Thursday, December 18, 2014

I'll See Your Murthy And Raise You A McSally


The various gun prohibitionist groups were quick to claim victory over the confirmation of Dr. Vivek Murthy as the Surgeon General of the United States.

Mark Kelly (aka Mr. Gabby Giffords) said of the confirmation of Murthy that:
Tonight, the United States Senate did the responsible thing: It stood up to the gun lobby, stood up for common sense, and voted to ensure that the United States has a qualified medical professional as its top doctor.
Dan Gross, President of the Brady Campaign, was even more bombastic in his proclamations about Murthy's confirmation:
"This is a huge victory for Brady and for the public health and safety of our nation. Now we have a Surgeon General who recognizes that gun violence is a serious public health issue that America urgently needs to address,” said Dan Gross, President, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. “This victory represents a major triumph over the corporate gun lobby ‘lap dogs’ in the Senate who fought to defeat Dr. Murthy’s confirmation on behalf of their billion-dollar benefactors...

Gross adds, “Dr. Murthy’s confirmation is part of an exciting, growing trend of victories for the American public over the interests and influence of the corporate gun lobby. In the recent elections, the voters of Washington state demonstrated where the American public stands on this issue by overwhelmingly passing expanded background checks. The American people know that gun violence is a public health issue and they support sensible measures to reduce gun deaths and injuries.”
PR professional mom Shannon Watts was not to be denied either. While Everytown Moms for Illegal Mayors had nothing on their official web page, they did say this on their Facebook page:
Yesterday the Senate stood up to the gun lobby and confirmed Dr. Vivek Murthy for Surgeon General.

The NRA strongly opposed Dr. Murthy because he dared to acknowledged that gun violence is a public health threat.Yesterday the Senate stood up to the gun lobby and confirmed Dr. Vivek Murthy for Surgeon General.

The gun lobby has spent decades trying to quash research into the causes and cures for gun violence--because the less we know about gun violence, the more the gun lobby can dictate public health policy
.
Even the lesser lights of the gun prohibitionist groups had to put in their two cents. The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (sic) called it a "historic rebuke to the NRA". Meanwhile, the Violence Policy Center's Kristen Rand said "we applaud every senator who stood up to the gun lobby."

Murthy was going to be Surgeon General even if the lame ducks hadn't turned their back on their constituents and voted to confirm him. I have no doubt that Murthy would have been an another of President Obama's recess appointments.

While the gun prohibitionists have been exceedingly vocal over Murthy's confirmation, they have been equally as quiet over an event that happened yesterday. With the recount having been concluded in Arizona's Second Congressional District, Col. Martha McSally (USAF-Ret) was declared the winner by 167 votes over Democrat incumbent Ron Barber. She actually picked up six votes in the recount.

Lest anyone forget, McSally now represents Gabby Giffords' former congressional district. She ran on a pro-gun, balance the budget, and secure the borders platform. She was rated AQ and endorsed by the NRA-PVF.

Americans for Responsible Solutions waged a vicious campaign against McSally and still lost. They spent $2,007,611.68 in ads and mailings opposing McSally. This amount is just a little less than what the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent attacking McSally. ARS spent an additional $238,584 in support of Barber. This was a personal battle for Giffords and Kelly and they lost.

By contrast, "the corporate gun lobby" in the form of the NRA-Political Victory Fund spent the magnificent sum of $14,068.79 in support of McSally.

According to the Arizona Republic, Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly did respond to McSally's electoral victory.
Giffords' group was criticized for running an ad that implied McSally didn't support gun background checks that might have prevented a woman from being murdered by a stalker. The group pulled the ad off the air after McSally said she had been a victim of stalking and supported banning stalkers from buying guns.

Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, said after McSally's victory was announced that they were glad the campaign included a debate over guns.

"We commend her for defying the corporate gun lobby on this important public-safety issue, and look forward to working with her to craft and help pass this badly needed legislation," Giffords and Kelly said in a written statement.

The National Rifle Association cast McSally's win as a rebuke to gun-control groups like Giffords'.

"Martha stood on principle and supported our constitutional freedoms, despite being relentlessly attacked by the gun-control movement," NRA Political Victory Fund Chairman Chris W. Cox said in a statement.
 
The response of Giffords and Kelly is not on the Americans for Responsible Solutions website and was probably the bare minimum they could do without looking like sore losers. As to the rest of the gun prohibitionists, no comment. I have checked all the usual suspects - their own websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter - and can't find a thing.

Rep.-elect McSally, a former A-10 Warthog pilot with combat hours, has been appointed to serve on the House Armed Services and House Homeland Security committees.

Comparing the appointment of Murthy with the election of McSally, I submit that McSally can make more of a difference. Murthy's position is primarily symbolic. The office of the Surgeon General no longer holds the power that it once had. To expect Murthy to make any pronouncement on any subject including guns without first checking with the White House is unrealistic. Moreover, his actual experience as a practicing physician is virtually nil. He is more of a politician and manager.

