Category Archives: Guns

Shooting Irons!

Goodbye Blue Monday

Goodbye Blue Monday!
Goodbye Blue Monday!

The District of Columbia’s arbitrary (and stupid) gun restrictions have taken another legal hit.  Excerpt:

The short version of the case is this: While the District of Columbia reluctantly pretended to comply with the DC v Heller Supreme Court case’s finding that he right to bear arms is a fundamental individual right, they did it in a way which functionally prevents any resident of DC from receiving a concealed carry permit.

Not only did the judge rule that “the District of Columbia lacks any way to issue handgun carry licenses to individuals” and that they must put such a mechanism in place, but further he ordered that until such a meachanism is in place, anybody who can legally have a gun in his home in DC can also carry a gun in public without needing a concealed carry permit.

gun control theorySo, not only did the District’s attempt to sidestep the Constitution backfire – it backfired catastrophically, with the result that anyone in the District who can own a handgun can legally carry it.

No doubt there will be a rush to pass more ordinances to restrict the rights of the law-abiding, but in the meantime – if time allows to observe any trend at all – it will be interesting to see what confrontational crime rates in the Imperial City do.  This is arguably one of the most dangerous places in the country, and law-abiding citizens have been stripped of any pretense of a right to self-defense for decades.

Prediction:  Robberies, muggings and so on will trend downward.

Exactly as they have done everywhere concealed-carry reform has been implemented.

Animal’s Daily News

Sabatti 1I think I might need one of these.

This, True Believers, is a Sabatti double rifle, made in Italy and imported exclusively by sporting-goods giant Cabela’s.  The Sabatti comes in two grades, with the higher (and more expensive) grade coming in what would ideally be my caliber of choice, the thunderously powerful .470 Nitro Express.

Yes, it’s an elephant gun.

What makes the Sabatti unique in the double-rifle market is its price tag; just a hair over $5,000 for a nicely appointed, heavy-caliber hunting double.  Sure, it’s a bit heavy for Alaskan moose and even grizzlies, but I’ve always been an adherent of the principle that you can shoot little stuff with a big gun, but you can’t shoot big stuff with a little gun.  And the .470NE is manifestly a big gun.

Sabatti 2The double rifle is still a mainstay for dangerous African game (and I still harbor a desire to one day hunt Cape Buffalo) for one reason:  It’s the fastest second shot available in a sledgehammer-grade caliber shoulder weapon.

And, of course, there is the “cool” factor.

So who says one couldn’t go into the Alaskan bush after moose with a rifle that Robert Ruark would have happily carried out hunting buffalo or elephant?  Nobody, that’s who; at least, nobody who is a hunter or shooter, and who isn’t particularly recoil-sensitive.

Animal’s Daily News

gun control theoryEver wondered about the most idiotic article ever written about guns would look like?  Wonder no longer:  See Why Rolling Stone’s List of ‘Most Dangerous Guns’ Is Being Called ‘Maybe the Worst Piece of Journalism of All-Time.’  And yes, it’s really stupid.  Excerpt:

The Internet is relentlessly mocking Rolling Stone’s new photo slideshow outlining the “5 most dangerous guns in America,” with one reader calling it “maybe the worst piece of journalism of all-time.” Making the publication’s list are pistols, revolvers, rifles, shotguns, and even Derringers.

As one commenter asks, “what’s left?” Here’s Rolling Stone’s list, starting with the “most dangerous.”

Here’s the list:

  • Pistols
  • Revolvers (also handguns)
  • Rifles
  • Shotguns and…
  • Derringers

Because, OMG guns!

It is perhaps belaboring the obvious to point out that this list includes, well, all guns.  The article is being roundly mocked, as is only just and fitting, and a new internet meme has surfaced:  Making lists of “most dangerous” this and that.  For example, one might list the most dangerous personal vehicles as:

  • Cars
  • Trucks
  • Motorcycles
  • Vans and…
  • Derringers

And so forth.

Girls with GunsSeriously, one wonders why this imbecile, one Kristen Gwynne, is actually writing for a national publication – even Rolling Stone, hardly known for its objectivity where firearms issues are concerned.  But the really jarring lapse in elementary logic is the idea that an inanimate object can be “dangerous” in this context.

