Monday, April 30, 2012

End Of Semester - Light Blogging

I will have light to non-existent blogging today and tomorrow due to grading to student projects and final exams. As soon as I get those grades in, life resumes.

Oh, what I'll do for gun buying money!

UPDATE: Grades submitted! I know students of all ages are happy when the semester and/or school year ends but perhaps not so happy as their teachers.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Privilege Or Right

Ana Simvoska of TV-6 - Fox UP - in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan has a story posted yesterday concerning concealed carry in the state of Michigan. The station's Facebook followers wanted to know more about Michigan's concealed pistol license and what was required to obtain one.

She titled her story, "Concealed carry a privilege, not a right", because of the information she was given by officials with the Michigan State Police.
Those hoops are a loaded application, fingerprints and a background check. Any felonies, or misdemeanors can disqualify you. That's because carrying is a privilege not a right, officials said.

"They're trying to ensure that when they give you the ability to carry concealed that you're doing so safely, that you don't have a history of violence, you don't have a history of mental instability, and certainly that you've been a good citizen," Lt. Robert Pernanski said.
In a few states such as Vermont and Arizona which have constitutional carry, carry is treated as a right and not a privilege. However, in the majority of states it is treated like in Michigan as a privilege.

That said, given the Heller decision which found that the right to keep and bear arms meant both "to possess" and "to carry weapons in case of confrontation" and subsequent decisions such as Woollard and Bateman which confirmed this right exists outside the home, I think states are treading a fine line between privilege and right.

Alan Gura has pointed this out forcefully in many briefs when he writes that the dictum from Heller that states the Second Amendment "is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose" cannot be used to eliminate all carry outside the home. As he wrote in Bateman, "the Court confirmed that there is a right to carry at least some weapons, in some manner, for some purpose." Gura notes that Justice Stevens in his Heller dissent acknowledged that the Court's opinion "protected the public carrying of arms".

While we aren't there yet, I do think there will come a time when carry (in some form) will be recognized as a right and not a privilege.

Jimmy Kimmel Mentions Project Gunwalker

Comedian Jimmy Kimmel was the headliner at the White House Correspondents Dinner last night. Traditionally the comedian who is the headliner will make somewhat funny jokes at the president's expense. Among the topics that Kimmel brought up was Operation Fast and Furious if only for about 10 seconds.

As the staff of Twitchy noted, most in the audience didn't get it.
Yes, Virginia, someone in liberal Hollywood finally found the balls to bring up Barack Obama’s bloodiest scandal.

Comedian Jimmy Kimmel made reference to the deadly “Fast and Furious” White House/DOJ gun-walking scandal at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner Saturday night. Most of the D.C. media and Hollywood types, of course, a) cringed; b) shrugged their shoulders; or c) scratched their heads in abject, willful ignorance.

C-SPAN cameras did not share President Obama or First Lady Michelle Obama’s reactions. Attorney General Eric Holder was nowhere to be seen.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Gun Nomenclature And The Media

When it comes to guns, the media is so ignorant. We have all seen the various "Journalist Guide to Firearms Identification" cartoons where every gun is either an AK-47 or a Glock such as the one below.

Thanks to a reporter named John Barna of the Gloucester County (NJ) Times I may have an alternative. Reporting on the sentencing of a felon in possession of a firearm, here is how the firearm in question was identified.
On July 10, 2010, Burks knowingly possessed a 9mm Springfield Armory model XD-9 Sub-Compact Luger pistol, with a 16-round, high-capacity magazine, at a McDonald’s restaurant in Camden. Burks was found with the pistol during an arrest on unrelated weapons charges. Burks had previous felony convictions at the time.
I am still trying to wrap my head around a polymer Luger P.08 much less a sub-compact one made by Springfield Armory in Croatia.

I have a modest suggestion for Mr. Barna and everyone else in the media. The next time you decide to write about a gun as part of a story - even a mere 3-paragraph story - go to the NSSF website and read the "Writer's Guide to Firearms and Ammunition." It will keep you from sounding stupid.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Massad Ayoob On Stand Your Ground Laws

Massad Ayoob was part of a panel discussion sponsored by the Cato Institute on Stand Your Ground laws on Monday along with Clayton Cramer and Steven Jansen of the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys.

Mas has served as an expert witness since 1979 in cases involving self-defense and is the author of the seminal work In the Gravest Extreme. He served for many years as a Captain in the Grantham, New Hampshire police department and is now a year-round resident of Florida.

If anyone knows anything about self-defense, the legal use of lethal force, and justified shootings it is Massad Ayoob. So when he discusses Stand Your Group laws, I listen. I only wish all the professional agitators at the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (sic) would listen as well.

Below is the presentation he gave as part of the Cato Institute's panel discussion.

Great Infographic From Cabin Lifestyles

This a great infographic on women and concealed carry from the decorating website Cabin Lifestyles: Rustic Ideas and Outdoor Living.

I think we can conservatively call this..... WINNING!!!

Girls and Guns the rise of women carrying concealed weapons

H/T Breda

Contempt Citation In The Works

Richard Serrano of the LA Times is reporting that Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has been given the green light by the GOP House leadership to pursue a Contempt of Congress citation against Attorney General Eric Holder.
The 48-page draft citation is being drawn up by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Top committee officials recently met for most of a day in the House speaker's office and were given the green light to proceed toward a contempt citation, according to sources who declined to be identified.

If adopted by the GOP-led House, the contempt resolution would be sent to the U.S. attorney's office in Washington or perhaps an independent counsel in an attempt to force the Justice Department to provide tens of thousands of internal documents to the committee.
According to Serrano's sources, the draft citation says that Holder "obstructed and slowed" the investigation into Operation Fast and Furious.

As Katie Pavlich says in her post on this contempt citation, "It's On."

I hope they are right as this will be more fun than ridiculing Obama for eating dog.

UPDATE: It seems that CBS and the LA Times might have been a bit premature in their forecast of a contempt citation in the works. Either that, or the Republican leadership has chickened out yet again. If I was a betting man, I'd go with the latter and not the former.

From Matt Boyle at the Daily Caller:
After the initial reports, a House Republican leadership aide told The Daily Caller that the LA Times and CBS reports were inaccurate. The GOP leadership aide said that “while there are very legitimate arguments to be made in favor of such an action [holding Holder in contempt], no decision has been made to move forward with one by the Speaker or by House Republican leaders.”

Initially, a spokesperson for Issa refused TheDC’s request for comment. But just hours after TheDC published a story detailing the appearance of infighting between Issa and Boehner, a House oversight committee spokesperson backed off and said the LA Times and CBS reports were inaccurate as well.

“The Justice Department has not fully cooperated with the investigation into gunwalking that occurred in Operation Fast and Furious,” the committee spokesperson told TheDC. “The House Oversight Committee continues to make necessary preparations to hold Attorney General Holder in contempt if the Justice Department refuses to change course and stop blocking access to critical documents.”

“While the committee continues to move toward consideration of contempt, it is important to note that the next step in the process of contempt must be made by the Oversight Committee,” the spokesperson added. “Reports, based on anonymous sources, that decisions for consideration of contempt on the House floor have already been made are inaccurate.”

Throw into the midst of this an accusation from Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Ranking Member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, that Darrell Issa has political motivations with the possible contempt proceedings. Of course, coming from the likes of Elijah Cummings who has viewed his role in the hearings as to protect the Obama Administration and to promote more gun control, this is rich.

There Are No Coincidences

Yesterday, the BATFE held a briefing for the media on the results regarding traces of firearms recovered in Mexico. Reporters that attended this briefing were not allowed any cameras, recording devices, or video equipment. They were only allowed pen and paper to take notes. Katie Pavlich of tweeted after the event that the moment they got into the briefing they were given a flash drive with the statistics.

The data released show that 68% of the guns submitted for tracing originated in the United States. Note that is only the guns submitted by the Mexican government. Moreover, as Larry Keane of NSSF pointed out in a tweet early this morning, no mention is made of the "Time to Crime" stat. Thus, you don't know if the "recovered" firearms traced are ones from Operation Fast and Furious or from a burglary in El Paso in 1997.

The BATFE released this yesterday regarding the briefing on the traces.
ATF Releases Government of Mexico Firearms Trace Data

WASHINGTON – Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) today announced the release of trace information for firearms recovered in Mexico and submitted to ATF for tracing. Trace information shows that between calendar years 2007 and 2011 the Government of Mexico recovered and submitted more than 99,000 firearms to ATF for tracing. Of those firearms more than 68,000 were U.S.-sourced. More complete information will be available on the ATF website.

