Tuesday, July 31, 2012

NRA Life Membership...At Half Price

The NRA is running a promotion for the next 48 hours offering Life Memberships for $500. This is half of the normal $1000 cost of Life Membership. The 48 hours started this morning at 6:30am.

From the NRA:
The NRA is currently offering half off Life Memberships ($500) for a limited time. This is a promotion we are doing on our facebook page as a thank you to all of our fans who helped us reach 1,550,000 likes! This promotion began today at 6:30 a.m. and is available for 48 hours ONLY. You can find the promotion on our facebook page at: www.facebook.com/nationalrifleassociation
If you've been thinking of upgrading your membership, this is a good time to do it.

As an aside, the NRA has more people merely liking this offer than any of the gun prohibitionist groups have followers on Facebook. Hmmm.

Illinois Governor Proposes AWB

The Springfield (Illinois) State Journal-Register is reporting late this morning that Gov. Pat Quinn (D-IL) is proposing a ban on so-called "assault weapons" (sic) in Illinois.
The Democrat will use his amendatory veto power Tuesday to include the ban in a bill related to ammunition sales. It would then be up to lawmakers to accept his changes or reject them.
The report states that his proposal faces "big hurdles" noting that other gun control measures have recently failed in the Illinois General Assembly. From a constitutional standpoint, such a law would be on shaky ground as the AR-15 is the highest selling rifle in recent years and should be considered in "common use."

UPDATE: The Illinois State Rifle Association is taking Gov. Quinn's proposal very seriously. The bill he hijacked was a pro-gun bill. They sent out the following early this morning:


As many of you know, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn today utilized his amendatory veto authority to hijack a pro-gun bill and convert it into a ban on so called assault weapons. Quinn claims that his bill would "...make Illinois a safer place."

Of course, lawful Illinois firearm owners know better. We know that Quinn's true aim is to obliterate private firearm ownership in the state. Closer analysis of Quinn's bill reveals a host of opportunities for Quinn and his buddy Emanuel to make life miserable for the state's lawful firearm owners.

Here is just a partial list of what this bill would do, if passed:

1. Ban the manufacture, possession or sale of nearly every semiautomatic rifle, pistol and shotgun you own.

2. Specifically ban Glock pistols since they share a common design with the Glock 18, a select fire handgun.

3. Require you to register every semiautomatic firearm and every magazine you own that exceeds 10 round capacity. The kicker is that, under Quinn's proposal, the State Police can charge you unlimited fees to register your guns. Thus if Quinn's bill passes, you could very well find yourself paying $100 or even $1,000 per firearm per year to comply with the law. Additionally, you could find yourself paying $50, $100 or even $500 per year for each "high capacity" magazine you own. Can't pay? Well then you would have to surrender your guns to the State Police for destruction.

This is just a taste of what you could expect from Quinn's gun ban. Twists and turns in the bill would certainly open up the doors to taxation, regulation, and outright bans on every civilian owned firearm in the state.

Oh, and one thing is for sure, you can forget about concealed carry if Quinn's gun ban passes.


1. Call your State Senator ASAP and politely tell him or her that you are a law-abiding Illinois firearm owner and that you expect him or her to vote against Quinn's gun ban should it come up for a vote. If you do not know who your State Senator is, please follow this link:

Illinois Board of Elections District Official/Search:

2. Pass this alert on to all your friends and family who own firearms. Tell them to make calls to the senate as well.

3. Post this alert to any and all Internet blogs or bulletin boards to which you belong.

4. If you're not already a member of the ISRA, then it's time you signed on to protect your gun rights. To join the ISRA, follow this link: www.isra.org/join

5. Make a generous donation to the ISRA today so that we will be able to fight on against gun grabbers like Pat Quinn and Rahm Emanuel: www.isra.org/fight_4_your_rights.
If you live in Illinois, now is the time to act. If you have relatives or friends in Illinois, let them know about this attack on their gun rights.

The Bill Of Needs?

Kurt Hofmann, the St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner, recently posted a column entitled, "Gun rights: Of rights, needs and 'sporting purposes'". In it, he examines the responses from the gun prohibitionists including Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and  Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Rep. Carolyn McCarty (D-NY) to the shooting in Aurora, Colorado.

As Kurt notes, the common thread among all three is their claim that we don't "need" whatever they want to prohibit.
Never mind the fact that it is not the place of Congress to determine what we "need." Never mind the fact that when being attacked by dozens of assailants (as can happen right here in St. Louis) a person most definitely does need the ability to fight off more people than can be accounted for with a 10-round magazine. Never mind that Lautenberg and McCarthy apparently believe that police officers--even retired ones--do have such a need.
 Read the whole column here. It is well worth it.

They Always Have To Turn It Into A Discussion Of Black Swan Events

I didn't see CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight with the interview of Kim Rhode. All I could find of the interview was this clip in which Morgan is asking Kim about the Aurora shooting. While Kim gave an excellent answer, it is sad to think that this is the only thing that CNN deemed worthy of excerpting. There is nothing about her record-breaking performance, nothing about how hard she trained to get there, and nothing really about the shotgun sports.

The United States Is 2 For 2 In Olympic Skeet

Following on the heels of Kim Rhode's gold medal in Women's Skeet, Sgt. Vincent Hancock became a back-to-back winner of the gold medal in Men's Skeet. Hancock took his first gold at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 and repeated this year in London.

In the course of winning this gold medal, Hancock broke his own Olympic record by scoring 148 out of 150 clays. He dropped one clay in each of the two qualifying rounds but was perfect in the finals. The silver medalist, Anders Golding of Denmark, had a 146 while the bronze medalist, Nasser Al-Attiya of Qatar, had a 144.

Sgt. Hancock is a member of the US Army Marksmanship Unit. According to this profile of him, he shoots a Beretta DT-10 with a Ergosign stock.

Kim Rhode On NRA News

John Popp of NRA News interviewed gold medalist Kim Rhode on her record-breaking win in London. Unlike some of the other media interviews which have tended to be a little superficial, this interview got into things like social media, the impact of her win on the shooting sports, and the positive attention it has brought to shooting. One of the interviews that Kim mentioned she will be doing is with Piers Morgan of CNN.

The Concealed Carry Holster Fashion Show

The First Annual Concealed Carry Holster Fashion Show was held Saturday a week ago. Not only did it attract the media but it was a sold out event. It was held in the New York State town of Hudson which, as the name might indicate, located in the Hudson River Valley about 30 miles south of Albany. The show was a fundraiser for a domestic violence center, REACH of Columbia and Greene Counties, but it was also an event designed to educate (and entertain) women about responsible gun ownership and use.

Gracie McKee of Packing Pretty had a full write-up of the show yesterday with tons of pictures. Gabby of ArmedCandy has assembled a slide show of the event which can be seen here.

I'm glad to see events like this and think that more are needed. If there are a Million Moms carrying concealed, the gun prohibitionists can start hanging it up. Moreover, self-protection and self-defense with a firearm becomes the "women's issue" that it rightly should and only misogynistic politicians would stand in the way of this.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Naming Names

Richard Serrano of the LA Times writes that a report that should be released later this week by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee names five BATFE officials as collectively responsible for Operation Fast and Furious. The report also states that they attempted to hide from the Mexican the fact that is was walked guns that were used in the murder of the Mexican attorney general's brother.

This report is the first of three to be released. The other two will detail the failure of supervision and leadership by Justice Department officials and will go into the obstruction of the Congressional investigation by the highest levels of the Justice Department. This report is co-authored by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA).

The officials named in the report include William Newell, William McMahon, Mark Chait, William Hoover, and Kenneth Melson.
They found that William Newell, the special agent-in-charge in Phoenix, exhibited “repeatedly risky” management and “consistently pushed the envelope of permissible investigative techniques.” The report said “he had been reprimanded ... before for crossing the line, but under a new administration and a new attorney general he reverted back to the use of risky gunwalking tactics.”

