Monday, February 29, 2016

SHARE Act Passes The House Of Representatives

The Sportsmen's Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act of 2015 aka SHARE Act, an omnibus bill, passed the House of Representatives on Friday afternoon. The final vote was 242 Aye to 161 Nay with 30 not voting. Included in the Ayes were 230 Republicans and 12 Democrats while the opponents consisted of 4 Republicans and 157 Democrats.

Why should we care if this bill passed and why should we fight for it in the Senate? If you read the summary below you will see stuff dealing with polar bears, African elephants, and baited fields. Unless you are a wealthy hunter, you might say, "Meh, who cares."

However, you will also see increased funding for public shooting ranges, an exemption of lead bullets from the Toxic Substances Control Act, and provisions for armed self-defense on Corps of Engineers managed properties. The Griffith Amendment also includes provisions for safe passage of guns and ammunition by non-prohibited persons. Those are things that everyone one in the gun culture, whether v1.0 or v2.0 can care about.
This bill revises a variety of existing programs to expand access to, and opportunities for, hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting.

Hunting, Fishing, and Recreational Shooting Protection Act

Components of firearms and ammunition and sport fishing equipment and its components (such as lead sinkers) are exempted from regulations of chemical substances under the Toxic Substances Control Act. The authority of the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to regulate the use of ammunition and fishing tackle based on its lead content is limited.

Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act

The Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act is amended to: (1) increase the proportion of funding from the Act that states may use for acquiring land for public target ranges, and (2) delay by 10 years until 2026 the date after which interest from the wildlife conservation and restoration fund is available for apportionment.

Polar Bear Conservation and Fairness Act of 2015

Interior must issue permits to allow a hunter to import polar bear parts (other than internal organs) if p the bear was legally harvested in Canada from an approved population before the May 15, 2008, listing of the polar bear as threatened.

Recreational Lands Self-Defense Act of 2015

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers may not prohibit individuals from possessing a firearm in public areas of a water resources development project.

Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act

Federal public land management officials must facilitate hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting on certain federal public land.

Hunter and Farmer Protection Act

The bill revises standards for determining what a baited area is for purposes of the prohibition on taking migratory game birds.

The National Park Service (NPS) may not prohibit individuals from transporting bows and crossbows if certain requirements are met.

The NPS may establish hunter access corridors.

Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act Reauthorization of 2015

This bill revises the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act to extend the authority provided to Interior under the Act.

African Elephant Conservation and Legal Ivory Possession Act of 2015

This bill revises and reauthorizes the African Elephant Conservation Act through FY2020.

This bill provides special rules to expand access to federal land and waterways for film crews of five people or fewer.
This is a bi-partisan bill strongly supported by the NSSF, the NRA, Safari Club International, the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, and many other shooting and hunting groups. Indeed, the target range expansion bill was originally proposed back in 2011 by former Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO).

I look at the Republicans who voted against the bill and some I can understand. Rep. Bob Dold (R-IL) took anti-gun Sen. Mark Kirk's seat though he IS a member of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus. Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY) is new and represents a Brooklyn and Staten Island district. Rep. Peter King (R-NY) is just an asshole. However, Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) who represents south-western Kentucky including Paducah has some explaining to do. He is listed as a member of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus and there are a lot of hunters and anglers in his district.

What I don't understand (or maybe I do) are the 18 Democrats who are members of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus that voted against the bill. Included in this list are past leaders of the Caucus such as Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Bennie Thompson (D-MS). Is their concern and that of their fellow Democrat CSC members polar bears, African elephants, and lead sinkers or is it a need to stick to the Democrat's anti-gun national agenda?

I'd wager it is unfortunately the latter.

I am thankful that some Democrats - not all of whom are members of the CSC - crossed the aisle to vote for this bill. The goals of the bill are bi-partisan and worthwhile. Now it is on to the Senate where hopefully it won't get lost in the shuffle. We need to start sending letters, faxes, and emails along with calls to our senators demanding this bill get in and out of committee and brought to the floor for a vote.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Virginia's Grand Compromise

The compromise between Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) and gun rights supporting legislators over concealed carry reciprocity has been consummated. In exchange for voluntary background checks by VA State Police at gunshows and a state prohibition on firearms for those with permanent domestic violence protection orders against them, carry reciprocity agreements that had been abrogated by Attorney General Mark Herring (D-VA) were restored.

In addition, the Virginia State Police have been ordered to enter into reciprocity agreements with other states as needed so that Virginia carry permit holders can carry in those states. As I read the law, Virginia will now recognize all other state's carry permits so long as the holder is 21 years old or older and the permit can be verified 24 hours a day.

Gov. McAuliffe issued a press release calling the passage of this "public safety" legislation historic.
“The historic bipartisan agreement will make Virginia safer by keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and people who cannot pass background checks,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Virginians elect their leaders to work together to get things done, and today I am proud to say we did just that. This is the most significant step forward on gun safety in 24 years, and I look forward to continuing to work with the General Assembly and the public safety community to build on the progress we made this session.”
Buried in press release was the important information about reciprocity agreements with the other statements. It is to be expected that a gun prohibitionist like McAuliffe would want to downplay that part of the agreement and play up the minor concessions from gun rights advocates.

The National Rifle Association's statement on the deal went to the heart of the deal - carry reciprocity.
Concealed Carry Reciprocity Deal Signed in Virginia

Fairfax, Va.— The National Rifle Association (NRA) commends Virginia’s leaders for reaching an agreement to secure the rights of law-abiding concealed carry permit holders. H.B. 1163 and S.B. 610 which will restore and promote concealed carry reciprocity for permit holders in the Commonwealth and around the country, were signed into law today.

