Guest Post: Do You Know About the AppleSeed Project?

Jack Billington

I really hate to mention it here in this realm of derring-do and expertise in all things martial.

But I’m a lousy rifle shot.

Picture it: I’m a guerrilla fighter. My comrades are counting on my sniping skills to take out a key enemy position. I aim, breathe, squeeze the trigger — and take out a cow in a barn 12 degrees to the left, alerting the enemy, losing the battle, and depriving my fellow fighters of milk they need for survival.
Fortunately, no one is likely ever to be dumb enough to rely on my sniping skills.

Still, one recent Saturday I found myself, rifle in hand, at a nearby farm in the company of 20 women and girls.

We were there to attend a LadySeed, the women-only version of an Appleseed marksmanship clinic. Project Appleseed, as you may know, is an effort to turn Americans back into expert shooters “one rifleman at a time.” Its events are put on by the wonderfully named Revolutionary War Veterans Association and are staffed entirely by volunteers.

It’s not just about shooting. Each Appleseed also features an extended history lesson focused on April 19, 1775.

But mostly it’s shooting.
A blog post is too short to cover much about the events. The quickest and best thing to say is this is valuable training for anyone — man, woman, or child — who wants to buff up on rifle skills and do it with excellent help and in good company. And if there’s an Appleseed near me in the uber-boonies, there’ll probably be one near you at some time or another. Schedules are listed on the organization’s site.

Appleseed is not ideal for someone who has never fired a gun. Still, the woman next to me on the firing line was a newbie. She began the day unable to hit the paper. By the time we dragged our tired selves home, she was punching impressive holes.

The friend who came with me and I quickly realized we had handicapped ourselves by not bringing proper equipment. She had a bolt action with a single five-round magazine, and I had a tube-fed Savage that was my brother’s Cub Scout gun back when dinosaurs ruled the earth.
A semiauto .22 with two or more mags and a sling is really a must to get the most out of an Appleseed.

Turns out there’s a good equipment list linked right from the front page of the Project Appleseed website. But since we came to the class sign-up via a different route, we never saw it and couldn’t find one. It was our fault for not digging deeper. But it would have been nice had the organizers ensured that every attendee had such a list.

That’s a nit-pick. There are many, many more positive things to say. For the sake of brevity, I’ll focus on one: the excellent volunteer staff. The instructors in our case were all women — and could easily have been professional trainers.

Appleseed got started just five years ago with roughly two dozen clinics. This year, according to our instructors, it’s putting on close to 1,000. Even the New York Times took notice — although predictably the writer put the scariest possible slant on things.

Did my friend and I emerge as better shooters? Hard to say. Most people in the class did — and that was just on the first day. For a variety of reasons, we decided to skip the Sunday session. Both of us felt we’d have made more progress had we brought semi-autos.

But there’s always another Appleseed. And maybe someday “I’ll be good enough not to pot that cow.”

 

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Gun Laws: Illinois

Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of Gun Law weekly. Before we jump into this week’s State, Illinois, we’d like to quickly address that there were a few errors in last weeks’ article about gun laws in Texas. Thank you readers’ for pointing out those errors and this week we are working harder to provide direct links to the relevant legislature and are reading the legislature directly so that we can avoid these mistakes in the future.

 

With that being said the show must go on so without further ado: Illinois.

firearmsrack

Possession

 

To purchase a firearm of any kind in Illinois you need a Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card (430 ILCS 65/2). After you obtain an FOID though you do not need to register any firearms you purchase. In purchasing a handgun however there is a 72 hour mandatory waiting period before picking up your new handgun and there is a 24 hour holding period on any rifle or shotgun before you can take possession (720 ILCS 5/24-3). If you are purchasing multiple firearms or need a gun case to transport your new firearm securely then this would be a good time to look at gun lockers and other gun storage solutions.

guncase

The requirements to obtain a FOID card are as follows:

 

  • At least 21 years old, or at least 18 with parental consent (and a parent who is eligible for a FOID card).
  • A U.S. citizen or legal resident, and
  • Eligible to obtain and possess a firearm under federal law.

 

Additionally you must not be:

 

  • A convicted felon.
  • A minor convicted of certain misdemeanors, crimes that would be felonies if committed by an adult, or who has been adjudicated delinquent,
  • Addicted to certain controlled substances, or
  • “mentally impaired” or “intellectually disabled”

 

Transportation and Carrying

 

Moving onto transporting and carrying your gun, residents of Illinois can conceal carry their handgun if they obtain a concealed carry license from the Illinois State Police. For a full list of the eligibility requirements you can visit their site here. Otherwise you are still allowed to transport your firearm as long as you meet one of the following conditions:

 

  • Are broken down in a non-functioning state.
  • Are not immediately accessible.
  • Are unloaded and enclosed in a case, firearm carrying box, shipping box, or other container by a person who has been issued a currently valid FOID Card.