Crime requires intent.  A gun cannot commit a crime – there is no such thing as “gun crime.”  Only a motive agent, a person, can commit a crime.  A gun is only a tool; and criminals everywhere, everywhen, will always find tools to use in the commission of crime.

Ms. Gwynne deserves scorn and derision for this piece of journalistic stupidity, and Rolling Stone deserves scorn and derision for publishing it.  But the greater crime is pandering to hoplophobia and deliberate, willful ignorance; that deserves outright condemnation.  Rolling Stone seems to be gaining plenty of the former.  We’ll see about the latter.

Rule Five Friday

2014_06_13_Rule Five Friday (1)Are School Homicides Becoming the Norm?  Short answer:  No.  Long answer:  Read the article.  Excerpt:

In the aftermath of yesterday’s shooting at an Oregon high school, the president worried that such slayings are “becoming the norm.” I’ve written skeptically in the past about whether the number of mass shootings in America is actually increasing, as the word becoming implies—see my posts here, here, and here—but there’s always a haze of uncertainty around those numbers, thanks to the varying definitions of “mass shooting” that different people use.

2014_06_13_Rule Five Friday (2)But maybe that isn’t the best thing to be measuring in the first place. The Oregon incident isn’t a “mass” shooting at all—the gunman killed two people, and one of those was himself—but it obviously speaks to the same sorts of fear and grief. If your son was just shot, after all, it’s hardly a comfort that his classmates survived. A map darting around the Internet this week claims to show all the school shootings since Sandy Hook. Note the modifier: school, not mass.

Here is the report mentioned in the article, Indicators of School Crime 2014_06_13_Rule Five Friday (3)and Safety, 2013.   Read it for yourself.  One relevant highlight:

Of the 31 student, staff, and nonstudent school-associated violent deaths occurring between July 1, 2010, and June 30, 2011, there were 25 homicides and 6 suicides. During the same time period, there were 11 homicides and 3 suicides of school-age youth (ages 5–18) at school.

During the 2010–11 school year, 11 of the 1,336 homicides among school-age youth ages 5–18 occurred at school. During the 2010 calendar year, 3 of the 1,456 suicides of youth ages 5–18 occurred at school.

2014_06_13_Rule Five Friday (4)Compare that to a typical weekend in, say, Chicago.

I don’t want to belittle any event of violence in any school, anywhere.  But as an Objectivist, I am compelled to evaluate facts – and the facts are that school shootings, while tragic, are not epidemic, and not increasing, demagoguery by some in the media aside – the numbers simply do not add up.

Reason concludes:

This much is clear: If you’re wondering where kids are likely to die, the answer plainly isn’t a classroom. (Quoting the BJS report one more time: “During the 2010–11 school year, 11 of the 1,336 homicides among school-age youth ages 5–18 occurred at school.”) And in the period for which we have clear data, the school homicide rate moved in the same 2014_06_13_Rule Five Friday (5)direction as the overall homicide rate: downward. To bring it still lower, the first question to ask is what happened to get us that far.

Let’s also ask this:  What is the common thread among all of the highly-publicized mass shootings that have happened in the last several years?  One comes immediately to mind:  A history of untreated or undertreated mental illness.

Root cause analysis, True Believers – it’s something nobody in the media a) knows how to do, and 2) gives a damn about.

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Animal’s Daily News

Forewarned is forearmed.
Forewarned is forearmed.

Anti-Gun Activists Adopt Anti-Abortion Tactics.   Excerpt:

Foes of abortion and foes of guns have a similar problem: The Supreme Court, which says government cannot ban either one outright. What to do? Increasingly, the two advocacy movements are resorting to a similar solution: targeted regulation.

Abortion opponents started the trend and have it almost down to a science. Instead of trying to restrict abortion itself, they seek to impose rules that either raise barriers to individuals, such as waiting periods and mandatory ultrasounds, or crack down on clinics.

It’s almost surreal – opponents of abortion and opponents of legal gun ownership almost universally come from opposite sides of the political spectrum, and yet they both are employing some of the same tactics to encroach on other people’s liberties.