“Now, more than six million law-abiding gun owners will be free to travel in and out of Virginia with their Second Amendment rights intact," said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action. "Self-defense is a fundamental right that must be respected."

On Dec. 22, 2015, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring decided to sever concealed carry reciprocity agreements with half the country. The change was set to take effect early in 2016. The decision nullified agreements with the following states; Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

In addition to providing concealed carry recognition for valid permits from other states, the bipartisan legislation signed today requires the Virginia State Police to enter into reciprocal agreements with other states where needed.

“Concealed carry permit holders are among the safest groups of citizens in Virginia and throughout the country. On behalf of the NRA’s more than five million members, we commend this effort to protect public safety and fundamental freedoms. Hopefully this effort will encourage Congress to pass national right to carry reciprocity legislation as soon as possible,” concluded Cox.

Governor McAuliffe signed the legislation earlier today despite a repeated onslaught of attacks from New York City Billionaire Michael Bloomberg and his misguided gun control allies.


Thursday, February 25, 2016

As Bad As The Sandy Hook Truthers

I and others get regular emails from what I call "Sandy Hook Truthers". They assert a number of things including that the whole thing was a hoax. A recent Hillary Clinton fundraising email is in the same league as the Truthers.

As reported by the Daily Caller, the email is headlined, "The differences between Senator Sanders and me." It goes on to assert that SHE is the only one standing with the Sandy Hook families because SHE voted against the Protection for Legal Commerce in Arms Act of 2005.
In 2007, Senator Ted Kennedy made a valiant effort to pass immigration reform — I stood with him and voted for that bill. Senator Sanders voted against it.

This week, families from Sandy Hook are in court suing the manufacturer of the gun that killed their children, challenging the law that gives gun-makers legal immunity. I voted against that law. Senator Sanders voted for it.
The bill passed the Senate in a 65-31 vote and the House in a 283-144 vote. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was in the House of Representatives then as the sole representative from the state of Vermont. He along with 59 Democrats voted for passage of the PLCAA. Only four Republicans voted against it including, believe it or not, then-Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX).

What Hillary Clinton should be railing against are scum-dog ambulance chasing lawyers who are preying on the emotions of the families of the dead children of Sandy Hook. The manufacturer of the stolen AR-15 is no more responsible for the deaths of those children than you or I. That doesn't stop the ambulance chasing lawyer from dreaming of a big payday along with big headlines.

Likewise, when it comes to presidential politics and the chance to scarf up money and votes, everything is on the table for Hillary. If it puts her in the same league as the Truthers, so what. They deny the event happened and she is saying that Bernie stands in the way of "justice" for those poor families. Whether she believes what she says is true or not is irrelevant. Money and votes - not the families of Sandy Hook - is what she cares about.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

SHARE Act Comes To Vote In The House This Week

Despite the name - the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act of 2015 - it isn't just for Fudd's. Yes the act does include a lot of things for hunters but it also includes many things for the Gun Culture 2.0 non-hunting shooter. Stuff like protecting against regulations concerning lead ammunition, support for the development of shooting ranges, and forcing the US Army Corps of Engineers to allow people to protect themselves with a firearm on Corps managed recreational projects. It would also protect knife owners and gun collectors who may have knives or guns with elephant ivory grips.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation is supporting this bill and has provide a convenient way to send an email to your congressional representative. The link is in their blurb below:
We need your voice! The National Shooting Sports Foundation has joined 50 sportsmen's groups representing millions of American sportsmen and hunters to urge members of the US House to vote in favor of HR 2406, the SHARE Act, bipartisan sportsmen's legislative package, when it is on the house floor this week.

The SHARE Act is the most important pro-sportsmen and pro-hunting legislation in a generation. It passed the House in the previous Congressional session, but was stalled procedurally in the U.S. Senate.

Use this action alert or call the U.S. House of Representatives at 202-224-3121, ask for your U.S. Representative to vote YES on the SHARE Act.

Act today to help promote preserve and protect America's hunting traditions and the shooting sports.
Email: action alert Call: 202-224-3121
 I used the handy-dandy action alert link to send a message to my congressman. It took all of 30 seconds. I urge you to do the same. We've been trying to get parts of this bill passed for the last three Congresses and now is the time to finally get it done.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Presidential Firearms At The Cody Firearms Museum

Ashley Hlebinsky, the Robert W. Woodruff Curator at the Cody Firearms Museum, presents some of the firearms owned and presented to US presidents in this video from the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

There are a number of Winchester lever actions in the collection including an 1866 presented to LBJ, an 1894 presented to Ike, and a Model 64 presented to Ronald Reagan. There is also an engraved Winchester Model 70, serial number 500,000, that was made for John F. Kennedy. As Ms. Hlebinsky points out, JFK was a Life Member of the NRA and enjoyed shooting.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Paul's Legal Defense Fund

I posted earlier in the week regarding the need to raise funds for Paul Lathrop for his bail and legal defense. As I updated, he is now out of jail and home. However, as he told me after his meeting with his attorney yesterday in Omaha, he faces a year of uncertainty while the legal process goes on. His attorney is handling the case for a flat fee but it not a unsubstantial sum of money. This is especially true for good people of modest means like Paul and his wife Susan.

Paul and Susan with me at the SHOT Show.

What makes this so frustrating is that Paul and Susan are having their life turned upside down over an untrue and unsubstantiated accusation by a disgruntled hot-head who was the aggressor in this whole matter. Aggravating it even more is that Sarpy County, Nebraska has a poor reputation on gun rights from what I've been told.

Paul is forbidden by his attorney from going public with the nitty-gritty of what happened but I know Paul. I first met him at the Gun Rights Policy Conference in Orlando in 2012 and then joined The Polite Society Podcast team over a year ago.

