Sunday, June 25, 2017

Fast And Furious Revisited


Sharyl Attkisson had a story this morning on her Full Measure news show about Operation Fast and Furious and BATFE Senior Agent John Dodson. Since it isn't syndicated in all markets, I have embedded it below.

As I watched her interview with Agent Dodson, I was struck by a few things. First, Dodson is a brave and ethical man. He is still with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives despite all the crap thrown his way by his own agency. He has been transferred 11 times in the six years since he blew the whistle on Operation Fast and Furious. It is obvious that the powers that be in BATFE - who just happened to be in positions of power six years ago - want him gone. Dodson has gone into some detail about his experiences in his own book over the scandal.

Second, I am aghast that the Department of Justice under President Trump and AG Sessions has not seen fit to release all the documents sought by the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee. I have to hope that the reason the documents haven't been released is because the issue hasn't been brought before Sessions himself. If I remember it correctly, Jeff Sessions and his staff were some of the first people approached by the late Mike Vanderboegh regarding the gunwalking.

Third, the Deep State exists. There are still people in positions of power who are working tirelessly to retaliate against whistleblowers like John Dodson and to continue submerging the truth about Project Gunwalker aka Fast and Furious. Until these people are rooted out and dismissed, I doubt the full truth will ever be known.

Earlier this month, the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee released another report which dealt with the obstruction of Congress by the DOJ with regards to Operation Fast and Furious. The report concluded that there were failures (1) to provide answers to the Terry family, (2) there was a failure to objectively gather the facts, (3) there was a significant lack of respect for Congressional oversight, and (4) that former Attorney General Eric Holder's priorities were politics and spin.


A Rite Of Passage


As we go through life we all have rites of passage. It might be a momentous occasion such as our graduation from high school or college, our wedding, or, sadly, the death of a parent. Rites of passage can also be simpler things such as our first kiss or our first hit in Little League.




I had such a rite of passage on Friday:  I closed on the sale of the house I grew up in. The house had been in the family for just a few months short of 51 years.

My mom bought the house in September 1966. She had been looking for a house in the Sunset Hills neighborhood of Greensboro for years and finally found one in her price range. Her goals in buying this house were to cut down on her commute to the high school where she taught and, more important in her mind, to allow me to walk to Our Lady of Grace School which was a mere 1 1/2 blocks away. She also wanted me to be in a neighborhood where there were a lot of kids my age with which to play. I just didn't have that in Asheboro.

I was nine and had just started 4th grade when we moved in. My grandmother soon joined us as the stairs in her house in New York were getting to be too much for her. She would live there until she passed away in the house in 1972.

This house was my permanent residence until I left for grad school in Chapel Hill in 1979. Even then I would come back many a weekend to see my mom or just hang out. My mom lived there until her dementia and another broken hip made it impossible. Save for the occasional renter and my sporadic visits, the house sat empty for the last number of years.

Given all the things this house saw, I have been asked whether I am happy or sad about selling the house. Actually, I am quite happy. Aaron, the new owner, is excited about buying the house and he loves the fact that basics of the house have not changed since it was built in 1927 (or so). Aaron has plans to make this a home for he and his partner and I think it will be the showplace that I had neither the time nor the inclination to make it. He will transform something that was becoming a burden for me into a source of joy.

So goodbye old house. Protect Aaron and his partner from the elements and give them another 50 years of memories just as you have given them to me.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Smug Mugs In NC Senate Need A Reminder Who Put Them There


Leave it to Alex Trebek and Jeopardy to help me with a headline.

Nonetheless, the Republicans in the North Carolina State Senate need a reminder that it was gun owners and their votes that helped them get a super-majority. They currently are dragging their feet on HB 746 - the Omnibus Gun Bill - which has passed the House and which contains constitutional carry as one of its provisions. With the projected adjournment date of July 1st fast approaching, they need to act soon or all gun rights legislation will be lost for 2017.

Grass Roots North Carolina is calling upon gun owners to contact the Republican leadership, all Republican state senators, and their own state senator to urge them to get a move on regarding HB 746.

