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?

It Ain’t Me, Babe

Any of the young men pictured in this article could be me…
 
I entered high school in 1977. Before I graduated in 1981 I had been taught rifle marksmanship; we pushed back the desks, set up traps, and actually shot 4-position 10-meter air rifle *in the classroom*. I received the Tennessee Hunter’s Education course as part of the curriculum in JROTC; as part of that we went to the range and shot rifles, muzzleloaders, shotguns, and archery. Nobody shot up my high school.
 
I entered college in the fall of 1981. Before graduating in 1985 I was taught the operation and maintenance of the M16A1 and the M60 machine gun…and how to use them in the field. Never mind my schooling in the employment of the hand grenade, the Claymore mine and construction of field-expedient booby traps. Nobody shot up my university.
 
 
And even before any of this took place, I had been educated in the use of firearms by my father, at home. I owned guns. I used guns. When people ask me the first time I ever shot a gun, I truthfully tell them that I have no memory of it. I have had access to guns ALL MY LIFE. I have never attacked anyone, anywhere, ever.
 
Some will say, “But Dave, you’re different. Not everyone grew up like that.” And on a certain level, they’d be right. The difference between then and now is not the guns, it’s the people, and it’s the times. I…and people like me…are not the problem. The problems are multiple, and complex, and societal, and many are outlined in the linked article. You really ought to read it.
 
But the problem is not the existence, presence, or availability of guns. They have been widely available in this country since the founding, and no matter what law is passed, they always will be…at least to those unconcerned with breaking the law. To suggest we “just get rid of all the guns” is just as feasible as suggesting “just get rid of all the heroin.” While it is tempting to reach for a simple solution to a complex problem, it is also folly.
 
New laws and regulations which would restrict my access to firearms will protect no one. New laws and regulations which would restrict access to firearms by the over 100 MILLION gun owners who have never harmed anyone will…obviously…protect no one. So let’s drop the foolish notion that gun control will fix any of this. Nothing could be further from the truth.

It’s A Major Award!

In case you missed it, the National Association for Gun Rights plans to recognize Congressman Thomas Massie for being a champion for gun rights. In his most recent act as such a champion for gun rights, the Congressman chose to vote against H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act.

No…you did not misread that. To show his support for your gun rights, Congressman Thomas Massie voted against national concealed carry reciprocity. Now, he’ll tell you he supports “reciprocity,” but he never connects that word with “national.” This is because his support is only for the bill he introduced, H.R. 2909, which enforces reciprocity only in the District of Columbia…where he works.  He also says that he opposed H.R. 38 because of the “Fix NICS” language which was added to it. But ask him if he’d support H.R. 38 without that language, and all you’ll get is silence.

Never co-sponsored HR 38, even months before it was amended to include NICS.

No matter how he tries to spin it…he voted against my right to carry my concealed firearm when I drive through Illinois. And yours.

He voted against my right to carry a concealed firearm when traveling to Massachusetts, or New York, or Chicago for work. And yours.

He voted against my right to carry my concealed firearm into New Jersey to attend a martial arts seminar.  Without the national reciprocity which Massie opposes, New Jersey can continue to jail people like Shaneen Allen or Donna Gracy. Or me. Or you.

For this, the NAGR will present him with their “.50 Cal Award.” Mind you, this is an organization whose most notable achievement in the advancement of national gun rights is that they have never actually advanced national gun rights in any meaningful way. I cannot think of a single piece of significant national pro-gun legislation which NAGR has helped pass. If there’s something they’ve done to increase my gun freedoms, I am unaware of it.

So I guess it is 1984 after all. War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. And a vote against more gun liberty gets you a major award from a national gun rights group which doesn’t advance national gun rights.

Personally, I’d prefer the leg lamp.

 

As a postscript, I will tell you that the gun shop which is hosting this award ceremony is in my local area (Triggers in Florence, Kentucky), and if I can get free on Thursday, I’ll go check it out. If I do, it will be the last time I ever set foot in that particular store. Any gun shop which would celebrate this will never get another dime of mine.

Reboot

As you probably already know, the Black Man With A Gun website recently experienced what you might call a “catastrophic event.” Kenn has successfully recovered some of the content, but much was lost for good, including over five years of my writing. As you might expect, my first, knee-jerk reaction was…well, unprintable here. But I have learned over the years that the old adage about crying over spilled milk is true…and that time spent lamenting what cannot be undone is also time wasted.

So I am embracing this “reboot” as an opportunity for a fresh start. And in the spirit of that fresh start, I have a confession to make. For those of you who are unaware, you should know that I…Dave Cole…am not black. In fact, I am as white as they come. Most of my ancestors came here from Scotland, England, and Germany shortly after the Mayflower landed, and we’ve been here ever since. I spent almost the first half of my life in East Tennessee, before serving in Texas, Canada, Saudi Arabia, and Korea with the United States Army for nine years as an Air Defense Artillery officer. Then I got out and moved to Northern Kentucky near Cincinnati, where I have worked in both private industry and as a police officer.