Replacing the PayPal link is a GoGetFunding page. This was the mechanism suggested by gun rights attorney Evan Nappen. The link is below:

You can read more about this case and the appeal on our Polite Society Podcast page.

Please be as generous as you can be. The minimum is $1. Every little bit helps. Please don't feel they don't appreciate a small donation. They do. The broader the level of support, the better.

UPDATE: As of this morning, 126 people have donated $4,811. This puts the effort at 32% to the total needed. This is a good start and I appreciate everyone who has contributed.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Campus Carry Updates In Texas And Georgia

Two events in Texas and Georgia illustrate the advance of campus carry.

In the first event, University of Texas President Gregory L. Fenves said he "would bow to state law" regarding campus carry. He adopted the recommendations of the Campus Carry Working Group who has advised him on how to comply with the law. His decision will allow licensed concealed carry holders to carry in classrooms at the University of Texas. However, he will still work to ban firearms from most on-campus residential halls.

From the Austin Statesman:
“I do not believe handguns belong on a university campus, so this decision has been the greatest challenge of my presidency to date,” said Fenves, who has led the Austin flagship campus since June 3. “I empathize with the many faculty members, staffers, students and parents of students who signed petitions, sent emails and letters, and organized to ban guns from campus and especially classrooms.

“However, as president, I have an obligation to uphold the law. Under the law, I cannot adopt a policy that has the general effect of excluding licensed concealed handguns from campus. I agree with the working group that a classroom exclusion would have this effect.”
Fenves is confident his decision will stand up to challenges. However, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has previously issued a non-binding advisory memo stating that dorms shouldn't be off-limits to firearms.

Moving on to Georgia, the House Public Safety and Homeland Security approved HB 859 which would allow concealed carry in school buildings including classrooms. However, the bill excludes carry from dorms, sorority and fraternity houses, and athletic facilities. The bill was passed out of committee on a 10-3 vote and now goes to the House Rules Committee before it is voted on by the entire Georgia House of Representatives.

If the Georgia bill passes the House, it will go on to the Georgia Senate. Not being a Georgian, I'm not sure of the bill's chances in the Senate. That body did remove campuses from an expansion of carry locations in a 2014 bill.

H/T Georgia Carry

Now That Chris Christie Is Out Of The Race, What Happens To This Guy?

When Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) was seriously running for the Republican nomination for President, high profile cases involving New Jersey's unjust gun laws tended to bring clemency. In this latest case involving a Pennsylvania corrections officer who was hit by a drunk driver on his way home from Atlantic City, one has to wonder.

Ginny Simone, in a report for NRA News, discusses the case of Sgt. Ray Hughes who is facing felony charges.

A Couple Of Alerts From ISRA

The Illinois State Rifle Association has always had to fight the gun prohibitionists on many fronts. These two alerts show that nothing has changed.

First, if you live in the Cook County area, you might want to have a bun and coffee at the Corner Bakery tonight around 6:30pm.

Your ISRA has learned that a gun control group called "Northwest Suburbs Organizing for Action(NWSOFA)" will be holding a recruitment and strategy meeting this week in Arlington Heights. The NWSOFA has the following objectives:

1. Passage of a state "dealer licensing" law which would drastically raise the cost of firearms and ammo and eventually lead to the closing of all gun shops in the state. The NWSOFA is a proponent of Father Pfleger's "Bad Apple Gun Dealer" campaign which has harassed law-abiding firearm dealers for several years.

2. Replacing the late Justice Scalia with a gun grabber.


1. No matter where you live, you should plan on attending the NWSOFA Meeting:

WHAT: Gun control recruitment and strategy meeting

WHEN: Thursday, February 18, 2016

TIME: 6:30 PM

WHERE: The Corner Bakery, Northpoint Shopping Center, 470 E. Rand Road, Arlington Heights

NOTE: Please dress "under cover" so that you are not denied entry to the meeting. Nobody needs to know your view on guns until the meeting gets started.

2. Pass this alert on to all your gun owning friends and family and tell them to attend the meeting.

3. Please post this alert to any and all Internet blogs, bulletin boards, or social media sites to which you may belong.

Second, no matter where you live in Illinois, you can respond to this one. Under a bill being considered, you would need the permission of every building owner and tenant in a 1,000 yard radius to discharge a firearm while hunting. The bill exempts "licensed ranges". That's fine except there is no such thing in Illinois. The wording "licensed ranges" is something that has been used in Bloomberg-sponsored bills in other states. I don't doubt that this is the origin of this bill as well.

The gun-grabbers are going all out with HB6008 in hopes of dealing a fatal blow to hunting and target shooting here in Illinois.  We all know that the next step would be a full out attack on defensive firearm ownership and the shuttering of gun shops.

Under HB6008, it would be illegal for anyone to discharge a firearm for hunting purposes within 1,000 yards of any building without the permission of the building owner or tenant.  Yes, that's right - 1,000 yards!  What that means is that if you want to bag a rabbit for dinner, you have to get the permission of every person living or working within one square mile of where you're standing.  What are the odds of success with that endeavor? 

Meanwhile, your dinner has hippity-hopped his way down the road.

Even crazier is the provision in HB6008 that would make it illegal for you to allow a dog to hunt within 1,000 yards of any building without the permission of the building owner or tenant.  So, you're out walking your dog one evening and Scooby-Doo happens to flush out a couple of sparrows. permission from the neighbors so it's off to the big house for the two of you.

The gun controllers are especially sneaky when it comes to the third provision of HB6008 - a provision that exempts "licensed" ranges from the 1,000 yard rule.  If you feel good about that exemption, you shouldn't because there are no licensed ranges in Illinois.  No license - no neighbor permission - no range.  It's as simple as that.