ARE SMUG REPUBLICANS
BRUSHING OFF GUN VOTERS?


Does it now appear that NC’s Republican Senators were never serious about Constitutional Carry…? 

Are Smug Republicans Working to Kill Constitutional Carry?
After pro-gun posturing by Republicans in the NC Senate, it turns out they may never have had any intention of voting with gun owners on HB746. Senate leadership insisted, as long as gun owners were patient, as long as we were quiet, and we minded our "Ps&Qs," we could count on the Senate to uphold their own Party platform, live up to campaign rhetoric, and push Constitutional Carry to the governor’s desk. Well, we’ve re-learned the lesson about the value of a politician’s promises. With the projected date of adjournment fast approaching, July 1st, Republican senators have yet to budge on Second Amendment legislation.  If they don't move NOW, all gun legislation is likely dead for 2017!

Remind Senators of Approaching Elections
Thank goodness for the ballot box. Every time an election is over, there is always another one just down the road. And nowadays, voters have electronic reminders on their phones, a twenty-four hour news cycle, GRNC’s alerts, and GRNC's “Remember in November” campaign to remind them during Primary season, and again in November, which politicians stood with them, and which did not. Nowadays, finding new blood to send to Raleigh is almost too easy.

With that in mind, we’re asking you to once again phone a couple of key Republican senators, along with your own senator, and to also send an email to the entire Republican Senate. It appears that the entire Republican caucus may be giving you the brush off, and one wonders if they're having a good laugh over the little trick they played: “Be patient with us, and we’ll live up to our Party’s platform and our campaign promises.”

Wipe That Smug Smile off Their Faces
Well, we’re not laughing, and if these senators do not immediately redeem themselves in the eyes of gun rights supporters, we the voters will have the last laugh—during election season. Below, see how you can convey this message to the Republicans in the Senate, particularly a couple of senators in leadership positions.


IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED!


  • CALL KEY SENATE REPUBLICANS AND YOUR SENATOR (Do this immediately. Time is running out. Leave a voice-mail if you must): Phone numbers for two key Senate leaders are listed below. Use the link provided find your own senator’s phone number. Use the following text to deliver a phone message:
Hello, I am calling Senator [name] because I’m incensed over the treatment gun owners like me are receiving from Senate leadership, and by extension, from all Senate Republicans. Gun voters like me have been politely requesting the advancement of HB746, and we’ve been patiently waiting amid promises that the bill will be heard in caucus and sent to the Senate floor for a vote. None of this is happening and time is up. You must move HB746 Thursday (June 22).

It's beginning to seem as though gun owners  were duped by the double-talk of establishment politicians. With this in mind, I demand that HB746 be sent to the floor for a vote, and then on to the Governor’s desk immediately. If it is not, you can be 100% sure that this will not be forgotten, and I will be looking for a primary candidate in 2018. Reminders on my phone will be set so I don’t forget how the Senator treated me during a non-election year, and I will be paying close attention to GRNC alerts and their “Remember in November” campaign during 2018. Get HB746 to the floor, and to the Governor’s desk now. Thank you.
  • EMAIL THE ALL SENATE REPUBLICANS: use the copy/paste email address list(s) below, and the copy/paste text provided under ‘Deliver This Message.’
CONTACT INFO

Sen. Phil Berger: (919) 733-5708
Sen. Bill Rabon: (919) 733-5963
Click Here to find your Senator, and call him/her, too
(or go to: http://www.ncleg.net/representation/WhoRepresentsMe.aspx).