U.S.-sourced firearms are guns determined by ATF to be manufactured in the United States or legally imported into the United States by a federal firearms licensee. Since 2007, trace data shows a trend in recovered and submitted crime guns from Mexico shifting from pistols and revolvers to rifles. Law enforcement in Mexico now report that certain types of rifles, such as the AK and AR variants with detachable magazines, are used more frequently to commit violent crime by drug trafficking organizations.

ATF is working with its law enforcement partners at every level and the Government of Mexico to keep firearms out of the hands of gang members and criminal enterprises. The Mexico trace data is the result of information provided by the Government of Mexico to ATF about crime guns recovered in Mexico and submitted for tracing.

Firearms tracing provides information on the movement of a firearm from its first sale by a manufacturer or importer through the distribution chain in an attempt to identify the first retail purchaser. This information provides investigative leads for criminal investigations.

The Mexico trace data is not the result of any criminal investigation, or investigations, initiated by law enforcement in the United States.

ATF’s National Tracing Center (NTC) is the nation’s only crime gun tracing facility. The NTC provides critical information that assists domestic and international law enforcement agencies solve firearms crimes, detect firearms trafficking and identify trends with respect to intrastate, interstate and international movement of crime guns. The NTC traced more than 319,000 crime guns in calendar year 2011.

ATF is dedicated to reducing firearms trafficking and firearms-related violent crime on both sides of the border.

ATF will also release trace information for firearms recovered in Canada and the Caribbean and submitted to ATF for tracing between calendar years 2007 and 2011.
SayUncle had a post yesterday about how the multiple-long arm reporting requirement for the Southwest border states has now resulted in 123 investigations being started in south Texas. This came from an article on Wednesday in the Houston Chronicle. I don't think it is any coincidence that the ATF emphasized the use of ARs and AKs "with detachable magazines" by the narco-terrorists in their press release.

Yesterday, Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT) had an amendment adopted to the FY13 Commerce, Justice and Science House Appropriations Bill which "would prevent the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) from using federal funds to track the purchases of gun owners who buy multiple rifles within a certain time period."

From Rehberg's statement on his amendment:
"While President Obama and his allies in Congress continue to undermine the Constitution, and infringe on our gun rights, I’ll keep fighting to ensure those rights are upheld,” said Rehberg, a member of the Second Amendment Task Force. “The ATF continues the effort to implement new gun control regulations without the approval of Congress, and, tragically, those efforts have included breaking our own country’s laws with the ‘Fast and Furious’ program. My amendment tells the Obama Administration that Congress will not tolerate this.”

The ATF regulation, first proposed in December of 2010 and approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on July 11, 2011, requires federally licensed firearm dealers (FFLs) to file reports with ATF on all sales of two or more semi-automatic rifles within five consecutive business days if the rifles are larger than .22 caliber and use detachable magazines. The requirement applies to dealers in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, but could be expanded to other states using the same obscure regulatory process used to create the rule. Information gathered from the dealers will be kept in a federal database for two years. While Congress passed legislation in the 1990s to allow ATF to track multiple-sales of handguns, they did not intend to expand this regulation to include long guns.
I also think it was no coincidence that BATFE held their press conference as Rep. Rehberg was working to amend the appropriation for their agency which would remove their ability to force FFLs in the Southwest to make reports on certain gun sales. The congressional liaison for BATFE (or more appropriately, agency lobbyist) would have known of these hearings and of Rep. Rehberg's intent to offer his amendment which did pass.

Nothing happens without a reason in Washington. The BATFE press briefing may be seen as a counter-attack on the critics of that agency for both Project Gunwalker and the Administration's attempt to use regulatory fiat as a gun control measure.

UPDATE: Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) had this to say in a release about the data given out by BATFE yesterday.
“Thorough gun statistics are hard to come by and tricky to interpret. The key to this data is that most of these guns can’t be traced to U.S. gun dealers. And, some of those would actually trace back to the United States because of the federal government’s own gunwalking scandal. We also have to remember that the only guns Mexico is going to submit for tracing are guns they know are from the United States, which clearly paints an incomplete picture of the firearms found in the Mexico.”

Katie Pavlich of who did attend the press briefing has a full report on it here. It seems some of her questions were not able to be answered (or they said they didn't have the data).

UPDATE II: Larry Keane, General Counsel of NSSF, has a blog post up entitled "The Shrinking ‘Vast Majority’: NSSF Responds to ATF Mexican Trace Report." It dissects the BATFE report and how some politicians and some in the media have played it up.

On the 90% myth:
But it shouldn’t surprise anyone to learn that many of the firearms recovered and traced come from the United States. That is because U.S. law requires markings on firearms precisely so they can be traced by law enforcement through commerce. It is sort of like tracing the VIN number on cars on a Ford dealership lot and be surprised to learn that most are Fords. What the 90 percent myth does not account for, and the media turns a blind eye to, and what yesterday’s ATF report does not shed light on, is the fact that you know nothing about the firearms recovered in Mexico but were never traced — like the firearms that the 150,000 or so Mexican soldiers took with them when they defected to go work for the drug cartels over the past several years.

On Time to Crime:
Perhaps what is most interesting about ATF’s report is the fact that it does not discuss the “Time to Crime” (TTC) for the Mexican traced firearms. ATF always gives TTC when it issues a tracing report (click here for an example). Why did ATF omit this piece of information? Because it knows that on average firearms (of all types) recovered in Mexico and successfully traced were on average originally sold at retail after a background check more than 15 years ago.

GRNC Steps Up Pressure On Bank Of America

Grass Roots North Carolina is stepping up the pressure on Bank of America to come clean on their treatment of businesses in the firearms industry. Bank of America is a North Carolina company headquartered in Charlotte.
Why doesn't 'Bank of (Un)America' issue a statement of support for the Second Amendment?

GRNC has been in direct contact with Charlotte-based Bank of America. While expressing sympathy, Bank representatives have publicly side-stepped the issue of gun rights, tried to imply blame on firearms-related businesses by hiding behind unclear "confidentiality concerns" and when offered an opportunity to clarify support of the right to keep and bear arms on GRNC's website, they offered the following cynical non-response:

" is absolutely not true that we would dismiss a customer purely based on being in this (firearms-related) industry. In reviewing the facts of the case, we do believe there was a miscommunication with this client, and we have already reinforced our policies with our teams and with the client. We have also discussed with the client a transition period during which the client may be able to obtain a new source of funding."

Remember, these "reinforced policies" led them to abruptly cut the credit lines of McMillan Fiberglass Stocks, Inc; manufacturer of firearms and accessories, including vital components of the M40A3 Marine Corps sniper rifle currently used by our forces in Afghanistan. This step was taken by BoU Senior Vice President Ray Fox who reportedly indicated to McMillan that the decision was "politically motivated".

These attacks are being launched from our backyards

If they want to behave like they are from Bloomberg's NYC, they can move. While they are in the free state of North Carolina they will act responsibly or answer to US!
They go on to ask people to cut up their Bank of America credit cards, drop their accounts, email bank officials, and use social media to get the word out. The full alert can be found here along with email links and Twitter links.

GRNC is demanding that Bank of America publicly announce that they support Second Amendment businesses and to instruct their managers of that.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Practice Dos And Don'ts From Doug Koenig

In his most recent video for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Doug Koenig goes over the dos and don'ts for successful practice sessions. Given most people have the goal of becoming a better shooter, Koenig says go in with a game plan on what you want to work on. Moreover, he says to stretch yourself and do hard stuff. No one ever got better by only doing the easy stuff.

Getting Out While The Getting Is Good

It was announced yesterday that Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich will be leaving the Department of Justice to become Dean of the University of Baltimore Law School.

From the university's announcement:
University of Baltimore President Robert L. Bogomolny has named Ronald Weich, the assistant attorney general for legislative affairs in the U.S. Department of Justice and former chief counsel to both U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senator Edward M. Kennedy, as the new dean of the University's School of Law. Weich, a longtime federal official with expertise in criminal justice and legislative process, will begin his tenure as dean in July. The University of Baltimore School of Law is the sixth largest public law school in the country, with more than 1,100 students at its midtown campus.