His boss, Deputy Assistant Director for Field Operations William McMahon, “rubber stamped critical documents that came across his desk without reading them,” the report alleged. “In McMahon’s view it was not his job to ask any questions about what was going on in the field.”

They added that McMahon gave “false testimony” to Congress about signing applications for wiretap intercepts in Fast and Furious.

His supervisor, Mark Chait, assistant director for field operations, “played a surprisingly passive role during the operation,” the report said. “He failed to provide oversight that his experience should have dictated and his position required.”

Above Chait was Deputy Director William Hoover, who the report said ordered an exit strategy to scuttle Fast and Furious but never followed through: “Hoover was derelict in his duty to ensure that public safety was not jeopardized.”

And they said Melson, a longtime career Justice official, “often stayed above the fray” instead of bringing Fast and Furious to an “end sooner.”
The report, while naming Melson as one responsible officials, said that Justice Department officials tried to make him the scapegoat for the operation after his testimony to the committee on July 4th of 2011.

To date, all the men named in the report still hold positions within BATFE headquarters or the Justice Department in the case of Kenneth Melson.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Congratulations To Kim Rhode

Kim Rhode not only won the gold medal in Women's Skeet today but she did it with a new Olympic record. Even more impressive, she became the first American to medal in five consecutive Olympic events.

Kim Rhode at the medal ceremony

The previous Olympic record for Women's Skeet was a score of 93 (out of 100). Kim's winning score was a 99. This means she only missed one clay pigeon on her way to a gold medal.
Rhode's history-making performance began with an Olympic record score in the qualification round, as she missed only one target out of 74 shots.

She then erased any doubt about who would take the gold, nailing all 25 targets in the final to tie the world record with her gaudy total score of 99, a number that blew the Olympic record of 93 out of the water. Rhode had shared the record of 93, which she and two other women turned in at the Beijing Olympics, but Italy's Chiara Cainero wound up winning gold in a shoot- off.

This time, Rhode didn't leave anything to chance. Her closest competition on Sunday was China's Wei Ning, who hit a total of 91 shots to fall way short of the standard set by Rhode. In those terms it was the most dominating performance in Olympic shooting history, with Rhode securing the largest margin percentage between first and second place.

Kim Rhode after the prelims

The New York Times had this to say about her making US Olympic history.
Under drizzly, gray British skies, the shooter Kim Rhode made American Olympic history.

Rhode, 33, became the first American athlete to win five medals in an individual event in five consecutive Olympic Games. She earned a gold medal in women’s skeet on Sunday, setting an Olympic record and tying the world record by hitting 99 out of 100 targets. She also became the first woman to win three gold medals in Olympic shooting.
In her first Olympics in Atlanta in 1996, Kim won a gold in Double Trap. She was all of 17 at the time. She followed this with a bronze in Sydney in 2000 and another gold in 2004 in Athens. The Olympics then did away with Double Trap for women and she switched to Skeet. She won silver in 2008 in the event in Beijing and now the gold again in London. With five medals in five Olympics, does she plan to retire? What do you think!
This success marked another high in Rhode's amazing career, but she insisted she is far from finished and she now has her shotgun sights set firmly on Rio 2016 - and beyond.

'I do not see myself quitting any time soon,' Rhode said.

'I'm looking forward to 2016 and a few more after that. The oldest Olympic medallist was a shooter and he was 72, so I still have a few more in me.'
According to a story in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Kim's family had some special pins made for this Olympics with the approval of the US Olympic Committee. The pin even has a battery operated light that makes the shotgun muzzle glow red when you push on it.

Many countries fully financially support their shooters. The US does not unless you want to count the US Army Marksmanship Unit. Given she shoots anywhere between 500 and 1,000 rounds daily, the costs add up. The Christian Science Monitor estimates she has shot over $3 million worth of shells over her career. I do think her training and competition ammo is provided free by Winchester but still...
Training since before she won gold in Atlanta as a 17 year old, Rhode estimates she shoots 500 to 1,000 rounds shot a day. The total cost of that ammunition over the course of her competitive life (again thanks to the math whizzes at the Times): $3.65 million.

Can we remember her name now? Kim Rhode. Please take out a piece of paper and write it down if you have to.

At every competition, she is "competing against people who have everything given to them," she said at a media event in May, noting that other top shooting countries fund their shooters. And still, she has accomplished more than any of them.

"In China," she added, "if they win, their families are taken care of for life."

She lugs all her own gear to practice at a California range. In her spare time, she builds cars. Builds them. She has 13, including a 1917 Model-T, she said. Her favorite? A Shelby Cobra she built from a kit.

Aren't famous Olympians supposed to be winning cars, not building them?
 In conclusion, congratulations to Kim Rhode on her record-breaking performance. She had done her country and her family proud.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

NRA News On Last Day Of Arms Trade Treaty Talks

Ginny Simone of NRA News interviews Tom Mason of the World Forum on the Future of Sport Shooting Activities about the last day of the Arms Trade Treaty talks. They discuss the speech by the State Department's Tom Countryman which said that consensus had not been found and the talks need to be continued later. In essence, the US can't agree to it...yet. They also discuss the letter from Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) and 50 other senators saying they won't support the treaty.

In a later interview with Tom Mason, Ginny Simone asks about the report that Russia and Canada both indicated they can't support the treaty at this time.

H/T Weer'd Beard

Friday, July 27, 2012

US Refuses To Sign Arms Trade Treaty According To CCRKBA

The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms just sent out a news flash a few minutes ago applauding the United States for its refusal to sign the UN's Arms Trade Treaty. They said the announcement was made in New York this morning.

I did see that Russia is refusing to sign the draft treaty saying they are dissatisfied with it and the draft needs more work.
BELLEVUE, WA – The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms today applauds the decision by the United States to not sign the proposed International Arms Trade Treaty, and CCRKBA credits grassroots action for the gun rights victory.

CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb, who is at the United Nations in New York, said the announcement came Friday morning after a week of intense negotiations.

“I think the grassroots surge by American gun owners against this treaty convinced our government to not sign this document,” Gottlieb said. “The proposed treaty, as written, poses serious problems for our gun rights, and the sovereignty of our Second Amendment.”

CCRKBA has been active in raising public awareness about the proposed treaty, and Gottlieb said he is proud of members and supporters who made “stepped up to the plate” and contacted their U.S. senators.

“This is freedom in action,” Gottlieb stated. “We are gratified that so many did so much to protect their Second Amendment rights from an international gun rights grab.

UPDATE:  According to Colum Lynch, UN reporter for the Washington Post and Turtle Bay blogger for Foreign Policy Magazine, the US isn't actually refusing to sign the ATT. They and the Russians are putting out a joint statement saying that they need more to study the proposed treaty. From his Tweet on the subject, "UN diplomat said Washington wants to put off action on a new arms trade treaty, after the US election."

From his blog:
The United States upended a major international treaty negotiation, telling foreign delegates at the final session today that they needed more time to consider the pact. Some diplomats said that Washington is seeking another six months, pushing off any decision on the politically sensitive treaty until after the U.S. election. Russia, Indonesia, and India also asked for more time.

Thomas Countryman, U.S. deputy secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation, informed representatives of the U.N.'s 193 member states that the United States still needed time to consider the text.
He continues:
The United States told delegates that it did not have "core" objections to the draft treaty under consideration, but that it needed more time, saying that while the U.N. negotiations have been playing out since July 2, they only received the final text in the past 24 hours.
In my opinion this is something for great concern. That the US doesn't have "core" objections and wants to wait until after the election spells trouble for gun rights. I say this because they have no real objections to a treaty that, despite their denials, has negative implications for the Second Amendment. Moreover, putting it off until after the election means a treaty could be approved by a lame duck US Senate. This may seem paranoid but I don't trust either Obama or his State Department on this issue.

