Archive for the 'Guns' Category

Gustafson Versus Springfield Armory

BY Herschel Smith
15 hours, 50 minutes ago

News from Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Superior Court, in a strongly worded decision, ruled Monday that a lawsuit filed by the parents of a 13-year-old Mount Pleasant boy who was killed accidentally when his friend fired a gun at him can move forward.

It is the first appeals court in the country to find that the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act is unconstitutional and could, ultimately, have sweeping ramifications on suits brought against gun manufacturers.

“It is a huge deal,” said Jonathan Lowy, chief counsel for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, who argued the case on behalf of Mark and Leah Gustafson.

The Gustafsons filed the complaint against Springfield Arms (sic) and Saloom Department Store in 2018, alleging negligence and strict liability for the manufacture and sale of a defective handgun.

J.R. was at a home in Westmoreland County on March 20, 2016, when his 14-year-old friend obtained the homeowner’s handgun and removed the clip. Believing the gun was unloaded, the friend, John Burnsworth III, pulled the trigger and shot J.R.

Burnsworth ultimately pleaded delinquent in juvenile court to involuntary manslaughter and served more than a year at a Cambria County reform school before his release.

In their lawsuit, the Gustafsons argued that the gun that killed their son had a design defect because it lacked a safety feature that would disable it from firing without a clip inserted.

However, the defendants filed preliminary objections and asserted immunity under the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.

Westmoreland County Common Pleas Judge Harry F. Smail threw the case out, agreeing with the defendants that the act prohibited the lawsuit.

The Gustafsons appealed, arguing that the act is unconstitutional.

In a 63-page opinion filed Monday in Superior Court, a three-judge panel of the court agreed that it is.

“[T]he Act is unconstitutional in its entirety,” Judge Deborah A. Kunselman wrote. “The only portions of the [act] that do not offend the Constitution are its findings and purposes … and a few definitions.”

Instead, she said, it was an act of “constitutional overreach” and a violation of the Tenth Amendment, which gives power, such as the tort reform intended by the act, to individual states.

According to the court, the act in question says that a “’qualified-civil-liability action may not be brought in any federal or state court” against members of the gun industry. Such a lawsuit ‘shall be immediately dismissed by the court in which the action was brought or is currently pending.’”

There are enumerated exceptions in the act, which did not apply in the Gustafson case.

Instead, the Superior Court chose to address the constitutionality of the act, which was passed in 2005 after intense lobbying in Congress by the gun industry. Kunselman noted in the opinion that guns kill approximately 30,000 people annually.

“The act immunizes the gun industry from every conceivable type of joint and comparable liability known to the common law,” the court wrote, even if a product is faulty and causes harm.

The act, the opinion continued, is unsustainable, because “it grants the gun industry immunity regardless of how far removed from interstate commerce the harm arises.”

The decision can be found here.  This paragraph struck me as presumptuous.

We find the logic of the Supreme Court of Alaska in Kim unpersuasive. That court erroneously believed that allowing claims for ordinary negligence (or any other cause of action based in negligence) would render the PLCAA’s exception for claims of negligence per se and negligent entrustment surplusage. That court and the trial court misunderstood the PLCAA’s goal, which is to protect only those members of the gun industry who obey state or federal statutes from common-law liability. As we will explain below, Congress passed the PLCAA to immunize what they considered to be law-abiding members of the industry — in Congress’s mind, those who follow federal and state statutes.

And this court happens to know better.  And that “better” includes protection only of “law-abiding” manufacturers.  The trick is to know that law, which in this case is decided by a court, i.e., that Springfield Armory designed an unsafe weapon.

So it’s left up to a court who has probably never used weapons to decide what’s safe and unsafe.  Springfield Armory didn’t violate a single law in the design of this weapon, and Smith & Wesson (in the design of their M&P) and Glock also manufacture pistols that will discharge without a magazine being inserted.

There was nothing at all defective about this handgun, and nothing defective about the design.  Don’t point guns at other people and pull the trigger.  This case is remarkably different than the case against Remington 700, in that Remington had repeatable test cases where a rifle falling over, even with the safety on, caused a round to discharge, or the simple act of closing the bolt caused a round to discharge.  Remington made a defective product.  Springfield Armory did not.

Perhaps some users want that feature.  It’s there for very good reason (e.g., tactical reloads where a previously unseen assailant is approaching and you need that round still left in the chamber before you get the reload accomplished).

Never mind training, never mind user desires for features, never mind the rules of gun safety, which if they had been followed would have prevented this event.  The court knows better, that court being completely ignorant of gun designs.

This is why the law was passed to begin with.  So their presumptuous attack on prior applications ends up hoisting them on their own petard.

But watch and see and heed this warning.  I suspect Bloomberg money was behind this lawsuit, but in any case, yet another manufacturer will have to defend itself in endless court appearances, demands for discovery, and on and on the circus goes.  Springfield Armory won’t be the last manufacturer to be hit with lawsuits like this one, and in the end, the controllers will demand a federal law for firearms design.

Court behavior most of the time would be amusing if it wasn’t so sad and farcical.

.22 Magnum Project

BY Herschel Smith
16 hours, 22 minutes ago

I’ve always though that the .22LR was a bit of an underpowered cartridge, and I like the .22 magnum.  This video documents a very interesting .22 magnum project.  He begins with a Ruger Precision rifle in .22 magnum, does some modifications to it, but most of his work focuses on the cartridge itself.

See if you enjoy it as much as I did.

Remington Arms Furloughed 600 Workers

BY Herschel Smith
1 day, 16 hours ago

From Sniper’s Hide.

Plant-wide furlough at Remington Arms; more than 600 affected

More than 600 Remington Arms workers were furloughed Thursday. They learned through an email from Remington Outdoor Company CEO, Ken D’Arcy, when they got to work Thursday. They left the plant shortly after learning of the plant-wide furlough, at around 12:30.

As to how this sort of thing can happen, one commenter notes:

RP9 Pistols
R51 Pistols
Ho Hum AR’s
Ruger, Howa, Tikka, Bergara, and the rise of “production class” customs eating your lunch in the bolt action segment

Bad decisions.  True enough, being in a collective bargaining state rather than a right to work state harmed them, as it will any company.  They should have relocated as should any firearms manufacturer located in the Northeast.

But they have made some extremely bad business and financial decisions like waiting far too long to acknowledge the problems associated with the 700, failures they even duplicated in non-trivial numbers by their own testing.

Other firearms manufacturers have been smarter and faster, and the firearms-buying public has too many very good options to settle for mediocre products these days.

There is also the issue of the fact that Cerberus / Freedom Group was essentially a company of “financial engineers” (I loath that term for reasons that would send me off on a rant) who worked hard to squeeze every last drop of money out of the company and leave it bankrupt.

This serves as an object lesson to firearms manufacturers everywhere.  [1] Don’t sell out to financial engineers who want to rape the company, [2] admit and fix flaws in guns, and do it fast, [3] get out of union states, [4] give the public what they want by being innovative, cost effective and smart, but don’t make trash, and finally, [5] hire good engineers.

We’re all watching the remaining firearms manufacturers located in the Northeast.  If you are one of them, why are you still there?

Prior: Gun Valley Moves South

Jerry Shoots A “Grease Gun”

BY Herschel Smith
1 week ago

Yea it’s slow compared to today’s standards, but I want one.  I’ve always wanted one since I was a kid.

James Wesley Rawles On The Use Of Privately Owned Weapons In Warfare

BY Herschel Smith
1 week, 1 day ago

Survival Blog.

Many times, I’ve heard it suggested that restrictions on privately-owned sidearms developed because of Declaration III of the Hague Convention, which banned the use of expanding (mushrooming) bullets. The U.S. government has never been a signatory to that portion of the Hague Convention, but we’ve largely abided by it. Although we do have a penchant for military shotguns, which many European military leaders consider “barbaric.”  And most recently, the U.S. Army adopted a hollowpoint 9mm cartridge.

[ … ]

In later conflicts, the tradition of POWs for aviators continued, with many willfully flouting regulations. In addition to sidearms for personal protection, many pilots and other aircrewmen carried .22 rimfire guns, for hunting small game, in case they were shot down in a remote area. The Air Force had officially-issued “Survival Guns” which were available in just small numbers. But many pilots carried their own .22 pistols–most commonly those made by Hi-Standard, or Colt Woodsman pistols.

American servicemen in the Vietnam War had a fairly large number of privately-owned weapons. These were either guns from home, or captured weapons, or a variety of guns bought on the black market from ARVN soldiers. The “status symbol” guns for both aviators and ground troops were .357 magnum revolvers.  In some instances, soldiers would have family members mail them handguns or disassembled long guns. These were mostly riot shotguns, But a few soldiers asked for  — and received via mail — their trusty .30-30 Winchester carbines. To 21st Century readers this might sound hard to believe, but it really happened.

And from the comments there is this.

I had a friend who was in Viet Nam in 1968-69 and carried his personal S&W .357mag. His parents sent him several boxes of .357 HP ammo in the mail and the military stopped the delivery and sent the ammo back to his parents. The military included a letter to his parents telling them NOT to send their son anymore ammo, that they would supply him and that hollow point ammo was not allowed due to the Hague Convention, which you were right, the US did not sign that part of.

Finally, to close out the study James writes this.

In my opinion, any active duty or reserve officer or NCO should be able to carry whatever weapon he pleases, on-post or off-post, and whether deployed or stateside. But regulations say otherwise.

It’s difficult for me to see how logistics officers could possibly handle any weapon, any caliber, and a multitude of parts for those weapons.  But it seems to have worked in the past.

I agree with one commenter, who said that “I didn’t think I’d find this interesting” but I did.  I did too, very much so.  In fact, I’ve asked before – to no avail – for pictures of revolvers used in either OIF or OEF.  I do have one picture of a 1911 carried by a general in Afghanistan, who can of course carry anything he wants.

Also, I confess that I didn’t know that until the advent of the M17 that the U.S. military shot ball rounds.  I did know that, for example, John Basilone killed all those enemy troops with an M2 and a 1911 shooting ball ammunition.

But I didn’t know that we were still using ball ammo in OEF and OIF.  Can veterans confirm this?

Making Changes To Your Rifle That Can Shift The Point Of Impact

BY Herschel Smith
1 week, 1 day ago

American Rifleman.

Sometimes a POI shift is simply due to a parts change, usually toward the front of a rifle. Changing muzzle devices always requires a re-zero, but even removing and reinstalling the same flash hider or brake can shift POI. Changing a semi-automatic’s gas block or a barrel nut to support a different handguard will also affect shot placement on target. Any alteration of things that touch a barrel, especially in terms of their position, weight or pressure, will alter point-of-impact. So long as the parts change is intentional and everything is mounted and torqued securely, a simple re-zero is all that is required to deal with this shift.

Items that attach to rifle fore-ends are the root cause for most problems I see. The typical offenders are the screw ends for M-Lok, KeyMod and backer-plate accessories. At least one company includes screws that are about twice as long as needed to secure its M-Lok accessories. Thus, it is very easy to wind up impinging on a barrel or gas block, resulting in POI shifts and accuracy-related problems. The heavy-barrel contours typical of chamber areas increase the chances of this problem as you move rearward along a handguard.

I said the same thing about the affect of attaching lights directly to the barrel four years ago, and was [incorrectly] torched in the comments.

But I was right then and this author is right now.  I didn’t make it up four years ago, and this author isn’t making it up now.  Machine harmonics matters.

I would add that not only can you make changes to your rifle that affect the POI, you can make them in a way that yields reduced accuracy even if you re-zero the gun (due to additional harmonics introduced by the component, making for an unstable system).  So this would mean larger groups.

I love floated barrels, and I don’t attach anything to them.  And as all hunters know, if you have a wood stock and it gets wet during a rain, if the wood swells and you can’t take that piece of paper and slide between the stock and barrel (you know what I’m talking about), your zero is off.

Why Everyone Likes Lever Actions

BY Herschel Smith
1 week, 2 days ago

I’m sure this will be a great series and I look forward to the next installments.  And don’t be fooled – when the communists go after semiautomatic weapons, they’ll come after lever action rifles too.  The communists in New Zealand did, right before they began forced vaccinations and quarantine camps of their population.

Vortex Optics: How To Sight In A Rifle Scope

BY Herschel Smith
1 week, 4 days ago

Firearms,Guns Tags:

Vortex Optics: How To Sight In A Red Dot On Your Pistol

BY Herschel Smith
1 week, 5 days ago

Combined Red Dot And LPVO

BY Herschel Smith
1 week, 6 days ago

John Farnam writes at Ammoland.

I love Aimpoints and most other red-dot (non-magnifying) optics, because they’re fast, relatively compact, and with generous eye-relief, I don’t have glass in my face! Yet, SROs tell me that for their job they need more downrange detail than an Aimpoint will provide, even at ranges under 100m.

With Aimpoints (and most other red-dots), you can get a “swing-out magnifier,” but it is bulky, precarious, and gets in the way.

As a practical matter, when shooting in a congested environment without magnification, past 100m I can’t tell what I’m shooting at. In many cases, I can’t adequately identify a threat past 75m.

So, I equipped my wonderful IO (International Ordinance) M4 with a 1×4 Steiner optic (P4Xi) and their excellent low-profile mounting system.

From exchanging email with John he indicates to me that “The Steiner P4Xi that I’m using features an illuminated red dot (with variable intensity) at the center, which can be used when it is hard to make-out the traditional reticle.”

So he’s claiming that the scope he’s using gives him the shorter range red dot performance, along with the LPVO performance for longer distances if he chooses.

A very nice idea.  I don’t happen to do well with flip-to-side magnifiers.  Of course, this scope isn’t cheap.  You may have to break the piggy bank open for it.

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