What is perhaps the most frustrating thing about this – at least from the point of view of a rational libertarian who understands the realities of our two-party system – is the reliance on regulation as a tactic by people who otherwise support the party that, supposedly, stands for less intrusive government.

Angry-BearExcept where the social-issues folks are concerned.  Then government interference is OK, as long as it’s interference in their issues.

The Reason article linked here concludes:

Regulations are problematic enough when they are written for legitimate reasons, such as preventing fraud and ensuring clean drinking water. Perverting their purpose to undermine constitutional rights is a dark, dishonest, and sinister game—no matter who plays it.

Those last few words are key:  No matter who plays it.

My Top Ten Shooting Range Peeves

AR-15 OneThis just in from a fellow member of the Wild Bunch, a nigh-unto twenty year e-mailing list of which I am a proud member:

1) If you see a parent teaching a child (especially a little one) how to shoot, have some consideration about what you do. We agree your .308-muzzle-brake-enabled-tacticool-rifle is the bomb and the cyclic rate of your booger hook is impressive, but do you have to shoot right next to us? Really? Have a heart – move down the line, or do it later! Do it for the children! . . .

 2) Suppressors are civilized and if you can own one – get one. You can do without one more cool gun – get a silencer instead. Plus it’s a great way to get new shooters started and focused on marksmanship basics. When you shoot suppressed you start to realize how much nicer a range experience can be. An added benefit is that you don’t keep yelling at your buddies after the hearing protection comes off.

3) The range signs say “EYE AND EAR PROTECTION AT ALL TIMES” for your benefit. So, put them on before you get to the bay. Don’t walk up to the range without them just because it happens to be quiet. And keep them on when you’re there. There’s really no good reason to take either off. If I care about your eyes and hearing (and you’re a stranger) more than you do, you’ve got a problem.

4) At a self-policed shooting range, calling “CEASE FIRE” once then walking forward of the firing line immediately is stupid. I kid you not, I’ve actually seen guys bleat once then start walking while the firing line is still busy. Bonehead, you’ll be getting a Darwin award shortly. Common practice and courtesy is: a) loudly call for a cease fire, preferably a few times, b) give everyone a moment to unload actions and remove magazines, c) gather items needed from the bench, d) step back and away from the firing line, then e) announce the range is clear…before anyone walks forward.

5) At a self-policed shooting range, when there is a cease fire and the range is cold, it doesn’t mean you can touch the bench, anything on the bench, anything near the bench, or anything remotely next to the bench. Back it up and stay back. I recall a few years ago an older teenage boy was sitting at the bench during a cease fire. He had his lever gun action closed and pointed skyward while the rest of the line was down range completely OK with him sitting there. Crazy!

AUG6) When sighting in a rifle at a public range, do everyone a favor and buy/bring/borrow a spotting scope or, minimally, a pair of binoculars. It never fails to amaze me when the new rifleman brings his rifle, targets, and ammo, but not a means to visualize his hits. You may think it’s totally legit to call a cease fire every five stinking minutes so you can walk out and check your bullet holes, but the guy who’s got only an hour to shoot, well, he’s not thinking highly of you. Maybe somebody will sell a super cheap pair of throwaway binos someday that you can give to these types; kind of like that advice to have a few bucks wrapped around something heavy and kept in your pocket so you can toss it at a potential robber.

7) I understand there may be times when shooting a mag full from an AK or AR at pistol ranges needs to be practiced or maybe as a starting point for a newbie…but aren’t there diminishing returns after an hour and a case of ammo? Sure it’s your right but seriously? Get thee to the rifle range already and then show everybody what you can really do at distance; if you can that is.

8) Call me crazy, but if you have an equal number of holes outside of your primary target as you do inside it, I think you may want to work on the basics. Just a tad maybe? The same applies if the target stand is more wobbly after you shot than before. Similarly, I never understand shooters who keep shooting at a target that has more holes than paper on it. I’m a tightwad, but perhaps you could spare another target once in a while?

9) The guys who think it’s funny to have their unsuspecting female counterparts (particularly those who’ve never shot before) shoot a .500 S&W revolver, a .50AE Desert Eagle, or any belted magnum rifle offhand. Are these guys just not the lowest of the low? Correction. They’re actually one small step above those who do the same, then record it and post it on YouTube.