1.  Call the bill's main sponsor, Rep. Carol Sente at (217) 782-0499, and POLITELY inform her that you are a lawful Illinois firearm owner and that you won't be fooled by what's contained in HB6008.  Tell her that you expect her to withdraw the bill or you will do everything in your power to see that HB6008 is defeated and that you will work tirelessly to prevent her from being re-elected.

2.  Call your own State Representative and tell him or her that you are a law-abiding firearm owner and that you deeply oppose HB6008.  Tell him or her that you expect them to vote against the bill.  If you do not know how to get in touch with your State Representative, then click here for the Illinois State Board of Elections

3.  Pass this alert on to your gun-owning family and friends. Tell them to make calls as well.

4.  Post this alert to any and all Internet blogs, bulletin boards or social media sites to which you may belong.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Friend Needs Our Help (Updated)

As many of you know, I am a regular co-host of The Polite Society Podcast. Paul Lathrop is the host, producer, and creator of that podcast and he needs our help.

His regular job is that of a long-haul truck driver and he often has student drivers assigned to him. On Friday, he was training a student and they had stopped in Nebraska for refueling. This is where the incident began. The summation below by Frank Fiamingo, a fellow friend and the former president of New Jersey 2A Society, explains it well. Suffice to say, he is facing serious charges due to what I consider a false report.

Paul is a graduate of Massad Ayoob's MAG-40 class and is sponsoring one in Sioux Falls, SD later this spring. I add this to emphasize the fact that Paul has been trained by the master in what you should and should not do when carrying concealed. Moreover, in our weekly podcasts we review defensive gun uses and what the person did right and wrong. Paul's comments are well-reasoned and reflect how one should act in a confrontation.

Human Rights Advocate Paul Lathrop needs your help.
(Frank Jack Fiamingo)
Paul is a longtime advocate of the people's right to self-defense. He is the author of the popular Podcast "Polite Society". Paul is about as "salt of the earth" as you can get. A truck driver and driving instructor by trade, he and his loving wife Susan are two of the finest people on the planet.
Paul was in Nebraska with a truck driver student perfoming training. The student stopped at a station to refuel. As the student pulled away from the pump, another driver apparently felt that the student was too close to his rig. Although there was no collision, the irate driver of the other truck rushed over to the driver's side and agressively approached the student to the point that the student felt that he was about to be assaulted.
The student told the other driver to back off. Paul also demanded that the driver back off. After some back and forth, the other driver finally went back to his vehicle and the student drove off. Unfortunately the other driver decided to call the police and accused Paul of threatening him with a gun. The student swears that he never saw a gun at any time during the confrontation, but the police stopped them and Paul was arrested.
Paul is being accused of making "terroristic" threats. Many of you are aware that that is one of the latest ploys used by ambitious prosecutors all over the nation. In addition, they included "Possession of a weapon during the commission of a felony". Of course the "felony" is the trumped up charge of making terroristic threats. I find that to be a self-referencing, catch 22 type of charge.
In any event, many of you know Paul and those of you who don't but who know me (Frank) can feel confident that he deserves our help and support. Paul is going to need money for bail and for a defense attorney. I am asking you to please consider helping this very deserving, hard-working advocate of our rights. Paul's resources are modest and he really needs the help of the 2A and human rights community. Thank you.
(Susan) I am on my way to Nebraska this morning to meet with a lawyer and to hopefully get Paul out of jail. I will keep everyone updated as more information becomes available.
We are working on setting up a Go-Fund me page for Paul's legal defense and for bail. If you would like to donate before the page is operational, you can send donations through PayPal to
Paul and his wife Susan are not wealthy people. They are salt of the earth, good-hearted people struggling like everyone else in this economy. I can only imagine the financial burden that these false accusations have put on them. I have sent money their way and I hope you will see to it in your heart to do so as well.

While we are working on setting up a donation page or GoFundMe page for Paul's defense, please consider sending any amount you can spare to Susan by way of PayPal. Send it as a "friend and family" donation which will mean all the money goes to Susan and Paul. The email address is

UPDATE: Paul was released from jail yesterday morning and arrived home in South Dakota yesterday evening. I spoke with him last night. He is overwhelmed by the level of support he has received from the 2A community. He was rather choked up when we spoke.

He is under orders from his attorney to say nothing about the incident. He will be having a court hearing next month and is hopeful.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Justice Scalia - In Memorium

As most people know by now, Justice Antonin Scalia passed away in his sleep sometime over Friday night and early Saturday morning while on a quail hunting trip to Texas. His death is a loss not only to the gun culture but to the country as a whole. It is also a loss to his wife Maureen and his nine children.

When I choose to think of Justice Scalia's legacy, I think back to his majority opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) when he wrote this:
We know of no other enumerated constitutional right whose core protection has been subjected to a freestanding “interest-balancing” approach. The very enumeration of the right takes out of the hands of government—even the Third Branch of Government—the power to decide on a case-by-case basis whether the right is really worth insisting upon. A constitutional guarantee subject to future judges’ assessments of its usefulness is no constitutional guarantee at all. Constitutional rights are enshrined with the scope they were understood to have when the people adopted them, whether or not future legislatures or (yes) even future judges think that scope too broad. We would not apply an “interest-balancing” approach to the prohibition of a peaceful neo-Nazi march through Skokie. See National Socialist Party of America v. Skokie, 432 U. S. 43 (1977) (per curiam). The First Amendment contains the freedom-of-speech guarantee that the people ratified, which included exceptions for obscenity, libel, and disclosure of state secrets, but not for the expression of extremely unpopular and wrong-headed views. The Second Amendment is no different. Like the First, it is the very product of an interest-balancing by the people—which JUSTICE BREYER would now conduct for them anew. And whatever else it leaves to future evaluation, it surely elevates above all other interests the right of law-abiding, responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home. 
You can also hear Justice Scalia reading the Court's decision in Heller from the bench here.