Not black.

Then early in 2012, I was listening to Kenn’s Black Man With A Gun podcast when he asked if there were any writers out there who might like to contribute to his website. I’ve always liked to use the written word as my own personal outlet, and I had some stuff I’d already written handy…so I sent it to Kenn. He emailed me back inside of an hour asking, “Can I go ahead and start posting this material?” I said “Sure,” and the rest is history.

But today…Martin Luther King Day…what is even more important to note is what Kenn Blanchard did not ask me. Before accepting my writing to post on the Black Man With A Gun website, he did not ask me what color my skin was. He simply read my writing, and judged whether it was good or not, regardless of the color of the person that it came from.

Isn’t that what Martin Luther King was talking about? Isn’t that exactly the way he would have wanted us to treat each other? Rather than focusing on our differences, Black Man With A Gun is a place where we focus on our commonalities…a love of guns, shooting, and liberty. I’m personally quite proud to be a part of this team, and excited to reboot into 2018 with all of you.

Never Enough

California is a gun-controller’s wet dream, and it’s still not enough. In response to the recent school shooting in San Bernardino, California, Gabby Giffords has spoken the truth, even if accidentally. When she claims that California’s gun control laws (ranked #1 by the Brady Campaign) are still not enough, she lays bare the two essential truths of gun control for all to see.

The first truth is that gun control, any of it, all of it…will never be enough to stop violence. This is because…make sure you’re sitting down…criminals don’t obey gun laws. It looks like the San Bernardino killer was already prohibited by law at least a couple of times over from even touching a gun, but he did it anyway. Given his criminal history, it is unlikely he would have been able to pass a background check, but managed to obtain a firearm in violation of the law. It is also doubtful that he would have been able to obtain a concealed carry permit, either. Yet he ignored that law as well, and concealed his gun in order to sneak it into the school. Of course, most everyone is prohibited by law from taking a gun into a school, permit or not. Everybody in San Bernardino obeyed the law that day…except the murderer.

The second truth is that any level of gun control short of full confiscation will always be insufficient in the minds of Gabby Giffords and her ilk. After all, the ink wasn’t even dry on background legislation her group pushed in the state of Washington before she was in the press claiming it wasn’t enough (even as the state’s violent crime rate fell).

Sometime they tell the truth, even when they don’t mean to. Their appetite for gun control can never be sated, because it is not about guns, or crime…it is about control, and they will not stop until it is complete.

Big Gun, Big Fun

I’m a pretty practical guy…at least I try to be. When I spend my hard earned dollars on guns and gear, I usually stick to things I have a practical use for. I want guns I can carry concealed, or hunt with, or compete with. But like most gun enthusiasts, I also have a weakness for some guns just because they’re cool. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

So when I was asked to review the Guncrafter Industries Glock conversion kit in .50 GI, my first reaction was, “what is it for?” The practical gun guy in me couldn’t figure what niche this gun fit that hadn’t already been filled. I mean, while you certainly could carry a big full size Glock for concealed carry, if you already had a Glock 20 or 21 to convert why would you need a .50 GI? The .50 GI isn’t really going to give you a step up in hunting performance from a 10mm, and although you’d certainly make major power factor with it, I can’t see a competitive use.

But I’m nothing if not open minded, so I took it to the range for a spin. And you know what? I was reminded that shooting is fun, and that shooting a gun just because it’s fun is OK…and big fun is where the big Guncrafter Industries .50 GI shines.

The conversion kit includes the slide, barrel, recoil assembly, and a magazine…and that’s all you need to turn your Glock G20 or G21 into a .50 caliber thumper. Clearly a quality product, the test unit I received from Guncrafter Industries seemed extremely well made; all stainless with clean lines and no machining marks visible. Once mated up to a G21 frame, I was set to go to the range.

Guncrafter provided sample ammunition in their 300 grain jacketed flat point load, rated at 700 feet per second, and a 185 grain all copper hollow point load rated at 1200 feet per second. Though there wasn’t enough ammunition to run an in-depth reliability test, both loads did run without issue. Recoil was somewhat stiff, but totally manageable…think maybe a stout .45 ACP +P.

And you know what else? It was fun. So much fun in fact, that my sister…a relatively new shooter, who had come along to practice with her 9mm M&P Shield…had to try a couple of rounds. She was apprehensive about shooting the big gun at first, but curiosity won out and she finally decided to give it a try. Two rounds of the 300 grain JFP, and…grin. “Can I shoot a couple more?”
So while I won’t sit here and tell you that the Guncrafter Industries .50 GI is your next concealed carry piece, or hunting gun, I will tell you that it is big fun. There is something about shooting a gun with a really big hole in the end to get the smiles going, and the .50 GI certainly delivers that.

Conversion kits are available in stainless and melonite finishes, for Gen 1/2/3 and Gen 4 Glocks. Reloading dies, data and components are also available from Guncrafter Industries at guncrafterindustries.com.