Category Archives: Guns

Shooting Irons!

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to The Other McCain and Pirate’s Cove for the Rule Five links!  And thanks to our blogger pal Doug Hagin over at The Daley Gator for the linkback.

Moving right along:  The Daily Signal has documented eight stubborn facts about gun ownership in America. Read the entire article, of course, for detailed explanations of them all, but as a thumbnail, those eight are:

  1. Violent crime is down and has been on the decline for decades.
  2. The principal public safety concerns with respect to guns are suicides and illegally owned handguns, not mass shootings.
  3. A small number of factors significantly increase the likelihood that a person will be a victim of a gun-related homicide.
  4. Gun-related murders are carried out by a predictable pool of people.
  5. Higher rates of gun ownership are not associated with higher rates of violent crime.
  6. There is no clear relationship between strict gun control legislation and homicide or violent crime rates.
  7. Legally owned firearms are used for lawful purposes much more often than they are used to commit crimes or suicide.
  8. Concealed carry permit holders are not the problem, but they may be part of the solution.

Now, long-term readers of these virtual pages probably know that I mislike utilitarian arguments for policies of this type; the Second Amendment says I have the right to own and carry guns (that’s what keep and bear means) and that’s that.  Also, as a minarchist libertarian, the only legitimate law I recognize is “you can’t take my stuff,” which means that unless I transgress against another person, my liberty and property are sacrosanct.

Bearing Arms

But, it’s true, utilitarian arguments can be useful to persuade fence-sitters who have not yet formulated a strong position on a given issue.  And there are some pretty solid utilitarian arguments here.  For example:

  • Concealed carry permit holders are often “the good guy with a gun,” even though they rarely receive the attention of the national media. Concealed carry permit holders were credited with saving multiple lives in:

Over the years I’ve had plenty of people ask why I collect and use guns.  I’ve given a variety of answers, depending on who was asking the question and what their purpose was in doing so.  But the main reason I own and carry guns is this:  Because it suits me to do so.  As a law-abiding taxpayer, I require no other reason or justification  Anyone who thinks otherwise is certainly entitled to their opinion, but I am under no obligation to alter my actions even a bit because of it.

Rule Five “Liar or Incompetent” Friday

That notorious right-wing rag, the Washington Post, is calling out Democrat Presidential candidate Cory Booker on his lies about gun laws.  Excerpt:

In a rather strange turn of events, the Washington Post fact checked Booker’s recent claims that toy guns are more regulated than actual firearms. And guess what was concluded? That’s right. That Booker’s take is straight up bogus. 

Let’s review the evidence, shall we?

“Most people don’t know that consumer product safety literally — one industry that’s been exempted is the gun lobby. So we have different regulations for toy guns and no regulations for the weapons on our streets that are killing so many people,” he said during a CNN interview

In a medium post that same day, Booker’s campaign repeated the talking point.

“Nowadays, there is more regulation over toy guns than real ones. While medicine, children’s toys, and any number of other consumer products are subject to regulation by the federal government, firearms are exempt. In other words, gun manufacturers have little incentive to make their products safer. Cory will work to close this loophole in federal oversight and allow the Consumer Product Safety Commission to ensure gun safety by making safety warnings and issuing recalls for faulty firearms.”

And:

There are a few points that Booker seems to forget and National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) spokesman Mark Oliva pointed them out to the Washington Post. 

“Our industry is the most heavily regulated industry in the country. No other industry is regulated at the federal, state and local level to the extent our industry is regulated, which include design and performance standards,” Oliva explained. “The federal agencies that regulate the industry include ATF, FBI, State Department, Commerce Department, IRS and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. No other consumer product requires the licensed dealer to conduct a criminal-background check on a prospective purchaser before they can sell the product. Firearm manufacturers can be sued for product defect claims, although such claims are exceedingly rare given that there are over 400 million firearms in civilian possession in the United States.”

It should come as a surprise to no one that Booker, like most anti-gun pols (or anti-gun anyone) knows fuck-all about guns or the current state of gun laws.  But seriously, folks, how could anyone be so ignorant, so incompetent to hold the position of U.S. Senator, to claim with a straight face that toy guns are regulated more than actual guns?  Is he incompetent, or just a liar?

I’m inclined to say he’s a liar.  Here’s why.

What Booker is implying, of course, is the legal protection gun manufacturers have been accorded from liability for the criminal misuse of their product.  It’s true that no other industry has such a legal protection – why?  Because no other industry has ever needed it.  Nobody is proposing to sue General Motors or Ford for drunk driving deaths.