SAF Files Suit In Missouri Over Concealed Carry For Legal Immigrants

In a case that is similar to their winning efforts against the City of Omaha, the Second Amendment Foundation has filed suit in Federal District Court on behalf of a Canadian who is a legal permanent resident. Edward Plastino resides just north of St. Louis and is seeking to obtain a Missouri concealed carry permit but is prohibited by law. As noted here a number of times in the past, discrimination based upon alienage is considered suspect and is subject to strict scrutiny.

From the SAF release:
BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of a Canadian citizen who is a legal resident of Missouri, challenging that state’s statutory prohibition on the carrying of concealed firearms by non-citizens.

The case seeks to overturn the state’s non-citizen concealed carry ban on constitutional grounds, specifically the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, and the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause. The plaintiff is Edward F. Plastino, a Canadian citizen and Status Indian, based on his partial Chippewa heritage. He has lived primarily in this country since 1995, and in Missouri since 2006. SAF and Plastino are represented by attorneys Matthew Singer of St. Louis and David Sigale of Glen Ellyn, Ill.

“This is a case similar to our successful lawsuits against the City of Omaha and Washington State, and our current action in New Mexico, challenging local gun laws that discriminate against legal resident aliens,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb. “Mister Plastino can legally carry a firearm openly in Missouri, but he cannot legally conceal a firearm for personal protection. That simply does not make sense.”

Plastino was in Mississippi during Hurricane Katrina and its immediate aftermath, but his employer transferred him to St. Louis and then to St. Charles, Mo.

“Mr. Plastino would carry a concealed firearm for personal protection,” Gottlieb said, “except that he realizes he could face prosecution, fine and imprisonment, and other repercussions because he is a non-citizen.”

Defendants in the case are Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster and St. Charles County Sheriff Tom Neer, in their respective official capacities.

“Mr. Plastino has lived and worked in the United States for more than a decade,” Gottlieb noted. “His case represents the plight of untold numbers of legal resident aliens who have demonstrated their willingness to be good members of their communities and abide by our laws. It seems only right to allow them the same protections as our citizens against people who do not abide by our laws.”

Quote Of The Day

The quote of the day comes Miguel at GunFreeZone. In a story about an Alto Bonito, TX teen who used not only a gun but an AK-47 to protect himself and his family from four armed men, Miguel commented:

Remember, every time a Criminal gets shot by a Law Abiding Citizen, Japete sheds a tear, Everitt Ladd throws a fit and Paul Helmke has to pop a Cialis to get his neck straight up again.
That is Tam-worthy snark!

Never Letting A Tragedy Go To Waste

The gun prohibitionists never let a tragedy go to waste. A gaggle of Democrat Senators led by Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have proposed an amendment to S. 3414, the Cybersecurity Act of 2012, that would ban all magazines, stripper clips, drums, and belts that would hold more than 10 rounds. They do carve out an exception for .22 LR.

This is similar to the bill that Rep. Carolyn McCarthy proposed following the shooting in Tucson in 2011. Like her bill, while you could possess a pre-ban mag, it doesn't allow you to sell or transfer it.

Sen. Schumer defended the amendment on the floor of the Senate yesterday. The Hill has video of it here. He said in part,
“Maybe we could come together on guns if each side gave some,” Schumer said.

He suggested that Democrats make it clear that their goal is not to repeal the Second Amendment.

“The basic complaint is that the Chuck Schumers of the world want to take away your guns,” Schumer said of the argument made by gun lobbies. “I think it would be smart for those of us who want rational gun control to make it know that that’s not true at all.”

Schumer also pointed out that it would be reasonable for the right to recognize that background checks on those buying guns is necessary — as called for in the Brady law. He also said average Americans don’t need an assault weapon to go hunting or protect themselves.

“We can debate where to draw the line of reasonableness, but we might be able to come to an agreement in the middle,” Schumer said. “Maybe, maybe, maybe we can pass some laws that might, might, might stop some of the unnecessary casualties … maybe there’s a way we can some together and try to break through the log jam and make sure the country is a better place.”
The only problem when gun prohibitionists like Schumer and others of his ilk say "reasonableness", "rational", and "common sense" is that they expect those of us who favor gun rights to give up something so that we don't lose even more stuff. I never see them proposing the end to any of the 20,000 plus bills that are already on the books.

As Sebastian said last night, it is good that this fight is now out in the open. Moreover, now that it is, we need to counter it.

The full text of Senate Amendment 2575 is below:
SA 2575. Mr. LAUTENBERG (for himself, Mrs. BOXER, Mr. REED, Mr. MENENDEZ, Mrs. GILLIBRAND, Mr. SCHUMER, and Mrs. FEINSTEIN) submitted an amendment intended to be proposed by him to the bill S. 3414, to enhance the security and resiliency of the cyber and communications infrastructure of the United States; which was ordered to lie on the table; as follows:

At the appropriate place, insert the following


(a) Definition.--Section 921(a) of title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting after paragraph (29) the following:

``(30) The term `large capacity ammunition feeding device'--

``(A) means a magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device that has a capacity of, or that can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than 10 rounds of ammunition; but

``(B) does not include an attached tubular device designed to accept, and capable of operating only with, .22 caliber rimfire ammunition.''.

(b) Prohibitions.--Section 922 of such title is amended by inserting after subsection (u) the following:

``(v)(1)(A)(i) Except as provided in clause (ii), it shall be unlawful for a person to transfer or possess a large capacity ammunition feeding device.

``(ii) Clause (i) shall not apply to the possession of a large capacity ammunition feeding device otherwise lawfully possessed within the United States on or before the date of the enactment of this subsection.

``(B) It shall be unlawful for any person to import or bring into the United States a large capacity ammunition feeding device.

``(2) Paragraph (1) shall not apply to--

``(A) a manufacture for, transfer to, or possession by the United States or a department or agency of the United States or a State or a department, agency, or political subdivision of a State, or a transfer to or possession by a law enforcement officer employed by such an entity for purposes of law enforcement (whether on or off duty);

``(B) a transfer to a licensee under title I of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 for purposes of establishing and maintaining an on-site physical protection system and security organization required by Federal law, or possession by an employee or contractor of such a licensee on-site for such purposes or off-site for purposes of licensee-authorized training or transportation of nuclear materials;

``(C) the possession, by an individual who is retired from service with a law enforcement agency and is not otherwise prohibited from receiving ammunition, of a large capacity ammunition feeding device transferred to the individual by the agency upon that retirement; or

``(D) a manufacture, transfer, or possession of a large capacity ammunition feeding device by a licensed manufacturer or licensed importer for the purposes of testing or experimentation authorized by the Attorney General.''.

(c) Penalties.--Section 924(a) of such title is amended by adding at the end the following:

``(8) Whoever knowingly violates section 922(v) shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.''.

(d) Identification Markings.--Section 923(i) of such title is amended by adding at the end the following: ``A large capacity ammunition feeding device manufactured after the date of the enactment of this sentence shall be identified by a serial number that clearly shows that the device was manufactured after such date of enactment, and such other identification as the Attorney General may by regulation prescribe.''.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, July 26, 2012

This Is A Change - A TV Station With A Pro-AR Story

WKRG-TV of Mobile, Alabama ran a story today about the AR-15 and, to a lesser extent, the AK-47. It featured an interview with a local gun dealer as well as local law enforcement and a couple of "men in the street." They called it the best-selling rifle in America.

What I found refreshing about this report is that it didn't treat the AR as an "evil black rifle". The reporter cited FBI statistics that no murder was committed in Alabama during 2010 with a rifle. It even pointed out that a number of people were killed with fists. Another thing that I really liked is that the law enforcement officers were pro-gun. One officer made the point that people were killing one another long before firearms were invented - or, as he said, with sticks and stones.

The one anti-gun person was such a caricature that it adds a bit of levity to the story. You have to watch the short video to get what I mean.