"Ron Weich is the right person to continue the growth and transformation of the UB School of Law," Bogomolny said in announcing Weich's appointment. "During this time of considerable transition in legal education and the legal profession, it is important to have leadership with integrity and vision. Ron Weich embodies those qualities. I look forward to working with him, and I know our students, faculty, staff and alumni will be energized by his arrival."

"UB is a law school with tremendous strengths and endless potential," Weich said. "I'm honored to be selected as dean, and I can't wait to join this vital institution."

Weich was appointed to his current Justice Department position by President Barack Obama in March 2009 and confirmed by the Senate the following month. In this role, he develops and implements strategies to advance the department's legislative priorities, coordinates the department's response to congressional oversight and guides nominees through the Senate confirmation process.

Prior to his work at the Justice Department, Weich served as chief counsel to Senator Reid from 2007-09 and in a similar capacity when Reid was minority leader in 2005-06. As principal legal adviser to the Democratic leader, Weich helped to manage Senate floor activity on Judiciary Committee bills and judicial nominations and coordinated related activities of the Democratic caucus. Weich played a key staff role in enactment of the 2007 ethics reform law, the 2008 amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and other significant legislation.

As Senator Kennedy's chief counsel (1995-97), general counsel (1992-95) and counsel (1990-92), Weich advised the senior senator from Massachusetts on civil and criminal justice issues, drug control policy, patient safety legislation, constitutional amendments and other matters.

From 1997-2004 Weich was an attorney in private practice at Zuckerman Spaeder, a Washington, D.C.-based law firm with a highly regarded Baltimore office. Earlier in his career, he served as special counsel to the U.S. Sentencing Commission and as an assistant district attorney in Manhattan.

Weich earned a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1983. He also holds a B.A. from Columbia University, which he received in 1980.

Ronald Weich, for those who are not familiar, has been the Department of Justice's designated obfuscator in hearings on Project Gunwalker before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He was the signer of the letter to Sen. Chuck Grassley which denied that ATF had knowingly allowed guns to walk. This letter was later retracted as being "inaccurate".

As Rep. Steve King (R-IA) says about Weich's resignation, it indicates that the Obama Administration is starting to move people out of "the target area" of the Project Gunwalker investigation.

One thing that struck me about the release announcing Weich's appointment as dean was what the President of the University of Baltimore, Robert Bogomolny, said about his appointment: "During this time of considerable transition in legal education and the legal profession, it is important to have leadership with integrity and vision. Ron Weich embodies those qualities." Leadership with integrity is not something I would associate with Ron Weich nor, for that matter, any of the higher-ups in the current Department of Justice.

You have to wonder if Dean Weich will be teaching any classes for the University of Baltimore Law School. If so, I'd suggest it be called Congressional Relations: How to Lie, Deny, and Obfuscate While Keeping a Straight Face.

H/T Mike Vanderboegh

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

"Blood On Their Hands" - A Documentary About Project Gunwalker

Michael McNulty of Citizens Organization for Public Safety - COPS - is a documentary filmmaker in Loveland, Colorado. He is seeking funding from the public for a full-length documentary on Operation Fast and Furious and Project Gunwalker.

Mr. McNulty is not a newcomer to documentaries about DOJ malfeasance.  One of his previous efforts is the Academy Award-nominated Waco: The Rules of Engagement which examined the ATF raid and the FBI siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas and its fiery aftermath.

COPS needs to raise $398,500 to produce this documentary. If you'd like to pledge support for this effort, you can go here and make your pledge. I did.

H/T David Codrea

Kelly McMillan On NRA News

Cam Edwards of NRA News interviewed Kelly McMillan of McMillan Group International on Monday about the Bank of America's decision to drop his company as a customer. Mr. McMillan noted a few things that haven't come out about the story before.

First, his company and a bank representative have had a regular meeting about this time of the year to do a review. Because of this, he didn't go into the meeting expecting what happened. He said it hit him "like a kick in the stomach."

Second, when the banking relationship with Bank of America was started, the McMillan company involved was McMillan Firearms Manufacturing. It is hard to see, as Mr. McMillan notes, how Bank of America could not know they were involved in making firearms given that company name.

Finally, Mr. McMillan wanted to be clear that the Bank of America VP, Ray Fox, did not indicate this was a corporate bank policy. Moreover, he said he had never made a statement himself indicating it was a corporate policy when he posted on Facebook. Nonetheless, the Bank of America VP did say to him that they didn't want his business because he was in the firearms industry. All I can say is from my experience in the corporate world is that there are written and unwritten corporate policies.

Quote Of The Day

Sheriff Jim Wilson is always good for a funny quip or comment on the affairs of the day. Here is one he made on Facebook today regarding Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich who hasn't fared well at the polls.

Newt Gingrich is still receiving Secret Service protection. What are they protecting him from, his ex-wives, or reality?


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

For Some Reason That Number 55 Just Resonates With Me Today

I'm of an age where I do remember the nationwide 55 mph speed limit as well as the lines for gas due to the Arab Oil Embargo. Does that make me old? Does that make me like 55 or something?

Hearings On Target Range Bill Today

The NSSF sent out an alert yesterday that the Senate Environmental and Public Works Subcommittee will hold hearings on S. 1249 - the Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Act of 2012 - which is sponsored by Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO).
The Senate Environment and Public Works subcommittee will hold a hearing tomorrow, Tuesday, April 24, at 10:15 a.m., on several bills important to sportsmen and sprotswomen, including NSSF's priority this legislative session--S. 1249, the Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act. The bill, introduced by Senator Mark Udall (D-CO), would allow states to expand their use of Pittman-Robertson funds to develop or expand public target shooting facilities. Amending the restrictions on Pittman-Robertson funds for this purpose is long overdue. More public shooting ranges are needed throughout the country to accommodate the rapidly growing number of target shooters who contribute to P-R funding through purchases of firearms and ammunition. Learn more about this bill and write your senators to support it.
 You can read the full text of the bill here and read more about it here and here.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Bank Of America, The Second Amendment, And A 46 Year Relationship (updated)

On Friday, Kelly McMillan of McMillan International, a manufacturer of firearms and some of the best stocks going, posted on Facebook about the treatment of his company by Bank of America. The bank has not issued any statement or press release refuting Mr. McMillan's version of things. I do have an email in to their press relations office for group commercial banking and will post any response that I get.

Based in Charlotte, NC, Bank of America is the product of a merger between San Francisco-based Bank of America and Charlotte-based NationsBank. Before it took the NationsBank name, it had been NCNB and North Carolina National Bank even before that. While the original Bank of America traces its history back to Amadeo Giannini and early 20th century San Francisco, the real owners of the current Bank of America got their start in 1960 as the North Carolina National Bank and were considered upstarts in the NC banking industry.

McMillan's full unedited post is below:
McMillan Fiberglass Stocks, McMillan Firearms Manufacturing, McMillan Group International have been collectively banking with Bank of America for 12 years. Today Mr. Ray Fox, Senior Vice President, Market Manager, Business Banking, Global Commercial Banking came to my office. He scheduled the meeting as an “account analysis” meeting in order to evaluate the two lines of credit we have with them. He spent 5 minutes talking about how McMillan has changed in the last 5 years and have become more of a firearms manufacturer than a supplier of accessories.

At this point I interrupted him and asked “Can I possible save you some time so that you don’t waste your breath? What you are going to tell me is that because we are in the firearms manufacturing business you no longer what my business.”

“That is correct” he says.

I replied “That is okay, we will move our accounts as soon as possible. We can find a 2nd Amendment friendly bank that will be glad to have our business. You won’t mind if I tell the NRA, SCI and everyone one I know that BofA is not firearms industry friendly?”

“You have to do what you must” he said.

“So you are telling me this is a politically motivated decision, is that right?”

Mr Fox confirmed that it was. At which point I told him that the meeting was over and there was nothing let for him to say.

I think it is import for all Americans who believe in and support our 2nd amendment right to keep and bear arms should know when a business does not support these rights. What you do with that knowledge is up to you. When I don’t agree with a business’ political position I can not in good conscience support them. We will soon no longer be accepting Bank of America credit cards as payment for our products.

Kelly D McMillan
Director of Operations
McMillan Group International, LLC
 My family has had a 46 year relationship with Bank of America and its predecessor NCNB. From checking and savings accounts, car loans, safe deposit boxes, to the mortgage on my mother's house, we have dealt with Bank of American in one form or another since 1966. Indeed, my mom had one of the first BankAmericards back in the late 1960s. We now know this as a VISA card.