But Booker isn’t worried about product liability in the normally accepted sense.  What he wants is punitive liability, the ability to hold gun manufacturers liable for criminal misuse of their products, something he would not advocate for any other industry.  Why?

Because it’s an end run around the Second Amendment.  Most gun manufacturers are small companies; even the big ones aren’t terribly large as corporations go.  Booker and his ilk salivate at the idea that a few strategic lawsuits brought in the right areas could bankrupt them, even if they win, in our ridiculously twisted tort system.

Pols lying is nothing new.  But Booker’s lies are just too damned egregious.  Fortunately his Presidential campaign appears to be going nowhere.

Animal’s Daily Semi-Auto News

Short post today, due to a late night last night and an early morning today; such are the wages of the traveling life.

Anyway.  I think I may need one of these.

This, True Believers, is the famous Browning Automatic Rifle (Not that BAR, the other BAR) and the one I’d be seeking comes in one of my favorite big-game rounds, the.338 Winchester Magnum.

I’ve been sort of watching the various auction sites for a .338 Win Mag BAR, one of the older Belgian-made guns.  While I still maintain my fondness for Thunder Speaker, I am wondering if the gas-operated BAR might deliver the wallop I like in a hunting rifle without quite as much wallop on the shoulder.

The BAR also has the advantage of being plainly a sporting semi-auto, as evidenced by its lack of black polymer furniture, Picatinny rails and shoulder things that go up.  Of course it’s functionally identical to the most tacticool AR-pattern rifle ever made and much, much, much more powerful.

But that’s not why I want it.  I want one because I think it would be a fine hunting rifle, because I appreciate the craftsmanship Herstal put into Browning’s shootin’ irons, but mostly just because of the fact that the fact that I don’t need another gun doesn’t mean I don’t want another gun.

Animal’s Daily Policy Stunt News

Forewarned is forearmed.

Be sure to check out the latest in my History of Lever Guns series over at Glibertarians!

Speaking of guns:  In Missouri, a state lawmaker wants to mandate that able-bodied residents all own an AR-15.  Yes, really.  Excerpt:

A Missouri State lawmaker has introduced a bill that is sure to upset anti-gunners. Rep. Andrew McDaniel (R-Deering) introduced House Bill 1108, which would establish the “McDaniel Militia Act.” If passed, everyone between the ages of 18 and 35 would be required to own an AR-15.

“Any person who qualifies as a resident on August 28, 2019, and who does not own an AR-15 shall have one year to purchase an AR-15,” the bill reads. “Any resident qualifies as a resident after August 28, 2019, and does not own an AR-15 shall purchase an AR-15 no later than one year after qualifying as a resident.”

A section of the bill would establish tax credits for those who didn’t own an AR-15 before the law went into effect. They would be given a tax credit of 75 percent of AR-15’s purchase price. 

Citizens would be allowed to sell their AR-15s as long as they still had at least one in their possession.

McDaniel told WDAF-TV he knew the bill wouldn’t pass but he introduced it to “make a point on mandates in general.”

The former deputy sheriff said the bill “points out the absurdity of the opposite side,” and anti-gun proposals to “add more requirements and barriers for law-abiding citizens.”

Fortunately McDaniel obviously understands that his bill is a stunt, intended to illustrate absurdity by being absurd.  But let’s assume for a moment that he’s serious about this bill, because let’s be honest, odder things have been proposed in the various state legislatures, not to mention the Imperial Congress.  If this was a serious proposal, it would be a really bad idea for a few reasons.

  1. Mandating folks to own something – a weapon, a watch, a health insurance policy, anything – is as antithetical to liberty as forbidding them from owning that same thing.  What is not banned is not mandatory.  What is not mandatory is not banned.  That’s not how a free society works.
  2. You don’t have to be Milton Friedman to figure out what a subsidy of 75% of the rifle’s price would do.  Prices of AR-15s would skyrocket, fast.
  3. Why only an AR-15?  What if I wanted to defend home and hearth with a Winchester 94 in .30-30, one that I’ve owned for decades and with which I am an absolutely deadly shot?

But, of course, this is a stunt, and a not particularly creative one.  While I’m sure McDaniel is trying to make a point, and in truth I appreciate the point he’s trying to make, I just don’t see how this sort of thing moves the ball forward.