 

This is not a full list, I highlighted the first three because these are the easiest to achieve. There are also additional exceptions made for hunting and target shooting in regards to transportation and open carry. To see all of conditions you can transport your firearm in see the link at the bottom of the article for 720 ILCS 5/24-1 (4). There are also location restrictions where concealed carry permit owners aren’t allowed to have their handgun. This extensive list can be found here.

 

Non-Residents

 

Non-residents are allowed to have a firearm without an FOID if it is unloaded and in a case or if they are:

 

– Hunting and has a non-resident hunting license, while in an area where hunting is permitted.

– On a target range recognized by the Department of State Police.

– At a gun show recognized by the Department of State Police.

– Currently licensed or registered to possess a firearm in his state of residence. (NRA-ILA)

 

The section of the law that deals with non-resident firearm possession referenced here is 430 ILCS 65/2, which deals with FOID Card exceptions, as is the case with most non-residents. Non-residents are allowed to obtain a Concealed Carry License so if you are frequently in Illinois this may be a good solution for you.

 

These are the basic firearm laws in Illinois. The majority of this information was found in the FOID Act, Concealed Carry Act and the Unlawful Use of Weapons Act. With interpretation help from the NRA, Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and the Illinois State Police website.

 

Like all laws these are subject to change. There may also be county and city laws not covered in this article that change your ability to carry, transport and otherwise possess your firearm.

 

430 ILCS 65: FOID Act

 

430 ILCS 66: Firearms Concealed Carry Act

 

720 ILCS 5/24-1: Unlawful Use of Weapons Act

 

NRA-ILA Illinois

 

Illinois State Police Firearm Services Bureau

 

 

 

 

 

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Gun Laws: Texas Hold’em

People not in the gun community often think that Texas would be the Wild West when it comes to gun laws but it’s not.  It is not the most relaxed State when it comes to possession, open carry and laws requiring secure weapon storage. While there is good reason and clout to back up these rumors, Texas still does have gun laws that you have to follow and should be aware of.

 

To start, there are no rifle, shotgun or handgun registration laws in Texas. That means that there is no waiting period to buy a gun if you woke up in the morning wanting one. This includes weapons deemed “assault” weapons by Federal laws and other State laws. Additionally, this extends to ammunition capacity where there is no limit on how much ammunition you can have in a magazine or on your person. In short, the only limit to how many bullets you have is your capacity to store them. Or money.

 

The only time you will need to get a permit in relation to firearms is when you want to carry a handgun concealed or open. As of January 1st 2016 you are allowed to open carry a handgun, in a safe non-threatening manner, if you have a concealed carry permit. You are allowed to open carry a shotgun or rifle without a concealed carry permit unless it is in a manner “calculated to cause harm”. So be careful because the wording can be slippery and is up to the police to interpret.

 

City dwellers should pay extra special attention to the exceptions to these rules, which are; even with the open and concealed carry permit you are not allowed to have firearm in:

 

  • texas-weapon-storage-225x300Amusement Parks.
  • Churches and other places of religious worship.
  • Hospitals.
  • Correctional facilities.
  • Courts.
  • Polling places on Election Day.
  • High schools.
  • In an establishment where 51% or more of the revenue comes from alcohol.
  • Inside an airport.

 

In regards to transportation you may carry a loaded handgun within reach in a vehicle as long as it is out of sight. Long guns, as in shotguns or other rifles, may be loaded, within reach and in plain view in the vehicle.

 

If you are not from Texas it may be hard to purchase a firearm while in Texas because you must show ID to buy a firearm and in many stores they will not sell them to you because of the potential conflicts with other States laws. Also, if you have a concealed carry permit from another State, Texas will allow you to open carry in their state as well.

A note on safety in these troubling times, in light of the recent shooting in Houston. If you live in one of the big cities (Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Dallas or Fort Worth) the only city that is high on the FBI’s list of most dangerous cities in Texas is Houston. Austin particularly is noted to be very safe, so just because you live in a state that has relaxed gun laws and you live in a big city does not mean you have to feel unsafe. Crime rates in the five biggest cities in Texas have actually dropped by an average of 6.5% in the last year.

