Monday, August 20, 2018

Canadian Rangers Retire Lee Enfield


The Canadian Army has used the SMLE or Short Magazine Lee-Enfield rifle in .303 British since the Boer War. Until this last week, their volunteer Arctic-based Canadian Rangers were still using it. However, it has now been replaced by the Colt Canada C19 bolt action rifle which a modified Tikka T3 CTR built under license.

Canadian Rangers drilling with their Lee-Enfields


As to why the Rangers used the SMLE for so long, the National Post has this from an arms expert at the Canadian War Museum:
The Lee-Enfield’s powerful .303 cartridge was famous for killing enemy soldiers with one shot, and it’s equally good at stopping a charging polar bear.

Its wood stock makes it uniquely resistant to cracking or splitting in extreme cold. The rifle is also bolt-action, meaning that every shot must be manually pushed into place by the shooter. This makes for slower firing, but it also leaves the Lee-Enfield with as few moving parts as possible.

“The more complicated a rifle gets … the more prone you are to problems with parts breaking or jamming in a harsh environment,” said Eric Fernberg, an arms collection specialist at the Canadian War Museum.

“It might seem old-fashioned … (but) the retention of the Lee-Enfield by the Canadian Rangers was a wise choice for their role and environment.”





According to the Department of National Defence, the surplus rifles will be split between Army Cadets, museums, and the Rangers who wish to buy them.
The Lee Enfield Declaration of Surplus was approved by VCDS on January 21, 2015. Approximately 9,500 rifles will be transferred to the CAF Cadets, mostly as non-functional rifles, to complement their entitlement of drill and training rifles. Another 5,000 rifles approximately, will be offered to serving Canadian Rangers individuals as a donation/gift to preserve heritage. Up to 50 rifles will be offered to CAF affiliated museums and units as display artefacts.
I guess this means that few, if any, of these Enfields will be headed south of the border.

You can see the replacement C19 in the photo below. It will come with the Pelican case and has the Canadian Rangers shield on the laminated stock.




A Judge Who Believes The Rules Matter


It is refreshing to see a state judge who believes the rules matter when it comes to a voter initiative. Thurston County (Washington) Superior Court Judge James Dixon is that kind of judge.

This past Friday he threw out the 300,000 signatures collected on petitions on Initiative 1639 which would entail another round of gun control in Washington State.  Judge Dixon found that the print on the forms was too small to be read and that the petitions did not clearly state what would be the changes in the law. He ordered the Secretary of State's office to stop certification of the ballot initiative.

Among the things the initiative would do is raise the age to purchase a modern semi-auto sporting weapon including .22 rifles to age 21, require a firearm safety training course, and mandate safe storage. The petition process was started by the Alliance for Gun Responsibility and funded primarily by high tech billionaires such as Paul Allen.

As you might expect, the Alliance for Gun Responsibility is appealing this to the Washington State Supreme Court. Moreover, as their CEOs comments make clear they are not happy campers.
"The right of Washingtonians to make changes to our laws via initiative has been part of our state's history for more than 100 years and is fundamental to the Washington we know today," (Renee) Hopkins said. "Today's decision tossed out the signatures of more than 378,000 voters, and undermined the rights of the citizens of this state in favor of the interests of the gun lobby. It's not right, and we will continue to fight."
Actually, it was the Alliance for Gun Responsibility's playing fast and loose with the established rules regarding the form and style of initiative petitions that undermined the petition and not anything the judge did. I guess they thought with all the money that they had the court would just roll over for them.

As you might expect, Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation who sued as a private citizen was very pleased with the result.
“A few billionaires donated millions of dollars to buy the signatures to get this fraudulent initiative on the ballot,” Gottlieb observed. “But they couldn’t buy the Court.”