 

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

There’s a continual RRHHEEEE from the political Left these days on the epidemic of mass shootings that are, apparently, something that only happens here in the U.S. – except, that’s not true.  We’re not even the country with the most mass shootings.  Not by a (hah!) long shot.  Excerpt:

…But a study of global mass-shooting incidents from 2009 to 2015 by the Crime Prevention Research Center, headed by economist John Lott, shows the U.S. doesn’t lead the world in mass shootings. In fact, it doesn’t even make the top 10, when measured by death rate per million population from mass public shootings.

So who’s tops? Surprisingly, Norway is, with an outlier mass shooting death rate of 1.888 per million (high no doubt because of the rifle assault by political extremist Anders Brevik that claimed 77 lives in 2011). No. 2 is Serbia, at just 0.381, followed by France at 0.347, Macedonia at 0.337, and Albania at 0.206. Slovakia, Finland, Belgium, and Czech Republic all follow. Then comes the U.S., at No. 11, with a death rate of 0.089.

That’s not all. There were also 27% more casualties from 2009 to 2015 per mass shooting incident in the European Union than in the U.S.

“There were 16 cases where at least 15 people were killed,” the study said. “Out of those cases, four were in the United States, two in Germany, France, and the United Kingdom.”

“But the U.S. has a population four times greater than Germany’s and five times the U.K.’s, so on a per-capita basis the U.S. ranks low in comparison — actually, those two countries would have had a frequency of attacks 1.96 (Germany) and 2.46 (UK) times higher.”

Yes, the U.S. rate is still high, and nothing to be proud of. But it’s not the highest in the developed world. Not by a long shot.

Yet, some today propose banning rifles, in particular AR-15s, because they’ve been used in a number of mass killings. It’s important to note however that, according to FBI crime data cited this week by the Daily Caller, deaths by knives in the U.S. outnumber deaths by rifles by five to 1: In 2016, 1,604 people were killed by knives and other cutting instruments, while 374 were killed by rifles.

Now, to be fair, Norway’s stats are skewed (as the study notes) by one horrific event.  But hey, folks, the EU has us beat cold when it comes to mass shootings.  And they have the kind of gun laws that would give the worst gun-grabber in our Congress wet dreams.

So what can we conclude from this?  Simple:  Bad people do bad things.  Restricting or banning objects won’t stop them from doing bad things.  And when people do bad things, those people who have done the bad things are responsible; not any inanimate object that they chose to use as a tool.

It’s really not that complicated.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove for the Rule Five links!

Being something of a rifleman and an adherent to the school of “You Can Shoot Little Stuff With A Big Gun, but You Can’t Shoot Big Stuff With A Little Gun,” I’ve always wondered why the U.S. Army adopted the M-16 platform as a primary weapon instead of the jungle carbine it was more suited to be.  There is still a true Main Battle Rifle (MBR) in U.S. inventories, that being the M-14.

Nowadays it seems my thoughts on rifles are gathering some steam in the U.S. military.  Excerpt:

The M-14 was the U.S. military’s last battle rifle. It appeared in 1959—the contemporary of the Pentagon’s first jet fighters and ICBMs. With its heavy steel parts and walnut stock, the M-14 looked positively archaic.

It was hardly a Space Age weapon. And it only endured as America’s battle rifle until 1970, when the M-16 completely superseded it—the shortest service record of any U.S. military rifle in the 20th century.

Yet, the M-14 has come and gone and come back again. Its accuracy and power—it fires the 7.62 x 51 millimeter NATO round—have given it a new lease on life as a weapon for snipers and designated marksmen.

The M-14 refuses to surrender.

“The M-14 has re-appeared in recent years in the hands of U.S. troops,” Alan Archambault, former supervisory curator for the U.S. Army Center of Military History, tells War Is Boring. “The sniper version is designated the M-25 and has proven to be very effective in Iraq and especially Afghanistan.”

“I believe the M-14 was a better weapon for combat where accuracy and range are more important than volume of fire,” says Archambault, an Army veteran. “This is why some troops in Afghanistan have used the M-14.”

The M-14 is, of course, the modernized, select-fire version of the venerable M1 Garand.  But it remains today something I think the U.S. military needs, a full-power Main Battle Rifle, far better suited to open-country mechanized warfare than the M-16/M4 platform.

A modernized M-14 with a modern shooter.