NC Senate Republicans copy/paste email *list(s):

John.Alexander@ncleg.net; Deanna.Ballard@ncleg.net; Chad.Barefoot@ncleg.net; Tamara.Barringer@ncleg.net; Phil.Berger@ncleg.net; Dan.Bishop@ncleg.net; Danny.Britt@ncleg.net; Andrew.Brock@ncleg.net; Harry.Brown@ncleg.net; Bill.Cook@ncleg.net; David.Curtis@ncleg.net; Warren.Daniel@ncleg.net;

Jim.Davis@ncleg.net; Cathy.Dunn@ncleg.net; Chuck.Edwards@ncleg.net; Rick.Gunn@ncleg.net; Kathy.Harrington@ncleg.net; Ralph.Hise@ncleg.net; Rick.Horner@ncleg.net; Brent.Jackson@ncleg.net; Joyce.Krawiec@ncleg.net; Michael.Lee@ncleg.net; Tom.McInnis@ncleg.net; Wesley.Meredith@ncleg.net;

Paul.Newton@ncleg.net; Louis.Pate@ncleg.net; Ron.Rabin@ncleg.net; Bill.Rabon@ncleg.net; Shirley.Randleman@ncleg.net; Norman.Sanderson@ncleg.net; Jeff.Tarte@ncleg.net; Jerry.Tillman@ncleg.net; Tommy.Tucker@ncleg.net; Trudy.Wade@ncleg.net; Andy.Wells@ncleg.net


*Spam filters or email program limitations may cause the need to send more than one email, to cover the entire list of representatives. If so, the list above is split into three pieces, for your convenience.

DELIVER THIS MESSAGE


Suggested Subject:
"Move HB746 Now or Face Voters' Wrath"  

Dear Senator:

I am writing today because it appears that the Republican Senate’s interest in passing Constitutional Carry and other pro-gun legislation, in the form of HB746, may have been entirely insincere.
To be clear: I am insisting that HB746 be moved through caucus and to the Senate floor on Thursday, June 22nd; not a day later. I fear that senators’ talk about gun rights was only posturing designed to hush gun owners while Republicans quietly brushed us off. I am insisting you alleviate that fear with action. 

This non-action on gun rights is unacceptable, and I assure you, if the Republicans in the Senate do not redeem themselves by sending HB746 to the floor for a vote, and ultimately to the Governor’s desk, there will be heavy political consequences. Keep in mind, after you adjourn this year, there is yet another legislative session next year, and gun owners like me will not stop pushing for our civil rights. We will continue to demand that you live up to your pro-gun rhetoric.

Thank goodness for the ballot box, and the times we live in do indeed complement the ballot box quite well. Never have voters had so much power at their fingertips. Memories have never been longer, with electronic reminders on our phones (which can be setup years ahead of the next election), a twenty-four hour news cycle, GRNC alerts, and GRNC’s “Remember in November” campaign to name a few useful tools. Yes, these simple tools remind gun voters like me, during Primary season, and again in November, which politicians stood with me, and which did not during an odd-numbered year. 

Frankly, I am incensed over your treatment of gun owners like me. We’ve done our job. We have consistently renewed your veto-proof majority, and supported you when you needed us, with our money and our votes. Now, as our representatives, it’s time to live up to your end of the bargain. Support the Party platform you profess to believe in. Follow through on your pro-Second Amendment campaign rhetoric.

Move HB746 to the Senate floor for a vote now---on Thursday, June 22nd. Vote “yes,” and send it to the Governor’s desk. Voters will not forget your actions during this critical time.

I will be monitoring your actions on Constitutional Carry through alerts from Grass Roots North Carolina.


Respectfully,

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

One Of My Grail Guns


We all have them. It may have been a gun that our dads' had and let us shoot when we were younger that somehow got lost over the years. Or, it might have been a rifle in a cartridge that we read about in an old gun magazine that the grizzled gun writer told us was the be-all and end-all of rifle cartridges. Then again, it could be the one model of an old military rifle that completes our collection.

Two rifles that come to mind for me as grail guns would be a bolt action chambered in .257 Roberts (Ackley Improved versions would be OK, too) and the M94 which was the first Swedish Mauser. I remember writing Jim Carmichel of Outdoor Life asking about the .257 Roberts and he was nice enough to send a short letter back. I wish I knew what became of that letter. As to the M94, I have the M96, the M38 (my first C&R), and even the AG-42 Ljungman in my collection of Swedish rifles but no M94.

Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons just released an excellent video on the M94 and the later M94-14. He goes over their history and then points out the difference between the two.