By contrast, McSally, while one of 435, does have a vote, can craft and submit legislation, and is under no obligation to coordinate with Speaker John Boehner on anything. Moreover, by virtue of her 26 years as a serving officer in the Air Force and her committee memberships, she should have an impact on both defense issues and border security.

While I could be wrong about the relative impacts of Murthy and McSally, I don't think so. If you think I'm wrong in my assessment, let me know in the comments.

Christmas Comes Early In California


Christmas came early for the CalGuns Foundation and its attorneys. Late yesterday, US District Court Judge Anthony Ishii awarded them attorney's fees and court costs in Sylvester v. Harris. This is the case that challenged California's 10-day waiting period as applied to certain classes of individuals. Judge Ishii had earlier found that the waiting period was unconstitutional as applied to those who possess California carry permits or own one firearm and have a "Certificate of Eligibility".



In determining the amount due for attorneys' fee, Judge Ishii considered the motions from both the plaintiffs and the defendants. For the senior attorneys, he ordered an hourly amount that was lower than requested but higher than what the California Department of Justice thought proper. As to the junior attorneys, he actually raised the hourly rate above what was requested by the plaintiffs.

The only unfortunate thing about this award of attorneys' fees is that it won't come out of Kamala Harris' personal bank account. It will be paid by the taxpayers of California. But hey, if you continue to elect people like Harris and the rest of her ilk, that is what you can expect.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Kudos To Ronnie Barrett And His Company


I came across this little tidbit today courtesy of Hershel at The Captain's Journal.

Barrett Firearms has signed a contract to export rifles to the Ukrainian state-run defense company Ukroboronprom.

From SputnikNews:
KIEV, December 12 (Sputnik) – The Ukrainian state-run defense concern Ukroboronprom said Friday its subsidiary Ukrinmash had signed a deal on small arms delivery with US Barrett Firearms.

"The representatives of company Ukrinmash – the leading exporter of the Ukroboronprom state concern – signed a contract with Barrett Firearms. Weapons will be delivered for the needs of Ukraine's Security Service and National Guard," Ukroboronprom said on its website.

Earlier, Ukrinmash has struck deals with another US company ATN, manufacturer of night vision optics and thermal imaging, and Thales Group, a French space, defense and security firm.

Barrett Firearms specializes in designing and manufacturing large-caliber rifles for the US military, law enforcement agencies, and civilian sport shooters in the United States and more than 73 other countries.
I'm glad to see Barrett, ATN, and the Thales Group are helping Ukraine stand up to Russian hegemony. I wish the US government had as much backbone as Ronnie Barrett.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Ordinary Tools And A Simple Method To Align Crosshairs On Your Scope


Simple is good if it works. Cheap and simple is even better. In the video below, Aram von Benedikt of Outdoor Life shows how to use common, everyday tools to get your rifle scope's crosshairs perfectly vertical.




The tools for von Benedikt's method would cost you less than $10 if you had to buy them new. This includes $2.25 for the plumb bob, $3.98 for the level, and about $3 for a small mill bastard file. The first two items were priced at Lowe's. I just paid $2.95 last weekend at a local surplus store for a Kobalt 6" file.

Compare this with the Wheeler Engineering Retical Leveling System. It is a very nice tool but it costs $49.99 from Brownells with the price at Amazon.com being a bit less.

So, you can go fancy with a purpose built tool or you can go simple with tools that have multiple uses around the house. The choice is yours.

Ruger Getting Into 10/22 After-Market Trigger Business


Ruger is getting into the 10/22 replacement trigger market. They just announced the BX-Trigger which is a drop-in trigger module for the 10/22. It reduces the trigger pull from approximately 6 pounds to 2.5 pounds. The BX-Trigger will go on the market starting this Friday. It will be available directly from Ruger and from many retailers. The MSRP on the BX-Trigger is $89.95.




If I had to guess, someone at Ruger realized that they could be making good money in the 10/22 after-market parts business that they were losing to companies like Volquartsen. I don't know without testing how the new BX-Trigger will compare to the Volquartsen components but the complete module sells for about what Volquartsen sells their match hammer and sear.

The release from Ruger is below:
Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. (NYSE: RGR) announces the launch of the BX-Trigger™: a light, crisp, “drop-in” replacement trigger assembly that is compatible with all Ruger® 10/22® rifles and 22 Charger™ pistols. The BX-Trigger is a Genuine Ruger Factory Accessory and is the perfect upgrade for all 10/22 rifles and 22 Charger pistol models because of the significantly reduced pull weight of approximately 2.75 pounds (versus 6 pounds on the standard 10/22 trigger).

“We have made continuous improvements to the 10/22 over the years, but the BX-Trigger is an exciting performance advancement,” said Ruger President and COO, Chris Killoy. “The BX-Trigger was designed for easy installation, superior performance, and legendary Ruger reliability. Like the popular BX-25® magazine for the 10/22, the BX-Trigger will deliver the excellence and value that shooters have come to expect from Ruger.”