I see that the reissued M-14s have been modernized with synthetic stocks and optical sights.  While I remain skeptical of the value of an optical sight in direct combat, as long as they are backed up by stout iron sights and the troops are trained in the use of those iron sights, that’s not much of an issue.  Getting troops to the range more often will count for a lot more than any particular kind of sighting equipment.

I’ve long thought about buying a Springfield Armory M1A, the semi-auto civilian version of the M-14.  In National Match trim the M1A runs about two grand, not an insignificant investment even in a hobby not known for being economical.  One of these days, maybe.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Firearms aficionados will know that Washington state recently passed some pretty draconian anti-Second Amendment laws.  Arguing (correctly, to my thinking) that those laws are unconstitutional, several Washington county sheriffs are refusing to enforce this law.  Excerpt:

Sheriffs in a dozen Washington counties say they won’t enforce the state’s sweeping new restrictions on semi-automatic rifles until the courts decide whether they are constitutional.

A statewide initiative approved by voters in November raised the minimum age for buying semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21, required buyers to first pass a firearms safety course and added expanded background checks and gun storage requirements, among other things. It was among the most comprehensive of a string of state-level gun-control measures enacted in the U.S. after last year’s shooting at a Florida high school.

The National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment Foundation have filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging the initiative is unconstitutional. They say its purchasing requirements violate the right to bear arms and stray into the regulation of interstate commerce, which is the province of the federal government.

Sheriffs in 12 mostly rural, conservative counties — Grant, Lincoln, Okanogan, Cowlitz, Douglas, Benton, Pacific, Stevens, Yakima, Wahkiakum, Mason and Klickitat — along with the police chief of the small town of Republic, have said they will not enforce the new law until the issues are decided by the courts.

“I swore an oath to defend our citizens and their constitutionally protected rights,” Grant County Sheriff Tom Jones said. “I do not believe the popular vote overrules that.”

All I can say is, good on those sheriffs.

Well, OK, I can say a bit more than that.  The refusal of these lawmen to enforce a law they see as illegitimate sets a very interesting precedent.   Consider Imperial overreach, especially as it is being proposed by the political Left in the Imperial City right now (Green New Deal, anyone?)  Consider if increasingly overbearing laws are increasingly ignored by counties and towns across the nation.

Would not there be some backlash by increasingly frustrated voters against overweening pols who keep passing intrusive laws that nobody in the flyover counties want enforced?

Or will there be an Imperial backlash against local law enforcement who are, as they see it, doing duty to a higher authority – the Constitution?

Either way, the outcome is sure to be very interesting – as in the old Chinese proverb.

Animal’s Daily Lever Gun News

For some time now I’ve been eyeing a way to get myself a light, handy lever gun chambered in the .45 Colt, as a companion piece for my .45 Colt sixguns.  I’ve thought about refurbishing an original Winchester 1892, but I wouldn’t want to alter a collectible and the metallurgy in older guns might make it unwise to run my favored heavy .45 Colt loads through the finished piece.

The company that calls itself Winchester nowadays has reintroduced the 1892, but it has a damnable sliding tang safety that ruins the original look; ditto for the Rossi/Braztech version and its idiotic pivot safety marring the top of the bolt.  A gun with an external hammer shouldn’t need an additional safety.

But I think I may have found an answer.

This, True Believers, is the Cimarron 1892 Saddle Ring Carbine, an 1892 replica with a big lever loop and a 20″ round barrel, frequently described as the best combination of quick handling and balance in the ’92.  The big-loop version is called, of course, the Cogburn Carbine.  From the manufacturer’s catalog:

For decades, the 1892 Winchester was the rifle of Silver Screen cowboys, and none was more recognizable than the Duke’s large loop lever-action 1892 carbine.  As a mainstay in film after film, this rifle showed true grit, providing some of film’s most exciting action sequences.

Mind you, that’s not why I want the gun; I want it because it’s a light, handy carbine with enough punch to settle a typical Colorado black bear or an overly aggressive mountain cat.

This is a 6.6 pound piece, light enough to easily carry in one hand.  I like the big lever loop, not because John Wayne favored one (although I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t a factor) but because I have big hands and am frequently out and about in cold weather.  Big finger levers are easier to handle with gloved hands.

This might just be the perfect off-season woods-bumming rifle.