Ian goes on to provide this thumbnail about the Swedish M94:
When Sweden decided to replace its Remington Rolling Block rifles with a more modern repeating rifle design, they tested models from Mauser, Mannlicher, Lee, and Krag. The Mauser 1893 was chosen as the winner of the competition, with a few modifications (most notably a change to allow the safety to be engaged whether the striker was cocked or not). A carbine was adopted first - the infantry rifle would follow a few years later. An initial batch of m/1894 carbines was purchased from Mauser Oberndorf, to start the military transition while the Carl Gustav factory tooled up to begin licensed production.

The original m/94 Swedish carbines used a heavy nosecap to protect the front sight, but did not have a fitting for a bayonet. This was changed in 1914, with new production guns being fitted with a Lee-Enfield style bayonet lug below the muzzle (and many existing carbines were updated to this new configuration) and designated the model m/94-14. Production continued sporadically until 1932, with most of the guns being made in the first decade of the 20th century and during World War One.

Interestingly, Sweden did not adopt a spitzer version of the 6.5x55mm cartridge until 1941 - much later than most other nations. When this was done, the sights on the existing carbines were not modified. Instead, a range conversion table was affixed to the right side of the stock, indicating proper sight settings and holdovers for using the new ammunition.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Now We Have To Get HR 746 Through The NC Senate


Now that HR 746 - the Omnibus Gun Bill - has passed the North Carolina House we need to get it moving through the State Senate. Grass Roots North Carolina issued an alert aimed at getting the bill to the floor of the Senate. As a reminder, the Omnibus Gun Bill includes permitless concealed carry or constitutional carry.

The sooner we can get it through the Senate, the sooner we can get it to Gov. Roy Cooper's desk. Assuming the likely veto, the key to its passage will be convincing six of the eight House Republicans to stand with their party and not with Michael Bloomberg.

TELL YOUR SENATORS THAT
H746 NEEDS TO BE PASSED UNAMENDED!


The Senate Needs Your Support
As H746 moves through the North Carolina Senate, it's critical that we keep telling our elected representatives that H746 is a good bill that will help law-abiding North Carolinas stay safe, and that the bill needs to be passed by the Senate without crippling amendments. This is especially important with well-heeled special interest groups opposing the lawful exercise of your fundamental, Constitutionally-protected freedoms.

IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED!


  • CALL KEY SENATORS: use the phone numbers provided below to phone these key players in the NC Senate. You can use the text directly below to deliver a message of encouragement regarding HB 746. Please add your Senator to this list as well!

    Hello, I am personally contacting Senator [name] to encourage [him/her] to pass H746, the Omnibus Gun Bill, to pass it quickly, and to pass it without amendments. This bill has the full support of the people. Thank you.

  • Phone Numbers for Key Senators: 
    Sen. Tamara Barringer – (919) 733-5653
    Sen. Danny Britt – (919) 733-5651
    Sen. Ron Rabin – (919) 733-5748
    Sen. Norman Sanderson – (919) 733-5706
    Sen. Tommy Tucker – (919) 733-7659
  • EMAIL SENATE REPUBLICANS: use the copy/paste email address list below, and the copy/paste text provided under ‘Deliver This Message.’
     
  • Copy/Paste Email Address List for Senate Republicans:
    John.Alexander@ncleg.net; Deanna.Ballard@ncleg.net; Chad.Barefoot@ncleg.net; Tamara.Barringer@ncleg.net; Phil.Berger@ncleg.net; Dan.Bishop@ncleg.net; Danny.Britt@ncleg.net; Andrew.Brock@ncleg.net; Harry.Brown@ncleg.net; Bill.Cook@ncleg.net; David.Curtis@ncleg.net; Warren.Daniel@ncleg.net; Jim.Davis@ncleg.net; Cathy.Dunn@ncleg.net; Chuck.Edwards@ncleg.net; Rick.Gunn@ncleg.net; Kathy.Harrington@ncleg.net; Ralph.Hise@ncleg.net; Rick.Horner@ncleg.net; Brent.Jackson@ncleg.net; Joyce.Krawiec@ncleg.net; Michael.Lee@ncleg.net; Tom.McInnis@ncleg.net; Wesley.Meredith@ncleg.net; Paul.Newton@ncleg.net; Louis.Pate@ncleg.net; Ron.Rabin@ncleg.net; Bill.Rabon@ncleg.net; Shirley.Randleman@ncleg.net; Norman.Sanderson@ncleg.net; Jeff.Tarte@ncleg.net; Jerry.Tillman@ncleg.net; Tommy.Tucker@ncleg.net; Trudy.Wade@ncleg.net; Andy.Wells@ncleg.net


