Enough

I’ve had it.  I had hoped it was just an anomaly the first time.  But it seems like every time I get on the internet, there has been another one, and one more is too many.  Now, it is time for us to accept some reasonable restrictions, and enact some commonsense reforms.

And don’t go waving the Bill of Rights in my face.  The farsighted Founders of our great nation never envisioned atrocities like this, and I am sick and tired of it.  I do not believe for a moment that the eloquent, educated men who wrote our Constitution ever intended the First Amendment to protect the use of the words “booger hook” and “bang switch”.

Just stop it.

It sounded sort of clever the first time I heard it a couple of decades ago, for about two minutes.  But I’m pretty sure that using playground words instead of professional and correct terminology doesn’t really help make the case that we in the gun community take ourselves or our hardware seriously.  It’s time to grow up, and speak like adults.  So next time you need to show what a savvy gun person you are and lecture about how not to shoot yourself, remember…

This is a finger.

 

This is a trigger.

 

Use your words…

Thinkable

Image: KTRK-TV

“It is with great sadness that I stand here today to share with you that we experienced an unthinkable tragedy at our high school this morning.”

–  Dr. Leigh Wall, Santa Fe ISD

To be fair, it is entirely possible that Dr. Wall did not mean “unthinkable” in the literal sense. Still, I think it is worth addressing the use of that word when it comes to mass murder in a school…or any other act of violence, for that matter. While violent crime is thankfully unfamiliar to the vast majority of America (386.3 offenses for every 100,000 people) , no one with access to a television, a radio, a computer, or smartphone should be in denial of the possibility.

Anyone who steps out their door in the morning truly believing “it can’t happen here” is a fool. Furthermore, if you are in some sort of position which entrusts you with responsibility for the lives of others and you still believe “it can’t happen here,” you are both negligent and morally bankrupt.

Although there were armed officers present today, and by all accounts they performed admirably, no law-abiding adult should be denied the right to defend themselves immediately from violence…right now. While prevention is certainly preferable, I know of no one who has a realistic proposal to guarantee that such violence can be prevented without fail. And once the killing begins, prevention is no longer an option. History has proven again and again that the longer it takes for an armed defender to arrive at the scene, the more people die.

If you are a leader…in a school system, a business, or any other organization…and you sit safe in your office while those in your charge are left vulnerable, you are wrong. It is one thing to opt for defenselessness for yourself, but to force others to be so is wrong. “Gun-free zones” are wrong. “Gun-free zones” kill.

Unthinkable, my ass. You had better think about it.

Image: KTRK-TV

You Don’t Need To Hunt

A recent article on Huffpost, by alleged hunters, is repeating the old narrative that the only guns which merit any protection are those which are deemed necessary for hunting. After all, they say, you just don’t need an AR-15 to hunt. Big mistake, Elmer.

 

Never mind that the 2nd Amendment has nothing to do with hunting, and never mind the obvious arguments against living in a society where you are only allowed to possess the things which you need (as decided by someone else).  Let’s stick to the idea that you only need guns which are suitable for hunting, because there is a very specific problem with that position.

The problem is that once need becomes the linchpin of your position, you now open up the debate as to whether or not you really need to hunt at all. And you know what? You don’t.

There are very few people left in this country who require hunted game meat to feed themselves, if any. We hunt because we enjoy the activity, and because we like game meat, but we don’t need it any more than we need a new Xbox. And if you really want to argue the case that you and your family need hunted game meat in order to survive, I’ve got a solution for you…and you aren’t going to like it.

It involves means testing before being allowed to hunt for subsistence. If your income as reported to the IRS does not fall below the poverty line, then you do not qualify as a subsistence hunter. Remember, the only allowable guns are those suitable for hunting, and since your income level means you do not need to hunt, you may possess no firearms at all.

The next phase of the solution comes once all the non-subsistence hunters and their nasty old non-hunting guns are weeded out. Now we have a relatively small subset of impoverished gun owners who simply cannot afford to buy meat at the grocery to feed their families. It then becomes a simple matter to put them on government assistance (if they aren’t already) and bump their allowance enough to enable them to buy their meat at the supermarket like everybody else.

The supposed need to hunt has now been removed once and for all. Now, not only have the awful guns no one needed to hunt been eliminated, the so-called “good guns” are unnecessary as well. Once you put need into the equation, you are one government-issued EBT card away from no longer needing to hunt. There’ll be no tasty venison for you, but you won’t starve. And once you no longer need to hunt, you won’t need any of those guns at all, Elmer.

Turn Out The Lights

The party’s over…at least for me and the Sig Sauer P320RX Compact. I don’t typically do gun review stuff here, but I think this is worth sharing. I bought this gun about six months ago, looking to make the switch not just from iron sights to a red dot, but from a relatively low-capacity pistol to one with more ammunition on board.