10) During a CHL shooting test is not a great time to be asking the instructors how your gun works.

In all seriousness, let’s be safe, let’s exercise our rights, and let’s be considerate to our fellow shooters (and soon-to-be-shooters).

Animal’s Daily News

Girls with GunsSo what’s the best state to live in if you’re a gun owner?  Guns & Ammo has the answer.  Seems the top five are:

  1. Arizona
  2. Alaska
  3. Georgia
  4. Utah
  5. Kentucky

No real surprises there.  This isn’t really what you’d call a scientific survey, but it is based on several factors including right-to-carry, Castle Doctrine laws, ease of obtaining a Class III weapon, magazine bans and other miscellaneous items.

Sadly our own Colorado comes in well down the list at #40, certainly in large part because of the legislative idiocy forced on our state only last year.  Alaska, where Mrs. Animal and yr. obdt. plan to retire, fares much better – again, no surprise in a state with a long-standing outdoor tradition, not to mention plenty of toothy and dangerous wildlife.

gun control theoryThis is an election year here in Colorado though, and plenty of folks are unhappy with the current powers-that-be – Governor Hickenlooper, I suspect, will squeak by in a re-election but the mood of the country and the state are moving against the party that currently controls our legislature.

Then, True Believers, we’ll see what we’ll see.

Animal’s Daily News

Girls with GunsHas the once and former Mayor Bloomberg overextended his gun-banning efforts?  Maybe so.  Excerpt:

A mere 10 days after former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced his new anti-gun coalition Everytown for Gun Safety in the New York Times, former Pennsylvania Gov. and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, one of the most prominent members of its advisory board, has resigned from the group.

No one should be surprised.

“When I signed on as an adviser to Everytown,” Ridge said, “I looked forward to a thoughtful and provocative discussion about the toll gun violence takes on Americans. After consultation with Everytown, I have decided that I am uncomfortable with their expected electoral work.”

It’s an early embarrassment for Bloomberg’s latest effort to buy the Second Amendment back from the Constitution, but one that is sure to be repeated over the coming months — if Everytown even lasts that long.

First of all – thinking people should take issue with Gov. Ridge’s use of the idiotic term “gun violence.”   Guns can  not commit violence; they are not motive agents.  As inanimate objects, firearms are capable of being neither good nor bad; they can only be tools.  People can be good or bad, and it’s important to note that Mayor Bloomberg and his ilk favor acts of legislation that will only affect good people – and which bad people will ignore.

Angry-BearThat, True Believers, is the ultimate fallacy of gun control legislation.  Laws only affect the law-abiding – and the savage hypocrisy of fools like Bloomberg, themselves surrounded by layers of  armed guards, is that they would deprive the peaceable and law-abiding citizens of the country of their best and most effective means of self-defense.

Bloomberg may be losing influence, but what he really deserves is derision, for his thoughtless and foolish stance on this issue.

Rule Five Friday

2014_04_18_Rule Five Friday (1)The recent Fort Hood event has reignited the debate on the carry of firearms, which is perhaps predictable; PJ Media has this story on the topic:  Fort Hood and Disarmament.  Excerpt:

The latest active shooter attack at Fort Hood, Texas on April 2, 2014 left three dead and 16 wounded.  As is almost always the case, the killer, confronted with armed resistance, choose suicide, ending the rampage.  The Army has released a timeline  that indicates that the attack lasted something over eight minutes, but the timeline fails to note how much time passed between the first shot and the first 911 call, which means the actual time was likely about ten minutes.

This will become significant shortly.  The gun that anti-freedom forces 2014_04_18_Rule Five Friday (2)love to demonize, the AR-15 with its standard 30 round magazine, was not involved.  Instead, the killer used only a commonly available .45 caliber semiautomatic handgun.

As all mass attacks do, this one has reanimated the gun control debate, but this time, anti-freedom advocates have a unique handicap.  It may seem counterintuitive and surprising to many, but continental United States military installations are a gun-free anti-gunner’s dream.  They are even more strictly regulated than many schools.  Soldiers, airmen, sailors and marines are nowhere as thoroughly disarmed as they are on American 2014_04_18_Rule Five Friday (3)military bases.