After my mom's death in 2008, I kept one account open with Bank of America out of nostalgia for the length of that relationship. I should have remembered that there is no such a thing as nostalgia in banking.

I will begin winding down my banking relationship with Bank of America this week. The first to go will be the BassPro-branded VISA card which is actually a Bank of America VISA card. Then I will begin transferring any remaining bank drafts from Bank of America to my other banks. Once this is done, the remaining checking account will be closed and thus end our 46 year banking relationship. I will be letting Bank of America management know why I closed the account.

I most certainly cannot tell you what to do nor would I. However, I would ask that you consider whether you want to keep your money at a bank (or any of their subsidiaries such as Merrill Lynch) that doesn't respect you or your Second Amendment values. You know what I plan to do. What you do is up to you.

UPDATE: As noted in the first paragraph, I reached out to Bank of America for a comment on the McMillan Group International situation. I received a reply from Anne Pace of Bank of America. Her email didn't have any signature line so I don't know her exact title or position in the firm. Her verbatim response is below:
We want to let you know that we have heard the comments and questions regarding one of our customers. While we cannot discuss the details of any individual client we work with, we can assure you the allegations being made here are completely false. Bank of America does not have a policy that prohibits us from banking clients in this industry. In fact, we have numerous, longstanding customers in the industry.
In a follow-up email, Ms. Pace identified herself as one of the bank's spokespeople.

UPDATE II: Kelly McMillan has a follow-up statement on Facebook regarding the statement put out by Bank of America that they don't discriminate against the firearms industry.
In response to Bank of America's public statement:

The statement we [McMillan] posted was an accurate account of the events that transpired late last week. McMillan Group has been in good standing with B of A and a loyal customer for the past 12 years. We were told that we must finalize all of our accounts because we manufacture firearms.

McMillan cannot speak for Bank of America's company wide policies, but we can speak out about our personal experiences.

We [McMillan] kindly suggest that if Corporate Bank of America has no policy against conducting business with firearms manufactures, then they should communicate these policies with their regional Vice Presidents and other management.

UPDATE III: I closed out my BassPro Outdoor VISA from Bank of America this afternoon so the first step has been taken. I will be closing out the checking account as soon as everything has cleared and I've moved the remaining check drafts to another account at another bank.

I think I will use the money in this account to pay for my trip to the Gun Rights Policy Conference in Orlando this September. It seems only fitting.

SAF Files Suit In New Mexico Over Law Barring CCW Permits For Legal Resident Aliens

The Second Amendment Foundation filed suit today in the US District Court for the District of New Mexico challenging that state's ban on concealed carry permits for resident legal aliens. Similar suits have been brought in Kentucky and South Dakota by the ACLU and in both cases the plaintiff won. SAF just won a suit in Massachusetts, Fletcher et al v. Haas et al, over their discrimination against the gun rights of legal resident aliens.

As was the case in three earlier suits involving legal resident aliens, the State of New Mexico is on shakey legal ground denying them permits. Laws that discriminate based on "alienage" are subject to strict scrutiny. This suit seeks a declaration that the portion of the New Mexico Concealed Handgun Carry Act which limits it to US citizens is unconstitutional and an injunction against its enforcement.

If I had to make a prediction, New Mexico will either fold quickly and settle or a summary motion will be introduced and granted declaring the law unconstitutional. In another similar case in Omaha, Nebraska, that city folded rather quickly.

For Immediate Release: 4/23/2012

BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation today filed a lawsuit in federal district court in New Mexico challenging that state’s prohibition on the issuance of concealed carry permits to legal resident aliens.

SAF filed the complaint in U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico on behalf of John W. Jackson, an Australian citizen who came to the United States with his wife, an American citizen, in 2007. He obtained permanent resident status in November 2008. They are represented by Albuquerque attorney Paul M. Kienzle, III and Glen Ellyn, Illinois attorney David Sigale. Named as defendants in the case, in their official capacities, are New Mexico Attorney General Gary King and Bill Hubbard, director of the Special Investigations of the New Mexico Department of Public Safety.

“Legal resident aliens in the United States should have the same personal protection rights as anyone,” noted SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb, “because criminals do not play favorites. Mr. Jackson is a productive member of his community, and his plight is shared by many legal alien residents.”

According to the SAF complaint, the laws of New Mexico completely prohibit resident legal aliens from the concealed carry of guns, in public, for the purpose of self-defense. In New Mexico, only citizens may have the benefit of an armed defense by concealed carry.

“Our lawsuit is firmly grounded in the recognition and incorporation of the Second Amendment that came with our Supreme Court victory in McDonald v. City of Chicago,” Gottlieb noted. “We also believe the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause renders the State’s ban on non-citizens obtaining a concealed carry permit to be unconstitutional. Mr. Jackson and others like him only seek to be treated the same as law-abiding citizens. The Second Amendment renders a ban such as that challenged in our action to be impermissible.

“We just won a similar case in Massachusetts,” he said, “and we will pursue this case with equal vigor.”

The lawsuit seeks to enjoin King and Hubbard from further enforcing the state ban on the issuance of concealed carry permits to non-citizens, and to declare that the law is null and void because it violates the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms, and the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.

H/T SayUncle

Blackberry Winter

Blackberry winter has nothing to do with outages in service for the product from Research in Motion. Instead it is an expression used by old timers here in the mountains of North Carolina (and elsewhere in the Southern Appalachians) to describe cold snaps during the Spring when the blackberry bushes are blooming.

It is April 23rd and we just had a dusting of snow early this morning in the upper elevations (above 2,500 feet). My car thermometer read in the mid-30s when I got in it to go to work around 8:30 this morning. I'd like to say this is the latest we've gotten snow but I can't. I still remember when Mount Pisgah got 57 inches of snow on May 7th back in 1992. I had just planted my tomato and pepper plants and just as quickly repotted them indoors.

Blackberry winter is different from dogwood winter as it is later in the season. Dogwood winter is the cold snap we often get when the dogwood trees are blooming. We had an early and mild Spring this year and I think this is Mother Gaia's revenge on us for getting complacent.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

What The Hell Is The World Coming To Nowadays

This is a story that is guaranteed to raise your blood pressure. If you don't feel angry after reading it then something is wrong with you. I can't make it any plainer.

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, a 90 year old man was badly beaten while his 85 year old wife was beaten, raped, and killed by home invaders on March 14th.
Bob Strait of Tulsa, Okla., was hospitalized after a vicious March 14 robbery that killed his wife, 85-year-old Nancy Strait. She was beaten and raped in the attack.

The couple, who met on a blind date on Thanksgiving Day 1946, had been married for 65 years.

Police have one suspect in custody, but they believe as many as four others took part in the home invasion.
Mr. Strait, a WWII veteran, was a member of the 101st Airborne Division and jumped into Normandy on the night of June 5, 1944 as part of the D-Day invasion. After the war, he refused to accept veterans aid as he felt, according to his daughter, that "he was only doing his job, like everyone else.” He even turned down a Purple Heart during the war because he didn't feel his injuries weren't severe enough.

While the investigation is ongoing, the family is asking that a task force be formed to find the remaining four perpetrators of this heinous crime.
One of the Strait’s daughters, Lenore Gay, said the investigation is ongoing, but she is unhappy that Tulsa police have mustered nowhere near the resources in her parents’ case as those applied to a nationally reported shooting spree in Tulsa that occurred at around the same time.

Gay is hugely grateful for any financial help on behalf of her family, but has also asked members of the 101st Airborne Division Association to contact Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett and ask that a task force be set up immediately to find the remaining suspects still at large in her parents’ case.
If you want to call Mayor Bartlett, his office phone is (918) 596-2100. He also can be contacted by email through this link.

It is damnable thing when some punk-ass thugs can invade the home of a man who put his life on the line almost 68 years ago for their freedom. That they would rape and murder his wife of 65 years is beyond the pale. I can't think of a punishment too cruel or unusual for these thugs.

NRA-PVF Endorsements And Rankings For North Carolina

The NRA Political Victory Fund released its 2012 primary endorsements for North Carolina on April 19th. They only released grades and endorsements in selected races for the US House of Representatives.

A major omission is the race for Governor of North Carolina. In 2008, the NRA-PVF endorsed current Gov. Bev Perdue (D-NC) who has decided not to run for re-election given her poor chances of being re-elected.