Jerry Ahern, RIP

If you are into post-apocalyptic fiction like I am, you know Jerry Ahern. He wrote a very popular series of books called The Survivalist which dealt with life after the US was nuked by the Soviets. This 27 book series began with Total War which was published in 1981.

Jerry was a gun guy and you knew it if you read any of his work. His protagonist in The Survivalist series, Dr. John Thomas Rourke, didn't just carry a .357 Magnum. He carried a Colt Python .357 Magnum that had been given the MetaLife treatment and was MagNaPorted. Rourke's favorite pistol was the Detonics CombatMaster 1911. He didn't just carry one of these in a shoulder holster but two of them along with his A.G. Russell Sting stilletto.

Jerry must have really liked the Detonics because he became president of Detonics in their third iteration, Detonics USA. He ran the company from 2004-2007 and introduced the StreetMaster which was a full-size slide on the compact CombatMaster frame.

Jerry also wrote a monthly gun review article for Dillion Precision's The Blue Press. His last one appeared in the June 2012 issue. He also blogged occasionally at Downrange.tv.

Shortly after I began this blog I asked Jerry to read over it and give me his opinion of it. He very graciously did so. He thought it looked good and called it "eclectic" which I took to be a great compliment. Encouragement from writers like Jerry is vital in the early days of a blog and I'll always remember his kindness in giving it.

Jerry died on Tuesday after a battle with cancer. He was only 66. His family released the following statement on Facebook yesterday.
FROM THE FAMILIY: We just wanted to let all of Jerry's friends know that their kind thoughts and wishes over the last few months have been greatly appreciated. Jerry wrote about how to survive most of life's disaters, but, unfortunately he was unable to survive cancer. He put up a very strong fight, as we all knew he would, but on Tuesday morning he was overpowered by the disease and passed away. Please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers and please always remember Jerry as the wonderful Husband, Father, Grandfather, and friend that he was.
Evan Funeral Home in Jefferson, GA, Jerry's home, posted this obituary.
Mr. Jerry Ahern, age 66, of Jefferson, passed away on Tuesday, July 24, 2012. Mr. Ahern was born in Chicago, ILL, a son to the late John and Arline Ahern. Jerry was an award winning, internationally known author of over 80 novels, including The Survivalist series, numerous non-fiction books as well as thousands of magazine articles. In recent years Jerry served as an editorial consultant. Additionally, Jerry was a strong supporter of the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights. Jerry had a strong Christian faith and led a vigorous and healthy lifestyle until a recent and aggressive cancer took his life. His positive and never give up attitude, as well as a good sense of humor, were a part of his day to day throughout. Jerry was deeply cherished and loved by his family; all those that knew him loved him. He had a strong devotion to his family.

Survivors include his wife of 43 years, Sharon Ahern, Jefferson, children, Samantha and Robert Akers, Commerce, Jason and Tracy Ahern, Buford, grandchildren, Olivia Akers, Alec, Aidan, Emily and Addison Ahern, nephew, George R. Smith, Hartwell.

A private family Memorial Service will be held on a later date.
With Jerry's passing, we have lost another one of the good guys. Please keep his wife and family in your prayers.

UPDATE: Another remembrance of Jerry from Survival Weekly. 

SAF Reacts To Lifting Of Stay In Woollard

The Second Amendment Foundation issued a statement yesterday saying that they were "delighted" with Judge Legg's ruling lifting his stay in Woollard v. Sheridan. Judge Legg found his stay was not warranted.
BELLEVUE, WA - The Second Amendment Foundation is delighted that the judge in a Maryland case that challenges the constitutionality of that state's handgun permitting scheme is ready to lift a stay on his original order for the state to process carry permits without a citizen having to provide a "good and substantial reason.'

U.S District Judge Benson Everett Legg will lift the stay on his original order in two weeks because, in his opinion, the stay "is not warranted."

"There is no good reason for the state to continue violating the constitutional rights of its citizens just to maintain this burdensome and arbitrary system," said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. "As Judge Legg originally observed, the Second Amendment's protections extend beyond the home."

While it is possible that the state may file a motion with the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to impose a stay of Judge Legg's order, the trial court precedent is an important one. It established that the Second Amendment right to bear arms does not stop at the door of one's home.

"No citizen should be required to give a good and substantial' reason in order to exercise a constitutionally-protected civil right," Gottlieb observed. "In his order today, Judge Legg noted that the state has pointed to little in the way of truly irreparable injury that is likely to result should their request for a stay be denied'."

The judge also noted, "If a stay is granted, a sizeable number of people will be precluded from exercising, while the case is argued on appeal, what this Court has recognized as a valid aspect of their Second Amendment right. In the First Amendment context, the Supreme Court has stated that loss of First Amendment freedoms, for even minimal periods of time, unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury'."

"It is time for the State of Maryland to understand that government cannot, and must not, be given blanket discretion in its perceived authority to interfere with the exercise of a constitutional right by law-abiding citizens," Gottlieb said.

Maryland Shall Issue On The Lifting Of The Stay In Woollard Decision

With US District Court Judge Benson Legg's lifting of his temporary stay in Woollard v. Sheridan, the Maryland State Police will have to start processing carry permit applications without regard to the "good and substantial reason" requirement.

Maryland Shall Issue has released a 5-point analysis of what the lifting of the stay will mean for Marylanders.
  • On August 8th, MSP will begin to process carry permit applications without regard to the "good and substantial reason" clause that was ruled unconstitutional back in March. Please bear in mind that the state of Maryland may ask the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals (CA4) for an emergency stay of the Woollard ruling. If they ask for a stay and it is granted, MSP may decide to "sit" on applications until the appeal is decided.
  • The appeal of the Woollard decision itself remains before CA4. They may side with the state and overturn the lower court's ruling, or they may uphold the decision. While the order lifting the stay is unquestionably good news, appeal itself is far more important.
  • We anticipate that MSP will receive another flood of carry permit applications. While the law requires that MSP process permit applications within 90 days, the sheer volume of paperwork involved will make that deadline very difficult if not impossible to meet. The court system is inclined to give an entity like MSP some leeway if they are processing applications in good faith. MSI will be monitoring any delays to ensure that it is good faith delays.
  • Remember that while the appeals process plays out, it is possible that permits could be denied or revoked if CA4 or the Supreme Court rules in the state's favor. To that end, we encourage you to avoid spending money that you cannot afford to lose in the process of applying for a carry permit.
  • Expect that Anti-2A forces in the Maryland General Assembly will press hard to find new ways to deny your rights.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Touching The Third Rail

As Sebastian noted, President Obama is going for "gun bans and sales restrictions" with his speech to the National Urban League meeting in New Orleans.

In his speech, he made the obligatory dig at Congress and then said they had implemented things so that "background checks are now more thorough and complete." I guess that is the reason BATFE just redid Form 4473 to ask a buyer's ethnicity - Hispanic or Latino or Not Hispanic or Latino.

As to AKs, I prefer my Bulgarian AK-74 to the AK-47 that Obama thinks is more suited to the military. Not that the US military uses the AK-47, mind you.

Arms Trade Treaty Catches The Attention Of Fox News

The major media outlets have been rather quiet about the Arms Trade Treaty talks going on at the UN in New York. This short report from Fox News seems to be the first one that I've seen on it outside of NRA News.

As part of the the story they interview Chris Cox of the NRA-ILA. Cox pointed out that shotguns, pistols, and rifles are what's meant by "small arms".

Wisdom From Noted Outdoorsman Steny Hoyer

In an effort to steal a page from Jim Zumbo, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) opined that he didn't know any Maryland hunters using AR-15s to hunt deer, ducks, or geese. His remarks came at a media breakfast organized by the Christian Science Monitor.
"Assault weapons have one purpose and one purpose only, to kill a lot of people quickly, no other purpose. I don't think anybody hunts deer, quail, geese, in Maryland with an assault rifle. And if they do, they shouldn't be," he said, though conceded that there is not enough support in Congress to revive the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004.