 

 

After about a month of every day carry, I picked up the gun one morning and the red dot simply would not come on. Sig utilizes a technology they call MOTAC, which shuts down the reticle after two minutes of inactivity in order to preserve the battery. Then when the sight senses motion, the dot immediately reactivates. Of course, if you are carrying the pistol on your person for 10-12 hours per day (or more), the reticle remains on constantly, consuming power from the battery. I replaced the battery with a fresh one, and the sight came back to life with no problems. As I continued to carry and shoot the gun, I was finding that the dot was dying on me about once per month.

 

In a fantastic IWB holster from JM Custom Kydex

 

This bothered me, because it seemed a bit too frequent for a carry pistol, and I wanted more information on battery life. This is obviously a critical consideration in a carry pistol, since you need to be 100% comfortable that the gun will function in the event that it is needed in a defensive situation. And although the P320RX does have backup iron sights…well, I already had an iron-sighted carry gun, and I didn’t buy a gun with an optic in order to keep shooting with irons. Since I still really didn’t have a good feel for what sort of battery life I should expect, I did not have the confidence I thought I should. So when I went to the NRA Annual Meeting in Dallas, I sought out a representative of Sig Sauer who was knowledgeable on the Romeo 1 red dot, and asked him what his recommendation was regarding battery life in a daily carry gun.

Unfortunately, his answer didn’t inspire the confidence I was seeking. When I explained my concerns to him, and asked for a recommended battery change interval, he advised that for a daily carry gun the battery should be changed every 2-3 weeks. That’s 26 batteries per year based on the bi-weekly replacement schedule, and while the 1632 battery that the Romeo 1 isn’t terribly expensive if bought in bulk, I just don’t think I want to fool with that.

Don’t get me wrong. I like the gun itself, and although I was still getting used to shooting an optic-sighted pistol, I did like having the dot. If you don’t mind keeping track of bi-weekly battery changes, maybe this won’t be an issue for you. But for me…for now…I have to conclude that the Sig Sauer P320RX and its Romeo 1 optic are too high maintenance, and not quite ready for primetime. Maybe someday Sig will come out with an improved version with better battery life; maybe someday I’ll buy a replacement slide with iron sights and use that. I will probably keep shooting the gun in USPSA Carry Optics for the rest of this season, but as a concealed carry gun, I don’t think it works for me right now. Time to turn out the lights…

The Last American

It isn’t me. It isn’t you. The last American hasn’t been born yet.

Down? Perhaps. But never out.

It is certainly easy to get down on the future of the nation known as the United States of America, and there is plenty to worry about. We live in a time of weaponized government agencies and regulators, seemingly more interested in putting citizens in their place…underneath the boot of the ruling class…than fulfilling their Constitutional duty to preserve the rights and freedoms of those citizens. Political opponents use the machinery of a massive federal government to investigate each other and leverage the justice system as a tool of overthrow to subvert the will of the people.

I have only been alive for 55 years…a blink in the timeline of the United States…and yet in my lifetime I have seen Americans gradually but steadily turned from citizens into subjects. Serfs destined to do no more than to pay taxes in service of the Deep State, with no apparent way out. There seems to be no realistic way to turn the tide back towards the free nation that the Founders envisioned and made real.

It was a Great Experiment, the greatest the world had ever seen. And it still is, even as it declines. You see, America was founded as the first nation in history which was constituted on an idea that men could…and should…rule themselves. An idea that men could…and should…live free, as God intended. An idea that men could…and should…form consensual governments to preserve those freedoms.

An idea.

But from this, we should take heart. Because no matter how dark things may appear, the truth is that America has always existed. Long before 1781, there was an America. Since the beginning of the human race, there has been an America. Heck, ten thousand years ago, there was a caveman squatting by the fire with the idea, “Why do we always have to do whatever Og says?” That was an American. Back in the 70’s, there was an inmate in a Soviet gulag with the idea, “This is not how it’s supposed to be.” That was an American. Right now, there is a prisoner in a North Korean labor camp who knows…knows…with every fiber of his being, that he is meant to be free. That’s an American.

An American is anyone who believes in the idea that this nation was built upon. They don’t even have to live within our borders, as long as they hold that idea. Live that idea. Love that idea.

I try to remember this whenever I become discouraged. When the news of the day makes me fear for my country, I draw strength from the reality that America can never die. Never. Because America is not a place…it is an idea. And as long as there is a single individual on this planet who holds to the idea of America…then America lives on.

We may be down, but we are not out. Throughout the course of human history, there has always been at least one individual clinging to an idea of liberty. There has always been…and always will be…someone who holds to an idea that one man was not meant to bow to another. There will always be one more individual who believes in that idea, and that one individual, that last individual…that last American…has not been born yet.