“The initiative process has no place for deceit and deception,” Gottlieb said. “The so-called Alliance for Gun Responsibility acted totally irresponsible in circulating this initiative to the voters and it not only cost them millions of wasted dollars but their credibility as well.”
The NRA had also sued along with Alan Gottlieb and the ruling is in response to both lawsuits. Chris Cox of the NRA-ILA had this to say:
“The National Rifle Association is glad to see the court today recognized how negligent, if not worse, gun control advocates were in their signature-gathering for this ill-advised ballot initiative,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director, NRA-ILA. “We got involved because I-1639 tramples on the rights of Washington state voters, and because the way these anti-gun activists went about pushing their agenda was egregious. We applaud this decision, and will remain vigilant in protecting the constitutional freedoms of all Americans.”
It is good for gun rights to see the NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation working together in Washington State. They are also co-plaintiffs in two more lawsuits challenging efforts by Seattle and Edmonds to circumvent the state's strong preemption laws on firearms regulations.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Some Good News To Begin The Weekend


You may remember seeing pictures and video of the collapsed rickhouse at Barton's 1792 Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky. Initially it was only half of the rickhouse and then, before it could be safely shored up, the other half collapsed. However, all that good bourbon is not lost.

The distillery has begun the process of recovering as many intact barrels as possible, repairing the leaking ones, and discarding the ones that can't be saved. According to gobourbon.com, the Sazerac subsidiary is sorting the barrels into three categories:
  1. Barrels that don’t need repair are recorded and removed from the pile to continue aging.
  2. Barrels that are leaky or damaged are moved to a coopering area to be repaired.
  3. Barrels that are beyond repair are dumped into a holding tank and discarded.
The distillery has not released any information on how much has been saved.

The following two videos show the recovery process. The first video was provided by Barton's 1792 Distillery.







There is no word whether or not the distillery is going to release the bourbon from the collapsed rickhouse, Warehouse 30, as a special release similar to what their sister company Buffalo Trace did after a tornado took the roof off of Warehouse C. That release, E. H. Taylor Warehouse C Tornado Surviving bourbon, now goes for over $1,000 per bottle on the secondary market.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Injunction Sought In California "Assault Weapon" Registration Lawsuit


As I reported about a month ago, a coalition of California gun rights groups, the SAF, and individual plaintiffs sued Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D-CA) and the California DOJ over their computer system failures which made timely registration of "assault weapons" impossible. This coalition has now added four more plaintiffs in an amended complaint and is moving for a preliminary injunction.

More details are in the release sent out this afternoon. You would think that in California of all places that you could find competent IT professionals who could get a registration system not to crash. I guess not.


BREAKING: Gun Owners, Civil Rights Groups Seek Injunction in California “Assault Weapon” Lawsuit

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and his DOJ botched the “assault weapon” registration program, putting thousands of gun owners at risk of felony charges. Gun owners and civil rights advocates are crying foul – and taking them to court.