And why, one wonders, should that be the case?  Why – why the bloody hell – should our servicemen and -women, professionals in the profession of arms, be denied the ability to bear arms on the grounds of their own bases?

As recently as the Seventies at least officers and senior NCOs routinely carried sidearms even on stateside bases.  The expectation was simple:  Service members were in the business of bearing and using arms, and it was taken for granted that they would be armed in the course of their duties.

And how is this relevant to the nutbar shooter at Fort Hood?  Or his predecessor, the nutbar turncoat jihadist Major Hasan?

2014_04_18_Rule Five Friday (4)There are two possible scenarios:  First, the shooter would have expected armed resistance at the target area, and would have either given the whole thing a pass or, at worst, selected another target.  Second, the shooter would have encountered armed resistance at the target area and been terminated before doing as much damage as he did.

So, the risk analysis is fairly simple; worst case is a diversion to a softer target.  Best case is an aborted mass-shooter.  In either case, the argument for disarming professional warriors in their own bases comes off as what it clearly is:  Idiotic.

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Rule Five Friday

2014_04_11_Rule Five Friday (1)Some interesting work done on crime rates vs. regional gun control laws to go along with some summery Friday Rule Five:  An examination of the effects of concealed weapons laws and assault weapons bans on state-level murder rates.  (link leads to a pdf document.)  Key excerpt from the abstract:

Using data for the period 1980 to 2009 and controlling for state and year fixed effects, the results of the present study suggest that states with restrictions on the carrying of concealed weapons had higher gun-related murder rates than other states. It was also found that assault weapons bans did not significantly affect murder rates at the state level. These results suggest that restrictive concealed weapons laws may cause an increase in gun-related murders at the state level. The results of this study are consistent with some prior research in this area, most notably Lott and Mustard (1997).

2014_04_11_Rule Five Friday (2)And another from the conclusion:

Given that the average gun related murder rate over the period in question was 3.44, the results of the present study indicate that states with more restrictive CCW laws had gun-related murder rates that were 10% higher. In addition, the Federal assault weapons ban is significant and positive, indicating that murder rates were 19.3% higher when the Federal ban was in effect. These results corroborate the findings of Lott and Mustard (1997). These results suggest that, even after controlling for unobservable state and year fixed effects, limiting the ability to carry concealed weapons may cause murder rates to increase.

There may, however, be other explanations for these results. Laws may be ineffective due to loopholes and exemptions. The most violent states may also have the toughest gun control measures. Further research is 2014_04_11_Rule Five Friday (3)warranted in this area.

Further research may be warranted, but the evidence that gun control has little to no effect on crime rates is better supported now than, say, anthropogenic climate change.  The positive effects of liberalized concealed-carry laws is just as well documented.

Which makes the arguments – the tired, stale, old arguments – of gun control proponents all the more baffling.  When Colorado’s concealed-carry law was being debated in the State legislature, we heard them all:

  • 2014_04_11_Rule Five Friday (4)There will be shootouts over parking spaces.
  • People will be killed with their own guns.
  • More handguns in the hands of citizens will mean more crime.
  • Carnage will ensue from untrained people carrying guns.

None of these dire predictions came true – not anywhere.  In fact, CCW permit holders are, as a group, some of the most law-abiding folks you’ll find anywhere.

But statistics aside, there is a matter of principle involved.  Studies such as the one referenced above are useful in making arguments 2014_04_11_Rule Five Friday (6)for public policy, to be sure, but the fact is that a free citizen should be able to make the choice for him or herself as to whether to carry a firearm for self-defense or defense of others.

I carry a gun for a variety of reasons; I’m too young to die and too old to get my ass kicked, I can’t carry a cop, I’d rather take my chances with twelve jurors than six pallbearers, and so on.  But the primary reason I carry is this:  I am a free, law-abiding citizen and it suits me to do so.

If we truly are a free country – if individual liberty still has any meaning – what other reason should be required?

2014_04_11_Rule Five Friday (5)