You Can All Go To…

“You may all go to hell, and I will go to Texas.” – Davy Crockett

Although I try to keep a lid on the salty language in this column, sometimes it is really tempting. As a law abiding gun owner, it sure has been difficult lately not to give some people some directions to a…much warmer location. Especially since the gun controllers have been feeling their oats following the Parkland school shooting, and the hundred-or-so million of us who have done nothing wrong have been feeling the heat.

It is really easy to get discouraged with the relentless attack on one-third of the American population and the accusations of complicity in the murder of children. The mass media amplification of the minority voice which favors massive control can certainly make us feel isolated and alone in our support of the 2nd Amendment.

But it is a false narrative, and I can prove it to you. Come see me…and over 80,000 kindred spirits…at the 147th NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits in Dallas, Texas.  If you are a law-abiding gun owner who understands and values the right to keep and bear arms as enshrined in the Constitution of the United States, you owe it to yourself to join us in Dallas the first weekend in May.

While Michael Bloomberg, George Clooney, and other elitists organized and funded the so-called March For Our Lives (a protest against civil rights), the NRAAM is a display of true grassroots. How many would have attended the March For Our Lives if they had had to pay their own way? We’ll never know. But in one month we will see over 80,000 individuals celebrate liberty in Dallas, and they’ll do it on their own dime.

The stakes could not be higher. The forces which wish to eradicate gun rights in this country are feeling brave right now. The mask is off, and they feel safe in their contempt for us and our liberty. But they are wrong. We are the good guys (and gals). We are going to gather in Dallas and show them who we are.

We are people who say “please” and “thank you” and “excuse me.” We recognize the responsibility that goes hand-in-hand with the exercise our right to keep and bear arms, and are exceedingly law abiding and safe gun owners. We do not have blood on our hands. No matter how the antis try to portray us, we are not the problem.

So if the constant stream of vilification from the anti-gun rights has you down, I can think of no better cure than to gather with the good people of the National Rifle Association in Dallas. Let the haters go…well, you know. I am going to Texas. Hope to see you there.

What Do You Fear?

This one is pointed directly at school boards, superintendents, and other leaders who oppose allowing teachers to go armed to defend their students. If you’re in this category, I’m talking to you.

What do you fear? What, exactly, makes you so afraid to allow otherwise sane, competent adults to carry a concealed defensive firearm inside your schools?

Don’t worry about answering, though. I already know the answer…stop me if I’m wrong.

You fear taking responsibility, both financially and personally. You fear being sued, and you fear being blamed. You fear this more than you fear a school full of dead children, and this makes you a coward.

You’ve done the math in your head. Your fear is that when a school shooting breaks out, a teacher with a gun will “make it worse.” You are afraid that the teacher might miss and hit a kid, even if the teacher manages to stop the killer in the process. You fear the lawsuits and the finger pointing that will follow, even if the teacher stops the massacre, because there was a regrettable accident in the process. The killing might have been stopped quickly, with a relatively low casualty count, but you fear that accident. You fear being blamed for it, because you made the decision.

You actually fear that possibility more than you fear the killer who enters your school and murders unopposed for minutes…long minutes…until someone else eventually arrives to stop him. Make no mistake, the body count will be much higher…we know from experience how this scenario plays out. But you actually fear this much less. You probably won’t get sued, at least not successfully. After all, your school was a “gun free zone,” with totally awesome lockdown procedures. Even though there are many more dead children, you’ll get to make a tearful speech to the TV cameras, and you’ll be a sympathetic figure. There will be hashtags, thoughts, and prayers for the terrible tragedy that you had nothing to do with. There will be more blood, but at least you aren’t responsible.

You are willing to gamble with the lives of children, hoping against hope that “it won’t happen here”…because you fear making the hard call and taking responsibility for it. You call yourself a leader? I call you a coward.

Not Shinola

In the days since the Parkland, Florida school shooting, a lot of people have been talking about allowing teachers to arm themselves to defend against such an attack. Unfortunately, it seems that the bulk of that talking is coming from people who…as the saying goes…do not know [ahem] poop from Shinola.
 
Such an example can be found in this article, which suggests that 132 hours of training is somehow insufficient for a teacher to carry a concealed firearm in the workplace. Give me a break.
Florida House bill sponsor Rep. Jose Oliva, center, (R- Hialeah), watches the vote board at the Florida Capital in Tallahassee, Fla., Wednesday March 7, 2018. The Florida House has passed a school safety bill that includes new restrictions on rifle sales and a program to arm some teachers. The House voted 67-50 Wednesday on a bill that's a response to the Feb. 14 shooting at a high school that killed 17 people. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)
AP Photo
 
People who think that some sort of “extensive” training is necessary for a teacher to defend against a school shooter frankly are either ignorant on the subject, or they are liars with an agenda. The truth is that anyone who possesses basic competency with a concealed carry pistol can carry safely in a school, and can defend against a school shooter. Period. Full stop.
 