The endorsement that I find most interesting is that for Hayden Rogers (D) in the North Carolina 11th Congressional District. Incumbent Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC-11) decided not to seek re-election after his district was redrawn. Rogers has served as Chief of Staff to Shuler for the last six years and in that position presumably worked closely with the gun rights groups that Shuler supported.

Here are the grades and endorsements. I have put the endorsed candidates in BOLD.
District 2
Republican Primary

Renee Ellmers (R)
Grade: A
Status: Incumbent

Sonya Holmes (R)
Grade: ?
Status: Candidate

Clement F. Munno (R)
Grade: ?
Status: Candidate

Richard Speer (R)
Grade: AQ
Status: Candidate

District 3
Republican Primary

Walter Jones, Jr. (R)
Grade: A
Status: Incumbent

Frank Palombo (R)
Grade: AQ
Status: Candidate

District 6
Republican Primary

Howard Coble (R)
Grade: A
Status: Incumbent

Bill Flynn (R)
Grade: AQ
Status: Candidate

Billy Yow (R)
Grade: AQ
Status: Candidate

District 8
Democratic Primary

Larry Kissell (D)
Grade: A
Status: Incumbent

Marcus W. Williams (D)
Grade: F
Status: Candidate

District 9
Republican Primary

Robert Pittenger (R)
Grade: A
Status: Candidate

Dan Barry (R)
Grade: A
Status: Candidate

Andy Dulin (R)
Grade: AQ
Status: Candidate

Jon Gauthier (R)
Grade: ?
Status: Candidate

Ric Killian (R)
Grade: A-
Status: Candidate

Ken Leonczyk (R)
Grade: AQ
Status: Candidate

Richard Lynch (R)
Grade: AQ
Status: Candidate

Edwin B. Peacock III (R)
Grade: A-
Status: Candidate

Jim Pendergraph (R)
Grade: AQ
Status: Candidate

Michael Shaffer (R)
Grade: AQ
Status: Candidate

Mike Steinberg (R)
Grade: AQ
Status: Candidate

District 10
Republican Primary

Patrick McHenry (R)
Grade: A
Status: Incumbent

Ken Fortenberry (R)
Grade: AQ
Status: Candidate

Don Peterson (R)
Grade: AQ
Status: Candidate

District 11
Republican Primary

Spence Campbell (R)
Grade: ?
Status: Candidate

Susan Harris (R)
Grade: ?
Status: Candidate

Jeff Hunt (R)
Grade: AQ
Status: Candidate

Mark Meadows (R)
Grade: AQ
Status: Candidate

Vance Patterson (R)
Grade: AQ
Status: Candidate

Chris Petrella (R)
Grade: AQ
Status: Candidate

Kenny West (R)
Grade: ?
Status: Candidate

Ethan Wingfield (R)
Grade: AQ
Status: Candidate

District 11
Democratic Primary

Hayden Rogers (D)
Grade: A
Status: Candidate

Cecil Bothwell (D)
Grade: F
Status: Candidate

Tom Hill (D)
Grade: ?
Status: Candidate

District 13
Republican Primary

Paul Coble (R)
Grade: AQ
Status: Candidate

George Holding (R)
Grade: AQ
Status: Candidate

Bill Randall (R)
Grade: AQ
Status: Candidate

District 13
Democatic Primary

Bernard A. Holliday (D)
Grade: F
Status: Candidate

Charles Malone (D)
Grade: ?
Status: Candidate
Here is an explanation of what the grades mean as described by the Political Victory Fund.
The NRA-PVF is non-partisan in issuing its candidate grades and endorsements. We do not base our decisions on a candidate's party affiliation, but rather on his or her record on Second Amendment issues. The NRA is a single issue organization. The only issues on which we evaluate candidates seeking elected office are gun-related issues.

A+   A legislator with not only an excellent voting record on all critical NRA issues, but who has also made a vigorous effort to promote and defend the Second Amendment.

A   Solidly pro-gun candidate. A candidate who has supported NRA positions on key votes in elective office or a candidate with a demonstrated record of support on Second Amendment issues.

AQ   A pro-gun candidate whose rating is based solely on the candidate's responses to the NRA-PVF Candidate Questionnaire and who does not have a voting record on Second Amendment issues.

B   A generally pro-gun candidate. However, a "B" candidate may have opposed some pro-gun reform or supported some restrictive legislation in the past.

C   Not necessarily a passing grade. A candidate with a mixed record or positions on gun related issues, who may oppose some pro-gun positions or support some restrictive legislation.

D   An anti-gun candidate who usually supports restrictive gun control legislation and opposes pro-gun reforms. Regardless of public statements, can usually be counted on to vote wrong on key issues.

F   True enemy of gun owners' rights. A consistent anti-gun candidate who always opposes gun owners' rights and/or actively leads anti-gun legislative efforts, or sponsors anti-gun legislation.

?   Refused to answer the NRA-PVF Candidate Questionnaire, often an indication of indifference, if not outright hostility, to gun owners' and sportsmen's rights.

Grass Roots North Carolina Issues Scorecard For NC Primary

With North Carolina already having started its one-stop early voting last week for the May 8th primary election, Grass Roots North Carolina's Political Victory Fund has released its recommendations which can be seen below.

GRNC has also released their ratings (separate from the PVF recommendations) of all the candidates - Democrats, Republicans, or Libertarians - who are running for Congress, Governor, Lt. Gov., Council of State, and the General Assembly. Candidates can be found by electoral race or by their last name.

GRNC-PVF is distinct from GRNC
By law, we are restricted from using organizational money to influence elections. The Grass Roots North Carolina Political Victory Fund is the tool we use to elect pro-gun lawmakers and throw out anti-gunners. The GRNC-PVF is North Carolina's federally registered political action committee. We use it to make political donations and to run radio and newspaper ads for and against candidates.
GRNC-PVF Recommendations:

US House:

District 2(R): Vote for Elmers

District 3(R): Vote for Jones

District 4(R): Vote for D'Annunzio

District 5(R): Vote for Foxx

District 6(R): Vote for Coble

District 7(R): Vote for Rouzer (due to 100% pro-gun voting record in NC Senate)

District 8(R): Vote for Robinson (Keadle is equally good, but Robinson's charisma makes him slightly more likely to beat Kissell in the General Election)

District 9(R): Vote for Pittenger: Do NOT vote for Pendergraph. Despite submitting a survey with a score of 95, Pendergraph's performance as Mecklenburg Sheriff reflected unwillingness to sign Form 4s or to issue handgun purchase permits in a timely fashion. Killian has an excellent record of pro-gun votes in the NC Senate, but is unlikely to win the race. Pittenger has a 100% pro-gun record from the NC Senate and is the best bet in this race.

District 10(R): Vote for McHenry, who has been a leader on gun issues both in the NC House and in Congress.

District 11(R): Vote for Meadows, who has made support for the Second Amendment a large part of his campaign.

District 13(R): Vote for Coble

NC State Positions

NC GOV(R): Vote for McCory. Although other candidates scored higher on GRNC surveys, McCrory is the most likely to beat Etheridge in the General Election. Given Etheridge's abysmal 21% voting record in Congress, gun voters should cast votes to most effectively keep him out of office.

NC LT GOV(R): Vote for Folwell

NC TREAS: Vote for Royal


District 1(R): Vote for Cook

District 2(R): Vote for Sanderson

District 11(R): Vote for Newton. A former Jesse Helms staffer, in his freshman year Newton earned a co-chair position on the Judiciary II Committee through which gun bills are generally referred. He not only facilitated Senate passage of omnibus gun rights bill HB 650 - which contained Castle Doctrine, parks carry and much more - but actually wrote language to further strengthen Castle Doctrine. Newton is a leader for gun rights and the clear choice in this race.

District 12(D): Vote for Davis

District 18(R): Vote for Bradley. In his first term in the NC House, Bradley not only compiled a perfect 100% vote record on gun issues, plus sponsoring or cosponsoring numerous pro-gun bills, but also demonstrated willingness to buck centrist party leadership. Given the chance, this guy will become a gun rights hero.

District 26(R): Vote for Berger. With a long history featuring a 100% pro-gun vote record and of sponsoring pro-gun legislation, as Senate President Pro Tempore, Berger initially appeared to have let inertia settle in as the Senate refused to give a vote to concealed carry in restaurants. After months of pressure, however, he appears to have "seen the light" and has promised a vote on restaurant carry in the upcoming session.

District 27(R): Vote for Wade. With a perfect 100% voting record in previous term of the NC House, Wade is the clear choice in the race.