 

Rule Five Political Hypocrite Friday

I know, I know – the title is a redundancy, but there you are.  A powerful – and by that, read “crooked as a snake with a busted back” – Chicago politician has not only been busted, but the notoriously anti-gun pol has been ordered to turn in his own personal collection of twenty-three guns.  Hah!  Excerpt, with my comments:

Alderman Ed Burke, 75, is charged with one count of attempted extortion for conveying to company executives in 2017 that they’d get the (city remodeling) permits only if they signed on as clients at Burke’s private property-tax law firm in Chicago, a 37-page complaint unsealed on Thursday says.

Apparently Alderman Burke was fond of the old-school “nice contracting business you’ve got there – shame if something were to… happen to it.”

For many Chicagoans suspicious of dealings behind closed doors at City Hall, Burke has personified the city’s machine politics for decades. Dozens of aldermen have entered U.S. District court on corruption charges, but Burke seemed too powerful, too wealthy and too savvy to land himself in the kind of legal trouble he now faces.

A career state police officer of my acquaintance some years back once told me that every criminal he ever encountered combined three character traits in various proportions:  Greedy, mean, and stupid.  Apparently the same applies to Chicago aldermen.

He sat in a packed Chicago federal courtroom Thursday afternoon with his arms folded, wearing his trademark pinstriped suit with a pocket square. Minutes later, he stood before U.S. Magistrate Sheila Finnegan, who asked if he understood the charge and that a conviction could carry a lengthy prison sentence.

“Yes, your honor,” he answered calmly.

And if there is any justice to be found in Cook County – a highly doubtful supposition – that prison sentence will indeed be lengthy.

Burke’s attorney, Charles Sklarsky, commented briefly to reporters as he left the courthouse with his client, saying he looked forward to proving Burke did nothing wrong.

“The transaction described in the complaint does not make out extortion or an attempt to extort,” he said.

Which statement is lawyerly hogwash.

Here’s the punch line:

Prosecutors told the judge that Burke, who has publicly opposed the National Rifle Association and proposed multiple gun-control ordinances over the years, had 23 guns at his offices alone. The judge said one condition of his continued release is that he gets rid of all his guns, including any at his home. He also was required to turn over his passport.

Haw!

If I had a dollar for every anti-gun politician who ascribed to the “laws for thee, but not for me” school of thought, I’d have… well, a whole bunch of dollars.  Like Dianne Feinstein and her politically-connected CCW permit, or Mike Bloomberg and his retinue of armed guards.

Of course this is Illinois, which state in general and Cook County in particular has a long history of political corruption, as the linked article points out:

Burke joins a long list of Illinois lawmakers charged criminally, including former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is serving a 14-year prison term on multiple federal corruption convictions.

Now hypocrisy isn’t against the law, for which fact many members of Congress no doubt breathe the occasional sigh of relief.  But there should damn well be some cost on Election Day; should be, but in all too many cases there isn’t, as much of the electorate apparently expects nothing else from pols of either party.

Animal’s Daily Gun Buy-Back Shenanigans News

Guns Not for Sale.

This elicited a chuckle:  Man Sells Junk Guns to Buy-Back Program, Buys New Gun With Cash.  Excerpt:

Nine times out of 10, those selling us their guns are law-abiding citizens getting rid of broken or unused weapons.

It’s entrepreneurship at its finest. So for that, I need to give some serious props to state leaders. While they failed at the whole “gun handover” thing, they sure succeeded at giving people a side hustle.

Like this guy, for example.

A Missouri man sold his firearms made out of scrap metal and garbage to a gun buy-back program… and then used the money to buy a real gun.

We call that man a “patriot”.

YouTuber Royal Nonesuch made a quick $300 by taking 3 firearms that he’d built out of scrap and selling them back to the state of Missouri. He described two of the pipe guns as the ‘crappiest guns I’ve ever made’ but was still able to successfully sell them off to the program.

First off; yes, gun buy-backs are stupid.  What’s more, they’re a waste of taxpayer money.  Even more than that, the “no-questions-asked” models of most buy-backs allow criminals to safely dispose of weapons that may well be linked to a crime, and get some cash or prizes into the bargain.

And riddle me this:  How the hell can a city “buy back” something that never belonged to the city in the first place?

The last gun “buy-back” done in Denver was in 2008, and netted a grand total of fifteen guns; at least that one was done by a church, and not by the city at taxpayer expense.  But if they ever do another, I expect I’ll have to find some time to drag loyal sidekick Rat out of his lodgings to head to a scrap yard.  I’m fairly certain we can bang together a few zip-gun style gizmos to sell, and I’ve been toying with the idea of trying out one of the Ruger Gunsite Scout rifles…

…Opportunities are where we find them.  Right?