  For some oddball reason, I’m recalling some happier times here at The Captain’s Journal.

Like the mother who chased away a home invader using a handgun, protecting her children.  Or the sixty year old Texas woman who shot and killed one of two home invaders using a handgun.  Or the Indiana woman who used a gun to scare off home invaders.  Or better yet, the 23 year old woman who used a handgun in self defense with someone pointing a gun at her own head.  She had the presence of mind to draw from her own holster, present and discharge her weapon.

Maybe I need to ask these women to talk to the SWAT cop or Ralphie so they can be told, “Since you don’t have all of that super secret Ninja warrior stress management training, you can’t do that.  So don’t do it again.”

Finally, would you want to be the one trying to defend the cop who hid while children were being executed?


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