05 January 2013

Senator Dianne Feinstein's Proposed Gun Ban

On January 22nd, 2013 or thereabouts, Dianne Feinstein plans to introduce a new "Assault Weapons" ban.  If you haven't taken the time to examine this legislation, you need to.  You may think that just because you don't own an "assault weapon," that you've got nothing to worry about.

You'd be wrong.

Let's look at a few of the things that will make a firearm fall into the category of "assault weapon." Source: http://www.nraila.org/legislation/federal-legislation/2012/feinstein-goes-for-broke-with-new-gun-ban-bill.aspx

  1. Any type of grip on a rifle.  "grip . . . or any other characteristic that can function as a grip." Also, the new bill adds "forward grip" to the list of prohibiting features for rifles, defining it as "a grip located forward of the trigger that functions as a pistol grip." Read literally and in conjunction with the reduction from two features to one, the new language would apply to every detachable-magazine semi-automatic rifle. At a minimum, it would, for example, ban all models of the AR-15, even those developed for compliance with California’s highly restrictive ban.
  2. Any "semiautomatic, centerfire, or rimfire rifle that has a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds," except for tubular-magazine .22s.  Read that carefully.  No more than 10 round detachable magazines for any rifle, period.
  3. Any "semiautomatic handgun with a fixed magazine that has the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds," and any semi-automatic handgun that has a threaded barrel.  No more than 10 round magazines for any modern handgun.  
  4. If you currently own an "assault weapon," you'll be required to register it as an NFA weapon.  The National Firearms Act of 1934 was for the regulation of machine guns - fully automatic weapons.  Now your hunting/sporting rifle will be classified as an NFA weapon, requiring a $200 tax stamp, registration, fingerprint and photo, and approval from a local law enforcement official to possess it. That's your rifle, handgun, and presumably your shotgun.
  5. If you have to do this, your firearm becomes non-transferable.  That means that when you die, the government must seize it. You can't sell it, you can't give it away, nobody can inherit it.  It becomes property of the government, and they can come and take it.  And you can bet they'll have more than 10 rounds in their guns.
Chances are good that you own a firearm that will somehow fall into this category.  This legislation cannot stand.  It circumvents not only the 2nd Amendment, but common sense.  You'll note the use of the term "semi-automatic" to specifically address certain firearms.  Feinstein knows there's a difference between semi and full, but she just doesn't care. 

She wants your guns.  Period.

Contact your representatives today, and tell those people that work for you to stop this nonsense now, today.  Use this handy link:

03 January 2013

"Assault Rifle" - Ignorance and Apathy

I'm so sick of the ignorance regarding so-called "assault rifles."  An AR-15 is a semi-automatic rifle, the same as any other sporting rifle.  It is NOT a machine gun.  It is NOT fully automatic.  The same applies to the civilian variant of the AK-47.  Not a machine gun, people!

Just because a rifle looks like its fully-automatic cousin, it doesn't make it one.  Not any more than an Airsoft rifle is a real rifle.  It's a toy that looks like a real rifle.

The problem is that most people don't know the difference, and they don't care.  They won't care until it's too late.  Ignorance and apathy defined.

As I discussed in an earlier post, fully automatic weapons are regulated by the National Firearms Act (NFA) of 1934 and the Gun Control Act of 1968.  Non-military/law enforcement people cannot purchase an automatic weapon manufactured after 1967.  You can purchase one manufactured before that date, but they're very expensive ($10,000+), and require a tax stamp ($200), fingerprints and photos, and approval from local law enforcement.  As a consequence, very few people possess fully automatic firearms. 

The legislation being put forth in various states and now at the federal level want to treat your semi-automatic handguns, shotguns, and rifles the same as automatic weapons.  Look at that again: your Beretta shotgun, your Ruger pistol, your Remington rifle would be treated like machine guns, and restricted like them.

What's worse, the proposed legislation would make these firearms non-transferable.  When you die, the government gets your gun.  How's that grab you?

That leaves you with revolvers, pump shotguns, and bolt-action rifles, and those will be next.

I suppose the toy fully-automatic Airsoft rifles are next after that.  