I remember something former NRA President Sandy Froman said at the Gun Rights Policy Conference in (I think) Orlando. She said "pray for the five" meaning the majority in the Heller and McDonald decisions.

Unfortunately, there are only four now.

President Obama has said he plans to nominate a successor and that is his Constitutional right power. However, that right power is subject to the Senate's Constitutional right  power of "advise and consent". As Second Amendment scholar Josh Blackman has pointed out, it has been since 1880 that a person was both nominated and confirmed to the Supreme Court during a presidential election year when the President and Senate majority were of different parties. Professor Blackman has also posted some potential scenarios.

We in the Second Amendment community and gun culture have lost an intellectual giant. We must be on our guard to make sure Justice Scalia's replacement - as if he could be replaced - is someone true to the meaning of the Second Amendment. If it means forcing the Republican majority in the Senate to drag their heels, so be it.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Someone Was Listening

The argument against North Carolina's pistol purchase permit system has been that it was a racist era law meant to keep blacks from owning handguns, that it is ignored by criminals, and that the FBI run NICS system is more up-to-date and less subjective than the state's sheriffs.

It appears someone was listening. Joel Burgess of the Asheville Citizen-Times did a story on Monday that examined the rates of approval for pistol purchase permits and concealed handgun permits in five western (North Carolina) counties. The context for the story were the executive actions and gun control proposals released in January by President Obama. What was most surprising about the story was that Burgess acknowledged some of the objections to the pistol purchase permit system.
But Obama's order will have little effect in North Carolina when it comes to handguns. The weapon already faces more scrutiny in this state because of a Jim Crow-era law once aimed at blocking African-American gun ownership. But sheriffs now say the law is a critical stopgap allowing them to use local knowledge to prevent tragedies.
With regard to the subjectivity, he reported this:
The law is not uniformly followed, sheriff's acknowledge, nor is it enforced at the same rate, according to 2013-2015 data collected by the Citizen-Times through a public records request. Henderson County Sheriff Charles McDonald, whose department had the highest permit denial rate, said he will defend private gun ownership, but that he will also sometimes say no based on things not revealed in a background check.

"Maybe you’re the guy in the neighborhood who is constantly getting drunk and beating up his wife, and maybe you haven’t been convicted in court. But we know."
Henderson County Sheriff McDonald's example makes for a good story but you have to wonder if that is the really the reason behind the number of denials in Henderson County. Given the peculiar demographics of Henderson County - a significant Hispanic population and an extremely large number of retirees - does either ethnicity or advanced age play a greater role in permit denial than alcoholism or domestic abuse.

That might make an interesting follow-on story by the Citizen-Times.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Daewoo K2/Max II Rifle

The Military Arms Channel did an excellent feature on the Daewoo K2/Max II rifle today. They showed both the pre-ban Max II and the post-ban DR-200. The latter had its ugly thumbhole stock replaced with a regular AR stock and the Stormworkz adapter.

The DR-200 was my first 5.56 semi-auto rifle. I bought it after the Clinton AWB. If I had been more on top of things - or had more money - I'd have gotten a pre-ban rifle. I still have mine in its original configuration. This is mainly because I haven't found time to switch out the trigger group to make it 922 compliant. The only downside to my DR-200 is the it has a 1-12 twist barrel which limits me to 55 grain or lighter ammo.

I did a blog post on the Daewoo back in the early days of this blog. It can be found here.

She Approves Of Dead Mexicans, Gun Running, And Murdered Federal LEOs

Hillary Clinton is one of the most shameless politicians of this era or any era. If an endorsement or ad will get her just one more vote, she'll go for it. It doesn't matter if the person making the endorsement was the most partisan, the most contemptible, the most brutally corrupt Attorney General since the founding of this Republic. A man whose fingerprints were all over an operation to run guns to Mexican cartels so as to build support for gun control. A man who was found in Contempt of Congress. A man who said he supported voting rights but dismissed charges of outright voter intimidation against favored groups. A man who used the Department of Justice as a shakedown machine against corporate America.

Of course, I'm referring to former Attorney General Eric Holder.

Living in western North Carolina, 3/4's of our broadcast TV comes from the Upstate of South Carolina. I was watching Jeopardy! last night when the ad below came on with Holder's endorsement of Hillary. The two themes pushed were gun control and voting rights. These are themes that play well with black voters and Hillary needs to lock down the black vote to stave off Bernie Sanders.

Who cares if the endorser and his minions were responsible, directly or indirectly, for the murders of two Federal law enforcement officers, the deaths of a minimum of 300 Mexican nationals, and the arming of Mexican drug cartels through smuggled guns?

Hillary doesn't. All she cares about is getting one more vote.

Monthly Gun Contests

Aaron at The Weapon Blog has released his monthly list of contests in which you can win guns, ammo, and other cool stuff. If you have other contests you'd like to share, go to his notification page and share it.

The top handgun listed, the S&W SW22 Victory I got to shoot at the SHOT Show. It is a sweet little .22LR pistol.

Thanks, Aaron!


  • American Tactical Cavalry Over/Under
    Deadline: February 29, 2016
    Added to list: February 8, 2016

  • Air Rifles

    • None this month
    Gun Rights Organizations
    • None this month
    • None this month

    Friday, February 5, 2016

    An Example Of Everytown's Campaign Against McAuliffe's Compromise

    Everytown Moms for Illegal Mayors is royally PO'ed that a governor that they thought they owned lock, stock, and barrel has now come to an agreement with pro-gun legislators and forces. Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) is, as I mentioned a couple of days ago, the focus of a social media campaign by Everytown in an effort to stop his agreement to reinstate and expand concealed carry reciprocity.