DELIVER THIS MESSAGE


Suggested Subject:
"Voters Support H746, the Omnibus Gun Bill. Pass it Quickly!"


Dear Senator:

I am writing this brief note today to encourage you to move H746 to the Senate floor and pass it without changes. This bill has the full support of the people.

I will continue to monitor your actions on this matter through alerts from Grass Roots North Carolina.

Respectfully,

Friday, June 16, 2017

The DC Personal Protection Reciprocity Act (Updated with text of bill)


There is nothing like an attack on themselves to spur Congress to action. The day after the shooting at the Republican baseball team practice, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) has introduced the DC Personal Protection Reciprocity Act. The act would grant carry reciprocity to anyone with a permit issued by their home state to carry legally in the District. While this is a good first effort, it would still mean that people from highly restrictive carry states like New Jersey, New York, and California (among others) would be screwed.

Looking over the list of co-sponsors of this bill, I see Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) who used to be my Congressman and who is now head of the Freedom Caucus. I also see Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC) who is or was the owner of ProShots indoor range and training facility in Winston-Salem before being elected to Congress. I also see Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) who was one of those under fire at that Alexandria baseball field.

HR 2909 has been referred to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Four of the sponsors of the bill sit on this committee.

Below is the press release on the bill from Rep. Massie:
Washington, D.C - Today, Congressman Thomas Massie, Chairman of the Congressional Second Amendment Caucus, introduced H.R 2909, the D.C Personal Protection Reciprocity Act. This legislation would allow individuals with a valid concealed carry permit issued from their home state to carry their firearms in the District of Columbia.

“After the horrific shooting at the Republican Congressional Baseball practice, there will likely be calls for special privileges to protect politicians,” Congressman Massie explained. “Our reaction should instead be to protect the right of all citizens guaranteed in the Constitution: the right to self-defense. I do not want to extend a special privilege to politicians, because the right to keep and bear arms is not a privilege, it is a God-given right protected by our Constitution.”

“If not for the heroic efforts of the United States Capitol Police at the ball field yesterday, things could have been much worse. What’s always evident in these situations is this: the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

“To ensure public safety, we need to repeal laws that keep good guys from carrying guns, since not everyone has a personal police detail,” stated Congressman Massie. “The right to keep and bear arms is the common person's first line of defense in these situations, and it should never be denied.”

Congress has the authority to legislate in this area pursuant to Article I, Section 8, Clause 17 of the U.S. Constitution, which gives Congress the authority to “exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever over such District as may become the Seat of the Government of the United States.”

Although Virginia extends reciprocity to concealed carry permit holders in many states, the members of Congress and accompanying staff traveled directly from D.C., and were traveling back to D.C after the practice was over. It was D.C.’s harsh gun control laws that prevented these law-abiding citizens from exercising their right to bear arms.

Original Cosponsors include Reps Trent Franks (R-AZ), Scott Perry (R-PA), Steve Chabot (R-OH), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), Ted Budd (R-NC), Barry Loudermilk (R-GA), Mark Meadows (R-NC), Jody Hice (R-GA), Justin Amash (R-MI), Mo Brooks (R- AL), Alex Mooney (R-WV), Rod Blum (R-IA), Ken Buck (R-CO), Todd Rokita (R-IN), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Keith Rothfus (R-PA) David Schweikert (R-AZ), Rick Allen (R-GA), Tedd Yoho (R-FL), Randy Weber (R-TX), and Bill Posey (R-FL).
Actual text of the bill has not yet been uploaded to Congress.gov. I have a request into Rep. Massie's staff for a copy of the text.