The BX-Trigger is sold as a complete assembly that “drops in” to replace the existing trigger assembly, with no additional adjustment or “fitting” required. A video of the installation process can be found at Ruger.com/BX-Trigger

Beginning December 19, the Ruger BX-Trigger will be available for purchase directly from Ruger at ShopRuger.com or from local independent firearms retailers.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Triumph Of The Lame Ducks


The Senate voted at 5:59pm EST to confirm Dr. Vivek Murthy as the next Surgeon General of the United States. The final vote was 51 in favor with 43 opposed and 6 not voting. The confirmation of Dr. Murthy could be called the triumph of the lame ducks.

In March, the nomination of Murthy was dead in the water. It was going nowhere because a number of red-state Democrats were up for re-election and knew voting for Murthy would have been the kiss of death.

From the New York Times on March 14th:
The nominee, Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, an internist and political ally of the president’s, has come under criticism from the National Rifle Association, and opposition from the gun-rights group has grown so intense that it has placed Democrats from conservative states, several of whom are up for re-election this year, in a difficult spot.

Senate aides said Friday that as many as 10 Democrats are believed to be considering a vote against Dr. Murthy, who has voiced support for various gun control measures like an assault weapons ban, mandatory safety training and ammunition sales limits.
Liberal journalist Dave Weigel attributes the death of the filibuster to putting the pressure on these Democrats. They could no longer hide behind a Republican filibuster to avoid taking a position.

Presumably the 10 Democrats including such "pro-Second Amendment stalwarts" as Kay Hagan, Mark Pryor, Mark Begich, Mary Landrieu, and possibly Mark Udall who all lost re-election in November.

It's funny how a politician's true colors come out when either they don't face an election for a number of years or they are being sent home by the voters.

Only three Democrats voted against Murthy:  Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), and Joe Manchin (D-WV). And the rest, including Hagan, Pryor, Begich, Landrieu, and Udall voted for Murthy.

Murthy's confirmation was the triumph of the lame ducks. Their vote was a big "f*%k you" to the voters of their home states who had just turned them out of office.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Vote On Obama's Anti-Gun Surgeon General Choice This Week


Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will be pushing the vote on Dr. Vivek Murthy this coming week. According to the tweet posted on Saturday by Adam Jentleson, Reid's Communications Director, the vote on cloture will be this week. Thanks to a change in a Senate rules pushed through by Reid last year, Murthy nomination will only need a simple majority to invoke cloture and be confirmed.


Reid is evidently trying to make the most of his remaining time as Majority Leader. Murthy cleared a procedural vote on Saturday by a vote of 52-40 that allows his nomination to come to a vote. Voting in favor of bringing his nomination to a vote include so-called pro-Second Amendment lame duck Democrats Kay Hagan (D-NC), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Mark Begich (D-AK). It is interesting to see how being a lame duck brings out their true colors.

Dr. Vivek Murthy co-founded Doctors for Obama in 2008 which later became Doctors for America. He is profoundly anti-gun and views firearm ownership as a public health issue.

From the NRA-ILA on Murthy's nomination and his anti-gun views:
A recent letter sent to Congress by "Doctors for America," and signed by Dr. Murthy, urges mandatory licensing "for anyone purchasing guns and ammunition--including mandatory firearm safety training and testing." Under Dr. Murthy's scheme, further regulations would place "limits on the purchase of ammunition," and establish a "mandatory waiting period of at least 48 hours."

In the letter, Dr. Murthy also advocates for a "federal ban on the sale" of popular semi-automatic firearms and their ammunition, and proposes a "buyback" of these popular types of firearms to "reduce the number… that are currently in circulation." Even some of the most ardent anti-gun researchers, along with the Department of Justice, have admitted the futility of gun "buyback" programs.

Another of Dr. Murthy's proposals would strip vital privacy protections put in place to protect firearm owners and prevent the fracturing of physician-patient relationships. The letter, for example, calls for removing "the provision in the Affordable Care Act and other federal policies that prohibit physicians from documenting gun ownership." While some advocates of the ACA had argued the provision prohibiting such documentation was unnecessary, given that the ACA had nothing to do with guns, Dr. Murthy obviously sees the ACA as playing a role in gun control.

And, in late 2012 and early 2013, Dr. Murthy took to his personal Twitter account to promote his gun control beliefs, including a statement on October 16, 2012, that "Guns are a health care issue."
While the Surgeon General has no real power to effect change, he can use the position as a bully pulpit to push issues.

I'd suggest a call and email to your two Senators ASAP. You can get a list of their phone numbers and email contact pages here. Even if you know your Senators are anti-gun, call or email anyway. It still puts them on notice.

UPDATE: A copy of the letter that the NRA-ILA's Chris Cox sent to Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell regarding Murthy can be seen here. The most salient takeaway from the letter is that they are going to score the vote on Murthy. Of course, this means nothing to the Democrats who lost but at least it should hold the Republicans in line.

A Lesson In Pronunciation


To help you with the proper pronunciation of certain firearms, OutdoorHub created this YouTube video. I think I knew some of them but it is always helpful to be reminded. That said, I think so long as both the sender and receiver can properly encode and decode the message that is all that matters.