Perhaps one reason Mr. Hoyer doesn't know anyone hunting ducks and geese with an AR-15 is because it is against Maryland hunting regulations. The only firearms allowed for hunting migratory game birds in Maryland are shotguns. Moreover, much of Maryland - and it seems all of Hoyer's district - restricts the use of rifles in hunting deer and only allow shotguns. In those place that do allow centerfire rifles, it must have a cartridge that generates 1,200 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. Many 5.56 or .223 rounds fall short of this requirement.

Now if Mr. Hoyer knew any woodchuck or coyote hunters he'd know that an AR-15 is not only suitable but ideal for hunting them. Frankly, I think that even if Steny Hoyer was confronted with the facts about the use of ARs in hunting, he'd still make the same stupid and outrageous comments.

Blood Dancing Bloomberg-Style

Within hours of the shooting in Aurora, Colorado, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg was on the air demanding more gun control. On Monday night on CNN, he went further and made the ludicrous statement that the police should go on strike until more gun control is enacted.

Now Bloomberg's Illegal Mayors has gotten into the act with a full page ad in USA Today, a brand new website, and a petition demanding "a plan" to stop "gun violence" (sic). They are using some of the survivors of the Tucson shooting to push the message. Moreover, the gun prohibitionists from VPC and CSGV are going full tilt on Twitter pushing Bloomberg's new efforts.

Interestingly enough, Bloomberg's call to have the police strike may violate New York State's Taylor law which says "no public employee or employee organization shall cause, instigate, encourage, or condone a strike." Hmm, isn't the mayor of New York City a public employee? Unfortunately, just like with his efforts at gun shows in Arizona where he hired private investigators to make straw purchases, he'll probably skate on this as well.

CCRKBA - Bloomberg Should Go On Strike

In response to Mayor Bloomberg's incredibly stupid remarks suggesting that police nationwide should go on strike in the name of more gun control laws, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms had this response:
BELLEVUE, WA – Anti-gun New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s call for American police officers to “go on strike” in an effort to force Congress and state legislatures to push his gun prohibition agenda is “a new low in demagoguery,” the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms said today.

“Mayor Bloomberg has gone from bluster to blackmail with his extremist gun ban campaign,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “He would have police officers quit their posts and abandon their public safety missions in what would amount to an exercise of national extortion.

“Perhaps he believes it would be better,” he noted, “for cops to walk off the job than to engage in illegal gun and drug transactions, as some of his own New York City police have done lately.”

Bloomberg was on CNN Monday speaking to Piers Morgan when he encouraged police officers stage this strike. Gottlieb noted that by even making the suggestion, Bloomberg might be close to violating a New York statute known as the Taylor Law. Under that 1967 law – officially titled the Public Employees Fair Employment Act – public employees and employers are prohibited from encouraging strikes by public employees.

“If Bloomberg is violating the law, it would not be a first for a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the anti-gun organization he founded,” Gottlieb added. “At least 18 members of that group have been prosecuted for various crimes, which is not a track record I’d be proud of.

“Obviously,” he observed, “Mayor Bloomberg did not think things through before he suggested this preposterous course of action. If the nation’s police were to walk off the job today, by tomorrow, American citizens would be flocking to gun stores to purchase firearms for personal protection. All his stupid statement will do is increase gun sales.

“Maybe Bloomberg wants to replace Barack Obama as the unofficial gun salesman of the year,” Gottlieb concluded.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Laptop Bleg

I'm in the market for two laptops.

The first is for the Virtual Stepdaughter who is going back to grad school to get her masters in education. Her current Dell laptop is a 2005 vintage from her freshman year in college. It is more than a bit outdated.

Her non-negotiables are built-in DVD/CD-Rom, Intel (or AMD) based, and decent battery life. She will need to carry it to class sometimes so weight is a major secondary consideration. While her classes will meet only one day a week in person, she'll have additional work to do through Blackboard and/or WebCT.

My consideration on this laptop is that it not cost more than $600 or so.

The second laptop is for me. I'm in the market for an ultrabook or something light, thin, and MacBook Air-like. I'm torn between the MacBook Air and an Intel Windows 7 based ultrabook. I plan to use it for blogging from the road and the like. Battery-life and weight are my major considerations. I'd like it to be under 4 pounds. I don't have any preference between a solid-state drive vs. a more traditional harddrive.

I can get employee discounts on HP and Dell through work and because I'm adjunct faculty at a local university I'm eligible for higher ed pricing.

My goal is to purchase these during North Carolina's tax-free weekend of August 3-5.

Thanks for any and all suggestions.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Yellow Journalism At Its Worst

The Mormon Church sells unregulated guns

That was the title on an opinion piece published yesterday afternoon in The Detroit News. The author, Libby Spencer, uses the tagline "separating fact from fiction" and describes herself as a "social media maven whose political commentary has been published on a wide variety of websites". I think a yellow journalist would be a better description.

What she is referring to is the website for KSL-TV and KSL-Radio in Salt Lake City. The stations are owned by the Deseret Media. This company is a for-profit enterprise of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints aka the Mormons. On the site, a large and active classified section where individuals are selling everything from cars to livestock and everything in between. Among the categories is firearms. This is just like many newspapers and trading post type newspapers also do on a daily basis. Locally here in the mountains, we have Iwanna which does the exact same thing.

Ms. Spencer doesn't even have the decency to accurately quote the source for her story. That source is none other than gun prohibitionist Mayor Michael Bloomberg who, by the way, was one of the first to start dancing in the blood of the Aurora shootings. Bloomberg's office issued a "report" which was featured in the British newspaper The Telegraph back in February. Bloomberg criticized KSL.com for allowing firearms classifieds and said that the Mormon Church "owns (a) unregulated gun sale website".

That is a far cry from saying the Mormons are selling "unregulated" guns.

Most Americans and probably most Michiganders think of Mitt Romney nowadays when they hear the words "Mormon Church". With his presidential run, Romney has become the most prominent Mormon in America. This, in my opinion, is why Ms. Spencer ran with the headline she did. She wanted to tar Romney with her absurd claims about private gun sales in the aftermath of the Aurora, Colorado shooting. Mind you, the shooter there legally purchased all of his firearms at big box sporting good stores and underwent a FBI NICS background check.

As I said in the headline, this is yellow journalism at its worst.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Quote Of The Day

In a column for PJ Media, Mike McDaniel examined the killing of two home owners when their homes were invaded by SWAT teams. In both cases, neither home owner had broken the law and no evidence of any wrongdoing on their part was found. Their only "crime" was to be armed in the presence of overzealous SWAT teams. In the case of Jose Guerena, the police had a warrant but no probable cause for its issue. In the case of Andrew Lee Scott, they had the wrong guy and the wrong apartment when they knocked on the door.

McDaniel is a former police officer, detective, and SWAT team officer so I think he knows of what he speaks.

In a free society, a society with a fundamental right to keep and bear arms, police officers believing they may shoot a citizen in his own home simply because he is carrying a firearm cannot be tolerated. Officers must absolutely avoid putting citizens in situations where they might be armed, or even pointing firearms in the direction of police officers banging on or breaking down their front doors. If such misconduct is tolerated, as in the cases of Jose Guerena and Andrew Scott, the next knock on any citizen’s door may be the last they ever answer.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Now They Want You To Be The Victim, Too

ABC News is not just satisfied with sensationalism and bad reporting a'la Brian Ross. After watching the video below with the ABC news show 20/20's Deborah Roberts, I've come to the conclusion that they want you to roll over and become the victim as well.

In the episode aired last night - the evening after the shooting in Aurora, Colorado - 20/20 reported on clerks and store owners who stood up to armed robbers and fought back. Chris Cuomo introduced it as "Vigilante Video". I think that set the tone for the episode.

In the episode, Deborah Roberts interviewed a jewelry store owner who fought back as well as a convenience store customer who attacked the gun wielding robber with bottles of beer. Neither the owner nor the customer, who by the way was shot four times, regretted their actions. While I don't necessarily think it was the wisest thing for the customer to have gotten involved, I don't condemn him either.