First of all, none of these maniacs is looking for a gunfight. If they were, they’d go hit a police station or a Friends of NRA dinner. Historically, every single time one of these losers run up against any armed resistance, they either flee, surrender, or commit suicide. The only exception to this rule are attacks by self-proclaimed jihadis, which we thankfully have yet to see at a school. (Though we will, eventually.)
 
Second, no one is asking armed teachers to form a SWAT stack and head down the hallways to seek and destroy the attacker. Some might decide to go on offense, and we should thank God that such heroes exist. That is the type of action necessary to stop an attack once it has started. But all a teacher needs to be able to do is to secure their classroom as well as possible, get the best cover they can, and point the gun at the door. Bad guy comes through door…shoot bad guy. Kids saved.
 
In police circles, a common term for a door is “the fatal funnel.” Do you know why that is? That’s because it is the easiest place to get yourself shot while moving through a building. If somebody can hit a door, they can hit you, if you hang out there too long. Cops know this, and treat doors very carefully so that  they don’t make themselves an easy target. Unless your school shooter knows and utilizes proper technique for entering a room through the “fatal funnel,” guess what that makes him? You guessed it…an easy target for the armed teacher waiting inside.
Image result for fatal funnel swat
There’s a reason teams train so much on how to enter a room. Even done correctly, it’s very high risk.
 
Don’t get me wrong. More training is great. But while there is no such thing as “too much,” there is also such a thing as “enough,” and most of the people making proposals like this don’t know the difference. Let’s just say that it definitely is not Shinola.

I Am Innocent

I am a law abiding citizen, and I own an AR-15.

I am not a murderer, rapist, thief, or drug dealer.

I am a military veteran, a former police officer, and a former SWAT officer.

I have been through several professional firearms training classes, and am a certified firearms instructor myself.

I have passed multiple background checks for firearms purchases and for concealed carry permitting. My state even automatically runs me through a NICS background check every 28 days, simply because I have a concealed carry permit. As such, I am background checked a minimum of 12 times per year.

In the 15 years I have had one, I have never had my concealed carry license suspended or revoked.

I have never intentionally harmed another peaceable human being, nor will I.

Despite all of this, there are those who would have me turn in my AR-15.  They would do this because another, with a heart full of hate, used a similar rifle to murder. I have harmed no one, and my rifle has never drawn blood. But they would strip me of my liberty to own that rifle.

To deny me the exercise of a civil right for the crimes of another is unjust. The thought of it should be as repulsive as suggesting that we incarcerate all members of a group, simply because some in that group commit violent crime. It would certainly reduce violent crime, but at the cost of the liberty of the innocent.

I am one of about ten million AR-15 owners in this country, and I am innocent.

I am innocent.

I am innocent.

I am innocent.

I am innocent.

I am innocent.

I am innocent.

I am innocent.

I am innocent.

I am innocent.

I am innocent.

I am innocent.

 

Images courtesy of Oleg Volk.

You’ll Get Nothing And Like It!

Remember the scene in the movie Caddyshack where Judge Smails and his spoiled brat nephew, Spaulding stop for a snack break during a round of golf?

I can’t help but be reminded of all the “no-compromise” types who helped torpedo national reciprocity a couple of months ago, because it contained language to improve the accuracy of NICS background checks. (I’m looking at you, Congressman Thomas Massie.)

All I can hear is Spaulding’s whiny voice saying, “I want national reciprocity…no, I want national constitutional carry. I want a repeal of the NFA. I want a repeal of the ’68 GCA…” And then the Judge shouting, “You’ll get nothing and like it!”

That’s what I am afraid we gun owners are going to be faced with here in very short order. Following the Parkland, Florida school shooting, we are once again combating a flood of useless gun control proposals, and the squishy GOP trying to find something they can pass to appease the antis (who cannot actually be appeased). One proposal which is gaining traction is…you guessed it…passing the “Fix NICS” bill which is currently in the Senate. This is essentially the same language which was attached to National Reciprocity, but do you think we’re going to see any reciprocity being advanced now?

Hindsight may be 20/20, but think about how things might have turned out if we had gotten behind H.R. 38 and ignored the rants of Congressman Spaulding…er, Massie…and the like. Maybe we could have gotten something to actually advance gun rights for a change. All it would have cost us is to accept proper enforcement of the law…even if we don’t like the law very much…and we might be enjoying some tasty reciprocity right now.

Instead, we in the gun community tore ourselves up with infighting because some weren’t satisfied with the something we were offered. Now, we’ll actually be lucky if we get nothing. How do you like that?