 

If you are still worried about violent crime or if you are a business owner worried about protecting his/her wares there are plenty of versatile storage options available.

 

 

https://www.texastribune.org/2016/04/22/crime-rates-fall-texas-cities/

https://www.texaslawshield.com/portal/texas-gun-law/

http://www.texasgunlaws.org

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_laws_in_Texas

 

 

 

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Essay: Insights

I’m a proponent of the 2nd Amendment… right to keep and bear arms.

Gun Control, rights, Safety, Lobbyist, legislation, ownership, violence, Anti-Gun Policies, training, etc.

These terms swirl around us.   I can remember those “ Thrilling days of yesteryear!” Cowboys or combat certain images were associated with America’s love for firearms. Which brought me to an awareness that I needed to know how to protect myself properly and responsibly, when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em…   As children, especially boys were encouraged to play with guns, toughening up rite of passage and if someone hits you, hit ‘em back. Cowboys and Indians was the thing to play! We saw cowboys in “Shoot ‘em up” westerns with trusty six shooters. Television shows like The Lone Ranger, Wyatt Earp, Gunsmoke, The Rifleman, characters were featured as gun slingers. Still in re-runs today. Untouchables with Machine guns, the detectives versus the Mob, outlaws and police everywhere with guns. Shows also featured military brigades, fighting for truth, justice the American Way

Women toted pistols…Annie Oakley portrayed by Gail Davis, of course Roy’s Dale Evans. Davis (Betty Jeanne Grayson) was particularly interesting because she was a legendary sharp shooter who wasn’t just acting. She had pistol packing power. Davis’ character, and ability to outshoot men, (while they thought she was a pansy) really fascinated me. There were cops and robbers shows of every sort. Firearms have been a staple “prop” throughout television history. Used to establish, enforce law and order. In movies and real life, the power of a gun let’s you know that something serious is about to go down. A gun is a persuader of perceived power, one upsmanship. Wielding a gun can be intoxicating… It can save your life and if you pull one out you’d better be prepared to use it, know what, how to do what must be done. It’s about accuracy, safety, consequences, aftermath, and perhaps a deadly outcome.

Yes, we want safety; better safe than sorry, when it comes down to being violated, perhaps it’s kill or be killed. Worst-case scenario, last resort, left with no choice, life or death situation, be prepared. Emergency preparedness training must be ongoing. Life circumstances became real and I needed a gun. I had been violated and robbed at gunpoint. I am thankful to be alive to tell this story. The situation could have been the other way…The need to protect/defend myself on another level was of concern. The person was never caught and brought to justice. (Sound familiar?) The responsibility to be an informed, experienced gun owner was obvious. I purchased two. One to keep with me, the other in a safe place to protect my property. I practiced regularly, joined the NRA, and used the range for target practice. That was decades ago, before I understood politics as I do now. If you have to take matters into your own hands to defend yourself, your body must be the ultimate weapon. I am an advocate/activist for what I believe and hold dear. 2nd Amendment advocates are on both sides of the political aisles, diverse, of every political persuasion. Preserving life, using deadly force to protect the life of loved ones and property is not a partisan issue, must be preserved as our 2nd Amendment rights state. There is a delicate balance between protection, safety, awareness, and responsibility. The NRA and reputable gun advocacy organizations have their merits. Better served not being limited in scope to focusing on endorsing any one particular parties’ politics. They need a different approach so that 2nd Amendment rights are inclusive, not exclusive. They need not be pitting themselves against each other concerning gun policy legislation.

My goal is to keep training, honing my skills, improve accuracy, and stay abreast of relevant issues and laws. Setting my sites on new improved weaponry and ammo, and of course watching my back. Bullying isn’t just a youth issue. As I observe the political stance of the American people, I am mindful of safe, sane and solid ways to exercise this right.

When serious issues have arisen local law enforcement tells me, “there’s nothing they can do” after they’ve told me to “ call them if I need them”… I have no choice but to defend myself, take matters into my own hands, if necessary.

This time I’m not training as an amateur. The law is there whether you are a proponent of it or not. That’s what it’s there for…protection. I’m choosing to take advantage of that 2nd Amendment!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                “ Praise God and Pass the Ammo, the heat is on!”

 

This message is intended to raise awareness, gather support, and maintain a voice for gun rights and safety.

Antoinette Singh                                                                                                                                    Writer/Journalist   Gun rights advocate/activist   Radio producer     Civil /Human/ Women’s Rights advocate   Crisis Counselor   Artist /Designer       Woman of God…    

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