To provide a tut-tutting counter-point to people refusing to be a victim, Deborah Roberts brought in a "security expert". Rosemary Erickson, Ph.D., is a forensic sociologist and the president of Athena Research Corporation. From her vita, it appears she specializes in working as a consultant with convenience stores, restaurants, hotels, and similar such businesses. She serves as an expert witness in civil premises liability cases and testifies on business security.

When asked if it was "heroic" to challenge a robber, Erickson responded, "I think it's suicide." She continued, "Because the odds are you're the one who is going to be injured or killed." She goes on to say that, in general, robbers just want to get the money and get out. Roberts then asks Erickson about the odds of being killed or injured if one resists based upon research. To which, Erickson responded, "They found that 82% of the deaths are when people resisted." From that statement, you are being led to believe that being passive and not resisting is the smart thing to do in virtually all cases. In other words, you are a victim once, don't make it worse by becoming a double-victim by resisting the robber and becoming injured as a result.

Erickson is being disingenuous because her own research seems to contradict this. There was a study from Chicago done in 1986 by Franklin Zimring and James Zuehl that provided the 82% statistic. However, in a study that Erickson did for the National Association of Convenience Stores which analyzed 79 robbery-homicides in convenience stores in 1989 and 1990, she found:
The majority of the cases appeared to be gratuitous and senseless in nature with no signs of resistance....There was evidence of resistance in only 16% of these cases.
In her later research on Teenage Robbers, she found them to be more violent than adult robbers and were twice as likely to hurt or kill their victims. In cases where people were hurt or killed, her survey of teenage inmates found:
The juvenile robbers were asked whether in those robberies in which someone was hurt or killed they had planned to use the weapon in advance. Over half said they did plan to use it before they went in to do the robbery
I'm not sure who at ABC News decided that this episode was the right one to air on the evening after the Aurora shooting but I really do question their motives. To encourage non-resistance in the face of armed criminals ignores just how many compliant persons have been murdered because they were a witness or because it gave the perpetrator a thrill. The media should not be encouraging people to be like sheep before the slaughter.

To say I was disgusted is enough. I don't want to even get started on so-called gun free zones which, as Massad Ayoob once noted, are nothing but hunting preserves for psychopaths.

Watch More News Videos at ABC 2012 Presidential Election Entertainment & Celebrity News

Friday, July 20, 2012

Why I'm Not Commenting On The Shooting In Colorado

Robb Allen of Sharp as a Marble says it better than I could.
Like every other event for the past decade, the media seems to focus on being First rather than being Right. You’ll notice I didn’t qualify the media with “Main Stream” or “Legacy”, or “Dinosaur”. All media. Blogs, Tweets, forums, even chat rooms. Heck, my wife and I were talking about it this morning. I realized we were discussing things as if the information we had was pristine, accurate, and complete.

It’s not. And it won’t be for quite some time.
I don't have that need to be first so I won't be commenting on the how, the why, the who, etc. of the shooting in Aurora, CO other than to say that I'll be keeping the victims and their families in my prayers.

CCRKBA On HR 3594 And The Arms Trade Treaty

Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) is not your average Chicagoland congressman. He is actually pro-gun and pro-Second Amendment unlike many of others. Walsh spoke at the 2011 Gun Rights Policy Conference held in Chicago and gave a very pro-gun speech.

This past December he introduced HR 3594, the Second Amendment Protection Act, which hits directly at proposed the Arms Trade Treaty. It would cut off all funding to the United Nations unless the president certified that the UN had not taken actions that would infringe on the rights of Americans to possess firearms and ammunition.
(a) In General- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the United States may not provide any funding to the United Nations for a fiscal year unless, before the last day of the preceding fiscal year, the President makes the certification described in subsection (b).

(b) Certification- The certification described in this subsection is a certification submitted to the Congress by the President, that states that the United Nations has not taken action to restrict, attempt to restrict, or otherwise adversely infringe on the rights of individuals in the United States to possess a firearm or ammunition, including by imposing burdens on international commerce, or abridge any of the other constitutionally protected rights of citizens of the United States.

The bill currently has 60 co-sponsors including 26 just added recently. The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms released the statement below on HR 3594 and the new sponsors.

BELLEVUE, WA – Twenty-six more members of Congress have signed on as co-sponsors to the Second Amendment Protection Act, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms announced today.

“This is good news,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan M. Gottlieb. “With a vote looming on the proposed United Nations Arms Trade Treaty, this sends a clear message to the Obama administration that the president will face real trouble if he or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signs any document that threatens our constitutionally-protected individual right to keep and bear arms.”

Sponsored by Illinois Republican Congressman Joe Walsh, H.R. 3594 was written with help from CCRKBA staff, Gottlieb noted. It now has 60 co-sponsors, and has been referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. CCRKBA has been urging members and supporters to contact Congress and demand action on this bill.

“The U.N. is scheduled to vote on the proposed treaty next week,” Gottlieb said. “Right now they are pushing to include small arms and ammunition, and because the Devil is always in the details, when they finally hammer out a document that the Obama administration has already indicated it will sign, this could be extremely bad for American gun owners.

“Fortunately, Congressman Walsh had the foresight to understand this,” he continued, “so he introduced this legislation to protect Second Amendment sovereignty. We want the United Nations gun grabbers, and the Obama administration to understand that they are treading in perilous waters if they adopt a treaty that even remotely threatens the firearms freedoms of our citizens.

“We are coming down to the wire on this treaty,” Gottlieb stated. “Our constitutional rights far outweigh the administration’s desire to push its ‘citizen-of-the-world’ philosophy down the throats of American gun owners. We want to see action on the Second Amendment Protection Act, and with 26 new co-sponsors, we are one step closer to achieving that goal."

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Barely Veiled Warning To Whistleblowers?

US Attorney for Minnesota and Acting Director of BATFE, B. Todd Jones, has been distributing a number of videos called "Changecasts" to BATFE agents and employees telling how he plans to run the agency. His Changecast #8: Choices and Consequences sent out July 9th is below.

The Washington Guardian reports that ATF agents have interpreted it as a warning to the field.
“Choices and consequences means simply that if you make poor choices, that if you don’t abide by the rules, that if you don’t respect the chain of command, if you don’t find the appropriate way to raise your concerns to your leadership, there will be consequences,” Acting Director B. Todd Jones told the employees in a video distributed July 9 by email and closed-circuit TV and obtained by the Washington Guardian.

The 3 minute, 22 second videotape was the last of eight “Changecasts” that Jones distributed to ATF employees in recent weeks to describe how he planned to run the agency, improve morale and instill a new culture in the aftermath of one of the agency's worst scandals.

ATF officials in Washington and rank-and-file agents told the Washington Guardian that the tape was interpreted by many as a warning not to pursue the path of the Arizona agents who went outside the agency in 2011 and reported concerns to Congress about the bungled Fast and Furious gun probe that let semiautomatic weapons flow to Mexican drug gangs.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, reacted strongly to reports of this video and the implied message. They are demanding that Jones provide them a clarification of the intent of his statements by July 25th.
WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley and Rep. Darrell Issa today urged the acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to clarify his remarks to employees about reporting concerns within the agency. Grassley and Issa expressed concern that the remarks are likely to chill whistleblowers from reporting legitimate problems and undermine a necessary function for making improvements. The concern is significant because whistleblowers recently put their careers on the line to expose the operational tactics in Operation Fast and Furious that might have led to the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

In a video message released to ATF staff on July 9, 2012, ATF Acting Director Todd Jones says, “… if you make poor choices, that if you don’t abide by the rules, that if you don't respect the chain of command, if you don’t find the appropriate way to raise your concerns to your leadership, there will be consequences. …”

Grassley and Issa wrote to Jones, stating that the essence of whistleblowing is reporting problems outside of an employee’s chain of command, and whistleblowers were instrumental in exposing the shortcomings of the government’s botched gun-walking operation, Fast and Furious. Grassley and Issa wrote to Jones, “Your ominous message – which could be interpreted as a threat – is likely to have a major chilling effect on ATF employees exercising their rights to contact Congress. Therefore, it needs to be clarified.”