District 29(R): Vote for Tillman. With a perfect 100% gun rights voting record, he is the clear choice.

District 33(R): Vote for Bingham. With a perfect 100% gun rights voting record, he is the clear choice.

District 38(R): Vote for Rivette

District 41(R): Vote for Tarte. Although Aneralla would likely vote pro-gun, Tarte demonstrates the passion and desire to sponsor pro-gun legislation and is likely to be a leader for gun rights. His mediocre survey score (which he says was the result of misinterpreting survey instructions) is more than offset by the fact that as mayor of Cornelius, the town has never adopted restrictions on concealed carry in parks.

District 44(R): Vote for Carney. Ray might be a second choice, but in previous terms she dropped several votes and generally had to be pressured to vote with gun owners.

District 45(R): Vote for Soucek. In his first year, he compiled a 100% voting record on gun issues plus sponsored pro-gun legislation. He is the clear choice in the race.

District 48(R): Vote for Apodaca. In addition to a long pro-gun voting record, as Chairman of the Rules Committee he has generally been accommodating to giving pro-gun legislation committee hearings. He is the clear choice in the race.

District 49(R): Vote for Clark. In previous Senate terms, he compiled a 100% pro-gun voting record plus a willingness to stick his neck out for gun owners. He is the clear choice in the race.


District 2(D): Vote for Crawford.

District 3(R): Vote for Speciale

District 10(R): Vote for LaRoque

District 16(R): Vote for Thomas'

District 19(R): Vote for Davis

District 35(R): Vote for Cutlip

District 44(R): Vote for Button

District 49(R): Vote for Capps

District 50(R): Vote for Chambers or Chaney, not Hannah

District 59(R): Vote for Cook

District 67(R): Vote for Burr

District 73(R): Vote for Hollo

District 74(R): Vote for Brown

District 76(R): Vote for Ford

District 79(R): Vote for Whiteheart. This is a case in which GRNC refuses to support a mediocre incumbent simply for incumbency. Julia Howard voted twice against gun owners in the last session while Whiteheart, as county commissioner, successfully lead the charge to prevent Forsyth Co. from adopting restrictions on concealed carry in parks. Whiteheart is the clear choice.

District 84(R): Vote for Mitchell

District 92(R): Vote for Jeter

District 94(R): Vote for Goudreau

District 95(R): Vote for Brawley. Despite a mediocre survey, Brawley racked up a 100% pro-gun voting record in previous terms of the NC House.

District 97(R): Vote for Saine

District 110(R): Vote for Hastings, who has fought tenaciously for gun rights in his first term.

District 117(R): Vote for Snyder. Incumbent McGrady twice voted against gun owners last year, and orchestrated the weakening of pro-gun legislation. Afterward, he was caught on videotape bragging about it to a leftist group.

District 118(R): Vote for Keilman

District 120(R): Vote for West.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Stuff You Just Can't Make Up

A couple of the biggest stories in the news the last few days are the Secret Service sex scandal involving Colombian prostitutes and that President Obama ate dog as a child. How do you combine the two?


Just read this excerpt from a story from Australia which features pictures of one of the hookers.

The Secret Service did not identify the agents or eight others it said remain on administrative leave.

However two of the agents were named by media as David Chaney and Greg Stokes. Mr Chaney was allowed to retire while Mr Stokes, who is said to be head of the Canine Training Section, was fired. The third agent resigned.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

For Buy A Gun Day

I had forgotten about National Buy A Gun Day but one of my local dealers obviously did not. Months ago - at least eight by my count - I had asked him that if he ever got a Ruger SR1911 in stock to give me a call and he did.

I was on my way to the 2012 Annual Meeting in St. Louis but the dealer graciously held it for me until yesterday. I picked it up for $700 plus tax which I thought was quite reasonable. This was the first SR1911 I had seen in the flesh outside of the 2011 Annual Meeting.

You can see the right side of the pistol below. I weighed it with an empty magazine and it comes in at 39.5 ounces. It is a hefty pistol but feels good in the hand.

Here is a picture of the left side. I like how the stainless steel is a low glare finish and that the Ruger on the slide in not obnoxiously large.

I measured the trigger pull with a Timney trigger pull guage and it is consistent at 5.25 pounds.

I field-stripped it tonight and the inside is well finished. I did not see any signs of machining marks or, at least, any that were glaringly obvious.

All in all, I'm delighted. I can't wait to take it out this weekend and start breaking it in. I think the SR1911 is a lot of pistol for the money.

Now to get a nice holster for it. I suggested that this might be something the Complementary Spouse could get me for my upcoming birthday and she thought it was a great idea.

Crimson Trace Goes Green

Crimson Trace will now be producing green as well as red lasers. While I didn't get a chance to play with them at the NRA Annual Meeting in St. Louis, I did hear about them from Jim Shepherd of The Outdoor Wires. This evening I received more information on these lasers and their anticipated release from Tiffany Hopp of Crimson Trace.

Tiffany sent the following:
Crimson Trace Debuts Industry’s First Instinctively Activated Green Handgun Lasers at NRA Annual Meetings

(Wilsonville, OR) In a move that caught much of the industry by surprise, Crimson Trace, the maker of the World’s only grip activated laser sights, unveiled its new line of green handgun lasers to a record crowd of over 70,000 consumers at the NRA Annual Convention in St. Louis last weekend. Boldly debuting six models in all significant platforms - Lasergrips®, Laserguard® and Universal Rail Master™ - scheduled to begin delivery to market in the Fall of 2012.

The first green lasers to hit the market will be in the Laserguard platform for Glock, Smith & Wesson M&P, Springfield XDm and 1911 frames and visually follow company’s award-winning Lightguard™ design. “By now, most consumers are savvy enough to know that green lasers have always been power-hungry compared to their red counterparts,” explained Kent Thomas, Director of Marketing for Crimson Trace. “By mounting them in front of the trigger guard, we’re able to utilize battery power in both a functional and design friendly way significantly more than ever - which means our customers never have to compromise on run time.” Also available in Fall 2012 will be the wildly popular Rail Master product, which is the company’s first Universal fit product for handguns with Picitinny Rails. Just as important as the green laser product introduction, holsters from BladeTech, De Santis, Crossbreed and Galco are available to fit these new green laser sights.

Creating the most buzz and excitement, however, were the sneak-peek prototypes of green Lasergrips®, scheduled to be available in early 2013. Green lasers have traditionally been much bulkier than red versions due to their more complex construction. Until now, this has prevented their use in the patented grip integrated lasers that made Crimson Trace the industry leader in laser sighting systems. Using an entirely new kind of laser, the company has managed to reduce the footprint of the diode package while simultaneously reducing the power it needs to function. “This new technology is a game changer,” said Thomas. “Next year, customers will be able to get the instinctive activation, innovative engineering and quality Crimson Trace is famous for, but with the option of green in a few of the most popular gun frames in the market. Once again, we’ve listened to the market, our loyal consumers and found a way to deliver what they want in only the way Crimson Trace can.”
I like the idea of a green laser as green is an easier color for me to pick up visually. This has to do with the fact that green is in the middle of the color spectrum and not at the end. Viridian has been pushing their green lasers for just this reason. That said, I've always like the way the Crimson Trace has integrated lasers into a handgun with their instinctive on-off grip switch much better than the way Viridian and others have mounted their lasers. Soon I'll be able to have the best of both worlds!

Grass Roots North Carolina Honors Rep. Mark Hilton

Rep. Mark Hilton (R-Catawba) is retiring at the end of this session of the General Assembly. He has been the sponsor or co-sponsor of a number of the major gun rights bills that have passed the General Assembly over the last few years. To recognize this, Grass Roots North Carolina will honor him with their first Lifetime Freedom Achievement Award at their May 19th Annual Meeting and Dinner.
Sadly, a gun rights hero is leaving the North Carolina House: The Honorable Mark Hilton (R-Catawba, GRNC ****) will not run for re-election in 2012. First elected with GRNC Political Victory Fund support in 1996, Hilton has sponsored legislation for concealed handgun reciprocity, bypassing handgun purchase permits, parks and restaurant carry, Castle Doctrine and far more. He has been instrumental in GRNC's success in killing scores of gun control bills.


At its May 19 annual meeting and dinner, GRNC will honor Rep. Hilton with the presentation of a Remington Model 1911 pistol as the organization's first "Lifetime Freedom Achievement Award" recipient. Please join us in honoring this patriot.