SACRAMENTO, CA (August 15, 2018) — Attorneys for seven California gun owners and four Second Amendment advocacy organizations announced today that they have filed an amended complaint and a new motion seeking a preliminary injunction in the civil rights lawsuit Sharp, et al. v. Attorney General Xavier Becerra, et al. over the California Department of Justice’s failures surrounding the ‘bullet button assault weapon’ registration program. A copy of the court filings can be viewed or downloaded online at https://www.firearmspolicy.org/sharp
The amended complaint added as plaintiffs four additional gun owners who were denied their rights by the DOJ, and also added the DOJ’s Chief of the California Justice Information Services Division, Joe Dominic, as a defendant. The motion seeks to enjoin sections of the Penal Code relating to so-called “assault weapons,” including provisions that subject the possession or transportation of such firearms to serious criminal liability, including potential felony imprisonment and property seizure, “throughout the pendency of this case, or until” the plaintiffs and gun owners like them “have had a reasonable opportunity, as determined by the Court, to register the qualifying firearms through a functional registration system.” 
The plaintiffs argue that the DOJ had a legal duty to provide a functional registration system throughout the registration period, but that they were unable to exercise their own rights and legal duties “due to the Defendants’ actions and failures, including but not limited to the inaccessibility, defects, and/or non-functionality of the DOJ’s CFARS-based registration system.” Because of that, the plaintiffs argue, the State violated their civil rights protected under the state and federal constitutions and denied them their statutory right to register their firearms to avail themselves of legal protections against harsh criminal laws. 
“[As we argue in our motion], this is about the injustice of forcing people to comply with a law, and then depriving them of the means to do so,” said attorney George Lee, lead counsel on the case. “It is simply unconscionable that the Attorney General would even think about enforcing a law where his Department’s own failures led to many people’s inability to register their firearms in the first place.” 
In a declaration filed with the court, the plaintiffs’ technical expert said that “it is very clear” the problems experienced by the plaintiffs and others across the state “were caused by either the DOJ’s CFARS servers being overloaded and/or possibly by one of the State of California datacenters itself being unavailable due to network routing or overload issues.” 
“This is fundamentally a simple lawsuit about a troubling issue. Attorney General Becerra and his DOJ had one job to do: Provide a functional system for gun owners to use in registering their eligible firearms. But instead of doing their jobs, they created a huge new mess for law enforcement and put innocent people and lawfully-owned property at serious risk,” explained Firearms Policy Coalition President Brandon Combs. 
“This unjust California government-created problem must be stopped immediately,” commented Second Amendment Foundation Founder and Executive Vice President, Alan Gottlieb. “Gun owners should not be put at risk due to state regulatory incompetence.” 
“The bottom line is that California cannot have it both ways. If the state is going to require registration of firearms, it cannot make that process illusory and set people up for confiscation of their property,” said Gene Hoffman, chairman of The Calguns Foundation. “Here, Becerra and DOJ failed to perform their duties, failed gun owners, failed the Legislature and Governor Brown, and failed the people of the State of California.” 
Elaborating on the case, Combs explained, “Because of Becerra’s and DOJ’s disastrous, incompetent, and possibly malicious handling of one simple task, now thousands of gun owners are at risk of having their guns seized or destroyed, or going to jail, simply for driving to the gun range with a firearm that they legally acquired years ago.” 
“It is beyond clear that Attorney General Becerra is so distracted by federal issues and President Trump that he’s completely forgotten to fairly and properly enforce the laws of his own state – and to protect the civil rights of innocent people first and foremost,” Combs said. 
“These plaintiffs and others like them should not have to face a district attorney or jury in a criminal trial because Attorney General Becerra and DOJ set them up from day one,” said Jonathan Jensen, vice-president of Firearms Policy Foundation. 
The civil rights lawsuit is supported by The Calguns Foundation (CGF), Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC), and Firearms Policy Foundation (FPF). The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys George M. Lee and Douglas Applegate of San Francisco-based Seiler Epstein Ziegler & Applegate LLP, as well as Raymond M. DiGuiseppe, a former California deputy attorney general and prosecutor. 
Californians who tried to register their firearms as “assault weapons” before July 1 but were unable to, or who suffered a privacy breach at DOJ, should contact the organizations’ Legal Action Hotline immediately at https://www.firearmspolicy.org/hotline or by telephone at 855-252-4510. 
Firearms Policy Coalition (www.firearmspolicy.org) is a 501(c)4 grassroots nonprofit organization. FPC’s mission is to defend the Constitution of the United States, especially the fundamental, individual Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, through advocacy, legal action, education, and outreach. 
Firearms Policy Foundation (www.firearmsfoundation.org) is a 501(c)3 grassroots nonprofit organization. FPF’s mission is to defend the Constitution of the United States and the People’s rights, privileges and immunities deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition, especially the inalienable, fundamental, and individual right to keep and bear arms. 
The Calguns Foundation (www.calgunsfoundation.org) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that serves its members, supporters, and the public through educational, cultural, and judicial efforts to advance Second Amendment and related civil rights. 
Second Amendment Foundation (www.saf.org) is the nation’s oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 650,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Forgotten Weapons: Garand Primer-Activated 1924 Trials Rifle


In this video, Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons looks at one of John Garand's early rifles. The Model of 1924 Trials Rifle was primer-activated. That is, the primer would come out of the pocket in the brass and push a small piston back. This would serve to unlock the bolt and the autoloading process would go on from there.

This is the first that I've ever heard about such a system and I find it both intriguing and horrifying. Intriguing because it simplifies the barrel of the rifle - no gas ports needed - and horrifying because of the potential for failure or worse.