Grassley and Issa also wrote, “On numerous occasions, we have stressed to ATF and the Department of Justice the importance of protecting whistleblower disclosures and preventing retaliation against whistleblowers.”
Their full letter can be read here.

Jones has been doing a dog and pony show along with the Changecasts at various BATFE offices around the country. Agents have been strongly encouraged to attend and to submit questions in advance. Originally they were told that everything would be on the table. A post by whistle-blower Vince Cefalu at CleanUpATF.org puts the lie to the "everything on the table" discussions.
As you may know, our new Acting Director Mr. Jones and select staff are traveling the country holding Town Hall meetings for what they have said is an effort to encourage and improve communication, as well as get input from all of us. And as some of you know, I have had a public presence in questioning and pointing out significant and dangerous practices by management of ATF, and have been used as a public face for other ATF personnel who wanted to remain anonymous involving cases and initiatives which have gone horribly wrong and in more than one instance cost innocent lives. We all know we cannot stand by and let ATF disintegrate, and Congress apparently now knows it too.

You need to know that when the Town Hall was scheduled to come to the San Francisco Field Office, I contacted San Francisco Management staff to advise I would like to participate. We had all been advised in writing by one of the ASAC’s that “All active employees (which I am) are encouraged to attend.” I was also advised that all questions and concerns must be submitted in writing ahead of time, so that ATF would have the questions or concerns by close of business one week in advance. So I submitted my questions. I drove (on my own dime) over 200 miles to attend. At close of business on July 10, (the night before) I was advised I would not be allowed to attend. You may want to know about this action by ATF against one of ATF’s so-called “whistleblowers.” I have said nothing publicly.
As to the theme of the Changecast - Choices and Consequences - it has provoked some discussion on CUATF as well. You may remember that a BATFE confidential informant with a history of violence against women in the Seattle area was arrested for raping and abusing an 18-year old girl. That informant had been ultimately approved by Seattle SAC Kelvin Crenshaw. While the first-level supervisor resigned, Crenshaw is still on the job.
"Choices and consequences" my ass Mr. Jones. Do you have any idea how disingenuous you sound given that YOU BROUGHT KELVIN BACK TO WORK AS A SAC????? Or weren't Kelvin's choices deserving of any consequences? I cannot wait to see you attempt to explain that one while at the same time trying to justify letting your managers suspend every agent who sneezes. Especially those agents involved in exposing your regime's nasty antics. And by the way Mr. Jones, you may want to ask Julie Torres what comments she has made about going after the CleanUp posters. I'm thinking that's probably not going to look too good in the light of day either. Bummer huh Jones?
Finally, Agent Jay Dobyns who became a whistle-blower after he was hung out to dry, his home burned, and his family threatened by the Hells Angels with no protection whatsoever from BATFE, had this to say, in part, about the Changecast and the disfunctional management culture at BATFE.
I saw the Changecast from Acting Director Jones when it was posted. Perception is reality and the perception is that if you don't play by the rules they are coming after you. I agree with that. Trust me, I fully understand ATF consequences. I have suffered under both justified and unjusitified consequences in my 25 years. When I had it coming I took it like a man and didn't make excuses or perjure myself to avoid them. When they weren't justified I didn't roll over and play coward like they wanted me to.

The problem is the whistleblowers I know have all played by the rules and presented complaints to first, second and third level supervisors, the Ombudsmans office, Internal Affiars, the EEOC, the OIG and OSC, Congress and finally the media. None that I am personally aware of immediately jumped tough and put themselves in front of a reporter or camera. What Acting Director Jones does not discuss is the utter lack of interest when whistleblowers follow the rules. He talks as if the process is balanced but the truth is it is a one-way street. You get NO attention or concern until an executive is embarrassed in the media. Not even an acknowlegement of a complaint beyond a boilerplate email - thank you for your interest; we are very concerned; blah, etc.

Lump the Changecast message with the institutional history of ATF retaliations (still ongoing). Then add in guys like Thomasson who openly state their intent to trainwreck whistleblowers (when interviewed on his statement claimed that he "did not know and does not care"). Take the managers in Phoenix who attacked and derailed the lives of honest agents like Forcelli and Canino and have not been held accountable (Thomasson's plan being enacted). And then top it off with a "no oversight" policy for the Office of Chief Counsel who has an undeniable track record of whistleblower ambushes. What does that leave you?
An agency where the fear of speaking the truth will leave you in such a demolished state of career, reputation, family and finance that any agent with a brain cell is going to shut up, keep their heads down, let someone else get their head chopped off, and continue to work on (more like survive) in a culture where no one of influence is willing to hear the truth. ATF's acomplishments have historically been made in spite of our executives, not because of them. Is every executive bad? No. Come on. No one is saying that. But the ones who are, they're out of control bad and the good ones don't do a damn thing to reign in their peers for fear that someday the dirty boss could be their boss and the retaliation could come down on them. ATF executives are masters of playing it safe.

While B. Todd Jones will deny that he intended for his Changecast to be seen as a threat to whistle-blowers at BATFE, the message to the field and to management has come across loud and clear - shut-up. As David Codrea's National Gun Rights Examiner column from Monday makes clear, it is working as other potential whistle-blowers have refused to come out due to fear of retaliation.

Sounds Like A Good Time Was Had By All

The Crimson Trace Midnight 3-Gun Invitational was held this past Monday night-Tuesday morning. From all reports, it sounds like a good time was had by all.

Here is Michael Bane's report of the match as well as Tam's report(s) from competing in it.

Iain Harrison sent this out this morning about the match.
World’s First Ever Night Time 3 Gun Match a Huge Success

(Bend, OR) Crimson Trace wrapped up their Midnight 3 Gun Invitational match in the wee small hours of Wednesday morning, after two days of extreme intensity multigun action in the high desert. World-class competitors from across the USA gathered to see if the skills that earned them respect in daytime worked equally well in the inky darkness. Scheduled specifically for early July, when the moonless skies would force shooters to rely heavily on their equipment, mother nature threw just about everything in her repertoire at the attendees, ranging from harsh daytime sun, to thunderstorms, to freezing night time temperatures. Blowing dust ensured that weapons were never more than a dropped magazine away from a complete meltdown, which several shooters discovered to their cost during the eight stages which tested marksmanship, movement, speed and strategy.

Shooters were thrown challenges that were completely outside the realm of the ordinary match. On stage 8, they were expected to engage special targets provided by MGM which glowed brightly in the FLIR thermal scope which was mounted on an FNH Mk46 light machine gun. The signature stage of the match though involved full auto short barreled rifles from PWS, a shoot house and pvs14 nigh vision goggles provided by I2 Technologies, which looked like a scene from a video game. Because of its unusual nature, the event attracted senior members of the 3 gun community such as veteran match director Jeff Cramblit.”I was amazed at how well the match was organized,” said Cramblit. “For Crimson Trace to pull this off without any prior experience speaks volumes about the professionalism of the company.”

Continuing his winning streak, SSGT Daniel Horner of the Army Marksmanship Unit took top honors in a fiercely contested battle with Team Noveske’s Rob Romero and fellow AMU teammate Tyler Payne. Horner equipped his pistol, rifle and shotgun with Crimson Trace lasers and white lights in order to win the champion’s crown and pocket a check for $10,000 from the match organizers. Kay Miculek was victorious in the women’s division, while junior title was won by local boy Cody Leaper.
I'm not sure if I would have competed in it given a chance but it sure would have been fun to watch the action.

Maps of the stages are on-line. Stages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8. Click on the stage number for the link to that stage.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

And I Thought Otters Were Supposed To Be Playful

Otters are cute and playful except when they aren't.