Contact your congresspersons ASAP and voice your opposition to any restrictive legislation whatsoever.  Do it now, and use this link to make it happen: http://capwiz.com/gunowners/home/

02 January 2013

Part 6: Calibers and Ammo

Someone asked me to elaborate on the topic of ammunition.  I reload my own ammo, and it's a real money-saver for me.  I just buy the components, do a little nerdy research, put it all in a nifty Dillon Precision progressive reloader, and bullets come out.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Let's talk about popular handgun calibers and stuff like "stopping power."  First off, let it be known that I wouldn't want to get shot with any caliber of bullet.  Now that we're clear on that, let's enumerate some popular calibers and some of their characteristics.

  1. .22 caliber.  The most readily available ammunition, even in times of shortage.  Extremely popular for small game hunting (rabbit, squirrel) and "plinking," the term for casual target shooting.  There are variants on .22, from sub-sonic rounds to .22 magnum, and depending on the firearm, the applications are varied.  For self-defense, it's not terribly effective, but again - those little bullets can hurt or kill anyone, depending on placement.  
  2. .25 caliber.  Before the .380, one of the most popular "pocket pistol" calibers for very small and concealable firearms.  Again, not my first choice for personal protection, because shot placement would be crucial.  Like the .22, heavy clothing could seriously deter penetration of the round.  
  3. .380, also known as 9mm Kurz (German for "short").  This has become a recently popular caliber, popularized by the many brands of personal protection firearms on the market, most of which are quite small and concealable.  They're very popular with the CHL crowd. While the round doesn't pack the power of a 9mm, it IS a 9mm bullet, but with less bullet mass, and less powder behind it.  Nonetheless, with some of the personal protection ammo available, it's an effective self-defense round.  Most 380s are limited in magazine capacity however - it's a trade-off for concealment.
  4. 9mm.  This is probably one of the most popular rounds, and there are so many variations on bullet weight, bullet type, and subsequent velocity and penetration that space prohibits detailing much.  Nonetheless, a lot of police departments and our own military use the 9mm.  There are those who disparage the 9mm, but it's an extremely effective round, and depending on the bullet can be a "man-stopper."  You can fit a lot of 9mm into a standard double-stack magazine - 17 in a Glock 9mm, for example.  You want more bullets in a self-defense situation.
  5. .40 caliber.  My personal favorite.  Lots of variety on the load and bullet type, good velocity, good penetration characteristics, good capacity.  My competition pistol is a .40, and I can fit 20 rounds in my standard 140mm magazine.  Not bad.  Bullet weights for personal protection loads vary, usually using a lighter hollow-point (as with other calibers), which provides good penetration and expansion.  Good balance of capacity and lethality.
  6. .45 ACP.  One of the most popular calibers of all time, popularized by the invention of John Browning's 1911, the most celebrated of handguns.  It's a very large bullet (230 grains, typically), but a bit slower than some of the smaller calibers.  While many tout it as a "man" caliber, its lethality is contingent on a number of factors, including bullet weight and type, power, the length of the barrel, etc.  It makes a really big hole, but you will sacrifice rounds (only 7 or 8 in the magazine) in exchange for a hoped-for "man-stopper."  
  7. Anything bigger is just silly, or is only useful for hunting.  Nobody seriously considers a .50 caliber pistol for anything other than hunting or just showing your friends. Not practical for concealed carry, self-protection, home-protection, or pretty much anything else.
As I indicated above, "stopping power" is contingent on a lot of factors, including bullet weight, bullet type, bullet speed, barrel length, distance of the shot, what it's hitting, etc.  Again, movies would have you believe that a handgun can knock someone down, or even blow them through windows, shoot through anything, etc.  Simple physics don't support that silliness.  In fact, if you've ever seen anyone shot in real life (plenty of You Tube evidence), they typically jump, then run away.  Depending on the shot, they will either live or die.  If the placement of the shot is in the right place, the person may drop, but I won't get into that here.

I don't mean to treat the morbidity of "stopping power" in such a cavalier fashion - I realize how serious the topic is.  But these are questions that I'm asked the most, and I'm just sharing what little bit I know about the topic.  Got questions?  Ask away.

Part 5: Personal Protection

Part 5: Personal protection. Here's a quiz: who's responsible for your personal safety? The police? Mom/dad/brother/sister/spouse/non-gender-specific significant other? A sign outside that says "No guns?"

Answer (and you may not like to hear this): Nobody. Nobody but YOU.

