Tuesday, July 18, 2017

SAF Sues On Behalf Of Foster Parents In Michigan


While posting will be sporadic this week as I'm on vacation with my family, I did come across this from the Second Amendment Foundation. They are suing the state of Michigan because of their policies regarding firearms and foster or adoptive parents.

From SAF:
The Second Amendment Foundation today filed a federal lawsuit against the head of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) on behalf of four Michigan residents, alleging civil rights violations under color of law for enforcing restrictions on the Second Amendment rights of people who want to be foster or adoptive parents.

SAF is joined in the lawsuit by William and Jill Johnson and Brian and Naomi Mason. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, alleges that MDHHS caseworkers told Mr. Johnson, a 100-percent disabled Marine Corps veteran who sought custody of his grandson that he would have to give the agency the serial numbers of all of his firearms. When he questioned this, the caseworkers allegedly told him, “If you want to care for your grandson you will have to give up some of your constitutional rights.” This was after the state asked the Johnsons to be foster parents to their grandson.

Two weeks later, the lawsuit alleges, a Gogebic County Court judge told the Johnsons that if they wanted their grandson placed in their care, “We know we are violating numerous constitutional rights here, but if you do not comply, we will remove the boy from your home.”

“The statements from the caseworker and judge are simply outrageous,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “This amounts to coercion, with a child as their bartering chip. I cannot recall ever hearing anything so offensive and egregious, and we’ve handled cases like this in the past. Blatantly telling someone they must give up their civil rights in order to care for their own grandchild is simply beyond the pale.”

The lawsuit asserts that “the policy of the MDHHS, by implementing requirements and restrictions that are actually functional bans on the bearing of firearms for self-defense, both in and out of the home, completely prohibits foster and adoptive parents, and those who would be foster or adoptive parents, from the possession and bearing of readily-available firearms for the purpose of self-defense. This violates Plaintiffs’ constitutional rights under the Second and Fourteenth Amendments.”

The Johnsons and Masons reside in Ontanogan, a small community on the north shore of the Upper Peninsula, on Lake Superior. Mr. Mason has been the Pastor at the Ontonagon Baptist Church in Ontonagon for nine years. He is also the Chair of the Ontonagon County Department of Health and Human Services Board.

“This is a case we simply must pursue,” Gottlieb said. “State agencies and the people who work in those agencies simply cannot be allowed to disregard someone’s civil rights.”

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Redneck Science


I came across this video thanks to Twitter. The host, 22Plinkster, is engaging in what he calls "redneck science". He is seeking to find out how many butane lighters a CCI .22 LR Velocitors will travel through. The answering is a little surprising.


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Head Of Vista Outdoor Exits


Mark DeYoung, CEO of Vista Outdoor, suddenly retired from his executive position as well as the Board of Directors yesterday. The report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (see below) notes that he won't be staying on in any role with the company. DeYoung was CEO of ATK (formerly Alliant Technologies) when it split into two companies after merging with Orbital Sciences. He made the decision to go with the sporting and outdoor portion of the company rather than the aerospace and defense related portion.

Vista Outdoor is the parent holding company for Savage Arms, Stevens, Federal ammunition, Speer, RCBS, Weaver and Redfield scopes, and a large number of other well-known brands.

From their 8-K filing:
On July 10, 2017, the Board of Directors of Vista Outdoor Inc. (“Vista Outdoor” or the “Company”) announced that it has elected Michael Callahan, the Company’s current Lead Independent Director, to serve as interim Chairman and Chief Executive Officer effective July 11, 2017, replacing Mark W. DeYoung. Mr. DeYoung has elected to retire from the Company’s Board of Directors and role as Chief Executive Officer, effective July 11, 2017 (the “Retirement Date”).