A Minnesota tri-athlete who was practicing open water swimming in a lake outside Duluth ran into one of the non-cute and non-playful otters. She had 25 bites on her feet, back, and legs.
Fangs pierced Leah Prudhomme's legs as she swam across the deep, dark rum-colored northern Minnesota lake. It could be anything, she thought -- muskrats, beavers, maybe a muskie. But it didn't let up.

In the middle of Island Lake near Duluth, the triathlete struggled as the animal sunk its needle-sharp teeth into her legs, feet and back, leaving 25 bite marks, some 2 inches deep.

"It just kept coming after me," said Prudhomme, 33, of Anoka. "You never knew where it was going to bite next."

In between peppering her with puncture marks, the animal's head popped up a few feet away. That's when Prudhomme noticed its distinctive long tapered tail, small beady eyes and gray head. An otter.
Wildlife officers are not sure whether the otter was rabid or merely a mother protecting her young. Prudhomme received treatment at a local hospital and has started the shot series for someone presumed to have been bitten by a rabid animal. Her injuries might have been worse if she was not wearing a wet suit which gave her some protection from the otter's bites.

Prudhomme is a trouper and will be returning to the same lake next month to participate in the Duluth Triathlon. She is not letting this incident stop her from competing.

There Is A Special Place In Hell For These People

I don't usually comment on things like this but I'll make an exception here. For the last 4 1/2 years of her life, my mother was in a nursing home with dementia. The nurses and CNAs took exceptional care of her for which I'll always be grateful.

Thus, when I read about a story like this one from Connecticut involving unionized nursing homes and workers affiliated with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), it makes my blood boil.
“In the hours leading up to the strike by the New England Health Care Employees Union, District 1199 SEIU (the Union) against five HealthBridge Management Health Care Centers in Connecticut, Union members engaged in multiple illegal and dangerous acts against Center residents,” reads a statement released by HealthBridge on Tuesday afternoon.

According to police reports obtained by The Daily Caller and reported Monday by the RedState blog, HealthBridge Management Health Care Centers alleged that union employees in at least three of its facilities intentionally mixed up or removed patient name plates, photos, medical bracelets and dietary advisories as they began their strike. Additionally, the police reports include allegations of both vandalism and larceny.
The median daily cost for a nursing home care in Connecticut last year was $385 per day. By contrast, the national median is $213 per day while the median cost in North Carolina is $190 per day.

There is absolutely no excuse for ever putting the patient's health at risk, union work action or no union work action. As I said in the headline, there is a special place in hell for these people.

Ambassador John Bolton On The ATT

Former US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton has an op-ed in today's New York Daily News on the proposed Arms Trade Treaty and why he considers it a stealth attack on gun rights in the United States.
Ostensibly, UNATT is about regulating government-to-government arms transfers or direct sales by manufacturers to foreign governments. But the hidden agenda of the gun controllers is to craft treaty language that, while seemingly innocuous, has long-range implications for the use and ownership of guns here in America.

The real danger lies in vague, ambiguous stipulations gun-control advocates could later cite as requiring further domestic restraints. In other words, they hope to use restrictions on international gun sales to control gun sales at home.

Indeed, the theme underlying the negotiations is that the private ownership of guns is inherently dangerous.
Bolton goes on to say that strong arguments on regulating the trade in crew-served weapons such as mortars, machine guns, and shoulder-launched missiles can be made. However, he notes that the US does already regulate our international trade in these weapons through the Arms Export Control Act and they we have strong controls on the ultimate users of these weapons. That said, he doesn't think the Arms Trade Treaty will have much impact on trade in such weapons. Rogue nations and even developed nations less scrupulous than the United States (can you say Russia?) will just go around the treaty or ignore it.

He concludes his op-ed by saying:
They may have waited too long, because their current frantic efforts betray their fear that Obama could lose in November, replaced by a pro-Second Amendment Romney administration. Significantly, a bipartisan letter signed by 58 senators has already rejected any treaty that seeks, however cleverly, to impose gun-control obligations on the U.S.

The gun-control crowd’s strategy of trying to do through treaties what it cannot accomplish in America’s domestic political process is not unique to that issue.

We have seen and will undoubtedly see many more examples of frustrated statists, unable to prevail in free and open debate, seeking to take their issues global, hoping to find more sympathetic audiences.

Stopping UNATT will be one clear way to send a message that such strategies are doomed to failure.
If anyone knows what evil lurks in the hearts of the gun controllers at the UN, it would be John Bolton.

2011 - A Mixed Bag For Firearms Production

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives released their 2011 interim Annual Firearms Manufacturing and Export Report on Tuesday of this past week. These summary statistics provide a view of the trends in the firearms industry over the past year and especially when compared to the prior year's report. The table below shows both the absolute and relative changes by category in firearms production in 2011 from the prior year.

If 2010 was the Year of the .380, 2011 certainly was not. Production of .380 pistols fell by 128,449 or 19.3%. It appears that demand for small pistols has shifted from the .380 to the micro-nines such as the Ruger LC9, the Kimber Solo, the Beretta Nano, and the Kahr family of small pistols. In their letter to shareholders for the first quarter of 2011, Ruger attributed new introductions such as the LC9 (and the Gunsite Scout rifle) for 29% of the quarter's sales.

There was significant growth in the medium and larger pistol calibers with 9mm production growing by 33.3% and the greater than 9mm calibers growing by 32.9%. With the way the ATF compiles manufacturing statistics, it is impossible to break out production of the .40 S&W from the .45 ACP. I did suggest last year that I expected to see an increase in this category as 2011 was the centennial of the 1911. While the 1911 did garner a lot of attention in 2011, I just don't think the amount of growth in the category can be attributed to that alone. I do think that a good deal of the growth in these categories can be traced to what Michael Bane calls Gun Culture v. 2.0. That is, That is, those who have come to guns not through growing up in a hunting family - Gun Culture 1.0 - but as a result of the concealed carry movement.

Change in Firearms Production From 2010  to 2011


To .22
To. .22
To .25
To .32
To .32
To .357 Mag
To .380
To .38 Spec.
To 9mm
To .44 Mag
To .50
To .50
Total Pistol
Total Revolver
Total Rifles

Total Shotguns

Total Misc. Firearms

While overall production of revolvers was up 2.48%, production fell in all categories except the very smallest and the very largest. The detailed report which shows production figures in each category by manufacturer are not yet available. Thus, I can't say the 29.2% increase in revolver production in calibers larger than .44 Magnum is only due to increased production of the Taurus Judge and S&W Governor as opposed to a large growth in the number of Single Action Army revolvers in .45 Colt. Nonetheless, it is a reasonable assumption given the marketing campaigns for both the Judge and the Governor by their respective manufacturers.

I think we can safely say the market for long guns has rebounded. After experiencing a significant decline last year, production of both rifles and shotguns grew by double digit percentages for 2011. Even more importantly, both categories saw more shotguns and rifles produced in 2011 than in the banner year of 2009. I anticipate that rifle production in 2012 will be even greater given the continuing unease that gun owners and would-be gun owners feel about President Obama and potential gun control measures his administration might enact in a second term.

One final category of note is what the ATF calls miscellaneous firearms. They define this category as consisting of items that don't fall into the normal firearms classifications of handgun or long gun. Included within it are silencers. As the American Silencer Association pointed out last month, applications for the NFA tax stamp for silencers are growing by leaps and bounds. That would be consistent with the 169% growth in production in this category.

This last year was a good year for the firearms industry. If the continuing year-over-year growth in NICS checks is any indication - and I think it is - 2012 will be an even better year for the firearms industry.

CORRECTION: In my original chart, I compared the Interim 2011 numbers with the Interim 2010 numbers. I have corrected the 2010 numbers to reflect the final report for that year. It does not change the trends but it does change some of the percentages. I have corrected them within the original post.