I get asked all the time about my opinion on what kind of gun someone should buy for personal protection. My answer is always, "what's your plan?" After a blank look, I explain. Scenario: you're in the study, working from home, when you hear the back door getting kicked in. What's your plan? Scenario: you're asleep in bed, and hear a window break downstairs. What's your plan?

If you can't answer simple questions like this, then a weapon isn't going to do you much good. Of course, I recommend having a firearm for personal protection, but if you don't learn how to safely use it, learn the laws of your state regarding deadly force, and have a plan for the unthinkable, you're not really preparing for anything.

Go take a Concealed Handgun Licensing course, even if you don't own a firearm. Learn the laws of your state, it's very educational, and a lot of myths get dispelled when you learn them. For example, I've heard people giving sage advice about how if you shoot someone in your yard, drag them inside. Tampering with a crime scene is lousy advice. Go learn the law.

Learn basic gun safety. Learn basic gun safety. Learn basic gun safety.

Learn how to shoot from a qualified shooting instructor. Virtually anyone who has been shooting IDPA or USPSA for a while can offer you fundamental training on how to safely operate a firearm. Beware of poseurs who charge exorbitant amounts for "Basic" pistol training. Ask around - if they've got a good reputation, you'll get good recommendations.

Have a plan. Practice it, even if you feel silly doing it. Where is your mobile phone while you're sleeping? It should be right next to your bed. Where is a firearm if you need it in an emergency, and is it ready to be used? A gun locked in a safe with no ammo in the mag is useless.

Police fill out reports after a crime has been committed. They are not chartered with your personal protection. You need to recognize that your personal protections is your responsibility, and take it seriously.

Part 4: The Bill of Rights

Part 4: The Bill of Rights. There's been a lot of bleating and bloviating from so-called "liberal thinkers" regarding the irrelevance of the Second Amendment. Let's put that particular amendment in perspective with the rest of the Bill of Rights, and see if everyone is still so keen to talk of the irrelevance of an individual amendment.

First Amendment – Establishment Clause, Free Exercise Clause; freedom of speech, of the press, and of assembly; right to petition
Second Amendment – Militia (United States), Sovereign state, Right to keep and bear arms.
Third Amendment – Protection from quartering of troops.
Fourth Amendment – Protection from unreasonable search and seizure.
Fifth Amendment – due process, double jeopardy, self-incrimination, eminent domain.
Sixth Amendment – Trial by jury and rights of the accused; Confrontation Clause, speedy trial, public trial, right to counsel
Seventh Amendment – Civil trial by jury.
Eighth Amendment – Prohibition of excessive bail and cruel and unusual punishment.
Ninth Amendment – Protection of rights not specifically enumerated in the Constitution.
Tenth Amendment – Powers of States and people.

See anything you'd like to give up? What makes anyone think that the Second Amendment is irrelevant when taken into account with the rest of the Bill of Rights?

The Bill of Rights doesn't grant anyone rights - it protects the natural, intrinsic rights of all people from a tyrannical government. "We don't have a tyrannical government!" many would say. Damned right, and this is why.

With respect to the Second Amendment, I've heard it argued that the Founding Fathers couldn't have fathomed the types of weapons we have today, so there's no justification for owning "military-style" weapons.

By that logic, the use of this keyboard to express my thoughts and ideas is just as outrageous, and the First Amendment is irrelevant, because the Founding Fathers couldn't have fathomed what the "press" would become in the future, and what devices we would have at our disposal to express free speech and practice the religion of our choice. What makes the Second Amendment any less important than the First??? Many have argued that the Second Amendment helps insure that the rest of the Amendments are unmolested.

Go do some reading the next time you hear some nonsense about the relevance of the Second Amendment. Here's a good start: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Bill_of_Rights

Part 3: The Myth of Magazine Capacity

Part 3: Let's talk about the myth of magazine capacity. The media has fixated on "high-capacity" magazines as something that is bad or evil. I guess the theory is that by reducing the capacity of magazines to only 10 rounds, crime will somehow be reduced. First of all, there are standard-capacity and reduced-capacity magazines. The call from gun controllers is to reduce the standard-capacity magazines to 10 rounds.