UPDATE: I was able to get the text to HR 2909 thanks to Jennifer Krantz who works in Rep. Massie's office. I have embedded it below:


Thursday, June 15, 2017

A Most Sensible Suggestion


Joe Huffman who blogs at The View from North Central Idaho and who is the man behind Boomershoot has made a most sensible suggestion given the events yesterday in Alexandria.

I would like to suggest that congress drop baseball as the annual sport competition between Democrats and Republicans. If this had been practice for a three-gun match or even a IPDA, USPSA, or steel match fewer innocent people would have been injured.

He's correct, of course. If any of these members of Congress had been armed with even a pistol, it would have brought more force to bear on the shooter and ended things sooner.

Where I see problems arising is trying to get the sides to agree on what rifles are OK to use, how large a magazine is allowed, etc. For example, given how many Democrats are pushing for restrictions on standard capacity magazines, would there be an agreement that only California-compliant 10 round magazines could be used?

One way to get around would be to make it a NSSF Rimfire Challenge sort of event. Rimfire means no arguments on whether it is a "high powered assault rifle" or merely a rifle firing an intermediate cartridge with ugly cosmetics. It would by definition not be "high powered". Moreover, the rulebook allows magazines to be restricted to 10-round capacity so that eliminates that argument. Finally, since from what I can tell, all the targets are steel plates of one non-human form or another, no one could bring "you're a racist" accusations by saying that black human silhouette targets actually represent African-Americans.

Do I think congressional Democrats and Republicans will make the switch from baseball to action shooting? No but it is fun to speculate about it.


In Gun News From The Sub-Polar Region To The North


The Canadian Firearms Blog is reporting that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's Director of Firearm Regulatory Services has decreed that 80% AR lowers are prohibited. The rationale given is that they can be converted into M16 lower receivers. This prohibition also extends to receiver flats for the AK-47/74 and AMD-63/65.

From the memo issued by Robert J. O'Reilly of the RCMP:
Receiver blanks are firearms since they are nearly completed receivers and fall within the adaptability clause of the firearms definition in Section 2 of the Criminal Code. In other words, a receiver blank is considered a "barrelled weapon from which any shot, bullet or other projectile can be discharged and that is capable of causing serious bodily injury or death in a person, and includes any frame or receiver of such a barrelled weapon and anything that can be adapted for use as a firearm". As such, they are subject to the firearms-related regulatory and enforcement provisions of the Firearms Act and the Criminal Code, including licensing and registration.

Depending on their properties, receiver blanks can fall into any one of the three firearm classifications: non-restricted, restricted, or prohibited.
 
The memo goes on to say that individuals have no legal authority "to possess or acquire prohibited receiver blanks". The memo contains a table listing many of the most common receiver blanks and their classifications under Canadian firearms law. The only receiver blank that is listed as "non-restricted" are ones for the Ruger 10/22. The rest are either prohibited or restricted.

The Canadian Firearms Blog goes on to report some hearsay evidence behind the RCMP's decision and the reaction within the Canadian firearms community.
A user on a popular Canadian firearms forum on Reddit, who wished to remain anonymous, has reportedly spoken with RCMP firearms techs in Ottawa, stating they had explained that their interpretation is “so long as the blank (in whatever state it may be in) can be ‘easily’ turned into a firearm, it’s a firearm, and since machining is ‘easy’ that any completion of the receiver is enough.”

This decision by the RCMP has drawn considerable criticism, with some expressing concern that, by the verbiage used in the memo, any unmilled piece of alunimium or polymer in the size or shape of an AR-15 receiver can be affected, and some fearing that this is the foundation to reclassify AR-15s as a whole.
I feel for our Canadian gunny friends. While I have neither the skill nor the inclination to complete an 80% lower, I understand the appeal especially if you live in either Canada or California.  I doubt that they are going to get any relief from these onerous regulations in the immediate future given their respective governing parties.