    Gun rights activists and supporters in Virginia need to keep up the pressure on both McAuliffe and their legislators to reinstate existing reciprocity agreements as well as to expand to universal reciprocity recognition.

    A Win In The 4th Circuit (Updated)

    The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has not been too good for gun rights in the past few years. However, a case involving Maryland make signal a change. Kolbe v. Hogan (formerly Kolbe v. O'Malley) challenged Maryland's ban on certain semi-auto firearms and standard capacity on Second Amendment and Equal Protection Clause grounds. The District Court for Maryland agreed with the state's arguments and found the bans were constitutional using intermediate scrutiny.

    Today, the 4th Circuit overturned that decision in part and remanded it back to the District Court to be reconsidered using strict scrutiny. The court affirmed the District Court's dismissal of the Equal Protection claims involving retired law enforcement and the vagueness claims that "copies" of certain firearms were not specific enough.

    From the synopsis of the decision:
    TRAXLER, Chief Judge, wrote the opinion for the court as to Parts I, II, and III, in which Judge Agee joined.

    In April 2013, Maryland passed the Firearm Safety Act (“FSA”), which, among other things, bans law-abiding citizens, with the exception of retired law enforcement officers, from possessing the vast majority of semi-automatic rifles commonly kept by several million American citizens for defending their families and homes and other lawful purposes. Plaintiffs raise a number of challenges to the FSA, contending that the “assault weapons” ban trenches upon the core Second Amendment right to keep firearms in defense of hearth and home, that the FSA’s ban of certain larger-capacity detachable magazines (“LCMs”) likewise violates the Second Amendment, that the exception to the ban for retired officers violates the Equal Protection Clause, and that the FSA is void for vagueness to the extent that it prohibits possession of “copies” of the specifically identified semi-automatic rifles banned by the FSA. The district court rejected Plaintiffs’ Second Amendment challenges, concluding that the “assault weapons” and larger-capacity magazine bans passed constitutional muster under intermediate scrutiny review. The district court also denied Plaintiffs’ equal protection and vagueness claims.

    In our view, Maryland law implicates the core protection of the Second Amendment—“the right of law-abiding responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home,” District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 635 (2008), and we are compelled by Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago, 561 U.S. 742 (2010), as well as our own precedent in the wake of these decisions, to conclude that the burden is substantial and strict scrutiny is the applicable standard of review for Plaintiffs’ Second Amendment claim. Thus, the panel vacates the district court’s denial of Plaintiffs’ Second Amendment claims and remands for the district court to apply strict scrutiny. The panel affirms the district court’s denial of Plaintiffs’ Equal Protection challenge to the statutory exception allowing retired law enforcement officers to possess prohibited semi-automatic rifles. And, the panel affirms the district court’s conclusion that the term “copies” as used by the FSA is not unconstitutionally vague.
     The decision from the 4th Circuit was not unanimous and contains dissents, concurrences, and multiple parts. Indeed, the full decision is 90 pages long. Needless to say, it will take some time to read and digest this decision. That said, having the case sent back to the District Court to apply strict scrutiny to the Second Amendment claims is a definite win.

    It will be interesting to see what legal legerdemain that Judge Catherine C. Blake will employ to assert that Maryland can still ban the most popular firearm in common use in America today even if strict scrutiny is applied.

    UPDATE: Sebastian has more on this case at Shall Not Be Questioned. He is correct in saying that the ban on semi-auto rifles and standard capacity magazines still remains in place. The 4th Circuit didn't find the law unconstitutional. It merely said that it needs to be reheard using the correct level of scrutiny. This is a win but not a complete win.

    UPDATE II: Attorney Andrew Branca (Law of Self Defense) has his take on the case here.

    UPDATE III: Gun rights scholar and attorney David Kopel examines the case in detail in the Washington Post's Volokh Conspiracy blog. As he notes, the Second Amendment protections should extend to gun parts (magazines) and that strict scrutiny is appropriate in this case.

    UPDATE IV: Dave Hardy weighs in on Kolbe. He makes note of the dissent and the response from Judge Traxler to it.

    Maryland AG Reacts As Expected

    Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh (D-MD) served a combined 28 years in the Maryland House and Senate before being elected Attorney General. He says in his bio that, "He shepherded landmark legislation on gun safety", through the Maryland Senate. That legislation was the Maryland Firearm Safety Act which banned the sale of ARs. AKs, their clones, and standard capacity magazines.

    Given that background, it is no surprise that he is not happy with the judges of the 4th Circuit after yesterday's ruling in Kolbe v. Hogan. As he states in the press release below, he intends to request an en banc review of the case or, failing to get that, he will appeal the case to the Supreme Court.
    Baltimore, MD (Feb. 4, 2016) --Attorney General Brian E. Frosh issued the following statement on today's ruling by the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on the Maryland Firearm Safety Act:

    "The Maryland Firearm Safety Act is a common-sense law designed to reduce gun violence and make our communities safer. It remains the law in Maryland.

    The 2-1 decision handed down today by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals returns the case to the district court for further proceedings, and it also conflicts sharply with rulings of other federal appellate courts.

    Those courts have uniformly upheld assault weapons bans and limits on large capacity magazines. Those courts have not imposed the standard of review adopted by the 2-judge majority today, but instead follow a standard that gives greater deference to the public safety and health concerns that led the legislature to enact this law. As a dissent by Judge King notes: 'There is sound reason to conclude that the Second Amendment affords no protection whatsoever to the assault rifles and shotguns, copycat weapons, and large-capacity detachable magazines that are banned by the State of Maryland.'