"But you don't need 30 rounds to hunt Bambi!" is the common cry. Pay attention now: the Second Amendment of the Constitution has nothing whatsoever to do with HUNTING. Get that idea out of your head. Nowhere in that amendment is a clause protecting hunting rights. That's diversionary nonsense. 

Firearms, handguns in particular, are designed by the manufacturers to fit as many bullets into the length of the magazine as is reliably possible. In a force-on-force situation, it's often the person with the most bullets who wins. This is why police departments all over the world have switched from revolvers to semi-auto pistols: more bullets. If you're using a firearm in a self-defense situation, you want more bullets. It's doubtful there will be time for a reload at all.

Watch the video of Travis Tomasie performing speed reloads with a Glock. He only shoots 6 rounds per magazine, and reloads 3 times. He's pretty fast on the reload, mind you, but even an average shooter can reload in a second or two. 

If you'd like a lesson on reloading a revolver, Google Jerry Miculek. He's faster with a revolver than I am with a semi-auto. 

Bottom line: limiting magazine capacity will do nothing to stop a motivated criminal from committing crimes. Nothing.

Part 2: Clips and Magazines - Know the Difference

This is the second in a series, and today I'll talk about a topic that has gained and lost me friends. I'm talking about the difference between a clip and a mag. Why is this important? Well, for starters, they're 2 different things. 

A clip simply holds rounds (bullets, ammunition) in a static position. There's no feed mechanism in a clip. In fact, many clips are used to load magazines. The M1 Garand is a fine example of how a clip is fed into a magazine. When the last round is fired from the magazine, the clip is ejected with a distinctive "zing."

A magazine has a mechanism (usually a spring and follower) that pushes rounds up in the magazine so that the next round is ready to be fed into the firearm's chamber. Wikipedia has a pretty good write-up on magazines:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magazine_(firearms)

With the exception of revolvers, virtually all handguns use a magazine. I'm not sure I could cite an instance of a handgun "clip."  Edit: Moon clips for revolvers are a clear oversight on my part.  Good example of a clip.

The image I've attached to this post illustrates some popular magazines (mags) and clips. I realize it's splitting hairs for some people, but it's important that we know what the parts of a firearm are, and what they do. When I hear someone on the news refer to a "high-capacity clip," I know right away that they probably don't know what they're talking about. If they had bothered to educate themselves, they wouldn't use that terminology.

Next time, I'll talk about magazine capacity, and provide some real-life examples of why the "high-cap" mag is a media-perpetuated myth.

Part 1: Automatic vs. Semi-Automatic - A Primer

This is the first in a series of posts to help educate everyone on some of the misunderstood aspects of firearms. Today's topic: Automatic vs. Semi-Automatic. 

An automatic weapon fires multiple rounds (bullets, projectiles) by pulling and holding down the trigger. Because of the automatic's firing mechanism, projectiles will continue to be fired until the trigger is released, or the magazine feeding the rounds is empty.

A semi-automatic weapon fires one round per pull of the trigger. It doesn't matter if you hold the trigger back, it still fires only one round per pull.

Automatic weapons fall into a category of weapons that are heavily regulated by the National Firearms Act (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Firearms_Act) of 1934 and the Gun Control Act of 1968. In essence, a civilian cannot purchase an automatic weapon manufactured after 1987. It's worth your time to read the link I've provided regarding all the rules and regulations. Yes, you can buy an automatic weapon manufactured before 1987, but they're horribly expensive (because they're collector's items), to the tune of $10,000 and up. Add to that the rigorous requirements to own and register one, and it's just not feasible for the average citizen to own, for the most part. Failure to follow the rules will result in Federal prison time.

Semi-automatic weapons are what most people have today. Revolvers have fallen out of vogue for the most part. The average hunting rifle, shotgun, and pistol is a semi-automatic. Magazine capacities vary, based primarily on the size of the rounds (bullets) being used. For example, more 9mm bullets will fit in a magazine than a .45 caliber, because of the size difference. There are several popular calibers for rifles, and the type of semi-auto rifle typically only varies in appearance. For example, the Ruger Ranch Rifle in .223 is functionally identical to the AR-15 rifle, although the AR looks "scarier." Functionally, they are no different.

Questions or comments are welcome. I'll talk about magazines and clips in the next of this series. Hope this helps.

Hello Again!

Looks like I'll need to resurrect this blog. It's time. Look for some new posts soon.