The dinner will immediately follow GRNC's annual meeting and board of directors election at the Clarion Greensboro Airport Hotel.

Reservations for the dinner are required and available for $37.50 by going to:


Date: Saturday, May 19, 2012

Time: Annual Meeting: 5:00 PM - 6:30 PM*
Annual Dinner: 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM

Place: Clarion Greensboro Airport Hotel, 415 Swing Road, Greensboro, NC 27409, conveniently located off I-40 at Exit 213.

Wisconsin Carry Sues Milwaukee Over Refusal To Return Firearm

Wisconsin Carry has filed suit in US District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin over the failure of the Milwaukee Police Department to return a legally owned firearm that was used by its owner to stop a robbery. As Wisconsin Carry says in their release below, Mr. Al-Mujaahid used his legally owned and carried handgun to stop a robbery at an Aldi's supermarket in Milwaukee. At the time, the police took his pistol, magazine, belt, and ammo as evidence. Later, the DA's office cleared him in the shooting and even praised him.

Mr. Al-Mujaahid and Wisconsin Carry are suing under the 14th Amendment for a taking of his property without due process of law, a denial of equal protection of the laws due to the different policies for firearms versus other property, and finally for denying him his right to keep and bear arms as well as to "keep a functioning handgun in the home in case of confrontation."

The attorney in this case is John Monroe who has handled a number of gun rights lawsuits over the past few years including cases in his home state of Georgia and Gray Peterson's case in Colorado.

The release on the lawsuit from Wisconsin Carry is below:
On January 30th, 2012 a law-abiding Wisconsin concealed carry license holder, Nazir Al-Mujaahid, used his sidearm to shoot a shotgun-wielding armed robber who entered a north-side Aldi’s grocery store in Milwaukee and threatened the cashier and customers.

As is standard protocol, the armed citizen’s holster, gun, and ammunition were taken into evidence by the Milwaukee Police Department.

A few days later the Milwaukee District Attorney’s office cleared the armed citizen of any wrong-doing and declared the shooting justified.

Despite being exhonerated by the DA, making repeated attempts to obtain the return of his firearm from Milwaukee Police, and sending a letter to the DA’s office requesting assistance in the return of his property, Mr. Al-Mujaahid’s gun remains in Police possession.

Wisconsin Carry, Inc. has observed what appears to be a pattern of civil-rights infringing behavior from the Milwaukee Police Department. The Milwaukee Police Department appears to have a practice of concocting baseless reasons to seize any and all guns they come across in the City – even when those guns have never been used in connection with a crime.

The Police Department also appears to have a practice of refusing to return firearms or unduly delaying the return of firearms that were seized incident to an arrest despite the fact that no charges were brought or when the gun owner is exonerated by the court system.

WCI believes that these acts by the Milwaukee Police Department represent violations to law-abiding citizens constitutionally guaranteed right to be free from illegal seizures of their private property and their Constitutionally recognized right to keep and bear arms.

By seizing Al-Mujaahid’s property, refusing to return it to him, and refusing to allow him to file a petition for the return of his property, Nazir has been deprived of his property without due process of law.

On Friday, April 13th, Wisconsin Carry filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Milwaukee, Police, Clerk of Courts and District Attorney seeking the return of Nazir’s property or alternatively, an opportunity to challenge any claims that his property is needed as evidence. Furthermore, we seek a declaration that the Milwaukee Police Department’s practice of seizing firearms, even those never used in a crime, and requiring firearm owners to engage in formal litigation in order to recover their seized property, is unlawful.

A copy of this lawsuit is available here:

We encourage individuals who, despite facing no charges and having committed no crime, have had their firearms seized by the Milwaukee Police and been forced to go to court to obtain their return, to contact Wisconsin Carry, Inc.

BY The Rude Bridge That Arched The Flood

While I might be accused of being an insurrectionist for remembering that today is the 237th anniversary of the stand that our forefathers took at the Lexington Green and the Concord Bridge, I think it is worth remembering their stand and the ultimate sacrifice paid by militiamen of Massachusetts.

One of the better ways of remembering them is to participate in the Appleseed Project of the Revolutionary War Veterans Association. For those that are unfamiliar with the Appleseed Project, it is dedicated to teaching both riflery and history. According to those who have participated such as Bob Owens and Sean Sorrentino, the experience is well worth the effort. As Bob notes, it is "affordable, enjoyable and empowering."

To learn more about the Revolutionary War Veterans Association and the Appleseed Project, go here.

I saw a couple of their billboards in Illinois while attending the NRA Annual Meeting last week. One was at the base of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Bridge and was co-sponsored by ISRA. The other was on Interstate 57 near Rend Lake. It was a pleasure to see both of them in a state which seeks to put up as many roadblocks to lawful firearm ownership as does Illinois.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, philosopher and writer, commemorated the event with his poem Concord Hymn. Unlike many modern day intellectuals, Emerson was not ashamed to show his patriotism. The poem was first read on July 4th, 1837 to mark the erection of the Concord Monument.
By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set to-day a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

Spirit, that made those heroes dare
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Remember, She Is More Important Than You Peons

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has placed a hold on the two Senate versions of national right-to-carry reciprocity, S. 2188 and S. 2213.  While she reportedly no longer holds a California concealed carry permit, at one time she held the only such permit issued in San Francisco. While there have been others who have obtained carry permits for San Francisco, you can usually count the number of permits outstanding on the fingers of your hand with a finger or two left over.

From the Huffington Post article on her move:
In putting a hold on both bills, the "National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2012," and the "Respecting States' Rights and Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2012," Feinstein is denying them the easiest avenue of passage: unanimous consent.

The hold does not eliminate the possibility of passing the bills through regular order, with 60-vote requirements to start and end debate. But it's unclear whether enough support actually exists in the Senate. Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), for instance, has said he would oppose the first bill, which cleared the House of Representatives in November with 43 Democrats supporting it and only seven Republicans voting against it.
Her move was quickly applauded by Mark Glaze, executive directors of Mayor Bloomberg's Illegal Mayors, who said, "We hear regularly that senators of both parties are getting tired of being ordered around by the gun lobby, and forced reciprocity is exhibit a."

I think these senators ought to remember that the "gun lobby" is you and me. Currently, Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN) is in the process of learning this as he now trails Richard Mourdock according to some polls.

The full letter is embedded below:

Feinstein - hold - Concealed Carry Reciprocity Legislation

My Nomination For The Citizen's Medal

Thanks to a post by Sebastian at Shall Not Be Questioned, I was alerted to the opportunity to nominate a worthy individual for the Citizen's Medal. It is the second-highest award for civilians awarded by the United States government.

The nomination form asks why my nominee should be awarded the Citizen's Medal. Here is what I wrote:
Mr. Nugent would be an ideal choice for the Citizen's Medal.

He has served for many years as a national spokesperson for Drug Abuse Resistance Program (DARE) and has consistently promoted a drug-free, alcohol-free lifestyle in his lifestyle and within his industry. His industry is beset by those who are suffering from drug and alcohol addiction.

He is a strong proponent of healthy nutrition and has long promoted free-range grass-fed organic meat that is free from antibiotics as an alternative to industrially grown meat products.

Finally, Mr. Nugent is a strong civil rights advocate and is currently serving on the Board of Directors of the largest, membership-based, civil rights organization in the United States. Through his work with this organization, he has strongly promoted civil rights in those areas where oppressive governments have sought to limit a person's freedom.
The nomination form that asks you to describe the impact of the nominee's work.
Mr. Nugent's service has had a profound impact on all of those with whom he has interacted but none so much as his work in field of civil rights.

By fighting for the civil rights of ordinary working Americans, he has stood up to faceless bureaucrats and oppressive state and local governments who would, given half a chance, suppress civil rights.

For this he has been vilified by the propaganda organs of these oppressive regimes and their followers. He has stood tall in the face of their calumny.

Mr. Nugent is a true American patriot who has dedicated his life, his fortune, and his sacred honor to fostering civil rights for all Americans.
If you haven't guessed by now my nominee for President Obama's Citizen's Medal is none other than Theodore Anthony Nugent who is better known as Ted Nugent. The civil rights organization is the National Rifle Association.