Mr. Callahan, age 67, has more than 40 years of experience in the sporting goods industry, and has served as Lead Independent Director of Vista Outdoor since the Company spun off from ATK in February 2015. He has been the President and Chief Executive Officer of Aspen Partners, a Utah-based consultant to the outdoor sporting industry, since 2008. From 1990 until his retirement in 2008, Mr. Callahan served in various merchandising, marketing, management and senior executive positions with Cabela’s, Inc., most recently as Senior Vice President Business Development & International Operations where he was responsible for M&A and spearheaded Cabela’s expansion into Canada. Mr. Callahan is a member of the Board of the Midway USA Foundation and formerly served as a member of the Board of Bushnell Outdoor Products, Chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation and Vice Chairman of the Outdoor Business Council of the US Sportsmen’s Alliance.

In connection with Mr. DeYoung’s retirement, the Company has entered into a Waiver and General Release Agreement with Mr. DeYoung (the “Agreement”). In exchange for his waiver of claims against the Company, the Agreement provides Mr. DeYoung a lump-sum cash payment in an amount equal to his current base salary ($1,081,500); a pro-rata portion of his annual bonus (based on the Company’s actual performance for the entire fiscal year); accelerated vesting of his outstanding time-based restricted stock, restricted stock unit and stock option awards that would have vested had he remained employed by the Company for 12 months following his Retirement Date; a pro rata portion of his performance-based long-term incentive awards that would have vested on the next vesting date based on actual performance; company-paid COBRA premiums under Vista Outdoor's health and welfare plans until 18 months following the Retirement Date; and the ability for Mr. DeYoung to participate in the Company’s Employee Purchase Program as if he remained an employee of the Company. The Employee Purchase Program allows all employees of the Company to purchase Company products at a discount. The foregoing description of the Agreement does not purport to be complete and is qualified in its entirety by reference to the Agreement filed as exhibit 10.1 hereto and incorporated by reference herein.

At the time of filing, the Company has not finalized a compensatory arrangement with Mr. Callahan in connection with his appointment to the position of interim Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. The entry of the Company of any such material compensatory or other arrangements with Mr. Callahan will be filed by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
I'm not sure why Mr. DeYoung suddenly retired as he was slated to stand for election to the Board of Directors in August. However, Vista Outdoor's stock price is now about half what it was merely one year ago. According to the conference call today, the Board and Mr. DeYoung decided to "accelerate his retirement".  Mr. Callahan has said he will not be a candidate for the permanent CEO position. They are denying that there is anything to read into the fact that the announcement of his retirement was very sudden. At least that is what they are saying.

NICS Checks Down For June


The National Shooting Sports Foundation adjusted figure for June 2017 shows a 10.9% decline from the same month in 2016.

From NSSF:
The June 2017 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure of 1,016,213 is a decrease of 10.9 percent compared to the June 2016 NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 1,140,088. For comparison, the unadjusted June 2017 FBI NICS figure 1,888,266 reflects an 11.1 percent decrease from the unadjusted FBI NICS figure of 2,123,334 in June 2016.
You can see that graphically below:



However, if you study that graphic and read the numbers you should realize that the sky isn't falling. It is the second highest June on record and the NSSF-adjusted NICS number is still over 1 million checks. Gun sales are probably down from last summer when it appeared that anti-gun Hillary Clinton was going to ride into office after defeating what the media and the experts considered a weak and absurd Republican nominee. Of course we know now that she was the weak candidate and that Donald Trump wasn't that weak of a candidate.

As with all reports of NICS figures it should be remembered that they do not have a perfect correlation with firearm sales. In many states a carry permit substitutes for a NICS check. Moreover, the NICS check system is also used by many states for permit background checks and rechecks. The NSSF allows for these checks and rechecks when making their adjustments to the reported monthly NICS figures.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Want To Buy A Shockwave Or Tac-14 In Oregon?


If you want to buy a Mossberg Shockwave or a Remington Tac-14, you may have to wait a while. According to the Oregon Firearms Federation, the Oregon State Police who are tasked with background checks in that state have put a "hold" on all transfers involving those two firearms. They are now waiting on a ruling from the Oregon Department of Justice.

