Monday, October 23, 2017

Ghost Subs?


We've all read about ghost guns. But what about ghost subs? It turns out the newer classes of Russian submarines such as the diesel-electric Krasnodar are extremely quiet and are like noiseless spots in the ocean. The Wall Street Journal examines them as well as a deep-diving compatriot (Yasen class) in the video below. I wonder how much of the stealthiness of the Krasnodar was stolen technology courtesy of spys and/or traitors like the Walkers.

The Australian goes into much more detail in this story about the US Navy's search for the Krasnodar in the Mediterranean Sea.



Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Brady Campaign Sues BATFE And DOJ


With the departure of Dan Gross as President of the Brady Campaign, the new leadership seems to have shifted some of organization's strategy to the courts. First there was the lawsuit against Slide Fire Solutions filed in conjunction with an class-action, personal injury firm in Las Vegas. That suit was filed less the same week as the Las Vegas mass casualty event. There is significant question whether that suit can even proceed given the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.

On Monday, the Brady Campaign filed suit in US District Court for the District of Columbia against the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. They are accusing the BATFE of ignoring two Freedom of Information Act requests for documents related to Associate Deputy Director Ron Turk's white paper and for documents related to warning letters or license revocations sent to Federal Firearm Licensees. By ignoring the FOIA requests after acknowledging receipt of them, BATFE provided the Brady Campaign with an opportunity to sue to get the info they seek.

From their press release, in part, on the lawsuit:
"The ATF has a critical role in monitoring the gun industry and keeping America safe from gun violence. We sought information about its work, and it did not respond, even though it is required to do so under federal law. We certainly hope that ATF is doing its job and the public deserves these documents so we can make sure that the ATF is doing everything it can to stop gun trafficking and other crimes," said Avery Gardiner, Co-President of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Brady lawyer Mariel Goetz added, "The Brady Center has worked diligently to follow all procedures to obtain this information. Last week, our organization filed a class action suit on behalf of the attendees of the Las Vegas music festival who suffered through the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. Today, we file suit on behalf of all Americans. We all deserve information about our government's efforts to regulate firearms and stop illegal gun trafficking. We need transparency to make sure that the federal government is doing what it should to stop gun violence."
The complaint gives more detail on what they are seeking in their FOIA requests.

On the white paper:
(1) All communications between ATF employees related to the January 20, 2017 White Paper titled “Federal Firearm Regulations - Options to Reduce or Modify Firearms Regulations”;

(2) All communications between ATF employees and members of the Presidential Transition Team related to the January 20, 2017 White Paper titled “Federal Firearm Regulations - Options to Reduce or Modify Firearms Regulations”;

(3) All communications between ATF employees and nongovernment employees, including but not limited to representatives from gun manufacturers or the National Rifle Association, related to the January 20, 2017 White Paper titled “Federal Firearm Regulations - Options to Reduce or Modify Firearms Regulations”; and

(4) All other documents, including drafts, related to the January 20, 2017 White Paper titled “Federal Firearm Regulations - Options to Reduce or Modify Firearms Regulations.”
And on the warning letters and revocation notices:
(1) All warning letters, warning conference notices, and the underlying reports of violations and firearms inspection narrative reports, issued to federal firearms licensees from July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2017;

(2) All notices of revocation of license and the accompanying ATF Form 4500s issued to federal firearms licensees from July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2017.
As I see it, the FOIA request for any communications between ATF and then President-elect Trump's transitional team as well as any communication related to the White Paper with the NRA and firearms manufacturers is to dig up anything that they or their allies can use for political purposes against Trump, the NRA, and the firearms industry.

Conversely, the second FOIA request is an attempt to have the BATFE give them information that they can use for lawsuits against dealers and distributors. This would be part of their attempt to pierce the PLCAA through their "Bad Apples" project. While FOIA was never meant to substitute for the discovery process in litigation, the courts have ruled that there is no prohibition against it either.

Bearing in mind that I am not an expert on FOIA in the least and that I find it somewhat humorous that I am defending BATFE of all agencies, I think BATFE was correct in not releasing this information to the Brady Campaign. I think BATFE can make a very strong case that releasing warning notices/letters and revocation notices would interfere with potential law enforcement legal proceedings which is an exemption under FOIA. I think a strong argument could also be made that this should be considered commercial information which is a specific exemption as well. Likewise with the FOIA request for info on the white paper, since it was not a final statement of policy and could be considered part of the deliberative process, I think BATFE has grounds for not releasing this information as well.

Where the BATFE screwed up was in not informing the Brady Campaign within 20 days of their request that they could go pound sand. This could be due to bureaucratic laziness on the part of BATFE's FOIA officer. Whatever the reason was it did provide the Brady Campaign the legal go-ahead to file suit. How a judge on the US District Court for DC might rule on this is anybody's guess. I will note that in addition to the Brady Campaign's own lawyers, they have pro bono lawyers from the mega-law firm of Covington and Burling. The marriage of gun controllers with big law is shameful in my opinion but progressives gotta do what progressives do.


Rimfire Challenge To Transition From NSSF To RCSA


Despite what Asheville's Thomas Wolfe once wrote, you can go home again.

The Ruger Rimfire Challenge was originally developed by Ken Jorgenson of Ruger, Michael Bane, and the late Nelson Dymond. In 2014, the responsibility for running the Ruger Rimfire Challenge passed to the National Shooting Sports Foundation and it became known as the NSSF Rimfire Challenge. On January 1, 2018, the Rimfire Challenge will pass to a new non-profit organization run by Jorgenson and Bane called the Rimfire Challenge Shooting Association. Thus, it will have closed the circle and returned home to its founders.

Below is the NSSF's press release, in part, on the transition:
NEWTOWN, Conn. — The National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF®), the trade association for the firearms industry, is proud to announce that the NSSF Rimfire Challenge will be transitioned to a new organization: the Rimfire Challenge Shooting Association. The transition takes place Jan. 1, 2018.

Originally developed by Sturm, Ruger & Co.’s Ken Jorgenson, along with author and TV personality Michael Bane and the late Nelson Dymond, a long-time and well-known shooting match director who held a strong passion for rimfire firearms, the program was first known as the Ruger Rimfire Challenge. NSSF took over the administration of the program in 2014, changing its name to the NSSF Rimfire Challenge. The new organization will be led once again by Ken Jorgensen and Michael Bane.

Designed to introduce new shooters to the shooting sports in an exciting, family-friendly format, Rimfire Challenge matches focus on competition with .22-caliber rifles and pistols. Matches are open to shooters of all ages and shooting experience levels, with events conducted at ranges nationwide and an annual World Championship taking place each October.

“It’s truly a great thing to see this program return home to the people who had this wonderful idea to begin with,” said Tisma Juett, NSSF Manager, Recruitment and Retention. “The NSSF is proud to have been a part of growing a shooting sport that has proven to be such a wonderful activity for mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, neighbors and friends in which to participate. We wish Ken and Michael much success and look forward to many more firearms owners joining the shooting sports with them.”

“I am excited to once again be involved in the day to day operation of the Rimfire Challenge events,” said Jorgenson. “The concept originally created by Nelson and implemented as part of the Ruger Rimfire Challenge is as valid today as it was in the beginning. We will work to continue that vision and grow the rimfire competition opportunities for shooters of all skill levels.”

“I could not be happier to once again be a part of the Rimfire Challenge!” Bane added. “It is a wonderful sport, a way to bring whole families into the competition. Ken and I are committed to bringing the Rimfire Challenge to the next level. It’s going to be fun!”

Michael Bane makes the announcement of the change on the video portion of his weekly podcast. You can see it at this link. As he notes, the first year will be about stability and communication. He doesn't see any major rule changes coming immediately. The existing rulebook along with examples of courses of fire can be found here.

All shooting competitions go through life cycles and I think change like this is important. New management and new ideas along with a fairly low cost of entry should help the Rimfire Challenge continue growing and bringing in new shooters. The more that we can show that the shooting sports are fun, the less likely that the gun prohibitionists will be to convince the general public that guns are "icky".

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Making Gun Control A Cult Of Personality


First there was the National Council to Control Handguns which became Handgun Control, Inc. for the next 20 years. Eventually this morphed into the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. In making this name change in 2000, Handgun Control, Inc. did two things. This helped to soften their image from control to merely prevention. Just as importantly, by deciding to rename the organization after Jim and Sarah Brady, HCI was aiming to make sympathetic figures the face of gun control.

Now that the Bradys have passed away, gun control needs to regain its cult of personality. Mike Bloomberg is not sympathetic nor is home-wrecking, socially and politically ambitious Shannon Watts. However, Gabby Giffords does make a sympathetic figure.

Playing up this cult of personality was the announcement today that Americans for Responsible Solutions will now just be called Giffords. The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence (sic) which used to be known as the Legal Center Against Violence will now be the Giffords Law Center. Finally, their PAC will be known as Giffords PAC. Giffords is also now subtitled, "Courage to fight gun violence."(sic)

From their press release:
“Addressing a problem that almost took my life will be the cause of my life,” said Congresswoman Gabby Giffords upon the announcement of her namesake gun violence prevention organization. “I’ve seen great courage when my life was on the line. But I’ve also seen great courage as we’ve fought to save lives from gun violence. Every day I meet brave Americans who are standing with me in the fight for a safer future—from law enforcement officers and military veterans, to parents, community leaders, and concerned voters. When we stand together, stand up for our children, and use the full power of our voices and votes, I know that we can make change happen.”

When people think of Gabby, they think of courage, determination, and grit—and it’s exactly those characteristics Americans need to channel in order for us to save lives from gun violence and make our communities safer,” said Captain Mark Kelly, co-founder of Giffords. “When Gabby and I began this journey, we knew this wouldn’t be an easy fight. The gun lobby has been selling a message of fear to the American public for years. It’s used its money to scare lawmakers into following its extreme ideology—and it’s made talking about guns culturally divisive, despite the fact that the majority of gun owners support stronger gun laws. A safer America requires changing that dynamic. We need more people to show the courage to stand up for what’s right and we need more elected officials to show the courage to take action.”
It is probably a smart move on the part of these gun prohibitionists to reemphasize Gabby Giffords as the face of their organization. She is a sympathetic (and pathetic) figure who survived an assassination attempt in the prime of her life and seems to have regained some of what she lost from her injuries.

With the renaming of the organization, the image of Gabby Giffords will always be more important than the reality. The image is that of the courageous survivor who fought back and is now leading the fight against "gun violence" (sic). The reality is that we don't really know what level of mental capacity she retains given her servere brain injuries and that she very well could be more of a puppet than an actual leader. As for her husband Mark Kelly, the image he wants the world to see is that of a devoted husband caring for his grievously wounded spouse and seeking to protect others from what happened to her. However, when I look at the reality of today's Mark Kelly, words like "puppet master", "leech", and the male equivalent of "gold digger" come to mind. Obviously, I don't think much of him as he seems to have abandoned the oath he took as an officer to support and defend the Constitution in favor of political and monetary gains.

It will be interesting to how well gun control uses the cult of personality to make political gains. Time will tell.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Why Bump Fire Stocks Were Approved


Rick Vasquez was the Assistant Branch Chief of the Technology Branch of BATFE. He has now retired and owns a firearms firm in Virginia. Before he retired from the BATFE, analysts under his management did the research and technical evaluation of the bump fire stocks submitted for approval. Rick reviewed their results and approved their evaluation. Moreover, he makes no apologies for it as it follows the law as written by Congress.

In the video below, Rick is interviewed for a Vice News/HBO report. While Vice TV often has a leftist slant, they played it straight on this one and let Rick explain things. He also shows the reporter how you can bump fire without a device or special stock.


The 2018 California Senate Race Will Be Interesting


Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), age 84 and the oldest person currently in the US Senate, has announced she plans to run for re-election in 2018. Despite her pro-Obamacare, pro-abortion, pro-climate change, gun-grabbiness nature, she is considered a moderate and "too bipartisan" for California. A number of potential candidates who might have run for the seat if she had announced her retirement have opted out of the race which may cost $50-100 million.

State Senate President Kevin "Ghost Gun" de Leon (D-LA) has announced he plans to challenge her from the Left.
Kevin de León announced Sunday morning that he would challenge veteran US Sen. Dianne Feinstein, saying he'll stand for a wing of the party that feels she no longer represents the progressive makeup of the state's Democratic Party and has not aggressively challenged the policies of President Donald Trump.

The bold move by de León, the State Senate president pro tempore who is termed out next year, set up an internecine battle within the Democratic Party that some fear could draw attention and resources away from the seven competitive House races that could flip control of the US House of Representatives to the Democrats.

But de León represents the younger generation of California Democrats who have been frustrated by Feinstein's mild criticism of Trump and the lack of opportunity for higher office because of the lengthy tenure of figures like Feinstein, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Gov. Jerry Brown and former Sen. Barbara Boxer (who retired and was replaced by Sen. Kamala Harris last year). Feinstein will be 85 at the time of next year's election.

In a video statement released Sunday morning, de León said that in his three years as the State Senate leader he had worked to infuse "progressive California values in important policy efforts like immigration, women's rights, quality education, civil rights, job creation and fighting climate change."

"We now stand at the front lines of a historic struggle for the very soul of America, against a President without one," de León, who is 50, said in his video statement, taking aim at Trump. "Every day, his administration wages war on our people and our progress. He disregards our voices. Demonizes our diversity. Attacks our civil rights, our clean air, our health access and our public safety. We can lead the fight against his administration, but only if we jump into the arena together.
"
Given that California has a modified open primary system, the top two candidates regardless of party will move on to the general election. Thus, it is quite probable that the top two will end up being Feinstein and de Leon. I can imagine the anti-gun rhetoric along with misinformation coming out of their mouths. There will be a lot of eye-rolling going on.

Thus, gun prohibitionists can rejoice. No matter who wins, the rest of free America loses.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Shades Of Henry Bowman


If you have read the novel Unintended Consequences by John Ross, you are familiar with his protagonist Henry Bowman. The book is something of a cult classic in the gun culture. Indeed, the very term gun culture has many of its origins in this book. I believe you can still obtain copies from the Accurate Press.

One of the firearms that Henry and his father bought before the onset of the Gun Control Act of 1968 was a 20mm Solothurn S18-1000. While it is now considered a destructive device, back then you could get it through the mail. Imagine that!

Ian from Forgotten Weapons recently had the change to fire one of these anti-tank rifles at the James Julia auction house in Maine. I'll let him continue the story of the Solothurn.





If anyone knows what has become of John Ross, I'd love to know. His old website is long gone. I do know that he left the securities industry in the late 2000s.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

NRA Opposes Both Feinstein's S.1916 And Curbelo's HR 3999


The NRA announced yesterday that it opposed both Sen. Dianne Feinstein's S.1916 and Rep. Carlos Curbelo's HR 3999. These bills would ban any part that could increase the rate of fire of a semi-automatic fire.

The opposition was announced via an interview with the Washington Free Beacon's Stephen Gutowski.
"We are opposed to the Feinstein and Curbelo legislation," Jennifer Baker, a spokesperson for the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action, told the Washington Free Beacon.
The text for Sen. Feinstein's S.1916 can be found here while the text of  Rep. Curbelo's HR 3999 can be found here. The Trojan Horse in both bills is this language.
any part, combination of parts, component, device, attachment, or accessory that is designed or functions to accelerate the rate of fire of a semi- automatic rifle but not convert the semiautomatic rifle into a machinegun.
As I noted in earlier blog posts on the issue, this could be anything from a replacement trigger reset spring to a Geissele trigger to a lightweight AR bolt carrier to a heavier AR buffer. In other words, the BATFE Technology Division could use this to ban anything and everything related to a semi-automatic rifle short of the gritty mil-spec trigger.