Saturday, August 11, 2018

Larry Tribe Believes In Free Speech (When He Agrees With It)


Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe is one of those liberal lions in academia. He's put out leading books on the Constitution, testified before Congress, advocated for free speech, and is a hypocrite.

What was that last part?

Hypocrite as in saying he is an advocate for free speech but doesn't believe that code is free speech.




This from a guy who argues that it would be wrong for the FCC and Congress to regulate violent TV programs as it would violate free speech. He has also has written law articles entitled "The Metatheory of Free Speech".

Tribe's argument in the Everytown amicus brief is that code is not protected because it isn't "expressive" and because its purposes are the "widespread violations of federal and state law".

Sorry but just because you are the Carl M. Loeb University Professor and Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School doesn't mean you are right.

Free Speech And Banned Books


There is a long history of banning books both here in the United States and abroad. Books that come to mind are D. H. Lawerence's Lady Chatterley's Lover, Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn, and a whole host of others. In more recent times, the Supreme Court has rejected efforts to ban books just because someone didn't like it. See Island Trees School District v. Pico (1982)

Here is a book that you need to buy that many in the gun control industry would like to see banned. It is called The Liberator Code Book: An Exercise in Free Speech. The book is exactly what it says it is - the 3-D printing code for the Liberator pistol in book form. Think of the $15 cost of this book as a donation to the advancement of free speech.

Years ago, the US government tried to control an encryption program called Pretty Good Privacy or PGP which was freely available on the Internet for download. They started a criminal investigation of Phil Zimmerman who was its creator for exporting "munitions without a license". Starting to sound familiar to what the government wanted to do to Cody Wilson? It should. What Zimmerman did that stymied the government's efforts was to have the entire source code published as a book by MIT Press. The code could then be read by OCR programs and voila! While the government can and does control the export of munitions, it does not control the export of books.

Fast forward to this year. The US Department of Justice realized that they could not win a free speech case against Defense Distributed and advised the State Department to come to an agreement with Cody Wilson et al. The State Department took this wise advice, signed the settlement, and US District Court Judge Robert Pitman dismissed the case with prejudice on July 30th. Dismissing the case with prejudice means that neither party can reopen the lawsuit.

As I've written before, the attorneys general of 21 states are now suing in Federal court in Washington State to prohibit Defense Distributed from sharing the code. Judge Robert Lasnik granted them a temporary restraining order. However, that order only applies to the Trump Administration, Defense Distributed, the Second Amendment Foundation, and Conn Williamson. As you should know by now, a coalition of four California-based gun rights groups set up www.codeisfreespeech.com and have published the code for the Liberator and other firearms on the Internet. They have had hundreds of thousands of downloads since the site went live despite the efforts of Amazon Web Services and Facebook.

This has always been a free speech case despite what the gun control industry, the anti-civil rights state attorneys general, and the gullible media would have you believe. Printing the source code in a physical book serves to doubly reinforce that.

As Sean Sorrentino notes on Facebook, this book leaves the anti-civil rights attorneys general two arguments:
1. "Banning digital code files that can be used to manufacture and object is fundamentally different than banning a physical book that holds the same exact information."

or

2. "We must also ban this book."
Even anti-gun judges are not going to look too favorably upon either argument and the US Supreme Court certainly will not.

So go buy the book!


Thursday, August 9, 2018

A Relatively Unknown Battle Of WWII


Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons discusses a rather unknown (in the greater scheme of things) battle between the Germans and the French Resistance during WWII. The battle for Vercors was the climatic battle between the Resistance and the Germans which took place in 1944. The battle took place in southeastern France in a region that is had a mix of mountains, high cliffs, and high plateau also known as the Prealps or foothills of the Alps.

Roughly a month after the battle, the American armored forces arrived in Grenoble and the Germans were gone. While the Allies provided some supplies to the Resistance, it really wasn't enough to fight over a combined arms force of glider troops, armor, grenadiers, SS, and turncoat Ukranian anti-partisan forces.

Ian does for the Battle of Vercors what he is known for doing for rare and little known firearms. He explains it in detail and leaves you knowing more than you did before.