As you will remember, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives has decided that these 14 inch firearms built on shotgun receivers having an overall length of greater than 26 inches, and with a bird's head grip are not shotguns but rather generic firearms.

More on this from the Oregon Firearms Federation:
Oregon law describes “short barrel” shotguns as:

“a shotgun having one or more barrels less than 18 inches in length and any weapon made from a shotgun if the weapon has an overall length of less than 26 inches.”

However, Oregon law does not define what a “shotgun” is.

Under Federal law, these are not shotguns at all since they are not designed to be fired from the shoulder. These firearms are not considered to have been “made from a shotgun” either since they come from the factory configured with no stock.

While Oregon law prohibit shotguns with barrels shorter than 18 inches, it provides for an “affirmative defense” if the shotgun “was registered as required under federal law.”

Of course, these guns cannot be “registered” under Federal law because they are not regulated under the NFA.

As you may know, many of these guns have already been transferred with OSP approval. OSP has no word on what will happen to people who bought them legally prior to this new policy. OSP has promised to provide a copy of whatever determination the Department of Justice makes on these guns. If we receive it we will provide it.
 In some states such as North Carolina, there is a definition of any other weapon that more restrictive than the federal law. For example, NCGS § 14-288.8(c)(2) states that a weapon other than a shotgun with a bore greater than 1/2 inch is considered a "weapon of mass death and destruction" unless it is registered under the NFA. This would seem to preclude the sale of the Shockwave and Tac-14 in North Carolina. However, Oregon law has no such definition. Any move to ban their transfer would be stretching the law for political purposes. Unfortunately, given the state of affairs in Oregon in recent years that would not be shocking.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Finally Confirmed - S&W Buys Suppressor Maker Gemtech (Updated)


In what has to be considered the worst kept secret on the Interwebs, it was finally confirmed today that Smith & Wesson division of American Outdoor Brands Corp. is buying suppressor maker Gemtech (Gemini Technologies). The Firearm Blog announced it as breaking news on Sunday, July 2nd, and many people posted this to Facebook including myself.

Given that AOBC is a public company, SEC Regulation FD requires "companies to distribute material information in a manner reasonably designed to get that information out to the general public broadly and non-exclusively." A purchase of this magnitude would certainly have been "material". I kept looking for a news release on AOBC's investor relations website as well as for a 8-K filing on the SEC's website regarding this purchase. 8-K filings usually are simultaneous with new releases though a company has up to four business days to make the filing. I could not find anything official on the purchase of Gemtech.

While I assumed that there was indeed a transaction that was going to take place, not having official confirmation told me one of two things. First, that the transaction wasn't a done deal yet and maybe there was a snag in the negotiations. Second, it could have meant - and I think this is what happened here - that someone, somewhere jumped the gun on the announcement and violated a non-disclosure agreement.

I think the timing is right for both companies involved. S&W competitors Ruger and SIG both now produce their own suppressor lines. So, too, does Remington with their AAC division. The purchase of Gemtech now allows S&W into the game at a significant level without having to start from scratch. It may also signify a vote of confidence on the part of AOBC and S&W that the Hearing Protection Act will pass as either a stand alone bill or as part of the SHARE Act.

According to Gemtech's website, they have been in the suppressor business since 1976. While I don't know how the ownership of Gemtech is structured, I'm guessing that what we are seeing here is a situation similar to that of Crimson Trace. The founder(s) have reached a point where they want to relax a bit and this gives them the opportunity to cash out while still maintaining a presence. Thus, the purchase of Gemtech by S&W becomes a win-win situation for all involved.