You, too, can nominate someone for this award and I suggest Mr. Nugent is a fine candidate.The deadline for entries is April 24th. Given how Ted is being attacked by the ne'er-do-wells in the mainstream media as well as by the gun prohibitionists, I say overload them with Ted nominations.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Meeting Friends

One of the great things about the NRA Annual Meeting is the chance to catch up with friends who you haven't seen in a while. So it was with Kurt Hofmann, the St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner, and me.

While Kurt wasn't able to actually get to the America's Center, we were able to meet at his "local" yesterday. Talk about having tons of great beers on tap! Global Brew has more micro-brews on tap than I've ever seen. I had the Hacker-Pschorr Maibach and it was really good.

As I said, it was great meeting an old friend again. Kurt does great work as the St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner and we discussed a lot of stuff.

All good things must come to an end and so it is with our trip to St. Louis. We're hitting the road in a few minutes to return to North Carolina. We had a great time and will have many posts about the NRA Annual Meeting and what we learned in the days to come.

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Couple Of Numbers From The NRA Annual Meeting

The attendance for the NRA Annual Meeting was just announced. The final number is 73,740 which is an all time record. If I remember correctly, the last meeting in St. Louis set a record.

The other significant number coming out of the NRA Annual Meeting was the number of firearms sold by Ruger over the past four quarters - 1,253,700. This is an all-time number for firearms manufactured and sold within one year by any one manufacturer. This also resulted in a check for $1,254,000 to the NRA as a result of the Ruger Million Dollar Challenge. They presented the check to the NRA at Friday's Leadership Forum.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Wayne's Speech At The NRA Members Meeting

As I reported yesterday, Mitt Romney's speech at the Leadership Forum was received with a polite, if not enthusiastic, response. By contrast, the speech by Wayne LaPierre at the Members Meeting received a much more enthusiastic response. I'm not sure of how many people attended each event.

Both spoke of freedom and the Second Amendment but Wayne's speech was much more pointed, more aggressive, and provided more "red meat" to his audience. As a result, Wayne got more standing ovations from the crowd. He also had better lines.

Some of them include:

"We are less free today than we were a decade ago"

"The UN doesn't have a right to mess with our freedom. No way, no how!"

"We will never surrender our guns!"

"national news media is a national disgrace"

(In response to report's of the NRA's demise) "We're still here and aren't going anywhere but the polls on election day."
The full speech can be seen below:

Bitter of Shall Not Be Questioned has more on Members Meeting here and here.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Some Thoughts On Romney At The Annual Meeting

Mitt Romney spoke before the NRA Annual Meeting Leadership Forum yesterday. It wasn't a great speech; it wasn't a bad speech. It seemed like it was a variation on his basic stump speech with maybe a few additions for the NRA audience. I would say the overall reception was polite if not enthusiastic.

The theme of Romney's speech was freedom which seems to be what we've heard before in his speeches. He spoke about freedom in terms of religion, economics, and limited government. With regard to the NRA, he noted that they were a single issue group. He that they should get "high praise (for being a single interest group) when the issue is freedom." He used this line as the intro into the rest of his speech on freedom.

In what I consider the variations tailored towards the NRA, he acknowledged the role that Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) in pursuing Operation Fast and Furious. He then acknowledged the NRA for saying that Attorney General Eric Holder should be fired. Both statements brought good applause. He then said "I will protect the Second Amendment rights of the American people" which brought a lot of applause.

In general, I'd say Romney did OK but could have had a speech more tailored to his audience with more memorable nuggets. Overall, it was what it was. The speech won't come back to haunt him with the Obama campaign using snippets of it in its ads. However, the speech can't be accused of being a rousing stump speech to rally the masses either.

Thirdpower at Days of our Trailers blog did capture some of the misleading tweets from the Brady Campaign and CSGV during the Leadership Forum. You can read them here.

You can see the speech for yourself below:

Friday, April 13, 2012

Some Pocket Pistols Seen At The NRA Annual Meeting

I looked at a number of the sub-compact pistols today at the Annual Meeting. Patrick, a reader of this blog, was interested in a comparison of the Sig P938 and the Sig P238 in terms of the difficulty of pulling the slide. His mother is disabled, wants a pistol - not a revolver - and has difficulty pulling the slide on many smaller pistols.

To make the test somewhat objective, I had the Complementary Spouse do the testing of the slides. She is a health care professional and has some understanding of the challenges that those with weaker hand and arm strength might face.

First, we tested the Sig P938 which is their sub-compact single stack 9mm pistol. She didn't find it hard at all to rack the slide on the P938. It fit her hand well, had rear sights that allow the racking of the slide against a pocket, and decent 3-dot sights.

Next up was the Sig P238 Scorpion. It was easier than the P938 and was the easiest to rack the slide of all the guns tested today.  It is a single-stack, single action pistol in .380 ACP. The single action trigger pull of both pistols seemed about the same though I didn't test it on a trigger scale.

You can see a size comparison of the P238 and the P938 below. They seem to be relatively the same size.

The third pistol tested was the Colt Mustang in .380 ACP. Many have said that the Sig P238 is merely a clone of the Mustang so it was an obvious choice for comparison. It seems to have a heavier spring than the P238 and is about equivalent to the P938. The sights are similar to a GI model 1911. To me, these sights were less user-friendly than those of the Sig P238 Scorpion.

Finally, given all the buzz about the Smith and Wesson M&P Shield, we thought we should add this to the mix. It is the single-stack sub-compact 9mm (and .40 S&W) version of the M&P. The Complementary Spouse found this the hardest to rack of all the pistols we tested and wouldn't recommend it to Patrick's mother. She had some difficulty racking slide. It fit my hand well but I did find the trigger pull to be mushy and not crisp.

Obligatory Booth Babe Picture

I like attractive women as much as the next guy but sometimes booth babes just are a bit over the top. There were a number scattered around the various exhibits of the NRA Annual Meeting.

Below is a picture of the young lady sitting at the ATI - American Tactical Imports - booth. I don't know who she is or why it was important to feature her at their booth but she seemed a bit more over the top than some of the other booth babes. I'm sure she is a nice person (or at least I hope so) but the ultra low-cut top and funky stockings just don't make it for me.

I wish companies would realize that as more women come into the gun community that stuff like this turn will them off. They don't mind seeing attractive women. They just want them to be like a Julie Golob or a Jessie Harrison-Duff - attractive and accomplished shooters. It isn't too much to ask.

Opening Day

We're getting ready to head to downtown St. Louis for the opening day of the 2012 NRA Annual Meeting.

Just coincidentally, it is opening day for the St. Louis Cardinals who are just blocks away at Busch Stadium. The Weather Channel is calling for 60% chance of showers so I hope the Cards get their game in against the Cubs.

Ran into Sebastian and Bitter, Jim Shepherd, Dave Kopel, Jason, and the odious Charles Jaco of the local Fox affiliate when we were getting our media credentials yesterday.

I met a lot of bloggers at JayG's get-together at the Millennium last night including Ambulance Driver, DaddyBear, Jim Fleming of the Reloading Podcast, Frank James, Old NFO, and a whole bunch of others. I think JayG will be posting some pictures. And yes, in a repeat of Iain Harrison from last year, someone did lick his head. I think it was Ambulance Driver if I remember correctly.

And now off to Opening Day to see Mitt, Rick, Rick, and Newt among many others. I will have to leave the knives at home as the Secret Service would be upset and not let me in the Edward Jones Dome for the Leadership Forum.

Does Fr. Pfleger Know?

A Vatican cardinal is making news in Italy (and elsewhere) because he likes guns and likes to shoot and hunt. Cardinal Domenico Calcagno is being dubbed "Cardinal Rambo" by the Italian media as a result.
"This passion for weapons is long-standing. I used to go to shooting ranges. Unfortunately since I've been at the Vatican I had to stop," Domenico Calcagno, head of the Administration of Vatican Patrimony, told Il Fatto Quotidiano.

"It's innocent. What I like above all is repairing weapons," he said.

The 68-year-old cardinal owns at least 13 weapons including the famous 357 Magnum made by Smith & Wesson and a Hatsan shotgun, according to the website Savonanews from Savona in northwest Italy where Calcagno used to be the bishop.

The website said Calcagno was also a keen hunter and had several rifles.
Cardinal Calcagno is the president of the Administration of the Vatican Patrimony of the Apostolic See. He reports that his firearms are kept in a locked safe in Savona where he used to be bishop.

You have to wonder what the favorite priest of the Chicago gun prohibitionists, Fr. Michael "Snuffy" Pfleger, makes of this cardinal and his passion. My guess it isn't good.