    As Attorney General, I remain fully committed to defending Maryland's law, and to defending the courageous votes taken by the Maryland General Assembly so that we can continue to protect public safety and reduce the risk of deadly gun violence.

    Rest assured, the Office of the Attorney General will seek further review of the majority decision, either by the full Fourth Circuit sitting en banc, or by the U.S. Supreme Court."
    Those other circuits to whom he refers are the notoriously anti-gun 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. As a resident of the 4th Circuit I have been consistently disappointed in its rulings on the Second Amendment. I have long wished that they would start ruling more like the 7th Circuit but my wishes have not been granted. Starting with US v Masciandaro (2011) and continuing with their overturning of the District Court win in Woollard v. Gallagher (2013), the 4th Circuit has not sure much due respect for Second Amendment rights.

    Of note is that dissent in Kolbe came from Judge Robert King, a Clinton appointee, who wrote the opinion in the Woollard case. You'd have thought a born, bred, and educated West (by God!) Virginian would have had more respect for the Second Amendment. Sadly, that is not the case.

    Thursday, February 4, 2016

    NSSF Responds To The 4th Circuit Ruling

    The National Shooting Sports Foundation was an organizational plaintiff in Kolbe v. Hogan. As you can imagine they are very pleased with the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling that the District Court erred in going with intermediate scrutiny and not strict scrutiny.
    Appeals Court Remands Decision for ‘Strict Scrutiny’ of Second Amendment

    NEWTOWN, Conn. — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit today overturned a federal district court decision that had upheld the 2013 State of Maryland Firearm Safety Act as constitutional under intermediate scrutiny review.

    Writing for the three-judge appellate court panel that heard the case, Kolbe v. Maryland, Chief Judge William B. Traxler wrote: “In our view, Maryland law implicates the core protection of the Second Amendment — ‘the right of law-abiding responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home, District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570,635 (2008), and we are compelled by Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago, 561 U.S. 742 (2010), as well as our own precedent in the wake of these decisions to conclude that the burden is substantial and strict scrutiny is the applicable standard or review for Plaintiffs’ Second Amendment claim.”

    The court vacated the district court’s denial of the plaintiffs’ claims and remanded the case to the lower court, ordering that it apply the appropriate strict standard of review.

    “We are greatly heartened by the Fourth Circuit panel’s ruling today,” said Lawrence G. Keane, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), one of the lead plaintiffs in this case. “As this important case goes forward, NSSF will continue to work with our co-plaintiffs to ensure that our citizens’ Second Amendment rights are protected and that the lawful commerce in firearms is restored in support of this constitutional protection.”

    The NRA Responds To Today's 4th Circuit Decision

    The NRA is very pleased with the 2-1 ruling in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Kolbe v. Hogan.
    National Rifle Association Statement on 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Ruling in Kolbe v. Maryland

    Fairfax, Va.— Chris W. Cox, the executive director of the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action, issued the following statement in reaction to today's ruling by the federal 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in the Kolbe v. Maryland case. The case challenges the legality of Maryland’s 2013 ban on so-called assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. The 2-1 decision sends the gun-control law back to a lower court for review because it “implicates the core protection of the Second Amendment.”

    "The Fourth Circuit’s ruling is an important victory for the Second Amendment. Maryland's ban on commonly owned firearms and magazines clearly violates our fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense. The highest level of judicial scrutiny should apply when governments try to restrict our Second Amendment freedoms." - Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action
    You can find my earlier post on the case here.

    An Update On Virginia Reciprocity From VCDL

    Grass Roots North Carolina received the following from Philip Van Cleave of the Virginia Citizens Defense League regarding the negotiations between Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) and gun rights supporters to restore concealed carry reciprocity.
    BREAKING NEWS:  *** February 1 cutoff date for dropping recognition of 25 states has been extended to March 1 ***

    THE “DEAL”

    As you've undoubtedly heard from the media, there is a package deal in the works between Governor McAuliffe and the Republicans in the General Assembly dealing with 1) concealed handgun permit (CHP) reciprocity, 2) voluntary background checks at gunshows, and 3) those subject to a permanent domestic violence protection order.

    To many CHP holders, CHP reciprocity is a HUGE deal, especially if they travel out-of-state regularly and want to be able to carry discretely.  For example, there is no solution to carrying in South Carolina if we don’t have an agreement between our two states.

    There is a lot of misinformation from the media and elsewhere and a lot of people are coming to the wrong conclusions about what the deal does and doesn’t do.  Rumors are flying that gun owners only get back the reciprocity that was taken away by Herring and the State Police - that is FALSE.  We have gained important ground!

    THE DEAL IS STILL IN THE WORKS.  Things could still go south as the key bills that make up the deal work their way through the legislature and onto the Governor’s desk.  SO, FOR NOW, NOTHING HAS CHANGED.  THERE IS NO ABSOLUTE GUARANTEE THIS WILL BECOME LAW, BUT A REASONABLY GOOD CHANCE IT WILL.  If it fails, we may not be able to fix the reciprocity situation for another two-long-years.

    VCDL has been privy to the deal for several days, as was a national group.  VCDL monitored progress of this potentially groundbreaking advancement of our liberty from its genesis, and provided counsel and discussion points during its evolution.

    The final product was given the nod by VCDL, however we will be watching like a hawk for any changes that negatively affect gun owners.


    There are three components that make up the deal, each component represented by matching bills in the House and in the Senate.

    #1 - Reciprocity details - gun owners gain ground!

    * Virginia will honor the carry permits from ALL states!  This is considerably better than current law and something VCDL has been trying to get for at least seven years now.  

    * Because Virginia will honor all other states, Virginia CHPs will be recognized by all the states we have lost AND we will gain some new states:  New Hampshire, Georgia, and Colorado!

    * The State Police and the Attorney General will have NO say in the new law.  If another state requires a formal agreement to honor Virginia CHPs, the new law requires the Attorney General to enter into any such agreement.  If he fails to do this, item #3, below, does not go into effect.

    * One other change on the reciprocity law:  If your Virginia CHP is revoked for cause, you won’t be able to carry on a non-resident permit from another state.  Not a deal breaker.

    NOTE:  Just because we are honoring all other states, doesn’t mean we can carry in all those states.  Someone from New York will be able to carry here, but we won’t be able to carry in New York unless New York is willing to enter into a reciprocal agreement with Virginia, for example. 

    As more and more states start honoring out-of-state permits, the prospects of our permit being honored by even more states down the road is bright!

    #2 - Voluntary gun show background checks

    * Background checks for a private sale are COMPLETELY voluntary.

    * The State Police shall be at every gun show in Virginia, by law.  (Some gun owners were thinking this was some kind of a trick - that if the State Police don’t show up, the gun show would be cancelled.  This should put that worry to rest.)

    * The gun show promoter shall notify the State Police of the location and times of the gun show at least 30 days in advance, shall provide a free location for the police to set up, and shall have signs letting attendees know of the voluntary background checks at the State Police booth.  (I checked with one of Virginia’s largest gun show promoters on this to see if any of it was objectionable and was told, “no.”)

    * The State Police may charge a reasonable fee.  (If they charge more than you want to pay, you can just walk away and do the transaction without the background check.)

    * NO information on the make, model, or serial number of the gun being sold will be provided to the State Police - i.e. no federal Form 4473!  The purchaser will have to fill out the Virginia form, which asks a few questions and has the buyer's name, address, and signature.  (If you don’t want to fill out that form, you can just walk away and do the transaction without the background check.)

    * There is a carrot: if a background check is run, the seller receives some special legal protections that are currently not available for private sales.  If a background check is not run, you don’t have any more or any less legal protections than under current law.

    Yes, down the road inevitably there will be some bills introduced that attempt to make the background check mandatory.  We get bills on mandatory background checks for private sales every year.  We will have to fight and defeat those bills in the future, just as we fight and defeat similar bills today.

    For those gun owners who would feel safer selling a gun to someone who has had a background check, this provides a new option in addition to the current option of either asking if the person has a CHP or going through the more laborious and expensive route of letting an FFL do the transfer.  It also has no effect on private sales conducted anywhere outside of gun shows, where this voluntary option is not provided.

    #3 - Persons subject to a PERMANENT domestic violence protection order cannot possess firearms until the order expires

    * The ONLY permanent protection order this restriction applies to is one for domestic violence and NOTHING else.

    * The subject of the protection order must have had his day in court along with any legal counsel.  Temporary protection orders do NOT affect possession of firearms.

    * If the judge, after hearing the defense, decides to issue a permanent protection order anyhow, the subject of the protection order will lose his gun rights for the duration of the order (MAXIMUM of two years), and automatically get those gun rights back when the permanent protection order expires.  Note:  a new permanent protection order could potentially be issued when the perament protection order expires if the judge thinks a danger still exists.

    * The subject of the permanent protection order will have 24 hours to turn his guns over to a person of his choice, as long as that person can legally possess firearms.

    * The above is basically federal law already, and state law already prohibits a person with such a permanent protection order from purchasing  or transporting a firearm.


    * VCDL will be monitoring the deal’s progress, watching for changes that negatively affect gun owners. 

    * If a negative issue arises and is not fixed quickly, I will advise all of you immediately via an Urgent Legislative Action Alert.  

    * I will also be providing links to the three bills described above as soon as the final language is available online.  That way you can read them for yourself.

    * For now just standby on this, as I keep you advised of the progress of the deal.

    * If you don’t have any absolutely urgent questions, please hold on to them for now as it would be easy to overwhelm me with emails (I’m already getting over 200 a day as is).

     We interviewed Phil for The Polite Society Podcast yesterday evening. I will put up a link to that interview as soon as it is published. However, in the meantime, Phil said that an appropriations bill had been introduced in the Virginia General Assembly that would restore reciprocity to the way it was before Attorney General Mark Herring (D-VA) went full-Bloomberg. Given it is an appropriations bill, Gov. McAuliffe must either approve it in full or veto the entire bill. There is no line-item veto on appropriations bills.

    Needless to say, the gun prohibitionists are having a hissy fit over the compromise between McAuliffe and gun rights supporters. A few days ago the Washington Post reported this:
    “Governor McAuliffe should reconsider this dangerous gift to the gun lobby,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, which in the fall poured more than $2 million into two state Senate races at McAuliffe’s request.
    Late last night the Post reported that Everytown Moms for Illegal Mayors has now started a social media campaign against McAuliffe.
    On Wednesday, Everytown launched a social media campaign against McAuliffe, who last week stunned gun-safety advocates by announcing that he had struck a gun deal with Republican legislators and the National Rifle Association. It shows side-by-side photos of McAuliffe and the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre.

    “What do VA Gov. Terry McAuliffe and NRA head Wayne LaPierre have in common?” one version reads. “Both Gov McAuliffe and NRA Head Wayne LaPierre support allowing dangerous people to carry hidden loaded weapons in Virginia.”

    While clearly a lower-budget affair than last fall’s TV blitz, Everytown’s social media campaign against McAuliffe was a stunner, given how closely he worked with gun-safety groups since his 2013 campaign for governor. He narrowly won the race while bragging about his “F” rating from the NRA.
    If I were a Virginia politician, I'd look at what Everytown is doing and realize just how fickle they are in their support. Alternatively, you could say that they just want their bought and paid for politicians to stay bought.