The official release is below and notes that the current CEO of Gemtech, Ron Martinez, will stay on as General Manager.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass., July 5, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- American Outdoor Brands Corporation (NASDAQ Global Select: AOBC), a leading manufacturer of firearms and a provider of quality accessory products for the shooting, hunting, and rugged outdoor enthusiast, today announced that its firearms business, Smith & Wesson Corp., has agreed to acquire substantially all of the assets of Gemini Technologies, Incorporated ("Gemtech"), a provider of high quality suppressors and accessories for the consumer, law enforcement, and military markets.

James Debney, President and CEO of American Outdoor Brands, said, "Gemtech is widely recognized for producing some of the finest rifle and pistol suppressors in the market. Gemtech's strong product development capabilities, combined with our experience in brand management and our manufacturing expertise, will help us to efficiently develop both firearms and suppressors, minimizing our time to market for both product categories. We view this acquisition as opportunistic, allowing us to enter the suppressor category, which resonates strongly with our core firearm consumer, at a time when the market is particularly soft. These elements combine to make Gemtech an excellent fit with our long term strategy."

The company intends to complete the acquisition of Gemtech utilizing cash on hand and expects the transaction to close this summer. Ron Martinez, President of Gemtech, will continue in his leadership role as General Manager, heading up the company's strong team located in Eagle, Idaho.

UPDATE: On Monday I had written Liz Sharp, VP for Investor Relations at AOBC, inquiring why there was no release on the purchase of Gemtech and asked if the info had leaked prior to the official release. I got a response back last night after I had written this post. It seems that since AOBC didn't buy Gemtech but just their assets it was not considered "material".
Hello, John, and thank you for the inquiry. Yes, Smith & Wesson will purchase the assets of Gemtech in a transaction that we plan to close this summer. Since the transaction is an asset purchase and not deemed to be material, we announced the transaction internally to our employees prior to the holiday, and externally via a press release this morning. ... We believe this is a great fit with our strategy. Please let me know if I can help further, and thanks again for the inquiry.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy Free Fishing In North Carolina Day


The North Carolina General Assembly authorizes one day a year as "free fishing day". That day is always July 4th. It allows residents and non-residents alike to fish anywhere in the state without a fishing license or trout license for free.

From the NC Wildlife Resource Commission:
RALEIGH, N.C. (June 20, 2017) — July 4 is “free fishing day” in North Carolina where everyone — residents and non-residents alike — can fish in any public body of water from 12:01 a.m. to 11: 59 p.m., without having to purchase a fishing license or additional trout privilege license.

While anyone 16 years and older can fish recreationally in all public waters, including saltwater, without a license on July 4, all other fishing regulations, such as length and daily possession limits, as well as bait and tackle restrictions, apply.

To make “free fishing day” more enjoyable, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission stocks a variety of fish in public, inland waters across the state throughout the year to give anglers a better chance of catching fish. Cool mountain waters are stocked with brook, brown and rainbow trout, as well as walleye and muskellunge. In warm waters, Commission staff stocks largemouth bass, American shad, striped bass, channel catfish and sunfishes.

In addition to stocking fish, the Commission has interactive fishing and boating maps on its website to make finding a spot to fish easier.

Authorized by the N.C. General Assembly and enacted in 1994, North Carolina’s annual free fishing day always falls on July 4. On all other days of the year, a fishing license is not required for anglers 15 years and younger, but anyone age 16 and older must have a fishing license to fish in any public water in North Carolina, including coastal waters.

"In Congress, July 4, 1776"


This is a document that I believe every American should read at least once a year. It sets forth in very elegant language why our founding fathers decided to become citizens rather than to stay subjects of the British Empire.

I think to today's social justice warriors. They are probably appalled by the language of this wondrous document which speaks of "merciless Indian Savages" and makes an appeal to the "Supreme Judge of world." I say this knowing that not a one of today's social justice warriors would have had the spine to do what the men whose signatures were affixed to this document did. That is to pledge their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor and to be willing to suffer the consequences of their actions.

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

— John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts:
John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut:
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware:
Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland:
Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia:
George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia:
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton